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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Tom Kha Gai was the first dish ever that G made for me back when he was in the "whooing" stage.

14 years later it is still one of our favorite soups to have at Thai restaurants or to make at home. And when one of us is coming doing with a cold or flu it's the one we crave as opposed to chicken noodle.

The coconut, lime and spice all come together in this soup making an amazing flavor and even better aroma in your home.

We had one of those busy after work evenings: drop car off to get new tires because of a recent flat, pick up mail on hold from vacation, pick up G's skis from shop (he can't wait for the weekend to come), go to Costco and pick up the pup from doggie care, etc.... all before 6 p.m. 

And on top of it I was starting to crave 
Tom Kha Gai which along with a sore throat and throbbing headache was sure indication that I am coming down with something.

Amongst all of our errands we decided we would add an additional stop to the Asian market to pick up some fresh galanga ginger (which is well worth the extra trip for the added flavor it brings to this dish.)

Galanga is kind of like ginger on steroids. 

We also picked up Kaffir lime leaves which can be hard to find even at the Asian markets around here but on this day we were lucky and they happened to have some.

And finally lemongrass. All of these fresh Thai flavors make this soup what it is. And what it is ...is delicious.

And this soup is actually fairly simple to make. We prep all of our ingredients first and on this evening we went with using rotisserie chicken since we didn't get home until after 6:30 which really made it come together even more quickly. As soon as you add the galanga,lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves to the chicken broth the aroma in the air gives hint to the great soup that it will soon become.

Then with the coconut milk, chicken and mushrooms it becomes the Thai perfection we love. We add canned baby corns and for the first time we added some fresh noodles to the soup too.

It was the perfect remedy to soothe our long, busy day and my forthcoming ailments. Along with with a glass of Milbrandt's Sweet Catherine's Cuvee that we picked up on our recent wine tasting weekend we sat to comfort in a bowl.

This is a regularly made soup in our home and will likely always be.


Coconut Chicken Soup with Noodles ( a version of Tom Kha Gai)
Serves 4-6

3 Cups chicken broth
8 large slices galanga ginger
1 large stalk lemon grass cut into 3 inch pieces
6 pairs Kaffir lime leaves or peel from 1 small lime
2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound cooked and shredded chicken 
2 Tablespoons garlic-chile paste
1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 Teaspoons crushed red pepper 
1/2 pound mushrooms, quatered
1 can baby corns, drained
1 cup fresh ramen noodles

Put broth, ginger and lemongrass into dutch oven or stock pot. Tear lime leaves in half, add to pot. Gradually bring broth to boil. Boil 1 minute. Add coconut milk and then return to boil over medium heat. Stir in chicken, add chile-garlic paste, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Stir until paste and sugar dissolve. Add mushrooms, baby corns and fresh noodles simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 1-2 minutes.

Float crushed pepper on top and remove from heat. Serve in bowls. Remove lime leaves, ginger and lemon grass from soup before serving.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012, Maricopa, Arizona

Snaps from Thanksgiving 2012

Brought to you from 84 degrees in Arizona while poolside. 
Hope yours was enjoyable too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fig & Sesame Tart with Cardamom Orange Cream

For our November Supper club the theme was Moroccan hosted by Kris & Jeff. Moroccan flavors are some of my very most favorite of flavors. And the only time in over 9 years our Supper Club has done a Moroccan theme was many years ago when we actually took our Supper Club on the road and did a cooking class with a Moroccan theme on Mercer Island with Cooking with Anita.

If you are a fan at all of these type of flavors you know how wonderful the house smelled of these wonderful aromas.

We started with a fantastic appetizer presented by Derek & Lisa who sadly couldn't make it themselves but still made sure their wonderful appetizer made it to the event. 

This appetizer of Roasted beets and Carrots with Cumin Vinaigrette Chickpea Puree and Flatbread was the perfect kick off for this wonderful meal.

Although we are all fans of these Moroccan flavors we all are also BIG fans of Washington wines which everyone brought to share with our meal on these evening.

Kris had set a lovely fall table for us to all enjoy our meal. 

Kris & Jeff made a fabulous Moroccan Chicken dish served also from Epicurious. Truly all of my most loved flavors in one pot.

