Posts Tagged ‘Dahlia Workshop’
Posted Wednesday 06 June 2012on:
Our home in Sydney had a small L shaped garden in the courtyard. The previous owners had planted tropical specimens that were coarse and prickly and it took many hours to dig out all the roots. We replaced the grotesque fluorescent plants with evergreen hedges and Japanese maple trees.
We had terracotta pots of herbs and vegetables which yielded produce sporadically. We had a stubborn lettuce that was determined to grow up so all we had were stalks and no leaves. The singular chilli we patiently cultivated was pecked at and spat out by a bird. But we did have an abundance of basil. My only gardening skill is watering. I was excellent at that!
The workshop is the bakery for all the Tom Douglas restaurants. Serious Pie Westlake is on the mezzanine level with a view over the commercial kitchen.
We were greeted with a rhubarb lemonade in a mason jar. Macerated rhubarb was strained and mixed with lemonade, a refreshingly tart beverage.
Our snacks were courtesy of Serious Pie. Buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil, and Penn Cove clams, pancetta and lemon thyme pizzas sated our hunger.
A stack of recipe cards were tied in a bow.
A cardboard tray of Prosser Farm vegetables had asparagus, oregano, Chinese cabbage and mustard green seedlings.
We gathered around Dev as he and chatted chatted with us about farming in Prosser.
We tasted a trio of greens. Clockwise from top: baby mustard greens, mustard greens and Chinese cabbage. The peppery red mustard greens contrasted with the grassy green variety.
An orange coriander vinaigrette was in a spray bottle. A spritz of the citrusy dressing on the red mustard green leaves alleviated the spiciness.
Dev peeled stalks of rhubarb with a paring knife which he reserved for colouring. The yoghurt and asparagus are from their neighbours. There are no asparagus on Prosser Farm as it requires space and takes three to four years for the crops to develop. The sheep milk yoghurt is from Mercer Sheep.
Thick and creamy, the piquant yoghurt balanced the mellow sweetness of the poached rhubarb. Tossed with crunchy asparagus spears, crisp green leaves and slivered almonds, it was a unique salad.
Dev foraged a handful of devil’s club for us to nibble on. There were murmurs as we considered the flavour. It was herbal, like juniper berries in gin. These can be eaten raw in salads or pickled.
Green garlic is straight and garlic scapes are curved. The former is young garlic and the latter are the stalks of garlic. Both have mild, dulcet notes that differentiate them from the pungency of garlic cloves.
These curious curls are fiddlehead ferns. The fronds have to be carefully cleaned, and can be blanched or seared.
We were surprised with chorizo made by former Harvest Vine chef Joseba Jimenez and they were smoky paprika morsels.
Dev explained that hard boiled just laid eggs are difficult to peel. The egg whites thicken after three days.
Coddled in 145 °F water for 35 minutes, the glossy eggs were gently cracked into individual bowls and briefly warmed.
Dev sautéed kale and green garlic, and spinach was wilted in stock.
The greens were puréed.
And simmered with brown butter, and cooled in an ice bath.
Mushroom slides and A ladle of green garlic broth were topped with a coddled egg. Luscious and healthy, the broth was the definition of spring.
Currently Prosser Farm is supplying 300 pounds of food to the Tom Douglas restaurants per week. It will peak at 1000 pounds in summer. There are quince, fig and peach trees on the property. Last year the restaurants did not have to purchase any tomatoes and only had to supplement lettuces. Next will be eggplant and peppers.
Dev answered all our questions with aplomb and recommended rhubarb leaves as rain shields!
Posted Thursday 11 August 2011on:
I have fond memories of spearing marshmallows on a twig and toasting them over an open fire at school camps. The timing is crucial. The warmth and crackle of the flickering flames lulls you into a glowing sleepiness but you must be alert and watch the spongy confection closely. There is a moment where the outer skin is caramelised, and the centre is molten. This is when the marshmallow will instantly disintegrate in your mouth.
Rachel the Pig was chalked to entice passers-by. The chefs were cheerful and expertly assembled the s’mores.
Space was limited outside and trays of house made graham crackers were piled into Serious Pie boxes.
Bullions of house made marshmallows were skewered and slabs of Theo Chocolate were stacked on graham crackers.
The chocolate pieces were positioned at the edge for gentle melting.
The bamboo sticks of marshmallows were held directly over the open fire until it bubbled and browned.
Each ingredient was layered on top of the other for a dessert sandwich.
Crumbly and sugary, it oozed and dripped with each bite. It was messy and sticky, rich and sweet.
And thus, I ate my first s’more!
Posted Wednesday 29 June 2011on:
When I read about the salmon cooking class at Dahlia Workshop, I bought a ticket immediately. Not only is it a step towards overcoming my reluctance to cook fish at home, I was also interested in the wine pairing component of Cooking with Soul.
The Westlake and Harrison building has special meaning to me – we dined out for the first in Seattle at Serious Pie, our initiation to the Tom Douglas restaurants. I love the dark, moody space and the communal tables overlooking the Dahlia Workshop kitchen and staring at the wood fire oven.
Dahlia Workshop shares the ground level with Soul Wines which is not officially affiliated with Tom Douglas. Floor to ceiling windows brighten the room and cases of wine with tasting notes are stacked on the floor.
