Weekly Reads 16

I’m here. I’m working. I’m eating. I’m doing nearly everything I love except cooking. That’s been falling to the wayside. It’s short lived. Tax season is flying by. It’s already almost 3/15. That’s equal parts exciting and terrifying. We started Wellness Wednesdays at the office, and I had my first guided meditation last week. The 25 minutes definitely did not feel like it. I think I got the hang of it pretty quickly. The key is practice, and I’ve done it exactly zero times since. I’m craving our annual trip

I’m craving our annual trip and some sunshine. We’re getting really close to nailing it down. I’d say with a fair amount of confidence it will involve a flight into Bilbao and a flight out of Milan, but you never know. Plenty of time to change our minds. Again.

Last weekend was all the sports. Timbers season opener and some seats at a Trailblazers game. We went to a vermouth night at Locale. I tried two new-to-me spots: Spitz and Bless Your Heart Burgers. Both were really good. We found out La Cocina’s ceviche is a force to be reckoned with. Their tuna might be slightly better than their shrimp, but only slightly. It’s severed in a giant frozen molcajete. Jacqueline’s brunch is so good. When Emma and I went, they had already run out of a few things, and I didn’t even care. We watched Hell or High Water last night. It’s a good one.

As you can imagine, there’s been a lot of reading on the internets. That’s about all the attention span I had. I checked out an Italian cookbook a few weeks back and never managed to open it before it had to go back to the library. Whoops.

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I’ve got a couple of Glossier’s new Cloud Paints coming in the mail. I haven’t bought new makeup in forever.

Look at this rye and sweet potato gnocchi. I love everything about this.

Women of NASA being immortalized by legos. Does it get much better?

This kitchen reveal makes me feel all kinds of swoony.

Oh god. Marshmallow-y brownies. Marshmallows are a weakness!

This chicken curry pot pie sounds stellar. That crust is beautiful!

How to make every week a 40-hour week. Some great tips to use after April.

We have a non-stop supply of Cheez-its in the office right now, so these turmeric-spiced ones are speaking to me.

Reading about the new Legend of Zelda game made me feel nostalgic and old simultaneously.

How to Tokyo. What a great starter guide.

These raclette sticks sound like my kind of indulgence!

I need to start practicing herb prep. This seems way too easy not to.

Roasted radicchio and cheese. It reminds me of Tasty N Alder Their radicchio salad is one of my favorites.

This house speaks to me. I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t want.

Rye brownies. Between that and the bay leaves, the savory notes have me intrigued.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

The comfort of tuna noodle casserole. My love for it knows no bounds. This version combines all the things I love so much–pasta, tuna, mushrooms, leeks, a white cheddar sauce, greenery in the form of dill, a crunch from tortilla chip crumbles.

The casserole of my childhood was similar but different. Elbow macaroni. A lot of Velveeta. No crunch. No baking. This felt like the grown-up version and still elicited a lot of the same eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head goodness. I struggled with my portions as I often do when pasta and cheese are involved.

We managed to save leftovers. I was that person who ate fish in the office. I promise I didn’t reheat it. I’m not that cruel.

Inspiration: Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  • 10oz crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine [I used vermouth because that’s all I had on hand]
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6oz white cheddar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce [I used tapatio]
  • 12oz tuna, packed in oil, drained and broken into pieces
  • 2 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 13×9″ baking dish.

Cook the egg noodles in a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water for about 2-3 minutes. The pasta should still be very al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt 1/2 of the stick of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and leek and stir often. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until they start to soften but not brown. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-6 minutes. The moisture from the mushrooms should seep out and cook off. Add the wine and continue stirring occasionally until the moisture is nearly gone. Season with salt and pepper.

In a pot, melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux until it’s golden brown, about two minutes. It will be shiny and smooth. Whisk constantly and add the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, cheddar and hot sauce. Stir often until the cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix together the mushrooms, cheese sauce, noodles, and tuna. Everything should be evenly coated. Taste for more salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with the chips. Bake for about 20 minutes. The casserole will be bubbly and the chips starting to brown. Remove from heat and let it sit for about five minutes. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Weekly Reads 15

It has been a hell of a couple weeks. I fit in a lot of cool stuff in between all of those tax hours. We went to see Pinback at Doug Fir. I had the opportunity to eat at Beast. It was so good to check off a food bucket list item. It’s a Portland institution for good reason. It was a great meal. Highlights were the celery root veloute, capellacci pasta with arugula pesto and hedgehog mushrooms, and the cheese course with Testun al Barolo cheese. So good. The Timbers are in preseason so we had three games to watch. It’s nice to be back, and the team is looking very promising this year. It’s been cool, but dry. I’ll take it. The sun came out a few times. I had forgotten what Vitamin D feels like. We spent a lot of time on the Vespa, which is getting more fun the better the weather is. Novel concept, I know. We checked out a new-to-us coffee shop, Locale. It’s very European in that whole coffee in the day, bar at night. We checked out Figlia, a killer new Italian counter-service cafe. The decor is beautiful as the food is incredible. It’s the little sister restaurant to Renata, also on my restaurant wish list. I’m a sucker for an egg salad sandwich, and theirs is SO GOOD. It’s not mayo-y, has crispy pig skin and bagna cauda, and the goldilocks of crisp yet soft bread. If they were downtown, I’d be there everyday.

