Friday, May 28, 2010

Pasta with Tomato, Bacon, and Onion

As has recently been discussed here, the America's Test Kitchen recipe booklet that I have (issue 2, 2008) is a source of recipes that does not disappoint. I've made other versions of this recipe in the past, and the bacon tends to be soggy. This recipe eliminates that problem - and also advocates the use of pasta water in the sauce, which I keep seeing lately.

I should mention that for over a year now, most of the meat I've been cooking with has been local and organic, purchased from the completely fabulous Seward Coop, of which I am a member. This is true of the bacon used here.

Pasta with Tomato, Bacon, and Onion
Serves 4 (and generously, at that). I halved the recipe without any problem, and still ate it for two dinners and a lunch.

6 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 lb spaghetti or linguine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring water to boil in large pot. Cook bacon (already chopped) in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot. Add tomato sauce, parsley, and cooked bacon to pot and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt. Serve, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Apple Pie

As I've said before, Cook's Illustrated has the best pie crust recipe. It really does turn out soft yet flaky, absolutely perfect.  Cook's Illustrated's Classic Apple Pie can't do you wrong - and in need of some warm sweetness, I made an apple pie the other night, which got better each day as I worked my way through it (with help from a few of my friends). Can you tell I've been craving my sweets lately?

Classic Apple Pie from Cook's Illustrated

Pie Dough: 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 11 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 T per stick, 1 stick = 1/2 cup...), cut into 1/4 inch cubes, 7 tablespoons chilled shortening, 1/3 cup water, chilled with ice, use more if needed.

(Hint: The key to a good crust is the chilled shortening and cold cold water! Don't skip this step to save time. Also, the mixture of shortening and butter is great, as each lend their own improvements to pie crust.)

Pie Filling: 2 T flour, 3 large granny smith apples, 4 large McIntosh apples, 1 T juice and 1 t grated zest from 1 lemon, 3/4 cup plus 1 T sugar, 1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 t ground cinnamon, 1/8 t ground all-spice, 1/4 t salt, 1 large egg white, beaten lightly.

Directions: Mix flour, salt and sugar, sprinkle cubed butter and toss with flour mixture. Cut butter into flour, add shortening and continue to cut into flour until mixture resembles course cornmeal. Butter bits should be no larger than small peas. Sprinkle all but 1 T of ice water over mixture. Using the blade of a rubber spatula, fold to mix. Press down dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, add water as necessary. Divide dough into 2 balls, with one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 4 inch wide disks, dust with flour, wrap in plastic and regfrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When ready to assemble pie, heat oven to 500 degrees and remove larger piece of dough from fridge (shouldn't be out for more than about 10 minutes). Roll the dough out and place in the bottom of the pie plate and return to the fridge.  

Peel, core and quarter the apples; cut the quarters into 1/4-inch slices and toss with the lemon juice and zest.  In a medium bowl, mix the 3/4 cup sugar, flour, spices and salt.  Toss the dry ingredients with the apples.  Turn the fruit mixture, including the including the juices, into the chilled pie shell and mound it slightly in the center.  

Roll the 2nd piece of dough to a 12-inch circle and place it over the filling.  Trip the edges of the top and bottom dough alters to 1/2 inch beyond the pan lip.  Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that he folded edge is flush with the pan lip. Plt the edge and cut 4 slits in the dough top.  If rolling the crust has taken time and the dough is soft, return to the freezer for 10 minutes.  Brush the egg white onto the crust and sprinkle the sugar over it. 

Place the pie on a baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake the pie until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes.  Rotate the pie from front to back and reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees. Continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.  

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature,at least 4 hours, if you can wait that long. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garlic Shrimp with Basil, aka Heaven

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that I have celebrated the existence of the America's Test Kitchen crew. In the fall of 2008, I visited Elspeth in Seattle and we were lucky enough to catch a presentation by Christopher Kimball at the public library. We got there early, and were each rewarded for our efforts with a copy of "America's Test Kitchen: Fast & Fresh Recipe Card Collection" - apparently it was Issue Number 2 of this handy booklet that looks like a magazine but reads like a cookbook. To date, I have made nine of the recipes that are included (some of them more than once), and always with great success. That means that there are 55 recipes remaining, and the more I think about it, the more sure I feel that I better get a move on with trying each of them!

