Foil wrapped cheeks…

Ever had Cheeks? Halibut cheeks. Get your minds out of the gutter. Geez. 

Anyway, I found them at fish market. And, they aren’t always available. Oh boy but, when they are. Yes, yes and yes. 

Seattle weather has been hot. Like 90s hot. And, the last thing I wanted to do was turn onthe oven. This worked for this fish but, why not others? We have all Summer people. 


Start with the foil, throw in some fresh veggies. These, are snap peas and onions then I added some chopped garlic, olive oil, capers, a little lemon squeeze, topped it with a bit of yummy, yummy Dungeness crab and sealed up that sucker for 15 on the BBQ! Hello delicious! 

It was truly outstanding and didn’t add one ounce of heat to the already hot little box called home, that was happening that day. I assume we will have a few more of those to come…

Try it you love it and let me know what you think, how it was and what you used! 

Grapefruit Sunrise…🌿

Well, it’s my birthday tomorrow and although I’m one year older the fun shouldn’t stop should it? I empathically say,no! 

So, I’ve decided to start this year out with a bang. Pink loveliness and 3 of my favorites, Vodka, Sparkeling Rose’ and Grapefruit juice…

Pretty, tasty and memorable…

INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings)

12 ounces of Sparkeling  Rose Brut

12 ounces of grapefruit juice

6 ounces of vodka (I love Titos or Kettle One)

1/2 ounce of mint simple syrup(sugar water with mint leaves infused)


Combine the vodka, grapefruit juice, rose, and simple syrup and shake over ice until chilled, then strain and fill glasses. Garnish with grapefruit rounds and mint. 

Then, let the fun commence! Happy June! 

Ready to make food #foodporn worthy for your social media? There’s a new app that nails it for you…

Are you the type of person that needs to take a picture of your food first? Me too. I have to say, I go to some very amazing places, make some great things every once in a while and have some really talented family and friends in the kitchen! 

Say hello to a new app made specifically for taking and adjusting pictures of your food, that’s called Foodie. 


The camera on my iPhone is pretty good but, for ariel food shots the lighting can get weird and sometimes the colors and textures don’t pop like in real time with a basic phone camera. 

This app has some cool adjustments for you. Bring up the photo you want to adjust and just slide left or right on your screen to go through a multitude of set filters to give your inner foodie/photog sessions more satisfaction than you have had in a while! It even has the option for recording video. Should we say those great restaurants you can put your phone down in with the decor, colors, beautiful plates, food? You get the point. 

Anyway, I definitely recommend it. 

  

#organic #eggs @californiaavocados @daveskillerbread

#avocadotoast @thegreekgods #probiotic #kefir @truefruit #redgrapefruit 

@snergy #kombucha

Acres of Razor Clams and Manhattan Clam Chowder…

When you receive an abundance of razor clams, there are so many choices for meals and to use them in a timely manner… 

I decided to make delicious Manhattan Clam Chowder. Now, I understand that people have strong feelings about New England Clam Chowder but, I have a dairy problem unfortunately. Oh well, fresh clams don’t wait. I must forge on! 

  
I began with 3/4 of a quart of classic mirepoix from Trader Joes, 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated garlic, and chopped bacon, three slices. I added in three chopped medium potatoes and organic vegetable stock (1 container). I poured in one quart jar of my homemade canned stewed tomatoes. Then chopped up 5 or 6 fresh razor clams and tossed those in. I seasoned with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. And let simmer for about 20 minutes. And, it turned out fast and delicious. Really! Awesome. These are a Washington treat like no other.  

   

And, as you can see some will be hitting the freezer for later enjoyment and consumption. Yeah! 

  
#washington #razor #clam #bounty #yum #foodie for real 😋.  

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

  
These are seriously the best! I get cravings for them. And, no animals were harmed, and that’s okay by me. I’m trying to eat less meat. 

If you haven’t heard of or tried these. It’s incredibly easy and perfect for an appetizer or snack with a salad, ah yeah! 

1 head of Cailiflower cut into bite size pieces

1 cup water

1 cup flour

3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon onion powder 

2 tablespoons butter

Ready

Pre-heat your oven to 450*

Spray a sheet pan with oil 

  
Mix the flour, water and seasonings in a bowl and mix

Coat your cauliflower and place on the sheet pan

Cook for 20 minutes, with 1 turn in between 

  
Mix your melted butter and sauce while those are cooking

Place in the mixture when done 

Garnish with celery and serve with sauce

  

Friday’s  Homemade Meatballs and Sauce

The rain and cold fronts are still blustering through at full force here in the northwest and the wind has been whipping with no sign up let up. Spring ahead is days away. So, something hearty sounded yummy to close the week before lighter weather is to come. What better than meatballs and some delicious fresh tasting sauce? 

