December 7, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Truffle Cookies

The one thing I really miss about life before Sebastian is going out for dinner. Spontaneous, late night dinners. No plans, no reservations, leaving the house at 830 pm and grabbing a seat at the bar (because no one gets a seat at a table in a good restaurant on a Saturday night without a reservation) at one of our favorite places and then eating and drinking until late into the night. Obviously, waking up the next morning with heartburn and a hangover, but I never seem to remember those things.

Since going out to eat was such a big part of our lives before Sebastian, a part that we really miss, we've decided to try and incorporate him into some new food-related memories. Don't get me wrong, we still occasionally go out for dinner by ourselves, but it's much more planned now, and not the same as before because our babysitter is 13 and doesn't drive and always needs a ride home, which means that one of us has to stay sober.

Our new tradition is that every Sunday we go out for brunch - which is the most appropriate time for a toddler. Sebastian is the hungriest between the hours of 10 am - 12 pm. I'm pretty sure this is when he consumes most of his calories. Because he really loves food, we can usually sit down at a restaurant and he will sit in his highchair and eat for a solid 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Just enough time for Brent and I to finish our mimosas (plural).

A few months ago, we walked down to the market and decided to try one of Tom Douglas's restaurants - Seatown Seabar. After sharing 3 meals and a pitcher of mimosas, we decided that our 5000 calorie meal just wasn't complete without ordering something from the dessert menu. So we ordered the chocolate truffle gelato served with a salted caramel Rice Krispie treat. I'm not sure if I was feeling good from the mimosa, but this dessert was basically the best thing that I have ever eaten.

The gelato and Rice Krispie were made at Dahlia Bakery - one of Tom Douglas's bakeries.  After experiencing something that delicious, I was determined to try every dessert related thing they have to offer. Unfortunately, after leaving the restaurant, this enthusiasm quickly diminished when I realized that Dahlia Bakery is located in South Lake Union and we live in Capitol Hill.  Brent takes the car to work and taking and Uber with a car seat is annoying, so I am now determined to bake everything from Dahlia Bakery, which is also perfect for you guys because we can experience it together!

The first recipe I started with is their super chocolatey fudgey truffle cookies which are a cross between a cookie and a brownie - the closest thing on the menu to the chocolate truffle gelato I ordered at Seabar. There is a lot of chocolate involved in making this recipe - melted chocolate and cocoa powder in the batter and chocolate chunks mixed in, but if history has taught me anything, it's that more chocolate is always better. The verdict is that these cookies are so insanely amazing, so chocolatey, so chewy, so delicious, and so dangerous to have in the house. Seriously, I cannot eat them all. Or can I?


December 5, 2016

Our First Christmas Tree as a Family of Three

The day after Thanksgiving, we drove to a small tree farm just outside of the city to cut our own Christmas tree. We brought my mom, who was able to capture some great photos of us! This is the first year since moving to Seattle that we are staying in the city for Christmas, and we are super excited! Over the years I have been collecting hoarding Christmas decorations, and saving tutorials on DIY wreath making, and finally I am able to decorate our house.

Setting up a Christmas tree with a toddler running around has presented some challenges. To dissuade Sebastian from the tree, I have strategically tried to decorate only the top half and have placed the ornaments in which he finds very appealing (puppies, rabbits, anything animal related) at the very top. For the most part he has stayed away from the tree, but occasionally I will find a large pile of needles on the ground indicating that he has been near. To be honest, he seems more interested in the pile of empty Amazon boxes that seem to be accumulating on the floor.

November 30, 2016

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

How did you guys spend your Thanksgiving? Did you eat a ridiculous amount of food like I did? Did you eat pie for breakfast? Did you follow up your Thanksgiving day, binge-watching the Gilmore Girls? Did you get a Christmas tree? Tell me, I'd love to hear!

