This is my all-time favorite food photo.
While it isn’t a great photo in terms of composition or foods cooked, this is my favorite photo because this was the first meal we ever cooked together. On our second date….
The long story short is we were introduced by Adam’s childhood friend, who quickly became my friend after I moved to the-middle-of-nowhere Michigan from Chicago and didn’t know a soul. The catch was, Adam happened to live more than half a country away in Seattle. So, we met by text message.
Fast forward 4 weeks and without telling me, Adam changes his flight for a family visit in Michigan so he could spend his layover actually meeting me. It clearly went well. I booked a flight to Seattle a couple weeks later.
That brings us to this photo. I don’t remember whose idea it was to cook, but I do remember opening Adam’s fridge a few seconds later and my heart sunk: empty. Nothing. Nothing but condiments and maybe milk. [Adam swears there was probably lettuce in there too, but adds “you just don’t consider lettuce a food.”]
Honestly, my first reaction was ‘this is never going to work’. Harsh, I know. While I had never considered myself a real cook, moving from the Midwest’s food oasis to a food desert will teach you a few things about the kitchen. Before meeting Adam, I had spent the summer falling in love with food. I had no intention of falling in love with someone who was already in love with takeout.
And then…..Adam says something to the affect of, “There’s no food in there.” [Obviously.] “There are three grocery stores within walking distance so I shop nearly every night.” Mind = blown. This guy is on a whole other level. I’m basically in love. But somehow manage to keep my mouth shut, for like, a good 3 more days. We walk to the market, no plan in mind other than perusing whatever the Pacific Northwest had to offer us that day. It was like we had been cooking together our whole lives.
We settle on a mix of toppers for crostini and enjoy them overlooking the Puget Sound from his roof top deck.
…..and here were are, 2 years later, Merging Kitchens.
Crostini Three Ways:
Crostini might be the prettiest word ever invented that means ‘toast’. But it isn’t just any toast after you drizzle olive oil, grind fresh pepper and salt and broil on both sides until golden brown. (Or just one side if you want to broil toppings on it as well). We frequently turn crostini + whatever-is-in-the-fridge into a wonderful outdoor dinner, and these were the first three:
Key Lime, Guacamole, and Smokey Shrimp
- Adam makes fantastic guacamole. Really, really fantastic guac. To the point where it deserves its own post soon. But for now, any generous dollop of limey, garlicky, cilantro-y, guac with a little kick of onion will do. Plus an extra pinch of lime pulp for good measure, followed by peeled, smokey grilled shrimp and cilantro for garnish.
- The shrimp: large raw peel-and-eat shrimp get a short (20 minute) marinade in olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper before being grilled about 2-3 minutes on each size. Watch these closely so they don’t get over cooked and rubbery. As soon as your fingers can stand the heat, peel the shrimp and add immediately to the Guac and lime pulp. Note: don’t marinate these very long or the acid in the limes can also start making the shrimp tough.
Baby Bellas, Roasted Garlic Cloves and Fresh Motz
- Quarter baby portabella mushrooms and add to a sauce pan with a pad of butter (I saute’ nearly everything with olive oil, except mushrooms. Use real butter. Trust me.) Add a pinch of salt if unsalted butter. Toss briefly on a high heat until they begin to soften. Turn off the heat, pile the mushrooms in the pan and finely shred a good hard cheese over the top (we like pecorino reggiano). Cover with a lid to let it finish melting and softening.
- Roast peeled garlic cloves in a 375 degree oven: toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread into a single layer on a tin foiled cookie sheet. Stir occasionally (~15-20 mins) until soft when poked with a fork. About 40 minutes.
- Add cooked mushrooms and roasted cloves to the toast with little balls of fresh mozzarella or slices. Garnish with chives or what ever you have on hand.
Cured meat, Gouda and Tart Green Apple Spears
- This one is as simple as it sounds, but there is something magical that happens when you slice a tart, firm green apple in to thin little spears. The texture and brightness it adds is amazing, without making you feel like you are eating a salad. [Clearly we aren’t going for healthy tonight].
Grab a bottle of wine, some fresh air, and eat slowly.
Falling in love: optional. [maybe].
-Kate and Adam