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Weekly Reads 17

I burned myself out working three 14-hour days in a row for no reason. Well, no reason other than I had the time and was on a roll. Take it from me–if you don’t have to, don’t. Even if you have to, try not to. That much brain power and screen time aren’t good for your well-being. I made some post-work plans this week just to ensure I’ll disconnect at a reasonable hour. You gotta do what you gotta do.

The weekend was a great reprieve. Nearly no work. I hardly checked email. The sun was out all day. I walked over 8 miles in the sunshine. I have to store up that vitamin D when I can. The Timbers had another great, fun-to-watch game. I ate a Figlia egg salad sandwich [my favorite!] and tried their housemade hazelnut milk in a latte. Game changer. Cheese club was an introduction to Puits d’Astier. It was recently a centerfold cheese in Culture magazine. Check it out. It’s like brie, but better. The one we had was shipped via boat across the ocean and then traveled by truck from NYC to PDX. By the time we got it, it had an epic amount of furry mold. Apparently, it’s common but depends on the moisture content in the air, what other bacteria are around, and what the sheep were eating at the time. It’s fascinating. And delicious. Just don’t smell the rind. Trust me.

Andrew’s friend Joshua is an amazing artist. I’m in love with more than a couple pieces.

I’ve tried the whole make-your-own-almond-milk thing, but all the waste leaves me feeling meh. This method seems like a great alternative. If you’ve tried it, I want to know!

I might have been researching shampoo the other night, and Andrew might have made fun of me for it.

The Financial Diet website is a new find. A few of the books on this list are now on my to-read list in the abundance of free time I don’t have.

Cherry upside down cake. I haven’t wanted to bake something so badly in a long time.

I was a little skeptical of Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy flavors, but after nearly finishing the pint of Chunky Monkey, I’m sold.

I haven’t been making time for the gym lately, and I’m finally starting to crave it. And since cardio sucks, this workout seems like a worthwhile alternative.

Since I’ve been carrying my work laptop back and forth from the office, and traditional Portland rain is in full effect, I’ve been scoping out water-resistant backpacks. This one is on the short list. Too bad I don’t think it’d fit my laptop.

Ham. And. Cheese. Slab. Pie.

An old school turned Dutch home. Swoon.

(Not) Juggling it All. YES.

A great list of women-run podcasts. Currently following: One Part Plant and Heroine.

Weekly Reads 13

It’s been a hell of a couple weeks. We survived 12-14″ of snow. We marched. And with the start of tax season tomorrow, I wanted to squeeze the last little bit of freedom and fun that I could. The latest cheese club at Cyril’s had me leaving with my own wedge of Tomme Chevre Brebis. This one is a goat and sheep milk blend, so it’s a mixture of smooth [sheep] and tangy [goat]. We saw Louis CK, and I laughed so much it hurt. Andrew’s soccer team had their belated holiday party [at Ex Novo this year] and it was just as fun as always. I went to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone concert series with my sister where the movie is played on the big screen with the symphony playing along the entire time. It exceeded my expectations and I already expected it to be awesome. If you at all appreciate Harry Potter and/or the symphony, it’s a great way to see the movie. I went to my first Yoga + Beer class. It’s a fun concept to practice yoga within the brewery space to experience something little more chaotic and akin to real life and get a beer afterward. John K. Samson [of the band The Weakerthans] came to town to play a lot of songs from his new album. I’ve seen him a handful of times either solo or with the band, and I’m never disappointed.

Friday night I spent the evening with my friend Emma to finally [FINALLY] check out Dame, a new-to-me restaurant in the hood. The hype surrounding the restaurant is real. The wine list is killer, the staff is knowledgeable, and we ate some great plates—beef tartare [see photo!], cabbage rolls with short ribs, and salt cod dumplings. Finishing off the night with huge hunks of chocolate was simple and perfect. Yesterday Andrew and I took off for Astoria to spend the day. There were promises of sunshine, but it didn’t quite materialize, but that seems par for the course this time of the year. The tide was super high, so Roma did not get to drink the ocean or run on the beach. We wandered the town, hitting up fish and chips and Bow Picker, some chocolate custard and Custard King, and a stellar dinner at Albatross & Co. They are going on vacation for the next two weeks, so all oysters were $1. A dozen oysters, a dungeonous crab deviled egg, escarole caesar, and roasted sturgeon dish later, we left for home happy. Today? A trip up to Amboy to eat burgers at Nick’s Bar & Grill and visit the Cedar Creek Grist Mill. It’s a working water powered water mill and the oldest wood structure in Washington. It’s been around since before the state became a state. There was an older man giving us the tour and the history before milling some flour and letting us take some home. I’ve already made cornbread muffins and they are good. The soft white flour is making its way into pancakes tonight. See? Busy and wonderful and I love every minute of it.

