Posts Tagged ‘vinaigrette’
Tilth, James Beard award winner Maria Hines‘ Oregon Tilth certified organic restaurant, has been on my restaurant list for many months. I’m yet to dine there but I attended a cooking class with Tilth’s chef de cuisine, Jason Brzozwy, at PCC Greenlake on Monday.Smaller and older than PCC Cooks in Redmond, the narrow stairs to the room is marked by an enormous balloon whisk and a wooden serving set.
The stainless steel kitchen had two cameras focused on the stove and the bench. The galley is stocked with accoutrements in an assortment of shapes, sizes and colours.
Each course was paired with a wine. From left to right: Terre Margaritelli Pietramala, Chinook Cabernet Franc Rosé, Lachini Pinot Noir and Château de Corneilla Muscat de Rivesaltes. The Muscat had a ‘quite the find‘ sticker on the bottle indicating that the wine is exclusive to PCC.
We snacked on marcona almonds as Jason welcomed us. He is from Chicago and has worked at Tilth for four years. He smiled as he recalled how as a child his attempt at boiling water for oatmeal ignited a fire. He discussed Tilth’s philosophy and how to ‘create memorable food’. We introduced ourselves and described what that meant to us.
A handsome man, Jason is affable and genuinely loves to cook. He demonstrated each recipe with aplomb.
First was a salad of figs, arugula, Rogue River blue cheese and marcona almonds. Jason explained that ripe figs are plump, heavy for their size and appear delicate. Another tip from the chef was to ‘dress the bowl, not the lettuce’ to avoid wilted greens. Sweet, peppery and pungent, it was a simple salad of complex flavours.
Next was gazpacho. Jason demonstrated his knife skills in cutting peppers into brunoise, eighth inch cubes, for the pepper jam. Fresh corn kernels and diced onions were seasoned and blended until a creamy consistency. Canola oil, lemon juice, black and white pepper, and salt are his staples. The pepper jam was reduced to a syrupy liquid and cooled.
To serve, the corn gazpacho was ladled over a quenelle of pepper jam, halved cherry tomatoes and basil. It was a piquant soup, a summery appetiser.
Tilth’s fisherman teaches anthropology at Seattle Central. Jason spoke with respect about what the fisherman does and the importance of letting the quality of the ingredients be the highlight of each dish.
The fleshy sockeye salmon was deboned with tweezers and portioned.
Atop a slice of heirloom tomato and in a shallow pool of tomato water, the seared Alaskan salmon was garnished with slivers of sugar snap peas and drizzled with edible flower vinaigrette. Cooked to a medium rare, the salmon was buttery with a crispy skin.
Dessert was macerated local raspberries, Greek yoghurt and honey tuiles. The tuile batter was spread on moulds, baked and draped over rolling pins to curl. The tart yoghurt balanced the sweet berries and the fragrant wafer.
The recipes are perfect for a summer dinner party!
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.
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!
Seattle was blessed with consecutive weekends of glorious weather. The feeling of sunshine on bare skin is so restorative and we had a serene afternoon at the Washington Park Arboretum and the Japanese Garden, strolling and gazing at the blooming trees.
We leisurely looped the arboretum and garden, and had afternoon tea at Belle Epicurean.
Located at the Madison Park end of the botanic gardens, the second café by Carolyn Ferguson is in a spacious slate building.
A marble counter and glass cabinet displayed sweet treats.
The décor is Parisian chic with panes of vintage mirrors, framed black and white prints, and replica Thonet chairs and stools.
A gleaming espresso machine dispensed Caffé Vita coffee and there was a wine menu by the glass.
There were cake balls wrapped in mint and fuchsia foil, Rolo tart, and slices of raspberry mousse cake, Alhambra cake, red velvet crunch cake, opéra cake and coconut crème cake.
In the perpendicular cabinet were flat discs of pastel macarons and jars of pistachio, vanilla, rose water and orange buttercream.
Pastries included pain au chocolat, orange scented brioche and croissants.
There were also lemon brioche buns with citrus confit and spiced almond brioche bostocks.
Mr S ordered le feuillette, a savoury tart. Black Forest ham, Gruyère and Mornay sauce were encased in a flaky brioche crust. The golden, molten mass was buttery and cheesy.
My coconut crème cake was baked with coconut milk, pineapple juice and rum. The layers of sponge and coconut cream cheese frosting were decadent and textured with shredded coconut. The tang of pineapple and the residual alcohol of the rum tempered the sweetness, it was an adult dessert!
Belle Epicurean Provisions was connected by a doorway.
