What a whirlwind of a summer…it seriously feels like it has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Unlike other years, my hubby and I spent this one taking one of the biggest steps in our lives. We bought a commercial building (thanks to a special guardian angel looking out for us) and moved his business in there. No more rent!
The coolest part about the building is the 3 units attached that we plan on leasing out to help subsidize our mortgage payment. It gets better though. Our broker decided the space was so awesome he wanted it for himself…to put in a coffee shop and restaurant! woot woot! So now when we pull those 12 hour shifts they won’t seem so bad since we can end the night with a cocktail just five steps away. : D Apparently he plans on having about 5 different variations of eggs benedict on his brunch menu, my favorite!
Though this is one of the most amazing things to happen to us, the building that is, not the eggs benedict, it’s come at a price. I’ve had more frozen pizza over the last month than I care to divulge. The long days, exhausting build-out and move of the business means we spent an average of about an hour a day at our actual home which is where my kitchen is.
Sorry it’s been so long since my last post! I promise that once we get completely settled into our new nest, I will be able to escape to my culinary world more often. Today I couldn’t bear eating another frozen pizza or eggo waffle, so instead I spoiled myself. Here’s my decadent lunch menu: Roasted Garlic Aioli with Caramelized Artichoke Hearts and Prosciutto Ribbons. Not in the picture is some baguette and mixed olives.
There’s no real recipe to go along here but if you must know how I made the roasted garlic aioli, here goes. The easiest way is to buy some already-roasted garlic cloves from the deli (where the olives are). Toss about a dozen cloves in a food processor with about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of dijon, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and pulse til somewhat smooth. I’m sure it would be even better with a little fresh thyme but I didn’t have any on hand. I sauteed the artichoke hearts in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. That’s it!
I’m embarrassed about how long it’s been since my last post! It’s an understatement to say that life has gotten in the way, just a bit. My hubby’s online skateboarding business has taken off and the next obvious step for us to take was buying our own commercial building. Needless to say, but between scouting out real estate, negotiating with brokers, juggling inspections and sweating bullets over a scary down payment, it’s been a little exhausting. Well, the transaction will be final on Tuesday and the keys will be ours! Between the stress and the late night life talks, you can bet good food was the one thing that held things together over the last month.
I have my mom to thank for this one and she has Sunset magazine to thank. The recipe has morphed a little each time it changed hands and this is my version. These chicken burgers are healthier than most, and suprisingly moist too. Between the rosemary speckled throughout the patties, juicy caramlized onions and a pungent gorgonzola sauce balanced by spicy arugula, this burger is a flavor explosion. I like to make small patties on dinner-roll style buns since I’ve never been one to finish a normal sized burger. Plus, if you end up eating two you won’t feel so bad about it! Please give these a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Rosemary Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola
Makes 4 Small Burgers
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 kaiser rolls
handful of arugula or spinach leaves
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Turn your grill onto medium-high heat.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine well. Form into 4 equal patties and let those sit while you get the other ingredients ready.
In a medium saute pan or frying pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and the onion along with the pinch of salt and sugar. Saute for about 30 minutes or until a light golden brown. Once brown, add in the balsamic vinegar (optional) and keep warm on low heat until everything else is ready.
Place the chicken burger patties on the bbq and grill for about 6-8 minutes on both sides or until cooked through and there’s no more pink. Toast the buns on the grill as well.
Mix together the gorgonzola and mayonnaise in a small bow.
Assemble the burgers! I take the toasted bun, smear some of the gorgonzola sauce and top with the arugula, chicken burger and balsamic caramelized onions.
I have a weakness for bite-sized nibbles. Everything is so much cuter when it’s pint-sized or wrapped up in a neat little package. The thought of a obese cheeseburger makes me cringe. But, if that cheeseburger was divided into 20 petite sliders, I could eat my weight in them. Just a simple triscuit cracker transforms with an elegant topping which is where my fig & olive tapenade recipe comes into play.
Remember when I said I used to be a picky eater? Well, olives used to be one of the foods I despised. So in order to slowly introduce them into my diet (baby steps remember) I would mix them with something a little sweeter to dull their briny flavor. Awhile back I stumbled across a recipe for this tapenade (which may have been this David Lebowitz recipe) soon lost it and was forced to wing it. Every time I make it, I’ll just dump all the ingredients into the food processor, or at least all the ones I can remember, and pulse it together.
Even though I absolutely love olives now, I still prefer this tapenade with luscious figs. It’s more of a compote really. In order to balance out the sweetness of the tapenade, I love to pair it with a thin ribbon of proscuitto and a dallop of goat cheese. Those components tie it all together in a nice little package. Just like I like.
