Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Summer Dinners

This weekend, we stayed in Seattle for the first time in weeks. We've been swanning off to Orcas, Bellingham, and Birch Bay almost every weekend this summer so far. It's been lovely, but I was looking forward to spending my Friday afternoon at home instead of cramped in a car during rush hour traffic. At the same time, I was worried we'd be hot and bored. It's always breezy and a little cooler up north and in the islands, and our old house retains heat like nobodies business. But! We had such a pleasantly full weekend and while not all of our super fun moments were photogenic, they were all incredibly idyllic in real life.

On Thursday night we were invited to spend Friday night on my business partner, Todd's boat. He recently bought a 39 foot Bayliner that he's about to LIVE ABOARD. I think it's true that the only thing better than owning a boat is having a friend that owns a boat because we had SUCH a lovely night out on the lake Friday night. Another couple joined with their almost 2-year old boy Henry and Todd's girlfriend Andrea also came. I ate my weight in chips and dip before grilling steaks on the back of the boat. It was the perfect summer in the city type of night.

On Sunday night, we finally repaid our neighbors for the amazing mussel dinner they hosted in May. We decided to get out the paella pan and have a paella party. It was such a nice night with great company and I'm about to toot my own horn and say that this was some of the tastiest paella I've ever had. All the forces aligned and the BBQ heat was just right, the chorizo was especially tasty, the crust on the bottom the perfect amount of toasty but not burnt. Photos from last night:

It took a little over an hour and a half from start to finish to grill the paella, so we snacked in traditional "picos", manchego cheese, olives, marcona almonds, and sugar snap peas while cooking.

You can see the kids all wreaking havoc on the princess tent in the back of the yard. I think you could hear their squeals from 2 blocks away, easy.
Grayson (2.5) about to infiltrate the girl's princess party.

The paella begins! First up was browning the chicken in oil. While I did this, the kids ate mac and cheese and snap peas.

Chorizo and onions go into the chicken fat:
Adding, garlic, tomatoes, saffron broth and pimenton:

Penny's little sister Daphne hijacks the pudding and causes outrage amongst the 3 year olds:

Nestling the chicken back in while the rice soaks up more broth:

Tucking in the prawns, mussels and clams, and sprinkling in some peas:

Glamour shot:
Impatiently waiting for the shellfish to open:

Proud chef:

Ta daaa!

We popped a movie in for the kids to watch inside while we all enjoyed the paella outside. There was only one moment of screaming and crying from within to distract us from our second helpings. So, not too shabby.

I had this weird moment during dinner of realizing that this is so much like the childhood I grew up with. Except that we are now my parents in this version.  How many times did my parents pop a movie in and pull the sofa bed out of the couch for Kristin and Craig and I to snuggle into while they were probably drinking wine with Kristin's parents; trading stories about how charming and annoying we all were? Little sister Daphne was tucked in at home (2 very close doors down) and monitored using the crafty system of FaceTime and iPhones while the "older" kids watched The Rescuers. Much in the same way that my and Kristin's little brothers were probably tucked in while we watched The Never Ending Story or Time Bandits (except let's be honest - they were probably being monitored in more of a "cross your fingers they stay asleep" sort of way back in the early 80's). 

Edie and I made a chocolate zucchini cake to have after the paella, but I guess I didn't take any photos.  Our neighbor grew the zucchini and we put it to good use making it as unhealthy as possible by making vegetables into cake. In fairness, it was good, but didn't hold a candle to the star of the evening - the paella. Also in fairness, there is only about 1 serving left of this giant bundt cake and we just made it yesterday morning so I guess it wasn't terrible either. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fancy Pants Dinner

Months ago, my parents purchased a fancy dinner at an auction. The dinner was to be cooked by food blogger, Adam Roberts (aka The Amateur Gourmet) and recipes would be from his latest book, Secrets of the Best Chefs.

This dinner happened on Saturday in Bellingham and we were my parents' guests. It was a lovely, grown up dinner (Kristin babysat Edie at my parents' house - thanks KJ!) that was photographed by me in a mediocre fashion (see below). There were wine pairings with each course. Since I typically have a 1.5 drink limit... I might have been tipsy.

A photo of Jeff and me without Edie!
Me and my Mom
Plus our chef for the night Adam Roberts.
The Menu:

The tastiest scallop chowder ever:

The roast:

My entree plate (with a lot of wine):
Adam, explaining that our entrees were from recipes given to him by the head chef of Beast, a Portland restaurant:

The exhausted kitchen crew (aka, our close family friends who helped put the auction package together):

Blueberry dessert!

If I'm being honest, I totally could have eaten a second piece.

Thank you Mom and Dad for buying this dinner and letting us mooch off of your generosity.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Here is where I share miscellaneous photos from our weekend in Birch Bay and Bellingham:

Edie enjoying The Lion King Saturday morning when Jeff and I weren't quite ready to wake up.

A quick walk to the beach after getting dolled up for our Fancy Pants Dinner on Saturday night:

My Mom dug out my Rainbow Brite and Starlite dolls. Nostalgia City.

Excitement City.

Clam Chowder City.

Kristin Johnson City. I'm not sure how long I intent to maintain this joke. Maybe I'll stop now. It seems like a good time.
On Sunday, we met up with Kristin, her brother Craig and his fiance Adam to stroll Fairhaven and the boardwalk:

On Sunday, we left Edie at my parents' house for the night and returned to Seattle child-free. Jeff took me to a new restaurant that one of his clients just opened up in Woodinville - The Commons.

Where we enjoyed adult cocktails:

And fancy pot pie served over a homemade BISCUIT.