Recipe: Waldorf Red Velvet Cake

Our family has long been an fan of red velvet cake. I have had it more than once for my birthday. And now we have brought the cake back as part of our Christmas holiday tradition for the last few years. However, we modify the recipe from cake to either cupcakes or my favorite, bite sized cake balls.


Preheat oven to 350. Flour two 9 inch cake pans.

1/2 c Crisco
1 1/2 c sugar

Cream until fluffy, add 2 eggs, add one at a time to the batter, beat 1 minute. In a separate dish, mix 2 tbl unsweetened cocoa and 1/4 c red food coloring. Add to batter and mix well. Add 1 tsp salt. In separate dish, mix 1 c buttermilk and 1 tap vanilla. Add slowly into mixture, alternating with flour (2 1/4 c double-sifted flour). Combine 1 tbl vinegar and 1 tap baking soda. Mix into batter. Pour batter into cake pans, bake 25-30 min.


We actually use basic cream cheese frosting recipe instead, but here is the official one:

1 c milk
5 tbl flour
Carefully mix, cook on med-hi heat until think. Cool.

1 c butter, softened
1 c sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Beat together until fluffy. Add milk mixture slowly, maintaining fluffiness. Spread on cake or cupcakes.

To compile as CAKE BALLS:

Crumble cake in a large bowl and mix in frosting (we mix in a standard cream cheese recipe). Similar to making drop cookies, scoop spoonfuls and mold into balls. I prefer to freeze the balls for a few hours before dipping into melted chocolate. After dipping, place on parchment paper to set chocolate. Once chocolate is set, enjoy!

Recycled Thanksgiving

After Thanksgiving Dinner settled, we still had a refrigerator full of leftovers. And Bill started getting creative…


Ravioli dinner night with three pasta pillows to choose from:

  • Traditional cheese combination in red sauce
  • Butternut squash
  • Duck Condit filled in a cream sauce

With ample supplies of red wine and leftover dessert.


Reusing the mashed potatoes and homemade rolls for hot roast beef sandwiches. And then more dessert.


A variety of pizza was on the menu tonight using up cheeses and meats, herbs and sauces. Thanksgiving pizza never tasted so good!

A Menu for Red Heads

To celebrate the season of red – and a belated birthday dinner for just us – he made a reservation at the Herb Farm. This week (or maybe month), the menu is titled “A Menu for Red Heads”. And we learned the uniqueness of the menu is that first the wine sommelier (and team) choose the wines from around the Pacific Northwest to feature. Then the chef paired the food (perfectly, I might add).


  •  Rutabaga Root Soup, Quinault Steelhead Caviar, Shiso, Horseradish Cream.
  • House-Cured Copa, Egg Salas, Sea Beans, Oregon Olives, Elderberry Capers.
  • Batter-Fried Sablefish Brandade, Dill, Beet-Onion-Apple-Celery Root Remoulade.

2007 Indigo Sparkling Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Red Wine with Fish

  • Seared Coriander-Crusted Pacific Albacore Tuna, marinated Jerusalem Artichokes, Baby Leeks, Guanciale Vinaigrette

2010 Teutonic Wine Company “Bergspitze” Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Pig in the Patch

  • Pork Cotechino Sausage, Pumpkin Sauce, Wild Mushroom-Kale cannelloni, Cold-Pressed Oregon Koroneiki Olive Oil

2010 Palotai Kadarka, “Bull’s Blood”, Southern Oregon

All Quaked Up

  • Lavendar-Cured Moulard Duck Breast
  • Charred Pears and Turnips with Black Pepper, Oregon Black Truffle Sauce

2010 Idilico Graciano, Upland Vineyard, Yakima Valley

Long-Braised Short Rib

  • Grilled 72-hour Braised Painted Hills Angus Short Rib
  • Caramelized Cauliflower Puree
  • Pagout of Controne Beans, Cauliflower & Chickpeas, Watercress Pool

2010 Avennia Arnaut Syrah, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley

Noix et Roie

  • Coco-and-Boletus-Mushroom-Coated Duck Foie Gras Torchon
  • Walnut-Prune Compote, Sourdough Waffle, Green Walnut Nocino Syrup

Red Ice. Blue Cow.

  • Rogue River Blue Cheese Chantilly Cream,
  • Wild Huckleberry-Ruby Port Granite, Rosemary Meringues
  • Oak. Smoke. Shocolate.
  • Spiced Chocolate Bavarian, Smoked-Salted Caramel, Cherry-Oak Sherbert

2010 Brian Carter Cellars Opulento (Touriga Nacional, Souzao, Tinto Cao), Yakima Valley

The location:

The Herbfarm | 14590 NE 145th Street |  Woodinville, WA 98072 | 425-485-5300 | Website


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

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).


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.


  • 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.


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

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


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

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


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

A Night at the Glass Garden

In the midst of the holiday celebrations, I was lucky to attend a company evening out at the new Chihuly Garden and Glass. On my bucket list for the last few months, this was a welcome opportunity (and the price was perfect too)!

I could try to describe the exhibits in detail. But nothing I could say would recreate the images in your mind like a few photographs. Enjoy!

Iphone Import 2.13 2012-12-06 005 Iphone Import 2.13 2012-12-06 004 Iphone Import 2.13 2012-12-06 003 Iphone Import 2.13 2012-12-06 002

Once quick “one fine day” story before you go…

While gazing at the indoor garden exhibit, I thought wouldn’t this be a beautiful back drop for a wedding ceremony. Even mine. Then I remembered our short list of wants starts with “be outside for the entire event”. I hope someone I know decides to get married here!

Plan your visit.

Wicked With My Girl

We needed some girl time — and with Wicked coming to town durring school conference week, there was no better time for a night out. Just she and me.

Dinner :: Serious Pie
What better than pizza by Tom Douglas for mother/ daughter dinner out? We started with a salad, followed with pizza and were too full for dessert.

Bartlett pears, arugula, carpona ham, marcona almond purée

She: buffalo mozzarella, red sauce, fresh basil
Me: yukon gold potato, rosemary, pecorino

Accompanied by a glass of Italian Barbera for me, and soda for she. She ate a full pie, I had lunch for tomorrow.

Onto the show…