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This home tour is lovely. I find myself drawn to the wallpaper accent walls and crisp, clean lines.

Sarah, owner of Cyril’s and fearless cheese club leader, wrote this wonderful essay on staffing and the work relationship.

I’m a fan of farmhouse sinks, but I’m afraid it’d overwhelm my tiny kitchen.

This clean, simple living room. Swoon.

Matcha tiramisu. Adrienna never ceases to amaze me.

Look this ramen! Looks simply delicious.

So many good things going on with this cake. Cardamom. Plum. Coffee buttercream. Sign me up.

The contrast of black and white in this kitchen is dramatic but not at all overwhelming. It makes my kitchen feel a little bit bigger too.

“Out of his 17 cabinet members only 4 are women.” An essay on why it’s not ok for men to lead an initiative on women in the workforce.

Heard about this company on Of A Kind’s podcast. Debating on picking up a tee or two. Might as well get some of those sweet socks.

Screw Valentine’s Day, I want these scallops every day.

Avocado Ramen

This was definitely one of those “How weird, I have to make this!” recipes that have been nagging at it since I found it about a year ago. It was an excuse to add a couple things to my Asian ingredient repertoire that I didn’t have handy—miso and kombu. I don’t know what took me so long, but here we are.

This whole thing comes together really quick, which is not normally the case with ramen when you’re making the broth from scratch. The taste and texture from the miso and avocado were extremely rich and creamy. I could see it absolutely turning off some people, but I was in heaven. I couldn’t eat all of it, so I saved some for the next day. It solidifies into a gelatinous mass. It’s quite the thing to behold. I’d definitely keep this to a ‘day of’ thing, unless you have more broth to cut it with the next day to thin it back out while you’re cooking. I didn’t want to risk diluting the flavor by just adding water.

Inspiration: Tasty Plan

Ingredients

  • 1 strip kombu
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup miso paste [I used white]
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 10oz buckwheat noodles
  • 6 large Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Soft boiled egg, cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, etc. for serving

Preparation

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, Brussels sprouts, and a pinch of salt. Stir often and sauté for about five minutes or so until they’re cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the kombu and water in a large pot. Bring it to a boil before reducing it to a simmer and cooking for four minutes. Remove the kombu. Place the avocado, coconut milk, and miso paste in a blender. Add the broth in batches to the blender and blend until smooth. Once all of the broth is incorporated, return the mixture to the pot and keep warm over low heat.

In a large pot, cook the buckwheat noodles according to the package. Drain and rinse under cold water.

To serve, pour about a cup of the broth in a bowl, add a handful of noodles, some cooked Brussels sprouts, and whatever garnishes you’ve prepared.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

I know, I know. Gingerbread in February. I’m linear. I post things in order that I make them 97 percent of the time so I’m sorta sorry about this. Who says you can’t have gingerbread year-round? It’s been cold enough to justify this with a mug of whatever warm thing you’ve been drinking lately.

Using butterscotch pudding is brilliant. You know that’s totally why I picked this right? The flavor melds right into the overall ginger flavor, and I didn’t have to buy a special jar of molasses that will take me forever to get through.

This cold weather is nice for softening butter since I always seem to have our fireplace on, and I can’t ever seem to remember to take the butter out in a reasonable amount of time.

These ended up being perfectly soft and chewy. Ginger snaps these are not, but it’d be easy to make them so. Just bake them longer. They already seem thick enough to make it happen. I went with a simple circle shape with a biscuit cutter because I didn’t have anything else handy, and I don’t really want to store a bunch of cookie cutters. Besides, I’m all about classics [except where I threw pudding mix into a cookie…].

Inspiration: Almost Makes Perfect

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3.4oz box of cook and serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preparation

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. I like to do this for several minutes until it’s nice and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. In batches, slowly mix in the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Shape the mixture into two or three balls and cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll each dough ball out until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Leave about 2″ between cookies so they don’t spread.

Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and then to a cooling rack.

The original recipe calls for icing that I didn’t want to use. I’m an icing free kind of girl. You do you.