You’re probably getting tired of all the seafood dishes I post on my blog! Truth is, the seafood that’s available during the summer-time in Seattle is incredible. I get enough beef and chicken the rest of the year that I try to make the most of all the fresh salmon, shrimp, and scallops while they last. We’ve been stuck in a bit of a heat wave over the last two weeks here in the Northwest. I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the sticky, suffocating temperatures wafting over the east coast, but when you’re used to a mild, soggy July, it can be a bit overwhelming.
All I wanted tonight was a light salad bursting with bright, fresh flavors. I craved a dinner I could scarf down and still have the energy to do jumping jacks afterwards. So here’s what I came up with. Quinoa is an airy grain that cooks up quickly like couscous, but with just the slightest bit of crunch. I like it a bit better though because it has more texture and tends to soak up the flavors of whatever you mix it with. You’ll want to cook up extra so you can enjoy it for lunch the next day too!
This dish is the epitome of a simple Sunday supper. The recipe comes from my favorite little old lady, Miss Jackie’s family. She’s this adorable elderly woman that I cater for every once in awhile, and she insisted that I make this recipe when I was catering a brunch for her friends and family. Earlier this week, I invited our friend Joaquin over for dinner and he looked a little perplexed when I pulled the ramekins out of the oven. His face said “hmm, I thought you invited me over for dinner, not breakfast!” : ) But after one bite, he was in loooove.
Technically, they aren’t really souffles which are a little more complicated to make. But the results are almost identical which is why I still call them by that name. The baking powder makes them nice and fluffy while the cottage cheese adds an unbelievable richness. The best part though, is you can take this base recipe and add in whatever ingredients you like. Wild mushrooms, spinach, roasted peppers, ham, etc. all work great. Basically you can add in anything you like in an omelette. The sky is the limit!
I love serving these souffles with a salad for a light dinner. The other night I had some roasted asparagus on the side (since they’re in season right now) and some italian turkey sausages.
**If you’re serving a big crowd, just double the recipe and pour it into a 9×13 casserole dish and serve it family style. Add a few minutes onto the cooking time. Read more
Thanks for all the great comments on my first post! The good news is that my website should be up and running sooner than later, granted some major changes on it will happen over the next month or two. The anticipation is killing me!
This next recipe is one of the few that I can say is truly my own recipe. Normally I’ll get inspiration from a cookbook or magazine and then make a few tweaks to have it suit my tastebuds, but not this time. I first made this dish when we were in Mexico this winter. We had FINALLY moved into our little casa (see our blog www.casadeclack.com for more info on that gig) after three years of building. After spending the last few years holed up in a tiny RV kitchenette, I really wanted to make a special dinner to celebrate the first real meal in our new house. Keep in mind, our place is in the middle of nowhere basically with just the equivalent of a 7-11 to buy basic groceries like eggs, milk and cereal. So when we had to run into the big city, La Paz, for a trip to Home Depot, I stocked up on groceries there and found some good looking ribeyes. Without internet, I had to come up with my own recipe for what I had been craving: steak with a creamy mushroom sauce. Honestly, I probably would have been happy with anything that didn’t contain rice or beans though. : )
Here’s the recipe for the parmesan polenta I cooked up to go with my Balsamic Glazed Roast Chicken. Polenta couldn’t be easier to make which is why I love it so much. It even gives couscous a run for its money when it comes to simplifying a week-night dinner. Polenta happens to go especially well with tender braised beef too. I’m practically drooling just thinking about it. But on this particular night, I made it to pair with some roasted chicken and broccoli and it soaked up the juices perfectly.
Most of you who know me, even just a little bit, are probably well aware of my passion for food. It’s actually more of an obsession really. All day long, I dream and drool over my next meal, often while I’m still eating my first! Anyone who has ever worked with me can vouch for this. At long last I’m taking the steps to transform this food addiction into more than just a hobby. My hope is to have my website up and running within a month or two, granted it always takes longer than you anticipate. I don’t want to give away all my secrets quite yet though. But believe me, I’m going to pour my heart and soul into it and it will be great!
In the meantime Facebook will be my platform for spreading the word. So many people ask me what I’m cooking, whether it be for a Wednesday night or an upcoming party. I love being a source for either information and inspiration, and I want to nurture that as best I can. For now I’ll be posting regular notes on what I’m cooking with lots of stories and tips along the way.
Your feedback is essential to my success so I want to hear what you have to say. What topics do you want me to cover? What do you struggle with in the kitchen? If you have questions about any of my recipes, please ask me! I love talking about food so much it would make the average person sick. So if my recipe calls for cream of tartar and you don’t have that in your pantry, let me know and I’ll give you a good substitute that will work just as well.
Ok enough talking (or should I say, typing) and onto the food! I thought I’d start with one of the easiest recipes you could probably make. Don’t let this recipe fool you though. Even though you can whip it together without skipping a beat, it’s still worthy of being served to your toughest critics. Anyone with an oven can master this recipe. Read more