Jensiuchi Bed and Breakfast Memorial Day Weekend
The past Memorial Day holiday (yeah yeah yeah, it was nearly three weeks ago now!) left many of us with a three day weekend and most of my three day weekends involve invading my dad’s house and demanding food, OR Lia doing that at our house. And since I love having people over to cook for, I took it upon myself to create a menu with appropriate food and drink pairings. Unfortunately my lungs decided to become allergic to Washington for this particular weekend and I spent most of my time washing my hands, sneezing, hacking up my lungs, blowing my nose, and washing my hands more… Needless to say, I was dead sexy but still determined to pull off a fantastic food weekend.
We started the long weekend off with 3 dozen oysters (mix of Kusshi and Hama Hama) to celebrate Lia’s new appreciation for oysters. And thanks to our oyster pals (@oysterwine and @effingoyster), I had a good recommendation for a stout from the Pike Brewing Company to pair our oysters with. I also had wine to pair them with, but due to our excitement of amazing oyster-beer pairings, we
forgot chose not to open it.
The oysters were followed by twice baked miso sweet potatoes with sesame bacon brittle (recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit; don’t judge me for neglecting to pipe mine!). And you’d think that I would have learned by now that testing a recipe the day you need it is not so good… NOPE! Something as easy as baking a sweet potato threw me completely off track and after I already cut the potatoes in half and started
knifing scooping the guts out it became apparent that the potatoes were not cooked. Luckily, they tasted delicious once I attacked them and did an angry shove of them back into the oven.
Keeping with the miso theme of the evening I made a salted miso caramel sauce to go on my first attempt at bread pudding. No lie though, it was more like miso caramel sauce… Ok, fine more like just caramel sauce. Either way it was still the perfect addition to the banana rum bread pudding. Unfortunately, my head was too filled with allergy-snot to remember to take photos of the Macrina brioche loaf, which I think was the biggest contributing factor to the bread pudding success. Yes, a first attempt success!!! The bread pudding had an amazing texture; crisp and toasty on the top, yet fluffy and sweet as you sank a spoon in. There will definitely be many more bread puddings in the Jensiuchi kitchens future.
Now, part of being a good host is making sure your guests allergies and needs are acknowledged, but between my non-sausage/bacon/ham diet and Lia’s intolerance to super-eggy things we are setup to fail at breakfast nirvana. But thanks to the popularity of vegan diets, it was super easy to find a VEGAN french toast recipe to use with the Great Harvest cinnamon chip bread that was sitting in our freezer. NOTE: Remember to take freezer bread out the night before cause it’s dangerously impossible to cut when still frozen, but I managed in a maniacally unsafe way.
Our Sunday lunch was a homemade grilled veggie burger with an apple kale and poppyseed coleslaw. Most veggie burgers from the freezer section always taste flat and dry to me, so last summer I saved a recipe from Vegetarian Times that seemed like something I could try. It was definitely easy enough and I planned ahead by putting the burgers in the freezer the night before so they didn’t fall apart on the grill, but they still weren’t what I was looking for. The texture was a little mushy and the cannellini bean taste was pretty prominent. What can I say, I’m a texture freak when it comes to my food.
Fortunately, a so-so meal can almost always be saved with some good drinks. Lia brought over a box o’goodies (booze) which included a Pink Peppercorn IPA; a collaboration brew from Elysian and New Belgium breweries. It was surprisingly delicious! The other meal saver was a Moscow Mule. I’ve been obsessed with Kentucky/Moscow Mules ever since my trip to Houston. These are super easy to make and so refreshing! My recipe is an attempt at copying the drink from Haven in Houston. And ever since Lia bought me a Rachel’s Ginger Beer, it is ONLY ginger beer I use to make my Moscow Mules now. You should try it. DO IT!
Ashley’s Moscow Mules
1.5 shots of vodka
.5 lime, cut into quarters
6-8 oz. Rachel’s Ginger Beer
small handful of fresh mint
Squeeze lime into cup (preferably 16 oz glass) and drop in lime wedges and mint; muddle the crap out of it. Add ice, then pour in vodka over ice, then ginger beer. Stir and garnish with mint sprig! Serve with a straw on a sunny patio.
I know my Moscow Mule recipe instructions included enjoying your mule on a sunny patio, but if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know that sunny patios are not easy to find until nearly July. The sun was out, a LITTLE, but as you may notice from the photo above… not enough. Socks and sandals guy, we pay tribute to you.
So as sad as our socks and sandals may be, one of the joys of living in the Pacific Northwest is our access to fresh, wild caught salmon. And I have an awesome husband who likes grilling and fish enough where he grilled us salmon in the clouds… I’m pretty sure he grilled corn on the cob in the rain the next day for me and Lia; gotta love that guy. Anyways, Bryan has been struggling with his gas grill and fish relationship for a while now; too hot, uneven heating, etc. This time he used veggie oil to see if it kept the salmon from ripping apart on the grill and it failed miserably. We didn’t care at all though cause the taste was AMAZING and super moist [shudders]. I hate that word but can’t think of a better one to use to describe the fish. But it still worked well as a protein on my kamut salad, which is a new obsession of mine.
Last day of the holiday weekend was pretty lazy, not to say that all the other days weren’t equally as lazy! But we ate lots of leftovers, and I still had a few treats on the menu, like rosemary soft pretzels with a rosemary cheese sauce or a stone-ground mustard. Yet another first attempt in the Jensiuchi kitchen that turned out! YIPPEE!! I have decided that my specialty may be in bread. Even though it makes me nervous every time I have to use yeast in a recipe, there is something about making bread that is so rewarding. Maybe it’s checking on the dough an hour later to see it’s doubled in size, or maybe it’s the warmth you feel when you pull it out of the bowl. I love eating bread and am starting to equally love making it, which seems like a very dangerous combination.
Dessert for our last evening was a Ginger Marscarpone Creme Brulee that was… another first attempt. This one unfortunately failed miserably. It was actually made on Sunday night and came out of the oven all liquidy and squiggly. I thought it had failed for SURE, but we threw them all into the fridge in hopes that they would be solid by morning. They were not, so on Monday I made a semi-saucey FaceTime call to my master chef (dad) and whined about it. He was totally calm and collected and said “uhhh, just bake it longer!” FIXED! It’s amazing what a calm and collected person can add to a situation. The creme brulees were saved and I think my sugar burning skills are pretty good cause there was a decent sugar glass layer on top that was nice and even with minimal black spots!
All good things must come to an end and four days later our guest departed (yes, I said FOUR days). And although we forgot to document pieces of our weekend; the $50 bottle of wine Lia brought over, the pineapple arugula mojitos (sans arugula), red wine ice cream sandwiches, Momofuku compost cookies, and a caramel home-brew from my buddy Jon in Indiana, there is not much that can compete with friends, food, and fun. Our home will now be referred to as the “Jensiuchi B&B” and if we like you enough, the rate for a room is free. I might even take special meal requests, for a fee (payable in Dance Central/Rock Band playtime).