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Guest Post: Valentine’s Day Dinner 2011

Guest post from Victoria’s husband, Brent:

As documented in the past, I cook Victoria dinner on Valentine’s Day. Recently, she has begun forcing me to blog about it as well.

We recently ate at the Palace Kitchen, and Victoria had a blood orange margarita she really enjoyed, so I made her one as an apéritif. This was just lime juice, fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, agave syrup, and tequila.

The first course was a white salad with apple, fennel, and celery root with a crème fraiche dressing. Apparently this recipe came from a “Mommy Blog.” This wasn’t a genre I was familiar with until Victoria, having seen the tab open on my computer, asked me accusingly: “Are you reading a mommy blog!?” Apparently childless men aren’t the target the target demo.

The second course was a lobster pot pie. I didn’t use Pernod, because it was like $30 a bottle, and I didn’t make my own crust because that is hard. Victoria’s only complaint was that there wasn’t enough lobster. A woman of simple tastes, huh?

Beats an overcrowded, overpriced prix fixe menu. See you next year, blogonauts.

Amazing Thai Cuisine

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Guest Post from Victoria’s husband, Brent.

After four years in staid Fort Wayne, Victoria and I were excited to experience the cultural thrills of cosmopolitan Seattle. So, the day after arriving, what did we do? We went to the mall.

Now, metropolitan Seattle is surrounded by water. Even after only a few days, you realize that this quite effectively segregates the residents; the side of the water you live on correlates well with the restaurants you frequent. We live south of the bay. Visiting the mall, north of the bay, had the happy side effect of exposing us to a new restaurant.

Around lunch time, after a little light internet searching, we decided to eat at Amazing Thai of Seattle. The restaurant lived up to its name. I thought it was the best Thai food I’ve ever had. Admittedly, I have no frame of reference; it’s possible that this was an average Thai restaurant in Seattle. By Fort Wayne standards, it was five stars.

We started with some soup. I do not know what was in it.

We then split some spring rolls:

Victoria had the Pad Thai. Kind of a boring choice, but it had amazing wok hei. The restaurant lets you choose your spice from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the spiciest. Victoria had the 2, and claims she could’ve gone 3 (but I have my doubts).

I had the gaeng phet ped yang, which was BBQ duck in a red curry sauce (4 stars of spice). It was amazing (at least to my Fort Wayne taste buds).

We highly recommend Amazing Thai:

5210 Roosevelt NE Suite B

Seattle, WA 98105

Pickles

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I have eaten so much good food the past few days, but tonight’s dinner takes the cake. Brent was entirely responsible for all the deliciousness, so I’m letting him tell you about it. Guest post from Brent below – Enjoy!

I love a pickle. I picked up a jar at the grocery on Friday and they were gone by Sunday. Victoria saw this as a problem with my consumption patterns; I saw it as having too few pickles. To paraphrase a popular meme:  disregard female, acquire pickles.

Pickles can get a little expensive when you’re eating them by the barrel, so I decided to make my own. This turned out to be much easier than I expected. There are a few pickling methods, but I chose the easiest one, described here. I had to pick up a few spices and bell jars, but the cucumbers themselves were only a buck a pound. You can make a boatload of pickles with a small initial investment. Right before parking them in the fridge:

This afternoon, sitting on a mother lode of above-average pickles, we decided cheeseburgers would be the best way to convey pickley goodness. I would’ve eaten them straight from the jar, but whatever. We bought some bison meat (no added hormones, I guess? (I don’t know. Apparently it’s important.)) at the store and cooked up a couple burgers:

Victoria lost her mind over these. Every other bite was punctuated with her praising the burger. She thought about constructing a small alter to the burger in the living room, but we don’t really have the room since moving to the new apartment. Probably for the best; I would hate to anger the pickle gods now that I’ve discovered their delicious secret.

Strawberry Short Stack

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I’m quasi-training for a half marathon coming up in September.  I’m planning on running it but I haven’t started any official training plan yet. I’ve just been building up some mileage and making Brent run with me! 🙂 On Saturday we do our slightly longer runs, and the one thing usually gets me through them when my hip is hurting, or I’m feeling hot and tired is the thought of pancakes.

Pancakes are one of my all-time favorite breakfast foods. I used to make them all the time, from the time I could read the directions on the back of the Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Last weekend when I was at home, my sister was telling me how she remembers me making “mickey mouse” pancakes for her when she was little. I stopped making them at home for a long time though, probably because Brent doesn’t like them and I decided to eat “healthier” foods instead. For the past month or so, pancakes have made a comeback in my kitchen. I make enough batter for two servings and make half on Saturday and then keep the rest in the fridge and make it on Sunday.

I like just a simple short stack of buttermilk pancakes (occasionally I mix in some chopped walnuts) with some pure maple syrup. Delicious. I look forward to chowing down the whole time I’m running. This morning however, I decided to incorporate some of those delicious strawberries into my pancake tradition. I just chopped them up and simmered them on the stove top with a tablespoon of water until it thickened up. I poured a healthy amount onto my pancakes and dug in.

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While I went for the sweet, Brent had an equally delicious savory breakfast. Here’s his in his own words:

So this morning, I wanted to make an EBLT (a BLT plus a fried egg), but we didn’t have any bread.  I think you can all guess who’s to blame for that.

Forced to improvise, I decided to make a hash.  To start, I fried up a couple pieces of bacon in a skillet.  When the bacon was done, I set it aside and drained off most of the fat, reserving about a tablespoon.  I added some diced potato and fried it until mostly cooked through.  Then I added some finely chopped garlic scapes and cooked about another minute.  I know it’s hard to believe garlic scapes are a real thing, but they totally are.  After adding the absolutely non-fake scapes, I deglazed the pan with some red wine vinegar, making sure to get all the bacon bits from the pan.  Then I added honey, brown mustard, salt, and pepper to make a sort-of vinaigrette.  Finally, I chopped up the bacon and threw it back in.

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I thought this was pretty tasty.  Victoria described it as the “best thing I’ve ever made.”  If you’re an omnivore and in the mood for bacony goodness, I wholeheartedly recommend this.

It’s been a long day so I’m pretty ready for bed. Be back tomorrow with a cake and really cute pictures of our nephew!

Unrequested Guest Post

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Howdy blogosphere,

Victoria’s not feeling well today, so I took it upon myself to write a guest post for this evening’s dinner.  The fact that she has never logged out of a web service in her life facilitated this.

Victoria also had a paper due this week, so in addition to my normal chores of keeping myself alive and surfing the nets, I prepared the week’s menu and did the grocery shopping.

As a rule, my plans are simpler than Victoria’s.  When I used to do my own shopping in college, I liked to keep things simple by buying the same thing every week.  Tonight’s dinner showcases my talents nicely:

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There were a few leftover sausages from Victoria’s party weekend, so I fried those up with some peppers, onions, and garlic.  I added that to a box of Zatarain’s reduced-sodium black beans and rice, then threw it in a bowl.  I zestified mine with a little Sriracha, and that was that.

I’ve noticed Victoria likes to end her posts with a question, so I’ve decided to follow suit.  You may have noticed that Victoria eschews the serial comma.  I feel it classes things up a bit and use it every chance I get.  I added garlic to tonight’s dinner just to have an excuse to use one (not really.  It is also delicious).  What do you guys think?