Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kyle’s Cookbook: My first recipe


I wanted to share the first recipe I ever learned how to make; teriyaki chicken. This dish means a lot to me because it basically got me through college. I ate teriyaki chicken and another recipe, Russian dressing chicken, at least once a week. I decided I needed to learn how to cook when I moved into an off campus apartment my second year at Chapman University in California. My mom taught me how to make both of these dishes. Her cooking philosophy is “easy to make, but tastes good”. Also chicken is hard to mess up and is cheaper than most other types of meat and seafood. Both dishes take about an hour to make and only a handful of ingredients.

I wanted to share these simple, yet delicious recipes with all of you. If a novice, 18 year old Kyle could figure these recipes out, you can too.


Teriyaki Chicken – this is not an authentic Japanese recipe. I don’t even think teriyaki is Japanese, but it was a staple food growing up and I’m pretty sure everyone has had teriyaki at least once in their lives if not multiple times. What most people don’t know is that teriyaki sauce is extremely easy to make, all it is, is soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and ginger and you’re done.


What you’ll need:

  • Couple pounds of chicken pieces (I prefer thighs and drumsticks I like my dark meat, but boneless skinless breasts work as well)
  • Big pot
  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Equal amount of fresh, peeled ginger

Instructions:

  • Optional: trim the fat and some skin off of the chicken
  • Add ½ C sugar with equal amount of soy sauce into a pot
  • Dice up 2-3 cloves of garlic and add an equal amount of chopped up peeled ginger
  • Mix it all together and then place 5-8 pieces of chicken skin side down in the pot
  • Bring the pot to a boil, make sure to mix so it doesn’t burn, as soon as it boils turn down to medium heat and put the top on the pot – cook for about 8 minutes or so and then flip the chicken
  • Cook an additional 10 minutes after that Note: If you are cooking chicken breasts or anything boneless cook for 5 minutes instead of 10 minutes because it will cook much faster and you don’t want to overcook the chicken or it will get pretty dry
  • Optional: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and line a pan with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable spray
  • If putting in the oven, when the chicken’s internal temperature is 160 degrees pull it out of the pot and put in the pan. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then it should be done. If not placing in the oven, the chicken is done at 165 degrees. Another way to check is to poke a hole in the chicken and press down, if the liquid comes out clear and is not bloody, it’s done. However the internal temperature is the best way to check.
  • I like to serve this dish with some vegetables like some pan cooked zucchini or even corn. Rice is the most important part of this dish! After the chicken is done, use a mesh strainer and place it over a bowl and pour the remaining liquid from the pot into the bowl. The strainer will take out the garlic and ginger chunks, which added flavor to the sauce, but are now unneeded. Serve the chicken and spoon the sauce over the chicken and your rice and eat.

Russian Dressing Chicken – this dish is both sweet and tart with a subtle onion flavor. This is good comfort food and perfect on a cold night. The oven will heat up your kitchen and fill your house with great aromas.


What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 lbs of chicken pieces
  • 1 package of dry onion soup mix
  • ½ C apricot preserves or marmalade
  • ½ C Russian dressing


Instructions:

  • Combine the last three ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  • Spray a 9”x13” pan with vegetable spray or use any baking pan and place the chicken in it, skin side up
  • Pour the mixture from the bowl onto the chicken and place in a preheated oven at 325 degrees. Cook for an hour to an hour and a half, depends on your oven. The chicken is done when the internal temperature is 165. This is another recipe that is best served with rice.

Places that make us fat: 24 hours in Portland

Emi and I wanted to do something simple, yet unique to celebrate our one year anniversary. We decided on a quick trip down to Portland and of course planned on eating our way through the city. The weekend was amazing, the weather couldn’t have been better, and we sampled many new places in the 24 hours we spent down there. The trip also reinforced why we were meant to be together because we both have the exact same eating habits. If one is hungry the other is hungry, if one isn’t satisfied or full the other isn’t as well.


