Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Lunch: Baked Salmon

There's many health benefits to eating salmon.  Its filled with Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D which help to fight cancer.  Omega 3 even keeps your skin clear and your hair shiny, you can't beat all that!  Living in the Pacific Northwest I have access to all kinds of fresh salmon.  It tastes delicious and there's a lot of ways to cook it.  Today I wrapped it in tinfoil and baked it for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.  To prepare my salmon I placed it on top of lemon slices, topped it with butter and finally, I seasoned my salmon with salt and pepper. 



It's done! See all the melted butter?  Mine turned out pretty medium cooked so if you like your salmon cooked more you can bake it at 325 degrees or bake it a few minutes longer. 


I cooked some pasta with alfredo sauce to go along with my salmon.  Lunch is served!

Monday, November 26, 2012

National Cake Day

Today is National Cake Day and to celebrate I'm going to post some of my cake photography.  I love all cakes and there's so many to choose from.  But when I think of cake, I think of rich chocolate with thick chocolate frosting.  Below are seven different cakes and the history behind them. 


Carrot Cake
Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the Medieval period when sweeteners were scarce and expensive.  Carrot Cake has been popular in the United States since the early 1960's.  I love a slice with thick cream cheese frosting!


German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake is not actually a German cake.  It started with an American- Sam German in 1852 developing a dark baking chocolate.  In 1957 the cake was created using the baking chocolate and became popular.

Cupcakes, Red Velvet
Cupcakes are traced back to 1796.  In the early 20th Century before muffin tins, the cakes were baked in individual cups, molds or ramekins and took the name from the cups they were baked in. 

Wedding Cake
The tradition of Wedding Cake started in Ancient Rome when bread was broken over the bride's head to bring good fortune to the couple.  We've come a long way with so many flavors and designs to choose from. 

Molten Lava Cake

The US-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres has disputed that claim, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. According to Vongerichten, he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was done and found that the center was still runny, but was warm and had both a good taste and a good texture. Regardless of who invented the dish, Vongerichten has been credited with popularizing it in the United States, and it is now almost a de rigueur inclusion on high-end restaurant dessert menus.
-taken from Wikipedia.com.

Cheesecake with a chocolate topping and a graham cracker crust
An ancient form of cheesecake may have been a popular dish in ancient Greece even prior to Romans' adoption of it with the conquest of Greece.[2] The earliest attested mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus, who wrote a book on the art of making cheesecakes (πλακουντοποιικόν σύγγραμμαplakountopoiikon suggramma).[3][4] Cato the Elder's De Agri Cultura includes recipes for two cakes for religious uses: libum and placenta.[5] Of the two, placenta is most like most modern cheesecakes, having a crust that is separately prepared and baked.[6] It is important to note that though these early forms are called cheese cakes, they differed greatly in taste and consistency from the cheesecake that we know today.
Modern commercial American cream cheese was developed in 1872, when William Lawrence, from Chester, New York, while looking for a way to recreate the soft, French cheese Neufchâtel, accidentally came up with a way of making an "unripened cheese" that is heavier and creamier; other dairymen came up with similar creations independently.[7] In 1912, James Kraft developed a form of pasteurized cream cheese. Kraft acquired the Philadelphia trademark in 1928, and marketed pasteurized Philadelphia Cream Cheese which is now the most commonly used cheese for cheesecake.
-taken from Wikepedia.com.   


Boston Cream Pie  
Boston Cream Pie is a cake that was created by Armenian-French Chef M. Sanzian at Boston's Parker House Hotel in 1856.  This cake with a custard filling and chocolate frosting has been Massachusetts official dessert since 1996.  I first tried this as my Birthday Cake last year.

                                                               Happy National Cake Day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business Saturday- Happy Hour at Poquitos on Capital Hill

Today is Small Business Saturday all over the country, encouraging consumers to shop local.  With Black Friday so crazy with shoppers going to Walmart, Target and all the other box stores, the day after is now all about supporting the local businesses in your community.  In Seattle, there are so many restaurants to try and lots of shops to browse in.  So my husband and I headed to Capital Hill where we did some window shopping and then grabbed a bite to eat at Poquitos. 


Poquitos is a local Mexican restaurant located at 1000 E. Pike Street.  They pride themselves on creating classic and authentic dishes with local, fresh ingredients.  We ordered a couple items off the Happy Hour Menu and then we shared some Churros for dessert. 

The Brisket Taquitos, $5, were so yummy.  They use Painted Hills Beef which was shredded and then deep fried in corn tortillas then served wtih escabeche and avocado salsa.  They came with four taquitos in an order, but for five bucks that's a good deal. 

