Local Food

A Tale of Two Turnips

Erica's Garden - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 10:20am



Let me share with you a dumb-ass rookie gardening mistake I made this past fall. This is something that I should know better by now…but for some reason it just didn’t click in my brain.

Take a look at the two turnips above.

One has an awesome, plump root and the other has a small, skinny root .

One was sown in a bed that had peas and fava beans grown in it earlier in the season. One was (accidentally sown) outside of the bed in the walkway.

Care to take a guess as to which turnip was grown where? I’ll tell you: The awesome root turnip landed OUTSIDE the garden bed when I planted these seeds, and as a result, the root bulbed out because the soil IN the garden bed had WAAAAAYYYY too much nitrogen.

Why? Because legumes, like the the peas and fav beans are nitrogen fixers. This means they bring in a lot of nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots. This is perfect for plants that are heavy feeders like corn and tomatoes, or for plants that are leafy, like lettuce. Too much nitrogen in your soil is not awesome for fruiting. You will get great greens, but your beets, radishes, turnips…whatever will suck.

This is especially relevant for those who have soil trucked in for raised beds, which I did.  In my case, when I built my garden, I had used a combination of topsoil and mushroom compost. This combo was super high in nitrogen thanks to the compost.

Last year I added bone meal and wood ash before I planted anything to add potassium and phosphorous to help balance things out, and it helped. I actually got some radishes. However, I didn’t even THINK about the fact that I had a high-nitrogen bed when I chose to plant the turnips.

I came across a little mantra a few years ago that I filed away in the “I’ll check that out later” folder in my brain: “beans, fruits, green, roots”. This is a simple little crop rotation reminder. The crops are basically planted in order of their nitrogen use.

So…I’m going to rip out the turnips and use the greens for something, then plant potatoes in this bed, since they are a member of the nightshade family (like tomatoes) they are technically a fruit.

Gardening is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be…but I still love it.

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Categories: Local Food Blogs

Travel Skills and Budgeting For Czeck Republic

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 4:12pm

Getting around cities on busses, trams, and metro:

The ticked you buy is based on time of travel. If it is going to take you 25 min. to get there, pay for 30 min. of time. You get the same ticket for all 3 methods of transportation, and it is all the same price. You validate your ticket, and the time starts. There are scanners (or perhaps stampers) that you put your ticket in as you get on the bus or tram. I believe it is at the gate in the metro stations.

Eating and drinking out:

Meals in Brno (Czech Republic's second largest city, and not as touristy as Prague). For main courses expect to pay 150-300 Kc. 200ish is the standard. Beer (Pivo) is typically 35-45 Kc. At the time this was written $1 USD was equal to 24 Kc. So, dinner for 1 is about 330 Kc. (2) beers, and a meal ~300-350 Kc. 5-10% tip is standard.

Trains, city to city;

This can be a little tricky. If you are trying to get back to Prague from another city, remember in Czech, Prague is called Praha... It will help you if you know where you are going, and what train you want. Check out this website: http://www.cd.cz/en/default.htm When you get in line to purchase your ticket, look for a younger person. You are doing this because you are hoping the person speaks English. Our tickets cost us 219 Kc ($9.13 USD) one way. You will get a ticket that might as well have no information on it. It will look like this:
Next you will want to find a digital information board. This will tell you the track, and plat form your train is on. This is also tricky, because the sign may not list your destination. Instead it might list the final destination for the train. When we traveled from Prague to Brno, the train’s final destination was Gratz Austria. If you can, ask a local for help. Again look for someone 35 or younger. I use this as a good excuse to talk to pretty Czech ladies....


Last trip to Czech Republic (2/28/16-3/5/16) we stayed at Brewery/Hotel Pegas in Brno, and Brewery/Hotel U Medvidku in Prague.

Our first night in Prague was a Sunday night, 2/28/16. A very nice double room at U Medviku cost us 50 Euro or 1353 Kc or $56.38 USD. It was very spacious with (2) twin beds, and a huge shower. Later we stayed in the same hotel on a Thursday, and Friday night. Price of both nights in a much less fancy room was 160 Euro, or 4320 Kc, or $180.00 USD. ($90 bucks a night.) Paying $90 close to the weekend, we got a funky more European style room. I liked it better, but there was a lot less room to move around. The shower was small (standard for Europe). The Wi-Fi did not very well. We stayed in room 303 on the 3rd floor. Americans would call this the 4th floor, but in Europe the ground floor is 0, not 1.

We were in Brno for a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (2/29/16-3/2/16) Monday, and Tuesday the charged us 2250 KC ($93.75 USD) a night. For Thursday night they charged us 2125 Kc ($88.54 USD)

Since it was important to my travel partner, and me to stay at breweries, we payed a bit more for lodging. Outside of Prague it looks like you can get a decent room for $50 USD a night, during non-tourist season. Any time of year, even in Prague, if you are paying more that $125 USD a night. You are paying to much. Next trip I am considering renting an appartment in Brno for 3 weeks.
Categories: Local Food Blogs

The Front Yard Project

Erica's Garden - Wed, 03/09/2016 - 1:28pm

Here’s a little progress update on the the grand Front Yard Project. We (mainly Jefe) have been busy tearing out the chainlink fence that was crushed by a tree that fell during an ice storm a few years ago:


It’s a mess. There was a TON of blackberries and weeds we had to take out. Not to mention trees that actually grew THROUGH the fence:


It’s a lot of work! I still don’t know if we are going to build the new fence ourselves, sovaldi sale or hire it out. We got a quote and…OUCH! I am of two minds about this: we would save so much money if we did it ourselves, but if we hired it out it would DONE in a week and we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Aside from the fence, one of the first projects in the Front Yard I am going to tackle is converting the ditch in the front to a bioswale, or rain garden. Here’s the ditch:

bioswaleTo give you some reference it’s about 75 feet long. The first thing I am going to do is solarize the grass and weeds with black plastic. It’s going to look like crap, and I am a little embarrassed, but then I have to remember that our yard has looked trashy for years, so what’s another month or two, right?

The landscape designer I hired last year came up with a list of plants for the bioswale that I am starting to source. In order to save money I am trying to start as many as I can from seed, which so far isn’t going all that well. I decided to try the winter sowing method using old water jugs that are turned into mini greenhouses. I planted these back in January and only one has sprouted so far.
wintersowingjugsHere are the jugs! Not all of them are for the bioswale specifically. Only the Elks Blue and Slough Sedge.

SloughSeedlingsAnd only the Slough Sedge has sprouted. These plants are suited for wetlands and will be planted in the bottom of the swale because…well…they can handle water. Variegated golden sweet flag, which is another pond/bog plant will also be planted. I actually found some of these at my local Lowes but I haven’t purchased them yet. Also on the list and not purchased yet are dayliliies, which will be planted higher up on the slopes. The other plant I am trying to start from seed is Juncus patens ‘Elks Blue’, another grass suited for wet places like rain gardens. I bought more seeds this week and am going to try going the traditional route of starting them under lights since they don’t seem to like the jug.

And…last but not least…a landscaping strawberry will be planted along the top edge on the street side. I actually have some of these in my back yard I think I can just transplant. Every little bit helps!

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Categories: Local Food Blogs

Kilkenny, Smithwick's, and coming home

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Tue, 03/08/2016 - 7:54am
Killing Time In Kilkenny 3/7/16
     Kilkenny is a lovely old town with buildings that date back to the 1300s. It was home to beer brewing Franciscan monks until the vile English murdered them. It was home to lovely brewery called Smithwick's, until a corporation called Diageo purchased the brewery, closed it, and moved production to the the Guinness plant in Dublin. (They also own Guinness)
     Diamond Dave, and I arrived in Kilkenny around noon on the 7th. We got settled into our private room at a hostel, then headed out to experience the town. First stop was at a place called the Smithwick's Experience. (you better be reading that as “Smitt-icks!)  It is the pseudo brewery tour for the Smithwick's brand. We decided we should come back for the 3:00pm tour. With our plans made, we headed over to the 12th century castle. From the outside this looks like a bad-ass fortress. On the inside it is a boring palace. We wandered around, and took photos. At some point I had to use the bathroom. I joked with Dave. Does it make me a king because I shit in a castle?