A wall of square shelves cellared hundreds of bottles of wines.
Opposite was Belle Epicurean branded dessert sauces, and cake and frosting mixes, Riedel glassware and cookbooks.
Bars of Michel Cluizel chocolates of various cacao percentages tempted us.
The fridge at the back was a trove of gourmet and artisan aioli, butter, chutney, compote, soup base, tapenade, vinaigrette, and ‘take and bake’ croissant, brioche, puff pastry and tart.
Belle Epicurean is a French trio of café, pantry and wine store!
Sydney has more than seven times the population of Seattle but sometimes it feels like both cities have the same volume of traffic. It was gridlock en route to The Pantry at Delancey‘s Back to the Basics cooking class on a weeknight. I slowly inched towards Ballard, anxious about being on time. I noted a reminder on my calendar several months ago for the release of their winter schedule and reserved a spot for this class and the coveted Great Pizza at Home with Delancey owner and chef Brandon Pettit.
Located at the back of Delancey, The Pantry has a stepped garden entrance. The patio would be lovely during summer for post class al fresco dining.
Decorated in a neutral white, the kitchen shimmered in glossy tiles and brushed stainless steel.
A bookshelf is laden with classic and contemporary cookbooks.
In a nook illuminated by tealight candles, I love this rustic honeydew sideboard stacked with ceramic crockery, serveware and linen.
Salvaged metal shelves displayed goods for sale including olive oils, salts, cooking chocolates, jams, granola and Weck jars.
At the heart of The Pantry is the communal table where groups gather to learn, cook and eat.
I tied my apron and settled into an azure stool. I sipped a complimentary glass of wine while flipping through the recipe booklet.
First was homemade butter. Butter is simply churned cream. We huddled over the KitchenAid to watch the progression from cream to butter. The ‘super pioneer style’ butter was drained and rinsed of residual buttermilk.
Brandi and Olaiya waxed poetic about the flavour profiles of creams, some have grassy notes and others are sweet with hints of caramel. Homemade butter cannot be used for baking due to its varying moisture content.
Murmurs of appreciation echoed through the room as we nibbled on the thick smear of homemade butter on fresh bread.
Next was roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary. I’ve roasted beef, lamb and pork but never chicken. I consider this a fundamental cooking skill and Olaiya was an excellent teacher. The chickens were soaked in a heavily seasoned brine for at least eight hours. Brining reduces the risk of overcooking, infuses the aromatics and tenderises the meat.
Mustard seeds, water, salt and vinegar were ground to a paste in a food processor for homemade mustard. We sampled this mustard and one made two months ago. The new mustard was too pungent for my palate. Mustards mature with age and the two month old was still sharp but more balanced.
We assisted in the preparation of the roasted winter vegetables, and roasted beet and arugula salad with hazelnuts. Gargantuan beets were halved and wrapped in aluminium foil.
I despise eating Brussels sprouts but I was okay with peeling and cutting them.
Potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips were chopped into similar sized chunks for even cooking. The onions were sliced with the grain to maintain its shape. The winter vegetables were loosely scattered on a sheet pan so they would roast and not steam.
Brandi is the pastry chef at Delancey and desserts are her specialty. She whisked the ingredients together for a bittersweet chocolate sauce.
Brandi also demonstrated how to make vanilla ice cream. A split vanilla bean was steeped in milk, cream, sugar and salt, and tempered with egg yolks. The French custard was stirred, chilled and churned in an ice cream maker.
Olaiya expertly emulsified a vinaigrette for the salad. She recommended tasting the dressing for mouthfeel and adjusting the acidity with additional sugar.
We were warmed by the heat of the oven and the perfumed air whetted our appetite. The chickens were rotated and rested. Brined chicken retains a pink hue. Cut into the thigh and if the juices are clear, it is ready.
Tossed with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled Bleu d’Auvergne, and drizzled with the piquant vinaigrette, the roasted beet and arugula salad was a delicious and seasonal first course.
The highlight of the meal was the beautiful birds. The blushed portions were succulent and the charred lemon had an intense citrus tone.
Despite my aversion to Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, I ate one of each. I chewed fast and they were caramelised. All the vegetables were well roasted.
Dessert was a sundae of homemade vanilla ice cream and bittersweet chocolate sauce sprinkled with salt flakes. The savoury flecks were a contrast to the sweet and creamy sundae.
I lingered a while afterwards and chatted with Brandi. She lived in my beloved Sydney for six months and we exchanged anecdotes about the Emerald City.
I purchased a container of Maldon sea salt and returned home happy with the tips on improving my basic skills.
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.