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Destination Monroe, Louisiana by Tara Ambrose

Trio’s (Where Friends Go to Meet Friends!)
Destination: Monroe, Louisiana
By: Tara AmbroseTara’s Taste of the Town

tara Jan 2016 IIConveniently located in the heart of Monroe, between the comforts of the historic Garden District and the elegance of River Oaks Subdivision, Trio’s is a lovely restaurant is where comfort-convenience and class all collide!

Jennifer Johnson and her family have had a long legacy in this area as proud restaurant owners, first with the family’s first venture, “Rendezvous”, which Jennifer transformed into a vision of her own when she took the reign of the eatery in 1995 and proudly dubbed it “Trio’s”. With an eclectic mix of North Louisiana based favorites, mixed with the perfect seasoning of down-home Cajun comfort food, with liberal amounts Mediterranean inspired dishes added to the recipe, one can easily see why Trio’s is where “friends meet!”

Throughout the years, Jennifer has not only been interested in the realm of cuisine, but she comes from the background of being a social worker in the culturally diverse city of New Orleans, which has proven very useful in the restaurant industry. From humble beginnings, Jennifer started out in 1995 with the dream of merely a “dive”, but what evolved is nothing short of a visually stunning restaurant with a menu as different and diverse as the woman behind the scenes!

Tara  Trio's ChiliJennifer humbly shared with me that while some of Trio’s recipes are actually her very own, some of those crafty creations are that of Jennifer’s trusted Chef, Tommy James, who has been by her side for some 18 years, although she can’t help but thank Darrius McCall for the contributions that he has made to her ever successful kitchen that make the menu at Trio’s a fanciful feast to dazzle all of her diners, satisfying both young and old alike!

Amidst the attractive ambiance, beautiful bar, and trendy décor one cannot help but take note of the fabulous appetizers offered as a precursor to your meal. Keeping with true her vision, Trio’s offers appetizers such as its Original Hummus, (served with roasted garlic, black lives, feta cheese and surrounded by sundried tomatoes to be enjoyed with either white or wheat pita bread), Quail Kabobs, Steak Bites (served with house made horseradish), Artichoke Dip, scratch-made phyllo dough wrapped shrimp – lightly fried and served with a mai ploy sauce, as well as the fabulous Flat Bread Mediterranean.  Should you become perplexed at all the phenomenal choices and not be able to decide on just ONE of Trio’s appetizers, the ever popular “Mediterranean Trio” may be just what your girls are in the mood for! Consisting of three amazingly tantalizing dips: Trio’s Hummus, Tzatziki (which is a Greek cucumber yogurt dip), and also the roasted red pepper and feta, all served with enough pita bread to be shared with friends over a glass of wine or spirits!

Trio’s also offers diners with an assortment of Louisiana favorites such as plentiful po-boys bursting with shrimp, oysters, thinly sliced roast beef or grilled chicken breasts, each served on the freshest Gambino bread, and adorned with your choice of amenities.

Tara Jan 2016 IIIFrom scratch-made specialty items such as their Mediterranean Quesadilla, Trio’s famous Seafood Gumbo (served in a bread bowl for the ultimate enjoyment), Crabmeat Moussaka, Crawfish Etouffee, Fish Tacos or a Trio’s favorite – their lightly breaded tilapia topped with gulf shrimp, then garnished with a lemon butter sauce, there isn’t anything on this menu that wouldn’t serve to entice even the finickiest of appetites.

As for those culinary connoisseurs looking to satisfy your palatable cravings without so much caloric concern, Trio’s has a menu sure to please those who prefer the “greener” options.  Starting from the freshest romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce or spinach leaves that have been hand selected for the freshest taste, and paired with such succulent amenities as roma tomatoes, mushrooms, kalamata olives, purple onions, brightly sliced bell pepper rings and topped shredded cheddar, parmesan or feta cheese, scratch made bacon bits and croutons.  To accompany your salad selection, Trio’s offers grilled chicken, shrimp, tuna or the ever popular Gyro Lamb.  For a perfect pairing to your garden fresh delight, Trio’s proudly boasts a variety of dressings that include their house-made Mediterranean, buttermilk ranch, honey mustard, blue cheese, 100 Island, French, Caesar, balsamic vinaigrette, olive vinaigrette, or a sweet/sour vinaigrette that is absolutely mouthwatering!

