Good Morning Friends!
Whew! October was an intense month (here's where my boyfriend makes a camping joke, heheh). Early in the month we spent an incredible week in Magical Southern California, then returned home to Dark And Stormy Seattle just in time for the weather to get reeeeeaaaaal cold and wet. A lot of extremes going on there. I'm emotionally exhausted just thinking about it. Let's move on to the food!
Tomatoes // Santa Monica Farmers
Ahhh, the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The Disneyland of Farmers Markets. The Magical Place Where Everything is Always in Season. I was like a kid in a candy store wandering around this place. Where else can you find copious tomatoes next to quince next to asparagus next to winter squash next to citrus next to baby artichokes next to avocados?! IT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE. Basically what I'm saying is life goals = living in the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Ok, or anywhere an easy driving distance to it. PS. these beautiful lil' golden tomatoes were insanely delicious.
Oh, Gjelina. How I wish I could eat there everyday. Or work there. Or both. I've been intrigued by Gjelina ever since I got their cookbook last year. Anytime someone is doing something different or interesting with vegetables, they immediately have my attention. It's especially nice to see a place that also serves meat paying attention to veggies and showing them some love. I mean, sure, I love vegetarian and vegan food/restaurants/cookbooks/whathaveyou, and the amazing and creative things they are doing with veggies. But, I am particularly impressed when an omnivorous chef/cookbook author/food person/whatevs goes out of their way to be innovative with their vegetable dishes. Both the meat and the veggies we had at Gjelina were truly outstanding. I'm still dreaming about the duck confit... and the charred green beans with dukkah, and the simple yet perfect bitter greens salad with herbs and mustard dressing (pictured). Nothing felt fussy, overly complicated or precious. The food was creative yet simple, and perfectly executed. We actually loved it so much we wanted to go back for another meal while in LA, but alas the timing didn't work out. Next time for sure. Until then you'll find my head buried in their cookbook.
OMG KOREAN BBQ KOREAN BBQ OMG. I'd had Korean BBQ in LA once, years ago. I didn't remember just how incredibly delicious it was! It seriously exceeded my expectations. Alex had never been to Korean BBQ before and he was STOKED. Luckily our server could tell how clueless we were and expertly guided us through the whole process. Actually these first three events all happened in the same magical day in LA: Santa Monica Farmers Market, Gjelina, (then we took a nap,) and late night Korean BBQ! It went down in history as The Best Food Day Ever. At the time I didn't think we had authentic Korean BBQ (with a flaming grill in the middle of the table) in Seattle, but since then I've learned we actually do! I have yet to try it out, but I'm excited.
Irene's Birthday!! // Gluten-Free Pie
October means the birthday of my beautiful baby sister!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, not so baby anymore, she's 24, and a full blown Badass Bombshell Goddess Queen. They grow up so fast!! Haha. I do remember the day she was born, in our house in Vilas, North Carolina. Looooong time ago. Well, 24 years ago, to be exact. These days she is staying away from wheat, due to some health issues, but she still loves my pies, so I went on a gluten free pie adventure! Definitely tricky to work with, #crumblyaf. But, with a little smooshing and maybe a little swearing, I made it work. This circle cut out top crust is my current go-to solution for a crumbly crust. Plus it's pretty! In my humble opinion. The pie was a hit, and I know for sure she liked it because later she was all "so what did you use for that pie crust?" Bob's Red Mill, baby! One bag of their Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix was enough for the top and bottom crust of this bad boy. Highly recommend!
Nana's Salad Bowl
This month my Nana turned 102. Just let that sink in for a minute. Her health is definitely not so good these days, but then again that makes sense because she's ONE HUNDRED AND TWO YEARS OLD. It's insane. She was born in Russia in 1914. Let's just say she's seen some shit. This wooden salad bowl was given to her as a wedding present for her first marriage, around 1936. The original spoon server was lost or damaged at some point over the years, and she replaced it with one from Samara, the city in Russia where she was born. Mama says this bowl was on the dinner table every night of her childhood. Nana gifted this bowl to me for Christmas a few years ago, but I never used it- it felt too special for everyday use, and I never had an occasion to pull it out. Until this month! I was making up a big salad for a dinner with Alex and my Dear Cousin Randall, and it just felt like the right time to bring out Nana's salad bowl- especially since it was just days after her 102nd birthday. The perfect way to honor her and her amazing life. Cheers to Nana and the big, crazy family she created! I very literally wouldn't be here without her.
Patterns on Patterns // Breakfast // Friendship
I'd been back in Dark Stormy Seattle maybe a week or two when I received the sweetest Just Because package in the mail from my good friend Anna Deezy! She said she was thinking of me, hoping I was getting through the darkness ok, and wanted to send me some love to brighten my day! How did I get so lucky to have such a thoughtful, caring friend?! The package contained two beeeeaaaauuuuutiful pairs of earrings (one of which was from a trip to Peru we took together years ago), and also this gorgeous tea towel! I LOVE fabric as a background for food photos (Attentive Readers may have noticed this, wink), and this towel makes a great backdrop! I immediately got to work in the kitchen, cooked up whatever was handy, and ended up with this glorious breakfast plate. Everything about this shot just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Grateful for spicy eggs, beautiful tea towels, and good friends.
Trove Noodle Bar
YUMM. This shot is from a glorious lunch with my good friend Fun Meg. The food was sooooooo good I've been dreaming about it ever since, especially the Rice Cakes with Lamb and Kale (left) which was AMAZING and the rice cakes were like thick round slices of a fat rice noodle which I'd never experienced before but it was SO GOOD. Been wanting to go back for more ever since. In addition to the noodle bar Trove also houses a regular bar, a parfait bar and- wait for it- KOREAN BBQ!!!! I've only tried the noodle bar so far but I can't wait to go back for BBQ and for soft serve! And no, this post isn't sponsored, I just really enjoyed their food.
Ah, brunch salad. An idea that was born way back in the beginning of October, when my girl Masha was in town for the weekend. After several days of joyfully eating everything in sight, plus some late nights and incredible dance parties, we were both in the mood for something a little on the lighter side for breakfast Sunday morning. I combined that with the need to still have something hearty and breakfast-y, and this brunch salad was born. I mean I'm sure I'm not the first person to eat a salad for brunch, but I'm pretty proud of my version. It involves eggs, bacon, and bacon-fat croutons, as well as plenty of crunchy fresh veggies and herbs. I made at least four or more different variations on this theme in October... and I will be featuring a recipe for it soon! Stay tuned.
One Last CSA
This month saw the end of CSA season for me. I will certainly miss those glorious boxes of abundance every Sunday! Silver lining, I can catch up on my veggies... my refrigerator has become a tad more manageable, that's for sure. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed CSA season this year and was sad to see it end! Until next summer...
Well, that about covers it folks! I'll be back soon with a new recipe for y'all to try. Until then, stay warm and dry out there people!