     We returned to the Smithwick's Experience at 3:00pm. You are treated to videos, video talking pictures, holograms, props, and historic brewing equipment. A charming young fella named Simon leads the tour. He worked at the brewery for six years, and his father worked there before him. As any good tour does, this one ends in the gift shop. A charming local gal works the gift shop, so of course we spent some time chatting her up. Like you do….
     After the tour it was time for food. We asked the pretty local gal where to go. She pointed us to a pub housed in a building that was built in the 1300s,  Kyteler’s inn. Dave had roast beef, and I had a sirloin steak sandwich, called the bookmaker’s sandwich. We or course drank pints of Smithwick's. Unlike in the US the Smithwick's  tasted good. Very dry, and drinkable. This Irish Red Ale is brewed with just Pale Malt, and Roasted malts. There are no caramel, crystal malts. When it is fresh, and un-oxidized it is quite refreshing, and drinkable. After dinner we headed over to a whiskey bar called Dylon’s. The barkeep helped us choose a whiskey. Soon we had a large, old Irish man chatting with us. He was very hard to understand, and kind of clingy. He kept repeating himself over, and over. His name was Patty Taylor, and he seemed to be well liked, by the regulars, aside from being quite strange. As we attempted to converse with this fellow, we learned that he was a retired Brewer from Smithwick'.  We would have stuck around a bit longer, but Patty was getting to be to much.
     Out on the street, I exclaimed to Dave that I was done. “I am giving up the beer, the whiskey all of it! I am done! You see how old brewers turn out!” So, next we went looking for another pub. On a whim we wandered into a place. We started making conversation with the barkeep, a nice local lady. When she found out we were brewers she introduced us to an old fella named Bobby (Robert). Robert was brewery manager at the Smithwick's plant for 43 years! What the hell kind of fate is it that Dave, and I should bump into this man? This was very special to us. We spent a couple hours talking about beer, brewing, and breweries with this man. It was really cool. I picked his brain about the formulation of Smithwick's, and showed him photos on my phone. I told him about brewing with fresh hops, and told him of some of the ridiculous things we do in America. Like the 12% ABV IPA that got three dry hop additions. I showed him the photos of the two six foot long mesh sacks I stuffed in my BT. We joked about the pain in the ass of integrating new equipment, and how it always fucks things up for a little while. Eventually we asked Robert if he remembered a fella named Patty Taylor. He sure did. He spoke fondly of Patty, and asked where we ran into him at. This is when we learned of Patty’s condition. A few years back Patty had a brain aneurysm. It fucked him up pretty good. This is why he had such an issue speaking. When I found this out, I became very proud that we treated him well. This was one of our brewing brothers who suffered a horrible misfortune. As it got late Robert had to go. We bid him farewell, and thanked him for speaking with us. Old men like Robert are true gems, and we are lucky to have them. In that, Robert reminded me quite a bit of my father, except he was a happy, positive, and pleasant man.    (love you dad!)
     We made our way back to the hostel. The hostel has rules about no alcohol in the rooms. So, we did what any good person would do. We locked the door, and busted out a bottle of Czech Brewed Stout. Lucky for us we also had a couple of beer mugs with us. Soon it was sleepy time.

3/8 doing fuck-all
     Today we are bussing it from Kilkenny to Ennis (pronounced like Tennis with no T, not penis with no P!) This is taking up most of the day. There is not much to do in Ennis. We will not be getting to see the Burren, or the Cliffs of Moher. We will be spending time getting drunk again tonight, and we need to be to the airport tomorrow at 11am.. We have some Irish drinking buddies here. I hope to get to see my new Irish "girlfriend" Rachey before we depart. I will be going through this blog when I return home. I will add pictures, and un-fuck my bad grammar, and spelling to the best of my abilities.

Edited to add;
We rolled into Ennis around 5pm on Tuesday. We made our way to Lucas Pub. I drank a pint of IPA, I needed food because I had not eaten since breakfast. Dave had 3 pints of Guinness in that time. Just when I thought I was going to get to my dietary needs, Adam, and John showed up. I did the polite thing, and had a pint of Guinness with them. Still needing food, (badly) now John the owner of Western Herb Brewing showed up. OK, fine another pint. At 8pm we finally made it to a place that served food. I ordered a burger. Honestly one of the best damn burgers I have ever had. The Irish beef is grass fed, and raised right. This burger was amazing, or maybe I was just famished?!? Soon we found ourselves back at Lucas pub. Around 10pm my eyes were getting heavy. I wanted to go home, and go to bed. We needed to fly out the next day. I suspect I failed at communicating this effectively. like wise I could not find my way back to Adam's flat on my own, and we only had one key. Soon, I found myself steeling drags off of Dave's fag so I would stop nodding off on my bar stool. We wound up closing the place, and doing another fucking lock-in. Soon, I was being handed rounds of Guinness. Finally at 3 or 3:30am we made our way to Adam's flat. At the flat Adam really wanted to share a bottle of Westvleteren. This is an extremely rare beer, that is very hard to get. Most beer drinkers will never get to try it. At this point I tried to embrace the moment. Truth be told I was tired as fuck, and had no fucks left to give. I drank this beer, and went to bed.
     I woke the next day at about 7am, like a normal person. We had to be to the airport by 11am. A fine gentleman named Gaz drove us there. We flew out at 1pm. Arrived in London at 2:30, and laid over for about five hours. We then spent 9 hours on a plane. I got about 2 hours sleep. We landed in Vancouver BC at 7pm. By 9:30pm We were at Dave's house. I got my car, and headed back to Kirkland. I got in at 11:30pm, and finally made it to bet at 1:00am.
     Ireland has left a bad taste in my mouth. I hope this goes away because the people where very lovely, and it was great to spend time with my dear friend Adam. I just can't hang with their marathon drinking. I require sleep to be happy, and functional human.

Thank you to everyone who followed along reading about our travels. I really enjoy writing about them. I hope I was able to make you laugh a few times. I look forward to seeing, and hugging all of my friends when I get home.
Magnus Schwanz-Spritzer

Categories: Local Food Blogs


Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 5:10am
     Our flight from Czech Republic got into Dublin around 7pm. We found our way to our Air B&B, and got settled. Next, we headed out on foot looking for dinner. We passed by a bar called Panties, that had a sign in the window advertising burlesque.  We stumbled upon an NYC style pizza place. We each devoured a slice of pepperoni. Across the street from this place was a Brewery-Pub called the PorterHouse. The place was stupid busy (this was Saturday night in Dublin after all.). We fought our way to the bar, and ordered a couple of pints. I had the Hersbrucker Pilsner, and Dave got the pale ale. It was, so busy we kept getting bumped into. There was a band playing Trad. Music. We made our way over to the stage, and watched the band a spell. A mid 40s balled fella started chatting with me a bit. He was a high school chemistry teacher. After one pint I was getting agitated. I hate feeling like live stock in a corral. We decided it as time to get out of this shit show.  

From the frying pan into the fire…
     Dave wanted to check out this burlesque situation we passed by earlier. Against my better judgment I went along. We ordered a couple of beers, and I started to look around. This is when I started to put things together. The clientele resembled that of Jake’s in Olympia WA. Only gayer. As I was waiting for my beer I noticed a large 50ish man in a blonde wig, and make up sitting at the bar. I pointed this out to Dave. (I started to feel like that old Charley Denials song- uneasy rider) Dave seemed to just be grinning. The bar tenders were muscled up studs in tiny tank tops. The clientele was a mix of straight girls dancing (like at Jake’s), cross dressers, trannies, butch lesbians, ect. I tried to communicate with Dave, but he seemed to have tunnel vision on seeing a burlesque show. We made our way to the stage, when I noticed on of the “gals” up there seemed to be packing a bit of meat. Then I got sexually assaulted. I suppose it is my fault. I was asking for it after all…. A line of folks who seemed to be female came walking past. The small pretty one with to much make-up took a liking to my lovely locks of love, and felt the need to vigorously stroke my hair. Now, if I had known for sure this was a gal, I would let her have her way with me. Had I known it was a tranny, I would have let shim know that s-he needed to back off. I did not know what to do. I was very uncomfortable. I just turned and tried to assume what we call the turtle position in Jiu-jitsu, while at the same time trying to retreat. Soon my assaulter lost interest, and fucked-off. Shis butch lesbian friend apologized for “her” behavior. I stood there with the posture of a victim, as my buddy told the butch lesbian it was OK. “He liked it.” At this point I was extremely uncomfortable. Had this been Jake’s in Oly I would have known how to handle myself. Dave seemed to think this was the funniest thing ever. Suffering from PTSD I just kind of stood there shell shocked. Finally Dave got it, and told me it would be a good idea for us to exit. I like to believe I am hip, and cool with “the gays”, but these were not my friends from Oly, and this was no spot for me…
     We found a proper Irish pub called Slattery’s, and headed in. We found a spot to sit, and soon a lovely young gal came over to help us. I asked her about a Pilsner on drought. She replied it was like a pils. I asked if it was like a good pils or a shitty one. She said it was pretty good. I ordered one. Dave ordered something that tasted like PBR. The pretty gal came back over to see what I thought of the Pilsner. It turns out she was a German gal from Hamburg. I talked with her a bit about what Hamburg was like. I told her of my travels in Germany. In conversation with this beautiful Hamburger, I started to relax. When she turned to walk away is when I noticed this Hamburger had really nice buns. I was quite charmed, and hoped to let her know we would be in town a couple nights. Just in case she wanted to be friends. Unfortunately I don't think the feeling of being charmed was mutual. Her shift ended, and she left without saying good buy.
     Sexually assaulted, and shot down. We headed into a craft beer spot called the Black Sheep. Dave chatted up the bartenders, and I got drunk. They were severing beer from Galway Bay Brewing. It was pretty good. Back at the B&B, I was out before the lights.
3/6 Survivor
     We made our way over to Dublin Castle. We wandered around, took photos, and did the tourist thing. The fortifications have been on this sight since the Vikings took over Dublin, and turned it into a major city around the year 1000. There is a cool round turret type to we from just before the gun powder age. Eventually the castle turned more into a palace for the English thugs who ruled Ireland for most of it's history.
     We decided as brewers in Dublin, we had better tour the Guinness plant. It is not a real tour. Instead it is a marketing experience. There is a bar on top with a panoramic view of the city. For 20€ each they let you walk through this, then drink a “free” pint of Guinness at the end. We did get to see some cool historic brewing equipment. So, that was cool.
     After the Guinness experience we tried to take in a tour of the Jamison distillery. There was an hour wait for this so, we said fuck it.
     We made the long walk back to the neighborhood we are staying in. I insisted that we needed to eat more of that good NYC style pizza from the night before. I got 2 slices this time. (1) Pepperoni, (1) Mushroom, and ham. Dave just got a slice of pepperoni. After stuffing our faces we headed back over to the porterhouse. It was much less crammed and we had a couple of good beers. The bartender was a real cool dude, who knew his shit. He sampled us on about 3 different beers, as we chatted with him. Finally we headed back over to Slattery's pub. We found a spot to sit, and ordered up a couple of Smithwick’s (read that as Smitt-ickes). I spotted the girl of my fancy, the Hamburger, with nice buns. She seemed to be quite busy, and her eye was un-catchable. Before long, an awkward fella sat down next to Dave. He was a 25 year old attorney from southern Italy. He did not drink beer, but seemed very lonely, and lost living in Dublin. He really wanted someone to talk to. I think we spent 2 hours chatting with this fella. He seemed quite civilized, despite coming from the south of Italy. As the pub thinned out, I was finally able to catch the eye of the cute Hamburger. I tried to greet her with some German, but she seemed unimpressed by my efforts. She was pleasant enough, but completely immune to my charm.  
     We ended the evening at the B&B drinking a bottle Czech porter. Sorry for my shitty grammar, and bad spelling, but I need to get this posted before I loose wifi…

