Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sun and Beer at the Slippery Pig

The Slippery Pig has been a place that Chad and I have been meaning to visit for quite some time now. All of our friends have been there. We've had their beer at a festival and tasted it via many a growler. But we had never taken the trip to their tasting room.

When you see this - you know you're there!

This past Saturday was the day. A yuck kind of a day - the kind of day you think "today would be better with a beer."

Only having a vague idea of its location - Chad and I found it pretty easily. People mention a long dirt road - yeah, people aren't lying.... the brewery is at the end of a long, dirt, RESIDENTIAL road - but its well marked and at the end of it (so just keep going).

We were surprised by how inviting the place was. Its on a farm (which I knew cause I'd seen the Brewer and his wife at the Poulsbo Farmers Market working their Red Rooster booth) and there was a real, covered structure over the tasting area (we heard rumors of just a tarp...).

We met this GREAT couple there - talked the whole time - and took each others picture :)

We ordered the only thing that makes any sense at a new brewery - the flight of beers. It came with 5 beers and one cream soda (which I got added with a simple request). The 6 - rather large tasters - came to our table on a cool little tray, with little cards naming and describing each beer.

I feel bad... but I don't remember all of their names... BUT I do remember they were all VERY odd beers. I use the term 'odd' endearingly. The Slippery Pig does something I respect to the end of time - they use what they grow. Literally, harvest from their farm and use it to brew to my glass. A farm to table kind of place. Some examples: They had a Rhubarb Session Ale, a Quince Saison, an amber with Kale and another with juniper/cedar - but most uniquely - ok... I admit that Quince and Kale are unique - Curly Tail Stinging Nettle Pale. Yeah. This beer had the earthy, almost grassy, notes of stinging nettle, harvested right there off their property.

All of their brews had very common theme as far as taste - strong and odd. They were all very forward tasting, very obvious notes of what they were made of. For me, they were slightly overwhelming. There was one that had a smoked flavor (I think it was the cedar one) and I could taste nothing else after trying that beer (luckily is was last). I liked the nettle pale, Chad didn't. I also liked the quince one, again though, Chad didn't. Luckily, he liked the other three... while... you guessed it... I didn't.

The cool thing is - it seems their beers are always changing. Hopefully its a very seasonal place, using what is available to flavor their current batch. I would love to come here every season and taste what they have to offer. They are by far the most -interesting- brewery I have ever been to. I love the setting - having a beer next to a pig pin and their home with kids playing in the grass, is just wonderfully inviting. And OH! Their cream soda is sweet, and delicious!! DELICIOUS!

I highly recommend visiting the Slippery Pig - especially on a sunny day with a good friend.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Soy Beans Don't Have Boobies.....

I am on a quest. A figuring-out-what-the-heck-is-in-my-food quest.

The first step: soy milk.

I have always been a bit confused by soy milk. I mean... Soy beans don't have boobies.... they aren't a mammal.... And yet they make a 'milk' that I have been drinking for 2 years now... hmmmm.

The solution: find a recipe to make my own! Which was much easier than I thought it would be.

Two ingredients: dried soy beans and water. Kind of an underwhelming discovery.

Anyways -  using the beans I found at Fred Meyer the other day, Sunday was the day! I made my own soy milk! And here is how:

Soak a cup of soy beans in 4 cups of water, overnight.

When dry the beans are spherical, but when soaked they expand into little footballs.

Drain beans, replace water and blend to a smooth paste.

Looks a little like a milkshake.

Strain paste over a pot, through a sieve and cheese cloth. Make sure not to push too much through the sieve or little chunks of soy bean will end up in your milk.

Next time I'll use a bigger piece of cloth...

Bring the resulting "milk" to a simmer (around 200 degrees) for 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently and if it starts foaming, stir more.

Add vanilla and a dash of cinnamon during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Pour into a glass jar and cool!

Its pretty darn good actually - sort of a thick, beany horchata. It is a bit too beany tasting... but it is Soy BEAN milk. Not so good in coffee... the milk separates a bit and looks kinda weird...

