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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hummus Recipe

Hummus Recipe I've wanted to make hummus for some time but kept putting it off and putting it off and I have no idea why. It's so easy to make and once I made it, I was hooked and have made it at least half a dozen times already this year. I first made it to snack on during the Superbowl, serving it with carrot and celery sticks. I've made a few different variations of it and like experimenting.  I had a tasty spinach hummus at Andalous Mediterranean Grill in Texas last month and am looking forward to adding some spinach to my next batch.

I've tried both a food process and a blender to make the hummus and found the hummus to be a bit creamier with the blender and is my preference.  Some people go through the trouble of peeling all the beans to make it even smoother but I don't have the patience for that and don't think it would make that big of a difference.

Below is the recipe I've used the last couple of times I've made it and it has gotten rave reviews from people, including Mark, who claimed to not like hummus before he tried mine. You can alter the amount of garlic and spice to suit your tastes. I prefer a garlicy hummus and usually use 3 garlic cloves.

Recipe: Gapey's Grub Hummus

Yield: approximately 2.5 cups
Total time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1 can garbanzo beans
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
juice of one lemon, approx. 2 tbsp
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

OPTIONAL GARNISHES:
toasted pine nuts
dash of paprika
whole garbanzo beans

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Drain beans, saving liquid for possible use.
2. Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding a tbsp or more of saved liquid or water to thin.
3. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. paprika and/or garbanzo beans.
3. Serve with sticks of carrots and celery or pita bread or pita chips.
Hummus Ingredients Hummus in the Making

Saturday, March 22, 2014

65.7 Degree Sous Vide Eggs

The first thing I decided to make when I got my Sansaire Sous Vide machine is eggs. Seemed like the easiest thing you can make with a sous vide machine. But there's really a lot of different ways to cook eggs in a sous vide machine. Not only does the temperature make a difference but the length of time does as well.

I was kind of hoping for a poached egg type of egg where the whites are fairly firm and the yolk is runny but I didn't quite get that. Instead the whites were just a little more runny than my liking but were white and cooked through and mostly held their shape but the yolk was not runny as I had hoped.

I later came across a post on Serious Eats that has lots of pictures of eggs cooked at different temperatures and different times that I wish I had looked at before making mine. But then I found a youtube post from Jeanette's Healthy Living who cooked the eggs at 63 degrees for 45 mins that came out perfectly poached. I might have to try that.

It definitely requires some experimenting. I picked up one of these machines from a Kickstarter for $199 and you can have one at the same price but they are currently sold out but will be making more. If you join their newsletter you will be notified when they have more available.

 
Breakfast with 65.7 Degree Sous Vide Eggs

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Maple Pickled Pears

Maple Pickled PearsThis was a recipe from Herbivoracious' desserts section. It was difficult to find a dessert that was both gluten free and sugar free. This was the only one. I thought it would make a great snack for the big NFC Championship game. It was a very stressful game but the Seahawks squeaked by with a win over the San Francisco 49ers which led to a Superbowl win.

I paired the pears up with Seaside Cheese Co English cheddar, Uniekaas gouda arrano, Simple & Crisp dried oranges and Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers. They all went well together with the maple and cider vinegar soaked pears. I have to admit Bosc pears aren't my favorite pear. They are a grainier pear but probably hold up better and don't get too mushy so I thought they worked pretty well for this recipe and they didn't seem as grainy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

RTC Campus Eats Food Trucks

When: Every Thursday 11:00am - 1:30pm
Where: RTC ATT Campus - 16221 NE 72nd Way, Redmond, WA
Schedule: ATT Campus Eats on Twitter & Facebook

If you're looking for food trucks on the East side you must check out the Redmond Town Center. It all started with a United Way food truck fundraiser and it must have been such a hit that they decided to have food trucks come out every Thursday. There are usually two different trucks to choose from. I used to be afraid of eating food out of trucks but there are actually some pretty awesome food trucks around and they are nothing to be afraid of. They've got some pretty amazing, restaurant quality food. Unfortunately I usually work from home on Thursdays so I miss out on the food trucks but occasionally I am in the office and am always sure to check out the trucks when I am. You'll find them in between ATT's RTC1 and 3 office buildings. You can find out who will be coming by following RTC Campus Eats on twitter or facebook. They will post the day before, the day of or sometimes not at all so you may need to risk it and just show up to see who will be there. The trucks have been coming for several months now and I've checked them out twice.