This round, I tried the "Garlic Shrimp with Basil" recipe, and it will now be my official "impress the guests" dinner, though I made it on a weeknight in significantly less than an hour. It tastes, as I mentioned in the title of this post, rather like heaven.

Garlic Shrimp with Basil
(serves 4, or in my case: serves 1 for dinner, a lunch, and one more dinner)

1 1/2 pounds extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
10 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
4 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 Tbsp capers, drained and minced
1 tsp lemon juice

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add shrimp and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plate. (NOTE: I bought a 1 lb. bag of frozen cooked shrimp, defrosted it in the refrigerator over night, and followed these same directions. This worked well, though it was 1/2 lb less shrimp than the recipe calls for. It seems that cooked or uncooked shrimp are kind of interchangeable in this recipe, too.)

Add remaining oil, garlic, and 1/2 tsp pepper to empty skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine and tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in basil, butter, capers, and lemon juice. Add shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet. Cover and let sit until shrimp are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

This can be served on linguine, rice, or crusty bread (says the recipe) but I served it on egg noodles, which was delicious.

Mango Tart: Absolute Indulgence

When I studied abroad in Australia, I worked at a little cafe owned by a couple in their 30's. They were lovely, and became good friends. By the end of my stint I was cooking more than I was taking orders and I even got to add a few items to the menu.  As a going away gift they gave me a wonderful cookbook - a very Australian cookbook - Bill's Sydney Food - by Bill Granger, a restaurateur, food writer, and of course, cook.  The foods in the book are delightful, fresh, clean and bright.

In need of a bright dessert, I pulled out this book and after flipping through for a bit found a recipe for Mango Tart - listed under 'Lunch/Sweet Things' which is quite funny, as it's a rich, indulgent dessert, but nonetheless delicious.

Mango Tart from Bill's Sydney Food

For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, a pinch of salt, 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) of butter.
Directions: Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, use a whisk to combine.  Add butter and rub it through the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.  Add 3 T of cold water and cut it in with a knife until the dough is able to be pulled together in to a ball. Add more water, 1/2 T at a time  until you are able to squeeze the majority of the dough together in a ball. It should still be flaky and fairly dry.  Wrap plastic wrap around the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out the pastry dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick.  If pieces fall off, just add back on, overlapping the edge and continue to roll out.  Fit the pastry dough into a tart tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove the pastry from the freezer, line with parchment paper and add baking weights, rice will work too.  Bake the shell for 10 minutes, remove the weights and return the shell to the oven, cooking another 10 minutes.  Leave to cool.

For the Filling
Ingredients: 1 cup milk, 1 t vanilla, 6 egg yolks, 3/4 cup ultra fine baking sugar, 3 T cornstarch, a bit less than 2 T of butter - cut into small cubes, 1/2 cup cream - lightly whipped, 2-3 mangoes - peeled and sliced.
Directions: Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until just before boiling point. Add vanilla and remove from heat.  Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick. Add the cornstarch and hot milk and stir until smooth.  Return mixture to a clean saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.  If the mixture feels like it is lumping, use a whisk for a bit to keep the mixture a consistent, smooth texture.  Bring the custard to a boil, turn down heat and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring to combine.  Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.  Fold the lightly whipped cream through the custard, and pour into the tart shell. Arrange sliced mangoes on top and serve.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins - an easy treat

My most lovely sister got me a cookbook for my birthday - Muffins: Sweet and Savory Comfort Foods - and it's full of delightful treats.  I had a few old bananas so I decided to start with something familiar - Chocolate Chip Banana muffins. I make banana bread pretty often (because it's oh so delicious), but I thought this might be a nice way to mix it up.  The recipe calls for 5-6 bananas and I only had 3 so I did a half recipe and made mini muffins - though it made 2 dozen muffins, plus I still have a bunch of batter in my fridge - more than double the expected yield. Ah well - I'll always take more of these tasty treats!

