My sister Olga of Mango&Tomato was in Seattle this week and we got to cook together (quite peacefully and harmoniously) in the kitchen.  As usual, she took beautiful photos and wrote it all up.  Below is her post with photos.  Enjoy!
Written and photographed by Olga.
Earlier this month I received an email from Foodbuzz letting me and other Foodbuzz members know that they’ve paired up with Columbia Crest Wines and were looking for proposal projects for Cork & Fork entertaining soiree.

I decided to apply. Below is my proposal, which got accepted!!!

Here’s the background story: after I joined Foodbuzz, I told my twin sister Anna to join too! And she did. She blogs    She lives in Seattle, WA while I live in Arlington, VA. Despite the entire country between us, we chat all the time, travel together, and share many hobbies/interests such as FOOD, salsa dancing, crafts, etc.  One of the differences between  Anna and me is that she prefers red wine, while I prefer white wine. When I saw the Cork & Fork “challenge,” I thought this would be perfect for my upcoming trip to Seattle to visit Anna and our family.    And so the name for this would be Red vs White Wine Cork & Fork Twin Cook-off. Anna will make one of the red wine pairings, and I will make one of the white wine pairings.    We’ll invite some of our closest friends and depending on the weather have the meal outside or inside: sorry, with Seattle weather you can never tell! At the end of the party, the guests will choose the winning menu. 

And so, this Tuesday Anna and I set out to make a family dinner for our parents and brother. Anna chose Shiraz, and I chose Pinot Grigio. Luckily, the weather was absolutely perfect for a dinner outside.

Here’s a view of the table with a few of the dishes. Scroll below to see what we cooked.

For her appetizer, Anna made a bruschetta with fresh tomatoes, onions and basil on top of a grilled ciabatta bread.

For my appetizer, I made a pear salad with blue cheese and spiced pecans. The recipe called for roasting the pears, but it was too hot for that. The pecans were toasted in butter, sugar and a bit of cayenne and gave a bit of a punch to the salty blue cheese and the sweet pears. The dressing for the salad included reducing two cups of orange juice to two tablespoons: I just did not have enough patience for that and only reduced it to about quarter of the cup. Still, a success.

I also made steamed mussels. Instead of using poblano peppers as the recipe called for, I used roasted red peppers. The broth also contained onions, garlic, clam broth, coconut milk and white wine. I absolutely love mussels, but neither my brother nor my dad tasted a single one of them. Fine, more for the girls in my family 🙂

Anna chose to make grilled lamb chops with balsamic honey glaze and mint pesto. The mint pesto was absolutely awesome and also went well with bruschetta. It smelled fresh like summer! 

To go along with the lamb, Anna and I made grilled baby potatoes by first cooking red and white potatoes in salted water till they were tender and then drizzling them with some olive oil (thank you, Misha, for doing that) and seasoning with salt and pepper before putting them on the grill.

Anna grilled the lamb till medium rare and everyone enjoyed it with shiraz. Everyone other than our dad, who has very strong dislike for lamb (and also cilantro).

There was too much food to also make a dessert, so we ended up choosing a watermelon as a finale for our dinner.

Thank you Foodbuzz and Columbia Crest for sponsoring this dinner with my family. As far as who the winner is, my mom’s favorite dish was the lamb, and my brother liked bruschetta.  My dad liked all the food, other than the lamb and mussels 😉 He’s diplomatic like that.