Ukulele love and a tiny band you need to hear

If there was a musical mascot for tiny, wonderful, it would have the be the ukulele. It’s small, portable, and capable of making the sweetest melodies. And some of the sweetest I’ve heard come from duo Socks and Chimes, a.k.a. Ian Merrigan (Socks) and Zibby Allen (Chimes). They both play ukulele, and their debut album I Love You Overall is the bittersweet (and often just plain sweet) recounting of a cross-country love tug-of-war. Their lyrics are lovely, bordering on exuberant (take a listen to “New Mexico” here on their website).

I asked Ian to give us a tiny interview, but apparently they’re on a hiatus (hopefully not for long.). But in the meantime, he was kind enough to provide a haiku (which looks a bit like the word “hiatus”) about being not-so tiny.

Ian is so tall
That one time he stood up and
Bumped his head on God

Here’s a video of the two of them singing “Little Bird.”

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Friday Recipe Round-up

It is GORGEOUS in Seattle (finally!). And when it’s hot, no need to eat something big. To celebrate the weekend, a few recipes to put in your tiny, wonderful “to-make” file. Get out yr muffin pan!

Lasagna Cupcakes. Made with wonton wrappers. Awesome and perfect for lunch.

Mini Banana Cream Pies.

Tiny Crustless Quiche.

Mini Caramel Apples.


Chipotle Chicken Cups. Why does “chicken cups” sound so weird to say?

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Grilled Cheese Martini Coming Soon

Given the popularity of mini grilled cheese sandwiches (see this post from a few weeks ago), I feel compelled to tell you (and also a little intrigued/disgusted) about a grilled cheese MARTINI, which, according to Seattle Weekly’s food blog Voracious, will be debuting at Bennett’s Bistro in Mercer Island very soon. (It’s not listed on their online cocktail menu yet.)

Hanna Raskin writes: “Dammeier and his crew soaked six piping hot sandwiches in 10 gallons of vodka, leaving the blend to marinate for 24 hours. Much of the spirit was absorbed by the bread, so bartenders had to vigorously press the sandwiches through cheesecloth to extract the infused liquid before freezing and skimming it.”

Grilled cheese isn’t really something I think about as a flavor. But then again, would anyone have thought we’d need a buttered popcorn jelly bean? And apparently there also exists a hot dog-infused vodka, called Weeniecello. Bottoms up!

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Pick Me! Berry Picking 101

Melts in your mouth...

Hello, berry season. Is there anything more tiny and wonderful than a fresh blueberry (especially one that’s not-so-tiny)? As we, at least here in Seattle, are becoming more conscious of where our food comes from and what it’s sprayed (or hopefully not sprayed with), more and more farms are offering u-pick options. And that’s a great thing because, honestly, there’s not much better than eating a handful of berries that you plucked from the bush.

Or turning said berries into chilled soup or gazpacho, chutney, salsa, or blueberry-chipotle enchiladas. (Muffins and pancakes: no brainer).

If you’re looking for a place close to Seattle, Remlinger Farms is a good bet. It’s a 40- minute drive from the city, near Carnation. The actual farm is a destination of sorts with a down home amusement park, restaurant, store, and more. Great for a family outing. But if you’re just looking for berries, the u-pick area is about 5 minutes away. I can save you the time and tell you that if you follow these directions from Seattle, which lead you to the farm, you’ll want to head towards the west side of the town of Carnation. You turn left south on 60th. There are signs.

About $5 worth.

Picking can happen between 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 7 days a week. We got there a bit late and had to get cash (it’s cash only, don’t make our mistake), so we only got in 45 minutes of fast berry grabbing. Kiki was faster, but we were both got around 2 lbs. At $2 a pound, it’s a pretty good deal. There are employees there to ring you up–and sell you a soda, if you want. It feels a little bit more formal than the honor system u-pick farms that exist at smaller farms, but the berries are good and that’s what matters.

They’ll give you a box, but I prefer to bring a bag because it’s easier to carry. Baskets work well, too. Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen if it happens to actually be sunny.

After, we stopped on the side of the road and picked some free blackberries (and got some scratches. Worth it.).

Miniature Blueberry Cheesecakes from Health.com

Last year we went to another farm, just a bit farther from Seattle: Cascadian Farms up on Highway 20. At the time, they had free samples of their granola. You can only hope they still do…

The nice thing is there are lots of options, depending on what direction you’re traveling in. The website pickyourown.org has lists of farms in every state. It’s a good idea to call first to make sure they’re open and have what you’re looking for. Bolles Organic Farm in Monroe, for example, doesn’t have blueberries ripe yet, but they had raspberries.

Now, maybe a mini cheesecake?

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Mini grilled cheese sandwiches are everywhere

From Corner Table restaurant in Minneapolis, featured on Fresh Tart blog.

My friend Jess sent me this photo for the blog (to right): Mini grilled cheese sandwiches perched atop tiny mugs of tomato soup. OK, amazing. Who wouldn’t want to be greeted at a party with that appetizer?

New idea? To try to find out where the photo came from, I googled “mini grilled cheese.” And apparently it’s THE tiny sandwich. Our American version of a tea sandwich, perhaps.

Rachael Ray does cheese and tomato, along with mini spicy patty melts (her suggested dessert for these: “retro candy like dots, good ‘n’ plenty, or whoppers.” Um, weird and kind of gross. Seems like tiny jello molds might be more fun?)

Real Simple does ’em with chutney (Yum. Everything is better with chutney.) Martha Stewart thinks you should have them at your wedding. Culinaryfool.com uses leftover cocktail-sized bread from a party to make a new party (in her mouth).

Bite Catering's tomato soup shot w/grilled cheese wedge.

But my favorite might be from L.A. company Bite Catering (and side note: now my new favorite catering company and how I wish they were in Seattle). They serve tomato soup shots with a grilled cheese garnish.

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The best (or at least cutest) way to make a pie

Pies in jars from notmartha.org

My friend Monica posted this link as she is baking up a storm for Punch Gallery’s Summerfest. I am in love with this idea from the excellent blog, www.notmartha.org: Pies baked in tiny jars. The cherry looks so pretty, but I’d love to do a blueberry one and lemon meringue for Fourth of July next year.

Speaking of tiny pies, has anyone tried Pie in Fremont yet? I drool every time I walk by, but haven’t made a trip to actually buy myself one of their concoctions. Apparently today they had a spicy chocolate. Hello!

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tiny, wonderful global edition, part 3, Spain

Mini versions of Gaudi buildings, made out of meringue. Barcelona. Delicious and artistic.

I bought these tiny bananas at Barcelona's incredible market, La Boqueria. Ate them for breakfast after a sleepless night train to Granada.

I spent two weeks working on an organic farm in Northern Spain in a town of 80 people called Quilmas. We grew, picked, sold, and ate these incredible heirloom tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes were huge, but this one was sized for a gnome.

My favorite spot near the farm was this gorgeous beach, which was peppered with these plants that looked like tiny trees.

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