Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sound Focus on 94.9 KUOW

I spoke to Megan Suky's from 94.9 KUOW on Tuesday about farmer's markets and shared two recipes from EAT & DRINK in the Northwest, the Christmas Cioppino and the Butternut Squash, Parsnip Quesadilla with Ginger Lime Beet Salsa. The interview was played on Wednesday Dec. 17 on Sound Focus. A link to the show is found here: Sound Focus to hear my little piece, you have to listen or skip ahead almost to the end of the show, although the previous stories before mine are lovely as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Cioppino

One more sample recipe from EAT & DRINK in the Northwest, Winter edition! Cioppino is one of my all time favorite dishes and it seems fitting to include it as a sample recipe, just in time for Christmas. My family likes to make cioppino for Christmas. Shellfish is at its peak in the fall and winter. You can ask each guest you invite to dinner to bring a ½ pound of seafood to add to the pot. It’s fun as well as cost effective for a large group. This soup is packed with a variety of seafood in a rich tomato, basil and rosemary broth. Served with warmed sour dough bread and you may just reconsider making turkey or ham for Christmas dinner.

Christmas Cioppino
Makes 6 servings

¼ c. plus 2 T. olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
½ head of fennel, cored, sliced and roughly chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T. fresh oregano
2 T. tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
4 c. fish stock, (or else sub chicken or vegetable stock)
1(8 oz.) bottle clam juice
1 c. white wine
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 rosemary sprig
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 pound littleneck clams
1 pound mussels, debearded
1 pound cooked crab legs, divided into equal portions
¾ pound baby sea scallops, foot removed
¾ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail removed
10 oz. snapper sliced into 6 even pieces
Sourdough bread

Preheat oven to 200°F
Place 6 large serving bowls into the oven.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onions, fennel, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened and fragrant for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add bay leaf and oregano. Stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir for 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 4 minutes. Add white wine, clam juice and stock and bring to a boil. Add parsley, basil and rosemary sprig. Reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add clams and mussels and simmer until they open, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops and stir.
Next, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season snapper fillets with salt and pepper and add them to the heated pan. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook another minute. Fish will be slightly underdone.

Remove serving bowls from oven. Place a seared snapper fillet into each heated bowl.
Add crab pieces to the soup and heat through approximately 2 minutes. With a pair of tongs, remove crab legs to serving bowls.

Remove bay leaf and rosemary stem from cioppino and discard. Cover fish and crab with a couple of ladles of soup in each bowl. Serve with sourdough bread. Discard any unopened clams or mussels.

Christmas Cioppino on Foodista

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Quesadilla with Ginger-Lime Beet Salsa

Here is a sample recipe from the newest EAT & DRINK in the Northwest, Winter edition and on Foodista.com. Butternut Squash, Parsnip Quesadilla With Ginger-lime Beet Salsa on Foodista
A new idea for two fall and winter favorites-butternut squash and beets! For the salsa lover who wants to eat locally, you can get inspired with this beet salsa that not only tastes sweet, fresh and tangy- it looks like a bowl of ruby jewels just waiting to be sprinkled on a quesadilla, topped on a salad or scooped up with chips.

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Quesadilla with Ginger-Lime Beet Salsa
Makes 2 quesadillas


2 parsnips
2 T. butter
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Olive oil
½ small butternut squash
½ garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 large (burrito sized) flour tortillas
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
*Optional sour cream

Preheat oven to 375°F

Peel and chop parsnips into similar size pieces. Place in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil. Let parsnips boil for a while, check for doneness with a fork (parsnips are tough, let them get very soft). Drain water and cool for 5 minutes. Use a paddle whip or hand mixer to mash parsnips; add 1 tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and pepper and nutmeg and set aside.

While parsnips are boiling, slice butternut squash in half again. (Reserve the rest of butternut squash for another recipe). Drizzle the quarter of butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place flesh side down onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender. Meanwhile, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and minced garlic to a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté for only 30 seconds stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, but not burned. Set aside.

Once squash is done, remove from the oven and cool for several minutes. Then scoop out the flesh, discard seeds and place roasted squash into a mixing bowl. Add cumin, a pinch of salt and pepper and garlic butter to the bowl. Use a mixer with a paddle whip or a hand mixer to mash until just combined. Set aside.

Adjust oven to broil.
Lay out two tortillas on a baking sheet. Spread about a 1/2 cup of roasted parsnip and 1/2 cup of butternut squash over each tortilla. Divide mozzarella on top of each tortilla and fold the tortillas in half. Place baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Cook for 1 minute, flip quesadillas and cook for 1 more minute- watch so they don't burn! Remove from oven. Use a knife or pizza slicer to cut quesadillas. Top with Ginger-Lime Beet Salsa and optional sour cream and serve.



Ginger-Lime Beet Salsa
Makes approx. 1 ½ cups

1 medium golden beet
1 medium red beet
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. lime juice
1 T. basil, rolled and sliced thin
¼ c. roughly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp. minced fresh red chili pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ c. minced sweet onion
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
1 ½ T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F

After removing stems, rinse beets well and place in a small baking pan. Cover securely with foil. Place into the oven and let cook for approximately 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes- they will be done when a knife can be easily inserted into each one.

While beets are cooking, add ginger, lime juice, basil, cilantro, chili pepper, garlic, sweet onion, a pinch of salt and pepper and olive oil to a medium sized mixing bowl. Once beets are done, remove from the oven and cool slightly. Use a paper towel to easily remove the beet skins. Keep golden beets separate from the red beets (to preserve their golden color). Cut both beets into small dice and place only the red beets into the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle diced golden beets on top of the salsa. Serve on the side of the Butternut Squash and Parsnip Quesadillas.

Cook’s tip: Add grilled chicken, steak or pork inside the quesadilla for a delicious addition.


Butternut Squash, Parsnip Quesadilla With Ginger-lime Beet Salsa on Foodista

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homemade Applesauce


Possibly the most nostalgic smell from my childhood would have to be homemade applesauce.
Every fall, my mother made homemade applesauce. The apples usually came from apple trees in our yard or from my grandparents yard. A large bowl of multicolored red, pink and golden apples flecked with pocks and sometimes worm holes was common place in my mother's kitchen. Then the sound of the 1970's red-handled apple peeler and corer would grind, spraying sweet and sticky apple juice on the counter and floor. Chopping and stirring and then the heavenly smell of sauteed apples with cinnamon and brown sugar would coat the air. It would stretch and swell throughout the kitchen, creep into the hallways, living areas and even spread itself out onto the couch and weave its way into the fabric of our clothes. And before my dad would reach the front door of the house, the scent was already welcoming him home.
As the end of fall draws near, what better way to remember it then with long lasting flavors. My ultra simple homemade applesauce.
Homemade Applesauce
5 apples from a local tree if possible
1 c. water (more if necessary)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
Peel and core apples. Thinly slice and rough chop them. Add them to a medium-to large pot over medium-high heat on the stove. Add water and stir. Once the water starts to simmer, reduce heat to med-low and stir. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir. Cook over medium low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Depending on how you like the consistency of your applesauce, cook another hour for softer sauce.
Serving suggestions: Eat warm or cold either by itself or on vanilla ice cream or served on the side of stuffed pork chops.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EAT & DRINK in the Northwest on Ideal Bite Seattle

Today Marcus and I were featured on Ideal Bite Seattle! A green newsletter for sustainably conscious people on the go. The Roasted Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Pizza was mentioned and it's glamour shot can be found in the article. Here is a link to the story called "Every Trick in the Cookbook" by Amy Pennington, a fantastic writer, gardener and epicurean living in the Seattle area.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tom Douglas Cook Book Social

Last night, Marcus and I were honored to be invited to attend the 3rd Annual Tom Douglas Northwest Cook Book Social. I felt both humbled and excited to be around such incredible chefs. The event sold out quick at 400 people. Each chef brought with them a little taste to share- be it Thierry from Rover's soy-glazed pork belly or Karen Jurgenson and Lora Lee from Quillisascut Farm's hand-made goat cheese on homemade crackers, each chef brought something delicious. I made Red Wine and Fig Spread with Caramelized Pear on Sea Salt Pita Chips with Gorgonzola Cheese and Arugula, a modified sandwich recipe from the first book. It makes me so happy to see so many people as passionate about food and cooking as I am, or at least interested enough to come downtown on a rainy Monday and meet some hardworking chefs and taste some of their inspiration. If nothing else, a great excuse to drink a little vino, meet some great people and cross off some gifts off their lists.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being Thankful


