Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pike Street Fish Fry Most Excellent!

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my fish tacos, David's pommes frites...no really.

I'd been holding off ever going to Pike Street Fish Fry, only because I usually end up going to a show next door at Neumo's and have already eaten, but man O' man it did not disappoint today at lunch.  My fish tacos were probably the best I've ever had, where I could actually taste the fish, instead of just a mound of toppings covering it to death.  The red cabbage slaw and sauce it is served with was perfect.  Their pommes frites were excellent too, and you can enjoy them with a variety of sauces such as Lemon Aioli, Homemade Tartar, Curry "Ketchup", Smoked Chili Mayo, Harissa (spicy!), or Italian Salsa Verde.  HELL YEA!  I'm so glad I ordered an Orange Crush to go with it all too, it was a most satisfying dining experience, and not expensive at all.

Everyone needs to try it!  GO NOW!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Root Beer!

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Homemade Root Beer!
Originally uploaded by Lara604

We made our own root beer for gifts this year! Helping the economy by buying things we can be creative with, instead of useless crap! The name of it was of course inspired by our cat, Crooked Tail (aka CT). We used extract for this batch, but maybe some day we'll go to the trouble of making it using all the crazy roots and berries.

Icon Grill for Dessert!

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Often times, I find myself hitting happy hour in Belltown after work, because it's super convenient. I never thought, however, that it's just as easy to hit one place for small bites, and then go somewhere else for dessert. And that's exactly what we did last night with 2 friends we hadn't seen in almost a year! We started at Cellar's on 1st Ave., where I never ate at before. It wasn't too bad in terms of food choices and drinks (my $5 Mojito was pretty good). Darren ordered what he thought was a $2.50 beer, but they charged $3. Not a huge deal, but they should make sure they stick to the menu! The clams that I ordered were okay, but there were at least 4 of them in my small bowl that never opened, and I felt bummed because the wine, garlic and basil sauce it was served in was tasty, yet more bread was needed for sopping. I should also mention there was a good amount of sand still on the clams too. Not good. The flat breads were pretty yummy, as well as the meatball sliders and sauteed Cajun prawns our friends ate. Nothing really seemed that special though, and I felt nothing was really worth going back for.

Then our friends got the brilliant idea of going to the Icon Grill for this MASSIVE sundae they were raving about and drooling over. So we headed out in to the frozen night, and arrived to the toasty restaurant and ordered 2 sundae's between the 4 of us. Boy oh boy, we were not disappointed. The presentation itself was pretty impressive, with the waiter dropping down the biggest scoops of vanilla ice cream inside a waffle bowl, and proceeding to pour a cone filled with hot fudge onto our sundae's, and then sprinkling as many toppings as we wanted all over the whole thing. I almost had to have bypass surgery just looking at the thing! We waded through the colossal sundae like champs though, and by the end of it almost emptying our plates clean. I say "almost" because really folks, I'm not sure it would have been a good idea to eat the ENTIRE thing. But it was fun trying!

I totally recommend heading to the Icon Grill for dessert, and even dinner beforehand if you can handle it!

icon's Hot Fudge Sundaeicon's Hot Fudge Sundae

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Banana Bread Recipe Update

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Hello Fork Users!

I just got done baking that Vegan Banana Bread in a regular 8x4 loaf pan this time, and the baking time was quite a way's off from what the original recipe called for. As it was baking for about 45 minutes , I began to smell it really strongly from the oven, so I decided to just check it to make sure it wasn't burning, stuck a knife in it, and it was done! I'm not sure why the original recipe asked to bake for one hour or more, but I'd definitely recommend baking for about 40 minutes and then checking it. This time I also added a finely chopped up bar of chocolate with ginger! I thought it would add a nice spicy touch to it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Perfect Endings Holiday Cupcakes | Williams-Sonoma

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Perfect Endings Holiday Cupcakes | Williams-Sonoma

I can't even imagine ordering cupcakes through the mail, but here they are! I want to order them, just to see how the heck they do it!

Update: So I totally ordered them! I'll need some help eating them. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pork and Shrimp Noodle Bowl vermicelli

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At the 5SeasonsGrill at 9724 Aurora Ave N.



They don't really have a working website, but here is what I found:
http://www.5seasonsgrill.com/

We've driven by this place a lot, and finally decided to try it. Darren got a tofu baguette sandwich, which he said was pretty good.

