Thursday, January 29, 2009

Empty Bowls and Glasses

My dishwasher is filled with nothing but empty bowls, spoons and pint glasses. I'm doing a detox diet this week (first time ever!) and it is mostly smoothies, soups and coconut water. I figured a good, solid detox would do me some good, not just because of excess holiday leftovers, but making cookbooks paired with wine- well, you can imagine that sometimes too much of a good thing is too much. Plus, I've never challenged myself to go without caffeine and I wanted to know the effects. So far- now day 4, I don't have a headache anymore and I'm a lot less fatigued, and I have been sleeping like a stone. A friend of mine who told me she did the 10 day lemon water Master Cleanse, (not that mine is anything similar, but definitely bland) said that afterwards her palate was so sensitive, even a carrot tasted like sugar. I think it's only appropriate that I finish my detox by going to Bellingham for my friend Crystal's birthday, fittingly called "the Butter Bash." We will be making butter from fresh cream, having a large dinner- with butter likely and making our own butter molds! How I do love my artistic friends.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Washington Black Truffles

When you live in Seattle, you know that sooner or later Seattle winter will come around and one thing about living in Seattle is that one must prepare for its winter. You would think it wouldn't be that bad, I mean it's not Minnesota where it's freezing for long periods of time and plenty of snow, but it is chilly and grey. Grey is what gets you. When 90 days of rain and clouds go by without more than 20 minutes of sunlight, it can get to you. I've lived here all my life and although it hasn't always bothered me, there are definitely weeks when I think "Can I take one more shade of grey?" The rain- not so much the problem, it's the grey and the "wet" cold, the deep-below-the-surface-in-your-bones-cold. I start climbing the walls in January and tear through my cupboards looking for caffeine or chocolate, anything for a little sunshine....and just when I think I can't take one more sunset at 4 p.m.-suddenly it's Washington Black Truffle time- and then, I'm smiling.

Thank goodness for year-round farmer's markets! Go check one out, you'll be inspired for sure and you just might forget about the grey sky- for one day anyways. This last Sunday Mark and I were walking through Ballard Sunday Market and even though it was 30 degrees and lightly snowing on us, committed farmers, musicians and chefs were out displaying their produce, seafood and homemade pasta. We walked by the Foraged and Found Edibles Table and sure enough, a basket of sunshine- Washington Black Truffles! The woman at the table was smelling each truffle to find us a couple fragrant ones. She suggested we could make a cauliflower soup or pasta with them but to use them within 2 days or else freeze them, but all I kept thinking was how amazingly delicious they would be with scrambled duck eggs! We ended up using one that night in a roasted cauliflower soup with homemade chicken stock and some caramelized onions. It was delicious, I don't want to write down the recipe yet, because I think it could be improved upon. I will say that with Washington Black Truffles, I would use more than I would an imported truffle, because their deep, earthy umami flavor is more subtle.

How appropriate to end the weekend on such a decadent dish? For come Monday I am detoxing, and I'll be a slave to the blender for a week. And just like the grey skies of Seattle winter make me ache for the coming spring, even the smallest bite of chevre, a buttered piece of toast or a deep glass of red wine is going to taste like sunshine on my grey tongue.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kale and Avocado Salad

In a time of abundant kale, foodies like myself search for ways to take advantage of this super food. I don't know if this salad had a proper name, other than "that avocado and kale salad," but even in its lovely simplicity in both ingredients and preparation time, the flavors are anything but bland. Heidi, a good friend of mine introduced me to this vegan salad. When I have the ingredients handy, this salad takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and what is not to like about that?

Kale and Avocado Salad
1 head of kale (preferably lacinato kale, aka Tuscan kale or dino kale)
2 cloves garlic
1 large lemon
1 ripe avocado
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and pepper

Either tear or shred your washed head of kale, discarding tough stalks and place into a large mixing bowl. Mince garlic and add to the bowl. Squeeze lemon over the garlic and greens, avoiding any seeds. Slice open the avocado, scoop out fruit and discard seed. Place all the avocado meat into the bowl. Add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Now- the fun part, use both hands to squish the avocado through your fingers and mash the ingredients together so that the avocado becomes a part of the dressing. Taste for seasoning.

This salad is great accompaniment to a rich dish because the strong lemon and garlic flavors with the thick greens- it acts like a natural brush for your palate.

Kale and Avocado Salad on Foodista

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vineyard Table Catering

I wanted to share a couple pics from the event at the Vineyard Table. I don't have pictures of everything, just a couple images I thought were fun.

Table setting Choice of Miso Marinated Salmon Or Braised Short Rib

Finished with a Dark Chocolate Terrine with Local Raspberry Sauce and Fran’s salted caramel

For the whole menu, go to this menu

Friday, January 9, 2009

Looking Forward to Cooking at the Vineyard Table Saturday Night for a Private Party

My good friend Kristen Schumacher of Heirloom and I will be catering for a private party tomorrow night. We were highly inspired while writing the menu and we are really looking forward to cooking at the Vineyard Table. It's a phenomenal space if you don't know about it yet, it's near the stadiums off of first on Atlantic street. It's a warm and inviting space- perfect for a reception or wine and food pairing class. You can check it out here at The Vineyard Table. All the wines paired for this event are from the Atlantic Street Artisan Wineries right on site.
Here is the menu for tomorrow night:
Saturday January 10th, 2009
The Vineyard Table

Assorted Cheese Tray
Gorgonzola Dolce, Manchego and Beecher’s Flagship
with accompaniments

Passed Appetizers
Prosciutto wrapped watercress, quince jam & aged chevre
Roasted chorizo stuffed date wrapped in bacon
Fresh Dungeness crab spring roll
Elsom Cellars Lewis Family Vineyard Cabernet sauv. 2006
Domanico Cellars- Lewis Family Vineyard Riesling 2007

Amuse Bouche
Truffle Fries

Butter lettuce dressed in toasted hazelnut vinaigrette
with Washington red pear & blue cheese
Sylvia James Rosebud Ranch Viognier 2007

Miso marinated grilled Northwest Wild Salmon
over mushroom risotto topped with fried leeks
Domanico Cellars- Lewis Family Vineyard Riesling 2007
Braised Beef Short Ribs
over potato parsnip mash with a red wine reduction
Domanico Cellars Mesa Rojo 2006

Dark Chocolate terrine with local raspberry sauce
Fran’s salted caramel

Non-Alcoholic Pomegranate Punch
Coffee & Tea

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year! Sprinkled with Lemon Rosemary Salt

Mark and I gave out Lemon Rosemary Salt as Christmas gifts to our families and I thought I might share the savory and simple recipe with all of you!

Lemon Rosemary Salt
1 c. small grain sea salt
1/2 c fresh lemon zest
1/2 c dried rosemary

makes a little under 2 cups

Pulse several times in a food processor and voila! Pour salt into small jars with lids and tie with ribbons to give to your favorite foodies.

Lovely on seafood, pork or some buttery green beans (in season of course!)

Lemon Rosemary Salt on Foodista