Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Photo Dump

There is nothing like a good stroll through Pike's Place in the late fall, crowds have disappeared but all of the treasures remain.
Skillet is now rolling out fried chicken and waffles! Every Sunday in Wallingford, my first epic waffle wrap was topped with bacon jam, black pepper and a liberal sprinkling of fresh herbs.
Pie making scraps sure do look pretty in the California sunlight.

My camera died just as Thanksgiving dinner was pulled together. My Mom's camera stood in for a quick plate shot. Hope to have a new camera in my hands soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cranberry Chutney with Dried Cherries and Cinnamon

I wanted to use Molly Wizenberg's exact cranberry chutney recipe with crystallized ginger and raspberry vinegar, but when you are in another city, in your Grandmother's kitchen, not all of the ingredients you expect will be on hand. I winged this one, and it turned out amazing. I still used her base recipe of apricot preserves, dried cherries, lots of spices and of course cranberries. I love a good combine and boil cranberry sauce, especially one with lots of different flavors and ingredients. I always make on along these lines and this year it joined the line up of two other great cranberry sauces. My mom always makes a horseradish and sour cream based relish and my Grandma made a quick raw sauce by throwing cranberries and a whole orange in a food processor with some sugar. I love Thanksgiving as an excuse to make cranberry sauce, I love it, I think it is a great condiment and it comes in so many different forms we could serve it all the time on different meat, bread, salad, etc... While cranberries are still in season I believe I will keep making tangy sauces, relishes and spreads out of this tart, red fruit.
Cranberry Chutney with Dried Cherries and Cinnamon adapted from Molly Wizenberg

17 ounces apricot preserves
1 cup of water
A pinch of salt
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
2 bags fresh cranberries, rinsed with nasty ones discarded
1 1/3 cups dried tart cherries

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the apricot preserves, water, salt, cinnamon sticks, dried cherries and Grand Marnier. Stir to mix and place over medium-high heat.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and them reduce heat to medium. Add the cranberries and cook until they are just starting to pop. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Fish out the cinnamon sticks and let warm to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crusted Butternut Squash

I am sad to admit, that this is my first butternut squash of the season. I have used acorn squash, and even sugar pie pumpkins but my favorite golden squash had not graced my kitchen until just now. Such a shame because I really do love this squash. It has such a great flavor and it naturally silky smooth and creamy. I find them pretty darn easy to use, if you just peel them with a vegetable peeler first and then you are good to dice and cook. This recipe, could work magic on just about any squash, or root vegetable. A simple, brilliant sprinkle of crunchy bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and plenty of garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. They come out almost like little pizzas topped with all the best ingredients.
Crusted Butternut Squash adapted from Sprouted Kitchen who was inspired by Plenty

1 Butternut Squash (about 2lbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice it in half length wise, discard the seeds, cut into 1/4-inch slices.
3. On a parchment lined, or well greased baking pan toss the squash in the oil and nutmeg. Spread them out in a single layer.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, herbs, salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the topping over the squash.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are browned and the squash is cooked.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dot's Delicatessen

Dot's Delicatessen who shares much more information about their menu on their Facebook than their webpage, is absolutely worth perusing. It is the lastest, greatest, tiny restaurant with barely any seating located on the same block as other Seattle hot-spots but it is worth the line, or worth just eating at odd hours in the afternoon to avoid the lunch rush. I felt immediately comfortable in the space, like I was in a warm, family kitchen around the holidays. Maybe it was partly stepping in off the blustery cold street, but it was so welcoming, it smelled amazing, the cases full of fresh sausage and pate were intriguing and even better was watching the other patrons already hovering over their huge, hot sandwiches. The walls are lined with carefully selected, mustards, capers, ciders and beverages in glass bottles. Local beer is on tap, and cans of Rainier provide a lighter option.
Dot's is all about their house made pates, sausages, and locally raised all natural meat. They have a short everyday menu, supplemented with daily specials. You can always get a BLT or one of the best Rubens I have ever had, but depending on the day their might be a knockout porchetta sandwich or a grass-fed steak sandwich. I even hear rumor that chicken pot pies are appearing this week. I didn't expect a mind-blowingly amazing spiced squash soup from such a meat focused joint, but that is what we got. One of the best soups of the season, creamy and flavorful. Fries, salads and seasonal vegetables are also available to compliment the meaty meals. This whole Facebook usage, means that I am updated about the daily specials everyday and that means here I am on my computer with my mouthwatering, deciding if their is enough time to get over there before work. Today, their is not, but hopefully another day soon.
Dot’s Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jalapeno, Cheddar and Cilantro Cornbread Scones

