I've been getting some pressure recently that I don't blog enough. How rude! I have been traveling all summer, which I will share photos from soon. Traveling doesn't lend it self to testing recipes, so everyone will have to sit patiently. 

I do have this soup recipe. Unfortunately, I am incapable of taking attractive pictures of soup. But don't be fooled, this soup is GOOD. The broth alone... I can taste it right now. Delicious. The thyme cream, while a little fussy, does melt nicely into the soup giving it a different texture and adding another layer of flavor. I'd say the soup would be great with or without, with if you have the extra time.

Recipe adapted from here.

Mushroom and Leek Soup with Thyme Cream

1/2 C heavy cream
3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 lbs crimini mushrooms, chopped to your favorite soup-worthy size
3 large leeks, just the white and light green parts, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tbsp flour
6 C chicken broth (or vegetable, if you so desire)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper 

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, fold in 2 tbsp thyme. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Take out of the refrigerator when you start to make the rest of the soup. 

In a big soup pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Cook half of the mushrooms until browned and soft, set aside. Melt 2 more tbsp of butter and cook the rest of the mushrooms, set aside. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, and cook the leeks and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and flour, and stir until everything is evenly coated with flour. Add the stock, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 tbsp thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Serve with some crusty bread!

And since I only took one mediocre picture of the soup in failing light, I offer you this photo of Dan, Katie, and Otis eating the soup on their new patio furniture. One of these people may or may not be the one pressuring me.

Strawberry Shortcake

Do you belong to a CSA? Some of my family members and I get food boxes from Growing Washington, and it's so exciting to open the box every week and come up with a plan for all the fruits and veggies. Recently we got a couple of cartons of strawberries and decided to make Strawberry Shortcake. We usually make whipped cream with heavy cream, a sprinkle of sugar, and a dash of Disaronno. I wanted to make homemade biscuits too, so I searched a few recipes, and decided on this one from Joy the Baker.

Strawberry Shortcake

About 1 carton strawberries
Some sugar
Some heavy cream

2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 C cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C heavy cream

Cut the strawberries into small slices and toss in a few sprinkles of sugar. Refrigerate until needed. Whip together the cream, some sugar, and a glug of Disaronno. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat the oven to 400, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and mix in with your hands until the mixture resembles little crumbs. 

Make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients. Knead until the mixture comes together. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and knead for a few minutes. Form the dough into a rectangle and cut into 6 pieces. Brush the biscuits with some extra heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar, transfer to the baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

To build the shortcakes, cut a biscuit in half, pile the bottom half with strawberries, top with cream, and then top with the top half of the biscuit.

Where has Jamie Been?

So I've been a little MIA recently, but it's been for good cause! I've been doing this:

and this:

and this! (sorry, didn't take any of my own photos!)

The strawberries are just strawberries dipped in tempered chocolate. The cake is the same recipe as this. But the brownies! I will give you the brownie recipe. I've been making an effort to buy more cook books recently. I obviously love cooking, and I love books, but I get most of my recipes and inspiration from the web. So, I picked up Baked NYC's cookbook, Baked. I was drawn to their rustic styling and use of ingredients like malt powder. 

These brownies are very delicious - on the fudgey side. Brownies are one thing I often don't make from scratch (egad!), I just don't find homemade brownies THAT much better than boxed. But these - these brownies are worth it. Make them from scratch.

1 1/4 C flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate
1 C unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan. Whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Place the chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in a large heat proof bowl (glass). Place this bowl over a double boiler (an inch or two of water simmering in a sauce pan) and gently stir until melted and smooth. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the water, whisk in the sugars until combined. Once the mixture is room temperature, add the eggs one at a time and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir - don't over beat at this point or the brownies will be cakey. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and fold in gently with a spatula. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

 ~ By the way! All of these treats were made for Mr. Olivier Wever's 40th birthday party - the talented and innovative artistic director of Whim W'him, a contemporary ballet company in Seattle. Find out about the company here. And more pictures of the party are here! ~ 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I really wish I had taken some more attractive photos of this soup. Dan and I made this in between watching a hockey game and going to a concert, so I didn't have much time to take nice photos, but let me tell you, it's delicious. The aged cheddar and mustard make this soup much more sophisticated than what you are probably picturing Broccoli Cheddar Soup to be. Plus it's pureed. I have a thing for pureed vegetable soups, which I admit is definitely weird. Anyway, make it. It's not that hard. The croutons alone are worth it!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup


6 oz whole wheat bread torn into pieces
2 tbsp salted butter, melted
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dijon mustard
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk together the butter, oil, and mustard. Toss the bread pieces around to coat. Spread out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crouton-like.



