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.
















Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Salad Nicoise




Do you ever just feel like you want to have something different for dinner than the usual stand bys? I can tell you I've been feeling like that a lot lately. Just craving something different. Most of the time I'm not sure "what different" exactly but just something we don't usually have is what I want. 


And on this occasion that's exactly how I was feeling. We just recently started a subscription to Saveur Magazine and in our first issue there was this recipe for salad nicoise that looked exactly like what I was wanting: a meal we never have.



And it perfectly met my craving. We actually purchased a beautiful piece of yellowfin tuna for this salad initially but ended up using the yellowfin to make poke instead. So when we finally did get around to making this delicious salad we used some canned Wild Albacore Tuna made by Wild Planet that we buy at Costco and love. We started eating it a lot when we starting following Paleo. And just love the quality of this canned tuna.

Also by the time we got around to make the salad the green beans we purchased had went bad so we subbed out little white potatoes.

The salad was so good. The combination  of all the veggies with the brininess of the olives and the vinaigrette really made for a well balanced bite each time. We served the salad with a bottle of C.R. Sandich Viognier that we picked up on our Chelan vacation this summer. It paired wonderfully.

It was simple to put together and really met my desire to just have something different for dinner.

Recipe:

Salade Nicoise adapted from Saveur Magazine

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 clove garlic
Kosher salt, to taste
⅓ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


FOR THE SALAD:
1 lb. small new potatoes, boiled until tender
6 oz. yellow baby beets, boiled until tender, peeled
6 oz. red baby beets, boiled until tender, peeled
8 oz. haricot verts, blanched
12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup black Niçoise olives
8 small radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed and drained
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
3 (4-oz.) cans high-quality oil-packed tuna, drained
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
½ cup loosely packed basil leaves, to garnish
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the dressing: Mince garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle heavily with salt; using a knife, scrape garlic and salt together to form a smooth paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and whisk in oil, juice, mustard, shallot, and salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Make the salad: Arrange all ingredients in separate rows on a large serving platter; drizzle dressing over all ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with basil and scallions just before serving.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Scallops with a Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce


Did we ever explain how much we love seafood around here? If we haven't  yet you likely have figured it out. But let us just be fully transparent about this fact: WE CAN'T GET ENOUGH SEAFOOD ON OUR TABLE.

And scallops are one of the tastiest of our favorite seafood choices. This dish was inspired by one of my dad's favorite starters. My dad couldn't get enough bacon wrapped scallops with cocktail sauce. An appetizer I happily prepared for him every year during our family vacations to Chelan (these and deviled eggs also became a traditional dad treat.)

We love scallops prepared simply this way too but I was trying to think of a more "main" dish preparation based on this idea. And I thought of our now favorite breakfast dish: Poached eggs, avocado, bacon with a chipotle hollandaise first inspired by The Foodie Bride. Love The Foodie Bride one day I hope my photos get just almost as good as hers and will never forget our favorite breakfasts was inspired by her blog.


So I thought why not leave out the bread and eggs  and use the bacon to wrap around the scallops. I knew sliced avocado would make the perfect bed for the scallops and we can never get enough of this chipotle hollandaise sauce. And voila emerged this fantastic main dish made out some of favorite flavors.

I first par-cooked the bacon in the oven, then wrapped the bacon around the scallops before grilling them outside on the Weber.

It was quite simple and really the hollandaise sauce comes together perfectly every time. It was a great meal served with a crisp Columbia Chardonnay. 

Recipe:


Grilled Bacon Wrapped Scallops with a Chipotle Hollandaise Sauce:

8 large sea scallops 
8 pieces of bacon
1 large avocado
salt & pepper
2 egg yolks
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of Salt
1 chipotle + 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
1 stick of butter, melted
Cilantro for garnish

Par cook bacon in a 450 degree oven until partially cooked (not crisp.) Drain bacon on paper towels. Season Scallops with salt & pepper. Wrap bacon around scallops, secure with a toothpick. Grill scallops until cooked through (approximately 5-8 minutes depending on size of scallops.) Slice avocado. Stack sliced avocado divided onto two plates. Place grilled scallops on top of sliced avocado.

