Monday, December 28, 2009

Eh? Sorry Body, for Eating Christmas

So…..internet. We meet again. I hope everyone has had a fruitful and warming Christmas Holiday. I post the above video to highlight the growing concerns of many a citizen when the "aftermath" of the holiday celebrations is discovered in its physical form. Heh, I feel pale and somewhat fluffy?
My sister is getting married soon and she has embarked on a new Jennifer Aniston Arm Treatment. I must do the same, or face a lifetime of regret as my photos will live on in many a wedding album and online.
However, I must concentrate on this task AFTER the new year, as to not arise any suspicions that I am a superhuman and capable of starting a new workout routine on the day that I realize I am pale and fluffy.

Which brings me to my New Years Eve Dinner (NYED);

I shall start off the evening with a decadent foie gras mousse, ordered and shipped overnight from D' It would behoove me to serve this mousse on brioche toast points or a pain de mie, most likely accompanied by a fig or quince paste of some sort...The first time I tasted this lush spread, I was sipping on cocktails at the famed Tavern Law. They served a foie gras terrine with a thin layer of angostura bitter gelèe on top, and my friend Laura and I got the last one from the kitchen!! I actually thought my tongue liquified itself into an elegant and buttery, creamy mouthfeel of flavour. I spell flavour here with a "u" as to highlight the richness that the foie gras affords. I would love to try it seared the next time….perhaps I will order from the famous Hudson Valley company.
As I was perusing the options online, I decided against it when I saw this on D'artagnan:

A Cassoulet Kit!!!
I thought it was a great deal, considering we went to Friday Harbor last year and the Waterfront the year before and spent about a million US dollars. The package with the duck parts arrived about 30 minutes ago and is complete with everything you need to assemble this authentic French peasant dish. However, unlike a French peasant, I will make this dish in my new red Le Creuset oval pot. Thanks Santa!!!!

Everyone gets a duck leg!
Everyone gets a sausage!
Everyone gets a bowl of pancetta-y beans!

What should I serve for dessert? A Roquefort Cheesecake? Chocolate Pot de Cremes? Heh, Sorry body.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Conquering a Caramel Tart: Part II

Dear Internet,
Please accept my HUMBLE apologies for a grand display of bad photography here. You see, there needs to be light for a fine picture to be captured…so the last pictures of the whole assemblage of the tart have been compromised. It tasted lush though. There were murmuring of a "gourmet Twix Bar" and general slowed speech as the caramel affects your ability to form words commonly found in any American dictionary.

Here I go!
Assembly. Notice that I used "Unsweetened Chocolate Chips". Heh, do not use these for your ganache or your mouth will assaulted by some very tannic flavors.

A delicious pre-candy mountain?
Creamed ingredients
The tart shell, blind baked in the oven. One MUST be sure to prick the surface of this tart dough with a fork to ensure the whole thing does not take off like a hot air balloon in the oven. Obviously I have mastered this task. Moving on….
Molten Sugar, do not touch or try to taste. Oh, you'll be sorry if you try.
Finished caramel after the necessary cream and butter have been whisked in. It is quite stressful making caramel, if I do say so myself.
Poured into shell, awaiting a chill session
Money Shot
Whole Salted Tart (Recipe here)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Lunch is here! It comes every day around 11-2pm depending on hunger/bore levels. What you see before you, Internet, is not my lunch. However, this plate has been ingested by moi at one time. I dined upon this platter in Montalpulciano, Italy.
Alas, I am having a baked potato for lunch.
HARK! A baked potatao can be a very warming meal. I wont BORE you with a stock image of a potato, as I assume you have seen one before. Maybe you have not? ahhahah. I pity you.
It lays in the oven now. I shall yell, "hot potato" when the timer goes off, though, there will be nobody to hear me and my outbust will probably startle Scoops.

