Monthly Archives: May 2013

Recipe: Linguini Pescatore

linguini

I’ve always wanted a signature dish, something that my husband, family, kids could request again and again. Some moms and wives are known for their cookies and pies, but since I’m a hopeless baker, I’ve instead scoured recipes through the years for the perfect roast chicken or seafood linguini, my favorite comfort food.

We were in Florida this past weekend with my family, helping Darlene, my little sister move into graduate school in Orlando. We stayed in a vacation rental so our family could use the kitchen to our heart’s content. My mom loves to cook to relax (lucky us), but since my parent’s flight was coming in late, I was responsible for dinner that evening. She requested my seafood pasta, so I scoured the local store for fresh clams, shrimp, and scallops to start dinner. I’m always looking for new ways to make this dish, and think I finally hit upon my future go-to recipe! It was yummy and hit the spot after a long day of travel!

I usually prefer a light white wine sauce to a red tomato-based sauce. This recipe has been adapted from a few online finds.

Linguini Pescatore

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound New Zealand cockles or 24 Manila or littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1/2 pound of scallops (I used the small, bay scallops onhand at the store)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your taste)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

In a large pot over moderately high heat, combine 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. Bring to boil, then add linguine and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm).

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat the olive oil and butter with sliced garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes until hot and fragrant but not smoking.  Add wine, clams, and 1/2 cup parsley and simmer, covered for a few minutes, just until clams open.

Pat shrimp and scallops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once clams are opened, remove the clams from the juices in the pan with tongs and set aside in a small bowl. Add shrimp and scallops to the pan sauce and cook until the shrimp is pink on both sides and the scallops are cooked through and easily flaked, 3-4 minutes. Note: be careful not to overcook the shrimp and scallops as they can easily turn tough and chewy.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain linguine and add to pan with the clams. Simmer, tossing the pasta with the sauce occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. If necessary, add some of the reserved cooking water to keep moist. Remove from heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil, tossing to coat. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately with crusty garlic bread and a fresh green salad.

Serves 4-6 people (depending on how hungry you are!)

Forever Follow Me To

I recently came across this photo series Follow Me To by photographer Murad Osmann that I absolutely adore.  While recording his travels with his girlfriend he takes snapshots of her pulling his hand to follow her.  So, today being our 3 year anniversary, CJ I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else, will you Follow Me hand in hand for the rest of our lives (I will follow you too :)).

muradosmannfollowmeto  muradosmannfollowmeto3

muradosmannfollowmeto4  muradosmannfollowmeto5

muradosmannfollowmeto8  muradosmannfollowmeto9

muradosmannfollowmeto10  muradosmannfollowmeto11

muradosmannfollowmeto12  muradosmannfollowmeto13

muradosmannfollowmeto35  muradosmannfollowmeto34

muradosmannfollowmeto21  muradosmannfollowmeto32
All the Follow Me photos are featured on Osmann´s Instagram profile.
Photo: © Murad Osmann

image ^^^  CJ and I at our wedding day ^^^

Our love for Farmer’s Markets

CJ and I love farmer’s markets.  This love started from our exposure to the amazing Madison Farmer’s Market that is around the WI state capitol every Saturday in the summers.  From the many different farmer’s markets we have been to, no one has topped this one and if you are ever in Madison in the summer you should definitely check it out.  Get the cheesy hot bread because it’s divine!  The Ferry Building in San Francisco also has a wonderful farmer’s market and on the weekends it has cooking demonstrations, food trucks, great restaurants, ok you just really need to check that one out too if you are in the San Fran area please!!

Fortunately our neighborhood also has a farmer’s market every Thursday and Sunday for most of the year and no matter if it’s much smaller we love strolling around and looking at the produce, tasting samples and yes we are suckers and often get overpriced pickles, jerky and pastries just to name a few.

With the fresh produce from the market one recipe I love whipping together is quinoa and vegetable stir-fry.  I will be the first to admit my diet isn’t the healthiest, but this recipe is and it’s actually very delicious!

