Just Saying

I’m no genius or great innovator. But these two ideas popped into my brain, who knows from where, and I’m liking them. They are small but mighty.

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I don’t think I need to give the recipe for this. We’ve all made rice krispie treats, some of us more often than we’d like to admit. Just put in whatever ratio of fruit loops (or other cereal you want) in your standard rice krispie treat recipe.

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These Joia sodas are a perfect mixer for your alcohol of choice. Take a few sips, add a slug of dark rum (my choice), and enjoy. Fancy straw optional.

 

Pretzel, Madame?

It’s not quite spring yet, so comforting meals are still an option! Sometimes you need a hearty sandwich. Hearty sandwiches are best achieved by adding an egg. An egg sandwich makes me think of a croque madame. Et voilà …my idea for a pretzel croque madame.

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Trader Joe’s now carries soft pretzel buns! These looked so delicious we had to plan our dinner around these pretzels.  Trader Joe’s carries a cheddar gruyere blend that was a perfect fit. I’m sure a ham and cheese sandwich would have been enough, but my brain and belly wanted more! Luckily I had all the fixins for a croque madame of sorts.

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Make a béchamel sauce. Much easier than its fancy name! I only had fat free milk but it still turned out rich enough. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan. Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour until it forms a paste. Whisk in 6 ounces of milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir often over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Grate the cheese to your liking! I liked the cheese a lot! Add about an ounce to the sauce and turn the heat off.  Toast up your pretzel buns under the broiler. Assemble your sandwich as follows: add a little extra mustard to the buns, a couple slices of black forest ham, a sprinkle of more grated cheese, and spoon on the béchamel sauce. I snuck the sandwiches back under the broiler so the cheese would melt.

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Don’t forget the best part, the fried egg! Season your fried egg and place it on top of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Westward Ho!

It’s acknowledged in my Top 5, so I suppose I can’t keep it a complete secret. Errr, alright, you can take a peek. I’ve been hoarding this photo because, well, for no good reason. I walk past canned clams in the grocery lately and give them a second look wondering if they could ever transform into this smoked manila clam dip creation from Westward:

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Oh and those potato chips!

I’ve been to Westward a couple times now, once for dinner and then recently for lunch. (I enjoyed my clammy dip on both occasions.)  Westward has elevated mediterranean seafood not without a Pacific Northwest feel.  The atmosphere is great. Think modern Jacques Cousteau.

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My recent lunch there introduced me to my new crustacean craving the Dungeness crab tartine.  This was perfection. The toast was crisp, the seaweed added a salty umami flavor, it was not too heavy on the aioli, but thankfully heavy on the crab! Even the side salad with fresh herbs and pickled veggies was amazing and balanced out the creaminess of the crab.

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When we enjoyed dinner there a few months back, we thought about their winter squash soup for weeks. And their milk braised pork papardelle with hazelnuts was a hit. Check out their website for current seasonal offerings.

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How could you not want to head Westward after this? Still on the fence? Did I tell you about the view? Well it sits right on the water on north Lake Union.  They have a fire pit for guests to enjoy while lounging in Adirondack chairs.

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Ice Cream, Ice Cream, We All Scream for Ice Cream Muffins!

I didn’t need to read the full recipe. The title alone is enough. Ice cream muffins? Ice cream muffins!! Wha? Yes!! Where have you been ice cream muffins? Hiding in an old Atlanta Junior League cookbook I recently picked up, that’s where.

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This idea is so fun and surprising you’ll want to make it no matter how difficult the recipe. Lo and behold, the recipe is the easiest thing I’ve made in years!

Two ingredients.

Two.

Ice cream + self rising flour =muffins.  See, I no lie:

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Thanks Miss Virginia Carswell of Atlanta.

Pick out your chosen ice cream. Since there’s only two ingredients, I opted to get the good stuff–Haagen Dazs. Let it soften up, not too soupy, but somewhat soupy. I may have sampled a taste…Yep, this will work nicely.

