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.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Baja Bound

Things in the cooking arena have slowed down here a bit. Partly because well, we have just been plain too busy. Additionally we've been prepping for....
for some of these beach side.
And some of this...
while sipping this...
after a day of this!

And ending days by watching this that's pretty much as wild and crazy as our Cabo days get....Happy Spring Break to you and US!

Be back relaxed & refreshed far too soon.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jalapeno & Avocado Grilled Cheese

We've been trying diligently to stick to our week day Paleo diet lifestyle and with exception of maybe 1 glass of wine after a particularly long day at school we've been successful to sticking to it pretty religiously.

But on the weekends we let ourselves enjoy in some of our cravings and non-Paleo choices. And for the most part we still stick to the mostly Paleo versions of our cravings. With exception of last weekend. For whatever reason grilled cheese on sourdough was all G could think about and his talking about it make me start desiring it too.
So we gave in, added some creamy avocado and bold jalapenos and this sinfully good sandwich emerged.
It was indulgent and delicious.
Jalapeno and Avocado Grilled Cheese
4 slices sourdough bread
4 slices of colby-jack cheese
1/2 sliced avocado
1 jalapeno very thinly sliced
1 Tblspn butter
Layer bread with cheese, ( we put a slice on each side to sandwich the jalapeno & avocado inbetween the cheese), jalapeno and avocado slices. Lightly spread outter sides of bread with butter. Cook until cheese melted.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March Supper Club: St. Paddy's Day

This month for our March Supper Club gathering our friend's Jeff & Kris hosted us all with a St. Paddy's day theme on St. Patrick's Day eve. No green beer in sight instead it was a fantastic holiday spread.

The full spread of red wines and whiskeys were out for the indulging.

After finally getting the guys to step away from the libations table we were able to hear about Lisa & Derek's appetizing appetizers.

We started with some amazing traditionally Irish (at least according to Epicurious & Foodnetwork) appetizers; including these wonderfully herby Emerald deviled eggs,

and 2 different crostini's. One made on Irish Soda bread with chive butter and smoked salmon.

And finally a simple but tasty soft buttered & salted bread topped with thinly sliced radishes.

Arnie & Greg

Jeff, Kris, Jenni, Lisa & Derek

Finally, after over indulging in the fabulous but filling starters we moved on to the main course.

And of course a traditional St. Patrick's feast couldn't happen without some good old traditional corned beef, 

served with the most delicious mashed potatoes infused with horseradish and scallions and gravy.

Served along with Jenni & Arnie's cabbage made with bacon.

Although we were all admittedly fully stuffed we did have to keep the indulgence going and partake in our offering of Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Filling & Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting that we served with a good chocolate stout beer to fully complete the filling meal.

It was again another great meal with new food pushing us to expand both our palate and skills. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Filling & Bailey's Frosting

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Those of you who follow our space here know that baking isn't really our focus or passion and mostly because I truly feel I pretty much suck at it. But the success experienced making this cake may change that attitude.

Our theme for Supper Club this past weekend was St. Patrick's day. Our lovely hosts were making traditional corned beef and we were assigned dessert. I ran across this Chocolate Stout cake on Pinterest posted by Closet Cooking that seemed like the perfect option for our dessert offering to the meal.

Cake making has always seemed a bit intimidating to me. I mean just the amount of ingredients I have to drag out of the cupboard that I have to stand on a ladder to get down is enough to make me not bake on most days. But he explained this cake made with Guinness was pretty simple and delicious. And I found that to be true.

I followed his advice and first butter the pans and added parchment to prevent sticking. This helped getting the cake out of the pan a breeze.

The chocolate, Guinness and butter create the most rich and lush chocolate mixture you can dream of so simply.

The batter ends up being thick and dense in appearance but creates the most light and fluffy cake texture.

While the cake was cooling I decided I wanted to add a filling to the middle layer of the cake and I found a recipe for Salted Caramel Glaze on The Hungry Housewife blog that seemed like the perfect middle for our cake. This glaze was simple and wonderful.

And the Bailey's cream cheese frosting was literally divine. Truly what a simple cake that turned out fantastic. A definite must make for chocolate lovers. The body the stout adds to the chocolate cake is detectable and wonderful.