Portland has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for awhile since seeing the city highlighted on the Travel Channel, the Food Network, and most recently the Travel section of the Sunday New York Times.


We wanted to share some photos from our trip with the food we ate (of course) and recommendations for places to check out if you ever find yourself in the Rose City.



Emi's Canadian bacon ham eggs benedict


We left Seattle at 6am Saturday morning so that we could enjoy breakfast at The Stepping Stone CafĂ©. This place came highly recommended by my friend and former Portland local Kenny. The best way to describe this place is delicious, greasy, hangover food. Emi’s eggs benedict with Canadian bacon ham was cooked perfectly and was a great way to start off our day.


Happy Hour at 23rd and Hoyt


The restaurant had a very modern, sophisticated feel highlighted by a very affordable happy hour menu. We decided to sit outside to enjoy Emi’s house red and my Woodland (bourbon, honey, and lemon).



The charcuterie plate I ordered was one of the highlights of the trip


It came with Prosciutto di Parma, Toscana, salmetti secchi, house pickles, olives, and two varieties of mustard. All of the meat was thinly sliced deliciousness and was not as salty as I expected it to be. When combined with the sweet pickle and some mustard over the bread it was an awesome way to start off our eating adventure. Also for $4 it was a steal.


Emi ordered the Steamed Clams with white wine, garlic, and a brushette. You can’t go wrong with white wine and garlic. The clams were amazing, but the broth was even better. Emi sopped up the soupy broth afterwards with the remaining bread.


Raspberry Berry Infused Collins from Paragon


After heading back to the hotel to change and to enjoy a bottle of champagne, we took a cab to The Pearl District and enjoyed some cocktails at the very fancy Paragon. I love me some infused vodka, especially with real fruit so we couldn’t pass that up.


Acai Caipirinha


Next we went to Andina a Peruvian restaurant that was absolutely packed. We found a table in the bar and decided to order some tapas and cocktails. Emi enjoyed an Acai Caipirinha and I ordered my first ever pisco sour; not bad, but very sweet. We ordered a few tapas dishes as well and of course didn’t take a photo of our favorite dish. We highly recommend the Anticucho de Pulpo – which is grilled octopus kebobs with rocoto and caper chimichurri. The octopus was amazingly delicious and tender. Being Japanese we are used to tough, flavorless tako (octopus), so I had never had grilled, tender, salted octopus.


After happy hour and tapas we were still starving. Starving like “let’s immediately drive to Dick’s to order two Deluxe’s, two fries, and a rootbeer float”. So instead we took a cab to the Koi Fusion Korean taco truck that I had read about online.

For only $12 we ordered a bulgogi taco and a short ribs taco and the short ribs K-Sliders. Finally we were satiated and headed back to the hotel to pass out.


Sweet, refreshing raspberry Italian sodas, a great way to start off the day

The next morning we hit up Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Basically it’s like every major cities, “eff you” Starbucks coffee shop. If you are ever in the area it’s a nice place with a line out the door.

Pork tamales served w/fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and beans at the Portland Market


All in all it was a great trip and a memorable way to celebrate our one year anniversary. We look forward to another year of eating adventures together!


- Kyle

Celebrating One Year of Happy Marriage and Good Food!

Last Saturday was Kyle and my one year anniversary—I know it is clichĂ©, but it really is amazing how quickly a year can pass when it’s full of happy memories. We started off our celebration weekend with a family dinner at our house. My godmother (or fairy godmother as I used to call her), was in town from Japan and we were able to celebrate her birthday as well. We feasted on some fat, butter dripping lobsters, fresh caprese salad with tomatoes from our yard, a crispy green salad, grilled corn, zucchini, walla walla onions, and grilled garlic prawns.


Masako, my mom Gail, Kyle's parents Steve and Joyce, and Kyle serving up our good eats


We made good use of some of our favorite wedding presents: our silverware, wine glasses and dinnerware!


