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One small step for Siiri, one large leap of faith for the Food Network?

15 Jul

There’s been an obvious lull in activity on the blog over the past few weeks, and for that I do apologize!  I was made aware of a challenge that had been issued by the Food Network through their YouTube channel by my good friend, Kim (of and fame) who insisted that I throw my hat in the ring!  Little did Kim know, I have been working for months on some short video ideas I wanted to put together into a food video portfolio.  This was the perfect opportunity to actually develop a NEW video idea and attempt to make something happen!

I approached my talented group of friends to volunteer their time, energy and resources to help me produce what I feel is a pretty good “first stab” at how I might approach a cooking show. (this is the first of a handful of still shots I grabbed from the video. Not sure this “Freeze-frame” look on my face is the best, but it is real – and funny).

Mmmm, yam fries! *Don't get me started on yams vs. sweet potatoes. I feel like no one knows the difference!

My overarching plans for where I’d like to go with food are much more far-reaching than a cooking show alone, but of course there’s a huge market there as well.  Whether it’s through the Food Network, my blog, local events and grass-roots efforts (shout out to the Delridge Co-op effort!), or continuing to troubleshoot and teach in my friends and families’ kitchens, I will continue to pursue this love of mine!

Prepping the BEST crispy baked chicken (I swear people think I fried it when they bite in!)

While I continue to plot my multi-media approach to ensuring parents, professionals, students and everyone else has accessible tools to get back in their kitchens and cook to their heart’s delight, please enjoy my video! (I am really bummed there was a time limit, as I had to cut out the part where I make this awesome summer salad. But I’ll highlight that in a future post, so don’t worry, I’ll still share my secret!


So, you’re asking, “Siir’, the video’s great and all, but what does this all mean? Why are you doing this?”  Here’s the breakdown:  the submission window closes Friday morning and the “judges panel” will choose up to 15 finalists who will then be turned back to the public for final voting. From there it’s a basic voting process: the person with the most votes after two weeks wins.

What do they win? A one on one meeting with the Food Network Executives.

The summer salad, which sadly didn't make the video due to time constraints.

For a home cook/ food enthusiast/foodie/former industry work horse like myself, who wants to share their cooking and joy of food with the world, this is a fantastic (once in a lifetime) opportunity.

If I am blessed enough to make it as a finalist, I’ll be sure to scream from the rooftops to let you know! Of course you can’t hear me from up there and you can see my smoke signals from the blogosphere, so I’ll make sure I tell you here as well, so (if you like my video) you can vote for me!

The ultimate test! (trying your own cooking, that is...)

In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you think, I welcome all feedback, after all, cooking for others, especially on TV and video is all about how well my work serves others!  Let me know how I can be better for you all!

What you want – Baaaaaaaaby I got it! What you need? Ya’ know I got it!

21 Apr

I’m in a singin’ mood today kids! It’s nasty outside in Seattle today, big fatty fatterson rain drops and they were LITERALLY plopping on my head, rolling down my face as I was walking into the office this morning. Awesome, I know.

Now, I know I said in the title that I’ve got what you need. Do not mistake this to mean that I have all the answers, because I don’t….but I know some one who does! Can you guess?  That’s right, the number one site I stalk:!

Today I opened my Gmail account only to find a perfectly crafted email from BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) that had two really interesting links I had to share:

  1. 26 One-Dish Chicken Dinners
  2. 34 Dinners in under 20 minutes each

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!! Fo reals, you guys.

Here’s one thing to remember as you look those over: You don’t have to follow directions! This isn’t elementary school.  If you see something you kind of like, but don’t like an ingredient or don’t want to bother with a recipe, then just go home, look at what you’ve got in the fridge and pantry that are sort of similar and if you like those flavors, then trust your instinct!

Here’s two that I think are perfect for this time of year without any fuss:

Chunky Bean and Chicken Chili

Chunky Bean and Chicken Chili


Turkey Steaks with Spinach, Pears, & Blue Cheese

Turkey Steaks with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese

Main Event: Quail Egg Breakfast Sandwich

19 Apr

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….. I love a lazy Sunday morning. And that’s exactly what I had yesterday!

