Monday, August 31, 2015


I caught wind that Gastropod in SoDo (Southern downtown in Seattle) was closing in two weeks! I had only been once before for a work event but I had been dying to take Jeff back. Gastropod is a teeny tiny kitchen in an unassuming dining area. There are two servers tops at any one time. They have beers from Epic Ales Brewery and some really creative and divine food. 
As it is the closing in weeks, the dining and bar area were packed with no seats but our server was happy to serve us wine and been in the waiting area. 
Most of the seating is around the chef's cooking area. Jeff and I always love the chef's table as we get to see all of the cooking action (and let's be real, after 9 years together it isn't like we have to gaze into each other's eyes - so the entertainment of watching chef's creating amazing food is our preference). Seriously, the kitchen was tiny - he had an oven and two burners. We were impressed with the kind of food that he could easily make without having a giant industrial kitchen. 
We started out with a beet, potato and grape salad. I have never thought of those three foods together but it was really a wonderful combination. The dressing was a huckleberry nutella mixture - Jeff was loving that.
Next, we had roasted shishito peppers with kim chee tofu sauce. The sauce was so creamy did not have any dairy in it (yay for me!). Shishito peppers are just the right amount of spicy and they are killer when roasted. For all you Denver people, Linger has a dish with roasted shishito peppers and fried cheese curds - highly recommended. 
Then we were brave and tried Geoduck (pronouced gooey duck) which is a large clam species. I asked Jeff what Geoduck was and he reminded me that is was the sea creature that looks like a penis! When in Rome! It was actually really tasty. The taste was like a light white fish and the texture was very much like a mushroom.
I also ordered a steak which melted in my mouth. I was terribly sad to let Jeff eat all of the gnocchi and taleggio cheese due to my food issues but he did enjoy both very much.
Our last course (or Jeff's last course as this is all dairy) was a panna cotta with huckleberries and espresso cookies. We thought the dish was a great serving size for a nice sweet treat at the end of dinner.

We are sad to see such a great restaurant near our house close but the brewer and chef due who opened Gastropod are moving to a new endeavor called Mollusk - which will be right near my work!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ginger Mint Fizz

  • 6 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 6 mint leaves
  • Pinch brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 1/3 cup ginger beer
  • 1/3 cup champagne

Muddle the ginger, mint and brown sugar in the bottom of a glass. Combine the sake and ginger beer and shake over ice. Pour sake and ginger mixture into class with muddle. Top with the champagne and stir. Garnish with mint.

Do you know what I love about cocktails? They are generally gluten free, dairy free, soy free AND vegetarian. I call that healthy. This is a refreshing summer drink, great for hot summer days. Pairs well with Asian food.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sake and Soy Baked Sockeye

  • 2 – 6 oz Sockeye Salmon filets
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup miso broth
  • ¼ cup sake
  • ¼ cup gluten free soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ Tbsp gluten free sweet chile paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup green onion, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-4 cups cooked rice

Heat oven to 400⁰.  Mix brown sugar and all liquid ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk and add sesame seeds.  

Add coconut oil to an oven proof pan and melt.  Once melted, cook bell pepper, green onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat.  After onion is translucent push vegetables to side of pan, put salmon filets skin side down over medium heat.   After about 1½ - 2 minutes flip the filets over and cook for about another minute.  After cooking, remove filets from pan and set aside.

Add liquid ingredients to the pan.  Stir all ingredients to incorporate and bring ingredients to a simmer.   Carefully place filets back into the pan and move pan to oven.  Let cook for 5-10 minutes.   After five to ten minutes, remove from oven.

For gravy, strain cooking liquid from pan.  Cook 1 Tbsp coconut flour in 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.  Once cooked, slowly add cooking liquid and stir until thickened.
Serve with rice. Garnish with strained vegetables from cooking liquid.

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Refinishing Craig's List Nightstands

Since I am the proud owner of a house I have the garage space to really get crafty. I have been in the market for some time for nightstands to match the dark wood dresser I have. Very few items quite looked as I hoped and the ones I fell in love with were $100/nightstand. With the countless hours I have spent pinning my life away - I decided that I could probably make what I wanted just as well.

I searched Craig's list and finally came up with some light wood nightstands that were in pretty good condition. $80 for the two of them. Not a steal by any means, but they are sturdy wood and in great shape. I went to pick them up which was an awkward enough experience in itself. I was ready to lift one out and came to realize the gal hadn't emptied the drawer!

So for those of you who think crafting is not for you - this stuff is easy.

Step 1: Buy used furniture

Step 2: Cleaning, sanding and staining.
I cleaned the nightstands with antibacterial wipes to get off all the dust and other awkward things like candle wax (I don't even want to know!). Then I took a little sandpaper cube and got to work. I tried to evenly sandpaper the entire wood surface, then cleaned it again to get the wood dust off. I did not sand the drawers, because I was not planning to stain them. Then I bought a black wood stain and a staining brush. I was light on the stain because I didn't want it to drip. I also just did one side at a time and let it dry before flipping it to avoid drip marks. I fully intended to do a second coat but one seemed good enough! I was really tired of getting my phone off the floor in the mornings and was anxious to get these babies up and ready to use. Make sure to let it dry in a dry warm place or it does this weird bubbly action.

Step 3: Cover the drawers in contact paper.
I was very disappointed with the contact paper at the local hardware stores so I took to the internet. Much better section there! I was debating a bright orange pattern but settled on neutral colors so I could change my bedroom colors and still keep the nightstands. First, remove the current knobs - usually they just screw off on the inside of the drawer. Then measure and cut the contact paper to cover the front of the drawer with a little extra to go over the sides. Take off the backing and stick it on, easy as that! Well actually, not entirely easy. It takes a lot of patience to have the pattern stay straight and to work out any air bubbles. I used a flat edged piece of plastic (used to clean my stone cooking pans) to work bubbles to the edge.