The muffins I had right out of the oven were even more delicious because the big chocolate chips I used seem to have floated to the middle of most of them, creating a nice melted chocolate surprise in that first bite.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (from Muffins: Sweet and Savory Comfort Foods, written by Cyndi Duncan and George Patrick)
Makes 12 Muffins or 24+ Mini Muffins

Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 2 eggs - lightly beaten, 5 to 6 ripe bananas - mashed, 2 cups flour, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t baking powder, 3/4 t baking soda, 3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, I omitted these), 3/4 cup chocolate chips - mini if you prefer.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease muffin cups. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add the lightly beaten eggs and the mashed bananas. Mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in the creamed mixture just until moistened.  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes for full size muffins, 10-15 for mini. Muffins should be golden brown.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chicken and Ramps!

Around the Twin Cities this spring, ramps were the trendy "new" vegetable to be aware of, as far as I can tell. It seems that they are a variety of wild leek, and in certain parts of the country in the early spring, you can purchase them in the sorts of produce sections that pride themselves on carrying such items. Since I happen to frequent a produce section of that sort, I purchased some ramps and went about learning what they are and how to cook them. Turns out, it was easy. I washed them, chopped them up, and sauteed them in butter. They were delicious.

Ramps are not what one would consider to be a hearty vegetable, so I definitely needed to eat some other food along with this buttery ramp concoction. And so, I bring you, the chicken recipe off the Hellman's Mayonnaise jar. Don't be alarmed. In fact, if you can, just ignore the source of this recipe entirely, because I'll tell you right now that it results in some very delicious chicken, quickly and easily. I should mention that I halved this recipe, and eyeballed the ingredients, and it was still delicious:

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 tsp seasoned dry bread crumbs

Combine mayonnaise and cheese. Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Easy! Also, I'm a sucker for egg noodles, so I cooked some of those up to eat with the ramps and chicken. The next night, I chopped up the leftover chicken and stirred it in with the leftover ramps and leftover noodles, and I have to say that this was even more delicious than the original meal, when the components had been kept separate!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh oh Risotto.

Mmm. I've always enjoyed risotto at restaurants but for some reason, perhaps because I had only ever had it at restaurants, I had this notion that it was hard to make. The other night I was having a friend over for dinner after work and I thought, what the heck, I'm going to make risotto. So I did. Just like that. Turns out, not that difficult, and so, so delicious (and this one makes a great leftover)!

Just about every time I log onto the Cooks Illustrated website I see a recipe for risotto in my perusing, and this one was in their latest magazine, so I thought I'd give their recipe a try. Now. I said it wasn't difficult, but it wasn't super straight forward either. This recipe takes a bit of time and a bunch of preparation (chopping onions, shredding chicken, and so on), but it's nothing you can't handle (I'm pretty sure), and totally worth it in the end.

With the chicken, it makes for a reasonable entree, but you can easily make this recipe without it, too, and serve it as a side.

Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Chicken and Herbs from Cook's Illustrated May 2010
Serves 6

Ingredients: 5 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 T olive oil, 2 small chicken breasts, 4 T butter, 1 large onion, chopped fine, salt, 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 cups Arborio rice, 1 cup dry white wine, 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese, 1 t juice from 1 lemon, 2 T chipped fresh parsley, 2 T chopped fresh chives, ground black pepper.

Directions: Bring broth and water to boil in large saucepan over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Add chicken and cook without moving until golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Flip chicken and cook second side until lightly browned, about two minutes. Transfer chicken to saucepan of simmering broth and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to large plate.

While the chicken is cooking in the broth, add 2 T of butter to the now empty Dutch oven, set over medium heat.  When butter has melted, add onion and 3/4 t salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add rice and cook, sitrring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes.

Add wine and cook, stirring constantly until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups warm broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16-18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.

Add 3/4 cup warm broth to risotto and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in Parmesan. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

While the risotto is cooking and 'standing', shred chicken meat into bite-size pieces.  When risotto is ready to serve, stir shredded chicken, remaining 2 T butter, lemon juice, parsley and chives into risotto.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, add up to 1/2 cup additional broth to loosen the texture of the risotto.

Serve, and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mmmm cream.

The other night I was looking for a recipe that had a feeling of extravagance, as it was Friday after all (and Friday dinners must feel extravagant, didn't you know?), yet it needed to be something that was fairly simple, and I was hoping to use herbs from my windowsill garden (which is bigger and better this year, I'll do a post about it soon!). 

