Saturday, October 10, 2015

Boozy Clams with Tarragon

Friday nights are for homemade meals that don't take a lot of effort and give you an excuse to open a bottle of wine. I picked up some clams, rosemary bread and a bottle of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc on my way home from work. Once I got home I massaged some kale for a salad and dinner came together in a matter of minutes. 

Cooking seafood is fairly new to me since I was vegetarian for so many years. I still don't feel confident in my fish-cooking skills but clams... clams are something I can handle! They are so much easier than I ever thought possible. If clams are new to you to, here are some tips I have learned:

  • Friday is a great day to buy clams. I found these ones at Ballard Market. I also often buy from Hama Hama at the farmers market on Saturday (University District) and Sunday (Ballard). 
  • A little gaping is okay if the clams have been sitting for a while, but they should close up tight when they are agitated. When you are rinsing your clams, discard any that are open or smell bad. 
  • You can store your clams for a few days in the refrigerator covered with a damp cloth.
  • Do not let your clams sit in stagnant water. When you are ready to use them, just take them out of the refrigerator, place them in a colander, and rinse them well. 

Boozy Clams with Tarragon
Serves 2


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 pounds manila clams
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a wide saute pan. Add the tarragon, red pepper flakes and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is soft. 

Add the wine, stir briefly, and add the clams. Spread the clams in a single layer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat down to low and let the clams steam for 5-10 minutes, or until they have all opened up. 

Use a slotted spoon to remove the clams and divide them between two bowls. Add the butter to the pan and stir the liquid until the butter has melted. Divide the broth between the two bowls.

Serve immediately with lots of crusty bread and a big salad. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lake Valhalla Hike

Finding time to hike in the Fall can be a challenge, but it is so worth it. I had never hiked to Lake Valhalla before, but it was probably ten times more beautiful with all of the color popping at the end of September. 

My hiking buddies for this trek were my best friend from childhood and her nine month old baby girl, Penny. This was Penny's first hike and Kate's first time hiking with more than just a backpack to carry, and they were both champs. 

The hike allowed for the perfect amount of exercise without being overly strenuous. There are a couple different routes to this lake and we took the shorter Smithbrook Trail. It is a 7 mile out and back with 1500 ft. of elevation gain. 

The lake has a sandy beach which was a perfect place to sit and relax and let Penny get her wiggles out (also chew on sticks, rub sand all over her face, and get all up in the outdoors like a pro). There were some PCT hikers also hanging out on this beach and planning to camp there for the night. 

This was a perfect way to spend a sunny September day with my best friend and her mini-me. Today is Kate's birthday (Happy Birthday, lady!) and I hope she gets her wish to hike with the family.

For more information about hiking to Lake Valhalla, visit the Hiking Guide from Washington Trails Association here
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