Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Chipotle Candied Pecans

We've all heard it said many times, "Everything is Better with Bacon."

Not sure if I can fully agree with that statement in the "everything" department. We recently tried chocolate covered bacon and it tasted like a piece of chocolate coated grease. Not tasty in least way in my opinion.

But when I saw the recipe for Bacon-Bourbon Brownies with Pecans in the August Food and Wine they sounded intriguing enough to give a try.

My motivation for baking recently has been in preparation for our family vacation in Chelan  on the Columbia River. With 9 people all together in a vacation house for one week you go through a lot of snacks and goodies and I thought this one might be appealing for us adults.

I gathered my ingredients and gave it a whirl.

I knew they'd have to be good and chocolaty with 3 different forms of chocolate in the recipe.

It was bit odd to add some of the bacon fat to the batter but I told myself to go with it and give it a try.

I measured everything all out, my pet peeve in the baking process

and tried my best to not miss an important component.

And I must say the batter looked and tasted delicious,

even with the bacon fat.

The chopped bacon and pecans are really just a topping on the brownies.

 I made sure to leave a third of the brownies without the pecans because my niece & nephew won't eat anything with nuts. Who knows if they'd try them with bacon..we will find out.

In to the oven they went.

They came out looking and tasting tasty good. The brownie is quite dense and the bacon and pecans are a salty & crunchy addition.

I decided they needed one more addition so I made some last minute Chipotle Candied Pecans as the topper. And those are wonderful.

We'll hope they are a hit with the family we'll find out tomorrow.

Recipe Linked: HERE!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cocktail Week: #4 Prickly Pear Margarita

This will be my final addition to "Cocktail Week" although it's been rather fun sticking to a theme by sharing a few of this summer's favorite cocktails...and here's another.

Prickly Pear Margarita

When we went to Rick Bayless' Topolobampo Restaurant in Chicago G had a prickly pear margarita and it continues to be his favorite flavor of margarita.

Sadly we can't seem to ever find the actual prickly pear here but I did come across this prickly pear lemonande recently and decided that would work to create G a reminder of his favorite cocktail.

So I brought out our usual margarita components

and put together this quick version of a pickly pear margarita. Surprising G said it did have that same good flavor and he was happy with his cocktail.

Our Prickly Pear Margarita recipe:

4 parts prickly pear lemonade
1 part (shot) blanco tequila
1/2 part (shot) orange liqueur
1/2 of a squeezed lime juice

In a shaker combine all ingredients. Shake well. Pour over ice. Add lime wedge. Enjoy!

Cocktail Week: #3 Salted Caramel

If I am going to choose between expending my extra calories on a cocktail  or dessert... 99% of the time I'll go with the cocktail (usually wine is my real choice). But this is a cocktail that didn't require a choice and it was worth those extra calories either way.

We found this recipe for the Salted Caramel milkshake calling for us to make it in the Food Network magazine so when we had my sister and her fiance' over for dinner on the patio we made this as our dessert.

It was great evening. We kicked it off with the Berry Margaritas

 and some grilled nectarines

 wrapped in prosciutto and

drizzled with balsamic.

For dinner I made a grilled flank steak with olive tapenade, another Food Network recipe.

Our side dishes were both picked up at the farmer's market that morning: grilled corn and a

fresh fava bean salad

 that G made from a Bobby Flay recipe. The fava bean salad was awesome, so fresh, delicate and light but to be honest we had never cooked with fava beans before so we didn't have nearly enough of them. We each just a small side to enjoy. Next time we know the pods look much bigger than the amount of beans they provide.

We enjoyed our main course with a bottle of 2008 Skookum Red from the Walter Dacon winery that Tracy & Mike picked up at the tasting room the day before.

We had a great meal and enjoyed each other's company but I must tell you technology has really made an impact on get togethers. We spent some of the evening with 2 of us on iphones and one on the ipad playing words with friends. We decided it wasn't totally unsociable as we were actually playing each other...but it can be a bit sad scene sometimes. Especially if you get all of us with our ipads out.
In this photo Tracy's actually journaling the wine and Mike's reading about wineries we had been discussing
Finally it was time for dessert.

