Delancey’s Clam Pizza


Delancy's Clam PizzaDelancey is a pizza restaurant in Seattle owned by Brandon Petit and his wife, food blogger and book writer, Molly Wizenberg.

Back in 2010, before I had even contemplated starting a food blog, my book group read Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. I was so captivated by Molly’s writing that I began following her blog, Orangette, which continues to be an inspiration.

Molly’s latest book, Delancey, A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage will be released in a few weeks, so it’s perfect timing for me to share this recipe with you.

Clam pizza? Unless you’ve ordered pizza in Japan, clams might seem like a very unlikely pizza topping. I’ll admit, my family was skeptical – until they took their first bites.

clamsDelancey’s clam pizza is made with fresh steamed Manila clams (canned is NOT an option) and it’s a weekend special that always sells out. At Delancey, the clam pizza gets a special twist from the addition of preserved Meyer lemons. I couldn’t find them at Trader Joe’s or at our very well-stocked Thriftway, so I decided to substitute a small amount of fresh lemon zest, which seemed to add just the right amount of lemon flavor. I also added chopped fresh basil to the parsley because I just love basil with clams.

And, to make things VERY easy, I bought a ball of Trader Joe’s pizza dough instead of making my own.

Clam Pizza

The fresh clams are definitely delicious on this pie, but it’s the sauce that really stands out. Made from a reduction of white wine, shallots, butter and clam juice blended with crème fraîche, this is not your ordinary pizza sauce.

This recipe comes from the cookbook, Signature Tastes of Seattle by Steven W. Siler. It’s the last recipe I am sharing this month and I’ll be giving away a copy of the book later this week, so stay tuned.

If you live in the Seattle area, you can hear Molly Wizenberg read from her new book on Tuesday, May 6th at 7 pm at University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE.


Delancey’s Clam Pizza
5.0 from 1 reviews

Serves: 4
  • 40 small Manila clams
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, broken into small chunks.
  • Fresh chopped parsley & basil
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  1. Set a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat to 500 degrees for 1 hour.
  2. In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the clams and steam, covered, until the shells open, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the the cooked clams from the liquid and set aside to cool.
  7. Once cool, remove the meat and discard the shells and any clams that did not open up.
  8. Continue cooking the wine and shallot liquid over high heat until it reduces down to about 2 Tablespoons, then strain over a bowl and discard the shallots. Whisk in the crème fraiche and lemon zest (optional) until incorporated.
  9. Remove the pizza stone from the oven.
  10. Stretch the pizza dough into a 12 inch circle and place on the hot stone.
  11. Top pizza with the shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, and the clams, then drizzle the crème fraiche over the top.
  12. Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown and puffed – about 12 to 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and drizzle some hot chile oil over the pizza and then garnish with a generous portion of chopped parsley and basil.


Kingfish Coconut Cake


Kingfish Coconut Cake APPCoconut is a happy ingredient… it makes me think about summer and piña coladas, spicy Thai food and travel to far-away tropical islands, homemade macaroon cookies and Almond Joys, and that delicious smelling Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil we used to slather on back in the 1980′s.

When I saw this Coconut Cake recipe in the Signature Tastes of Seattle cookbook, I immediately wanted to give it a try. It comes from Kingfish Cafe in Seattle, a restaurant owned and operated by sisters Laurel & Leslie Coaston. At Kingfish Cafe, you will find southern food influenced by years of home cooking. The restaurant’s website says it best:

“ Soulfully cooked food is richly flavored, passed down from generation to generation, and filled with tradition and history. We are firm believers in simple pleasures, and we are delighted to share our version of Southern hospitality with you.”

There is just something about this cake… it tastes like something my grandma would have made. I’m guessing it is one of the recipes the Coaston sisters grew up eating at family birthday parties.

Okay, what you should know… this coconut cake is moist, tender, and sweet – but not too sweet. It’s straightforward to make, but like all good cakes made from scratch, you’ll need a bit of prep time (plan on 1/2 hour) to make the batter. Be sure to buy sweetened canned coconut. It’s stocked with drink mixers at the store, not in the Asian section.

SIDE NOTE: Instead of following the recipe and baking the cake in two 9-inch cake pans like any sensible person, I tried using three 6-inch cake pans. The result was a cake about as high as it was wide – my own Coconut Leaning Tower of Pisa. Fortunately, a generous recipe of cream cheese frosting held everything together and the cake cut beautifully.

This cake holds up well for a few days and it’s a recipe I would recommend for a special occasion like Easter dinner, a birthday, or even a wedding.


Love coconut, too? Check out these other recipes from A Passionate Plate:

“Hawaiian Vacation” Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars
Cod in Coconut Tomato Curry Sauce
Piña Coladas


I haven’t posted anything new for two weeks because I can’t stop making this cake! I took one to a dinner party and the entire cake was completely devoured. I’ve found that a layer of lemon curd in the center makes it even better so I will be adding that to the recipe from now on. Here is my Easter version – two 10″ layers with lemon curd, coconut and cream cheese frosting in the center. I highly recommend this cake.

- Mary

Coconut Cake

Kingfish Coconut Cake

Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern American Cooking
Be sure to buy sweetened canned coconut for this recipe. Look for the Coco Lopez brand, which is stocked with the drink mixers at the grocery store.
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup canned sweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch sides (or spray with non-stick baking spray).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and ½ tsp. salt.
  4. Using a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, sweetened cream of coconut and orange juice until fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  6. On low speed, add the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended.
  7. Add the butter milk and mix just until blended.
  8. Remove the batter to another bowl and set aside.
  9. Wash and dry the bowl and beater thoroughly.
  10. Add the eggs whites to clean, dry mixing bowl and beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry.
  11. Fp;d the beaten egg whites into the cake batter until combined. Do not over mix.
  12. Divide the batter into two prepared pans.
  13. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  14. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the pans, turn the cakes out onto a rack, and let them cool completely.
  15. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  16. Combine the cream cheese and butter together and mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir in the confectioners sugar until smooth.
  17. When cakes are completely cool, frost with the cream cheese frosting. Spread 1 cup of cream cheese frosting over the first layer and sprinkle 1 cup shredded coconut over the top.
  18. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with remaining coconut, gently pressing into the sides to adhere.
  19. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.




