I love it when my day involves getting to set something on fire! This Honey-Pumpkin Tart will be up in a couple of days over on CCbP. And let me just say it is so yummy.

I just started reading this today. Really excited about this. Are you reading anything great right now?

 

Life is fairly mundane right now. Since I go to physical therapy and can’t do anything life gets pretty boring. I am suppose to play hockey on Friday, but don’t see it happening. Speaking of hockey, I have to decided if it will be worth it to play on two teams for the Winter. I want to but that darn money thing and all. Plus my husband and I wanted to curl this Winter (stop laughing) so we will have to discuss.

So this blog is going in a new direction. There will still be food. But it is going to become more MY blog where I just document things I want to document. That will include Pacific Northwest recipes. Pacific Northwest restaurants. But will also include my ramblings from time to time. Photos of my pets. Hockey. Whatever actually. And with that I give you my dog, Crazy Cocker Spaniel, who spent the whole time I was shooting Key Lime-Gingersnap Brioche Snails under the table desperately hoping something would fall.


I met Lang (Langdon Cook) at a Artisan Beef dinner put together by Seattle’s in the know foodie, Traca Savadogo quite a few months back now (I want to say February but I have a fuzzy mind).
Now some would scoff when I say that I am not really a mingle. I’m not. I’m actually not very good at socializing, perhaps that is why I spend so much time on the net. ;)

That being said, Traca introduced me to Lang, and I was instantly in awe of him. See, Lang is a forager. He goes out and gets his food…and not from the market, well maybe a little from the market. His blog, Fat of the Land is a delightful read, and if you are in the Seattle area it is a must read. A must read since he introduces me to foods I didn’t even know existed in the Pacific Northwest. Sadly, though, most of them you have to go forage. And well, this girl, isn’t really a nature girl. ;) It’s highly informative and has good stories to boot.

Which is probably why someone was smart enough to give him a book deal. Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager, I believe comes out the end of this month. What I do know is that Cooks and Books is having an event on Monday, September 14th at Lark in Seattle. I’m bummed I will be having to miss this one. A multi-course meal with wine pairing as well as a signed copy of the book. I have to miss out, but you don’t. Go here to get in on the action.

 

spnoodles2

The version pictured is without chicken. I made it for Book Club this last month and my book club has quite a few non-meat eaters. So I ditched the chicken. I really like it with chicken so I gave the full recipe. It’s a great make ahead recipe that seems to be a crowd pleaser. If you are not a coconut fan, don’t worry, the flavor of the coconut milk does not come through, it’s just there to mellow out the heat of the pepper.

Asian Chicken Salad with Sesame-Peanut Dressing

3 TBSP vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 jalepeno chiles, seeded, minced
1 1/2 cups unsweetend coconut milk
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2TBSP oriental sesame oil
2TBSP minced, fresh ginger
1 TBSP honey
1 1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1 small diced red bell pepper
4 sliced green onions
8 0z blanched fresh green beans
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 lb linguine
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a heavy pan. Add the garlic and jalepenos, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, honey and Tabasco. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in pan. Add the bell pepper and green onions and saute about 3 inutes. Add chicken and saute until cooked through. Add sauce to this and set aside.
Cook the linguines al dente, and drain. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss with the green beans. Serve at room temperature sprinkled with the sesame seeds.