I am hoping for this lunch, that a Baked Potato Bar will appear before me. The elements of a true baked potato bar are as follows;
  • All potato bar items served in a silver tiered tray
  • A gloved servant must be present to "load" your potato and possess a non judgemental attitude when spooning toppings
  • The butter must be plentiful and at room temperature
  • The ingredients of the bar should be authentic and not just assembled by someone who simply googled "baked potato toppings"
  • The option to upgrade the bar to a "premier level" to include such toppings as: Shaved White Truffles, Tuscan Olive Oil, Foie Gras Slab, Pancetta, Caviars, shot of chilled vodka, Artisan Cheeses (spoonable…..eheheehehe), Selection of Mother Sauces.
Sample Bar Ingredients:
  • Sour Cream, full fat
  • Green Onions, chopped with the precision needed to achieve a pleasant mouthfeel
  • Non-Jarred Bacon, crumbled
  • Creamed Butter, room temperature
  • FINE Salts, assorted
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Blanched Broccoli
  • Cheese, block formed and shredded
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Fine Salsa
  • Foraged Mushrooms, sautéed
  • Chili, for more of a tailgate feel
Am I forgetting anything?
Time to EAT.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

New Friend

Hello!! Welcome to my home... friend?
He looks scared. Nothing to be afraid of here!

Bee's Eye's View

Hello Bee Fans! This post will be all about my bees and how they are special creatures. I promise I will not make any stupid "bee" references. Though it is fun to do on a rainy day when you feel the crayztimers setting in.
As many of you may know, my bees made an arduous journey from Leschi to East Wenatchee a couple of weekends ago. Prior to booking their travel, the bees suffered by being alone in Leschi while there were several murderous attacks on mankind and its safety. I was glad I was not there, but I still do love the place where the bees first were hived.
Here are some Bee Facts to help you understand these creatures of the hive:

1. The honey bee has been around for 30 million years.
2. It is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
3. Honey bees are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators.
4. They are insects with a scientific name - Apis mellifera.
5. They have 6 legs, 2 eyes, and 2 wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.
6. The honeybee's wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
7. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour, hence it would have to fly around 90,000 miles - three times around the globe - to make one pound of honey.
8. The average honey bee will actually make only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
9. It takes about 556 workers to gather 1 pound of honey from about 2 million flowers.
10. It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
11. A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
12. A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen.
13. Worker honey bees are female, live 6 to 8 weeks and do all the work.
14. The queen bee lives for about 2-3 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day.
15. The male honey bees are called drones, and they do no work at all, have no stinger, all they do is mating.
16. Each honey bee colony has a unique odour for members’ identification.
17. Only worker bees sting, and only if they feel threatened and they die once they sting. Queens have a stinger, but don’t leave the hive to help defend it.
18. It is estimated that 1100 honey bee stings are required to be fatal.
19. Honey bees communicate with one another by "dancing".
20. During winter, honey bees feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.

The Voyage
We started off the morning of moving by arriving a good 30-40 minutes before the bee barge arrived for transport. This allowed us to fully appreciate the fact that it was indeed "cold as shit" outside. I munched on an almond croissant from Belle Epicurean. SomeONE declined to eat breakfast, and thus was cranking the entire morning. That same person was extremely helpful and considerate throughout the entire process. eh heh heh.
As soon as my fellow comrades arrived, we set to work, strapping each hive down with a pair of inexpensive ratchet straps purchased at Costco. This ensured that the bees would not spill into an angry rage in my mom's car (aka the bee barge). They were also covered with an extra precautionary sheet. I am sure if the bees did get through the foam we stuffed in the entrances, they would have been confused and disorientated with the flower covered sheet that surrounded them.

I cannot say how the tension was on the drive over, as I was not in the car. However, I am told the bees were calmed by relaxing to 98.1 fm and the sound of Brad Eaton's voice.

Here are the bees in more prosperous times:

Here are some of the Bees' current views:

Here we are standing near the new homestead. As you can see, there are some ramshackle bees in the background. My hopes are they are kind and considerable neighbors. Stay tuned for Hunny Updates 2010 in the Spring!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bread Head

Hello Internet!
Me again.
I thought I might share a little thing I created yesterday/today, as I feel that many people are unaware of the pleasures and satisfaction of baking. Many supermarkets carry loaves, and if you are in Seattle or the like, you may find yourself with an ample selection of artisan breadcrafts. HOWEVER, if you are in a town that cozes you in safe arms of the mountains and food arrives over a mountain pass…you shall not find good bread here.
With one exception. There is a bakery that is out of town called Anjou. You may have stuffed your face with fruit-nut crostini at one point? Yes, friend, it is the very same fruit-nut crostini produced at Anjou! They carry many breads, all well made. They have a miche style loaf which I have become fond of as well. (A high end grilled cheese sandwich is best made with the bread from Boulangerie Poilâne, imported from Paris.)
Which brings me to this; Anjou is certainly out of reach for any medium to high lazy person, of which I fall into the category of low laze or medium laze, depending on what kind of day it is. There is too little time to describe all the laziness components, but I usually get past this laze point by having a well stocked pantry so that I do not have to thrust myself inside Safeway 3-4 times a day. Though I usually do when a project arises. Heh.