Szmania’s Potato Crusted Salmon


Potato Crusted Salmon A Passionate PlateThis recipe from Szmania’s Restaurant is featured in the cookbook Signature Tastes of Seattle by Steven W. Siler.  I’m cooking from this book in March, and was so happy to see a recipe from Szmania’s included.

Szmania’s is located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and chef/owner Ludgar Szmania has been dishing up his take on Pacific Northwest cuisine with a uniquely German twist for nearly 25 years. The restaurant holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I got my first job cooking in a restaurant kitchen.

It was a crazy time for me with culinary school during the day followed by a dinner shift at Szmania’s. I showed up to work every afternoon totally exhausted from a long day at school, but the hours in the kitchen just flew by and it was one of the best culinary experiences of my life. I’m not sure I could pull off those 17 hour days in the kitchen anymore! My feet hurt just thinking about it.

I learned so much from Ludgar Szmania, including how to make this dish, which has definitely survived the test of time. Try serving potato crusted salmon with a warm dill-Dijon cream sauce and a side of asparagus.

If you live in Seattle, I’d definitely recommend a dinner at Szmanias, and if you love German food, the Octoberfest menu should not be missed!  :-)

Looking for more ways to prepare salmon? You might also enjoy these recipes:

Salmon Sashimi with Ginger & Hot Sesame Oil
Walnut Crusted Salmon Filets
Chilled Somen Noodles with Grilled Salmon

Szmania’s Potato Crusted Salmon

Recipe type: Seafood, Entree
Serves: 4
  • 4 – 6 oz. salmon filets, skinned & deboned
  • 2 cups potatoes, finely shredded, rinsed and kept in water
  • 1 cup finely diced white onion
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season salmon filets generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the potatoes and squeeze away all excess moisture.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded potatoes, onions, flour, and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat an oven-safe, large, non-stick pan over medium hight heat.
  6. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  7. Divide the potato mixture into four portions.
  8. Place the four potato cakes into the pan, shaping them into the form of the salmon filets.
  9. Place a filet on top of each potato cake and let the potatoes fry to a light golden crisp.
  10. Flip the cakes over carefully with a spatula so the crisp side of the potato faces up.
  11. Finish in the oven until the salmon is cooked through – about 3 minutes.
  12. (if you do not have an oven safe non-stick pan, gently place the filets on a preheated baking sheet to finish in the oven.)
  13. Serve immediately.


Cafe Ladro’s Espresso Chip Pound Cake


Cafe Ladro Espresso Chip Pound Cake

This month I’m diving into this really fun book, Signature Tastes of Seattle by Steven W. Siler. It’s a cookbook of restaurant recipes from our area and the first one I’m sharing is from the renowned Seattle coffeehouse, Cafe Ladro.

Really, besides salmon (recipe coming up this weekend!) what tastes more like Seattle than coffee? Not much!

The original Cafe Ladro opened on upper Queen Anne back in 1994. Now there are 14 area locations and, lucky for us, there is a Cafe Ladro just a couple of miles from my house in West Seattle, (7011 California Ave SW, Seattle).

Usually I’d order a vanilla latte at Cafe Ladro, but this week I stopped in for six shots of expresso in a cup to go, because I wanted to make one of their signature items – Espresso Chip Pound Cake.

This recipe is big, bold, dense and, yes… loaded with caffeine.


I talked to the barista at Cafe Ladro in West Seattle and found out that the Espresso Chip Pound Cake is one of the most popular items in the pastry case and it sells out daily.

I had hoped to run a little taste test today when Joy and I met for coffee, but sure enough, the Espresso Chip Pound Cake was all sold out, so we just enjoyed a piece of my homemade. It was amazingly good!

cafe Ladro coffee

Here is the recipe. It makes more than enough batter for a bundt pan. You’ll have leftovers to make a few muffins or a small loaf, too.


Cafe Ladro’s Espresso Chip Pound Cake

Serves: 12+
This recipe comes from Seattle’s Cafe Ladro. It’s rich, dense and full of coffee flavor. Unless you have a very large bundt pan, you’ll probably have extra batter to bake a few muffins or a small pound cake loaf, too.
  • 1 lb. butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sour cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup espresso shots, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • confectioners sugar for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour a large bundt pan (or spray with baker’s spray)
  3. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a stand mixer, starting on low speed and then on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix on medium speed until the eggs are just incorporated. Do not over mix.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed until just combined.
  7. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix until just combined.
  8. Add the espresso and mix until just combined.
  9. Add the chocolate chips until just combined.
  10. Scoop the cake mixture into a large, prepared bunt pan. Fill the pan ¾ full. If your bundt pan is not big enough, scoop the remaining batter into prepared muffin tins or a small loaf pan.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  12. Let the cake cool, then remove from the pan and garnish with confectioners sugar before serving.


What’s cooking in March? Local recipes!


Signature Tastes of SeattleHappy March! This month I’ll be sharing recipes with you from some of Seattle’s best restaurants. I’ll be cooking from Signature Tastes of Seattle, Favorite Recipes from Our Local Kitchens, by Steven W. Siler. This book showcases nearly 100 amazing recipes from local restaurant menus, so I am going to have a very difficult time deciding which ones to share!

I think I’ll start with The No-Name Cocktail from Peso’s Kitchen & Lounge (605 Queen Anne Avenue North). We’re having a few friends over tonight to watch the Academy Awards, and this cocktail sounds perfect…

1 1/2 oz. cucumber vodka
1/2 oz. triple sec
1 oz. water
1 oz. Sprite
splash of Pimm’s

Combine all ingredients over ice in a glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.