  
Meatballs 

1 lb. organic ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

3/4 Cup sheeps milk pecorino grated

1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley 

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups bread crumbs ( I used my Daves bread heals) 

1/4 cup warm water

2 cloves of garlic 

2 eggs 

Drizzle of olive oil 
Preheat oven to 400*
Mix all ingredients drizzle in a bit of the water and mix again. Form into meatballs and bake for 10-15 minutes. 

  
Sauce

1 Can canned tomatoes blended

1/4 Grated Sheeps Milk Pecorino 

Olive oil 

2 cloves garlic 

1/4 onion

1/4 cup red wine

Salt and pepper to taste 

1 tablespoon Rosemary 

Dash lemon

Dash Vineger

Chile flakes to taste 

  

I started by heating some olive oil in a large pan. I sautéed the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes to translucent on medium heat. In the meantime blend those tomatoes then add it too your pan. Add your salt and pepper and your herbs, wine and lemon. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cheese and stir in.  Add in meatballs and simmer for a few minutes more. 

  

Eat alone with sauce or with pasta of your choice…

  
It turned out easy, delicious and with leftovers for a lunch or two tomorrow. Yum! 

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley salt and ground black pepper to taste 2 cups stale Italian bread, crumbled 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water 1 cup olive oil

Mini Margaritas and Stuffed Bell Pepper Party🌵

 My parents owned a Mexican restaurant for 30 years. So, I sit around a lot thinking about things like margaritas, nachos and tacos. I can’t help it…

You know those adorable Patron nipper bottles? Ready to put those to fun things to use and have a fantastic, little,  Mexican themed party? A party complete with a mini stuffed pepper recipe and more. It’s super simple. And,  I thought so! 

First,drinks! Every great host or hostess starts with the best stuff first. Ever heard of these unusually flavored margaritas? Well, you have now! They are amazing.  Cucumber/jalapeño is fresh and spicy, chipotle/grapefruit-tart with a kick, grapefruit and limes are in season now. I save my lavender from the summer so, lavender/lime will knock “the girls” out of the water! Gorgeous, floral and tart. If you ever wonder about deep Mexico, mezcal reminds me of my trip to Oaxaca. Wow, that was a doozy. Smokey and gritty. Just like that trip. There’s just something cool about it though. 

What are you waiting for? This stuff is so great! Don’t be scared to switch it up, for petes sake. Blow your guests away already with these ideas. 

DRINKS…

CUCUMBER JALAPEÑO MARGARITA

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup white tequila

1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier

1/4 cup simple syrup, or more as needed

2 slices cucumber, diced

1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise

Ice, for serving

Salt for glass rims, optional

DIRECTIONS

For the rim: Serve with salt-rimmed Patron bottles or glasses. 

For the margarita: Mix together the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup, cucumber and jalapenos in a large pitcher. Chill for at least 1 hour (the longer the margarita sits, the more the cucumber and jalapeno flavors infuse into the drink).

Garnish inside the bottles with diced cucumber. Or a cucumber wheel on the side of the glass. 


CHIPOTLE GRAPEFRUIT MARGARITA 

CHIPOTLE SALT:

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

MARGARITA:

2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

2 ounces silver tequila

1 ounce orange liqueur

1 small pinch chipotle powder

2 grapefruit wedges


DIRECTIONS 

For the chipotle salt: Mix together the salt and chipotle powder on a plate.
For the margarita: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the grapefruit juice, tequila, orange liqueur and chipotle powder. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled, about 30 seconds. (In general, the drink is ready by the time the shaker mists up.)

Moisten the rim of the bottles or a glass with one of the grapefruit wedges and press the rim into the chipotle salt. Strain the margarita into the prepared bottle/glass and garnish with small dices of lime or a grapefruit wedge on the side of the glass. 


LAVENDER LIME MARGARITA 

2 oz. silver tequila

1/2 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. lavender simple syrup

1/2 lime

sugar

dried lavender

DIRECTIONS 

*Prepare basic simple syrup (sugar and water mixture). Then, while heating add in dried lavender. Strain to remove lavender then add to your drinks. 

For the rim: On a plate, mix the sugar and dried lavender and use it to rim the outside of the bottle or a rocks glass. 