Serving up the food!


My dad boiled the lobster first (something I refuse to do, the poor things!) and then cut each in half before grilling them. He drizzled garlic butter over the top as they cooked--it was sinfully delicious!

We also brought out our wedding cake topper for dessert. One year ago, the cake was the best I had ever tasted—Kyle’s Auntie Cheri slaved over the white cake with lilikoi (passion fruit) curd and coconut Italian butter cream frosting. When Kyle fed me the first piece at our wedding, I was in heaven. Now, one year later, and after having lived in our crappy, 1980s freezer, it tasted similar to that mouth-watering cake we had once had, but with a slight aftertaste of frozen peas and freezer burn! Oh well. We also toasted with the last bottle of our white wine from the wedding and our wedding champagne. All in all, the night was full of wonderful food, great company, and memories we will cherish as we reminisce at many more future anniversaries!


In addition to the wedding cake, we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries and mini lemon tarts and chocolate pudding cups (for those of you frequent bloggers, yes, these were leftovers from Becca's shower!)

Reliving our wedding reception: cutting the cake!

Here is my grilled garlic prawns recipe that we enjoyed at the party. It has always been a tasty addition to seafood feasts, or just a simple and yummy appetizer for parties:

Ingredients:
2 lbs large prawns (or however much you need for your group), de-veined and de-shelled
3 parts Olive Oil to 1 part Balsamic Vinegar and 1 part Sugar (ex. 1 cup Olive Oil, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar)
A good squirt of Siracha (Asian Hot Sauce)—this is optional and adds a little heat to the shrimp
A good sized handful of Thai basil, chopped (very important, it is sweeter and more flavorful than traditional basil)
A good sized handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh minced garlic

Throw everything into a large ziplock bag and marinate up to one day (a couple of hours is OK, too). Be sure to put it in a refrigerator that you don’t use too often because it can stink up the whole fridge. Or, just get a baking soda box to soak up odors! When ready to grill, skewer shrimp on bamboo skewers and put on grill (you can also use a grill pan on your stovetop) until the shrimp are slightly blackened (this is the sugar burning, it adds a nice, almost caramelized flavor). Serve immediately and enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bridal Showers 101

I’ve been so fortunate to be a Maid (actually, they call me Matron, but that sounds so old to me…) of Honor for two of my very best friends this year: Ali and Becca. After just throwing Becca’s shower this past Sunday, I thought I’d pass along some tips and fun ideas I shamelessly stole from others!

Tip #1: Have a theme

Whether it is a present-giving theme, an activity theme or even just a color theme based off of the bride’s wedding colors, it is always nice to have something to work off of. This makes planning the food, games, prizes and favor ideas come more easily. My bridesmaids threw me an “Around the Clock” themed shower where everyone got gifts that went with a specific time they were assigned (ex. My friend Christie gave the most amazing gift for 8AM: a tea kettle and a subscription to the NY Times Sunday edition for a year!). For Becca’s shower, we did a tea party theme. My mother in law, Joyce, let me borrow her fancy English tea set and we munched on tea sandwiches, and sweets like petite four tea cakes and mini lemon tarts. The easiest thing to do is to go off of the bride’s wedding colors. Money saving tip: Go to a local farmer’s market for flowers and ask them to put together bouquets based off of the wedding colors—they will not only put together fabulous arrangements, but they will only charge you usually around $5 a bouquet!





Joyce's beautiful silver English tea set we used for Becca's shower--I also dusted off a china set one of our dear family friends, Kenyon and Shirley, gave us several years ago.



Ali's wedding colors were a vibrant royal blue and charcoal grey which made for an amazing color pallet for the shower. My wonderful husband went to the farmers market and had these bouquets custom made before the shower (I have to suck up to him so he will continue to help me in the future!). Other market-goers loved the colors so much they requested similar bouquets to be made!