Now should you feel the need for a little more variety, Trio’s also offers a simply delightful Summer Salad that carefully combines blueberries, cranberries, feta cheese and almonds, all combined together with hand selected spinach and romaine lettuce, dressed with their fabulous white balsamic vinaigrette – a delight even to the most delicate taste buds.

Tara Jan 2016Still not found what your taste buds are craving? Have no fear! Trio’s also offers house-made 12” and 14” specialty pizzas that are crammed packed with options such as feta cheese, cheddar cheese, provolone, sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, spinach, black olives, mushrooms, jalapenos, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic! Now if that still not exactly what will calm your hunger pangs, Trio’s also offers diners with a variety of pastas such as fettuccine Alfredo (topped with either chicken or shrimp), traditional spaghetti & meatballs, or Trio’s Pasta – which consists of sautéed tomatoes, onions, black olives, mushrooms and bell peppers all perfectly seasoned with Trio’s house seasoning, laid atop a mountain of angel hair pasta, topped with your choice of shrimp or chicken, and garnished with parmesan cheese.

As your meal dining experience at Trio’s comes to a close, and you should have saved space, Trio’s offers delightful desserts such as the “Brownie Melt-A-Way” which is topped with Ganache chocolate, the Creole Cream Cheesecake (Chef John Folse’s original creole cream cheesecake), as well as everyone’s favorite bread pudding, drizzled in a decadent rum sauce that will leave even the hungriest of patron with the sweetest of dreams!

A mere step through the front doors at Trio’s will have you and your friends returning again and again for the food, spirits and the good times to be shared by all!  So stop by and visit with Jennifer and the Trio’s gang, but be sure to take your appetite with you!

Q & A with Jennifer Johnson

Where is Jennifer’s favorite place to dine for breakfast out with her family? Jennifer prefers the brunch at Restaurant Cotton whereas her sons, Michael, Leeyton and Ely all prefer IHOP!

Where is Jennifer’s favorite place to dine for lunch/dinner out with her family? Restaurant Sage or Genusas’

Where are Jennifer’s favorite all around eateries in Louisiana? Cochon on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans!

What does Jennifer enjoy doing when he is not at the restaurant cooking? Traveling, reading and spending quality time with my children and my family

What are Jennifer’s favorite teams? The SAINTS!

What is Jennifer’s favorite thing about the North Louisiana region? “The outdoors are nice, so many friends and really everything is just so nice here.”

Does Mark do any volunteer work of any kind currently? Trio’s supports the Salvation Army

What is Jennifer’s personal menu favorite on the menu at the eatery? “Gosh, there are so many choices that I like! There’s the Gyro Salad, Fettuccini Alfredo and the steaks – oh the steaks!”

What is Jennifer’s favorite “junk food”? Raising Canes!

Any accolades she’d like to mention? Nominated for the Thomas H. Scott Award for Excellence

Anything else that he’d like the readers to know about himself, his family, his goals, his vision for the eatery? “Everything in the restaurant business is a passion – good food, good service and being a part of the Family”

Jennifer's Garides Saganaki

  • Difficulty: Very Simple
  • Print

“Shrimp baked in tomato sauce with feta cheese”
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp (medium sized, peeled, deveined with tails)
  • 1/2 c finely diced tomato, drained in colander for 5 minutes Salt
  • 2/3 c hard feta cheese (you may leave feta out overnight uncovered in fridge to harden)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley


In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper. Add shrimp until they become firm. Add tomato and salt to taste and cook until sauce begins to thicken. Add feta cheese. To make a heartier dish, I sometimes add orzo. Top with parsley after plating.

Simple and delicious! Enjoy with chilled white wine, salad and crusty bread!

Tara AmbroseTara brings impressive experience to our table. She contributes to several publications including, DeltaStyle Magazine, Louisiana Kitchens & Culture Magazine, Culination Magazine and her first articles will appear in Wine Tourist Magazine in 2016.

Welcome Tara! We look forward to working with you.

If you are curious and want to learn more about Tara, please lease visit Tara’s Taste of the Town on Facebook.

