Super Chow

I just realized that I haven't posted a recipe for quite some time. I haven't been cooking quite as much, and I've been having trouble squeezing in as much time for blogging. But, I did recently eat and prepare some good TV-viewing party grub. I made food for both a Super Bowl Party and an Olympic Opening Ceremony Party.

I love these types of get-togethers. Very low-stress. You can just all hang out and watch the show. Oh, and eat lots of party food!!

First off, let me just say Thank Goodness for Trader Joe's! He supplied many items to fill in the holes between homemade food:
  • Parmesan Pastry Pups - Basically Pigs in a Blanket. They come frozen and were a big hit. (Find it in the frozen aisle.)
  • Sharp Cheddar Pub Cheese - Yes, it's a spreadable cheese that looks unnaturally bright orange. But, dang, it's tasty! (Find it with the other cheeses.)
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip - Heat it up in the microwave, and you're ready to go. I could not stop eating this. (Find it in the frozen aisle)
OK, so speaking of recipes . . . I also made a really interesting dip. I found the recipe in The New York Times, and then just slightly altered it. It's called Green Goddess - full of herbs, garlic, onion, feta, olive oil and Greek yogurt. We dipped veggies and crackers in it.

Greek Goddess Dip
From The New York Times

1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Raw chopped vegetables or pita chips, for serving.

1. Place mint, parsley, basil, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped. (I used a blender - it worked fine once I added the olive oil.)

2. With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt. Taste dip and add more salt, if desired.

3. Serve dip immediately with vegetables or pita chips or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. (You can add mayo to make it a little creamier, but I didn't this time.)

Now, for the Olympics party, I had a heck of a time coming up with themed food. I ended up with:

Gold Medal Drinks: Miller High Life and orange Italian soda mixed with white wine

Silver Medal Sandwiches: I cut out pieces of bread into circles and made little round sandwiches with hummus, olive tapenade, carrots and cucumber. Then, I wrapped some of them in tin foil.

Bronze Medal Bundt Cake: I used one of my favorite bundt cake recipes for Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Yummmmm.

We had quite the spread!


Chocolate Croissants Baked Right in Your Own Oven

That's right! I made an impulse buy the other day at Trader Joe's - Frozen Chocolate Croissants. (Who, me, make an impulse buy??)

You take them out the night before to let them rise, and then just pop them in the oven the next morning for 20 minutes. And you have warm, gooey chocolatey, flaky pastries right at your own kitchen table.

Now, this wasn't the best chocolate croissant I've had in my whole life. But, it was pretty darn good! Highly recommended. I made the excuse of buying them for my friend's visit from DC, but she got snowed in!! Guess I'll have to eat all of them myself. Poor me.


It's Glorious Here

I don't know about where you are, but it is an absolutely beautiful day here in Seattle! I wish I could bottle this up. I enjoyed my morning walk to the bus and a little lunchtime walk to Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill.

I've been enjoying the sunrises while I watch Olympic coverage on the Today Show. And, yes, I have Olympic rings taped to my window.

Can you see the Olympic Mountains?

Seattlites enjoying the sun

Playing soccer at Cal Anderson

Let's hope it stays this nice for a trip to Vancouver this weekend!

P.S. This has nothing to do with a sunny day, but I had my iPhone camera going, so I snapped a pic. This is one of the saddest, rundown apartment buildings near my workplace on Capitol Hill. And, what an apropos name:


Kitchen Table

My kitchen table has been making me happy this week. Well, not the table itself, but what's on it.

I had such a nice weekend in Bellingham and at Mt. Baker, and really didn't want to get up in the morning and go to work. But, then I sat down to drink my coffee and saw these lovely, cheerful flowers from Pete. (They really make you believe that spring is coming!) And I smile every time I see this amazing plate that I bought at a University of Washington art auction for the MFA program. It was created by one of the ceramics instructors, and I really love it.

It's the little things sometimes.


"we are an idea in the process of being realized"

Did you watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday? I watched it with a small gathering of people, and really enjoyed it. I thought the ceremony was thoughtful, and simple, and really beautiful. I enjoyed the mix of dance, music and even poetry. Of course, now I'm sucked into the Olympics every night. Biathlon! Moguls! Snowboard cross! Do I know anything about these sports? Not really! But, I learn a little more each Olympics and it's a nice break from the (sometimes) monotony of football-basketball-baseball we always see on TV.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the poem by Canadian writer and poet and Shane Koyzan. I used one line as the subject for this post. And I also loved it when he said:

"we are an experiment going right for a change."

