I am super excited to be posting this first post in October from my new kitchen. As you may remember I moved into a townhouse, a 2 year old townhouse. For the last 14 years I baked in a 54 year old, avocado green kitchen. It was mine and I loved it but I always longed for a newer, fancier kitchen. This kitchen fits the bill. It has backsplash, it has cool light fixtures, it has tons of cabinets and counter top that goes for miles! Yippee.
This whole month will be fun Fall and Halloween recipes from me. I thought I’d ease us into Fall with a hearty muffin.
The official last day of summer is September 23rd, something that I don’t really want to talk about. It’s been a great summer, and as much as I like the fall, I’m sad to see the season end. Some of my very favorite things about Seattle happen from June through September: long sunny days, great hiking, and extraordinary fruit.
Rather than mourn summer’s passing, I figure we should celebrate the end of the season with with a final pie!
Also – you may have noticed some scheduling changes around S&S over the past few months. And then there’s been a whole lot of of Strudel this month, and not a word from Streusel… more info what we’re up to on the next page.
This is my third, and final, installment of the International Food Bloggers Conference 2015 run-down. It was different than last year – some of the differences were great, others could be tweaked for next year.
IFBC Adventure – Sur La Table + Kitchen Aid (extreme excitement for those of us who get worked up over this sort of thing)
The 2015 International Food Blog Conference was this past weekend in my hometown, a good reason/excuse for my pal Erica to visit. It also gave us both the opportunity to learn a bit more about blogging, connect with our fellow bloggers, and, of course, have some hearty snacks.
The day before the conference, I was contacted and asked if I’d like to, last-minute, squeeze into an amazing pre-conference excursion “KitchenAid and Sur La Table.” It was a trip to Sur La Table’s headquarters and a chance see a demo of some new Kitchen Aid products. As any home cook/gadget lover knows, the only response to this is ooooohhhahhhhhhh.
Kitchen nerd that I am, I was so excited I sort of felt nervous. This excursion had sold out months ago, and they must’ve had a last-minute cancellation. Since I’m local, it was easy for me to do a wee bit of re-arranging my work schedule, and attend. AND – apparently there was a transportation snafu for the group transport option; but since I drove myself, I was the only one there for the first 30 minutes or so. It gave me an extra opportunity to browse around their displays and chat with some Sir La Table’s incredibly warm and friendly staff. I also got to hear stories about the leftovers the Sur La Table staff gets to eat when the chefs test recipes. If I ever decide to give up social work, I’m calling Sir La Table. I’m not sure what a 15 year veteran of the non-profit world has to offer the professional culinary field, but I’m confident I can figure something out.
At the event, we learned about some really fun new products – I’ve been reading about spiralizers on other blogs, but now I absolutely want one! – and were treated to a great demonstration, and was really fortunate to receive some incredibly generous gifts provided to us by Kitchen Aid and Sur La Table.
Here’s a photo tour from yesterday – including some demo photos (and my favorite – a crowd of bloggers taking actions shots of the spiralizer in action. Everyone was so excited, it sort of seemed like Bono was there, demonstrating how to make zucchini noodles).
IFBC is coming! Last year’s food blog conference was a great time, so I’m back for a second year. The best part of the conference was, of course, getting to attend with my co-blogger Streusel and good buddy Erica. Sadly, Streusel couldn’t make it this year – between selling her house, buying a new home, and dealing with the sale of her beloved ducks – she had a few too many things going on to attend. So Erica and I will have to hold down the fort – a challenge we gladly accept!
While we won’t have a ton of free time, if we pace ourselves there may be time to sneak in a few snacks outside of the conference. I’ve been compiling a list of a few neighborhood favorites.
Until last week, summer was in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest. My garden has been highlighting what a long, warm season it’s been; the kale is robust, and most importantly, my six tomato plants are producing amazing fruit. The tomatoes are so sweet that you’re reminded that they are, indeed, a fruit, and not the vegetable we often mislabel them as.
Brandon and I have been loving the hell out of it – it’s pretty amazing to grow your own food (I’m still not over it – it’s something I never could have imagined I’d do back when I lived in New York) and I find it so satisfying to put work into something that yields such an amazing outcome. Also, I (embarrassingly) love to go into my yard to “harvest” the veggies. Can’t get enough of it.
As our plants began to produce, I was “challenged” (i.e. had the best problem ever) with what to do with all the tomatoes. I’d say that at least 25% went directly into my face, but I wanted to also find recipes that highlighted their flavor and didn’t get lost with a bunch of other ingredients. I found this tomato sauce recipe a few weeks back, and it was so easy and perfect – very few ingredients, crazy flavorful, and rich – that when my dad and his wife were in town this weekend, I made it again (and to be clear I made it to show off – I’m pretty proud of our tomatoes!)
I am sad because I am posting a breakfast sandwich with the last duck egg produced by my ducks. Correction – they were really my daughter’s ducks but since I bought all the food and straw for them and took care of them probably 60% of the time, I classify them as mine!
Sadly, we had to get rid of them. We have decided to down size our space and move from a 12,000 square foot lot (so much mowing and weeding) into a townhome. Townhome = no ducks!
The 2 year duck adventure has come to an end. Six ducks, $600 and about 100 dozen eggs later, I learned a lot! I will miss the ducks with their quirky personalities and fresh eggs every morning. I won’t miss shoveling snow out of their pen at 5am so they can come out and eat. Nor will I miss breaking ice so they can swim.
You may remember how excited I was when I first posted about duck eggs (in a sandwich no less), one taste and I was hooked. So hooked in fact that two months later I bought the first two ducks. When the first egg arrived I made a cookie. Ducks eggs make high altitude baking easy and they make all baked goods taste better. How can they not with extra fat and extra protein compared to their chicken friends?
This breakfast sandwich is simple…
Carrot Sourdough Pancakes+ Fried Duck Egg + Powdered Sugar = Tasty!
Much to my surprise, I have embraced S&S’s Sandwich Month. The realization that it allowed me to incorporate all sorts of tasty condiments into my food gave me a whole new perspective. AND this time around, I even figured out how to include one of my verrry favorite roots – horseradish! – into my sandwich.
I love love love horseradish but since I don’t eat meat, I haven’t found many ways to integrate it into my world. Usually it’s in my life just once a year – at Passover – when my father or brother buys a fresh root, grates it, and then simulatiously yelps and tears up at the strong the taste and smell (both of them do a little “whoa! it’s so strong!” dance that I sort of love). This is shortly before eating it with joyful abandon at the actual Passover meal.
But last week I bought fresh horseradish for the first time myself, and made this sauce for some steak-eating guests. I absolutely loved it – tangy and creamy, it’s got great flavor without being overpoweringly hot. Figuring that the flavor would stand up well to some hearty vegetables, I whipped up this sandwich so that I wouldn’t miss out on any of the horseradishy goodness!
All. Good. Things.
A confession: I’m not really into sandwiches. It was Streusel’s idea that our monthly theme honor – and get creative with – sandwiches. And full truth be told, I emailed my co-blogger a few days ago and asked if I could instead blog about a pie. She said I could not.
You see, as a quasi-vegetarian (I was a real vegetarian for 15 years, and a fake vegetarian – I eat fish now – for the past 10), most sandwiches taste the same… vegetables, some cheese, maybe hummus. All foods I love, but 25 years of eating the same stack of produce/dairy/spread, it gets a lot boring.
So at first, I was excited with Streusel’s idea, then a dull thud of a realization… since I’ve excited about two sandwiches in the last 20 years, this would be a daunting challenge. So, first I tried to escape the dilemma by distracting Streusel with a pie. When that failed, I dug in.