We are all fans of salted caramels. We also had a bottle of creamed tequila that my mom had bought G for Christmas in Mexico that was calling to be used so we used that for the tequila in the recipe. G whipped up some home made whip cream and wow, this was a winner of a drink.

It's definitely one recipe we'll use again for a special occasion or treat to share with friends. We highly recommend this cocktail. The recipes says that it will make 4 mini shakes and we followed the amounts and it made 4 full martini size drinks. Just the perfect amount of this rich caramel drink.

All recipes linked above

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cocktail Week: #2 Pink Lemonade

When the sun is finally out and we just want one cocktail to toast it's arrival keeping it simple is the route to go.

I recently found these perfect individualized lemonades at the grocery store. They had a variety of flavors. We chose the Prickly Passion Lemonade which combines prickly pear and passion fruit with lemonade.

Mix the lemonade with a shot of citrus vodka, the squeeze of half of a lime and ice and cocktail is ready.

Simple, no fuss, no mess = means more time to enjoy the sunshine.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Seattle Happy Hour Tom Douglas Style

Tom Douglas is a true Seattle Restaurant Icon. It seems every few months we hear about a new restaurant that he's opening. This is always good news to us as we have yet to eat at any of his restaurants and not be happy.

Awhile back we posted about his new Brave Horse Tavern that we really enjoyed.
Friday we went back to a few of our favorite of his offerings for Happy Hour guided by our friend Jim. He did a little research and found out Serious Pie starts happy hour at 3:00 and Lola, which is just a few steps away, starts theirs at 4:00. Perfect.

We were headed up to go to a wine event at Urban Enoteca for Fidelitas Winery which we are all wine members of.
Serious Pie's home canned goods on display
We started at Serious Pie for some $6 individual pies (Such a great deal for these delicious flavors.)

We each ordered a different variety to get a good sampling. G had the soft egg, woolly pig guanciale, charred escarole. I had the roasted chanterelle mushrooms, truffle cheese.. which I preferred of the two. But G was also very happy with his choice.

Lynne had the sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers, provolone G's usual pizza preferences. And Jim went for the penn cove clams, house pancetta, lemon thyme.

We all really liked our pizzas and the start of our Friday evening.

But we were onto the next stop at Lola.

It was quick trip and we hit the bar

with exact timing getting the only small table for 4.

Lynne & I ordered the Lola house red wine and G ordered this yummy drink called a Ginger Sensation...sooooo good.

Next time I'm ordering that.

Although we all weren't still hungry at this point how could we not order this tasty food.

G & I ordered seasoned olives with a wonderful fresh feta and

an order of falafels

Lynne & Jim got the "hit" of the menu...lamb sliders and

pita with cauliflower & anchovy spread.

It was the perfect start to our evening before heading a bit south of the Stadiums to Urban Enoteca which is a very cool space with a great vibe.

This was our third or fourth trip up to this new building that houses several wineries tastings and an interesting restaurant. We are so happy to now be able to pick up our wine shipments from Fidelitas here as opposed to battling being home for the Fed Ex delivery....

While there we tasted a few new releases including the 2009 Merlot which was fantastic.

Our evening ended on a quiet note we decided to buy a bottle of Five Star 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and pick up some cheese, salumi and olives and enjoy on the patio back at our house.

A great night with great food, dear friends and fantastic wine. What could be better?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cocktail Week: #1 Berry Margarita

As I've shared before our summer Saturday morning ritual typically includes a strenuous hill walk and a reward for the work= a visit to the Proctor Farmer's Market.

And finally our market is full of the wonderful bounty that July brings from the farm in Washington.

These lovely, ripe and local strawberries and blueberries made an excellent Fresh Berry Margarita to celebrate (or commiserate the end of our leisurely month off.)

I am going to do my best to post at least 3 or 4 different cocktails that we've enjoyed making this summer in the next few posts. (We'll see if I can stay focused to accomplish this goal.)