Being married lends itself to new obstacles during the holidays that were never issues before. Mark and I are on a rotating schedule each year as to which Thanksgiving we will be attending. Since the majority of both our families are in Washington State, no matter which Thanksgiving we are headed off to- it is guaranteed to be a full house, never less than 10, oftentimes larger than 30. I'm thankful that Mark and I actually have that much close family relatives to spend time with- and I love seeing all of them. This year we will be headed to Lake Tapps, a place I spent most Labor Day Weekends, several Easters and 30 family reunions!
Without fail there will be a roast turkey as well as a smoked turkey, homemade rolls from a baker from Odessa, WA who makes them fresh for our family every year, homemade elk and venison sausage appetizer (from last February's homemade sausage making) and several other fabulous favorites, be it Aunt Arlene's Cheesy Potato Casserole, to Aunt Rae's Chestnut Stuffing and of course, several bottles of homemade chardonnay and pinot noir from the 36th Ave wine makers, i.e. "garage wine from my aunt and uncle, Mark and I and the residents of 36th Ave."
My mother, classically never makes the same thing twice, and will no doubt bring a new salad recipe which always is well received. Grandpa will say grace, tell some Norwegian "Ollie Jokes" and we will no doubt toast to new weddings, new arrivals (congrats Jess!) and the passing of relatives- a farewell to one of the family's ultimate gourmands Uncle Don Walter, cheers to you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Healthy Obsession of Shellfish

I'm in love with smoked fish.
Sure, I love smoked salmon on a salad and gravlox with capers, but I also love smoked mussels and smoked oysters right out of the can. "That's not ultra farmer-market fresh" you might say, but throw that smokey, delicious shellfish onto a farmer market salad and perhaps we can come to some sort of an agreement. I'll take a smoked trout salad with avocado on butter lettuce over a foie gras topped filet Mignon any day of the week.

Perhaps it's the imitation crab sticks in the refrigerator snack drawer that were always there, or the 2 pounds of steamed clams that was often a favorite of my mothers as an ideal main course for dinner. I can see the large bowl of grey, steaming clams, mouths wide in the middle of our family table, my brother and I with our little dishes of melted butter, and my dad- always with his bread and butter to soak up the clams' juices.
I remember playing Atari in the living room with my brother and as a snack, we would be given a fork and kippered fish still in the can. Healthy for sure- all those lovely omega-3s, but a bit odd compared to apple slices that most kids ate. Of course we ate tuna fish sandwiches, but my restless Gemini mother knew there were more fish options out there- be it canned, fresh, cracked, fried or smoked, we tried them all. Sometimes we were given half of a steamed Dungeness crab over newspaper, creamy oyster stew with sourdough or shellfish-rich cioppino for our Christmas dinner.

I could blame it on my scant amount of Norwegian ancestry or my cravings for oily-rich vitamin D for my Seattle skin-what ever the reason for my salty seafood cravings, one thing is certain,
I believe there is an incredible under estimation of the beauty of smoked and canned seafood. All of these delicious memories should indeed be followed by a canned or smoked recipe. So here you go:

Picnic of Smoked Oysters and Gooey Brie
Makes 1 picnic plate for 2

1 can of good quality smoked oysters
6 slices ripe pear or crisp apple
6 slices of ripe avocado
1 demi fresh baguette artisan bread, sliced
One 3 oz. piece of triple cream French brie (or camembert)
2 c. fresh torn lettuce, (mix baby greens or butter lettuce)
high quality extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt and cracked black pepper
** Wine pairing suggestion: a bright Pinot Gris, mineral Rose or a crisp Riesling

Open the can of oysters and place them on a small plate. Place that plate onto a large platter. Arrange the pear, avocado, baguette slices around the plate. Place the wedge of gooey cheese onto the platter with a broad cheese knife. Toss the greens with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and distribute greens onto two serving plates. Encourage your guest to spread the gooey cheese onto a slice of bread and top it with a smoked oyster. Or try a baguette slice with cheese and avocado, or cheese and pear. The idea is to encourage flavor experimentation. The basic olive oil greens add a nice simple salad in contrast to the rich cheese and oysters. Like with any recipe- adding or subtracting different ingredients is all part of the cooking process. Perhaps add some duck rillet or tangerine slices to this simple picnic.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catering for the Issaquah Highland Cooking and Wine Club Tomorrow

I'm looking forward to the Issaquah Highland Cooking club and the Issaquah Highland's Wine Club Holiday Party tomorrow night. Kristen Schumacher and Anne Livingston have made their services available and will be assisting me with the 50 person event. I've been shopping all day and crossing off prep lists and "to-do's." Just a few extra things to take care of tomorrow...

Tomorrow's Menu

Savory
  • assorted cheese plate showcasing a variety of cow, sheep and goat cheeses
  • grilled chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in crispy pancetta
  • lemon-scented seared scallop over minted pea puree on potato chips
  • curried chicken with mango salsa & cilantro on a crunchy plantain
  • butternut & parsnip quesadilla with beet salsa
  • caramelized onion & pear tart with goat cheese & thyme
  • peppercorn hanger steak& horseradish herb butter crostini

Sweet

  • key lime tarts with raspberry coulis
  • chocolate truffles
  • mini apple galettes with cinnamon scented crème
  • assorted bite sized cookies

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EAT & DRINK in the Northwest Event at Chateau Ste. Michelle

I'm looking forward to next week's event at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Come on out to the gorgeous winery and have some delicious Northwest wines, paired with chosen cheeses!

Cheese and Wine Pairing with Chateau Ste. Michelle and EAT & DRINK in the Northwest!
November 19
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery Event
At the Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Shop


Evenings of Wine & Cheese (From the Website)
November 19th: This evening will also feature local wine writer Marcus Pape signing his book, EAT & DRINK IN THE NORTHWEST, a new and innovative food and wine pairing book. The book includes creative and inspiring recipes prepared by chef Melissa Peterman, who will also be on hand. Experience the flavor of the Northwest when Chateau Ste. Michelle executive chef Janet Hedstrom prepares an appetizer using one of the recipes from the book. Tastefully designed and easy to follow, EAT & DRINK IN THE NORTHWEST is considered a must-have for anyone interested in Northwest food and wine.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rib-eye with Chanterelles


I encourage you to take advantage of chanterelles while you can. Perhaps you have a brown bag of fresh chanterelles in your fridge as we speak, just begging to be sprinkled on a pizza or tossed in some lovely pasta dish. Well here is another idea: I recently bought a bag of chanterelles and purchased a nice, organic, rib-eye steak and came up with a little compliment to both.


Rib-eye with Chanterelles

Makes 2 servings

1 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
coarse salt and cracked black pepper
8 oz. fresh chanterelles, rinsed well and sliced
1 T. fresh oregano leaves
1 (6-8 oz) lovely organic rib-eye steak (removed from fridge at least 15 minutes prior to cooking)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


In a large, oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat, add butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once pan is hot, add chanterelles and a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add oregano and cook another 3 minutes until mushrooms are soft and mushroom juices begin to collect in the pan. Remove mushrooms onto a plate and drain juices into a separate dish. Place chanterelles back in the dry pan and saute them for another 3 minutes, stirring often to caramelized them further. Place them back onto the plate and keep warm.


Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to that same pan and adjust heat to high. Rub both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Once pan is just about smoking hot, add steak and sear for 2 minutes per side and place the whole pan into the preheated oven for another 4 more minutes. Remove steak from the pan and let it rest on a serving plate in a warm space for at least 3 minutes. In that pan again, add chanterelle juices and reduce over medium-high heat for just one minute, turn off heat. Pour warm chanterelle juices over steak and top with sauteed chanterelles. Serve immediately.



