Monday, November 12, 2012

A Save Thanksgiving Pledge

What does it really mean to save Thanksgiving? In order to bring Thanksgiving into focus, a few things need to happen.  Below I have created my Save Thanksgiving pledge.  I humbly ask you to join me and join the movement. 

Until November 23 will refrain from
  • Christmas shopping
  • Christmas décor
  • Singing along to holiday music no matter how catchy Mariah Carrey may be
  • Drinking from Starbucks red cups (In the interest of full disclosure, I have already broken this, twice. In my defense, I was traveling and didn’t bring my reusable cup with me)
  • Reading Christmas themed publications or internet features (this includes the amazing looking Real Simple that was just delivered to my house)

Up until November 23 I will
  • Shout from the rooftops how awesome Thanksgiving is
  • Use my voice on social media to share stories and recipes related to Thanksgiving all tagged #SaveThanksgiving
  • Be grateful for the blessings in my life. And let the people in my life know that I am thankful for them.
  • Volunteer my time

Notable exceptions
  • With family all over the country, travel plans needs to be made well in advance. I’m personally going to start talking about this with my family really soon. You can #SaveThanksgiving and still book an airline ticket.
  • Concert tickets. Jingle Bell Bash, The Nutcracker, these need to be bought in advance.  You can #SaveThanksgiving and make plans before to attend these types of events (after Thanksgiving, of course).
Violet in Corso Como Adma

Friday, November 2, 2012

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I saw my first Christmas commercial before Halloween. Christmas has tried its best to take-over Thanksgiving and now it has its sights set on Halloween. Halloween is a pretty awesome holiday filled with pumpkins, adorable kids in costumes and, of course, candy.  While it may be hard to make a broader moral argument about the importance of Halloween in our lives, it’s what happens in October.  And I’m doing my best to if not live in the moment be close to it. 

Rather than take away from ghosts and goblins of Halloween I held off on the turkey and ‘taters talk until after. Today, I once again take up the banner to Save Thanksgiving. For the next three weeks, all you will hear from me is Thanksgiving – the food, the family and everything I have to be grateful for this year.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. At a time when budgets are tight and our differences, political or otherwise tear us apart, I can’t think of anything better thing to do than gather those you love around you, share a meal and give thanks for what you have.
Once the turkey has been picked over and the pumpkin pie consumed, then and only then will I discuss Santa and stockings. 

I encourage all of you to do the same. Give Thanksgiving the due it deserves. Take a few weeks to pause before life gets hectic and give thanks for the blessings in your life. And for Pete’s sake, #SaveThanksgiving.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ma Kai

For several years now, Marination Mobile has been making a name for itself on the Seattle food truck scene.  I first tried it at the Mobile Chow Down Part 2. For a long time, I was afraid of their SPAM slider but a soon saw the error of my ways when they opened the non-mobile Marination Station. 
And now Marination has arrived in West Seattle with Marination Ma Kai. It's right on Alki where the water taxi lands and you can rent yourself a stand up paddle board or a kayak. Marination Ma Kai brings everything you can get from the truck and some new options as well, including breakfast items and shave ice (I looked it up, it's shave ice, not shaved so this is not just a typo/my typical grammar fail). 
Never one to pass up a SPAM slider JP and I made sure to hit the place up on its sunny opening weekend. 
First off, I appreciate spelling out exactly what Ma Kai means right off the bat.  Thank you for answering my question before I even had a chance to ask. 
Second, on this beautiful sunny Saturday, you realize what an amazing location they have which includes a beautiful view of downtown Seattle and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (which is missing from Marination Station).
Ordering seemed to take a little while because the people ahead of us were Marination rookies, asking a lot of questions about what was what and specialty orders for the kids they had in tow. Despite this extra time, I was patient because first, welcome to the Marination fan club, second even if you order tacos without the jalapenos, kudos for exposing your kid to this, third it was nowhere near as long as we waited at the Mobile Chow Down.
I was tempted by the kimchi fried rice but I could not resist the power of the SPAM slider and I didn’t think I could really take on both since I had a cupcake for breakfast and I would later have queso and guacamole for dinner (it was a fat kid weekend, what do you want from me?!). So I got an Aloha (kalua pork) and SPAM slider. JP got three tacos, one kalbi beef, miso ginger chicken and spicy pork and one Aloha slider for him too. 
I’m very happy to report that everything that made me fall in love with Marination has easily crossed Elliot Bay to West Seattle. With these great island flavors, sweet location and shave ice this summer, I don’t think that we will see short wait times for very much longer. 

 Violet in my customized Duck Nike ID sneakers

Friday, October 12, 2012

Good Stuff

I don’t know about you but I tend to suck at follow through. I’m really good with coming up with ideas, grand plans and master schemes.  The whole making it happen thing? That’s a different story. 
I tend to be excited at the beginning and a few weeks down the road I let something slip because I’m busy or I just don’t feel like doing it right now. Then it all goes to hell.  I feel guilty, beat myself up and get back on the bandwagon or come up with a new master plan and start the same process all over again. See: working out, eating healthy, spending more time with friends, calling my family, pretty much every New Year’s resolution ever. 

When this blog first started, I wasn’t even here. Orange and her friend started it as a way to compare their married and single lives. When the original violet wasn’t so into the idea any more, I gladly stepped in to lend my voice. And it was fun. I loved sharing the stories of what was going on in my life, meals I was making and places I was going. 
And I did ok by myself for a while, letting that enthusiasm carry me. Things went pretty sideways when I really started planning the wedding. In 2012, I’ve barely logged one post per month. 
But lately I’ve been taking pictures of things, thinking of posts some even getting so far as half written but they never really seemed to find their way here. So I’m going to take that as a sign that it’s time to come back. 
So what am I saying?  There’s going to be good stuff here.  Hang in there with me.   
Violet in Corso Como Adma

Monday, August 27, 2012

When the Cat is Away by Violet

What’s a girl to do? While there are a great many things that Joseph and I see eye to eye on but there are a few particular food quirks that we each have. Joseph only like potatoes in fry or chip form, he dislikes peanut butter and frankly most baked goods outside of cookies. The thought of scrambled eggs makes my stomach turn and I like my fruit fresh or fermented (no pies, jams or jellies of any kind).