spnoodles1

Awhile back now a reader had asked me about coming to Seattle and eating at a restaurant that possibly had a room for just two people. I had remembered someone saying that Canlis, a Seattle favorite, had such a room. That reader had such a wonderful experience there I convinced my husband we needed to do it.
The Cache as it is called there has wonderful views of Lake Union. It holds 2-4 people and was perfect for our 5th anniversary evening. It is not cheap, the room rental alone will run you $150. But it is yours for the night and you can linger there as long as you like. You also have your own personal server. Our service was spectacular. If you are looking for a unique or special dinning experience I highly suggest it.
Then of course there was the food. Both my husband and I had three courses and shared dessert. If we weren’t so full we would have gotten each our own…which in retrospect I should have as my husband loved it more than I thought he would and he ate a lot of it. He now also wants me to make him peanut butter ice cream. My husband can’t really pick a favorite he loved all of his (beef ribs, oysters and steak). I loved all of mine too (pork belly, parsnip soup, salmon) but the soup was my favorite. I love the flavor combos they had going. And, I already told you how yummy the dessert is.
I am sure it will be several years before we go back to the private room, it really should be for special occasions. But I can definitely see us going to just the restaurant. One warning though. This restaurant was built in the 1950′s and in a way still has a 50′s attitude about dress code. They want the men in suits and ties, or at least sport coats. Women dressed sharply. They say that you can never be overdressed there. To prove that point I saw a man in a tux and a woman in a ballgown dinning in the main dining area. My husband was not all that happy to have to wear a tie, but I loved it. I love that they still embrace that going to dinner is an occasion and one should dress for it.

The view from our table.

Braised Beef Short Rib
cilantro pesto and red chili demi-glace


Pork Belly
endive and apple salad

Oysters
with red wine mignonette

Parsnip Véloute
Bosc pear, Cremini mushroom and hazelnuts

Filet Mignon 
market vegetables and fingerling potatoes

Pacific King Salmon
potatoes, parsley, and preserved meyer lemon

banana and caramel filled doughnuts, molten milk chocolate, and peanut butter ice cream

 

Canlis

2576 Aurora Avenue North 
Seattle, Washington 98109

206.283.3313


I so suck at keeping up with this blog. Now with carpal tunnel it makes it even harder to keep up with. So if you actually read my blog, I am sorry that I have been slacking, I really am going to try harder to keep this one up as well as I do my other blog.
This is an unusual fruit salad to say the least. I like to serve it at brunch. Most people are drinking mimosas and so they don’t seem to care that the melons are drunk, because they are a little tipsy themselves.
Yes, you do taste the vodka but not in a oh my God I so taste the vodka kind of way.

Drunken Melon and Raspberry Salad
½ cup orange flavored vodka
½ cup orange juice
1 TBSP sugar
1 small ripe honey dew melon, peeled, seeded and balled (if you don’t own a melon baller just cut into bite size pieces)
1 TBSP finely minced fresh mint
½ cup fresh raspberries

In a large bowl, whisk together the vodka, orange juice, and sugar.
Add the melon and the mint and use a spatula to combine the ingredients.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
Fold berries in at last minute when ready to assemble.


Here is a nice little dinner for two just in time for Valentine’s Day. These were originally stuffed back into the lobster tails but that is just too much trouble for me.
Whatever your plans, I hope you spend the day with someone you love. Whether that be your spouse, significant other, parents, brother, sister, kids, etc…

Baked Seafood Gratin

4 ounces unsalted butter, divided
3 (4-5 ounce) lobster tails, remove meat, devein, and cut into 1 inch chunks
8 ounces Dungeness Crab meat
1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
1 TBSP lemon zest, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 ¾ cups Ritz crackers crumbs (or any buttery cracker), divided
2 TBSP fresh parsley

Melt 2 ounces of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir in lobster and lemon juice; cook just until seafood starts to turn pink.
Add chives, zest and cayenne.
Off heat, stir in crab and 1 cup cracker crumbs just until combined. Dived the stuffing among two small gratin dishes. Load them up high. You will most likely have some stuffing left over, save this and stuff it into chicken for another meal.
Place gratin dishes on a baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Melt the remaining 2 ounce of butter. Add this to the remaining cracker crumbs and add parsley. Sprinkle generously over each gratin. Roast until topping is crisp and stuffing is hot, about 15 minutes.
Serve with White Wine Butter Sauce.

