Potato Parsnip Latkes

It's that time of year again, I even remembered with days to spare!

This year my farm box doesn't have leeks yet, but I do have parsnips for the first time. I've never cooked a parsnip before, but assumed they'd go great in latkes. While the flavor was fantastic, they turn a bit creamier than I'd like in a crispy latke; good enough I recommend trying it. Maybe someone has advice on how to keep the crispiness?

  • 2 medium parsnips (2 cups worth once julienned)
  • a few handfuls worth of potato, I used 4-5 small ones (also 2 cups julienned)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp barley flour (use all AP if you don't have barley)
  • 2 Tbsp AP flour
  • peanut or other high-heat oil
  1. Thoroughly scrub parsnips and potatoes
  2. Peel parsnips. I almost never peel my potatoes, but that's a personal choice.
  3. Julienne parsnips and potatoes and toss them in a large bowl together
  4. Lightly salt the vegetables to release moisture, then press it from them with a dish or paper towel (you don't want lint in the latkes!)
  5. Mix in shredded carrot, it's mostly there for color.
  6. Toss flours with the vegetables. Barley flour enhances the sweet earthiness of the parsnip with nuttiness, but using all AP would be fine
  7. whisk eggs and lemon zest, stir into julienned vegetables
  8. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  9. heat oil in large cast iron skillet to high
  10. when oil is quite hot drop mixture into oil one heaping teaspoon at a time, careful not to crowd skillet
  11. brown latke on each side, approximately 1-2 minutes per side, then remove to foil lined baking sheets
  12. when baking sheets are full, move to oven and bake 20-25 minutes
  13. remove and serve immediately with plain yogurt and apple sauce

As a side I served spinach salad with a dressing made of 1 Tbsp red bell pepper and ancho chili
jam, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Deviled Eggs 2010

For the Thanksgiving deviled eggs this year I used a flavor combination I have been very much into lately. It brightens up the cool days, but doesn't seem as seasonally incongruous as say a strawberry balsamic would (not to mention how strange that would be in deviled eggs...) Mostly I've been using these ingredients together as a salad dressing or quick pasta sauce, but imagine they'd also be fantastic on fish.

At any rate, these are the deviled eggs. No pictures; they were eaten up before I remembered my camera.

The amount of each of these ingredients will vary depending on the size and tastes of your group, as always, proportions are to taste.

  • enough eggs for your group, one whole egg per person is a good estimate
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • capers, as many as you'd like
  • garlic, minced
  • lemon zest, one lemon's worth
  • mayonnaise (only for the deviled egg version)
  • optional- a small amount of anchovies/anchovy paste, I would have used this if no vegetarians were present, but they were
  • eggs, more than you need as some will break in the process
  • paprika, to garnish
  1. if your eggs are less than four days old leave them out at least overnight prior to boiling. This makes them much easier to peel than very fresh eggs.
  2. boil eggs and let cool completely
  3. with a super sharp knife cut eggs lengthwise, put whites in one bowl and yolks in another
  4. rinse whites clean, then return to bowl
  5. in large bowl, beat together eggs and appropriate amount of mayonnaise until fluffy (a few Tbsp should do it.) I used my kitchen aid this year. It was awesome.
  6. beat in a Tbsp or two of olive oil, just enough to impart the flavor nicely
  7. beat in capers, several cloves minced garlic, lemon zest and anchovy if using. I love capers, so used 4-5 Tbsp for one and a half dozen eggs, I would have used even more if I'd known they'd go over so well.
  8. scoop all the yolk mixture into a zip-lock or pastry bag
  9. cut off the corner of the bag and pipe a yolk-sized mound of yolk mixture in to each white half
  10. garnish with paprika and serve, if I'd been thinking ahead or fancy I'd have garnished with additional lemon zest and a caper



And so glad to be.

It rained non-stop in the Netherlands and Germany. But I'm not complaining, I love northern Europe; it just feels- comfortable, relaxing.

Frankfurt- my 1st time in Europe since creation of the Euro-zone

Rome was breathtakingly beautiful.

Amelia at the races, impersonating an oil painting

Monaco was gorgeous. And unbelievably expensive. I'm not sure any real people live there.

My hotel is visible in this pic, but I did not have a sea-view

I'm home through most of January, and I'll be back to posting recipes over the next two months (hopefully.)

After that I'm back up to Seattle for another week; more on my developing love/infatuation with that city soon.

If you're curious for more check Flickr for pictures from my travels, I've almost finished uploading my SE Asia pictures, finally.

In the meantime, Rome:

Seriously fucking gorgeous folks


Where am I?

