Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Adoration For EGGS BENEDICT




When I was younger, my absolute favorite food was dumplings. But only the kind my father made. It was one of the first things that I learned to make, and one day I will post a recipe for it.


But what I really want to talk about today is eggs benedict. I adore eggs benedict. It is the perfect food. It is unhealthy, and rich. It is crunchy and soft and tender and creamy. It is slightly sour (from the lemon in the hollandaise sauce) and salty and buttery.


I love it best when the English muffin has been toasted slightly, so that it is crunchy on the outside, but still very tender on the inside. I like the ham lightly fried, so that it is only very slightly crisp. I like the egg poached so that all of the whites are cooked (gooey whites disgust me completely) but the yolks are still creamy and liquid. And I like the hollandaise sauce when the lemon is very apparent and can cut through the richness, but not overpoweringly so.



I think that the place that makes the best eggs benedict in Seattle is Glo’s, in Capitol Hill. Admittedly, there are often long lines with many hipsters and the service can be slow.


But.


Their eggs benedict is everything that I’ve described. And they have hashed browns that are deliciously crisp where the potatoes have fried, but also soft in the other areas.


I meant to get a picture of when I cut through the eggs benedict, but I was so hungry that I gobbled it down before I could remember anything as mundane as picture-taking. What isn’t mundane when compared with delicious, glorious eggs benedict?


I did order this one with bacon because I craved bacon and I wanted something extra crisp. But I regretted it and wanted the ordinary Canadian bacon.


I love eggs benedict. I do.


P.S. Isn’t that couple on the left hand side cute, in that picture? I often wonder what I look like in all the pictures that people must accidentally take of me. I wish I could look through all of them one day. I bet you that in most of them, my face is probably oddly contorted as I’m talking or thinking.


Also, tomorrow I am flying off to Las Vegas to visit my family. I'm pretty excited. I haven't seen them since December and I am going to eat so much food! All of it junk!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Sea Glass from North Beach




A little while ago, I went to North Beach with a friend. And although the weather wasn't your typical ideal beach weather, I still thought that it was beautiful. Maybe even more beautiful, because I love looking dark clouds over the ocean.



North Beach is my favorite beach in Seattle. It's part of Golden Gardens Park, and there's a forest on one side, a beach on the other, and sandy dunes and a marsh.



So it's a lovely area. But the real reason why I love it so much is the sea glass. I adore sea glass, and North Beach has more than any other beach I've ever visited. The sea glass makes a trip to the beach into a treasure hunt.



My favorite colors are the dark blues and aquas, but as you can see, I don't have very much of those. I also really like lavender because I read that pale lavender glass is an indicator that some of the glass that you're collecting is very old glass. Apparently, during World War II, magnesium was used to help make glass bottles clear. When the bottles were manufactures, they were clear. But over time, exposure to UV rays has turned the glass a pale lavender color.



These pictures show some of the glass that I've collected from North Beach. If you want some too, go to North Beach, take a right, and walk as far as you can.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picnic at Ravenna Park!




Today, a few friends and I had a picnic at Ravenna Park. The theme was indulgence. Although some of my friends interpretated it in a much healthier manner, I decided to make Bacon Bow-Ties.

Although I had these once or twice when I was a little girl, I haven't eaten them since. But they're incredibly easy to make. Lay out any kind of buttery cracker, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, and wrap with half a slice of regular bacon. It will look like this:




It looks absolutely delicious, right? All of that cold, streaky bacon . . . Bake it at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour and forty-five minutes, and then bring it to your picnic. The setup will look like this:



And your dish will be the most unhealthy by far. To tell the truth, even though everyone loved the bow-ties and gobbled them down, I don't think I can ever bring myself to make them again. I love unhealthy food, but even I have my limits. And making something that has bacon fat dripping and absorbing into already fattening and unhealthy crackers and cheese . . . oh my goodness.

My friends and I did have fun swapping unhealthy bacon stories, though. One friend's mother likes to make Little Smokies sausages wrapped in bacon, with brown sugar on top. While baking, the brown sugar melts into the bacon fat, creating a sweet and savory glaze. Another friend's mother makes pig candy: bacon is tied into knot, brown sugar is sprinkled on top, and then the whole thing is baked.

I am still waiting to try a bacon cheeseburger with Krispy Kreme doughnuts as the buns.

If anyone out there is brave enough to try Bacon Bow-ties, here is the recipe:

Bacon Bow-Ties

For the parmesan cheese, I used the stuff out of a can. You can use the real deal if you would like, but I just don't think that it fits in. I got thirty crackers out of the materials below, but my wire rack only fit twenty at a time.

1 lb. regular-sliced bacon
1 sleeve of Club Crackers or a similar buttery cracker
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take the crackers and put around 1 tb. of parmesan cheese on top of each one. Wrap each with half a slice of bacon. I like to leave the ends a little uncovered because the cracker gets extra crisp on the ends and it makes a better bow-tie shape.

