Seattle Travel Diary

Summer feels like it’s quickly slipping away, and I’m just not ready to say goodbye. It has been several weeks since I’ve blogged because July and August got super busy! I spent most of my down time working on our kitchen renovation. Almost everything has been selected and ordered, and construction should begin toward the end of September. I’m in shock that its actually happening! Beside working on the kitchen, my son started school and turned two, and my husband and I took a 5 year wedding anniversary trip to Seattle. I had always wanted to visit Seattle, but I had no idea that our experiences were going to exceed all expectations. Everything was so great, so I must share our trip details with you!

We arrived in Seattle early in the morning, checked into our hotel, and walked straight to the iconic Pike’s Place Market. The market was already crowded with people trying to get a look at the famous fishmongers throwing fish and packaging orders.IMG_0832 IMG_0836

My husband spotted Elleno’s Real Greek Yogurt at the market, and I was so excited because it had been on my list. This discovery became an every day stop on our trip. Elleno’s takes the creamiest Greek yogurt and adds some of those most delicious toppings. It was unlike any yogurt we’d ever tasted, and we just couldn’t get enough. Our favorites were the Marion Berry Pie and the Museli.IMG_0834 IMG_0835IMG_1284

After walking around the market for a while, we took a nice walk to explore the Pioneer Square neighborhood. We had lunch at The London Plane, which was a cool space with a flower market and cases to take food to go. We shared a beautiful curry avocado toast and a salad sampler.IMG_0838 IMG_0839

Our first night’s dinner was at The Walrus and the Carpenter, an oyster restaurant in Ballard that was on many a Seattle restaurant lists. The wait time and the food lived up the hype. Even after an hour wait, we only scored seats at the bar. Our perch proved to be the perfect spot to experience the restaurant, as we had front row seats to watch oyster and small plate food prep. The highlights were the oysters, the halibut carpaccio with dried lime and hazelnut oil, and Billy’s tomato’s (not pictured).IMG_0841 IMG_0842 IMG_0843

On day two, we hopped the commuter ferry to Bainbridge Island, which was a quick 35 minute boat ride. When we arrived in Bainbridge, we first stopped at Blackbird Bakery for lattes and a blackberry lemon scone. We spent the morning walking through the little shops in the town of Winslow. It was such a cute area and I’m so glad we went out there!IMG_0844

When we got back to Seattle, we stopped for a quick lunch at Homegrown, a local chain of sandwich shops. The egg, cheese, avocado, and hot sauce sandwich on soft but toasted multigrain bread was so simple, yet so good!IMG_1264IMG_1265

After lunch, we headed to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit. I felt it was imperative that we experience the most “Seattle” tourist attraction there is! The ride to the top of the Space Needle was quick and the views were incredible. Even more impressive was the Chihuly Glass exhibit, which showcases the most beautiful glasswork I’ve ever seen!IMG_0847IMG_0845

As if we hadn’t already done enough this day, I dragged my husband to the Fremont neighborhood to tour the Theo Chocolate Factory! I only learned about Theo Chocolate a few months ago from my cousin, but once I tasted it, I was hooked. Naturally, when I found out we could tour their factory in Seattle, I insisted we had to go. I love that Theo Chocolate was the first organic fair trade chocolate in the US! The tour was interesting and tasty, with many different chocolate samples along the way.IMG_0850IMG_0849 IMG_0848

A new, delicious discovery:IMG_1275

For dinner, we went to the University Village neighborhood to dine at Din Tai Fung. Din Tai Fung is a restaurant that originated in Taiwan and specializes in soup dumplings, and other types of dumplings. It was so crazy how we could watch the team of people cranking out basket after basket of these dumplings. After another hour long wait, we consumed so many dumplings, green beans, and noodles!IMG_1274 IMG_1273 IMG_1271

On our final day in Seattle, we shopped, got massages at our hotel, and laid by the pool. I have no photos from these activities, but I assure you everything was amazing :) On our final night, we really went out with a bang! We headed over to the Capital Hill neighborhood for some major eating. The night started at Lark, a beautiful restaurant with royal blue velvet booths, 150 twinkling lights overhead, and a wine wall spanning the length of the restaurant. I loved the seasonal menu featuring locally sourced cheese, vegetables, and meats. The highlights were the burger with sunchoke chips, and the tri-colored carrots with truffle honey sauce.IMG_1299IMG_1295