Rib-eye With Chanterelles on Foodista

Monday, November 3, 2008

Farmers Markets in Fall


Farmer's markets in the Fall hold a special euphoria all their own. Mark and I have equated the Sunday Ballard Farmer's Market as our church. We go almost every Sunday, we see familiar faces and catch up on news, we gather with a community of people with like-minded views and we celebrate a common passion: supporting local farmers and promoting the farm to table movement with the desire to encourage others to experience seasonal produce at it's peak.
Most recent purchase: wild chanterelles from Foraged and Found Edibles.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Winter Warm-up Wine Event- Sneak Peak


I'll be posting more information on this event- but get the scoop early now!

EAT & DRINK in the Northwest
Winter Warm-up Event

More to come!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thid Place Books, 3rd EAT & DRINK Release! Nov. 6th

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! SEE YOU THERE!


11/06/08 - Book Signing and Food & Wine Tasting at Third Place Books Location:

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA

Thursday November 6th from 5:30pm until 9:30pm at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park.
Come on out to Third Place Books and surround yourself with some of life's best things! Food, Wine and Books! Mingle with Washington winemakers while sampling through select wine and recipe pairings as featured in book 3. The cost of the event is only $15, which includes all food & wine tastings and a copy of the new book! Various winemakers will be on hand to sign books and discuss their featured wines.

EAT& DRINK is a perfect complement to any Northwest kitchen and makes an excellent gift for wine lovers and foodies alike. Visit Third Place Books and pickup your copy of the new release November 6th. The tasting event is only $15.00, including a copy of the book. For more information go to http://www.thirdplacebooks.com/.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quick Shout Out to My Food Lover's Companion


If you don't already own Barron's Food Lover's Companion, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy! Thanks to one of my editor's Jess, who let me borrow her Food Lover's Companion on numerous occasions, namely in assistance editing EAT & DRINK book 1 and 2, I now officially own my own copy! Long over due! How do you spell Cipollini onions? Want to know the vitamins in them too? It's all here. Also check out Wine Lover's Companion! You will be playing trivia with your guests at the table.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Week of Madness

For me, this week is similar to dead week or finals week in that it's going to be intense, frustrating and long not to mention me being sleep deprived and exhausted and above all- full. I'm talking about wrapping up Eat & Drink book 3. Last rounds of recipe testings, inclusion of edits from my editors, press releases and everyone else's recipe testing notes.**Huge Thanks to all who helped recipe test!!
On top of our deadlines to get this book to the printers. I'm teaching a wine and food pairing cooking class with Marcus on Thursday for Ameriprise at Sizzleworks, a cooking school in Bellevue. I'm looking forward to the end of this week, Halloween and picking out a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holiday Inspired Food & Wine Pairing at Sizzleworks Cooking School

Monday, November 3rd from 6:30-8:30pm
Sizzleworks Cooking School in Bellevue has invited Marcus and I to take part in an educational evening of holiday inspired food & wine pairing . We are going to discuss holiday party planning and holiday wine and food pairing with selected appetizers and wine from the first three editions of EAT & DRINK In The Northwest.
The price of this event is $75 per person, which includes the brand new release of EAT & DRINK.
• Phyllo Cups With Fig Spread, Caramelized Pear, Gorgonzola And Arugula
• Roast Duck With Tomato Onion Jam On Shortbread
• Peppercorn Hanger Steak Crostini With Herb Butter
• Seared Albacore Tuna with the Eggplant, Sundried Tomato and Caper Pesto
• Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles


Location: Sizzleworks Cooking School
14111 NE 24th
Bellevue, WA 98007

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too Many Irons in the Fire


Marcus and I are in the home stretch of book three and feeling the heat. Recipe testing up to 5 recipes in one night gets to be exhausting, not to mention expensive. Too much of a good thing, can be too much as they say and none could be more true than wine pairing. Besides working my normal 9-5 gig, wine book events and catering holiday parties, book 3 has been significantly more challenging than other books. Perhaps because we want it to be the very best it can, perhaps it's the other stresses in my life adding onto everything else or maybe it's because we have set our personal bars very high. I'm excited about book 3, the Fall and Winter EAT & DRINK in the Northwest. Cheers!

Northwest Secret Ingredient

To watch the demo episode, send me an email and I'll send you the user name and password!

Check it out! Northwest Secret Ingredient









Monday, September 29, 2008

Northwest Farmers Make Seattle Times Sunday Front Page!

As I walked the Ballard Market yesterday, I received a call from my mom asking if I had seen the front page of the Seattle Times. Making a note of it to check it out, I was thrilled to find that the same farmers that I see every Sunday made cameos in the story! Check out the article here. I am always excited when slow food makes headlines and draws attention to a crucial need for local food.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Great Food and Wine This Saturday September 20th at Village Wines

14545 148th Ave NE #211
Woodinville, WA 98072
425-485-3536


A Food & Wine Experience with EAT & DRINK in the Northwest and Village Wines


Along with Marcus Pape, I will be at Village Wines in Woodinville this Saturday, September 20th from noon until 6pm. Serving a selection of bites, adapted from recipes in the 2nd book!

BITES AT THIS EVENT
-Citrus Shrimp with Avocado Skewers
-Harissa Flank Steak Skewers
-Flatbread with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Peppadew Peppers
and Goat Cheese
-Roasted Red Pepper Spread over a crostini, topped with chopped veggies
-Cheese Assortment

Come on out to mingle with various Washington winemakers while sampling their delicious wines! Meet them in person and ask them your wine questions you've been holding onto and have them sign your EAT & DRINK in the Northwest book!

WINE MAKERS AT SATURDAY'S EVENT

Bowin Lindgren of Chateau Rollat Winery, Walla Walla
Sean Boyd of Woodinville Wine Cellars, Woodinville
Kevin Cedergreen of Cedergreen Cellars, Kirkland
Jason Lum of Elliot Bay Distributors representing L’Ecole No. 41, Walla Walla


The cost of the event is only $10 unless you are a current Village Wines club member and then it’s only $5 per person


Friday, September 12, 2008

Recipe Writing at a Coffee Shop in Ballard

Listening to Radiohead playing in the background of a bustling coffee shop while I'm writing the recipe to one of my favorite things in the entire world- Roast Chicken. I'm sure at some point in the process of writing recipes I'll get absolutely famished, wishing I had a piece of roast chicken or a cold roast chicken sandwich, I'd even go for a Seattle cream cheese dog! I finished the leftovers of the "Christmas Cioppino" recipe test from last night and thinking it could use more fennel. And sooo, the recipes continue.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sitting at the Red Door Drinking a Pilsner and Listening to Bagpipes

I have a ton to catch up on food wise but at this moment I have to make sure that I mention what is going on around me. Yes- it's September 11 and I'm working on the book again and thought that the Red Door would be a nice place for a Trumer Pilsner and some deep thoughts. Every year "the Door " honors firemen from all over the state as a tribute to 911 and employs some bag pipers to share a tune. At this moment, the bagpipes are blaring, firemen are toasting and there are men wearing kilts and quaffing large pints of beer. Cheers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sizzleworks



A new cooking school in Bellevue is making headlines! Previously known as Rain City Cooking School, Chef Carol Dearth expanded her popular cooking school to a new Overlake location and changed the name to Sizzleworks.

Besides PCC and Wholefoods cooking classes, Sizzleworks may be the only cooking school on the eastside-(not in a grocery store), that strictly focusing on cooking classes making it easier for Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue residents to learn new culinary skills without having to travel to Seattle. I enjoyed meeting the founder, Carol Dearth and her business Partner Missy Will who are both passionate chefs and poured their hearts into this exciting new venture.

