Monday, August 11, 2014

Duck Soup Inn - San Juan Island

For my birthday, Jeff and I had the most magical dinner. I don't know if I have ever been in a more beautiful location to enjoy the outdoors, great food and fresh cocktails. Duck Soup Inn is located on San Juan Island in Washington. We drove through the woods and then took a turn off an unassuming road - Duck Soup Lane. I am not sure which was named first, but this restaurant is the only thing on this road. 
The cabin is situated in the woods; surrounded by thick trees, and overlooking a small pond. As we walked up the stairs to enter, we were greeted by Mo Mo. He is the black and white neighborhood cat who has become part of the staff. The interior has a rustic, eclectic and warm design. We were seated on the patio which overlooked the pond through soft yellow fabric. Below us was a seating area with a fire pit in the middle.

We started with cocktails (of course). I had a habanero, strawberry jam and tequila mix. Jeff had a cucumber, gin combination. Jeff ordered the house smoked oysters with butter and pickled green strawberry. I had the fried brussel sprouts with hazelnut dust and preserved lemon aioli.

There was a creamed cauliflower soup and a peach-blueberry salad served. The server asked if we were local, and we said yes thinking that Washingtonian meant local. She then said, oh well these are so and so's peaches from down the road. I guess we are not that local! I ordered the grilled pork chop with potatoes, torpedo onion and blackberry harissa. The dish originally came with a gnocchi side (which had dairy in it - I may have almost cried). Jeff ordered the seared salmon with summer squash tart, salsa verde, sour cherry and fired bull kelp pickle. I am literally pulling these descriptions from the menu - so don't think I actually know what all of that means.

We shared bites of food, drank wine, talked and spent my first birthday together as a married couple. The dinner was a slice of heaven, seriously magical and downright amazing.

After dinner we drove to the shore and proceeded to watch the most beautiful sunset in the history of sunsets. I'd call this one a win. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Goat Cheese Chicken Roll-Ups

I have been eyeing stuffed chicken recipes on Pinterest for a while now. I couldn't find one that quite fit my allergies and my tastes. Jeff and I sought out to create our own version. The recipe may need a little modification to get that golden crisp on the top of the chicken - but this is start. By the way, if you have decided that you hate beets but haven't given them a chance as an adult - I suggest you scrap that. I am a known vegetable hater and I changed my beet attitude. This was due to Jeff's pushing and my old roommates who cooked almost every meal with beets or brussel sprouts (brussel recipes are coming soon - seriously underrated vegetable). 

Goat Cheese Chicken Roll-ups
-2 golden beets
-½ 1 large yam or sweet potato
-½ large yellow onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 chicken breasts
-Fresh spinach, chopped
-4 oz herb goat cheese
-Gluten free bread crumbs
-Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Slice the beets and yam into thin chips. Place beet and yam chips on baking dish. Drizzle or spray chips with olive oil, top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes while you continue preparation. Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise. Smash the chicken with the back of a pan until tender and thin. Set chicken aside. Saute the onion until translucent.  Add the garlic and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while sauteing. Mix in goat cheese until combined. Spread the spinach-goat cheese mixture on one side of each chicken breast. Roll up chicken and secure with a toothpick. Pull pan out of oven and place the chicken roll-ups on. Spray or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with gluten free bread crumbs. Place back in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Simple and Savory - A Working Title

I love having 'projects'. Most of my projects never make it into completion. I generally down three cups of coffee and spur into my next big idea. Then life happens; I'm tired, I'm overworked, movies on the couch seem like a good idea most nights and the project settles into the back of my brain. I am hoping to change that pattern. So here official first blog post about starting (and hopefully finishing) my next big project.

I've had the idea to write my own cookbook for quite a while. So I'm doing it! Jeff (husband) and I are co-writing a cookbook, tentatively named 'Simple and Savory' that will be full of delicious, healthy, and allergy-friendly recipes. All recipes will be tested in our home and photos provided.

What should you expect from this next round of recipes?

Jeff and my eating habits have changed over the years. Currently, I avoid gluten, soy, and cow dairy aligning my diet closely to a paleo type diet. Jeff is working to be vegetarian and is avoiding mammals to start. Although I loved working on the Family and Friends Recipe Book - the Midwestern casseroles wreaked havoc on my sensitive gut. Our book will include recipes that are generally healthy and well-balanced. We will utilize whole foods and avoid processed food items.

Ahh sigh....the whole food allergy/intolerance thing has taken me a while to figure out. First, it was gluten free in college, then I went through the Candida phase (much to the amusement of my family who thought Candida was pretty much a made up thing), then cow dairy had to be cut and most recently soy. I have a sensitive tummy so I realize that not everyone has these issues, but hey, perhaps anyone can benefit from eating less of these items. The coolest part - I'm getting sophisticated with allergy graphics! Check it out...

Simple and Savory. Jeff's palate is adventurous. He loves to try new ingredients, cooking styles and flavor combination. He isn't afraid to try food inspired by cultures worldwide - he is the Savory in this cookbook writing duo. I like comfort food. I like recipes that are quick, easy and require as few dishes as possible (because I hate doing dishes)! I am the Simple.

With our powers combine....well, I hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for recipes to be posted here.

Much love - Jenna