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Good Times in Czech lands

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Sun, 03/06/2016 - 1:35am
3/3 Arival back in Prague;
     We made our way from the train station to the hotel/brewery U Medvidku. This time our room was clear up on the 3rd floor. It was about 2/3rds the size of our first room, and a lot less fancy.. It had funky old timbers that split the room. The kind you have to be careful not to bang your head on. This was much more my speed, and it had a bath tub!
     I was behind on my laundry, so I strung some parachute cord from timber to timber, and did up all my laundry in the hotel sink. Mean while Diamond Dave configured our refrigeration, as the room had no fridge, and we had pivo to keep cold. A green suit case was filled with beer, and then secured to a selling timber with 550 cord. We hung the bag out onto the roof top in the cold 45 degree air. We took in lunch at the restaurant attached to the hotel. We both had 0.5L of Budweiser Budvar. I had the pale, and Dave had the dark. Dave made friends with the waiter. He was a strapping young fella, who was of large size. For whatever reason all the servers at this place looked like they could handle anyone that got to rowdy. Anyways, it turns out this fella likes beer. He told Dave about a grip of local beer spots. Soon this fella was telling us about the Russian Imperial Stout they brewed on site. Next thing we know he is standing at the table with a bottle, and a couple of glasses. The imperial stout was light by Imp. Stout standards; only 8.5% ABV. 9.5%-10.5% is standard. After lunch I was not feeling to energetic so, I took a nice relaxing bath. Dave caught up on some reading.
     Soon, it was time for dinner, likewise we were now thirsty again. We went for a walk to try and find a good spot for dinner.
Powell; “Hey dude.” Vitt, “Yeah.” Powell; “let's stop for a second, and have a little pow-wow.” Vitt; “What is it buddy?” Powell, pointing across the street; “look at that.” Vitt; “It says Pivovar/brewery.” Powell; “what should we do?” Vitt; “We kinda have to.” Powell; “I think so too!”
     So, we head into this joint. First thing I notice is a Hogarten tap handle, hmmm… We get seated, and a gal takes our beer order. Two Svetly Lazak. (Pale Lager) It arrives. It is not that great. Full, of diacytel. I take a look around, and decide this place must somehow be influenced by InBev. Hogarten on tap, and shitty beer. Both rare in Czeck lands. (the beer brand was Lion, but not the same Lion that gets imported in bottles to the US) You could tell it was a tourist spot. The had some real nice looking 7oz burgers (7oz patties ain't fuckin’ around!) We ordered a pair of them, Vitt got coleslaw, and I got fries. The burgers were pretty damn good, Bacon, and cream cheese on the buns. Only down side was American cheese. Had we been in Tenino, I would have refused that shit…. For my second beer, I just went with good ole Pilsner Urquell, Vitt rolled the dice on an amber lager, and did OK.
     After dinner we took a walk then called it an early nite. Back at the hotel we split a bottle of Masterek APA (American Pale Ale) brewed by one of the Czech breweries. It was a nice beer brewed with Equinox, and Galaxy (Dave says it was Apollo, and Galaxy, for what ever reason, us yanks don’t remember well… Not sure.) Soon we were snoozing away.

3/4 Last night in Czech lands
     I got kind of a slow start to my day on Friday. I was feeling weird, so I hung back at the Hotel, and fucked the morning away. Dave went out and wandered around town. We rendezvous around lunch time. We went for a walk, and soon spotted another brewery. We were in luck, as this one did not suck. We started out with Vienna lager. For round two Dave got a a strange, but tasty hop forward Abby beer, and I went for the pale lager. All were tasty. I had some duck liver patte, and Dave had a bowl of soup.
     After lunch it was tourist time. We hoofed it down to Charles bridge, and slowly wandered across wile admiring the loveliness. At the other side we soon found ourselves hoofing it up a steep hill. Dave climbs mountains for fun, and I am an athlete, so this hill was no problem for us. Before long we had worked up a mighty thirst! As luck would have it, the reason for the walk was our buddy from lunch yesterday. He had told us of a brewery at the top of this hill! Dave is an expert with direction, and soon we were sipping beer. Dave had an IPA (this is weird for me to type, but yes, 15 Plato, hop forward, American style IPA is now a thing here!) I had the Amber lager. We wandered around a bit more and soon found ourself at a restaurant that served Kloster beer. It was brewed by a local micro brewery, and marketed as a Kloster beer in conjunction with a local church. I am a devout catholic, so I did the right thing. I had the svetly lezak. The beers had a touch of diacytel, but were pretty good.
     We spent the whole day on foot. Prague has a great metro system, but the sun was out. I am not really sure why, but we did not use the subway our whole time in Prague. We just hoofed it. Around five we were starting to get hungry. Dave had a granola bar from his pack, but I decided I wanted to hold off, and eat real food. Wile traveling I follow a different diet than at home. I eat a lot of carbs. My mind, and body does not do so well on the carb roller coaster. When I get hungry, I have a short window until my blood sugar drops. When my blood sugar drops I get moody. I have leaned this about myself as an adult, and try to keep the monster locked away.  So, anyways we find our way to a special place I wanted to share with Dave. It is called Pivovarsky Dum. It is a micro brewery that sits on the bottom floor of the building that houses the Czech Center For Malting, and Brewing Science. Dave navigated us to the place. We head in, and get seated. The server seemed to be lacking a little personality. Kinda like the folks that work at the DMV back home. Anyways, we get our beers. I am fucking with my phone, or some silly shit, and the lady comes by and asks Dave, “Do you want food?” Dave replies, “Maybe after a bit.” She grabs his menu, and walks away. I come back to reality, and ask Dave, “Dude, what the fuck did you just say to her?” He tells me, and I look at him like something is wrong with him. He replies, well I really an not that hungry yet (he had the granola bar earlier). I let him know that I had dietary needs that needed to be address ASAP, as the Carb Monster was ready to come out. After returning from the pissor, I was finally able to get Miss DMVs attention. I got some food ordered, and soon was stuffing my face with dumplings, and pork. For round 2 I got another pale lager, and Dave went with the Marzen. (The pale lager at this place, and Budweiser Budvar are in line with the style of Czech Lager Bellevue Pilsner is brewed in.)
     We finish our food and Pivo. Next, we head out to go back to the hotel. Just as soon as we exited the door, we crossed the street. On the other side,  I stub my toe on the curb, and trip. I shit you not! I let go of my phone, and fall into a full fucking judo roll! My phone goes sliding across the side walk, and Dave starts laughing his ass off! I recover to my feet, and Dave hands me my phone. Now here we are laughing in the street. I would like to tell you this stumble was due to drunkeness, but with all the walking, I was just to the giggly zone that come with having a liter of low alcohol beer (4.5%ish). How, or why I turned this fall into a judo roll I am not sure. It has been six years since I have set foot in a Jiu-Jitsu gym….
     After the long walk back to the hotel, we spent some time relaxing. Soon I told Dave that we really have not consumed much Pilsner Urquell, and we leave town tomorrow. We did some research to try and find a tank pub near by. We can’t come up with anything so we just head out for a walk.
      Here in Prague, (I am typing this on the plane back to Dublin, I guess my heart is is Prague?) there are two worlds. The Czech world, and the tourist world. The Czech world has better food, beer, and prices.
     We exit the hotel. Dave says, “It seems kinda grungy-er this way. Let's head over there.” We start walking, and before long we spot a crowded pub Called the Gecko Bar.. It is full of people smoking, and drinking Pilsner Urquell. It is so packed we walk past to try to find something better. After looping around a bit, we are not finding anything. Dave leads us back to the Gecko, and we head in. The place is full of Czechs smoking fags, and drinking. We walk in, and no one gives us any looks. We find an empty two-top, and sit down. A sexy young Czech girl in a short skirt comes by, and takes our order. She figures out we are English speakers, and spoke to us in our language the rest of the night. We sat there, and bullshitted for god knows how long. We ordered round, after round, of this lovely elixir of the gods. Good ole Urqell is only 4.4% ABV, so you can drink a lot of it. Good thing too, because we did. We had 5 rounds, or 2.5L each. Piss-drunk, on a Friday night in Prague, we finally decide to head home. I think we announced that we had a successful night to our hotel reception. I awake in the wee hours of the morning to discover that, for some reason. I had a roll of toilette paper in bed with me. I am guessing I needed to blow my nose at some point the night before….