I know tax season’s 60 hour work weeks don’t leave as much time for fun, but I’m determined to keep it light and balanced as much as possible. Here’s what I’ve read lately…

Since Tracy has been making all the hippy banana bread lately, I’ve been craving it. I was too impatient to wait for bananas to ripen, so Andrew bought a loaf from New Seasons. Acceptable substitute, but I still want to make hers.

A good read. When you grow up in a town where you don’t quite identify with everyone or you think you know, but you don’t.

I want our offices to look like this.

Ways to cope when meditation isn’t your thing.

Definitely craving butter beans now.

These Japan photos are beautiful. So, so beautiful.

I keep seeing oven fried wings. I keep wanting to eat oven fried wings.

No matter how privileged I am, we are still not equal. Not even close. This essay says it so well.

Words to ban from your vocabulary. I’m working on saying “you’re welcome” to a thank you instead of “of course,” “not a problem,” or “no worries.” I’m getting better at eliminating “just,” “like,” and “really” from my writing [speaking is harder!]. I’ve all but gotten rid of “sorry” when I’m not really sorry. Practice makes perfect.

I am still craving a makeover to my bedroom, and I’m inspired all the time but can’t pull the trigger.

These wallpapers are making the rounds on all my computers to get some sunshine and warmth when it’s not at all outside.

I bought a new pot when my dutch oven finally died, so I’m thinking about the first thing I’ll cook in it, like this pozole.

Since there is so much crazy going on in the news it’s easy to miss other things like these food initiatives to keep an eye on.

So envious of this kitchen refresh!

Veggie Enchilada Pie

We snuck off to San Diego for a few days in honor of Andrew’s dad’s birthday. It can be summarized in this video that Andrew made. It was unseasonably hot, even for San Diego. 90 degrees is not what I expect in October. Unless I’m in Thailand. We balanced family time, visiting friends, and a trip to Tijuana to see the Xolos [soccer] and eat all the tacos. Other highlights of the trip–North Park Beer Co., Beerfish, Public Square Coffee, Heartsleeves Coffee, Monello, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto.

I finally used up the last of the dried chilies I had in the pantry from the chili I made back in February. Being able to use them up appeased the side of my brain that doesn’t like clutter. It was so refreshing to get that bag out of there. It also allowed me to have some squash. I hardly ate any this summer. I don’t know how that happened. I followed the recipe nearly perfectly, even the corn! I know, I’m shocked too. I did lower the amount of cheese. Once I started grating a brick of Monterey jack and only got 3/4 of the way through the brick, I balked at the pile. In my head, I was thinking back to the time I was in charge of putting together the toppings on the homemade pizza when I was still living at home, and I got a little heavy handed with the cheese. We are a cheese-loving family, so for them to notice says a lot. So yeah, the moral of the story is I used less cheese and wasn’t that bummed about it. It was still absolutely delicious, filling, and the right amount of spicy thanks to the jalapenos. I am the laziest and don’t bother seeding them. It’s a level of heat I’m willing to accept.

veggie-enchilada-pie

veggie-enchilada-pie2

Inspiration: Not Without Salt

Ingredients

  • 3 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 28oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped [thanks, food processor]
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1lb zucchini, cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels [I used frozen corn]
  • 15oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, + more for garnish
  • 12 6″ corn tortillas
  • 3/4lb Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

In a large, deep skillet, toast the chilies over medium-high heat for about two minutes. Turn them often so all sides are toasted. Remove from heat, and when they’re cool, cut off their stem and shake out the seeds. I had to slice the open to do this. Transfer the chilies to a blender or large cup and cover them with the boiling water. Let stand until they’re softened. Add the tomatoes and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. I found I needed a fair amount of salt.

In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook them for about five minutes. Stir often. They’ll be soft and beginning to get translucent. Add the curry powder and stir until thoroughly mixed in with the onions. Add the zucchini and cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Add the corn and beans and stir. Mash the beans slightly either with the back of your spoon or a masher. Stir in the lime juice and the 1/2 cup of the cilantro.

Preheat the oven to 35° and grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 cup. Arrange four of the tortillas in the baking dish, tearing them in half as necessary to create an even layer. Spoon half of the filling over the tortillas and of with one-third of the cheese. Top the cheese with another layer of four tortillas, half of the remaining sauce, the rest of the filling, and another third of the cheese. Layer the last four tortillas followed by the remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the edges are starting to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

 

BBQ Chicken & Blue Cheese Grilled Pizza

Oh man, is it too late to post another grilled pizza? I realize it’s pretty summery, but when I left for Thailand, it was still summer.

Then I came back last week [sorry, it’s taken me that long to get back into the swing of that thing called ‘life’] and it’s like *BAM* fall.

 

I’ve been trying to jot down a recap of Thailand and Cambodia, and it’s proving lengthy. Either we did a lot of things in three weeks, or I have a lot to say. Probably both. I’ll get to it eventually, promise. Also hard [possibly harder] is trying to choose only a handful of photos. Andrew took tons!

