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eG Foodblog: Abra - Walla Walla Wash and Orcas Island too!


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Thanks for your beautiful pics of Walla Walla. Looks like a good place for a weekend vacation.

I'm enjoying your blog and took a peak at your first blog, which is great. I love your down to earth witty style. I agree with many of your opinions and we have the same blue bowls! (Must be a Pacific Northwest thing.)

Do you ever read Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mysteries? She writes stories about a character who reminds me of you somehow. Goldy's a caterer, not a personal chef, but she takes on challenges like your church basement gig. I love those books.



"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I'll chime in with my praise for the photos, too. They're great, and perhaps the wheatfields are the most striking of all, so far. Thank goodness the image files are working for you now!

Michael aka "Pan"


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For dinner tonight I needed VEGETABLES. If you read my last blog, you learned that I was a Weight Watcher. Unfortunately, over the past year I've been watching my weight go up. Eating like we did in Walla Walla, you can see why. So tonight, a soothing and lighten-ing dinner of vegetables and fish.


I simmered these all together with vegetable and beef broths, then added two of my favorite condiments.


It probably sounds insane to combine Indonesian catsup with Central American catsup, but it was really good.


The halibut got a dusting of baharat and Urfa pepper, then a layer of roasted garlic hummus, a layer of Panko, a spritz of olive oil, then a good roast in a hot oven.



Have you ever seen these tiny Forelle pears?


I found them for the first time today. I put the little mandarin orange in the bowl to show how small they are. Like Seckel pears in size, but like little Bartletts in flavor and texture.

Ok, so French or Dutch? French or Dutch? I think I love that quasi-Belgian idea. I'll combine them in some way. I'm going to have a look at the book, and another look at the thread, and see how I can make a combined Dutch/French dinner for 4. Any special recipe from either the book or the thread that you think I should be making?

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with the thinnest, crispest fries you ever did see and a cup of Hollandaise for dipping


Oh, migod, I've been searching for those fries ever since Tamara Murphy left Cafe Campagne. Let's see, it's 9:25 pm. If I leave Seattle now I can be in Walla Walla by....

Great blog, Abra!


"Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon." --Dalai Lama

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Abra, where did you buy the normal-sized jar of Salsa Lizano? I've only seen it in the huge, economy size in the market. I fell in love with it in Costa Rica and it's irreplaceable in gallo pinto (Costa Rican beans and rice). I see you've found other uses for it.


Seattle, WA

"But there's tacos, Randy. You know how I feel about tacos. It's the only food shaped like a smile....A beef smile."

--Earl (Jason Lee), from "My Name is Earl", Episode: South of the Border Part Uno, Season 2

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First the no statements: no, I've never read Diane Mott Davidson, although I've heard of her. Is there anything scary in her books? I hate to be scared! And no, alas, no storage of Walla Walla onions. The sweet onions are so fragile, you just have to eat them while they're fresh. And no, no quinces at the moment, but that reminds me that the quince paste I made a couple of months ago according to jackal10's method is also on the Orcas menu.

Yes, vin de noix is definitely on the menu for the Orcas dinner, as is something with the duck confit I started back 6-8 weeks ago.

Hmm, so far quince paste, vin de noix, and duck confit. How to combine them....an arugula salad topped with the confit, with a vin de noix dressing, maybe some sort of toasted nut, quince paste cubes, a little dry, nutty cheese?

I encourage folks from Washington to visit Walla Walla. I'd never been there until this past summer, but I've been half a dozen times since then. It's really a charming little place.

I still haven't settled on a menu for tomorrow so I'll have to sleep on it. Besides cooking for the guests, there will be shopping, and some views of our little town on the island, plus a feature on my husband's mad passion, a 2-group La Marzocco espresso machine. We have a coffee ritual every day that even our dog and cat participate in. Yes, pet pictures are forthcoming too.

Nobody's spoken up in favor of oaky wines. Don't be shy, if you love them, I need your help!

Edited by Abra (log)
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Abra, very nice! Where is that BBQ in Ellensburg? I'm always driving through there and having trouble finding good places to eat. And I wish I had known about the sausages in Cle Elum!

I'm voting for French -- Onion soup, stuffed mushrooms, and sauteed chicken with shallots and artichoke hearts (when is artichoke season, anyway?).

M. Thomas

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Wonderful blog, Abra!

The photos are great. It brings nice memories when I was traveling around the Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, Leavenworth, Cashmere ...

Personally, I vote for French, unless you want to tell your friends, "Tonight, we're going Dutch!" :rolleyes:

What is your coffee preference: Starbucks? SBC? Or something else?

And finally, a dog in a blog. Woof!

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Glad to see you blogging again, Abra. Walla Walla is neat neat. Some random thoughts...

What is this trend of bloggers doing other people's recipes? It seems to me that you can tell a lot about a person's culinary preferences/philosophy when the person cooks from her own tried and true recipes, the ones she is passionate about. So French or Belgian or Dutch or whatever, let's see some of Abra's food, too.

Is that cup of Hollandaise for dipping the fries? I'd think it was for the egg. Never mind, I'd drink it...er, eat it on everything. Assuming it's real.

You might get a laugh out of Diane Mott Davidson's books. There is a small scare here and there, but the food sounds good. Mostly it's amusing, how she spends 90% of her time sleuthing and then tosses off her catering in a couple of hours. Do show everyone the boat load of stuff you have to cart around when acting as a personal chef. It's a rude awakening.

Have you decided on your T'day stuffing yet?

Edited by ruthcooks (log)

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I kid you not.  Leftover pesto pizza and carrot cake.  It was a once in a lifetime breakfast, I swear.