View Europe 2010 in a larger map

After this I'll be home through the new year!


Home Again, if only for a minute

I'm home from my 3.5 weeks in South East Asia (see previous map) with just enough time to catch my breath before I'm off to Seattle for a week, then three days later off to Europe for a week and a half!

Batu Caves
Batu Caves

This rushing about the globe has left me unsure of night from day, and not cooking at all. But take one look at this picture and you know it's worth it.

(We did get the best anniversary present ever- my mom cooked and delivered over a week's worth of gourmet meals, nothing better than being able to eat home cooking after nearly a month of eating out and not having to be the one doing the cooking!)

So excited that it's finally fall here at home and I get to wear all the sweaters I took out of storage before leaving for Asia; I'm also thrilled to see autumn in Europe, since I've only been in the height of summer.

Between all the travel, a wedding two days before I left and one the the day after I got back, it's been sloooooow posting, but keep checking back!


easter benedict

I'm currently in a part of the world where pig is not on the menu.

I was going through old post drafts and thought what better time to share this hamalicious benedict recipe I've been meaning to post since we had it for Easter brunch!

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 ciabatta rolls, or loaf sliced into roll size portions
  • enough prosciutto for two
  • 2 eggs
  • butter
  • white wine vinegar
  • hollandaise sauce (use your favorite recipe; a simple one or a traditional complex one; mental note to self to post my own recipe some time)
  1. set pot of water large enough to hold asparagus on to boil
  2. slice asparagus spears into thirds and blanch in boiling water until just cooked through, a few minutes, then submerge in icy water (or just steam it in the microwave)
  3. slice ciabatta into halves, as you would for a sandwich, and lightly butter them
  4. briefly broil buttered ciabatta until slightly toasted
  5. scatter asparagus atop ciabatta, it will roll all over the place, and fold prosciutto slices on top of that
  6. start making your hollandaise
  7. broil rolls topped with prosciutto until it is slightly crispy, then keep warm in the oven
  8. poach two eggs in vinegared water
  9. when eggs are done remove the rolls from the oven and place eggs on top of prosciutto
  10. cover the whole thing with hollandaise sauce to taste


Amazingly Lucky

Five some-odd years ago I met an amazing guy.

Three years ago today I was lucky enough to marry the love of my life.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie.

You've made me happier than I ever knew I could be.

Every day I'm amazed at how lucky we were to find each other, and thrilled I've got a husband so awesome.

I wish I weren't halfway around the world from you today.

I can't wait until I see you again.


Here I go again!

I'm off for a while, and not sure if I'll be able to access this blog.

View SE Asia in a larger map

To everyone whose email I haven't replied to, whose calls I haven't returned, I apologize.
I love you all, and hope to talk soon after I'm back!


yogurt cake

Yogurt cake is deceptively simple for it's easiness to fantastic taste ratio. It is great weekday cake, light dessert for casual company or easy Monday treat for coworkers.

Yogurt Cake, adapted from smitten kitchen
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1/3 minus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (trust me)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • juice and zest of 1/2 large very ripe orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-inch cake pan
  2. in mixing bowl combine yogurt, oil, sugar, juice, zest and vanilla
  3. add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated
  4. sift all dry ingredients into moist, gently stirring until just combined
  5. pour batter into cake pan and bake 35-45 minutes, until toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  6. let cake cool, then gently remove to wire rack to finish cooling
  7. slice, serve, enjoy
You can fancy this cake up a bit by sifting powdered sugar over the top.
You can make a far richer dessert by using full-fat yogurt (I'm picturing maple brown-cow.)
You can add in fruit to the mix (blueberries anyone?)

This recipe is far more template than law; you can us any flavor yogurts, any fruit juices, what ever.


Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, really.


We (J does the cookie baking) got this recipe from an issue of the dearly departed Gourmet magazine. Now the magazine automatically falls open to the crinkled-dough-encrusted page.

Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Gourmet April 2007 (normally I'd link to the recipe, but can't find it)

You will need:
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or white chocolate or peanut butter chips, or nuts, or a combination, go wild, or not)
  1. in mixer beat together butter sugars and salt until light and fluffy
  2. add egg and vanilla and beat until combined
  3. reduce speed and add flour, mix lightly until just combined
  4. fold in chips. or nuts, or whatever
  5. refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight (very important, if you don't, all that tasty butter will melt into one messy sheet-full of dough)
  6. preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper of baking mats
  7. distribute 2 tbsp mounds of dough evenly on sheets
  8. bake about 7 minutes then rotate sheet and bake 5-7 minutes more, until edges are golden brown
  9. cool cookies on wire racks

  10. Share with a friend

Friday's shared lunch



Sometimes, when I've had a particularly stressful week, I just want some comfort food.