Annual Washington State Wine Awards Recognizes Industry Champions

2014 (bigthumb)_WineAwardsSeal_Black_2014The 12th Annual Washington State Wine Awards yesterday honored the restaurants, retailers, hotels, tourism professionals and distributors whose work has played a vital role in shaping Washington State as both a favored home and destination for those who enjoy outstanding wines.

More than 100 nominations were received, and winners were selected for their impressive menus, innovative educational programs and marketing efforts, as well as their commitment to excellent service.

The Washington State Restaurant, Retailer and Tourism Champions of the Year are the most prestigious awards, recognizing industry leaders who show the strongest support for Washington State wine. Meanwhile, the Washington State Wine Grand Award commends individuals and organizations that designate menu and wine list
space for Washington State wines while providing ongoing promotion and education.

Other awards honor special categories, such as Sommelier of the Year and Best Wine Event featuring Washington Wine. Meanwhile, the Walter Clore Honorarium is given to an individual who has demonstrated dedication to the advancement of the Washington State wine industry.

“The Washington State Wine Awards are a way to say thank you to our champions,” said Steve Warner, president of Washington State Wine, which organizes the awards. “We can grow the best grapes and make the best wine here in Washington, but we cannot be truly successful without support from these outstanding individuals and organizations. They help us continue to build momentum for Washington State wine.”

2014_GobletThe 15 businesses and individuals recognized as leaders by the Washington State Wine Awards will be featured in a full-page ad in March in 10 key publications: Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Sunset Magazine, Seattle Met, Seattle Magazine, Sip Northwest, Elle Decor and Wine Press Northwest, as well as the 2014 Washington State Wine Tour Guide.

Winners received prizes ranging from certificates and wine carriers to etched magnums. Two recipients were awarded custom goblets designed by Julie Conway of Iluminata Art Glass Design in Seattle.

Master Sommelier Rob Bigelow emceed the event, during which attendees were able to taste wines from 70 Washington State vintners.


Restaurant of the Year
The Marc Restaurant (Walla Walla)

Independent Restaurant of the Year
Russell’s (Bothell)

Restaurant Group of the Year
Schwartz Brothers Restaurants (Western Washington)

Sommelier of the Year
Jeff Lindsey-Thorsen of RN74 (Seattle)

Best Event featuring Washington Wine
“Raise a Glass, Fund a Scholarship,” created by Anthony’s Restaurants (Washington and Oregon)

Retailer of the Year
Total Wine & More (nationwide)

Independent Retailer of the Year
Full Pull Wines (Seattle)

Retail Group of the Year
PCC Natural Markets (Seattle)

Retail Salesperson of the Year
Dan McCarthy of McCarthy & Schiering Wine (Seattle)

Hotel of the Year
The Westin Bellevue Hotel

Tourism Champion of the Year
Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau

Tourism Concierge of the Year
John Cooper of Yakima Valley Tourism

Distributor of the Year
Cru Selections (Washington)

Distributor Salesperson of the Year
Jason Harris of Young’s Market Company (Washington)

Walter Clore Honorarium
Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery (Woodinville)

Grand Awards:

  • Anthony’s at Columbia Point (Richland)
  • Anthony’s at Pier 66 (Seattle)
  • AQUA by El Gaucho (Seattle)
  • Barking Frog at Willows Lodge (Woodinville)
  • Bistro San Martin (Arlington)
  • Canlis Restaurant (Seattle)
  • Compass Wines (Anacortes)
  • Cypress Lounge & Wine Bar at The Westin Bellevue
  • Daniel’s Broiler Prime Steaks and Chops of Bellevue
  • El Gaucho Bellevue
  • El Gaucho Seattle
  • Hotel Vintage Park (Seattle)
  • Impulse Wine (Seattle)
  • Metropolitan Market (Western Washington)
  • Port Ludlow Resort
  • RN74 (Seattle)
  • SkyCity at the Space Needle
  • Sullivan’s Steakhouse (Seattle)
  • Sun Mountain Lodge (Winthrop)
  • Swing Wine Bar (Olympia)
  • The Dining Room at Sun Mountain Lodge (Winthrop)
  • The Fireside (Port Ludlow)
  • The Herbfarm (Woodinville)
  • The Metropolitan Grill (Seattle)
  • Tulalip Bay Dining at the Tulalip Resort and Casino
  • Valley Cafe (Ellensburg)
  • Visconti’s of Leavenworth
  • Visconti’s of Wenatchee
  • Visit Seattle
  • Washington Athletic Club (Seattle)
  • Willows Lodge (Woodinville)
  • Yakima Valley Tourism