I was perusing Bon Appetit and came upon "Pasta with Peas, Cream, Parsley and Mint". Perfect! It was indeed quite easy and quick, yet the inclusion of cream made it feel a little more, shall I say, extravagant, and most importantly, it was absolutely delicious! The shells collected up the peas so that they were a pleasant surprise when you bit down on a shell. The final product has a nice look too, so it's great if you're looking for high marks on presentation.

I will say that as opposed to most homemade dishes, this was best the first time around, so gobble it up the night you make it!

Pasta with Peas, Cream, Parsley and Mint, from Bon Appetit, March 2008
Serves 6-8 (I did a half recipe)

Ingredients: 1 (16oz) package of medium or large shell pasta, 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 1 (16oz) package of frozen peas (still frozen),2 1/4 cups fresh grated Parmesan cheese, shaved Parmesan cheese for serving, 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped, 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped, with extra parsley for serving.

Directions: Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to warm pot.

While the past is cooking, bring cream to simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen peas and simmer just until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and sauce thickens slightly, about a minute.  Stir in mint and chopped parsley.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat, adding pasta cooking liquid in small increments if dry.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with remaining parsley and cheese.

As always, enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

If you've discovered the 'upcoming events' page we added to the site, you would have seen the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival on there a bit ago. I moved to Seattle a month after the festival 2 years ago. Last year I planned poorly and the tulips bloomed early and I didn't make it, and this year, well, I barely made it, but I did, and it was wonderful! Whew. Maybe next year I'll make it at the height of the season.We'll see.

When the fields are in full bloom, there are hundreds of acres of tulips in bloom, as well as daffodils, and later in the season, irises.  There are two locations, Roozengaarde and Tulip Town.  Both have display gardens that are in bloom the whole month, and at the height of the season, Roozengaarde has "a beautiful 3-acre pristine Display Garden planted with over a ¼ million blooming bulbs and bordered by a 30-acre tulip field" while Tulip Town has a variety of indoor and outdoor gardens, vendors and a 15 acre field of late bloomers. 

Since we were a little late to get up to the festival, the 1,000 plus acres of tulip fields had been topped.  Since the tulips are all grown for the bulbs, they cut the flowers off of the step as soon as they start to go by, so that the plant can focus it's energy on producing a bigger bulb.  It's a pretty cool process, but sadly meant that we just saw fields and fields of stems.  We were able to see a giant field of irises though, which were beautiful, and the display gardens were pretty nice.  On the way out, we discovered that Tulip Town still had their field of late bloomers, so we got to peruse that giant field. All in all, it was a nice day to be outside and the flowers were fantastic.

 I have to admit that although I was a little sad we didn't get to see the giant fields in bloom, it was nice to be at the festival with a smaller crowd. People watching was pretty funny, and it was pretty humorous to watch all the little kids. I'm pretty sure at least half of them had a handful of tulip petals and there was one feisty little bugger that I saw take down tulips over and over, aggressively grabbing them with his tiny hands and seeing how many petals he could get off at once before one of his parents anxiously scooped him up and quickly got away from the devastated plant before anyone noticed. Ah yes. The people watching was good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The story of an obsession: Mango Curry

Growing up in Central Maine doesn't afford one many opportunities to try food from around the world. Not only were there very few options, but my family was never the type to go out to eat, and never ever did we get take out or delivery.  I recall one time that I convinced my mom to let me go get us some pizza for dinner.  When I came back to the house with it, she had cooked veggies and made a salad. I just shook my head at her and said 'you don't understand how this works, do you?'.

As the grown up that I attempt to be these days, I've come to really appreciate that 'cook it yourself' upbringing. I find I eat healthier, enjoy my homemade meals more and save money by not ordering out very often. But there are a few foods that I've come to see as an exception, at least until I can master making it myself. The #1 exception? Indian food. Specifically the Mango Walla from Bengal Tiger. Ohhhh sweet love. It is so wonderfully delicious.

