Posts Tagged ‘Michael Teer’
Posted Monday 01 August 2011on:
Cellar door tastings are free at most Australian wineries. We did a couple of day tours of California Wine Country on bicycles last year and we were shocked that we had to pay up to fifteen dollars for a flight of wines in the Napa Valley.
When I read that Soul Wine and Tom Douglas Restaurants were hosting Renato Ratti Winery, I called immediately to reserve spots. At twenty five dollars for the Piedmontese wine tasting and food pairing, it was exceptional value.
Ting Momo was an ideal space for the size of the group. Two long tables were set in the narrow room.
The afternoon sun shone brilliantly and a cool breeze drifted in through the open windows.
Behind Brave Horse Tavern and above Cuoco in the Terry Avenue Building, Ting Momo serves Tibetan dumplings for weekday lunches. Aluminium tables, wicker chairs and wooden benches add to a casual feel.
Seven wines and five dishes were on the menu and the wines were generously discounted for order.
Cuoco Chef Stuart Lane briefly described how each of the dishes was cooked.
Tom Douglas Restaurant Executive Chef Eric Tanaka assisted in the kitchen. The dishes were plated on the Ting Momo counter.
I love the vintage style labels on the Renato Ratti wine bottles.
Many Australian and New Zealand wines are twist tops. We’ve used our wine opener more in the last six months than in the previous six years!
We sipped on the first wine, 2009 Dolcetto d’Alba Colombè, as attendees trickled in. One of those was Tom Douglas!
The melodic sound of wine being poured into a glass, swirling the ruby liquid to release the aromas, caressing the stemware to reflect light, staring contemplatively at the wine legs - the beautiful ritual of wine tasting!
On the right is Michael Teer, owner of Soul Wine. Michael introduced his friend, Pietro Ratti on the left. Pietro’s father, Renato, worked in Brazil for the Cinzano company before returning to Piedmont and bought his first vineyard in 1965. Pietro inherited the winery from his father and he applies the same philosophy and approach as Renato. Pietro spoke with passion and humour, and we were all charmed by his Italian accent!
The region is also known for white truffles and Pietro joked that it’s better than the French ‘black potatoes’. Pietro explained that the Renato Ratti Winery owns parcels of land throughout the region and is not an estate. Grapes vary depending on soil (sandy or clay) and altitude (temperature); there are different microclimates within a distance of less than twenty miles.
Barolo is labour intensive, and it is manual and not mechanical. The viticulture is only on a hillside facing the sun at specific latitude. The grapes are tasted to determine when and where to pick. Each cluster of grapes is cut by hand. Cotton gloves are worn to protect the wax (natural water proofing) and yeast (natural fermentation) on the grapes.
The grapes are then crushed by equipment to replicate the gentle movement of feet. By law, Barolo has to age for at least twenty four months. Pietro recommended ‘drinking ’07 and cellaring ’06′.
Tom Douglas queried why Pietro doesn’t produce Rosato. Pietro responded that the yield is small and it interrupts the summer! Pietro mingled among the groups as we ate and drank and he happily answered our questions.
An earthenware plate with a slice of marinated red pepper was brightened by grassy green fava beans. Marinated in vinegar, the red pepper was a lovely balance of sweet and sour.
Carne cruda is a traditional Piedmontese dish. Similar to tartare, this was made with lightly seasoned minced lamb and drizzled with olive oil. This was the first time I’ve eaten raw meat and it was less meaty than expected, more like tuna.
Perched on the Barbera braised onions was a wedge of Toma. The layers of translucent onions were daintily sweet and their edges dyed by the wine. A Piedmontese cheese, the mild and creamy Toma highlighted the flavours of the small bulbs. Chef Stuart Lane noted the key to cooking onions is to lose rawness but retain freshness.
A tiny leg of quail was atop a smear of liver pâté. Golden and crispy on the outside, the quail was plump and moist. Mr S exalted the smooth and buttery liver pâté.
The final course was Nebbiolo Kobe beef cheeks with spiced lardo toast. Dark and chunky, the beef was easily pulled apart with only a fork. It was tender and enriched by the Nebbiolo.
Chef Stuart Lane commented on the interplay between food and wine, that it is a transformative relationship. Each bite and sip reveals depth and complexity to the food and wine.
Sincere thanks To Pietro Ratti for visiting Seattle, Soul Wine for organising the tasting event, Ting Momo for hosting, and Cuoco for the food pairings. Grazie!
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.