Dinner

Torie & Tristan, Out & About

It’s been a busy last few weeks. Here’s a mini photo journal.

A friend invited us over for Moscow mules at her “carriage house.” I didn’t know what a carriage house was, either. But now, I’m obsessed – it’s basically a mini party house that lives in the backyard:

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Upon quick research, they appear to be universally charming. And this particular carriage house is shabby chic fabulous. The lights on the wall spell out BE NICE. And look at these Moscow Mules all lined up, begging me to take a picture (and drink one):

TandT Out and About (13)

Now that Tristan is advocating for local, organic food, I initiated him into the granola world that is the Ballard Farmer’s Market. If you’ve seen my recipes lately, you’ll know I’m already a fan.

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We made the mistake of going at lunchtime and so naturally, everything looked and smelled delicious. We made a pit stop at the Market Minis stand for some powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar fresh mini donuts.

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Then we opted for fresh tamales and veggies:

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And look at this!

TandT Out and About (2)

Later, using some of our veggie purchases, I created one of my first-ever “I think these ingredients should all taste good together” recipes: roasted red pepper, sauteed mushrooms, chicken, chestnut fettuccine, cucumber, basil, garlic…

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And, yay!

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Another night, when Tristan was in charge of dinner, he continued to confirm that he is a WAY better photographer than I am. I received this picture message on my phone:

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He just has an eye for photography which I try to fake. And I even have a better camera phone. Oh well, that’s why we’re a team! And the dinner was yummy, too :).

We also tried out two raw “healthy” cookie dough ball recipes – chocolate chip and peanut butter butterscotch. LOVED them both, and they lasted us all week and completely satisfied our sweet tooth (teeth?) while being a great protein boost.

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This weekend, we are having my aunt and uncle over for fondue (our fave) and I will be able to finally debut my Easter tablescape and new gold flatware. Pictures to come next week!

 

-t&T

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Blue Apron Takes the Logistical Blues Away

One of the ways I have streamlined my lifestyle in 2014 is through a meal delivery service called Blue Apron.  I talk about it more on this post, but essentially it sends ingredients and recipes for three meals each week to your doorstep, and you can skip weeks whenever you want. Average cost is $10 per person per meal, or $60 a week. There is  a meat and vegetarian option.

Dec 29 2013 118

Dec 29 2013 119

I personally wouldn’t do more than two shipments a month, because our schedule tends to ebb and flow with busy-ness around dinner time.  Instead of being less stressed by Blue Apron, I’ve been more stressed during busy weeks because I was worried our meals would go to waste. It’s nice to take off-weeks and eat normal dinners, like cereal and hot dogs.

Here’s what I like about it:

  • You only need salt, pepper, and EVOO on hand to do any of the recipes. Everything else is shipped in the most adorable little baggies and packages.
  • Tristan likes the food and the program, and helps out with the cooking – bonding, aw.
  • I’m able to enjoy the cooking process and learn new techniques without the stress of meal planning and shopping.
  • The meals have only taken around 30 minutes to prepare and have had quite a range of flavors and formats.
  • The ingredients are all seasonal and fresh, some of which I would’ve had no motivation to explore if left to my own devices. A good example of this would be bok choy and treviso.
  • The recipes are easy to follow and well thought out – there are photos and a timeline; there’s not that panic at the end, when I’m cooking on my own and everything seems to be burning at the same time.
  •  The recipe cards are laminated with measurements so we can make the recipe again, if it was a hit. And call me old fashioned, but I don’t have a tablet and I’m real sick of trying to keep my cell phone from timing out every five minutes while I’m trying to follow a recipe. It’s been nice having the old-school recipe sheet.
  • They often have you use the same pan for multiple steps and everything comes in pre-measured packages, so there’s no ingredient waste and a lot less cleaning. A very high-ranking perk for us.

What I don’t like:

  • I mean, nobody wants to pay $60 a week for three meals when the afore-mentioned cereal will run you $3. But I will say, when I’ve tried new recipes in the past, a single ingredient can run me $7 (i.e. spices).
  • There can be a lot of chopping, depending on the recipe. Get a garlic press FOR SURE.
  • It’s despairing if you realize you forgot to skip a week online and immediately receive a shipment. Kiss those happy hour plans goodbye! You can skip several weeks at a time, though.
  • Some people don’t like seafood. There isn’t a way to select to receive specific meals, or omit the seafood dish from the meat option. It’s a prix fixe menu.
  • As mentioned, I looooove all the little packages and baggies the ingredients come in, but some of my eco-friendly Seattle neighbors might find all of the packaging wasteful.
  • I’ve had a few ingredients go bad by the end of the week, as fresh produce has a tendency to do. Nothing disastrous; I was able to salvage them all. But it’s as if I expect the produce they send me to have super secret life-extending powers (…and for $60, shouldn’t it?!).

We’ve made six meals thus far – here’s some photos:

Roast Beef with Horseradish Sour Cream & Grilled Treviso

Roast Beef with Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Chopped Chicken, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Blue Cheese, Currants and Sherry Vinaigrette

Chopped Chicken Salad from Blue Apron

Cioppino Tagliatelle with Bay Scallops, Crusty Bread & Garlic Aoli

Scallop Dish from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Scallop Dish from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Minute Steaks with Picadillo-Style Sauce & Yellow Rice

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Steak at Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Pan-Seared Cod with Soy-Maple Glaze, Baby Bok Choy and Rice Noodles

Cod from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Cod from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

And, Tristan and I agree that this was our absolute favorite – Chicken Wedge Salad with Crisp Apple, Walnuts, and Lemon-Blue Cheese Dressing

Chicken Wedge from Blue Apron - TorieandTristan.com

Chicken Wedge (15)

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If you’d like to give Blue Apron a try, TODAY through Feb. 2 Gilt City is offering 50% off your first Blue Apron shipment when you purchase from the mobile app. A coincidence, being “Blue” Friday? I THINK NOT… Go Hawks!