Quinoa Vegetable Stir-Fry

2.5 cups cooked quinoa
1 onion diced
1 yellow squash diced
2 fistfuls of green beans trimmed and cut into thirds
2 cups of mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil
low sodium soy sauce
oyster sauce (not necessary, i just love putting this on everything)

Instructions

–  Cook quinoa according to directions on the package.  While cooking clean and cup up veggies.
–  Heat olive oil in a larget skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent, then add the remaining veggies.  Season with kosher salt, pepper and herbs of your liking (basil, thyme, red pepper flakes).  Add a splash of soy sauce (add more or less to your liking).  Continue cooking until tender.
–  Add cooked quinoa into the skillet and combine with veggies.
–  This can be served hot or cold.

This is hardly a recipe it’s so easy, but trust me it’s really good!!  Here’s some photos of myself at our local farmer’s market.  Plus I just think you can’t have a post without a few photos, right?!

IMG_0248 <<<can you believe we have been here just over a year!!!  here’s my prego self >>>

IMG_0967 <<<a year later we have a stroller and a baby, haha!  here i’m picking ingredients for my quinoa and veggie dish!>>>

IMG_2329                 IMG_2328

<<<these pickles were amazing!!  jerky was good too, but in 2 seconds we finished the bag….>>>

Here’s to a happy start of summer and enjoying our local farmer’s markets!

Our LA Weekend Trip

We just got back from visiting CJ’s family and from having our flights canceled last night and having to get up sooo early this morning, dealing w/ Nola for a 5.5 hour flight and adjusting to the 3 hour time change, we are barely functioning!  Wow, what a fun trip, but also so glad we are home.  On this post I wanted to share with you another trip we had taken earlier this month.  I apologize in advance for all the scrolling you will need to do for this post, but there are so many photos I wanted to share with you all!!

A couple weeks ago CJ had a conference in LA and Nola and I decided we would tag along.  Since CJ was busy with work, it really ended up being a mommy/daughter adventure and we had such a great time!!!  A couple of ideas spawned from this trip, first, until she won’t have me anymore I want to do little trips just her and I, and secondly, I really loved being in a city.  Enough to think in my head, “maybe I could do this again w/ a baby?!?”  After living in Chicago for five years I needed a break, but I think I’m coming around the thought of it again.

We were going to be staying in downtown LA for 2 full days so I decided we would hone in on attractions within walking distance.  Since I was flying alone and already had a lightweight stroller, backpack, nola in baby carrier and carry-on the idea of bringing a carseat was not an option.  I should say, that once boarding the plane I only had Nola and the backpack, but still getting to and from that point I was loaded down.  I wish I had a photo, we looked like a traveling mommy and daughter circus.  How do mommy’s do it with two little ones is beyond me?!

Our first stop was taking a tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall which was designed by Frank Gehry.  Considering my education and work experience is in architecture this was something I really wanted to check out.  We even got to go inside the concert hall which we were told doesn’t happen very often.  The tour guide said on Halloween they get this huge screen that shows horror movies all the while having the orchestra play, that’d be so cool to go to that!  Overall it was a fun tour and was the highlight of the trip!

IMG_2467 Here’s the outside of the Walt Disney Concert Hall

IMG_2471 Nola got a tambourine!  As you can see she’s very enthused about this.

IMG_2475 Here we are inside the Concert Hall

IMG_2481 We loved these coral trees in the garden!  And for my Dutch family, the rose in the background was a mosaic rose made out of delft…it was so cool!! 

Another fun place we hit up a lot (like twice a day each day) was the Grand Central Market Place.  It wasn’t the typical farmers market, but it had a lot of places to eat, produce and in general a fun place to people watch, which Nola loved.  I asked around and was told that China Cafe was good and there were insane lines so that’s always a good sign.  They had the most delicious pork dumpling soup!!!  I couldn’t eat it in one sitting because I was chasing after Nola in the hotel room, but even so, it was great.

IMG_2490 To get to the Market we took Angel’s Flight  (supposedly the shortest railway in the world)

IMG_2521         IMG_2494

IMG_2496 Instead of taking the Angel’s Flight I often took the stairs (figured it would be good exercise).  These flower that fell from the tree above onto the stairs made Nola and I feel extra special walking up.   

We also visited Grand Park a couple of times and had fun visiting the MOCA Museum.  Going to museum’s with a kiddo is so neat to see how they like exhibits or respond to some of the art.  MOCA has this small restaurant Lemonade which had the most delicious rosemary watermelon lemonade.  I had 2 and if they were local we would be in trouble.  Someday I’m going to try to make a version of that tasty tasty drink.