Tip #2: Presentation is Key

When I walked into a bridal shower that Kyle’s family threw for me, I was in awe. They managed to make the food spread look professionally catered by using boxes and books draped with tablecloths and scraps of fabric to add dimension and interest to the food display. Money saving tip: Kyle’s Auntie Cheri went to the fabric store and picked up a couple of yards of chocolate brown fabric (one of my wedding colors). She then cut it into smaller pieces and laid it out on the tables to add a pop of color.



My lovely Aunt-in-laws/professional shower hostesses: Cheri and Julie with the chocolate brown fabric I mentioned above.



The food spread at my bridal shower that Kyle's Auntie Cheri, Auntie Julie and his cousin Julia threw me included mini lettuce wraps, a yummy summer soup in martini glasses and other delicious eats!


One of Ali's bridesmaids, Samantha, made these adorable lavender flavored petite fours for the favors. She also made mini-cupcakes to munch on for dessert.


Tip #3: Never underestimate the power of GOOD FOOD

I used to be on the board of directors for a local community group, and they always had some snacks and drinks at meetings. They said that you never know where people are coming from to make the meeting, or what is going on in their lives. The least you can do is to provide food for them in case they haven’t had a chance to eat during their busy day. Anyways, although bridal showers are really for the bride to be showered with gifts, it is always important to have plenty of good food for guests to feast on to say “thank you” for coming and helping to be there to celebrate the bride. This would not be a relevant blog post if I did not mention food excessively, so I will put some sample menus I had for my last two showers for Ali and Becca (posted in comments). Time saving/organization tip: I got this idea again from Kyle’s Auntie Cheri and his Uncle Jon—they post a menu every time they entertain, not only is it nice for guests to be able to get a sneak peak at the yummy food they are about to eat, but it also helps make sure you do not leave a dish in the refrigerator accidentally and helps you pace your time so that you know how much more you need to get done before guests arrive.


Food for Becca's shower included tea sandwiches made by my sous-chef for the day, Mollie, along with scones and other tea treats.


Another of Ali's bridesmaids made fresh baked quiches that fit perfectly into our brunch themed menu.

My mom and I posing with the tasty coconut cupcakes and hand decorated cookie favors at my shower.


These fun favors were extra special because Kyle's Uncle Jon, cousins Julia, John, Tanner and his girlfriend Calista all helped to decorate and package them. The shower meant so much because it was an all-family effort!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farmers Markets

Visiting the Edmonds Farmers Market has become our new favorite weekend activity. Ever since reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto I have made a conscious effort to not only eat more fruit and vegetables, but to eat locally grown produce.

I remember taking road trips as a kid with my parents to Yakima to go pick bing cherries. I would eat the cherries until my stomach hurt (over the years a few people fell out of the cherry pickers and sued, so I’ve heard they don’t allow you to go up in the trees anymore). Nothing is as sweet as fruit straight off the farm and that’s what you can expect at the farmers market.


This past weekend the Edmonds Farmers Market was closed because of the Bite of Edmonds so we decided to go check out the UDistrict Farmers Market for the first time. We needed to buy a few things for Becca’s bridal shower so we had a great excuse to go. I want to note a couple observations: the UDistrict Farmers Market is a solid 25% or so more than the Edmonds Farmers Market and the quality/variety is basically the same. Parking in comparison to the Edmonds Farmers Market is much more difficult to find. Also the UDistrict Farmers Market had about 6 cheese vendors so people in that area must love their cheese!


I’ll let our photos do the rest of the talking:


A typical spread of vegetables


Emi’s favorite; heirloom tomatoes


Bright orange cherry tomatoes Emi bought for the shower


Must haves for a trip to the farmers market: coffee and a pastry


My raspberry strudel from one of the vendors


Award winning cheese from Estrella Farms


Emi with the flowers we had made for the shower and her Levaquin bag filled with fresh produce and cheese

If anyone is ever interested in going, let us know. We usually get our morning coffee at the Starbucks on Main in downtown Edmonds around 9:30am or so before heading across the street to the farmers market.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Places That Make Me Fat: The Puyallup Fair

“Who goes to the Puyallup Fair?” in disgust many of my friends have asked me in the past.

