Meet the Sweazey-Malone Chicks

My friends/neighbors Jason, Stuart, and Lauren recently set up a chicken coop and got baby chicks so they can have fresh eggs. It'll be a while before these little ladies will be producing eggs, but for now they're so cute!

Meet Coccolina Chanel Sweazey-Malone

... and meet Elizabeth Taylor Sweazey-Malone

Elizabeth Taylor being vocal

Sisters cuddling on my lap

Proud Papas

March 27

Ballard Market - Seattle, WA


My sister-in-law Katie found this recipe for tiramisu a while ago and we finally had an occasion to make it on Saturday. I found this recipe really easy to put together (granted you have either a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer, and are willing to dirty every bowl you own), and very tasty. The whole recipe comes together in about 30-45 minutes (plus chilling time), and the dish is very light and airy, due to the egg whites being whipped separately. I would definitely make this again!


1 package of lady finger cookies (24 cookies)
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3 eggs, separated
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C espresso or strong coffee
1/2 C Kahlua
1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 C grated chocolate

Brew the coffee, let cool, then mix with the Kahlua in a bowl and set aside. Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form and set aside. Whip the egg yolks with the sugar and set aside. Put the mascarpone in a large bowl and loosen with a whip. Add the yolk/sugar mixture and mix thoroughly (no lumps!). Add the heavy cream and mix until well combined. Use a spatula to fold in the egg whites. 

Set up a work station with a 9-inch spring form pan, the egg/cheese mixture, the cookies, the coffee mixture, and the chocolate at hand. Dip each cookie into the coffee, holding for 2 seconds, then let drip (careful, they'll get really soft), then layer in the bottom of the pan. Continue doing this until you have a single layer of cookies, breaking some before dipping if necessary to fill gaps. Spread half of the egg/cheese mixture on top, then sprinkle with half the chocolate. Repeat the cookie dipping process to make another layer of cookies, then spread the rest of the egg/cheese mixture. [Tip: store the rest of the grated chocolate in the fridge or a cool place so it doesn't melt together, you want to keep it as shavings] Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I refrigerated for about 4 and a half hours, and I feel like it could have been firmer).

When ready to serve, take off the ring of the pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate. Cut into wedges to serve.

This picture is evidence that a few more hours of chilling couldn't have hurt, but it was still delicious!

March 23

Bainbridge Island Ferry - Seattle, WA

Olympic Mountains - Washington

Bainbridge Island Ferry - Seattle, WA

Mora Iced Creamery - Bainbridge Island, WA

Ricotta Cheesecake with Berry Compote

A long time ago I made a Ricotta Pie for my mom's birthday. Ricotta Pie is like cheesecake, but there's no heavy cream cheese - only light ricotta cheese. It's actually the only cheesecake I really enjoy. Unfortunately this was before the days of blogging and documenting recipes, and I can't for the life of me remember where I got that recipe (Mom? Any memories?!).

Kate and I made a similar version (adapted from here) on Tuesday night. It wasn't quite as light and fluffy as the one I remember, but still very good. A quick berry compote spooned on top adds a fresh flavor.

Ricotta Pie

1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

1 1/2 lbs ricotta cheese
5 eggs, separated
1/2 C sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom and about an inch up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan (if you don't have one, a pie plate will do). Mix together the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, and sugar until well incorporated and slightly yellowish. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. In a stand mixer (or bowl with a hand mixer... or just by hand if you have a lot of time) whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture until just incorporated. Pour this into the spring form pan. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until well set.

Berry Compote

1 pint of raspberries
1/2 pint of blueberries
1/4 C sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low to medium low heat. Cook until all of the berries have reduced to a sauce form and have started to thicken.

March 22

Olympic Sculpture Garden - Seattle, WA

{Photo taken by Kate}
 Pike's Public Market - Seattle, WA

Seattle Public Library - Seattle, WA

{Photo taken by Kate}
View from Columbia Tower - Seattle, WA

New Look!

Welcome to the new look of Aprons and Apertures! Thanks so much to the creative and talented Kate Christopher for designing it for me!

March 21

Walking around Fremont with Kate:

The Fremont Troll - Seattle, WA


Fremont Coffee - Seattle, WA

(BTW - I LOVE this photo of Kate... isn't she beautiful?!)

Cheesy Mushroom and Ham Frittata

I'd never really really made a frittata (or Italian omelette) before, but they seemed easy enough so Kate and I decided to do a little fridge cleaning Sunday morning in the form of breakfast. We might have gone a little overboard with the cheese... but can anything ever be too cheesy?! Yum!

Cheesy Mushroom and Ham Frittata

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cooked ham, diced
3 tbsp chives, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 C cheddar, grated
1/2 C muenster, grated

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat an oven proof skillet with oil over medium heat. Saute the onions until they start to turn translucent, then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have turned soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham and chives and stir to distribute evenly. 

Pour the eggs on top and cook until the frittata is almost set. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the whole frittata is set, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, and serve!

Obviously this can be adapted with any ingredients. So easy, and such a fun quick brunch!

March 19

Post Alley - Seattle, WA

Bread and Butter

I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen the other day and knew I wanted to make it immediately. I actually tried to convince myself to wait (I'm not sure why... an exercise in restraint?). I lasted one day... I had everything on hand! But who cares, this bread, and most importantly, this bread with honey brown butter spread, is AMAZING. It's like eating a hug. And who doesn't want a hug?

