Monday, October 6, 2014

napa outing

Before the onslaught of the holiday season, my husband took me on a mini vacation to Napa.
The weather was incredible, 90 degrees, cool mornings and evenings.  Our first stop, Mustard Grill, to have our annual bloody mary with grilled shishito peppers and various other dishes.  Later, we stopped and had happy hour at the Hog
Island, where we dined on bubbly rose and kumamotos, hama hama and the local hog island oysters, so fresh.  I did hit most of my favorite stores; my favorite in St Helena is the Napa Valley Vintage store, unfortunately missed their annual tent sale which began friday and lasted through the weekend. Perused the shelves at Dean and Deluca for ideas for this year's Incredible Edibles class at PS stores in November.  Missed a few stores, but next time.  Finished out the day with bubbly at Domaine Chandon, the grounds are beautiful.  Returned to OxBow Market for drip coffee and C Casas huevos rancheros, outstanding

and off to San Francisco.

Our outing for this trip was lunch at the Slanted Door at the ferry terminal, and of off to SF course Craftsman and Wolves bakery and Dandelion Chocolates on Valencia Street.  Oh my god, the stellar bakery creations are artistically superb.

A treat for the eyes as well as the palate.  Could not decide, chose a boxful of treats and traveled next door to Dandelion, purchased chocolate bars, caramels, peanut tart and a huge s'more to brulee at home.

Nothing better than chocolate.

Unfortunately in traveling these days, we had to chug our sparkling rose at the car rental and leave some behind for the rental staff.  But to top it off, almost missed our flight, confronted by TSA staffer who attempted to enlighten me about the meaning of precheck, which further inflamed the situation, confiscated my Craftsman and Wolves olive oil passionfruit curd and the Coconut butter from Dean and Deluca.  I hope they enjoyed them, as we our names were called on the overhead, we raced to our flightdoor, just in the knick of time. The overwhelming demise of brick and mortar shops, rather than boosting sales in the local economy, I'll have to remember to order online, save myself the agony.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Off to Lopez for the weekend, among the many hikes, we ate, drank and painted. As we exited the ferry, our route took us directly to Sweetwater Shellfish farms, open 24/7 and always stocked with stellar, fresh and in season fruits of the sea. Our choice for today; Manila clams. Our next stop was to check out the always stellar seasonal produce available at Horsedrawn farms.  Our heavenly meal consisted of chorizo and clams, a side of baby swiss chard, which we braised with lots of garlic, evoo and chili flakes, shallots and paprika and crusty bread to soak up every last bit of that incredible clam nectar jus.  A stop at Vito's for his excellant wine selections and stellar recommendations.  The perfect pairing for a delicious meal. 

first application of color

I have had this project on the back burner for several years, hand painting Habutai silk ties for gifts, an opportunity to create something special.   Before leaving for Lopez, the girls were to select an image, photo or render a design for their tie. We transfered the design with carbon paper to our blank ties.
Next, we outlined over the carbon lines with the gutta liquid.  The continuous gutta lines, kept the colors separated, with no bleeding of dye color.  The ties were set aside to dry for approx 30 minutes, a good time to relax, converse, eat, and drink, agreed to reconvene the next morning after our beach walk.


We began painting our ties with a colorful selection of Jacquard silk dyes.  After a few more sessions of painting, our ties would then sit and dry for 24 hours or more. More, being the optimum decision, for maximum color penetration. 

Each tie was immersed in a bath of Jacquard dye-set, vigorously agitating for 5 minutes.  Surprisingly, the dye strength remained without bleeding. The ties were dunked in a rinse of hot, soapy bath with Synthrapol to wash out any remaining dye set solution.  Lastly, a final rinsing to remove any remaining soap and the ties were set aside to dry completely. 

The final process was to outline and touch up details with black textile pens.   

We agonized over the process, but our initial craft project resulted in four amazingly beautiful ties.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

teabytes: No Ka Oi

teabytes: No Ka Oi: Heading off to Maui, "No Ka Oi", it is the best.  The weather was sizzling, perfect weather to head to the white sand bea...

Monday, August 19, 2013

On a previous trip to Dundee, Oregon, I fell in love with Argyle's Blackberry Brut.  This weekend was our anniversary, we journeyed to Portland and ate at some of our favorite places and hopped in the car for a short trek to Dundee for a couple bottles of Black Brut for this year's Thanksgiving. I know that is a ways off, I'll try to stay distracted.

It began with an arduous trip to Portland, beginning with the stop and go 2 hour drive from Seattle to Olympia, it was a drive that began on a late friday afternoon.   We arrived to meet our friends at Accanto on Belmont, the sister restaurant to the long time Genoa neighborhood restaurant.  Arriving in Portland at 8:30pm, leaving Seattle at 4pm, it was definitely a time for cocktails.  I began with the Guadalahara, a sublime mix of a blanco tequila, honey, lime and St Germain and an order of pan fried padron peppers and of course, for the table the fritto misto. 

The padrons are also known as Shishito peppers, which I blister for a few minutes in a pan with a Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and finished with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. The difference in preparation is that the peppers are not overwhelmed by the charring and have a little more texture and crunch with the slight blistering.

I was more interested, unfortunately, with the hydrating than eating.  I did order the petite portion of risotto with the summer squash and topped with a dollop of creamy ricotta.  My husband ordered the roasted chicken prepared with a bread and mizuna salad.  I snatched a portion of his perfectly seared chicken, so creatively seasoned, it is as delicious as I remembered.  

We polished off the evening with a chocolate rum and amaretti flan with a dollop of whip and incredibly aromatic coffee.

The next day was St Honore bakery for Kouign Amann pastry, sweet sugar crust with a sprinkling of salt and a deep cup of coffee.

Off to Dundee, we had the bubbly tasting at Argyle and secured our Black Brut and a bottle of their reisling.  We finished off our time with a trip to Sokol Blosser and their newly opened tasting facility.

We went off to the Kitchen, to have a cheese and wine pairing.  Say cheeeese!  We have several minute tastings of cheeses and with a goat cheese truffle paired with a 2010 pinot and a creamy truffled cheese paired with their 2011 pinot reserve and finished off the tasting of late harvest with an Oregon blue cheese, incredible.  Food and wine, what could be better.

Our anniversary dinner was at the Lucia hotel downtown Portland, Imperial, Vitaly Paley's new location.  The place is warm and inviting.  We began with bubbly and the oyster trio, with roasted lemon and freshly grated horseradish topping.  I enjoyed the special soft shell crab, served on a bed of sour cream and cucumber salad.  My husband had the quail with the roasted carrots and tomatoes and cottage cheese.  We finished off the evening with slice of pie with ice cream, the husband's favorite.  I love dessert, in my constant search for incredible desserts, I wanted to enjoy a unique sweet that I could re-create at home.  I was surprised at the hominess of the desserts offered, oh well.

The morning began with our breakfast trip to the Lovejoy Bakery in the Pearl district, for breakfast, scrambled egg sandwich with tapenade and 16 oz latte.  Our next stop was at the Elephant Deli (always a necessary trip) to perouse the table top items, I have found the best glasses and pantry items, as well as salts, olives, salami and picnic or lunch items.  I purchased a freshly baked mixed berry pie for my husbands anniversary dessert, to serve with ice cream when we arrive home.

On my culinary bucket list, Pok Pok Nui, off Martin Luther King way,  was a stop and detour on our way out of Portland, Ike's Vietnamese fish sauce wings were our favorite, spicy, sticky, yummy!  The recipe is from Food and Wine magazine and modified with Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-In and Dives episode with Andy Ricker.

Ike's Vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings (based on video recipe Diners, Drive in and Dives)
2 cloves garlic and 1 T salt, massage and add water, cheese cloth and squeeze
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 cup Jasmine rice flour
tempura flour
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 T chile paste 
2 cloves garlic, minced and fried

In a bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight, tossing the wings occasionally.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic; cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the cornstarch in a shallow bowl with a little tempura powder, add the wings and turn to coat. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a bowl.
In a small saucepan, simmer the fish sauce, water and sugar caramel base over moderately high heat until syrupy, 5 minutes. Add the chile paste over the wings and toss, sprinkle with minced fried garlic, and spritz with water to release the side pan seasoning.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No Ka Oi

Heading off to Maui, "No Ka Oi", it is the best.  The weather was sizzling, perfect weather to head to the white sand beaches, snorkeling at Wailea and Kapalua Bay with the family.  Beginning poolside, a little pina colada or mai tai.  No mixes here.

Traditional mai tai recipe:
7 fl oz dark rum
7 fl oz golden rum
3 1/2 fl oz triple sec
3 1/2 fl oz orange liquor
3 1/2 fl oz orgeat (almond) syrup
juice of 4 limes
1 dash of grenadine
ice cubes
pineapple slices and mini umbrellas for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a shaker and shake for about 10 seconds, then strain into glasses.
add ice cubes, then garnish.
Hailemaile's mai tai

Our first mai tai at the Hailemaile General Store.  Loved the lime zest.

Our last three days were spent in Wailea, checking out all the local happy  hours, which usually began at 3:00 pm.  The Ko happy hour also paired $10 pupus.  we also checked out other neighborhood happy hour mai tai's at Tommy Bahama's, and Beverly Gannon's restaurant at the Gold and Emerald Golf Course clubhouse, which has spectacular views of Molokini and the incredible Hawaiian sunsets. New on our list, was Merriman's monkeypod bar which has a spectacular lilikoi foam and sliced pineapple topping off their fabulous mai tais.

Sadly finishing out our vacation with an incredible dinner of Lobster Tempura and grilled Hawaiian fish. The tempura was paired with three dipping sauces; a spicy-sesame, a pineapple sweet chili garlic and a grapefruit soy sauce, served on a bed of rice.  I had one of several classic mai tais, which each had a float of Hana Bay dark rum.

A tremendous selection of local distilleries have popped up.  Who would of thought sugar cane
and distilleries, it's an entrepreneurial heaven.  Costco had a stellar selection of local
liquors to start your vacation.
Ko mai tai


In culling through my collection of Bon Appetit magazines, I came across the article by Andrew Knowlton, which is worth reading.

How to Buy: The road to oyster perfection starts at the market. When selecting your oysters, look for these things: they should be weighty (the seawater inside helps them stay fresh), they should smell like nothing, they should be tightly sealed, and when you crack two of them together, they should sound like rocks.

How to Store: Still in their netted bag (or something breathable), put the oysters in your crisper drawer with one wet cloth below and one wet cloth above the bundle. Despite what many people think, you should not store them on ice--"their instinct is to drink water," says Bil. "As the ice melts, and they drink that chlorinated water, it will affect their flavor." In the crisper, west coast oysters will be good for one week, and east coast oysters will be good for two weeks.

One of my favorite toppings is Nobu Masuhisa's recipe for mignonette;

1/2 cup (60 g) finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili oil
1/4 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 cup (10 g) finely chopped parsley leaves

Combine all ingredients, add chopped parsley leaves before serving.

Andrew Knowlton also recommends Taylor shellfish's Shigoku oysters.   My personal favorites are
Hammersley(Shelton), Kumamoto and Hama hama (Lilliwaup)oysters from Washington. 
Also can't miss the 2014 Hama Hama oyster rama usually held in May, mark your calendars and check out latest info on: 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dining, feasting and

Last night, we met to celebrate our Dining for Women's one year anniversary with this month's featured program.
As our DFW Dinner Affirmation states, “May we all be able to feast together some day.”

Our focus this month is Guatemalan MayaWorks, Chimaltenango & Solola.
MayaWorks logo - “Interweaving Lives, Discovering One World”
In celebration of our dinner meeting; celebrating the culture and foods of Guatemala.
I decided to contribute a halibut mango ceviche.  It was stellar served with tortilla chips.  One diner brought a fantastic dish, oven baked corn tortillas rounds brushed with olive oil and finished with a touch of salt.  The crusty rounds were served with a chunky mango avocado salsa. 
Halibut cheek ceviche

Halibut ceviche  

1 ½ lbs fresh halibut cheeks, cubed
3 lemons, zested and juiced
3 limes, zested and juiced                                                        
¼ cup tequila
3 jalepenos, seeded and minced
2 mangoes, ¼ cube diced
1 pepper, small diced
1/2 cup red onion, small diced
½ cup sweet onion, small diced
2 T lemon olive oil
2 T sweet chile sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup Italian parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
Combine halibut, lime and lemon juice, tequila, minced jalapeno peppers and 1 diced mango in a non-metallic bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 ½ hours.
Remove from refrigerator, add diced pepper, sweet and red onions, lemon olive oil, sweet chile sauce and cayenne pepper.  Mix well and recover and refrigerate an additional 30 minutes.
Right before serving, fold in remaining diced mango, cilantro, and parsley and salt; season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Prepare 3 hours before serving, the citric acid cooks the fish.  Traditional ceviches marinate for approximately 3 hours.  Bon Appetit!

Tomatillo orange tart with a dollop of whip cream

I love watching Chefs creating incredible food, the artistry involved is
inspiring to me as a home cook.  One night, inspired by a television episode with Rick Bayless, featuring Chef Margarita Carrillo and her tomatillo tart, I decided to bake this incredible tart in preparation for our dinner.  Fascinated by the use of tomatillos in a dessert, I recreated my version of the tomatillo tart by adding orange blossom honey, Heirloom orange sections and a touch of cinnamon.  Pleasantly surprised by the tomatillos in a dessert, it was refreshing, and slightly tart and chewy with the inclusion of tapioca.  Serve with a dollop of whip cream or a scoop of Haagen Daaz's Dulce de Leche ice cream.  Yummy!