Another great bbq, but it's all about that Summer Squash Carpaccio!

30.6.11

 While at the market on my weekly Sunday visit I saw the most amazing selection of summer squashes. I love summer produce. During the summer I am on a steady diet of raw salads and bbq. We have no ac and I just can't bring myself to cook and make my house any hotter than it normally is. Needless to say, as soon as I saw these beautiful squashes I instantly thought carpaccio. I researched several recipes and settled on this one seen on NPR. Since I made the recipe verbatim I'll save retyping it and post the link. I added torn basil leaves to the recipe for added flavor.


The recipe is enough to feed 4-6 as a side so there was plenty of leftovers for Will and I to take the next day in our lunch. Honestly, I thought it was even more flavorful the next day as the flavors had enough time to sit. I think the next time I make this recipe I will start it much earlier in the day so that it allows the ingredients to marinate well.


It's totally ridiculous that I made these potatoes again, but I can't get enough. As it gets warmer, I'll probably abandon making them as it will surely cook my house as well.


We had the squash carpaccio and potatoes with a balsamic grilled skirt steak, which I also got from the farmers market. Remember: eat local!

'Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers'

Bend trip, a photo log, part 2

28.6.11

We arrived in Bend Friday afternoon and biked to see his niece's race, however things were running a little behind and Will had a Criterion race in Bend that evening so we had to leave early enough so he could get some fuel for his race. 

Will has been to Bend a few times for races so he already has some favorite spots. He took me to Longboard Louie's and I had the no carb bowl with Salmon.



Why yes, that is a gluten-free beer I am drinking...and no, it is not very good.



My low-carb bowl looked so good I started digging in before I took any photos.

On Saturday, while Will was on a ride with some of his teammates I went into Bend. Taste of Bend was going on, which is a big street fair with local restaurants, carts and catering companies with stands all through downtown Bend. It was really crowded so I was not really able to capture any photos of what I ate. I did however hear these ladies talking about this amazing rainbow in the clouds and looked up to see this:


On Sunday, we traveled around, with some luck, to see Will's sister, Kate, race in her first Olympic Triathlon. We are all so proud of her, especially her kiddos. Way to go Kate!




Bend is about a three and a half hour drive from Portland so we listened and sang to lots of tunes. Will drove while I took tons of photos.



Lamb Chops with Mint Pepper Relish

I'm sorry if you are reading this and are vegetarian. If this is not your first time reading my blog then it will come as no surprise to you that I eat meat...and a lot of it. I at one time, for several years, was a vegetarian. It started with the notion that I was over eating meat. Growing up, my father was totally carnivorous. We had meat with every meal: bacon and eggs for breakfast, bologna sandwiches for lunch and steak for dinner. I became vegetarian simply because I was tired of eating meat. So after a three year sabbatical I made my way back to meat and never turned back. The culprit, as with any vegetarian turned meat eater: pork.

 I digress from the point because this post is not actually about pork, but my love of meat. So you will have to excuse my constant feature of it on this blog. Since going gluten-free it is apparent that I eat a protein and veggie heavy diet. And really what's wrong with that? It's pretty darn healthy if you ask me.

A couple of weeks ago I made this meal for our date night. We had rosemary rubbed lamb shoulder chop with a red pepper, mint relish, herbs d'provence roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. It's a super simple recipe for a nice meal and most of the ingredients came from my Sunday ritual visit to the market.


The first thing I start on is making the relish so that the flavors really meld together and are flavorful by the time you serve it.



You might recognize this roasted potato recipe. It's a favorite in our house, thanks to my brother.

Lamb Chops with Mint-Pepper Relish serves 2

Ingredients
2 (8 oz shoulder chops, about 1 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thin

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and dijon mustard. Stir in red bell pepper, mint and scallions and mix well to combine.

Heat broiler. Rub both sides of lamb chops with rosemary, salt and pepper. Place under broiler and cook until chops are browned, turning once, about 4 minutes each side for medium rare.

Bend Trip, a Photo log, part 1

27.6.11

Will and I returned from Bend last night, and boy are we pooped! We had a great time and this Portlander got some much needed sun. We had lots of fun visiting with family, relaxing, bike riding and shopping. I've decided to break this photo post up into two parts of phone photos and my olympus photos.

