Thai Coolers: Chicken Satay and Fresh Spring Rolls

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Summers in Seattle historically start after July 4th. You can’t bank on really hot weather until August and if you’re lucky, the warm days stretch into September. Starting mid-May this year, Seattle has had an EPIC summer of clear days and 90˚ scorchers, with no signs of letting up. While most Seattleites will be cursing the heat and begging for the rain, we both thrive in weather where we can get outside and enjoy the great Northwest scenery. (Okay, so it’s not so fun when it’s still 80˚ in your apartment at 9:00 at night, but we’ll take it!)

So far this summer, we have been to McClellan Butte, Bandera Mountain, Lake Melakwa, and Annette Lake. And that’s not counting the daily walks, runs, and occasional tennis that keep us busy. We’ve learned that if you’re going to hike in the mid-day sun (because let’s face it, we can never get out of the house before 11am!), then you better bring enough sunscreen and a ton of water. Better yet, end your hike at an alpine lake and really cool off.

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After a recent take-out order gone awry where our Thai restaurant forgot the spring rolls, we decided to make our own. Though preparation can be time-consuming, homemade spring rolls are fresh, herbaceous, and the perfect food to cool down with on hot days. Since we were going all veggie in our rolls, Elliott also whipped up a quick chicken satay recipe for the side. Here’s what we came up with!

Fresh Herb Spring Rolls:
1 package rice paper wraps
Green lettuce, torn into large pieces
1/2 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Handful of cilantro
Fresh mint

Fresh Mango & Bell Pepper Spring Rolls:
1 package rice paper wraps
Green lettuce, torn into large pieces
1/2 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 red bell pepper, thin slices
1/2 mango, sliced or diced
Handful of cilantro

Once you’ve prepped all of the ingredients, soak a rice paper wrap in a dish of warm water. On a wooden cutting board, lay the softened wrap flat and add a green leaf piece to the bottom half. Depending on which wrap you’re making, add all of the other ingredients and roll it up like a small burrito. Set on a plate and cover with a wet hand towel. Though we have made our peanut sauce from scratch in the past, we like the peanut sauce by ThaiFusions.

Chicken Satay
1 chicken breast, sliced in half and then into strips
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 inch piece of lemongrass, minced
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
Thai chili to taste

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes or more. Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in water so they don’t burn on the grill. When it’s time to grill, cook the chicken until golden on each side and serve with the peanut sauce. Enjoy!

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The view atop Bandera Mountain.

Tongue Twisting Treat: Autumn Apple Appetizer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I recently sent Elliott to Costco for toilet paper and he came back with a car load of supplies, including a chunk of cheese the size of a small baby. Granted it was Beecher’s Flagship, but still! Then my dad stopped by with a bag of apples fresh from his orchard. It was time to get to work, so we came up with this simple cheesy-apple treat that’s much easier to make than it is to say. It’s like an open-faced croissant that can be thrown together in a few minutes but is still sophisticated enough for holiday dinner parties. So what if it cancels out your workout in just a single bite? 😉 Continue reading

Tofu Scramble with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

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This dish was inspired by our recent trip to the Bay Area. We found a quaint, little breakfast spot called the Barefoot Café in Fairfax (just west of San Rafael in Marin County), that served these delicious blueberry cornmeal pancakes and a savory tofu scramble. It was my first taste of an eggless scramble, and considering how quickly it was  inhaled, I’m clearly a fan. Here is our updated take on the California version, as well as an idea for a super easy potato side dish. Continue reading

Perfetto! Potato, Rosemary, and Truffle Butter Pizza

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Back in college, I tried a pizza in Italy with thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary. At that time, it was the most delicious and unusual pizza I’d ever tried. Even though potatoes are a standard topping nowadays at many pizzerias, I was having a hard time reliving that magical dinner in Florence. Continue reading

Superfood Salad with Watercress, Beets, and Goat Cheese

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A recent Time article ranked the top 41 superfoods by nutrient density. We’ve always known that dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale were powerhouses, but we were surprised to see that the clear winner, was watercress. Wasn’t that the stuff they put in those fancy tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off? The idea of pairing it with white bread cancelled out the whole health-kick we were looking for, so we came up with this salad. Watercress can be quite spicy so we complemented it with sweet, earthy beets and tangy goat cheese. Then we tossed it with a sweet dressing, sunflower seeds, and chives. The combination was quite tasty, and considering how quickly we could feel the greens working their magic, we’ll definitely be adding this to our regular rotation of salads.

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Going Greek: Orzo with Feta, Kalamata Olives, and Bell Peppers

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This is a great salad when you’re craving something healthy and flavorful. The orzo can easily be switched out for quinoa and the feta omitted altogether. Since the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets around and veggies are best when eaten raw, this salad is a dietary god. When in doubt, go Greek! Continue reading

Homemade Falafel with Tahini and Tzatziki

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Every so often we get burned out on our standard rotation of pasta, salmon, chicken, and salads and get inspired to look for something new. Carinn was in the mood for something Mediterranean which reminded Elliott of his college days on the Ave. ordering falafel sandwiches from Aladdin’s at 2 a.m. These things were on a totally different planet than the dried-out, bland patties that were served at the cafeteria. Each falafel had a hot, crispy exterior and a steamy, aromatic center, all stuffed inside a fresh pita with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and the garliciest tzatziki this side of the Euphrates. After an hour of research on the internet and YouTube, we set off to recreate this somewhat hazy, but scrumptious memory. Continue reading

Oscarpalooza!

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“The Wolf of Walnut Street”
Spinach Salad with Fuji Apples, Pickled Onions,
Amish Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Toasted Walnuts

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“American Brussel”
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Dijon Mustard, White Wine, and Caramelized Onion

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“Dallas Fryer’s Club”
Oven Fried Chicken with a Buttermilk Brine

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And the Oscar goes to…

Eetza Pizza Party!

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Last night we got the rare treat to hang out with our friend Lorn, who was in town from Bend. Since we just got a new pizza stone for Valentine’s Day and we used to sling pizzas together back in our days at PCC, we decided that there was no better time to break it in. In typical Elliott fashion, within 24 hours he had researched how to make an authentic Napoli pizza and even went on a special trip to an imported food distributor for the real deal Tipo “00” flour. I came home to six rising dough balls and yes, we ate all six. Continue reading

Humpday Soup with Broccoli, Kale, and Cheddar

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Last night we opened the fridge and realized that things had gotten out of hand. The vegetable crisper was packed to capacity so we decided to improvise a hearty soup with potatoes, broccoli, and kale for a midwinter humpday. It’s a flexible recipe, depending on what you have on hand, but here is what we threw together.

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