While at Mekong market we were wandering the fish aisle, looking for some interesting seafood to cook when we saw a bag labeled “Apple Snail Meat.” On the back was a recipe for Snail Linguine noodles to say we bought it on the spot. What follows is the recipe for Garlic Apple Snail Linguine as written on the package. Yes you can get it by looking on the bag, but its good and maybe reading it here will give you other good food ideas.

Ingredients

1 pack cooked apple snail meat rinsed and patted dry

1 pack linguine

2 tbsp each, butter and olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 pinch crushed red pepper

Cooking

1. Chop snail meat, set aside

2. Melt butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in pan and add shallots and garlic until shallots are translucent, but not browned and garlic is fragrant. Deglaze with wine and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add snail meat and parsley. Cook on medium low heat for a few minutes until sauce is thickened.

3. Cook pasta.

4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in 1 tbsp olive oil and place in serving dishes.

5. Spoon garlic snail sauce over pasta and enjoy.

We did thoroughly enjoy this, the snail meat is a bit chewy, so chop it into small bits. Stays good as leftovers.

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We’re a bit late in posting this, but these are the Holiday cards we designed for friends and family this year. The first features a holiday themed variation on the jackalope. We got such a good response from the people we gave it to that we’ve decided to do a series based on it, with mythical and cryptozoological animals paired with holidays. We’ll release one for each month, except January (we got started too late for it), August, and September (no holidays in August, and Labor day isn’t really a card holiday). At the end of the year we’ll make a calendar featuring all the holiday designs, and three extra ones for the months we skipped. We’re in the process of setting up an online store, and are about to print our Valentine’s Day card. I’ll post an update as soon as we do!

Jackibou Card

Our Jackibou Christmas Card

The picture is a little hard to read, so here’s the description of the Jackibou from the card:

Jackibou

Related to the jackalope, the jackibou is a rare creature that is seen only in winter. While its white coat camouflages it in snowy environments, it has been known to collect brightly colored objects in its antlers, particularly during the month of December.

I’m not going to say much about the other card because I don’t want to give the concept away before people look at it for themselves. Please post what you think it says in the comments.

Holiday Card

Our Holiday/New Year Card

Seattle

Seattle from the Space Needle Restaurant

Robert and I recently visited my brother in Seattle. We spent four days eating and drinking our way through the city. While we left with many new places to try for next time, we were able to pack lots of great restaurants and bars into our brief stay. Here are all the restaurants and bars we visited, in order.

Urbane: The hotel restaurant of Hyatt at Olive 8, we got a late breakfast here after getting settled into our hotel room. I had a delicious salmon eggs Benedict. There was a generous portion of smoked salmon and the rosemary potatoes that came with it were great.

City Fish Co.: The first day after breakfast we walked to Pike Place Market. After exploring the shops and watching the famous fish throwing, we had a dungeness crab cocktail, a shrimp cocktail, and 3 for $5 oyster shooters. It was a great introduction to Seattle seafood, and the first, but definitely not the last, time we had oysters on the trip.

Marie & Freres: A wonderful chocolate shop. Their chocolate is made in South America by the growers. They then add things like cocoa nibs or candied orange peel and sell it in the shop. It’s dark, rich, and delicious, and their frozen passionfruit pops, made down the street at Mistral Kitchen, are amazing.

Stumbling Monk: We stopped in for a quick beer while deciding where to go for dinner. I had a sour beer, which I think was called Petrus. It was excellent, very refreshing with almost no aftertaste. It actually reminded me of a more savory flavored kombucha. Robert had a bourbon barrel aged beer which was also very good.

Pinto Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar: Wandering around Capitol Hill, we decided to try a restaurant recommendation my brother had gotten from a concierge at his former building. It was a Japanese and Thai restaurant and we ordered both types of food. We started with a beef salad that was similar to larb, and tom kha soup. We then ordered several sushi rolls. All of them were good, but the best was the Pinto roll with yellowtail, cilantro, jalapeño, and thin slices of lime. The lime added an amazing burst of flavor to the roll. We all wanted to order another, but unfortunately we were too late and they were closing the sushi bar.