Jenni & Arnie brought 2 perfectly paired side dishes; cauliflower with olives and preserved lemons and also spiced carrots. 

It was truly a fabulous flavorful meal.

For dessert we made another Epicurious inspired recipe of Fig and Sesame Tart with Cardamom Orange Creme

Although the result turned out okay dessert making is not our forte to say. But we salvaged the pastry as much as we could and the taste was okay overall.

We served our dessert with a Washington style Port that we picked up on our recent Columbia Valley wine tasting trip from a small winery. It was very good and paired well with the dessert overall. 

It was a fantastic November Supper Club.


Fig and Sesame Tart with Cardamom Orange Creme from Epicurious

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

For filling
9 ounces dried Turkish figs, stemmed and finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon orange-flower water

For cardamom orange cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons mild honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Make pastry dough:
Pulse together flour, confectioners sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles fine meal. Add 3 yolks (reserving the fourth for egg wash) and process until it forms a smooth dough, 2 to 3 minutes. (Don't worry about overworking dough.) Transfer dough to a work surface and gather into a ball, then divide into 3 equal pieces. Form one third of dough into a small disk, then form remaining dough into a larger disk. Chill disks, each wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make filling while dough chills:
Simmer figs, water, sugar, and cinnamon in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds (3 tablespoons) and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in orange-flower water, then transfer filling to a bowl. Cool filling to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Assemble and bake tart:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place flan ring in center.

Roll out larger disk of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (If dough is too firm to roll out, let stand at room temperature 5 minutes.) Fit dough into flan ring, pressing dough up side of ring (dough is very tender and tears easily; patch as needed; they will blend in during baking), then trim dough flush with top of ring. Spoon filling into crust and spread evenly.
Roll out remaining disk of dough into a 9-inch round on lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin. Gently lay round over filling, then roll rolling pin over top to trim. Patch if necessary.
Beat together remaining yolk and cream (1 tablespoon) in a cup with a fork and brush some of egg wash over top crust, then chill until egg wash appears darker and is slightly tacky, about 3 minutes. Brush with second coat of egg wash and chill again. Lightly score top with back of a small knife to make a decorative pattern and sprinkle with sesame seeds (1 teaspoon).
Bake tart until top is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer tart on baking sheet to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then slide tart off parchment onto rack to cool. Gently remove ring.
Make cream and serve tart:
While tart bakes, stir together cream, honey, zest, and cardamom in a medium bowl and chill, covered. Just before serving, beat cream mixture with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks.

Serve tart, warm or at room temperature, with cream and oranges.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Truffled Mac & Cheese with Peppered Bacon

Get ready for the BEST mac & cheese recipe ever. And we mean the BEST. But hold tight because we want to show how we were inspired to make this fabulous dish.

We have just returned from our annual Washington Wine tasting trip taken with dear friends in the Columbia Valley. This year we went over a little later in the season than usual. Which meant for some different views of Eastern Washington that late fall brings.

We rented a great house smack dab in the middle of Corvus Vineyards. A perfect location. 

We can't wait to return to this same house again next year a bit earlier in the season so we can sit outside and enjoy the fab deck and views from the perfectly positioned airondondak chairs. 

This year was a bit soggy in Eastern Washington and most of the weekend was almost at freezing temperatures. Which actually made this group of skiers say "bring it on."

Davenlore Vineyard

Which really was fine just not the usual for our annual visit.

Milbrandt Vineyards

Our trip started out perfect, leisurely and with great wine at Milbrandt Vineyards. 

Martinez & Martinez Cellars

Some great wines, some great food and as always some great fun was had by our group, also deemed as the "bubble coat" group at one of the tasting rooms.

Goose Ridge Winery

The Columbia Valley not only has fantastic wine,

 it also has some beautiful tasting rooms and breathtaking landscapes. We love this annual trip with this great group of friends.

Sally Porkchop even had her first opportunity to play in snow. It was a great weekend indeed had by all.

A traditional stop on this annual road trip is to Alexandria Nicole winery, which happens to be the 2012 Washington Winery of the year. For this years visit a local Chef Magana had published some holiday recipes paired with their wines. As soon as we read the recipe for Bacon Mac & Cheese we knew it was a recipe we needed to make.