Marcus and I look forward to teaching wine and food pairing classes at Sizzleworks in the near future- I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Writing EAT & DRINK in the Northwest Book 3

I've decided to be a bit disciplined and go to an establishment with WiFi and start finalizing some recipe notes. It's Saturday night, I've got my laptop and a glass of Pinot Noir in a bar in Fremont. If I was at home, I would clean everything in sight just to keep me from focusing on the task at hand. It has to get done though and what a better way to start finalizing a Northwest wine and food book than with a glass of Oregon Pinot? I suppose a plateful of homemade wild mushroom raviolis topped with herbs and sauteed chanterelles could help.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Favorite Recipe from EAT & DRINK book 2 Morels with Duck Egg and Asparagus


Seattle's weather can be like a moody girl; one day it's all smiles and sunshine and then it's out of the blue cold and gloomy. Yes it's late August and it's raining...a lot. The very last thing I can think of is changing leaves and Halloween costumes (although I think about those all year round). I'm just not ready to wear scarves, I barely put them away, thanks to the frigid temperatures of June-uary. I'm thinking happiness and thinking sun.
Back in July, I made regular trips to the "Duck Egg Guy" at the Ballard Farmer's Market to get fresh duck eggs- if you haven't tried duck eggs, I invite you! One of my favorite recipes in book 2 of EAT & DRINK in the Northwest is the Soft Boiled Duck Egg with Morels and Asparagus with Parmesan Crostinis- I can't even take credit for it's deliciousness- the ingredients naturally put on their own show and we just get to enjoy. A little butter, a little salt and the richness of the duck egg yolk wrapped around the earthiness of fresh morels on a crunchy bite of Parmesan crostini is a show I could dream about again and again. All of these delicate and yet deep flavors all paired with Marcus Pape's suggestion of Raptor Ridge 2005 pinot noir and there would be nothing that could please me more. So, you are probably thinking- okay, but morels are going out of season- I say to you, my creative readers, guess what season is coming up!? Chanterelles! Bon Appetite!

Friday, August 15, 2008

China's Volunteers For The Beijing Olympics are Given Free Big Macs For Their Time

I'm not one to publicly voice my opinion about my distaste for McDonalds and its world corruption, but I have to say something about what I recently read about the millions of Chinese volunteers who are going without pay for 5 weeks to help with the Beijing Olympics.

-Taken from a Seattle Times article:
"{John Marshall} Wu, who has dreamed of becoming China's foreign minister to Russia, doesn't mind working long hours without pay. After all, he enjoys a free Big Mac — McDonald's is an Olympic sponsor — every day."

A McDonald's Big Mac everyday! I don't know what to say....except the fact that the next sponsor for these volunteers will probably be a cholesterol reducing pharmaceutical drug or insulin medication. That's nice of McDonalds to give these humble volunteers 540 calories of white sugar and trans fat junk, (every day!) What's laughable is that Olympics are about celebrating the human body in it's most healthy form. I don't believe any Olympic athlete has a Big Mac a day as their prescribed diet. I'm embarrassed and sickened to an American living in a country where McDonalds is from, who thinks that this is an okay form of nourishment. Are we going to give these giving volunteers cigarettes next to pass the time?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Endless List, Whiskey and Food Pairing Dinner and 2 Woodinville Wineries


Another busy weekend! Tomorrow night I am catering for 12 people who won a whiskey and food pairing dinner through the Seattle Works event. Myself and Ari, the Whiskey Master are taking the diners on a 5 whiskey and 5 course flavor adventure. I believe I am going to learn a ton myself!

<----(This silly whiskey picture just cracked me up, so I had to add it)

Saturday I will be at DiStefano winery representing EAT & DRINK in the Northwest from 10am-12pm and then heading over to Alexandria Nicole for another book event. If you are in the area- come on over and swirl and sip. I have written myself a reminder list of recent food adventures I currently was apart of: from grazing in lush, summer gardens smelling of tomato vines and ripe raspberries to BBQ'd lobsters made by Mark for our 4-year wedding anniversary.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy 4-year Anniversary

Back in July, Mark surprised me with live lobsters for our 4-year wedding anniversary. I think traditionally we are suppose to give each other "fruit and flowers" for 4-years, but guess we are not that traditional. After boiling them he split them open and barbecued them with two different butters, a chipotle butter and a green onion cilantro butter. They were quite the treat.








Thursday, July 31, 2008

Catering and Book Signing at Brian Carter Cellars in Woodinville August 2nd

Here is an event post from the EAT & DRINK website:

EAT & DRINK: Upcoming Events

08/02/08 - A Food & Wine Experience with Brian Carter Cellars Location: Brian Carter Cellars, 14419 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, Woodinville, WA 98072Join us Saturday, August 2nd at Brian Carter Cellars in Woodinville from noon until 5:30pm.

Sample through several of their award winning wines including the Tuttorosso, Oriana and Byzance, as featured in the first two editions of EAT & DRINK In The Northwest. There is a nominal tasting fee of $8.00, refundable with any wine purchase of $24.00 or over.

Meet the co-creators of the innovative book EAT & DRINK In The Northwest, Marcus Pape and chef Melissa Peterman, and try a sampling of appetizers inspired from the recipes of the second book, EAT & DRINK summer edition.

EAT & DRINK In The Northwest is a completely new kind of food and wine pairing book. Tastefully designed and easy to follow, it makes an excellent gift for wine lovers, foodies, and anyone seeking a little Northwest flavor! Visit the Brian Carter Cellars tasting room Saturday, August 2nd and pickup your copy of the new book as well as the first release.For more information contact Brian Carter Cellars.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diving For Dungeness Crab in the San Juan Islands

This weekend a couple friends invited me out to the San Juan Islands where on a smaller island, that someone owns (yes the whole island) is letting us spend the night. Some of the people are going diving on Saturday for Dungeness crab which we will cook up for dinner. I'm certified as an advanced diver, but it has been 4 years since I dove last and that was in Fiji. I think I will leave it up to the avid divers to have the fun, in the chilly waters of the Pacific and hope they run into giant octopus and wolf eels along the way. I'll let you know how we cook them up.

Sea Beans!

Sea Beans! I've found only at farmer's markets although I know there are other places that have occasionally carried them. I have so much more to say about these green, crunchy haricot verts of the ocean but I've been swamped this week. All I can say is that if you find these fantastic sea beans or sometimes called drift seeds, pick yourself up a bag! See this great link about sea beans for the information I wanted to give to you but don't have time to fully share. The Ballard Farmer's Market is where I saw them last.

Quick Tip on Cooking Them: Blanch in boiling water, stop the cooking in an ice-bath, toss lightly in olive oil and either eat them as is or them make a great salad or Asian soup addition.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Ohhhh Portland

Yes, Portland Oregon,

You Foodie Town You,

Thank you for giving me two beautiful food experiences in Portland, Clyde Common and Blue Hour

More to come...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Upcoming Whisky Dinner

Awhile back I was writing about a whisky dinner I was asked to pair Johnnie Walker whiskies with. Sounded like a great challenge for me and so, in a couple weeks I am cooking for 12 winners of the auction from Seattle Works. Here is a peek at the menu.

Friday August 8th
Johnnie Walker Whisky Pairing Dinner
For Seattle Works Auction Winners

Cocktail and Appetizer Starter
Johnnie Walker Red Label Cocktail
Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto
Roasted Pears in Vanilla with Hazelnuts on Phyllo

Smoked Salmon 2 Ways
Johnnie Walker Black Label
Seared Fillet of Salmon Garnished with Smoked Salt
Smoked Salmon over Baby Greens

Sky and Turf
Johnnie Walker Green Label
Seared Duck Breast with Mushroom Risotto
Pistachio Crusted Lamb with tender carrots and celeriac puree

Dessert
Johnnie Walker Gold Label
Molten Chocolate Cake
Caramel Bite

Cheese Course
Johnnie Walker Blue
2 soft cheeses, a blue and a goat cheese
2 harder cheeses, Mimolette and Manchego
with water crackers, bread, honey and mostarda

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What are you doing on Sunday?

Marcus and I will be renting a booth at the Fremont Outdoor Market this Sunday July 13th from 10-5 to sell copies of EAT & DRINK in the Northwest, meet new people and enjoy some sunshine! If you are running errands on Sunday- stop by the booth!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eat & Drink Book Event This Friday at Village Books in Bellingham!

Looking forward to the book event for Eat & Drink in the Northwest in Bellingham. Bellingham holds a special place in my heart, for one, I went to Western Washington University and secondly, I was married at the Lairmont Manor an absolutely stunning venue. One of my favorite places in Bellingham when I went to school there was Village Books, so I am excited to return as a co-author. I'll be talking about food and wine pairings and serving small bites of recipes from both the first edition and the second.

Village Books
Friday, July 11, 2008 7:00 p.m.
Village Books, 1200 Eleventh Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thanks to Seattle Uncorked!

