Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guacamole Recipe

I had some ripe avocados and thought to make guacamole. With my baby weight loss project I have not had tortilla chips in a while. Below is the recipe I use to make fresh guacamole at home. It is very easy and fast to make and serves as a great appetizer for nice warm summer evenings with beer.


1 ripe avocado, seeded and peeled
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh cilantro
8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped (or 2 regular tomatoes)
juice of 1/2 of lime
Salt and pepper


1. Cut avocado in small pieces and then using a fork mash it. I use a medium size glass bowl to do this.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and mix. Salt and pepper to taste. I like my guacamole to be chunky.  Serve with tortilla chips. And as always you can vary amount of each ingredient to your liking.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Growing Tomatoes - Part I

This is the first year when I decided to plant tomatoes in my back yard. I asked few people around at work where to get some tomato starts and the response was - Seattle Tilth Plant sale. That's where we went. To avoid the crowds I paid for 2 tickets to attend their pre-sale on Friday. We went and got 15 tomato plants, few cucumbers, green peppers, herbs, broccoli, radicchio and even an eggplant! My mom and I planted them in the pots and my husband built a tiny greenhouse to protect tomatoes from the cold. The summer has not been the hottest this year but all the plants seem to be doing alright. We already ate several tomatoes - Stupice and Cherry, couple cucumbers and a pepper. Plus we have also been enjoying fresh herbs.

And this is the picture I took last night of the tomatoes I picked in the garden. It was very satisfying to eat our own fresh homegrown tomatoes. I will give another update on my tomatoes in few weeks.

Tea Cups from Imperial Porcelain Factory

This year for my birthday I bought 4 cups with saucers from the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Russia (also known as Lomonosov).  They finally arrived today. I bought them on ebay from a seller in Russia. This is a very famous and old factory in Russia that was founded in 1744. The factory produces high quality hand painted porcelain. Their products are expensive but beautiful. See for yourself.

Silver Spoon for Him

It is a tradition in my family to give a silver spoon for the baby's first tooth. We got one too.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Black Currant Spread

Last week I stumbled upon some fresh black currants at QFC. We decided to make fresh black currant spread to use on toast, with yogurt and other things. It is very easy to make and list of ingredients is short: black currants and sugar. I use 1 lb of currants with 1 lb of sugar. Yes, croissant above is from Crumble & Flake.

I use regular blender to blend sugar and currants. Once done, I transferred black currant spread into the glass jars and store them in the fridge. The spread is sweet and tart - I like it.

Crumble & Flake

Last week I was taking a bus and we passed Crumble & Flake patisserie. I vaguely remembered that some big chef was supposed to open a pastry shop on Capitol Hill sometime this spring/summer.

The next morning we stopped by and picked up few items to try. The place is small - no place to sit, just order and go. Selection is limited but all pastries and cookies look small and elegant. From the reviews it sounds like they sell out fast. We got there 1.5 hours after opening and found decent selection. We bought Marionberry macaron, nectarine and lavender scone, croissant and apricot financier. Macaron was the best in the bunch for me.

Lunch with Produce from Sunday Farmers Market

I love going to Sunday Farmers Market. This morning we walked to it, bought fresh lettuce, fresh cheese, baguette from Columbia City, came home and made a nice lunch. Love this time of the year!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

London - Oxford - London 2012

Last month we went for a week long vacation to London and Oxford. We stayed in two neighborhoods in London: Chiswick and Richmond. Here are few pictures from the trip to share. The above is a street in Chiswick.

Sights around London

St. Paul's

National Gallery

 Near St. Paul's

Court with some law offices

Paul Cafe

We stayed few days in Oxford and here are few shots from there

And to end the trip we went to Ana and Matt's Wedding in Richmond Bingham Hotel. Here is a link to the professional pictures by Sean Gannon. Congratulations Ana and Matt!

Avocado Feta Kale Quinoa Bulgur Salad

While visiting London last month I got an idea for another quinoa salad - making it with avocado and feta. This time I also added bulgur wheat to the mix. I made this salad few times now and it goes well as a side dish to fish and meat. Below is the recipe.


1 avocado, cut in small pieces
1/2 bunch of dinosaur kale, chopped
6 oz of feta, sliced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup of white quinoa
1/2 cup of bulgur wheat
juice of 1/3 of lemon
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


1. To cook bulgur wheat use ratio of water to bulgur 1.5:1. In a small pot, pour 3/4 cups of boiling water over 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat, mix, cover with the lid and let bulgur cook for about 30-40 minutes. Yes, you don't need to cook anything on the stove.

2. To cook quinoa combine 1 cup of water with 1/2 cup of quinoa in a small pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes until quinoa is cooked stirring occasionally.

3. Combine quinoa, bulgur wheat and all other ingredients in a big bowl and mix. Salt and Pepper to taste.  Salad is ready to eat. Last night I served it with salmon.

Independence Day - July 4th

The picture says it all - Happy Independence Day! This was my first 4th of July celebration as US citizen. We had a nice barbeque with friends at our house. We had burgers, hot dogs, corn, chips and other foods.

The story behind muffins is - I got muffin pan made in the USA and paper muffin cups with USA design as a gift for my citizenship so I thought making muffins using these gifts for the 4th of July will be a good idea. I bought a box of organic apple cinnamon muffin mix from the Co-op, followed instructions on a box and made muffins. Came out festive, don't you think?