Posts Tagged ‘caramelised onion’
I have a vivid mental image of poutine. Mr S had queued patiently for forty minutes at Skillet Street Food and sent me a photo of his lunch. The poutine was a gloopy mess. Brown food is ugly and being doused in gravy makes it difficult. Appearance can be deceptive and the Quebec specialty is a classic example.
The pioneering food truck has since expanded to a bricks and mortar eatery opposite the recently relocated Restaurant Zoë in Capitol Hill. On a leafy corner, the eponymous skillets are on the Skillet Diner sign.
Mint seating and lemon walls, the interior is reminiscent of a classic American diner.
Stainless steel tables and an exposed loft ceiling render an industrial feel.
The all day menu is categorised into breakfast, greens, burgers, sandwiches and sides.
A creamy blend in a mason jar, the seasonal shake was flecked with desiccated coconut. The beverage evoked tropical memories!
Shirley and I split two sandwiches. The daily special was a meatloaf sandwich with chipotle caramelised onion and cheese. A stout bun supported a thick slab of well seasoned meatloaf, a respectable homage to American cuisine. A generous mound of French fries were crunchy batons of starch.
The second was the fried chicken sandwich. Two squares of pillowy potato bread contrasted with the crispy fennel seed crusted chicken. Tender and herbaceous, the poultry was paired harmoniously with tangy jalapeño aioli and healthful kale. A salad of mixed greens was tossed with a vibrant vinaigrette.
I have two pizza classes scheduled within a month. I was at Serious Pie Downtown on a Wednesday morning for the first one. The pizza classes are held on weekdays and Saturdays before the restaurant opens. The city felt lethargic on a cloudy midweek day and it was a little odd walking into an empty Serious Pie.
Coffee and banana chocolate walnut loaves greeted us. I nibbled on the sweet, nutty bread as I leafed through the printed notes.
The Kitchen Table is the new private dining room at Serious Pie Downtown. For dough-shaping and dining parties, the dual purpose room was rustic and decorated in warm tones. Twinkling lights were strung overhead.
Vases of dried flowers lined the window sill as an organic curtain. Metal shelves were laden with commercial size tubs of World Spice herbs and spices.
I was happy to spot a large container of Murray River flake salt in their inventory.
Chef Audrey Spence was ill so Cari kindly shared her expertise with us. The Serious Pie dough recipe is a secret but there is a modified version for the home cook. Cari detailed the three-day dough making process. Bread flour, semolina flour, biga starter, olive oil, honey, salt and water are mixed, proofed and hand-shaped. Cari demonstrated how to stretch the dough.
Silky and supple, the wet dough wobbled and yielded easily to touch. We each dusted the wooden surface with flour and stretched a ball of tacky dough. Gentle and nimble fingers were the key! We sprinkled the pizza board with semolina flour and slid the dough on top.
Mise en place: basil, caramelised onions, clams, fennel sausages, hedgehog mushrooms, pancetta, potatoes, olive oil, roasted garlic, roasted peppers and tomato sauce.
Parmigiano, Provolone, Feta, Mozzarella and herbs were in terracotta dishes for us to sample.
Clockwise from top right: Provolone, tarragon and Parmigiano.
I created a half and half pizza. On the left: olive oil, hedgehog mushrooms and caramelised onions. On the right: tomato sauce, pancetta, roasted red peppers and basil.
My half and half pizza on the rack in the queue for the oven.
Our cheeks were rosy from the heat of the apple wood burning pizza oven.
Gauge of the wood fire pizza oven indicated a temperature of 658 °F (348 °C).
The pizza was placed at the edge of the fiery glow and in one swift motion the board was displaced. An enormous stainless steel paddle pushed the raw pizza to the side and back where it blistered and crisped. After five minutes, Cari dabbed on the Provolone, and the pizza was rotated and cooked for another two to three minutes.
A pinch of marjoram perfected the seasoning. I wielded the mezzaluna and sliced the pizza into eighths.
We settled into the dining room with our artisanal, personalised pizzas.
It was deeply satisfying to eat the pizza I had handmade, and without any clean up afterwards!
It was fun to be in the Serious Pie kitchen to learn some of the techniques of their famous pizzas!
Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Allan Aquila. This is not a sponsored post.
sozo (so·zo) – noun
To save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. To save a suffering one from perishing, to make well, heal, restore to health.
Sozo is an artisan winemaker that selects quality grapes from vineyards to craft their own blends. The company partners with not-for-profit organisations to distribute a portion of sales to assist those in need. Each bottle of wine has a medallion affixed to its label to indicate its contribution to Sozo’s commitment to the community. For example, ’5 lives’ is equal to five meals supplied by local food banks.
