Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

It's already been a week since the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a nice holiday at my parents' place. The usual: turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, Brussels, pumpkin pie, apple pie. Yum! Mom sent us home with lots of leftovers.
The pumpkin pie was our usual, but this year we added something new to the apple pie: crystallized ginger. Oh my gosh it made such a difference! I like the pie much more with the additional ginger. It was really good for breakfast & dinner (someone had to eat all the leftover pie).

Friday was holiday decorating day. Our tree is up, all the Christmas decorations are out. We're ready for Santa. That day we also got together with friends from out of town. It's always great to hang out with close friends (and their spouses & kids) from high school and catch up. We ordered pizza and ate leftover pie from our Thanksgivings.
Saturday we went to see A Christmas Story-The Musical at the Benedum. I didn't like the movie, and I didn't much enjoy the show, but SP really likes both. After, we went to dinner at Meat & Potatoes where we ate a lot of yummy food but after all that Thanksgiving eating I filled up quickly. We took home lots of leftovers. We ordered all the usuals (fried pickles, fried Brussels, 3 little pigs sandwich, old fashioned) and we tried the pimiento mac & cheese, which was sooooo yummy.

The mac & cheese was a new version. This time, it was Pimiento Cheese with Pulled Pork.
It was so good. We both scraped up as much of the delicious cheesy sauce as we could.

My favorite sandwich ever, The Three Little Pigs:
Pork milanese, bacon, ham, fried egg, Swiss, a slightly spicy mustard sauce, toasted bread.

SP tried a special of the day, a Quail dish:
He said it was excellent.

What We're Eating This Week: Thanksgiving leftovers for 4-5 dinners and Chicken Marsala for the other 1-2. Dessert has been leftover pie or Sarris chocolate covered pretzels (a gift).

Books: I read Before the Fall by Noah Hawley and enjoyed it a lot. More than a lot. One of the best books I've read in a while. I definitely suggest reading this one if you enjoy reading.

Also this past week, I tried to read Where'd You Go, Bernadette but I just couldn't deal with the style/formal of the book (it's written in many formats: as e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and an emergency-room bill).

Movies: We watched Sausage Party. Ummm... It was so wrong, But so funny. But I felt dirty after we watched it. All that animated food porn.

Magazines: The holiday issues have arrived and I'm trying to figure out the holiday cookie baking list for this year. I'd like to not bake as many as usual, but everyone has their favorite and loudly requests it, so... we'll see.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thursday Thoughts on Wednesday

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!That means tonight is baking pie night. We made the cranberries Monday night.

Thanksgiving always makes me think of my grandparents. They both were Thanksgiving babies. My grandpa would have turned 95 on Monday and my grandma would have been 95 today. I miss them.

Last Friday it was 70 degrees. When we went out on Saturday, it was in the 30's and very windy so it felt even colder. Plus there were snow flurries. Boo. We both have been so darn cold in the house even with the heat running. I guess winter is here. Brrrr.

Since this week is Thanksgiving week, instead of turkey sandwiches for lunch, I'm having ham sandwiches with smoked gouda cheese. It's so nice to have something other than turkey & Swiss! But we'll be eating turkey tomorrow - turkey smothered with gravy & sausage stuffing.

Dinners this week:

  • Meatloaf with cauliflower & pasta Sunday-Wednesday
  • Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, pie on Thursday
  • Dinner TBD with friends on Friday

TV:
We finished the second season of Holiday Baking Championship. Those finale cakes were amazing!
I guessed who was under the sheet a few weeks ago, but I was still anxiously awaiting the reveal on HTGAWM to see if I was right (I was). Looking forward to the second part of the season in January.

Movies:
We watched Trumbo over the weekend. It's a good movie. It seems especially appropriate given the current state of affairs in this country. I watched Hail Caesar this week and was bored. I didn't enjoy it very much.

