smoked salmon toast

There are times when I feel like packing everything up and jumping ship. In those times I convince myself that some change would suit me well. Maybe a new city, new job or a sweet cuddly kitten would bring me back to feeling normal and content. For the past few months I have been in a mild state of discontentment and although I’ve done my very best to convince my husband to move back to San Francisco, or to let me quit my job to follow all those vague dreams I have (while throwing complete caution to the wind) he knows me better than that. With a kind heart he has approved a soft cuddly kitten if my heart desires it, but on the other huge life changes, he has been quietly letting the waves run their course, knowing that they will settle soon enough. See, he knows something I don’t. He knows that somewhere in my nature lies a reset button. This button takes many forms. A long lazy walk on the trail, a mini vacation to Seattle, a lovely breakfast in bed, or a trek into the wilderness of God’s creation will renew my spirit and bring me back to looking around at all that is right in front of me. Often, I need to hit that reset button for perspective and to awaken my thankful heart.

In The Breakfast Book, Marion Cunningham sprinkles bits of wisdom in between her recipes. Beneath this particular one for smoked salmon toast she wrote about breakfast in bed. It seems to be the perfect description of the type of reset I most definitely need.

Breakfast in Bed

One of the most blissful escapes is breakfast in bed with something good to read. Breakfast in bed is cozy, quiet and private. I instantly forget that it was I who fixed the tray. The simplest food tastes special. Since food that spills or sloshes can ruin the mood, this is the moment when toasts should be considered. A thermos of coffee or tea is ideal.

As one is softly propped up in bed the world falls away, and breakfast becomes what some poet called “a parenthesis in time.”-MC

Marion’s wisdom was evident in her cooking and her words. She hits the nail right on the head here in this perfect description of the joy that comes when we slow down enough to eat from the comfort of our own beds. Whenever I begin to feel that need for sudden change creep up inside of me, I’ll remember that all I really need to do is to fix myself a tray of simple food, prop myself up under the covers and let the world fade away.

This is a series of recipes from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham. There are five other incredible women cooking through this book with me. Please head on over to the blogs of Aimee, Sammy, Natasha, Claudie and Emily for other delicious recipes from the toast chapter. (more…)

July 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . appetizers, bread, breakfast, fish, quick and easy. 10 comments.

farmers market toast

Spring has always been my absolute favorite time of year. It is a beautiful picture of renewal and restoration after a long, cold winter. With new growth, fresh sun-kissed air, and birds singing a sweet song in every tree, I just can’t help but feel the urge to create, to make something lovely, tasty and utterly gorgeous with this gift of new life. The wonderful thing is, everything is already drop-dead-gorgeous all on its own.  click here for the full post..

April 4, 2011. appetizers, bread, quick and easy, spring, vegetarian. 4 comments.

iPad launch party

All of the photos you see in this post were taken by Joleen, the woman behind the lens at Joleen Willis Photography. As you can see, she is incredible. I’m working on a post dedicated to her talent. I hope you’ll like it. Coming Soon!

As promised, I’d like to gush a little about the party I had the honor of catering a couple of weeks ago. First of all, I need to offer my sincere gratitude to Josh and Sarah for their trust and confidence in me to actually pull this thing off. There were times where I was not so sure, but you guys supported me all the way, and I’m so thankful for that! It was an experience that has caused my passion for food to blossom even more and makes me aware that this desire of mine goes way beyond my home oven. I simply can’t wait to see where it takes me.

click here for more about the iPad launch party!

April 16, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . appetizers, stories. 10 comments.

chinese food please?

You know, sometimes life is hard. Occasionally things crawl into our lives when we don’t expect them, and definitely don’t want them. What can you do? You can dwell on the fact that these little buggers just keep coming back, and just won’t die, or you can suck it up and make Chinese food.

pot stickers

This Asian adventure was originally encouraged by these awesome noodle bowls (thanks to the Matthews and the Evans!) and a fantastic cookbook published by Willams-Sonoma. See, I’ve never made real Asian food before, but these adorable bowls gave me no choice. They just were not made for boring spaghetti. They needed something more; something teeming with fresh ginger and seasame oil. So, I decided to do the real thing. I must tell you, it was a bit of an undertaking, and greatly contributed to the day that would never end. However, it was SO worth it. I think that once I have a little more practice with this whole thing, it will come together much quicker. Besides, it was definitely economically friendly, and has a lot of healthy stuff in it too. Check and check.

chinese food

Egg Noodles with Shrimp, Chicken and Vegetables

from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking

Ingredients:

Salt

1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 tbsp sweet soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp fish  sauce

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp canola oil

3 oz (90 g) medium shrimp (prawns), peeled, deveined, and chopped

2 green (spring) onions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups loosely packed choi sum or Swiss chard leaves, stemmed and cut into strips 2 inches wide

Preparation:

Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Add the noodles and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain into a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Set aside.

Fill the same saucepan three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the chicken and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is opaque throughout, 10-15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and cool. Shred the chicken. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 cup water to make a stir-fry sauce. Set the sauce aside.

In a large wok or frying pan over high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and shrimp and cook just until the shrimp turns opaque, about 30 seconds. Stir in half of the green onions, the ginger, and the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the eggs and let set for 2 minutes, then toss well to distribute. Add the choi sum and the sauce and bring to a boil. Separate the strands of the noodles and add to the pan. Toss and stir until most of the sauce has been absorbed and the noodles have plumped, 3-4  minutes.

Transfer the noodles to a warmed platter, or in our case, awesome noodle bowls. Enjoy thoroughly.

Pork and Vegetable Pot Stickers

Ingredients:

For the filling:

8 dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed

Boiling water as needed

3 cups minced napa cabbage

Salt

1/2 lb ground, minced pork

3 green (spring) onions, white and pale green parts, minced

1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin (rice wine)

1 tsp Asian sesame oil

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/8 tsp ground white pepper (I used regular)

30 round wonton wrappers

Cornstarch for dusting

4 tbsp canola oil, or as needed

Preparation:

To make the filling, place the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl with boiling water to cover, keeping them submerged with a lid or plate. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain and trim off the tough stems and discard. Mince the caps and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt and toss to mix well. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the salt to draw the water out of the cabbage.

In another large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, cornstarch, and white pepper. Drain the cabbage and use your hands to squeeze out any remaining water. Add to bowl with the pork mixture. Add the mushrooms. Using a rubber spatula, stir vigorously until the ingredients are well incorporated. Refrigerate the filling for 30 minutes.

To assemble the pot stickers, working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, place it in the palm of your hand; keep the other wrappers covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Lightly brush the edges of the wrapper with the water and fold the dough in half over the filling to form a half-moon. Use the thumb and index finger of your other hand to make 3-4 pleats along the round edge of the dumpling, pressing the pleats gently to seal. Gently flatten the bottom of the dumpling so that it sits upright when placed on a flat surface. Place the finished pot stickers on a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch.

In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add 8-10 pot stickers; do not overcrowd the pan. Cook until the bottoms of the pot stickers are golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan, cover tightly, and steam until all the water has evaporated, and the pot stickers are tender but still firm, 5-7 minutes.

Wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining pot stickers. Transfer to a warmed platter and serve at once.

YUM!

July 7, 2009. Tags: , , . appetizers, asian. 4 comments.