Zucchini Patties


Zucchini Patties A Passionate Plate

I just can’t believe today is February 28th!  I didn’t have time to  make enough of the recipes from Balaboosta and now the month is over. This will definitely be a cookbook I come back to again and again.

Yesterday I managed to squeeze in one more from Balaboosta. It looked so simple I just couldn’t resist. Crispy, salty, zucchini patties seasoned with onion, leeks and dill.

Simple, yes. Boring, NO!

The secret to making these patties crispy and not soggy is to squeeze out all of the extra moisture from the zucchini and onion in a dish towel. Once the zucchini and onions are nice and dry, they can be mixed with the remaining ingredients.

_DSC3236Einat recommends using bread crumbs from the Challah recipe in Balaboosta. I substituted plain bread crumbs and they worked great.

I ate these with a little tzatziki sauce for lunch – so yummy!

I’ve got two other ideas I want to try using this recipe…

- Zucchini patties topped with grilled tomatoes, poached eggs and basil cream sauce.

- Zucchini patties with cinnamon, walnuts & maple syrup (omit the dill).

I’m giving away the Balaboosta cookbook at today!
Visit our Facebook page for details.

Zucchini Patties

Recipe type: Starter
Serves: 12 patties
So simple, yet so delicious!
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 leek, white and light green only, finely chopped
  • 2½ Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Canola oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Grate the zucchini and onion.
  2. Wrap the grated vegetables in a clean dish cloth and twist over the kitchen sink to remove all of the excess moisture.
  3. Place the zucchini and onion in a large bowl.
  4. Add the leek, dill, ½ tsp salt, bread crumbs and egg.
  5. Use your hands or a spoon to combine the ingredients.
  6. Heat ½” oil in a large, non0stick skillet over medium heat.
  7. Form the zucchini mixture into 2″ patties.
  8. Fry in the hot oil until both sides are dark golden brown.
  9. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle generously with kosher salt, and serve.


Turkish Coffee Brownies


Turkish BrowniesWhen I saw the recipe for Turkish Coffee Brownies in Balaboosta, Bold Mediterranean Recipes to Feed the People You Love, by Einat Admony, I immediately thought of Marvin. Not because he loves chocolate, but because of a story I’d heard about a past girlfriend, her Serbian mother, and an infamous Turkish coffee “reading” that correctly predicted the demise of the relationship. Wow – those coffee grounds don’t lie!

All I can say is… if you know someone who loves chocolate and coffee – and you aren’t trying to end a relationship – skip the Turkish coffee reading and make these brownies instead. They are wonderful! The magic ingredient in this very simple recipe is actually cardamom, which imbibes an exotic flavor without overwhelming the irresistible combination of coffee and chocolate.

The recipe calls for espresso powder, but I substituted a packet of Starbucks VIA Italian Roast. I STRONGLY recommend this recipe and hope you will give it a try.

Want to learn more about the ancient art of Turkish coffee reading? Check out this short video documentary by Veronica Moscoso Cordero from YouTube.


Turkish Coffee Brownies

Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • ⅔ cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
  • 3 oz. 70% cacao chocolate (bittersweet)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 packet Starbucks VIA Italian Roast instant coffee
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of an 8″ square pan with butter and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Melt the chocolate and 8 oz. of butter together in a double boiler or a small bowl over a pot of simmering water.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is light, fluffy, and pale yellow.
  4. Whisk in the VIA packet, cardamom, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
  5. Remove the melted chocolate mixture from the heat and gently stir with a rubber spatula.
  6. Very slowly add the chocolate to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined.
  7. Sift the ⅔ cup flour into the batter and mix well.
  8. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check the doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle – if it comes out clean, the brownies are done.
  10. Cool before cutting.
  11. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.


Ground Meat Kebabs with Fresh Herbs


Ground Beef Kabobs

In February 2010, Marvin and I took a Valentine’s trip to Southern Spain and Morocco. Our main objective was the Festival de Jarez – a month-long celebration of all things flamenco in the Andalusian town,  Jarez de la Frontera.  We spent five days in Jarez watching and listening to incredible flamenco performances. In between shows we wandered the rainy streets, enjoyed the delicious food  (huge plates of fried fish, sliced  jamón, olives, cheese, crusty bread, Spanish beer, amazing steaks, delicate pastries) and we drank sherry. Jarez de la Frontera, we discovered, is the sherry capital of the World. One night we even watched a flamenco performance by candlelight inside a Sherry Bodega. It was magical!!

Tio Pepe Bodega

We watched a midnight flamenco performance here, surrounded by barrels of sherry.

What does this story have to do with a meat kabob recipe from the cookbook Balaboosta? Well, after our 5 days in Jarez, we took a ferry ride across the Straight of Gibraltar to Tangier, Morocco, where we ate lunch at a tiny hole in the wall place with three tables and a couple of grills out front. Our waiter served us meat kabobs which tasted almost exactly like the recipe from Balaboosta I am sharing with you today.

Tangier Morocco – Feb. 2010

So there you have it!

I’ve adapted this slightly from the original, with the addition of lamb and a little garlic. Marvin LOVED these kabobs and eating them brought back great memories of our Valentine’s trip a few years ago.

The flavor is definitely Middle Eastern with hints of cumin and cinnamon, but bright with the flavor of fresh herbs, too. You could also form this mixture into patties for a Mediterranean twist on a burger or make meatballs and serve them in pita.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

- Mary

Ground Meat Kebabs with Fresh Herbs

Recipe type: Entree or Starter, Grilled Meat
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4
  • Bamboo skewers (soaked in water) or metal skewers
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro & mint)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 5 to 10 times to combine well.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into cylinders, about 3 inches long and ½ inch in diameter.
  3. Thread onto the skewers and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Heat a gas grill on medium high or light a charcoal grill.
  5. When the grill is ready, place the kabobs over the fire and good until they are cooked through and charred on each side, about 6 minutes.
  6. Serve hot off the grill with tzatziki, salsa, hummus or your favorite dipping sauce.


