365 Project – 295: IN MY BOWL: quinoa, kale, pineapple, celery w/ Annie’s shitake sesame dressing :) (October 22, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/60, Aperture: F/4.0, ISO: 1600

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365 Project – 281: Cuddly carrots (October 8, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/4000, Aperture: F/2.8, ISO: 100

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365 Project – 269: Colorful stir-fry

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.2, ISO: 800

For sure, we eat with our eyes. Whether it’s beautiful plating, or a variety of complementary colors, how our food is presented can make our glands salivate…or not.  WhenI cooked up this stir-fry I kept the colors, shapes, and textures in mind: bright green broccoli (don’t overcook or it will lose its brightness), red peppers, yellow zucchini, diagonally cut carrots, and a trifecta of purple, variegated and yellow bush beans from my garden.  For flavor I used your typical asian flavors: onion, garlic, soy, fish sauce, salt and pepper.   It looked all Top Chef-y sided with a dome of brown rice and probably tasted better because it was so pretty. Ironically, I just posted on The Juicy Mamas blog about trying to teach kids how to eat with their taste buds, instead of just with their eyes.  And, I JUST realized I probably shared a mixed message between those two posts BUT…really, it’s one of those “both-and” situations. Yes, train your taste buds to eat, or at least try the ugliest of foods, and let yourself be pleasantly surprised but, also, make your food pretty to make it taste better. 🙂

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365 Project – 254: RECIPE: Garlic, basil-infused olive oil (September 10, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/4.0, ISO: 250


Basil and Garlic Infused Olive Oil

1 glass bottle or mason jar
2 cloves garlic (optional)
Approx 1 cup basil
3 cups olive oil

Peel the garlic and smash it with a heavy chef’s knife. Tear the basil, bruising the leaves to release the essential oils. Stuff the basil and the garlic into the bottle or mason jar. Pour the olive oil into a heat-proof pot or dish and place over a low flame. Heat the oil until very warm, but not bubbling. You’ll know it’s getting close when the oil’s texture appears to “thin”… you’ll sort of see “swirls” in the oil as this happens. DO NOT let it boil!

Remove from the heat and let cool. Cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain into a sterilized bottle or jar and discard the garlic. Use within 24 hours. (Or store in a sterilized container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

NOTE: some recipes suggest storing in a cool, dry place for up to a week THEN refrigerating if infusing with garlic, to avoid botulism. others say to refrigerate right away. i chose the conservative route choosing to refrigerate right away and use quickly. if anyone knows the definitive answer on making homemade infused oils, please share!!

Adapted from http://www.bostonfoodandwhine.com/2010/07/25/how-to-make-basil-infused-olive-oil/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/garlic-infused-oil-and-dipping-sauce-recipe/index.html

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Day 4 – New York City (American Museum of Natural History, Babbo, Washington Square)

Started blogging in a taxi on our way to dinner at Mario Batali’s “Babbo” restaurant and had a nice conversation with our taxi driver who is from Nepal, one of my favorite countries. I love the diversity in this city!! I love the history and culture too, including at the American Museum of Natural History. I have fond memories of school field trips here so it was another walk down memory lane for me. For Nora, she kept wondering if the animals would come alive like in “Night at the Museum”. For sure, the museum is a gem and we’re so grateful for our day at the museum. What else was so awesome? You can enter the museum BY DONATION ONLY!! We paid full price but it’s so wonderful that they make this amazing experience and institution accessible to everyone. So, I have to say it again…I LOVE NEW YORK!!

And, dinner at Babbo? OMG.. serious foodie heaven. I just love and appreciate Mario Batali’s culinary genius even more! The service was impeccable too. Our best food experience so far…maybe ever! A splurge but, worth every penny. Appetizers: arugula salad and beet tartare. Primi: Pappardelle Bolognese. Contorni: heirloom tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Secondi: Skirt steak on salsa verde with eggplant and pickled onions. Dolci: pistachio and chocolate semifreddo (my fav), fresh in-house strawberry gelato (Thad’s fav), chocolate hazelnut cake with in-house hazelnut gelato (Nora’s fav). We shared it all family-style and enjoyed the company of another family seated next to us, from Indonesia. Seriously, EVERYTHING, the food, ambience and experience was fabulous!

