Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Etsy Site.

I've always been the artsy type. Never in any one discipline long enough to excel at it, unless you count cooking (and I do).  One week I am a knitter and I'm going to knit cute little things that I'll sell at Sunday markets and become independantly wealthy off my efforts.  Oh but wait... crochet! I love crochet! it's faster!  I can crochet little mushrooms and hats and scarves and sell them at Sunday markets and become independantly wealthy off my efforts.  But... if I buy a sewing machine I can make my own clothes and sell arm-warmers and scarves from second hand stores..  but ...wait if I ... or if I ... but I like... ohh, but this is really cool!  And alas I end up with 100's of half started projects, boxes of odds and ends and pens, and paints and pieces of broken things I will eventually make into other things and I will sell them at Sunday markets and become independantly wealthy off my efforts. 

Finish it or toss it! And now there are enough journals made from vintage books and knitted floweres with buttons and sweet little findings... arm warmers are all the rage and a thousand indie girls are making them better than me...

But, what I always come back to is a glue stick and a paper, images that i didn't have to draw, pieced, altered and embellished.

That said I have combined my love of food and my love of glue and while the two would never pass your lips together (unless you like to dip your fries in Elmers...) I've created Cooking on Paper -

I'll have cards and little arty pices of collage and assemblage for purchase and while I am no longer looking to become independanly wealthy off my efforts it does make me happy and if I can keep myself in glue sticks I'll feel good about the effert spent. 

So please check it out and buy a set of cards for a friend.  If you live locally contact me and I can save you the shipping.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cooking as Art

Lady Allister's fondness for fishes

Cooking as Art

La Santa Ensalada

Cooking as Art

for the ladies... Fruit

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the Chicken.. and the great chicken cookbook!

this is what happens when I don't get out much.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I obviously need to get out more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's all Part of my Food Truck Fantasy... It's all part of my Rock and Roll Dreams.

Fight the midterm election blues and  

Follow the link to the GOOD: FOOD blog to vote the food cart Amie and built (she built, I cooked, we were fabulous) for Chicago Art Departments annual fundraiser.
"Amie Sell and Cameo McRoberts created a mock version of La Gabacha for two reasons: to serve delicious Asian-inspired hot dogs at an art benefit, but also, to protest Chicago's "strict food truck laws and militant hot dog preparation mandates." According to Sell, "Our inspiration came from a hot dog stand in Vancouver, our love of food, art and travel.  We served up all beef hot dogs with Asian-inspired toppings [...] People keep asking me where our real stand is, too bad our city ordinances make it difficult to impossible to make La Gabacha a real truck."

Signature Dish: The Seoul Doggie (above on the right) with kim chee, pickled radish, red chili oil, and mayo. The Japadog! (above in center) with takoyaki sauce, wasabi mayo, pickled daikon, shredded nori with toasted sesame sprinkle. The Ban Mi doggie (above on the left) with thinly sliced carrots and daikon, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, pâté, mayo and ham.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

voodoo doughnut

yes, that is bacon on the maple bar, captain crunch, m &m, coco crisp and a pentagram.

voodoo doughnuts

mmmmm mojo dough dough...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Pig Roast

A musical journey through 'Dexter's Last Stand" an amazing adventure in food.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Foodbuzz Challenge #1: I am Cameo Hear me Roar!

My blog is not about swapping granola bar recipes or handy tips on cutting mango, though they are useful and blog worthy subjects.  My blog is more personal. Without seeming too overly narcissistic, it’s about me, and my life in food.
In the last few months I have shot and styled three cookbooks, cooked a whole deer on the beach in a remote town in Alaska, tipped cocktail glasses at Tales of the Cocktail, in New Orleans with the best bartenders and booze makers in the world, gave a seminar on creativity, spent the weekend on a farm cooking with Seattle’s best chefs at ‘Burning Beast’, harvested honey from our backyard hive, butterflied and cooked my first whole pig at a luau, ate for 12 straight hours in Vancouver Canada as part of ‘dimsumcouver’, flew to Chicago to participate in the Chicago Art Departments annual  fund raiser as a living piece of an art installation in a food truck constructed of cardboard serving Asian inspired hot dogs.   

