Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sunday Stirfry

Before I started dating Dan, I was great at making dinner every night and making sure I had leftovers. Then I learned, boyfriends eat what would be your leftovers, scraping off the bottom of the pan. I suppose this means we have delicious food, but it also means I never have lunch to bring to work and am stuck with cans of soup! This Sunday I was a “single” girl again (Dan was running around Seattle with his mom) and I thought I should make something that would last for a week of lunches. I had some asparagus with my lunch on Friday, and realized I should make shrimp and veggie stirfry! I went to Safeway and wandered around the vegetable section grabbing whatever looked good. This is the stirfry I came up with:

4 Yukon gold potatoes
1lb Asparagus
3 Roma tomatoes
1 Broccoli crown
1lb mushrooms
Large chunks of red onion
Garlic
Red chili sauce
Salt and pepper
Shrimp for your hearts content

I took a large stirfry pan, coated the bottom with olive oil and started the potatoes on medium heat. I let those soften while I chopped and cut up the other vegetables. I added the broccoli, onion and asparagus, then started cooking the shrimp in another pan. I added some garlic and put the onions and mushrooms to the pan. I stirred in the red chili sauce and salt and pepper, then added the cooked shrimp and let it simmer for a little to let the flavors merry. This was the end result:

Sunday stirfry! (I like it spicy if you couldn't tell...)

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Sushi Kappo is really not that great

A little over a week ago, Sushi Kappo ran a groupon for $25 for a $50 meal. Being the sushi lovers that Dan and I are, he bought it and we were excited to try out a new restaurant. On Tuesday, we took the 5 minute bus ride from Dan’s apartment to the restaurant. It’s a nicely decorated, trendy looking restaurant, brightly lit was fabulous interior designs. I noticed there was not much seating, which was correct, because when we walked in at 6:30, we were told there was a 30 min to hour long wait. An hour long wait for a restaurant on Tuesday night? Dan rightly brought up the movie “Date night” where Tina Fey and Steve Carrell are told there was a month long wait to get into the restaurant, “Crab, your welcome.”

The maitre d’ got us in after about 25 minutes of waiting. We were sat at a four-top table, almost near another couple. While I can appreciate Sushi Kappo’s open layout, I felt with the restaurant being so bright, it felt a bit uncomfortable being so close to other people.

I waited for edamame to be served to us, but apparently Sushi Kappo does not serve edamame like other sushi houses. We ordered grilled king oyster mushrooms, shimeji Mizuna, dressed with Yuzu juice and Umadashi, a tuna salad, Ebi-Tempura roll which had wild shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado and tobiko, a dungness crab roll, and a spicy tuna roll because I cannot go to sushi without ordering one.

The tuna and the mushrooms came out first, and I was shocked at the teeny, tiny portions. Perhaps I am used to big American plates, but if I’m paying $8 for tuna, I was hoping for more than 3 small little cubes of tuna. The tuna came in a peanut sauce and was on a bed of green veggies. It was delicious and Dan enjoyed his mushrooms. When the rolls came I was disappointed. The spicy tuna roll felt like it was half made of the spicy mayo sauce, and the dungeness crab roll tasted like cheap, imitation krab. The shrimp tempura roll was good, but by the time I got to it, I was too full from the heavy spicy tuna roll.

Service was lacking as well. We waited 15 minutes for our check while the server kept walking by our table, and it seemed everyone else was being tended to. Needless to say, we will not be returning to Sushi Kappo, and will probably not visit sister restaurant Chiso, which is right down the street from my apartment in Fremont. Groupon fail.

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Mamma mia!

Dan, the boyfriend, loves pizza and cheese more than anyone I know. The first month we were dating, I believe I ate more Pagliacci’s than a frat boy all through college. Sure it was mostly after drinking pizza eating (they deliver till midnight!), but who can say no to cheesy, basil-y, tomato-y goodness? We’ve definitely cut back our pizza in-take, but we still love eating Dan’s favorite food. After being inspired by “Skinny Italian” by Real Housewife of NJ, Teresa Guidice, we decided to make our own homemade pizza. We followed pizza dough instructions from the packet of  “pizza yeast,” and added our own toppings of sauce we made earlier in the week, mozzarella, tomato and basil. Here are some pictures of our pizza making adventures:

 

Kneadin' some dough!

Dan using his back-in-the-day pizza tossing skills

Over ready.

Carefully placing the pizza on the pizza stone...

Our dinner!

The pizza turned out ok. The dough didn’t cook through properly, but Dan was getting impatient and he didn’t want the toppings to burn. We’re going to try again tonight, this time we’re going to heat up the pizza stone well ahead of time so the pizza can cook evenly on the bottom as well. Who’s excited for a Wednesday night of cooking and cleaning for her broken boyfriend? This girl!

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What do you do with leftover dill?

According to foodnetwork.com, make cheddar dill cornbread! Being the cheese lover that Dan is, he was down for that. I had a packet of fresh dill we had bought to make mushroom barley soup, but I forgot to buy barley and the dill was starting to go bad. We decided to make a potato chowder courtesy of allrecipes.com and what was in both of our refrigerators to go with the bread.