A few things I learned this past Thanksgiving. Never ever buy a 3lb tub of chocolate covered almonds from Costco. It's just a bad idea. Do not pre-book a workout class at 7am following a day of overeating and drinking. It's just not pretty. Unless you are a professional, do not day-drink on an empty stomach. And, always bring gloves when you go to cut-your-own Christmas tree or any tree for that matter.

My mom flew back home yesterday morning. She was visiting us for the past 10 days. It was a perfect visit, because, in that 10 days, Sebastian started walking full-time. He started saying more words. He now calls me - mama. He calls Brent - dada. He calls Ody - dog. He tells Ody - good boy. He calls food - more. And everything else is - gah! He knows animal sounds - lion, cow, turkey, and fish? He knows his head, ears, and nose, but occasionally he thinks his head is mama, and his nose is - rawr. My sister bought him a book for Christmas with pictures of animals and their accompanying sounds. We have learned that if we press the turkey button, with the sound - gobble gobble - Sebastian laughs hysterically. Now we ask him what a turkey says, and he just laughs.

During my mom's visit, the weather was pretty terrible - mostly raining. On the few days that the sun did come out, we went for walks, out for lunch, to the market, and then we cut our own Christmas tree! We drove to a tree farm just outside of the city. We drank apple cider and ate tiny Royal Dansk Danish Butter cookies, the ones from my childhood. We put Sebastian in the baby carrier and walked into the field where we found our perfect tree - a Turkish fir. It's such an absolutely beautiful tree and I want it to live forever. How long do you think I can keep it alive?

When the weather was miserable, we spent way too much time in Target, we binge watched Gilmore Girls and This is Us. We ate curry chowder, pizza, Thai, pasta, and more pasta. And then I made this grapefruit and olive oil cake and it turned out perfect. We had a slice every day, in the afternoon, with a cup of tea. My mom loves tea. And grapefruit. I remember her eating half a grapefruit every morning while I was growing up. She used to cut the grapefruit in half, and then cut the individual segments, and then scoop them out with a special grapefruit spoon. I always thought this was a lot of work for that early in the morning.

During this trip, I taught my mom how to segment a grapefruit using the skills I have, and this cute video. It's much easier, and you get way more grapefruit for your buck (is what I told her), compared to her traditional method of cutting. I used a sweet red grapefruit from Winter Sweetz, which is honestly the best grapefruit I have ever tasted. They are so juicy and much sweeter than your average grapefruit. To me, they taste similar to a pomelo but much juicier. I wanted to make my mom a citrus cake while she was here. She had never tried an olive oil cake, and I thought it would go well with the tartness from the grapefruit. I sprinkled it with some powdered sugar and topped with sliced almonds and grapefruit segments. The cake is slightly sweet while taking on the flavor from the olive oil. I used my favorite olive oil, one that I use religiously. It's earthy and buttery and worked really well in this cake. I think I have won her over, to olive oil cake and grapefruit segmenting ;)

*This post was sponsored by Winter Sweetz, the most delicious grapefruit that I have ever tasted. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep the Flourishing Foodie delicious. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


November 22, 2016

Cheesy Broccoli Rabe and Mushroom Mini Quiches

Brent and I have made the decision to stay in Seattle for the holidays. Sebastian is too small, so he doesn't have a say, but once he can carry his own suitcase, then we'll talk. For the past 7 years, come mid-November, we stress. We frantically try to buy gifts for all of our family members - gifts that are small and portable and absolutely perfect, while still being able to fit in our suitcases. Frequently, we procrastinate. We never end up finishing our shopping on time. This leads to a mad frantic dash once we're home. I blame Netflix.

Last Christmas, was the first year we traveled home with a baby. We carried a stroller, a car seat, a travel crib, toys, clothes, books, sleep monitors, you name it, we had it. I had no energy to shop. Once home, we spent most of our time shuttling back and forth from our relative's houses. It was exhausting. I think I'm still exhausted. So, this year we decided to spend a low-key Christmas here in Seattle, which I've heard, gets freakishly quiet.