Tofu Vietnamese Sandwich

We both got drinks, mine a bubble tea which was super yummy, and overall the food is not that bad, very flavorful, but the pork was a little fatty. Their prices were so reasonable and we were able to eat for about $20 which included drinks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Shrimp Tempura Roll & Hendrik's Bento Box

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Went to lunch with a friend today at Obasan on Queen Anne. I really like this place for lunch, as there's enough variety and reasonable prices, it is easy to please everyone. I had the shrimp tempura roll and 2 salmon nigiri, and everything was really fresh. They don't seem to have a website yet, but they are also reviewed on Yelp. I also like that they don't play obnoxious Top 40 music at lunch, and instead, usually have some Japanese Shinto style stuff going on. The staff is also very friendly, and the decor is simple and pleasing to the eye.

I highly recommend it if you're in the Queen Anne neighborhood!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giant Cupcake making: Take 2

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Okay, so I made another giant cupcake, this time with only a single recipe instead of doubling it (I don't use box mixes, so just use whatever recipe you have), or any from my blog!

*BEFORE DOING ANYTHING: SPRAY THE PAN WITH NON-STICK BAKING SPRAY. This will guarantee that the cake will pop right out later.

I poured the single batch of batter into both sides of the huge cupcake pan with a little more in the spiral "top" part, at 350 degrees for 42 minutes.

*Side-note: Do not open the oven during baking time, or the cake might fall!

If you do want the cupcake as large as you can get it (see previous post), you'll have to double the recipe. Then, you pour more batter into the "bottom" part of the mold, than the "top" part. Try cooking it at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes. If the "top" part is already cooked, you can do something I did, and quickly take it out of the oven, gingerly take out the "top" part, and put back the "bottom" part checking it every 5 minutes or so until a knife comes out clean when you poke it in the center. It was pretty difficult popping out the "top" part, but I managed to do it with 2 knives on either side and my thumbs in the middle, flipping it onto a rack...you gotta do it fast!

My first try at this giant cupcake, resulted in burnt edges...but I think if I had baked it at a lower heat for a longer time, it would have been less crispy.  Not to mention, perhaps baking one half at a time is a good idea, too.


batter in giant cupcake panCupcake Driveby

When the cupcakes have cooled, cut off the rounded tops of each side with a large serrated knife, so that when you put them together with icing, it lies flat.

Good luck everyone! And feel free to post your own results, because this is certainly one of those things where temperature and batter amount could change the outcome.

Monday, November 16, 2009

That is one Giant Cupcake!

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I made this HUGE cupcake using the Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan, that a friend sent me, last Friday for a birthday cake! It was vegan Red Velvet with "Cream Cheese" frosting, and I put dark chocolate ganache in between the layers and around the bottom. Unfortunately, I used far too much batter and cooked it at too high a heat, so the outside was crispy and overdone. However I kept getting compliments from people that they liked that! Go figure. Anyway, next time (tonight) I will put in less batter and be able to write more about how I made it and all the details. I think the secret is definitely to cook each side separately, or at the same time at a low temperature for a longer period (maybe 325 degrees for 45-55min). I'll let you know how it goes!

two halves of giant cupcake!
my even bigger piehole with a giant cupcake

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cupcake or Die Spotlight!

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Today I was featured in the infamous Cupcakes Take the Cake blog! Thank you so much Rachel!
http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com/2009/11/spotlight-on-cupcake-or-die.html

I think I look at that website at least a few times a day, so this is very exciting news that she wanted to do a little write up on my cupcakes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pho Cyclo Cafe Noodle Bowl

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Pho Cyclo Cafe noodle bowl
Originally uploaded by Lara604
Man, I'm craving this today! They charbroil the meat so perfectly at Pho Cyclo on Capitol Hill. Their veggie Pho is really substantial as well, which is key for my vegetarian husband who has never gotten full off of Pho until we went here.