Set them on a wire rack on top of a pan lined with tinfoil (to make clean up easier) so that the bacon fat can escape and not make the crackers soggy, and put them in the oven for around an hour and forty-five minutes.

Let cool for five minutes, and enjoy! These can be served at room temperature. They also freeze really well. Just bake, let them cool, and put them in the freezer. A little before the time you want to serve them, pop them in a 400 degree oven for ten minutes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Victorian Gingerbread House

How gorgeous is this tiny house?















I found an article in the New York Times today, called "In the Catskills, Finding Comfort in a Little Gingerbread House." Have you ever seen a house that is so small and yet so perfect? I want a miniature home like that. I love everything, but I especially love the chandeliers.

Slideshow can be found HERE.

The tiny house reminds me a little of Mandy, a children's book by Julie Andrews Edwards (Singing in the Rain Julie Andrews, but she writes books with her last name as Edwards). In it, a girl named Mandy finds a deserted cottage and secretly begins to decorate it according to her fantasies. It becomes her private get-away, someplace she can go to be alone and think. And although the story may sound a little trite and twee, (okay, maybe it is kind of trite) it is also completely charming and adorable.

When I was younger, I fantasized about finding someplace beautiful and private and unknown, like in The Secret Garden. So I adored this book, and I read it until it was falling apart.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting. And grapefruit on the side.


Peaches are one of my favorite fruits. When it's late summer, and the peaches are fragrant, sweet, and so smooth that you can eat them with a spoon (like ice-cream) - well, that is when I am in heaven. All year long, I long for peach season. So when I first see peaches in the supermarket, I get really excited and forget that it's early in the season and the chances that the peaches will be smooth and soft and sweetly juicy are low.

Peaches were on sale at Trader Joe's, a pound for $4.99. I bought a whole box excitedly, forgetting that I am only one person and the chances that I can finish the box are low. Those chances were made lower when I tried a few and found that they were all very hard and worse - quite sour. So they languished in my room until I felt guilty and decided that I needed to do something with them before they went bad. Luckily, I had Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting bookmarked.

I made them in a flash and you know what? These might be the best cupcakes I've ever made. They're soft, moist from the peaches, and with juicy bits of peach studded throughout. The brown sugar is noticeable in the frosting in a good way, making cream cheese frosting (which I already love) even more spectacular. I may never make a plain cream cheese frosting again. This cupcake tastes like summer to me.

That being said, there are still a few changes I would make to the recipe. I used four large peaches rather than three because I adore peach flavor and wanted to use my peaches up, and I found that I liked this change. It was more peach without being overwhelming. I also used all purpose flour instead of cake flour because the local Safeway didn't carry it. The cupcakes were light and fluffy without it, so don't sweat it if you don't use that. I used cinnamon instead of nutmeg because I didn't have nutmeg on hand.

And last of all, although the frosting was delicious, there was a very faint sort of chalky texture, which I think comes from the cornstarch. My frosting was pretty stiff after sitting in the refrigerator for an hour, and so I think that next time, I will decrease the cornstarch by half and just let the frosting sit in the fridge a little longer.

I had a cupcake for breakfast today. The grapefruit makes it healthy, right??

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Europe Day Picnic!




I was looking through some old pictures on my computer when I saw some from Europe Day (May 9). I have a friend who has unusual passions. Like the Althing. And the European Union.

He wanted to celebrate Europe Day, so I organized a Europe Day-themed potluck picnic with a group of our friends. We all chose a country from the European Union and brought a dish that corresponded to the country.

Perhaps we weren’t terribly accurate with food choices and we based a lot of our decisions upon stereotypes. But it was a lot of fun, and very delicious.

On my plate you can see, starting clockwise from the salad: regular salad with my favorite fresh ginger dressing, mushroom galette from France, ratatouille also from France, flatbread from Greece, and some spanakopita which suffered in transit, also from Greece. One friend also made a pasta with rag├╣, which isn't shown. I loved it but he didn't.

I made the mushroom galette with a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It was absolutely delicious and probably the most popular thing there. The crust was flaky and tender but with a crunch to the outside without being tough. Since then, I've made the galette twice but I always replace half the blue cheese with parmesan because I don't like blue cheese in strong doses.

The picnic was at Volunteer Park, and while we were there one of my friends noticed this:



which amazed me because I had never heard of such a thing. A rainbow around the sun! Apparently, they are called sun dogs and I might never see one again because I don't make it a habit to stare into the sun.

We are planning another themed picnic for this week. I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Forlorn Quilt




This is my quilt, and I love it so much. It is my first full-size quilt, and I enjoyed the whole process. I think that my favorite part was choosing the colors and the different fabrics. But I actually haven't worked on it in around ten months or so. When I moved to Seattle, I limited myself to bringing just one large suitcase onto the plane because I knew that my room wouldn't be very large.

A sewing machine and a queen-sized quilt take up quite a bit of room in a suitcase. So the quilt has been languishing in Vegas for a while now. I'll rescue it when I go back home at the end of this month.