The Tom Douglas Restaurants are bursting at the seams with big, fat, ripe, juicy peak-of-summer TOMATOES!! The heirloom varieties of Copia, Landis, Brandywine, and Goldie tomatoes from our own Prosser Farm are coming at us right now in all shapes, sizes and colors! Read the Prosser Farm blog here to find out what the Tom Douglas chefs are doing with our favorite Prosser crop of the summer!
This year’s Pellegrini Award winners are…. (drumroll, please) our very own Tom Douglas and Jackie Cross! According to All You Can Eat blog, this is the first Pelligrini award given to restaurateurs and the first to a couple. Angelo Pelligrini was an Italian immigrant to the US who became a UW English literature professor, but his true loves were vegetable gardening, growing grapes, extolling the virtues of local and high quality ingredients, cooking straightforward, rustic meals to eat with friends and family, drinking wine, and writing a number of influential books such as The Unprejudiced Palate. “I wonder what Angelo would think of me winning an award with his name tattooed all over it…” muses Tom, “I am truly inspired to carry forward his inspiring message. Angelo, you rock.” We say: Tom and Jackie, you rock!! Congrats!!
Ok, we’re getting used to the idea that we humans are happy hosts to all the beneficial microbes living in our guts, but are the little bugs actually running the show? Read this.
“Thirty-six year old Sandeep Byawali, who holds a job as a neuroscientist at UT, has a passion for the chemistry of baking,” says this article from The Austin Chronicle. Sandeep has been developing recipes for rustic breads using knowledge from “current research on dough science, natural leavening, and organic home-milled grains,” to create bread Claudia Alarcon, the author of this article, calls “the best I’d ever tasted.” Now Sandeep is working on starting a community supported bread subscription with a few pick up locations around Austin. Lucky Austinites. I want to try those rye cookies with dark chocolate chips and bitters.
The Kitchn helpfully offers “10 pictures of your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables” which will make you realize- you can do it!
Finally, one of the most gifted writers in the food blogosphere, Elissa Altman of Poor Man’s Feast, says farewell to the much loved Robin Williams with a poem by W.S. Merwin.
Our Pappy Hour last night was a great success! Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is often regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world but is difficult to find in the market due to low production and high demand. At Brave Horse Tavern, we make an annual event of celebrating this very special bourbon with a tasting and fun dinner.
The Van Winkle folks gave us two bottles each of 6 different bourbons (and we’re the only bar in WA state to get this many of the special bottles):
Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year
Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year
Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 Year
Here are Brian and Brent pouring from the $2000/each bottles of Family Reserve being very careful not to spill a single drop!!
For the dinner menu, we went South, naturally! Our talented Brave Horse cook Bradley is the master of Southern BBQ. Here are all the BBQ sauces that he made. Every guest walked away with a jar of Bradley’s very special sauce.
Of course there was a whole roasted pig.
….and Southern style pickles.
…and don’t forget the blackberry jam cake!!
Come Enjoy a salmon cookout with Tom that raises money for the Seattle Parks Department!
August 31st, 12-6 pm
On August 31st, we invite you to celebrate a gorgeous summer evening outdoors with Chef Tom Douglas at the annual Salmon Chanted picnic dinner and fundraiser for the Seattle Parks Department. Now in its 5th year, the picnic provides an event in Victor Steinbrueck Park for nearby residents that is community-based, delicious, and fun! Salmon Chanted celebrates what is great about our town, while raising money for this beautiful park. We are inviting 600 people to picnic on salmon with seasonal sides, gaze out at Elliott Bay, and listen to live music.
More specifically, the money raised will go to fund the park’s friendly “concierges,” M. Kay Skinner and Lemont Thornton, who help clean and maintain the park. They are quick first responders to any incidents or accidents, and also answer questions for tourists. Their positive presence in the park helps everyone to feel welcome.
New developments are also on the horizon for Victor Steinbrueck Park. The Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) is preparing to complete the final piece of the Market Historic District with the addition of the Waterfront Entrance adjacent to the park. Throughout the picnic, the Pike Place Market Foundation will be on hand to talk about the new “MarketFront.”
Forty years in the making, the Market expansion is spurred by the removal of the elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct and the opportunity to create a dynamic connection from the waterfront to Pike Place and the Pike/Pine corridor. The new MarketFront will transform what is now a .75-acre surface parking lot on Western Avenue into a waterfront-facing entry point to Seattle’s public market. True to the Pike Place Market Charter and character, the expansion will provide opportunities for farmers, craftspeople and local entrepreneurs, as well as civic space, public art, social services and low-income housing.
Envisioning a brighter future for the park and all of those who frequent and enjoy the park remains a top priority for the PDA, the Market Foundation and other community stakeholders in the planning and designing of the MarketFront. The Foundation will host a table to show guests the designs and plans for the new MarketFront, answer questions, and provide information on how to stay informed on the project’s progress.
If you have any questions, please contact Eva at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-448-2001.
Tickets to the picnic dinner are $30 per person. Because everything from the food down to the forks and napkins are donated by us and other concerned businesses, we are able to give 100% of the proceeds to the Seattle Parks Department.
