Archive for November, 2009

24th November
2009
written by scott

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start planning the fate of your leftovers.  Personally, I love a great turkey sandwich after a busy morning of shopping (online, of course) for Black Friday deals.  But what’s a turkey sandwich without mayo?  In this recipe, we use a very olive-y oil to give our mayo a wonderful, rich flavor – something our day-old turkey would appreciate.

Makes: about 2.5 cups
Total kitchen time: 10 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. of water
  • 2 tbsp. of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. of plain white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender.  Pulse a few times until combined.
  2. Using the “drizzle holes” on the top of your food processor, or by pouring slowly into your blender, incorporate the olive oil while mixing on low speed.  Depending on the size of your egg yolks, you may not need to use all of the olive oil.  If the mayo is too thin, add more oil.  If it is too thick, add a little water. 

That’s it!  Now you’ve got a delicious spread for your Thanksgiving leftovers, or a dip for your crudités!  

18th November
2009
written by scott

3729442195_d15b399080_b It always seems to be the case: it takes an out-of-town guest to reveal the greatest things about your own city.  I don’t know if we’re held back by false pride or true lethargy, but very few of us ever choose to don our walking shoes, carry a camera, and be local tourists.  Well, not anymore!

A few weeks ago, I decided to accept an invitation to the Seattle Food Tours walking tour of Belltown restaurants, and I loved it.  As a foodie and someone who goes out of his way to stay in touch with the Seattle restaurant scene, I make a concerted effort to eat at as many local spots as possible.  Even so, there are so many great restaurants in Seattle that it’s impossible to keep up.  On this tour, four out of the seven stops were completely new to me. 

This particular tour began at Lola, one of Tom Douglas’ mini-empire of restaurants downtown.  My tourmates, a group of business colleagues from Alaska, made themselves at home by ordering shots of Ouzo, presumably to keep warm for the long walk to the Queen City Grill.  Along the way, our guide provided some colorful commentary on the city’s history and development.  If you’re looking for a rich, vivid and hilarious historical tour… this isn’t it (try the Underground Tour).  But I did learn a thing or two, and our stops between restaurants made the journey feel like less of a relay race for binge eaters.  Plus, the drunk Alaskans had the patience to learn about our history, I suppose I did too.

We stopped in each restaurant just long enough to scarf down the small plate they had prepared for our arrival.  At times I felt a little rushed, but the restaurants down the line were expecting us, and the disembodied voice of my mother echoing “Your letting your food get cold” justified our haste.  The tour continued to Txori, Shiro’s, Branzino, Macrina Bakery, and culminated at The Local Vine.  All told, this was a great selection of stops both geographically and for their variety.  Though I  would offer two ways the tour could be improved: Segways (hell, why not?) and the option to ditch out at any of the stops and stay for dinner.  By the time we got to Branzino, for instance, I was ready to make myself comfortable with a bottle of wine and a braised rabbit.

In just two and a half hours, the Belltown tour introduced me to a handful of restaurants that might have taken me months to discover otherwise.  Although I was left wanting more at each stop, at the end of the tour I felt satiated, and even a little tipsy.  All in all, a great use of an afternoon.

As Seattleites, we are lucky enough to have several different food tours available.  I’d highly recommend picking out the tour that interests you most and committing to two or three hours of getting to know your own city a little better.  You get a lot of food (and sometimes wine!) for your dollar, and you never know how you might discover your next favorite eatery!

 

Food Tours in Seattle

Seattle Food Tours Pike Place Market
Belltown Restaurants
$39 – $49
Savor Seattle Food Tours Pike Place Market
Gourmet Food Tour
Chocolate Indulgence
$37.44 – $63.01
Seattle Bites Food Tours Pike Place Market $39.99

 

Image care of Seattle Food Tours

Full disclosure: My ticket to the Seattle Food Tours Belltown tour was complimentary, but that doesn’t pay for my opinion.

10th November
2009
written by scott

Making your own butter is simple and rewarding – nothing tastes quite as good as homemade.  Just put heavy cream in your blender or food processor for about 10 minutes, or until the butterfat separates from the buttermilk (mine took a little less than 10 minutes).  Once you’re there, you’ve got fresh unsalted butter.  But why on earth would you stop now?  Jazz it up with thyme, sage, honey, cayenne pepper, or, as the video shows, add some chopped porcini mushrooms and black truffle salt. 

Oh, and whenever you’re working with small appliances, be sure to wear your geek glasses for protection :-)

06th November
2009
written by scott

salmon with cauliflower quenelle
As home chefs are becoming more adventurous, the line  between home and restaurant cooking is getting blurrier (read: moms making towers of PB&J on brioche with fireweed honey bruleé).  Since I’ve yet to attend culinary school, I can only fantasize that my kitchen resides in the back of a hip restaurant.  But if it did, here’s a dish I wouldn’t mind serving.  The sweetness of the vegetable puree is a cooling offset to the heat of the curry.  When working with small cuts of salmon, be sure not to overcook it. 

Total kitchen time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 carefully plated servings

Special equipment: immersion blender or blender, chinois or fine strainer or cheesecloth

Shopping list:

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 leek (dark green part discarded), diced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 stalks thyme, placed in a tea bag or bundled together with twine
  • 2 lbs. salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
  • 2 tsp. red curry powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  1. Preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 400°F and set the top rack 6-8” from the heating element.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into small fleurettes (little pieces) and toss with olive oil and salt to coat.  Spread onto a lined baking sheet and roast until soft and just slightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet.  When it just begins to smoke, add the onion, leek and shallot.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the white wine, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom.  Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is reduced about 2/3rds.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the cream.  Add the thyme and simmer about 10 minutes.  Remove the thyme and discard.
  5. Add the roasted cauliflower to the onion mixture.  Using an immersion blender (or transferring the whole thing to your blender) blend until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a fine strainer or cheesecloth, with a bowl placed underneath.  Strain all the liquid you can from the mixture, and reserve.  The mixture remaining in your strainer should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  6. Using two spoons of the same size, divide the vegetable mixture into 4 parts and shape into quenelles (little round things).  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Divide the salmon fillet into 4 servings and coat with curry powder, turmeric, sea salt and olive oil.  Sear in a hot skillet over high heat, about 2 minutes per side (timing will vary; look for the doneness creeping up the side of the fillet.  Some pink is good.
  8. To serve, spoon the reserved liquid into the bottom of a large bowl or plate, then top with a salmon fillet and a quenelle. 

I love the balance of flavors and fresh ingredients in this dish, but even more, I love that it let’s me play chef in my own kitchen.