Awards of Distinction:

  • Acqua Via (Olympia)
  • Adriatic Grill Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar (Tacoma)
  • Assaggio Ristorante (Seattle)
  • blueacre (Seattle)
  • Breadline Cafe (Omak)
  • Bridgewater Bistro (Astoria, Ore.)
  • Café Veloce (Kirkland)
  • Chandler’s Crabhouse (Seattle)
  • Churchill’s Steakhouse (Spokane)
  • Demetris Woodstone Taverna (Edmonds)
  • FAR-EATS (Seattle)
  • Inn at Ship Bay (Orcas Island)
  • Ivar’s Acres of Clams (Seattle)
  • Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing Restaurant
  • Ivar’s Salmon House (Seattle)
  • LOCAL 360 (Seattle)
  • Masselow’s Restaurant (Airway Heights)
  • Pike Brewing Company (Seattle)
  • Purple Cafe and Wine Bar (four locations – Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville)
  • Ray’s Boathouse (Seattle)  Salty’s at Redondo Beach (Seattle)
  • Salty’s on Alki (Seattle)
  • Spazzo Italian Grill & Wine Bar (Redmond)
  • Steelhead Diner (Seattle)
  • The Barrel Thief (Seattle)
  • The Lincoln Center (Spokane)
  • The Rainier Club (Seattle)
  • The Station Pizzeria (Woodinville)
  • The Triple Door (Seattle)
  • Wild Ginger (Seattle)
  • Wild Ginger at the Bravern (Bellevue)

Visiting Chef Series Dinner; Decadent Cuisine, Exquisite Wines

Dinner PartyI had been tossing around the idea of a monthly Visiting Chef’s Series Dinner for quite a few months. Finding the time to plan/create just didn’t seem to be in the schedule and the final push came from a friend of mine who simply said, let’s throw a dinner party, we’ll do it together and it will be fabulous.

Filet Mignon with Risotto

Filet Mignon with Risotto

Past entertaining has been limited to Friday or Saturday evenings.  Cocktail season was in full swing and deciding this event should not have any limits, I chose a Tuesday evening, sent out the invitations and began working on the decor / theme.  I sent out more invitations than I knew would be accepted, it was after all last minute, and smack dab in the holiday party season.  While some did in fact decline due to scheduling conflicts, a few of my favorite friends and colleagues accepted and the dinner was on.

The menu was beyond exquisite; Roasted Tomato Soup, New Bedford Scallops, White Prawns, Duck Breast, Filet Mignon, Risotto, Chocolate Lava Cake and  Chocolate Caramel Torte.

Duck Breast

Duck Breast

This was a rare treat indeed.  We watched our Celebrated Northwest Chef prepare each course and tasted each dish immediately after preparation, in anticipation of watching him prepare the next delectable bite.  We ate for hours.

The wines were also exquisite.  Marywill Winery sent their best as a gift for our soiree and to compliment our menu.  We sipped, savored, tasted, paired and enjoyed an enchanting evening.

2011 Maryhill Columbia Valley Winemaker’s Red

Maryhill Wines

Maryhill Wines

Aromas of vanilla, cherry cordial and cola. Medium bodied with a sweet core of raspberry jam and toasty oak followed by a medium finish. A classic Washington State red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc with plenty to offer for those who enjoy a wine that is fruit-forward and easy drinking. ~Christine Havens

2011 Maryhill Columbia Valley Winemaker’s White

On the nose, Bartlett pear and lemon tart. The impression translates on the palate in this medium-bodied Washington State white blend. Nice round mouth feel and a medium finish, the Maryhill Columbia Valley Winemaker’s White represents a pleasantly composed effort for it’s modest price point. A versatile wine, this will be a great choice for entertaining. I’m drinking it this evening with a simple Sunday supper of roasted chicken and haricot verts. ~Christine Havens

