Simple Summer Suppers: Broccoli and Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda With Dippers

Nobody ever believes me when I tell them the rain doesn't start until my birthday (October 7th). Summer ends at Labor Day, they insist. Nope, it's not true. As the center of the universe--or, my universe, anyway--summer doesn't end until I turn another year older. So until that happens, I will continue to make the kind of simple summer suppers that are easily eaten outdoors, even if it's getting dark at before dinner time. I'll let the green in my vegetables, the yellow in my egg yolks, the bright flavors in my olive oil, light up the night. One of the cardinal rules of a summer … [Read more...]

My Year in Food, 2011

Swimming Fire Fish

Normal is not what I do best. Thus my end-of-year top-ten list will be anything but. For starters, it's not ten items. Instead, this is a peek inside my brain, where cooking and reading and small creatures in the night all crawl about, mingling and mixing into a delightful stew of tasty tidbits. It's December, and while I'm more likely to look forward to the next year than backwards on the last, here's a few things that stuck in my maw, reminding me why the life of good eating is so wonderful. Best non-cookbook: Grant Achatz's Life, on the Line This is not the best written book ever, … [Read more...]

(Stir-Fried) Water Boiled Fish

FinishedWaterBoiledFish

"You'll like it." These were the words that I was told the first time I tasted the Sichuanese dish known as water-boiled fish. That phrase may just be the most epic understatement in the history of my life, up there with descriptions of me such as 'a little competitive' and the usual elementary school report card 'can be bossy.' For once, I had found a Chinese restaurant that 'got' me. That didn't dumb dishes down when they saw my skin color, that didn't come running with a fork and a glass of ice water at my pronunciation of Chinese words. No, Chiang's Gourmet had made a dish suggestion … [Read more...]

Recreating the Perfect Meal: Seafood Boil

Crab Boil Plate

The Meal The perfect meal. I ate it the other day, at a gas station in a town called Kenner, Louisianna. I stopped in at the Check in Check out Deli, five minutes up the street from the New Orleans airport because I'd heard online it had decent po-boys and I could kill two birds with one stone by filling up the rental car before hopping my flight home and grabbing one last sandwich for the flight. Lucky me, the wait for brunch at Stanley was too long, so I just took off early to the airport, leaving me plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely afternoon. As I drove up, there hung a plain lettered … [Read more...]

Feasting like a Princess in Queens

Spices on a Plate

"But where in New York can one find a woman with grace, elegance, taste and culture? A woman suitable for a king?" "Queens!" If anyone else grew up in a household with two brothers and only basic cable, you too have probably seen Coming to America over a thousand times and when the New York City borough of Queens is mentioned, this line is all that you can think of. No? Just me? Again? Alright, this is enough already. Seriously though, we did a food excavation of Queens on our most recent trip to New York. We had overlooked the boroughs on our last … [Read more...]

Taylor Shellfish Mussels and Bluebird Grains Farrotto for $4 Each

Taylor Mussels

After an hour of stirring the brown lump of nothingness, it was the final five minutes that suddenly transformed it into a meal. What was plain and ugly became something so beautiful that I couldn't help but snap a quick photo before I set it on the table. And of course, once I had the picture, I had to share it. Because this dish? It's simple as shit. And simply delicious. And a fantastic value As we ate the meal, I couldn't help but think about the value of our farmers market. I had paid $8 for two pounds of mussels. About half of that fed the two of us for dinner. Which is $2 per person. … [Read more...]

Small Wonders of Summer, Part 2: Anchovies

Berebere Dusted Pan Fried Anchovies

"I'll be on Capitol Hill later, I'll drop them off" My anchovy guy said to me. Who was my anchovy guy? Well, his name is John, and he goes by "CoastalRovers" on twitter. That was about the sum of my knowledge when I gave him the address. Sure enough, he showed up shortly there after with a trunk full of fresh fishies (and god knows what all else). "Big or small?" He asked me. With no knowledge of fresh anchovies, pulled that day from the ocean, I guessed big. I handed over my $6 and watched him fill up my giant tupperware. Then he threw in many extra small ones, for good measure. It was a … [Read more...]

The Summer of Scallops

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I bought a package of scallops at the farmers market a few weeks ago and made them into a delicious dinner. For weeks, I've come home to my computer and admired the lovely pictures, remembered the soft crunch of the sea beans over the creamy tartare, and said to myself "I should really post these to the blog," Yet, it's been busy at work and I've spent what time I've been home trying to remember what my name is and how it sounds with out "On Safari Foods, This is," in front of it. Not to complain, because busy is far better than not, but then last night I was out at the incredible Guest … [Read more...]

Breaking Out the Deep Fryer: Razor Clams

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As the recently minted owner of a deep fryer, I felt there was only one thing I could do with my little babies when I came home from clamming with a full limit of razor clams. The clamming itself required getting up early, a long drive, some hard physical labor and not falling asleep on the drive home. The cooking itself required taming the squirmy beasts long enought to clean out their innards--which sometimes had (safe!) worms or crabs hanging out in them. Yeah, it still makes my tummy turn. I squealed. But then, then it gets to be more fun. Definitely check out my partner in crime, … [Read more...]

A Fabulous Northwest Weekend

It was raining slightly on my run this morning, but now the bright sun is shining through my office window. It is so typical Seattle, and I just love it. Like I love so many things about my city, including so much of my weekend. This was my first weekend not coaching ski racing, my first days off in many months (since the snow started falling) and I was eager to get outside and enjoy the many things that are on offer here. It was such a fabulous collection of awesome activities that I'm posting here so you can remember how great where we live is... First thing Saturday morning, we sauntered … [Read more...]