White Wine Butter Sauce
 1 cup white wine
2 TBSP shallots, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cubed
1 tsp minced fresh tarragon
salt to taste

Reduce wine with shallots and thyme in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until liquid is nearly evaporated. Remove and discard thyme, then whisk in butter 1 or 2 cubes at a time until melted. Finsih with tarragon and salt.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home December 2007

I think when you are a food lover you develop food crushes if you will. I have quite a few but one I make no secret of is for my love of Tillamook cheese. I used to buy it in Phoenix but since I move to the Pacific Northwest the variety that is offered far exceeds what I had in Phoenix. Though I must admit out of all their cheeses I am still in love the most with their classic Sharp Cheddar. Swoon.
So imagine my excitement when I learned that there was a Tillamook cookbook. Yes, that’s right, a cookbook. One that is dedicated to all things cheese, and more importantly Tillamook cheese. It’s not a skinny one either (just shy of 200 pages).
Sure it has recipes (we will get to that) but what I really found helpful was the Northwest Wine and Cheese Pairing section. I must admit that I am less than stellar with pairing foods with wine so I love the fact that they tell you which type of wines go best with what types of cheese. It almost makes me want to throw a cheese and wine party!
There is a little bit about the history of Tillamook along with a recipe for making your own homemade White Cheddar Cheese. I have only ever made ricotta so the thought of that sounds really interesting. Now all I have to do is get my hands on a ½ Junket of rennet tablet (any ideas???). It makes 2.6 pounds of cheese so the other problem would be to figure out how to store all that cheese! But I thought it was a fun touch to the book and something you don’t see a lot in most cookbooks.
There are your basics that you would think of when you think of a cheese cookbook. Your fondues (Cheddar and Beer….I will be making that for Superbowl Sunday when the Cards play!  Go Cards!). Your macaroni and cheeses (there is an entire section on just mac and cheese). They have the standard ones and some not so standard ones (Truffle-Scented Mac and Cheese with Crisped Pancetta anyone?). But all in all this cookbook had far more surprises than what I expected. Which of course is a good thing. Cheese and Seafood Enchiladas. Ole! Grilled Cheddar and BBQ Pork Sandwiches (again I am thinking this for Superbowl). Grilled Polenta Torta for the vegetarians in your life (or just the veggie lover). Savory Southwestern Bread Pudding would make a great side. The Grilled Cheddar and Apple Sandwich sounds like a great lunch. And let us not forget dessert (though that was by far the smallest section :( ). Now before you go yuck, remember that cheese does go nicely in a lot of desserts and also keep in mind that Tillamook is a Dairy. So they make butter and ice cream as well.
I will be posting a recipe in the coming weeks of one of the things I made from the book, but in this post I decided I would make a tribute recipe. It’s a bit unusual, but then again, so am I. It’s an appetizer and a snack food, just in time for the up coming Superbowl (Go Cards!)
I made mashed potatoes. I added lots of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I added a little horseradish sauce and a little sour cream. I mashed that into the back of some large shrimp. I rolled the shrimp first in rice flour and then in crushed potato chips and then deep fried them. Yum. Yum. I served them with at BBQ Ranch dipping sauce but you could dip them in whatever you like.
So the moral of the story is this. If you are a cheese lover and have not had Tillamook. Go find some and eat some. If you like to cook and bake with cheese, go buy this book.

Potato Chip Crusted Tillamook Cheesy Mashed Potato Stuffed Shrimp

1 large Russet potato, peeled, boiled, and then cubbed
1 heaping cup Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
1 tsp horseradish sauce (or more depending on how much heat you want)
1/3 cup sour cream (hey, guess what, Tillamook makes that too)
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups rice flour
2 cups finely crushed potato chips (I used Ruffles because that is what was in the house)
oil for frying (I used canola)

In a deep fryer or deep pot, heat up oil to 375 degrees.