Winemaker Cheryl Barber-Jones collaborated with Chef Peter Jahnke on the wine pairings for the five course tasting menu.
The first course was pear, caramelised onion and St André tart, and Sozo Humanity Riesling. Amber and flaky, the tart had a delicate sweetness that was accentuated by the mellow Riesling.
A generous fillet of salmon perched on a mound of mushroom risotto, and Sozo Potential Pinot Noir. Averse to fish skin, I gently peeled it from the perfectly cooked flesh. Both the salmon and creamy rice was well seasoned.
The third course was duck confit with lentils, and Sozo Abundant Mourvèdre Syrah Blend. I love duck but unfortunately this was a little dry and lacked the sumptuous texture of confit meat. Traditionally coupled with Pinot Noir, the Mourvèdre Syrah was a delightful match with the game.
Abundant Mourvèdre Syrah Blend, one of four Sozo wines sampled.
The penultimate dish of braised beef with blueberry barbecue glaze, polenta and kale, and Sozo Generosity Syrah Tempranillo Blend was my favourite of the evening. Tender chunks of slow cooked beef were atop luscious polenta and wilted kale.
We concluded with an affogato. A single shot espresso and a scoop of espresso gelato was presented in a coffee cup. The espresso and vanilla ice cream are served separately in a classic affogato. The caffeine and sugar were appreciated after four diverse savoury courses that highlighted the Sozo wines.
Charmed by the smooth Riesling, Mrs W and I both purchased a bottle.
We were gifted a bag of Yemen Mocca Sanani as we exited into the crisp night.
Sozo is on the wine list of more than seventy restaurants in Seattle. Next time you dine out, consider this socially responsible winemaker!
The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg at Emmer and Rye – Queen Anne, Seattle
Posted Monday 05 December 2011on:
On a gloomy day I challenged myself to walk up to emmer&rye. It was a crisp morning but I warmed up quickly on the Counterbalance. I had to pause for a couple of minutes after the steep inclines before entering the restaurant for a Keren Brown event with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine.
An elegantly restored Victorian house in Queen Anne, emmer&rye has a homely porch, a cosy dining room on the street level and a private function room upstairs.
Through the curtains were a narrow staircase and vintage framed portraits line the wall.
Skylights brightened the loft and the space was decorated with antique furniture.
Chef Seth Caswell, a champion of ‘locally derived, seasonally inspired’ cuisine, was our host. Platters and trays of hors d’oeuvres, stemware and books were presented on a wooden bench anchored by two ornate candelabra dripped in wax.
Dolloped into dessert wine glasses, the braised lamb with leek purée and Yukon potato shooter was delightfully creamy.
On house made herb crackers were Tumalo Farms goat cheese with nectarine chutney which was a lovely contrast of savoury and sweet.
Cubes of farro fries were neatly stacked on a duck egg blue platter with a pot of sage yoghurt dipping sauce.
Bite size squares of rye toast were spread with lamb liver mousse and topped with caramelised onions.
My favourite was the crispy pork belly with pepper jelly on fried brioche, a delectable combination of fatty meat and crunchy bread.
Dessert was a decadently chewy hazelnut and whisky chocolate caramel slice.
We munched on the morsels, and sipped on Chemistry Wines White Blend and Saviah Cellars 2009 ‘The Jack’ Syrah while Karen and Andrew spoke eloquently about their eighth book, The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine.
Flavour and aroma influence our taste. Karen and Andrew added the ‘X factor’ which is contextual to our eating and drinking experience, it increases the flavour and aroma of food exponentially.
2011 is a ‘watershed year for wine’ in America. After seventeen consecutive years of growth, the US is now the number one consumer of wine in the world. Since 2002 every state in the US has been producing wines.
My face creased in shock when Karen quoted a survey that the average American eat a sandwich and drink a can of soda for dinner. Food and wine are intertwined, and Karen and Andrew are champions of enjoying food and wine together.
Many wine books published detail the history and technicality of wine, a France-centric approach to wine writing. Karen and Andrew wrote about how early settlers in Virginia were required to plant grapes to produce wines.
Karen and Andrew encourage people to drink wine and to find out what they like without the high culture. Food and wine are ‘both groceries, staples’. ‘You just need a glass’ to appreciate wine. ‘If you like it, damn it you like it!’
The authors advocate drinking in moderation for pleasure and comfort. Karen and Andrew recommend drinking local wines but also to sample other regions and styles to expand our palates which evolve and refine over time. They mentioned the Wine Century Club, where you qualify for membership by tasting at least one hundred varietals.