For the margarita: In a shaker, combine 2 oz. silver tequila, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. simple syrup and the juice of half a lime and let sit with ice to chill. 

Shake and strain the contents of the strainer into the bottles or glasses. Drop dices of lime in for garnish in or a lime wheel on the side of the glass. 
MEZCAL MARGARITA 

2 ounces tequila 

1-ounce Triple Sec

1-ounce fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon simple syrup

Ice cubes

1/2-ounce mezcal (I recommend Mezcales de Leyenda)

DIRECTIONS 

For the rim: Lime and salt on your Patron bottles. Garnish inside the bottles with diced lime. Or a lime wedge on the side of the glass. The chipotle rim can be used on this one, as well. It’s tasty if you love some spice. 

For the margarita: Place tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake until combined. Pour in the bottles or on the rocks in a glass and pour a float of mezcal on top of either preparation; do not stir the mezcal into the drink, as it should “float” on top of the rocks glass and in the bottles. 

Pull out the straws and start the party. Now, ready to get your “fast” food on? 

FOOD…

STUFFED MINI PEPPERS

1 avocado, finely chopped

3/4 cup rinsed canned organic

 black beans

1/2 cup organic frozen corn, thawed or organic canned corn

1/2 cup  Chunky Salsa/Pico de Gallo

1 lb. assorted sweet mini peppers, cut lengthwise in half, seeded

1 cup grated cheese (I use yogurt cheese slices and throw those in the food processor for my lactose intolerance) 

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

LET’S DO THIS…

Heat your broiler up on low 

Mix avocado, black beans, corn and salsa together. The flavor is in the salsa so, get your favorite. 

Stuff your peppers with your mixture. Top with cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes depending on your oven. Plate and top with fresh cilantro for color.

For a spicy version add some Tapatio to your stuffing mixture or get a hotter salsa. 

So, not only is this fast and easy for friends and say a girls gathering, football party (Go Hawks!), or afternoon snack even. And, guess what? They are only about 40 or 50 calories each. 

OTHER STUFF…

Use your stuffing for mini or regular tacos too, by cutting out the centers for tacos for the littles and pinning them shut with a tooth pick. Or, serving up regular ones and garnishing with fresh cheese and sour cream. Those are crazy easy and FAST! I’m sure I don’t need to give anyone a huge run down on tacos. It’s been done. 

Speaking of fast, you could layer everything into little cups and make a layered dip out of those left over ingredients for another, stunningly,  quick pre-prepped treat. Just grab and go!!! 

Speaking of simple,pinto beans and delicious salsa in a crockpot on low is an outstandingly, insanely simple trick, my mom pulled off all the time with her signature salsa. A can and container on low an hour before is about as big a no-brainer as it can get. I serve organic chips and guacamole. Pickled, spicy jalapeño, carrot and onion is the trick of an authentic twist. 

Throw in some Mexican beer. Throw on Buena Vista Social Club for some tunes with your favorite colored tunic, jeans, flats. Throw a flower in your hair and welcome to maybe one of the simplest parties you have ever pulled off! 

De nada

THIS DESIGNER GIRL’S GUIDE TO P.N.W. OYSTERS, DRINKS AND FAVORITE SPOTS TO GET YOUR SHUCK ON…CAUSE I’M IN LOVE! 

FullSizeRender

Welcome to the only real reason I am in love with the chilly weather here in Washington State…OYSTERS SEASON! I am a fan of seafood in general but, there is a special place in my heart for a fresh, beautiful little bi-valve all packed with brine, salt and minerality. Cradled in its own little cup for pure enjoyment. In my opinion, what’s not to love? I know they’re not for everyone. And, do you know what that means in my head? More for me. Yes, I’m a greedy, little oyster goose…the more the merrier, loves.

I have done my homework and been around selling seafood and backing these babies for many, many years now. And, I happily pass some knowledge and preference onto you. Many of my friends are already in the know and are completely familiar with my, dare I say, slight addiction. Because, 3 dozen is no problem.

Did you know that oysters were introduced in Washington State from Japan in 1902? I would like to say 113 years later, thank you Japan, thank you! I’m sure a lot of other people are thanking them daily to still, since oysters have become roughly a $180 million dollar industry here in Washington State. That’s one big pearl. No, on the joke? Okay, anyway, there are countless species of oysters from different regions up and down our coast here and I’m here to tell you, they are not the same from one end to the other. In fact, the waterways count big for flavor. Adult Oysters can filter up to 25 gallons A DAY, or more. By doing that they filter out any gunk. And they, themselves, do us a huge solid in return, by helping us keep our PNW waters cleaner. You heard it right, the more oysters, the better for our waters. Oh, sweet luck. They also help with a slew of other critters in their ecosystems to form essential habitats.