Here are some shots from Will and I riding some cruisers on our way to watch his niece race in a child's triathlon. Unfortunately, it was getting late and Will had a race in Bend so we weren't actually able to see his niece's race.





I got some much needed rest and relaxation. On one afternoon, after catching up on some blog posts I sat outside on the deck and got some reading in with a nice chilled glass of Bergström rosé.



I hope you all had a great weekend. Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of my photo log of our Bend trip!

Journal Day, My First Lie

Photo courtesy of Sometimes Sweet, original source unknown (please credit if you know)


It's true, I have really neglected my writing in the last several years. While in school I majored in Journalism and minored in Creative Writing and in the five years I've lived in Portland have abandoned all writing, save for blogging. So when I saw this post over on Danielle's blog, Sometimes Sweet, I knew that it was exactly the push I needed to get writing again. It's a great journal activity with prompts and destined to be a great community of ladies, and gents too! Be sure to check out the original post to read Danielle's very sweet story and to participate. Here's her prompt for today:


Describe a "first" (first date, first lie, the first time you experienced something, first time in a particular setting, etc). Include as many details as possible to paint a picture.


My first lie very well may not be my first lie, actually I know it isn't and my mom will probably chime in at this point to reinforce that it isn't, but it is the most vivid in my memory. I was nine at the time and a had a very nasty habit of keeping papers from my parents. I would stuff notes, reminders, newsletters pretty much anything pertinent to a parent in my backpack and dance bag crumbled in a ball never to see the light of day until said bag became to full and would eventually need to be emptied in the trash can. (It's a horrible habit that I have carried with me through life and finally in my twenty-seventh year am finally getting a hold on it!) 


My parents were divorced and my brother and I lived with our mom since my dad worked nights. One of the few simple pleasures we enjoyed is when our dad took us to our activities. However, on this particular day it was not one of those enjoyable experiences. My dad had called to say that he was coming by our house to pick me up and take me to ballet and that he needed to talk to me. I hung up and my stomach started churning. I knew I did something wrong. What was it? Which crumpled up parent's notice could he be mad about? When he arrived, we sat on the floor across from each other in the front living room. The blinds were drawn close but it was still very bright in the room as it was a typical northern California summer day in the nineties. We sat Indian style and I sulked staring down at my pale pink ballet tights and black Capezio dance bag in my lap.


He asked me what I was hiding from him. "Nothing," I murmured, still staring at my dance bag. "Katie, look at me when I'm talking to you. Don't lie to me, I know you are hiding something." I looked up at him, clenching my teeth, lips pierced and eyes widening. He came over and plucked the bag from my lap and returned to his spot across from me unzipping the bag and turning it over emptying the contents of it between us. My dance skirt, ballet and jazz shoes and hidden papers fell into a heap. My eyes widened even more as he pointed to the crumpled papers. "What are these?" I remained silent, teeth clenching tighter. He unfolded the papers and smoothed out the one in question reading it silently to himself. It was a letter to parents notifying them of the deadline for payment for our summer recital costumes...the deadline was two weeks prior. I was caught. I continued to stare at him silently as he asked me to say something. Tears started rolling down my cheeks, but still I sat there still saying nothing, and then my dad started laughing. This broke the concentration of my gaze. "Katie, stop giving me the Indian-Death-Stare. You're looking at me like I did something wrong." He kept laughing. "You look so angry for a little girl who is in trouble." I started to laugh a little too. It's true, whenever I was in trouble/mad I made this face, it became known in my family as the "Indian-Death-Stare." (I am Native from my father's side). My family could always read through my lie because I made this face, and most times would laugh because of how comical it was that I was staring at them as though they had done something wrong by finding me out. It usually eased the tension of being in trouble because it was just too funny. 


He then scolded me for hiding these notices from him and my mom and telling me how it only hurt me in the end because I may not be in the recital if they cannot get my costume in time. He stuffed my clothes back into their bag and collected all my papers as I stood up. He then walked over to me and I gave him a big hug, sobbing, "I'm sorry, Daddy," He hugged me back. "It's okay, Katie. Don't do it again. You need to give these things to your mom and I and then you won't get in trouble." I still make this face to this day, when I am angry, when I am found out for doing something wrong. Needless to say, I am not a very good poker player. It makes me laugh to look back on these memories when I had done something wrong and reacted in this way. It's like I had turned being in trouble for something I did wrong into being mad at my parents for being outed for it.


