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A Saturday in Woodinville

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Brent and I (mostly I) had been talking about taking the drive up to Woodinville since moving to Seattle. I knew it was close, but I didn’t realize it was only a 25 minute drive. Woodinville is known as the home of several of Washington state’s wineries and you know I’m all about that. For my beer-drinking husband, it is also home of Red Hook. Patrick, Smitha, Brent and I decided to use Saturday, their last day here, as an opportunity to check it out. The weather was dreary anyway, so sticking around the city was that appealing.

The Red Hook Brewery offers tours on the weekends at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm, and they sell out quick. We arrived a bit before 1pm and were told the 1pm tour was sold out, so we grabbed tickets for the 3pm tour (only $1 each) and headed a block down the road to Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Chateau Ste. Michelle also offered a tour, pretty much every 30 minutes. The tour lasts about half an hour and details the wine-making process as well as the specific grape growing regions in Washington. The tour concludes with a tasting of three of their wines and a quick lesson on wine-tasting technique. The tour was absolutely free, but the winery did offer a tasting bar where were able to choose 4 of their wines to taste for $10. Overall I thought Chateau Ste. Michelle was a great choice for a visit if you’re in Woodinville. They have really great reislings, including a delicious, perfect-for-dessert, late harvest reisling. The tour/tasting is a bargain and I learned quite a bit about the region’s vineyards. The grounds are also totally gorgeous. I would have taken more photos, but it was raining. Obviously.

After splitting two tastings between the four of us (Brent barely partook – he was our driver) we headed to Red Hook for our tour. Umm… let’s get one thing straight. This is not a tour. They corralled us into a small room, gave us 3oz tastings of 5 different beers and shouted a bit about Red Hook’s history and hops. Clearly quite a deal for only $1, but don’t expect to see anything. Plus the beer is just ok. My favorite were probably the ESB and the spring seasonal nut brown ale.

Pat defs took one for the team by finishing a few of my tastings, as well as some of Brent’s, and nearly all of Smitha’s.

After chowing down on some soft pretzels with beer cheese sauce at the pub (Amazing, by the way) we beat the clock and headed to JM Cellars, which was by far my favorite destination of the day.

The grounds are so beautiful and the wine was amazing! For $10 per tasting, we sampled 7 of their releases – 6 reds and 1 white. The Bramble Bump White blend was hands down my favorite of the afternoon. Again we split 2 tastings between the four of us before wandering the grounds taking pictures.

Our finally stop of the Woodinville wine tasting tour was Columbia Winery, because it was across the street and open late.

I didn’t love anything here, but it was a nice visit. The tasting room is very pretty and comfortable (love a fireplace!) and the tasting was $5 for 4 pours.

It’s so cool we have this mini wine country so close to us! I definitely plan on dragging Brent back in the summer when all the wineries have different events and concerts going on.

Seattle Food and Wine Experience

Experience, right? That really sets an expectation. Not just a tasting, not just a festival: an entire experience. Brent and I made our way to Seattle Center for the Seattle Food and Wine Experience on Saturday. I’m not sure I would call it “an experience” but it was a lot of fun! We ate and drank a ton, so there’s way too much to include here, but I’ll just post some photos and recap some of our favorites.

So much food!

Our favorites of the food:

  • Braised Waygu short ribs with sweet yams mash on crostini from Andaluca.
  • Hot smoked Neah Bay black cod with powdered chorizo, pickled red onion & crispy chick peas from Blueacre Seafood.
  • Kona crusted petite tender with shallot butter from The Capital Grille.
  • Charred flank steak and chimichurri pesto with udad strips from Cedar’s Cafe.
  • And I had a serious love affair with the donuts from Frostology.

And so much to drink too!

Our favorite drinks of the event:

We had such a good time. Between work and his commute Brent is gone a lot more than he used to be so it was a lot of fun to be able to hang out for a few hours without tv and internet distracting us. 🙂

Clam Linguine & Garmin Gifts

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Today has been such a fun day! After we got grocery shopping out of the way, we went shopping for some birthday presents at Best Buy. Brent got a Garmin Nuvi 255wt for the car. He claims it’s mostly for me because I’m the one who needs it. That might be true. We actually had a Garmin Nuvi before, but it got stolen out of our car shortly after we moved to the new place. 😦 So I’m glad we finally got a replacement! And, while we were there, I convinced Brent to get me a Garmin Forerunner 305! (I’m totally unaffiliated with Garmin, but man, we gave them quite a bit of business today.) Brent’s kind of powerless against my pleading. I was psyched to see the 305 had gone down in price since the 405 has come out, so I felt justified in asking for it as a birthday gift. 🙂

When we got home, I charged up the Garmin and read through the instruction book. I wanted to try it out, but I was not feeling up for running in the heat, so Brent and I took a 6 mile walking trek around Fort Wayne instead. We were gone about 2 hours, including a stop at a coffee shop for some iced lattes about 1 mile and half in. I’m so excited to start using it on my runs!

We got home and chugged some water and I made a quick dinner of my Linguine with White Clam Sauce. It’s been a while since I’ve made it and I had forgotten how much I loved this dish! I was trying to keep mine a little lighter, so I used less pasta for my portion and put mine on a sliced, steamed zucchini. Brent does not like veggies in this dish, but I think the zucchini goes perfectly with it.

Yum! After dinner we took the dogs for a walk and now I’m camped out on the couch with some dark chocolate. I think I’m heading to bed early tonight. My only real plans for tomorrow include a run and making some cupcakes for Brent’s birthday. Today’s his last day being 28!