Just like wine, another great love, oysters are known for their “terroir”, that’s the flavor imparted by the area that they grew up. Oh, how cute…I’m still gonna eat you little oysters.

Now onto some serious news…Oyster reefs in the world are in decline but, with correct harvesting, and habitat maintenance and growing,  we can protect those tasty little buggers and reap all the benefits of doing so. And, Washington has had its fair share of problems here at home in the past. It’s a testament to taking care of our seas and oceans and protect the waters for all creatures in it. They are anything if not delicate. But, things are looking better and you may ask yourself, self, is it still good to eat my share? According to all the reading I have done, the information out there says it IS still good to eat and support your “locally ” grown, oyster farmers and go ahead and still do your research to support the ones looking out for our gorgeous state, right?

So let’s begin. Shall we?

oyster

THE WHAT


As I said before, there are several kinds of oysters specific to each region and as you make your way by boat, car or foot there are many to choose from. Here are some favorites but, not limited to, in a few regions (I hate limits on oysters. You obviously realize this by now, I’m sure.):

Vancouver Island (No, not the “Coov” as it is affectionately known, the one closer to our Canadian friends):

Fanny Bay- 2″-5″ Sept-July  Firm meat, mild brine, cucumber finish

Steller Bay- 2.5″- 3.5″ Sept-July   Delicate, clean, and meaty

Kusshi- 2.5″ Year around   Small, meaty, delicate (a little too small sometimes for me but, tasty)

North Puget Sound:

Penn Cove Selects-  up to 4″  Sept-July  Firm, meaty, bright and briny- a tasty oyster, hands down

Shigokus- 3″ Oct-Feb. Clean, firm, briny, cucumber/melon finish. In Japanese it means ULTIMATE. It’s one of my all time favorite oysters…amazing.

Snow Creek- up to 3″  Sept- July  Firm, meaty, mild brine, minerally with a sweet finish. Sound good don’t they? They are.

South Sound:

Kumomotos -2″-3″   Year Around     Deep cup, thin, mild, sweet flavor with a melon finish. A very “friendly” oyster for the beginner. Tasty for sure.

Totten Virginicas- up to 3″   Sept- July    Plump, sweet, briny and clean with a small mineral flavor

Gold Creek- up to 4″   Sept-July   Mild, clean flavor, light brine

Hood Canal:

Hama Hama- up to 3″   Sept-July  Clean, crisp, never mushy. And these live up to all of those descriptions.

Deer Creek- up to 3″  Sept- July  Clean flavor, meaty, crisp. You’ll notice a trend happening in this area. They got it goin’ on, when it comes to oysters

Dabob Bay-  up to 3″  Sept-July  Clean with a slight sweet finish

Note: I prefer cold weather months for oysters so, July is noted a lot. But, I personally stick to the adage of “the month’s with ‘R'” rule. Just sayin’. Also, brine refers to the salty flavor that naturally occurs. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology.

oyster blog 2

THE WITH


Now we come to a matter of preference. There are favorite ways to enjoy oysters and that is that. Sometimes it’s lemon, tabasco, creamy horseradish, or cocktail sauce. I also, personally dig a yummy mignonette. It has all the amazing things that bring out the flavors in oysters without junking it up too much. It seems a little fancy but, trust me on this if you love anything pickled, peppery and sweet, It all comes together for a perfect, little, balanced topper to your oysters. Here’s the recipe for the one I make at home:

Champagne-Vinegar Mignonette

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot

Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper

Pinch of Sugar

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Make mignonette:

Stir together vinegar, shallot, pepper, and sugar and let stand 30 minutes. Leave the parsley out and you can even make this a day ahead.

That’s it. Simple right?

A little can top each raw, or baked with butter oysters for a bit of a switch up to the ol’ norm.

Speaking of Champagne, guess what makes a perfect pairing with oysters? Drumroll please…you guessed it Champagne. Now, there all sorts of wonderful things out there lining the shelves that will work just fine, from cheap to pricy. There are some real goodies. If you’re on a budget, a Spanish Cava will easily fit the bill. Made in many ways the same as true Champagne it’s not a bad alternative for low cost, in my opinion. There also some fantastic Sparkling wines and some terrific local things. Treveri winery is located in the Yakima valley and I have tried several of their “sparklers” (why wouldn’t I, of course) and I liked. Bonus points if you head over to the “Palm Springs of Washington” in Yakima and pick it up. It’s lovely, the snacks are on point and Owen Roe is right next door with a whole bunch of other choice wineries, as well. If you are ready to throw down the gauntlet and go for it, in a momentous celebration of these beauties then I have a few for you too. These are all still fairly priced and tasty bubbles:

Bollinger Special Cuvee – Broad flavor and toasty

Gosset Brut Excellence NV- Bright, Zesty, and good bubbles…literally.

