Literally, that's what the restaurant in Bellevue, WA is called, What the Pho'. Ironically it was our mood last Saturday morning too after our flight to Palm Springs, CA got cancelled and we couldn't fly out until Monday am.! The Ulins were NOT a happy family that morning! However, quick thinking Brad thought of a happy door prize of going to our favorite Pho shop in Bellevue for a steaming bowl of goodness and some fresh spring rolls. We all chose the flank steak and eye of round steak as our meat, added our bean sprouts and various favorite condiments to the broth. I love the fresh lime squeeze, the fresh basil and cilantro and a dash of Asian hot sauce (the one with the rooster on the label). It was a nice bit of warmth in the POURING rain. We'll get to the sun soon enough we thought. Making lemonade after getting served some lemons:) It's our Vietnamese comfort food, kinda like Grandma's chicken soup. My son Alan said "it was like heaven in a bowl". We agreed. Our attentive, friendly waiter said "gama" was "thank you" in Vietnamese. "Gama" to Brad for bringing us out of our funk!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Things are starting to bloom again at the Cutting Garden in Sequim! I love this time of year when color starts to emerge from the earth, buds start forming, and gardeners hit their gardens with renewed vigor. Garden tending is a year round endeavour at the Cutting Garden with various events, weddings, u-cut garden, floral arrangements and Catherine's fabulous painter's studio upstairs.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I would also tell you about the lovely glass of Italian red I had but this blogger is a cheap date and had already had 2 glasses at the afore mentioned wedding reception and I forget now:) LOL! Nevertheless, the wine list at Bellas is always something to look forward to and the staff is eager to suggest/educate their patrons. BTW, if you like wines, my friend Kim does some great wine tastings at Bellas on Tuesday nights starting @ 4:30pm. Call ahead as spots are limited!
Ciao from Sequim!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Baking was always a little tedious for me in my younger years with following a recipe, measuring and weighing ingredients...where was the personal expression? I liked cooking for that outlet of creativity, smelling, stirring and tasting as you went along. But now, haking has become a chemistry experiment! Taking a recipe and following it to the letter as a dry run, followed by evaluation process...was it what I had hoped, what could be better...This is where the fun and joy originate for me in the baking process. How can I improve upon something good, even great.
This Valentines Day, I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart Living Magazine's February issue for Peanut butter and Jelly cookies. The cookies were rolled into balls, flattened and then a thumb print at 11:00 and 1:00 made a heart shape, later to be filled with jam. The recipe was good and most of the kids LOVED them in my son's class. So the challenge was on...how could I improve the recipe? (Funny you should ask)
I started my "elevation process" by using CB's Organic freshly ground roasted peanut butter from the dispenser at Sunny Farns, CB's is a local roaster in Kingston, WA(soon to become a field trip video-watch for it). The product was pure roasted peanut butter with a touch of salt, an appealing granular texture with still some cream but without any oils to mix.
The next "boost" was to use Nash's Soft White Winter Wheat Pastry Flour milled here in Sequim by Bell Street Bakery. (I used it previously in my Grandma's cinnamon roll recipe). The flour is weightier than the all white version but with a added bonus of a nutty, possibly sweet taste. I find that the flour amplifies the nutty factor and texture without weighing it down like a conventional whole wheat flour might.
As a fun twist on the Jelly center idea, my husband, ever the Reeses Peanut butter cup fan, suggested using chocolate instead of jelly. It was also well received but now AMAZING. How could I improve it? (Love a curious reader!) Dark chocolate rather than the original semi sweet will potentially add a deeper chocolate flavor.I WILL be keeping you up to date on the trials and hopefully "elevations" of recipies.
The morale today is to use GREAT, hopefully local ingrediants whenever possible! BRAVO Nash's, Bell Street and CB's Nuts!!!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Same skillet, I then sauteed half of an organic sweet onion, medium chop with about a pound of the FANTASTIC Chorizo Sausage made expertly by the afore mentioned talented staff at Sunny Farms' Meat Dept. To the pan I added several cracks of fresh ground pepper and 1 Tablespoon each; dried cumin & dried cilantro, and 1lb grass fed organic ground beef from my family's farm (to lighten the richness of the Chorizo).
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
So have to rush dinner tonight and make it light as hubby and oldest son are playing hoops tonight and basketball is a family affair at Chez Ulin! So I grab some of this cabbage, a leek and some carrots I bought from Nash's Store on Sunday and gave the cabbage a fine chop, the carrots a shred on my box shredder & into the large salad bowl. Then I chopped off the root of the leek and most of in future), halved the white part of the leek , chopped finely and gave a big rinse in colander. They joined the cabbage and were tossed liberally with Sunny Farms' Ranch Dressing (a HUGE favorite of the Ulin men!) and we have our quick, healthy, anti oxidant coleslaw:)
The beans with smoked ham hocks were just as easy! I started them 1st actually...then did the coleslaw.
Soaked some dried white navy beans from Sunny Farms' Othello Farm during lunch hour in water so that they were softened when I got home from work. Into my Rikhon Kuhn 5 qt. pressure cooker( in the top 5 items in my MUST HAVE TOOLS list!) and grabed the frozed ham hocks (also Sunny Farms) out of my freezer, covered beans/ham w/ water and added 2 dried bay leaves, 2 T dried cumin, 4 cloves/toes fresh garlic, several cracks of fresh ground peper and 15 minutes later on medium-low heat, we had a quick bean dish! Took out the ham bones, mashed the ham and garlic toes and we were eating a low fat, healthy and quick dinner! Off to hoops we go:)