Breakfast (In Bed) at Wimbledon

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food, Tennis




Have you been keeping up with Wimbledon this year? Since I’ve started taking tennis lessons, I’ve enjoyed watching Wimbledon more than ever! The time difference means that most matches happen during the early morning here on the west coast, so I’ve been setting my alarm and streaming all the coverage on my laptop while I stay in bed! I thought it would be fun to do a Wimbledon-themed breakfast in honor of the finals this weekend. Of course, I did my best to keep the menu simple- no need to get up any earlier on a weekend to prep the food!

I started out simply enough, with tea (in my cutest teacup). The “main course” are mini-frittatas and British-style scones with strawberry jam (what we in the states would call biscuits). And finish it off on a sweet note, the traditional strawberries and cream.

Making the mini-frittatas is really easy: chop up your choice of veggies or meat (I went with yellow bell pepper, spinach, and pre-cooked bacon). Whisk 5 eggs with some half and half, add salt and pepper to taste. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray, sprinkle your filling into the muffin cups, pour the liquid over the fillings, and then top with shredded cheese (this should make 6 frittatas). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. They save really well overnight, and then you can simply pop them in the microwave in the morning.

I’ll be up early Saturday rooting for Serena in the ladies’ final, and then for both Serena and Venus in the doubles final. Who are you cheering for?


The Monte Cristo

2 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

Have you ever wanted to sprinkle powdered sugar on your sandwich? If so, the Monte Cristo may be just what you’re looking for. It utilizes the trifecta of sweet/savory/pan-fried and the result is pretty tasty (and pretty filling). I have to say that I thought making one would be tricky or involve special-ordering ingredients, but that was before I actually looked up the recipe. Basically, if you can make a grilled cheese and french toast, you can make this sandwich.

Most of the ingredients that go into the sandwich are probably in your kitchen right now. The two “unusual” ingredients are red currant jelly and Emmentaler cheese, but I was able to find these at my regular grocery store.

Putting the whole sandwich together was as easy as making a grilled cheese. I watched this segment from a local TV show for tips on making the perfect Monte Cristo. The suggestion to brush the egg/milk on top of the bread rather than dunk it was really helpful. I don’t own any basting brushes, so I just spooned small amounts on the bread. I will say that getting the jelly to stay on the sandwich was kind of annoying- jelly does not have the same consistency as jam, so it just kept falling off. Since I now have enough ingredients to eat Monte Cristos all week long, I’ll work on my technique.


Homemade is Best

1 Comment »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food, Photos

Photos: IKEA

IKEA’s cookbook- Homemade is Best- has been available for a few years now, but I just came across it a few months ago while on a shopping trip at IKEA. I’m sure I’m not alone in my fascination with the unique approach to food photography featured in the book. My first impulse was to add the book to my shopping cart, but I’ve been trying to be mindful of what I bring into my home (and stay away from impulse buys), and I knew that this book would still be there the next time I  visit IKEA. Since it’s been on my mind for a while, I think I will go ahead and bring a copy home the next time I’m at the store.

I also came across this behind the scenes video that shows a bit of the process of putting together these photos.


IKEA – Homemade is Best. from Forsman & Bodenfors on Vimeo.


Bacon Blanket

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

I’ve tried my fair share of bacon novelties (bacon martini, anyone?) and they usually involve a high risk/high reward sort of deal (like, a bacon martini is pricy, but it may just be the best drink ever*). This little bacon project is very simple to put together, and is sure to please any bacon-loving crowd.

All you need is a rimmed baking sheet, your favorite brand of bacon, and the ability weave raw meat. Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 30 minutes. We were able to successfully transfer the bacon to a plate with two spatulas.

Aside from the cool presentation, the bacon comes out crispy in parts and softer in others, due to the weave. Some people like crispy bacon, and others not so much, so it’s great for parties. The bacon blanket was a hit at my parents’ Christmas Day brunch!

*The drink was so-so.

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Pop on Over

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

Maybe this is just a regional thing, but I hadn’t heard of popovers until a few months ago. I couldn’t have even told you what one looked like, so little did I know that it was a picture of a popover that compelled me to check out Nicole Hunn’s cookbook Gluten Free on a Shoestring. For those of you who are new to popovers, they’re the size of a roll, very fluffy, and go just as well with jam as they do with dinner. They are at their very best just out of the oven, which is how I justify eating three in a row. The recipe is pretty easy to pull off, even when you just have a muffin tin, and not a popover pan.