But I also want something interesting. And healthy (ie not pizza or take-out Chinese, again.)

Shakshuka is one of those meals that is infinitely comforting, variable and satisfying. Plus it's relatively hands-off (which, if you've noticed a theme to most things I cook) is a week-night necessity.

To make this you will need:
  • 2 chopped onions (red, yellow, white, combination thereof- it doesn't matter)
  • at least 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 28 oz can tomatoes, whole preferred
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chopped jalapenos (or more)
  • 1 chopped anaheim pepper
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper (any combination of green peppers is good)
  • pinch red pepper fakes
  • 1 egg per person
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • green herbs, to garnish (green onion, parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc...)

  1. In heavy-bottomed large sauce pan/skillet heat olive oil over medium high
  2. add onions and garlic, sauteing until soft, 5+ minutes
  3. add all peppers and saute until fragrant and soft, 5+ minutes
  4. open and dump in tomatoes and their juice
  5. cover and reduce heat to medium low, let simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, 25+ minutes
  6. as tomatoes soften, squish them into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon
  7. once tomatoes are nice and soft, crack one egg per person over the top, and sprinkle with feta
  8. cover and cook until eggs reach your desired firmness, usually just a few minutes for runny/soft yolks
  9. spoon shakshuka and one egg into each person's bowl, garnish each bowl with the chopped green herbs
  10. eat, be comforted, and relax

If it's really been one of those days/weeks I do the same thing, only with store-bought spaghetti sauce -not the same, but still nice.

If it hasn't been one of those weeks, I imagine you could make this almost as easily with fresh tomatoes (I'm lazy and wouldn't peel), although internet rumor has it only canned tomatoes are authentic.


cat distraction

Today was a very MONDAY type of day, and required some cheering up after work.

Needless to say, I am in love with this cat.



Baldwin Beach Tahoe Paking Lot

Very serious lesson about to be learned about cuffing those pants too high over pale legs when kayaking


Before that, there's time for some bliss on the lake

That important lesson about kayaking when pale? Yeah.

That important lesson about kayaking when pale? Yeah.


out of oatmeal

This morning I woke up craving oatmeal, only to find the oatmeal jar sadly empty.

So I used what we had on hand, and made something even better.

  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • rice milk
  1. in a heavy bottomed pan combine all ingredients and just cover with rice milk
  2. cover pan and simmer until rice milk is absorbed, about 10 minutes
  3. uncover and stir in enough water to make it on the liquidy side
  4. simmer until water is mostly absorbed
  5. serve with diced peaches or other seasonal fruit


weekend video

in case anyone needs reminding, this is the second most awesome music video ever (today at least)


(Green Garlic) Cheese Bread

No, it's not healthy. Yes, it's good.

Green Garlic Cheese Bread
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 stalk green garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2-2/3 cup shredded cheddar (or other melty cheese)
  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. mash together green garlic and butter
  3. mash in cottage cheese in several batches
  4. stir in cheddar in batches, until the mixture threatens not to be spreadable
  5. spread cheeses on top of thick slices of bread (I used Village Bakery's walnut, yum)
  6. bake 10 minutes, broil 2 minutes
  7. generously salt & pepper as soon as it's out of the oven
  8. let cool several minutes before eating


strawberry balsamic salad

I love that brief time of year strawberries are in season.*

When there are too many to just eat, even by the handful, and they're so perfectly ripe they won't keep more than two days. I'm sure a normal, rational person would freeze some for later in the year, but, honestly I just thought of that, and when drunk on ripe fresh strawberries it's hard to plan ahead.

So I've been trying to eat up these perfect strawberries in as many ways I can.

Here's another version of the salad I posted last year, now with pictures!

Strawberry Balsamic Salad:
(serves 2 as dinner with a side)
  • 12 medium strawberries
  • 1/2 red spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tbsp EVOO
  • .5 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • capers to taste (if your taste is against capers leave 'em out, I used 2 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper
  • field greens (or baby spinach, or bib lettuce, or red leaf, or...)
  1. macerate 1/2 the strawberries with a pinch salt and the balsamic vinegars
  2. stir in oil, onion and capers
  3. fold in greens
  4. salt & pepper to taste
  5. slice remaining strawberries on top

For dinner we ate the salad with green garlic cheese bread, recipe to follow.

the kind of strawberries that make you sing this


Weekend Cute

While I think about writing up recipes, and pack for a week in Kansas City, MO., you should have some cute.