One of my dear friends is very aware of my obsession with this mango walla, and knowing that I much prefer a meal I can make at home with more rice than anyone normal would think to serve, she very kindly got me a jar of some mango curry she found at the store. While it was surely missing some ingredients (I suspect, mainly, heavy cream), I sauteed up some veggies, tossed in some tofu and poured the mango curry over it. Served over rice it was quite delicious!


This is a recipe that will work with any bottled curry, or even a quality teriyaki sauce. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a quick but flavorful and filling dinner! It may not be the same as the Mango Walla from Bengal Tiger, but it's pretty delicious all the same!

Mango Curry with Veggies and Tofu, Served Over Rice

Be sure to read through this before you start. You can include tofu in a variety of ways, depending how you like it. Since I don't like the taste or texture of tofu very much, I crumble it, coat it in flour and pre cook it a bit, but some people prefer to just cube it and toss it whatever you wish, and of course, feel free to do chicken or some other meat instead.

For the Veggies
Ingredients: 1 onion, diced, 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced, assorted vegetables (broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc), cut into small pieces, olive oil
Directions: Pour a small amount of olive oil into a pan and over medium to medium low heat saute the onions until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetables and continue to saute.  If you like softer broccoli, you can parboil it for a few minutes to soften it a bit. Add the tofu and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the curry and mix well. Add enough curry to more than coat the veggies, you want extra curry sauce that will seep into the rice.  Turn heat to low and let the flavors meld for a few minutes.

For the Tofu
Ingredients: Extra firm tofu,1/2 cup flour, garlic salt/powder, salt and pepper, oil for frying.
Directions: Press as much moisture as you can out of the tofu by hand, and then wrap it in a towel (paper or cloth). Set a cutting board with a heavy-ish object on top of it to extract more moisture out of it.  Depending how you like your tofu, cut into cubes or crumble the tofu (I prefer my tofu crumbled).  Combine the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Toss the tofu with the dry ingredients. I use 1/4-1/3 of a package for myself, half for two people or the whole thing for a larger group. In a separate pan from the veggies, put oil in a saute pan.  Depending on how fried you like your tofu, put more or less oil. Cook the tofu in the oil for as long as you like, stirring occasionally. If you like your tofu more crispy, cook in more oil for longer, if you like the texture of tofu as it is, just cook it a little. If you really like tofu how it is, you can just add it to the veggies without the flour mixture at all.

Serve over rice, and enjoy! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So. Many. Cupcakes.

So about a month ago, my friend asked me, "Hey Elspeth, any interest in going to this fundraiser that costs $10 and has a ton of cupcakes?". Um. Yes. Absolutely. Let me tell you. I did not hesitate for a second. We were some of the first people there, and we certainly got our cupcakes worth. After much careful deliberation, I ate one cupcake in line and filled my plate with two full size cupcakes, two medium cupcakes and two mini cupcakes. I only ended up eating one of the mini's and I took the rest home, it was so overwhelming to be around that much deliciousness. My friends were lucky enough to acquire a carton of milk from Smith Brothers Milk, who was also at the event - I on the other hand, was not so lucky, and that slowed me down a bit.

The event was Cupcake Camp and according to the website, 1,000 people went, they served 5,000 cupcakes, and raised over $5,000. The site itself has some beautiful pictures that you should check out, but I thought I'd post a few of my own.  We were glad we got there early because when we left there was a line to the end of the block. It was the first year they've done this event, and it was clear by the madness surrounding the cupcake table that they didn't except such a crowd (their site says they predicted 300 people would turn out).  I felt greedy with my plate of cupcakes but there were people with plates towered high, plus people left with full boxes. It was quite a scene.

The event was to raise money for the Hope Heart Institute, which is kind of funny, since I think the event was the most absurd display of unhealthy gorging of food I've seen in a long time, but ah well. Everyone seeemd to have a good time, and they certainly raised a fair amount of money!

All of my favorite cupcake places were at the event, Cupcake Royale (makers of my beloved Salted Caramel cupcake, pictured at left), Wink, Trophy Cupcakes, plus a lot of smaller bakeries and cupcake companies located outside of Seattle proper.  I wish the wrappers had the names on them, because I had a coconut cupcake that was to die for, but alas, I don't know who made it! All in all, it was, though slightly disorganized, a wonderful event that I'm sure will be even better next year.