Tangy Tabbouleh


TabboulehThis month I am sharing recipes from a beautiful cookbook called Balaboosta by Einat Admony. First up, tabbouleh!

I love tabbouleh and have been making it for years. My old friend, Rick Schwartz, once told me, “Tabbouleh is a parsley salad not a bulgar wheat salad.” I think the reason most people (especially grocery store deli employees) make tabbouleh with more wheat than parsley is because chopping is time consuming and labor intensive whereas pouring boiling water over a bowl of bulgar wheat and letting it “cook” is incredibly easy.

But, there is no getting around the fact that a really great tabbouleh salad requires lots of chopping and lots of parsley.

The Balaboosta recipe for tabbouleh is similar to mine, but with one major difference… equal parts parsley and cilantro. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this, but I decided to give Einat’s recipe a try and I loved it – bright, tangy, and fresh!

Three things really make this tabbouleh salad a stand-out: the cilantro, fresh lemon zest, and plenty of salt.

Tabbouleh makes a great side for barbecued meats, and holds well in the refrigerator so it’s a great weekday work lunch, too.

Not eating gluten? Try Substituting quinoa or brown rice in place of the bulgar wheat for an equally delicious gluten-gree version.


Tangy Tabbouleh

Serves: 6 – 8
A classic Middle Eastern salad made more unique with the addition of chopped cilantro.
  • 1 cup medium bulgar wheat
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup chopped mint
  • 4 scallions, thinly chopped
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • zest from two lemons
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the bulgar in a medium bowl. Cover and set aside until the water is absorbed.
  2. Stir together all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the bulgar and mix thoroughly.
  4. Let the flavors mingle for about 30 minutes before serving.


Feed the People You Love.

12th man

Celebrating on Sunday when the Seahawks won their first Super Bowl.

February is here and Seattle is feeling the love. The Seahawks are Super Bowl champions! They’re predicting 500,000 fans will line the streets for the big victory parade. Unbelievable. You’ve gotta love the 12th man!

My February cookbook pick is also all about the love – the feeding your friends and family kind – and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

Here it is…

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.33.17 PM Balaboosta
Bold Mediterranean Recipes
to Feed the People You Love.
- By Einat Admony

Einat Admony is originally from Israel, but now lives in New York, raising her family and running three restaurants. She is also a winner on Chopped. I discovered Einat Admony at Barnes & Noble on one of my all too often strolls through the cookbook section.  The title of the book caught my eye – a word I didn’t recognize.

Balaboosta. It’s Yiddish for perfect housewife. And it’s the name of one of Einat’s restaurants. I love how Einat explains it:

“Balaboosta is a term of respect and endearment, reserved for the most energetic of women who tirelessly cooked and cleaned while taking charge of the spiritual and emotional well-being of their husbands and kids.

I come from a long line of balaboostas. There’s my mom, Ziona, of course. There’s her sister, Chana – a divorced mother of five who still spends eighteen hours a day making meatballs, rice, couscous, lamb stew, and chicken schnitzel for her kids, grandkids, neighbors, mailman, the old woman in the wheelchair across the hall, and whoever else might drop by for a bite.

 Like my mom, my aunt Chana, and the generations of balaboostas before them, I cook from the gut.”

I bought this cookbook because it’s full of incredible Mediterranean recipes and it just oozes with love. The writing is so entertaining, I read it like a novel, pausing to drool over the recipes along the way.

Recipes for kids, for friends, for busy weeknights, family gatherings, special occasions, and romantic dinners for two… there’s even a recipe for a Morning Orgasm (pomegranate juice, rose water, champagne) Valentine’s Day breakfast, anyone?

So it was really hard to decide which recipes to cook and post this month, but here is what I am planning (subject to change) -

  • Crispy Calamari with Saffron Aioli
  • Turkish Coffee Brownies
  • Falafel
  • Herbed Meat Kabobs
  • Tangy Tabbouleh
  • Zucchini Patties

Sound good to you? It was hard to choose just a few recipes from this book! I’ll give away a copy at the end of the month, too, so stick around.

You can learn more about Einant Admony in this video produced by The New York Times.

January Cookbook Giveaway! One Day to Enter!




Watch for the next giveaway, coming soon!

Happy end of January!

Today is your chance to win a copy of Hollyhock Garden to Table - the wonderful book I have been cooking from all month! This cookbook is full of inspired, simple to prepare, good for you recipes. Many are vegetarian or gluten free.

Enter our giveaway by telling us one thing you are trying to eat more (or less) of this year.

Just respond to this post to enter. We’ll announce the winner on Friday!

Good luck!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Polenta Pancakes


Gluten-Free Polenta Pancakes A Passionate PlateHappy Sunday morning to you! We’re enjoying a lazy start to the day and happy tummies, thanks to these scrumptious Gluten-Free Blueberry Polenta Pancakes. I haven’t been making a big deal about it here, but Marvin and I have both cut way back on gluten and carbs recently, so pancakes have been pretty much off the menu. Obviously these pancakes are not carb-free, but they are light, fluffy, tasty,  gluten-free, and a nice reward for being “good” all week.

I adapted this recipe slightly from the Hollyhock Garden to Table Cookbook (we’re giving away a copy next week!). The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup of the Hollyhock homemade gluten-free flour mix. I just used the versatile Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix which worked perfectly.


Gluten-Free Blueberry Polenta Pancakes

Recipe type: Breakfast, Gluten-Free
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk or dairy alternative
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix
  • (or homemade gluten-free flour mix, or whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup blueberries or other fresh berries
  1. Combine the cornmeal, salt and honey in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in the boiling water, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter (or coconut oil).
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture until it is well combined.
  5. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then gently stir into the wet batter.
  6. Ladle batter onto a hot, oiled griddle and sprinkle a few berries on each pancake.
  7. Cook on medium heat until the pancakes are speckled with bubbles.
  8. Flip and continue cooking until the underside is golden brown.
  9. Top with maple syrup, apple butter, fruit or yogurt and serve immediately.