I've included the entire poem below.

You can watch Shane reading the poem. (Apparently I can't embed videos from NBC. Annoying!)

Other favorite moments included K.D. Lang singing "Hallelujah" and the elfish young man that did all the aerial tricks to Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" (no video to be found).

Go Canada! Go World!

We Are More

by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada

you might list some statistics

you might mention our tallest building

or biggest lake

you might shake a tree in the fall

and call a red leaf Canada

you might rattle off some celebrities

might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie

might even mention the fact that we've got a few

Barenaked Ladies

or that we made these crazy things

like zippers

electric cars

and washing machines

when defining Canada

it seems the world's anthem has been

"been there done that"

and maybe that's where we used to be at

it's true

we've done and we've been

we've seen

all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine

and turned into theme parks

but when defining Canada

don't forget to mention that we have set sparks

we are not just fishing stories

about the one that got away

we do more than sit around and say "eh?"

and yes

we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One

who inspired little number nines

and little number ninety-nines

but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines

off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes

and some say what defines us

is something as simple as please and thank you

and as for you're welcome

well we say that too

but we are more

than genteel or civilized

we are an idea in the process

of being realized

we are young

we are cultures strung together

then woven into a tapestry

and the design

is what makes us more

than the sum total of our history

we are an experiment going right for a change

with influences that range from a to zed

and yes we say zed instead of zee

we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy

we dream so big that there are those

who would call our ambition an industry

because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow

we do more than grow wheat and brew beer

we are vineyards of good year after good year

we reforest what we clear

because we believe in generations beyond our own

knowing now that so many of us

have grown past what used to be

we can stand here today

filled with all the hope people have

when they say things like "someday"

someday we'll be great

someday we'll be this

or that

someday we'll be at a point

when someday was yesterday

and all of our aspirations will pay the way

for those who on that day

look towards tomorrow

and still they say someday

we will reach the goals we set

and we will get interest on our inspiration

because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks

more than backpacks and hiking trails

we are hammers and nails building bridges

towards those who are willing to walk across

we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss

we are not the see-through gloss or glamour

of those who clamour for the failings of others

we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers

uncles and nephews aunts and nieces

we are cousins

we are found missing puzzle pieces

we are families with room at the table for newcomers

we are more than summers and winters

more than on and off seasons

we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay

because we are more than what we say or do

we live to get past what we go through

and learn who we are

we are students

students who study the studiousness of studying

so we know what as well as why

we don't have all the answers

but we try

and the effort is what makes us more

we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for

so keep exploring

go far and wide

or go inside but go deep

go deep

as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss

and suddenly there was this location scout

trying to figure some way out

to get inside you

because you've been through hell and high water

and you went deep

keep exploring

because we are more

than a laundry list of things to do and places to see

we are more than hills to ski

or countryside ponds to skate

we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait

we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes

a country that is all the ways you choose to live

a land that can give you variety

because we are choices

we are millions upon millions of voices shouting

"keep exploring... we are more"

we are the surprise the world has in store for you

it's true

Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"

so don't say "been there done that"

unless you've sat on the sidewalk

while chalk artists draw still lifes

on the concrete of a kid in the street

beatboxing to Neil Young for fun

don't say you've been there done that

unless you've been here doing it

let this country be your first-aid kit

for all the times you get sick of the same old same old

let us be the story told to your friends

and when that story ends

leave chapters for the next time you'll come back

next time pack for all the things

you didn't pack for the first time

but don't let your luggage define your travels

each life unravels differently

and experiences are what make up

the colours of our tapestry

we are the true north

strong and free

and what's more

is that we didn't just say it

we made it be.

P.S. I'll try to post on some of the food we served for the Opening Ceremony viewing later this week.


It Never Fails

I'm really trying not to shop or spend money, in order to save for our trip to New York and other travel plans this summer. (Plus, I'd like to get a new laptop and digital camera.) So, I've been avoiding looking at anything from anthropologie - online and in stores. I gave in and took a quick look at their current dresses. And, as usual, I want one of the most expensive ones. Figures!

It's cute, though, right?

When I was really poor my first few years out of college I used to do something I called "pretend shopping." I would go into stores, try things on, look at the prices and choose which things I would buy - if I had any money. So I'll "pretend buy" this dress.