Recipe: Nuts About Cabbage Salad

Ingredients:

4 c red cabbage, slivered

½ c hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, chopped

¼ c flat leaf parsley, chopped

4 TBL walnut oil

1 ½ TBL balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix: Place cabbage, hazelnuts and parsley in a bowl. In separate, small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Toss on cabbage mixture. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Molten…Lava…Yumminess

Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery…What better place to have birthday dessert?

Of course, the night started at dinner just a few doors down at Volterra. And we were worried when Hot Cakes was closed. Thankfully, the fans on the stoop shared that they would open soon. By the time we returned, the wonderful smells of chocolate filled the air outside.

Oh, so many choices filled the chalk boards. Chocolate and more chocolate. A little peanut butter here. A pinch of salt sprinkled over caramel. Melted marshmallows.

I choose…

Dark Decadence: Theo dark chocolate, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel, nib toffee

  • a pot…or a jar…of oozy, rich, melty warm deep, dark chocolate
  • plenty of salt to truly make it salted caramel, not just a crystal or two
  • finished with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream

And I enjoyed every last bite. Shared with no one.

Looking forward to going back and trying a boozy shake. Hoping it is as good as the creamery on St. Thomas.

The location:

Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery | 5427 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 | 206.420.3431 | Website

Dress Hunting: Weekend Two

The dress hunting adventures continues with a girlfriends weekend in PDX. We returned to Jen’s favorite places from her dress shopping adventures less than a year ago.

Day 1 – All about Northwest Portland on 23rd.

We poked around in a few dress shops. Tried on many silk options at Lena Menoyeff Studio. Long, short. V-neck, drape neck to strapless. Cream to bright white. Simple chiffon to beautiful appliques. A variety of beautiful colored silk sashes. Wandered through a few more shops without much inspiration.

No shopping trip is complete without a snack. And we found the ultimate ice cream stop at Salt & Straw. And then we grabbed a few chocolates on our way back to the car at Moonstruck.

Day 2 – Today revolved around an appointment at the resale shop Xtabay.

First things first: Breakfast at our favorite Sunday Brunch spot: Daily Café in the Pearl. After our stomachs were happy, we headed to Xtabay. Bailie started in the dress shop with thoughts of a vintage Caribbean blue or turquoise dress. She found several options, along with a few that didn’t match her ideal color selection. And settled on a super cute strapless 1950’s prom dress in peach.

We moved upstairs to the bridal salon and checked out decades of dress options. Between the six of us, we found one or two to try from most decades. And Bailie got to wear her dress the whole time to make sure she liked it. As much as the older dresses were beautiful on the hanger, I just felt like I was playing dress up in them. The most fun for me was that Bailie wanted to be my partner in the dressing room, and even laced me into the a full length number complete with train. It was Bailie’s pick (so she seemed to love to lace it up). Of course, she also had to add veil options to create her favorite look.

The best part: At the end of the weekend, I felt more concrete in the style of dress I wanted. Full length. Sweetheart neckline. Beautiful fabric, maybe flowey, maybe not. And I loved all of the dresses that had all the built-in undergarments. The idea of knowing that I don’t have to wear both the dress and the layers underneath on a potentially hot August evening would be a bonus!

Dress Hunting: Day Uno

After pouring through a few magazines and searching through websites, I thought I had a few dress ideas down. So I set-up a day to go see Leslie – with Bailie, Mom and Aunt Linda in tow. I has short and simple in my mind, but Bailie had other ideas.

And Leslie took everyone’s thoughts into consideration. She filled a room with dresses before we arrived. From short and sassy to a few full length gowns – even a mermaid. Then she took Bailie on a walk where they pulled both a Cinderella dress (that Bailie could hide in while I walked) and a beautiful Spanish lace dress.

I walked away with a short fun white dress to wear for a shower, or maybe a wedding pre-function. Ordered a full-length Sue Wong as only one was left in stock. And a strapless dress that will likely come on the honeymoon. ((And definitely be wore before!))

Ricotta Gnocchi

On my wish list for many months – and recently inspired by “His Birthday Dinner”, we took time over the holidays to try our hand at Michael Chiarello’s Ricotta Gnocchi and Salsa della Nonna.