“Great wines are our inspiration.  For us, winemaking isn’t about lifted noses or highbrow personalities.  It’s about sourcing the best grapes and treating them with passion, patience and balance.” ~ Maryhill Winery

Maryhill Winery

Maryhill Winery

Located in the Columbia Gorge wine region on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and majestic Mt. Hood, the winery is a breathtaking place to visit and is situated just 100 miles east of Portland, Ore., and boast a 3,000 square-foot Tasting Room and gift shop, a 1,200 square-foot Reserve Room with a private courtyard, a popular vine-covered outdoor terrace and a 4,000 seat amphitheater that hosts a spectacular summer concert series, all of which are family – and dog – friendly.

Maryhill Winery

Maryhill Winery

Maryhill has produce nearly 40 award-winning varietals and blends and have been recognized as “Washington Winery of the Year” and “Best Gorge Attraction” for their superb wines and stay-for-a-day activities.  Read more here…

The first of our monthly Visiting Chef Series Dinners was an exquisite treat.  We are already planning our January feast and will keep you updated on the menu and wines.

Splendid Gift Baskets, Secret Ingredient: Beer! By Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

“Oh Crap!!” 

How many times have you been wondering or even scrambling last minute to muster up or buy a gift for a host as you’re just on your way out the door? Hmmm?

Well, if you’ve found yourself in that position, it’s a great season to think ahead and prepare yourself to be caught at the ready. Here’s a plan to help you be a great guest this holiday giving season.

1. Gifts for the host/s are always in order. They’re a show of appreciation, given with no strings and should fit the occasion and recipient.

Give the Gift of Flavor

Give the Gift of Flavor

2. Stock up on simple containers, a variety is a good idea. I like to shop locally at my thrift stores, as you can find very good merchandise, sometimes new, to use for gift containers. Baskets, crates, gift-wrap, ribbon, and an ever-changing assortment of opportunity awaits!

3. Once you have these goodies all set aside in one location, go to the local beer store. Talk with a competent person about helping you choose a wide array of flavors and sizes, price points and brands. There are myriad tastes to be had in cans and bottles for your hosts.

4. Keep the beer refrigerated and then tap into it when you are headed out. Even keeping it moderately cool (basement or garage for example) and dry, out of the sun and UV rays, will help you ensure fresh beer is well managed.

With these gift ingredients handy, you’re sure to be invited back and an appreciated guest! Every host likes a gift. Beer is economical and delicious.

BasketNeed more ideas? Get a few great beer and beer + food books for folks. I’d recommend:

  1. Beervangelists Guide to the Galaxy, Fred Bueltmann, The Beervangelist
  2. The American Craft Beer & Food Cookbook, John Holl
  3. The Best of American Beer & Food, Lucy Saunders
  4. Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle (great read, not a cooking book).
  5. Allagash: The Cookbook

Let’s go with “Oh, Joy!” instead.

Cheers to being a good guest, cheers to gracious hosts, and a tasty holiday to all!

Til the next glass ~


Go Here: Your local stores that reputably have fresh beer: read – it’s been kept cool and protected from direct UV (sunlight and fluorescent). You patronize the brewers and the retailers (as well as the hard working Distributors) and can feel great about giving a gift that people don’t have to keep on a shelf, collecting dust.

Try This: Add glassware to the gift o’beer. High quality glassware will serve the recipient for years, with all sorts of beverages. I suggest brands such as Rastal and Spiegelau.

Gifts for the host/s are always in order. They’re a show of appreciation, given with no strings and should fit the occasion and recipient.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

Holiday Gifts Made with Love

Christmas SidewalkStorefronts, sidewalks, street signs and aisles at the local markets are brimming with holiday gift ideas and I am entranced by the sights and smells that Christmas brings.  It’s so simple to choose a gift from the shelf or to browse catalogs and have an item dropped to a friend’s front porch.  Simple yes, personalized?  No.

