Recipe of the Month: Seafood Chili

December 30, 2013

Dungeness Crab photo

Seafood Chili

Wine Varietal: Merlot

Serves 4

My late mother was a sweet, quirky woman with deep Southern United States roots (Georgia and Florida). Among her many idiosyncrasies, she was very superstitious. She claimed that on New Year’s Eve, everyone should eat black-eyed peas in order to ensure making lots of money in the New Year. Since I don’t particularly like black-eyed peas, I try to at least eat a few kidney or black beans on New Year’s, and have prepared this recipe many times in honor of Mom. You can use any firm, fleshy whitefish (even leftover whitefish fillet chunks will do), but I especially like halibut or lingcod. For one particularly decadent New Year’s Eve supper, I made the chili with Dungeness crab, Alaskan spot prawns, and sea scallops with great success. For those people (like me) who don’t eat pork, rest assured that although the bacon gives the chili a musky undertone and an added bit of texture, the recipe works equally as well without it.

3 slices bacon, plus reserved bacon grease or 1 1/2 tab lespoons vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or well-drained canned tomatoes, plus additional for garnish

1 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 (7-ounce) can whole mild green chiles, drained and chopped, or 2 (4-ounce) cans diced mild green chiles, drained

3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 to 1 1/4 cups dry red wine or water

1/2 pound uncooked or cooked halibut, or other firm, fleshy whitefish fillets, skin and bones removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15-1/4 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again

Sour cream, for garnish

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Place the bacon slices on a paper towel to drain and pour 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease (or the vegetable oil) into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, mild green chiles, and Tabasco and stir well. Add 1 cup of the red wine, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more red wine 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition.

3. After the mixture has simmered for 35 minutes, crumble the bacon and add to the chili. If using uncooked fish, add to the chili and stir gently to mix. Cook just until the fish is transluce nt, about 5 to 7 minutes. If using cooked fish, cook the bacon an additional 5 minutes after adding it, then add the fish and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the fish is warmed through.

4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the kidney beans until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

5. When the fish is cooked or warmed through, divide the chili among individual plates and place a spoonful of sautéed beans beside it. Top with a dollop of sour cream, and sprinkle with additional chopped tomatoes and parsley.

Cook’s Hint: Unlike many chilis that are soup-like, this rendition is thick and chunky, which is the reason I suggest serving it on a plate rather than in a soup bowl. With the sautéed kidney beans on one side and the seafood chili on the other, the dish makes a beautiful presentation.

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.



James Beard Foundation’s Top-10 Best Dishes (Plus 5 Cocktails!) of 2013

December 23, 2013

Fat-Rice-Galdones-PhotographyFat-Rice northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Ever wonder what an organization as venerable as The James Beard Foundation considers the best dishes of 2013?

Canon restaurant seattle jamie boudreaux hooker cocktail northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Me, too. Here’s a link where you will find 10 best dishes, and five cocktails, including one from Seattle’s very own Jamie Boudreau, owner/founder of Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium, for The Hooker.

There’s even a link to the recipe for this intriguing amalgam of Bourbon, Scotch, and beer, inspired by a song by John Lee Hooker, of course.

The cocktail is a very popular option at Canon. Way to go, Jamie!

Enjoy Trapeze Acts This Week at The Pink Door

December 16, 2013

The pink door aerialist northwest wining and dining website link

Are you thinking of doing some holiday shopping downtown or at the Pike Place Market this week?

Want a truly unique place to enjoy a very special holiday lunch?

Then how about making a reservation at The Pink Door, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., today (December 16) through Saturday, December 21?

Not only will you be able to enjoy Pink Door perennial favorites such as the Antipasti Plate or the Vegetarian Lasagne, but while lunching you can watch the PD’s holiday aerial show–a seasonal spectacle not to be missed!

The Pink Door will feature trapeze performances in the dining room to entertain and delight midday lunch guests, frenzied last-minute shoppers, and children of all ages.

While the highlight of the lunch hour may be the holiday performance overhead, The Pink Door also dazzles on the table.

The restaurant’s lunchtime panini party features five satisfying sandwiches priced from just $11 to $12. And while The Pink Door’s ciabatta bread is a favorite, gluten-free options are also available.

For dessert, don’t miss the luscious Butterscotch Budino (recipe below, generously shared by Pink Door “Padrona,” Jackie Roberts), which is back by popular demand. This incredibly rich and creamy Italian pudding–laced with Dewar’s Scotch!–is sure to satisfy and delight any sweet tooth.

You’ll discover The Pink Door at 1919 Post Alley behind, of course, a pink door!

The Pink Door's Butterscotch Budino northwest wining and dining website linkThe Pink Door Butterscotch Budino

Serves 6

Enjoy The Pink Door’s luscious Butterscotch Budino throughout the holidays for $7. Made in-house, with real Dewar’s Scotch and only the freshest ingredients, Butterscotch Budino is layered in a parfait glass with Chantilly cream and garnished with a Pizzelle crisp vanilla waffle cookie.

1/4 cup milk

3 cups heavy cream

6 oz Dark Moscavado Sugar (Or Dark Brown Sugar)

2 oz light brown sugar

1 oz cornstarch (by weight)

1/8 tbs. salt

Combine above ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pot. Whisk well. On medium heat, slowly bring up to a boil. Boil briskly while whisking 5 minutes or until very thick. Turn off the heat.

Whisk together:

5 Egg yolks

1/8 cup milk

Temper hot pudding mix into the yolks and then back into the pudding.