406 Broadway E. Seattle WA
GO AND EAT!

Vegan Banana Bread

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Banana Bread Cake

So, I know I keep making vegan baked goods but I can't help myself because they turn out so well! I found this recipe online last night, as our bananas were getting a bit too ripe to eat by themselves. The hubby, Darren, helped me too which was fun! The cake turned out really moist, with just the right amount of sweetness. I didn't have any All Spice, so I put about 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. Ginger powder and a dash of Cloves, in addition to the cinnamon. I also didn't have a loaf pan, so I used a round 9" cake pan, and cooked it for about 35 minutes, checking the doneness with a toothpick stuck in the middle, and it came out clean. Depending on your oven and how hot it gets, the timing may vary. I also used 4 bananas since I had them, although the recipe asks for 3. I think I'd go with the recipe amount, because it was hard to tell if the cake was still not done, or if it was the banana texture coming through.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Buttercream Frosting

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I can't believe I forgot to put this recipe in my blog when I made these cupcakes back in August, but better late than never! My friend Tish needed a vegan recipe to prove to someone that vegan desserts can be downright delicious and even BETTER than the ones made with dairy. So I chose one of my favorites, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, because I think it's one of the most decadent recipes that Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World has in it's book.

Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:


Ingredients:

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract (chocolate is best of course, if you can find it, and I buy mine at Cookies).
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (sifting is a must!). Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay, just don't over beat/stir, or they will come out gummy).
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes (Note: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN AT ANY TIME, OR YOUR CUPCAKES WILL COLLAPSE), until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. If you leave them in the pans, they might dry out.

After cupcakes are completely cool (usually an hour) you are now ready to frost!

Peanut Buttercream Frosting:

Ingredients:


1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tablespoons shortening (Earth Balance sticks are the best for this)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional (I use molasses)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted icing sugar (known as Confectioner's Sugar) *I sift mine into it's own bowl first, for easy pouring later.
1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk, soy milk, or soy creamer (I use soy milk)

Directions:

1. With electric hand held mixer, cream together margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in sugar, in increments so it doesn't fly everywhere; mixture will be VERY stiff. Dribble in soy milk a little at a time, beating continously til frosting is pale tan and very fluffy. Adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding soy milk or more icing sugar in small amounts if necessary. Frost or fill cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Robot Cupcakes!

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Made these for a birthday surprise the other day, and they turned out pretty well! I loved having all these little marshmallow heads on my cutting board like some kind of saccharine massacre! I made a ganache out of milk and dark chocolate, and hand dipped the pretzel sticks myself, because I couldn't find any at the store like that. The cupcake is chocolate with a mocha "buttercream" frosting (vegan), but obviously the marshmallows aren't vegan. These were by far, the most time consuming cupcakes I've ever made, but they certainly were the most well received!

making robot heads for robot cupcakes

WE ARE ROBOT CUPCAKES. WE CAME TO DESTORY YOUR APPETITE.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spicy Mixed Vegetable Stew

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Also known as Yetakelt W'et, from Ethiopia, this very spicy stew will make your kitchen smell like heaven and your taste buds go crazy! The recipe is from Recipe Source.



Here's how to make it:

Title: Yetakelt W'et (Spicy Mixed Vegetable Stew)

Yield: 6 servings

1 c Onions, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, pressed
1 tb Berbere (dry; I got mine from an Ethiopian market, to make it
easier)
1 tb Sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 c Niter Kebbeh (I got the spice mix from the market, & added it
to 3Tbsp butter)
1 c Green beans, cut in thirds
1 c Carrots, chopped
1 c Potatoes, cubed
1 c Tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c Tomato paste
2 c Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c Chopped fresh parsley (OPT)

Saute the onions, garlic, berbere, and paprika in the niter kebbeh
for 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrots, and potatoes and continue to
saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Bring
to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the
vegetables are tender. [personal comment: we simmered more like 40
minutes, until it eventually thickened.]

Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the parsley (optional).

Serve with injera and yogurt or cottage cheese.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

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Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped Oreo's (They are vegan!) or Newman O's
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK). Add finely chopped Oreo's, making sure not to over-stir the batter.
  3. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
After cupcakes have cooled, you are ready to frost!

Vegan Buttercream Oreo Frosting
:
  • 1/2 cup non hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (Icing Sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup finely mashed Oreo cookies (or Newman O's)
1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. Fold in Cookies, and top eat frosted cupcake with a half a cookie. VOILA!




Thursday, October 8, 2009

On the menu today...

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On the menu today...