I took on the cheddar dill cornbread and Dan made the corn chowder. This cornbread recipe is by Ina Garten.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt (we used Celtic sea salt)
2 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces aged extra-sharp cheddar, grated (To be honest, we winged it and probably used more)
1 cup minced fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl combine the milk, eggs and butter. Stir in the wet ingredients to dry ingredients with a wooden spoon  (I don’t know why this was required, but luckily Dan had one since he doesn’t have a handmixer). When most of the lumps are gone, stir in 2 cups of grated cheddar and dill and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x13x12 in baking pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining grated cheddar. The recipe calls to bake it for 30-35 minutes, but I found I need to bake it for almost 50 minutes, even then the cornbread was a bit doughy.

The cornbread tasted pretty good. The dill gives it a bit of a kick, and the cheese? Well, how can you go wrong with cheese. The cornbread definitely tastes better heated up than cold, and I think I could’ve gone with a bit of jalapeno in it!

For the corn chowder, you need:

1 large onion chopped
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups water
2 (14.75 ounce) cans cream style corn (We actually used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)
4 medium potatoes
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
Minced fresh parsley

Dan sauteed onions in a butter filled pan until tender. The onions then went into a pot and the water, corn and potatoes were added in, bringing it all to a boil. We reduced the heat and let it all simmer until the potatoes were tender. Once they were, we put the heat on low and stirred in the milk, salt, pepper and I threw in mushrooms because I love them. Once everything was cooked, Dan put freshly parsley on top of our bowls and we enjoyed!

I got the Droid Incredible and have been playing around the camera and different apps. I apologize for these pictures being dark! I’m slowly learning what works and what doesn’t.

Simmering in the pot

Finished product!

We ate the chowder before the bread was done (it was almost 10pm and we were hungry!) and it was delicious! The roasted corn gave the soup a bit of a sweeter taste, and not using so much cream made the soup less thick and bit “healthier.” I know a lot of the comments on allrecipes said they added cream. I thought about adding some, but considering I had gone to boot camp and Dan and I ran before dinner, we figured our dinner should be somewhat healthy. I definitely recommend trying this, the leftovers were even better the next day! This soup is the perfect mid-winter fix, now if only the weather here weren’t 50 degrees….

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Emmer & Rye

Dinner tonight was at Emmer & Rye courtesy of Groupon and my boyfriend, Dan! Emmer & Rye is up on Queen Ane Avenue and has been around for about a year. The food is contemporary style and uses local products. Emmer & Rye prides itself on using seasonal food for their menu. You can view their menu here: click me!

It took Dan and I about 30 minutes to decide what to order and we decided to start out with the four cheese platter. There was a blue cheese, one hard one, and two softer ones that were soft of like brie. I usually like the harder cheeses, but tonight, the two softer ones stole my heart. One was from Maine, and the other was from Mt. Townsend Creamery. They came with homemade crackers and pumpkin chutney. The crackers were thin and had the right amount of salt on them, and the pumpkin chutney was sweet and sour all at once. “It tasted like autumn,” according to Dan.

 

Cheeeeeeeeese

Next we had the cauliflower, mushroom and mixed green salad. The cauliflowers and mushrooms had been cooked so the salad was warm. I was a little bit sketched out by the warm winter salad, but it turned out to be delish. Dan swears the mushrooms were roasted in beef stock. Whatever they were roasted in, they were really good. The mushrooms were thick and juicy and the cauliflowers were cooked just right. The salad was mixed in a walnut vinagrette.

 

Seasonal salad

We split the scallop dish, which sadly only had two scallops on it. Dan thought they were over cooked, but I thought they were just right. The scallops were seared and sitting on tomato relish, farrow and bok choy.

 

Mmmm.... Scallops...

And for the main, main course? Beef bolognese. The beef they have comes from the Smith Farms in Olympia. They’re grass-fed and that’s what made Dan say it was ok to order the bolognese. (He doesn’t really like to eat red meat). The bolognese wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought I’d get a big pile of penne and tomato sauce with a little bit of meat mixed in. I was completely wrong. Instead we got a bowl of pasta filled with fresh tasting meat and a minor amount of tomatoes. It was delicious.

 

Beef bolognese, heavy on the beef.

For dessert we couldn’t decide so we chose two: espresso ice cream cake and white chocolate ice cream with candied kumquats and biscotti. Not much to say except we were not disappointed and there was nothing left to clean up.

 

White chocolate ice cream

 

Espresso ice cream cake

Dinner costs us about $70 (not including the Groupon), but was definitely worth it. The portions are not the normal “American portions,” but that’s great because you can try a bunch of different plates and not feel overstuffed. (We should’ve gone for the half portion of beef bolognese). We’ll definitely be going back! But for now, I’m going to go play in the snow while it’s still around!

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Canlis dinner tastes even better when it’s earned

Hello! Sorry for the long delay about my fabulous dinner at Canlis. Even with holidays and traveling, I really have no excuse for not writing about it except for laziness. The new year’s goal is to work on updating this blog more!

