Friday, March 29, 2013

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Potatoes stuffed and ready for their 2nd bake.
We like, Gweneth Paltrow's website that is all about travel, fashion, and food.  And other stuff.  We like a lot of what she likes.   And we love this recipe for twice-baked potatoes we found on goop.

Double-bake with caramelized onions and gorgonzola. Super simple – after baking (for about an hour at 400 degrees for a large potato), carefully remove insides with a spoon (it's not as hard as we thought and the potato skins didn't fall apart - much), mix with a tablespoon of both gorgonzola and caramelized onion.  Salt & pepper to taste and place mixture back in potato. Place back in oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until the top browns.

Now, the question is, do you know how to caramelize onions?  We have to admit, we weren't quite sure.

How to Caramelize Onions
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
Quantities depend on how much caramelized onions you wish to make. In this example, 5 large raw onions yielded about 2 cups caramelized onions.


  • Several medium or large onions, yellow, white, or red
  • Olive oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • Salt
  • Sugar (optional)


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1 Slice off the root and top ends of the onions, peel the onions. Cut the onions in half. Lay them cut side down and slice the onions lengthwise to desired thickness. If you want, you can cut a little wedge in the tough rootball end of the onions and discard that part, but we haven't found this to be necessary, as this part of the onion softens and cooks with the rest over the long cooking time.
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2 Use a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan for maximum pan contact with the onions. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter (about 1 teaspoon per onion). Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Depending on how strong your stovetop burner is you may need to reduce the heat to medium or medium low to prevent the onions from burning or drying out. After 10 minutes, sprinkle some salt over the onions, and if you want, you can add some sugar to help with the caramelization process. (I add only about a teaspoon of sugar for 5 onions, you can add more.) One trick, by the way, to keeping the onions from drying out as they cook is to add a little water to the pan.
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3 Let cook for 30 minutes to an hour more, stirring every few minutes. As soon as the onions start sticking to the pan, let them stick a little and brown, but then stir them before they burn. The trick is to let them alone enough to brown (if you stir them too often, they won't brown), but not so long so that they burn. After the first 20 to 30 minutes you may want to lower the stove temperature a little, and add a little more oil, if you find the onions are verging on burning. A metal spatula will help you scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan as the caramelization proceeds. As the onions cook down, you may find you need to scrape the pan every minute, instead of every few minutes. Continue to cook and scrape, cook and scrape, until the onions are a rich, browned color. At the end of the cooking process you might want to add a little balsamic vinegar or wine to help deglaze the pan and bring some additional flavor to the onions.
Store refrigerated for several days in an air-tight container.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Dog in A Window in Seattle

On our way to dinner the other night, we met this fine fellow.   We almost missed him.  He didn't make a peep.  He was just enjoying watching the street life and the cool evening air.  Just like us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Edison, Washington - A Food Lover's Paradise

Iris of Breadfarm Bakery in Edison, Washington

We first read about Edison, Washington in Bon Appetit.  We read it's where all the cool kids in the valley have set up shop.  So we decided to make the hour plus drive from Seattle to check it out.  It's really just a bend in the road and if you blink, you might miss it.  But don't.

Plan to spend a few hours.   There are two places you really must visit.  Breadfarm Bakery with fantastic hearty breads and cookies and such.   We got three loaves to take back to Iowa  - Chuckanut Multigrain, Samish River Potato, and a fantastic Lemon Sour Cherry.   One of each of their shortbread cookies, a couple thumbprints and a fig cookie.  It's quite a lovely place.

The Goods at Breadfarm Bakery
Then it was down the road to Tweets where Chef Dave served up amazing polenta with roasted vegetables, Anaheim peppers and goat cheese.  And then a thoroughly satisfying strawberry sour cherry pie.  Oh my!

Great place.  Great People.  Great Food.

Edison, we love you.

Chef Dave whips it up at Tweets.
A tableau at Tweets.
The Pie.  Oh My!
Fresh flowers for sale outside Tweets.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lola's Dad at Westminster and in the News

Tashi in the Ring at Westminster

We were excited to come across this article featuring Lola's dad Tashi, Grand Champion Moonrize Doubleshot Espresso.

NYC Hotel Pampers Four-Legged Guests During Westminster Week

 Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan played host this week to the most pampered of all pedigreed pooches as they prepared for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

This hotel in the heart of Midtown is host to many of the poodles, dachshunds, hounds and other breeds that arrive with their owners to compete for top honors.

“It is like the Super Bowl and Miss America with dogs all rolled into one,” said Jerry Grymek, doggie concierge in charge of “pooch relations” at the hotel.

When the furry guests arrive, Grymek is there to greet them in style. He ushers them in with a cookie, and stands ready to cater to their every need.

