Posts Tagged ‘friends

06
Dec
10

What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!

As I was making the dressing the other night for our dinner salad, I started to think about Katie’s boss, Robert.  Robert is more than just my spouse’s boss, he is also a friend.  We’ve had him over to the house on a number of occasions.

Patty and Mary B. (they are sisters and Mary is actually a SISTER!), my sweet Katie, Me and Robert at our wedding reception

 He was a guest at our wedding. 

The happy brides

 He was one of the first of our friends to play on our pool table last year.  He even gave the table it’s nickname, “Big Pink”. 

Apparently we are the second people in the entire city of Portland to have pink felt installed on their pool table.

That’s right, our pool table has pink felt! And it is beautiful.

So, what brought Robert to mind was maple syrup.  The last time he was over for dinner and pool he brought us a bottle of Coombs Family grade A syrup, “the good stuff”, as he pointed out. 

The Good Stuff

 He always gives us the most thoughtful gifts.

The first thing Robert ever gave us was when Katie and I first started dating.  I’ll never forget it.  It was October 2007 and Katie came to my little Hobbit Hole of a basement apartment with the most adorable little black boxes with orange ribbon that said “Boo” on it.  I’m pretty sure I still have that ribbon.  Inside the box was the sweetest (literally) little ghost shaped truffle.  When Katie told me they were a gift from her boss Robert, I knew we were gonna be friends.  These adorable little confections come from L.A Burdick Hand Made Chocolate in New Hampshire.

A sweet surprise from "the boss"

 

He's "Boo-ti-ful"!

The impressive gift giving continued.  He really wowed us with our wedding gift – A fabulous assortment of honey from all over the world.  The honey from Italy was the most delicious, amazing, delightful sweet nectar that has ever danced across my tongue and slid down my throat hole (Little Nicky fans will get that reference)!  He also presented us with a generous gift certificate for our favorite spa resort, which is where our wedding just happened to be.

Katie and I share the birth month of February (yay Aquarians!) and our natal days are 7 days and ah, ahem, several years apart.  The younger one is on the first and the more mature one is the eighth.  We like to celebrate the entire month, so people can pick whatever day they want to celebrate with us. I don’t recall the exact day that Robert chose this year, but he did take us out to one of our favorite Thai restaurants here in Portland, E San in the Pearl District.  Our friends, Lisa and Angel, joined us there for a spicy treat of an evening.  If that wasn’t generous enough of Robert, he also brought us presents!  A beautiful bag filled with confections from Moonstruck Chocolate.  There was a can of Mexican Hot Cocoa (OMG – soooo good and rich!) and a box filled with hand selected truffles.  Our buddy knows we love coconut, so there were a couple of those and if I recall there were mocha and some Baileys (creamy beige for you “Old Gregg” fans).

Robert has taken us out for lunches for no reason at all.  Nice lunches.  Delicious cuisine and great conversation.  He also plays a mean game of Bananagrams!

I love this game!

Another thing that is so great about Robert is he keeps me writing.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was a Jewish mother in drag ( or is it drab?), the way he can nag me about keeping up this blog for my readers.

If only he had dressed as a Jewish mother for Halloween, this would have been perfect!

 In other words, behind every great food blogger there is a great hungry guy wanting his fix!

Ready for your close up, Bobby?

Dear, sweet Robert, you are a kind, loving and true gentleman. We love you.

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18
Oct
10

Purple Haze and Birthdays…….

I am not necessarily a tradition based person.  We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with any sort of tradition.  In fact, we haven’t celebrated either of those two holidays for 2 years now.  They are merely two paid holidays from work.  That being said, I seem to have fallen into a tradition in October that used to only be reserved for my Halloween born grandson.

For the past three years I have made a special birthday cake for my friend and grasshopper, Emily.  Her birthday falls on October 15th.  Emily made several delicious home-made pizzas and I made a spice cake with cream cheese frosting for her 24th birthday.  For her 25th birthday last year, we celebrated by going bowling and eating the Root Beer Cake.  As Emily is maturing to the ripe old age of 26th, her birthday cakes are evolving as well.  We decided several months back that this was the year of the Purple Haze cake.

Crazy delicious cake!