Using ricotta as the base for these gnocchi produces a lighter pillowy gnocchi (don’t tell me, “pillowy in not a word”). Start making the gnocchi at least 48 hours before you want to  serve them, as you need to drain the ricotta overnight, and then freeze the gnocchi before  cooking.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds whole-milk ricotta, drained  overnight in cheesecloth
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, preferably gray  salt
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling and dusting

Using the back of a large spoon, press the ricotta through a fine-mesh sieve  into a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and sea salt, and mix with a rubber  spatula. Gently fold in the flour; the less you work the dough, the lighter and  more tender the gnocchi will be. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Lightly sprinkle your work surface [make sure it is as cold and smooth, like  marble or a countertop] and two baking sheets with flour. Pull off about a  quarter of the gnocchi dough and gently roll it into a rope about 1 inch wide.  Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut the rope into 1-inch  pieces. Gently transfer each gnocchi to a baking sheet and dust with flour.  Repeat with the remaining dough, then slide the gnocchi on trays into the  freezer and freeze for at least 24 hours, and up to 1 month (the texture is best  when they go directly into the water from the freezer).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook about 24  gnocchi for 3-3 ½ minutes, or for 30-45 seconds after they float to the  surface. Transfer the gnocchi to warm plates. Following serving directions.

Salsa della Nonna

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 4-pound chicken, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup peeled and finely diced  carrot
  • ¼ cup finely diced celery
  • ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes,  preferably San Marzano, crushed in a food-mill or pulsed 3-4 times in a food processor,  juices reserved
  • ¼ cup torn fresh basil  leaves

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the  chicken with salt and pepper. Add the  chicken to the pot and lightly brown it on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.  Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Place the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the carrot, celery, onion,  and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the rosemary, bay  leaf, and red wine. Stir to scrape up the browned bits, then add the chicken,  and any accumulated juices, back to the pot. Cook, reducing the liquids until  the pot is nearly dry. Pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Top the pot with a sweating lid so it rests on the chicken, and place  in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.

With tongs, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and keep warm for serving,  or cool, wrap, and chill for later use. Add the torn basil leaves to the sauce  and stir.

To Serve:

Serve about 12 gnocchi per plate. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, and a  spoonful of the warm sauce. Finish  with a sprinkle of pecorino and serve immediately.

*Make a sweating lid: You can  also use a normal pot lid, but the cooking time may increase. Trace the lid of  your cooking pot on parchment and cut out a lid with a slightly smaller  diameter. The lid helps reduce circulation in the pot, keeping the food more  moist.

2012 :: The End

It has been years that I have celebrated the eve of the new year out on the town. I am guessing 15 years have elapsed since the last night out. Many years have been spent with family in the snow (so we are too tired to make it to midnight) or socializing with friends.

This year, tradition was thrown out the window. And, together  we hit the town with a late dinner at Staple and Fancy (finally!). It has been on our dinner out list for months.  And for New Year’s Eve, the crew at one of Ethan Stowell’s hot spots did it right (by us).

THE VINO

We checked out the wine list prior to arrival. We were pleasantly surprised by the low prices of several local wines that we like. So we decided to leave our bottles at home and see what they would bring us from the international scene. They conspired and took us to Spain for a delightful, fruity and full-bodied wine: Ribero Del Duero, Teofile Reyes, 2009.

FIRST COURSE

  • Chicken Liver Crostini with golden raisins.
  • Cotechino with lentils (I may have loved the lentils most).
  • Shigoku Oysters with lemon, horseradish and olive oil.
  • Treviso Salad and anchovy dressing. (He had a moment with this dish).
  • House Smoked Ricotta over grilled bread and driseled honey (I want smoked ricotta gnocchi).
  • Hamachi Crudo with avocado, chili and lime.
  • Porchetta di Testa and pear mostarda.

PASTA

Mine: Potato Gnocchi :: Manila clams, mascarpone and lemon.

His: Rigatoni Amatriciana :: Guanciale, chili, tomato.

MAIN

His: Muscovy Duck Breast :: Glazed root vegetables and chestnut purée

Mine: Grilled Albacore Tuna :: Tomatoes, capers and olives.

DESSERT

Ours: Ricotta Cheesecake :: Cranberry compote and Warm Panettone Bread Pudding :: Salted caramel gelato.

Of course, we finished our multi-course glutony about 10:30 so we had time to kill to make it to midnight to share the first kiss in the first moment of the new year. We meandored the streets of Ballard until the cold set in our bones, then headed up to Capital Hill to view the Seatlle downtown as the weather was clear and cool. The city view did not disappoint, but the firework-watching crowds were gathering so we drove the long way home and got ready slowly for sleep. We made it to bed in time to watch the ball drop, share a first kiss, and for me to fall soundly asleep at 12:01 a.m. on January 1st, 2013.

The Location:

Staple & Fancy | 4739 Ballard Avenue NW | Seattle, WA 98107 | 206.789.1200 | Website