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Corruption in Hard Drive, Synphonic Pink Martini, Oysters & Greens, Oh My!

My hard drive was corrupt last week and that is why I could not post. For the past 3 years in a row my hard drive has gone kaput around this time of year. This time I had a feeling… it was not very tangible, the startup was taking a fraction of a second longer than it used to and I just had a feeling. So I took it to my guy and sure enough it had to be replaced! The irony is that last year when it happened I bought this computer off the shelf because we had a credit at Costco that covered the cost. This has Windows Vista on it and I hate it so much that I will NEVER give Microsoft money again. Everyone says ‘just go to Windows 7, it’s so much better’ and I say NO! Unless one of my 2 friends who works at Microsoft gets it for me I will not be spending money.. and I am not asking them to get it for me. My computer guy partitioned my hard drive and put Linux on it for me so I can start playing with it and getting used to it. So far I have not had a chance to do anything because I spent the last 2 days getting all my crap, ur, I mean programs back onto this machine so I can use it again. At least I didn’t lose everything this time… that is so much better than the alternative!

Last Friday Mark and I stayed up very late and went in to Seattle to see Pink Martini play at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I have seen them both before and loved them separately. Together they do more than make beautiful music together.. they make every cell in my body reverberate with the musical magic that they perform. You have never heard Pink Martini as well as we did that night, unless you have heard them with a symphony. I counted 86 people on the stage total, including the conductor. It was so amazing! We were both already tired and at one point we were sitting on the light rail train headed in, and we joked about having dinner in the Mt Baker area and heading back home. As soon as the first song started I was so glad that we went. Because we had to get my computer we did not get to stop and have Vietnamese food like we wanted to. Rather we had hurried appetizers at the Triple Door (which is the same kitchen as Wild Ginger, with no wait!) and then got in to our box. I love getting box seats at Benaroya! It makes me feel special and it is such a great view. Mark loved it more than he thought he would and that did not really surprise me. Unfortunately, because we were up until after midnight (which is way past our usual bed time) we felt hungover the next day. And I only had 3/4 of my pint of beer! We catered/served dinner for 18 on Saturday so it was a long day, but all worth it in the end.

The nicer weather last week afforded us a couple of grilling nights and that was a big hooray! We got some halibut and I always forget how much I love halibut. It smells a little fishy and yet it never tastes that way! It is so good and all we did was the usual: olive oil, salt & pepper. We grilled some green onions out of my sister’s garden and those were great as well. They were a little short because I had been using the greens to garnish things for a few days. We also pan ‘fried’ the oysters we got at Hama Hama and they were fantastic as well. Lissa had told me that she felt oysters needed to be parboiled before frying them, so they are more well-cooked than otherwise. We tried both ways. I decided not to parboil because she admitted that they lost flavor, so rather I melted some butter and began the cooking process in that. I took them out when they were about half cooked and dropped them into a simple coat of cracker meal and polenta. The others I just put directly into the coating. I got a pan hot and ‘fried’ them all up (the reason I say ‘fried’ is because I don’t use much oil. I spray the pan with cooking spray and add a small dollop of peanut oil, just to coat the surface). Mark and I agreed that while delicious, we far preferred the raw oysters to the par-cooked ones. The flavors were cleaner, stronger and true oyster flavors while the others were a bit ‘dumbed down’. I suppose if you are introducing someone to oysters for the first time this might be a way to go… but I love oysters too much to muffle the flavors.

The other thing we both agreed on is that polenta is not the right thing to coat them in. The grains are too big and the only reason I used it is that we did not have a finer grind of cornmeal in the house, so I won’t do it again. Panko is our favorite and we will stick to that. We ate all that lovely seafood with some bok choy and kale raab that I got from the Poulsbo farmer’s market. I heated some olive oil, toasted some garlic in it and then discarded it, sprinkled in some red chili flakes and sauteed the greens all together. I added a few drops of wine and lidded it for a minute just to get the tougher stems tender, then finished the saute so the liquid evaporated, added a sprinkle of salt and VOILA! The tastiest greens around! I ate them for dinner, then breakfast, then made more and did it again. They are great with a couple of over-easy eggs on them. I got eggs from Cynthia at Rodstol Lane Farm and the yolks are gorgeous! We also lucked out and got some bacon from Jerry Darnall (a local hog farmer and co-conspirator on theKitsap Food & Farm Policy Council). It was the tastiest bacon we have ever had and that is truly saying something! I cannot wait to eat more of his pork later this year.

So here we are at a wonderfully busy week. Leslie’s birthday, Rheycel’s birthday, and ‘Earth Day’. Since every day is Earth Day at the cafe we are having a Spring Party on Saturday the 24th. We will make some of our catering menu specialties (such as caramelized onion tart) and give out free samples, plus wine tastes. There will be a live radio show via KITZ AM 1400 and the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance and we will have musicians from the Washington Academy of Music playing upstairs. One of the coolest parts will be that our Sailing & Rowing Team, which is based in Old Town, is hosting their first district wide regatta down on the docks. We are making sail boat cookies to celebrate and root our team on! It will be too busy for me to get to a farmer’s market on Saturday; luckily the Old Town Silverdale market opens today. So Saturday will be super festive and fun and then Mark and I have to get out of town so we can help his Aunt Dee & Uncle Johnnie celebrate 50 years of marriage. It will be a family party and fun to see all his cousins, not to mention his parents, brothers, and of course our favorite nephew Travis.

Travis is driving now, by the way. For those of you who followed his working with us the past few summers we are hoping he will want to do it again and this year he can drive me in! Pretty amazing since just a couple of years ago his dad and I were in the 9th grade together… or maybe it was longer. Time flies when you are having fun!

I have to get in and get ready for 30 boxed lunches, 15 CO/XO wives have a reservation (we love our Navy community!) and a couple of functions this evening that I need to be at. Since I embedded recipes in above I will not add another here, and if you have made something that you want to share with us send it to me! I would love to get it out there for you, plus we all want new ideas to make for our families and ourselves. Have a great week!