Papa Bois

My first visit to RTC Campus Eats was last November when I was surprised to find three trucks to choose from. Sweet and Savory Pie, Athena's Gyros and Papa Bois.  I was going to try Sweet and Savory Pies gluten free pie but unfortunately they were sold out by the time I went so I decided to go with Papa Bois jerk chicken though it wasn't gluten free but it was delicious. The chicken was tender and spicy and the bread was toasted perfectly, just a little black which some people may call burnt but it's just the way I like it. I got a green papaya salad to go with it. The salad was spicier than expected but I like spicy so it was good. It also had a bit of sweetness. It complemented the sandwich well. Papa Bois Food Truck Caribbean Jerk Chicken

 Sweet and Savory Pie

My second visit to RTC Campus Eats had Sweet and Savory Pie back and a first time visitor, the new Lumpia World truck. As much as I love lumpia, I went down early to make sure I got there in time to try the gluten free broccoli cheddar pie before they sold out. The crust was surprisingly good for a gluten free crust. I'm not sure what flours they use in it but I emailed them in hopes they will share the info. The filling was much thicker than I had expected and made no mess at all. I'm used to the Marie Callenders type pies which are more like a stew consistency. My only complaint is that it needed salt which I happen to keep at my desk. The pie is a little small so probably should have gotten another item off the menu. They have sweet pies including a gluten free ones, a couple of sides and Full Tilt ice cream.


Sweet and Savory Pie Truck Broccoli Cheddar Pie

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gluten Free Pizzelles

Gluten Free PizzellesI made a couple of different gluten free/sugar free holiday cookies this year. I posted a recipe for the spritz cookies earlier and wanted to share these too because they turned out surprisingly well. If you've never hard these they are like a flat crispy waffle, made much like you would make a waffle. The batter texture and consistency is similar but as they cool they become crispy and you can even form them into a cone and fill them up with fruit or whatever else you'd like.

I looked at a few different recipes online and finally decided on a recipe on queenofquinoa.com. I wasn't sure how well a gluten free version of these would come out. I didn't really think they'd be as crispy but I was pleasantly surprised.  The recipe actually calls for adding cooked quinoa to the batter which I found strange but I went with it.  I made a couple of substitutions to the original recipe. I'm used to traditional Italian pizzelles which are anise flavored and have anise seed in them so instead of using vanilla and almond extract I used vanilla and anise and added some anise seed.  I have 17 different gluten free flours but sorghum isn't one of them so I substituted amaranth.

Recipe: Gluten Free Pizzelles

Adapted from: queenofquinoa.com
Yield: approximately 25-30
Total time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Amaranth (or sorghum) flour
1/4 Cup brown rice flour
1/2 Cup potato starch
1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp anise seed
1 tsp powdered stevia
3 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp anise extract
1/2 cup maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat cookie press and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add dry ingredients, including quinoa in medium mixing bowl.
3. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl until smooth. Whisk in the coconut oil and extracts. Add syrup slowly while whisking until well combined.
4. Beat in dry ingredients until smooth.
5. Add a tablespoon of batter onto pizzelle iron and close, cooking for approximately one minute.
6. Let cool on wire rack. 

Pizzelle Making

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Year in Review

It's a new year and it's time to take a look back at the happenings of last year. One way I have been doing this every year is by creating calendars using photos I've taken over the past year and giving them as Christmas presents to close friends and family. This year I did a food one which is made up of photos of dishes I've had at restaurants this year in the Pacific Northwest. Due to health reasons I haven't eaten out much for a few years but things have been improving and I've been able to eat out more this past year. The calendar features dishes from the following restaurants and food trucks: Urbane, Blue C Sushi, Veggie Grill, Facing East, Stumbling Goat Bistro, Ma'ono, Hugo's, Adam's Northwest Bistro, Pinky's Kitchen, Pho Hung, Six Seven and Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails.
Pacific Northwest Dining 2014 Calendar
CALENDAR AVAILABLE FOR $15 WITH FREE SHIPPING
I had extra calendars made so have a few available for selling. Let me know if you are interested in one.

Below are my most popular Flickr photos, tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts and instagrams over the past year.