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut- Buttery, consistent flavor

If you really want to splurge a bit more of course there is Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, or my personal crush, Billacart Salmon Rose.

Honorable mention goes to the traditional martini, Muscadet, Sauvignon Blanc, and the ever classic and refreshing beer. Keepin’ in simple can go a long way.

oyster 1

THE WHERE


Well, all this talk and planning has made me excited and hopefully you too. What if your like me and you’re ready for some right now? Well, I’ve got something for you. Seattle is a city for seafood and there are some great spots to get it. By the way, FYI there are two new hip spots that I am in the know about and very excited for. One, in the market across from the Inn at the Market is going to be the famous chef Shiro’s newest venture. Expected opening is in November and promises some ridiculously fine seafood, accompanied with a prime view of the water. This man is sushi and fish royalty and if you don’t know, it’s worth a Google. Then another few close friends and formidable restaurateurs are going to make a big splash, with a new spot in the Ballard district of Seattle that will tentatively be Latin. I don’t know about the amount of seafood that will be on the menu but, be ready for delicious, from a James Beard Award winning chef and amazingly gorgeous since I have seen a secret preview of the architecture and Interior to come. Seriously stunning. Okay, okay, back to the subject at hand. You can’t wait to sit down to a plate of a dozen tasty treats. Here’s where I think to go right now in the Greater Seattle area:

The Ballard Oyster Annex

5410 Ballard Ave. N.W.

Seattle, WA 98107

They have Happy Hour from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM with $1.50 Chef’s choice oysters and 6 champagne! Oh yeah. Get on that pronto and tell the Chef Seth “hello” from me! The best.

http://www.opentable.com/ballard-annex-oyster-house



Taylor Shellfish Farm

1521 Melrose Ave

Seattle, WA 98107

It’s $4 off a dozen oysters from 2-4 PM. The décor is modern the selection is good. And, there are some nice choices on the wine and beer menu.



The Walrus and the Carpenter

4743 Ballard Ave N.W

Seattle, WA 98107

Renee Erickson believes in clean and fine seafood. She’s a talent without a doubt and they go through triple digits in oysters in that spot. It’s nautically gorgeous and will set a fine mood for “oysterfesting”. It is 50% off of oysters from 4-5 PM weekdays daily and 25% from 5-6 PM.

Honorable mention goes to the Brooklyn Seafood and Steakhouse that has an oyster happy hour, Elliott’s for being down in the market and a classic and Ray’s Boathouse Bar downstairs has had oysters for a happy hour in the past and the view is unstoppable. Let me remind you to check up on the current deals and times since, things change and specials change from time to time. And, everyone Is always working hard and trying there best in all these great places. Let it be noted I love my restaurant peeps and all their dedication. Be kind.

For live fresh oysters in the South Sound when you are ready to bring some home call the wonderful people at:

Rocky Bay Shellfish

Tony and Patti Softich

5730 E. State Route 302

Belfair, WA. 98528

(360) 552-2139

Rockybayshellfish@gmail.com

The nicest people growing Pacific’s and farming oysters right on there own property. They are a wealth of knowledge on the topic and the process. Delicious, and by the dozen. They also sell clams, as well. Call them in advance take your cooler and they will have an order ready for pick up. And, you get one gorgeous drive out of the deal. Tell them Jay, Sonya and Jackson sent you!

I think I have covered most of the major bases and now you know my excitement for the season! I will leave you lastly with some favorite kitchen and party essential links to make things stunning and easy to entertain and indulge for seasons to come. Happy Shucking everyone!!!

oyster fritters
oyster fritters

oyster blog 3

LITTLE TREASURES THAT THIS DESIGNER LOVES…


renee erikson cookbook           octopus napkin              the geography of oysters

http://amzn.to/1RUixHM                http://amzn.to/1GnSmYH          http://amzn.to/1ZUzBTh

champagne glasses   oyster platter

http://amzn.to/1ZUAco2      http://amzn.to/1GnSOWQ

oyster knife

http://amzn.to/1GR4ZX5