Let me appologize for the lack of posting these days....

You see, it's summer in Seattle.

For three glorious months...
picture perfect days
stretch late into the evening.

The setting sun
dazzles us with her palate.

Laughter lingers in the air.

And we dine alfresco.

Dust off the bottle...
we sip sweet wine
with water lapping against the bow.

The sun leaves a trail of kisses,
coloring me with freckles.

Hopping a ferry...
frolicing seaguls follow,

And you have endeared yourself
to me.

Nurturing my mind
and my belly...
under the shaddow of Chagall.
I am your humble student.

How did you know?

Happily, I am woven
into the
of your life.

Love is lovely.

Change is in the air....
and the rains will come

But for now,
it's summer in Seattle.



A Clear Obsession

The conversation went like this...

Shango: I'm not as obsessive as you.

Me, shocked and appalled: What?!?!

Shango: Who made 15 kinds of ice cream in one weekend?

Me: Oh, that....

Shango gained momentum: Who took classes in charcuterie, begged to stage at a charcuterie shop, and made 5 kinds of sausage in one day?

Me: Okay, I get it. (I decided now was not the time to bring up the fact that I also had Jerry Traunfeld's pork belly recipe AND the recipe for Maria Hines' mushroom sausage.)

So call me obsessive....

And David just added fuel to the fire:

David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop"

My book arrived just 3 weeks ago...and I can honestly say, I've turned into a one-woman-ice-cream-social! Over the weekend, I make batches of ice cream...and I've been showing up all over town with little containers..."Here TRY this..."

Yes, I'm developing quite the reputation!

So far, I've made:

* Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet
* Lemon Sorbet
* Avocado Ice Cream
* Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
* Peach Ice Cream
* Coffee Frozen Yogurt
* Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
* Chocolate Sorbet

The funny thing is, David's recipes are so unbelievably easy, I can't help myself! (What's the definition of obsessive anyway???)

As I churn batch after batch of frozen goodness, Dana's advice sticks in my mind:

"Just remember, fat masks flavor."

So if you're playing with summer fruits...and you really want that just-plucked-flavor, go for a sorbet. Removing the fat makes other flavors shine too. In fact, David's chocolate sorbet was a revelation to me. There's no dairy...just water, sugar, coco powder, vanilla and a bit of chocolate. And yet it delivers such a big chocolate flavor, it silences my chocolate cravings like no other.

After making tons of ice creams last summer...working my way through everyone from Emily Luchetti and Claudia Fleming, to the here-and-there recipes appearing in various cookbooks....I can honestly say, if you buy one ice cream book...David Lebovitz's "Perfect Scoop" is THE ONE.

Just be warned: As you slurp and savor the frozen deliciousness, obsessive tendencies may occur!

Celebrating Summer in West Seattle

Today my friend Suhara and I visited the West Seattle Farmer's Market. New finds included: cinnamon basil, wild strawberries, red & yellow gooseberries, and tayberries (a lusty cross between blackberries & raspberries).

At the farmer's market, we assembled some treasures for a little picnic...and went down to the water. It was a beautiful summer day with the ferries passing by, gentle waves lapping against the rock wall, and seagulls screeching overhead.

We noshed on red gooseberries, triple cream brie, an assortment of cherry tomatoes, and a lovely baguette from my boy William at Bakery Nouveau.

It's the kind of day when...the locals gloat just a little.

"Doesn't it rain in Seattle?"

Yes. Yes it does.

Then in the summer...we have days like THIS.

To the Top

On a clear day, Mt. Rainier figures prominently on the horizon.

Looming in the distance and covered year-round with ice, Washington State's Mt. Rainier is the largest mountain in the lower 48. (Second only to Alaska's Mt. McKinley.)

This weekend, my friend Nicole will mark her 30th birthday, summiting Mt. Rainier. While her life has been filled with one amazing accomplishment after another, summiting this 14,410 foot mountain is among a long list of lifetime goals.

Traversing the ice fields and enduring weather that can turn on a dime...I'm all too aware of the dangers that lay ahead of her. And yet, my mind keeps envisioning Nicole, standing at the top, looking out over the vast span of clouds and mountain tops*. What an incredible sight! many more mountains to climb (both figurative and literal). Happy Birthday, Nicole!

*The surrounding mountains are less than half the size of Mt. Rainier--6,000 feet on average.

Going Whole Hog with Food & Wine's "Best New Chef"

In the chef world, one of the most anticipated the announcement of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs." No doubt, this coveted accolade...can launch your career into the stratosphere.

In the July issue of Food & Wine, Seattle's own Matt Dillon claimed his space among "America's Best New Chefs."

Dining at Matt's tiny Sitka & Spruce restaurant is a real treat. The daily changing menu is reflected on a simple chalkboard. Here, small plates couple fine dining tastes with homespun presentations. Highbrow food...without the attitude.

What could be better?


This spring I received an e-mail...Underground Dining at the Farm: Come to the island and join us for a whole hog dinner.

Visions of Fergus Henderson's "Nose To Tail Dining"...including everything in between, passed through my mind. (Ewww!) My friend Shango was totally into the idea...and promised to eat everything I wouldn't, so I booked our space.

On a dreary spring day, we took the ferry over. This undisclosed location is along an equally unmarked drive...that threatens to be overtaken by blackberry bushes. We arrived at the farm and were instantly greeted with a hug...and a glass of wine.

I've been to dinner at the farm many times...and it always conjures up images of Sunday dinners with a big Italian family. The food is amazing, the guest list is kept tight...and I never fail to meet the most fascinating people (from professional bee keepers to Discovery Channel producers.)

On this day, I was surprised and delighted to find my buddy Matt in the kitchen. Matt trained under The Herbfarm's legendary Jerry Traunfeld (National Geographic named The Herbfarm the #1 dining destination in America.) Not to mention...Matt's good friend, Jeremy Faber, is a forager who supplies the local restaurants and farmer's markets with elusive wild finds. Clearly Matt's keeping some good company!

What impresses me the Matt's respect for the food. His goal is to truly honor each ingredient.

One of the first times I met Matt, his restaurant was closed and I'd stopped by for coffee. We lingered over frittata and steaming hot mugs of locally roasted espresso. His plan for the day...was to head over to the island...and slaughter a pig.

I was intrigued.

Matt launched into a story about the first time he killed a pig. As he worked up the courage, he looked the pig straight in the eye. Over and over again, he told the pig, "I'm going to honor your life...and created beautiful food with you." As Matt tells it, before he did the deed, he talked with that pig for over an hour.

To this day, when pork is on the menu, he prefers to kill the pig himself.

Needless to say, I was truly please to see Matt as our guest chef for the Whole Hog dinner....

At the farm, communal dining occurs in the open kitchen...and begins with a conversation. The premise is simple: here, with the exception of sugar, salt, wine, and flour, everything is grown on the farm. Butter is churned from fresh cow's milk, honey sweetens home made ricotta, and meats are raised on an all organic diet.

For our dinner, Matt's goal was to serve 20 people from one...and only one pig. Working from just one pig means there wasn't time to cure meat, so instead of charcuterie, we were treated with chichirones and rillets. As Matt explained, the timing also had to be just so, because the heart and the liver are enjoyed best just after the kill.

Dinner commenced with a final warning, "Don't get greedy with the tongue...there was only one!"

What can I say?

It was an exquisite dinner.

Matt is truly gifted...and he's such an amazing guy...I couldn't be happier for him. Congrats, Matt!