the dinners of February

winter dusk

February has been surprisingly busy. I have a few articles coming out in the March issue of Grow Northwest, and I’m working on two restaurant reviews. I just took down one photography show and am about to put up another. Plus my band is deep into rehearsals for Saint Patrick’s Day (come see us!) But we’ve still been shopping and cooking and eating. And, sometimes, going out because we just don’t want to cook any more.


One night we decided to try two new recipes at once from our favorite Indian cookbook, the small but mighty Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen (seriously, there is nothing bad in this book). The spiced broccoli was very nice, but the star was the chickpeas with tomatoes, ginger and green chiles. Along with a chicken coconut vindaloo and buttermilk chapati, this was a killer dinner.

Valentine's Day tagine

Valentine's wine

For Valentine’s Day we stayed home, opened a fabulous bottle of wine that Jon brought back from Santa Cruz and made lamb tagine with preserved lemons and green olives.

fish tacos

I tried out the fish tacos at Coa, the latest incarnation of our neighborhood Mexican place. They were extremely good. They also make a really excellent chicken enchilada, and the corn chips arrive warm from the fryer. Mmm.

salted caramel cake at Pure Bliss

And we finally got around to visiting Pure Bliss in Bellingham, a dessert place that I’ve had a gift certificate from for an embarrassingly long time.


I spent a weekend afternoon simmering a really wonderful pot roast from our Skagit Angus beef. I was working on an article about Irish cooking, so I braised the beef in Guinness and made colcannon to go with it. I’ll tell you about the chocolate Guinness cake sometime soon…

cassoulet soup

After a fun night with friends, we were gifted with leftovers of the cassoulet they made. The sausage, pork belly and duck fat only got more redolent with time, so I diluted the leftovers by adding a quart of duck broth and a whole head of curly kale. It made a fabulously velvety and rich soup.

the fourth course

We also went out to a wine dinner at a local restaurant. Some of the courses were…small.


And last night was one of our very simple standbys: boneless chicken thighs tossed with a teriyaki-style marinade (soy sauce, Chinese shiaoxing wine, sugar and ginger) and baked in the oven, with rice and stir-fried broccoli. With a splop of sambal oelek on top, this is one of my favorite eat-in-front-of-the-TV dinners.

red witch hazel

What have you been cooking this February?

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