This evening I'll be at a party at Rick Bayless’ house,  next week I am going to figure how to work less and start my own restaurant… or at least figure out how to get money for such an endeavor.   My life is never boring. It’s slightly exhausting, overly stimulating, and often a downright mess, and me? I am snarky, smart, quick-witted opinionated and always up for an adventure.   I love food, eating, cooking, canning freezing, pickling boozing, killing, tasting and sharing. And apparently after reading this paragraph I also enjoy making lists.
I kept journals throughout adolescence, stories of woe and despair, and forlorned love.  Hearts and arrows, doodles of flowers, a fellows name scrawled a hundred times.  This went on for years, Jr. High, High School, well into college and the ‘real world’.  I lugged them bound and gagged in an old suitcase; stories, poetry, lists; drug induced observations, drunken lyrics illegibly sprawled, and scraps of paper. The best of my scribblings turned into songs I would sing at open mic night until even I was like, "damn girl, your depressing!" then I stopped. I stopped writing.  When the writing stopped the singing stopped, then there was only heat.
It was about the time I became seriously involved with food, every tingle, tart, salty, soft, crunchy, succulent morsel of it. I traveled and ate and set sail on the high seas, I put myself through culinary school and jumped into a car with three hundred dollars to my name and headed to Chicago where I snagged a job at the increasingly successful Frontera Grill.  Smitten like a school girl, I scoured cookbooks and magazines; I read less great works and forgot to turn poetry into songs.  My journals were replaced by a little black recipe book, worn at the edges and permanently formed to my posterior in the back of my hounds tooth uniform.
 Now I turn my food into words and my words into food. My writing illustrates the great things about my life experiences rather than sullen musings of a depressed and self depreciating woman.  Writing has given me a sense of self worth, and sparked a new passion in cooking, that can so easily be lost if you are not fully dedicated to your craft.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dexter is done!

the pig roast.

the pigs name is Dexter!

don't worry I sliced his cheek and took a blood sample.

happy bacon day!

Dexter says... eat me I'm delicious! I freaking butterfied a pig!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the pig is here!!! the pig is here!!

feeling a little bit like dexter right now.

I'll have a little Staple but make sure its Fancy!

I have a huge crush on Ethan Stowell.  I hope his wife doesn't mind, I have a crush on her too.  They are the power couple for my generation; a little bit rock star, a little bit urban farmer, a whole lot of 'I don't give a #&;$* about image' and a big ol' chunk of unpretentious deliciousness.  The kind of business ethic I admire and all around fun people to hang with.
  I came back to Seattle with admittedly flighty expectations.  After six years in Chicago, immersed in one of the most diverse dining towns in the world and rubbing elbows with the Top Guns Academy of superstar chefs, I was disappointed by with the lack luster fare. In the land of milk and honey, or at least seafood, wine farm and pasture, I expected more.  My mistake was that I was 6 years behind the times, completely ignorant of the pot bubbling right under my nose.  Seattle is filled with great new restaurants, exciting and sophisticated Chefs, inventive and ingenious ideas, (albeit still searching for a great tortilla) on par with Chicago, New York, and LA and among those the Stowell empire is leading it's own charge. 
Reminiscent of my one of my favorite Chicago chefs, Paul Kahn of Blackbird, Avec, and Publican: Ethan and Paul are insanely passionate about food, and more concerned with it's integrity than dressing it up all  'perdy like' and farming it off to you for a premium.  It's not flawless, but it's sincere and most always a sort of 'accessible special' I appriciate when spending my hard earned  'benjamins'.
 As Ballard becomes a legitimate dining destination (for the record there are and were a lot of great places to eat here before all the fanfare), Walrus and the Carpenter and Staple and Fancy emit a sort of "it takes a village" attitude to upscale(ish) dining.  Occupying the same space, essentially wooing the same customer base without pretension and delivering to us exceptional dining experiences.    
I could wax pornographic about my dinner if you like but the menu is fluid and what may be the dish of a lifetime today will surely be gone tomorrow. Execution is key and attention to seasoning is evident.
We dined opening night, and I'd be kissing ass if I said it was perfect, but man did we eat! It was one of those nights where you realize mid meal you might not be making that student loan payment your whittling away at, but you don't care because the wine and the pasta and the creamy pork liver pate is an education in good taste that is worth more than the 20% interest Sallie Mae is going to tack onto that never dwindling bill.  