I know that our families are disappointed. I am disappointed as well because my both my sisters just had babies and the next time I see them they will be completely different little people (the babies), but for our sanity and the sanity of others around us, this is for the best. A lot of our friends will be staying around Seattle for the holidays, and my mom is visiting right now, and Brent's parents will be here for Christmas, so I think it is safe to say that we will have fun. My friend's due date is right around Christmas, so there will be a new baby to snuggle and I'm all kinds of excited for that. Our calendar is already filling up with parties, and shows, and skiing, which is all really exciting. And the most important thing - free babysitters for a month!!!!! Grandparents really are the best babysitters.

Despite all of the stress associated with traveling around the holidays, one of the perks of going home is that I get a vacation from cooking and hosting. This year we are having a big feast at our house on Christmas day, Thanksgiving this week, and I hosted a baby shower last Sunday. Needless to say, I've been doing some cooking. I've been on the hunt for easy to make appetizer recipes - ones that you can pop in the oven to reheat or store in the fridge the night before, which lead me to create this broccoli rabe mini quiche recipe a few months ago. I've been using it religiously as my go-to appetizer recipe ever since. These quiches can be made ahead of time and reheated a few minutes before serving - which is really ideal. They are the perfect little bite of broccoli rabe cheesy goodness. Every time I make them, people are always asking for the recipe. They are such a hit. I actually have some in the freezer as we speak. Excuse me while I go heat the oven ;)

*This post was sponsored by Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep the Flourishing Foodie delicious. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more broccoli rabe recipe ideas be sure to check out their website and Facebook page.


November 16, 2016

Parmesan Crusted Pollock with Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Food brings people together. It ignites conversation and meaningful interactions, and it's healing properties are undeniable. With all that we've been going through this past week, my role for the next little while is to try and help heal all those who are around me with food. It feels like a role I need to take, something tangible and productive. I think we could all use a little healing right about now. Instead of talking about the current political situation, and everything related, I am just going to focus on the single most important thing that can help bring us together - food!

I'm sure I've probably talked about my love for seafood here on the site. Just a few weeks ago, I shared one of my favorite seafood recipes - a halibut chowder. Seafood seems to be all that I crave these days. I find it ever so comforting, and exactly the kind of food to help take my mind off of the most stressful aspects of life. Tender crab dipped in warm butter. Crispy fried coconut prawns dipped in tangy cocktail sauce. Cedar plank salmon. Halibut and chips. Fish tacos. Penn Cove mussels in a savory broth served with thick white bread.... and now I'm hungry just thinking about it. I love that here on the West Coast, there is such a wide variety of seafood options to choose from. Besides being delicious, I like to cook fish because it really doesn't take much time to prepare and it's extremely versatile.

Aside from fish tacos, fish and chips have got to be one of my favorite meals. For obvious reasons, I try to only indulge once and while. So when I've reached my quota for the month, I like to turn to alternative and healthier recipes that still give me the same satisfaction. Which leads me to this recipe - Parmesan crusted pollock with garlic roasted potatoes.

Pollock has a very mild flavor, so it's a perfect choice for people who may not be partial to seafood. Because of its mild flavor, it is the perfect fish to dress up with a savory crust or batter. Alaskan pollock is a species of the cod family. They are mid-water schooling sustainable fish that are harvested using mid-water cone shaped trawl nets that are specifically designed to minimize the environmental impact. Other measures are also taken to ensure that minimal impact to other species is made.

I've always been particularly fond of pollock for its mild flavor. Because of this quality, I wanted to add something savory with a bit of punch to this recipe. I chose a smoky paprika Parmesan crust to give the fish a bit of crunch and flavor. I wanted to bake the fish instead of fry, just to make it a bit healthier. I opted for roasted baby potatoes, covered in garlic, parsley, lemon zest and salt to go with. This is my version of a healthier fish and chips. It's easy to prepare, savory, tangy, and the perfect restorative fuel.

*This post was created in partnership with the National Fisheries Institute. If you are looking for more seafood recipe, check out the Dish on Fish website. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep the Flourishing Foodie delicious. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.