Some of their pairing highlights were foie gras and a century old Sauterne, and curry and Riesling. Karen and Andrew are emphatic that wine is about quality of life and can be consumed for health and happiness.
They commented on the importance of educating children about alcohol, and trepidation and judgement as barriers for adults. They waxed lyrical about sommeliers as ‘gifted linguists’. Sommeliers will suggest matches if you let them know what you like! They shared an anecdote of a friend asking for wine that ‘won’t make my mouth feel furry’.
Sincere thanks to Keren for connecting us with Karen and Andrew, and to Chef Caswell and the staff at emmer&rye for their hospitality.
We had a full schedule for our recent trip home to Australia. We gallivanted from Sydney to Darwin and Brisbane over two and a half weeks. Our gatherings with family and friends oscillated between sentimental favourites to new recommendations. On our first day in Brisbane, we sought reprieve from the humid heat at The Gunshop Café.
Located in West End, an eclectic neighbourhood on the edge of the city, The Gunshop Café is renowned for breakfast and it was busy on a Friday morning. A handful of tables were positioned on the footpath and in the bay window nooks.
There were two rooms in the heritage building. The entrance was framed by a chalkboard specials menu and a vase of long stemmed flowers on the counter.
The main dining room was sparsely furnished and quirky busts were displayed in the gaps of the exposed brick walls. The latticed shades twirled in the gentle breeze and soft light shimmered throughout the room.
A cute posy decorated the table.
The serviettes were customised with the restaurant name.
Merlo Coffee is a local roaster and supplies many eateries in Brisbane.
Mr S ordered the classic of double smoked bacon, poached eggs, herbed Hollandaise sauce, sourdough toast and tomatoes. The glossy pastel coloured sauced was ladled over two perfect orbs balanced on two thick slices of browned bread. Crispy and salty, the rashers of bacon were delectable.
I selected the omelette of bresaola, caramelised onions and Fontina. The tanned parcel was drizzled with olive oil and plump with a generous amount of cured beef, a delicious contrast to the sweet caramelised onions.
I had spotted the coconut juice in shell on the chalkboard by the door. The refreshing beverage was served with a cocktail umbrella!
Both locals and visitors love The Gunshop Café!
Disclosure: I received a demo product from Duo PR. This is not a sponsored post.
I loved the convenience of the SousVide Supreme Demi. Any combination of protein, and dry or solid seasoning can be vacuum sealed in a food grade plastic pouch and cooked sous vide. A homely dinner can be prepared quickly with ingredients in the fridge and pantry.
I followed this recipe for sous vide steak. A slab of butter, bruised garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme were added to the sirloin sprinkled with salt and pepper.
The portions were submerged at sixty degrees Celsius for at least forty five minutes to cook the steak to medium. You can adjust the temperature to cook the steak to your preference.
With the sirloin steak in the water oven, I cut up vegetables for roasting, and caramelised onions and sautéed mushrooms for a sauce.
I skipped the final step of searing and served the sirloin sliced. The meat was buttery and tender, and a perfect medium.
The only limitation was cooking steaks to different levels of doneness but Mr S was happy to compromise.
In a hurry for lunch, I walked briskly to Pop Kitchen + Bar. Located at the Experience Music Project, it has a dual entrance from the EMP and the street. Leafy shrubs surround a patio with crimson chairs that would be lovely in summer or with outdoor heaters in winter on a clear, still day. It would be entertaining to watch tourists board the Ride the Ducks!
The restaurant has gone through some changes in the short time it’s been opened, including reduced hours. We found this out when we were going to drop in for a quick dinner prior to an event at Key Arena several weeks ago. Dinner should be crossed off the sign!
Branded water bottles, and jars of house made apple butter and marmalade lined the shelves. The menu was displayed on screens, and biscotti and cookies were on the counter.
Bright colours splashed the walls, lamp shades and chairs. Curved white leather lounges with punctures resembled Swiss cheese.
Glowing in orange, the bar was well stocked and televisions played music videos.
The compact menu had sandwiches, salads and soups, and more substantial fare of pizza, pasta and burgers. There were also daily specials. I asked for recommendations and ordered the grilled chicken sandwich.
A bamboo skewer secured each half of the sandwich. Chunks of grilled chicken breast were layered with Gruyère, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelised onions, aioli and baby spinach in crusty ciabatta. The strong flavours of the sun-dried tomatoes were overwhelming but it was a tasty combination. The sandwich was served with a generous mound of house made potato crisps.
I was the only patron at such an early hour so service was speedy!