By the time I got home after over four hours of eating I was admittedly wasted... not as you might expect from cocktails or wine,  but completely disoriented by the delivery of plate after plate of deliciousness, mingled with the clink tink of wine glasses, the pleasant conversation and air of excitement, and the warm night air hovering just above the smell of garlic and meat.  Intoxicated by ambiance... as well it should be.
Get the Chef's tasting, be adventurous, share, dine and laugh with your friends, and leave the small stuff to the rest of the world.
Ethan and Angela a big sloppy kiss on the lips to both of you.

Staple & Fancy Mercantile on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Foster Farms 1st Annual Chicken Cook Off

This morning I got the privalage, however bittersweet it was...more on that later... of getting to cook the Washington Semifialists for the Foster Farms 1st Annual Chicken Cook Off .  It was only so bittersweet because we were hosting the judging of the finalists I could not enter said contest.  10,000 buckaroos is the final serving for a lucky home cook.  The recipes were all really well put together, each was a little different, each one pushed the envelope a little as far as creativity.  My prize for most surprising was a chicken drumstick recipe that calls for caramel ice cream topping, I was skeptical but in the end it was paired with tart crunchy slaw and it worked. As a professional it seems like the biggest difference between home and professional cooking is an inherent fear of seasoning.  Everyones recipe would have been greatly imporved by a further dusting of salt and pepper on the the chicken or a dash of acid in the dressings.  But that one difference is what keeps me in a job.

The winners by he way were a very fresh and light Chicken and Brown Rice Salad and a upscale and ready for the home cook version of a balsamic glazed chicken with honey and goat cheese. 

Try any of the recipes at home.  The finalist recipes are here.

Good luck to the rest of the finalists... check back because when the winners are announced we'll be doing the photo shoot of the winner.
And beware the Foster Imposters!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Five Questions for the Cocktail Chef: Cameo McRoberts

Cameo McRoberts is not a bartender, but that doesn’t mean she can’t make you a very good drink. Just don’t be snapping your fingers in her general direction.

Check out my answers to Jessica Voelkers five questions for Seattle Metropolitan's 'Sauced' blog

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a Celebration of Pigs, and Pork at Cochon 555

Sunday May 23 marked the Seattle leg of Cochon 555 , a cross country tour celebrating  heritage pigs. Five, of many wonderful Seattle chefs, were given a different breed of hog.  The result?  A delicious celebration of creativity, sustainability and how we treat and eat meat.
It was a nothing short of a remarkable Seattle evening, deep billowing clouds, diamonds reflecting off the sound and the smell of pork in the air.
I was lucky enough to attend this meeting of the swine courtesy Foodbuzz, as a featured editor.  So it's important to extend my gratitude because the event was not cheap.  And my only beef with the event was that it seemed the pork wells ran dry far too soon.  We arrived at 530, a half hour into the event two of the five chefs were running dangerously close to the 86 mark.  So with camera and a plan, I tucked my camera into my brastrap, pinned my pencil behind my ear, stuck a couple extra forks in my hair and made my way around the room thirsty for some porky delicious viddles.
Tamamra Murphy's paid homage to her Tamworth , said to be the best hog for bacon, with a menu heavy on bacon bits and delicious charcuteries.  While we waited in line we were served a delicious headcheese, smooth and seasoned, wet but not gummy, just the right thing to set ones appetite for pig
The first little piggy yeilded mini hot dogs,  crispy homemade pickles to take on all that rich porky goodness, chili verde, and a sweet and salty bacon brittle that was too delicious to stop at one little bite.  We hovered near the ice cream freezer, trying to both devour and savour our little bites while one of Tamaras team busked us for one of the last remaining ice cream sandwiches,  shortbread with a little piggie cut out and bacon rolled into the dough.  The perfect end to round one. Good thing we hovered, the minute we turned out backs the freezer emptied and the team started packed up shop.
We rounded the next turn and found ourself lined up in vain for Jon Sundstrom of Lark. He was plating the last of a portugeuse sausage made from his Berkshire  that was delicious but not nearly as delicious as the Tart Tatin that was long gone, the dish that won him the competition.     Nary a crumb of puff pastry or a smiggen of filling remained on the tray.  Feeling forlorned and a little let down we rounded second and seemingly stole third as the encroaching pride of carnivours lingered near the table licking the bones, lamenting a missed opportunity hoping maybe another tray was just about ready.
Matt's in the Market's, Chester Guerl took his Red Wattle and dove right into a catalog of traditional mexican fare, all my favorites were there, and I forgive him the green pozole only because he topped with bacon fat popped corn.  Red wattle is said to be beefy and tender and that is exactly how I'd wax poetic about the cochinita pibil.  I was also impressed with the chorizo version of pork rillette, paired nicely with pickled baby carrots.  The mole ice cream on a cinnamon and sugar chicharron was inspired, crunchy spicy fatty and delicious.