I used my Red Velvet cake recipe and substituted Wilton gel violet food coloring for the “traditional” red color.  Although I had hoped the cake would be a more distinct purple color after it was baked, it was still a huge hit.  I’d like to think it was my crazy baking talent that made it so tasty, but perhaps it was the “special” butter used in the frosting  between the  four layers  that made it truly an experience.  As the late Jimi Hendrix would say “Are you experienced?”  After eating the Purple Haze cake, everyone was indeed experienced.

A light, birthday nosh and the Purple Haze cake

Emily wanted salad platters for her birthday meal.  She mentioned seeing salad platters in food magazines and she wanted them for her birthday dinner.  We ate kinda late, as she and Chuck came directly to our house from Breitenbush Hot Springs where they had spent the night and then spent the day soaking in hot springs, being pampered with soothing massage treatments and feasting on amazing vegetarian cuisine.  They were ready to continue eating  healthy fare and then indulge in a wicked treat of a birthday cake.

Emily did all of the food styling on the platters

I roasted potatoes earlier in the day, as well as crisp stirred fresh organic green beans.

We love our grains!

A couple of days before her birthday, Emily and I brainstormed about what we wanted on the platters.  We got all organized and made a list of possibilities.  There were a few more items on that list, but what I managed to throw together, I’d say everyone was more than satisfied with the food of the weekend.

Feta cheese on the outsides of the platter, moving in to the wheat berrie salad and then spicy quinoa  in the center, topped by chili powder sprinkled avocado slices.  So simple.  So good!

Tastes so good and it's so good for you

A little do ahead work and you have a light meal

The potatoes were tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic and onion powder and roasted in a 350 degree oven until done.  I sautéed the green beans in peanut oil, fresh chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and cracked pepper.  A splash of some mirin and put the lid on to lightly steam the beans for a minute.  They stayed bright green and very snappy.

We also had a bowl of mixed greens from the garden dressed with a creamy pesto concoction that I whipped up from what I had on hand.

And then came dessert………………………………

I was going for a certain look....

Ok, so when I think Purple Haze, I think hippies, tye dye, trippin’, Jimi Hendrix music (duh).  I envisioned a cake that looked like it was tye dyed.  This cake look more like stained glass window on the top (which was pretty cool) and the tye dye on the sides reminded me of some kinda medallions.  At any rate, it was a fun cake to make and it made an excellent conversation piece.  We kept it center stage on the table and sat around it, almost in worship.   But eventually we had to cut it.

It had to be done

See, it doesn’t really look purple in the picture, but it really had a purple tint to it in real life.  The frosting is my favorite vanilla butter cream.  The frosting between the layers  has coconut and almond extract.  The outer frosting is tinted vanilla.  It was a damn good cake.

Emily kept saying “this is the best birthday ever!”  Coulda’ been her best birthday ever.  Coulda’ been that she was exhausted from a spa day and a long drive.  Coulda’ been a belly full of delicious, nutritious food.  Or it coulda just been the cake talkin’.’

06
Jul
10

Boy, did we have fun!

I decided to try my hand at making a little movie presentation of our Fourth of July gathering.  We had some of our very special friends over to help celebrate the holiday with us.  As always, there was more than enough food.

We played darts, cowboy golf, badminton and of course, pool!  I spent a lot of time in what Katie calls my “natural habitat,” the kitchen, cranking out the goodies.  I even made a new barbeque sauce using rhubarb!  Thank goodness I had my grasshopper, Emily, there to help me.

We had hummus, pita bread, guacamole, bagel chips, grilled corn on the cob, grilled veggie skewers bathed with that rhubarb sauce,  kale and carrot salad, wheatberry salad and quinoa salad.  There were no lack of sweets.  I made peanut butter cookies, oatmeal triple chip cookies and lemon coconut pixies.  Emily baked a raspberry buttermilk cake which was the perfect foil for my homemade strawberry frozen yogurt.  Robert brought a perfect watermelon, beautiful fresh raspberries, red and gold, and blueberries.

I only wish I had taken more pictures.  Especially of us all shooting firecrackers and bottle rockets off!

Enjoy the film presentation.  (Ignore the date on the title page – this really was filmed on the 4th of July)




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