Can you guess?

Can you guess where I was over Christmas?

If you're thinking...sunny and're exactly right!

This stately palm tree is situated in front of my parents' place in Florida. Ahhh...80 degrees and sunny. Life is good!

For breakfast, I stepped into the back yard and plucked grapefruit right off the tree. Still warm from the sun, once I sliced into it, the little pink corpuscles were practically bursting with juice!

In this part of the United States, Spanish Moss hangs thick off the trees. Until this trip, I'd only seen it at a distance. Blowing gently in the wind, it has a ghostly, haunted appearance. But up close, it's quite beautiful.

Locals say if you turn a map of Florida on the side, it looks like a fish. Towards the southern half of the state, the "eye" of the fish is Lake Okeechobee.

The lake stretches 40 miles across and averages about 9 feet deep. For the past two years, Florida has been affected by a severe drought. Evaporation and continued water use has dropped the lake by 1/3. My dad loves to fish and their place is just a hop skip and a jump away....

This lush area is filled with birds, small deer, and alligators. Recently, my mom took her dog for a walk...and was trailed by an alligator. YIKES!

Since the drought began, the fishing hasn't been worth bragging about, but the lake is a great spot for air boating. These boats sit high on the water and easily navigate over the tall grass growing throughout the lake. I caught up with this guy just coming off the water.

Saturday means Flea Markets in Lake Okeechobee and we had a choice of two. For me, there was no doubt where we were headed. Here in Central Florida, this flea market is a little slice of Mexico.

Top to bottom: 1. Churros vendor, 2. Cantina, 3. A wide selection of boots, 4. Quinceañera decorations, 5. Lacquered alligator heads.

It was Christmas....

And houses were all decked out in holiday finery. I laughed at the neighbor's reindeer...standing regally--right next to the palm tree. No doubt, balmy nights...and snowmen...are an odd combination.

But this guy takes the prize:

Forget the reindeer. Here in Florida, Santa's sleigh is powered by alligators!

Neighborhood Stroll: Leschi

There's nothing like a walk by the water to restore equilibrium...and in here Seattle, we are blessed with the Puget Sound and a number of lakes. Leschi is a pocket community, straddled between the two bridges that connects Seattle to the east side. Here, a mélange of joggers, prams, and dog walkers cast their gaze out on Lake Washington.

It's a perfect spot for sailing

or to

dangle your feet off the dock...

and watch the world go by.

The water beckons me to the shore, with a rhythmic lapping that coos,

"Come on, baby. Sit a spell..."

As the dock gently rocks, it echoes,

"You're here now. Put your mind at ease..."

Life is full of surprises....

Just waiting to be discovered....

I Was Robbed.

I tried to think of something clever to title this post, but the plain and simple fact is, I was robbed.

I came home late tonight, went over to my desk to fire up the computer...and it was gone!

Looking around, things looked the same, but not really. Then I went into my bedroom. Files, photos, and stuff...everywhere.

Strange. Most of the things I was worried about are still in my possession. (My passport is safe & sound.) But my computer is gone...with tons of photos, countless hours of iPod downloads, and other stuff only meaningful to me.

And they stole my ring.

Last weekend, it suddenly occurred to me...if I'd stayed with my ex, it would have been our 7th Anniversary. Leaving him was the right thing to do, but somehow, I couldn't bear to part with my ring. Now it's gone. Courtesy of one very bold thief.

Thank you.

Now I'll file the insurance papers and it will finally be over. I'll no longer have to worry about what to do with that ridiculously expensive ring. It represented hopes and dreams...that never came to fruition. And now it's gone.

My home has been invaded and that's unnerving. Possessions? They can be replaced. But my sense of security? Home sweet home? It's tainted now.

Forgive me if I don't write much for a while. I need to get a new computer, and put humpty dumpty back together again.