3/5 Fuck, It Is Back to Ireland, And Their Mediocre Beer…
     I woke up in need of water. For some reason I was feeling a bit dehydrated, and had a very slight head ache. After a couple of liters of water, I was starting to feel right again. After a lovely breakfast, we got checked out of the hotel, and stored our luggage with the front desk. After walking down an alley a shady looking fellow asked us where we were from. We told him, then he tried to sell us weed, and Coke. We did some tourist shit then caught a plane to Dublin….

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Living the dream!

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 10:20am
     We arrived in Prague, and after some Figuring out, we headed to the town center on a bus. Dave is an expert navigator. (Turn me around three times, and I am lost) He found our way to the hotel. As We Walked the streets, I would point out to Dave. There is one. Two more. Another one. Three pack. Every time we passed an Exceptionally attractive woman. There is something in the water here. The average gal is an 8 to 10 Dave poked fun at me as to why this is my favorite country to travel. I Assure you. I am only interested in the beer ...
     As soon as we arrived at the hotel, at the reception desk. They poured us a couple of little .33L beers. As we waited for the beers, Dave commented how the foamy taps were. I Explained That is how it is done here. We made it to our room, and got showered. Next we hit up the hotel restaurant. (This place has (2) Breweries, and (2) beer halls in it.) We did some exploring, and found our way to the Beer Hall by the old school copper brew house, Fermentation cellar, and lager cellar. We ordered some food. I got roasted pig knee, and Dave snake pork schnitzel. The food was great. We ordered beer, and it was also great. As We Were eating a couple of German folks came in, and sat near us. Soon, We were chatting with them about beer, and beer travel. After dinner, we decided we should head out for just one more... We started chatting up our hotel receptionist. She was in her mid 20s, and as pretty as any gal I have ever seen. At some point we snake games we Pronunciation critique of the Czech word for thank you. I have always pronounced it the Yak-wee. She told me I Said That the word Better than any other tourist she has herd try to say it. (Ha! She is a charmer too). She spelled out in one paper, and helped us work with us on the Pronunciation.

     We Walked into a place called "Excellent Bar". About three folks stopped there conversations that give us a long look. It was like walking into the Maytown Tavern. This was a Czech place, and not a tourist spot. They served Gambrinus 11 out of horizontal serving tanks. This is a special thing here. The best taverns get Delivered unpasteurized beer from a tanker truck. The waitress was friendly enough, but really not that friendly. We had our one beer, and retreated back to the hotel. On the way there we stopped at a tiny grocery, to grab a couple cans of beer.

     Back at the hotel we chatted up my dream lover a little more, Then headed up to our room. We cracked into our cans. This is When We realized we made a mistake. This was Budweiser Budvar. Unfortunately it was the low flavor version (10 degrees Plato) and 4% ABV. I spoke with Dave about what he thought of the city. He told me he felt Were folks kind of stern. I am not sure why this is, but I told Dave, it Might Be how he approaches people. Buddy Dave is a very friendly, and out going person. He walks into a room of folks and says "hi" to anyone That makes eye contact. Sometimes in heavy tourist areas folks do not take kindly to folks walking up to Them, and Them expecting to speak a foreign language. I think we get it worse for being Yanks. Soon We Were asleep.

     The next morning the plan was simple. Tour the Prague Beer Museum, the catch the train to Brno. The museum was great, and came with (4) 10 oz beer tastings. That I could feel I was starting to catch a cold, so I drank only enough to analyze my beer.

Down at the train station is Where The adventure which began. I picked the Youngest looking gal at the counter to talk to. Sure enough she spoke a little English. I try to talk to profile people. The Czech language is very Difficult for native English speakers. (I have been told by the Czech speakers that our laungauge is pretty simple in comparison to theirs.) These days it is the universal language of Europe. If a Czech, and a Hungarian are going to communicate, English is the language They will do it in ,) She sold us our tickets, and told us a time. (I think I Developed and crush in our short time together) I wrote the time on the ticket with a pencil. We found a picnic lunch, and got ready to board the train. We could not understand a damn thing on the ticket. We had no ideal what platform we needed. We tired to communicate with a couple of folks with no luck. With 10 minutes to spare I accosted a young woman. She was willing to help us, and serpent time. She took us over to the information board, and helped us figure out what platform was ours. This is when I developed my second crush of the day. She had long Curley, brown hair, a nice shape, pretty face, and she had just saved the day for us. How could I feel different? Oh, and That accent !!!


 In Brno, Dave navigated us to the hotel. We got checked in, and headed down for dinner, and of course beer. We are staying at a Place Called the Hotel Pegasus (like the horse Pegasus)

3/1 A Day in Brno
     We got out of bed at seven. This was the first good night's sleep of the trip. After breakfast we headed out to tour the castle here. It is a gunpowder area star-ish shaped fortress. We Were blessed with a light dusting of snow as we wandered around for a couple of hours. There was a prison at the castle That snake been there since mid evil times. They were very adamant That no torture ever took place there. Even though, there Were many torture devices. I am guessing the rich fuckers That That castle owned years ago are still rich, and want to write history Their way. After the Castle we headed back to the hotel to regroup.

     Dave had Reached out to a local named Jon . He is the owner of Czech Republic's smallest brewery, Lucky Bastard Pivovar. We were invited down to the brewery take a tour. On our way down there I started to get a case of the grumpy pants. My dietary needs had not been addressed, and I was hangry. We found a deli with a couple of old broads in it. We wandered around through the place, and found a couple of bread rolls. At the meat case I tried to communicate with one of the old broads. I could tell she was annoyed by me. With some pointing, and gesturing. I was able to get a hand full of a salami-type cured meat. At the cash register I was rung up once, Then a second time. I thought maybe my meat, and bread had been rang up separate. Later, I realized we were charged twice for the meat. Old bitch decided since I was a tourist, it was OK to rip me off. The whole meal was only 37 Kc That is less than $2 American, so I am not that cross. I just do not like being taken advantage of.
     By 3pm it was raining. Dave, and I sat in the rain, and ate our makeshift sandwiches. After lunch we toured Lucky Bastard Pivovar, a 100L brewery, That specializes in American style ales. The rumors are true. APA (American Pale Ale), and IPA have started to gain some traction in the Czech Republic. Jan he made us a list of beer places we needed to check out in Brno. Next, Jon drove us over to a tiny bottle that shop specialized in selling beer from small, and mid. sized Czech breweries. We wound up purchasing a "grip" of beer. Stouts, Porters, pale ales, and good ole Svetle Lazak. (my best favorite beer style!) Finally, Jon drove us to our hotel. We thanked him for everything. He told us this is what brewers do is for each other ...

     After we got our beers stowed in our hotel fridge, We were ready to finally start drinking. It was about 5pm. We headed over to a place Jan told us about,  It was only a couple blocks from the Hotel Pegas. It was called Vycep na Stojaka. According to Jan, it is one of the most popular beer places in Brno . Inside the young fella behind the bar figured out we were native English speakers. He chatted with us a bit in English. By this time Dave Diamond, had gotten frustrated not being able to communicate, and was trying very hard to hack the local language. He questioned the bar tender on many pronunciations. I ordered the IPA:
Malesov India Pale Ale
Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Citra hops according to their website, it was 14 degrees Plato. This is light by American standards
Appearance; Amber, gold hughs and brite. Epic head. (I love epic head!)
Aroma; Very sprucey, and had citrus notes. It had that aroma note of actually being in a hop field.
Flavor; Dominated by hops. Spruce, and citrus up front. Big resinous coating toung hop bite, about a 7 second linger to the finish.
The temperature was displayed on the cooler. It is 4,7, and 5 C as the nite progressed
I saw the bar tenders occasionally weighing glasses, and putting thermometers in beer.

This place was awesome! At some point the bar tender and filled small 0.33L mug half full of another beer, and slung it my way. He wanted me to try it. It was a pale lager hopped with American hops. Unfortunately, my pallet was wrecked from the IPA. I could not give it a proper analysis. We finished the night eating dinner at our hotel. Up in our room we tasted a couple of the beers Jan had recommended for us. We made it to be just after 11:00pm. God it felt good.

02/03/16 Last Night in Brno
     This was our last day to be see this city, so we decided to go balls out. I rousted Dave out of bed just after 7am. We got breakfast and wandering Were it would Streets 10:30 am. We checked in at an office Were They sold tickets to tour the historic cellars under the city. They Would not be any Openings until 11:30 am. We headed out to wander the square. Soon a little old man with a semi official looking name tag, and a folder of photo copied Maps was giving us a chat-up. After handing us a map, and telling us about the cool shit to check out heh Asked for a donation. This was very confusing. 50 Kc was not the right of amount, Euro 0.20 was not enough, and he ACTED like the 1.00 Euro Dave gave HIM was not much. We wandered around a bit, and soon decided We Were hungry. Just for fun, we decided to chat up the old man some more. He told us of a good spot get the Czech food.
     We found the place the old man recommended, and headed in. We ordered a couple 0.5Ls of Pilsner Urquell. Dave ordered soup, and I order fried cheese, boiled with potatoes. After lunch we toured around a bit more. Soon we found our selfs in a place That served Chotebor. We sampled a couple different styles, and Dave worked on the his laungauge skills with our server. I could tell she was having a lot of fun with it. Finally We Were Able to take in the underground tour. It was neat, but kind of underwhelming.
     After a good dinner with shitty service we hopped a tram out to the Lucky Bastard Beer Hall. We Were greeted by two very lovely gals. A 20something brunette, and a 30ish blond. My favorite was Eva. She snake blonde locks, big round boobies, low cut t-shirt type top, and a lovely tight blue skirt That showed off games lovely curves (round butt) I was in lust! Dave ordered the IPA, and I ordered an APA. When Eva Brought Them over to the table she leaned down to set Them Down. Super perv. Powell got a lovely eyeful. This is when i decided it was time to try and make friends. I Introduced myself, and Shook games hand. Soon, she was walking by, and I made eye contact and gave the games a smile. She Asked if we needed anything. I Said, "Well, I am just smiling at you." She, Said, "thank you." (OMG! I actually flirted with One Of These amazing gals! Soon, John's partner, and the owner of the pub came over to chat with us. His name was Jacob. He was pretty excited to chat with us, but decided he needed to get back for work. for our final found Dave ordered the Black IPA, and I ordered a blonde. Soon we serpent Eve sitting by me, and chatting. Damn the luck! Jakob came back by and she retreated. Jakob chatted us up some more. We Were in luck. The pub That was Recognized as serving the best Pilsner Urquell in all of Czech Republic was just blocks away. Jacob was willing to guide us there. As we Settled our table I played the last cards I snake with Eva. She apologized for not getting to talk with us more. I told the games I really wanted to talk with her more, and that she could join us later. I gave my games and card games I told the snake email when i snake wifi. She Asked Were we Were going to be. Jakob told the games the first place. Then I Said, and Pegasus after that. I think she read me wrong, (or was it right?) I think I brew it. I think she thought I was Inviting games back to the hotel. (It is a hotel, pub, brewery and) She said, "it was very nice to meet you. Enjoy the rest of your time in Czech Republic. I am an overly sensitive person, and hate rejection. I finished the night feeling sad, and shot down.
     At the best Pilsner Urquell pub in all of Czech Republic it was standing room only. Jakeb bought us two rounds of Pilsner, and fed us a Czech specialty; Basically, it was a balled-up combination of blue, and cream cheeses, That snake been rolled in paprika, and picked it tooth and a tiny slice of baguette. It was nice, but the strong flavor made you take Another slug of Pilsner. Jakob guided us through this. Soon, we found at Ourselves Another pub. I got a wifi password, and checked my email. No word from Eva. :-( Thing get fuzzy, but we drank lager, and Czech renderings of American craft beer. At some point I Settled our table and Jakeb fucked-off (this is how the Irish say, "it's part ways") Buddy Dave led us the five or so blocks back to the hotel. He Used His Whats-app wifi app to call home. I curled up into a sad, drunk knave, and soon was out cold ... ..
I have felt very lucky this trip. We have really connected with some locals, both in Ireland, and Czech Republic. I am very lucky to be part of this diseased, alcoholic community, That is craft beer. We hang together ...

3/3 Heading back to Praha (Prague)
     Well, we are on the train back to Prague. I am sipping a Turkish coffee, and have just got Everything up to date. Our Hotel is ook a tank pub for Budweiser Budvar. We have 5 different beers That there will need analyzing.

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Tasting notes from Prague beer museum

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 1:50pm
Verona Svetly lezak (pale lager) 4.5 ABV Blond, clear, nice head Aroma; Zesty fruit, herbal hops, sweet grainy nutty malt. Like the schill Pilsner malt Flavor; firm lemon zesty hops up up front, hint of nutty malt and dry French bread. Finish is clean bread   Richter Natur, nefiltrovany svetly lezak, 4.9% ABV (non filtered lager) it is clearified  Clear light amber, very effervescent, good head Aroma: zesty hops, and sweet malt-bread, and nuts, hint of suffers yeast Flavor; Zest and bread ballance, dry malt, firm herbal bitter finish.   Demon, plot age specialni pivo, 5.2% ABV Bright amber, with copper hues. Good head, lower carbonation Aroma; big diacytel up front, sweet malt, some hop zest Flavor; buttery nuts up front, toasty munic malt flavors in the middle, finish is nutty and very clean   Granat, tmavy lezak (dark lager) 4.5% ABV Very dark amber, almost black in pub light, red hues in light. Good light Aroma; mother fucking creme Brûlée, hints of diacytel. Flavor; Chocolate, and pumpernickel bread to start, and dry French bread and herbal hops to finish.   Gofundme.com/zkgjrfkc                 
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Making Friendly With The Locals

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 10:36am
This should have been posted before the last post. I seem to be having trouble with my blogging app.   
  We got into town at 9pm on Thursday. Buddy Adam Orrick, met us at the airport with a fellow named Enda. We polished off our pints of Guinness (we found a bar wile we waited for our ride. Like you do ...) and headed to the Brew Pub associated with the works for Adam Brewer. We got "locked in" at Said pub. The bar tender was a fellow named John WHO Often travels to Brazil to train Jiu-Jitsu. We Were joined by Another fellow named John, who 'tends bar at the pub, and with Adam's buddy. We drank beer it till it was pretty late. Adam took us back to the his flat, and we racked out. I am sleeping in a double queen size bed, with buddy Dave. Being pissed, and exauhsted from 20 ours of travel pretty much stomped out the awkwardness of sharing a rack with your buddy. Thankfull, Dave has not tried it yet be spoon.     Day 2: Friday 2/25, our first full day in Eniss.    Adam made us breakfast, eggs, sausage, white pudding, black pudding, and sausage. I tried to eat the black pudding and could only get one chunk down my throat. It does not taste bad, and really does not have that strange of a texture. I just know what it is, and am a little creeped out. (Essentially it is uncased, uncured sausage made out of pig blood, blended with oats)     Gaz picked us up from Adam's apartment at half nine. We Crammed in His little car three wide in the back seat. We headed over and picked up John (One of the fellows we drank beers with last night) and headed out to the Brewery. The brewery is out in the country on a farm. We Were scheduled to brew. The Mash Tun was still full of grain from the night before, as the specialized nt grain trailer was stuck in the mud in a field. Dave and I grained out, and piled up the grain in front of the brewery, to be shoveled into a trailer later.     The brewery (Western Herd Brewing Company) is an interesting space. A Chi-Com brew house, and tanks, an Italian bottle filler. I am not sure Where The keg washer, filler and Were Manufactured. Either Italy or China- there is not much difference. The brewry's three phase power comes from a giant diesel generator. The boiler is a huge unit Purchased second hand from a hospital in Dublin. We Spent most of the day standing around doing nothing as the boiler Would not stay running.     At some point We Were relaxing at Adam's flat, and decided it was time to eat. I told the boys, That I wanted to eat dinner at a pub. Adam took us to a lovely place in town. We drank Guinness, and stared at menus. Irish pub food is simple, but high quality. Adam told us the steak here is Awsome. The cows are still raised on traditional farms, and grass fed. Unlike at home; they are not fed a bunch of shit They are not supposed to eat. Most of the food here is very local.          We Spent the night hopping from pub to pub, and Eventually ended back at Adam's Brewery's pub. At some point We Were joined by our buddy John, as well as Enda. It is nice to have a turn key Irish friends to hang out with. On our way in we Adam Introduced us to a couple of cute Irish ladies. Unfortunately They Were there one way out, but I think We May Get To See Them again. I Had one beer brew from dogs in Scotland, And Then switched to Guinness. As the night wound down we soon found ourselfs "locked in" again. I tried to chat up a lovely blonde lady, but got shot down when i saw the games order and Corona. I exclaimed, "You have Corona here ?!" She got sassy, ​​and Said Yes we do, as well as the internet, cars, cellphones and ... She was making fun of me because i am American. I wished I could of myself Explained it here but I never got the chance. I understand and lovely of the beers I see on drought here. Sierra Nevada, Carlsburg eat, but a simple yellow beer from Mexico with lime and stuffed in the bottle did surprise me. I think games sass was just part of the local Playful Banter, but I did want to chat with more here. At the end of the night Mike the owner serpent's throw drunk boy out. Were the elections today. This person started talking politics, and soon he was Mentioned That Sien and Fien (not sure I am spelling this right) Sien Fien is the political wing of the IRA, and the current group once fought WHO English occupation in the north. In the 80 ending in the 90s there was trouble in Northern Ireland. The Catholics, and Prodistants Were Killing Each Other for no reason. The asshole That got HIM self Asked to leave folks supported Killing Each Other for no reason. He was Asked to leave. Then he serpent to be physically ushered out, and screamed Then let's go home! Luckily it did not turn into a scrap.Getting Locke in:This has happened to me a few times at home. In Irerland They have a term for it. Getting locked in is When The pub closes. The front door is locked, but you are free to leave Whenever you want. Likewise the taps are still flowing until the owner, or workers are ready to head home. Regulars are the folks Typically Allowed to stay in the states. Here it Seems That it is a blend of regulars plus whoever is left in the bar When the door is locked. It Seems less exclusive here to be locked in, but I am sure we are included only Because We are Adam's friends.The Guinness:It does taste different over here. It does not have that sour-tart note That it does back in the states. The locals all have an opinion about Which pub pours the best pint. I will be damned if it does not taste a bit different pub, a pub. The difference is subtle Extremely. I spoke about why this is with Adam. His theory is That it has to do with veryables of the drought system- cleaning schedule, line length temperature and pressure. :-)
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Well, I guess this is what we came here to do...

