Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shooting the Goat

Today I filmed the first segment for a project that I'm working on with the Seattle Channel. We are putting together something called "Savoring Seattle" that will air as part of their weekly show CityStream. Savoring Seattle will feature neighborhood restaurants that are those places you wish you'd already eaten at, but haven't heard about yet. Today's shoot featured the delightful owner of Stumbling Goat Bistro, Erin Fetridge, and the lovely and talented executive chef, Seth Caswell. Erin was an absolute hoot, and it was such fun to hang out and hear about the start of the restaurant, to talk local and sustainable with them, and of course, to EAT!

Seth quickly put together a couple of yummy salads to use in the shoot: one featured greens from Full Circle Farms with a beautiful basil/mint dressing and the Seastack Cheese from Mt. Townsend (if you haven't tried this cheese yet, please stop right now and go get some. seriously). The other (which I chowed down) was a twist on a salad nicoise with gorgeous St. Jude Albacore tuna that was barely seared and then layered with mizuna and sea salt crackers from Essential Baking Co. This had an absolutely sinful dressing that mixed hard boiled eggs with locally made pickles and other delectable goodies.

Needless to say, I dug in as soon as possible!

I think that Savoring Seattle will air sometime in mid-June, and I will post more info about the segment as I have it. If all goes well, we'll shoot some more restaurants for CityStream.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Poached Cherries

Yesterday, as the boyfriend and I were preparing to hibernate from the rain and watch a movie, I used the last of a bottle of cabernet to poach some of the season's first cherries. We had found these gems at Lyall Farms' stall at the Ballard Farmer's Market, and while they were delicious out of hand, I wanted to poach some for future use. I added a little fresh thyme from my garden and once the cherries were done, I reduced the poaching liquid into a beautiful, viscous syrup in which I stored the finished cherries. These might be a perfect topping for the rhubarb sorbet. If they last that long!

Cherries in Cabernet Syrup

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
8 oz. red wine (cabernet, merlot, syrah)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 sprigs fresh thyme

Bring last the wine, sugar and water to a simmer in large saucepan. Add thyme and simmer about 3 minutes. Add cherries and poach for about 5 minutes. The cherries should be soft, but not mushy. Strain cherries from liquid and set aside. You can put them into a glass jar at this point if you like. Raise the heat under the saucepan. Reduce the poaching liquid until it is syrupy and slightly thick. Pour over the cherries and let cool before refrigerating.
Once refrigerated, these will last several weeks in the fridge. Use on ice cream, pound cake, as a topping for lemon tarts, layered with whipped cream...

I Couldn't Decide

what to do with the gorgeous ruby red rhubarb that I bought at the farmer's market, so I had my cake and ate it too. So to speak. First, I made the rhubarb sorbet that I had been planning on. I found the recipe on www.epicurious.com a couple of days ago, and it sounded so yummy and refreshing. But thinking back to the morning a few weeks ago, that I dolloped rhubarb compote into my morning oatmeal, I couldn't resist making a little bit more compote too. Call it instant gratification. So I chopped the rest of the rhubarb and macerated it with some sugar and a little Tuhuya River honey. Crazy good! So good in fact, that the boyfriend and I started dreaming up cocktails to use it in. We had a contest ( a very subjective contest, where we were the competitors and the judges) to make the best rhubarb drink. First we mixed the compote with vodka and Dry lemongrass soda , then we tried the lavender soda. I think the lavender won that contest. But it was the ginger rhubarb cocktail that was my favorite:

1 oz vodka

2 scant Tbsp rhubarb compote

8 oz spicy ginger beer/ale


float of peach schnapps, chambord, etc.

Fill a 12 oz. glass with ice. Mix the vodka with the compote until smooth. Pour this mixture over ice. Top with ginger beer. Stir gently. Float a liqueur of your choice on top. Yum!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This morning I baked

and then baked some more. And then I chopped a little. UBS (my place of employ) is hosting the lovely and talented Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini fame. In her honor, I prepared several delectable treats from her new cookbook: pear, roquefort, walnut madelines; chocolate zucchini cake and two olive tapenade, which we'll serve with a baguette from Tall Grass Bakery in Ballard.

The madelines are absolutely delicious! (yes, I sampled already--we call it quality control) The pears give them a slight sweetness that meets the tanginess of the roquefort beautifully. The walnuts add a perfect little bite. They were plump and crispy around the edges but moist and slightly chewy inside. I may not share them at the book signing tonight after all.

The cake is mixed mostly in a food processor which I had never, in all of my years of catering and pastry work, tried. In fact, after a couple dire experiences (glutinous mashed potato "soup" and a nightmare cream cheese frosting disaster) I had relegated my processor to dicing and grinding. It will be interesting to see what the texture of the cake is. (I haven't tried this one yet-- it's harder to steal a slice of cake with no one noticing...) The batter looked silky and gorgeous--a chocolately velvet that was cobbled by the additions of grated zucchini and chocolate chips.

The tapenades are very simple: olives, anchovies, capers, garlic and a little olive oil and tomato paste. Clotilde recommends hand-chopping the ingredients for maximum flavor, and the result is a beautiful, chunky spread. A little French food and maybe a little French music tonight--can't go wrong with that!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Rainy Day at the Farmers Market

but it was still pretty crowded down in Ballard today. I love the signs of spring: I found some warty looking sunchokes, plump morels and the last of the late season rhubarb.
A loaf of rosemary bread and some pinkish double tulips are going with me to a party later today. As I was cradling the tulips and some beautiful purple turnips in the crook of my elbow (I forgot my shopping basket) one of the vendors said, "The way you're holding those turnips, you look like you should be accepting your crown."

When I was younger

my family lived in a house with an open kitchen. The breakfast room (where we ate all of our meals, not just breakfast) was separated from the kitchen by a counter. This was the perfect set up for serving food, for chatting with Mom while she cooked and most importantly for me, this was the ideal place for my imaginary cooking show.
I would often corral my sister into sitting at the breakfast room table, while I did cooking demonstrations across the counter as though I was on TV. Since this was pre-Food Network, my influences were classic: Julia Child and the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

vs. ?

the perfect balance