Chocolate Stout Cake with Salted Caramel Filling & Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
  3. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 cups all purpose flour
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  7. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 2/3 cup sour cream
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, remove from heat and let cool a bit.
  2. Mix in the stout and cocoa powder.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Mix the eggs and sour cream in another large bowl.
  5. Mix the stout mixture into the egg mixture.
  6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
  7. Pour the batter into one or two greased and parchment lined circular cake pan(s).
  8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean. If you bake it in a single pan then it should take about 40-50 minutes. If you bake it in two cake pans then it should take about 20-30 minutes.
Salted Caramel Glaze
  1. 5 tablespoons Butter
  2. ½ cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
  3. ⅓ cup Heavy Cream
  4. Pinch Salt
  5. ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  6. ⅔ cup Powdered Sugar,sifted
Salted Caramel Glaze
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, dark brown sugar, heavy cream and salt to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Boil for ONE minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Add about ½ cup of the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  5. Continue to whisk in powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Remove the cake from the fridge, place on a cake plate and pour the salted caramel glaze over the top.
  7. Sprinkle the Fleur de Sel over the glaze.
Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 1 cup confectioners sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish cream
  1. Cream the cream cheese.
  2. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar.
  3. Slowly mix in the Irish cream

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mu Shu Duck

Do you have those favorite take out dishes that you always order again and again instead of trying something new? We do. And when we are ordering in Chinese food Mu Shu Pork is one of them. G loves the stuff.

We had a few duck breasts in the freezer that we wanted to use in a more creative way than just pan searing them. And while having a mu shu pork craving I remembered the duck breast in the freezer and started thinking about how good the duck would be with some hoisen sauce. Low and behold Mu Shu Pork was what was for dinner.

Like many Asian style recipes this requires more than a few ingredients and some prep time for it to go well. The pancakes come together pretty quickly, and the rolling them together and cooking them on top of each really did help it go even faster, once I figured out what they recipe were talking about. This is the kind of meal G immediately starts taking over dishwashing duties as the kitchen becomes a chaotic mess quick when I'm cooking with this many components.

We just salt & peppered the duck breast and seared them off in a cast iron skillet before finishing them in the oven and they were juicy and delectable.
We served our Mu Shu Duck with a pinot gris from one of our favorite Oregon wineries Adelsheim. It paired perfectly

Make sure to put the yummy hoisen sauce on the pancake generously and even spoon a bit on top of the veggies and duck before you roll it up and eat it. They are definitely a little more messy to eat than a burrito because the pancakes are so thin and the sauce is drippy good but the mess far less outweighs the happiness your mouth will experience. I predict we'll be making mu shu duck in the future and maybe even ordering less mu shu pork.
Mu Shu Duck (Adapted from Issue #97 January/February 2013 Cuisine at home)
Mandarin Pancakes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Combine flour and water, then knead until mixture forms a smooth, stiff dough. Roll dough into 6 inch log, cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
Cut log into 12 equal parts, then roll each piece on floured surface into 3 inch pancake. Brush oil onto 6 pancakes. Press remaining pancakes on to the original 6 and roll each to 6 inches. Cover with damp cloth until ready to cook.
Heat large skillet over medium heat and cook until dry and blistered 1-2 minutes per side. Remove, cool and separate into 12 pancakes.
Mu Shu Duck
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbspn low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbspn dry sherry
2 tspn chili garlic sauce
2 tspn cornstarch
1 tspn seasame oil
1/8 tspn white pepper
4 tspns peanut oil, divided
2 eggs, beaten
2 duck breasts
1/3 cup sliced scallion whites
1 Tbspn each minced garlic and fresh ginger
1 cup each julienned carrot and red bell pepper
2 Tbspns water
6 cups shredded napa cabbage
1 cup chopped green scallions
Heat oven to  375. Whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, sherry, chili garlic sauce, cornstarch, 1 tsp sesame oil, and pepper.
Heat 1 tsp peanut oil in wok over high heat until it shimmers. Stir fry eggs just until cooked through, transfer to plate.
Add 2 tspns peanut oil to cast iron skillet. Salt & pepper duck breasts. Cook duck breasts until browned on each side. Transfer skillet to oven for 5-7 minutes until duck is medium rare. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Stir fry scallion whites, garlic and ginger until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add carrot, bell pepper, and water; cook vegetables until crisp-tender 1-2 minutes.
Add cabbage, scallion greens, sauce mixture, eggs; stir until cabbage wilts 2-3 minutes.
Slice duck into strips. Place a spoonful of mu shu mixture in pancake, top with duck breast and scallions.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

New York Strip Poutine with Gorgonzola Sauce

Oh boy, have we found a new guilty pleasure. Yeah, it's kind of scary to us just how much we love this  dish. It's far from Paleo but since our realistic goal is only 80% of our meals we justify this in the 20% non-paleo category. And it was to celebrate G's 43rd birthday so we had to indulge, right?