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Mon, 02/29/2016 - 2:14am
Saturday, February 27      We got a slow start to the day. Mostly because we were up until 3:30am. I am quite lucky the Irish brew this stout so low octane, or I would be hurting. I spent the morning writing. Dave slept in, and Adam was at the brewery trying to get equipment to work. Before long Adam showed up at the house in kind of a flustered rush. He had gotten the boiler to fire, and thought he was going to make beer. He invited us to come with him, but after spending Friday out there, we wanted to be tourists. Adam gave me his phone number, and the number of his buddy Gaz. We were hoping we could get Gaz to drive us out to the cliffs of Moher, and the Burren. Well, I had the country codes wrong, and could not get ahold of anyone. I did finally get my phone set to Ireland, so now it is operating. Finally at about 1pm Dave and I had our shit together and were headed out to find some food, and Wifi. We were going to figure out something to do. Just as we were about out of the parking lot of Adam's flat Adam pulled in. Shit stopped working again at the brewery. He joined us and we found a pub with good food, and some wifi. After lunch it was damn near 3pm, and that is when I realized we were not going to get to see the coast or the Burren. I came here to hang out in pubs, and I know there is not much to see, but I thought I would be able to make it to the 2 neat things here. We will see. After our Czech time, we are going to cut our Dublin stay short in hopes of making it out to the coast.       We finally got to see the city. We took a walk, and saw the Abby, the Cathedral, and some cool old buildings. We talked to a fellow who was fishing in the river. At one point I treated the boys to me singing John Denver's country roads, take me home. I am an awful singer....      Dave was really hoping to see a rugby game wile we were here. At five we met up with some of Adam's friends in the back of this old pub and spent some time watching England play Ireland in rugby. Watching the game is when I realized without a doubt that American foot ball is a direct descendant of this game. Only epically sissy-fied! In rugby they play for 80 minutes of hard core action. In American foot ball they stand around, and only actually play for 11 minutes.      Well, soon enough we were back at McHugh's. (The pub owned by Western Herd Brewing Co.) We were soon pissing another night away. We were joined by owner Mike's sweety, and her cute single friend Rachel (called Rachy by friends) The plan was to get in early and go to bed, since we were planning to catch a train in the morning. There is a pub in town that sells Beamish, the best stout in this country. We wanted to stop, and get one on our way home. Finally, at 11pm I told Adams, "We have to go!". This is when the Irish laid it on us. "One for the road? Just a quick one? You don't want to go. You will regret it. Oh, come on, just a little one. We really want you to stay." The fucking charm they sent our way was impressive. However at this point we are on to them, and were headed out. Of course we had to stop outside so Dave could smoke a fag. Soon Rachy came out for a fag and started chatting with us. I got to hug Rachy, and she threatened to tag along if we drive out to the coast. I suspect her to flake on us. Our Irish friends convinced us we needed to take the bus to Dublin. Not a train. They told us the bus even had wifi (these charming people are a little full of shit some times. I am on the bus, no wifi) I now understand why just sneaking out of a party is called an "Irish good bye".      On the way home the boys still wanted to stop for a beamish. As we walked past the pub they started laying it on me. Then Adam said they had Trad. Music. I really wanted to see this, so I said fine, one! We walk in, and Adam realizes it is not quite Trad. Music. We sit down and Adam goes and gets US pints. It takes about 3 or 4 minutes to dispense stout right, and they refuse to give it to you any other way. As we finish the last quarter of our pints the dude starts sing John Denver country roads. We all sang along, then I made the call to get just one more.       We get back to Adam's flat, and pull up Adam's wifi hot spot off his phone. We figure out the bus schedule, and pack out shit. Finally just before 2am we get to bed. My head hits the pillow, and I am not even tired! My biological clock is still fucked. I voice this to Dave, then head out to Adam's fridge to grab a couple of cans of Kulshan IPA. (Dave's checked luggage here was a bag with a case of beer in it) Hops are a natural sedative, and make you sleepy. Now picture this: Two grown men sitting upright together in a queen sized bed. In the dark, giggling at themselves, drinking cans of IPA. I love having a free bed, but damn am glad to be enroute to the Czech Republic via the non-rocking road to Dublin, and Ryan Air. I get a bed all to myself! Sleeping with Dave has been a bit awkward. Though being piss drunk has helped.      We are on the bus to Dublin now. I will post this when I get time, and wifi. I just had a conversation with Dave. We decided we were going to go easy tonight. I told him, " this Craft Brewers Conference bullshit is starting to ware on me!" This made him laugh pretty good. The CBC as it is called is a lot of education paired with an epic drunk fest.      These Irish folks are drinkers, but they are nothing like the drunks back home. Guinness is only 4.2% ABV. That means you intake a lot of water with your ethyl alcohol. It keeps you hydrated, and keeps your level of intoxication down. Any hard core American IPA drinker could easily drink these folks under the table. The Irish are very wise to brew like this. I hope session beers continue to catch on in the states.  We finally made it to our hotel in Prague tonight. The fed us beer just as soon as we checked in. Sorry if grammar or spelling is fucked, no time to proof read.
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Roasted Eggplant Ratatouille

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I have a confession. I love to mess up a perfectly good recipe, on purpose. I adore any recipe writer who is detailed and precise about their explanations and measurements. It helps me figure out how far I can veer before crashing into disaster. Becoming a decent cook is similar to any skill in life. Once you learn the basics you can begin tweaking, fiddling and meddling until you find your pulse. Your mark. Your touch. Typically, I try to follow a recipe exactly as written on the first attempt. Any attempt after, however, is fair game. Even at first attempt, I am liable to cut diagonally instead of vertically. I might add a handful of chopped basil instead of measuring it out precisely to 1/4 cup. I want to stay within the confines of the recipe without letting it confine my spirit, my passion for food. I, more than most, can become so lost in perfectly executing the details that I completely forget to enjoy myself. The final product may look and taste perfect but it will lack heart, soul and passion.

I’m really trying to remind myself of this lesson, especially lately. I fear I have gotten into a spell of looking a life as far to precise and perfect. As a set of skills I must develop and execute to succeed. As though anything in life that is executed perfectly, without heart, ever inspires anyone, including me. Inspiration is a feeling you get when you see someone else showcase a part of themselves that comes from a deep spark within. Perfection has nothing to do with that spark. This recipe falls right into that opportunity. Originally taken from Molly Wizenbergs book “A Homemade Life”, it is dictated with precision. She tells you how much to use, how thinly to slice and which way to cut and shape each vegetable. It doesn’t really matter. Really. I chopped and seeded with abandon. I measured and guessed. I threw in a bit of curry powered, garam masala and nutmeg. It still tasted delicious. In fact, I got so wrapped up in the process that I completely forgot to take a final picture. I think, in spirit, that is best. Then you never know what it was “supposed to” look like. You will only know what you created, how it tasted on your tongue and the way it made you feel when you were creating and that is all you need to know.