From the Urban Cafe on Elliot Ave. W, today I had the Espresso Barbecue Pork Loin with Mashed Potatoes and Veggies. As far as I'm concerned, if you can find a cafe that has lunch for around $8 in Seattle, it's a good find. My pork was tasty and well cooked, although I probably needed a steak knife to cut it, instead of the dull butter knife I had (hey, I got an arm workout!) and the potatoes and veggies were quite satisfying. Good flavors, as the BBQ sauce wasn't spicy but still tasted good, for me I didn't mind because sometimes I want to be nice to my stomach and just have a simple home cooked meal. The mashed potatoes weren't overly heavy too, which was great. This cafe also has a salad bar, sandwiches, and soups and other entrees to choose from.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Triple Peanut Butter Cupcakes!

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Triple Peanut Cupcakes

These turned out really well, incredibly moist, and if you love peanut butter like I do, you'll be in heaven! I used the Peanut Butter Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, as well as their Peanut Buttercream frosting. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter (make sure there are no milk products in it)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (buy the real stuff if you can!)
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed (I couldn't find ground, so I bought whole and ground them myself in a coffee grinder that I use just for spices)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Mix soy milk with vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the peanut butter, oil, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and ground flaxseeds until well combined. Add the soy milk mixture and mix until incorporated.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl and mix. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
5. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake for 23-26 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Ingredients for Peanut Buttercream frosting:

*DO NOT FROST YOUR CUPCAKES UNTIL THEY'RE COMPLETELY COOLED. I know you'll be tempted.

1/4 cup margarine, softened (some margarine has hidden dairy products, so if you want them vegan, check the label! You can also read this to learn more about finding the right kind)
2 tablespoons shortening (Earth Balance sticks are the best for this)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional (I used molasses)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted (what we call Icing Sugar)
1 to 2 tablespoons rice or soy milk, or soy creamer

Directions:

1. With electric hand-held mixer or Kitchen Aid mixer with a beater, cream together margarine and shortening at medium speed till smooth. Add peanut butter, barley malt syrup/molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in sugar; mixture will be very stiff. Dribble in rice/soy milk a little at a time, beating continuously till frosting is pale tan and very fluffy. Adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding rice milk or more confectioners' sugar in small increments if necessary. Frost or fill cooled cupcakes. I put whole peanuts on the top, but you can put anything you want really! I try to put the things that are in the cupcakes, on top of them when they're finished, to tie the ingredients together.

Triple Peanut Cupcakes

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Fish Games logo on Pumpkin cake!

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Brought in today by my programmer/producer lead. His wife made them! You can see our logo here:
bigfishgames.com/

My morning taste buds were super happy today. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Macrina's Apple Pie of Love

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My workmate David and I had the most amazing pie at Macrina Bakery yesterday at lunch. I believe all the baking apples are in season right now, so it was just the perfect September dessert! They put their own homemade caramel on the top, which gave the crust a wonderful crispness to it, but inside was the classic tart-sweet combo of apples, sugar, cinnamon, and whatever other secret ingredient they might put in there. I must say, Macrina does their crust really well. I could just have a plate of crusts.

Apple Pie with Caramel Glaze

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dessert is Divine

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I'm back from Burning Man and finally decompressed, not to mention relatively dust free! I'll be sure to post some new "fork travels" soon! Here's a delectable dessert from the Boat Street Kitchen that my friend David ordered last week. Mmm Raspberry Chocolate soufflé! Those are little red grapes on top, which was interesting because they weren't in the actual dessert. It was really scrumptious from what I could tell...I had the smallest bite, because all 4 of us were sharing. *tsk tsk.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BBQ Mosaic

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BBQ Mosaic
Originally uploaded by Lara604
A couple of weekend's ago, we went to Darren's dad's for a wonderful BBQ. I had the best ribs, they were smoked and cooked for hours and hours! And all the side dishes were so simple yet tasty, from corn salad, to baked beans, cucumbers in a vinaigrette, to stuffed peppers, a divine mac and cheese, and these awesome yellow & blue corn muffins!

More photos here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/60058591@N00/sets/72157622088112470/

In other news, I will be taking a wee vacation to Burning Man Aug.31-Sept.8th, so there will be no entries during that time.

Happy Cooking, as Jacques Pépin would say!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carmelita For Happy Hour!