Who doesn’t go to the Puyallup Fair is my response to everyone who has never been to that magical place. I look forward to my yearly trip to the Fair months in advance, just talking about it right now is making my mouth water.


The Puyallup Fair has been for what it seems a lifelong tradition, just like Husky Football, and my love for baseball. I feel like when I popped out of my mom the first thing they did was put a baseball hat on me, fed me a fleischkuechle (more on this later), and then took me to a Husky football game. That’s how far back the Fair goes for me.


Now to someone who has never been before, what you would expect from a fair is probably what you would get; lots of mullets, fried foods, crappy rides, and stinky barn animals. However, unbeknownst to most, The Fair is a food lover’s heaven. I love food and people have been known to make fun of me because I will eat and at least try everything. Growing up all of my friend’s moms loved me because I loved their food. I enjoy a fancy meal every so often, but ultimately I like food that tastes good and I like to be full. It’s pretty simple and the Puyallup Fair hits both criteria.


The reason I’m posting about The Puyallup Fair is because it’s a fond memory of mine and it’s coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ve taken many of my friends with me and my family over the years to the Fair and consider myself somewhat of an expert. I have a pretty set routine and a mental list of food that must be consumed before I leave. If you’ve never been before, print off my guide and you’ll be set.


The To Eat List (in order of consumption):

  • fleischkuechle – A German deep fried meat turnover is really the only way to describe it. Probably the only German food worth eating and the highlight of the Fair. This stand is the only one of its kind and is outside of the fairgrounds so whether it’s breakfast or lunchtime, I’m starting off my Fair experience with some deep fried meat. Also they say they are going out of business every year and that this year is their last; however they’ve been there for over a decade now. People love this place, one time I saw a person order 30 of them to go. She took home a fat, greasy grocery bag filled with fried meat. I think that’s overkill.
Loving my fleischkuechle before I found Crossfit

  • Myer’s cheeseburger with Walla Walla sweet onions – you can’t go to the Fair without eating a burger with grilled Walla Walla sweet onions. They literally go through tons of Walla Walla onions during the Fair.
  • Young Life BBQ beef burger – this sandwich is godly, basically they just give you a bunch of bbq meat on a bun, and then you slather on your own BBQ sauce, creamy horseradish, lettuce, tomatoes, onions (optional), and then voila, it explodes all over your lap and is delicious.
  • Young Life smoked turkey leg – this I added in recently because I loooove smoked turkey legs. Nothing makes my mouth water more than smoked turkey legs. I pretend I'm a caveman tearing meat off a bone.
Look at Fatty McFat Fat devouring that turkey leg

  • Corn on the cob - with lots of butter and seasoning salts, nothing to explain just a good fair snack
  • Wilcox Farms chocolate milk – best chocolate milk I had ever tasted, literally. A few years ago I found out that when I was little my mom used to water down my chocolate milk (I’m still not sure why), so when I had this stuff in it’s pure form it blew me away – (just make sure to bring your special pills Becca)
  • Fisher Fair scones - every year these get more and more expensive, but every year I get a dozen. The old ladies making these things must want everyone to suffer and become diabetic too because they slather on the butter and jam like none other. The scones always make good week after The Fair breakfasts as well.
  • Elephant ear - half raspberry jam and butter and half butter and sugar and cinnamon – mmm best comboski ever, by this time in the day my sugar and food high is running very, very high
  • Massive curly fries - on the way out the door I always have to get a massive carton of deep fried curly fries with a ton of ketchup to untangle on the car ride home
  • Cheeseburgers - with grilled walla walla sweet onions for the road – you might want dinner right?

I promise to follow up this post in a few weeks with a recap and pictures of my 09 trip to the Fair. Let me know if you want to join us!