There is a by-product of this process - a whole bunch of blended up, wet soy bean. Come to find out its called Okara, and is used in a variety of ways in Japanese cooking... So I put mine on a pan and dried it out. I'll let you know when I use it in something...

So, my recipe needs a bit of tweaking. I think a bit more cooking and a little more flavoring and it will be spot on! Next stop: cheese.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Great Day

Today was great for four reasons:

Reason #1: I am officially a student at Olympic College. Registered for 2 classes, waitlisted on 2 more. Working towards the GIS Technology Certification. A one year program and it happens to fit in nicely with my B.S. in Environmental Science and my Intermediate AutoCAD certificate.

Reason #2: I found bulk, dried, ORGANIC, soybeans at Fred Meyer! May not sound very exciting, but 95% of the soybeans grown are NOT organic. But even better, it means I can start making my own soy milk and tofu!

Reason #3: I ate an entire bag of Crazy Bread, by myself, in my car, on the way home from Fred Meyer!

I even scraped out the little garlicky bits out of the empty bag.
Reason #4: Spring is FINALLY starting to show up!!! I'm so exicted! Not only are flowers JUST starting to pop up, but the temperature rose into the high 50s this evening!

 I saw these pretty purple buds just outside of CB's

And the pretty pink flower trees are coming back!!

I guess today's greatness may have started with last nights dessert:

Delicious, homemade, chocolate covered strawberries. 
Just perfect.

I hope your day was great too!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You Can Keep Your Ghost Peppers

I cant believe it is already Wednesday! This week has been flying by - but I think I know why.

I had to call out of work on Monday - due to severe stomach ache (and all other assumable symptoms...).

Now why, you may ask, did I have a severe stomach ache? Oh, yes, you can cheat, re-read the title. Uuugghhh yes. I ate the Ghost Pepper. Not a whole one or anything, I'm not stupid, but about a dozen shrimps coated in the stuff. Uuuggghhhhh. And this is where I admit I am not a "chili head (or is it chile..?)." Uuuuggghhhh....

 They looked so harmless!

Here is the funny thing about the whole experience - so I knew what they were. I knew they were coated in the pepper that topped the Scoville scale for some amount of time at 1,000,000 units. See, I saw someone eat one, and he looked pretty much fine. I mean it was obviously a hot bite he just had, but he looked pretty ok. So I ate one, and it was delicious! Hot, but i could taste the fruit also in the coating. So, I ate about 10 more....... then. it. hit. me. 

I think I burned a hole through my stomach. Or maybe just irritated my stomach lining. Or heck, I may not actually have a stomach anymore.... In any case. You can keep your ghost peppers. I don't want them anymore.

On the plus side of this debacle, I went back to work on Tuesday, then was given Wednesday off - so I've used this day to its fullest! Ok... maybe "fullest" is a bit of an exageration... but I have been busy.

Went to breakfast with Ashley.... looked into getting some financial aid (more to come on that tomorrow)... oh yeah I washed the dog.

She does 'pathetic' well...

AND swept and mopped the entire second story of our house... I hate laminant flooring...

Joule followed the mop everywhere... never had the guts to attack it though.
But, if you're cheap (like me) or desperate for a floor cleaner, cause you don't have any ( me), here is a make-it-yourself recipe for floor cleaner. It works REALLY well.

Laminate/Tile Floor Cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar
3-4 sprays of your favorite multi-surface cleaner
1 sink full (or bucket) of warm water

Mix it all up. Dip your mop in it and go to town on those dirty floors!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Anderson Landing Preserve

Sometimes I feel like I neglect my dog when Chad isn't around. See, when Chad isn't here I have no trouble justifying sitting on the couch, doing sitting-on-the-couch things, like finishing a season of House, or knitting a scarf, or researching cheese making, or updating my blog. Unfortunately though, this means Milli sits on the couch with me... Usually she sleeps, but every once in a while she just stares at me. She stares at me with those "awww.... mom.... come onnnn...." eyes.

"Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom..."

Yesterday, I decided not to neglect her. I decided to make the most of the day. Heck, it was over 40 degrees and it wasn't even raining, I really didn't have any excuse.