Cross your fingers, people. Maybe Santa will bring me a Mac! ;)

An Enchanted Evening

Left to Right: Dana Cree (pastry chef at Veil and co-author of Tasting Menu), guest of honor Alice Medrich, Lorna Yee (culinary writer and co-owner of Caché dinner club), and Neil Robertson (pastry chef at Canlis)

Dessert maven Alice Medrich, plus three of the city's finest pastry chefs, a little bubbly, something sweet to eat...and one upside down Christmas tree! There was plenty to be excited about.

Nights turn magical when the crowd is just right.

And this night....was like a super nova!

Each time the door opened, I was surprised and delighted to see people I knew! Half way through the evening--with a glass of sparkling rose in one hand...and a plate full of desserts in the other, I realized, "I know more than half the people in this room!" It was as if we had a party...and someone brought Alice.

And of course, conversations turned to food.

The room was buzzing with discussions...everything from...have you tried the East Indian-inspired pizza at CanAm? To book deals and Food Network tapings. (Psst. Between you and me...there are some very interesting projects on the horizon. I'm sworn to secrecy, for now. More on this later.)

For me? The best part...was being able to introduce a few of my favorite people. Over the past couple years, I've met some of the most fascinating people and here they were...all in one room! You can't plan for evenings like this...but sometimes, when you're very all comes together. And since I'm on a mission to unite everyone, I was in heaven! (Molly, have you met Lorna? Nadia, have you met Dana? Becky...this is Rachel, she just got back from Buenos Aries....)

Okay, back to the book...

Pure Dessert is organized by ingredient. As Alice discussed, her goal was to come up with some fun combinations (sour cream ice cream, for example.) Some of the recipes are based on ingredients normally found on the culinary side of life (corn tuiles or kamut pound cake). Whether it's a grain, nut, spice, sugar or these recipes, the key ingredient takes center stage.

What I love about Alice is that she takes us along her journey of discovery. What extracts the flavor from mint leaves better...cold cream or hot cream? To make a really flavorful strawberry ice cream, are cooked or raw strawberries better? I love books that not only feature winning recipes...but this kind of priceless.

Kim Ricketts...and the upside-down Christmas tree

Kim Ricketts Cooks and Books events are too much fun! Not only do you get to rub elbows with the authors (Michael Pollan and Patricia Wells are next), but chefs prepare dishes out of the author's latest book. Last night, they made an array of desserts that were just divine!

Delicious bites from Alice Medrich's book, "Pure Desserts"

After sampling more than a few of these recipes, and hearing what inspired Alice, I look forward to playing with this book. (The brownie recipe alone is worth the price of the book. Ohhh la la!)

So what did we have?

- sour cream ice cream
- very tangy lemon bars
- new bittersweet brownies
- Italian chocolate-almond torte
- bittersweet citrus tart with jasmine cream
- tropical lace cookies
- my gingersnaps
- saffron and cardamom panna cotta

I'm sure I've forgotten a few... 'cause I was busy chit-chatting all night. (Go figure!) But I was especially smitten with the brownies, and the panna cotta flavors were so good...I can't wait to try them in an ice cream.

This morning, as I sipped my coffee and perused the book, I've already marked several recipes I want to try:

- Guinness ice cream
- panforte nero
- flans with raw sugar sauce
- salted peanut butter toffee cookies
- lebni tart

Lorna and her lovely tart

Holiday Bake-O-Ramma

So I'm chatting with my friend Hope, and the conversation turns to holiday cookies. My pulse raced at the thought of baking with her. You see, Hope's one of the city's most respected cooking instructors.

The wheels started to spin....

"Oooh, we should bake together!"

Hope thought for a moment and offered, "I might be able to get access to a commercial kitchen."


And there, my friends, is how an idea was born.

This Saturday, seven delicious women gathered in the school's teaching kitchen. We arrived with prepared dough in hand...and made use of the large counter space for decorating and assembly. (For my contribution, I made Ina Garten's Rugelach and Lex Culinaria's Chocolate-Dipped Ginger Cookies.)

The kitchen sprung into action as ladies rolled, imprinted, and sugared their cookies. Me? I wandered around the space capturing pictures.

What can I say?

Not only was it a great space to work, but the commercial kitchen had some really cool toys...see the ovens? We could bake 12 full-sized sheet pans at a time! And I love that doughnut cutter.