When I was a child, one of my favorite gift items each year, came from relatives who baked, canned and whipped up special favors to put under the tree on Christmas eve, to indulge in on Christmas morning and even through New Years Day.  Today, I adore it when friends give me an item that I can serve at the New Years Eve party or set out for guests to munch on while enjoying New Years Game Day. This year it’s easier than ever to create delicious gifts for friends and family with Driscoll’s Made with Love gift ideas and recipes. You will find many delights to create on Holiday’s Made with Love.

Christmas Quick BreadsWrapping a quick bread or a pound cake and placing under the tree with a jar of blackberry or raspberry jam, or sauce is a decadent treat for the holidays.  The bread itself is delicious and the jam or sauce can be used as a topping on pie, ice cream, shortcakes, or even pancakes and waffles on Christmas morning.

blackberriesSince I find blackberries an exquisite treat, this year I am presenting a delightful blackberry sauce. Since a trip out the woods or backyard with a bucket isn’t an option this time of year, most people think blackberries are out of season in December, but that simply isn’t so.  Driscoll’s offers exceptional berries year round, so a trip to the produce section in your local market is all you need to have the delicious ingredients to create a personalized and special gift.  Tip:  I freeze blackberries in flats, I do not wash or pick out the leaves or stems, simply take the flat and place in freezer.  When they are completely frozen, I carefully measure out 6 cups ( frozen ) and place in to a large zippy bag with the date clearly written on it, squeeze out air, and place in freezer again. If pie making is in my future…one zippy bag has the correct amount already measured out.  Rinse and thaw.

blackberry sauce IISimple Blackberry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Driscoll’s Blackberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. In medium pan cook blackberries and half of the water ( 1/4 cup ), sugar and lemon juice on medium high for five minutes, giving it a stir now and then.
  2. Puree in blender or food process for approx. 30 seconds.
  3. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining water and puree again, for about half the time, 15 seconds or so.
  4. Pour into strainer over bowl to strain out seeds for a smoother sauce.
  5. The sauce is delicious warm, especially over bread, ice cream or pie and can be stored in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

blackberry  sauce IIIOptions

  • For a thicker, chunky sauce use a potato masher instead of blender or food processor.
  • You can add a bit of cinnamon or 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla for a bit of a flavor kick.  Play around with the recipe…add and subtract subtle flavors to taste.  Before you know it, you will have a recipe that is all your own

Driscolls Made with Love SweepstakesDriscoll’s is offering additional Christmas magic with Driscoll’s Made with Love Holiday Sweepstakes.  2 Grandprize winners will love creating recipes with their Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and Berries for a year and 4 First Place Winners will enjoy whipping up delicious treats with their Berries for a year.  Enter for your chance to win Here!

Paid Endorsement by Driscoll’s … visit

Russell’s will host Chef Rick Bayless in Exclusive Collaborative Dinner

Two celebrated Chefs, one exquisite menu.

The evening of October 27th, Russell’s in Bothell will host Chef Rick Bayless for an exclusive collaboration dinner with Chef Russell Lowell, benefiting Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Host of the critically acclaimed Public Television series, Mexico-One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless, Chef Rick Bayless will join Chef Russell Lowell in preparing what Chef Russell describes in one word, as a solid menu.  Working as a team, both chefs bring impressive culinary skills to the table.

Chef Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless is not only the culinary host of his highly acclaimed television series, Mexico-One Plate at a Time, currently in it’s ninth season on Public Television,  he is also the author of eight cookbooks,  owner of six restaurants and established the Frontera Farmer Foundation with his staff with 2003, to support small Midwestern farms.

Chef Russell Lowell

Chef Russell Lowell

Chef Russell Lowell began his culinary career at the age of 15 under the tutelage of a French chef in Southern California.  He has traveled extensively and has worked as executive chef for several well-known restaurants across the United States.   35 years later, Chef Russell has an impressive dossier.   He is the owner of The Garden Cafe at Molbak’s in Woodinville, Russell’s Restaurant & Loft in North Creek of Bothell as well as having launched one of Seattle’s most sought after catering businesses, Russell Lowell Catering.

This sold-out stellar collaboration is sure to be the culinary event of the season and everyone is on the edge of their seat with anticipation for a peek at the menu.

For information on this and upcoming events please visit Russell’s website and Facebook Page.