It was chili night. An impromptu gathering turned into one of those most enjoyable cozy, warm, dinner party gatherings that leave you exuberantly happy. We ended up sitting around on couches with bowls of chili topped with Ethiopian style collard greens and cornbread scones. Beers and glasses of wine perched nearby as we held our bowls close and devoured the delicious combination of meaty, flavorful chili with a pile of wilted greens and warm, jalapeno, cilantro scones. Bowls and glasses were refiled as we told stories, laughed and enjoyed the company of truly spectacular friends. There is nothing like warm conversation over a warm bowl with something delicious on top to help soak it all up.
Jalapeno, Cheddar and Cilantro Cornbread Scones adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted from NYMagazine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, separated
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, diced
2 small jalapeno peppers, minced (I used 1 red and 1 green)
1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
2. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and saute the jalapenos in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cook, then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and cilantro. Coat them with one tablespoon of the flour.
3. Combine the remaining flour with the corn flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.
4. Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeno-cilantro mixture to the dough and mix until everything in incorporated.
5. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter.
6. make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Scones are always best the first day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb

I have been telling everyone about this buckle because I think it is just about the most beautiful fall dessert. It is like bright red jems tucked away in a snowy hillside and on a blustery day it is the just the thing to brighten the spirit. It is very similar to a coffee cake with a crumbly topping and light cake made with orange zest and vanilla extract However, nobody seems to hear anything past buckle. They without a doubt, stop and ask me, what a buckle is. Nobody has every hear of one, and I guess I hadn't either until I heard a great winter cookbook called Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More. I love, love fruit desserts and this book is chock full of them. A buckle, less know than the crumble or cobbler, is more like a cake with fruit folded inside of it and sprinkled on top. When the buckle bakes the fruit and the cake absorb into each other. Next time I wouldn't hesitate add even more cranberries. I love their tartness and I would love to up the fruit to cake ratio. And I guess next I will have to make a pandowdie, because I am sure that absolutely nobody I know has heard of one of those.
Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More

Cranberry Buckle
Nonstick spray to grease pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup Vanilla Crumb (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
3. Using a handheld mixer with beaters, cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternation with the sour cream in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Fold in 1 cup of the cranberries. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
6. Distribute the remaining 1 cup cranberries over the cake and sprinkle with the prepared vanilla crumb topping.
7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm on top.

Vanilla Crumb
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into little cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine flour and brown sugar in a small bowl.
2. Add butter. Mix with hands, rubbing the butter between finger tips until the mixture is an even consistency with small pea sized clumps.
3. Drizzles the vanilla extract over the mixture and mix to combine.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mobile Feast at the Seattle Center

I was worried about the weather when the Seattle Center planned their first Mobile Feast for the last weekend in October, but they lucked out. Last weekend was beautiful and provided yet another excellent space to try the delicious creations from Seattle street carts, for one day only, in one central location.
Big Food was testing out their new oyster bbq-ing trailer attachment. They were running a touch slow as their worked out the kinks in the new operations but we waited to try the balsamic bacon oyster, red curry sauce oyster everyone's favorite; lemon juice and fresh dill oyster.
We all ended up with huge, delicious meat sandwiches, it did seem to be the theme of the day. The Hot Meatloaf Sandwich and Jersey Boy Sub from Blue Truck Special were delicious. A spicy harissa pepper sauce added some heat to the meatloaf. The Jersey Boy was loaded with flavorful, thinly sliced cuts of meat and topped with crunchy lettuce and red wine vinegar.
The house special from Barriga Llena was a monster of a torta filled with breaded steak, Spanish chorizo, pork leg steak, sausage and queso. It was ridiculously meaty, but just as ridiculously delicious.
A burger had to round out the serious of meat sandwiches for the day. BUNS was the burger choice in our crowd and they served up a very well done all natural burger. We all enjoyed a palate cleanser of Parfait's mint stracciatella before we hit the road to digest so we could start preparing our next meal.