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!