Wild-Rice-Stuffed Trout

February 28, 2013

Wild-Rice-Stuffed Trout

Wine Varietal: Oregon Pinot Noir

Serves 4

A hearty stuffing studded with walnuts, dried cherries, and green onions goes great with the mild flavor of farm-raised trout, and would be a particularly desirable meal served with steamed or sautéed ruby chard. Pair the stuffed fish and chard with an Oregon Pinot Noir.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small white or yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed and well drained

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of ground allspice

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped (See Cook’s Hint, below)

1/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries, diced

2 green onions, finely chopped

4 whole, dressed trout, 3/4 pound each, rinsed, drained, and patted dry

Additional salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; add the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. Add the wild rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring often to coat the individual rice grains with the oil.

2. Add the water, chicken stock, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the allspice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 45 minutes, or until the rice kernels blossom and the rice is tender. Remove the rice from the heat, drain off any excess water, and stir in the walnuts, dried cherries, and green onions.

3. Ten minutes before cooking the fish, preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet large enough to hold the trout without crowding with oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Lightly sprinkle  salt and pepper inside the cavities of the fish. Spoon one-quarter of the stuffing into the cavity of each fish and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the outside of the trout with the remaining olive oil and cook 18 to 20 minutes, or until the trout are opaque through the thickest part (just behind the head).

5. Divide the trout among individual plates and serve immediately.

Cook’s Hint: To toast the walnuts, place them in a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often until they begin to turn light brown and become aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool and chop as directed.

Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Top-10 Drink Menu Trends for 2013

February 25, 2013

In our last blog post, we cited our 13 top culinary trends  for 2013.

Today we cover the top-10 drink menu trends for beverages, gathered from members of the United States Bartenders Guild.

United States Bartenders Guild Top-10 Drink Menu Trends for 2013

1. Onsite barrel-aged drinks.

2. Food-liquor/cocktail pairings.

3. Culinary cocktails using fresh, savory ingredients.

4. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor.

5. Locally produced spirits.

6. Locally sourced fruit, berries, and produce.

7. Beer sommeliers (cicerones).

8. Regional signature cocktails.

9. Beer-based cocktails.

10. Locally produced beer.

Source: National Restaurant Association

Northwest Wining and Dining 2013 Top Culinary Trends

February 11, 2013

While I’m working out on the elliptical trainer at the gym, I like to read food- and beverage-related articles I’ve clipped from magazines or printed from the Internet.

Of special interest is anything having to do with culinary trends. These articles tend to come out at year-end or early in the New Year. So this year I began saving them early on and then read them en masse.

Below you’ll find my compilation of a baker’s dozen of the top trends that I see on the horizon for the coming year.

My trends are taken from a variety of sources including Nation’s Restaurant News, Restaurant Hospitality, AllRecipes.com, Associated Press, the National Restaurant Association, Sterling-Rice Group, Technomic, The Chicago Tribune, and the Food & Beverage Specialty Team of MSLGROUP North America.

Will any or all of these trends move into the mainstream in 2013? Stay tuned!

Northwest Wining and Dining 2013 Top Culinary Trends  

1. Locally Sourced and Grown Meats, Seafood, and Produce: Locavore Movement still white-hot. Hyper-local (restaurant gardens and rooftop beehives) even better. Wild crafting (rescuing heirlooms from obscurity or extinction) becoming important to some chefs. Environmentally sustainable as a culinary theme.

2. Healthy Restaurant Items: Gluten-free menus; chefs add brown rice, high-fiber grains, and vitamin-rich vegetable broths; chefs are more willing to accommodate special dietary requests from diners.

3. Vegetarian Dishes: Meatless meals, flexitarians, vegans, innovative salads, steamed and roasted vegetable dishes. Use of “new” and gluten-free grains including quinoa, amaranth, and millet. Kohlrabi Bourguignon an entrée at AQ restaurant in San Francisco. Vegetables serve as main dishes, not just supporting players. Millet may be the next quinoa.

4. Casualization of Dining: Food trucks, pop-up restaurants, “The Food Truck Handbook.”

5. Food in Small Packages: Cake pops, chicken bites, mini cinnamon buns, mini milkshakes, mini corn dogs, cheesecake bites, sliders. Small plates meant for sharing are being replaced by small plates designed for one person only, which leads to a truly customized dining experience.

6. Snacks as Meals: Snacks are now accounting for one in five “meal occasions,” bar food and happy hour remain wildly popular, along with tapas, mezze, upscale bar bites.

7. Asian Food Popular: Noodle dishes, pho, ramen, layered noodle bowls, fragrant soups, mixed-texture salads, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Sriracha sauce.

8. Bold Flavors: Spicy food, real ethnic food, South American (Brazil, Argentina, Peru) foods including South American-style grilled meats and ceviche, and drinks such as the Caipirinha and Pisco Sour.

9. New Cuts of Meat: Cuts from seldom-used pieces, e.g., Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major. Sustainable use of the “whole animal.”

10. Cocktail Craze: Bars dictate future flavors, craft cocktails, barrel-aged cocktails, micro distilleries, “girly” liquors (cake-flavored Vodka, Skinny Girl products).

11. Bitter and Sour Flavors: Fermented cherry juice, varietal vinegars, homemade bitters, sour beer, kefir (naturally fermented milk).

12. Trendy Preservation: Cured, brined, pickled, dried, dehydrated, salted, and fermented foods, kimchi (Korean pickled vegetable).

13. “Hot” Ingredients and Flavors: Hibiscus, pomegranate, anything coconut (coconut water, coconut nectar as a sweetener, even coconut oil which was once demonized as a “bad fat), stevia, Greek-style yogurt. Leafy greens including kale and chard, plus beet, turnip, and mustard greens. Arugula a main salad component.

Lisa Ekus Wins 2012 Outstanding Career Award

February 7, 2013

Thrilled to share the news that Lisa Ekus, my longtime literary agent and dear friend, who’s also founder and president of  The Lisa Ekus Group, will be awarded the honor of 2012 Outstanding Career by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau with the goal of recognizing and rewarding international culinary talent. Awards are given to cookbooks of excellence and culinary professionals from all over the globe.

The award will be handed out on February 23, 2013, in Paris, France, at the Gourmand Awards Gala event. Past winners of the Outstanding Career Award include Chuck Williams, Richard Grausman, and Dun Gifford.

From the press release I learned that, in her more than 30 years in the culinary industry, Lisa has cooked dinner for Julia Child; media trained Emeril Lagasse and Padma Lakshmi; secured book deals for more than 150 authors (me included–thanks, Lisa!); created culinary partnerships with leading manufacturers such as Lipton, Del Monte, Keebler, General Mills, Kraft, and Williams-Sonoma; and represented numerous restaurants, books, and food companies for public relations, including American Roland Food Corp.

Lisa’s cookbook collection numbers more than 7,000 volumes (and counting!). She also works closely with a number of charitable organizations, including The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, PeaceTrees Vietnam, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Lisa Ekus Group began as a public relations agency—the first of its kind in the United States devoted entirely to cookbooks, chefs, and food products. The company has grown into a full-service culinary agency providing media training, public relations, consulting, talent representation, and literary-agency services to a world of culinary talent.

In 2000, The Lisa Ekus Group began offering Literary Agenting services and has since negotiated more than 350 book deals with such publishers as Andrews McMeel, Running Press, Artisan, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Penguin, Robert Rose, Simon & Schuster, Sterling, Ten Speed Press, and my personal favorite, Wiley, publisher of “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.”

Congratulations to Lisa for being such a pioneer in the culinary world. And personal thanks for all you have done to further and enhance my career.