Step 4: Pick out hardware.
I picked these up at Anthropologie, but I know World Market also carries knobs. As always, take to the internet when you are looking for something particular. You can always keep changing the look of the nightstands by switching out knobs. Just poke them right on through the contact paper and screw in the back.

Step 5: Assemble, put in desired room and grab a glass of fermented grapes. 
Then stand with the glass in your room looking dang proud of what you have accomplished.

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Recipe Book is DONE!

I started the friends and family recipe book on January 25th 2010. The book was completed September 20, 2012. Two years and eight months is complete! Wow, what a journey this was. It started as a simple gesture to capture my mother's recipes and turned into something much greater. The recipe book now has over 240 recipes from friends and family all over the country. Some of these recipes are new ones found in cookbooks and some are recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Before this endeavor, I could barely make eggs, "cooking' meant grilled cheese and my post living at home diet turned into fast-food, and pasta. Recipes seemed hard, confusing and not worth the time. The recipe book has changed all of that.

At first it was hard; my knife wielding skills were terrible (they have advanced to mediocre) and I had no sense of the food. No sense of flavors, textures and cooking times. I could not improvise and followed directions to a T. During the recipe book I probably made over 100 calls to people asking what the heck I was suppose to do (mainly my mother). Humorous memories include the time I thought 1/2 can milk meant they sold cans of milk and not just to use the can I just opened and fill it with milk. The time I called to ask what the heck Oleo was, I thought it was some sort of Spanish Frito. It was hard to learn the ways of cooking, it took me hours to locate some of these ingredients in the grocery store. But I can say, that this project has changed all of that.

I am now very comfortable in the kitchen. I LOVE to cook! I love to try new things, new foods, follow recipes, improvise and learn from those around me. I CAN cook. My mistakes are less, my recovery time faster and my dishes more advanced. And in the mist of all that discovery, I still want to come home from a hard day and smell my mother's chili cooking on the stove, the familiar scent of her chicken nuggets baking, or the calm aroma of the banana bread. Classic recipes I have had since I was a child that will never cease to make their way into my kitchen. Christmas morning is always her Christmas Casserole and I hope it will always be. Family traditions are important and the food we eat is a big part of tradition. It reminds us that in a world of constant change and struggle, there are things that will always be there. The love of family.

I am excited to learn more. I have recently decided to learn how to can from my mom. We have started on peach jam, peaches and apple pie in a jar. There is an infinite amount of food knowledge and we can access it from every person we know, we just have to be willing to try.

Thank you to everyone for your support in this process. Thank you for giving up your recipes, taking my confused calls, eating all this food and believing that I could put together something great. Thank you to my mom Jan, my sister Ali and my boyfriend Jeff for spending countless hours editing the pages so it wasn't printed with 2 'gloves' of garlic.

This really has been an eye-opening project and I hope the recipe book provides you with inspiration and comfort.

Love, Jenna

**Email me at if you would like a PDF of the recipe book.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Food Pics

Left over carrots and green beans? Make an Egg! Lame post but awesome picture, worth it?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homemade bread and burgers

Jeff and I have been really getting into the cook from scratch spirit. We took a long hard look at our finances and bellies and decided that cooking at home was the way to go. I decided as a New Years resolution for 2011 (better late then never) that I wanted to learn how to cook more items from scratch; bread, pasta, noodles etc. My first attempt at bread was okay but not great. I don't think I let it cook long enough and the result was a doughy, yeast tasting center. Don't get me wrong, I love doughy centers but the yeasty taste was a little weird. Oh well, try again! I tried again and was successful! I made six buns that were soft, crunchy and looked like actual bread! The recipe I used can be found here.

I we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner on the drive home from the gym."Well we have ground beef"...and the conversation took off from there. It seemed that all of our leftover odds and ends could all come together in a meal: homemade buns toasted with coconut butter, burgers (Jeff seasoned and added an egg white), turkey bacon, an egg yolk for me (left over from the egg white) and simple salad with lemon juice and olive oil. One slight mistake, HOLY LEMON JUICE. Someone ( drained an entire lemon on the plate. Tart! Anyways to sum it all up, we were so stinking proud of ourselves for creating a meal that I am sure people make everyday. Hello!? Bread has been a around a while, I need to get with the program.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rioja Brunch

You may remember (probably not) a previous post about dinner at Rioja. Good news for you...Rioja does brunch! It truly is a fantastic breakfast experience. And until the word gets out, there is very rarely a wait to get in even on Saturday's and Sundays. So when Snooze tells you the wait is going to be 4 hours or something ridiculous like that....check out Rioja!

The spritzers - a variety of juices with sparking water. The pomegranate was so refreshing. 
Prosciutto wrapped mozzarella. I don't view it as a traditional breakfast item but who is going to argue with food this good?
Strawberry stuffed french toast, for the sweet tooth.
My favorite - Eggs Benedict! Going to say one of the best Benedicts I have had. They really take the time to come up with  great flavor combinations.
Cute Cute Cute! Sea Salt and Pepper with a little scoop. Just adorable.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jeff's Dinner

I am very sad to say that these pictures are very old and I can't remember the recipe. Jeff created this fantastic meal for me and all I can say is that is was wonderful. Perhaps I can guess what was happening....If not, we can chop this one up to food porn.

Bruchetta toasted with hummus, feta and basil?
Bacon, onion and misc. green herb
Pre-dairy allergy - BUTTER with misc. green herb
Mixing all of the above?
Ohh looks like blue cheese too!
Good gosh...salivating it!
Oh would you look at that. Cute leftover meal for work.