Speaking of cutters, check out that big white machine. It's a dough cutter. Hope explained that you load the dough in the pan at the bottom, and pull a lever. A blade comes down and cuts the pieces uniformly. How cool is that?

Okay, back to cookie talk. To see the full bounty of our baking frenzy, click here. (Roll your mouse over the photo for a short description of each cookie.)

That's a lot of love....

~* ~* ~*

One last thing....
While I was researching recipes, I came across some really great websites and thought I'd pass them along. If you're baking for the are few resources:

How to:

A Cookie Assembly Line: Efficient Cookie Baking for Busy Cooks

Hassle-Free Holiday Baking: 6 Easy Days to Perfect Christmas Cookies



Joy of Baking

Dessert by Candy

Sunset Magazine's Winning Recipes

Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies

Care Packages, All Dressed Up for the Holidays

Glazed Red Pepper-Fennel Almonds

The tree is lit and the holidays are in full swing.

While I love parties, between work and other and festivities this time of is usually the last thing on my mind.

To keep a modicum of sanity, I've got an arsenal of recipes that are more on the order of....grab and go. Nuts are a great option because they are just fine at room temperature, can be made ahead, and are perfect with cocktails.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled on this recipe for Glazed Red Pepper-Fennel Almonds. Not only do they fit the bill, but they also have a dash of red and green! Let the fa la la begin...

I'm not a big fan of fennel, but these nuts came so highly recommended, I had to make them. And boy am I glad! They're the perfect hot, salty and sweet...with a hint of savory. I took them to a gathering recently and we couldn't pass the bowl without taking a few. They're simply addictive...and make a nice addition to the holiday table.

Okay, may have noticed I've got a thing for nuts. (See here and here.)

Let me explain.

Not only nuts great for entertaining, but they're a wonderful addition to care packages.

Over the years, I've learned...if you're making up care packages, think of not only a mix of flavors, but a mix of expiration dates. Some items are best consumed within days, and others will stretch out a month or more. For my own care packages, I like to assemble a bit of sweet and savory--as well as items that will keep. Nuts are an ideal compliment. (See? There's a method to my madness!)

Speaking of care packages, I'd like to share a few of my favorite resources:

Packaging for treats? Look no further than Cello Bags. Tied with a swath of ribbon or wire garland, they capture that festive spirit in a flash. Locally, you can buy both plain and printed versions at Paper Zone.

To guild your delicious goodies, Nashville Wraps is your one-stop-shop for bows, boxes, bags, and tissue. My inner kid goes wild here..."I want that, and that. And I absolutely must have those!" Uh...let's just say my last order, I had a glass of wine in hand...and ended up with a multiple-box shipment. I'm not sure restraint was ever a factor.

Custom labels give your home baked goodness a sophisticated touch...and My Own Labels is just the place. They've got labels for bottles, bags, CDs, hang name it! For my parent's 30th wedding anniversary, I ordered custom wine labels...and I couldn't have been happier. Their website is a breeze for online ordering and the final product exceeded my expectations.

Giving your own cordials this year? For bottles, check your local homebrew supply place, or order from Specialty Bottles. I buy bottles by the case. These are the perfect size for salad dressings, BBQ sauce, or your favorite libation. Hint: When buying bottles, be sure to buy lids too. (Yep, I learned that one the hard way...)

~* ~* ~*

Here's hoping your holidays are filled with lots of delicious goodies...and shared with the people you love most.


Caribbean Daydreams

Landslides, flooded streets, and enough standing water to close the freeway.

Oh, those Seattle rains.

I tell you...yesterday, I thought about building an ark!

At 10:00 am, they closed my office.

Rain beat furiously on my windows. By 11:00 am, I was at home and in full denial. Jimmy Buffett serenaded me...while I daydreamed about sticking my toes in the sand.

Then I remembered this recipe for Chile Peanuts.

Mmm...they fit the bill perfectly.

These beauties are spicy...with a hint of tangy lime juice and an intoxicating wiff of roasted peanuty goodness. Hands down, this is my favorite snack in Mexico. Wash 'em down with an icy cold beer...and I'm in heaven!

As the holidays come into full swing, think of these nuts--even if you're not daydreaming about the Caribbean. They make a perfect last minute stash for care packages...or cocktail parties.

Chile Peanuts

Rosa's New Mexican Table
by Roberto Santibañez

4 cups unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 250°F

2. Toss the peanuts together with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl until all the nuts are evenly coated. The peanuts may look wet at this point — that is fine.

3. Spread them out in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (a jelly-roll pan works well). Bake until the coating is dry and the spices are lightly toasted, about 30 minutes.

4. Let the peanuts cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Note: If they lose their crispness after storing, reheat them on a baking sheet in a 250°F oven for 15 minutes before serving.

Winter Wonderland

We interrupt holiday shopping...with snow in Seattle.

I'm originally from the Midwest and there, snow is a regular winter event. Here in Seattle, snow is a different thing entirely. Because it's a rare occurance, the city is ill equipped to handle its impact. The terrain is also riddled with hills, adding another challenge to slipping and sliding in the white stuff.

Early Saturday afternoon, I was perched on a hilltop, looking out over the valley. Within minutes, the storm enveloped everything in sight...

Kiss kiss...

I'm out of here!

Making tracks on my way home, ensnarled holiday shopping traffic, I passed the time...capturing a few snaps.

Approching my neighborhood, I passed a golf course. There, out in the flurry of flakes, a lone golfer was playing through. (I heard golf was an obsession....)

Passing along the water, I stopped for a few more shots...

Ahhh...back at home...

with a roaring fire and a delicious cup of Fiori drinking chocolate...

it's beginning to feel like Christmas!

Inspired Living

I've watched this three times...and can't get enough...

Carve out some time and take a listen to this presentation by Carnegie Mellon Professor, Dr. Randy Pausch.

Living your best life?

Randy's got it nailed.

December 11: An Evening with Alice Medrich

Just when I thought life couldn't get any better....

An evening with with a true culinary icon?

With desserts prepared by three of the city's finest pastry chefs?

I'm in!!!

If you'd like to jump in on the fun, reserve your space with Kim Ricketts Cooks & Books.

Here's a peak at the invitation:

We are celebrating the joys of the holiday season with a dessert party in honor of dessert maven Alice Medrich and her latest book, PURE DESSERT, and you’re invited!

This is a private party in a cozy home in Seattle ’s Hillman City neighborhood. Three of our favorite pastry chefs are going to create decadent desserts inspired by recipes in Alice ’s book. We will have delicious wines and coffee for you to enjoy. Alice will be there with us, making friends, eating sweets, and signing copies of her book.

The party is Tuesday, December 11th - from 7pm to 9:30pm. The cost to attend is $50/person, and that includes a copy of PURE DESSERT. You must call the Book Events office at (206) 632-2419 to reserve a spot, as space is very limited. When you call, you will be asked to give your name, phone number, email address, the number of people in your party and a charge card with expiration date (we will run your card the day of the event for $50/person; if you are coming with friends and not all paying on the same card, each person needs to call the office to give their charge card information).

You will be emailed the address of the party with driving directions after you RSVP – kind of like our version of a rave!

We will also have a few of Alice ’s other cookbooks available for purchase and signing. They make great gifts for the dessert diva or dude in your life.

Here’s is a little more information about our three pastry chefs creating the nibbles of the evening:

LORNA YEE is co-host of the popular Cache Dinner Club. She is a superb self-taught pastry chef and often indulges in several desserts a day. Lorna is part of the food writing team at Seattle Magazine.

DANA CREE studied at The Art Institute in Seattle where she attended both the culinary program and the baking and pastry programs. She spent a few years working under Scott Carsberg at Lampreia, as well as completing internships at The Fat Duck and WD-50. More recently, she was the pastry chef of Eva Restaurant where she received a number of accolades for her talents. Dana is currently the pastry chef at Veil Restaurant.

NEIL ROBERTSON is a graduate of the French Pastry School in Chicago . He spent a numbers of years in Las Vegas where he worked in the Bellagio pastry kitchen, Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, and Restaurant Guy Savoy. Neil recently returned home to Seattle where he is now pastry chef at Canlis Restaurant.

And of course, a little bit about the dessert diva herself - Alice Medrich is inspired and inspiring. In Berkeley , California , in the 1970s, her dessert shop, Cocolat, set new standards of excellence. She has been learning, teaching, and sharing what she loves about dessert making for 30 years. She brings to us an obsessive approach to recipes (meticulously written and tested), a commitment to quality ingredients, and a profound understanding of technique. Her contributions have resulted in the country’s highest cookbook honors, including three Cookbooks of the Year, most recently from the International Association of Culinary Professionals for BITTERSWEET: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate. Alice lives in Berkeley with her daughter Lucy.

We hope you can join us for this fabulous evening!

Kim and all at Book Events

With Love...from Argentina

Care Package from Argentina

Clockwise, starting at noon: Dulce de Leche, gnocchi-making tool, a mix of music from Argentina compiled by Marcela, bon bons, a chocolate candy filled with dulce de leche, canela (true cinnamon) and mate tea.


For those who know me's no secret...I'm a consumate networker. Perhaps somewhere deep in my roots is a bit of mafia (I know a guy who knows a guy...) You get the idea.

A never ending game of "Connection" is running through my head:

*~ You're going to Italy? Perfect! Then you MUST meet my friend Jen...

*~ You're moving to China? Just outside Hong Kong? I know a guy...


I'm on a mission to unite the good people of this world!

So, when my friend Rachel booked a last minute trip to Buenos Aires, naturally I thought of Marcela, who writes Pip in the City.

Ah...the beauty of virtual introductions...

Rachel and Marcela spent several days together...eating, shopping and seeing the sites in Buenos Aires. And Marcela even managed to send a care package my way. (Kudos to Rachel for carrying it on the plane!) See photo above and...

Then there are these delicious Alfajors. Cookies wedged together with ducle de leche...and covered in chocolate. They remind me of s’mores...with caramel instead of marshmallows. Yum!

As luck would have it, Marcela's planning a little trip here to the states this spring. I'm looking forward to hosting her here in Seattle, but if any of you are in NYC and are willing to roll out the welcome mat...I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!


What a way to greet the morning, huh? (I love our local coffee shops...)

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!

xoxo from Seattle

Milk is the New Oil

Cash cow?

Increased global demand meets world-wide milk shortages....affecting everything from cheese to chocolate.

Check out this piece in the International Herald Tribune.

Mental Hurdles

What is it about mental hurdles that turn the most mundane task into an impenetrable force?

And yet, when you finally muster enough...gumption, defiance, frustration (insert your descriptor here), it turns out...the thing that stood in your way for so long? Was like the Wizard of Oz...looming in the distance, feared and untouchable. Only to be discovered as...smoke and mirrors.

Throughout my life, I've taken steps...and overcome some obstacles that would take the best out of anyone. For years, that was me. Defeated. The hurdles in my mind were so strong, I could barely be present in my own life.

Looking back, the obstacles weren't with the greater forces at large. The obstacles were in my mind. Plain and simple.

Fear of the unknown used to stop me cold.

Now, I make a point breaking down that barrier.

I used to have a fear of swimming in the open water. As a product of the Jaws era, who wouldn't? If I couldn't touch the bottom of the pool, I'd freak out...arms flailing and gasping for air.

Then I decided to take a more rational approach. Maybe...if I knew what was down there, I wouldn't be so afraid. So I took scuba diving classes. I studied aquatic life...and their behavior patterns. My best dive buddy was an Oceanography major at the University of Washington.

Maybe I over compensated?


A couple years ago, I dove the Blue Hole in Belize. It's known as a "log book dive"...if you're a serious diver, the prevailing thought is...this is one of the places you must go.

I was in Belize. The only dive trip leaving the next day...was going to the Blue Hole. So I went.