“We get interesting requests from guests for their dogs,” Grymek said. “This includes a red carpet roll-out for the dogs upon arrival. Last year, we had an opera singer that serenaded a dog here in the lobby. This dog was here sitting, enjoying the music. He had closed his eyes just to listen to the opera singer serenade him.”

One of the most impressive parts about a dog's stay at Hotel Pennsylvania is the doggie spa and gym. Dogs can hop on the treadmill to work on muscle balance, receive a stress-relieving massage and get groomed.

Raleigh competitor Joyce Killinger was there with her 8-year-old Tibetan terrier, Tashi, who worked out on the treadmill. Tashi is a veteran competitor, but this is his first trip to Westminster.

“It takes me a good two hours to groom him from start to finish,” Killinger said. 

Tashi – whose full competition name is Grand Champion Moonrize Doubleshot Espresso RN CGC -- has two coats of hair and gets bathed every four days. The bath includes a shampoo, condition, blow dry and a good brushing.

To get a leg up on the competition at Westminster, dogs must look their best. From bouffant poodles to glammed up toy breeds, many of the Westminster cover models make a visit to the hotel’s spa.

“We have a doctor on site to help stretch and distress the dogs because, again the competitive spirit, there can be a little tension in the air,” Grymek said.

Despite all the pampering, Killinger said, Tashi doesn’t let the attention go to his head. Back home in Raleigh, he’s a regular family member.

“He runs in the yard, he chases birds and enjoys being a family dog, part of our family,” she said.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jessica Chastain's Vegan Chia Seed Pudding

The folks around our house love Jessica Chastain.  And now they love her Chia Seed Pudding recipe.

It's fresh and light and really good for you.

Tasty and slightly sweet, it's perfect topped with fresh berries or sliced bananas.  Sometimes they have it for breakfast instead of oatmeal.

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups soaked cashews, (soak on counter 4-6 hours, drain)
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tbl vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch salt
Soak chia seeds in water, on counter, for at least an hour -- make sure to stir often for the first 10-15 minutes so it doesn't clump (I use a potato masher, which we'll probably need over the holiday anyway). It will become very gelatinous.
In blender, mix remaining ingredients until very smooth, then stir into chia.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bodey and Bob

Bodey and Bob

We heard from Roxie's pup Bodey the other day.  Well...actually...from his new mom Shelly.

Bodey loves to go to the office with Shelly and loves her co-worker Bob.

"He is my beautiful Bodey," writes Shelly.   "Great personality and a real clown.  Never take him out that someone doesn't stop me to see him.  I am so lucky."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes

Hurry-Up Chocolate Cupcakes
Do you remember our recipe for Hurry-Up Chocolate Cake?  Probably Not.  Well, you should!  It is the best chocolate cake ever.  Today we made Hurry-Up Chocolate Cupcakes.   So easy and so good.  Click Here for the recipe

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wet Snow = Snowballs

A wet Rufus made some snowballs.
We got some fresh snow and some relatively warm weather - just at the freezing point.  You know what that meants....WET SNOW.  We go crazy in the snow and when it is wet it gets caught in our coat and creates snowballs.   It drives dad crazy cause he has to put us in the sink and wash off our feet with warm water each time we come in.   It's the fastest and easiest way to get rid of snowballs.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tibetan Terrier Saves Pub

Mark and Harriet Jenkinson with Jasmine
UK pub owners Mark and Harriet Jenkinson have praised their dog for raising the alarm after a fire broke out in their upstairs flat.

Jasmine, a 14-month-old Tibetan terrier, broke down a stair gate and ran down the stairs at The George Inn, a pub in England.

The pub was packed with more than 50 customers during the lunchtime service on Saturday, January 26, including a 90th birthday celebration.

Mrs Jenkinson, 37, went from the bar to find out why Jasmine was barking and within a minute the smoke detector went off.

The pub was evacuated and fire crews from Chippenham, Calne and Swindon put out the flames and ventilated the flat of smoke.

The fire was caused by a fault in a fridge in the couple’s flat.

The pub was closed for a couple of days while repairs were made to the dining room after water came through the ceiling from the fire crew’s hoses.

Mr Jenkinson, 50, said: “When Jasmine barks it’s usually because she wants to go outside for a wee but this seemed a bit more frantic.

“She was upstairs and she either heard something in the kitchen or smelled the smoke before the detector started. She managed to break down the stair gate and alerted us by her barking.

“Our staff were brilliant and we got everybody out of the pub. I tried to see if I could put the fire out but I couldn’t get into the kitchen, it was too smoky.”

A couple of customers took Jasmine home with them to Calne while the fire brigade were there and she was reunited with Mr and Mrs Jenkinson the next day.

Mr Jenkinson said: “Jasmine is a very good guard dog and is calm. The customers are not surprised at what she did, she is such a good little dog. She was the none the worse for wear by the fire.”