Creative Solutions

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Allow me to share some of our exciting Thursday evening:

I asked Brent to get me some sangria, but I hate when I tip the glass to drink and ice cubes hit me in the mouth. Brent came upstairs with the following solution:

HPIM3405Sangria on ice. I was pretty amused by his creativity, however I have discovered a flaw. The glass accumulates condensation and drips water on me. Let’s all give Brent kudos for trying to please his crazy wife.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

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Tonight’s dinner was a make ahead because I spend Wednesday nights at the NICU. It was a meal we ate all the time last summer and I loved it. However, this time… not so much.

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The problem stems from my irrational hatred of mayonnaise. Last summer I made this with soy mayo, Nayonnaise I think. The soy mayo is a bit runnier which I prefer. Tonight I made it with regular mayonnaise and it was just a giant clumpy mayonnaisy mess. Blech. Because we ate it for dinner, I bulked it up a bit more with a red bell pepper. I’ll make it again, but with the soy mayo. I just hate the texture of real mayonnaise.

The night has improved since then though. Now I’m watching Lost while drinking a Borsao blend of 75% Garnacha and Tempranillo, which is delicious and cost like $9. I also had Brent slice up a bit of Manchego to nibble on alongside. It’s a pretty great way to end the night.

The work week is more than half done!

Birthday!!

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It’s been a great day. It started off wonderful, because Brent, who is nicer than he lets on, made me blueberry pancakes for breakfast! LOVED them.

Then, unfortunately, Sarah and I made our way to work (the world’s most boring job ever, according to her, who has never had a job). The co-workers were great and we had a mini-office party, and then onto lunch ( I did do things other than eat today, they just aren’t note-worthy).  We went to the mexican restaurant across from our office, where you get free lunch on your birthday! Here is Sarah and I, trying to control our laughter.

Moving on to dinner, which was definitely my favorite part. While I was making the components, Brent opened the wine Tess and Greg gave us, and I sipped on that. I really liked it, though Brent’s response was of course, “tastes like a red.”

THE FONDUE!! I have been looking forward to this ever since I decided to have it as my birthday dinner, which actually hasn’t been that long, only like 2 days, but anyway…  I made home-made french bread to use as a dipper. I love playing with dough. The bread in my fun, new baguette pan thingy from Williams-Sonoma, ready to go into the oven:

And then cooling on the rack.

FRENCH BREAD RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ~4 cups bread flour

PREPARATION:

  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in water until foamy (about 10 minutes).
  • Add salt, oil and 2 cups bread flour and thoroughly mix.
  • Add the rest of flour, the last 1/2 cup as needed.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  • Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Deflate and shape into a long baguette (or 2 smaller ones).
  • Slash 4-5 times with a sharp knife and let rise until doubled.
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Using a brush, paint bread with water until covered.
  • Place an oven safe pan with hot water onto the bottom of the oven.
  • Bake bread in oven for ~40 minutes (for 1 loaf).

This was really good bread. I cubed it up to use as dippers for the fondue.

We also used roasted red potatoes and steamed broccoli, although really anything covered in a wine and cheese sauce is just fine with me.

Here are some lovely action shots. Brent, completely unimpressed with the idea of fondue:

And Sarah, unable to master the balancing act of skewering her broccoli:

FONDUE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shredded Emmentaler cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

PREPARATION:

  • Rub the inside of of the fondue pot, or a smallish saucepan with the cut side of the garlic clove.
  • Heat wine until simmering.
  • Toss cornstarch with the cheeses.
  • Slowly add the cheese, handful by handful, into the simmering wine.
  • Stir constantly until cheese has melted into a creamy sauce. it should only take like 5 minutes.
  • Keep low heat under pot while dipping for best results.
  • Dip away!

That’s all folks. Now I have to wait another year for my birthday to come again. What a shame…

Bountiful Harvest

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I have been patiently trying to grow red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes in my front yard, and I’m finally seeing results. Nothing really edible yet, but things are definitely growing. Here is my pepper plant. It’s so cute!

And here is my cherry tomato plant!

Dinner

For dinner tonight we used our last bagels as buns for grilled veggie burgers, which turned out great. I think the bagel buns were a perfect size and texture for the veggie burgers. We used the “everything” flavor bagels. We had grilled asparagus and sweet potato fries as well.

Friday Cocktail

On Friday nights, we like to make a different cocktail. It’s a fun thing to do, and a good way to end the work week. This week we tried our hand at sangria.

We’re trying to use up things we have in the house, so our mix was:

  • half a bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 bottle other fruity red wine that we can’t pronounce
  • 1 cup Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lb. sliced strawberries
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1/2 pint blackberries
  • 5 cherries sliced

    That’s pretty much what we had in the house. I think some sliced orange and/or orange juice would have been nice and complimented the orange liqueur, but alas… maybe next time. The sangria tastes great and we’re keeping it in a pitcher in the fridge so it should be good tomorrow too.

    Happy (early) Birthday to Me!

    Brent got me some birthday gifts, and because he knows me very well, he did not bother trying to hide them until my actually birthday. I see more creative cupcakes in my future!! I’m so excited!

    And he was considering getting me another Moosewood Collective cookbook, but he thinks everything we’ve made out of Veganomicon has been really good and so he saw the author’s first book and decided to go with that. I’ve been skimming through it trying to decide what to try first.

    I’m making my first sourdough bread tomorrow. I hope it has been worth the wait!