Our Rub with Love Sales Manager, Andrea Rapp, attended a Coconut Cream Pie Class at Hot Stove Society recently and was thrilled to take home this beautiful, coco-nutty wonder that she made her own self! Read the whole post here and check out the classes on our Hot Stove Society website.
A rare weather pattern of 80 degree weather in early October means that our Prosser Farmers are still picking 200 to 300 pounds of tomatoes for the chefs of the Tom Douglas Restaurants. Farmer/Chef Dev is making tomato confit, tomato pickles, fermented green tomatoes and tomato jam for a Prosser Farm dinner October 25. Read the whole article here on the Prosser Farm blog, and get Dev’s recipe for tomato jam too!
Hot Stove Instructor Herschell Taghap (also Social Media Expert, Line Cook, and DJ) taught a high-octane sold-out crab cake class last night. The class was based on 3 recipes from our Tom Douglas book I Love Crab Cakes and included a demo of cooking and cleaning live crabs as well as plenty of hands-on crab-cake cooking. In the photo above (photo credit to Emily Yan), Herschell practices flipping a giant crab foo yung! Read the whole post here, and while you’re on the Hot Stove Society site, be sure to check out the upcoming classes.
Wine grape sodas from left to right: Grenache, Orange Muscat, Concord
Anthony Polakowski, the master crafter of Serious Pie pizza dough, handmade grape sodas and fruit shrubs, is working up limited edition wine grape sodas for the menus at Serious Pie Virginia and Serious Pie Westlake.
The Orange Muscat soda, made with grapes from Crawford Farm (but lovingly hand picked by our Prosser Farm chef/manager Dev) , will be on tap for the next 5 to 7 days at Serious Pie Virginia. There were only enough grapes to make six gallons of soda- so it’s like liquid gold at this point.
The Concord grape soda, with its amazing, pychedelic blue violet hue, will be on tap at both Serious Pies (Virgina and Westlake) soon. The grapes come from Hogue Ranch.
Anthony is waiting on Grenache grapes, being harvested today at Oasis Farm, if the rain didn’t cause any harvesting delay. Grenache is a spicy grape which should be interesting for Anthony to work with.
Anthony’s goal when crafting each soda is to maintain as much of the flavor and complexity of the original fresh wine grape despite the heat of the extraction process. The Orange Muscat soda is sweetened with Shipwreck honey, which has a floral fragrance, almost like an orange blossom, and flavored with Madagascar vanilla, both of which highlight the natural sweetness and fragrance of the Muscat grape. To augment the mineral tang of these grapes, Anthony adds a touch of Murray River Salt.
Another of Anthony’s goal is for the sodas to appeal to adults and wine lovers by focusing on the distinctive profile of each wine grape, while still being sweet and straightforward enough for kids to enjoy.
The colors, as you can see from the photos, are brilliant.
If you’re at Serious Pie Virginia and want to try another handmade beverage besides the grape soda, try one of Anthony’s shrubs. Right now he’s still cycling through summer fruit flavors like Cantaloupe with Tibetan Curry, Blackberry, and Watermelon with Aleppo pepper salt, but an intriguing list of holiday flavors is already on the drawing board.
Tom Douglas Restaurants Pastry Chef Brittany Bardeleben taught a Simple Fall Fruit Desserts class at our cooking school, Hot Stove Society, last Thursday evening.
The intrepid Brittany (in photo above), though only weeks away from becoming a Mom for the first time, showed up to teach the class with the capable assistance of two bakers from her pastry team, Carley Rose and Kelly Abernathy.
This was a hands-on class, which gave class members the opportunity to make their very own Boozy Apple Upside Down Cake. On the work tables, the recipe and the mise en place (ingredient prep) for the cake were carefully laid out and waiting.
The first step was to make the “caramel,” an easy brown sugar and butter topping laced with whiskey.
The next step was to peel and cut up a couple apples- one to decoratively arrange in the caramel and another for the simple one-bowl cake batter.