The point is, I am not driving 20 minutes out of town to get these breads. I have to get on the freeway fercryingoutloud. I refuse to accept any other bread made in the supermarket.

Enter the no knead bread!
I have made this bread of couple of times, and it is just fabulous. Very little work involved.
The recipe below was made famous in the New York Times by a baker and pizza maker that I frequently stalk, Jim Lahey.
I am only going to provide the recipe in weight because that way, it will perhaps force you to go to Target and buy an inexpensive kitchen scale so that you are not a dumbass and add in 1/2c more of flour when you are measuring. Do it.

Then do this.

Put the following in a bowl;
  • 400g bread flour
  • 8g table salt
  • 1g yeast
  • 300g cool water
Action Tasks:
  1. MIX
  2. COVER
  3. LET LAY in a warm zone. Do not let your cat get it. They can curiorize these types a things, so try to distract with a beenie baby lion toy.
  4. 12-18 hours pass for 1st rise….Take the dough out and shape into a ball. You will want to make sure your hands are dusted with flour and there is a little flour on the counter. Do not add more flour to the dough.
  5. Place dough ball on a floured kitchen towel SEAM SIDE DOWN (do not use a terrycloth towel, unless you want to consume lint) and loosely wrap the dough like a tiny dough baby.
  6. Allow to lay in a warm zone for 2 hours. It will rise for the 2nd time.
  7. About 1.5 hours into the 2nd rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place your high dutch oven inside to preheat.
  8. Place the dough SEAM SIDE UP in the pot
  9. Bake for 3o minutes with the lid on**
  10. Bake for 15-30 minutes with the lid off until its a chestnut color
  11. Eh! Cool your bread and consume with gusto!
** Remove your pot knob if it is plastic, and stuff the hole with foil. You can easily unscrew any Le Creuset model knob with a screwdriver

Please do let me know how your bread turns out, Internet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who Stole This Tree?

I am going to kick their ass, plain and simple.
Please feel free to view the story, as told by the Seattle Times, and join me on my crusade to catch this menace to the tree world. I am planning an uprising.
All I can say, is that if this tree was cut down by some SIMPLETON seeking a tree for his tinsel laden trailer park living room, heads are going to roll. I would almost rather this tree have been uprooted so that someone like Martha Stewart can care for it at her summer home in Maine aptly named Skylands or her former farm, Turkey Hill in CT. Perhaps she has a special tree poacher on the payroll. She would at least visit the tree in her garden. Or a subject of MSO could play a Chinese Alpine flute to make it feel more at home.
Did you know, for example, that each fall Martha adheres to the plans Jens Jensen set forth for the owners of the Slylands property; she (?) and her staff gather up the pine needles from the pathways and use an antique rotational mechanism designed to filter out flotsam and jetsam from the piles of needles (leaves, bark, acorns and seed pods from deciduous trees) leaving only a pristine collection of golden needles.
What do you do? Just rake the leaves? PISHAW!

If you have information about the tree theft, call the Washington Park Arboretum at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Haute Dogs

Hello Wiener Fans!

This is a post about street foods and the good 'ol boy, the tube-steak. Some call him frank, red hot, weenier. A dog is a dog. OR is it?
I myself am a fan of the Costco dog, a mere $1.50. That is 6 quarters my friends. For a meal. Or at least until you consume about 40 bagel bite samples at Costco shortly thereafter.

Today, I happened upon a MOST gentile hot dog purveyor that sells dogs during the lunch hours down by the river. He's got a hot dog cart and a dream. But most importantly, he's got a hot dog hat.
I heard about this tasty tube-cart as I was reading the Wenatchee World, as I tend to do, from time to time. An article was published in his honor, and I do believe there was a bit of a spike in his business, because when I happened upon his cart this afternoon, he was sold out of monster dogs.

heh. This brings new light to the street food scene here in Wenatchee. So far, we have got the Taco trucks and the Hot Dog carts. We have had some durn good meals on behalf of those mobile eateries. So far, I have sampled a tongue taco, which seems adventurous but actually is quite a normal choice if you know ANYTHING about latin cuisine (which I don't). Next on my list of tacos to try is the goat. I have heard great things about a place in Chicago called Birreria Reyes de Ocotlan. Apparently, Birreria is spanish for Goatery. The rest of the name I cant really tell, nor do I have the resources to sit here and teach you spanish.