IMG_2505          IMG_2522

IMG_2516 Having a snack at Grand Park

IMG_2515 We loved this Rothko piece!

IMG_2514 Nola however was not feeling the Jackson Pollock painting :(

IMG_2510 we loved this art installation!

Overall our quick trip to downtown LA was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have asked for a cuter little travel buddy.  Other than the fun memories we shared the one thing that was so evident on our entire trip was the kindness in strangers.  So many people helped me with doors, lifting things for me, commenting on how sweet Nola was and just being downright wonderful.  With all the terrible things going on in the world It was so nice to be reminded of all the sweet people that are still out there!!

Giving 30 the old Razzle Dazzle

Inspiration board

The inspiration

We’re in the midst of Gatsby hoopla and I thought – what better time to finally do a recap of my 30th birthday Gatsby-themed fete from a few months ago? (this is an excuse, I’m just such a procrastinator)

Aesthetically, I love everything about the Jazz Age. Judging from the excitement generated over the most recent movie adaptation of the novel, everyone does too. After all, what is there not to love about the period? The music, glitz and glamour, socially progressive spirit, and Art Deco in all of its bold geometric design glory still speak to us today. The 1920s was a visual design dream. I have always wanted to attend a party centered around that era in time, and figured that this milestone birthday would be a perfect excuse to throw such an event.

As a Christmas baby, I was just so excited about having an actual birthday party! As early as September, I started a Pinterest 30th Birthday board and started looking around for the appropriate Seattle venue. Crazy early, yes. Surprising? No. I love planning. I wanted the intimate, vintage atmosphere of a speakeasy (appropriate for a Prohibition-era party right?) and luckily for us, Seattle has several great options. The Needle and Thread, above Tavern Law in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, was perfect and a beautiful jewel of a space.

Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread entrance

Needle and Thread entrance

House Rules

House Rules

To gain entrance into the Needle and Thread, you pick up a telephone in front of an old bank vault door and provide an event password to the person on the other line. Once in, climb the stairs to the second level and enter a dimly lit room with glowing chandeliers, period furniture, and 1920s jazz playing in the background. It’s like being transported to another era. There is no bar menu. A bartender will ask you for a few flavor descriptors (sweet, dry, sour, citrus) and will craft a cocktail to meet your taste.

The event quickly came together and was so fun in reality. i wanted to keep the festivities simple, just cocktails, small bites, and a cake to celebrate. The invitation suggested Gatsby- inspired attire but it was not mandatory (Seattle being quite the informal city, people have a fear of dressing up for some reason). Nevertheless, several people made an effort, including Nick who thought up his own outfit (so proud). I loved being able to celebrate with our friends here in Seattle. It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of my ‘Roaring 20s’  (hah, sorry, I couldn’t resist) and usher in the next decade.

Event Details:
Invitations: Paperless Post

Invitation

Invitation

Dress and accessories:

Iphone 948
Dress with an ostrich feather skirt: Milly
Triple strand length pearl and gold necklace: J. Crew
Headband: Ulta (my dear designer friend Tina also made some amazing head pieces for the event)
Shoes:  Jimmy Choo (these deco-inspired shoes were for my wedding rehearsal dinner and I love any excuse to wear them again!)

Flowers: Flora Nova- my lovely and talented friend, Alexa, made these beautiful Downton-inspired arrangements for the event. (Fabulous note: she attended the party in her grandmother’s vintage fur!)

Flowers by Flora Nova

Flowers by Flora Nova

Cake: Baked (West Seattle), the cake was inspired by this design

Favors: the black and white striped bags were from Etsy and were filled with salt water taffy and sea salt caramels. I printed gold labels with 1920s-era slang to seal the bags.

Iphone 930

Iphone 927

Party Decor: Party City (I mainly stuck to a gold, black, and white palette)

Food and Drink: Tavern Law
Craft Cocktails
Risotto Croquettes with Fontina, Celery Root, and Truffle
Cheese Platter with Seasonal Fruit
Pork Rillettes with Pear, Mustard, and Crostini
Deviled Eggs with Smoked Potato, Caviar, and Chives
Smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraiche, Capers, and Crostini
Assorted Olives and Nuts

Event password: Sidecar

My friend Linda kindly took photos to document the evening- here are a few favorite shots!

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Lovely night with wonderful people.