Let’s Get WineWise!

February 28, 2010

My latest post for Amazon.com’s Al Dente blog is a book review of The Culinary Institute of America’s wonderfully written tome, “WineWise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine.”

Cupcakes with Conscience

February 14, 2010

Cupcake Royale Cupcake

My latest article, a Valentine’s Day Taste column entitled, Cupcake Love, was published today in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine. It profiles Jody Hall, founder of Seattle’s four Cupcake Royale shops, who creates “cupcakes with conscience” thanks to her efforts in behalf of sustainability, waste management, and health-care reform, among other worthwhile causes.

Even More Meyer Lemons!

February 12, 2010

My recent story on Meyer lemons for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine elicited lots of interesting feedback in various online posts and e-mails. Here an excerpt from an e-mail from orchardess Karen Morss, who owns an organic Meyer-lemon orchard in California.

“That was a great story on Meyer lemons! I like them so much I planted 40 trees in my backyard and started my own orchard, Lemon Ladies Orchard. I sell these beautiful organic lemons online. Meyers are sometimes hard to find–especially organic lemons. In the Seattle area, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream uses my lemons in their products.”

And, a few weeks ago, winter citrus (including a recipe for Petrale Sole with Meyer-Lemon Beurre Blanc) was the focus of Georgeanne Brennan’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oregon Gets a Taste of Italy

January 25, 2010

In yesterday’s Pacific Northwest Taste column, I profiled two Willamette Valley, Oregon-based businesses that are giving the Italians a run for their money in the production of truffle oil and balsamic vinegar. I hope you’ll enjoy reading Truffle Troves + Balsamic Barrels.

More Uses for Meyer Lemons

January 15, 2010

My latest Taste column for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine was published on Sunday, and since then it’s garnered some interesting commentary in the blogosphere thanks to a Facebook tag. Here’s the link to the article, and here are some of the comments with additional serving suggestions:

Nathalie Dupree: I pick my own Meyer lemons every December. I do roast chicken, lemon curd, lemon soufflé pudding, and everything else I can think of. Then I freeze them flat on a tray and move to a plastic bag and use them all year round. (Even I can’t use 30 Meyer lemons.) I do not give them away willingly.

Paula Lambert: I LOVE Meyers lemons! They make everything better!!

Linda Sendowski: Use the lemon zest in everything you bake or even in salad dressing, on grilled meat or chicken. Meyer lemons brighten apple anything or is also great in sweet-and-sour dishes like stuffed cabbage.

It’s Bacon (Chocolate-Chip Cookies)!

December 14, 2009

Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookie

While researching my latest Pacific Northwest magazine Taste column on Savory Desserts (that was published in yesterday’s Seattle Times), I received this very interesting cookie recipe from Heather Earnhardt, pastry chef at the Volunteer Park Café in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

My article was running long (as usual!) and we weren’t able to print the recipe in the magazine, so I am very pleased it’s finding new life online here in my blog. Many thanks to Heather for sharing her recipe.

And my article was timely. . .a few weeks ago, NPR featured also featured an article on using bacon in desserts.

Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

This creative cookie recipe comes courtesy of Heather Earnhardt, pastry chef at the Volunteer Park Café in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. It adds a savory element (bacon) to a traditional cookie dough with delicious results. At the Café, the cookie is whimsically called the Miss Piggy Chip and is the size of your hand!

1/2 pound dry-cured, thick-cut bacon

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, plus 1 egg white, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate chips, such as Guittard

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon, turning once or twice, until crisp and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, chop and set aside. (Alternatively, you can microwave the bacon until crisp or bake it in a 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and soda.

4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

5. Add the eggs and egg white one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

6. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour until thoroughly mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gently mix in the chocolate chips, then the bacon.

7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through cooking time, until the cookies spread slightly and turn light golden brown.

Cook’s Hint: Pastry chef Heather Earnhardt uses a two-ounce ice cream scoop (slightly larger than a golf ball) when making the cookies at home. At the café, she makes four-ounce balls to create larger cookies.

Outstanding Oysters

October 27, 2009

Many of you know that once a month, I do a food-and-wine-related blog for Al Dente, one of Amazon.com’s special-interest blogs. For my October entry, I gave suggestions for pairing wine with oysters, along with a truly amazing recipe for Oysters Gratinée.

The recipe is from my book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining,” thanks to Philippe Boulot, long-time executive chef of The Heathman Restaurant in Portland, Ore. Here’s the link to the entire article and the recipe.

A Winning Baker’s Hints

September 13, 2009

My latest article for The Sunday Times Pacific Northwest magazine features Alicia Comstock Arter, a prize-winning baker, who shares her recipe for Cool-as-a-Cucumber Snack Cake. It’s a spicy, perfectly textured treat similar to a really good coffeecake with a streusel topping.

Serve it as is (the way Alicia and her family like it) or top with a dollop of crème fraïche or slightly sweetened whipped cream. A scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt forms a healthful choice, while a scoop of really rich, eggy, French vanilla ice cream is the ultimate decadence. Alicia’s tips on winning the big prize at the Puyallup Fair also make for fun, informative reading.

Cool Cucumber Cake

September 10, 2009

Cucumber Cake

A couple of weeks ago, in preparation for my “Taste” column that will be published this Sunday, September 13, in The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine, I tested Cool-as-a-Cucumber Snack Cake, which won for both best cake in the vegetable category, and best overall cake submitted, in the 2008 Puyallup Fair.

The recipe was devised by my friend and colleague Alicia Comstock Arter, who’s Washington editor of the Zagat Guide, regional editor of Northwest Palate magazine, a blogger, and on Twitter (@AliciaArter).

Cucumber Cake Slice

Here’s a preview of the light, coffee-cake-like treat, rife with sugar-glazed pecans and a crunchy streusel topping. The recipe will appear along with the article, and the cake would make the perfect bake-sale item or as a treat in children’s lunch boxes this fall. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Alicia!

Kay’s Cherries in Red Wine

August 18, 2009

My latest post for Amazon.com’s Al Dente blog went up earlier today, and it’s a fun one. In it I share Kay Simon’s recipe for Cherries in Red Wine (think fresh Washington cherries marinated in Merlot and preserved for the winter months!) along with suggestions for pairing with Ruby Port–two from Washington state and one from Portugal. Kay’s the talented winemaker and co-owner, along with her husband Clay, at Chinook Wines in the Yakima Valley.

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