Here are some other dogs/trucks I want to try:
Hot Dougs….Foie Gras and Duck Sausage with Truffle Sauce. Wheeeeeeeeee!
The Swinery….Bacon shortbread cookies, among the other lush things you can shovel your face with here.
Tater Tart….this place looks so cute and warming! I especially like the purveyor's use of a POTATO as her head in her branding.
Skillet Street and Maximum Minimus I like. Anyone who's anyone wants to stuff their face with poutine and pulled pork is a friend indeed.
Krusty Pups. Fair Fare
Costco Dogs and;
Dogs with cream cheese are divine. Now, this is a general category as not many vendors in the tube steak world can process what a dream it is to have cream cheese as an option on your dog. Kudos to those pioneers that do. Many thanks go to the Ballard Market guy as well as Dante's Inferno Dogs.
The Split Dog. This is a dog that you can find cooked in the most innovative way; the cart man makes a horizontal (or vertical depending on how you hold your dog, I guess) incision down the dog's back. This creates a gateway for crisp, meaty bits to form upon the edges of the split dog. The tube juices rise to the top and create a glaze of sorts. A self basting dog, if you will.
This textural component is not only highly desirable, it visually stimulates the senses and causes an automatic order of more than one split dog, even though you may be nervous because there are a bunch of ravers and bums hanging around the fountain near the Sephora downtown.
Last but not least, Pigs in a Blanket. MANY of you turn your nose down at these piggies, but eventually they all get eaten and everyone's bad cholesterol goes up, hence, mood levels rise. Just check your mood ring next time you eat one.
I cannot STRESS the importance of using lil smokies enough. Sometimes you just don't want to see a full size dog laying there, sheathed in some pastry wrapping. Its better to hide the tiny parcel of meat inside, creating a "buzz" at your next party. Everyone will be talking.

EW. Remember those hot dogs and lil smokies that had a molten vein of cheese running through them? I am not a fan. While researching, I happened upon this video of some guy attempting to make said molten cheese vein dogs. It's hilarious in a subtle, sad kind of way. Good background music though (Thomas Crown Affair). But I am disturbed at how close he let the wieners get to his Mac;


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Foraging for Foodstuffs

There comes a time when one gets so hungry, one has to forage for foodstuffs. My current status as a human leaves me a little "cash poor" at the moment. You know how it is, folks.

So, when my dad gave me (along with the usual tomahawk beef chops that one usually buys at a wholesale restaurant supply company) a whole wheel of Piave Vecchio cheese that was purchased from a fabulous place in South Seattle called Corfini Gourmet I simply was delighted to incorporate it into my daily bread.

The message is clear here, internet. I am almost done eating this wheel of cheese…
and I must acquire another.

Before I go through my possible choices, might I enlighten you on the savories dishes this wheel has provided for me?

  1. Finely grated on my handy rasp, this cheese has afforded many alpine like snow clouds of cheese atop pastas, roasted veggies, risottos, soups, and salads that, without the addition of my fine cheese, would not be as desirable to eat and thus would depress the entire day.
  2. Jagged shards of said cheese are a FINE snack to have, and can enter ones mouth when needed.
  3. Though not the best melting cheese out there, I did have a most delicious Tartine, courtesy of shaved Piave, some fine dijon mustard, a sprig of thyme, and a high quality baguette; broiled to bubbly perfection. Though I chose to broil the son of a gun, I could have just as easily had the shaving raw….but thats history now.
  4. Rind: oh how you are underused in many a kitchen. You add a superb cheesy flavor and depth to any soup, stew or stock. You simmer away often, (separately) with your undervalued comrades; the bay leaf, the shrimp body, the parsnip, the herb sachet (sachet d'Epices) sa-SHAY DAY-pees. Thank you for all of your hard work, rind.
  5. A fine guest to have on one's cheese platter, though, I never did use on a cheese platter bc, as you know, this is my only cheese. Plus I am selfish with my cheese. AND I wanted to make this a list of 5 things.

