Monday, February 23, 2009


I'm going to be a farm apprentice at the HerbFarm culinary garden this Spring. I'm making it a goal of mine to try and share some fascinating tips that I'll be picking up along the way. I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity. Bill Vingelen, the head gardener seems like an absolute gem and passionate about what he does. The culinary garden is two miles south of the restaurant in Redmond, the restaurant is located in Woodinville.
Tending to greenhouses, planting trees, gardening and feeding chickens and pigs will be apart of the whole experience. Since my mother is a gardener and has her own chickens, I have a little bit of hands-on experience, but nothing at all compared to the hands on experience that I'll be getting at the HerbFarm's incredible organic garden. More to come.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Guilty... Nostalgic With a Remedy

Probably every 6 months or longer I'll get a craving for a Cup of Noodles- you know the most horribly processed toxic food one could possibly put into their bodies? It's a terrible guilty pleasure. It's fairly bland and tasteless and may likely cause some sort of cell manipulation in my body, but for some reason I like it. It's nostalgic really. Immediately I'm transported back to my strawberry shortcake pajamas on Saturday morning or to a late night studying session in college. What is one to do when you haven't gone grocery shopping and there are just a few items in the cupboards with which to cook up something, and likely you are starving and therefore impatient? That is exactly what happened to me at lunch while working at home. I realize not everyone has goat cheese in the refrigerator at all times, but due to catering events, I often have some pretty odd ingredients that usually refuse to go together. Instead of eating something processed, I made something just as quick, ten times more delicious and terribly easy. It's reminiscent of Spaghetti Carbonara, if that is what you are in to.

Ultra Quick Pasta with Goat Cheese and Lemon Zest
1 serving of dried spaghetti noodles
1 large egg
1/4 c. goat cheese (give or take amount to your liking- I am a fan)
1 small lemon, zested
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil pasta according to package directions, drain water. Place noodles back into the sauce pan you previously boiled your noodles in and over medium-high heat. Add goat cheese and crack in one egg . Stir for 2-3 minutes until the egg is cooked and both cheese and egg are incorporated into the noodles. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Wine pairing? Hmm I'm thinking a sauv blanc or a pinot gris.
That my friends is it! I was thinking while I was twirling noodles on my fork that a litte bit of crisp pancetta would round it out a little bit more. Or some lovely herbs. Obviously, when you don't have much in your frige or cupboard, you get creative and use what you have on hand.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recession Valentine- WINO article

Whether your a romantic who just loves to gush about Valentine's Day or you're a cynic about the whole thing as just another corporate plot to guilt you into buying chocolate and over-priced roses, it's hard to argue with a day that encourages you to celebrate the people you care about the most. My favorite way to celebrate the people I love, regardless of what day, is to cook for them!

WINO magazine, a local wine magazine, highlighting Washington wines published a couple recipes from EAT & DRINK in the Northwest. I couldn't find the Garlic Greens with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts recipe in the current issue, so I wanted to make sure readers who were interested in it could find it here:

Romance, Wino Style
February 7, 2009 WINO magazine
By Melissa Peterman and Marcus Pape

You hand-knitted your sweetheart a scarf for Christmas, and created love coupons for back rubs and long walks for their birthday, all in the effort to save money in this horrific economy. Now, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you’re thinking “How do I pull this one off?”
Instead of a trip to wine country or reservations at the trendiest restaurant in town, conserve your cash by trying something a little closer to home. Why not impress your valentine with a little wine knowledge and your culinary skills, and make them an unforgettable dinner made with love?
You are probably thinking, “Yeah, but that seems like a lot of work!” Come on, isn’t love the ultimate motivation to do your very best and show your sweetheart that you can plan, shop and cook like the pros? Who wouldn’t be impressed with a table set for two and wine paired with a gourmet meal made by you? Or better yet, cook the meal together. A little wine while you chop, mix and dance or smooch in the kitchen before dinner can be just as rewarding as eating the meal itself.
Here are two dishes from EAT & DRINK in the Northwest’s winter edition, sure to please your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

Rib-Eye Steak with Parano Butter and Garlic Greens with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Makes 2-4 servings

Two (8 oz) rib-eye steaks about 1-inch thick Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
3 T. finely grated Parano cheese* (or substitute 2 T. grated Parmesan and 1 T. grated aged Gouda)
3 T. unsalted butter
Olive oil
*Parano cheese (a Dutch cheese with a nutty, Parmesan/aged Gouda taste and a dense smooth Gouda texture)

Preheat oven to 400° F

Remove rib-eyes from refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking. To make the Parano butter, mix grated cheese, butter and a pinch of pepper in small bowl. Tear a sheet of wax paper in half and divide Parano butter into 2 small mounds next to each other on one sheet of wax paper. Lay the other sheet on top and press down lightly. Place into the refrigerator to firm.
Sprinkle rib-eye steaks with salt and pepper. If pan searing, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. Add steaks, reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 2 minutes per side. Place one pat of Parano butter on top of each steak and place the whole pan into the preheated oven for 2 more minutes, (for medium-rare). Remove pan, and let steaks rest for 5 minutes.

If Grilling
To grill the steak, preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly brush both sides of the steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks directly over medium-high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to low and top each steak with one pat of Parano butter. Cook for 5 more minutes (for medium-rare). Transfer to a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes. Serve with Garlic Greens with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts.

Garlic Greens with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
Makes 2-4 servings

1 head of lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale)
2 T. olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ small lemon, juiced
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
½ c. golden raisins
½ c. toasted pine nuts

Rinse kale, cut off the tough stalks and discard. Place four kale leaves on top of each other and roll them tightly. Use a knife to thinly slice the kale into ribbons and place into a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced kale and stir with tongs for 1 minute. Add garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice, raisins and pine nuts and stir. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Serve on the side of Rib-Eye Steaks with Parano butter.

Paired Wines:
Gordon Brother 2003 Tradition, Washington
Hogue Cellars 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
Chateau Rollat 2005 Edouard de Rollat Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington

General Pairing Suggestions:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend, Merlot, Cabernet Franc

Pairing Food & WineWine, as you know, can be a great accompaniment to food, but this connection can be made in various different ways. Some wines complement a particular flavor or flavors found in a dish, such as bell peppers with the green character found in many wines. Other successful pairings are based off contrast, such as sweet wine with spicy foods. Some wine and food matches can often be based on nothing more than the weight and structure found in both the food and wine.
But even with so many pairing options available, a truly successful food and wine experience can come down to nothing more than your own personal preference. With this in mind, use these guidelines and suggestions as a resource, but know that the best way to find the perfect pairing is to experiment with various wines that fit your taste. Drink what you like! - Marcus Pape
General Pairing Guidelines

1. Match body of food with body, or weight, of the wine.

2. Match acidity levels. It’s better to lean toward more acidity in a wine, because not enough can leave it tasting flabby.

3. Match sweetness. The wine needs to be at least as sweet as the food, or it will seem drier than it really is.

4. Match flavor qualities. Similar characters in both food and wine help accentuate each other (e.g. herbal, citrus, earthy).

5. Pair contrasting flavors (eg. sweet and spicy).6. It’s good to pair complex dishes with simple wines.7. Match Location. Wine and food from similar regions tend to pair well together, especially in old world countries.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Molly Moon Ice Cream

Oh wow. You know that feeling when you experience something so delicious you never want it to end? That is how I felt when I tasted Molly Moon's Salted Carmel Ice Cream. It's like the first time I had a Fran's salted caramel, a slice of ripe avocado with salt or black truffles for the first time, (Tartufo Tagliettele pasta in Florence at Za Za's in the leather district- I'll never forget you! ) I love those moments. So much so- that I want to make sure you all know about Molly Moon's little ice cream shop in Wallingford. Molly has invented a slew of original flavors that you must experience such as strawberries with balsamic, honey lavender and even maple bacon. Once you go, you may have a similar reaction that my nephew had to his first ice cream cone experience a couple weeks ago. My sister-in-law told me he savored that ice cream cone for as long as he could; the whole ride home and even kept one arm above the bath water! Some things really taste that good.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Farmer Chef Connection

I just attended my second Farmer Chef Connection through Seattle's Chefs Collaborative. This year's sold out event was held at Herban Feast in the SODO district- a lovely, rustic event space with high ceilings, great lighting and endless party potential.
The Seattle Farmer Chef Connection brings in farmers and chefs from all over the state, and some as far away as Oregon and Canada, all in an effort to promote sustainable farmer and chef connections and share and celebrate the latest efforts of the farm to table movement.
The event started at 8 am and went until 5. In between guest speakers and breakout networking sessions, we all enjoyed a huge spread of dishes for lunch, set up buffet style- all made by local chefs with ingredients provided by local farmers. From the creamer for the coffee and the butter on the table, everything provided at the event was made locally with quality ingredients.

One of the highlights of the whole event was listening to Gabriel Claycamp, Armandino Batali and Keith Luce speak about the future of artisan charcuterie. Two other great highlights were learning about the creative ways farmers and producers are teaming up for cost-saving distribution methods and listening to Kristofor Lofgren, the owner of Bamboo Sushi in Oregon describe his fully sustainable sushi restaurant.
I made some wonderful connections and spoke to some inspiring farmers, chefs and activists all working towards the same goals. What I came away with more than ever, was that as each year that goes by, more and more people are joining together to celebrate slow food and wanting to help shed some light on where our country has gone in regards to food production and where we still need to go today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winter Warm Up....This Saturday!

It's February! The Winter Warm Up is just around the corner and I'm thrilled! It's going to be quite the event with Washington winemakers, Pike Brewery, Oh! Chocolates and others. I've been busy meeting with the Winter Warm Up crew and working out menu details. All the bites that I am preparing for the event are small tastes from the EAT & DRINK in the Northwest books. Along with some full cheese trays, the menu of bites is below:

Winter Warm Up Bites:
• Caramelized Pear and Fig Spread Crostini• Paprika Steak Sandwich with Smoky Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions• Citrus Glazed Shrimp and Avocado Skewers• Pulled Pork on Grilled Polenta• Grilled Flatbread with Pepadew Peppers, Goat Cheese, Tomato Sauce• Roasted cauliflower and Butternut Pizza

Hope to see you there!