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Arrange eggplant rounds in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil in small bowl and brush onto eggplant. Flip slices and brush second slices as well, taking care that each as a thin coating of oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping slices halfway through, until soft and lightly browned on each side. Remove from oven and cool. (You can do this step a day or two ahead and refrigerate)

Warm 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 10—12 minutes. Remove it from the pan, taking care to leave behind any excess oil and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion. Add a bit of oil if pan is dry. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, but now browned, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, over and cook for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini, stir to incorporate and cook until everything is very tender, 15-20 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Discard bay leaf and stir in basil.

Serve hot, warm or room temperature, with additional salt for sprinkling. This dish is even better a day or two later, as the flavors get time to mesh.

1 lb eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
olive oil
1 lb zucchini, trimmed, halved, lengthwise and sliced in to 1/2-inch thick half-moons
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Apple Tarte Tatin

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I will begin this post with a great deal of apologizing. It will be the kind, however, that is done by any good friend that has been gone for far too long. The kind of apology that occurs after I knock the door, you open and I thrust a delicious dessert, still warm from the oven; begging to be drenched in vanilla ice cream and consumed. That is the only way to apologize for such an unexplained absence. I am not only apologizing to you, my dear friend, but to Molly Wizenberg. Writer of “A Homemade Life”, creater of the blog “Orangette” and my current personal hero. I believe the next few posts will be a direct copy of every recipe from her book. I can’t help myself. In my defense, she really should not have written such beautiful stories and recipes to match. As with any good idea, I want to try everything she writes about because she makes it all sound not only incredible, but familiar.

Familiar in the way you feel about your best friends spaghetti sauce and the way it always fills your house with the smell of love, comfort and safety. Familiar in the way that your favorite cookie recipe automatically makes everything feel right, even if they whole day fell to pieces. I want to make every recipe in Molly’s book because I feel like I know her and thus know the food she makes. I not only want to taste it all, I want to feel the way she feels when she eats it. Powerful stuff. So forgive the next few posts as I lavish adoration and attention. She may or may not be my idol right now, but I’m sure it will be evident the former is true.

I hope, only hope, to find some way to convey that feeling to everyone here. I want you to try these recipes that I create, not only because they will feed your bellies but because they will nourish your soul. I want to become familiar with y’all. In that spirit, I’m going to make it clear that my absence has occurred due to a family move to Austin, Texas. We are simultaneously settled, settling and unsettled. I’ve been inspired and found a renewed energy around being in the kitchen. I can’t wait to share what I’ve been doing. Tonight, however, I start with Molly’s Tarte Tatin.

It doesn’t look glamorous, and isn’t even the very first thing I would choose if waiting in line at a local bakery. I would be the fool in the end. This is astounding. My husband likened it to “creme brulee but better”. It is really best warm and served with a simple vanilla ice cream. I landed on this recipe because Molly described it as “a housewife in stilettos” and “it doesn’t dally with small talk. It reaches for your leg under the table”. Who wouldn’t want to eat something that is described with such passion? I know I am first in line. In fact, bakeries should really start describing their pastries in a similar manner…I would love to see what they invent.

Molly recommends puff pastry and I bought what I thought was puff pastry but was called Filo Dough. I’m not sure if they are really the same thing but it worked just fine. I just skipped the step where she asks you to roll out the dough really thin. I actually think I put to little dough in the pastry and would just put all of it in next time. It was still heart stopping and phenomenal…I can’t imagine how much better it would taste with even more dough. I may have just fainted from elation while writing that last sentence.

I also made a choice to buy whatever crisp, sweet apples I could find and used whole wheat pastry dough. Small changes but it didn’t seem to alter the incredible complexity of taste…as long as butter and sugar is involved…you are typically set. Since I don’t want to completely steal Molly’s thunder, I am making you go to her original post for directions. It’s the least I can do for a woman who talks about food the way a person might talk about a lover.

Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5-6 large Apples
6 Tbsp (3 ounces) unsalted butter
About 14 ounces puff pastry

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Cheesy Spinach Crackers

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

A friend of mine had posted a link to a recipe for home made goldfish crackers a few months ago. I tried the recipe and my son gobbled down the entire batch, along with an entire group of mom’s I meet with on Monday mornings. It was such an enormous hit I thought often about making them again. Just as I got up the motivation I saw another post by a food blogger I follow that made spinach crackers. Whoa. The two recipes began making love in my mind and made this little baby. It was born from a desire to make great crackers with even more nutritional punch. My first attempt was soggy and sticky. I added more flour and less water and got a winner.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Or just use 1 baking sheet and bake 2 separate batches like I did. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, dill). With a pastry blender (or two forks), cut in the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. In a blender, blend the water and spinach until smooth. Now pour this into the flour and butter mixture. Stir this mixture until it just comes together and then gently knead with hands until it forms a ball. Be sure not to over handle the dough.

Split the dough in half. On a non-stick mat or lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the dough very thin (1/16th inch). Cut with cookie cutters or with a pizza roller. Gently lift off with fingers and place on prepared sheet (no need to space far apart as they don’t spread). Repeat as necessary. Sprinkle with more salt (I used Herbamare and it tasted amazing!) Bake for 9-10 minutes, rotating pan half way through baking to ensure more even baking. Crackers should be lightly golden when ready. My crackers took 10 minutes, but watch closely after 8 minutes. Be careful because they burn quickly. Cool completely on baking sheet and serve immediately. Store leftovers in a glass container.

1 & 1/2 cups (5 oz) 100% whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (I used 1/2 tsp), plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp dried dill weed (or other herbs/spices of choice)
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh spinach (30 grams)
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, grated

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Bake Sale for the Food Bank

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I know at every post you read you deeply wish I would just show up on your door step with everything cooked and ready for your immediate consumption. I know your drool at every photo, short circuits your keyboard and you’ve bought 100 in the last two years I have been posting. I know you bookmark the recipes with every intention of trying them on some night when inspiration and energy consumes you, only to discover you end up falling asleep on the couch every night with a empty bowl of ice cream on the coffee table. Oh I know. I know because I do it to. I bookmark recipes from other blogs and tear out photos and inspiration from magazines and Pinterest. All the while wishing they would just materialize in front of me so I could eat it. Sometimes it is not the baking and cooking I enjoy so much. It is actually just the eating. I also know how excited I would be if some of my favorite bloggers were just happening to sell their baked goods. I would probably pee my pants due to complete elation if I knew I could buy these goods and the proceeds would go to benefit my local food bank. I just might have a heart attack if I could also meet these bloggers. Guess what? It’s happening. Jenni from The Plum Palate is putting together an incredible event to benefit the Olympia Food Bank. You should check out her write up for the full details but I can promise incredible food from eight local food bloggers at only 1$ per item. Seriously? You gotta do it. Oh and did I mention there will be a raffle to win gift certificates to some incredible local bakeries such as Bearded Lady, San Francisco Street Bakery, Blue Heron Bakery, 8 Arms Bakery, and Bonjour Cupcakes.

Both cash and food donations will be valid for tickets you can exchange for baked goods. And remember, the food bank accepts both perishable and non-perishable items. That means you can donate almost anything, from a package of pasta to a bunch of carrots. I will be there from 5-7 and I will be making the following:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Seven Layer Cookies

Vegan Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

Visit our Facebook event page. Come down. Enter a raffle. Donate and eat some food all for an incredible cause.

Friday, April 27 from 5-10
Located at Make Olympia street market at Arts Walk, 100 block of Columbia
All proceeds benefit the Olympia Food Bank
1$ or food donation for each baked good
Raffle with gift certificates from local bakeries

Bloggers that will be participating:

Christine Ciancetta

Fresh Scratch

Krista and Jess


Real Food NW


The Plum Palate

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Vegetable Lasagna

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

My son is at an age now where he can legitimately help out in the kitchen. The tasks must be simple and supervised but it is a fantasy fulfilled. When he was much younger my sister bought him a full chef kitchen kit. Even though he was no where near old enough to utilize the toys, I pulled them out and he used them as rattles and items to chew and drool upon. I still dream of the day he will pick the recipe and I will help him in his determination to make our family a meal. I’m far ahead of myself but these small moments prep me for a completion of that dream and fill my days with little moments of contented bliss and fulfillment as a human being.

There are days when I am multitasking a boiling pot, frying chicken and roasting vegetables that I wish he didn’t have such a keen fascination with what I was doing in the kitchen. On this particular day, however, I prepped the meal during his nap, excited for his participation once he woke up. I lined up all the ingredients and he stood on a chair and diligently placed one layer on top of another. The focus and concentration out of this kid at such a young age still astounds me. The meal was incredible and tasted even better with that special layer of dreams and fantasies fulfilled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make white sauce: Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon and cook until mixture darkens slightly in color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Smash and peel garlic. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and add the garlic. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thick (about the consistency of yogurt), about 20 minutes. Season with salt, cayenne and nutmeg.

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. Add lasagna noodles to boiling water and cook until ardent. Drain, but do not rinse and lay each noodle out flat on a work surface.

Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil. Use hands to squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach (if frozen); set aside. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook meat or mushrooms with spinach and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until meat is no longer pink or mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Tear basil leaves over the mixture and toss.

Cover bottom of the prepared baking dish with 3 of the noodles. Top with 1/4 cup grated cheese, 3/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup white sauce and 1/3 of the sausage/mushroom mixture. Season with black pepper.

