Ooh, my favorite!


sweet & savory
March 19, 2013, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Food, Recipes

savorygranola

My favorite breakfast…lately at least. I have been loving the sweet and savory tastes of this mix and I owe it all to the inspired snack I had from Kylan at the Pioneer Square Pantry tasting party a few months back. (Production is limited so homemade granola is the next best thing.) Here’s my take:

[Sheep milk] yogurt +[homemade] granola + drizzle of [local] honey + drizzle of [arbequina] olive oil + pinch of [black] sea salt.

The addition of the olive oil and the sea salt is genius! It’s the perfect balance with the tangy yogurt and the sweet crunch of the granola. I’ve added the type of ingredients I’ve used above [in the brackets] but you should use whatever your favorite ingredients are. Just be sure you use a killer granola and have a nice finishing olive oil and a chunky and crystally sea salt. Below are links to my faves.

My favorite finishing olive oil | My favorite black sea salt | My favorite local honey



Heston Blumenthal’s Crystallized Pistachios
February 18, 2013, 10:56 am
Filed under: Entertaining, Recipes

Crystallized Pistachios

The thing I haven’t been able to resist all weekend is, for better or worse, the thing that we were left with the most of after the get together on Friday (we may have over-planned). These sugared pistachios that Andrew made are evil and addictive…so here ya go. The recipe.

It’s from the gorgeous Heston Blumenthal at home cookbook, and while the book is more advanced this recipe is quite easy with a few kitchen geek items on hand. Andrew quadrupled the recipe, but as I’m sharing it here it’s the original from the book, using weight as measurement instead of volume.

 

Crystallized nuts

Serves 4

200g pistachios

200g white caster sugar

[special equipment: kitchen scale, candy thermometer.]

Preheat the oven to 170-degrees C (338-degrees F).

Place the nuts on a baking tray at toast in the oven for 12 minutes.

In the meantime, put 150g water and the sugar into a small saucepan. Place it over a medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

When the temperature of the liquid reaches 135-degrees C (275-degrees F), or the syrup is beginning to color at the edge of the pan, add the pistachios and whisk until the syrup has completely crystallized and coated the nuts.

Pour the coated nuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment and allow to cool.

The nuts can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Crystallized Pistachios



Gougère (French Cheese Puffs)
January 30, 2013, 7:32 am
Filed under: Entertaining, Food, Recipes

Picture 24So dangerously poppable, these wonderful cheesy puffs are officially cocktail party approved. Two successful test batches in and we’re hooked. I mean, really. Who’s not going to love a homemade puff of cheese. One bite. Savor. Two bite. Gone.

Picture 21There’s really not much to them, just a classic Pâte à Choux pastry: butter, flour, eggs, water; with some savory additions: Gruyère cheese, chives, sea salt, cayenne, and black pepper.

Picture 25The Pâte à Choux pastry dough is really sticky, so we tried two methods to form the puffs: quenelles and piping. With the first batch using the quenelle method we found it harder to control the size of the puffs, and it seemed like a lot of unnecessary work. The second batch with the piping bag was much easier and faster. Go the piping route! And if you’re out a pastry bag just snip the corner of a plastic storage bag.

Picture 23We liked topping each puff with a touch of sea salt and parmesan to vary the tastes a bit. The sea salt was an essential addition, but if you prefer to stick with one cheese, for the ease of things, you can always top with some of the Gruyère. Oh, and in a strange twist, I prefer these guys cooled a bit. There’s definitely something sexy about the cloud of steam one gets from a fresh-from-the-oven bite, but all of the cheesy, chivey goodness is best tasted after they’ve cooled slightly.

Perfect for partying in every way.

 

Gougère French cheese puffs

Yields about 30 small bites

1/2 cup water

3 Tbs butter

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more as a topper

pinch cayenne pepper

pinch black pepper

1/2 cup flour

2 organic eggs

1/4 cup minced chives

3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (plus more for topping)

Optional: 2 Tbs grated parmesan

Prepare (shred, chop, measure) all of the ingredients before you get started. Preheat the oven to 475-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat mat.

In a medium saucepan add the butter, water, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. When the butter has melted add the flour and mix quickly until the dough begins to pull away from the sides. Remove from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer or bowl and let cool before the eggs are added, about two minutes will do.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly and quickly. It may seem lumpy at times but continue to stir until just incorporated. Add the Gruyère and chives, mix well.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe small mounds about the size of a small truffle. Space evenly and allow them room to puff. If there are any peaks gently press them down while topping each puff with grated parmesan (or Gruyère) and a touch of sea salt.

Pop the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375-degrees and let bake for another 20 minutes. They should be a lovely golden color and have a crisp bite at the outset. The inside should be eggy and cheesy, but still quite light.

Picture 26

 

 



Heirloom Popcorn
January 24, 2013, 11:52 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, Seattle

heirloomWe’ve been having lots of fun playing with popcorn lately and there are so many fun twists that I can’t wait to share, but I figured I’d start off simply with an heirloom popping corn done right on the stove.

If you’ve never popped popcorn on the stove top I swear in some weird way it’s easier than in a microwave where I always managed to under-pop or walk away and completely singe the entire bag. With the stove, the quality of the popped kernels is much better and you have so many choices in the variety of corn that you want to use. Heirloom varieties are not genetically modified (they don’t contain Round-up!) so the character, taste, and texture of the corn is richer and tastier.

Picture 8

The method

Everyone has one of those tall stock pots with a lid tucked away somewhere; ours has become our popcorn pot. You’ll want a tall pot so a large amount of steam can collect.

1.  Place the pot on medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. We switch between bacon fat, duck fat, or coconut oil.

2.  Throw in 3-4 kernals while the oil is melting. Once those guys pop the oil has reached the right temp.

3.  Add 1/2 cup of popcorn and cover.

4. Swirl the pot over the heat and listen to how the corn is popping.

5. Once the popping stops wait a second or two longer, remove from the heat, and open the lid to let the steam escape.

6. Serve with your favorite salt.

The corn

The brand we’ve been using is India Tree (a Seattle-based company!), and their Paloma Blanca is heavenly…even described as “little doves” (palomitos) on the package. Available online or on the gourmet food aisle at many grocery stores. While the Blanca is our favorite, the other varieties are great too.

indiatreepopcorns



Spaghetti alla Carbonara
January 15, 2013, 10:29 am
Filed under: Food, Recipes, Seattle

Picture 14

It is freakin’ cold here. The days are clear and dry; words that don’t often describe Seattle weather, but without our usual thick blanket of grey-gloomy cloud cover there’s nothing to hold in even the slightest bit of warmth. I love seeing bits of frost on the ground each day (not to mention the sun!), but until it actually snows I’ll continue wish it into existence and feast on oh-so decadent, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dishes like this guy here: a proper dish of spaghetti alla carbonara.

Picture 13

The key here is not to skimp–not to be afraid to use the rendered bacon fat, and not to be shy about the salt, pepper, or parmesan. It’s not a traditional addition, in fact many Italians won’t eat it if there’s a speck of anything green, but I like to add chopped fresh parsley to give a bit of freshness and lighten things up…if only just a tad. Regardless, with or without a pinch of greenery this dish is badass.

Picture 21When cooking the pasta, be sure to use a large pot with about 4-quarts of water. I used to force it into a small pot in order to save time and water, but in order to get the perfect texture and release of starches be sure to use lots of water, and don’t be afraid to salt it. We want to be sure the noodles have their own layer of flavor. And if you’re looking for a good brand of pasta I really like bionaturae’s line of organic pastas. They’re often on sale at Madison Market too.

Picture 23

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil

1/4 lb (about 4 slices) thick cut bacon, sliced

2 eggs

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 pound spaghetti

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional: Fresh parsley, chopped

Warm the olive oil in a pan and cook the bacon (sliced into lardons) until crisp. Set aside but be sure to save the rendered fat.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil ladle a few spoonfuls of the water into a bowl to warm it before adding the egg and cheese. Set the bowl aside and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the boiling water and drop the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions or until tender but firm.

Toss the hot water from the bowl and add eggs, parmesan, and black pepper. Beat well. When the pasta is done drain it and toss immediately in the egg and cheese mixture. Mix well, then add the bacon and rendered fat. Mix again and add more black pepper; taste and add salt and more pepper if needed.

Serve immediately and garnish with freshly grated parm and more black pepper. If you’re opting for the parsley, add as a garnish and mix as you eat. Carbonara



Homemade caviar
September 26, 2012, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Food, Recipes


A little late today, but I have an excuse! I was elbow deep in salmon roe and salt water. Dad unexpectedly saved some roe for us after his fishing trip yesterday morning so I had to get to curing it for my cravings atop omelets, potato latkes with creme fraiche, deviled eggs, smoked salmon rillette…it goes on and on.

Andrew found this wonderful recipe and step-by-step guide from the blog Savor the Taste of Oregon, and it’s really quite easy to do. The only intensive part is separating the roe from the skeins, but I found that using a wood chopstick to gently scrape the eggs away from the membrane worked nicely. And really, you’ll just have to accept that much of it will not be usable without meticulously separating them one…by…one.

This is the perfect way to celebrate salmon season and also to use every part of the fish. I notice in the kitchen at the restaurant there is not one piece that goes to waste; they even fry the bones and eat them as a snack! I’ve taken this to heart and have tried to do the same at home…it just so happens that I love caviar so it’s not too much of a stretch to get a little dirty and make my own. Eeh, I’m so happy. If this is your thing give it a go! Here’s my slight variation on the recipe.

Cured salmon roe:

–  3 quarts of water at 100-degrees

–  1 cup of coarse sea salt

–  2-4 fresh salmon skeins

–  2 large bowls

–  1 large seive

–  clean canning jars

In one of the large bowls create the brine by adding the salt to the warm water. Once the salt is mostly dissolved add the salmon skeins and soak in the brine for 30 minutes. Fill the other large bowl with water and set aside.

Note: The eggs will start to cloud, but don’t worry they will regain their clarity after another dip in the salt brine before transferring to the jar.

When the time is up gently transfer the roe into the bowl of fresh water and begin separating the eggs into the seive and rinse with water as needed (if it starts to get sticky). Take the seive of eggs and dip it back into the salt brine. Transfer to a super clean jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

 
 



Bangkok Firecracker Martini
June 6, 2012, 11:29 am
Filed under: Drinks, Recipes

 Our Bangkok Firecracker Martini

This is one of our most popular cocktails at the restaurant, and while I’ve shared some testing I’ve done with new liqueurs I figured it was time to share something that I know works. I’ve written this recipe down for dozens of customers, so I know it’s loved, but keep in mind that when I say that it works I mean that it will appeal to a very specific type of person. You’ve gotta love heat, and you’ve gotta love Thai Basil. If that sounds like you then this is your drink.

There’s no way to control the heat from the Thai chili’s as even at the restaurant the batches we get differ drastically from week to week. Aside from the heat level though, the Thai chili has a beautiful floral taste and when paired with the lemon and touch of simple syrup it makes for a surprisingly refreshing drink.

 

Bangkok Firecracker

makes 1 martini

– 2 Thai chili peppers (bird’s eye chili)

–  10-12 Thai Basil leaves

–  3 oz. Vodka (at the restaurant we use Citron, but a basic one works too)

–  1/2 lemon, juiced

–  Simple syrup to taste (start with about 2-3 tsp)

Muddle the Thai chili peppers and the Thai Basil, then add the simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Note: The simple syrup isn’t meant to make this sweet, but really to balance the heat and the citrus. The great part is that you can add as much as you’d like so start with a few teaspoons and go up from there. You really can’t go wrong. Cheers!





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