Friday, February 27, 2009

Still Buzzing……a day powered by COFFEE!

Robert Reichel, Tom Cottrell, Steve Walker (Grand Cru Owners)

Allan Aquila of Allan Aquila & Associates

Grand Cru Wine Bar and Shop, first location opening in Bellevue, WA in April 2009, we research coffee. Allan and I meet principals at Caffe Vita in Seattle to taste various coffee blends for wine bar French press coffee program. The building smells of coffee even though the German roasting apparatus is being cleaned today.
Coffee lovers, except Steve who is tasting today, first coffee in a year or so: to be part of the selection progress.
We taste -4- different blends made in French presses and a very nice decaf-that tastes like coffee, not like a usual decaf! It is now early evening and it was to much of a good thing for me........we narrowed it down.

Bob Prince, Caffe Vita- Key Restaurant Account representative.

Fanatical about FERMENTING-in this case-Cabbage

#1 preserved limes, sliced apples & onions, homemade fermented sauerkraut, bay leaves, juniper berries, whole cloves, chopped air cured ham rind, pork rib roast rubbed with whole grain mustard

Special dinner guests, wanted to make something that could be done ahead of time and was seasonal. Came back to an old standby, our home fermented sauerkraut. This kraut was made in 2007, we processed 200 pounds of organic cabbage. It was an ad-hoc group, including relatives and friends and importantly for the kraut making process friend Chef Bridget Charters and family. I used to help my cousin and her family with the process, the more hands the merrier. Bridget decided to include the process in her American Regional Cuisine class. She and I worked on a batch or two, years ago when we taught together at the Art Institute of Seattle. She was also the person who found the old wooden cabbage slicer in an antique store years ago and give it to me as a present. We are due to make another batch in Fall of 2009 and I will take pictures and describe them here.
Back to the kraut I made last weekend. I have been making a version of this dish since college and this time, I decided to twist it up, yet again. After the cabbage is fermented, with SALT only, I can it because I don’t trust it to stay indefinitely in our above ground garage.
Brown the meat on all sides, after rubbing it with mustard. In the olive oil from the perserved limes, cook apples and onions until soft. add all the other items in top photo #1. Then add beer and brown sugar, photo #2.

Top fremented beer (lighter style) & brown sugar

Mix the items until well coated.

Place kraut mixture in a baking dish in which you have arranged 4 large pealed carrots on the bottom, forming a platform for the sauerkraut. Place pork on top of kraut and sprinkle meat with sweet paprika. Cover with lid or foil and back at 375 degrees until meat is to temp and carrots are tender. Remove cover, for last 20 minutes of baking, to brown meat and cabbage. Check pan and make sure there is always a bit of liquid (add water as needed) in the mix, so that things don't burn.

Serve with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetable, boiled potatoes, polenta, spaezle. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve with various mustards.
Here are a few more tips:

  • replace pork roast with stuffed or unstuffed chicken, capon, cornish game hens or duck (add lime zest or orange zest for a change, a hand full of sun dried tomatoes)

  • replace beer with white wine or sparking wine for a lighter taste

  • I used the lime infused oil because I made it last year, it added a ice citrus note, plain oil is fine

  • Measurements are not really necessary, I have never make it the same way twice!

  • This works great on the BBQ outside as well

  • I love making this a day or two in advance and reheating tastes even better warmed up!
This is the dish just before I popped it into the oven......there is no photo of it cooked because we
pulled it out and in our hunger ate it, before I got a picture!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mile Post 18 North of Puerto Progresso, Yucatán Peninsula

Flying over Mount Rainer when the sky is clear, non-stop on the way to Cancun. The vacation starts.The photo does not do it justice: it was breathtaking!