So about the pizza. It’s no surprise that I love BBQ chicken, right? I realize I’ve technically already posted this kind of pizza, but c’mon. This one is waaaaaay better. It’s prettier. It has blue cheese. It’s something to post while I write about Thailand. It’s such a classic combination that was begging to be made. Again. What’s your favorite BBQ sauce? Stubbs’ is usually all that’s ever in the fridge, so I used that again.

cheated used my resources wisely and picked up a whole chicken from New Seasons the fridge. It’s so much more efficient [and cheaper] than getting chicken breasts and doing my own cooking. Plus I get the added bonus of standing there deboning the chicken and eating half of it as I go. Win-win.

The grilling process is getting easier. This one was slightly more normal in shape, right? I’ll get there. Too bad it’s not really going to be grilling season for the next six months.

Inspiration: Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce + some for your chicken
  • 1/2 of a roasted chicken [or one breast and one thigh], shredded
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 large red onion, small dice

Preparation

Preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes before turning it down to medium.

Smother the shredded chicken with some of the BBQ sauce. I didn’t use an amount because it really does depend on your tastes. I like a nice thin layer. I didn’t want a mess. Let it sit while you prepare the dough.

Sprinkle the grits around on your dough rolling surface. Roll out the dough to your desired thickness. Drizzle both sides with olive oil before place one side down on the grill. Grill for three minutes or until grill marks show up on the one side. It shouldn’t be sticking, and will be easy to pull off to a rimless baking sheet, grilled side up. Turn off the middle burner if your grill has three of them.

Smother the grilled side of the pizza with 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Sprinkle it with the shredded chicken. Add the red onions and both cheeses before returning the pizza to the grill for 7-9 minutes. The bottom will be crisp and the cheese melted.

Remove from the grill and sprinkle with the cilantro or parsley if you’re into that sort of thing. Cut and serve immediately.

Sautéed Pork & Parsnips

It has been a stellar couple of days. We were invited out to dinner last night to the house of some friends we made on the wine tour in Italy. They’re awesome [because I only hang out with awesome people — duh], and treated us to an incredibly fun night of a ton of wine, cheese/salami/crackers, stuffed pork chops, steamed asparagus and lemon butter, sautéed onions and mushrooms, pasta salad, and brownies over ice cream. I have been on a pork tear lately, so I was totally psyched on their menu. We had a great time catching up [we run into them at the winery occasionally], getting to know each other better, and staying out until 11:30am. We party.

Today I was given a promotion and a raise at work. You’re looking at THE senior staff accountant. Flashy, huh? I wasn’t totally expecting it, which makes it even more exciting. I might have done a little dance in my cube. I picked up my first pair of prescription sunglasses. It’s a novel concept that only took me 18 years to figure out. Some friends of ours from San Francisco came into town today, too. We went out to Piazza Italia for dinner where the staff treated us to a bottle of Fanti Sassomagno Sant’Antimo. I’ve been there. That’s the best part. It was towards the end of our trip when we toured and tasted bottle after bottle of wine. It’s the first time I’ve really seen a bottle from the wineries we had gone to. Other things enjoyed — linguine with clams and a white wine sauce, the best tiramisu in the city, and a macchiato. Go there if you’re in the mood for classic Italian.

So pork — I’ve been eating leftover pulled pork sandwiches this week [recipe to come!] and the stuffed pork chops last night, and then this super comforting pork loin dish. It has everything I could want in a dish, pork, chewy carbs, sautéed parsnips, and a dry vermouth sauce. Alcohol is always good in a sauce. Parsnips are funny. They’re so, so bitter when they’re uncooked. I’m a notorious snacker when I’m chopping vegetables. I’d say a good 1/5 of whatever I chop gets eaten. Quality control. I always forget about parsnips because I don’t buy them that often. They are not good raw vegetables. Well, at least my taste buds don’t think so. Cooked are definitely where it’s at.

 

Inspiration: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1ooz parsnips, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 3oz egg noodles
  • 10oz pork loin, cut into 1/2″ rounds
  • all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth

Preparation

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on medium high heat. Sauté the parsnips for two minutes. Add the shallots and two teaspoons of thyme. Add salt and pepper, cooking the parsnips until they brown. Remove them from the pan and keep warm.

Bring  a pot of salted water boil to cook the egg noodles. When al dente, drain the water and toss with another tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of thyme.

Sprinkle all sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces in flour and cook on high heat heat in the parsnip pan. They should be lightly browned on all sides. It takes 2-3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Add the vermouth, broth, and parsnip mixture back to the pan. Bring it to a boil, scraping up the browned bits of the pork for FLAVOR. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7-9 minutes until the parsnips are cooked through and the sauce is reduced. Add the pork and cook it through for another couple of minutes. Service over the egg noodles.