Simple Roasted Cauliflower


SimpleRoastedCauliflower A Passionate PlateSometimes the simplest foods taste the best. Take roasted cauliflower for example. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice are all that is needed to turn a humble head of cauliflower into something extraordinary.

Normally I wouldn’t post a recipe that is this simple, but since it’s also in the Hollyhock Garden to Table cookbook, I figured, why not? (We’re giving away a copy of the cookbook next week, so stay tuned!).


Simple Roasted Cauliflower
5.0 from 1 reviews

Recipe type: Vegetable
Serves: 2-4
So simple. So delicious. This is a wonderful way to serve cauliflower that even non-veggie lovers will enjoy.
  • 1 head organic cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Generous amount of fresh ground pepper and sea salt
  • juice from ½ small lemon
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the olive oil, lemon juice and cauliflower until the florets are well coated.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread cauliflower in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast, stirring a few times, until the cauliflower is roasted and slightly charred on the edges, about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.


Palak Paneer


Palak Paneer A Passionate Plate

Palak Paneer is an Indian spinach curry made with soft, unripened farmer’s cheese. I ordered palak paneer at Indian restaurants for many years thinking I was eating tofu. (If you are avoiding dairy, tofu can easily be substituted in this recipe). I love palak paneer, but had never tried making it at home – until yesterday. This is the third recipe I am sharing from the Hollyhock Garden to Table cookbook this month. I adapted it slightly and am happy to report it was a total success.

Making farmer’s cheese (paneer) sounds daunting, but it is actually quite simple. Bring whole milk to a boil, stir in lemon juice until the milk curdles, strain in cheesecloth for 1 hour and voila – fresh farmer’s cheese!

Pakak PaneerThe flavors in this recipe are bright and intense. If you love the strong flavors in homemade curry, this recipe is for you. The paneer is crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside. And, there is plenty of extra sauce – enough to use in a second meal as a simmer sauce for chicken or fish.

I used a food processor, but a blender will give a smoother, more uniform consistency.

Happy cooking!

Love curry? You might like these recipes, too!

Cod in Coconut Curry Sauce
Thai Chicken Curry
Butternut Squash Thai Curry

Palak Paneer

Recipe type: Vegetarian Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
  • ½ lb. paneer
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, most of the juice drained off
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. chili flakes
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  2. Line a strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth and place it over a bowl.
  3. In a medium, heavy bottomed pot, bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching.
  4. Once the milk boils, remove from heat and stir in the 2 Tbsp. lemon juice.
  5. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes until the milk curdles.
  6. Pour into the lined strainer and let drain for 1 hour. Discard the whey (liquid drained into the bowl) and press the curds in the cheesecloth into a flat circle.
  7. Cut into 1″ cubes. (The cheese may be slightly crumbly. Don’t worry).
  8. You should have approximately 8 oz. of paneer.
  10. Heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the paneer and cook until golden on all sides.
  11. Remove to a paper towel and set aside.
  12. In a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, tomatoes and garlic. Blend into a smooth paste. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  13. Add the spinach and coconut milk to the blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  14. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in a medium, heavy bottomed pot.
  15. Add the onions and sauté until very soft, about 10 minutes.
  16. Add the tomato puree, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili flakes.
  17. Simmer on low for 5 minutes to combine the flavors.
  18. Add the spinach mixture and the paneer and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  19. Season with the sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.


Mushroom Soup with Cashews & Wild Rice


A Passionate Plate Vegan Mushroom SoupHere is a luscious and rich mushroom soup perfect for a Meatless Monday in January. Mushroom stock blended with roasted cashews makes a creamy base for earthy wild rice, shiitake mushrooms and fresh thyme.

We lucked out this weekend at the West Seattle Farmer’s Market when we found these beautiful shiitake mushrooms from Duvall’s Sno-Valley MushroomsWhat a score!

Mushrooms West Seattle Farmers Market

This recipe is from the Hollyhock Garden to Table cookbook. I’ve adapted it slightly. Omit the cream (my addition) if you prefer a dairy-free, vegan version. Enjoy!

Looking for other vegetarian soup recipes? Try these:

Quick White Bean Soup with Rosemary
Thai Curry Butternut Squash Bisque

Mushroom Soup with Cashews & Wild Rice

Recipe type: Vegetarian Soup
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cups mushroom stock
  • ½ cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ heavy cream
  1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot.
  2. Add onion and salt. Turn heat to low and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the fresh thyme and garlic. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  4. Turn heat up and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their juices and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Add wine and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  6. While the wine is reducing, combine 1 cup of mushroom stock with the cashews in a food processor or blender and process until well combined.
  7. Add cashew-stock mixture and remaining stock to the pot and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  8. Use a blender or a stick blender to process the soup until smooth. (You can also process in batches in a food processor).
  9. Stir in the cooked wild rice and cream (optional) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve topped with additional chopped cashews.


Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Molasses


Roasted Beets Pomegranate MolassesBeautiful beets.

Full of good-for-you vitamin C, antioxidants, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals  - beets are a superfood that may even improve heart health and lower your risk of diabetes.

I love the sweet, earthy taste and silky texture of roasted beets, and I’m happy to share another yummy beet recipe with you.

This salad recipe comes from the Hollyhock Garden to Table cookbook, my inspiration for recipes this month.

Extra pomegranate molasses can be stored in the refrigerator for a few months.

Extra pomegranate molasses can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

If you are one of those misguided people who think beets taste more like dirt than a vegetable, this lovely salad might change your mind. The sweet flavor of roasted beets mingles nicely with a dressing made from tart, homemade pomegranate molasses and tangy balsamic dressing. Chili flakes and cilantro give the salad a little extra kick.  For a little added protein, try adding some feta or cotija cheese.

Toss the ingredients together about 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors mingle. I like this salad served at room temperature, but the refrigerated leftovers are just as tasty.