Last night I was a guest chef for Seattle Uncorked Wine Club's cooking class series. Founder, Sommelier David LeClaire allowed myself and 12 other students to take over his kitchen to cook 5 dishes from Eat and Drink in the Northwest summer edition paired with wines suggested from the book or similar choices.
  • Prawn and Avocado Salad with Cilantro, Orange & Lime Vinaigrette
  • Sautéed Morels and Asparagus with Soft-Boiled Duck Egg & Parmesan Crouton
  • Grilled Flatbread with Pepadew Peppers, Goat Cheese & Grilled Tomato Sauce
  • Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry & Rhubarb Compote
  • Barbequed Harissa Flank Steak with Grilled Corn Salad

I had a great time meeting new people excited to learn more cooking techniques and try out some new flavors they may have not had before as well as eager to roll their sleeves up and get dirty! It was a lovely summer night with a lovely host, thanks everyone who came and cooked and tasted and sipped!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vodka Soda with Lavender Simple Syrup

Since summer is officially here, lets have a toast! One of the recipes in book 2 calls for lavender simple syrup for the Grilled Peaches with Gorgonzola Dolce, and we just happen to have extra, so, Mark and I made some vodka soda drinks with the lavender simple syrup and they were delicious! I just had to share it with you all.

Vodka Soda with Lavender Simple Syrup
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. dried lavender blossoms
ice
4 oz. vodka
12. oz soda water

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add dried lavender, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool.
Into each pint glass, add ice, 2 tablespoons lavender simple syrup, 2 oz. vodka and fill with soda water. Stir. Depending on your sweet scale, you may want more lavender simple syrup.

Cheers!


Vodka Soda With Lavender Simple Syrup on Foodista

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eat and Drink In the Northwest Book 2 Summer Edition!


As I write this- book 2 is at the printers! A sneak peak of the cover of the book can be found here This summer book was more challenging to write than the first edition, but with all the challenges that came with it, the fall edition and future books to come will only get better. Perhaps it was the challenge to think summer while Seattle's spring was arctic, or perhaps it was that Marcus and I decided to pair 2 or 3 wines with each recipe instead of just 1! It's quite laughable to see some of our recipe and wine testing photos, especially with Marcus, surrounded by 30 bottles of different sauvigon blanc and his notebook. Or me running from the barbecue to the stove and back again with my timers while Jess, Jenny and Mark follow my rough draft recipes in my tiny kitchen!
When I think about the blank notepad where I began scribbling down summer recipes aboard the plane to New Orleans to holding the colorful proofs in my hands for book 2, it's thrilling and surreal at the same time. On top of his wine knowledge, Marcus does an incredible job as a graphic designer. Above is a picture I took in my kitchen, during a recipe testing of Sage and Fennel rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry and Rhubarb Sauce. The sauce is not like dessert, it has some star anise, chicken stock and bit of red wine and it's not overly sweet. The pork tenderloin leftovers make for an incredible sandwich the next day too. As the cherry and rhubarb season are underway, I'm contemplating all the ways I can stain my fingers, lips and teeth with sweet summer cherries, with recipes of course- if I can keep them from my lips.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An Ode to the Fiddlehead Fern

Oh fiddle head with your head bent down
like midnight flower waiting to bloom
a barnacle's feather
a forager's green bean
the guard's tight bundled curved staff at the garden gate
we cannot pass
until blanched
sauteed or pickled
the entrance to the fiddle head's edible secret
is hushed by rarity

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Something Sacred


Someday, I want to have an art exhibit of food sculpture. With anyone who wants to create something beautiful out of food. Then of course a dinner to follow. Many would say that it would be wasteful...which would be a great topic to expose- the wastefulness of food in the US. But, the exhibit done well, I think it would be about celebrating food as art, as community and as a means to lift food higher on a pedestal, call attention to food and represent it as it should be: As Something Sacred

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thanks to My Recipe Testers

I just wanted to send a shout out to all my volunteer recipe testers who spent time and money testing recipes I'm finalizing for Eat and Drink in the Northwest book 2. All your comments and suggestions and efforts are truly appreciated!

Book Signing and Celebrating DiStefano Winery Saturday June 7

Tomorrow, Marcus and I will be attending an event at DiStefano Winery in Woodinville and also signing books and promoting Eat and Drink in the Northwest. I'm really looking forward to this event. In the book, we paired their 2006 Sauvigon Blanc with the Watercress Pesto recipe with fresh pasta. Delicious! The watercress pesto recipe is also quite delicious on crostinis with fresh chopped tomatoes!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eat and Drink in the Northwest Book 2

Sometimes I wish there were three of me. I have a lot of blogging to catch up on including the Oregon Wine Country Trip and New Orleans Part 3, but at this moment I am trying to keep my head above water while I work with Marcus on book 2. It's been several days of recipe testing and wine pairing. Of course some recipes will have to be improved on or thrown out completely and then sometimes I get lucky and I have a great recipe on the first try. This Friday I am catering for a Red Cross Fundraiser and all of the proceeds from Eat and Drink in the Northwest book 1 will go to the Red Cross. Also, I finally got the call letting me know that the winner of the whiskey and food pairing dinner (which I am cooking for) that was auctioned off back in October for Seattle Works is hoping for a date in July. Recipes I am excited about for the next book:

Northwest Oyster Po' Boy
Grilled Flat Bread with Goat Cheese and Pepadew Peppers
Northwest Fruit Salad

Thursday, May 15, 2008

N'awlins Part 2

Jacques-imo's- a New Orlean's famous restaurant serving up traditional Southern food left me and all of my dining companions far more than satisfied. Laurie, an old college friend of mine saved us a table for eight early. Besides the excellent service, Laurie's boyfriend, Jared was the bartender so we were treated perhaps a tad bit better than the average tourist. The evening began with a full table of complimentary appetizers from Fried Green Tomatoes, Spicy Gulf Shrimp, Alligator Cheesecake, Fried Oysters and Garlic Cornbread. Next came entrees! I quickly learned what the Paneed Rabbit I ordered was- pounded, breaded and fried! And check this out- it came on a bed of pasta with a cream sauce and oysters and tasso pork (similar to prosciutto but thick and chewy). It also came with a side dish! Sweet potatoes and sauteed buttered greens. This was all just my portion mind you. Some other mentionables at the table: Foie Gras Stuffed Quail Wrapped in Bacon, Crispy Potato Coated Fish and more Spicy Shrimp. Sadly- and I mean it, most of us couldn't dent our plates. Everything was so delicious but it was just too much. If all this wasn't enough, we were given blue berry cheesecake, a strawberry and ice cream parfait and a classic creme brulee for dessert. Many many thanks Jacques-imo's!

Paneed Rabbit Over Pasta with Oysters

Even in the wee hours of morning, one can order seafood gumbo. The Charles St. Tavern is open 24 hours a day. After an amazing Eric Lindell concert in the French Quarter, we were starving so we stopped by the Charles St. Tavern for burgers and gumbo. I tried several attempts to grab the rubber crawfish with a metal claw out of the kiddie machine in the corner, for a Charles St. Tavern memory, but no luck. The memories of happy exhaustion and the sweetest Southern waitress ever, is a far greater souvenir.
Ah crawfish! The Louisianna lobster. At one time I worked at a Cajun food restaurant where we served big plates of boiled crawfish. I loved them dipped in clarified butter. I don't know what it is about my love of shellfish. Perhaps these mud bugs should have a page all their own. We ordered a huge plate of crawfish on our first day at Jazzfest almost immediately and then, a couple hours later- had to come back for more! Sure it's a lot of work to get the little meat out of the tail, but it's so sweet and perfectly seasoned. Plus, you have to suck the head- which does not give you a mouthful of crawfish brains, just sweet and salty, delicious juices with flavors of allspice, bay, crawfish shell and cayanne.
And there is more to come...