Sally Lunn Bread

2 C all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 + 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 C milk
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk

In a mixer, combine 3/4 C of flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast. In a sauce pan, heat the milk and butter together until the butter is just melted, it's ok if there are still some pieces. Add the milk to the flour and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1/2 C more flour and beat for two more minutes. Add the remaining flour (3/4 C), and mix until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. Turn the dough into a greased and floured loaf pan, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise for another 1/2 hour. During this time, preheat the oven to 375. Bake for about 35 minutes, until crust is golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Honey Brown Butter Spread

1 Stick of butter, divided
2 tbsp of honey
Pinch of sea salt

Melt half of the butter in a pan over medium heat. As soon as the butter is all liquid, turn the heat down to medium low. Continue heating, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom (that's the good part), until the butter smells nutty. Take off of the heat and cool. Whip the rest of the butter with an electric mixer. Slowly pour in the honey and browned butter and continue whipping until combined. Add a pinch of salt and mix to combine. Refrigerate this while your bread is rising/baking and it should be good to go by serving time.

Shrimp and Grits - Revisited

Some of you may know how I joke that I am a meeting planner. I'm not - but the nature of my clients' work has me organizing a lot of meetings and conferences. While this is annoying, there are some perks, mainly hotel club points (some day I will rent the nicest room Marriott has to offer) and free stuff. Often when I check in to hotels I'll have a gift basket waiting. One hotel I worked with three years ago continually sends me odd gifts. On Monday, they sent me a kit to make shrimp and grits.

While unfortunately I can't provide a recipe since this came from a kit, I can tell you the general idea. It was a little different than my last go at the dish. This one included a gravy. Typical grits, I added butter and cheddar cheese. Really can't tell you what was in the gravy... and then shrimp sauteed in some butter and mixed with the gravy. I threw some chives on top for garnish. 

And, if you ever find yourself in our lovely southeastern portion of the country, I do recommend planning a meeting at the Charleston Place hotel. :)

Happy Pi Day!

To celebrate Pi Day, I decided to make quiche. Ok, quiche isn't technically pie, but it comes in pie form, and I've been wanting to make quiche forever. I was scared of quiche until recently (why younger pickier Jamie, why??) but now I love it, and it's such an easy quick dish to throw together and have on hand for leftovers. Of course, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for a recipe.

Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust
1 3-oz package cream cheese (I doubted I'd be able to find a 3 oz package of cream cheese, but sure enough, they exist)
1/3 C half and half
3 eggs
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 C grated cheddar
1/4 C grated parmesan
4 to 6 green onions, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare the pie crust in a pie plate or tart pan. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in the half and half and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan, bake for about 25 minutes until crust is lightly browned and filling is set. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

I was a little distracted while making this, chatting with Danielle and Jared (hi guys!), so I completely forgot the salt and pepper (gasp!) and probably should have taken it out of the oven a minute or two earlier, but it's still very tasty. I'm sure proper attention would make it that much better. Sorry quiche, sorry Pi Day. 

Next time, in addition to remembering all of the ingredients, I might add an extra egg or two. I found this more spinachy and less eggy than other quiches I've had, and it couldn't hurt to fill the pie plate higher.

March 12

The Rat and the Raven - Seattle, WA

UW Volleyball

I loathe sports photography (because I can't figure it out), but nonetheless, here are some shots of my brother Kyle's tournament with the University of Washington Men's Volleyball team. Go Dawgs!

IMA - Seattle, WA

(Photos of Kyle playing with the University of Maryland team a few years ago are here)

March 10

24th St. NW - Seattle, WA

Whistler Ski Trip!

Ok... confession, I haven't been taking daily photos recently. BUT, in my defense, I was on a super sweet ski vacation in Whistler, British Columbia. Unfortunately, carrying a camera on the mountain didn't prove feasible due to bulk and my propensity to tumble through powder (I'm getting better!), and my evenings were too consumed with hot tub lounging to take any decent photos. 

By the end of the vacation I was feeling pretty guilty about my lack of photo taking, so I convinced my brother to carry my camera in his pack and took some photos. I apologize for the lack in posts, but I offer instead this slew of mountain and snow:

All photos taken on Whistler mountain, Blackcomb mountain, or the surrounding villages - Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

March 1

Stewart St. - Seattle, WA

February 28

Aster Coffee Lounge - Seattle, WA

German Pancakes

I've seen recipes for German Pancakes in a couple of different places (sometimes called Dutch Babies). After a failed bread machine cinnamon roll experiment, I needed a quick easy weekend breakfast with ingredients I had on hand. German pancakes have kind of a crepe taste and a souffle texture... definitely different. These were really quick to put together. Next time I'd spruce them up with some sauteed fruit.

German Pancakes

4 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C flour
2/3 C milk
2 tbsp soft butter

Heat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch cake pans (or any equivalent size, I used one cake pan and one 8 inch square pan, I'm sure a pie plate would work too...). Put eggs in a blender and select the "stir" option until the eggs are light in color. If you don't have a blender a hand mixer, or just a whisk will work fine.

Switch the mixer to "mix", remove the cover, and add the remaining ingredients. Pour into the two prepared pans. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they puff and begin to fold, but before they get too brown (mine probably baked a little long). 

I've read many serve with lemon, I served with maple syrup, powdered sugar could work, I'd love to try sauteed cinnamon apples, or even savory toppings!