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, December 11, 2015

Caprese Style Turkey Burgers

When G & I first met if it wasn't a turkey or veggie burger I wasn't eating it. My how times change over almost 20 some years. As much as we both love a good beef burger now we do still enjoy a good turkey or veggie burger on occasion as well. But turkey tends to need some good seasoning to give it adequate flavor.

We are often trying to experiment with different burger flavors. This last summer we experimented with turkey and tried to mix it with one of our favorite summer treats, Caprese salad.

We added diced fresh mozzarella and chopped tomato and basil to our turkey burger. 

These burgers were nice for a good alternative to a rich beef burger but truly if we want a refreshing Caprese salad we will most likely continue to just make the salad.

We know a lot of people add binders to their burgers but we don't typically. They don't make for a beautiful burger but they don't get hindered with with unwanted flavors.


Caprese Style Turkey Burgers:

1 lb. Ground turkey
1/2 Cup diced fresh mozzarella
1/3 Cup chopped tomato
1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

To ground turkey gently mix the mozzarella, tomato, basil, garlic, salt & pepper. When mixed form 4-6 burgers depending on the size of your buns. Grill burgers until firm. Serve on onion rolls with lettuce. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Squid and Fennel Pasta with Lemon & Herbs

Maybe because it's been raining for like 30 days straight here or because light and fresh food are calling our names, either way this Squid and Fennel Pasta with Lemon & Herbs that we made during this last summer has become worthy of sharing and is sounding pretty delicious right about now. 

We love calamari and/or squid, but mostly at a restaurant. Of course deep fried is always great at happy hour or sauteed as an appetizer before a great Italian meal but it's rare that we cook it at home. Mostly because the odor is fairly strong and it's so delicate to make well. 

So on this late summer night we agreed we'd make this fresh squid recipe that we found in Bon Appetit magazine but that we'd make it outside on the grill. 

We sauteed the fennel and veggies on the side burner but we grilled the squid on the grill separately and added it to the pasta. Squid is very delicate you have to cook it so carefully to not over cook it and keep it tender and flavorful. We've all had rubbery calamari, really is there nothing worse? Well maybe overcooked clams or any type of seafood actually.

This was a great summer pasta dish enjoyed out on the patio with a great Pacific Northwest Sauvignon Blanc. Both the lemon and herb flavors gave it a fresh and delicate flavor that a hot late summer day calls for. Looking forward to one of those warm DRY days to come soon.


Squid and Fennel Pasta with Lemon & Herbs (adapted from Bon Appetit)

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound squid (bodies and tentacles), bodies sliced ¼ inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus 2 tablespoons fronds
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ lemon, seeds removed, very thinly sliced, divided
12 ounces linguine or fettuccine
½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high. Working in 2 batches, season squid with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until cooked through, about 3 minutes (don’t overcook or it’ll get rubbery). Transfer to a small bowl.
Reduce heat to medium-high and heat 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet (no need to wipe out). Add fennel slices, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and soft, 10–12 minutes (some nicely browned bits should be stuck to skillet). Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and half of lemon slices; cook, tossing occasionally, until garlic and lemon are soft, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet along with 1 cup cooking liquid. Toss, scraping up any browned bits; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing and adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 3 minutes. Add squid and give it all another toss to combine.
Toss parsley, fennel fronds, remaining lemon slices, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve pasta topped with salad.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu' and Hazelnuts

With all of the many, many recipes we've attempted over the almost 20 years of cooking together we've never attempted to make potato gnocchi, even though we are both big fans and especially G.

When we came across this recipe it just sort of called to us how could we go wrong; potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms, hazelnuts and browned butter = PURE YUM.

So we gave it a go. The wild mushroom sauce with the toasted hazelnuts were a perfectly comforting combination. A great combo for a fall evening. Now the texture of homemade potato gnocchi just didn't seem right to us. We are not sure, too fibrous or too watery, we can't exactly pin point it but they just weren't the right texture. We'll have to try again in the future.


Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Ragu' and Hazelnuts (from Food & Wine Magazine)

Four 1/2-pound baking potatoes, pierced all over with a fork
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, chives, tarragon, thyme and chervil
Kosher salt 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved for garnish
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, cremini and stemmed shiitake, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Finely chopped skinned toasted hazelnuts, for serving

MAKE THE GNOCCHI Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the potatoes directly on the oven rack for about 1 hour or until tender. Transfer to a work surface and let cool slightly. Halve the potatoes lengthwise. Scoop the flesh into a ricer and rice the potatoes. Spread the riced potatoes on a work surface and let cool completely. Discard the skins. 
On the work surface, gather the riced potatoes into a loose mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and salt to the well. Sift the flour on top and, using a bench scraper, mix everything together until a dough forms. Knead gently until smooth; the dough will be slightly sticky. 
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust with flour. On a floured work surface, cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch lengths. Roll the gnocchi against the tines of a fork or a gnocchi paddle to make ridges; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. 
MAKE THE RAGÙ In a small bowl, blend the butter with the mixed herbs. Season the herb butter with salt and pepper. 
In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced fennel and shallots and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just starting to soften,3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the mushrooms are coated in a light sauce, 3 to5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the herb butter. Season the ragù with salt and pepper; keep warm.
In a large saucepan of salted simmering water, working in2 batches, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then simmer until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. ºUsing a slotted spoon, transfer to shallow bowls or a platter. 
Spoon the ragù over the gnocchi and top with chopped hazelnuts, shredded pecorino and fennel fronds. Serve right away.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Turkey Hot & Sour Soup

When we ended up cooking two turkeys on Thanksgiving for only 6 people it was a given that we would need to get creative with what to do with all of the leftovers.

It happened to be a very cold weekend and one of our favorite soups on a cold day is hot & sour soup. To be honest it can be difficult to find a good hot & sour soup at any of our local Chinese restaurants. So when we came across a recipe for it in a recent Food & Wine magazine it seemed like the perfect way to put some of that leftover turkey to good use.

And with the 'hankering' for hot & sour soup came the idea to make some some quick smoked turkey spring rolls to go along. 

We didn't really have a recipe for the spring rolls they just kind of came together really. 

The soup was actually delicious. Warm, hot & sour and satisfying all the way around. We wish we would of diced the tofu slightly smaller but besides that it was excellent. 


Hot & Sour Soup (From November 2015 Food & Wine)


  • 1 ounce dried wood ear mushrooms (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 pound lean pork shoulder, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 pound soft tofu, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten


  1. In a small bowl, cover the mushrooms with boiling water and let stand until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop the mushrooms; discard the soaking water. 
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the pork, garlic, ginger and scallions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and add the tofu, 1/3 cup of vinegar, the soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of Sriracha. Bring the soup to a simmer and season with salt. While stirring constantly, drizzle in the eggs and cook until strands form, 1 minute. Serve hot, passing rice vinegar and Sriracha at the table
    Simple Smoked Turkey Spring Rolls12 spring roll wrappers1 Cup diced smoked turkey 1/2 Cup diced carrots1/2 Cup diced white onion1 Cup cooked thin rice noodlesCanola oil
    Lay out the spring roll wrapper flat. Place a mixture (approximately 2 tablespoons) noodles, turkey & veggies. Fold bottom corner over, fold in the two sides (as if folding an envelope), roll tightly.
    Heat canola oil to 360 degrees, fry spring rolls in small batches. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Post Derby Day: Hot Brown Casserole

Yes, we've been incredibly absent from this space of late. Really can't even pin point the reason why. Maybe too busy to cook let alone be inspired, frustrated that my photography is never getting better, when we do have some spare time we try to stay away from the computer.....really there is no specific reason. But for some reason today seems like a good time to give it a try again.

Awhile ago (yes, started this post several weeks ago now...we will get back on this horse slowly) we enjoyed celebrating the Kentucky Derby and we remembered that last year we made this fantastic dish, Hot Brown Casserole that we watched Damaris  Phillips from her Food Network show Southern at Heart make . We knew we had to make it again.Originally it was our collective first exposure to the traditional Kentucky Derby dish and needless to say it made an impression. So we knew we wanted to remake the dish.