After Lark, we walked to Trove to get dessert. Trove was just named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit magazine. Within the restaurant, there are four different concepts: a bar, a noodle bar, a Korean BBQ restaurant, and a walk-up “food truck” window called Parfait, that offers layered frozen custard parfaits. When we arrived, we checked out the place. The Noodle bar looked so amazing, we truly could not resist. Throwing all caution to the wind, we sat down for a second, lets just call it “mini”, dinner! We shared the Garlic Chive noodles, which consisted of shrimp, cherry tomatoes, shaved asparagus, crispy spinach, and the most amazing coconut red curry sauce. I am not kidding you when I say this was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted! I was feeling a little sad that we had just eaten before this, because I wanted more! Thankfully my pants were stretchy, because we ended the night by sharing a Pike Street Mud Pie parfait, which was coffee custard, chocolate cookie crumb, chocolate fudge, and peanut butter crunch. Oh boy!IMG_1302IMG_1307IMG_1301IMG_1310

Although we needed to be rolled home from Seattle, we had such an amazing trip! I loved the city even more than I thought I would. We had perfect weather and did not see the rainy, dreary city that Seattle is known to be. In fact, I could pack my bags and move there if it was always like it was for the few days we were there! There were so many great things to do, see and eat; I highly recommend Seattle for a summer getaway.

Detox Monday: Sweet Corn Soup with Crab

The last few weeks have been busy; with traveling two weekends in a row, and then my parents visiting us, I haven’t been able to pull it together to make anything more elaborate than tried-and-true dishes that I can make with my eyes closed (like this one)! Now that things have calm down a bit, I am hoping to get back in the kitchen and try some new summer dishes.

I’ve had this Sweet Corn Soup with Crab on my list to make for almost a month, and it just so happens that I finally got to make it…on the hottest day of the year. Yay! Not so much. While I can eat soup all year round, I don’t blame my husband for protesting this meal while our weather app says “98 degrees, feels like 104”. Once we got past the whole hot soup in the summer problem, it was all about enjoying the beautiful sweet corn that makes up this majority of the soup. I used a nice large onion that, when cooked with the corn, helped off set the sweetness. The Sweet Corn Soup is fabulous on its own, but when garnished with peas, crab and basil, the soup reaches a whole new level. Hopefully the heat won’t deter you from trying this recipe while sweet corn is still at its peak!

I loved this tip from Cooking Light: use a bundt pan when cutting corn kernels from the cob. Prop up the corn in the middle of the pan and cut downward, using the pan to catch the corn. This worked so well and was far less messy than when I’ve just used a plate to catch the corn.

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I used good quality canned crab meat, but feel free to use fresh for even better taste.

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Sweet Corn Soup with Crab

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe source: Cooking Light Magazine

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 5 cups fresh corn kernels (about 7 ears of corn)
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk (can also use half and half or whole milk)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed (I used canned crabmeat with no shell pieces. I also didn't use a pound of crabmeat but doing so will make a more filling meal)

What To Do

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add corn, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes.
  2. Place corn mixture and milk in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.
  3. Place peas in a small bowl; mash slightly with a fork. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, basil, and crab; serve over soup.

Notes

This recipe takes 30 minutes start to finish

http://glorioffood.com/2015/07/13/sweet-corn-soup-with-crab/

Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

The idea of a veggie sandwich to most carnivores is as appealing as nails on a chalkboard. However, with the right ingredients and proper seasoning, a vegetable sandwich has the potential to be just as good, if not better than one containing meat. The look on my husband’s face as I presented him with his dinner, this Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich, was a look of doubt and disappointment. Although the sandwich looked appealing, he was not excited about what was between the bread. But once he sunk his teeth into the grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, onion, avocado and bean spread on crispy ciabatta bread, his face changed to a look of surprise and delight. We were both happy with how tasty the Cooking Light recipe turned out. I want to mention that there are a few different steps involved with making this sandwich, but to have a vegetarian meal that is both healthy and delicious, means it is worth the effort!