Wicked Delicious Trio; Pears, Pork Loin and Bacon

October Pumpkins

October Pumpkins

September gave one last shout to the Pacific Northwest with high winds, torrential downpours and finally flew away entirely with a tornado.  Yes, for real. It was small, with winds whipping at 110 mph, it was on the ground for five minutes and it’s path length was one mile.  Goodbye September.

I have always seen October as the beginning of the holiday season.  There is a changing of the colors, our menus are adjusting to the seasonal fare, our cravings are heartier and we are reaching out to family and friends asking about their Thanksgiving and Christmas scheduling.

As much as I love the buzz and energy all the way to New Years Eve, I give you my word, I will focus simply on October decorating and cuisine.  For now.

Roast Pork Loin with Bacon and Brown Sugar Glaze

Roast Pork Loin with Bacon and Brown Sugar Glaze

Roast Pork Loin with Bacon and Brown Sugar Glaze by The Comfort of Cooking.  Can you imagine the aroma wafting through the house Sunday afternoon as this is roasting?  The beauty of this recipe is that it is prepped, in the oven, out of the oven and on the dinner table in under an hour. Whether this is for Sunday afternoon or a hectic weeknight, it is gorgeous, loaded with flavor and will make an excellent companion to a plate of roasted vegetables.  Now, for the good stuff…the list of ingredients;  Boneless pork loin, bacon, chili powder, paprika, salt, ground black pepper, cumin and ground cinnamon   Glaze; Brown sugar, flour, cider vinegar and dry mustard.  Full Recipe and Method

Pear and Sage Sazerac

Pear and Sage Sazerac

Pear and Sage Sazerac by The Dandy Life.  A great cocktail will make your dinner party or holiday gathering the talk of the town and this could be the one to put your soiree on the map.  This recipe is a bit involved, so following the directions exactly is the key to creating a wickedly fabulous cocktail.  You may need to step outside your home bar for a couple of these items and head to the market.  Ingredients list;  Bourbon, Pernod or Absinthe, fresh sage, bitters, juice of a lemon, sugar and water.  Full recipe and method.

Life’s Adventures by Jacob Harrington

Spooner Farms Photo:  Jacob Harrington

Spooner Farms
Photo: Jacob Harrington

It’s strange to think that sometimes life just falls together like a puzzle. No more than two weeks ago I was an unemployed 19 year old man looking for work in the food industry. I love food, so naturally, when I was asked to intern for Your Home with Karie Engels, I jumped at the opportunity. Since that time I have begun to learn the ropes. I am now co-administering several Facebook pages, a blog, and an account on Twitter. One of my favorite experiences so far is observing how intertwined social media truly is. The World Wide Web is literally just that; A web of interlacing ideas. It’s neat to see how quickly one post can influence thousands of people. It’s even more enticing to realize I have the tools to be the inspiration behind other peoples’ opinions.

Spooner Farms Photo:  Jacob Harrington

Spooner Farms
Photo: Jacob Harrington

Along with being taught about promotion through media, I got a chance to try my hand at photography. In pursuit of this endeavor, I found myself at two local pumpkin patches in the Orting Valley; Spooner’s Farm and Scholz’s Farm. Although I have lived in the valley for seven years previously I had never visited either place. I found myself in awe of the variety of produce right outside my front door. Although I loved the color of produce, from the delicious red of an apple to the spicy orange of pumpkins and even the delicate green of an ear of corn, I seemed to find myself drawn to the atmosphere. Both establishments were in preparation for the oncoming season of festivities. I really like animals too. I quickly made friends with a mischievous cat, a silly goat, and an extremely vain pony.

Photo:  Jacob Harrington

Photo: Jacob Harrington

After the adventurous photo shoot, I looked at several of the pictures I took and realized they weren’t too bad. After some editing they were ready to go.

My experience this far has been nothing less than fantastic. All skepticism I had at the beginning has been whisked away and replaced by excitement and determination to succeed in this crazy little game we sometimes call life. I’m especially excited to see where my future takes me while working for Your Home with Karie Engels.

Reel it in and serve it up; delicious salmon recipes

Fishermen and women have been lining the banks of local rivers pulling in some fabulous looking salmon this late summer season.  With so many recipes and prep methods for this tasty delight, we thought we would share a few of our favorites with you.