Blog

Gluten free recipes seemed to be a big hit this year. My top 3 most viewed posts were gluten free recipes.

Most viewed posts in 2013:
  1. Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies (posted in 2012)
  2. Gluten Free Banana Bread
  3. Gluten Free Asian Dumplings (posted in 2012)
Most viewed posts actually posted in 2013
  1. Gluten Free Banana Bread
  2. Methylation: MTHFR CBS Genetics
  3. Genetic Testing: 23andme

Twitter

Unfortunately couldn't find an embed code for the video that Vizify created so will just share the link: https://www.vizify.com/paula-thomas/twitter-video

Facebook


Flickr

Most popular photos on Flickr this year
Most Popular Photos of 2013
1. OMD video setup, 2. Fall Sky, 3. Blueberry Fly, 4. Olympus Holy Trinity, 5. Jeep O Lantern, 6. Lumix GX7, 7. Blooming Geraniums, 8. Sunrise, 9. Jessie, 10. Chicken Pho, 11. Jeep Back, 12. 2013 Supermoon

Instagram

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Spritz Cookies

Gluten Free Spritz Cookies When I was kid we had a tradition of making spritz cookies every year. It was one of my favorite holiday traditions. I loved picking out the shapes and still do. You can come out with some different shapes even out of one template by pushing out more or less dough.

I haven't made these in the last couple of years since I changed my diet but this year I decided to try making gluten free ones using raw coconut crystals instead of refined sugar for the sweetener. This is the first time I've used coconut sugar but I've been reading a lot about it.  The crystals are made from the sap of a coconut tree and is very low glycemic and contains 17 amino acids. I used Coconut Secret brand that I found at PCC. They are certified organic and non-GMO. The crystals are dark brown, about the color of brown sugar and actually tastes similar to brown sugar.  The dark specks you see in the cookies are from the crystals.

I followed a recipe I found on landolakes.com but substituted the coconut crystals for the refined sugar 1:1 in the recipe. My first attempt at pressing out cookies was a big disaster. The shape didn't hold at all and was left with a sticky glob of dough on the sheet pan. I didn't give up though. I added more flour to the batter and also refrigerated the dough for about 45 minutes to firm it up. Tried again and it worked out pretty well.

If you've never had spritz cookies before, they are similar to shortbread. They're kind of dry and crunchy and should be eaten with a big glass of milk!

Recipe: Gluten Free Spritz Cookies

Yield: approximately 50 cookies
Total time: 90 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
2/3 Cup Raw Coconut Sugar Crystals
1 Cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cup gluten free flour

Gluten Free Flour Mix:
2 Cups brown rice flour
2/3 Cup potato starch
1/3 Cup tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Combine crystals, butter, egg, salt and vanilla in mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add gluten free flour (use your own or use mix above) to bowl and beat until well mixed
3. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
5. Fill cookie press with dough and desired template. Press dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. If dough does not form a shape, refrigerate longer and/or add more flour to the dough.
6. Bake 7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned
7. Enjoy cookies with a glass of milk.

Spritz Cookie Making
Gluten Free Spritz Cookies

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

brussels sprout and apple hash

Brussels Sprout and Apple Hash It's been a busy couple of months since IFBC. I'm long overdue for posting about another great recipe from the Herbivoracious cookbook. This recipe comes from the "side dishes" section of the cookbook and would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal. I never liked brussels sprouts as a kid but I like them now. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is with bacon which I also didn't like as a kid. This recipe however is vegetarian so no bacon this time.  Instead, the addition of apple sweetens it up and I don't even miss the bacon.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Sahale Snacks Factory

I don't usually eat store bought snack foods mainly because of all the nasty ingredients that are in them and prefer to just make my own. Then Sahale Snacks came along which I was introduced to at the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle a couple of months ago though they've been around for many years. I was happy to see that the ingredient labels didn't have a laundry list of ingredients like most processed snacks in a bag. They use whole ingredients: nuts, unsulphured fruits, spices, organic sweeteners (honey, cane syrup and/or tapioca syrup) and no preservatives and they are gluten free! Seemed like my kind of snack so I tried the maple pecans and was blown away by the flavors and texture.