Do you love beets, too? Here are some other recipes to try -

Swedish Pickled Beets
Beet and Goat Cheese Layered Salad
Kale Pesto Pizza with Roasted Beets & Hazelnuts

Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Molasses

Recipe type: Salad, Vegetarian
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb. red beets
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • FOR THE MOLASSES (makes extra!)
  • (ingredients will make extra. Keep refrigerated for up to 6 months)
  • 2 cups 100% pomegranate juice, no sugar added
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. homemade pomegranate molasses
  • 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange the beets (skin on) in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the beets for 1 hour or until tender.
  4. While the beets are cooking, prepare the pomegranate molasses.
  5. In a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 to 50 minutes until the juice has reduced by ⅔ and turned syrupy. Remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Remove the beets from the oven and set aside to cool.
  8. Peel the beets, cut into small dice and place in a medium sized bowl.
  9. Whisk together 3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes and olive oil.
  10. Toss the beets gently with the pomegranate molasses dressing, fresh cilantro and pomegranate seeds.
  11. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes so the flavors can mingle and then serve.


Happy New Year!


HappyNewYearGood morning!

I hope your first day of 2014 is starting off right. I’m a big fan of new beginnings, so January 1st is one of my favorite days. Out with the old, in with the new; a clean slate; a fresh start; an opportunity to re-group, make new goals, and buy a new calendar!

I’ve been thinking a lot about A Passionate Plate for the last few weeks. Writing this blog has been one of my most gratifying experiences over the past few years, but in 2013 I just didn’t give myself enough time to cook, photograph and share my recipes.

Well, that’s going to change, starting now.

I will find time for the things I love this year, including cooking and photographing good, healthy food.  And, I’ve decided to take a new approach with A Passionate Plate in 2014. Each month I’m going to choose a cookbook from my own collection and share some of the recipes with you. Then, at the end of the month, I’ll give away a copy of the cookbook!

I can’t promise that I’ll be posting more than an couple of days each week or that my pictures will be perfectly lit, but I am making a commitment to get back to what I enjoy and to share it with you.

January’s cookbook pick: Hollyhock Garden to Table, by Moreka Jolar, Heidi Scheifley and the Hollyhock Cooks.

I love this cookbook because it is filled with creative, healthy and inspired recipes that are very simple and easy to execute. Most of the recipes are vegetarian, with options for making them vegan or gluten free.

Here’s what I’ll be making and sharing with you in January:

  • Roasted Beets with Pomegranate Molasses
  • Mushroom Soup with Roasted Cashews and Wild Rice
  • Palak Paneer 
  • Simple Roasted Cauliflower 
  • No-Knead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
  • Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Anchovies & Thyme
  • Cortes Clam Chowder 
  • Blueberry Polenta Pancakes 

I’m looking forward to a renewed commitment to more cooking and better eating, and I look forward to sharing these recipes with you this month.

Happy New Year!

- Mary

Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Mix


This gluten-free flour mix was developed by the team at Hollyhock Retreat Center and is featured in their beautiful cookbook, Hollyhock Garden to Table. Note that buckwheat will spoil, so this mix should always be kept in the refrigerator.

Substitute this gluten-free baking mix for wheat flour for cakes, muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Homemade Gluten-Free Baking Mix

Serves: 5 cups
A 1 to 1 substitute for wheat flour, this homemade gluten-free flour mix is perfect for cakes, muffins, scones, pancakes and other quick breads.
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1½ cups white rice flour
  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • ⅔ cup tapioca starch
  • ⅓ cup arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Eggnog Muffins


Tis’ the season to be jolly… and drink eggnog! Eggnog is a favorite holiday indulgence for me, especially when served with a little Captain Morgan Private Stock rum. Eggnog and rum are the key ingredients in this very easy muffin … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls


Happy Thanksgiving week! Have you planned your menu? Started your shopping? Are you trying anything new this year? We’re sticking to a traditional menu – turkey, cornbread & sausage dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn soufflé, pumpkin pie, and yes – … Continue reading


Chicken in a Basket


Today I want to share a special comfort food recipe with you. Chicken in a Basket. Chicken in a Basket was served at Kappa Alpha Theta on the final day of sorority rush  at WSU back in the 1980′s. Very … Continue reading


Six Seven at The Edgewater Fall Menu 2013


Last week, Mary and I were invited to attend the beautiful Fall Menu Tasting Dinner at Six Seven at The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle, WA. Chef John Roberts prepared and presented an amazing dinner in their gorgeous dining room (the … Continue reading


Emily’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


My niece, Emily, posted these Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins on Facebook last week. The caption under the photo read, “Since I was not busy this afternoon, I made some chocolate chip banana muffins!! I tried one and they are super … Continue reading


Spicy Pork & Sweet Potato Stew


Happy Sunday evening to you! What’s for dinner at your house tonight? We’ll be eating this… an easy-to-make, Spicy Pork & Sweet Potato Stew. Savory, tender pork, chunks of sweet potato and flavorful hominy in a spicy, smokey broth. Give … Continue reading

1 Comment

Around the World Lentil Soup


Lentils… Are you a fan? I love them. Nutty, earthy, and full of protein.When I got back from India this spring, I couldn’t stop eating Lentil Dahl for breakfast and now that the weather is getting colder, I’m on a lentil … Continue reading


Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake


My friend, Debbie, recently discovered that eating a gluten-free diet makes her feel so much better in so many ways. Debbie also loves chocolate, so when I saw this Gluten-Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake recipe in my Hollyhock: Garden to Table cookbook, … Continue reading


Cougar Gold Ale Soup – GO COUGS!


It’s football season. GO COUGS! RUN, RUN, Ruuuuuun! OMG What the #@*@*#! AMAZING! What was he thinking?? Throw the ball!! Hang on to the ball! Get RID of the ball! RUN!!! Get out of bounds! GO COUGS! Noooooooo! I just … Continue reading


Five Things I Learned This Summer.