I had purchased a pack of quail eggs a while back and wanted to do something simple and fun with them, so I decided to go with the old standby that always puts a smile on my face: breakfast sammich.

You can see (from my spazzy cell phone camera picture above) I started with a ripe roma tommy, some sharp cheddar and the quail eggs in all their speckled glory.

I toasted the english muffin in the pan and that’s why you see all that black nasty stuff in my pan. When they were toasted I put them on a plate, added the cheese (so it could start melting) and slapped the roma slices on top.

Then, as the above picture shows, I cooked my Barbie sized eggs, next time I’ll have to turn the heat down even further, because even though I left them all in tact, the yolks ended up completely cooked!

Then I added the eggs and put a little avocado on top.  Finish with salt, pepper and a little basil! MWUAH! De-lish!

I still have 6 quail eggs left…..any suggestions?

You Are What You Eat: Artichokes

9 Apr


Who doesn’t love a good artichoke? If you’ve never tried one, then read the tips below to buying and cooking a great one, then go to the store immediately, buy one (or four and invite your friends over, after all, it’s FRIDAY PEOPLE!) and enjoy them tonight.

Last night we had dinner with our dear friend, Mike, who is a fascinating guy from Montreal.  He’s Itialian by heritage, but speaks a ton of languages having grown up in French-speaking Montreal, and having friends from every walk of life.

Over dinner he said, “remember last time we had dinner and you cooked artichokes?  I’ve been craving them, I’m going to have them tomorrow night.”  So I shared with him some simple tips that will create a fool proof result:


  • You want a tightly packed leaf choke (see above).  If the leaves are loose and open, they’re likely to be tough, mealy, and icky!
  • The rounder the better.


  • The best and healthiest way to cook them is by steaming them. 
  • Get a huge pot and steamer basket (if you don’t have a steamer basket, don’t worry, you can use a trivet or cooling rack, or even in a pinch take a couple coffee mugs and place them open end up in the bottom.  This will prevent the chokes from sitting on the bottom of the pot in water).
  • Put about an inch to an inch and a half of water in the bottom of the pot.
  • Cut the stems to about an inch long.
  • Put the artichokes “face down” so the leaves point down into the pot, this way when they steam and relax, any debris comes out, and it cooks faster.
  • Put the heat on 8-9 (basically high), put the lid on and set your timer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, you’ll want to check your water leve, make sure you always have water in there!
  • You want to cook them for a total of about 40-45 minutes.
  • You know it’s done by inserting a steak or paring knife into the bottom most leaf, and if it goes through a few leaf layers, you’re good to go.


  • Serve each choke in it’s own bowl, and get a big bowl for the center of the table for “used” leaves.
  • As a tasty condiment, you can melt some butter, or (cringe, I seriously still do this) use straight up MAYO. WHAT?!?!?!?! I know, I know, it’s SO BAD! (then why does it taste so good????)
  • You can also strain a little non fat plain yogurt and stir in some roasted garlic, or just garlic powder and salt.
  • Any way you enjoy them, make sure to eat all the leaves down till you see the “Hair” (after the leaves with purple tips).
  • Use a spoon to scrape the hair out, and what you’re left with is the heart:
(curtosey of

Dip that mother in some MORE melted butter or dare I say it, MAYO, and die of happiness.

So, what time should I come over?

Main Event: What do I do with Lamb?

6 Apr

I get a LOT of newsletters in my email inbox each week.  One that catches my eye repeatedly is the South Beach Diet Newsletter (click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page to enter your email to receive the newsletter).

This may sound weird, but they do have really great, healthy recipes and tips.  I don’t usually put them into practice unless they have less than 5 ingredients or are simple, easy to remember tips.

Here’s one you might like as we move into warmer weather (well, maybe not in Seattle, but other parts of the country for sure).

I’ve never actually cooked lamb on my own before…it’s just not a staple of my diet. I do love it when it’s done well (not to say it needs to be “well done”, but that’s another story….)

