Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

What I Did this Spring

Sometime back in February, I fell off the blogging grid. Where was I? What was I doing? Well, here’s a recap (with lots of photos):

I threw an epic Momofuku Dinner party with Bo Ssam, Sous Vide Hangar Steak Ssam, home-made Kimchi, Rice, Roasted Cauliflower and a whole mess of sauces. All from the Momofuku Cookbook by David Chang. Wow! Oh, and I created some specialty cocktails too, the Cucumber Bliss (cucumber infused vodka, ginger liqueur, lychee juice and meyer lemon bitters) and the Ginger Collins (ginger vodka, lime juice, orange bitters and club soda).

Since it just happened to be one of my good friend’s birthdays, I topped dinner off with the Apple Pie Layer Cake from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tossi. One of my guests declared it the best cake he had ever eaten. I’m not sure he was wrong.

Just a couple of weeks later I upheld my tradition of cooking dinner as my gift for another set of my friend’s birthdays (they’re a couple and their birthdays are on two consecutive days). I made giant ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and an egg yolk, plain cheese ravioli for the kid’s, Caesar salad (my friend loves my version) and home-made foccacia bread.

I finished that dinner off with another cake from Milk, the Confetti Cake. Not quite as good as the Apple Pie Layer Cake, but still tasty (and fun, especially for their kids).

Next up in my trio of birthdays was my own. I wasn’t planning a celebration this year but my husband insisted. We hosted a small group of friends for a crab boil, Dungeness Crab, Spot Prawns, Mussels, corn, potatoes and some Andouille Sausage that I made, stuffed and smoked myself. I also made all the crab dipping sauces found in Becky Selengut’s cookbook Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast. While the avocado herb sauce and lemon panko sauces were both good, the soy caramel made me want to pick up the bowl and lick it out when the meal was done. I’m not even joking a little here. And of course there were custom drinks including the Arecibo Sidecar with pear-infused brandy, triple sec, home-made limon-limettachello and meyer lemon bitters in a sugar-rimmed martini glass (and in case you’re wondering, Arecibo is the name of our house).

One more birthday, one more excuse to cook from Milk. For my own birthday I decided to make the carrot layer cake. I really wanted to make the pistachio layer cake (because I love, LOVE pistachios) but just a couple of the ingredients totaled $80 and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that. Happily, the carrot cake was really good (even though it didn’t set up very well because I undercooked the liquid cheesecake). Moist and not overly sweet.

Once we finished dessert I found out why my husband was so insistent that we have a party. He had been working for weeks (maybe months) on an edition of Trivial Pursuit personalized just for me (as in, all of the questions pertained to trivia about me). One of the sweetest things he’s ever done.

He also bought me a PlayStation with lots of video games. I lost a lot of March to Skyrim. Some people say video games are a waste of time but as my husband is fond of quoting “Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted” -John Lennon

I managed to pull myself away from video games long enough to cater a couple of big parties.

We dog sat (that’s our dog Rupert on the left and the one we were dog-sitting, Penny, on the right).

I made some slap-yo-mama good Balsamic-Mint-Strawberry Jam

Somewhere around here I started feeling under the weather. Which for me means one thing, my (not so) secret shame, cup noodles. Something about them is magical when I don’t feel good.

While still not feeling 100% I co-hosted a baby shower. Since I was sick I had a lot of time on my hands to make some custom decorations. As for the food, we made pesto chicken salad, Mediterranean tuna salad, pasta salad with preserved zucchini and tomato confit, greens topped with strawberries, goat cheese and pecans, roasted asparagus with aioli and pinot noir syrup, confetti cookies (again from Milk) and cake balls and pops. I spent a lot of the party having coughing fits (and drinking shots of vodka to try to calm them, wheeee).

And since time marches on whether you feel good or not, we had this delivered, 27 cubic yards of dirt (for reference, there is a 16′ x 20′ tarp under there).

We dog sat again.

After three weeks I finally gave up and went to the doctor…

…twice. Thank the maker for modern medicine. Curse you asthma-riddled lungs.

Meanwhile my husband (and some friends and hired guns) were moving all of that dirt. I helped some by pulling weeds. A lot of weeds, actually. And I did some planting in the one area that now had all the dirt it needed.

Finally through the miracle of antibiotics (and the best cough syrup I’ve ever had) I started feeling better. We celebrated with a day away from the garden.

And some plant shopping.

Eventually, we got to the fun part of the gardening project, the planting. Made slightly less fun because it had to be done in the rain, but we’re troopers. And, lets face it, there are times in Seattle where if you wait for it to stop raining, you are never going to go outside.

We spent the night at a friend’s house and she made us Dutch Baby Pancake for breakfast.

We went to a BBQ where we ate brisket and drank bourbon.

We piled the dog into the car and drove to Boise to visit my mom and mom-in-law.

We spent the day at my mom’s cabin. What a view.

Back in Boise we ate some pretty great Basque food at Epi’s. Chorizo with pimentos, ham croquetas, Txerri Txuletax Pipperrakin (pork chops with pimentos) and gateau Basque for dessert.

We celebrated Rupert’s 6th Birthday with a ride back to Seattle.

I went to the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle (meh), made some fun new friends and ate this (they called it potato salad). How about we all agree to stop “deconstructing” food, hmmm?

We went to a Dodgers vs. Mariners game and had a beer (or two) in memory of my Dad (the Dodger’s were his favorite). I’m pretty sure the grand slam hit by the Dodgers was just for him.

