For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

Txori in Seattle – Review February 18, 2010

They have been open for a couple of years now but we had no opportunity to visit this place – shame on us! This place carries out the traditions of its parent restaurant (The Harvest Vine on E. Madison avenue which is my absolute favorite out of all Seattle area restaurants by the way) which in turn carries out the traditions of Spain, the Basque country in particular.

Txori is a San Sebastian style pintxos place, which means small bites, even smaller that the more popular and known tapas (served at the Harvest Vine). The place is small, the staff is friendly and the hours are 12 pm to 1 am Thu-Sat (12 pm to 11 pm the rest of the week) which gives you the opportunity to come for lunch, an afternoon aperitif, a great dinner or some midnight munchies.

The offerings are diverse; from cheeses and salumi to olives, seafood, vegetables and meat. Quite a few dishes are served on toasted bread and contain sunny side up eggs :) The wine and cocktail list is great and all goes well together creating a piece of Spain here in Seattle.

Now go!!! :)


Address: 2207 2nd Avenue, Seattle  Tel: 206.204.9771


Bread – soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:47 pm

This is an absolute fluke :) We were having pizza for dinner and I though that the dough turned out marvelous this time so crunchy on the outside and so soft inside and then I thought – why not use the same dough for bread???  I did…the results were great and I even used some whole wheat flour to make it “healthier”; the only draw back is that this bread does not keep well and must be eaten the same day.

Here is how:

1 cup warm water

1 Tbsp active dry yeast

1 teaspoon honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups  all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups  whole wheat flour

2 tsp salt

* Mix the yeast and honey into the water and let sit for a few minutes until cloudy and bubbly. Mix in olive oil.

* Mix flour and salt and add to the yeast mixture. If doing by hand, mix first in a bowl and then knead for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. If using a stand mixer start with a paddle attachment and then switch to the hook knead at a low speed for a couple of minutes and then on medium for another 5 minutes or so until the dough clusters around the hook, knead for another couple of minutes by hand.

* Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel and let rise for about an hour and a half in a warm place (I put it in the oven with the light on). Divide the dough in half and roll into balls; brush with olive oil and let rise  for another hour.

* Preheat the oven to 500 F, do not forget the baking stone/pizza pan/upside down baking tray (on the bottom of the oven).

* When you are ready to bake, throw in some water into the oven to create steam (just take a handful from the tap or use a spritz bottle) – close the door for a moment and then open again and slide the bread onto your baking stone as quickly as possible. Bake for 30 minutes.


Ossobuco Leftovers

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:27 pm

I should have started this post by writing “when you have Ossobuco leftovers…” but I can’t… what are the odds you actually do??? This really happens once in a billion years :) Nobody has leftovers – its either portioned to feed a specific number of people and/or it is so good it does not live long enough to become leftovers. So I will begin this post by making a recommendation – put one extra piece of meat so you do have leftovers! After you cook the Ossobuco and eat as much of it as possible you should let the meat cool in the sauce; the fat will congeal on the top and this is when you take it out with a spoon, throw out the bones (to the dog if you have one) and break the meat apart with your hands and then………………………….. it becomes the most glorious pasta sauce ever!!! Just heat it up, mix with the pasta and sprinkle with Gremolada which is a mix of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic traditionally sprinkled on top of Ossobuco anyways. Enjoy :)


Wild Ginger @ the Bravern in Bellevue Review January 29, 2010

Let me begin by describing my most lasting impression from the restaurant – the service is just HORRIBLE!!! Sub standard, unprofessional and careless are the first words coming to my mind. 

Things were brought out of order, some appetizers appeared after half of the main course was already finished, main courses were brought for half of the table and the other half had to sit and watch for ten minutes and then vice versa. There were four of us and while one person was still eating all the rest of the plates were cleared from the table, we were asked if we want anything else and when we declined the bill was brought in – all that while the person was still eating!!! And no, they were not very busy.

Now to the food…

First of…they have a new weekend dim sum menu which is too expensive by any standard so I would stick with the lunch menu which provides good value. I tasted two dishes – the Wild Ginger Fragrant Duck and the Seven Flavor Beef which were both good but the rice that came with them was just a disaster – the white rice was absolutely anemic and flavorless and the brown one was over cooked and bland. The Mango Lassi was a mango smoothie of sort made with either ice or frozen mangoes rather than with fresh mangoes, yogurt and milk or water as it should be.

The bottom line is,  the food is overall quite good; I would go there for a quick lunch (no appetizers or multiple items – just one plate per person) so service required would be minimized and value for money maximized.


Farro & seafood in saffron sauce

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 2:21 pm

Farro is an ancient grain, a type of hard wheat really, that is high in fiber and protein; it has a nutty flavor and good texture. Farro is versatile, you can grind it into flour and make pasta or cakes, you can use it in soups and either as a main or a side dish. The following recipe is a fun one really and can be adapted to various seasons just replace the zucchini with asparagus and you have a spring dish or serve it at room temperature in the summer; replace the half & half in the sauce with whipping cream and it will be heavier and richer for those cold winter days.