We also shared the Mole Fries which were $4 on the Happy Hour Menu.   These are Mexican Poutine with house cut fries topped with oaxacon mole negro, crema, cotija, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.



Churros y Cajeta, Mexican doughnuts with spiced caramel.  I loved the caramel sauce we dipped the Churros in, my only complaint being that there wasn't enough of it. 

To see Poquitos menu, click here.


 
Poquitos on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I ate some good stuff for Thanksgiving yesterday, probably too much.  Which is why I just had a salad for lunch today.  But I captured some good food photos and had an awesome time hanging out with family. 

I started the day by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV while I made some waffles.  I found a recipe that uses cinnamon rolls in the can on a waffle iron.  The result?  Waffles with a cinnamon swirl.  Then you use the frosting to make a syrup with water and corn syrup to pour over the top of the waffles. 



I found the recipe to make these Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Syrup here

Since Thanksgiving dinner with my husbands' family was a pot-luck I made a salad to bring.  I used a spring mix lettuce then added watermelon, four ounces of feta cheese, red onions and raspberry vinaigrette dressing.



Then it was time to go to my sister-in-law's house for dinner where a ton of appetizers awaited us. 

Some delicious and fresh Bruschetta.  Tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil made up this wonderful appetizer.  

My husbands' uncle was going bacon crazy yesterday.  After cooking up some bacon he slathered it in brown sugar and maple syrup.  The result was the perfect combination of savory and sweet.  Then he cut some up and put it in ice cream to serve later.

We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal complete with Turkey and all the trimmings.  But then it was time for dessert.  My sister-in law brought some marshmallows she had dipped in chocolate and nuts.  My husbands' aunt brought some pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. 



 
Although I didn't try one of these Pumpkin Bars yesterday, I took a few home and ate one today.  They were so good, very moist and I loved the frosting. 
 
              I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my food highlights from Thanksgiving this year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Foodie treats from last year's Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I'm getting ready to eat a lot of good food.  As I pull a pumpkin pie out of the oven and my house fills with that oh so delicious smell, I think about last year's Thanksgiving meal.  Besides the staples like the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and stuffing I got to try some new food and drinks for the first time.  And isn't that what an incredible meal is all about? Merging the classic dishes with the new, or even just new to you.  Here's some photos of last year's Thanksgiving, which I spent with my husband's family and will again tomorrow, featuring an appetizer, a drink and some desserts. 

Pâté on a cracker with cucumbers and red peppers were snacked on as we waited for the turkey.

We sipped on Mulled Wine, a Bavarian Holiday Drink made with red wine, rum and spices. 

Two classics's- apple and pumpkin pie!

We always have a buffet of desserts to choose from.  Pictured here are some mini cheesecakes in strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. 

My husbands' aunt made Mochachino Cupcakes.  They were so rich and chocolaty and we loved the coffee flavor in these dense treats.

So many desserts, only so much room in my stomach.  We even had Birthday Cake.  It's the perfect meal when we have almost every kind of dessert.  Tomorrow I'm going to be good and only have one.  (We'll see.)
 
I hope your Thanksgiving Day is a good one, filled with lots of thanks, food and loved ones!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Today for lunch I made homemade meatballs with Spaghetti.  I don't usually do posts with recipes of anything other than desserts, but there's a first time for everything.  I've made meatballs a couple of times before but this time I added Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and some oregano along with an egg and breadcrumbs I used in the past.  I boiled some water for penne pasta and although I don't make my own tomato sauce it still tasted good and hearty because of the chunky vegetables in it.  Good old Ragu.  The meatballs turned out yummy.  I'm using this recipe next time I want homemade meatballs. 

                                                             Spaghetti and Meatballs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

3/4 1b. ground beef. (I was cooking for two people but you can use more and double the recipe)
salt for seasoning
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 T. garlic powder
2 T. oregano
1 cup uncooked pasta of your choice
2 cups tomato sauce or your choice

Mix all the above together with your hands and then form into balls on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Boil water and cook your pasta according to package directions on box.  Heat up sauce in pan on medium heat.  When the pasta's done, pour into pan with sauce and stir together.  When meatballs are done baking, pour into the pan with pasta.  Distribute onto plates and enjoy!




Monday, November 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

I found the recipe for these cookies online and the original name of them is Scary Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies.  They're so easy because they only call for three ingredients: one cake mix, one can of pumpkin and a bag of chocolate chips.  Just preheat your oven, mix the ingredients together and drop onto cookie sheets, then bake for about twenty minutes.  And just like that, my house smelled incredible and I was biting into a warm, chocolaty, pumpkin cookie.  These cookies taste so good and its basically like eating a chocolate chip cookie, pumpkin pie and cake at the same time.  With Thanksgiving next week, I'd been thinking about pumpkin pie and how its my favorite part of the meal.  I'm thinking of these cookies as a preview for next week's pie.  Get to the store or raid your pantry and make these cookies, you'll love them! 