1.5 oz. vanilla

1 oz. Top Shelf Scotch

3 oz butter, diced in 1/2 inch squares

Whisk vigorously for one minute or until the butter has melted.

Strain through a fine sieve.

Cool in an ice bath.

To serve, layer in a parfait or other glass with Chantilly cream. Serve well chilled with a vanilla cookie (Pizzelle).

Cook’s Note: While I haven’t had a chance to test this recipe in my home kitchen, I can attest to how wonderful the pudding tastes. It was our designated dessert a year or two back when my BFFs and I were at The Pink Door for a birthday celebration. Incredibly rich and satisfying, there were a few spoonfuls left, which I took home to a VERY appreciative husband.

Photos courtesy of The Pink Door.

More Tummy-Trimming Tips for the Holidays

December 9, 2013

Wine World Bubbly

In my post of last Monday, I highlighted half a dozen tips to help your tummy appear less puffy, taken from the great new book entitled, “Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies,” by Erin Palinski-Wade, Tara Gidus, and Kristina LaRue.

This week we cover four more, but these tips specifically related to alcohol consumption (and who doesn’t drink a bit more during the festive holiday season than other times during the year)?

In the new book, the three authors cite alcohol as a belly bloater since it is a source of empty calories. Alcohol can actually increase your appetite, and can be a major source of weight gain and increased belly fat when consumed in excess.

“You don’t need to eliminate alcohol over the holidays; just keep an eye on the quantity you consume,” says Palinski-Wade.

In addition to limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, the co-authors suggest that you follow these simple guidelines:

• Your best choice for alcohol is red or white wine, a wine spritzer, or light beer. Some alcohol can have health benefits. Red wine, for instance, is a great source of resveratrol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and may be beneficial to heart health.

• If you have a mixed drink, avoid high-calorie mixers such as a sugar-laden soft drink. Instead, try mixing your drink with club soda or seltzer with a splash of juice for flavor.

• Drink alcohol at the end of the meal instead of before eating. Alcohol can stimulate appetite and lower inhibitions, resulting in your making less healthy food choices or eating larger portions.




Even “Dummies” Can Have a Slimmer Tummy This Holiday Season

December 2, 2013

Etta's Seafood Dungeness Crab Benedict

I know that dieting is pretty much out of the question during the hectic holiday season, but a new book entitled, “Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies,” is chock full of helpful hints on how to at least make that spare tire around your waist a little less obvious.

“No one is claiming the holidays are a time to embark full force on a weight-loss plan, but neither do you want to show up in your cute party dress with a bloated belly,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, coauthor along with Tara Gidus and Kristina LaRue of ‘Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies.’ “There is a balance between enjoying the season and overindulging—and it begins with a working knowledge of foods and drinks that are and aren’t waistline-friendly.”

According to the press release which announced the book’s debut, some foods and drinks can bloat your belly almost instantly by increasing gas in your digestive tract, causing your abdomen to look distended. This condition can be uncomfortable, but the good news is it’s only temporary.

“When you have an event coming up where you want your midsection to look as slim as possible, such as a holiday cocktail party, it’s usually best to avoid these foods for a few days beforehand,” says Gidus. “Keep reminding yourself how great you’re going to look in that little black dress—for most people, vanity combined with a short-term deadline is more powerful than textbooks full of information on how to achieve long-term health!”

In Flat Belly Cookbook For Dummies®, Palinski-Wade, Gidus, and LaRue (all of whom are recognized nutrition experts) share everything you need to know to shed fat and tone your midsection.

However, if you have time for only a crash course before facing off with an array of tempting holiday choices, read on to learn about six of the biggest belly bloaters and where they’re found:

Belly Bloater # 1: Sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes that are only partially digested in your body. Because of this, they provide fewer calories per gram than regular sugar. They can also cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects such as bloat, gas, and diarrhea, all of which can cause your belly to look and feel distended—and which can put a major cramp in your holiday style.

Belly Bloater # 2: High-sodium foods. Salt may not stand out as a belly bloater because it’s calorie free. But excess sodium causes your body to hold onto water weight, which leaves you feeling bloated and makes it hard to have a flat, toned midsection.

Belly Bloater # 3: Refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs are everywhere you look—they’re found in white rice, white pasta, sugary cereals, enriched-flour crackers, and much more. These grains have been processed and stripped of the outermost and innermost layers of grain, leaving all the carbohydrates and calories, but little of the protein, fiber, and nutrients. While this type of processing allows grains to be digested rapidly, they provide little in the way of fullness after eating. In addition, their rapid digestion leads to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, causing additional fat storage right where you want it least—your belly!

Belly Bloater # 4: Processed meats. Meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are high in sodium and saturated fats. Because sodium causes your body to retain excess water, this alone can bloat your belly. But combine that with a high intake of inflammation-promoting saturated fat, and you have a recipe for excess belly fat.

Belly Bloater # 5: Carbonated beverages. Carbonation is mostly just water, and it’s typically calorie free, so it seems innocent enough—especially when you’re not even consuming it in a soda!—but it can really bloat your belly.

Belly Bloater # 6: Soda. Although this popular beverage is a staple in most restaurants and homes (and at most holiday parties), it’s a big belly bloater. For one thing, soda contains gas-producing carbonation. Even more potent is its main ingredient, sugar, making it a rich source of empty calories that don’t provide any fullness. And finally, soda sparks a spike in blood sugar, which is followed by an insulin spike, leading to excessive belly fat storage.

“When it comes to staying healthy over the holidays, forewarned is forearmed,” concludes Gidus. “Before walking into a situation where you know there will be food, review your goals and strategies.”