Dan and I had our dinner at Canlis on a Friday evening in November. We both got dressed up and took the two minute cab ride from my apartment to the restaurant (not lying, it took less than a minute to get back – I live right across the Aurora Bridge). We decided we would go all out at our nice and dinner and didn’t want to worry about driving after dinner.

When we arrived, the valet opened the doors for us and we walked into the restaurant. It was a bit confusing at first as I wasn’t sure which way to go, and we stood by the fire place for a few minutes not sure if we should just walk into the bar, or check into the table. Finally, we were helped by a gentleman who turned out to be Mark Canlis. He took my coat and chatted with us about finding the menu. He was genuinely happy to see us there, and we went to the bar to grab a drink before dinner. I had a cocktail and Dan ordered a peach beer. It was a bit sweet for his liking, but I thought it was great! We sat next to the piano player, who talked to us a bit about finding the menu, then played a little Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars for me. If you’ve never heard “Poker Face” played on a piano in one of the greatest restaurant establishments in the PNW, you’re missing out.

We were seated at our table over looking Lake Washington, Gasworks and UW and asked what we wanted to drink. We looked through the wine menu, and realized we had no clue what we wanted. The waiter sent over a sommelier and he helped us pick a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon. I’m going to be a terrible wine drinker though and admit I forgot where it was from… For our first course I ordered the Peter Canlis prawns and Dan ordered the crab cake. Dan’s crab cake was delish, but I must admit, I do think the Oceanaire has better crab cakes with their huge chunks of Dungeness crab. My prawns on the other hand, were beyond amazing. They were the perfect size – not too small and not too big and sitting in a light garlic sauce. I believe six came on the plate, but I wanted more!

I ordered the Canlis salad for the second course and Dan ordered the smoked salmon. The Canlis salad was a light, delicious but filling plate. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the mint, but somehow it blended perfectly with the bacon and lemon. They have the recipe on their website, and I’m tempted to try to make it someday. Dan’s smoked salmon was like nothing we had before. To this day he tells everyone it was the most amazing thing he’s ever had. The salmon was smokey, but was moist and flaky. We found out later they soaked the salmon in brine before smoking it. I think Dan would’ve eaten multiple plates that night if he could. He did his best to share with me, but I could tell he wanted it all for himself.

By the time our main course arrived, I was getting full, but I did a little stretch and made room for my medium-done filet mignon! Not only did I order the filet, I also ordered a side of the twice baked potato. The filet was probably the best cut of meat (besides my mom’s Korean bbq) I have ever had (and I’ve worked at Ruth’s Chris and Oceanaire). Even my anti-meat-eating boyfriend had a large portion of my filet. I wanted to take it home, but Dan scolded me, “No! You have to finish this!” So I powered through as much as I could, but left 1/3 of it for him to eat. I tried eating the baked potato, which was every baked potato lovers dream (think creamy potato, melted cheese, utter Heaven) but could only get through part of it. Dan ordered the lobster which was quite tasty as well, and a side of mushrooms. I think the mushrooms were a bit much for me as I started to get a bit queasy after eating some; though that may be due to the fact that they were really chewy, and I have a texture issue when I eat. Dan was a champ and ate his entree and finished up mine.

Since Dan ate 1.3 entrees, he didn’t really want dessert, but me being a girl, demanded dessert and made him get some as well. I ordered the Hawaiian coffee (definitely worth it to try if you can!) and the Malasadas. Dan got some scotch and salted caramel ice cream – yes, it is a weird combination, and yes, the ice cream may have been my push. The Malasadas – aka Hawaiian donuts – seemed like the lightest dessert on the menu, and has now become the love of my life. Three little Hawaiian donut holes comes out on a plate filled with passion fruit-vanilla bean cream, coconut and macadamia nuts. I had little to no room left in my stomach, but I did the best as I could and got down one and a half donuts and a little bit of Dan’s ice cream.

Dinner came out to way more than most people would have expected (beverages and dessert were not included in the 1950s’ prices), but it was worth every penny. After dinner we were given a private tour of the restaurant and went up to the private room where proposals happened – the small room outlooks Gasworks and we were told a story of one guy who proposed to his girlfriend, by having his friend stand out in the freezing cold holding signs up in the park for the girlfriend to read. We walked down to the wine cellars and around the kitchen. The waiter showed us glasses that had names on them such as “Bill” and “Melinda” for frequent customers to always have the same glass.

We spent five hours at Canlis in all, and it was a night I’ll never forget. The staff was so kind and polite, a lot of them coming up to us during dinner to fill our water or take plates away, asking how we found our menu. The epic stories of Canlis such as “valets always having cars ready when you leave” and “no coat tags for anything checked” all came true. I don’t know how Canlis pulls the magic of dinner off, but maybe I don’t want to. Thank you, Canlis brothers, for giving those who may not always get the chance to dine at your establishment, a way to experience dinner there, while having some fun on the way!

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