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Carmelita For Happy Hour!
Originally uploaded by Lara604
Carmelita on Greenwood Ave has a happy hour, now that they've added a bar to their dining room!

www.carmelita.net/news.html

It was super delicious, with their happy hour drink and food menu featuring $2 off each item.

We had:
Fried green tomatoes, apricot mostarda, sweet balsamic
Spicy housemade flatbread, trio of spreads -- vegan
Roasted fingerlings, red pepper aioli
Marinated ovolini, balsamic red onions, tapenade, grissini

Not shown in the photo, are the 2 drinks I had:

The Bramble
Prosecco, vodka, blackberries, aged balsamic – flute

and

English Picnic
Vodka, Pimms, watermelon/pepper, lime – over ice

SCRUMPTIOUS!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Flying Fish for Happy Hour!

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I'm a little late in posting this review, as I've been swamped with work and extra projects lately. But a couple of weeks ago, the girls and I went to happy hour at the Flying Fish which is located right in the heart of Belltown, Seattle, at 2234 1st Ave.

I was pretty excited to attend their happy hour, as their dinner menu lists some pretty fancy prices and my impression has always been that their food was going to be just stellar.

They have a full happy hour menu. Just $6 for all of the appetizers....pretty great deal. There is grilled bread salad, Salmon cake, Crispy Bigeye Tuna, Sautéed gulf shrimp, Thai Crab Cake, Calamari, Razor Clams, Field green salad and more!
4:00-6:00 every day.

We ended up ordering (going clock-wise from the upper left) the Salmon Cake, Steamed Manila Clams, Cherry Pie baked in a skillet, Banana Split Platter, Raspberry Tart, Thai Crab Cake, and Calamari (which is not seen, because the photo didn't turn out). Everything was really good, the sauces were tasty and interesting, my favorite being the Thai Crab Cake and Clams. The fish tasted really fresh; a good sign. I think the only thing that I didn't eat a whole lot of were the Calamari, which were a little heavy on the breading. But some people might like that. They certainly did have a nice spicy bite to them!

I accompanied my meal with a Pimm's and Gingerale, and the girls had some dirty martinis, which were not on the happy hour menu, so that was more expensive.

I would totally recommend this place on a sunny day, where you can sit outside with a cold beverage and dine on some fresh flavorful fare. A bit on the spendy side if you stray from the happy hour menu, it was still a great time!

Flying Fish Restaurant

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jen's Desserts!

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It was our wedding day anniversary weekend, so Saturday morning I picked up our cake from our wedding cake baker (Jen's Desserts), who I mentioned before, was giving us a free cake for our 1 year, because she forbade us to save the cake topper for a year in the freezer. You can read about it in my previous post.

She gave me a ton of tips while I waited for her to put the final layer of chocolate wrap on the cake. Jen even offered the opportunity to come in and help or watch sometime! How cool is that!

pressing the wrap onto the cake
Click on Photo to see more in my Photo Stream.

http://www.jensdesserts.com/ for the most awesome custom wedding cakes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our wedding cake!

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Last year, we went with http://www.jensdesserts.com/ for our wedding cake and it was just gorgeous. Three layers of vanilla cake, with white, milk and dark chocolate in between each layer, using the best organic ingredients. It was all covered in her famous "chocolate wrap" which is like fondant, but not as gummy in consistency. She made a deal that on our 1 year anniversary, she would make us a brand new topper to eat, instead of freezing ours for a year. She absolutely forbade us to do that, because it's never as good, and a fresh cake is always best...especially to celebrate our first year!

So, this weekend, we are picking up a special little cake from Jen's, and celebrating our wedding day. I can't wait, because last year I think I got only 2 bites out of the whole thing, having too much fun running around and schmoozing with everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Creamcheese Frosting

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Made these last night for 2 Soiree's going on tonight, a Goodbye party and a Birthday! I grabbed the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World of course. Using really good semi-sweet Scharffen Berger chocolate for the frosting, it let the bowl of it sit overnight in the freezer (with saran wrap tightly pressed against it), and it totally infused the chocolate more. It was dynamite! I just naturally thawed it the next day and ran it through the blender again.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Creamcheese FrostingChocolate Cupcakes with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Creamcheese Frosting

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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I had a hankering for something sweet last night, so I took an easy recipe off the back of Safeway's "Organic" brand semi sweet chocolate chips, modified it a bit, and got the most wonderful cookies, both chewy and crispy in texture! It made over 3 dozen too, which was nice to bring to work for everyone.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Whisk together in one large bowl:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Stir together in another bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Add dry mixture to the wet, stir with spatula until incorporated. Put tablespoon sized balls of dough onto ungreased non-stick cookie sheet. I then pressed the balls down with my fingers just a smidgen. Bake for 10 minutes. Even if they don't look cooked, take them out! They will cool into lovely chewy morsels with a crisp outside texture. ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My silly cupcake t-shirt!