Place potato into a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer). Using the paddle attachment, beat on low for about 30 seconds. Add cheese, horseradish sauce and sour cream. Beat on medium until completely combined. If your potatoes don’t seem creamy enough you can add more sour cream. Set aside.
Butterfly shrimp.
Using your hands (so make sure they are clean ;) ) stuff and mold the potato mixture into the back of the shrimp. It holds about 2 TBSP of filling depending on your definition of jumbo shrimp. Do this to all of the shrimp.
In three shallow bowls, place the beaten eggs in one. Place the rice flour in another. Place the crushed potato chips in another.
Carefully dip shrimp into eggs, then into rice flour. Back into egg, then back into rice flour. One last dip into the eggs and then finally coat with crushed potato chips. Repeat with all of the shrimp.
Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Fry for about 1 minute then flip over shrimp with thongs to see if it is browning. When one side is brown, flip over and let the other side brown.
Remove shrimp from oil with both sides are brown, about 2-4 minutes depending on how hot your oil has gotten.
Place on paper towels to soak up the grease. Serve hot so that the cheese is oozy inside the shrimp. Serve with BBQ Ranch dip or sauce of your choice.

BBQ Ranch Dip

1(1 ounce) envelope of Ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 TBSP barbecue sauce

Whisk together all three ingredients. Place in bowl and serve.

 Now if you are a reader of my other blog then you know this is a repeat as well, though they are new photos. I got the Lowel EGO lights for Christmas and wanted to try them out. I was apprehensive about using lights at first but really like them and am pleased with the results.
I love this soup and felt it was worth putting up again. It’s my go to soup for entertaining. Do not skip the pear and bacon topping as that’s what really makes this soup sing.
Hope everyone has a wonderful 2009 and celebrates saying goodbye to 2008 in a safe manner!

Roasted Onion and Gorgonzola Soup

3 TBSP butter
2 large onions, large diced
2 small baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces Gorgonozla cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP sugar
2 medium pears, peeled, diced
4 ounces bacon, fried and crumbled

Melt 3 TBSP of butter over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are slightly wilted.
Add potatoes, stir to coat with butter. Cook 5 minutes.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft(about 30 minutes). Allow to cool slightly.
Puree soup in food processor.
Add cream and gently reheat soup.
Stir in cheese and adjust seasoning. If too thick, thin with stock.
Heat 1 TBSP butter over medium high heat.
Add pears and sprinkle with sugar. Saute until slightly caramelized.
Garnish soup with pears and bacon.


Fellow Seattle food blogger and foodie friend Traca asked me if I would be interested in trying out a place with her that her friend kept recommending. She asked if she could bring her friend C and I said, sure the more the merrier. We went to a place called Grinders in Shoreline. SERIOUSLY AWESOME FOOD. It was so not what I was expecting. The website made it seem like a hole in the wall kind of place but it really isn’t. It’s actually kind of yuppie. They have a really decent wine and beer list as well. But it is still a sandwich place as you grab your own beer or soda from the case and order at the counter and they bring it out to you.
I started with the Split Pea and Ham soup. Next to my mom’s, I had the best Split Pea and Ham soup ever, and that is saying a lot. You also have to love a sandwich place that puts fresh ground pepper on their soup. You can really tell they care about their ingredients…and it shows in everything I ate there.

I forgot which sandwich Traca had, it was a regular on the menu. I had the special of the day, which was Chicken Parmesan. The chiffonade of basil again shows you their dedication to good, fresh ingredients.
We finished up with dessert of tiramisu. It was your typical tiramisu laced with a nice little kick of liqueur.

It’s a popular place. We were there on a Friday afternoon and not until around 3 pm were the seats not filled, and even then, they were still pretty filled. They are only open Wednesday-Saturday with Sunday, Monday and Tuesday only available for private parties…this again is another sign that it is a good restaurant. They can be closed several days a week and still make money!

Grinders Hot Sands

19811 Aurora Ave N.
Shoreline, WA 98133
(206) 542-0627

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