We have laughed at many jokes about the Seattle summer but we really like the mild weather. We lament the precipitation but the absence of heat and humidity is appreciated. On a rain soaked Sunday, we were in need of a hearty meal.
I was very hungry so we were extremely early for dinner at Tavolàta. The restaurant was empty but for one table and a handful of people at the bar.
A warehouse style loft with a high ceiling and exposed cement walls, the namesake communal table featured in the middle of the long and narrow dining room. There was booth seating on one side, a mezzanine level at the back and an open plan kitchen.
I love the modern geometric ’chandelier’ that was suspended above the communal table. There were lit candles on every table and natural light streamed in through the skylights.
We selected two antipasti to share – bruschetta with smoked blue fish and aioli, and grilled flatbread with mozzarella, arugula, roasted garlic and caramelised onion. Sprinked with chives and drizzled with aioli, the generous dollop of minced fish was atop crusty slices of baguette.
The grilled flatbread is my new favourite pizza! Served on a wooden paddle, each piece was a delectable combination of molten stretchy mozzarella, sweet translucent onion, mild roasted garlic and peppery arugula. I ate these slowly, savouring each flavoursome bite and reluctantly parted with Mr S’s portion.
Mr S has a habit of changing his mind when the wait staff takes his order. He nearly did it again at Tavolàta but he was happy with the rigatoni with spicy Italian sausage, marjoram and tomato. It was a homely dish, evoking images of an Italian nonna cooking a large batch of this for a Sunday family lunch.
I opted for cavatelli with guanciale, carbonara and chives for my main. Curls of pasta nestled against cubes of cured porcine cheeks, each forkful a textural contrast between the al dente cavatelli, and the delicate flesh and intense flavour of the guanciale.
The zeppole were similar to Greek loukoumades in appearance. Puffed and golden, the doughnut holes were dusted with icing sugar and infused with lemon. We had to stare lustily at these until they were cool enough to touch and we gleefully double dipped the ethereal balls of fried dough in the caramel sauce.
Thank you Ethan Stowell for a deliciously rustic meal to brighten up a dull day!
We had a comical meal at The Lucky Diner. It wasn’t an open mic show and there was no improv competition, our waitress was the entertainment.
She was lovely and tried her best but she was clearly lost in the new Belltown eatery. There was much confusion when she realised her previous customers had left and we had taken their seats at the counter. Once our meals were served, she paced up and down behind the counter in desperate search for cutlery and alas, returned with a single brightly coloured plastic fork.
We had lured Mr L to NOBA, north of Battery Street, for a weekend lunch. After we ordered we discussed the concept of an American diner and Mr L was adamant that The Lucky Diner is a sanitised version of authentic places like the Hurricane Café, whereas I love that The Lucky Diner highlights classic elements such as the print of a neon caffeine sign, counter and booth seating and an extensive menu of comfort food, modernised with vegetarian and gluten free options.
The wait staff is in retro uniforms and from the counter you can peer into the long and narrow kitchen where the chefs are busily cooking for a crowd.
A selection of sauces was available as condiments and I lined them up for a photo while sipping on a rich chocolate milkshake. Made by hand, there were lumps of chocolate at the bottom that taunted me as it blocked up the straw.
In the big Buddha omelette were sausage, ham, bacon, sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and white American cheese. Mr L lessened the calories slightly by ordering it with egg whites only and whole wheat toast.
Listed in the specialty subs section was the sexy beast. Sliced ham, slow braised pork and bacon were topped with house made cola barbecue sauce, cream cheese and grilled pineapple in a crusty roll. And you have a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, mac salad, fruit cocktail, braised beans, Lucky beans, black beans, sticky rice or brown rice as a side!
It was a decadent combination, a little heavy with three meats. Mr S loved the cola barbecue sauce – smoky and sticky, it was a perfect accompaniment to the slow braised pork and grilled pineapple. He would have been happy with only these three ingredients!
My eyes widened at the bulging sandwich placed in front of me. Our waitress found steak knives and handed them over, sharp end pointed towards us. As I sawed the pork chop sandwich in half, another waitress walked by and exclaimed, ‘oh no, you have to eat it with your hands!’ I intended to and cutting it in half usually prevents the filling from sliding out.
The breaded pork chop was tender and tangy from the honey mustard and mayonnaise. Juicy and sweet, the thick slices of caramelised onions were my favourite part of the sandwich.
As we were leaving, I noticed bowls of Lucky Charms cereal being poured. The Lucky Diner is a welcome addition to the Belltown neighbourhood, both family friendly and opens until late.