By this time Chow foods has put up shop, and Earth and Ocean was running dry of their wares as well.  We were lucky enought to get some of the galentine of pork and a scrap of b.l.t but the well was running dry.
Thankfully the swinery came forth with a whole roast pig stuffed with savory rice and a Flintstones sized leg of prosciutto to finish off the crowd of hungry party goes that were wandering lost with fork in hand and no pig to be found.  It was a festive and glorious end to the event. 
By the time we rolled ourselves out the sun was teasing to set and the glass on the skyline horizon was aflame.  The dinosaurs to the south bowed their head to the west, and little drops of rain fell from what seemed to be a cloudless sky.
Later I sat on the couch rubbing my belly thankful for pork, thankful for dedicated chefs who believe in bringing attention to heritage pigs and farms, thankful that on the horizon there is a chance that people will not judge meat by the cellophane and Styrofoam it's wrapped in but the manner in which it was treated before it became dinner.  I laughed at myself for being a hippie and fell asleep in front of the blue haze of the TV.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The new Beehive at the studios.

Earlier this month we had a bee hive installed by the man with my favorite mane Corky Luster of Ballard Bee company.  The hive is leased or fostered depending on your honey needs.  When you lease a hive, Corky comes round once a week to make sure everything is all good and at the and of the season you get to keep the honey produced.  There is no guarantee your busy little bees will produce, but Corky says our bees are looking fine and we'll probably have a bucket full of sweet sweet honey around August.  
The bees are Italian honey bees, so they are lovers not fighters.  They are less aggressive so it makes them good for urban bee keeping.  They produce a little slower but their not going to swarm you if you get to close.  
They hive itself started with about 7000 bees and is now a month later at about 12,000, so they are getting busy in there, and it's hot.  The hive itself stays a balmy 97 degrees at all times.  twelve thousand bee wings flapping, honey making and bee humping generates some heat.  
The hive is placed suspiciously close to our outside dining area but amazingly enough a small wall diverts their bee instinct away from the diners and off into the fruit flowers, fennel, and herbs growing in the garden.  If the bees are forced up and away it's almost as if they they have time to hone in on pollen and not someones lunch.  

Her's a vidoe of Corky himself installing the bees.  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Creepy girl makes an appearance in Kathy Casey's Razor Clam Cleaning video.

We put together this video for the Ocean Shores Razon Clam Fest to demonstrate cleaning razor clams.  It's kinda fun. Plus if you ever need to know anything about Ocean Shores they have a great tourism site, with lots of videos of locals and stuff to do around the area,

Monday, April 12, 2010

the bee's are here!

The food studios bee hive has arrived! super cool, 7000 little honey making ladies!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

crawfish boil!!

horrible lighting but this is a pile of crawfish I am currently saddled up too. life is good!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The story of my birth, part 3- and the space for father was left blank.