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I made this a few months ago, and forgot to post about it! I might change the design eventually to be more tattoo-like, instead of cartoon-y, but feedback is appreciated!

cupcake or die

Get yours here:
http://www.cafepress.com/mysillyrabbit.11091938

I haven't been baking lately, because I've been pretty busy taking photos and enjoying the summer, but I think my next batch will probably involve beer. Oh yea baby!

Monday, June 15, 2009

*twitch twitch

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Last Friday I did another photo shoot for Cherry Street Coffee House, who have several locations in Seattle. I can't even imagine how many shots of coffee we had by the time the session was over, zoinks! I was so buzzed, yet oddly sleepy. Funny how that works. We were at the cafe for almost 2 hours, and would have been there longer if it hadn't been for the fact that there weren't enough ingredients for me to take photos of the breakfast items. I came home and was going to go to a friend's BBQ, but my exhaustion got the better of me. I'll probably get to snap some more shots in the next few weeks of all the things we missed.

You can click on the photo to see more!

mocha carmello

Friday, June 5, 2009

wedding cupcakes

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Aren't these just gorgeous?? People have such talent, I tell ya.

However, I'm not sure how you could eat one. Like that middle one with all the flowers...are the flowers hard or soft? Is it just a mouthful of gum paste and fondant?

I suppose there's something to be said about sinking one's teeth into a cupcake that has the gooiest frosting on it, AM I RIGHT??

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Taberna del Alabardero Best Happy Hour

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Okay Seattle foodies and people who love to eat: Here's a happy hour that is really tough to beat. That is, if you like Spanish food...and I don't mean Mexican. I mean with roots in Madrid.

Just perusing their various menus for the 10th time, my mouth is beginning to water as I carefully plan what I'm going to order the next time I'm in Taberna del Alabardero. Everything is half price during Happy Hour (4-7pm: $2.50-$6.00), even the Sangria which you can get with either white or red wine. OH LORD, HELP ME NOW.

Starting off with the fresh and light Ensalada Mixta (Mesclun Mix, Avocado, Chives, Tomato, Hard Boiled Egg, Olives and Asparagus), it was quickly followed by the following scrumptious dishes:

Tortilla Española : Tradicional, de Calabazin - Traditional Potato Omelet: Plain, with Zucchini
Tortilla Española
This was light and very savoury, with the perfect ratio of vegetables and egg, expertly seasoned.

Combinacion de Jamon Serrano y Queso Manchego - Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese
Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese Plate
Their ham melts in your mouth with all it's salty buttery goodness. I wrapped up the cheese in a few slices for the ultimate orgasmic bite. They actually proudly display the Serrano ham legs on 2 racks in the dining room. That is AWESOME.

Vieira Confitada con Cebolleta Roja y Gelatina de Citricos - Scallop and Red Onion Confit with a Citrus Gelatin
Scallop and Red Onion Confit with a Citrus Gelatin
These Spaniards sure know how to cook seafood. The scallops tasted so fresh and light on this crispy baguette, which you could swipe over the drizzled citrus reduction on the side.

Cazuela de Alcachofas con Almejas - Artichoke and Clam Casserole
Artichoke and Clam Casserole
This might have been my favorite, and I don't even like clams very often, because they're usually too fishy-tasting for me. Not these ones! They were very fresh, and along with the delectable sauce covered artichokes, wasn't too overwhelming or complicated in taste. The little puddle of oily sauce at the bottom of the bowl was quickly sopped up by some bread. Perfection!

Lastly, we had a creamy vanilla Crème Brûlée and a Chocolate Mousse cake, which oozed out warm chocolate from the center.
crème brûlée chocolate mousse caramelized croutons with cherries on top

And at the end of the happiest happy hours we've ever been to, we only dropped $20 each. We could not believe for how much we had, along with the quality of food, how reasonably priced it was.