Wheelhouse Coffee: For breakfast on our second day we tried this small coffee shop. I had a dirty chai and some banana bread that had white chocolate and nuts. I’m a big fan of banana bread, it’s one of my favorite things to bake, so I love trying different takes on it. This was a solid banana bread, not the best I’ve ever eaten, but definitely good. Unfortunately, Robert was disappointed by his drip coffee, although my dirty chai was pretty good.

Shilla: We had some excellent Korean food here, freshwater snails, beef tongue, bulgogi, and bibim bap. We left extremely full.

Hazlewood: We stopped into Hazlewood for a quick drink while we waited for a table at the Walrus and   the Carpenter. I enjoyed the Harvey Dent, although unfortunately the only ingredient I remember in it is Cynar. Robert had a well-made Sazerac, and my brother had a beer with chili infused tequila. I can’t remember the name of the drink, unfortunately. We also ordered a blackbird, a champagne cocktail with an interesting ingredient, squid ink tincture. My brother and I have cooked with squid ink before so we were intrigued with the idea of using it in a cocktail. While the drink’s flavor was decent, it was a little less dramatic looking than we had expected. I wondered if it would have been possible to add a bit more squid ink without negatively impacting the flavor, as it is a pretty mildly flavored ingredient. Despite our slight disappointment with the blackbird, Hazlewood was a great start to our cocktail tour of Seattle.

Walrus and the Carpenter: The oysters at this place were great. We had read and heard about them and were not disappointed. We ordered three of each for the first round then a few more of each of our favorites. The other items we tried, including a sardine dish, steak tartare, and a salad were delicious as well. When it came time for dessert I couldn’t resist ordering a cocktail as I had been staring at their well-equipped bar all night. I had the Norwegian Wood, a flavorful drink with Aquavit and Yellow Chartreuse (if I remember correctly), which paired nicely with the bread pudding, quince and pumpkin desserts we tried.

Salty’s on Alki Beach: An amazing brunch with a great view of the city. The buffet was huge with oysters, crab, shrimp, an omelette and pasta bar, carving station, several varieties of eggs benedict, and a huge dessert area.

Mistral Kitchen: An amazing meal! It came highly recommended from Marie at Marie & Freres and did not disappoint. The ceviche and mussels were great. Probably the most memorable food item of the night was a terrine that came on the house charcuterie plate. It had a rich meaty flavor, but almost the exact texture of a cold buttercream frosting. While Robert found this a bit off-putting, I enjoyed it. We also tried the Courting Rachel, an amazing smoked cocktail, see my and Robert’s earlier posts on it.

Knee High Stocking Co.: On our first night, walking back from dinner at Pinto, we saw a very well dressed man standing on a desserted street corner. As we passed him we notice a the words “Knee High Stocking Co.” in tiny letters near the door in front of him. Later, as we talked with the host at Mistral Kitchen, he recommended several places for good cocktails, Knee High Stocking Co. among them. We texted early in the day for reservations and were confirmed later that night. I had the Cup of Awesome, a gin based cocktail with stout beer syrup, agave, bitters and an egg white froth, topped with nutmeg. It was on the sweeter side, but delicious. Fortunately it did live up to its name. Just as we had finished our drinks and were getting ready to leave, the bartender announced that it was the time of night when he got tired of the usual speakeasy soundtrack and he was switching to 80s Hiphop, one of my favorite genres of music, another point for Knee High Stocking Co.!

Space Needle Restaurant (SkyCity): I had a good prime rib here. The food was pretty good, not the most amazing we had on the trip, but not disappointing either. The view was beautiful though, we got some nice pictures and it was a great way to end our trip.

Chicken Heart Soup

Chicken Heart Soup

In my continuing efforts to cook and eat interesting things I have not tried before, I picked up a pound of chicken hearts from the local Asian market.

The heart is a unique muscle. It is the only cardiac muscle in the body, so if you have not tried heart before you have never had anything quite like it. I will give a basic recipe for hearts with onions and for a chicken heart soup.

