Sunday, July 27, 2008

Disc Dogs Competition

I have to interrupt my string of posts about our trip to Europe to brag about Indigo and Ben winning a disc dogs competition yesterday (novice class)! They entered this regional competition through woofd2 in Kirkland, WA at the last minute and only practiced the day before. I love disc dog competitions because of the freestyle...Ben and Indigo didn't do freestyle, they didn't make up a routine yet. But watch out! He also entered with Ari and didn't get last place, which was good considering that Ari refused to catch any disc that wasn't red.

Indigo being funny and not realizing it

Some of the Pro dogs doing freestyle

We took some videos with our new Flip video and will post those later. Sadly they won't be able to go on to compete in the NW regional championship because Indigo will be on the east coast with me. Maybe next year!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


We left London early in the morning with minimal sleep to catch the Eurostar and then transfer to the TGV to get down to Provence. Although the trains are nice, our experience totally sucked! We got to the Paris Nord station late after an electrical problem and then learned that we had to take a subway to the Paris Lyon station to get our next train. We missed it. We were able to get on the next one, but with no seats. So we sat on the luggage racks for the 2 hour trip. Also its not really the best way to see the scenery because the train is going super fast. We finally made it to Avignon and then had to get our rental car and drive to Arles.

All of the stress of the day melted away when we got out on the country roads, aside from the problem that Ben hasn't driving a stick shift in years and we don't speak enough French to understand road signs. The fields of sunflowers and vineyards are spectacular. Every view looks like a post card. After getting Ben to relax about the possibility of getting lost not being the worst thing in the world, we thoroughly enjoyed cruising the countryside.

After driving in circles around Arles for at least 1/2 hour we finally found our hotel, settled into our hotel. We were tired, but hungry and excited to check out the town. We wandered around and admired the cute little shops with Provencal housewares, the abundance of street cafes, and the way the people manage to fit cars into places that they probably shouldn't be.

Our Nissan Note parked on the sidewalk

The brasserie across from the amphitheater where we had our first meal in France
The view from our seats

We shared a pizza and this lovely salad, and of course some Orangina

The town center designed for people to sit around and hang out, definitely missing from US cities. In the square is the Church of St. Trophime

The beginning of the many pictures I took of flowers growing on buildings


We stumbled on this event going on in the amphitheatre and it was free (or seemed to be)

I love that people sit at cafes for hours. Its so relaxing to sip on a Cappuccino and watch people walk by. Ben didn't love this so much and got antsy after about 1/2 hour.

The cloister of ste trophime

The first of many pastries that we ate for breakfast. I don't really understand how anyone could eat something this sweet for breakfast everyday and feel okay, but I wanted to embrace the culture so I went with it. It didn't seem as weird after I took a bite and it was the best pastry I'd ever had .

Since we were staying in Arles for two nights we had enough time to take a day trip to the Carmague ornithological park to see the flamigos. Ben loved this place.

I had to get out along the road and take pictures of these sunflower farms

After Arles we went to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Baux-de-Provence, Cavaillon, Gordes and then to Grenoble to sleep. More about that later

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I am going to attempt to write about our trip in as much detail as possible. If you are expecting photos of great tourist attractions, you might be disappointed. I seem to be very fond of taking photos of food, cafes, narrow European streets, and flower boxes.

After a very long flight (I watched 3 cheesy romantic comedies) a ride on the tube and a difficult time finding our friend Jolene's flat, I couldn't stay awake any longer and took a nap. I forced myself to get up for dinner mainly because I was excited to see Janel, who is traveling around Europe with her friend Kim. We all (Jolene, Stefan, Janel, Kim, Ben, me) met for Indian food of the best things that London has to offer in terms of food.

Flower shop near Queens Park tube stop

We took the tube all over town...not sure why this is blue.

We spend the next day, our only full day in London walking along the Thames River, going to the Tate Modern and the British Museum. Ben and I are not especially into seeing every tourist attraction when were are on vacation. I would rather spend my time enjoying the food, seeing how the locals live, and visiting some museums. I hate being in a rush to see everything and then forget most of it because we were so busy.

I hear that a sunny day in London is a rare thing, to take advantage of this lovely day Jolene came to the rescue and brought us a picnic to share for lunch. We had roasted peppers, avocado, carrot sticks, tofu, baguette, cheese....lots of other yummy things.

I love the celebration that begins in the streets of Central London shortly after people get out of work.