Feel free to click on the photos for larger images from my Flickr account!
Highly recommended, Taberna del Alabardero or “Tavern of the Palace Guards,” is probably the best happy hour in downtown Seattle. There. I said it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gluten, Soy, Wheat and Almond free Cupcakes!

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Gluten Free chocolate cupcakes!

You might be asking, "Why is she making something with so many restrictions?" Well, I have a friend who recently had to eliminate a bunch of things from her diet in order to combat her allergies. This included soy, wheat, dairy (all cow/sheep/goat), eggs, almond, tomatoes, peas, barley, kidney and pinto beans, Brazil nuts, cheese, pumpkin, rye, and yeast. WHEW!

So basically I thought I'd adapt the Chocolate Gluten Freedom Cupcake recipe from my favorite cookbook, "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World". The book didn't have a ganache that catered to all those allergies, so I made one in a double boiler on low heat with Dark 99% Cacao, rice milk, a touch of vanilla, and agave nectar to sweeten (you can use sugar or maple syrup as well). Make sure to keep your eye on it, stirring with a whisk. If you start to see it burning or ceasing, quickly take it off the heat, add more rice milk, and stir like a mad woman! Sometimes it's a lost cause by this point, but you can try!

Okay, on to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rice milk
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (use almond like the original recipe if you can't find chocolate extract)
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill tapioca flour (Natural Food markets should have this)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed (I only found whole flax seeds, so I ground them myself)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill white rice flour
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Wheat, Gluten, and Dairy free all-purpose flour (a mix of Garbanzo Bean Flour, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, White Sorghum Flour and Fava bean Flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees and line muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine rice milk, canola oil, sugar and extracts. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed just to combine. Add tapioca flour and flax seed and mix vigorously for about a minute, until the tapioca flour is dissolved and the mixture is well emulsified.
3. Add the cocoa powder, white rice flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on medium-high for about 2 minutes. It's important to mix really well and you don't' have to worry about over-mixing because, hey, THERE'S NO GLUTEN!
4. Fill cupcake liners a little over three-quarters full, these won't rise as much as traditional cupcakes so you can fill them a little more than usual. Although that gave me only 11 cupcakes, but what the heck!
5. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted through the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mucho Margarita Cupcakes!

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From the my favorite cupcake book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World", this tangy and incredibly moist little cake of love, was a huge hit at the office yesterday. I think when I said the words "had Tequila in it", it might have had something to do with it, but hey THEY WORK HARD!

Mucho Margarita Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 cup soy milk or rice milk (I used soy)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons tequila (I used 100 Anos Blanco Tequila)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Margarita Icing (recipe follows)
Large crystal decorating sugar, for decorated the edges of cupcakes (about 1/2 cup)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin/cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, beat together lime juice, zest, soy milk, canola oil, tequila, vanilla, and sugar. Sift in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until batter is smooth. Fill liners three-quarters of the way full and bake 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted through the center of one comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting; allowing cupcakes to set for an hour or two helps the flavor to develop fully.

TO ASSEMBLE:

1. Spread icing on cupcakes, spreading all the way to the edges, then roll just the outer edges of cupcake in sugar crystals (which I first spread out on a plate). If this is way too messy, just sprinkle sugar crystals on edges of cupcake by hand, or simply on top.

MARGARITA ICING

1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 tablespoons soy milk or rice milk (I used soy)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
A tiniest drop of green food color or food color paste you can manage,
optional
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (also called Icing Sugar)
Generous pinch to 1/8 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt,
optional

DIRECTIONS

1. Blend margarine with a fork till soft and fluffy, then stir in soy milk, lime juice, tequila, and food coloring if using (the effect is just to give the icing a very pale green tint, even lighter than "mint" green). Sift in 2 cups confectioners' sugar (I did 1/4 cup at a time) and blend (an electric mixer on low speed helps at this point) til creamy and smooth. If it's a little too liquidy for your taste, sift in one tablespoon at a time more confectioners' sugar, till a thick but spreadable consistency is reached. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes Recipe (Vegan)

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Like Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, these are vegan "Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes" from the world renowned book "Vegan Cupcakes Take over The World". They are probably the best red velvet cupcakes I've ever had, not to mention the moistest.

Cupcake Mosaic
Click on photo to see more!

I recommend the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting over the Old Fashioned Velvet Icing they have in the cookbook. They actually suggest either, and from what I've read from other bakers, the Old Fashioned wasn't as good. Especially if you want to pipe the frosting.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch processed or regular
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
(Chocolate extract is worth the trouble to find, but if you can't, use 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract)


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin/cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
4. Add the oil, food coloring, chocolate extract, and almond extract to the curdled soy milk. Whisk well to combine. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until large lumps disappear. Do not over mix, otherwise your cupcakes will turn out gummy! Small lumps are okay.
5. Fill cupcake liners about two-thirds of the way full as these cupcakes will rise fairly high. I recommend using non-stick metal pans as opposed to those silicon pans, so the cupcakes will rise properly and not come out lopsided.
6. Place in hot oven and bake 18-20 minutes until done. You can stick a toothpick into a cupcake to see if it's done. If you get tiny dry crumbs on it, it is ready! (I suggest eventually getting an oven thermometer so you know exactly how hot your oven is, because you don't want to over bake the cupcakes.)

Let sit on the counter for a few minutes in the pans and then transfer to a cooling rack or surface to cool completely.

DO NOT ICE CUPCAKES UNTIL FULLY COOLED. I think we've all done that at least once, right? *wink

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup non hydrogenated margarine, softened (some aren't entirely vegan, so if that's a concern, make sure you check!)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened (I use Tofutti, it's Better Than Cream Cheese!)
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (or as I used to say, Icing Sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Cream together margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Use a hand held mixer to whip while adding the confectioners sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Scrape down the sides in between too! Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla. Keep tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

LASTLY! I used chopped pecans to sprinkle on top, giving it that classic Velvet Cupcake finishing touch.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Inspired by fellow blogger Cheriepicked, I made these delicious simple Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. The dough was quite crumbly, so you have to kind of pack it into little balls when placing them on the baking sheet. And then I found that cooking them for about 7 minutes first and then flattening them lightly with a spatula, before continuing to bake for another 3 minutes, yielded best results. I was able to make about 28 smaller cookies.

Here is my slightly altered recipe:

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup margarine (room temperature)
3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together sugars, margarine and vanilla until creamy.
  3. In another larger bowl- combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the creamy mix and the chocolate chips to the larger bowl and mix together well.
  4. Use a spoon to scoop dough onto an ungreased non-stick cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 7 minutes, flatten lightly with a spatula, and bake for another 3 minutes or until the edges begin to golden. Allow them to cool a few minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet.
vegan chocolate chip cookies

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boat Street Kitchen: Review #3

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So, I've reviewed The Boat Street Kitchen before:

Review #1
Review #2

Their food is always fresh and amazing, albeit their service was getting pretty slow, but I think they've redeemed themselves, as of today.

I was with 4 co-workers for lunch, got there at 11:30pm to avoid the major lunch rush, and was out of there by 12:30pm. WONDERFUL. Thank you Boat Street Kitchen, for another well prepared meal and pleasant dining experience.

My lunch was Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel and Potatoes. Everyone else had the Ruby Trout with Basil Sauce & Grapefruit Fennel Salad.

My pork tender loin, roasted potatoes and fennelDavid's Ruby Trout with Basil Sauce

Monday, April 20, 2009

Milestone's for Brunch!

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We went to Vancouver, B.C. this past weekend (my hometown) for a dj gig I had, and the following morning ended up going to Milestone's on Robson St. I had such a great breakfast of granola, fresh fruit, yogurt and cinnamon toast!
The "healthy" breakfast @ Milestones
I'm sure most breakfast places would have been super crowded the morning after a Friday night, but they had quite a few tables open. I wasn't expecting much, and thought I would be spending much more moolah than we did. I had the yummiest Caesar drink too! I usually go for Mimosa's but this was equally as refreshing.

My friends had a couple variations of an Eggs Benedict, both really tasty, one including Canadian goat cheese!
Eggs Benedict @ Milestones RestaurantEggs Milestones @ Milestones Restaurant
They had a lot of vegetarian options too, delighting my husband who noshed down the breakfast burrito.

So check out Milestone's! 1145 Robson St.
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