Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Firmly state your demands Ask, and ye shall receive.

After a less-than-enjoyable sort of Wednesday, I came home to a package from Amazon on my doorstep. Upon finding that said package was addressed to me, my mind proceeded to think this specific succession of thoughts:

"I don't remember ordering anything..."

"No, I definitely didn't order anything. This must be a sweet surprise or something!"

"...or did I order something...? And then forget about it?"

"Have I unknowingly consumed some drug recently which caused me to go on an unconscious online shopping spree?!"


And then I opened it. And found this book. And all manner of unhappy thoughts magically vanished from my being. For this is the book after which I've been actively pining for the last week and a half. ^_^

Of course, then my mind ran through all the different possible senders of this gift, ranging from my mother to some random kind-hearted blog-stalker halfway across the country who somehow got a hold of my address.

But, alas! It was Pax. My wonderfully sweet and amazing and wonderful and loving and handsome and wonderful lover-man. I am winning SO HARD at life!

Speaking of which, I'm about to have 2 weeks of EPIC winning in the realm of eating out! Seattle Restaurant Week starts next Sunday, and Pax and I are planning a fairly concentrated spree of nomming $28 three-course meals at some AMAZING restaurants. Our working list of possible fine eateries to sample:

How to Cook a Wolf
Palace Kitchen
Cafe Flora

Some restaurants will be serving $15 three-course lunches as well, which I'll need to take upon myself to investigate, I think. ;) I'll make sure to take pictures of our food so I can post about our experiences. ^_^

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fruit-Topped Cheesecake


I've been slacking off lately with regards to taking photos of the food I make and eat. I could give a multitude of reasons for that, but it won't make up for a more-wordy-than-pretty blog post. The fact of the matter is that most of my recent creations and dining experiences haven't been visually documented, which means that it's time for me to catch up on all of the yet un-blogged photos in my Flickr account.

Like this cheesecake, which I made back in September for my friend Tessa's birthday! It was the first REAL cheesecake (I've done the no-bake kind a couple of times) that I've baked entirely on my own, and it turned out way better than I expected it to.

When I asked Tessa what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, she said "CHEESECAKE!" And when I asked her what kind of cheesecake, she said something along the lines of "regular, but with a pretty array of various fruit on top, like a fruit tart." Since I don't like doing simple things, I decided to go ahead and switch up the standard graham cracker crust. Instead of graham crackers, I used gingersnap cookies.

I don't remember where I got the recipe that I ended up using, but the person who posted it claimed that it was a modified version of some famous restaurant's cheesecake. I don't know. It's good, that's all that matters.


See? Good. No cracks, and I didn't even do the water bath thing. Win!

It was super fun arranging all the fruit, too. I got to combine my OCD and my creative skills to make it purrty and purrfect. ^_^


And thank you to the lovely Caitlin Rose, who took the photos at the party (1st and 3rd ones in this post).

See, if I had a decent camera, I'd be way more into taking photos, since I'd know they wouldn't suck. Or at least, they wouldn't be blurry like the ones I take on my phone...sigh.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Italian Take on Mexican Food (updated, with more pics)


...wherein I pay homage to my two favorite types of cuisine.

The above picture was taken waaaaay back (relatively speaking) in the 2008-2009 era of my life, back in the apartment north of Greenlake when I was living with Laurel. It's Mexican Lasagna! I used Pastor Ryan's recipe from the Pioneer Woman's website as the base concept, and changed it a little to suit my needs (mostly so that it would fit in my very-short-and-not-really-meant-for-huge-casseroles glass 9x13 pan).

I've made this dish a total of 3 times now, for various ravaging crowds, with great success and feedback. The first time, it was just me and my friend Dion. Despite the fact that the recipe was shrunken by about 1/3, and the fact that we each had at least 2 huge servings that night, there were still enough leftovers to last me a week's worth of meals.

100_1730 Danksauce.

The second time was for band practice at my friend Scot's house, which is full of stoney male musicians. I hazily (through the remember it taking a REALLY LONG TIME to prep all the ingredients. We snacked our way through a few bags of chips and a big bowl of pico de gallo during the 1-2 hrs between me arriving with my bags of groceries and the "lasagna" coming out of the oven.


And the last time I made it, I got all fancy (with the food, not with the picture-taking, clearly) and garnished it with sliced avocados and olives and cilantro. As you can see, I was smart about it that time and split it into two pans, which allowed for more mouths to be fed.

Lately, I've been inspired by the concept of taking the regional tastes (vegetables, seasonings, cheeses, bread products) of one geographic area and applying them to a regional dish/concept of a dish of a different geographical area. It's worked out pretty well so far.


For example: a week or two ago, we (mah luvuh and I) made geek nachos. We substituted pita chips for tortilla chips, feta & chevre for cheddar, and added diced red onion, diced fennel bulb, sundried & fresh tomatoes, and olives.


It ended up a little dry, and neither the feta nor the chevre (Bee-tee-dubs, I'm totally aware that chevre is French, not Greek. But if we want to get technical, cheddar is originally English, so clearly, we don't want to get technical because that would entail questioning one of the best combinations of cheese and crunchy corn products ever.)--


*exhale*, anyway, the chevre and feta didn't get all melty-stretchy like cheddar does (which I should have predicted), and the whole thing ended up kind of dry, and didn't really hold together at all. If I were to try it again, I'd use some mozz or some other kind of melty cheese in addition to the feta, and I might toss the chips in some olive oil before adding everything on top.

And then, last night...

(insert photo of delectable food here)

...I made Mexican pizza. The idea was born out of my desire to try out my recently-acquired pizza stone (which is actually just being lent to me by my parents) and my desire to use up some of the large amount of leftover enchilada sauce in the fridge.

Disclaimer: The gods of sangria and hunger kept me from remembering to take a picture of the pizza I made (and the amazing pre-packaged sliced chorizo I found at Trader Joe's), but it's definitely something I'm going to make (and probably rework a bit) in the future, so there will be a photo! Eventually!

Anywho, as you can probably imagine, I used the basic concept of pizza (thin-ish round of dough, topped with some kind of sauce, then cheese, then meat and veggies and maybe herbs), and just substituted the typical Italian or Americanized-Italian ingredients with Mexican/Spanish/Americanized-Mexican ones. For last night's rendition, that meant enchilada sauce as a base, then jalepeno-jack and mozz (for strechy-/melty-ness) cheeses, sliced chorizo and Spanish salami, sliced red onions, and then topped with fresh diced tomatoes and cilantro once it was out of the oven.

It was heavenly. Granted, the crust was a bit thicker than I would've liked, which led to me piling on copious amounts of everything to balance out the bread-to-topping ratio. Next time, I'll do a thinner crust and less toppings, so the flavors aren't vying for attention and overwhelming any unsuspecting mouths.