After a little research I found a promising little trail out towards Seabeck. Anderson Landing Preserve, a 68 acre park, parts of which precariously perched on a cliff overlooking Hood Canal.

So, I packed up Milli, and off we went. After a few errands, it was just a short 15 minute drive down Anderson Hill. It was easy to find, yet far enough off the road to escape most car noise. It even had a little parking lot and a map at the entrance.

This little preserve was amazing! There were meandering streams thoughout. Moss covered trees that increased branch diameter 3 fold. And mud... oh my goodness, there was mud. It was not a good day to wear my DCs....

The trail was a perfect intermediate trail - a real hike at times. Three quarters of the walk was up and over hills - extremely steep and slippery with mud at times. I would not recommend this trail if it were raining. Though it hadn't rained in 36 hours, there was standing water everywhere and in places mud so deep it went up over Milli's feet and made a sucking noise as she walked. There was this steep downgrade (would've been up if we had done the loop in the opposite direction) that had bona fide switchbacks. At another part the trail was less than a foot and a half wide, with a steep hill to one side and a sheer 100 foot drop to the other.

This was the skinny part of the trail. It seemed to have been paved at one point and the cliff was eroding out from under asphalt.
The scenery was downright awe inspiring. It was like being in another world - with you being the sole inhabitant of an alien landscape full of tall fuzzy green trees and huge mushroom chairs. The ground was littered with fallen trees, huge ferns and tickle waterfalls. This is not a place that gets much sunlight. It was gorgeous. The best part was it was tucked back far enough from the road that for most of the walk you were protected from the road's traffic noise.

At two points the trail gets pretty close to the Hood Canal. The first you could only see it through the trees, but then later on there was a wood landing with a bench that over looked it.

The whole loop took exactly 45 minutes - and that was walking at a slightly faster than leisure pace and with one slight bush-wacking detour. By the end of the walk, my heart rate was slightly elevated and Milli was downright pooped. We will definitely be visiting Anderson Landing again!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Wonderful Breakfast - for One (or Two...)

Good Morning Sunshines!

This morning Chad is off to save the world - volunteering for the local Search and Rescue. Which means I am home, spending my morning warm, sipping coffee and watching a bit of TV. Oh and did I mention hungry?

I decided to go a little overboard this morning, and make myself an almost gourmet breakfast.

It turned out wonderfully! So, I decided to share the recipe!

Fresh & Tasty Breakfast Casserole
 Serves 1-2

* 1 tsp olive oil
* 3 tbls diced bell peppers
* 4 tbls finely diced onion
* 1 clove garlic, smooshed
* 1 cup diced, leftover roasted potatoes
* 1/4 cup spicy sausage (I used a vegetarian chipolte sausage)
* 1/2 bunch chopped fresh spinach
* seasoning: I used cajun, paprika, salt and pepper
* 4 eggs
* 3 tbls milk
* 1/4 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Crack eggs in a bowl, add milk and mix very well.

Saute bell peppers and onion in olive oil, over medium heat. Cook till translucent and just starting to turn golden. Add garlic and potatoes. Cook for a while and add crumbled sausage. Stir frequently until sauage is cooked through, then add spinach and seasoning. Once wilted, remove from heat.

Coat a small baking dish with non-stick spray. I used a 5-inch round cake pan. Put the veggie/sausage mixture into the pan. Sprinkle on the cheese. Pour egg mixture over top, gently tapping the pan to get the eggs into all the cracks and crevices. Eggs should completely cover the mixture and cheese (but not go over it in excess).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until eggs are set. Check by stabbing it with a knife - if gooie egg leaks up, put it back in the oven. Top should be golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes. Cut and ENJOY!

Its delicious and you could put anything you want into it! MMMmmmm.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Best Birthday Ever!

I was born at 11:34pm on Valentine's Day in 1984. My dad threatened to push me back in if I was a boy. My mom ate dry peanut butter captain crunch throughout her pregnancy and named me Tara after she read it in a book.

And that was the best birthday ever. Until this year.