Since I didn't make any adjustments of my own, click here for the recipe

Saturday, November 10, 2012

National Vanilla Cupcake Day

Today, November 10th, is National Vanilla Cupcake Day.  Hooray! That means I get to do a post with some of my favorite vanilla cupcake photos.  I've eaten some good ones over the years.  Vanilla cupcakes are a delight and can go with any frosting.  I like my vanilla cupcakes chilled and moist.  Feast your eyes on some cupcake shots and go snag one for yourself to eat.  Or to photograph and eat, if you're like me!

Remember when Starbucks had cupcakes?  Back in 2009 they carried these Vanilla Bean Cupcakes which tasted delicious with a hot latte. 

A moist vanilla cupcake with super thick pink frosting.  From Magnolia Bakery in NYC.

Seattle is full of cupcakeries and Sugar Rush Baking Company is one of them.  Pictured here is a mini vanilla cupcake with coconut. 
 
Remember when we still had Borders Books, before they all closed?  They had a great cafe with thick, blended coffee drinks and pastries.  This vanilla cupcake with raspberry frosting and raspberry filling was memorable and oh so sweet. 
 
This lovely little cupcake with strawberry ganache frosting is from The Chocolate Box in downtown Seattle. 
 
Trophy Cupcakes, another one of Seattle's wonderful cupcakeries, churns out so many wonderful flavors.   This one is vanilla with chocolate frosting.
 
Believe it or not, this vanilla cupcake with pink frosting is from the Walmart Bakery. I love the panda adorning the top!

That's all I've got for now!  Happy Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Dinner at Island Soul

I had never eaten Caribbean Soul food until last night.  My husband and I dined at Island Soul in Columbia City for a taste of the islands and it was delicious.  Coconut Corn Muffins, Sweet Plantains, BBQ Chicken with Jerk Seasoning, Macaroni and Cheese and to finish all this off- a slice of Coconut Layer Cake.  We were stuffed and satisfied.  On Friday nights they also have live music, a nice touch that added to the whole Caribbean experience. 


Island themed paintings covered the walls.

I ordered the Sweet Plantains, sliced ripe plantains fried and drizzled with a sweet mango sauce.  We also each ate an order of the Coconut Corn Muffins which had the perfect amount of coconut. 

Island Soul BBQ and Macaroni and Cheese.  This BBQ Chicken was some of the best I've ever had.  The jerk seasoning on the chicken gave it a wonderful, spicy kick.  The Macaroni and Cheese was some good stuff, too. 
 
We ended our meal with this lovely Coconut Layer Cake.  This dessert had the perfect amount of coconut and white frosting, which I loved. 


 
To see their website go to http://www.islandsoulrestaurant.net.
 
 
Island Soul on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dinner at Shilla

I used to walk by Shilla twice a week when I was in photography school, on the way to the photo lab.  Shilla is a Korean restaurant I've never really paid any attention to or had any desire to check it out until last night when my husband mentioned he wanted to eat there.  He has been wanting to try these cold, Korean spicy noodles for weeks.  They're called biblim naeng myun and after looking online, he found out Shilla had them.  Plus Shilla is in Seattle so we didn't have to drive far to get his fix.  Federal Way and Shoreline is where to go if you want great Korean food.  But really, who wants to fight traffic on a rainy Friday night?  In the end we enjoyed the food at Shilla and were pretty happy with the experience.  Although I'm sure its pretty standard for Korean, sometimes location is really everything. 



Shilla has Korean BBQ, shown here with the fans and the built-in grills on each table. 


I had the Salmon Mango Ceviche.  Cured Salmon, mango, avocados and cucumber make up this dish.  Ceviche is something I've always wanted to try.  You can usually find it at Italian places and is served with shrimp.  But at Shilla I got to try Ceviche Korean style and I loved it. 

My husbands' spicy noodles, biblim naeng myun.  He liked the dish and thought it was pretty hot.  There was beef, veggies, an egg and the Korean buckwheat noodles. 

We weren't too sure what this dish was, maybe he was supposed to put it with his noodles or maybe this was a complimentarty appetizer.  Whatever it was, we liked it.  Tofu, veggies, some sort of Korean noodles and something that tasted just like mashed potatoes. 
I also ordered the Chicken Tatsuta age, marinated fried boneless chicken with a super spicy orange sauce.  Watch out!

Shilla is located at 2300 8th Ave in Seattle.  Their website is http://www.shillarestaurant.com. Shilla Restaurant on Urbanspoon