      From here the story winds and follows the lines of Highway 101.   I was gestating, churning like butter in her belly, waiting patiently.  She, the girl named my mother, thumbed rides from Seattle to somewhere in California.  
   When I was young, bathed in the light of my grandparents HBO, watching 'St Helens', a movie loosely based on a cute old man that despite all warnings to evacuate the doomed mountain stayed in his little shack by the lake. My mother proclaimed she had stayed a spell on the mountain side with that very old man.  Suddenly the movie was far more interesting, and when the volcano blew, ash and tangled mass of mountainside came crashing down around his little cabin and buring him while he sat quietly in his rocking chair, I could only think of my mother sitting on the porch with him covered in debris and smothered in ash.  I cried, for him and for her, she stroked my long hair and assured me that she wasn't on the mountain when it blew and that it was just a movie.  That said, My mother made her way south by way of St. Helens.
     Somewhere else entirely, a question mark was forming in the mind of a man. It split and grew at the same rate as the unknown baby in the belly of my mother.  He wondered if the summer of '74, he spent fishing in Alaska bore him more than a fisherman's heafty paycheck.  That question mark would  remain fused to the side of his right brain and ebb and swell again and again in the years that followed.
      She crashed with family, she communed with long hairs and vagrants and eventually she turned north, but not home, to the far north.
   About this time vice president Spiro Agnew cast the deciding vote in the tied senate and passed legislation that would lead to the construction of the Alaska Pipeline project.  The 400 miles of 48 inch pipe that runs from Pruhdoe Bay to Valdez Alaska. Marked as the second Gold Rush, you could make $1500.00 a week, while the rest of the country was in recession.  And, thanks to the affirmative action requirements built into the legislation it was the first time in feminist history that a woman could make as much as a man and  was given equal opportunity to the wealth of jobs that were available from Valdez to Fairbanks.

    I was born in Anchorage Alaska, January 23rd, 1975 at 2:43 pm.  The temperature was deep below zero, and the spot marked father was left blank.  The birth certificate doesn't state a weight or a length, and though these numbers would remain arbitrary for thirty five years, they are an important element in the mathematical equation counting forward in months that should add up to nine. 
     The birth of a slightly over seven pound girl left a newly turned 18 year old woman bleeding and close to death.  The placenta didn't detach following the birth. There was blood, lots of blood.  My grandmother came from Ketchikan, she stayed by her side and held me tightly until the fear of losing a daughter and gaining a child had cleared.  All this is another part of an equation that counts back from January 23rd to the moment that he loved her and she got knocked up.
     I was a healthy beautiful baby girl, born on the coldest month in Anchorage's recorded history.  The Catherine was for my grandmother, Alexandria, my mothers best friend.  McRoberts would be the only side of my family I would come to know, but, it was the initials, C.A.M. that led to the name I answer to.  I'm sure there were mood altering substances involved in the creative brainstorming that brought C.A.M to Cameo, but the moment it was uttered it took and my unique moniker has been a driving factor in the unique nature of my being, the other, the woman named my mother.
       We homesteaded in a cabin with no door and traveled by snow-machine.  We were not rich and it was not easy.   I imagine Jewel and her father were yodeling away in the cabin down yonder, I have no proof of this, but it was the same homestead at the same time.
      My mother ran a back hoe, and worked in construction.  She worked long hours and in tough climate.  The ways she tells it I was nannied by the mammoth malamute but I'm sure there must have been people around because my uncle lived in Anchorage as well. He got shot in a bar brawl, when a drug deal went bad and has the scar to prove life in Alaska from '75 to '77 was reminiscent of the wild west, but with long-haired hippie construction workers and a bevy of illegal activities to spend money on.
    We migrated farther north to Fairbanks, by now, my mother owned a white van where she fashioned a crib in the cargo area for me to sleep in.  Once, when stopped by police and put in back of the car, she pleaded with him that her infant daughter was asleep in the van, and convinced the him to let her go.  He obliged.  She talked her way out of a ride in a cop car but also lifted a duffel bag of weed from the back of the car. Fairbanks in the 70's.  Nothing like the shithole I would eventually attend college in 18 years later.
   From Fairbanks we moved to Tok, I include this because 'Tok' makes my giggle, and, since I grew up around a lot of toking, it's been making me giggle for a long time.
     Finally in '77 work was drying up and the cold was becoming too much.  When you're 18 and responsible for the health and well being of a growing little girl, and you've filled you pockets working your ass off in sub- zero temperatures, in a work environment reminiscent of 'North Country' what do you do?  You might just think about moving to a commune in Maui.
     So, there we were in the jungle, making flower headdresses and bathing in the ocean. Livinging in grass huts running bare feet, and chasing insects the size of my fist.   I'd scamper about with a little man named Brownie and eat passion fruit until my belly hurt.  It was here that while playing in the surf I was taken to sea in an undertow, and my mother saved me, pulling my little body ashore and pumping seawater from my chest.
   By now I was 4 years old.  I was toe headed and blue eyed, I wore sundresses with bright pink hibiscus flowers stuck behind my ear. My favorite word was "Fantastic".
   We returned to Alaska, the prodigal daughter and her beautiful bastard offspring. 
This is where she met him.  He had a motorcycle and a decent job, he had just returned from the navy and wanted to take his Harley, with her on the back, down the coast to San Diego. She thought that was cool and she married him. It was later that we found out that he was an asshole.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