A birthday that rivals my actual birth - yeah, it was that good.

Don't get me wrong, Chad always does a really good job with my birthday. This year he just had a little help, my friend Ashley. This was their master plan - executed awesomely!

February 10, 2012- Blue C Sushi and 88 Keys

Chad, Ashley, Jerry and I got all dressed up and went out in Seattle! It was gonna be a surprise, but luckily Ashley couldn't keep it quite! I had enough time to buy a new outfit and get totally ready for my first night out in Seattle! First stop Blue C Sushi!

It was so cool! The sushi went around the restaurant on a conveyer belt! We never had to leave the booth or talk to an annoying waiter. The funniest part was when we first got there. Both Chad and Ashley had to go to the bathroom - so just Jerry and I found the table and sat down. I looked to my right, and there it was, the never ending line of sushi slowly passing me by... so I grabbed one... then another... by the time Ash and Chad got back 6 sushi plates ended up on the table!!

We went a little crazy! But it was soooo delicious!!
After dinner we walked (through the CREEPEST part of town) to 88 Keys - a dueling piano bar! Long Island Iced Teas all around! Music, singing, us all singing to the music... except for Chad... apparently he wasn't exposed to music till a VERY late age (he literally didn't know a single song)... it was awesome! After we were there for an hour or so one of the piano guys called me up on stage! They sang me a song, and had me pose for a picture. He told me to call up my husband and kiss him on the cheek for a picture. So I stood there, my lips to his cheek, Chad getting the camera to his eye and BAM! The piano dude turns his head, lips to mine and HE looks surprised!!! HAHA it was SOOO FUNNY!

His bugged out eyes - planned! It was all him!

February 11, 2012- Dancing Brush

Birthday celebration day two! Ashley came and picked me up Saturday morning and we went to Poulsbo for a morning of coffee, pastries and paint your own pottery! We started out at Sluy's and I got the sweetest, gooiest cinnamon roll! Then over to the coffee shop where I introduced Ashley to the German Chocolate - a dark chocolate mocha with almond and coconut flavor! Then to the dancing brush! You get to walk around and pick out your blank slate and they come over and teach you how to make it beautiful!

My new salad bowl!!

February 14, 2012- Day off from work, Happy Birthday to ME!

I got to celebrate my birthday the way I wanted to this year, except for the waking up at 6am with Chad.... but he said if I woke up with him, I would get a present, so there I was, by his side, at 6am - with a beautiful new bracelet!! It has diamonds and amethysts!

Since I was up, I decided to make my cake - German Chocolate! When that was done baking, off to the gym for a group class. After that, quick shower, free Starbucks coffee and off to the mall to get my toes done with Ashley (who happened to be sick that day, and couldn't go to work)! After toes a quick walk around the mall - new earrings - and off to Silver City Brewery for a beer and appitizer! After that a quick trip to the chiropractor, then home. It was then that Chad surprised me with a box of chocolates and a Valentine's Day card! Then Ashley and Kaleb came over, we ate pizza, watched a movie, sang me a song! Then MORE PRESENTS! One from my grandparents, and some make-up from Ash and Chad got me tickets to a show in Seattle!! Perfect night.

New earrings! Birthday look!

Kaleb helped me blow out my candles again this year!
Februrary 15, 2012- Work

My bosses got me flowers for my birthday!!!

February 18, 2012- Cavalia

The show in Seattle that Chad got me tickets to was Cavalia! It was awesome! It is a Cirque du Soleil-esque performance with horses! All male horses - which are apparently harder to train. The show was sooo beautiful. There was this part where a guy was balanceing on a man sized ball and a white stallion was walking around him, nudging him, almost making him fall off. They just went around and around, playing and cuddling. Another part, Chad's favorite, involved horses running across the stage, each with a stunt rider on its back... or side... or hanging off by a their feet... or bouncing up and over them... it was a western themed thing, with the finale being a miniature horse chasing a man across the stage!

My love!

Well, what did I tell you? Best birthday ever huh?! Thank you Chad and Ashley SOOO much!! Year 28 is going to be the best one yet!