Here’s the tip I got today from the South Beach Diet Newsletter:

How to Prepare Lamb
From lean loin lamb chops and loin roasts to leg of lamb, this meat is gaining popularity because it’s not only lean but also has a very distinct, tasty flavor. Once thought of as the traditional meat of Easter, lamb is now a nutritious choice for meals year-round. If you plan to serve lamb soon, try one of the following cooking methods:

Broiling and Grilling
These techniques can be used for both chops and butterflied leg of lamb, as well as kebabs made from the leg. To broil lamb chops (or kebabs), place the well-trimmed lamb on a broiler rack about 3 to 4 inches from the heat and cook for 3 minutes per side, turning once, for medium-rare. Or cook on the grill over medium-high heat until done. To broil or grill a leg of lamb, have the butcher butterfly it for you and remove any visible fat. Grill or broil the lamb about 15 minutes per side, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 125ºF in the thickest part (the temperature will increase upon sitting). This will give you some lamb that is quite rare and also some that is nearly well done. Let the lamb rest before slicing.

This technique uses dry heat and is good for a bone-in leg or a rack of lamb. Season the roast as desired and place fat side up in roasting pan. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 30 minutes at 400ºF. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and continue to cook for about an hour longer for medium-rare or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 145ºF to 150ºF (be careful that the thermometer does not touch the bone). Remove the lamb from the pan and allow to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Remove any fat before eating.

This is NOT what I ordered: Blustery, Nasty Seattle Friday

2 Apr

I don’t know what bad karma Seattle has been piling up on the whole, but I’m fairly sure it doesn’t deserve this nasty weather!

Did you know it’s 70 degrees in New York today and 82 in Chicago?! IT IS!  How do I know? Well, besides checking out the weather online, I had a conference call today with people who are in those cities. And while I was frantically backing up my work on my computer as the screen flickered, they were saying things like, “Let me know if it’s too loud on my end, I’ll mute myself….I have the door open at my home office because it’s SUCH a nice day here today.”

Yeah, I’ll let you know. Thanks for the info. NOT.

So, I decided to drown my sorrows of weather in the following:

A piping hot bowl of chicken tortilla soup from the deli at Safeway, complete with oyster crackers from my childhood (not the same bag, don’t worry. I saw them at the store and couldn’t resist!)

Thanks to my crappy cell phone camera for (sort of) standing in for my (Crappier) regular camera, who is home sick today (although I’m fairly certain that my camera is just playing hookie, and is frolicing about at the market taking action shots of the fish being thrown.)

I hope you all are fairing better than I am here at my office. It’s cold. I’m going to make tea.

Have a GREAT weekend, cooking kittens!

Main event: Banana blueberry pancakes

19 Jan

On Christmas Day, we headed down to Salem, OR, to see my dad. We left late at night and got there in the wee hours, and the next morning, my dad and I decided it was time. To. Eat. Pancakes.

So, he pulled out his trusted bag of Krusteez Pancake Mix, and we went to town:

This is Dad in action, working the batter into a tizzy:

And here it is after we’ve lightly folded in the blueberries:

AH! These bananas are makin’ me hungry! Look how fresh they are, and they’re just begging to be mixed in with the blueberries!

Yeah, get that butter real nice and melty, then pour in your first round of pancakes. And while they cook, turn that oven on to 200 F to keep them warm while you make the full batch:

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, flip:

Just a reminder that sometimes heaven is only a bag and a banana away. :)

Thanks for the great pancakes, dad, next time I’ll make them from scratch (or not).

Main event: Turkey Lasagna

25 Nov

I know this has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t even have to – that’s how good it is.

What am I talking about? Turkey Lasagna, kids, Turkey Lasagna.

My recipe is derived from our girlfriend, Ina Garden aka Barefoot Contessa (aka The Butter Queen).

Her recipe for spicey turkey lasagna is SO GOOD! But, it isn’t SO HEALTHY.

We can’t have that, now can we? NO!