After hours of riding the chop out to our destination, within the rim of the collapsed underwater cave, it looked nothing like the photographs I'd seen. We jumped in the water and headed down. The goal was to poke around at 110 feet and check out the stalactite pinnacles.

Overall, it's a pretty boring dive...and I was feeling duped.

Suddenly I see a grey mass off in the distance. "Wow. A seal? What's that doing out here?" As it got closer to me and came into focus, it turned out....this mass was a 4' long barracuda! Now I've done my research, and I know there's nothing to fear, but they sure LOOK gnarly.


Right by my leg, I could feel the drift.

I looked down and saw a 9' long shark zoom past my leg.

Slight panic now.

I look over at the dive master, hoping he can see beyond all my gear and notice the fear beginning to take hold. He calmly points up towards the surface.

Rays of light cut through the water and I see dark masses, swirling.

They're feeding.

Slow mind finally registered:


This was NOT in the travel brochure!

From 70 feet below, I could see a feeding frenzy overhead.

The dive boats were chumming for sharks!

Here, with divers in the water.

What the hell were they thinking?

Well, it turns out, this was a bit of marketing. Divers pay big money to visit the Blue Hole. But like I said, it's a pretty boring dive. No life. Nothing worth checking out...yet, it was one of the most expensive dives I've ever been on. But here I had taken up diving to overcome my fear of the unknown (sharks) and this dive operator actually rang the dinner bell!

Sure, it makes a great story now. And the dive master and I were practically inseparable until I left Belize (a redeeming event, for sure.)

If I'd known there would be sharks, would I have gone? Probably not. But they were there and in those conditions, you can die via the bends, or take your chances with the sharks.

So here I am, back in Seattle. With too much time between the last use of my passport.

Something about being in a comfortable environment makes those mental hurdles seem much worse. For months, I worry about stupid stuff, and then miraculously, it all comes together with a single day of focus.

How much time do we waste worrying about mundane things?

Some things are truly out of our control...and I'm learning...far fewer than you might imagine. But it's the others...the things that are in our control...that still seem onerous. Why?

Hello, my name is Traca and I have a fear of yeast.

I'm a consummate baker, and yet until today, I'd never made yeasted bread.

On the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal, right? Now that I'm past that hurdle, I can say it, yes, it's no big deal. But for years, I've taken baking classes...and turned a deaf ear when the subject came to yeast. In fact, my one true family recipe involves yeast...and I've never made it.

Today I was in the middle of a baking frenzy and finally conquered my fear. It's a small thing, I know. And the end result is nothing to brag about so there will be no recipe.

But the yeast's symbolic.

And it got me thinking.

What else am I afraid of?

The list is longer than I'd like to admit...and deeply personal. But let's just say this: From here on'll be seeing some yeasted goodness around here!

Lazy days...

The morning greeted me long before sunrise...with only the slightest ache. As I assessed the damage from the day before, I decided it's nothing a couple aspirin won't cure.

Then a quick a mental note...

things to be thankful for:

No raging hangover--Check!

After a trek to the local Mr. Fix-it place, my friend John asked about my plans for the afternoon. Let's see...I just got back into town (my suitcase is still half-full). While I was gone, I had painters come do their thing...and they're still not done. In other words, my place is a complete wreck and I need to restore some order. Playing catch up, I still have a bit of work to polish off. And frankly, I could use a day of doing absolutely nothing.

My response?

"No plans..." Which was true. I hadn't decided which to tackle first...being lazy for a few hours...or finish up that nagging work project.

John tossed out the invite, "Want to come for brunch?"

If history has taught me anything, it's this: Never, EVER turn down an invitation from John. EVER!

And that, my friends, is how I wound up having brunch at a fabulous house...perched on a cliff, overlooking the water...with a view of sailboats and skyline. (I just missed a group of sailboats when I took this shot.)

Yeah. Sucks to be me, doesn't it?

We were the first to arrive and the rest of our party followed shortly thereafter. The kitchen quickly filled with laughter and a well-choreographed prep scene.