Abra, as stunning as your photographs are, they play second fiddle to the fact that you'll have leftover pizza, carrot cake and coffee for breakfast. A woman after my own heart! :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Hmm...frys with frite sauce - nearly Belgium already, Just need to add some mussels and wheat beer...maybe waffles and chocolates

Oh and I love oaky wines. I do regret they are out of fashion, and high alcohol fruit bombs are in. Bring back the butter and vanilla flavours I say!

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so, why are all these people voting for french food while I am asleep :angry::biggrin:

Abra, everything looks so wonderful. The pictures of the scenery really take my breath away and make we want to fly to your part of the world Right Now.

Should I add that I vote for Dutch? :smile: I just can't wait to see what you would do with Dutch food! I'm pretty sure you would work magic with it!

Edited by Chufi (log)
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Good morning! We live on Sunrise Drive, and now you see why it's called that. I got a good start to the day with this (much more conservative) breakfast. Sorry Moosh!


Oh, it's so hard to decide on dinner. Between Paula's book and Klary's thread, I want to make about 20 different dishes, and since I also have a couple of other things I need to do today besides cook (how boring of me) I just have to go for a few that sound not too complicated and delicious.

So here's my menu, a Paula/Klary combo:

Paula's Salad of Duck Confit with Red Cabbage, Chestnuts and Watercress (I want to preview this as a possibility for the Orcas dinner. I made the confit using Paula's recipe, and it should be ready to eat by now)

Klary's Draadjesvlees (beef cooked in butter)

Paula's Potatoes in the Style of the Quercy

Paula's Pureed Celery Root with Apples

(and this plate will need some color)

Klary's Speculaas

Nothing fancy or hard here, just quite a few balls to get in the air. It sounds very wintery and comforting, no?

Ruth, you ask a good question about cooking with other people's recipes. I love to cook other people's food! Mostly because I love to try new dishes all the time, so although I do have "tried and true" stuff, I don't make anything often enough to get bored. This blog may disappoint you in that way, because it's mostly going to be about new (to me) dishes. And no, I'm still up in the air on Thanksgiving stuffing. Do I need to hurry into a decision? I still have 10 days, and a big dinner to do between now and then. Should I really be planning Thanksgiving already???

Jack, I tend to think of the big, oaky American wines as also being fruit bombs, a combination that particularly doesn't sound good to me. What are your favorite foods to serve with an oaky cabernet sauvignon, and an oaky chardonnay? American, mind you, no restrained Euro wine here.

As to the coffee preference, you shall see a bit later in the morning, when my camera follows me down to Shel's Espresso Bar.

The question for the morning is: yesterday I saw skate wing, and bought a piece. I've never cooked it or eaten it. Who knows a good recipe? My initial plan is to give it a pan saute and put it on a salad for lunch, but I'm open to suggestions about anything more interesting to do with it.

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I am, unabashedly, a fan of Big Oakey Chards! :wub: I think the best foil for such, at this time of year, would be a Chanterelle Risotto (nice and creamy with lots of Parmagiano Reggiano). Or basically any rich and creamy dish would go well. HTH,


"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

J.R.R. Tolkien

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Hmm. I can't wait to see what you do with the skate, but I've never had it, so I'm no help there! In fact, I have more questions than answers!

First: Please, please do the speculaas with the almond paste, instead of the plain! I've been drooling over that recipe, as well as the rest of Chufi's photos and recipes. I'm glad my "Belgian" compromise was well-received, and your selections are all things I've been wanting to try.

What do you plan to do with your persimmons?

Your photos are GORGEOUS. I noticed that the apple orchard had a lot of fruit on the ground. Do you happen to know whether the orchard had been picked and the stuff on the ground were the culls? Or did that orchard just start dropping its load before the pickers got there? (Don't you love these questions, fired away about something you were just happened to see on the way? :raz: )

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Speculaas with almond paste, of course! It never crossed my mind to make the plain one.

Mmm, brown butter and skate. Ok, that's for lunch.

And a risotto is a great suggestion, Carolyn. I needed a creamy dish, but the particular Chard, a Kistler, is reputed to have high acidity, so I might need to add some acid ingredient to the risotto, if that's what I go with.

There are a lot of apples on the ground, aren't there? I'm troubled by that myself, but I don't know why they weren't at least made into cider. The persimmons, the minute they are ripe, will be eaten straight out of hand, accompanied by ecstatic sounds. That's my favorite fruit, and they're usually not very nice around here, for some mysterious reason.

I'm back from shopping and need a coffee. Pictures of both will follow, and then I'm putting on my apron and rolling up my sleeves.

Oh, one schedule change. I also went to the chiropractor while I was out, and she ordered me not to carry heavy stuff for a few days, to try to relieve the tingling in my hand and arm. So I've rescheduled my tomorrow client, and will just concentrate on getting the menu together for Orcas, and planning Thanksgiving. We're having two of them, one with 20 eGers and a Rosengarten turkey, and one more traditional, except that most of the guests will be Thai and haven't had Thanksgiving before. So we can probably get some good Thanksgiving chat going in this blog too, if you all want to share your Thanksgiving hopes, dreams, and plans here.

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Enjoying the blog.

Nice to see someone with such a zest for life!

With the Chard...I would go with lobster (Classic) with something vanilla...Sauce....mayonnaise?

With the Cab....Lamb...or dry aged beef....something that will stand up to all that wood...With roasted garlic?

my 2 cents

Great Photos!!!!!!!

Wish it looked as nice here in Vancouver. Today it is grey....Grrrr.

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