2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
pinch of salt
1 medium onion, chopped
3 small potatos, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. chicken broth (or vegetable, if that's your preference)
1 large head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
3/4 C grated aged cheddar
2 tsp dijon mustard
A bit of freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the shallot, salt, and onion in the olive oil until the onions start to turn translucent, a few minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and broth, put on the lid, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5 more minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until that is tender, a few more minutes. Take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Add half of the cheese and mustard and blend some more. Add the rest of the cheese and mustard and some freshly ground pepper and finish blending. Serve with some extra cheese on top and croutons.

Mom's Visit to Seattle

I can't believe it took me so long to upload these photos! My mom came to visit Seattle over Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few shots from her time here.

Pretty flowers on our walk to the Locks 
The Locks
Cute! My roommates for the next few months!
Mom in Seattle!
Classy, as always
Mariners vs. Yankees game
Two Boston fans and an Ichiro fan
Columbia Tower
Downtown Seattle Library

Fresh Fruit Please!

A few weeks ago I went to Mississippi for a business trip. It seems that all anyone eats in Mississippi is fried seafood. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE fried seafood, but when I got back to Seattle I was craving fresh produce like no other. This led to over purchasing of sexy looking produce aisle items, such as juicy ripe strawberries, which led to this cake. It's simple, it's delicious, it's light, it could be adapted in infinite ways with different fruit. Winner.

Strawberry Cake

6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/2 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a pie plate. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Beat butter and 1 C sugar in a large bowl together until fluffy. Stir in the egg, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour into the pie plate and arrange the strawberries cut side down around the plate, pushing into the batter a little bit. I couldn't quite fit the whole pounds worth, but certainly didn't mind eating the extras. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar. 

Ready to bake
Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 325, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes more. Cool in the pan. I served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, but fresh whipped cream would be great too.

Bourbon Banana Bread (yep.)

Last weekend I volunteered with Rebuilding Together. About 30 volunteers from my office got together and helped do repairs on a house inhabited by three mentally and physically disabled residents. Tasks ranged from rebuilding the wheel chair ramp, landscaping, rebuilding a fence, and my new expertise: repainting the house! I had a lot of fun, it was a beautiful day to spend outside helping others.

At the end of the day there was a ton of leftover food that was provided for the volunteers, so I snagged a bunch of bananas to take home. I've been patiently waiting for these bananas to brown so I could make banana bread. I began my banana bread recipe search at Smitten Kitchen of course. My search ended as soon as I saw bourbon listed as an ingredient. Sold!

Bourbon Banana Bread

4 bananas, smashed
1/3 C butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1 1/2 C flour

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix together the banana and butter. Add the sugar, egg, vanilla, and bourbon and stir to combine. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and spices and stir to combine. Finally, stir in the flour. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean (I had to bake for at least 60).

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Disclaimer: Otis did not aid in any baking activities
I'm house/dog sitting this weekend while my brother and sister-in-law are on a romantic weekend getaway. I've decided to spend a romantic weekend baking with this guy:

My brother had a bag of carrots in the fridge I know he's been trying to use up, so I obviously decided to make cake. This is a great basic carrot cake recipe, which can be amended to include walnuts or raisins or whatever you like.

Carrot Cake

2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
2 C sugar
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots (grated very fine)

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until combined. Stir in grated carrots (and any nuts or raisins if you're using). Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Very finely grated carrots makes for very moist cake!
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C maple syrup

Blend all ingredients with a hand mixer until thick and creamy. Chill for a few minutes to achieve an easily spreadable consistency.

Discovery Park

On Saturday, Katie, Otis, and I took a walk around Discovery Park.

It was a beautiful day (spring, finally!) and I was happy to be able to explore one of Seattle's parks. Many more to see!

- A note about non-recipe photo posts - you may have noticed I haven't been posting daily photos recently. It's really hard to keep that up, and I honestly haven't been inspired to lug my camera around every day. So, I will try to posts more photos per post, since there will be less of them!

Cinnamon Buns: Conquered

So... this is the third time I've tried this recipe. The first time I didn't set up my bread machine properly, my bad. The second time the yeast didn't rise, I still don't know why. Today, I was inspired to make my final cinnamon bun attempt before letting the recipe lie. I mean... it has 4,238 five star reviews! How could it not work?! Turns out third time's the charm!

Bread Machine Cinnamon Buns

1 C warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 C melted butter
4 1/2 C bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C white sugar
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1 C brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 C butter, softened

3 oz cream cheese
1/4 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Fill the bread machine with the ingredients in the proper order. For my machine, that is first wet ingredients, then flour, then the rest of the dry ingredients with yeast on the very top (so it doesn't touch any wet ingredients). Turn the machine on to the dough setting. When it's finished, roll out the dough to a large rectangle, about 12"x20". Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Roll up into a log and cut into 12 slices. Preheat oven to 400. Place in a 9x13 pan (I used two 8x8s, worked fine), cover, and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes. While the buns are in the oven (hehe) make the frosting by beating all ingredients together with a hand mixer. Serve warm topped with frosting.