Where can I get me some jerboa?


home again

So I'm back from China.

How was it?

In two words:

Fucking Awesome.


the current cause of my anxiety & excitement

View China in a larger map


Saturday project

Going to China in three days? Haven't started packing?

I know just the thing that should be number one on your to-do list; how about reupholstering the dining table chairs?

Sound good?

No, really, look at these:

Thought so.

(Admittedly, the other two, the ones we use, were not nearly this bad.)





And very easy.

  1. Just unscrew the seat from the chair base.
  2. Remove all the staples (this took us about 15 minutes per chair; really, who uses that many staples?)
  3. Unfold the old fabric and measure or use directly as a template for the new fabric
  4. Cut fabric and carefully fold and staple around the seat.
  5. Screw seat back on to chair frames.
  6. Voila! Exciting new chairs, for about $3!
I really liked this fabric, found at Ikea for less than $2 a yard. But, it's not upholstery fabric, so I'll probably get to switch it up again in a year or two. In the meantime I'll be on the lookout for cool upholstery samples.

Of course now I'm tempted to paint little green, white and black birds along the chair backs- which would limit future fabric choices.


extended intermission

I have about 15 recipes made, photoed, and waiting to be written up.
In the mean time I've been low on oxygen, bronchial tubes filled from allergies and the madness at work that continues.

Despite, or maybe because of, all that, it's the little things like this that give us hope.

It gives us hope


Potato Leek Soup

Lazy cook's note: instead of writing these instructions twice, I'm posting my contribution to a recipe exchange email, all pictures are from a lemon coconut curry version of the soup


Lately my no-time go-to recipe has been potato-leek soup. I've been
getting pounds and pounds of potatoes and leeks in the farm box, and the bigger the batch I'm willing to make the more of them I can get rid of; this soup cooks up with just about no attention needed, and freezes well .

potato leek soup ingredients

you'll need:

1) leeks; washed, dried and sliced
2) potatoes; scrubbed clean and roughly chopped (I leave skin on)
3) broth
4) fat, like oil or butter

There are no strict leek to potato ratio rules, just keep in mind that more leeks make a lighter soup, and more potatoes make a thicker soup.

lemon curry potato leek soup ingredients

1) Heat a little fat in large stock pot
2) Add leeks to pot and saute until they are tender, stirring enough
so they don't stick/burn
3) Add potatoes and enough broth so leeks and potatoes float
relatively freely, like a load of laundry
4) Simmer until potatoes are quite tender, then let cool a bit
5) Use immersion blender and blend as little or much as you prefer
6) Salt & pepper to taste

lemon curry potato leek soup with coconut milk

I like this loose recipe because you can change the soup very easily:
bacon fat, chicken broth and a little cream at the end for a heartier
version; olive oil and veggie broth for a vegan soup; add in garlic
and onions with the leeks and beef broth for a richer french-onion like soup; use sweet
potatoes, curry, lemon, and finish with coconut milk for something completely

lemon curry potato leek soup

But I ramble- hopefully you like potatoes and leeks.


Curried Winter Greens

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 bunch chard (or kale), cleaned and chopped, stems removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 tsps your favorite curry powder
  • 4 ounces coconut milk
  • 3 cups broth
  • 2 eggs for poaching, optional
curried winter greens

  1. heat oil in wok
  2. add onions and garlic, saute until fragrant
  3. add curry powder, saute until fragrant
  4. add greens, saute until wilted by 1/3-1/2
  5. add broth and coconut milk, simmer until greens are tender
  6. if poaching eggs, make 2 little wells in the curry, crack 1 egg into each and cover wok, letting simmer a few minutes until eggs are done
  7. dive equally into 2 bowls and serve with naan.

I made a spicier, larger version of this the next day which included beet greens, carrot greens, green garlic, broccoli, purple cabbage and ginger; it was also delicious.


for Dave

Bacon Bourbon: an experiment

Several weeks later.....

"...it doesn't really taste like bacon..."

If repeating experiment:
  1. use more bacon
  2. leave actual bacon crumbles in bourbon
  3. do not leave bacon fat on bourbon while flavor matures
In conclusion: this tasted more like bacon-fat than bacon-deliciousness, not our hypothesis when designing the experiment.

Next time follow above suggestions.

the horror

*Edit: Dave informs me this was "marinated" far too long, among other things. Next time, if there is a next time, we'll use his reference: http://www.theagitator.com/2008/08/16/how-to-baconify-your-bourbon/







strange sun bouncing off clouds


Baltimore Inner Harbor