Nelle's Cheeses She Would Like To Try In The VERY Near Future:
(for the sake of linkage, I shall choose all my cheeses from Murray's, as I believe their online selection to be superior availability wise)

  • Sartori Stravecchio, Cow's Milk/Wisconsin. Looks extremely lush and user friendly. Plus its local and in Ben's town!! Go Badger Alumni!
  • Vella Dry Jack, Cow's Milk/California. This is a producer that has been around for ages and is famous for their style of Jack Cheese. They came to produce this style of cheese out of the need to appeal to the Italian immigrant population in cali.
  • Sally Jackson, Goat's Milk/Washington. This is a cheese not featured on Murray's, but on a new favorite site called Gourmet Library and is in high demand all of the the time! She is a famous local (well, her farm is about 250 miles away from me but hell, what isn't?) farmstead producer who has helped pioneer the artisanal cheese movement along with other greats such as; Laura Chenel goat cheese and Capriole Farms in Indiana. I love Goat Cheese!!
  • Jura Erguel, Cow's Milk/Switzerland. UM…cousin of gruyere? tongue tickle prickle that of pineapple? Sign me up please.
  • Mimolette, Cow's Milk/France. Ok, This looks like candy corn, and thus I want to eat a bag, I mean a slice of this cheese. Plus, it's the holidays and you have GOT to have a festive wheel hanging around! It could work for October as well, for obvious reasons. Mimolette-o-lantern?
  • Pecorino Oro Antico, Sheep's Milk/Italy. This is one of my favorite types of cheeses because it is a star of Tuscany, which I love! Think for a moment about a wheel of cheese….brushed with olive oil (the finest oils of all come from tuscany!)…and then purchase it for me. Thanks.

Well, so what do you think? Do you want some cheese? I know I do.
Internet, I leave you with the wise words of a person who knows:
or you'll pay. in spades. by eating non cheesed items. thus a depressive culinary cloud hovers.
Go away cloud.

xxox Nellebee

Readership Appreciation Award….

Goes to Cameron and Alyson Bruce, of Seattle

Thank you for legitimizing my life on the internet!

Heh! Welcome to my Blog, World!

Hello Internet!
This is my first blog post. I am writing on the internet right now. I am getting the feeling you get when you are in a house of mirrors for the first time, or anytime for that matter. (who finds themselves in a house of mirrors these days?) You just want to stand in the mirrored room, moving your hands and body and watching extremely entertaining results play out in front of you. Or, a similar notion is depicted in the cartoons when a figure stumbles upon an image of him/herself. The figure approaches carefully, until they realize no harm can be done by this other alien image.
I forgot one thing.
I currently do not have any blog flollowers….soooooo. We need to work on that.

Allow myself to introduce myself. And also apologize for an early Austin Powers reference.
My name is Nelle Bruce. I am 27 years old, and I live in a town 2.5 hours east of Seattle, called Wenatchee. I used to live on East Alder Street in Seattle, thus the name of this blog! I create, therefore I am. TUVM.
I am currently looking for ways to pass the time while I await my many job offerings that are surely to come to me in the near future.

This blog will be focused on my life and its preoccupations;
  • My interests in Food and Wine
  • Les Fromages
  • Beekeeping in Wenatchee
  • Cooking projects
  • Random pictures and updates of my well known cat, Scoops
  • Procrastination about other craft projects
  • Things I peer upon, including but not limited to; cookbooks I like, restaurants that I stalk (secret stalking) whimsey, and other items and or events that create a warming feeling or give me delight.
  • Possibly some bad photography, purposefully misspelled words, and overuse of the exclamation point
  • Life Adventures
  • Acquisitions or futures ones I plan to make (sample acquisitions include: Pygmy goats, a farm with acreage, a working cheese shop, many pairs of highly desired shoes. I could go on but you get the point.
  • Worldly Advice
  • Dinner Plans
  • Possible "of the day" post. Could be a word, could be a lush ingredient that is desired. TBD.
That shall be all for now, as I, like yourselves, tire of reading things and often stop halfway down to get a pita chip snack or the like. I do hope you shall continue to follow my adventures as they are displayed here, on East of Alder.

Dramatic curtain close inserted here ( I am not sure of the internet technology ie binary code to create such a dramatic end)

xoxo Nellebee