Smoked Salmon Crisps

Smoked Salmon Crisps

Smoked Salmon Crisps contributed by Thomas Keller to Food and Wine.  A gorgeous appetizer with simple and delicious flavors that work so well together, each bite is divine.  Food and Wine is one of my go to publications for cuisine and ideas full of flavor.  If you don’t have time to run to the market to pick up the latest issue or if you really do not appreciate the clutter that subscriptions to several magazines can create, consider utilizing your smartphone, tablet or computer to organize your food magazines.   You can purchase by the issue or on an annual basis and they are user friendly and incredibly interactive.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program, the appetizer.

If you love to entertain but simply feel you do not have the time to prepare a dish that has excellent presentation and flavor, you will adore this recipe. This is one of those delightful creations where a portion of it can be prepared up to two days ahead.  The ingredients list is very basic, so more than likely you can head to your local market for the items.  Ingredients list:  all purpose flour, sugar, egg white, butter, black sesame seeds, smoked salmon, shallot, chives, lemon zest, white pepper and crème fraîche.  Full recipe and method

Smoked Salmon Benedict

Smoked Salmon Benedict

Smoked Salmon Benedict by Bon Appetit.  A delicious brunch is a great way to get any day rolling and adding a bit of smoked salmon adds a touch of elegance.  While this recipe is a bit involved, it is completely worth the effort as you can see.  Wow guests, friends and fam  with a beautiful and delightful creation.  List of ingredients; shallots, dry mustard, dry white wine, whipping cream, white wine vinegar, eggs, brioche loaf or egg bread, smoked salmon, fresh dill and dill sprigs.  Full recipe and method

Asian Brown Sugar Salmon

Asian Brown Sugar Salmon

Asian Brown Sugar Salmon by Nature’s Health Foods.  I love simple and when it’s combined with delicious, it quickly becomes my favorite.  This salmon recipe serves 2 and will make a wonderful companion lying atop a bed of greens or nestled quietly beside a mound of rice.  List of ingredients; salmon fillet, grated ginger, sesame oil, hot chili oil, soy sauce and brown sugar.  Full recipe and method

Quick and Dirty Game Day Foods

Football frenzied crowds are a festive lot to feed and making sure that everyone is satisfied with both quantity and flavor can be a tough task.  If time is an issue this weekend, we have you covered.  While my motto is, fresh and local whenever possible, reality is, it’s not always possible and there are times when quick and dirty is what will get the job done.

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Balls by Aaron McCargo Jr. for Food Network.  If you are like me and an urge to throw a party at the spur of the moment hits you, tossing together a last minute menu can be quite the magic trick.  This is a great recipe because most of the prep work has already been completed by your neighborhood deli or supermarket.  Ingredients list; Store bought rotisserie chicken, hot sauce, black pepper, sharp cheddar, scallions, flour, eggs, panko bread crumbs, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt, lemon and garlic.  This is 30 minutes start to finish and is a fantastic game day finger food.  Full Recipe and Method here

Delicious Game Time Margarita

Delicious Game Time Margarita

Tin Can Margaritas by Emeril Lagasse for Food Network.  Yes, I am staying with the Food Network crew for this one.  Emeril is one of my favs and I love this quick and no fuss recipe for a bit of a twist on the one of my front runner tequila picks.  Ingredients list; Lime, can of frozen limeade, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice and ice.  Full Recipe and Method here

Beer Cheese Spread  Photo: William Dickey

Beer Cheese Spread
Photo: William Dickey

Beer Cheese Spread by Southern Living.  When you head to the market for your rotisserie chicken grab a few boxes of crackers for this spirited spread.  Whip it up quickly, cover, chill for two hours and get to work on the next menu item.  Ingredients list; Cheddar cheese, onion, garlic, hot sauce, ground pepper, bottle of amber beer and a thyme sprig.  Full Recipe and Method here



There are more game day favorites at the links provided here. 

Game-Day Appetizers & Finger Foods

Bloody Mary

Game-Day Menu; Baby Back Ribs & Bloody Mary’s

Game Weekend Brunch

Playoff Weekend Margaritas

Football Fever; Let’s raise a glass, or three!

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