Without further ado, I give you my altered recipe for Healthy Turkey Lasagna:

Turkey Lasagna

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
1 small package fat free ricotta cheese
1 small package fat free cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling  (I just buy the pre-shredded bag)
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fat free mozzarella, (again, I buy the pre-shredded bag)

TIP: Before getting started, I recommend that you make the meat sauce a day or two in advance, this really enhances the flavors and makes the whole dish about 10 times better, no joke.  See, since I’ve removed basically all of the fat from the dish, you need a way to replace the deep flavors. Letting things combine overnight (or two) really helps this dish regain its zesty richness.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet.
3. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent.
4.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the turkey and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork/spatula, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.
5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
6. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
7. Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish.
8.  Then add the layers as follows: pasta (cover “wall to wall”), half the mozzarella, half the ricotta/cottage mix, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Main event: Thanksgiving Breakfast. What?

24 Nov

I know most people spend the whole day cooking for dinner, but I have to say, over the years, my favorite thing to do was wake up early with my mom (okay, so she woke up WAY earlier than me), and have a nice bite of breakfast (usually coffee and some pastry) while we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is, of course, long after she has already prepped and put the turkey in the oven.

Well, many years have gone by since I was waking up in that house, now of course I’m on my own, but Paul and I always end up splitting our time between the parents and their respective dinners.

This year, we’re doing breakfast at my mom’s house (Kate and Nathan and the Ri-guy will be there as well),

then we’ll head down to Issaquah (East of Seattle for the non-locals out there reading this), for a large group dinner at Paul’s parents house. And I’m extra excited this year because my dad is driving up from Oregon to spend the weekend with us. This is  VERY special year indeed.

(Riley in his new gear)

So, I told my mom I’d bring breakfast with me. And I’m really excited about what I’m making!

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

Two items are on the menu: Martha’s Goat Cheese Quiche, and some sort of coffee cake pastry thingy (yet to be determined, can you tell???)

I’ll be asking my Tweeps later for recipes (EASY ones only!) for the coffee cake thingy, but for now, I wanted to share the BEST ever recipe for quiche.

I made this a couple years ago for Mother’s Day, mom really loves quiche, and we all enjoyed it. It was actually really easy as it turns out, so I’m going to make and take this year! Make it at home, take it to mom’s! (Hopefully it’ll still be hot/warm when we get there!)

Here’s the recipe:

Serves 6.

2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 package (1 pound) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
12 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 package (4 to 5 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature
4 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan with butter. Line the sides of the pan with strips of waxed paper (the same height as pan); brush paper with butter.

2. Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns. Mix in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined; whisk in 11 remaining eggs. Pour into crust, and sprinkle with scallions. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold quiche, and peel off waxed paper before serving.

Main Event: Curried Chicken Casserole

16 Nov

Happy Monday morning, readers.

I’ve got a whole basket of posts for you this week.  That’s right, I’m back with the living, and have been taking lots of bad photos of delicious things I’ve been cooking and eating (Even a short video on one!).

First things first: Monday night dinner.  I just got another great email from my boss, Lori.  She passed on a recipe for Curried Chicken Casserol that sounds too good to pass up on a rainy, cold, Seattle day.

I just wish I had made it last night, so I had leftovers for lunch today! Oh well, tomorrow will have to do! (I love curry leftovers, it only tastes better as the days go on!)

Here’s the recipe!

Curried Chicken Casserole
(Compliments of Julie Callahan – typed by Pat)

1/2 pound small mushrooms sliced
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups cooked chicken breast cut in 1 inch pieces
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of chicken soup
2 cups finely diced celery
1 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
1 can (8oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (3 1/2 oz) fried onion rings, crushed



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan

In small skillet sauté mushrooms in butter until all liquid evaporates

In a large bowl combine mushrooms, chicken, soup, celery, mayonnaise, sour cream, water chestnuts, sherry, curry powder, onion, salt and pepper.

 Place mixture in prepared pan.

Top with cheese and friend onion rings

Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned around edges. 
Serve immediately.


Of course, you know I can’t leave well enough alone. I’ll be using nonfat sour cream and instead of mayo, nonfat plain yogurt. I’ll also probably add a thin layer of rice at the bottom, to soak up all the yummy spices and flavors, to add a bit of heartiness to the whole dish, so it goes a bit further.

Stay tuned for some unappetizing, poorly lit pictures of this dish sometime later this week.

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