Sunday, March 22, 2015

Make This!!

Grand Central Bakery's Jammers!
Last week, I found this cookbook in the UP library. It's full of yummy recipes & beautiful photographs.
The one recipe I kept coming back to was for their jammers. A jammer is a cross between a biscuit & a scone, with a healthy dollop of jam baked into the top. This morning, I decided this is what we were having for breakfast.

Grand Central Bakery Biscuit Jammers from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup  cold, unsalted butter

1 1/4  to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup good-quality preserves or jam (I used Bon Mamam raspberry)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl with high sides, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine.

Dice the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime- to quarter-sized pieces of butter remaining. If you’re preparing the dough the night before, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk in one addition. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together; it will look rough. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will come together on the paddle if you are using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches.

The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. It won’t look smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the jammers into circles at least 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches and again cut into circles.

Use your thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty-cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb-shaped hole that’s a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think "pinch pot"). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of jam and put the jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches between them.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.

Don't Make This!

For all the baking & cooking successes in my kitchen, there are lots of fails. Of course, I only like to blog about the successful recipes. Sometimes a recipe comes out so wrong, you have to blog about it to warn others not to try it!

I get this magazine every three months. There are lots of great ideas in it.

This quarter, there was a recipe for easy gnocchi. I LOVE gnocchi and order it whenever I see it on a menu at a restaurant. I've never made it because I've heard it was difficult.
I had some free time yesterday and thought I would try the 'easy' recipe.

The dough came together very easily and I was overjoyed that gnocchi wasn't so hard to make afterall.

Just look at those perfect pillows!
Everything was perfect until I dropped the gnocchi into the boiling water.

A soggy mess.
What was the consistency? Think sad and soggy tater tot.

For now, I'll stick to ordering gnocchi at reputable restaurants!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Don't forget to wear green today! ☺

I made Guinness beer bread for my work peeps.
This bread is especially good with a thick coating of salted butter on top. I like to call that "butter frosting." Yum.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Make This!!

No matter how you pronounce it, it tastes delish!
Take one ten pound pork belly.

Score the belly with one inch diamonds.

Mix up a concoction of chopped herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, fennel fronds & seeds. Rub all over the scored pork belly.

Roll, long side.

At this point, you can score the skin (like the belly), or leave it as is.

Tie up with string. Roast for 25 minutes at 425*.
Reduce oven to 350* and roast for another hour and a half.

Dinner is served!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunny Saturday!

Another beautiful 60* day in February! We have been so lucky this past month, while the Midwest & East suffer.  I can't remember the last time we had such a dry & sunny winter. The forecast for the coming week looks beautiful too. Thank you, God! ☺

Omid and I took full advantage of the sunshine. We worked outside in the yard for a bit and on the boat; then decided we better eat at Lardo. We've been meaning to go for weeks, but never had the time. And wouldn't you know, Alton Brown came to town last week and beat us to Lardo. We were so mad that the Food Network star beat us to the punch! Oh well, better late than never! That being said, have you been? If not, go! This is my new favorite place and I can't wait to go back.

Waiting for our lunch in the gorgeous sunshine, with a Boneyard IPA. Nothing better!

Omid got the Pho'Rench dip (to die for!) & I got the pork meatball bahn mi. Very good, too, but not as tasty as Omid's.

But wait! There's more!!
We forgot to order the 'dirty fries' and had that after our sandwiches. This may have been a mistake. These are a meal on their own. Good, but next time I'll stick with the sandwiches.
By this time, we were so full, we walked up Hawthorne to try and feel better. We stumbled upon this guy....What do you think he said to Omid?!

After walking a bit, we decided we needed to finally try Salt & Straw. We drove to 23rd and walked along there for a while. Right before Salt & Straw, we saw our old friend Papa Haydn. We made the decision to visit memory lane instead of Salt & Straw. Papa Haydn it was!
For the last 20 years, I have ONLY ever ordered panna cotta at Papa Haydn. It's the best and is not to be missed. Of course, it pairs nicely with an Italian muscati. Omid got the bourbon ball (chocolate mousse with bourbon). So dense!


Our neighbor at Papa Haydn. ♥

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Make This!!

Do you like chocolate? Do you like banana bread? Then you will LOVE this recipe for Greek yogurt chocolate chip banana bread from the Lovely Little Kitchen.

I saw this recipe on Friday via Facebook and definitely wanted to make it this weekend. I recently threw out my mini loaf pans from when Nas & Matty were young. The pans had seen better days and were definitely done with baking.
I picked up these name brand mini loaf pans at Winco for $1.98 each.

I got up early this morning and baked the loaves plus a side of bacon for breakfast.
The results: YUM!