Enter the scene...noting the industrial-sized flat of eggs, homemade sausage and a wonderfully cured bacon. The brunch offerings were rounded out with fresh fruit, croissants, hash browns, homemade jams, and...stop the press...a lovely lime-basil sorbet.

What? Sorbet...for brunch?

The host looked at me with this dear, sympathetic look. "Oh, honey." Clearly I was in need of some schooling.

She grabbed my glass of champagne, and gently placed a dollop of sorbet inside. The contents fizzed and threatened to crest the gilded rim. My glass turned a pale shade of green and with only modest ceremony, she handed it back to me. We clinked our glasses and I had my first taste.

Is "revelation" too strong of a word?

I think not.

Whoa. It was utterly amazing!

And being the perfect host that she was, my glass was never empty for the rest of the day! (See above reference to hangover.) I found out later...our little party of 9 went through an entire case of champagne! Granted, we spent the whole day there, but still. If the word "lush" comes to mind, I say...guilty!

Oh, there was too much fun to be had! Our host was a local caterer & cooking instructor who is putting the finishing touches on her first book. The dentist and his boyfriend bought one of the new "green" houses here in Seattle...and they recently wrapped up a photo shoot with a big publishing house. Their home is being featured in a book on environment-friendly architecture, due out next year.

And we mulled over photos from last week's soiree.

Fashion show. After party. Swank downtown hotel. Reviewing the photos, they talked like schoolgirls, rehashing the night after prom!

Brunch turned into dinner...and the sun slipped beyond the horizon long before I went home.

That evening, I fell into bed with a delicious taste of basil on my lips....and reviewed my mantra...say "yes" to John...Say "yes"...

A quick update

Since I posted this, I've learned that the bubbly/sorbet idea is an Italian-inspired beverage called sgroppino. Giada has a variation of it over on the Food Network site.

I also found the sorbet recipe from our brunch:

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (8 to 10 limes)
1 cup water
1 cup simple sugar syrup (1 cup sugar plus 1 cup water, boiled then cooled)
12 whole basil leaves
1 egg white (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except egg white, into a freezer friendly container and freeze 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little. Put chunks of frozen mixture into a food processor and process until all crystals have disappeared and mixture is smooth. Re-pack into container and keep frozen until needed. This will keep for up to 2 months. If you prefer a lighter, less icy sorbet, add 1 egg white during processing. Yield: 4 Servings


Bound for Broadway

No, no...not THAT Broadway.

Seattle's Broadway:
Fun, funky and anything goes...

Beats a moped

From the front end...
Notice the handicap permit?

Religion and Gay Pride, reconcilled

Out for a stroll

Express yourself


Glass meets metal.
(The image is of local resident and world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly)

A study in contrast:
Colonial Revival donning Tibetan Prayer Flags

Turnabout sticker art -
Burger, Brain & Babe

Gone to seed?

Seat Check

This Vegas road warrior picked up a lovely little tip....

On my way back from Vegas, I met this amazing woman who told me about

Here's the deal:


*Select your airline
*Select the plane you're flying on

Up pops a diagram of the plane. It's color-coded and you can see which seats are the best...and the worst on each plane. Green is good. Red is the worst. Yellow? Proceed with caution.

Thanks to can see which seats don't tilt back, have less leg room, or are designed a couple inches narrower.

Before you book your next flight...check with the Guru first!

Snaps from Vegas

Spotted on the airport tram.

Looking back at my hotel from their conference facilities. It's a small pilgrimage to get here. From my room, you pass through the casino, cross the main mall area, circumnavigate the 6 acre pool site, and head down a long corridor (1/4 mile).

The pool complex at MGM. Not nearly as regal as Caesar's pool.

View of the Excalibur Hotel from my room.

New York New York's Lady Liberty (view from my room)

If you have to spend 5 nights in Vegas...even the basic rooms at the MGM are quite posh. (There's a chaise lounge behind me...and of course, that view.)

Room service: The Californian....fruit with yogurt, granola, and an oatmeal quick bread...served with a side of Pelugra butter.