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Self rising flour is more of a staple in the south. I’ve never used it before. Apparently it is  flour that has baking soda and salt evenly distributed throughout.  You could make your own, but come on, then you lose that appeal of two ingredient muffins!

Mix together equal ratios of your somewhat soupy ice cream and flour. Here’s how my dough looked:

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The 1:1 ratio in this recipe makes a smaller batch of muffins–about 8 small muffins. I suggest making more! Maybe 1.5:1.5 cups to get you a nice dozen. In my preheated 425 degree oven, it actually took about 20 minutes to lightly brown the muffins…just keep a close eye on them. Burnt ice cream muffins would be sad.

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I tried some dulce de leche on mine. Nom! Pretty darn good. I can’t wait to try more ice cream flavors!

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Craveable Tofu!?

Is it strange to crave tofu? Well recently, I’ve had tofu on the brain. This has to be my favorite preparation of tofu.

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Not long after I moved to Seattle I discovered a version of this dish at Black Bottle Gastrotavern. I’ve tried many variations of crispy tofu. Frying it myself produced more soggy than crispy results. You can even buy prepackaged fried tofu in many Asian grocery stores…ehhh OK…but doesn’t seem fresh enough. When I came across this idea to bake the tofu that promised crispy pieces with creamy insides, I was forced to try the recipe as soon as possible. A quick search for a peanut sauce…voilà…ginger peanut sauce recipe from the New York Times. Side note: Do make the marinade suggested for the tofu! Worth the extra step.

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So You Came to Seattle for Seafood?

Yes, seafood is abundant here, but I’m not sure I could have recommended a surefire, reasonably priced seafood extravaganza restaurant until my favorite neighborhood West Seattle produced Seattle Fish Company.  Certainly, there is noteworthy seafood to be found at many other restaurants but not all in one spot like Seattle Fish Company!  Since they expanded the storefront into a restaurant as well, it has been a go-to for my clam strip, chowder, and crab cake cravings.  Here’s what I mean:

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Recently a friend of mine from out of town came to visit and he and his guests made the Seattle Fish Company a stop on their short trip. Yes!! I agree, this should be a stop for out-of-towners to experience! This is the quintessential seafood experience you think about when you come to Seattle! Half a crab with drawn butter? Yep. Po’boys? Yep. Grilled salmon? Yep.  And more? For sure.

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Pacific Galleries Antique Mall

Guys! Guys! I’m stopping the presses on some of my other post ideas: I recently discovered the Pacific Galleries Antique Mall and my socks were knocked off. This is a must do shopping experience in Seattle…who knew?! Not even many Seattleites are in the know about this one.  I was fed up with my previous antique mall in Seattle, who shall not be named, and sought out a bigger better experience. Bingo Bango! 30,000 square feet of antique shopping! I poured over hundreds of carefully curated booths for over 2.5 hours.  I had to leave only because I was getting parched and my guy, SeattleFlyerGuy, was starting to zone out.  We didn’t leave empty handed. We scored the complete 8 glass set of Seattle World’s Fair Glasses (like these) for the astonishing low price of $75 bucks or so…I have been coveting these for years. It was a post holiday sale throughout the entire Antique Mall!

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I also was wandering the mall keeping my eyes peeled for some of my antique loves: jadeite or fire king oven ware, antique tv trays, mid-century furniture and home accessories, and anything cow related of course.  Pacific Galleries is a great place to go furniture shopping, gift shopping, or just kill a few hours.  And pricing seems to be more reasonable for most items compared to “Antique Mall Who Shall Not Be Named.” Bonus: no creepy guy who sits at the desk and whistles along to every song on the world’s worst ipod playlist.  Definitely worth checking out this place if you’re from out of town and love treasure hunting!

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Nap…..aaahhhh.

The Seattle gray is getting to me. I need inspiration. I need to think back to sunshine and… lollipops and rainbows…where is that to be found? Napa. Some friends and I went to Napa and San Francisco in April of 2013. We were in need of sunshine and relaxation…jackpot.