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Orleans Part 1- A Foodie Mecca

Let's talk a moment about tradition. When you think about rites of passage, culture, holidays and even religious events, almost guaranteed you are going to think of some sort of food or drink which accompanies it. In New Orleans, the town celebrates food traditions on a daily basis. Perhaps it's just me being a foodie tourist, but when it comes to food pride, New Orleans has it. Jess, my NOLA tour guide along with my hubby Mark and two friends, Tyler and Evangeline, we were able to experience New Orleans, including Jazzfest for 5 days.
To begin, we went to a "must" stop in the French Quarter that we had to experience, the 24-hour cafe called Cafe Du Monde for a cup of coffee and the famous beignets covered in powdered sugar. Not just a little bit either- we're talking buried in powdered sugar! The busy waitresses' black skirts don't stand a chance on staying black as white hand prints and streaks of white powdered sugar accent each waitress like flare on a uniform. So much powdered sugar in fact, apparently sources say very early in the morning as they spray down the outside dining area, powdered sugar rises up in plumes. The chicory coffee, the airy beignets (think of the softest donut ever and not overly sweet) and the outdoor dining area, complete with pigeons and clip clopping horse drawn carriages and you have Cafe Du Monde.



The weather was wonderfully warm, high 70's and 8o's and not yet crazy humid. The colorful buildings in the French Quarter were ornately decorated in lovely iron work and many of them showered in flowers. Another local spot we had to stop at was called Coop's. They serve traditional N'awlins food from Jambalaya to Po'boys. We ordered a shrimp and an oyster Po'boy on French rolls- "dressed." (meaning- the works!) As you can see from the photos, the portions were not small. Huge crispy gulf shrimp and fried oysters on soft rolls, a bit of mayo, sliced tomato, splash of hot sauce and iceberg lettuce. We washed it down with a “Fleur-de-lis Restoration Ale” by New Orlean's own Abita Brewery. For each restoration beer purchased, $1 goes to restoration post-Katrina efforts. Refreshing, not too heavy and the perfect compliment to the delicious Po'boys. Keep your eyes peeled for the Northwest Oyster Po'boy in Eat and Drink in the Northwest book 2!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Saturday's Mother's Day Book Signing At Village Wines

The Saturday book signing last weekend was a great time! Marcus and I met a lot of new people, served some tasty crostini samples and singed some books! Being behind the bar at Village Wines reminded me of my bartending days at Prost! German Tavern playing host to my bartop of regulars with great conversations, personalities and relaxing afternoons. As I have said before, Village Wines has a comfortable, non-threatening wine bar atmosphere. A huge selection of hard to find wines, as well as local favorites. The staff is warm and knowledgeable and they aim to please. Thanks to everyone at Village Wines for a great book signing!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wine and Food Pairing plus Book Signing For Mother's Day Weekend Saturday

Join us this Saturday May 10th from 2-6pm at Village Wines in Woodinville to meet some wine makers from the book! Village Wines in Woodinville wine country is a great wine shop/tasting room in a cozy space just off the path on your way to Chateau St. Michelle or the Woodinville Hollywood School House. The owners of Village Wines have a large following because they are both very warm and friendly people who have created a relaxed environment to enjoy unique and hard to find beers and wines. I'm looking forward to meeting new people who are interested in knowing more about food and wine or die-hard professionals who could offer suggestions too. I'll be making two different crostini, a hanger steak bite (always fun) and a variation of the Cider Brined Pork Chop with Caramelized Apples- I'm making a vegetarian crostini- caramelized apples with Manchego sheep's milk cheese. Can't wait!

Wines Being Poured And Sample Bite Offerings

Brian Carter Cellars 2004 Byzance Red Wine paired with a caramelized apple and Manchego cheese crostini.

Des Voigne Cellars 2005 Solea Red Wine paired with a brined green pepper corn hanger steak crostini.

Argyle Winery 2002 Brut sparkling wine paired with fresh strawberries

Darby Winery 2006 “Le Deuce” Columbia Valley White Wine


Date: May 10, 2008 (Sat)
Time: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Cost: $10 (FREE for Wine Community Members)
Place: Village Wines
14545 148th Ave NE #211
Woodinville, WA 98072


Some more great details and information here at WineCow.com
See you there!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jazzfest Notes- More to Come!!

Hey Y'all! (in my best southern drawl),

I can't wait to share all the deliciousness that is the south. The Jazzfest music, the food and of course the company was all fantastic! I think I took 300 pictures on my digital camera and about 30% are food photos! Even though I got back several days ago, my suitcase is still unpacked in my living room as we speak. Things are busy!

I'm recipe testing and writing for the next book, a mother's day tasting/book signing and wine pairing on Saturday May 10 at Village Wines in Woodinville and coming up a Red Wine for Red Cross benefit and a signing in Walla Walla in June.

I'll keep y'all posted!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

KUOW 94.9 Interview About Eat and Drink in The Northwest

A very exciting quick message! I was just interviewed by Megan Sukys from KUOW 94.9 FM, (NPR) for the weekly "Cooking Klatch" about Eat and Drink in The Northwest. It is broadcasted today, Wednesday between 2-3 pm on 94.9. Listen In! You can also listen from your computer at http://www.kuow.org/ and go to live streaming. I'm so nervous!

If your missed the interview check out the Sound Focus ARCHIVE, and listen to the MP3 High. My part of the Sound Focus segment is towards the end, but you get to listen to some news about Gorillas!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cafe Besalu

There are a couple things that I'll admit to being spoiled about because I live in Ballard, WA. One of them is Cafe Besalu. Besides France, there is not one other place I have come across that makes chocolate croissants or any puff pastry for that matter like pure love and a close second would be Bakery Nouveau of course - but they are in West Seattle!
After your first bite of a pastry from Cafe Besalu, you may notice that a large part of the golden, flaky dough has fallen on your shirt, pants and the plate- I tend to think this is now a true test of a perfect pasty, does it deliver paper crackling layers of flaking sweet butter? Enough that I am dabbing every flake off my plate with my fingers. When you are out there croissant tasting- I'd say that if it didn't crumble at least a little, it may as well pass for a roll!

Always a line out the door, this cozy cafe delivers perfection in pastry form. And if on purpose, knowing there would be lines out the door, a pastry cook is constantly folding and refolding pastry dough on a table behind the pastry display case and cash register just for us. Dressed in white t-shirts, white aprons and jeans, each pastry cook is humble and methodical about creating puff pastry while all of us in line stare speechless at the golden display case, drooling. What is the minimum daily butter serving per person? When you are sipping coffee between bites of a crumbly chocolate croissant and inhaling the sweet cafe air. Should it matter?

Fiddle Head Ferns

On Sunday, I went to the Ballard Farmer's Market as I like to do and picked up a special seasonal treat, fiddle head ferns! The forager was sold out of early morels and said that porcinis were on their way! I am anxiously waiting for morels like girl with a giddy crush, waiting for the next time they meet. Oh but fiddle head ferns! They are a lot of fun to look at as well as eat. The curved head of the fern looks like a tight green lollipop, the top of a guard's tight bundled curved staff at the entrance of a garden gate or a type of barnicle feather found in the ocean.
When you first get them, give them a good rinse. The reccommendation on how to cook them is first to blanch in salted water, longer than you would broccoli or asparagus or else a quick pickle or roasted. I blanched mine last night and did a quick saute in butter and salt and pepper. They were delicious, very nutty, a slight crunch on the outside like asparagus but softer in the middle. As strange as the curved fiddle heads appear, they are so good and they are lovely on a plate, a twirled and curled edible treat.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Looking Ahead To Jazzfest

Yes, I know- Jazzfest!? It's like a foodie wonderland and I'm going! I remember hearing food story after story from my brother-in-law and his wife who went to New Orleans pre-Katrina. I can't even imagine what a real po'boy tastes like or crawfish etouffee? My neighbor and close friend, Jess, from Mobile, Alabama also lived in New Orleans for several years, will be my food guide throughout Jazzfest. As a true foodie herself, she even sent me a must have itinerary!

Po Boys
Muffuletta
Soft Shell Crab
Turtle Soup
Beignets
Gulf Shrimp
Alligator-Sausage cheesecake
Smothered Rabbit

What's a girl to do? Of course I am going for the music too, but I think anyone from NOLA would approve I am just as thrilled to taste my way through. I promise to take some great notes and photos. I wonder what you drink with all these things? A question for Marcus.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eat and Drink in the Northwest- Now at Amazon!

The first edition of Eat and Drink in the Northwest continues to move forward. If you prefer to order your books online, now there is an option. Our book is now available at Amazon.com!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Cheer Up Food


Perhaps it's this freezing weather, the recent death in the family or because of other things in my life out of my control or all of the above- for whatever reason I was a little down this week and when other parts of my life are out of my control, I gravitate towards things that I can control to lift my spirits. Like cooking something wonderful.

I went to Ballard Market grocery store to buy some squid for a squid salad and was completely surprised to find razor clams. It was a happy surprise to find the one thing that may be my favorite thing to eat in the world, right there waiting for me to come and get them. Sweet, delicious and delicate razor clams, if you haven't had them, they are one of life's perfect delicacies. Seasonal and rarely available I was ecstatic. The squid salad would have to wait. I also bought two artichokes, a couple lemons and white wine.

I coated each razor clam in Old Bay-seasoned flour, egg and cream wash and then panko. I fried them in a little butter/oil until lightly browned (they don't take long) and then onto paper towels. After the artichokes were steamed, Mark and I made two dipping aioli along with classic melted butter. A caper and herb aioli with lemon and an Old Bay season aioli with lemon and garlic.

The sweet razor clam meat, all salty and juicy in its crusty batter went great with both aioli. The artichoke leaves left our teeth like velvet butter and with the wine, the sweetness lingered like a giant inhalation of spring air. We toasted to Uncle Don, warmer weather and book sales of course! I was instantly cheered. Try as I might to go big-it's the small pleasures in life after all. There was nothing I could have wanted more at that moment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Saying Good-bye to a Writer and Gourmet and Cooking For a Funeral

The Odessa Record Newspaper
My great uncle Don passed away yesterday at 85. Not only was he a journalist, he was also quite the gourmand. Not until I was in college did we both realize we had a lot in common. I too had a writing itch along with a culinary goal. For years, he had written for the Stars and Stripes in France and also took cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu. I too graduated college with a journalism degree and later graduated from culinary school. Until he couldn't any more, he was the Editor in Chief of the Odessa Record, the small weekly paper of a tiny town of 1,000 people.

We never really cooked together but we have spent time discussing food and looking through cook books and talking about France. Last week I sent him a copy of Eat and Drink in the Northwest and I signed it "To one chef and writer from another." I hope he had a chance to see it.

Roughly 200 people are expected to turn out in his honor at the funeral for him on Saturday. Food is always appreciated in times like this and with so many people expected to pay tribute, I'll be making a couple berry cobblers. Warm, sweet and full of comfort.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recipe Writing for EAT and DRINK in The Northwest Book 2

I've given myself a personal timeline to have a list of recipes for the next EAT and DRINK in the Northwest publication- but that was Monday. I did happen to make a list of 14 possible recipes on Monday, that I think would be fun, summery and above all, delicious. The list will be a work in progress for a week I think. I have to tell you that I'm thinking about recipes the way a person would obsess about research of a foreign country they are about to visit. I think about different ingredient possibilities almost hourly. With so many wonderful ingredients to choose from in the summer months- how can one possibly choose? What amazing fruit or vegetable gets left out? Then there is the other side of the coin, will people want to experiment with fiddle head ferns and sea beans like me? If it's a good recipe- then I say yes!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Toast to Passport Weekend

If you were in Seattle on Saturday, or anywhere in Washington State for that matter , most likely you were smiling. It was finally a gorgeous day and in some places 80 degrees! All of us Seattlites were like happy lizards on hot rocks- thrilled to be drying out somewhere in the sun. I was lucky enough to be in the sunshine as well as tasting wine at Passport Weekend in Woodinville. The sold out two-day event was really nice. The wine highlight of the weekend was the 06' Cab Franc from Baer winery. It was a luscious red wine that among several wines that I tasted, stood out like a carved statue in a room full of boulders. I'd really like to see if it it can make a cameo in the next book. There were several other incredible wines at some incredible wineries, some tasty nibblies and fun people watching to be had. Who knew there would be so many limos in a business park full of winery warehouses? The other fun thing at Baer was the bluegrass band, the Tallboys who made the otherwise drab beige and concrete business park feel like we were all in a barn full of wine barrels out in the sticks.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cilantro Pesto

I wanted a new twist on pesto. I happened to have an abundance of cilantro in my refrigerator and I don't know about you but I immediately think of making salsa or some sort of Asian-flavored dish. There is a lot more that can be done with cilantro. Cilantro makes a fantastic pesto and even though I had pine nuts in my freezer, I used peanuts instead because I wanted a stronger nut flavor to balance with cilantro's upfront personality. The result was delicious and I just had to share. Try it with pasta, rubbed on grilled fish or shrimp or as a base for a salad dressing. I'd love to hear what else you all do with it. Enjoy!

Cilantro Pesto
(makes about a cup)

2 bunches of cilantro cleaned and de-stemmed
1 clove garlic minced
¼ c. peanuts
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
½ c. olive oil

In a small food processor add cilantro, garlic, peanuts and Parmesan. Pulse a couple times to combine. Turn on food processor and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Turn off food processor and pour contents into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Looking Ahead to Passport Weekend

I'm not sure if April is wine month, but it sure seems like the month to kick off all things wine! Taste Washington was last weekend and up next is Passport! Passport weekend in Woodinville is like a Woodinville who's who for all of Saturday and Sunday. Large buses of people, limos and tour guides will be slinking along the passport paths of participating wineries. Everyone who attends gets a signature glass to take with them to all of the participating wineries as well as a little passport book to be stamped as sampled wines are crossed off. I'm looking forward to meeting some wonderful people, making some great connections and of course, sample some fantastic local wine from our fortunate region. And more great news about the book, Chateau St. Michelle is going to carry Eat and Drink in the Northwest! And just in time for Passport weekend.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Check Out Eat Local On Queen Anne



If you haven't checked out Eat Local, a business who encourages Seattle residents to eat locally made products, it could be your next daily stop. Pre-made local entrees, local wines, cheese and locally raised meats are all available at this Queen Anne store. The owner, Greg Conner, has created a much needed resource for people in the area who are not only concerned about what is in their food, he's created a way for them to support local dairy, produce and meat farms. Cheers to Greg!




Thanks to the Issaquah Highland's Cooking Club

The Issaquah Highlands Cooking Club was a great success. As always, it is a great group of people in a casual setting who are just as passionate about food as I am. Thanks for everyone who came for 5 courses of Thai food and some creative food carving with less than cooperating vegetables. The green onion into lilies ended up being quite cute and a tomato rose that I practiced on before I left my house was a lovelier presentation than what I was able to replicate. Favorites of the evening were the mango and sticky rice with sweet coconut cream, the Thai style crab cakes and Tom Kha Gai, chicken coconut soup. And Huge thanks to Christine, my sous chef for the evening who always helps me make these cooking classes a success.






Thursday, April 3, 2008

Third Place Books

A lot of you have asked where you can pick up EAT and DRINK in the Northwest, a food and wine experience, and now I can tell you. Besides Des Voigne Cellars, Darby Winery in Woodinville is carrying our book. Darby's 2005 Destiny Ridge Syrah is paired with the Lamb Chops with Rosemary Lavender Fleur De Sel in the book! The wine is fantastic by the way and it really is a luscious pairing. Third Place Books in Ravenna or in Bothell is currently carrying the book too, should you live in the North Seattle area or in Bothell. As the book has just been released, I'll be able to tell you about other places it will be available soon.

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NELake Forest Park, WA
98155
Tel: 206-366-3333

Ravenna Third Place Books
6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA
98115
Store: (206)525-2347

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thank You!


Wanted to send a shout out to everyone who made the trip to Des Voigne Cellars in Woodinville for the EAT and DRINK In the Northwest Book Release Party! We sold a lot of books and met some fantastic people who are interested in seeing the book in other wineries and stores. The Party was lovely, Darren generously let the public sample his amazing wines, including the launch of "Untitled." What a wine. Of course I had to buy a bottle, if the deep flavors are not enough to tempt you to buy the wine, then the sexy label of an elegant sheet of music simply titled "untitled" will sell you for sure. The crostinis were a hit! Brined green peppercorn hanger steak with herbed butter. The other: a caramelized pear on fig, red wine and shallot spread with Gorgonzola and arugula. Both were gone before the party ended. I was estimating 400 crostini but know we made well over 500. Plus, we had a cheese tray with goat cheese rolled in fresh herbs, a double cream brie, Gorgonzola Dolce, (one of my current favorites). It's always a good idea to have some sort of almonds, dried fruit and of course grapes for munching. Last, we had a bunch of easy cheddar and jack cubes for the masses. Big thanks to Darren for letting us buddy up with his release party, thanks to all who came out to see the book and try out Darren's new wine and cheers to everyone who has already tried out a recipe!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Book Orders of EAT and DRINK in the NW!