As usually I was there early and the owner kindly poured samples at the tasting bar for me and a couple. We marvelled at a crisp and refreshing French white by Domaine des Cassagnoles.
Michael Teer selected the wines for the salmon dishes for the evening. In his introduction, he noted that matching wine to food is a challenge in Seattle as the Pacific Northwest is influenced by many cuisines. He emphasised that wine matching is not science, there are only guidelines and not definitive answers.
Pamela Hinckley, Tom Douglas Restaurants (TDR) CEO, welcomed the class and Eric Tanaka, TDR Executive Chef, explained that the focus of the two hours would be on ingredients and techniques, and not detailed recipes.
A beheaded salmon was on the chopping board and two salmon skins were on another. Chef Tanaka asked if we had seen the Tom Douglas Iron Chef episode as he will be cooking one the dishes that beat Iron Chef Morimoto.
Chef Tanaka demonstrated how to skin a salmon by adjusting the angle of the knife and applying pressure to scrape off the excess flesh and fat. A long and narrow knife is preferred.
I haven’t been in a commercial kitchen before and was curious about the equipment and layout. There were shelves full of trays and containers but the benches remained clear. There was an area in the middle for washing and drying. It was clean and tidy, just how I like it!
Next Chef Tanaka cut the salmon in half along the bone. He recommended using a sharp knife for this and a smooth gliding action, no sawing! He removed the tail, collars and various other offcuts to be used for other dishes.
The collars were marinated in soy, mirin, orange juice, star anise, ginger and garlic. Brines are a very personal taste to balance sweet and salty, and the flavour of soy develops as it age. Chef Tanaka mentioned that chefs who smoke tend to make saltier brines.
Sliced thinly, the salmon belly was cured for about forty minutes. The curing process removes moisture and changes the texture and flavour of the salmon. Chef Tanaka used a one to one ratio of brown sugar and salt, and a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper. The cured salmon is ready when it ‘sweats’ and the flesh is firm, carefully rinse off the seasoning before plating.
The carcass and other pieces were poached, chilled and flaked for the salmon cakes. Lemon zest, mayonnaise, salt and pepper were added, then coated in panko crumbs and seared.
We paused for the first course of salmon cakes. Resting on a smear of puréed avocado and topped with a light tomato salsa, the salmon cake was moist and tangy while retaining a distinct salmon flavour. Michael spoke about the versatility of Grüner Veltliner, a light and fruity wine from Syncline Winery that paired well with the salmon cake.
I was standing next to this Rollmatic machine and was daydreaming about cranking out the pastry for an industrial size triple coconut cream pie!
The loin fillets were coated with the Tom Douglas salmon rub, grilled and served with shitake mushrooms sautéed in thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. In the restaurants, these would be prepared a day ahead and cold smoked at 100°F with a tray of ice in the oven to moderate the temperature. Chef Tanaka said that cold smoking is a gentler cooking method than curing.
Chef Tanaka eased the delicate salmon skins onto the trays and liberally scattered furikake, a Japanese dry seasoning mix available in many combinations. He covered the tray with parchment and placed another tray over it to completely the flatten the salmon skins. These are grilled at 225°F for 45 minutes.
Presented on transparent plates, the cured salmon was garnished with a scoop of salmon roe and a shard of salmon skin. It was a beautiful colour and the curing highlighted the richness of the salmon.
Spatula for you, spatula for me! A multitude of spatulas of varying sizes dangled from a wire rack and the window ledge was lined with spices including Murray River flake salt and the delightfully named apple pie spice.
A few of the group were tasked with assisting. A woman on my left finely chopped dried apricots and another on my right cut green onions.
These salmon fillets were poached quickly in a dashi broth and steeped in green tea. This was simple and delicious - each bite fragrant with the earthiness of green tea, a contrast to the saltiness of the red shiso seasoning on the plain rice.
The last course was the marinated and grilled salmon collars with Ottolenghi‘s red rice and quinoa salad. I love the oily slipperiness of salmon collars and these were grilled at 500°F for ten minutes.
Bold and nutty, the red rice and quinoa salad was a crowd favourite. Although vegetarian, it was tasty and filling. Pamela was whisking vigorously and adjusting the vinaigrette as needed. It was exceptional with a glass of Pinot noir from Cameron Winery in Oregon.
It was a fun evening learning Chef Tanaka’s approaches to cooking each part of the salmon. He was an easygoing guy and patiently answered all our questions while cooking five salmon dishes for twenty-five people!
Here’s the blurb from the website. Unfortunately the next two in the series, chicken and wines of France and vegetarian and Italian wines, are sold out.
Join us for cooking classes that offer techniques on how to make delicious, healthy everyday food and how to choose modestly priced wines to go with the menu!
The beautiful Dahlia Workshop kitchen, where Tom Douglas’ bread and pastry production happens is hosting a night time series where we’ll be cooking up a storm! The class will blend demonstrations from our chefs and hands on participation. Each class will include a butchering technique, fresh takes on vegetables and innovative grain dishes. Our neighbors at Soul Wine will pick the perfect wine accompaniments.
In a relaxed and convivial environment, we will cook together and eat what we make! Participants take home recipe cards and an opportunity to buy the wines at a promotional price.