This one is a bit time consuming but worth it. I first washed and trimmed 1 cup of blueberries and strawberries each. I blended them in the blender and then

pressed through a fine sieve to remove as much of the seeds as possible. (You can see in the photo of the drink  though that seeds are almost impossible to fully remove from strawberries.)

While I did this G squeezed 6 limes into the pitcher. We added the berry juice, 1/4 Cup fine sugar. This was a batch of 4 margaritas so we used 4 shots of blanco tequila and 2 1/2 shots of orange liqueur..

We mixed the drink in the pitcher with ice and poured into 4 glasses and garnished with a strawberry.

The drink is a bit tart with the fresh berries. But that's how we like it...I'm not a sweet syrup margarita fan so these were perfect for our liking. If you like a sweeter cocktail you could either add more syrup or create a simple syrup.

Make use of the almost gone local berries and enjoy this drink.

Our Fresh Berry Margarita Recipe:
Makes four drinks:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries
The juice of 6 limes
1/4 cup fine sugar
4 shots blanco tequila
2 1/2 shots orange liqueur

Clean and stem berries. Blend in blender until liquefied. Strain berries through a fine sieve. Juice limes and add berry juice to pitcher. Add sugar, tequila and orange liqueur. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add margarita and ice to 4 glasses and garnish with strawberry.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Breakfast with A Kick, a Few Tips & One Gadget

When we came across this recipe for Avocado Eggs Benedict posted on The Foodie Bride's site we knew this was something we had to make.

I mean avocado, bacon and a chipotle hollandaise sauce...what's not to like? Our kind of flavors all together.

I had headed out for my morning walk with my neighbor and had told G to eat light because when I return we'd be making this recipe for a Friday morning brunch.

I knew immediately upon reading the recipe that I wanted to make one adjustment. Instead of using an English Muffin I envisioned using a grilled crusty bread. I just imagined with the textures of the avocado and egg that grilled bread would be great.

 Before I went for my walk I took a half loaf of rustic bread out of the freezer. (Tip #1: Usually it's just 2 of us for dinner and we never eat a full loaf of fresh bread. So I also freeze the remainder in a freezer bag. That we we always have easy access to bread.)

When I returned from my walked I started the bacon. (Tip #2: We never fry bacon in a skillet. I line a baking sheet with foil and depending on if we want a flat crispy bacon=we insert cookie racks, If we want a curly bacon we just cook it on the foil. This tip we found years ago has improved our bacon cooking immensely. And the mess is now a snap to deal with...let the bacon fat cool & coagulate and then throw out the foil.)

I then sliced and

mashed the avocado.

 I added a bit of salt & pepper but nothing else.

I sliced and then broiled
two slices of the bread.

For the hollandaise sauce I

squeezed into the blender some lemon,

 1 chipotle with adobe sauce

(Tip #3: When we open a can of chipotles, and of course we rarely use more than 1 or 2 at a time, we put the rest individually with a bit of the sauce into snack sized zip locs and then all in one sandwich bag and freeze them. When we need a chipotle or two we just take a bag or two out of the freezer and run it under a little hot water and we are set. We cook with chipotle a lot and this has been a great way to save time and mess.)

Next I separated the egg yolks for the hollandaise.

(The Gadget: G is not a gadget guy. He prefers mostly old school type of methods. Me, on the other hand, love a gadget or two. And this is one of the ones I will always have. It's a Tupperware Egg Separator. I'm telling you it's just something I gotta have around. It works well for me. If it were up to him he'd have it out of our cooking drawer immediately.)

I swirled the melted butter into the blender and

this lovely orange hollandaise sauce was created.

I smeared the bread with the avocado and
once the bacon was done 

we added the bacon to the bread.

Now it was time to poach the eggs, a technique that I still haven't yet perfected,

 but am enjoying trying.

Breakfast, or rather Brunch, was ready.

G set the patio table and

we had our wonderful dish on the patio.

G was happy to see I cooked his egg much more to his preference this time.

We both are very thankful to the Foodie Bride for sharing this recipe. We loved it and know it will be a regular brunch recipe that we will return to again and again!