Friday, March 01, 2013

So long, farewell ...

It's official - Serve It Forth has retired! There's a new food blog in town, and it belongs to my sis, Julie Fay Ashborn. 

Check it out: Sundays at Lark

Julie is a terrific cook, wonderful photographer and exceptional sister & friend. Her posts on how to live the good life, and share that life with the ones you love, is not to be missed!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Romanesco and Radish and Parsnips - oh my!

(posted by Jules)

So I am not quite used to this blogging thing yet.  I get so busy and have lots of blog ideas but just can't seem to find the time to write them up and post.  Especially with the holidays upon us and preparing to go to London for two weeks as well as shopping for my husband's entire family!  Clive has many skills but a good "gifter" he is not.

Fortunately, one of his skills is gardening as you have all seen by my previous posts on the amazing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, yellow squash, eggplant, arugula and corn he grew this summer.  Well he has now planted our fall crop.  A couple months ago actually, see I told you I was a bad blogger.

Ollie helping daddy fix the drip system

But regardless, I am very excited about all of our new veggies.  I found a company online to buy organic heirloom seeds, and we “borrowed” a few packs from Kim, who had tons of seeds from her wedding shower which had a garden theme.

We also decided to try planting garlic, which is interesting since the garlic bulb to plant looks exactly like the garlic that you would eat.  Except the colors were exceptional, they are like little works of art.

It only took a week for the first little sprouts to grow.

Now two months on, Clive has already pulled several radishes from our garden and they are delicious, crisp and spicy like a radish should be. 

I think our winter/spring crop will be bountiful.  Uh oh, does anyone have any good recipes for broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco, parsnips, carrots, beets, radishes, spring onions, sweet onions, kale, garlic and pickling cucumbers?  Because if it is anything like our summer crop, we’re in for it.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Satiated in Seattle

(Posted by Jules)

We didn’t get quite as early a start from Olympia as we had hoped to, but after a nice big cup of coffee and some delicious smoked salmon and rustic bread, we were on the road to Seattle.

We stayed with our good friends, Pete and Lisa, and their beautiful daughters, Sadie and Madeline, in West Seattle. Ollie loves staying with them since he has two playmates along with an entire basement full of new and different toys. We arrived Saturday afternoon, tossed our luggage in, had a great lunch and then headed out to Carnation for Kim and Jim’s family wedding reception. It was an amazing night, and the food my family brought for the buffet is a blog in and of itself.

The next day, Lisa and I headed out to pick up the seafood at Pete’s brother’s fish market, Wild Salmon Seafood Market, at Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard. We bought a beautiful piece of Coho Salmon along with mounds of clams and big fresh scallops. The shop packed it all on ice for us since we didn’t have time to swing home and drop it off before Kim’s reading at the Elliot Bay Book Co. But we did have time for a margarita, chips and guacamole at a great Mexican restaurant in Capital Hill. The reading was incredible and it was so exciting to see Kim at Elliot Bay as an author not a bookseller.

After the reading, a big crew headed back to Pete and Lisa’s for the feast. My mom and dad brought along my Aunt Janice and Aunt Claudia. Kim and Jim came over with Kim’s best friend Beth, her husband Kurtis, and their son West. As well, we were joined by Lisa’s parents and also our good friends, Dave and Shana, and their two girls, Annabelle and Molly.  Last year when we were up visiting, we had a big dinner at Pete and Lisa's and all I can say is that meal was so delicious, so perfect, that is was going to be hard to top.

Wine was opened, beer was poured and we all divided up to bring out the appetizers, prep, cook, chat, watch the kids, drink and enjoy the beautiful October night. I feel I need to add a sidebar here to point out that I know "beautiful" and "October" and "night" don’t usually go together when discussing the Northwest, but we had exceptional weather our entire trip. 

The men taking over the backyard

The first culinary event of the evening was watching Kurtis unpack his paella equipment and begin to prepare his signature dish. A beautiful golden rice was set to boil on one burner and specialty sausage was grilled on another.   

As he continued to prep the rest of the ingredients, Pete placed that amazing piece of salmon on the barbecue.  With Pete, manning the grill (and the fridge keg), I think it is safe to say that Lisa took care of organizing everything else.

Then came a furious motion as the rest of the meal was prepared. There was Beth’s Caesar salad, Lisa’s mom’s fresh tomato and zucchini dish, clams boiled to perfection in a wine and butter broth, marinated grilled bacon-wrapped scallops, and Kurtis’ beautiful chicken and olive paella.  

And then there was the bread: "Daveman’s bread," as Pete refers to it. Dave decided a while back that he was going to learn how to bake bread. Now he didn’t just read a few recipes and try out a few loaves, he dived into the process with so much gusto that he actually cultivates his own yeast for the bread. How in the world do you even do that?? Well, regardless, his bread is amazing. Four beautiful loaves of sourdough and olive bread. Four! That meant there were going to be leftovers for the rest of our stay.

Oh – and I forgot to mention my Uncle Jim’s smoked salmon dip. He had made it for the reception and fortunately like every Fay, he made gallons of it so there was an entire container left that he sent home with me. This dip is divine, and as you might remember from my experience at Son of a Gun, smoked fish dips are my favorite these days ... and my Uncle Jim’s is delicious. It's made from salmon he caught and smoked himself!

When dinner was served we opened the Candor, from Hope Family Wineries. It is now a tradition that whenever we come up to Seattle to stay with Pete & Lisa, we send ahead the troops to pave the way – and by troops, I mean four bottles of Candor from our friend Joel’s winery in Paso Robles.

We piled our plates high and tucked in. What a feast! We ate until we thought we couldn’t take another bite and then somehow we all found the strength to carry on and eat more.  

Pete had mocked Lisa and me for the amount of seafood we bought and it was all devoured. Every dish was wiped out. Barely a crumb left. 

Then we sat back, happy and sated, enjoyed more Candor and nibbled on the gourmet chocolates that Shana brought. 

Well, I didn't think it was possible but we managed to outdo ourselves from the dinner last year.  Thank you Pete and Lisa for opening your home for an amazing meal with my friends and family - life doesn’t get any better.  

The rest of the trip was relaxing and exactly what I wanted and needed. A day in Seattle having lunch at Ivars, walking along the waterfront and wandering Pike Place Market.  

A meal out with Pete, Lisa, Kim, Jim, Beth and Kurtis and all the kids at a wonderful neighborhood restaurant, Angelina’s.  Then a day at Woodland Park so Ollie could see the lions, but not before lunch at Saigon Boat (I crave the vegan banh mi sandwiches they serve). As well, we enjoyed a deliciously decadent diner breakfast at the Chelan Cafe.

Goodbye Seattle – hopefully it won’t be long before we come again.  Watch out for the Candor, and you know we won’t be far behind!