happy hour

happy hour

When you’ve just spent a substantial amount of time quietly freaking out about something, getting unexpected good news may well send you straight to the nearest bar to try to process the emotional reversal. Last week, after spending the afternoon at Virginia Mason Hospital and being reassured by a reliable source that my husband would most likely NOT need a horrible sounding medical procedure, we headed right for Barrio and began consuming celebratory cocktails, including one made of extremely ferocious ghost-chile-infused tequila. Plus a lot of their most excellent guacamole.

Then we went to Volunteer Park and sat together, enjoying the view.

Volunteer Park


pzgetti & meatballs

Sorry for being such a cruddy blogger this week. The above picture of spaghetti and meatballs is the only food photo I’ve taken in the past week – it’s kinda embarrassing. I made a really tasty Sichuan stirfry of green beans, pork and tofu a few days ago, but completely failed to document it. The mushroom lasagna and the roast chicken, while extremely delicious, have already been thoroughly blogged about. And last night I ate squid in tomato sauce, some sort of roasted meat and a yellow rice pilaf from a buffet in a retirement home (it was the kickoff party for an art show), and it seemed too strange to photograph.

Maybe next week.

refilling the well

leftover pizza

I seem to have hit another one of those dry spells. I’ve taken nearly 3000 photos since the beginning of the year, but most of them were for my studio class, and I just never seem to have the energy to pull out the camera yet again at mealtime. Also, it’s felt like we’re in sort of a holding pattern of late-winter meals, waiting for the first spring vegetables and some decent grilling weather. It’s hard to think of what to write when we’re just cooking the same sorts of things over and over and over. I mean, I love roast chicken and root vegetables, but you probably don’t need to hear about it every week.

Jack Snipenew rhubarb

But the sun is beginning to make appearances, the rhubarb is charging out of the ground, and the air smells sweet with violets and narcissus. I planted peas today and picked some fresh herbs for tonight’s pork steaks, and it feels like there might be new things happening. What’s everyone else cooking this week?


approved organic waste

When I heard that we were actually going to be able to recycle food waste and packaging in our town, I got a bit excited.

This might be a weird thing to be excited about, but I’ve always been a huge proponent of recycling, and it annoys the heck out of me when I have to throw something in the trash that could theoretically be composted or recycled. At least we’ve always had good glass/paper/plastic options here in Skagit County, unlike some places that won’t let you recycle anything except newspapers and pop cans. If that.

recyclingapproved organic waste

We have a compost bin, of course – a rather awesome setup where we can fling vegetable trimmings and eggshells off the side of the deck into a waiting bin many feet below, with a cool hinged lid on a long rope – but meat scraps and paper food packaging, like pizza boxes and mushroom bags, have always had to go into the trash (for fear of attracting pests – have you ever had to dig mice out of a compost heap? Not nice). Now these things can go into our yard waste bin, which I have previously just used for tree prunings and evil invasive weeds like bindweed, horsetail and buttercup, which would take over the world if left in the regular compost.

The only downside I can think of with this is if you routinely dump chicken carcasses and fat scraps into your bin, especially in hot weather, you’re likely to get maggots if not something worse, like opossums, but our (I think) clever solution to this is to put our bones and scraps in a container in the freezer, where they accumulate all week, and then dump them into the waste bin the day before collection. No smell, no bugs!


Now our weekly garbage pickup, always small, is even more miniscule. It’s probably about as small as it’s likely to get until we find a good place to recycle cat box scoopings.