We invite you to join us by purchasing your tickets here or at Etta’s and Seatown.
The Tom Douglas Restaurants are bursting at the seams with glorious blueberries from Crawford Farm, our neighbor out in Prosser. We love Crawford blueberries and their Spartan variety is our top favorite! Read the Prosser Farm blog here to find out what our chefs are doing with these beautiful berries- from blueberry tarts and blueberry pies at Dahlia Bakery to a Blueberry Sangria Slushie at Brave Horse Tavern.
Fascinating article in Modern Farmer about rye bread, especially the dense, 100 percent rye breads from the Nordic countries. Before World War II, the US “had a rich rye culture” (including George Washington’s distilled rye whiskey), but the industrialization of agriculture “led to rye bread’s decline.” In addition to which “everything culturally German was hated and dropped during the two World Wars,” including German rye bread. But today, rye bread is making a comeback at a few specialty bakeries around the country such as Nordic Breads in New York (their motto is “Discover the Power of Rye.”) Simo Kuusito, the owner of Nordic Breads, says that baking rye bread, which is low in gluten, is very different from baking wheat bread. Nordic rye bread technique is difficult to master, requiring both a long fermentation and a long bake time. In Iceland, Rugbraud (Icelandic rye bread) was originally slowly baked in the ground for 12 hours using geothermal steams! At Nordic Breads, Simo bakes his rye breads in a low oven for many hours.
Yet another reason to get out and play in the dirt: according to this article, there are natural antidepressant microbes in the soil. Many gardeners have already figured out dirt makes you happy, and there are no side effects to these mood elevating microbes, so get out there and keep those tomato plants and green bean towers well tended!
You probably already know that it makes sense to eat the oily little fishes like sardines and herring because they’re lower on the food chain, more resistant to fishing pressures, build up less toxins than longer-lived large fish, and contain plenty of healthy fish oils. But did you also know that by eating the little fishes you also shrink your carbon footprint? Read this article from NPR’s The Salt.
Also from The Salt, an article about the Good and Cheap Cookbook with recipes designed for a food stamp budget that are both delicious and healthy.
Even though we’re in the midst of the high summer harvest season, farmers have to think 1 or 2 seasons in advance. In the interests of a more sustainable food system, our Prosser Farmers, Jackie and Dev, are testing a new summer cover crop, sorghum, in a fallow plot at Prosser Farm. The idea is that the 300 feet of sorghum just planted will add efficiency, productivity, and a high yield of nutritious food in a small amount of space. Dev is planning to bring the cultural traditions of Indian grain rotation to Prosser by eventually using the sorghum to make bread. Who knows what our Tom Douglas Restaurants chefs will do with this new crop? Popped sorghum anyone? Read the whole post by Eva Mrak-Blumberg here.
The local food blogosphere is bursting with the news that Washington State residents love Mexican food, which makes a good lead-in to this Seattle Magazine blog article on Dahlia Lounge’s taco bar for family meal (ie. staff meal). As Chef Brock says: “Taco Bar is everybody’s favorite. People are pretty stoked on it. Everybody likes walking into a taco bar.”
Mark Bittman writes an op-ed for the New York Times called “French Food Goes Down,” about the new “fait maison” (“made in-house”) symbol that the French government and French restaurant industry are rolling out. The symbol is intended as a way to counteract the increasing ubiquity of factory produced, microwaved food in restaurants all over France. But Bittman calls this “just about the dumbest fix imaginable” and says that while he’s “all for regulations that might work… this one won’t,” because the many loopholes in the law will make the symbol mostly meaningless. Bittman points out that the logo “does nothing to address the fact that chains and pre-prepared food now dominate the restaurant industry globally.” (Check out the link in the Bittman piece to an article in NPR’s The Salt reporting that the French are now the second biggest consumers of fast food after the US.) Similar to Bittman’s experience, my first trip to Paris was almost 40 years ago, a time when “you couldn’t find bad food if you tried.” Things have changed.
The new issue of National Geographic has an excellent article on hunger by Traci McMillan called “The New Face of Hunger,” which states that “Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” Yes— working Americans. In this country, working full time, even at more than one job, doesn’t mean you will be able to afford enough quality food to feed your family. One of the households profiled in the article includes three working adults, but still there isn’t enough money for the family to afford decent food throughout the whole month. National Geographic sent three photographers to three very different regions of the country- Osage, Iowa (where, ironically, the US grows massive amounts of produce in the form of corn and soybeans), Houston, Texas, and the Bronx, New York. Low quality, non-nutritious industrial food is a big part of the face of hunger these days and because of this, obesity is also a big part of what hunger looks like. It’s a heart wrenching and disturbing article, but you won’t want to miss the eloquent photos and life stories.
Speaking of Iowa, isn’t it interesting that the Des Moines Register newspaper came out with an op-ed that argues that it’s time for Congress to require GMO labeling? Yes, in Iowa, a state dominated by the clout that big food and agribusiness wield, and a state with an economy geared to the cultivation of massive amounts of tax-supported corn and soybeans (increasingly, from GMO seed) intended for the manufacture of processed food. Despite this, the Des Moines Register has the courage to argue that “Corporate America is fighting a losing battle over the GMO issue. …Congress should set a nationwide standard of disclosure and then let the individual consumers decide whether the presence of GMOs in a product is something that concerns them…. keeping consumers in the dark is never the right thing to do.”