Add another layer of 3 noodles. Repeat twice and dot the top layer of noodles with the remaining tomato sauce, white sauce and grated cheese, making sure to dot some tomato sauce around the edges so that the noodles don’t dry out. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

This will freeze really well. After baking, let rest and freeze whole or in portions.

Adapted from “How to boil water. Life beyond takeout” by The Food Network

White Sauce
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch freshly grated nutmeg

12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
10 oz fresh or frozen spinach (if frozen, thaw)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz ground beef or chopped mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
2 handfuls lightly packed fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 1/4 cups freshly grated grana-style cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
3 cups prepared tomato sauce at room temp
Freshly ground black pepper

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Apple Cake

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

Tis the season that the weather begins to tease and taunt. Currently, the sun is out and I’m donning shorts and sandals. Tomorrow I could be in three layers of clothing and shivering as the rain pelters my face. This brings me no delight. It’s downright frustrating. It’s like someone giving you the most amazing bite of food you have ever had in your life and as you beg for more they just smile and say, “You will get more at some point but I’m not gonna tell you when”. Begin meltdown and an adult tantrum. This cake, however, is the ideal tantrum tamer. It’s like and flakey with a touch of apples, which happen to be in season at the farmers market, leftover from last September. It is also dense enough to go with a warm cup of coffee as the rain smothers your windows and you glare at the clouds.

I would love to try this recipe with whole wheat pastry flour, less sugar and butter and some flax in place of one egg. For now, however, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Sugar and all. The original recipe is from Honey and Jam. She is incredible. I love anything I have ever made from her blog. Simple. Authentic. Perfect. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch round baking pan.Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on a low speed just until incorporated. Pour (more like spoon, it will be very thick) into the prepared pan.

Score the peeled side of the apples with the tines of a fork and arrange the apples atop the batter around the perimeter with 1 slice in the middle (I cut each large slice into 3-4 small slices)

Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes the batter around the apples looks slightly underdone, but don’t worry; it’s just the moisture from the apples.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar

Categories: Local Food Blogs

“Uchiko” Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

Our family recently traveled to Austin. The reasons for travel were mostly business and SXSW related tomfoolery. It’s an amazing world. Really. Another world. It doesn’t even feel like a state that’s connected to the United States of America. It’s warm. All. The. Time. The people are unbelievably friendly and charming. They really live up to the stereotype of southern hospitality. It was a mecca for our family. It was a trip I enjoyed from the third day to the last. The first two days it rained. Hard. Everyone came outside to watch as though it were some bizarre anomaly like a comet dipping out of the sky on to the ground or a leprechaun really appearing at the end of the rainbow. I was, however, grumpy. I flew five hours with a toddler for more rain? No thanks.

Then on the third day the skies opened like a dark curtain on a stage and the sun made its grand entrance.We spent an unmentionable amount of time outdoors and consuming food, all with very close friends. This recipe is for a deeply good friend. He took us to a place called Uchiko. We waited almost an hour to get inside. I was ready to throw in the towel. My toddler was ready to throw everything. I was starting to get “hangry” a vicious combination of hungry and angry. I’m so glad I stayed. Each dish was an orgasm just waiting to happen inside my mouth. I believe I may have unintentionally reenacted the scene from “When Harry Met Sally”. You know the one. The first dish was roasted brussel sprouts in a thai chili sauce. My tongue wasn’t prepared for such an onslaught of amazingness. I vowed I would come home and replicate it and I think I did.

Cut brussel sprouts in quarters and place in 13x9 glass baking dish. Coat with olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until very soft and golden. Remove from oven and stir. Switch temperature on oven to a low broil. Broil for 5 minutes. It’s okay if it burns a bit on the edges….it supposed to give it extra crisp. Remove from oven and cover with sweet chili thai sauce. Consume happily. Chopsticks make it even more fun. The measurements for ingredients are not rigid. The recipe can easily be sized down for just one or increased for a party. Add more brown sugar if you want it sweeter or more spices if you enjoy that blow to the mouth.

2-3 lbs brussel sprouts
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Olive oil
salt and pepper
Bottle of Sweet Chili Thai Sauce (found in most stores)

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Easy Granola Bars

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I once wrote about my dear dislike for granola, the store bought kind, only to happily discover that it came alive when cooked at home. The belief that I knew what I did and did not like began to adjust itself. I realized that most anything I can make at home I really enjoy. Most anything. There are a few incidents that we never speak of and won’t dare mention here. I have also taken a stab at granola bars. While enjoyable, they are loaded with sugar and jam and don’t speak to that sweet and salty mix I really enjoy in the perfect snack.

A friend of mine shared that she was trying to decrease the amount of packaged and store bought goodies. Replacing them with as many home made versions as possible. This woman has two small children and a husband who is in the depths of his medical internship and thus rarely home. I admire her and was shocked she has the time to make anything. She insisted they were terribly easy so I requested the recipe. It really is incredibly easy and quick and delicious. When I hear those words combined, I usually do a somersault of glee and put it on the blog. In that order.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ground flax seeds and water. Set aside. Combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in mixing bowl. Stir in raisins and chocolate chips. In separate bowl, combine maple syrup and nut butter and mix until smooth. Combine nut butter mixture with flaxseed-water mixture.

Add wet mixture to dry and stir well. The mixture will seem dry, but keep stirring until fully integrated. Press mixture into 8x8 inch pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow pan to cool slightly, then cut into bars and transfer to cooling rack.

Peas and Thank You Cookbook
3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup nut butter of your choice

I also added about 1/4 cup coconut flakes.

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Saucy White Fish

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed blogging about food and telling stories about my personal life. It has, however, become a large obstacle in my desire to post at least twice a week. The thought of creating a story, theme and some clever words, leaves my butt cemented to the chair in protest. I believe it has to do with this wonderful change in life where I have very interesting, incredible and exciting things occurring every day. The thought of staring at a computer screen while my boy naps is always on the bottom of my list. It is not as though I haven’t been in the kitchen. Quite the contrast, I can seem to stay out of it. Even to sit down and write a little post about what exactly I am doing in that very kitchen. So today, I am going to share a recipe and commit to sharing at least two recipes a week.

The story may not be as clever, the pictures may not be as plentiful or in depth, yet I am sure that is not what has really mattered to anyone. What really matters is whether the food that comes out at the end is any good. Trust me, it is always good. The original recipe came from Olympia Seafood Company, a local seafood supplier. The woman actually just told me the bare bones while exchanging fish and money over the counter.

Set your oven for 380 degrees and line a baking dish with foil for easy clean-up later.  In a fry pan, sauté your onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil until desired tenderness and set aside to cool for a few minutes.  Once it’s not blazing hot, stir the sour cream into the onion/garlic mixture.  Place the fish in the baking dish and pour the sour cream and onion mixture over the top, smoothing it out evenly.  Bake for about 18 minutes and then check for doneness. Enjoy!

1 pound fresh white fish, skinned (servings for 2-3)
1 yellow or sweet onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, diced
1 carrot, diced
4-5 oz mushrooms, diced
1T olive oil
¾ cup sour cream

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Inspired Quinoa Bean Soup

Pure Hunger - Sun, 11/04/2012 - 1:00am

I was lavished with food and gifts a few weeks ago by some incredible friends in Seattle. My husband was in Africa on a retreat for his job. He claims he worked but I have yet to see a photo to substantiate this claim. There were many photos, however, of the beach, food that made me drool and shorts. Lets get back to me and my son and the snow storm that ensued while he was away. Just before the storm, my son and I stayed with these women who I love dearly and who love my son dearly and that makes me swoon all over them in a somewhat inappropriate manner. The meals they prepared were magazine worthy and one dish in particular made me go back for at least four bowls.

It was a soup made of quinoa, kale, potatoes and love. It sang gently of comfort and health, and was exactly what we needed while my husband was so far away. I was not able to obtain the recipe from my friend but decided to get creative one night and make something as close as possible to what we had eaten but using only my own personal knowledge and “expertise”. I have to say, I really hit it out of the ball park with this one. I made enough to give to a friend and she raved and demanded the recipe. I fluffed my chest out appropriately and informed her it was actually my very own recipe. I may have strut a bit when I walked later that day, maybe.

Saute onion and carrots in oil over medium heat until softened. Add garlic cook another 30 seconds.

Add broth and beans and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.

Add potatoes and rutabaga, cover and cook another 30 minutes.

Return to boil. Add quinoa, spices and greens, reduce heat, cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is soft. Remove from heat and serve with thick, hearty bread.

I also added a bit of leftover shredded chicken that was in our fridge. I think it was a wonderful addition but not at all necessary.

1-3 Tbsp oil (I used coconut)
2-3 carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried beans (soaked for 8 hours or overnight)
2 cups vegetable broth or water
3 small potatoes, diced
1 rutabaga, diced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 bunch greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard), finely chopped
spices as desired *
salt and pepper to taste

* I used 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder and 2 tsp thyme

Categories: Local Food Blogs
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