Let me know if you decide to give it a try and what you think!

-t&T

T&T

Hawaiian Honey BBQ Crockpot Chicken

This is the first post in my 3 Recipes, 3 Days series. YAY! A series. My dad’s a pastor and he would approve – pastors love serieses.

Before I was married, I thought my life would be one giant 7 Recipes, 7 Days series, because I thought I’d be cooking THAT much. Wrong. This is a huge week for me in that I had enough weekend time to figure out three recipes to try, made shopping lists for all the ingredients, purchased the items, and – this is key – had no conflicting appointments during dinner time for three days in a row that could interfere with actually cooking. Clearly, the stars have aligned.

Since I do often times have dinner time appointments or meetings, Tristan definitely puts on his chef hat weekly  and it’s wonderful… but it does feel good to put on the Stepford Wife hat and cook for him, though!

I wanted to start with something easy that would yield enough for dinner and a few lunches. Making dinner was really depressing when Tristan and I were first dating — I finally had someone to cook for, but what would have normally fed me for a week was gone within a day. All my efforts, gobbled up in a half hour, in HUGE bites! How can he possibly taste the flavors!?

Now I am more used to making enough for the male appetite, and/or have stocked up on “gourmet” frozen lunches in case there’s no leftovers (it’s fine). But crockpot recipes are generally a safe bet that you’ll have leftovers.

Here is the recipe I tried –

Hawaiian Honey BBQ Crockpot Chicken

By MOMables

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 (18oz) bottle of your favorite honey bbq sauce.
  • 1.5 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of frozen bell pepper strips
  • 1 (20 oz) can of pineapple chunks, drained
  • ½ cup of water

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in crockpot.
  2. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours.
  3. Use 2 forks to shred chicken while it is still in the crock pot. Let shredded chicken remain in crockpot sauce for 15 more minutes.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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3 recipes 3 days 008 (2)

Tips for next time:

  • Accompany with a carb-y side to neutralize the sweetness. We ate our chicken with brown rice on the side. The recipe author shows the chicken in sloppy joe format between buns. It’s definitely still good a la carte, but when I ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday, I tended to pick the chicken pieces out and let each bite drain a bit first.
  • Add more vegetables. The red peppers were a good compliment to the pineapple, but I think broccoli and celery could be a nice addition and up the heartiness factor.

Stay tuned for the next recipe: Bang Bang Shrimp!

 

-t&T

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Game Day Fondue

Today, we went over to Tristan’s best man’s place to watch the Seahawks game. As a thank you to Jayson and his girlfriend Brittney for being so helpful during the wedding process,  we offered to bring them dinner to accompany the football. Lately, Tristan and I have been sipping the fondue pot kool-aid and we thought that Jayson and Britt should be converted to fondue fans as well.

Here they are, getting excited… I like to think it’s over the fondue vs. the football score:

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The “table” is set:

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Aren’t they bad asses with their two TVs?

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And here we go!

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The first bites are ready:

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The hubby and I are getting quite efficient at our “pop-up Melting Pot” experience. It’s pretty cost effective when you consider what it would cost to treat friends to dinner at a restaurant, plus this is more unique. Here’s what you need to do your own pop-up Melting Pot:

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Fondue for Four

Supplies:

  • Fondue pot and skewers – we got this one as a wedding present & love it
  • 24 fl. oz. peanut oil
  • Extension cord (optional)

Meats:

  • 1lb. chicken breast, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1lb. raw peeled jumbo shrimp
  • 1lb. steak cut into small bite-size pieces and marinated in Yoshida’s Original Teriyaki Sauce

Sauces:

  • 1 c. peanut sauce (we recommend purchasing from a local Thai restaurant – store-bought sauce is so hit or miss)
  • Steak sauce (we mix equal parts A1 and mayonnaise, 1/3 c. each)
  • 1 jar cocktail sauce (usually you can make one jar last several meals)

For simple accompaniments, we usually bring a baguette with butter and Parmesan and a bagged Caesar salad. Essentially, we pack it all up into a big basket and unload everything straight onto the kitchen table. Once the oil has heated in the fondue pot, your guests can stab their meat of choice, put the skewer in the pot and two minutes later, have a bite cooked to perfection and ready to dip in a sauce. We typically set out saucers for each person’s raw meat, plus plates, forks and knives because it doesn’t quite work to eat straight off of the skewer. It’s all very intuitive but let me know if I’ve omitted some crucial step.

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Eventually, we’d like to get easy formulas for cheese fondue and chocolate fondue parties. My issue is that the more gourmet, the more over-complicated I make it. When I’ve done cheese fondue, I can’t just melt a block of cheddar; it needs to be an artisan blend of cheeses. I can’t just provide bread to dip in it; I have to buy and slice five kinds of fruit. With chocolate fondue, I’m even worse: in addition to wanting “special” chocolate, I think I need five fruits AND pretzels AND marshmallows (and as I’m sure you can tell, I’m a sucker for the fancy versions). It all adds up to Mo Money Mo Problems! I am working on the art of less.

What are your favorite fondue recipes? Bonus points if they are simple with simple dunkers! 🙂

-t&T

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