Now that we’re hitting summer’s peak, Prosser Farm produce is “cropping up” all over the menus of the Tom Douglas Restaurants. On our Prosser Farm blog, Eva Mrak-Blumberg takes you on a little Tom Douglas Prosser Crawl to show you what our restaurant chefs are doing with the abundance of Prosser produce from the appetizer course to dessert! Read about it here.
Have you noticed we now have Cuoco fresh pasta for sale at Home Remedy? The staff at Cuoco rolls and cuts and shapes fresh pasta all day long for the Cuoco menu, and now we’re boxing it up for retail sale as well, which means you can make perfect pasta in the comfort of your own home in just minutes after you bring a pot of water to the boil. I’ve been playing around in my home kitchen to come up with 4 easy, super-delicious pasta recipes for your summer dining pleasure including the best ever and easiest summer pasta salad! (Your secret strategy: buy the vinaigrette from our salad bar!) Choose a recipe, pick up the ingredients at Home Remedy (don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy with your pasta), and you’ll be all set for dinner tonight.
The Big Pasta Bake
Serious Pie Marinara(refrigerator)
Mozzarella (salad bar)
Veggies! Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms (salad bar)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
In a skillet, sauté your vegetables in a small amount of oil until soft and cooked through.
Add your marinara to your vegetables, and allow to heat the sauce through.
Add your rigatoni to the boiling water, and allow to boil 2-3 minutes [per package instructions].
Remove the pasta from the water, drain, and add to the vegetables and marinara.
Stir until all is coated and combined.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish (that can go under your broiler) and cover the top with mozzarella.
With your broiler on high, allow the cheese to brown and bubble- Watch carefully!!
Remove from the oven and enjoy with a glass of Southard Red Wine!
Pesto Linguine with Roasted Chicken
Cuoco Linguini (refrigerator)
Condoni Original Pesto
Grated Parmesan (refrigerator)
Roasted Chicken from the Home Remedy Pod (available after 4pm! Buy whole or half)
Bring a large pot of LIGHTLY salted water to a boil.
Add your linguine to the boiling water, and allow to boil 2-3 minutes [per package instructions].
Remove the pasta from the water, drain, reserving some cooking water.
For 1 full package of linguini, I recommend 3 large tablespoons of pesto; toss and add Parmesan.
Add a little cooking water until the consistency of the pesto sauce is to your liking.
Serve with your hot roasted chicken.
Finish your meal with a small salad from the salad bar or a mini baguette.
My Take on Pasta Puttanesca
Cuoco Spaghetti (refrigerator)
Novia del Sol Olives stuffed with Anchovy, drained and chopped
Amore Anchovy Paste
Laurel Hill Non Pareil Capers
Grated Parmesan (refrigerator)
Cherry tomatoes, chopped (salad bar)
Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
Add your linguine to the boiling water, and allow to boil 2-3 minutes [per package instructions]
Remove the pasta from the water, drain, reserving some cooking water. Put some anchovy paste in a small bowl and use a microplane to grate the garlic into it. Mix.
In a large bowl, combine with your cooked pasta as much or little as you prefer of these ingredients : the anchovy paste with garlic, capers, olives, tomatoes, and Parmesan.
Adjust your pasta with the reserved cooking water to give the sauce the consistency that you like. Taste the pasta as you go, it can get very salty.
To balance the saltiness I added a little lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
“THE” Summer Pasta Salad
Cuoco Rigatoni (refrigerator)
Red wine vinaigrette (salad bar)
Spinach (salad bar)
Mozzarella Fresca Boccocini (refrigerator)
Italbrand Roasted Peppers Italian Style
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add your rigatoni to the boiling water and allow to boil 2-3 minutes [per package instructions].
Remove the pasta from the water, drain.
Toss the hot pasta with the red wine vinaigrette and allow to cool.
Slice the roasted peppers into strips.
Dice the mozzarella into small bites.
When the pasta is cool, toss it together with the mozzarella, peppers, and spinach, and season with salt and pepper.
This pasta salad is bright and refreshing. It really allows for the pasta to take center stage and for all the flavors to be noticed.
A word about the wine: Southard Columbia Valley Red Wine
A blend of Syrah and Zinfandel, produced locally in Selah,Wa is the perfect pairing to pasta! It is easy to drink, provides a ton of flavors, and finishes with a great aftertaste. I’m not a wine critic, but I love this, and I absolutely will buy another bottle of this local red blend.
Welcome to Family Meal, a blog that examines all things new and noteworthy in the world of food, wine, and dining.
At family meal, otherwise known as staff meal, there’s no hierarchy; you’re breaking bread with your friends. For those 30 minutes, everyone is equal- and hungry. Family meal is our version of the water cooler- but with better food.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts, tips, and observations, and, in the spirit of family meal, I’ve invited our creative, energetic staff- everyone from line cook to bartender to bookkeeper- to have a say. I hope you’ll add your own comments and join in the conversation.