I hope that my family reads this, despite being angered at times by my Indian-Death-Stare, laughs at how silly it was for a such a sweet little girl to have a cold, mean stare.

Roadtrip!

24.6.11

Well, maybe not a huge roadtrip, but Will and I are driving down for a weekend in Bend/Sunriver. His sister is competing in her first Olympic triathalon and we will be there to cheer her on. Go Kate! (Yes, we share the same name.)

I will be taking this rare opportunity to relax after my first week at the new job. I am hoping to get some much needed sun and pool time and to get caught up on reading and blogposts.

Will is racing in a crit this evening so I'm going to watch and cheer him on. Stay tuned for updates on our mini vacation.

What are you up to this weekend? Any trips planned or enjoying the summer at home?





 






Great News!

20.6.11

Okay now for the exciting news that I hinted at yesterday and you've all been probably wondering about: Is Kate getting married? Is Kate pregnant? Is Kate moving to Madagascar? 

No folks, it is non of the above. I have started a new job as the Assistant Retail and Hospitality Manager at Owen Roe Winery! Probably, not all that excited as everything else listed, but pretty exciting to me. This has been in the works for a while, but I wanted to wait to announce it until I actually started.
It was a very thought out and difficult decision to make to leave my position at Bergström Wines because they are such a wonderful family to work for with truly beautiful wines, but I felt it was my time to move on and do bigger things else where. 

Last Friday was my second to last day and the Bergström family and colleagues so graciously sent me off in style. Josh, their winemaker, brought in these bubbles to celebrate and toast to my farewell. It was so wonderful to have such a sincere and heartfelt send off. And yes, the Champagne was amazing.

Today was my first day at Owen Roe and I already feel great about working at such an awesome winery with great wines and great people. I am working directly with my friend Patty who I had worked with previously. We work really well together and have a great relationship and am so happy to be working with her again. I will be taking things in for the next week, but look forward to doing great things.


Will and I be going to Bend this weekend with his family to cheer them on for a triathlon. I will have a couple of posts before then, but stay tuned for our adventures in Bend.

Santé!

Bachelorette Weekend, or the life of a Domestique Widow

19.6.11

I told my friend and coworker, Matt, about how I maybe wanted to start a regular feature about my bachelorette weekends, or at least, the life of a cyclist's girlfriend. He thought it was a great idea, but made the suggestion that I might call it something else, like the widow of [insert some cyclist term here].  The idea comes from the fact that during harvest for wineries all the winemakers/vineyard managers are gone working on the vintage, so their wives are left abandoned and called "harvest widows." I am familiar with some cyclist terms and finally settled on domestique, which literally translates as servant. However, in reference to cycling, is a term used for a type of rider that works to help the team, which is the type of rider Will is.

Alright, enough about semantics, and on with the life of a domestique widow:
On Friday evening I took myself out for a nice supper at Navarre. I actually settled on Navarre because my friend Melissa works there, but unfortunately she was not there. For this part of my weekend I did not bring my camera with me; I always feel awkward about taking pictures when I am alone. I will really need to get over this fear. For supper I did the chef's choice and they constantly brought out small plates of asparagus, charcuterie, crab cakes, salad with pickled porcinis and blood sausage amongst other treats. I had a 1/4 bottle of Macon la Roche and a glass of a Ribera del Duero. I love Navarre, it has this really great European bistro feel and the menu changes daily on offerings, but also preparation: jumping between all that the Mediterranean has to offer. The restaurant relies heavily on CSAs for their produce so they always have the freshest seasonal offerings.

The next day was Saturday, which I had to work. While I have a traditional 9-5/ 5 days a week schedule, it falls on an nontraditional scheduled work week (Tues-Sat). It was a crazy day with much of the craziness falling on the last two hours. When we were closed in the tasting room and everyone was finally gone I took a few shots of the aftermath, this just a snippet of the mess we had to clean up:


I was so exhausted that I considered stopping at Little Big Burger and getting some burgers and fries for dinner (not gluten-free). Thankfully, my brother put an end to that nonsense and invited me over for dinner. We celebrated Father's Day like my dad would have liked by having a steak dinner. My brother got T-bones and made roasted artichokes, and asparagus. I brought over some charcuterie and olives, as well as Cassidy. Cassidy loves my brother and his fiancee, Theresa. She always has a blast at their house. While having appetizers, Theresa pointed out the beautiful night sky. This time I had my camera and took the opportunity to take some really cool shots.