To prepare Chicken Hearts and Onions you will need:

some olive oil

1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken hearts

1/2 onion cut in small strips

about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup red wine

a dash of Worcestershire sauce

a dash of fish sauce

ground black pepper

aleppo pepper

sage

First, heat a medium sized pan, add oil, and sweat the onion. When the onions have become soft, add the chicken hearts and cook them on the outside, then pour in the red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and fish sauce. At this point the liquid should half cover the hearts, put on black and aleppo peppers to taste, cover and let simmer for five to ten minutes until hearts appear cooked and the liquid now almost covers them. uncover until the liquid has reduced down to a sauce and serve. This dish can be a side or main course and goes well with eggs, bread or vegetable sides.

Chicken Heart Soup is something I make when one of us is sick. The hearts work well here because of their texture, and the fact that they are already soup size. Like most soups, this one can use almost any combination of vegetable you prefer. I will list the ones I commonly use. For this recipe I also make some simple noodles.

You will need:

olive oil

1 diced onion

1 or 2 peppers ( I use jalapeños but this varies depending on the heat level you want )

About 10 cups of water

2 chicken bullion packets ( you can use chicken broth, but I find bullion easier to keep around )

a dash of fish sauce

black pepper and aleppo pepper to taste

4 or 5 potatoes cut in small squares

3 or 4 carrots cut to a similar size

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken hearts

For the pasta

one to two eggs

one to two cups all-purpose flour

First, add a small amount of oil to a large pot on medium high heat, heat the oil, then add the chopped onion and pepper. Sweat the onion and then add water, bullion, fish sauce and spices, cover and keep on medium low heat to help them combine. At this point, I like to chop the vegetables, when that is done, add them and the hearts to the soup, leave uncovered and bring it to a simmer. This will simmer for a long time, until the potatoes and carrots are soft, so in the mean time make the pasta. This is not as hard as it sounds. First, get your electric mixer, or do it by hand if you want to be boring, add one or two eggs depending on the amount you want. I use two because I like a lot of noodles in my soup. Add a little of the flour, and mix slowly, keep adding small amounts of flour until the dough is holding together in a ball but is not too sticky, if you add too much flour and the dough starts to fall apart, just sprinkle it with water until it is back together. flour a flat surface and roll the dough as thin as you like (remember it will double in size when you cook it) then take a long knife or a pizza cutter and cut it into long strips, then lay them flat, loosely cover, and leave aside. When the potatoes are soft, add the noodles and let them boil for about five minutes, or until they float. Always taste a noodle before deciding if they are done. When the noodles are finished serve and enjoy, or don’t, up to you really.

Although we drove past this place twice before finding it across the street, hidden by the light rail and in the corner of the parking lot, it was definitely worth the trouble. I had the beef shawarma plate and Robert had an Arabic coffee and the kafta on our first visit. When we returned a few days ago, starving after a trip to the rock gym, he had the kibbi, a delicious mix of ground meat and bulgar, and I had the lamb tongue sandwich. I would easily order both again. Although I have had beef tongue in several different ways, I think this was the first time I had tried lamb tongue. The texture was tender and not too chewy, and the flavor was stronger than beef tongue. I could definitely tell it was lamb, but as a fan of lamb and other more flavorful meats, I really enjoyed it. The food was excellent, definitely one of the better Middle Eastern places we’ve been to in the Phoenix area. It was also very reasonably priced with some of the sandwiches at only around $4.00 and the larger platters around $10.00.

Another great thing about Haji-Baba is the small grocery section that takes up about half of the storefront. With a variety of interesting and harder to find Middle Eastern products, it’s a fun place to shop after your meal. On our first visit we enjoyed the coffee so much that we bought a pack of the superfine ground coffee mixed with cardamom needed to make it at home. On our second visit we bought a little pot for making it. We will definitely be back to Haji-Baba, it’s a great place for cheap, delicious, filling food, and the type of place I am constantly looking for after moving back to Phoenix from New York City.