@Seattle Dances charity auction.

guilded raspberries! everything is pink and gold.

The story of my birth- part 2 - a vivid imagination

Before I continue, it is important to note; I love my mother, I love my grandmother and my grandfather, unconditionally, and with a with a force that comes full circle and back again leaving a mark where my love has been. I am Lenny with the rabbit. I am the child with the new toy that breaks it, not of malice, but of joy for the toys sake.
My mother has built homes where it seemed impossible a home could be, she has raised fatherless children and children of fathers that are among the saltiest of the earth.  We siblings three are the brightest stars we could be, in a galaxy of if, ands or buts.   My grandparents survived wars, grew up to be men and women in a time when men and women had different definitions.
When my mother divorced my stepdad, far beyond the story I've set into motion, my grandparents gave her the money to downpay a house, and that house she made a home and sold, to buy a piece of land she then built three stories of home on. This is not to say that a contractor came in a polished granite where a kitchen counter should be, but that she herself downed trees to create board feet that she then hammered nails at ninety degree angles and converted AC into DC to make light.  She built a home on the edge of nowhere, with her hands, with her will and with her imagination.  
My mother is no short answer. She is no victim. She is a force of nature. She is independence. She is strong and verile and insecure and righteous. 
Any one who's met my mother loves her, is amazed my her, is wrapped in her breath and her overwhelmed by the possibility of anything.  When you are in her grasp you are invincible. She gives you the tools to believe you can will the universe to bend to your whim, and if you can't, a force from beyond will hep you along. 

This story of my birth is not the story of my mother nor of my grandparents, and I repeat, it is not true. It is the story of me, and the remarkable story of how our mind works.  What fascinates me is the mystery of our history.  How our memories become what we remember regardless of truth.  The conversations we have, overhear, or create,  become the tapestry we create. 
I have decided to continue with the story without research, but to end this story with hard facts.  Facts rubbed from my inner cheek that have been run through a lab where my DNA is tested against his. But keep in mind my story is a tapestry of perceived truth , or rather as memory serves I may have it wrong.
But I am not making this up, this is what I remember. The history woven from question marks and loose ends, tidbits of unanswered questions and quilted squares of insecurity.  It is my story.
Chapter one, according to my mother was revealed to me:
1. my grandparents did not know my mother was pregnant when she left Ketchikan, though my grandmother stated to the contrary. 
2. that she was approached on the street by a bishop and his nuns
3. She was not babtized in greenlake till I was two or three.

My mother will no longer going to fact check this story,  because this story is not about truth.  It's about how we, humans, daughters, mothers, sons and fathers are fallabe and funny, pathetic andd lovable, sad but hopeful.
AND... while we can tweet, blog, facebook and text in an instant, it takes 7 days to solve the mystery of the 23 chromosomes that created me.
And if I have to wait, you have to wait.