Photos: Gretchen Lilly


The Secret to a Fancy Dinner at Home

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

First off, let me say that at least 95% of the meals Brian and I eat at home are on the couch. Sometimes we sit on the floor with our plates on the coffee table (which I consider a way of embracing the dining customs of other cultures ♥).

At least once every few months we decide to have a fancy dinner, which is typically either a nice cut of steak with grilled red onions, or “seafood extravaganza” (lobster tails, shrimp, and salmon). I try to replicate the restaurant experience by using cloth napkins and our best dishes, and serving dessert. It wasn’t until we decided one evening to have coffee with our dessert that the meal really reminded each of us of our dinners out at nice restaurants- the waiter always offers coffee with dessert, and we always say yes!

It seems like the time spend sipping coffee after a meal is the perfect way to wrap up your conversation while letting your subconscious know that it’s almost time to get back to the real world (and give you a little caffeine boost to clean up the kitchen).

Do you like to serve coffee (or any hot beverage) after dinner?

Photo: Gretchen Lilly


Easy Dinner for When it’s Hot Out

No Comments   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

Seattle is having a bit of a heatwave right now. I’m lucky our apartment stays relatively cool, but I still don’t want to turn on the oven. I don’t even want to eat anything hot! A nice, cold pasta salad is made for this kind of weather, but I wanted something that wasn’t just carbs. I had some pesto in the fridge that I wanted to use, and I referenced this recipe from Real Simple as my guideline.

The pasta salad I made was with Tinkyada gluten free pasta, which holds up really well when you’re mixing everything together (and only requires two minutes over a hot burner!) I also used a rotisserie chicken, and used basil instead of kalamata  olives (Brian isn’t a fan). Cherry tomatoes would be great to mix in as well.

Putting the whole thing together was a snap, and I was pleasantly surprised at how elegant it tasted. I think the fresh basil really did the trick. It also felt like a substantial meal, without being too heavy. Any suggestions for a great dinner to whip up when it’s sooo hot out?

Photo: Gretchen Lilly


Christmas Eve Dinner

646 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

We’re hosting Christmas Eve dinner again this year for Brian’s family, so I’ve been researching different menu ideas.

A formal Christmas Eve menu from Martha Stewart. I’d need to do a regular roast and change the dessert a little to make it gluten-free.

Bon Appetit‘s menu looks good but a bit intense (it comes with a game plan!). Southern Living‘s Casual Christmas Eve dinner is the frontrunner currently because shredded pork is easy to do in my Crock Pot.

The menu from Eating Well is healthy, which would decrease the possibility of feeling sluggish Christmas morning. Lucinda Scala’s meal is Italian-inspired and looks interesting.


New Food Obsession: Macarons

1,348 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food

Photos: (clockwise) Daniella Zitella on Bobbette and Belle, Lee Bird Photography on Amy Atlas, Chocolate and GingerNot So Humble Pie

Last week I learned some potentially life-changing news: macarons are naturally gluten free! As someone with a gluten sensitivity, I get even more excited over naturally gluten free foods than specially made gluten free foods because it means I can just chow down with everyone else (this is also why I love In-N-Out burgers, it isn’t a big thing to get my burger without the bun). I joked that I would name my forthcoming muffin top after the friend who told me I can eat macarons, but there aren’t too many bakeries that carry this little cookie, so my waistline may be safe for a while.

For those of you with gluten issues, please note that macarons could be made on equipment shared with wheat and gluten, and everyone’s bodies reacts differently. I tend to be okay with food shared on equipment, but everyone is different!


Thinking of Buying

650 Comments »   Posted by gretchen |  Category:Food, Home Decor

A Chemex coffee maker.

I noticed one of these in a recent West Elm catalog, and my first thought was positive: “Wow, how beautiful.” But my second thought was negative: “West Elm always shows such cool vintage stuff and I have no way of knowing what they are called or where to find them.”

Flash forward to last week when I entered “mid-century modern” into ebay and a couple of these puppies turned up! I was even more psyched to learn that they still make them, and you can buy them new (just google the name and you’ll see). This little string of events was particularly fortuitous because Brian had mentioned that he wants to get a coffee maker like my parents’. No, they don’t have a Chemex, (if they did, this whole post would be moot, wouldn’t it?) but one that operates in the same fashion, while being less fashion-able. Perhaps this new coffee maker will distract from the blandness that is our flat surface electric range?

Image: Anjali Prasertong on The Kitchn