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Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Recipe source: Cooking Light Magazine, with a slight change

What You Need

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 (12-ounce) ciabatta bread loaf, halved horizontally, or 4 4-ounce individual ciabatta rolls
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, sliced

What To Do

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 11 minutes or until blackened. Wrap pepper halves in foil. Let stand 5 minutes; peel. Cut into strips.
  3. Place juice, oregano, oil, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground red pepper, and beans in the bowl of a food processor; pulse 5 times or until coarsely chopped.
  4. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange zucchini and onion slices on pan; grill 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell. Spread black bean mixture over bottom half of bread; top with zucchini, onion, bell pepper and avocado. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and salt. Top with top half of bread. Coat both sides of sandwich with cooking spray. Place sandwich on grill pan; top with a heavy skillet. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until crispy. Remove sandwich from pan; cut into quarters. If using individual rolls, divide ingredients evenly among the four rolls and grill individually. No need to cut into quarters.

Notes

I used a panini press instead of the grill pan to grill the sandwich. The original recipe used pepper jack cheese instead of avocado. You could make the substitution back if you prefer.

http://glorioffood.com/2015/06/25/mexican-style-grilled-vegetable-sandwich/

 

 

Detox Monday: Summer Peach Salad

A few weekends back, one of our couple friends invited us over for a delicious Saturday brunch. The meal consisted of a gluten-free Asparagus and Gouda Quiche, a Summer Peach Salad, and a beautiful fruit salad. It was so much fun spending time with our friends, while enjoying the fabulous food. What a treat to have someone else cook us brunch! I loved the Summer Peach Salad that my friend made so much, I decided to recreate it myself. This is the perfect go-to salad for all of your warm weather entertaining. With seasonal fresh peaches, pistachios, red onion and feta topped with an simple balsamic dressing, this salad is too good and too easy to make only once! While you’re thanking me all summer for this recipe, I’ll be thanking my friend.

(If you’re wanting a similar salad when peaches aren’t in season, check out this Harvest Salad)

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Summer Peach Salad

Yield: 4 side salads or 2 large salads

What You Need

  • 1 5 oz bag of baby spring mix greens
  • 1 peach, cut up into thin slices
  • 1/4 cup barely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 peach, cut into thin slices
  • For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (if using a blender, can leave garlic cloves whole)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or agave
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What To Do

  1. In a mason jar or a small blender, such as a Nutribullet, combine all ingredients for the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Shake jar until dressing is combined. If using Nutribullet, blend until garlic and all ingredients are combined. Set dressing aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine spring mix greens, peach slices, pistachios, and red onion. Toss with desired amount of salad dressing. Divide into 4 bowls and top with 1 tablespoon of feta on each bowl.
http://glorioffood.com/2015/06/22/detox-monday-summer-peach-salad/

Detox Monday: Asian Dumplings in Garlic Broth

My weather app says the “real feel” in St. Louis today is 95 degrees; by most people’s standards, it is not at all soup weather. But my little guy is not feeling so well, so I figured I’d try to help cure him with something warm and soothing. They say that matzo ball soup is Jewish penicillin, so these Chicken Dumplings in Garlic Broth are the Asian version of the aforementioned medicinal soup. Not only is this soup incredibly easy to throw together (hello, store-bought dumplings), it’s also perfect for Detox Monday in that it’s packed with veggies, ginger and garlic. I had chicken dumplings on hand, but this dish can easily be made vegetarian by using veggie broth and dumplings. This flavorful soup is so light, yet filling enough to act as a main course. We’ll be enjoying our soup alongside a big salad. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this soup will help nurse my son back to good health in no time!

(To see all previous Detox Monday posts, click here)

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Asian Dumplings in Garlic Broth

Yield: 4 bowls of soup

Recipe source: The Family Cooks by Laurie David

What You Need

  • Grapeseed or other high-heat oil, for the pot
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger (I used jarred)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons miso paste (optional)
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced into coins
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 package (16 ounce) Asian vegetable or chicken dumplings
  • 1 cup mix of peas and edamame, can also use sugar snap peas
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • Optional additions: Asian chili paste to mix in at the end, additional soy sauce or hoisin sauce for the dumplings, on the side

What To Do

  1. Heat a soup pot over high heat. Drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until deep golden, about 1 minute.
  2. Add 3 1/2 cups of the broth, the soy sauce, miso paste, carrot and celery. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, slip the dumplings and peas/adamame into the pot and increase the heat to high. Cover and cook until the dumplings are heated all the way through, 4 to 5 minutes. If the dumplings soak up too much liquid, add a little more broth. Toss in the scallions. Taste it and adjust. If it needs more ginger or soy sauce, adjust as needed. Divide among big bowls and garnish with scallions.
http://glorioffood.com/2015/06/15/detox-monday-asian-dumplings-in-garlic-broth/

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