Saturday, May 23, 2015

Make This!!!

Marrakesh Carrot Salad!!

This. Salad. Wow, oh wow.
Make it! Trust me on this. You will be so glad you did!
I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients on hand, and smart enough to double the recipe in advance. Thank the good Lord in heaven for that. 
We ALL loved this salad, even our carrot-disliking college boy.
Marrakesh Carrot Salad via Joy the Baker
4 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
zest and juice of 2 limes
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a large bowl combine the carrots, garbanzo beans, chopped dates, green onions, cilantro and chopped pistachios.
In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, zest and juice of limes, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle in the feta cheese and toss lightly.
Serve immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Prosser Wine Weekend!

Wine Weekend 2015
For the past few years, Omid and I have travelled to Prosser, Washington for a wine tasting weekend with our good friends, Katie & Tom.
The trip always starts out the same: we stop in The Dalles for lunch at  Cousin's restaurant. The food isn't great, but the atmosphere is fun. 


Let's get this party started!
Fun fact: We've been friends for 19 years!
If you haven't tried Tito's vodka yet, DO!
It's smoother & tastier than Grey Goose and is American made too!
Thanks Katie for finding this tasty treat!

First wine tasting of the day always starts out Pontin del Roza to meet our friends
Scott & Dustin.

Omid and Katie playing bocce ball at Pontin del Roza.

Apple trees at Pontin del Roza
After checking in with Dustin, we headed out to their vineyard to do some target shooting.
*Please don't go into random vineyards and shoot! We know the owners and still asked their permission!
Yay Katie!

Two good friends!


I LOVE everything about this photo!!!!!


Our little friend. He spun around & around when shot.

I love the two-toned head of hair the cow on the right. Too cute!

We had plans to have dinner with Scott & Dustin at PDR on their lovely patio. Unfortunately, Scott wasn't feeling well so we went with plan B, grilling at our hotel. Omid packed a portable kitchen so we were good to go.

Next, we headed to Davenlore winery.  On the way there, we talked about WSU's Cougar Gold Cheese. Katie casually mentioned that she had never tried it before...or Ferdinand's ice cream. My head was spinning! I couldn't believe it! luck would have it....Davenlore has samples of Cougar Gold cheese out. YAY!!!!! While Katie had a sample, I stood by the Cougar Gold and had a meal. It's good stuff!

Katie sampling her first Cougar Gold Cheese!!!

Last May, Dustin told us to visit Davenlore, and the owner/winemaker, Gordon Taylor wasn't there. This year, Gordon strode right up to us and introduced himself. We spent a lot of time chatting and Omid invited Gordon to have Persian BBQ with us. Not only did he accept, he invited us to have dinner at his home, instead of the hotel where we were staying! On to plan C!

With the famous Gordon Taylor of Davenlore.

This, friends, is the view from Gordon's home. It's breathtakingly beautiful.

Kebab barg & jujeh kebab. Koobideh followed!

Grill master hard at work!

Gordon helping to 'fan the flames.'

Cheers to new friends!

Dinner is served!!

Here's to new friends selfie & jazz hands too!☺

Fireside chat

As we were leaving, Gordon bestowed two very much appreciated gifts to us:
One, a bag full of chickpeas from Pullman, and two, a treasured bottle of wine.

Thank you Gordon for your hospitality and for welcoming us into your home!

 Everything about this past weekend was amazing! I love all the memories that we made.

Cheers to a successful weekend with friends old & new!

“The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Sunday, May 3, 2015

University of Portland ROTC Commissioning Ceremony

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Army & Air Force Commissioning ceremony for ROTC students at the University of Portland. It was very cool! One of our student workers, Taylor, is in the Air Force ROTC program and graciously invited our office to her ceremony.

via Taylor's mom's FB page.

Newly commissioned 2nd Lt. Taylor with President-Father Poorman

Here's a great shot with Taylor and her family. I loved the fact that her dad & brother wore their uniforms too! Very cool!
Congratulations Taylor! I am so excited for you and your career! ♥
Thank you for your service to our country!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Make This...and a Selfie Stick!

Bacon Wrapped Dates!!
Sometimes you find a recipe on Pinterest that looks so delicious, you drop everything and make it that instant. This is that recipe!
Every time we've eaten at Hearth restaurant in Washougal, we get these for an appetizer. They are listed on both the appetizer AND dessert menu there! ☺
These are so easy to make and so addicting. Matty and I actually ate them for dinner recently. ☺
Pit 12-15 dates.
We purchase our dates from Costco. ☺

Fill with goat cheese.

Wrap a half slice of bacon around each and secure with a toothpick.
*Tip: soak the toothpicks in water while you are pitting the dates/cutting the bacon. The toothpicks won't burn that way.

Place on a cookie sheet.
I used a cooling rack so the bacon grease would drip down.
 Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375*.
Voila! Your appetizer, dinner or dessert is served!
The first time I made these, I did half with goat cheese, half without. The cheese cuts the sweetness of the dates (which can be over the top sweet). The second time I made them, I filled them all with cheese. Much better and that's how I will make them from now on.

Not related to the dates at all, but definitely blogworthy...Omid recently returned from a business trip. He said to me, "This next gift is from your friends in Singapore." I thought for sure it was kaya jam...but no, it was something much more fun:
A selfie stick!!!!
Omid's coworkers know me too well! ☺
First test shot...with a Remy photo bomb.

Thank you Cheryl, Valen & Jeffrey for the selfie stick!!!
We recently took the selfie stick with us to our first Timbers game (thank you Alex & Valerie for the tickets!). The couple behind us asked, "What the heck is that?" We were only to happy to tell them what it was.

Watch out everyone, I am armed with selfie stick and am not afraid to use it!☺

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!