Place egg yolks, lemon, salt, chipotle and adobo sauce in the blender.Blend for 30 seconds before streaming in the melted butter. Serve immediately over scallops.Garnish with cilantro.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Crab Salad

Yeah Baby we love crab! Nothing better than sweet, fresh from the Pacific Ocean Dungeness caught last weekend by our brother-in-law Mike. And being the generous guy that he is he actually shared some with us. Gotta love him more for that.

Actually we had been eating a lot of crab for several reasons including that we can't get enough of it. Because of this influx of indulgence we were ready to try a new preparation with this batch. We found a recipe in our latest Food Network Magazine for lobster salad that looked more than delish and thought, "Hey, crab would probably be great in this salad too." We decided to give it a try.

First, came the not so fun part; cracking the crab, although we tried to have a beer while we did it to make it seem more like a party! Punctured fingers and small cuts kind of took away the party aspect of the task though. 



But our hard work paid off and we ended up with close to 2 cups of dungeness crab meat that would cost about $60ish dollars if purchased pre-shelled at the grocery.

I first made aioli in the food processor and then mixed the fresh crab with the veggies and herbs. I added some finely chopped red pepper too because we love red pepper in crab cakes and thought it would be just as good in this crab salad. We were happily right on that adjustment.



Next I prepped the butter lettuce. Butter leaf lettuce just always feels decadent doesn't it? It made some beautiful beds for this lush and rich salad.



Next we divided the salad amongst the lettuce cups/beds and added some slivered almonds also. Just thought that little additional crunch added another layer of YUM!

And did it ever! This crab salad was the bomb. Sweet, sweet dungeness crab wrapped in this lovely homemade aioli with some gentle crunch from the veggies and almonds and some further flavor from the fresh chopped chives and tarragon. Served with a little lemon to help balance the richness.

We had it outside on our patio with a lovely Chardonnay while hosting G's cousin for the weekend. 

Needless to say it was a hit. We highly recommend you get some fresh crab (dungeness if you can get it where you are) and give it a try. It would be great for a luncheon, a starter for a special dinner party or the main dish on a warm summer night.



Recipe:


Crab Salad: adapted from Food Network Lobster Salad recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked, shelled crabmeat
  • 4 lemons, plus wedges for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large pasteurized egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons habanero sauce (or any hot sauce)
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives, plus more for serving
  • Butter lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Slivered almonds, for serving
Make aioli: Make the aioli: Put the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. With the motor running, add the canola oil in a slow, steady stream and process until thick and creamy. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Gently mix crab meat with with the chopped herbs and aioli, trying to keep crab pieces intact. Clean lettuce and lay on plate. Divide salad amongst lettuce beds. Top with chives and slivered almonds. Serve with lemon wedges.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Grilled Peach Habanero Chicken Wings


We are finally experiencing the dog days of summer around the Northwest. It's been a beautiful weekend with blue skies and highs in the low 80's. Pretty much perfect I suppose.


We've done a lot of just lazing around, although we did plant this beautiful rose in my rose garden that we found at the Proctor Farmer's Market. It's a fragrant and lovely chocolate rose.

But mostly we've been trying to work on the beginnings of training our pup. Not so easy with this stubborn girl.


And even more we've just been sitting around playing with and watching her.


But we do still have to eat. And finally local peaches are in season. I know those of you non-Northwesterners probably have had your peach season over and gone by now. But things are just a little slower around her due to our lack of hot weather.

We picked up some Pence Farm peaches at our local Metropolitan Market's Peach-O-Rama and thought making some grilled peach-habanero chicken wings was sounding pretty good for our lunch outside with our Sally Pork Chop puppy. I prepped the wings while G played with our pup.

While they grilled I made a spicy peach habanero sauce made from peach habanero salsa that we had made last summer and some sriracha to coat them in after they were fully grilled.

Going with the peach theme we sliced up one of our Pence Peaches and decided to serve them with the wings instead of the traditional celery sticks.

