Monday, April 28, 2008

Tulip Time

Pike Place Market's troops of tulips:

Our own army of one:
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I may be going a little overboard on these. I made some for Christmas decorations, but after I took them down, I thought the living room seemed naked and boring without them. So I made another batch. And another. This is the third batch of replacements that I've made. I assembled them on Saturday night and hung them on Sunday morning. I think it may be my favorite group so far.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008


Your eyes are not deceiving you. I did some retouching on this one to make it look dreamy.
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Early Dogwood

This is one of the first blooms in the neighborhood.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As Above, So Below

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Tomato Jail

This was before they were sprung for my dinner...
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Salumi Stained Glass

I picked up a few slices of Salumi Agrumi salami at the store this afternoon. Sorry vegetarian friends, but this was my "after-school snack" today. (And backlit like this, it's as beautiful as it was tasty.)
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Evan Is One

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend one of the hottest parties of the season--Evan's first birthday party. Ever-stylish in stripes, he was an excellent host who really seemed to enjoy everyone's company (and his first cupcake). Happy Birthday Evan!
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My First Soft Boiled Egg

It's true. Until yesterday morning, I had never made a soft boiled egg. Poached, baked, scrambled and hard boiled...yes, hundreds of times. But never soft boiled. Wednesday's Little Taste at the Dahlia was about eggs. And soft boiling an egg was one of the cooking techniques discussed. This was a four-minute egg and it was delicious. I'm sold.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bucolic Quandry

This scene is just a few blocks from our house--though you probably wouldn't guess that by looking at it. I think it's beautiful and serene and extremely non city-like. The quandry came in when I tried to decide which shot I liked best: horizontal or vertical. That's why you're looking at both of them.
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Sunday Supper

I really need to work on my food styling/photography. This doesn't look nearly as good as it tasted. Yukon gold potatoes smashed with butter, olive oil, salt and white pepper alongside two slices of pork top loin roast which was smothered in a paste of olive oil, garlic, crushed fennel seeds and salt and pepper during roasting. (Missing from the picture--my serving of lackluster frozen peas--boring.)
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The star of this evening's cocktail hour: fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice with gin. Truly refreshing.
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Remembering Granny...

Is something that I'll do every day for the rest of my life. But we had an official memorial service for her on Saturday, which would have been her 90th birthday. It was a record setter of a day, with temperatures in the 70s. I think we gave her a sendoff she would approved of: lots of family and lots of laughter--which is pretty much what she was all about.
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Monday, April 07, 2008


I love coming across leaves like this, they're so intricate.

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Bee Bumbled

First there was the spider on the yellow daffodil, now the bumblebee in the white daffodil. I think this bee was dead--seeing as how it didn't move at all over the course of about 15 minutes. Pollen overdose? Something tells me that's probably how this bee wanted to go...
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Saturday, April 05, 2008

They're Here

After a couple of extra weeks of hibernation, our cherry tree is finally going for it: Blossoms, blossoms and more blossoms.
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Hot and Sour Soup Fix

The thing I probably miss the most about the Inn Bin being out of business: their hot and sour soup. And yesterday, after listening to everyone in my immediate vicinity at the office coughing and sniffling, I decided to take an aggressive stand against catching whatever it is they have. So I tried to recreate the Inn Bin's hot and sour soup at home (adapting a recipe from Gourmet January 2005). Here is what I came up with:

2 boneless extra lean pork ribs (sliced into matchstick size pieces)
some low sodium soy sauce
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
half a small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
3+ tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 32-ounce box low sodium chicken stock
1/2 block Mori-Nu lite firm tofu, cut into slivers
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons sesame oil
fresh ground white pepper

1. Slice pork and toss with a little soy sauce to marinate while you're chopping up everything else.
2. Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, throw in pork to brown. Grind some white pepper into the pan too.
3. Add onion and cook until it softens. Add more white pepper.
4. Add cabbage and cook until it begins to show signs of wilting. Add more white pepper.
5. Add straw mushrooms and more white pepper.
6. Add stock, bring to a boil.
7. Combine vinegars, sugar and salt together and stir the mixture into the pot. Bring to a boil.
8. Add a little water to the cornstarch and whisk the mixture into the pot. Bring to a boil to thicken, then reduce to a simmer.
9. Add slivered tofu to soup.
10. Combine eggs and sesame oil, whisk into hot soup.
11. Check soup for salt, vinegar and white pepper balance. Adjust to taste.
12. Garnish each bowl with a splash of sesame oil and sliced scallions.

The biggest adaptations here were the addition of onion and cabbage. The Inn Bin hot and sour soup had slivers of bamboo shoots, which I always thought of as not having much flavor, but being capable of retaining a ton of heat, so I'd often burn my tongue on those while the rest of the soup was some pleasantly sane temperature for eating. So I swapped bamboo shoots for cabbage and onion (which both go so well with pork in any cuisine). It's not a dead ringer for the Inn Bin's, but it's closer than I've had at any other restaurant since then, so I think it's a keeper.
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Lone Daffodil, Lone Spider

I was looking at the only yellow daffodil in the front flower bed when I saw this spider making itself at home between the petals:
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Oatmeal Yeast Rolls

I cut this recipe off the back of a bag of flour sometime in the early 80s. Today, I finally made it. I thought the rolls turned out pretty well. I used butter instead of shortening and subsituted one cup of whole wheat flour for some of the all purpose and used bread flour (which was not readily available at the time this recipe was published) for the rest. I also made the rolls fairly big, so I didn't get the 3 dozen that the recipe said I would. I got 16. (I really can't imagine getting 36 rolls out of this recipe. They would have to be tiny.) And I don't do tiny.
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Spring Scramble

It's so nice to be home on a weekend again! This morning I made myself this scramble for breakfast. First, I sauteed the minced garlic in a little oil and then I threw in the sliced asparagus and stirred everything around for awhile until the asparagus was a bright green. Then I dumped in my two eggs and tossed everything around briefly. Once on the plate, I zested a little bit of lemon over the top and then gave it a dusting of parmesan. And of course there was toast. (It would have also been delicious with a little goat cheese or fontina, but I didn't have either one hiding out in the cheese drawer.)
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