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We had a great start in San Francisco. We walked along the waterfront by the Embarcadero and then popped into the Ferry Building for lunch. My eyes spotted Miette. You might have seen their cookbook and their characteristic rounded cakes and flower topped pastries.  I have a radar for not missing out on treats like this. Thanks go-go-gourmet eyes! And they had a Swedish princess torte!

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IMG_0467IMG_0472Ok, we were fueled for the drive up to Napa. Weeeeee, my first trip driving across the Golden Gate Bridge!

SLEEP: Our hotel, the Embassy Suites Napa,was perfect for the three of us. Two double beds and large pullout couch in the adjoining living room.  And they had a free happy hour every evening. Sitting in the courtyard watching swans circle around the pond while munching on popcorn and cheese and crackers is OK by us!

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EAT: Boy, did we ever! The concentration of tasty things in Napa/Sonoma is outstanding.  Here are some highlights:

Oversized birthday cake macaron from Bouchon Bakery.

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Potato Pancakes with lox at The Girl and The Fig in Sonoma.

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And, drool, the ahi tuna burger at Gott’s Roadside.

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THINGS TO DO IN BETWEEN EATING: Wine, silly.  Our favorite was Grgich Hills Estate. Mike Grgich was a major player in the history of Napa.

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And the true feast for the eyes, the scenery–rolling hills of vineyards. It was difficult for me to focus on driving…I wanted to crane my neck every which way to take it all in.

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OK, we put our glasses down and did some actual sightseeing too.  The Petrified Forest…where we learned that lizards do push ups. Fact. I made a You Tube video of our lizzy doing his thing on a loop to “Push It” but blah copyright infringement laws won’t allow me to share it with the world!

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And The Old Faithful Geyser of California:

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OK, I’m not going to push hard to sell you on the geyser but if you like a little bit of kookiness, the place will be for you as it was for us! Napa Valley exceeded our relaxation expectations, but it was time to pack up our wine and travel back to San Francisco….Bye Napa! Sad. Oh wait, San Francisco is decent awesome.

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We grabbed one of my favorite combos in San Francisco before boarding our flight.  A stop at Tartine to satsify my craving for the salty olive tapenade and mozzarella panini. And a quick jaunt around the corner to the Bi-Rite Creamery for sweet ice cream.

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Christmas at Pike Place Market

Everyone has holiday traditions. Mine are somewhat lacking. Except this year I’ve discovered that I’m in love with The Market at Christmas! I’m obsessed with the Market already. I would practically go down there every weekend and still let out a little squeal if asked to go. The last couple years when I think of the best memories of Christmas I think of The Market. This year we tried to do most of our Christmas shopping there. Tonight, I’m making roast beast, potatoes, and green beans for dinner–all bought from the Market. I’m even writing this post sipping on some gluhwein (mulled wine) from Bavarian Meats. I’m liking our new Christmas tradition.

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You’ll never encounter a Grinch at The Market.

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You’ll see that pigs really do know how to fly at Christmas in the Market!

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Merry Christmas from Fussy Cow!

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Bourbon

It’s Christmas so I guess I’m in a giving mood.  Or maybe I’ve snacked on one too many bourbon balls tonight. Grandma did not go easy on the bourbon in this recipe! As a child, I remember wafts of booziness when I would sneak a peek into the glass container in the refrigerator. I was always enticed by the glittering sugar crystals…sometimes I would sneak a bite but bourbon whiskey wasn’t for me then (surprise!). Now, I can see why Grandma made these every year. This year I decided to gift them to my friends.

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Grandma’s Bourbon Balls

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup bourbon (or rum if you prefer)
2 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 cup finely ground nuts-walnuts or pecans
granulated sugar

Melt chocolate over hot water, then add the corn syrup and bourbon. In a large bowl combine the vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar and nuts. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl, mix well, let stand for 30 minutes. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in the granulated sugar. Let them “season” as Grandma says for a few days in a covered container. Makes about 50-60 balls!