I did not take very many shots of dinner because it was late and the lighting was pretty bad. Dinner was awesome and my bro is a great cook and host. He gave me a new artichoke recipe I'm itching to try.


Hey! It looks like someone snuck half my steak! Oh wait, my brother and I split a t-bone. My brother soaked the t-bones in milk, which is great way to tenderize the steak and also makes it nice and moist. It was delicious.


I made the awesome rookie mistake of breaking the cork of our wine while trying to pull it out. We then decanted and found their was still cork so then decanted again through a sieve into a pitcher. Not the most glamorous, but it works. Speaking about glamorous, isn't Theresa's ring spectacular? My brother had it custom designed!


On Sunday for breakfast I made myself a delicious treat of asparagus, fried egg and an arugula, radish salad with toast. 


Afterwards, I went to see my stylist, Marissa, at Tiger Tiger Salon. We had a good chat and she cleaned up my shaggy mop. There really is nothing like a fresh do. I felt five pounds lighter and a whole lot cuter than when I went in. I had a packed day of errands, which I was a little too busy with to take pictures, but I got some yummy treats from the farmers market and got a little shopping in at the H&M sale.

So, that is one weekend of a Domestique Widow. Stay tuned this week for some really exciting news that I've been dying to share with all of you!

Bachelorette Weekend

16.6.11

So Will is gone again this weekend for a stage race. He is often gone for races during the weekend and I am left for a full bachelorette weekend. My friends and coworkers often ask what I do with my weekend so I thought it would be a little fun to show you over the next few days some of the things I do on my bachelorette weekend. Honestly, they're not all that thrilling and a lot of the time is spent watching movies and self reflection. 

Dinner is usually a funny scene. I sometimes come home and start snacking and end up making that my dinner. I'll have cheese, crackers, olives, maybe even some pâté if I pick it up or if there is any left over and a glass of wine. Or, I'll even get home sit for an hour and then decide, oh shoot it's almost eight and I should probably figure out what I'm going to do for dinner. I often get takeout, or cook a quick light supper and on rare occasions I treat myself out to a nice dinner alone. 

Tonight I was feeling a little more productive so I made myself grilled summer squash and asparagus with a panini (pesto, arugula, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, finocchiona, and turkey).

I then spent the rest of the evening watching episodes of Dexter on Netflix Watch It Now while cuddling this little lady:

I know, it's not that thrilling, but I really enjoy the down time and get in some extra snuggle time with Cassidy, and really who can resist that face?! Then when Will gets home on Sunday some much needed cuddle time with him. 

Stay tuned as I'll post some more exciting bachelorette happenings this weekend. What are your plans?

Artichoke Provençal and Herbs d' Provence Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

15.6.11

There are some recipes that you have been hanging onto for ages and you just keep telling yourself how you're going to make this recipe. It sounds too good and it has all your favorite ingredients, yet you haven't made it yet. Maybe it isn't the right season for the ingredients, or when it is, you forget about the recipe entirely. This recipe is exactly that for me.


I originally saw this recipe for "Artichoke Provençal" by Mark Bittman two years ago while skimming through NY Times Online Dining section. That's right, I have been holding onto this recipe hoping to make it for two years. I procrastinate and it's lame, but alas here I am: I have finally made it, not once but twice! Yes, it's that good.


 Bittman talks about serving this as a lunch or light supper with some crusty bread, but being gluten intolerant I cannot have it with some crusty bread so I opted for my brother's herb roasted fingerling potato fries instead and found it be (so I imagine) the better match.


The herb roasted fingerling potatoes also is an awesome recipe and since my brother turned me on to serving fingerlings this way we can't get enough of them in our house. We've probably had herb roasted fingerlings once a week for the past month. I'm not kidding you they are that good. Probably not the healthiest, but pretty darn tasty!


 I had some left over garlic spears which I threw in for added flavor and to use up the rest of them. Although, this dish isn't a traditional Provençal dish it does have a lot of Provençal items like herbs, olives, fresh produce and garlic.