So here it goes…for two portions you will need:

2/3 cup farro 

8-10 medium shrimps

4 calamari tubes cut into rings

4 calamari tentacles

15-20 bay scallops

1 zucchini – cut into long thin ribbons

1/2 cup half & half

large pinch saffron threads (about 1/2 tsp)

1 scant Tbsp butter

1 small shalot, minced

splash white wine (a tea spoon or so)

1 Tbsp chopped parsley

olive oil

fresh basil leaves and ground black pepper for garnish

To make:

1. Mix saffron into the half & half and let sit while you do the rest

2. Cook farro according to package instructions until its al-dente

3. Saute zucchini in a little olive oil and salt until soft; leave it in the saute pan (see step 6).

4. Heat butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, add shalot and cook until soft and translucent; add wine and wait for it to evaporate; add saffron mixture and stir for a couple of minutes, lower the heat and let reduce for 5 minutes more (there should be about half of it left).

5. Heat some olive oil with a pinch of salt in a pan large enough to hold all your seafood; add shrimps (cook for a minute) then scallops and tentacles (cook until both shrimps and scallops are almost done) and finally the calamari rings (which take only about a minute to cook).

6. Add the farro to the zucchini and sauté for a couple of minutes; mix in the parsley and some more olive oil.

7. Strain the sauce onto two plates; arrange farro in the middle, top with seafood and garnish with fresh basil leafs and some freshly ground black pepper.

Glorious, pretty, tasty and colorful in under an hour! Enjoy!


Vietnamese style chicken noodle soup (Pho Ga) January 23, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 9:10 pm


Asian cuisine became an integral part of my life only a couple of years ago when I moved to Vancouver, BC where the number of ethnic Asian restaurants is really astonishing; I tried one and then another one and became addicted to the flavors, colors and smells. I crave Ramen soup and my eyes shine when I see a fresh pink piece of tuna; I am fascinated by the fire coming from under hot woks and am willing to stand in a very long line waiting for a table in a favorite place. Asian food crept into my home as well, there isn’t a week of grocery shopping when I don’t stock up on fresh ginger and lemon grass, garlic and cilantro and my pantry has all the staples – you can trust me on that one – from soy sauce to fish sauce, from mirin to rice vinegar, from garam masala to star anise. Recently I have decided to start reading some books on regional Asian cooking and enjoy the stories and recipes, I do find it a bit difficult to find good books on the theoretical aspect of the various cuisines but I’ll keep trying.

The recipe I want to share today is for a traditional Vietnamese chicken noodle soup; it is based on a traditional recipe though I did make it mine at the end of the day.

For the broth:

2 chicken breasts

1 quart (liter) of water

2 quarts (liters) chicken stock – store bought (low sodium) or home made

2 inch (5 cm) piece of ginger

1 shalot

3 start anise

1 cinnamon stick

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup fish sauce (I used 1/4 cup or so and it was salty enough for me but if yours is not add more)

For serving: freshly ground black pepper, green onions, cilantro, Thai basil, Thai chilies, lime wedges, vegetable of your choice thinly sliced (you can see an optional array on the picture above), noodles – traditionally those would be thin rice noodles but I have used both Somen noodles (Japanese thin wheat noodles) as well as Soba noodles (Japanese as well, made partially with buckwheat flour).

To make:

Step 1: place chicken breasts in the water, add a few peppercorns a pinch of salt and a bay leaf, bring to a boil and reduce heat skimming the scum until the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken and strain the resulting broth – reserve.

Step 2: under a broiler or on the bbq or just on an open flame if you have a gas stove char the ginger and shalot until black; smash each with a back of a knife.

Step 3: In a dry pan, heat up cinnamon and star anise until fragrant, add shalot, ginger, chicken stock and the broth in which you cooked the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let cook for about an hour.

Step 4: When the chicken is cool enough to handle shred it with your fingers.

Step 5: When broth is ready add the fish sauce, sugar and a pinch of salt.

Step 6: Arrange chicken, noodles and all other garnishes in a bowl and pour the hot soup over them, serve with lime wedges on the side.


Have a wonderful year January 11, 2010

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 5:09 pm

Had no time to post anything during the holidays but I sure have been cooking and baking. Here are some photos I took and through those I want to wish you a wonderful new year!

Happy Eating!

Christmas Cookies (Alfajores, Ricciarelli, Cookie-press vanilla-butter cookies)

New Year’s dinner –  avocado mousse with cured Salmon, crème fraîche and salmon roe; crab ravioli with pea purée; Baked shrimp with avocado salad.

Second course – duck legs with Chanterelle ravioli and Porcini mushroom sauce.


Dessert – Gianduja souffle

And the last one…those are Pizzelle (Italian cookies, but I assume you already guessed that) and they are made using my new gadget (i.e. a pizzelle maker, like a waffle maker) and could be eaten plain or rolled into tubes, cones or pushed into muffin molds to create small cups. The tube shaped ones have a cannoli filling made from Ricotta and the cups are filled with Gianduja cream.