The cake looks like this right out of the oven.
And like this once tipped over and unmolded. This beauty was baked by one of the students who, after giving it a good drizzle of whiskey, got to bring it home to wow family and friends! In addition to this sweet, moist, boozy cake full of apples (hands on recipe), Brittany showed the class how to make Dahlia Pear Tarts with Caramel Sauce and Huckleberry Ice Cream (demo recipes) including teaching the skills of caramelizing sugar, poaching pears and churning ice cream. The classmates went home with an arsenal of delicious fall recipes and Brittany promises to be back in Spring (post baby’s birth) to show us some Simple Spring Desserts. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have fun and learn to cook or polish your cooking skills at the same time! Wish you had signed up for this class? Look for more Hot Stove Society Cooking Classes here.
Last night, we were incredibly lucky to host what many consider to be the best chef in the world right now, Massimo Bottura, at our Italian restaurant, Trattoria Cuoco.
The night began with salumi sliced thinly by Ethan Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants himself, with an accoutrement of antipasti including fried castelvetrano olives, grilled pacific octopus with ozette potatoes and citrus-marinated chiogga beets. Guests mingled, Campari cocktails in hand, in the beautiful lowly-lit exposed brick of Trattoria Cuoco.
Programming began with an interview of Massimo by Modernist Cuisine creator, Nathan Myhrvold. The two men, bound by a love for modern gastronomy, discussed Massimo’s creative challenge (and success) to evolve an old cuisine to the new techniques of modern gastronomy.
What was most interesting about Massimo’s insights on cooking was that his creativity seemed to flourish most in the places of greatest restraint. He spoke of food as if each dish were a painting or a poem: “How can I compress what I feel into 2 words…or into 2 plates?” When Massimo first opened Osteria Francescana in his home of Modena, Italy, he received a gauntlet of criticism. Modena is famous for such well-known staples as Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Balsamic Vinegar, but the province is also hotly protective of their food traditions. Massimo’s challenge was to prove to his fellow Modenesi that not only could he cook the traditional dishes best, but that he could make it better, more interesting, using the modern kitchen tools and knowledge that we have today.
His love for art and artistic expression bounced off the walls as he described the 12,000 vinyl records he had at home (and cooked to), the vegetarian panino with flattened artichoke leaves (and balsamic vinegar of course) he made to first entice and woo his wife, Laura, and the daily effort he puts into his kitchen– “All of our compassion, we condense into edible bites.”
The evening progressed with a feast of whole pig porchetta, created by the team at Trattoria Cuoco, passed plates of different style pastas created by Ethan Stowell and his team, Italian wines, pignoli cookies and handmade cannolis. To the accompaniment of vocals by Grace Love (whom Massimo described as a “Billie Holiday lookalike” and who is also a barista at our own Assembly Juice & Coffee bar), Massimo signed copies of his new cookbook, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, hosted by Book Larder.
The night was beautiful and warm as guests spilled out to the lighted patio under a blue dusk. It was an incredible collaboration of chefs who brought delicious food and persona to the event. Thank you to all of our guests who attended!
In reflecting on my recent trip to Mexico City, I am inspired by a quote of Chef Massimo Bottura, an Italian Super chef, soon visiting Seattle: “Art is essential for humanity. I don’t cook to feed empty bellies but to feed hungry minds.”
Mexico City is a flourishing mecca for a hungry mind. Unearthed Aztec ruins lie one story below conquistador cathedrals surrounded by European-designed bars and cafes. The architecture that has emerged throughout the millenniums seamlessly flows together, painting the story of a city that is used to housing an empire.
Eating in Mexico City follows a similar path. Many of the foods found on the street carts still hold their ancient native names. Street vendors sell huaraches–oblong fried masa with refried beans, your choice of meat, cilantro, and onions. The name huaraches is a tribute to the sandals worn by the indigenous Mexican tribes including the Tarahumara, made famous in the book Born to Run for their remarkable super-marathon-running traditions.