This means we’ve learned to cook somewhere in the middle ground, taking into account each of our unique tastes.

Every once in a while, Joseph goes out of town for a few days and I’m left with the prospect of cooking dinner for one. Typically this usually means making a vat of mashed potatoes and finding meats and veggies to accompany them. But after a bit of a perfect storm, not only was Joe out of town for the weekend but he had been out of town for work a few days before and during that time I had satisfied my mashed potato craving for the next few months (Thanksgiving isn’t too far away right?).

And wine. Of course lots of win.
So I started rolling through my recipes to see what might catch my eye, baked potato soup, veggie pizza, asparagus and shrimp, tomato and corn pie, mac and cheese, eggplant parmesan…wait…tomato and corn pie? Bright summer flavors all wrapped up in a delicious biscuit like crust? Done.

This is a gem that I found through Smitten Kitchen and made for one of our Kentucky Derby parties a few years back. I remembered it as being a little labor intensive (because frankly you have to make the dough and roll that bad boy out) but worth the effort.

Adapted, barely, from Gourmet’s adaptation of Laurie Colwin’s and James Beard’s versions

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand or lightly puréed in a food processor, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, divided (skipped this, no harm was done)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
7ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms dough, and then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Either fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it or, if you’re using the plastic warp method, remove top sheet of plastic wrap, then lift dough using bottom sheet of plastic wrap and invert into pie plate. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. If your kitchen is excessively warm put the second half of the dough in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired, gently remove seeds and extra juices. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/ 2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. 

Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 teaspoons). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, and then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I skipped blanching the tomatoes and peeling them because I remember from the last time that step was a lot of work and I didn’t really see what the heck was the point. I did end up with a puddle at the bottom of the pie when I pulled it out of the oven. But the bottom crust wasn’t really much worse for the wear. If you want to take that step on then, by all means.

I also know that a lot of people get nervous about dealing with dough. This one is pretty cooperative. It comes together really easily and isn’t hard to work with. So don’t let it freak you out.

Highly recommend making this if your neighbor just came over and dropped off more tomatoes from their garden . It also feels like you should try out your best southern accent while eating this pie, ya’ll.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


In the dog days of summer, cold treats become a pretty big deal. If I heard the ice cream man right now, pretty sure I would run him down for an Astro Pop or those orange and red swirl popsicles (the internet is telling me those are called Firecrackers and Big Sticks but that just can’t be right). And I’m a girl who loves a Chaco Taco too but really when you get right down to it, if there’s an IT’S-IT in play it’s pretty much over for me.

Now, for those of you who didn’t grow up in California, I’ll need to explain just exactly what an IT’S-IT is. The original version is a scoop of ice cream between two oatmeal cookies covered in dark chocolate. And when I say oatmeal cookies, I don’t mean those terrible oatmeal and raisin cookies like you find at Safeway, these are much closer to graham cracker crust in cookie form. What really make them great is that they are so dense they can stand up to the moisture of the ice cream even as it melts. 

Biting into one is the perfect mix of chocolate, ice cream and crunchy cookie. They also come in mint (the thought is overwhelming), chocolate and cappuccino. But I have never seen these flavors in the wild.

They were invited in San Francisco, sold at the Playland by the Beach. When it was torn down in the 1970s they build a factory out near the San Francisco airport (which is in Burlingame, not too far from where JP grew up but he doesn’t like IT’S-IT. Yeah, I don’t know either). If you are driving up from the south you can see it from the freeway.

I had never seen one outside of California until recently. I few weeks back I spotted a box on the top shelf in the freezer section at Safeway. At first I thought it was a mirage and kept on shopping. Then the other day at Target, there they were again so the box of three came home with me.

Who puts three ice cream sandwiches in a box? IT’S-IT does. Because they have been making these delicious treats since the 1920s and, frankly, you take what you can get.

I remembered back when JP and I went to hear Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali speak. An audience member asked the chefs what did they eat at their wedding? Batali said, man we kept it simple, a taco truck and a cooler full of IT’S-IT. Sounds perfect to me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guess who's back? Back again. By Violet

How is it possible that it’s been so long since I’ve written? There have been a few things going on – mostly JP and I were planning a wedding. There will be plenty more on that once the pictures come in. 

One of the advantages of working for the company that I do is that after seven years  you get a six week paid sabbatical. Mine just so happened to line up our wedding.  I still have more about week and a half left to go. And I’m beginning to wonder just what I’ve been doing with my time. 

So in order to catch you up and make myself feel better here’s a little look at what’s been going on over the last few weeks….

So much reality TV. Team Jef with One F

An awesome bachelorette party with wine, chips and guacamole 

Did I say there was wine? Because there was. So. Much. Wine.

Made some excellent meatballs

Which JP and I made short work of

A couple runs on Alki
With varying weather

A whole lot of reading thanks to my Aunt Susan
Joseph went out of town so I made a giant batch of mashed potatoes. Really giant. 

I discovered the best Mac and Cheese recipe ever.
The margarita machine from my bridal shower (thanks, Liz!)

Sangria from the honeymoon in Maui

With a little side of Yogurtland

Some wedding DIY because I did get married 

Violet in Reef flip flops