NOTE: I used dark chocolate chips as those are my favorite!

Touring the New Rec Center!

The new Beauchamp Recreation Center on campus is really coming along!
Remember that Go Pilots beam I signed way back in October? The center was just a steel structure then. Now...there is just 7 months until the center is open & ready to use.

I don't have my own hard had yet, so I borrowed my boss'. Also, SKANSKA is the construction company in charge of the BRC, not TODD. Sorry SKANSKA!

Sorry for the blurry photo...but you get the idea.
This is where the treadmills & ellipticals will be set up, facing this view of campus. Pretty nice!

Me, Sandy & Fay: the faces of Physical Plant!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Make This!!

Have you checked out Nom Nom Paleo's site for recipes yet? If not, DO! We tried two new recipes this week from her site and both were very good.  We don't eat Paleo all the time, just incorporating a few recipes here and there.

This is her recipe for garlic cauliflower 'mashed potatoes.' They look, but taste better than mashed potatoes (to me). Omid didn't like them at all, Matty was on the fence, but I loved them! I love mashed potatoes too, but these were so different and very tasty.

The other recipe we tried was spicy tuna cakes. Oh my gosh, these were amazing!

I used the tuna we canned back in August and added some cayenne pepper for more heat. The only thing was...the kitchen smelled like tuna fish for hours. Thankfully, it was a nice day and I had all the windows open to let in the fresh air.
If you are looking for new & healthy recipes to try, try these two or check out Nom Nom Paleo's website for lot of ideas.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Heat!?

Yesterday we hit 61*. It was so beautiful & sunny out. I opened all the windows in the house to let out the stagnant air & welcomed in the fresh winter air.

On the news last night, the weatherman predicted the Oregon Coast would hit 72* on Sunday. On the news this morning, another weatherman said the same thing. We believed him, & took the chance and headed south to Tillamook to soak in the sunshine & heat!

This was foggy Camas when we left this morning.
We stopped in Netarts to pick up two dozen fresh oysters, then to Tillamook to feast on grilled cheese sandwiches at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. YUM!

After lunch, we headed south to Pacific City and the temperature outside at 12:30 p.m. was 70*!!! NO JOKE!
I brought sweaters & jackets with me to the coast, because 9 times out of 10, even in the heat of summer, the coast is windy & cold. Not today! There wasn't a lick of wind at all & it was a balmy 70*!  ☼

We decided to hike this hill, along with everyone else.

Here we go!

Halfway up the hill. ☼!!!!

We may not have made it to the we noticed a brewery at the half way mark (no signage facing the beach!!)  & headed back down.

Proud of ourselves for making it halfway, we treated ourselves to an IPA each. I got the Silverlight IPA & Omid got the SeaHops IPA. Both were yummy!

5 minutes outside of Pacific City...and we were back to fog.

So thankful that we were able to get a little taste of spring in January!!! ☼

Fun with Friends!

Goodbye iconic PDX Airport carpet! You will be missed! In case you haven't heard, the PDX Airport carpet is being replaced with a new design. This carpet is so famous, it has it's own Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages. No joke!
Saying goodbye to the PDX carpet + picking up travelers too.
Now for the real reason for the post: Don't you just love catching up with old friends? We sure do! Especially when they live on the other side of the world! Last week, I stopped by the airport, to pick up Omid, our friend Daniel (Germany) & Jeffrey (Singapore).
Even Remy wanted his photo taken with Daniel & Jeffrey!
After an evening of catching up since the last time we were together, we got up early the next morning and took our guests to the Woodburn Outlet Mall, Costco & the Troutdale Outlet Center.  Next time we'll skip Troutdale! Woodburn is a 100 times better! It was a marathon shopping trip and we were all exhausted.

The next day, Omid took our friends shopping again, while I went to work. Did you know private universities are exempt from taking Federal holidays off? Yep, I worked not only on MLK day, but Veterans Day too. Interesting!

Monday evening, we gathered again at our house, so Omid could cook dinner for not only Daniel & Jeffrey, but for Phil & Elena too.
Waiting for Phil & Elena to arrive.
We had a lot of fun by listening/singing to our favorite tunes from the past (ABBA, Modern Talking, Depeche Mode, etc.).
Remy enjoying his new bone that Daniel & Jeffrey bought him! ☺
 Matty getting in on the fun!
Fun fact: Matty transferred from WSU Pullman to WSU Vancouver.

Omid cooked up an amazing dinner of salmon, tri tip, rib eye steak & his famous Oriental green beans!
 International friends:
Daniel, Omid, Phil, Elena, Jeffrey & Me.
We had a great time while our friends visited and can't wait to do it again soon!☺