And how could you celebrate the Kentucky Derby without also enjoying a classic mint julep. 

This is spring comfort food at it's best and indulged we did.


Hot Brown Casserole (adapted from Southern At Heart)  

1 bone-in turkey breast half (about 2 pounds....we used rotisserie chicken)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces bacon, cut into lardons
20 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 slices stale sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (a heaping 2 cups total)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Special equipment: four 6-inch round cast-iron gratin pans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the turkey breast with 2 teaspoons of the oil; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160 degrees F, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes; the turkey will continue to cook and the internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.

Place the bacon lardons on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; drain and reserve the fat for another use.

Lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Coat the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes cut-sides up on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until they start to dehydrate and wrinkle, about 45 minutes.

While the tomatoes are cooking, start the Mornay sauce. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the milk to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir continuously so the roux doesn't scorch, about 2 minutes. When the milk starts to simmer, slowly add it to the roux, stirring continuously so lumps don't form. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the Cheddar and red peppers and stir until smooth. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

You are now ready to assemble the dish. Heat the broiler. Distribute the bread cubes evenly among four 6-inch round cast-iron gratin pans. Cut the turkey into bite-size pieces, about 1/2 inch each, and divide evenly among the gratin pans. Spoon the Mornay sauce over the pans, and top each with 10 tomato halves. Sprinkle each pan with the Parmesan and bacon and place under the broiler on the bottom rack of the oven until golden and bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Mint Julep 

10 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
Seltzer water
Crushed ice
2 1/2 ounces  bourbon whiskey (we used local Washington State Bourbon)

Place the mint leaves in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and top with the sugar. Muddle these together until the leaves begin to break down. Add a splash of seltzer water, fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice, and add the bourbon. Top with another splash of seltzer, stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict

Days like New Year's Day call for something just a little extra special. And this recipe for Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict is exactly one of those extra special recipes deserving of kicking off a whole new year. 

It's so funny up until about 5 years ago you couldn't get me to eat an egg that wasn't either scrambled or fried until the yolks were hard. But now that I've found a profound kind of love for poached eggs breakfast has become somewhat limitless in possibilities. Once I learned how delicious eggs Benedict actually really is I've been playing around with all sorts of versions.

This particular one is combination of holiday extravagance and the beauty of living in the Pacific Northwest where Dungeness crab is definitely king. 

As decadent as it is beyond the hollandaise sauce which can be tricky at times it really isn't that complicated to make. We've started getting fresh eggs from a friend's chickens so poaching these fresh eggs is a treat of sorts. We bought cooked Dungeness crab from our local Metropolitan Market fish monger.

Since becoming an eggs Benedict fan I've been trying to learn how to best poach eggs and make a good hollandaise sauce. To be honest I don't have much advice to offer in regards to poaching the eggs, sometimes they turn out great, sometimes it's a complete disaster so I'm far from an expert at making poached eggs.

Here's a link to the YouTube video that we watched over and over when we first started to learn how to best poach eggs: YouTube Video

As far as the hollandaise sauce we've found using the blender version of the recipe from The Joy of Cooking makes a delicious and fresh sauce. Using clarified butter is key we believe in making it taste fantastic. 


Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict:
Makes 2 servings

For Benedict:
4 fresh eggs poached
2 English muffins, split and toasted
1/4 lb. cooked & prepared Dungeness crab meat

Hollandaise Sauce (adapted from The Joy of Cooking):
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper to taste
1 dash hot sauce (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 Cup warm to hot clarified butter

In blender blend on high speed for 1 minute the egg yolks, lemon juice, pepper, salt & hot sauce. With machine still running slowly add in a steady stream the melted butter-about 1 minute until sauce is thickened.

On toasted English muffins add cooked crab meat, top with poached egg on each half muffin, drizzle warm hollandaise sauce over muffins. Add fresh ground pepper.