Artichokes are by far my favorite food, which is why initially I was drawn to making this recipe. When I was younger my mom use to take me to Claimjumper where they had these amazing fire roasted artichokes she later learned how to make them and would grill them for me quite often. Steamed artichokes were actually the first thing that I taught myself to make and lived on a steady diet of them for quite some time. My family use to joke that all I could make was toast and artichokes. And here I am a little more kitchen savvy and back to cooking artichokes!


Artichoke Provençal serves 2-4 (4 for lunch or 2 for dinner)
Adapted from Mark Bittman
Ingredients
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 whole cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary (I used thyme)
1/2 cup flavorful olives, pitted (I used unpitted because they taste better and I don't mind removing the pits)
12 baby artichokes
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or whole
2 tablespoons chopped herbs for garnish (I used parsley and basil)


Fill a mixing bowl with cold water and the juice of half a lemon. Prepare artichokes by removing tough outer leaves, until pale leaves show, then cut off spiky end about a half inch down from the top. Trim bottoms and cut artichokes in half. Rub with juiced lemon and place in bowl.

Meanwhile combine oil and garlic in a large skillet and heat over low heat. Once garlic begins to sizzle add olives, herbs and a pinch of salt.

Drain artichokes and pat dry. Add artichokes cut side down and once about half the artichokes are in the pan raise the heat to medium so they begin to brown. Move artichokes around as you add more so they brown evenly.

Once artichokes have browned, add tomatoes and a splash of water and cover pan. Cook until chokes are tender and can be pierced with a fork. Add more water if necessary. Serve on a serving platter and garnish with herbs.




Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes serves 4
Adapted from my brother's recipe
Ingredients
1 lb of fingerling potatoes, depending on size cut into 1/4 or 1/8 wedges (I used a combo of red and gold fingerling)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons herbs d' provence
coarse sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine potatoes and olive oil, use fingers to mix well and evenly coat potatoes with oil. Sprinkle in herbs d'provence and mix until distributed evenly and potatoes are covered. Spread potatoes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with coarse sea salt and cracked pepper.

Roast for 25 minutes and then flip potatoes, and roast for another 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are golden and crispy. Allow to cool a bit and then serve.

Some Faves this Week:

13.6.11

This post is about a day late, but here are a few of my favorite things this week. It's starting to look a lot more like summer around these parts in the Pacific NW and that is definitely one of my favorites this week. We've been barbecuing quite a bit to take advantage of the nice weather.
One of my favorite things this week was getting to see these little guys. This nest was in the corner of our patio at work on the ledge of the awning. We had patio full of customers and the mama came up and fed her babies. It was so sweet. Once everyone left I snapped a few photos, trying to not get to close to the nest. I'm glad I did because the next day these little guys flew the nest.
Another favorite this week was heading to the farmer's market with my sweetheart. Going to the farmer's market is my Sunday tradition. Will usually has a ride or a race on Sundays so he is never able to go the market with me. Last Sunday his race was in the evening so we spent the morning together so I dragged him to the market with me.
 After the market we went to the library to put some holds on some French audiobooks for myself and also ended up picking up a few books and cds. We got there a tad early and sat outside together.
Photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess
I love this post on A Beautiful Mess about summertime goals. A lot of bloggers lately have been posting their summertime goals. I look forward to sharing some of mine with you later this week. This summer is going to be very busy for me so I think it is important to keep my goals simple in order to achieve them.
Photo courtesy of Kris Atomic
You might have already seen this print. It's been floating along the blogosphere for some time now, but I had to post it this week. I have to have this print. It is so funny and definitely rings true with me. When we were in high school, and even now, my brother teased me about not smiling enough. He says I always look pissed off even though I'm not. It's nice to know I'm not alone and there too are others out there that suffer from Chronic Bitchface!
Photo courtesy of Pinterest
My new obsession is Pinterest. Let's face it folks, I am hooked. I can't stop pinning photos and starting new inspiration boards. Pinterest is pretty much like Tumblr, but I love the aesthetics of Pinterest better. You can follow other boards as well and Pinterest automatically credits the photo for you. You can follow my pins by clicking on the link on the right side of the blog.


Have you checked out Homefries? They are a collection of podcasts on food, wine, entertaining and parenting brought to you by several hosts including creator, Joy from none other than Joy the Baker. They are funny, informative and casual, kind of like sitting around talking to your girlfriends. I highly recommend. I actually like to listen to them while cooking.

Have a good week!