Ben took part in the celebration after a hard day of picnicing and strolling around London

We met up with Janel and Kim again for dinner and this time we had to try London's famous fish and chips. It was excellent and super crispy. They don't mess around with little pieces either. Its a big deep fried fillet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to the week before we went to Europe.

I got really behind with posting during the week before we left for Europe so I am going to start where I left off and t

Despite my excitement with graduating and moving on from Bastyr, I am sad that my good friends Ashley and Amy left Seattle to do internships. Amy will be in Boston, which is fairly close to Northampton, MA....but Ashley is going to New Orleans and then back to Colorado permanently. More excuses to travel to visit friends!

We had one last board game night before everyone left.

My favorite way to relax and deal with stress is to cook. I must have been stressed because the week before we left I went crazy!

To finish our fava bean harvest and the bacon that Ben picked up at the farmers market I made

Fettuccine with Fresh Fava Beans and Pancetta (from by Emeril
2 pounds fresh fava beans, in their shells
1 pound dried fettuccine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for passing if desired

Shell the fava beans and blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the tough outer skin of the beans. Discard skins and reserve beans on the side.

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine, stirring often, until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pancetta and cook until the onion is soft and the pancetta begins to crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the favas and escarole to the pancetta and cook until the beans are tender, about 5 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, reserved cooking liquid, and heavy cream to the fava mixture and cook, tossing to mix thoroughly, until everything is heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano and serve immediately. Pass the extra grated cheese at the table.

I was shocked at how good this tasted. Not only because I've never liked bacon before, but because it was crazy how good it made an otherwise bland recipe taste. A vegan version of this would have required a lot more creative flavorings for a similar result, which seems to be the case in general especially for tofu scramble when compared to an egg scramble. Eggs are full of flavor on their own and taste good with just salt, pepper, some onion and vegetables. A tofu scramble needs lots of garlic, onion, spices, soy sauce to taste good. I still love tofu scramble and would happily order it at any breakfast restaurant with poor quality eggs.

We were lucky to have Amy as our housesitter while we went to Europe and had fun making dinner together a few times. One night we made fish tacos with beer battered cod. It was perfect and not as time consuming as it seems, although deep frying is a skill that takes some practice.

The batter was from Coastal Living

Vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Mexican beer
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a deep skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 360°.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup beer and hot sauce. Drain fish, discarding marinade. Coat fish in batter. Cook fish in batches about 4 minutes or until done. Drain on paper towels.

The white sauce adapted from

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Mix all ingredients together.

Serve fish on corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, fresh tomatoes and white sauce. We also had Spanish rice, sliced avocado and lime garnish.

I finally make a scone that tastes good! Ben picked a bunch of strawberries from the garden and I couldn't think of anything better to do with them than make scones. I spent at least an hour searching for recipes that sounded good. This excellent recipe combined with a technique a learned for incorporating soft fruit into dough resulted in scones that I was excited to share with friends.

Strawberry Scones

Serve with a dollop of clotted cream (and a cup of tea, of course) for an elegant afternoon snack. For tender scones, avoid overhandling the dough.

2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon cream in small bowl. Set aside. Whisk remaining egg, remaining 1/4 cup cream, buttermilk, and vanilla together in medium bowl.

2. Pulse flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until blended. Add butter and pulse into flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to large bowl and make well in center. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until batter forms moist clumps. Carefully stir in strawberries. (instead of stirring in the strawberries I split the dough into two balls and rolled them out to about 1/2 inch each and then put the strawberries between the two, and pressed down gently)

3. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead gently until dough comes together and is smooth, about 10 seconds. Pat dough into 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick. Using sharp knife, cut circle into 8 wedges. With pastry brush, remove excess flour from wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg and cream glaze, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

4. Bake until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center of scones comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 15 minutes. Transfer scones to wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cooled scones can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Yields: 8 servings

by Jennifer A. Wickes

I have always loved vegan Reuben sandwiches and now that I eat cheese I though I would try one with portabella mushrooms. There isn't really a recipe. I just sliced the mushrooms into 1/2 inch slices and coated them in chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and then baked them at 350 for 10 minutes or so. To made the dressing I mixed equal amounts of ketchup, mustard and mayonaisse and some pickle relish. I smothered the bread in the sauce, piled up the mushrooms, sauerkraut and swiss cheese on top and baked until the cheese melted.

Amy I and walked to our new Lake City farmers market, while she was staying with us. It has so many more vendors and was packed with people. I am soo excited to be living in a neighborhood with such a great weekly market.