Books:
The Wrong Side of Goodbye, the new Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly. This was another excellent Bosch novel. I don't know what it is about Connelly's writing, but despite this being the 19th (I think) Bosch novel, it doesn't seem like he's just phoning it in like some other authors I regularly read. His writing just sucks you in and you cannot put down the book. I got the book on a Saturday, gave it to my dad on Sunday (because I decided to read the new Jack Reacher first), and my dad was done by Tuesday. He brought it back to me Friday and we swapped Jack & Harry books. I started reading Saturday, and by Sunday night I was done (and likewise, dad was done with Jack Reacher by Sunday night). Now that we've devoured the new Harry & Jack books, we have to wait probably another year for the next ones.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Teppanyaki Kyoto

This past weekend, we tried a new-to-us restaurant: Teppanyaki Kyoto. It's in Highland Park, near Park Bruges. When we entered, it was so wonderfully warm & cozy inside on the first really cold night of this winter season. I felt like I was back in Japan as "Irrashaimase!" was called out in greeting. We hadn't made reservations, arrived a bit after 5 pm, and were seated right away. We sat at a table but in the back there is an area with a traditional tatami flooring/seating area.

We decided to share a bottle of white peach Chuu-Hai - basically, a flavored malt beverage. It was good for something different.
After living in Japan for 2 years, I am extremely particular about Gyoza. Not all dumplings are real dumplings in my mind. When I was younger, I loved dumplings at Chinese restaurants. Now, I hate them. The dumpling wrapper is too thick, too doughy, and the stuff on the inside is usually kind of revolting to me. Ick. I only like gyoza dumplings - thin dough wrapper. Everyday Noodles gets it right. So does Teppanyaki Kyoto. These were terrific. Just like I remember, even the sauce. It brought back memories of many lunch meals with a co-worker at a local place. We'd each get an order of gyoza for lunch and a bowl of gohan with a small topping like ebi (shrimp) tenpura and that would fill us up until late in the evening.
SP started with Daikon Salad. Daikon (mild flavored radish) is not really my thing. I'll eat it. Not wanting to offend hosts, I ate a lot of it in Japan. I like it, just not enough to go looking for it. SP likes it a lot and really liked this simple salad of daikon, seawood, and bonito.
I couldn't resist ordering the Korokke, mostly for nostalgic reasons. When I lived on my own, I'd stop at the grocery store after work and pick up dinner. Usually, I went for the prepared foods section. One of my favorites was korokke (croquettes) - mashed potato pancake, fried, maybe some veggie inside. These definitely lived up to memory, especially with that dipping sauce.
Another nostalgic order: Yakitori. There were five skewers: tsukune (chicken meatball), pork belly, pork wrapped cherry tomato (which I'd never seen in Japan, but maybe it's a new thing, it's been a while since I was there), shiitake, and chicken with scallion. Sure, I've had versions of yakitori in the US, but none were ever as tasty as the local yakitoriya near my apartment in Kyoto. This was good, but honestly, nothing will ever live up to the memory of that yakitoriya, with the red lanterns marking the door, gathering there with friends, and over indulging in kirin and yakitori.
When SP visited Japan, he had been told he had celiac disease. Turns out he doesn't. Sadly, there were several dishes he wanted to try while there but couldn't, like Takoyaki. I do not like takoyaki (octopus dumpling with bonito on top). He liked them.
For my "main" dish I chose Yakisoba with Shrimp. This was another nostalgic choice plus I wanted to see if I would finally have a yakisoba as delicious as the ones I ate in Japan. Usually, the sauce tastes off to me. This time, it was just right. It tasted like I was back in Japan, slurping up noodles and cabbage.
When Teppanyaki Kyoto opened, it was billed as the place for okonomiyaki, which is not usually a dish at Japanese restaurants here in the US. I ate a lot of okonomiyaki in Japan and while I like it, it's like daikon, something I'll eat when in Japan but not something I'll seek out. I've heard it described as Japanese pancake. It's a batter with your choice of mixed-in ingredients (okonomi = as you like it), cooked on one side then flipped to finish cooking. It's a lot thicker than what we think of as a pancake. Again, SP couldn't eat this when he was there, so he decided to try it now. He chose Okonomiyaki with Squid & Fried Egg. It comes drizzled with Japanese mayo (he chose spicy) and topped with seaweed powder & bonito flakes that "dance" from the heat of the okonomiyaki.

I was surprised he chose this because of the batter carbs and because of the mayo drizzle. I think he liked it, he said he did, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't order it again because of carbs/mayo. It's big and filling.

I enjoyed our meal at Teppanyaki Kyoto. It brought back a lot of memories of my time in Japan and made me rather nostalgic & wistful for those days. The food I ate definitely tasted like what I ate in Japan - it wasn't some strange American version of Japanese food. Service was great. We'd go back.

  Teppanyaki Kyoto Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend we ate a lot of yummy food. Saturday evening was my birthday dinner with SP. This year I picked Morcilla. As usual, an excellent meal. I really like the albarino wine I always order (SP orders a cider and then a gin drink).
I LOVE the Oxtail Montaditos (caramelized onion, Mahón cheese). I also start drooling when I think of the serrano ham, lamb meatballs, jamon croquetas with leek ash aioli, and dessert churros. Those are our "usuals."
This time we also shared:

  • Tortilla Espanaola (Spanish potato omelette, piperade, piquillo pepper aioli) 
  • Churro de Chorizo (tomato membrillo, manchego)
  • Who Cooks For You Farm 'Rocky Balboa' Salad (smoked goat cheese, asian pear, toasted pistachio, vanilla-concord grape vinaigrette). 

SP tried Sardinas Picantonas (preserved sardines in hot sauce).

It was a delicious birthday meal. We've been to Morcilla 3 times and all 3 meals have been terrific.

Then on Sunday we went to brunch at Eleven.
I had my usual Grilled Sticky (cinnamon swirl brioche, bacon butterscotch icing) for the first course whole SP ordered the Short Rib Hash (poached egg, horseradish, mustard seed jus). Oh my goodness that short rib hash was fantastic and I sort of wish I'd ordered it. But that would mean giving up the Grilled Sticky.
My second course was my usual Eggs Benedict (English muffin, hollandaise, truffle vinaigrette, prosciutto cotto, arugula, citrus) and SP chose Scottish Salmon Salad (local mesclun greens, fennel, cucumber, lemon aioli).
Of course we got dessert! Crème Fraîche Brûlée (raspberry almond macaron) and Warm Apple Pie (candied almonds, Greek yogurt, honey ice cream). Delicious and filling - we didn't eat anything the rest of the day.

Meals This Week:

  • Roast Chicken with Roasted Vegetables (fingerling potatoes, carrots, Brussels, onion)

Yes. Roast chicken and veggies every night. Monday through Friday. It takes a long time for us to eat an entire roast chicken. I will not want roast chicken again for 6+ months.

TV:

  • We finished Luke Cage a couple weeks ago. We really liked it and are looking forward to the next season.
  • We've been recording & watching a lot of the Holiday Baking Championship shows on Food Network. We finished Season 1 of Holiday Baking Championship and started Season 2 (Season 3 is the new season). 

Movies: 
I watched Money Monster this week and thought it was just OK.

Books: 
Night School (a Jack Reacher book) by Lee Child. I spent Monday afternoon and evening reading it (SP went to see some Dr. Who movie thing at the theater). I couldn't put it down, so, as usual, a great Reacher book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Copperstone Restaurant (Snoqualmie)

Back to blogging about our Seattle trip since we haven't been cooking much new & exciting! We spent a day in Snoqualmie, visiting the Northwest Railway Museum & riding the train and seeing Snoqualmie Falls. After our train ride, we were hungry. We ended up at a restaurant pretty much right across the street from the train depot: Copperstone. It's an Italian restaurant.
We started with iced teas and salads. I liked that the salad was mixed greens and not iceberg. It was a nice salad.
SP chose a special of the day: Butternut Squash Ravioli. He really liked this dish but afterward he kept asking me for mints because it was, apparently, a bit garlicky, or at least he kept tasting it after the meal.
I opted for Layered Lasagna (layers of wide pasta, ricotta, ground beef and meat sauce, topped with mozzarella, baked golden brown). It was good. Quite large for lunch for me and I couldn't finish it all. Lots of cheese.

It was definitely a very filling lunch, probably more than we wanted or needed, but it made us feel a lot better and kept us going the rest of the day. Our server was very good and the food tasty. If we're back in Snoqualmie, we'd return for lunch or dinner.


Copperstone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chicken with Vermouth-Sage Pan Sauce

When we returned from vacation, we wanted some lighter meals after 2 weeks of eating at restaurants. We also were "vacation tired" so we didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Our solution: Chicken with Vermouth-Sage Pan Sauce served with a salad of arugula, spiralized apple, walnuts, and the about to expire goat cheese.
This recipe is from The Science of Good Cooking (America's Test Kitchen). Prep work is pretty easy: chop a shallot and pick & rinse some fresh sage from the pot on the deck.
Brown the chicken & then roast it in the oven to get those great brown bits for the sauce. Remove the chicken, pour off the fat, and saute the shallots.
Add chicken broth, vermouth, and sage and simmer, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. The sauce should thicken and reduce after 5-10 minutes. Whisk in some butter and remove the sage.
Pour sauce over chicken and eat.
We kept our sauce and chicken separate. We reheated a little bit of the sauce each night for dinner. The first night, after the chicken cooled, SP removed all the meat from the bones and we ate the chicken cold with reheated sauce poured over top the chicken on the leftover nights.

This was delicious. The sauce had great flavor from the browned bits, shallot, sage, and vermouth. It actually ended up having a bit too much shallot flavor for me since after 2 nights of "marinating" the sauce started to bother my stomach. So I stopped eating it, but not because it wasn't super yummy, simply because my stomach was reacting to too much shallot. I think next time we might strain out the shallot but keep it "on the side" for SP.

Recipe here and here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Green Bean & Tomato Casserole

I still have a few posts from vacation in drafts, but I thought I'd take a break from Seattle restaurants and post this delicious casserole we made a couple of weeks ago: Green Bean & Tomato Casserole. I ripped it out of the Thanksgiving issue of Food Network Magazine. I'm always a little suspicious of recipes by the Food Network Kitchen (as opposed to the ones in the magazine from Giada, Bobby, Anne, Ina). We've tried a few and they were just OK/not that great. But we decided to give this one a whirl anyway and I am so glad we did because we both really, really liked this casserole.
It helps that it's super easy. The green beans do not need to be blanched first. The tomatoes are canned tomatoes so there's no washing/chopping/juicing. There is a little grating (parmesan) and chopping (rosemary & parsley if you use fresh) but otherwise it's pretty much saute and simmer stuff in a skillet, occasionally stirring, then dump in a 3 quart baking dish, sprinkle on topping, and bake until heated through.
It's delicious, reheats nicely, and gave us our vegetable side for 4 dinners. I've always liked green beans and tomatoes together. The bread crumbs and cheese topping adds a nice extra flavor but it does get a little soggy from the juices. It's still yummy, it just doesn't stay crunchy.

Notes: we omitted the garlic & used shallot instead, SP added the red pepper flakes to his serving on his plate, and since we've never seen, and didn't see when we did the weekly shopping, canned cherry tomatoes, we used a can of diced tomatoes.

This would be a nice side at Thanksgiving but I have a feeling we'll be making it a lot as our veggie side in the coming months because it's so easy and good for colder months.

Recipe here.