Had to share and celebrate the announcement of the first wholesale orders to a wee wine shop in Long Beach, WA. Mark and I stepped into the Peninsula Wine Merchant wine shop last Saturday while taking 3 days to relax, eat razor clams and fried oysters (soon to be blogged about) at the beach. I met the Howell's, Sallianne and John, owners of the cute shop located right in the middle of town on Pacific Ave. Really wonderful folks who were enthusiastic about their latest venture and they really should be proud. It is a great wine shop with a granite tasting bar and a wide selection of Northwest wines as well as other wines from all over the world. They had just placed the open sign on their business and were celebrating their Grand Opening when we walked in. We sampled a couple of fantastic wines and even the Maryhill Rose was on the tasting bar-one of the wines that is showcased in the book paired with a salad with avocado, goat cheese and pomegranate dressing. After tasting a delicious Kiona Chenin Blanc, we, like 3 other people who tasted the wine, ended up buying a bottle to take home. As a great fit to their new shop which carries several of the wines that we describe and pair food with, the Peninsula Wine Merchants have decided to sell the book! Cheers!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Teaching Thai For Issaquah Highlands Cooking Club


Couple projects on my plate: Starting to work on the second EAT & DRINK in the Northwest book, catering for the book and wine release party at Des Voigne Cellars and then, April 4th, the Issaquah Highlands Cooking Club invited me back for my 5th time to cook and teach Thai Cooking. I'm thrilled to be cooking with Thai ingredients. Mark and I spent 4 months backpacking around South East Asia and I took a three day course in Chang Mai Thailand learning ingredients, cooking and tasting. The menu for the Issaquah Highland Cooking Club:

Issaquah Highland's Thai Cooking Class Menu


Tom Kha Gai , a chicken and coconut soup

Green Papaya Salad

Thai Style Crab Cakes

Green Curry with Eggplant and Jasmine Rice

Mango with Sticky Rice

Thai Iced Tea


This week and next will be devoted to perfecting these recipes and finding banana leaves for decoration. I will also be showing how to do a couple food carving tricks: green onions and red chilies into lilies and roses out of tomatoes. The picture above is a Thai chili bush outside the Chang Mai cooking class door.


EAT & DRINK Book Launch and Wine Release Party

EAT & DRINK Launch Party - Saturday, March 29th at Des Voigne Cellars

In Woodinville, WA from noon to 5pm, Marcus and I are joining up with the winemakers of Des Voigne Cellars to announce their wine release as well as our book release. The wine release is titled "Untitled" and it is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 30%Syrah and 30% Petite Verdot. It was recently described as:

"It's big, bold, and layered with flavors of dark cherry, mocha and olive with traces of eucalyptus and cigar box for a lightly spicy finish that goes on and on. "

I'm looking forward to catering the release and launch party. We are not sure how many people to expect, so I am planning on making enough crostini for 200 people, or 2 per person so 400 crostini. Of course we would like to represent the food from the book as much as possible so i am making 270 hanger steak crostini and the rest, 130 sauteed pear, gorgonzola and fig spread with arugula crostini, like the Pear and Fig Spread sandwich in the book. The hanger steak in the book is marinated in a green peppercorn marinade but I will be doing the spice with horseradish butter on these crostini. Hanger steak is just lovely no matter how it is prepared and Besides the tasty crostini, there will also be a cheese tray for snacking too.

Des Voigne Cellars
19501 144th Ave NE Suite C-200
Woodinville, WA 98072p.
(425) 415-8466

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Final List Of Recipes For The First Book: Eat and Drink in The Northwest

Well, Marcus and I are on our way. We have been recipe testing, tasting and wine pairing. We have finally brought together the final recipe list for our first booklet. We were shooting for March 1st for our launch date, but as publications go, we are only a couple weeks behind schedule. A few more edits, a couple more final tasting notes and then it's off to the presses!

  1. Tarragon and Citrus Dungeness Crab Cakes with Lemon Tarragon Aioli
  2. Local Oysters in the Half Shell with Champagne Vinegar Mignonette
  3. Seared Duck with Oven -Dried Grape Tomato and Caramelized Onion Jam and Cambozola
  4. Mache, Butter lettuce salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Goat cheese
  5. Roasted Beets Salad with Arugula and Pancetta Dijon dressing
  6. Fennel and Asian Pear Salad with Sweet Coppa Wrapped Green Apple and Citrus dressing
  7. Short Rib and Parsnip Puree with Prune Sauce
  8. Hanger Steak with Brined Green Peppercorns and Potatoes Anna
  9. Prosciutto Wrapped White Fish and Roast Vegetables
  10. Red wine and Fig marinated Quail with Mushroom Risotto
  11. Melissa's Lasagna
  12. Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  13. Lamb Chop With Rosemary Lavender Fleur De Sel
  14. Watercress Pesto with Fettucini
  15. Cider Brined Pork Chop with Caramelized apples
  16. Flank Steak and Butternut Squash Enchiladas
  17. Herb Mushroom Pizza
  18. Pear, Gorgonzola and Fig Spread Sandwich
  19. Red Wine and Pomegranate Poached Pears
  20. Chocolate Truffles with Bittersweet Cocoa Powder

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mid February Already!

Fennel and Asian Pear Salad with Sweet Coppa Wrapped Apple and Citrus Dressing Slow Cooked Short Rib and Parsinp Puree with Port and Prune sauce

So, it's president's day and I believe that I am guilty of neglect to my food blog. My apologies. And so much has happened. The Seattle Works Benefit Dinner was a success! Lovely setting, lovely company and great food and wine. Marcus Pape of WineChatr.com perfectly paired 4 different wines with 4 of my menu items. Just about all went well- minus a small error of the dessert- which I will fix next time I make it. Marcus is an incredible graphic designer too and he created a fantastic full color recipe and wine pairing booklet for the guests to take home. You can see it in the left hand corner of the top picture. Inspired by the idea that Marcus and I could go a step further with our two passions- his being wine and mine- food. We have started work on our first Wine and Food pairing recipe booklet. Look for it in wine shops!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Seattle Works Benefit Wine Pairing Dinner

Happy New Year! What better way to bring in the new year than with a wine pairing dinner that benefits Seattle Works and all of the people eating and drinking for the cause? I must say that everyone wins at this dinner- even me, who is cooking everything. Cheers!

Seattle Works Benefit Wine Pairing Dinner Menu

Dungeness Crab Cakes with Tarragon Lemon sauce

Asian Pear and Fennel Salad with Sweet Coppa Wrapped Apple with Citrus Vinaigrette

Herb and Fig marinated Quail with Mushroom Risotto

Short rib with Parsnip Puree and Red Wine and Prune sauce

Passion fruit and Coconut Cream Parfaits

I'm looking forward to the delicate quail with the mushroom risotto I think the most. This may sound silly, but quail is really wonderful to me. Tender dark meat, a small bird with so much flavor and elegance when it is presented properly. I'm looking forward to making 15 crab cakes verses the 700 I helped make for a Tom Douglas catering event- you go numb and blind after you make that many crab cakes, because there isn't enough love to put into 700 crab cakes- I don't care if you are a saint, they just become an object in a factory like setting. Catering for small parties is a whole other setting. Each dish is infused with love and excitement as well as pride. Marcus Pape of Winecow.com and Winechatr.com is helping me with the benefit, here are the wines he has chosen for the event:

Darby Roussane/Viognier Blend- crab cake
Saint Laurent Rose -Salad
Willis Hall Grenache -Quail
Des Voigne Cellars Montreux Syrah - Short rib

We are also going to begin with champagne and a small cheese tray, as well finish with coffee. Last time Marcus and I did a wine pairing dinner, it went very smooth but it wasn't in the "home" setting as it will be this time, which I am very much looking forward to.