Pick up an internet car at airport, and after some Mexican "customer service" that was so bad it was humorous, we are off to Walmart and the toll road for a 387 KM drive east. The toll road is good, great really and almost empty......after 2 hours we make it half way and get off at Valladodid.
We eat an order of Cochinita Pibil, sala mexicana, black bean dip, fresh tortillas and the most amazing habanero salsa.....habaneros are the chili of choice in this part of Mexico.
This stew can be made with chicken and includes orange juice and achiote seeds/paste.

Pickled red onions top it off......we take the habanero salsa with us after asking the waiter if we can, he actually tops it off for us to go.

It's a family reunion and we cook pretty much every day......goof off and then go in search of fish, produce, whatever looks good, even the Costco and Walmart food tastes so amazing......we rediscover what great tomatoes, avocadoes, carrots, potatoes, cheese, mangoes, papayas, onions, chicken, and chilis (and not just the nuclear ones), taste like. We grill whole fish that came out of the Gulf of Mexico just hours before, we make mole and posole, chicken soup. Whatever it is, it tastes vibrant, hearty, healthy and looks so beautiful. The sunset is from the house our family rented and the view to the south is Puerto Progresso....where they have a daily food market, sanitary market...that was so clean and full of wonderful, afordable food. A week, but a life long memory for many reasons.

Friday, February 6, 2009

SVCC Fall City Roadhouse Ribbon Cutting & Open House

Fall City Roadhouse owner, Scott Krahling, cuts the ribbon!

The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce gave us their support, brought ambassadors, chamber members and their executive director, Karen Granger….came with humongous ceremonial scissors, ribbon and we had a ribbon cutting!
Celebrating six months since The Fall City Roadhouse opened and the late 2008 opening of our partner business, The Fall City Inn.
Additionally, we welcomed our neighbors, friends and families (who wished us well, between “OOhs” and “AHHs”), the word had spread there was going to be a party! Chef/GM Cameon Orel’s wonderful food and wine resulted in lots of lively conversation!
The owners of the historic, totally up graded building: Scott Krahling (Fall City Roadhouse), and Charlie and Leslie Kellogg (Fall City Roadhouse) greeted attendees, gave tours of the beautiful, upstairs sleeping rooms and generally made sure everyone had a good time.

Nearby Dining/Hotel Tip, Tulalip Resort & Casino

Tulalip Resort and Casino, Tulalip Bay Restaurant, not on a lot of people’s radar, but should be. James Beard invitee, Chef Dean Shinagawa and restaurant culinary team create a stunningly beautiful and delicious menu. Classic French technique, new world ingredients, the food is very good, besides being innovative. The Tulalip Bay, features a special menu, every month (besides the seasonal main menu), that experiments with different cuisines. The menu is affordable, considering the quality and quantity, the triple appetizer sampler offered when we dined, could have been a meal for me… was $14.50. Wine Spectator Award winning wine list, interesting wines by the glass. Out of the ordinary cocktails, one martini style fruit concoction served up was chilled with frozen dice.

2009 Chef’s Tour of the World:
· February: Chinese / Dim Sum
· March: First of Spring / Fruits and Vegetables
· April: Japanese Cuisine / Sushi
· May: Spanish Tapas
· June: Hawaiian Seafood
· July: Texas Style Barbecue
· August: Locally Grown, Northwest Ingredients (Washington Wine Month)
· September: Mushrooms, Mushrooms, Mushrooms
· October: Moroccan
· November: American Harvest
· December: European Cheese and Wine

The Tulalip Resort Casino Hotel, managed by Summit Hotels & Resorts, opened in 2008. The rooms and expansive group dining/banquet area are stunningly beautiful and give anyone in the NW a run for their money, in my opinion. I haven’t attended a banquet at the Tulalip, but if the quality of food and service food at the casino F&B outlets, can be maintained resort wide…..the experience would be stellar. Take a look at the photos (they don’t do it justice), I wish the menus were on line.
Within walking distance of the Chelsea Premium Outlet Mall……. I don’t think a lot of people do that, but an overnight stay at the hotel, meals at the casino and shopping seem like a great get way……even if it’s just more window shopping then anything else!