I am so glad September is here! My summer was just flat-out crazy. I’m starting a new business and it’s been a bit overwhelming. I just didn’t have time to do the baking, cooking and canning I had hoped for, … Continue reading


Kale Pesto Pizza with Roasted Beets & Hazelnuts


 I just really love the combination of these flavors. Every bite of this savory pizza bursts with complexity. At first it’s all whole-wheat and pesto, but pretty soon the sweetness of the roasted beets kicks in, and those crunchy, toasty hazelnuts … Continue reading


Kale Pesto


Kale. We just can’t seem to get enough of it. Over the past two years we’ve shared all kinds of kale recipes including an Apple & Kale smoothie, Farro Salad with Kale,  Kale Caesar with Bacon and Egg,  a Kale and … Continue reading


Raw Zucchini Noodle “Pad Thai”


Happy zucchini season! My friend, Dave, is harvesting a bumper crop this year and if I didn’t know any better I’d swear he’s been feeding his plants steroids or growing some kind of crazy GMO zucchini. Take a look for … Continue reading


NW Summer Cocktail Party featuring simple & crisp


Look at those beauties! We received these gorgeous Simple & Crisp dried fruit slices in the mail last week with this lovely note: Please enjoy pairing our delectable fruit crisps with some of your favorite culinary cravings! Simple & Crisp’s … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Mornin’, Sunshine Smoothie


Here is a delicious way to start your day! You can use fresh or frozen fruit, but if it’s all fresh, you’ll want to add a few ice cubes to make it nice and slushy. If you’re looking for an … Continue reading

1 Comment

Lyn’s Pork Adobo


  Lyn made a bunch of yummy Filipino dishes for us last week and the first one I want to share with you is Pork Adobo. Like curry in India, there are countless recipes for adobo in the Philippines and families … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Cooking with Lyn


Last week Marvin’s nephew, Mark, and his family came up from San Antonio for a visit. We had great time touring them around the area and an unexpected treat for me was getting to cook with Lyn. I felt an … Continue reading


Chicken and Rice Salad with Nam Jim Dressing


Hello, friends! It’s been too long since my last recipe post and I apologize. I’ve been cooking like crazy this summer, but for some reason I just keep running out of time and/or energy when it comes to snapping a … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake


What in the world possessed me to make this completely over-the-top, so rich and sweet you can’t even finish your piece dessert? It’s Martha’s fault, that’s for sure. A simple online search for chocolate chip cakes led me to a Martha … Continue reading


Chilled Somen Noodles with Grilled Salmon


Ice-cold somen noodles are a traditional hot-weather Japanese dish. Usually they are served with a dipping sauce on the side. Grab some noodles with your chopsticks, dip, and eat. Delicious, but messy. I love eating cold somen noodles, but I … Continue reading


Wine Tasting Picnic – Pizza Rustica


One of our favorite things to do in the summer/fall is to go wine tasting. We are really lucky to have so many wonderful tasting rooms right here in town, but sometimes it’s fun to pack up a picnic and … Continue reading

Leave a comment

No Bake Cheesecake Tart with Fresh Berries


If your kitchen feels too hot for baking today, but you want to make something yummy and beautiful to serve tomorrow for the 4th, here is a recipe to try. No bake cheesecakes have been around forever. I remember a … Continue reading

Comments Off

Paletas & Popsicles – July Giveaway!


This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, JAMIE KNUPP! Stay tuned for our next contest! Happy July, everyone… and what happened to June?! I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by. And it may just go down … Continue reading


Chinese Orange Chicken


I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for months, and now I am finally getting around to it. Sorry it took so long! My niece, Emily, who is 12 and loves to cook, got a wonderful cookbook, Easy Chinese … Continue reading


June Giveaway Winner! And Happy Father’s Day!


  Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Will you be grilling something yummy today? We had nearly 100 entries for our Get Ready to Grill Giveaway this month. And, as promised, we’re ready to announce the winner. Drum roll please… The winner … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Darn Good Chocolate Cake


Okay chocolate cake lovers (yes, DAD, I’m talking to you!) here it is. The cake you’ve been waiting for… a rich, moist, chocolate chip filled cake frosted with smooth, silky chocolate ganache. Ooh la la! This is one Darn Good Chocolate … Continue reading


Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo


One of my favorite summer-time treats is homemade ice cream. I remember watching my mom standing over a simmering pot of custard, surrounded by a pile of just peeled Michigan peaches. Meanwhile, my dad was getting the ice cream maker … Continue reading


A Great Steak & Grilling Tips for Success.


Last weekend, Joy, Toby, Marvin & I sat down to a fantastic Steakhouse Dinner at Home. We feasted on all of our steakhouse favorites like creamed spinach, crab cakes, and steakhouse corn – but the real star of the the … Continue reading

1 Comment

Blue Cheese Steak Butter


These steaks are a taste sensation without needing a lot of seasoning, but if you want to make them just a little bit special…add Blue Cheese Butter. C’mon, right?! Butter makes everything better. And with the addition of blue cheese … Continue reading

1 Comment

Parker House Rolls


What happened to the art of baking bread at home?! I think it may be that it is assumed that it is an “art”. One that requires time, and patience, and complicated procedures, and a special touch… Also, there are … Continue reading

1 Comment

Steakhouse Corn


For me, the best part of a steakhouse dinner is the side dishes. You know how they list them on the menu and say that you can choose two? Well, I’m always SO challenged to pick just two. They all … Continue reading


Emeril’s Creamed Spinach


Creamed spinach is a special treat for me. While I try to eat spinach regularly, cooking it with cream is something I mostly save for holidays or special occasions like a Steakhouse Dinner at Home. Creamed spinach takes just a few minutes … Continue reading


Hearts of Romaine with Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette


I grew up eating spinach salads with warm bacon dressing and I always loved them. But it wasn’t until I started working at Szmania’s restaurant that I discovered just how great a warm dressing tasted on romaine. Wow… it’s been 20 … Continue reading

1 Comment

Dungeness Crab Cakes


I Love Crab Cakes! That’s the name of the Tom Douglas cookbook Joy and Toby gave me for Christmas back in 2006. It’s a great little book filled with 50 unique crab recipes from around the world. While I love reading … Continue reading


Steakhouse Dinner at Home for Dad


Hey there, Foodie Friends! We’ve got some fun in store for you this week as we prepare for Father’s Day. We’re going to recreate a steakhouse dinner that you can make at home. As you know, a restaurant steakhouse dinner … Continue reading


June Giveaway – Get Ready to Grill!