I was excited to get an invite for a tour of their snack factory. It was during a week day so I took the day off from work and made a 45 mile drive to Tukwila, WA for the tour. Their mission statement is displayed on the wall as you walk in the front entrance.

Breakfast

BreakfastWe were greeted with a nice breakfast of yogurt and berries topped with a choice of two of their nut blends. I chose the cashews with pomegranate and vanilla and a cup of coffee. While enjoying breakfast, the owners, Edmond Sanctis and Josh Schroeter, joined us and told us about the history of Sahale Snacks and about the pride they have in the ingredients that go into them. Edmond and Josh have been best buds for 25 years. People say you shouldn't go into business with your best friend but they've proven that it can be done. After 10 years of being in business together their friendship has only grown stronger and it shows if you ever meet them.

The Beginning

Sahale Owners and BFF'sEdmond and Josh met as news reporters right out of college and went to graduate school together at Columbia University. They didn't always live near each other but they stayed in touch and every year they got together to go hiking in the Cascades.  Edmond and Josh aren't your typical hikers. They are both food enthusiasts and they want their hikes to include a good food experience. Every year they stop at Pike Place Market and stock up on gourmet meats, cheeses, capers, spices and yes even wine and whatever else they could find that looked good and brought it all with them on their hikes. It sounded like a blast and it made me want to go hiking with them. They started looking into what was available for snacks while preparing for a Rainier climb. They didn't have room in their packs to bring their usual spread of gourmet food and had to resort to boring trail mixes and energy bars. When they got back from their climb, they decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen and make their own enjoyable gourmet snacks that they can take on hikes and the rest is history. They named the brand after Sahale Peak, one of their favorite hikes in the Cascade mountains. I embarrassingly only recently learned the proper way to pronounce it: suh haw lee. Edmond and Josh are best friends and business partners and it was a challenge to get them to pose and be serious for a picture.

Ingredients

IngredientsThey put a lot of thought into each and every ingredient that goes into their snacks and choose the best they can find. For example they get their cinnamon and black pepper from Vietnam and their Vanilla from Madagascar because they did their research and found that is where the best is. They love to travel and have been to Vietnam and saw how the cinnamon is harvested. They are involved with Peace Trees Vietnam, a Seattle based organization that is working on the safe removal of bombs and land mines that are covering 85% of the land in Central Vietnam. Once the land is made safe, buildings can be constructed and much of it will become farmland which Peace Trees also helps with planting. Edmond and Josh are hoping to also visit Madagascar and see how the vanilla is grown, harvested and processed in person.

Experimenting

Edmond and Josh did a lot of experimenting with flavors, they still do and we got to do some experimenting of our own. We put on some lab coats and started thinking about what we wanted to make. We got to choose between pistachio, almond, cashew and pecan for our main ingredient. We also had a selection of fruits to choose from but I'm the only one that decided to do a no fruit blend. They also had a cabinet full of spices for us to use.  We had a little assistance with the nut to fruit to spice ratio and the rest was up to us. I made a pistachio Mexican blend with guajillo chile powder, cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, lemon, orange and a little buttermilk. I liked how it came out though I think lime would have worked better than the lemon and orange but that wasn't available. Some cayanne would have probably been good too for some more heat. They did the glazing and toasting for us and shipped everyone a sampling of all 5 creations. I had some fun and did a little taste test with Mark and made him choose his favorite. He had no idea which one was mine and I assured him I wouldn't feel bad if he didn't pick mine.  He had a hard time choosing between Jacqueline's Mango Salsa and A&J's Ricotta Blueberry Pancake but ultimately went with the mango salsa and we both agreed it was the best looking one of the bunch but my favorite was hands down the blueberry pancake.
Jess's Creation My Creation
Blogger Blends Jacqueline's Mango Salsa Blend

Lunch

After the experimentation we went back to the conference room we had breakfast in and had lunch. We had a nice green salad with sliced chicken breast and a few choices of Sahale snacks to garnish. This time I chose the pomegranate pistachio and drizzled some creamy balsamic dressing over the top.  I learned that Sahale Snacks are great addition to any meal.
Sahale Style Lunch Sahale Salad