We dog sat. Again.

We finished the last of the gardening (except for the never-ending weeding) by planting a few vegetables in my new raised beds.

And last weekend, since we were rained out from camping, we took a drive to Mt. Vernon to retrieve our newest backyard decoration from our friends at Bistro San Martin who had wrangled him for us. We call him Chicken Boo (you’ll get the name if you ever watched the Animaniacs). I love him. Our dog is scared of him.

In between all this craziness, I still managed to work, teach classes, swim and even, occasionally, do house work.

I can’t wait to see what summer will bring…

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Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Things Change

Sixty-three hours ago I started some beautiful short ribs cooking sous vide. I thought a little Saturday night fancy food would be great. Now, with nine hours of cooking left, all I want is comfort food. Fried chicken and macaroni and cheese to be exact.

Sixteen hours ago my husband and I made the decision to euthanize our dog Jones. His health had been declining. He’s suffered from hip dysplasia for years and years and in the last few weeks he had started falling. A lot. He’d be walking in from outside and his back legs would just collapse beneath him. Our hardwood floors didn’t help the situation. Over the last year we’d placed rugs throughout the house in all of his favorite spots so that he could get up and down, but we could tell it was getting to hard for him to get around.

Not that he would ever tell us though. Jones was best described as simple. As long as he had food and head scratches he was just happy to be. You know how towards the end of Marley and Me John Grogan asks Marley “you’ll let me know when it’s time, right?”, well, we knew Jones would never tell us when it was time. He would keep smiling and wagging his tail until it was too late.

So when we woke up yesterday and he couldn’t stand, much less walk we took that as a sign. For selfish reasons, we had been putting off the conversation until after Christmas. But we know that we couldn’t put it off anymore. We made the decision.

Jones had a good last day. While my husband had to go to work in the morning for a meeting, I sat with him in the living room doing my best to keep him calm and happy. When my husband came home Jones got to enjoy a rawhide, followed by a couple of ice cubes (one of his favorite treats that we had to stop giving him a few years ago because his teeth were breaking) and a few chocolate chip cookies while we waited for the vet to arrive. There were lots of scratches and many tears as we said goodbye. You can’t help but wonder if you are making the right decision, but ultimately we know this was the best thing for Jones.

So tonight, while Jones is reunited with his old pal Cuba for a game a chase at the Rainbow Bridge, we’ll set the fancy food aside. Sorrow calls for comfort and comfort calls for mac and cheese.

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

My Boys

For my most recent self-assigned photo exercise I decided to shoot two of my favorite subjects, my boys Jones and Rupert. What did I learn? Dogs are tricky to photograph.

I ended up with lots of blurry shots, but a few seemed passable. These are a few of my best shots:

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

2:30 a.m. Rant

It’s 2:30 a.m. and I can’t sleep.

I was told by my Orthopedist today that I now have a chronic sprained ankle. I didn’t even know such a diagnosis existed. I thought you sprain your ankle, it hurts for 3-4 weeks, it gets better, you go about your business. But it turns out you can do everything that the doctor tells you to do, your ankle still hurts six weeks later and you get told that you have six more weeks of pain and inconvenience to look forward to.

So, I was laying in bed, trying to get back to sleep, ankle throbbing away, and wishing there was someone to blame for my current state of affairs.

Sure, I could blame myself, but I was just trying to make my dogs happy and after it happened I followed all the doctors instructions, so I don’t really think it’s my fault.

I can’t blame the dog. Sure, ultimately he caused this whole situation. But he was just doing what retrievers do, fetching a ball. Plus. he needed medication for a few days after our run in too (after all he is 10 years old, he gets achy when it’s too cold outside much less when runs into an almost stationary object). Plus he’s just too adorable to blame.

I can’t blame the husband. Sure, he could have said that he didn’t want to go to the dog park. But he likes to make me happy and at the time a trip to the dog park seemed like a swell idea. Plus he sure took good care of me while I was in really bad shape, fetching me a never-ending list of things I needed while I sat on the couch icing and elevating. Plus he’s just too adorable to blame.

I could blame the weather. With all of the crazy weather we’ve had this year, why is there a beautiful sunny day on the last day of January. Why couldn’t we have had snow that day. Yeah, maybe the weather is to blame.

Or maybe I should blame Chris Rusnak. He just had to send out a link to his blog with fantastic pictures of other dogs playing at the park. He just had to make me think “Oh, a trip to the dog park would be fun. We’ve never taken Rupert to the dog park and Jones hasn’t been there in years. And the weather is just lovely out. Yes, today would be a good day to do that”. Yes, he just had to do that.

So, I blame you Chris Rusnak! You and your dog photos. Curses to you!

And, to the weather!

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Fun at the dog park, until…

This…

Led to this…

Yesterday the husband and I got the bright idea to take the dogs to the off-leash dog park. It seemed like they needed a good run around.

Here they are running and frolicking and chasing tennis balls.

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They look like they’re having a good time, no? Well maybe it just too good of a time. The husband threw the ball, Jones (the golden retriever) took off after it and clipped my leg.

So the fun trip to the dog park was followed by a not so fun trip to the Emergency Room.

Diagnosis? Definite sprained ankle (which I kind of guessed by the egg-size lump on my ankle) and a possible break in one of the bones in my foot. I get a fun trip to the orthopedist (hopefully tomorrow) to find out for sure.

Good times.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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