Christmas Baking 2015

Hello all-

Some years I do very little baking at the holidays, and sometimes I do a fair amount. It just kind of depends on how I’m feeling that year, or what I see that looks cute and I want to try (in addition to standard, family favorites).
This year, as you can see below, I was a bit out of control! 🙂
I found all kinds of cute cupcake decorations and other clever, cute recipes that I just had to try this year!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Carol

Mistral Kitchen 9-Course Dinner

In late May, Karen, Jeri, Jen, and I were able to get our schedules coordinated and enjoy a special deal we had gotten to enjoy a 9-course meal at Mistral Kitchen in downtown Seattle. We have all been there before, and they have wonderful food and fantastic cocktails. So we were very excited to have a whole evening there!

We had the most amazing servers and were having such a great time, that we ended up having the manager and pastry chef sit down and chat with us! We were there 5 hours and it just went by like that! Apparently, since they loved us so much, we ended up with more of like a 12-course meal! By the last of the 3 desserts, we were so stuffed, we had it home with us. We were just maxed out!

I ended up taking some notes (I know I know- nerd alert!) on what each course was, just to remember all the details and how amazing everything was (I tried to include the wine pairings when I’m remembering them, but that didn’t really go so well. Particularly after the “cocktail course”!

Intro/”Welcome” Snack: Champagne with chili oil
and lime popcorn:

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Amuse-bouche: Grav lox with creme fresh:

Big eye tuna with shaved asparagus and radish,
grapefruit segments, and radish sprout basil oil:

Maine diver scallop, corn, basil oil, and hon
shemiji mushrooms:

Alaskan halibut, Egyptian farro mustard greens, baby
turnips, heirloom carrots, radish sprouts, and pea foam:

Lamb, black beans, ramp oyster mushrooms, in
a port reduction:

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Pierre Robert cheese with apricot
marmalade and radish sprouts:

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Dessert:
Coconut pudding with rum foam, shaved coconut,
compressed pineapple, and cilantro syrup:

Chocolate bombe (peanut butter filling) with port
soaked cherries:

Some of the other items we had (that I was too wrapped up in to get a picture of):

Foie Gras with thinly sliced apple and candied orange peel (who would have thought I would like Foie Gras?! But I do!)
The “Cocktail Course”: “Point of No Return” was the name. It involved fire. Very cool.

What a great, fun experience. Sometimes I don’t mind paying extra for a special experience. And that’s what this was. Not just good food and wine. But a whole experience, and one I won’t forget anytime soon.  Can’t wait for our next culinary adventure…

Kickin’ it at the Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen

Below is a quote from the book by MFK Fisher, How To Cook a Wolf (where she’s talking about having a friend to go out with):

“He will be the kind who will have worked all day and be as glad as you to sit back and absorb a little quick relaxation from a glass and then eat, quaffing immortality and joy.”

 

That perfectly sums up what my sister, J, and I did on Monday afternoon at the newly opened Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen is in old Ballard, at the corner of 22nd and Shilshole Avenue and opened on Friday, August 16th. The place has a great atmosphere and a very cool vibe. They have done a really nice job with the decorating and overall feel, and have left no stone unturned. From the menus being printed on nice paper, to the light fixtures in the ceiling having a neat “wagon wheel”-esque shape. Even the bathroom has an old western kind of feel with rustic wood doors and an old timey sink and soap dispenser. Very nicely done.

We shared a couple of different food items, including the smoked cheddar & tasso grit sticks, pulled pork sliders, fried green tomatoes, and collard greens. Mmmmmm mmmmmm!!!! Delish!!! The grit sticks were definitely my favorite. I think I could eat like a gazillion of those things! All around tasty food, and I will definitely go back. I already have the menu in mind for the next time: fried chicken with mashed potatoes and a slice of house-made pie for dessert.

We also had some Southern themed cocktails. (We ARE from the South after all. It was our duty to make sure they were represented correctly and there was only one way to find out!)
We had the Mint Julep, Whiskey Smash, and Southern Punch. Refreshing and tasty.

We had such a nice time sitting back and relaxing on the deck (which is fabulous I might add), enjoying our cocktails and food. It was quite the enjoyable evening, and I look forward to my next venture to the  Kickin’ Boot..

Tully’s Coffee photo shoot

Back in May, the marketing department at Tully’s Coffee (headquartered in Seattle, WA) and I were in contact with each other regarding photography for an upcoming promotion of theirs. They were looking for a photographer to shoot various soups, sandwiches, and mini-desserts that they were going to start selling in their stores. I got the job, and was absolutely thrilled beyond belief!

The shoot took place in early June at the Tully’s headquarters, which is in the old Rainier Brewery building just south of downtown Seattle. I must say, I’ve driven by that building on I-5 I don’t know how many times, but until now, I never really saw it up close, and appreciated what a cool set of buildings it is. The buildings are full of fantastic old architecture, and they are a true piece of Seattle history.

The shoot was long and I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home, but it was truly an amazing experience. The Tully’s people were wonderful and were so easy to work with.  I did the post processing shortly thereafter, and got the final pictures to them; knowing that in weeks, I would see my “babies” front and center in Tully’s stores around Seattle and on the Eastside. I can’t even begin to convey how absolutely exciting of a feeling that was! A big grin comes across my face even as I write this!

So here is a list of where the signs should be (will probably be on those “A boards” that are the free-standing signs usually either just outside the entrance or right inside). I have a couple here on the blog as well. Stop by, grab a cup of coffee, and see them if you can!

Seattle:
5 Corners- 3042 NE 45th St., Suite A
Flagship- 1401 4th Ave
Market Place- 2001 Western Ave, Suite #110A
King Street- 408 2nd Ave S
Alki- 2676 Alki Ave SW
Airport Way- 3100 Airport Way S
Nickerson- 101 Nickerson St., Building ‘B’, Suite #200

Bellevue:
Bellevue City Center Plaza- 555 110th Ave NE, Suite #101
Lincoln Square- 700 Bellevue Way NE, Suite #140
New Main St.- 10812 Main St
Eastgate- 3080 148th Ave SE, Suite #113
Bellevue Place- 10500 NE 8th St

Redmond:
Bella Botega- 8862 161st Ave SE

Tacoma:
TRC- 1427 Pacific Ave