And that we did the very next night we could. We decided to jazz the recipe up a bit with some Truffle cheese that we had left over from our wine weekend and some peppered bacon.

This truffle cheese was so good. Those little black specks are little bits of truffle goodness. 

We also coated the bread crumbs for the topping with White Truffle Oil that we had picked up on  a different Columbia Valley wine trip we made. 

All of this goodness together made the best mac & cheese ever made. We are pretty sure it must actually be the very best.

Since the recipe made far more than we knew we would eat at one meal we decided to make them in individual ramekins to help prevent them from getting too dry when we ate them as lunch and a leftover dinner one  for another meal during the week.

We paired our mac & cheese with the 2009 Quarry Butte as suggested by Chef Magana. Perfectly balanced for this very rich and scrumptious dish.


Truffled Mac & Cheese with Peppered Bacon (a recipe inspired by Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Chef 
½ lb Peppered Bacon (cooked & chopped)
1 lb Elbow Macaroni
2 Tablespoon Flour
2 Tablespoon Butter
4 Cups Heavy Cream
1 lb Shredded White Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded truffle cheese
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
½ Onion, diced
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
¼ Cup Green Onions (chopped)
1 Tablespoon Chives (chopped)
Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoon White Truffle Oil
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 350’F.
Boil noodles in salted water for 8-10 minutes. Drain and toss with a Tbsp of olive oil.
While noodles are boiling, melt butter and stir in flour over medium heat, cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add onions, garlic and cream and cook for 10 minutes. Fold in cooked noodles, bacon, chives,
green onions and cheese. Dump mixture into baking dish. Mix bread crumbs and olive oil
together and sprinkle over baking dish evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mexican Baked Eggs

Baked eggs are new to us. This isn't a dish that we've been eating for years and years. But lately we've been trying some new versions this recipe.

And of course you can predict we'd want to make a version with some Mexican flare. But for a Sunday morning we also wanted  it to be fairly simple as well. We started with some fire-roasted tomatoes that were already 
diced, flavored and ready to go.

And then we cooked some of our favorite bulk chorizo that we get from Metropolitan Market and added the tomatoes. 

To the bottom of two ramekins we added the chorizo and tomato mixture. 

Then we cracked two eggs per ramekin over the tomato mixture.
Finally we grated some Manchego cheese over the top with some salt & pepper.

We then chopped some chives over top and served with some crispy buttered toast. Without the toast this makes a great Paleo breakfast as well.


Mexican Baked Eggs
1 can Fire Roasted, diced tomatoes (we only used about half of the can)
1/4 lb. bulk chorizo
2 cloves minced garlic
4 eggs
4 Tablespoons grated Manchego cheese
Chopped chives
Sliced avocado
Buttered toast

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook chorizo on stovetop until brown. Add 1/2 can of the fire roasted tomatoes and the minced garlic. Add tomato mixture to bottom of two ramekins. Crack two eggs into each ramekin. Add grated cheese.

Bake eggs about 8-10 minutes until egg whites are set but yolk is still runny. Serve with chopped chives, sliced avocados and buttered toast. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Lingcod with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce

We had both been having a hankering for some fish for dinner. I told G I would stop by the grocery store on the way home and see what the seafood counter had in stock. 

I also said I wanted to make a dish with chanterelle mushrooms too because I know they won't be around for much longer. So I was hoping that I could find away to use both ingredients in our dinner.

The seafood counter had halibut which is what we would usually cook but they also had some really fresh looking lingcod that I decided to pick up instead of the usual the halibut.

This midweek meal came together pretty quickly and turned out fantastic. Rich and creamy mushroom sauce over a light and dense fish. We were both quite satisfied with our creation.


Roasted Lingcod with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. fresh lingcod, seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 sprigs oregano
  • 6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


In a cast iron skillet pour two tablespoons olive oil. Sear lingcod on both sides until brown. Place fish in 325 degree oven. Melt butter in a saute pan over low heat. Add garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, cook 5 minutes until slightly softened. Pour in cream and heat slowly. When the sauce has reached a velvety smooth consistency, remove from stove. Serve sauce over lingcod.