This was my third visit to Mexico. I am always swooning over the colors, flavors, and aguas frescas that I just can’t recreate here in the U.S. Among my favorites, a few experiences stood out not only for their flavors but for the stories behind the food. On our first night, we wandered through the Centro Historico district past an entire family making sopes out of their garage. In the cascade of florescent light, club-goers, late-night workers, actors, artists, dancers, and neighbors huddled together waiting for their meal. While the food was to go, most diners lingered in order to top their bites with the homemade green and red chiles, chopped onions, and whole cilantro leaves. The assembly line utilized every family member. The oldest boy–about 10–mixed dried masa with water and salt. Without stopping once, the mother (and head cook) molded the masa into balls and flattened them on her fryer. As the masa slowly hardened, she made indents with her fingers where the beans and meat of your choice would go. The youngest girl–about 6– collected money from customers. We ordered a sope con pollo and sope con carnitas. Balancing on the small children’s plastic chairs, we scarfed down the sopes the size of dinner plates, sniffling through the spiciness. We couldn’t help but eat the whole thing.
Contrast that with the 27-chef food lab occurring just behind the walls of the subdued dining room of Pujol (considered the 36th best restaurant in the world). The lunch tasting menu began with a hot tea aperitif made of pepper leaf, corn silk, and cocoa flower. Immediately following, the server brought a smoky mescal cocktail brightened with xoconstle (a native cactus fruit). My favorite and most memorable dish was the smoking gourd brought out containing baby corns (husks still on) smothered in a sauce made of chicatana ants, coffee, and chili. True to the molecular gastronomic movement, the food was art in and of itself, a recreation of Mexican tradition while paying homage to the variety of influences that have settled in this cosmopolitan center.
On my last day, I attended an artist market down the street from my hotel. Hungry for one last meal before the flight, I found a very endearing senora making vibrant blue corn quesadillas and tlacoya (stuffed with beans). They glistened as they cooked. While she made an assortment of quesadillas of shredded chicken, flores de calabaza (squash blossom), champinones (mushroom), huitlacoche (a type of naturally occurring corn fungus), and nopales (cactus), we talked about techniques for making crunchy, un-slimy nopales. (Slice and saute them, then wash the slime off with water, put them back in the pan and add salt.) Her pride with which she spoke about her food, the intuitive ease of her hands as she handled the masa, the vibrancy of the food–this was the energy that flowed behind every dish I ate and every kitchen I visited.
Food is a great source of pride and expression of culture in Mexico. It mimics the same pride found in the many humbling Diego Rivera murals scattered throughout the city, the museums of art and of anthropology, and in the hundreds-year-old cathedrals hosting mass throughout the day. There was a beautiful homage to their dynamic history in everything I ate. It is this quality that I found so inviting and inspiring in Mexico City.
(More photos below)
All photos from top to bottom:
1. The entrance to the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City
2. The left side of the massive Diego Rivera mural at Palacio Nacional
3. Beautiful colonial style buildings in the Historic District
4. The woman making sopes on the street (that I deliciously scarfed down)
5. Smoked baby corn served in a gourd at Pujol Restaurant in the Polanco neighborhood
6. Blue corn quesadillas from the street vendor outside Ciudadella artist’s market
7. Alegrias bar~ these were sold everywhere on the street and are a dense, simple snack consisting of amaranth seeds (or Huautli) glued together with honey, baked with peanuts, pecans, and raisins. They sold for 5 cents each and were a delicious snack that gave energy but were much healthier than an energy bar or chocolate bar.
8. Huitlacoche tacos smothered in green chili.
9. Brunch at El Cardenal, including famous Dona Olivar hot chocolate, lamb barbacoa (in the middle), and the best milk cream (un-skimmed) I’ve ever tasted.
10. Another street treat: 3 generations of women sat together around a big metal saute pan at this street stand. They sold roasted corn kernels drizzled with oil and topped with picante (or chili powder). They were a different type of maiz, but I didn’t get the name. Crunchy, a little spicy, and very delicious snack as we walked through the markets to Palacio Nacional.