Factory Tour

After lunch we put on hair nets and went for a walk around the production floor. We got to see the almond roaster which is a really old machine but still works surprisingly well. It's in its own room and the aroma of roasted almonds filled the room. We also walked through the humongous pantry where they store all of their ingredients and inventory. One of the challenges for companies is deciding how large of a building to purchase. This isn't their first factory as they have had such success and had to expand. It looks like this building has plenty of room for growth so they should be able to stay in this location for a good while. The last stop was the packaging room where a machine does a pretty quick job of packaging the snacks. They were packaging Almonds with Cranberries, Honey + Sea Salt, one of my favorite blends.
Nut Roaster

Quality

Sahale Snacks takes the quality of their product very seriously. Every batch that comes out of the factory is taste tested for appearance, aroma, texture and taste and if they don't score high enough they they don't get sold to customers but are donated. We got to play inspector and judge the maple pecans and almonds with cranberries that were produced the day before. It was interesting to see how the different batches had slight differences in the 4 categories.
Sahale Quality Manager Quality Control

Where to Buy

I will warn you that if you try them, you will likely get addicted to them like I have and start putting them on everything. Use their store locator to see where you can purchase these incredibly tasty gourmet snacks near you or you can get them on Amazon. Below are links to a few of my favorites.


You can find more pictures from my tour at the Sahale Snack factory on my website. Jacqueline, the hedonista, also posted about the tour on Heed the Hedonist along with the recipe for Sing Buri Cashew Brittle from our dinner at Urbane.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Urbane

I was treated by Sahale Snacks to a special welcome dinner at Urbane in Seattle where I got to meet the two owners of Sahale.  It was a treat getting to know more about them and how Sahale started which I'll share more about in my factory tour post soon. I will say they love the outdoors and good food too, just like me.

I've never been to Urbane before and I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of it before even though I've driven by it many times. It's such an awesome restaurant located at the Hyatt Olive 8 downtown. I'm amazed at how many really great hotel restaurants there are in downtown Seattle. I'm happy that so many are becoming "farm to table" where ingredients are sourced seasonally and locally and Urbane is one of them. They are gluten free friendly too!

Our group had a space reserved at the Urbane Market, a room just across the hall from the restaurant. The table was elegantly decorated with candles and bamboo stalks in beds of rock running down the center of the table. A set of 3 empty wine glasses were placed at each seat along with a special menu and a usb drive with more information about the restaurant. The usb drive included a map of the local Washington vendors they work with from bakeries and creameries to farms and ranches.

Since Urbane uses seasonal ingredients, their menu is always changing but you probably won't find these exact dishes on their menu.  Audrey Jones Spence, the new chef de cuisine as of Oct 3, created a wonderfully unique special menu for us that was inspired by Sahale Snacks and each course had a little Sahale in it.  Our first three were served with glasses of delicious Nefarious Cellars wines including a 2012 Viognier, 2012 Consequence white blend and my favorite, a 2011 Syrah.
2011 Defiance Vineyard Syrah

We started off with a salad of autumn greens and apples with a tahini vinaigrette, oranges, sing-buri cashew brittle and viognier-orange gastrique. Sing-Buri is one of Sahale's snacks and it sure makes a fantastic brittle. Everyone wanted more brittle and they were nice and brought us a little more to pass around.

The second course was an aleppo pepper glazed neah bay black cod with california almonds, spicy roast squash and carrot hash. I loved having the texture of the nuts to go with each course. Who knew almonds and fish go so well together?
Autumn Greens and Apple Salad Aleppo Pepper Glazed Neah Bay Black Cod

The third course was the most beautifully plated chicken. It was a pan seared palouse pastured chicken with a cashew pomegranate vanilla sauce, cranberry chutney and garnet mustard greens. I love fruits and chicken together but I don't think I've ever had cranberry with chicken but it makes sense since it goes so well with turkey.
Pan Seared Palouse Patured Chicken

I was the only gluten free eater at the table so I got treated with a different dessert than anyone else and I'm glad because crème brûlées are one of my favorite desserts!  So while everyone else got a baked mt rainier with vanilla cake, cherry-pecan ice cream, maple meringue and cider caramel, I got a coffee crème brûlée topped with pecans. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal. Chef Audrey definitely showed her creativity and I'm looking forward to trying more of her creations utilizing the best ingredients of the Pacific Northwest.
Coffee Creme Brulee Baked Mt Rainier

Urbane1635 8th Avenue SeattleWA 98101    

Urbane on Urbanspoon