And, I had fun just taking slice of life photos in Greenwich Village and Washington Square. It was an amazing, comfortably warm evening with views of the Freedom Tower, Empire State Bldg through the Washington Square Arch, the fountain , New York skyline at sunset, and the best people watching. It’s our last night in New York and we’ve loved every minute. For sure, New York City is a family-friendly vacation spot. We look forward to coming back for more!!

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365 Project – 183: Green smoothie and pink flowers…WHAT?? (July 1, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/4.0, ISO: 800

I took a few shots of this green smoothie in a wine glass for my other blog, The Juicy Mamas, and loved how it looked against these hot pink daisies and black table. The subject matter here isn’t exactly spectacular but, sometimes choosing colors that POP can make for an interesting photo. Do you agree? Let me know!

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365 Project – 175: My Pacific Northwest tomatoes (June 23, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/4000, Aperture: F2.5, ISO:400

These plants were just put in the ground two weeks ago and, yee-haw, I glimpsed a few little green gems dripping with wet globes after the recent rains. Without that elusive greenhouse, I’ll just have to be patient another summer season and wait to pop these candy-sweet, juicy, morsels into my mouth a few months from now. “Patience, grasshopper, patience…and stop procrastinating and get working on that greenhouse!” 🙂

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365 Project – 160: Sprouted bean trio salad with sweet potatoes (June 11, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F5.6, ISO: 400

One of the vegan dishes I’m eating these days. Just started the 21-day adventure cleanse in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet. This really isn’t a recipe but, here’s how I put this salad together:
* Follow the recipe on the back of the Sprouted bean trio salad bag (you can get the big bag at Costco, in the rice aisle next to the quinoa); I add a bit more cumin and I didn’t have scallions so I used chives from my garden.
* Steam or microwave your cubed sweet potatoes until just tender, then toss into your sprouted bean trio salad

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Fiddleheads – the furled fronds of a young fern. Looking for fiddlehead recipes…please share!

Nora says these look like furry seahorses.  I can totally see that, the green body with a brown mane.  In fact, this is a close up of a fiddlehead, the furled frond of a young fern, according to Wikipedia.  They are also supposed to be tasty to eat, according to what I’ve read online.  Here on the Olympic Peninsula we boast a bounty of ferns but, as long as I’ve lived here I have never eaten a fiddlehead.  A few years ago I finally tried harvesting and cooking nettles (yes, stinging nettles that you want to avoid while hiking) and they were sooo yummy, as well as great source of iron.  I think this may be my year to delve into my next native plant culinary adventure with the fiddleheads.

If any of you are fiddlehead experts, in terms of harvesting, cooking…anything, I’d love to learn more about these edible furry-seahorses. Hmmm…I guess I better not refer to them as seahorses if I’m going to ask my daughter to try them!  LOL I promise to do a post on whatever fiddlehead recipe I try.  Thanks for stopping by and PLEASE share your fiddlehead expertise! 🙂

365 Project – 109: Just for the kale of it… ;) (April 18, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/640, Aperture: F/1.4, ISO: 100

I was in a funk last night but, still mustered up the energy to cook a homemade dinner. I muttered “ugh, I need to harvest some kale”, and my daughter surprised me with a chipper “I’ll do it!” I handed her the kitchen shears and she scampered off to the garden, for the first time, to harvest WITHOUT me. I decided I had to capture her in action, but by the time I got there with my camera she had already harvested a beautiful bunch of perfect kale leaves. Her bubbly, capable attitude busted me out of my funk, which was just I needed.  I thought “Dang…with this bright light in my life, I gotta’ snap out of this crappy attitude! ”  So, I had to share this photo, and this story…just for the kale of it! *yuk yuk* Sorry, I couldn’t resist! 😉

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens