A Singular Fish

December 31, 2008

A golden rainbow trout stands out among the regular-colored fish in a display at Pure Food Fish in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. We hope you have a “stand-out” 2009! Happy New Year! 

Pondering Petrale Sole

December 29, 2008

Petrale Sole Crusted with Crushed Potato Chips and Tarragon

One afternoon, after trolling the fish stands at the Pike Place Market, I brought home my daily catch of Petrale Sole and had to figure out what to do with a fish that, frankly, I rarely cook.

So with a small bag of good-quality, sea-salt-studded potato chips I’d snagged in a generous goody bag, I let my imagination run loose and created the following loosely constructed “recipe.”

Tarragon-Tinged Sole Fillets

Mix one-half cup each crushed good-quality potato chips with one-half cup of panko (Japanese) bread crumbs. Add about two tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon, a dash of cayenne, and salt to taste (you might not need any at all, depending on the salt level in the chips). 

Now, with a fork or a whisk, stir together one large egg and two or three tablespoons of milk. 

Rinse and thoroughly pat dry about one-and-one-half pounds of petrale sole fillets, then dredge them through the egg wash and pat in the crumbs. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place about one tablespoon of unsalted butter on the foil. Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the butter to melt and turn light brown.

Arrange the fish fillets without crowding over the baking sheet and cook seven to 10 minutes, or until the fish just flakes and the crust is crispy. 

Divide among four or six dinner plates (depending on appetites!) and serve immediately. 

Serafina Selects New Exec Chef

December 27, 2008

Serafina owner and founder Susan Kaufman hugs new executive chef Dylan Giordan at the popular Eastlake eatery.

Dylan Giordan (right, above), Chef de Cuisine at Serafina Osteria and Enoteca, has been promoted by owner Susan Kaufman (left, above) to the position of executive chef. He replaces John Neumark, who will vacate his posts as executive chef, wine director, and catering director at the Eastlake Avenue restaurant by year’s end to pursue other passions. Salomon Navarro will be taking over the wine program, and Rachel Shreffler will become the new Pastry Chef.    

Chef Giordan has been at Serafina since 2001, acting as chef de cuisine during the past four years. Growing up in the U.S. heartland, near the dairy farms north of Chicago, Giordan has long felt an intangible connection to the land and its gifts. His earliest food memories involve picking snap peas and cherry tomatoes from the vine and eating them instantly, the smell of the earth and stem still strong. 

His first job was in a pizza parlor run by a Sicilian pizza rebel, Angelo DiGiacomo. Through college, Giordan continued his restaurant training, eventually working under Mark Chmielewski at Toque in Chicago. After moving to the Pacific Northwest, Giordan worked for Christine Keff and Steve Smirstik at Flying Fish. In 2001, Giordan decided to follow his roots –to go Italian–and has added handmade cured meats, cheeses, ice cream, pastas, and sausages to Serafina’s repertoire.


Dine Around Seattle Triumphs Again!

December 25, 2008

We’ve always been big proponents of the 30 for $30 program held in Seattle in the months of March and November to help pump up the local restaurant economy. In November, we were wowed by Barolo Ristorante’s, the Dahlia Lounge’s, and Eva’s three-course menus.

Here’s the Dahlia White Salad, fluffy with frisée, cucumber, parmesan, truffle oil, and lemon. 

This Fennel Salad is part of the Dahlia Lounge\'s 30 for $30 promotion.

And here’s the Pan-Roasted Idaho Trout with Newaukum Valley Farms Potatoes, Apple Sauce, Celery Lead, and Brown-Butter Vinaigrette. It paired perfectly with a glass of Felsner 2007 Grüner Veltliner. 

The trout entrée at the Dahlia Lounge\'s 30 for $30 promotion in November 2008.

And finally, dessert. Rustic Apple Tart with Spiced Maple Syrup and Honey Ice Cream!

A fillo-wrapped apple tart glistens on the plate at The Dahlia Lounge.

Meanwhile, Eva offered apples in one of its first-course offerings: a refreshing Cameo Apple Salad with Blue Cheese, Cress, Toasted Hazelnuts, and Roasted-Shallot Vinaigrette. 

Eva\'s Cameo Apple and Mache Salad is one of the first-course offering during the 30 for $30 promotion in November 2008.

And here’s the Seared Rare Albacore Tuna with Moroccan Caponata and French Green Lentil & Rice Pilaf, an entrée I enjoyed immensely.

The Albacore Tuna at Eva was outstanding during the November 2008 30 for $30 promotion.

And the piece de resistance, the Eva Trio, which included Milk Chocolate Pudding, Pumpkin Crumble Cheesecake, and Apple-Walnut Cake with Maple Frosting.

The Eva Trio dessert, served during 30 for $30 in November 2008, was truly a treat.

We can hardly wait until March. . .


Icon’s Iconic Wild Salmon Cakes

December 23, 2008

Icon Grill\'s Wild Salmon Cakes comes with perfectly cooked Shoestring Fries

An appetizer-sized portion of icon Grill’s Wild Salmon Cakes made a perfect “light” meal when paired with the eclectic eatery’s Grilled Pear Salad. 

The Loden and Voya Voyage into Vancouver

December 21, 2008

Tourism BC sent out the following release with news of a chic new hotel and restaurant opening in Vancouver:

“What do you have when you blend a chic boutique hotel with the culinary creativity of an award-winning chef?  Simply the stylish makings of Vancouver’s newest urban retreat. And then some. October marked the official unveiling of the highly-anticipated Loden Vancouver, alongside Voya, its fashionable 80-seat flagship restaurant, helmed by classically-trained Chef Marc-Andre Choquette.

“Complete with a private dining room, Voya evokes the sophisticated feel of a 40s-style eatery with its blend of rich upholsteries, bold patterns, sleek, lacquered tables and crystal chandeliers. Taking its name from the notion that food can prove a journey, or voyage, unto itself, Voya promises clever, seasonal menus and offerings which adhere to both the Green Table and Ocean Wise sustainable programs.  And that’s just the menus. 

“Modern meets nature at this hotel which houses 77 contemporary rooms, lush amenities and a design that mimics the city’s natural beauty; Loden’s curved glass, natural stone and copper exterior are reminiscent of ocean views from BC’s shores.  And should you look to take the experience sky-high, head to one of Loden’s six luxe suites, including the posh 1,600-square-foot penthouse Halo retreat.  A multi-bedroom suite, Halo offers cool calm complete with views, thanks to a lush wrap-around outdoor terrace. 
“Situated in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, a neighborhood that traces the city’s shoreline, Loden promises a sophisticated blending of styles, tastes and textures.”

Elk Soup Wins Wild About Game Contest

December 19, 2008

John Gorham, chef of Toro Bravo in Portland, took top honors for his Elk Soup at the Nicky USA Eighth Annual Wild About Game cook-off.

A press release alerted me that John Gorham, chef/owner of Portland’s Toro Bravo, created the first-place-winning dish–Elk Soup–at Nicky USA’s eighth annual Wild About Game Cook-Off. Each of the 10 participating Portland- and Seattle-based chefs had two hours to prepare a unique dish using wild- and farm-raised game or fowl for the panel of three judges.

The winning chefs included first-place winner John Gorham of Toro Bravo for his Elk Soup with a Kidney Mousse Toast. “The soup was prepared with handmade noodles, tongue, chanterelles, seared cauliflower, sliced raw salted tenderloin, charred tenderloin, and chives in a savory broth. The mousse included kidneys, bacon, foie gras, apples, onions, and chanterelles,” according to the press release. 

Second-place chef Dustin Clark of Wildwood in Portland created Creamed Lacinato-Kale-Stuffed Rabbit Saddle with a Leek-and-Cauliflower Ragout and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Olives.

Third-place winner Pascal Chureau, of Portland’s Lucier and Fenouil, cooked up Pan-Roasted Squab Breast with Toasted Farro & Cabbage Paupiette, Chanterelles, and Coffee Consommé.

Not designed for the faint of heart, vegetarians, or casual cooks, nonetheless, here’s the prize-winning recipe (untested by yours truly, but try it at your own risk!).

Elk Soup

Serves 6

Homemade Pasta

12 egg yolks

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

19 ounces flour

Blend wet ingredients in blender, then mix with flour and salt with dough hook until ball forms.  Roll pasta and cut into thin noodles.  Just before severing, cook pasta in salted water, strain and toss with fresh parsley.

Kidney Mousse

2 elk kidneys soaked in milk for an half hour

4 ounces foie gras

3 ounces bacon

1/2 apple, diced

1/2 onion, diced

5 chanterelles, chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary and sage

4 ounces butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup bourbon

In a very hot sauté pan, sear off kidneys until very brown, yet not over cooked.  Sear off foie gras.  Sauté bacon until crisp then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until everything has color and is cooked through. Put everything in blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve and cool.

Elk Broth and Tongue

Elk Tenderloin scrapes (from the Tenderloin preparation)

1 Elk Kidney

1 Elk Tongue

1 apple, diced 

2 cups chanterelles 

1 carrot, diced

1 rib of celery, diced

2 onions, diced

2 ounces fresh ginger, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

3 Arbol chilies

1 stick of cinnamon

4 cups of water 

Sear tenderloin scraps, kidney and tongue in a very hot pan.  Once the meat has nice color add everything else except the water.   Cook until the mixture has nice color.  Deglaze with water and simmer for 90 minutes, strain and set aside tongue.  Season the broth with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice.  Just before serving clean tongue and rub meat with salt.  Cut tongue into small cubes.

Elk Tenderloin 

1 Elk Tenderloin

2T of each rosemary, garlic, and sage

Kosher salt 

Black pepper
Clean tenderloin, reserving scraps for Elk Broth.  Cut the tenderloin in half.  Pack one half of the Tenderloin in salt and place in the freezer.  Rub the other half with rosemary, sage, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sear the rubbed tenderloin in a very hot pan, but leave it very rare. Hand slice.  Once salted tenderloin is firm remove from freezer.  Slice very thin on a meat slicer or carefully by hand.


6 perfect chanterelles

1/2 cup of Elk Broth
Poach chanterelles in elk broth and season just before serving soup. Reserve for plating.


1 cup of small cauliflower flowers

1 head of garlic 

1 stem of rosemary

1/2 cup salt

4 cups water

2 tablespoons butter

 Boil rosemary, garlic, and salt in water.  Quickly blanch cauliflower and pat dry.  Sear in a very hot pan with butter.  Reserve for plating.

To Serve

Place the homemade pasta noodles in bottom of individual serving bowl.  Next add chanterelles, cubes of salted tongue, seared cauliflower, then add salted elk tenderloin slices, seared elk tenderloin slices and pour hot broth on top.  Garnish soup with chives.  Serve with grilled rustic bread and the Elk Kidney Mousse.


A Newly Rediscovered Place for Brunch

December 17, 2008

You know we’ve marveled about the wonderful brunch/lunch options at Etta’s Seafood, Steelhead Diner, and Cafe Campagne, places we frequent on the weekends with some regularity. 

But recently, when all these places were doing a land-office business, we strolled over to Maximilien to get the lay of the land. Luckily, there was a table for two in the lovely front room, with sweeping views of Puget Sound that bounced from the plate-glass windows to the gilded vintage mirrors. 

Ooh-la-la. Maximilien in the Market\'s Steak Frites is a classic interpretation.

Spencer enjoyed the classic Steak Frites, a hearty trio of hanger steak, French fries, and perfectly sunny-side-up eggs hovering atop.

The Salmon Caesar Salad at Maximilien is a generous and well-prepared version about town.

I opted for the dieter’s special (with the holidays upcoming and all). Here’s my Salmon Caesar, with its perfectly grilled, pretty-in-pink salmon fillet atop good greens and a pleasantly Caesar-y sauce. Cherry tomatoes, red onions, and walnuts were other tasty touches. A glass of bubbly (French Cremant) made for a pleasant pairing. 



ARTful Donuts

December 15, 2008

Pastry chef Ryan Witcher is doing great things in his new post at ART Restaurant and Lounge in the Four Seasons Seattle Hotel and Residences. We’ve enjoyed his Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate–chocolate mousse cake, white chocolate espresso foam, and coffee butterscotch sauce; Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta with Sauternes Ice and White Chocolate Crisp; and his ART Cheesecake with Citrus Sauce and Mascarpone Cream.

But for sheer naughtiness and comfort food, his Donuts in a Box win the prize. Here’s a shot of the ‘nuts in all their glory. 

Pastry chef Ryan Witcher pumps out a mean box \'o donuts at ART Restaurant and Lounge.


Keeping Wet with DRY Soda

December 13, 2008

Since its debut two years ago, I’ve been a big fan of DRY Soda’s savory beverages in flavors that include Kumquat, Lemongrass, Rhubarb, and Lavender. Good news is that last month, founder Sharelle Klaus introduced two new (yummy!) flavors–Juniper Berry and Vanilla Bean. Here are shots of the newest offerings.

DRY Soda Co.\'s two new flavors--Vanilla Bean and Juniper Berry.

You can read the article I wrote about DRY Soda in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine. 


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