The first time we had poutine was while visiting Vancouver B.C. a couple of summers ago. Evidently poutine is kind of like the national unhealthy dish of Canada or something. You don't see it on a lot of menus around Seattle or Tacoma but in the few places we have found it we have ordered it. Basically it's fries covered in in cheese curds and gravy. Mmmmmmmm so good.

We were inspired by a version we recently had at Marrow restaurant that was topped with Hanger steak. We took a liberty with our at home version and added a Gorgonzola sauce too. 

They were pretty simple to make at home. We started with a well seasoned New York steak that we seared first in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove and then cooked until medium rare in the oven.

We then baked our frozen fries while we let our steak rest. Of course homemade fries would be even better but we cheated on that step for our first time. And to be honest they were fantastic so not sure if we'll make from scratch next time either. 

We then topped the hot fries with our local Beecher's fresh cheese curds.

Then we sliced the steak over the fries and cheese curds, poured G's homemade gravy  over the steak and lastly topped it all off with the Gorgonzola sauce.

Forget Chili Cheese Fries the Canadians know how to top fries with the good stuff. If you haven't had poutine yet give it a try. Then go for a run or even better walk your Bully like we did.

Happy indulging. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

February Supper Club: Pizza Feed

We hosted our past February Supper club gathering a few weekends ago. Usually we spend weeks racking our brains for a unique or challenging theme. But for some reason this time we thought we've never done a pizza feed, let's give it a whirl!

And boy the group stepped up to this "could be simple" but not with this crowd challenge. So yes, we had lots of pizza but all so different. It was actually a very interesting meal overall. Casual and leisurely is how we approached this feast.

Kris & Jeff started us off with 2 totally different appetizer themed pizzas. The first one was a take on one of our favorite appetizers; buffalo chicken wings. 

(Photo Disclaimer/Apology= somehow all of these photos turned out awful because I messed with my settings and still can't seem to get them back to normal. All these photos have a weird hue and aren't kind of fuzzy. Bummer!)

Their Buffalo Chicken Pan pizza was excellent.

Their second pizza was really unique on a pesto cracker type crust topped with marinated olives. It was so flavorful and crisp.

Next we moved on to Veggie themed pizza. Jenni & Arnie brought 2 veggie offerings. The first a caprese themed type pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil and the other a roasted potato topped pie.

Our offerings were 2 of our favorites. The first one is a pizza that has somewhat become our go to signature pizza that was inspired by a Prosser wine tasting weekend. We grill this pizza topped with G's homemade pizza sauce, mole' Salumi salami, arugula, quail eggs, shaved parmesan and red pepper flakes. 

Our second pie was one we attempted to replicate after our favorite Chicago Giordano's stuffed spinach. We had never made deep dish or stuffed pizza before so we were excited to try. Our crust didn't quite turn out but the flavors were pretty amazing.

Lastly, Lisa & Derek treated us to the perfect closure to our pizza feed. A brownie crust pie with strawberries and blueberries and a cream cheese sauce. It truly was the perfect topper to our very filling feast. 

 A great time was had by all. We all felt it was a great meal and we were amazed we made our way through so many different pizza choices.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chicken Khao Soi -Thai Soup

When our March issue of Bon Appetit arrived and I saw this soup on the cover I knew I'd be immediately making it.

Thai soups are something we love, but we had never had Chicken Khao Soi before. We made this wonderfully flavorful curry paste first full of peppers and good spices. It gave the soup a real nutty flavor although there were no nuts in sight.

This curry paste makes this soup outstandingly good. 

Using some chicken thighs and fresh noodles this soup was as simple as it was delicious. Although next time I would likely use a rotisserie chicken to save a bit of time.
Topped with some crispy shallots, sliced red onion and cilantro it was the perfect soup to warm you up on a cold day. 

It made us kind of wish it was more like 30 degrees outside than than 50 degrees that it was. Well not that much, but it definitely would of been a great soup to have on a really cold day.


Chicken Khao Soi (from Bon Appetit)

Khao Soi Paste
  • 4 large dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded
  • 2 medium shallots, halved
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound Chinese egg noodles
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (for serving)
  • Ingredient Info
    Dried chiles are available at Latin markets; Chinese egg noodles and chili oil are available at Asian markets. All can be found at many supermarkets.
Khao Soi Paste
  • Place chiles in a small heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let soak until softened, 25-30 minutes. 
  • Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor, adding more soaking liquid by tablespoonfuls, if needed, until smooth.
  • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add khao soi paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat. 
  • Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. 
  • Add chicken, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings