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!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

gem on Lopez Island, San Juans

A fabulous weekend on Lopez Island, incredible friends, incredible food.  It was the Tour of Lopez, many bikes and families walking on the ferry at Anacortes.  I of course am the sag wagon and planned the feasting throughout the weekend.

It all began with a dessert, a lemony cream dessert called lemon posset, served in mini lions head
ramekins.   I remove the possets and tucked them, at the last minute, in my metro market bag, with a loaf of Bakery Nouveau's parmesan garlic focaccia.   Half of the  leftover focaccia for toast in the morning and it's makes an incredible grilled cheese sandwich.  Normally, I use the leftover focaccia to make turkey burgers by toasting the focaccia and slathering tarragon mustard and gruyere cheese, yummy.

In search of the local produce, I drove to Horsedrawn farms.  Too early in the season, the only purchase I made was a pound of  rhubarb, which I made into a compote to serve with the lemon posset desserts.  I added some heirloom orange slices and POM cherry drink to the compote.  I love adding POM to sauces, vinaigrettes and to sip in the morning with breakfast.

Sweetwater shellfish on Lopez has the most fabulous oysters, clams and mussels, I decided to pick up the lemon pasta to pair with the shellfish.  I stopped by my favorite shop in Madison valley, Lavender Heart before I left Seattle.  Our last visit to Lopez, we cooked  the squid ink pasta with scallops, a  Jamie Oliver recipe.  It was sauteed with tons of garlic, Italian parsley, chili flakes, lemons and served with grilled scallops, yummy.  Picked up the lemon pasta and a bottle of the incredible lemon infused olive oil, flavored with lemon without all the acidity.  Steamed the clams with the olive oil, and re-created the Jamie Oliver recipe with lots of minced garlic, Italian parsley, capers, chili flakes for heat and a splash of vermouth.  Tossed with a little butter, and finished with a little salt and pepper, to die for.  Since the trip to Sweetwater is major highlight of our trip, we also started our meal with 2 dozen Hammersley oysters and a dozen tiny Kumamoto oysters on the half shell.  A little squeeze of lemon and hot sauce, so tasty.  All it needed was a little salad, arugula, heirloom oranges, Italian parsley, tarragon, dill, with a roasted lemon and orange vinaigrette.

A visit to Vita's in the heart of town, to check out their fabulous food and stellar wines.  They were busy baking, the smells were incredible.  Since we were dining on shellfish, I asked for suggestions for white wines; a Can Feixes Blanc Seleccio from 2011, nice and crisp and an Ipsum 2011, also very good and I would place in my wine cellar.  Of course, the red recommendations were fab also; 2009 Valpolicella classico superiore Ripasso and a Tuscan 2009 semifonte chianti.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

cinco de mayo

After gathering with friends on the Montlake Cut, for the opening day of boating and Kentucky Derby races, we feasted on pink squirrel drinks and delicious gumbo.  In anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, I made an appetizer, a Mexican relish, salty, sweet with cherry tomatoes and lots of herbs and of course cheese, so refreshing.  Best served at room temperature with limey margaritas.  I have made it both with feta and goat cheese (a creamier relish), and serve with tortilla chips or bruschetta.  Deliciosa.
The Mexican relish recipe is as follows;
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp red chile flakes
1/2 cup pinenuts or pumpkin seeds
1 cup halved, pitted Kalamata olives
1 cup halved, green pitted olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, a combo of red and yellow
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 cup garlic olive oil
1 cup feta or goat cheese
salt lightly to taste

Place first four ingredients into saute pan and dry saute for 5 minutes, until fragrant.  Cool add the remaining ingredients and serve with tortilla chips. 

Can't stop eating this fresh dip, great on top of grilled chicken or grilled beef.

Friday, April 5, 2013

birdie favors

solitary bird

Flight of Birds

            Just completed a series of favors for a friend's wedding.    These 2 x 2 x 2 boxes were filled with two miniature French macarons, the perfect finish to a perfect celebration.  Many guests were scrambling for more macarons and unattended favors were emptied and devoured in a flash.

           Place one at each place setting, inscribe with guests seating arrangements. The luscious chocolate colored box, would be yummy filled with a single white chocolate truffle or seeded bar.  The choices are endless.

chocolate birdie

Congregation of Birds

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

swarm of butterflies

As the kids were growing up, our favorite book was a compilation of collective nouns.   An amazing array of collective nouns;  a murder of crows, an army of frogs, and a swarm of butterflies, to name a few.  

A smarm of butterflies accents each of these springtime favors.  Nestled within each acetate cube conceals a spring bulb, each with growing instructions tucked inside.   These favors house a single lily bulb, cushioned with Reindeer moss and topped with a butterfly accent.

Otherwise at Christmas, tuck an amaryllis bulb or a trio of paperwhites, all bulbs are a pleasant surprise.  A touch of Spring.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

color story

spring blossom display

I am constantly flipping pages in magazines for color inspiration, in ads, clothing, products, indoor or outdoor settings, essentially mentally capturing color pairings.  Unique color combos, recently in a magazine ad for gin, spied navy, turquoise and tuscan yellow together, fab.  
I try to incorporate color pairings into my life, whether in gift wrap choices, color pairings in my clothes, updating color schemes in my home decor, imbedded in the world around me

A friend once remarked, "Look outside, colors in nature are a perfect blending of many different colors and tones, which all works well together".   In a recent paper flower project for a local stylist,  I googled the Pantone colors for this year for inspiration.  Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, released her forecast for 2013.

2013 Pantone

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

final 4 snacks

As the final four basketball tournament is fast approaching, I decided to serve my guys a recipe that is simple to do, can be done ahead of time, baked and served warm.  An old English favorite.  It is reminiscent of pigs in a blanket or in Martha Stewart's wedding magazine, stuffed with Chinese sausage and sliced thin.  Comfort food, yummy!

sausage rolls

Sausage rolls

2 lbs  sausage (use original Jimmy Dean's)
2 cups panko
2 large eggs
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 T shiracha or sliced pepperoncini
2 T tomato paste
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
4 sheets puff pastry, thawed
2 egg yolks, extra, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds or fennel seeds to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, shiracha sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper.
Cut each pastry sheet in half.  Divide the sausage mixture into 8 equal portions, roll each into a sausage shape and place along the center of the pastry portions.  Roll to enclose, with the pastry seam underneath.  cut the sausage rolls into the desired lengths and place on a baking tray.  Brush with the egg yolk and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.  Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  

 After having leftover Guinness from cooking my corned beef, thought I would make a cheese sauce with some of the leftover beer.

Cheese sauce (Country living)
1/4 cup(s) dark beer (such as stout or porter)
1/4 cup(s) Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
      3 1/2 ounce(s) Cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups

Make the dip: Combine the beer, mustard, butter, and cayenne in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the cheese. Continue cooking until smooth and all the cheese is melted -- about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Bon Appetit!