This contest is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Steffi S! Our next giveaway starts on July 1st, 2013. Happy June, everyone! Guess what? It’s grilling season again in Seattle. Yes, really. How do I know? Just take a look … Continue reading




May is Guest Chef month at A Passionate Plate! Today’s post comes from our great friend and baker extraordinaire, Mary Jordan. On her days off from work at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Mary can often be found in her kitchen … Continue reading


Japanese Fried Chicken (kara-age)


May is Guest Chef month at A Passionate Plate! Today’s recipe comes from my sister, Beth! For the last 20 years or so, Beth has lived in Japan. First in Tokyo, and now in her husband’s home town, Susono. Over … Continue reading

1 Comment

Rob’s Famous Pancakes


May is Guest Chef Month at A Passionate Plate! Today’s post and recipe are from my friend, Rob. He rides a motorcycle, changes the oil and washes my MINI Cooper, advises me on the hoppy-ist IPAs and makes a MEAN batch … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter


May is Guest Chef Month at A Passionate Plate! Today’s post and recipe are from our friend and frequent book group host, Lisa. She is a busy mom, but she always seems to WOW! us with her simple and tasty … Continue reading


Red Lentil Dal + Video


A couple of months ago Marvin and I took an incredible trip to South India. I’ve been lucky to travel to some very interesting places in the last few years, but South India was, for me, just simply over the … Continue reading


Mexican Chicken Chop Salad


Inspiration can come from anywhere. On a recent trip to our West Seattle Trader Joe’s, I discovered an incredibly delicious reduced-fat Cilantro Dressing in the refrigerator section. Just one taste of this creamy, garlicky, cilantro-filled sauce had me thinking about … Continue reading


All You Can Eat Broccoli Salad (a.k.a. Silo Salad)


May is Guest Chef Month on A Passionate Plate! Today’s recipe comes from my friend, Jeannie Bastasch – an amazing woman who spends her days inspiring kids to exercise and make heathy food choices at Greenwood Elementary in Seattle. Not … Continue reading

1 Comment

Pasta with Anchovies, Capers & Black Olives


May is Guest Chef Month on A Passionate Plate! Today’s Guest Chef is my friend, Milton Pierce. Milton and I met about 10 years ago at a trade show. Since Milton lives in Virginia and I live in Seattle, we … Continue reading


Yogurt Chicken Skewers


May is Guest Chef Month at A Passionate Plate! Today’s post and recipe are from our good, foodie friend, Margretta. She is a lovely hostess, great writer and fantastic cook. Margretta makes everyone who enters her home feel comfortable and … Continue reading

1 Comment

Banana Chiffon Cake & Mom’s 70th Birthday


Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mom, happy birthday to you! We’re visiting my parents this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day AND my mom’s 70th birthday. Her only request for the weekend… a Chiffon cake … Continue reading


MaryLou’s Spinach Salad


May is Guest Chef Month on A Passionate Plate! Today’s Guest Chef contributor is Caroline Ellison. Post and Recipe by Caroline Ellison One of the fond memories of my younger years is a salad recipe my stepmother used to make. … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Penne Pasta alla Vodka


May is Guest Chef Month on A Passionate Plate. Today’s Guest Chef is Michelle (Barberio) Hyde: proud Italian-American girl/past neighbor and close friend of Joy’s. Together we have enJOYed many great meals, including one special girls’ night when the two … Continue reading




May is Guest Chef Month at A Passionate Plate! We’re giving friends, family, and our readers a chance to share their favorite recipes with us. I’m happy to kick things off with a recipe from my earliest mentor in the … Continue reading


Mother’s Day Giveaway 2013


This contest is closed.  Congratulations to our winner, Donna Donahue!  Whether your mom was good at it or bad at it, chances are she taught you something about cooking. In my case, it was a lot of things – well actually, … Continue reading


Choco-Banana Almond Milk Smoothie


How cool is it that dark chocolate is good for you?! It’s full of anti-oxidants, hardens your tooth enamel, helps keep your blood sugar levels under control, it’s good for your heart AND your brain…need I go on? My favorite … Continue reading


Chile Lime Pork with Carrot-Lime Escabeche


Have you ever participated in a recipe exchange? They are a lot like the chain letters we used to try to avoid in the 80′s (and probably long before that!). With the advent of e-mail came the “send this to … Continue reading


Wilted Kale Caesar with Bacon & Egg


Thank goodness the gloppy, sloppy, over-dressed Caesar salads everyone served in the 1990′s have all but disappeared. I love the new Caesars showing up with lighter dressings and different types of greens. Yes, the Caesar is back – and so … Continue reading


Grilled Halibut Tacos


We’re getting a few days of sunshine this week with temperatures above 50 degrees! Time to get outdoors, soak in some much needed vitamin D and fire up the grill. My friend, Lori, invited me over yesterday to help cook … Continue reading

1 Comment

Earth Day Quiz and Contest Winner!


Happy 43rd Earth Day to all of you! And, congratulations to our Earth Day Contest Giveaway winner! We asked you to tell us about a way you try to reduce, reuse or recycle. We received 32 very thoughtful answers. Check out … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Berries with Limoncello


Here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – “the cycles of life”. As a kid, we grew up going to birthday parties for our friends, and to the weddings of our parents’ friends and family members. I still … Continue reading


Kale & Artichoke Strudel


While my vegetable garden is just barely getting started (peas, radishes and carrots up, but not much else) my neighbors, Snowe and Nancy, are already harvesting a bounty of greens. A few days ago we were the lucky recipients of … Continue reading

1 Comment