11. One of my favorite buildings in the Historic District. Another example of the beautiful and eclectic architecture in Mexico City.
This neat app startup in Seattle allows you to connect with chefs around town. Pull out your phone and browse the catalog of dinners up for reservation.
My three course menu started with seared watermelon salad with mushroom duxelles:
Next up: braised Waygu shortribs with root vegetables and parsnip mashers:
And finished with vanilla panna cotta with sour cherry compote:
Be sure to download DYNE from your app store and catch a reservation.
ET demonstrating how to sear the perfect burger
Executive Chef Eric Tanaka celebrated National Cheeseburger Day at the Hot Stove Society last week by teaching folks how to make the perfect cheeseburger. Born and bred in LA, a major burger capitol of the US, ET, a self-described burger fanatic, has diligently eaten his way through this country’s burger joints and is now the guru of all things ground and served on a bun.
The class started by taking a look at (and a taste of) the 3 cuts of beef most often used for burgers: filet, chuck, and sirloin, and ET discussed the merits of each. Chuck is ET’s favorite cut of beef to grind for burgers because it’s a great mix of fat to meat.
Filet, Chuck, and Sirloin, freshly ground
ET next demonstrated grinding each of the meats and the bowls of ground beef were inspected for color, fat, and taste. Next up, the Umami burger. Classmates were given some ground beef and an array of seasonings packed with the savory “fifth taste” of umami including: mushroom soy sauce, smashed anchovy, fish sauce, and pecorino cheese. Classmates were told to season half the meat with their own umami mixture and leave the other half plain. Then they seared both small burgers in hot saute pans over a bank of Hot Stove burners. The classmates were showed how to build a crust on one side before flipping to the other side.
Searing burgers in hot, hot, Hot Stove saute pans
Finally each classmate tasted the umami burger next to the plain burger to decide which one taste best. (Hint: Umami won hands down.)
That was just the first segment of the class! ET also showed classmates how to make their own luxury DB Burger made famous by fancy French chef Daniel Boulud. The DB burger has cubes of foie gras, shavings of black truffle, and chunks of braised short rib folded into the center of the ground beef before the burger is cooked. The last burger of the class was based on the Apple Pan Burger from the legendary Apple Pan burger joint in west LA. This is the burger that ET used as a model for the ever popular Palace burger. This burger was served with the special smoky onion sauce used on the burgers at Brave Horse. ET demo’d these amazing burgers and the classmates got to make (and eat) all three of them! The lucky people who attended this class are now certified burger experts! (That’s not all. Booze was served, too.)
If you haven’t had the good fortune to take a class at Hot Stove Society yet, you better hustle on over to the Hot Stove website here and take a look at the class calender!
Tom grilling wild salmon at a Salmon Chanted Evening fundraiser
Wild salmon are icons in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and they are a vital food source for the planet. This special screening of The Breach at SIFF Cinema Egyptian on Monday, October 6 at 6pm, presented by August Island Pictures, Jackaroo Pictures, and Tom Douglas, will both benefit SIFF and help save wild salmon in Bristol Bay. For your $25 donation, you not only get to see this new movie about the fight to save wild salmon in Bristol Bay, but you’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the film’s director Mark Titus and special guests including Tom Douglas and artist Ray Troll. In addition, you’ll mingle with other guests while enjoying Tom’s delicious sesame roasted salmon in a bibb lettuce leaf with nuoc cham, carrots, and peanuts and a glass of beer or wine.
Bristol Bay is the world’s greatest wild salmon run. Period.
The Breach explores the journey of wild salmon and their precarious situation today as posed by the American river system in the Pacific Northwest and the proposed Pebble Mine. Is there hope for the survival of the wild fish that remain and for the world’s most dynamic fishery? Join us in the fight to save these ancient, iconic, and essential fish by purchasing your ticket here.
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.