Filed under: Chocolate, Food, My favorite things, Organic, Recipes, The Finer Things
It seems that everyone is talking about how much they love fall lately. The changing leaves really are lovely, and the crisp, gloomy weather is a nice change of pace from the summer heat, but I’ve always loved the arrival of fall because that’s the time when I prepare to hibernate. And no hibernation would be complete without the addition of a few pounds around the old midsection and a well stocked pantry because regular trips to the farmer’s market and grocery store just ain’t happening.
Here are some of my very favorite pantry staples:
1 Arvum finishing vinegar This family of vinegars are perfect finishing vinegars for soups and salads. Throughout the autumn and winter drizzle a little bit over a kale salad or a nice bean soup to add a little zip.
3 Askinosie chocolate hazelnut spread Oh my god, I love this stuff. Askinosie’s chocolate hazelnut spread is my favorite for sweet tooth cravings and snacks. No weird ingredients and no cheap chocolate here, just Hazelnuts from Lynden, Washington and the same cocoa powder and nibs used in their bars. They’re the only chocolate maker in the US making this from scratch! I like it on toast or in Andrew’s pastry dough as a pop-tart.
4 Cento San Marzano tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes are the shit, but you have to make sure what you’re buying has been certified. There are (expesive!) brands stateside that are not authentic, and therefore not nearly as good or as sweet. Our favorite Cento brand is grown in the ashes of Mount Visuvius where the rich soil makes for sweet tomatoes. Such a bright spot in the middle of a cold winter we use these for pasta sauce and soups. Though the organic is hard to find, the conventional is easily found at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores.
5 Red Boat fish sauce Artisan fish sauce, finally! Made using a 200-year old process free of chemicals or added water this fish sauce really is wonderful. Having grown up on fish sauces there really is something about the clean flavors and finish of Red Boat. It’s not cloying or sharp, so whatever you’re using it in is that much better. Perfect for a nice bowl of Jok.
6 Olo’s Chipotle paste Chipotle paste in a tube is genius. My friend Tessa created this amazing paste and it’s one of my very favorite pantry staples. We use it to spice up condiments (like ketchup or sour cream), or in soups for a bit of smoky spice. Tessa does this as a hobby in addition to work and two kids, and somehow that makes this even better. Give it a go and you’ll absolutely love it.
7 Bob’s Red Mill organic steel cut oats Love Bob. Love steel cut oats. These award-winning organic guys are great for oatmeal with a little texture. I like mine with butter, milk, brown sugar, and almonds.
8 Matiz Espana sardines and pulpo These are probably our most essential pantry items because they’re so easily converted into great snacks or meals. Both the sardines and octopus are easily dressed into salads and served on toast or crackers. Also, sardines have more omega-3′s and fewer toxins since they’re lower on the food chain.
9 Aptera olive oil This olive oil from the island of Crete is not only one of the best olive oils in our collection, but the pricepoint is crazy affordable. It is also naturally organic as it is illegal to spray pesticides on the island. We use this as our everyday oil for cooking, but it’s still good enough to use in salads and finishing too.
10 Arroyabe Italian tuna in olive oil Italian tuna packed in olive oil, the best tuna ever. Like the sardines and octopus we love this guy for emergency snacks and sammies.
11 Rancho Gordo heirloom beans The heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo are so badass. Have you ever seen such beautiful beans? We use any variety of their beans for soups, chilis, and stews.
12 Wakame seaweed Andrew’s lamb seaweed soup is one of our favorites, so we have wakame seaweed by the pound in our pantry. Aside from soup we like it as a cold salad and we use the water for spa-like purposes.
13 Raw organic almonds Also on-hand by the pound in the pantry, we use these raw almonds for almond milk for smoothies and almond cake for sweet cravings. Briden WIlson Farms has beautiful almonds so we get our almonds directly from them. Their fall harvest is available now.
14 Organic saltine crackers Sometimes you just need a saltine. My favorite is with an application of almond butter and jam, but then there’s also the times we use these as a crust for fried chicken thighs.
Seattle friends, we’re one of a handful of cities that have been selected for screenings of the documentary GMO OMG. Opening tomorrow at the SIFF Film Center in Queen Anne here are the showtimes: Friday 7:30 | Saturday-Sunday 3:00, 5:15, 7:00 | Monday-Thursday 7:30
A strong turnout in these key cities would mean a wider distribution nationwide. A hot topic here in Washington, for sure, as we’re set to vote on Initiative 522 in November. YES on 522 would be a very important first step in labeling foods that have been genetically modified. My mattress has a mandatory label, why shouldn’t my food.
Filed under: Art and Design, Food, My favorite things, Restaurants, Seattle
It’s hard to believe that as much as I’ve shared snapshots of pieces of meals at my very favorite restaurant(s) that I’ve never actually dedicated one piece to explain my deep and resounding love for the beautiful spaces and food that come from Matt Dillon’s Sitka and Spruce, The Corson Building, Bar Sajor, and now The London Plane, which is the first installment of a bigger collaboration between Matt and Katherine Anderson of Marigold & Mint. It’s a beautiful spot, the kind you head to for a laid back meal with a good book and a glass or three of wine. Then you end up leaving with a new cookbook, fresh flowers, and two bottles of bubbly.
It seems that not a day goes by that we’re not asked for our favorite Seattle restaurants; me down at the restaurant with mostly tourists and business travelers, and Andrew because of his work and because his taste and eye for food is remarkable. We have the same answers time and time again, but now people have started to qualify the question with “ok, but besides a Matt Dillon restaurant.” The problem is that his spaces take up our top five and there’s no getting around it.
In this perverse time of misguided food worship and foodie culture there are only a small number of places that serve artful food. (I had my worst meal of the year last week at one of the city’s biggest restaurant empires. No surprise there, but the hype around it was ridiculous.) I can’t see food as a trend, or as “fashionable,” I see the culture of food as the story of an ingredient, the elegance of a thoughtful composition, an experience in flavor and taste.
Fundamentally Matt’s food is everything I enjoy about the culture of food: simple and classic, yet concepts that are complex and artful. Experiencing food through his lens and connection with the Pacific Northwest (and its seasons), and now this gorgeous new space with Katherine, is truly one of my favorite pieces of Seattle. (And, oh, the things I would do for one of those chairs.)
The London Plane | 322 Occidental Ave. S | Seattle, WA 98104 | 206.624.1374
(Right across from Bar Sajor)
Eeking this in as our raspberry season is coming to an abrupt close, but with any luck you’ll be able to grab a pint at the farmer’s market this weekend so you can savor the flavors of summer berry-ness through the fall and winter. I mean, look at this sexy ruby color.
Like the chive blossom vinegar from earlier in the season, flavored vinegars are a great way to add variety to salads or anything needing a kick of acid. Raspberry pairs especially well with salmon, by the way, so I use this in grilled salmon salad with capers and shallots.
The simplest no-recipe-recipe:
I use a handful of raspberries (about 15) for each 1/2 pint canning jar, fill them with white wine vinegar, and set aside for two weeks when the color is most vibrant and red. Strain the berries from the vinegar and funnel into an air-tight bottle for easy pouring (or back into a canning jar would work too).
Don’t be shy, use as often, and in anything you’d like. In salads as a primary or finishing vinegar, soups, sauces.
I wanted to sneak this recipe in while elderberries are still, somewhat, getable. It’s a fun project and it will make you happy all winter long.
Elderberry cordial used to be a staple in every good housewife’s well-stocked pantry as it’s a powerful part of a cold and flu fighting regimen. As many old-school traditions go, it eventually fell by the side and was replaced with more convenient and immediate methods of cold care.
Last year when I shared my natural medicine cabinet with you, I mentioned my favorite elixir Sambu-Guard. Well this elderberry cordial is precisely that! And while it’s worth every penny of its $17 price tag (and you should certainly add it to your medicine cabinet) it was pretty freakin’ cool to be able to make my own this year.
We ordered two large bunches of elderberries from Foraged & Found and picked them up at the University Farmer’s Market. The berries themselves aren’t particularly tasty on their own, so making them into a cordial, with the addition of honey, makes them so, so good.
Remove all of the large stems but don’t worry about the small ones. Place the berries in a large non-corrosive pot and cover with filtered water. Heat gently and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (one that you won’t mind if it stains). After simmering, gently mash the berries with the back of your wooden spoon.
Let the berry mixture cool and then transfer to an old dish towel or a double-wrapped cheesecloth. You can strain through a colander or gather the ends and tie them to a rack (like our horror movie set-up below). Let strain into a large bowl overnight.
After straining, transfer the liquid back to the pot and bring to a light simmer. Add honey to taste, mix until dissolved, and remove from heat. Pour the cordial into small canning jars. Sterilize them in the oven by lightly screwing on the lids and placing in the oven at 225-degrees. Once the cordial begins to bubble in the jars, turn off the oven, tighten the lids, and let cool.
It was a lot of fun, even over the span of two days, and all things considered it wasn’t much work. Not that I’m looking forward to cold and flu season, but I am excited to pop one of these guys the next time I feel that little tickle in my nose or throat. To use, add a few tablespoons of the cordial to hot water and drink as a tea OR add a splash of rum or rye as a twist on a Toddy.
These guys are my very favorite snack crackers. No joke, Andrew and I each go through a pack a week, and it’s because they’re that good and they go with everything. They’re also organic, non-GMO verified, and also gluten-free as they are seasoned with Tamari.
Some of my fave accompaniments are a sharp cheddar layered with cucumber, tomato, and cornichons; savory cottage cheese with olive oil and tomatoes; or this guy right here…creme fraiche with homemade salmon roe caviar. There are no rules though, so give them a go and see how your snack game improves.
Edward & Sons brown rice snaps | check your grocery store or buy online here.
I remember the first time I had these peppers at a little restaurant in Marin. I loved them so much I ordered a second round and didn’t share with anyone else at the table. I don’t know why but at the time it seemed so complex that I’d never be able to duplicate at home, I mean, where would one even find shishito peppers in the first place? Granted, it will require a trip to the farmer’s market, but even with that task these peppers are worth the errand and so easy to prepare.
Shishito peppers are a Japanese variety of pepper and only about one in ten are hot. They’re mostly fragrant with barely a hint of sweetness. We get ours from the Japanese farmer of Mair Farm-Taki at the University Farmer’s Market.
How to prepare:
Heat a large pan at medium-high heat. Once hot add a small amount of olive oil and tilt to coat the pan. Add the peppers in a single layer and shake the pan to toss and coat with the olive oil. Continue to toss and remove when the skins are blistered, this should only take a minute or two. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt. I used a coarse black Japanese sea salt but Maldon flakes would also be great for seasoning and texture. Eat as a snack or get creative and add to a salad.
Note: I like the peppers nice and charred but after having them in a beautiful melon salad at Sitka and Spruce yesterday we realized we could cook them even less. I’ll be experimenting with our next batch this weekend, but really there’s not too much you can do to wrong.