Once off the grill I coated and tossed them in the sauce.


They hit the spot.

Sweet and a bit spicy of course. But super tasty in the sun with a slice of peach to cool down the heat of the sauce.

Just the perfect summer lazy day lunch enjoyed in the backyard with our pup.

Recipe:
















Grilled Peach Habanero Chicken Wings
2 lbs. chicken wings, cleaned and prepped
salt & pepper
1/4 cup peach habanero salsa
1/8 cup sriracha
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
Salt & pepper
1 sliced peach

Salt & pepper prepared wings. Grill until cooked through. Whisk together salsa, sriracha, soy sauce, honey and salt & pepper. Put grilled wings in a large bowl. Pour sauce over wings and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve with peach slices.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Mexican Poached Eggs with Chorizo


The morning we brought this beautiful baby girl home we decided that we needed a hearty breakfast to be ready for this new transition in our life.

We were both excited for this new addition and a little worried we may never have time for anything else but puppy supervision. But luckily sometimes she does does do this....

So we made a breakfast that included some of our favorite flavors and also met our Paleo lifestyle that we desperately are trying to get back on after vacationing for 5 weeks. 


We made some patties out of our favorite bulk chorizo that we love and fried them. Then we sliced some avocado topped them with some poached eggs and roasted tomatillo salsa. It was a perfect breakfast for our big day in becoming puppy parents.

Recipe:


Mexican Poached Eggs with Chorizo 

1/4 lb. good quality bulk chorizo sausage, made into patties
1 avocado, sliced
4 eggs
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa

Form chorizo patties, fry until cooked. Slice avocado and lay on top of chorizo patties. Poach eggs. Place eggs on top of avocado and spoon salsa on top. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled Herb Balsamic Lamb Chops

Our vacation life for the summer has finally come to an end. And yeah, we are ready for it to end. Don't get us wrong it was fantastic. We went amazing places, ate fabulous food with some of the people we love the most. But honestly only sleeping at home 5 nights out of 5 weeks is a bit much even for us.

Transitioning back to being at home for good has been good something we are both enjoying doing after long vacationing. But this time our transition situation back home has changed just a tad....

Yes, two days after returning home we added this precious girl to our life, family and home. And she is just so precious! Meet Sally Pork Chop. Our long awaited English Bulldog that actually I've been advocating for us to get for at least the 12 years we've been married. It's the only dog I've ever wanted. And reluctantly my honey finally agreed. It's a HUGE transition to our life.

For example I've been trying to write this post for 36 hours now and just can't seem to get it done. Our new baby needs a lot of our attention and we are more than happy to share it with her. 

So her first night home I wanted to make sure to make a meal to show G that our life will still continue. Making and enjoying great meals will still be a part of it. So since Sally Pork Chop is on a lamb & rice puppy chow regimen I decided that lamb chops would be the perfect protein for this meal.

I found some good looking chops at Costco. We do love love Costco meat usually.
I made a balsamic herb marinade that I let them sit in for an hour before grilling. Which gave me ample to do some more loving on our girl before I actually got too involved with cooking. The marinade was so flavorful made with honey, dijon, balsamic and herbs from our patio.

I then grilled on the grill getting a nice sear and cooking them to medium rare...while I boiled down the balsamic sauce to glaze them with at serving time.

I served them with a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, slice almonds and a Trader Joe's brand Raspberry vinaigrette. 

We also opened a bottle of Fidelitas 2007 Optu to enjoy with our meal. A  perfect special wine to enjoy our first night and meal as puppy parents. 

The chops were divine and G loved that were paired both with the beet salad and the wine. Oh yeah, we can do this! We can be dog owners and still live our life. I'm determined to make it happen.

Recipe:













Grilled Herb Balsamic Lamb Chops
6 lamb chops
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each fresh thyme, oregano, basil and chives chopped and combined
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Place lamb chops in a shallow baking dish. Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs, honey, mustard, salt and pepper and pour over chops. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat grill. Grill chops 5 minutes on each side until medium rare. Boil remaining marinade and glaze over chops before serving.