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Tag Archives: The Good Things

I feel lucky to have the Pike Place Market so close to my house.  Does that mean I go there as often as I should?  No.  My excuse?  I’d probably default to the lack of parking but at the same time there are lots you can pay for so that’s not good enough.  The truth is I have no excuses and should go there more often.  It’s not just a tourist’s destination.  It’s a local market full of farm fresh produce, seafood, affordable fresh flowers…it’s our local farmers that we should be supporting more.  Not to mention all the ready-to-eat food.  Where do I start?!  I’m a sucker for Beecher’sDeLaurenti Specialty Food & WineThe Crumpet ShopPiroshky-PiroshkyLowell’sLa Buona Tavola Truffle Cafe and Specialty Foods…the list could go on and on.  My advice is to go in the late morning and eat your way through for lunch:)  Go with a friend and share so you’re not stuffing your face but so you can try enough different things without feeling like your pants are going to pop.

La Buona Tavola Truffle Cafe and Specialty Foods – go for some great wine tasting and tastes of truffle goods…yum!

Mr. D’s Greek Deli – great gyro’s here!

Beecher’s Cheese – there’s a viewing window to show you how and where the cheese is made not to mention plenty of delicious foods to buy.  The “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese is pretty amazing…the name says it all.

Piroshky – Piroshky – Does it get much better than a beef and onion piroshky?  Nope:)

I have a little obsession with cookbooks.  Not only do I love using them to cook with but I also love reading them front to back.  I have a lot of people ask me what my go to cookbooks are.  Honestly, there isn’t just one but, below are some of my favorite and most used cookbooks and ones that I feel round out my library pretty well…

Tyler Florence Family Meal – I got this cookbook at a wedding shower and have been in love with it ever since.  I’m a huge fan of Tyler Florence’s restaurants – Wayfare Tavern, Rotisserie & Wine and El Paseo and have found that all of the recipes I’ve tried at home aren’t as complicated as one might expect.  His signature Popovers were definitely a hit at Christmas this year!

Greek Cooking In An American Kitchen – Hands down my favorite cookbook for many reasons.  First of all, I’m Greek and I grew up with this cookbook in my home.  It comes from St. Demetrios Church where I grew up going and now live a few blocks from.  You can buy it directly from them for $25 (bring a check book).  Be sure to check out the Greek Festival they throw every fall.  It’ll really make you want the cookbook even more:)

Williams-Sonoma Cooking For Friends – This cookbook is unlike any other I have.  One of the things I love most about it is that for certain ingredients, they show you 3-4 different ways to cook/prepare them.  For example: Savory Tarts Four Ways – Greek-Style Tomato & Feta Tart, Plum & Goat Cheese Tart, Pear & Gorgonzola Tart and Leek, Pancetta & Gruyére Tart.  It’s a good one I swear!

Cristina’s of Sun Valley – While I lived out my ski bum dreams in Sun Valley about 10 yrs ago my roommate and childhood friend worked at Cristina’s and I was lucky enough to have goodies brought home to me on a consistent basis.  I have been a fan of Cristina’s Italian food for a long time now and I love that I can make it in my own home for friends and family.

I’ve recently added (and have been gifted) a few new books to my collection that I’m dying to cook with.  Here are a few of them:

Good Fish – Written by a local Seattleite, this cookbook provides endless sustainable seafood recipes from the Pacific Coast.  I love seafood and am always looking for new recipes…especially ones that don’t require the BBQ since I don’t have much patience for our coal Webber:)

Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors – One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco…this used to be my stomping ground whenever I had a Greek food craving.  It’s upscale and more modern than most Greek spots but the food is memorable and so well executed.

Simply Truffles – My sweet sister-in-law (who knows me well) gave me this cookbook for Christmas.  Trouble…because I’m a truffle addict and this will just give me endless ideas and cost me a pretty penny to try them all.  I’m in!

Bottega – One of my go to spots in Yountville, CA, this oversized cookbook is full of stunning photos and recipes that define California Cuisine…something I miss.  The Parmesan Dip I blogged about is from his other book Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking which I love so I have no doubts that this cookbook will win me over too.

Time and time again you’re on your way to a friend or family member’s house for dinner and you ask yourself, “What should I bring?”.  The standard bottle of wine is always a safe bet but if you want to switch it up and bring something that will stand out here are a few suggestions…

You can find these cute mini latte bowls from Anthropologie and the best part is that they’re totally affordable and won’t break the bank.  I have these in practically every color and use them all the time for dips and spreads:)What a cute gift…a rosemary tree!  This one I happened to pick up at Whole Foods.  It’s fun and festive and great to give to someone you know likes to cook.  There’s even a booklet with recipes using rosemary attached to it.  Just add a fun bow and it’s all set!Find cute monogrammed stationary for a friend and tie a cute bow around it…tah dah!Homemade treats are always a great gift.  Whether it’s caramels, seasoning salts or this parmesan dipping sauce…there’s something about “homemade” that you just can’t beat!  I was given these cute labels for Christmas last year and they always come in handy for times like this:)

Chargers

Whatever kind of meal I’m cooking – casual or fancy – I’m a huge believer in setting the table.  For me, it’s kind of like making the bed in the morning…I have to do it or it just doesn’t feel right.  The presentation of dinner (or any meal for that matter) is just as important as the taste in my opinion and I’ve found that using chargers under my dinner plates adds just the right touch.  They’re a low maintenance accessory and can make such a huge difference.  *Great gift idea for the perfect entertainer!

Here are some chargers I found that I think would work great on any table:

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Greek Pepper Mill

Periodically I’m going to share with you “The Good Things” – items in my kitchen or culinary life that I love so much, I want to share them with you.

This time it’s my Greek Pepper Mill.  Not the cheapest pepper mill out there but it’s well worth it and I have since given it as a gift many times to those that I know will appreciate it.  It grinds peppercorns really fine which I love and is easy to use.  I love the authentic design, and considering I’m Greek, it’s a must in my kitchen!

In Seattle I’ve found it at Mrs. Cooks in the University Village otherwise it’s an easy thing to order online.  WIth the holidays quickly approaching, it could be the perfect gift for a culinarian in your life.

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