Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘Ethan Stowell

Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Full Circle. This is not a sponsored post.

Sydney is a urban sprawl. Streets are at odd angles and arterial roads twist through suburbs. North, south, east and west, to drive from the geographical centre of the city to its boundaries would take at least an hour.

Seattle is more compact. Neighbourhoods cluster around the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, it is a short distance from houses and malls to fields and forests. The abrupt transition is bewildering and we ponder the scenery as we navigated to Carnation for Feast on the Farm.

In contrast to the soggy spring visit to Yarmuth Farm with The Calf & Kid where we cuddled kids and sampled goat cheese, we were at Full Circle Farm on a hot summer day.

Full Circle hosted the dinner with Stewardship Partners, Salmon-Safe, and Chef Ethan Stowell and his team cooking a family style meal.

Full Circle delivers ‘farm-fresh, locally-sourced organic and sustainably-grown’ produce to consumers. The mission of Stewardship Partners is to ‘restore and preserve the natural landscapes of Washington State’. Salmon-Safe certification ‘requires management practices that protect water quality and restore habitat’.

Groups sheltered under the umbrella and marquee for reprieve from the blazing sun. Hats, sunglasses and sturdy shoes were requisite attire.

We stepped and stumbled on a milk crate to board the tractor tour. We perched on hay bales covered by a blanket as we gently looped the acres.

Andrew Stout, founder of Full Circle, was our guide. The engine chugged along the dusty path as Andrew spoke about the growth of Full Circle and how the land is being rehabilitated.

Our shadows!

Lettuce and kale were neatly planted in rows.

A serene vista.

The many hues of clouds, mountains, trees and farm buildings.

Symmetrically ploughed fields.

We snacked on smoky discs of Via Tribunali wood fire pizzas.

On the left is David Burger, executive director of Stewardship Partners, and Andrew Stout is on the left. My favourite quote of the event was ‘we’re in the business of killing plants’. The crowd chortled and snorted.

A still reflection on the creek.

Sal, the leggy mascot of Salmon-Safe, greeted us.

A country kitchen.

Currant bushes marked the field where perpendicular tables were set.

Our view of the second table.

Mason jars decorated the length of the table, posies interspersed with leafy produce.

From one end to the other.

Effervescent and mild, Dry Soda quenched my thirst.

First was Salumi charcuterie. We nibbled politely on thin slices of cured meats and Castelvetrano olives as introductions were made. I had sprayed my limbs with insect repellent and apologised to our dining companions for reeking of citronella. We were seated with an interesting group of people, there was much laughter and engaging conversations on culture, food and literature.

A mound of shredded Tuscan kale was garnished with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzled with anchovy dressing. This was one of three healthful salads served.

Chunks of roasted beets were topped with a dollop of house made ricotta. Pistachio kernels dotted the tender beets, it was an earthy combination of flavours.

Plump grains of farro were tossed with carrot and English peas. I had several spoonfuls of this toothsome salad.

Mediterranean mussels were roasted with guanciale, lemon and olive oil. The bivalves were aromatic and succulent.

In sunglasses, an apron and boat shoes, Chef Ethan Stowell generously donated two private dinners in Staple & Fancy‘s cellar room for auction to benefit Stewardship Partners.

Fennel and carrots were grilled, the former seasoned with bottarga and the latter with mint and orange.

This platter was double in size. The roasted king salmon were caught by Geoff Lebon of Halmia Fish. Portions of Salmon-Safe Draper Valley chicken were grilled with rosemary and garlic.

Dessert was a creamy panna cotta with mixed berries, slivered almonds and aged balsamic vinegar.

There was spirited bidding on auction items, and Mike McCready (guitar), Kim Virant (vocal) and Gary Westlake (bass) entertained us.

Each attendee was gifted a box of Full Circle produce which we happily carried home.

Carefully packed, the top layer was fennel, kale and lettuce.

On the bottom were apricots, cabbage, carrots, cherries, cucumber, onions and rockmelon.

Sincere thanks to Shirley and Full Circle for the opportunity to experience Feast on the Farm!


This is my third post on pizza in three weeks! Ballard Pizza Company is the first of Ethan Stowell‘s Grubb Brothers ‘production’ of casual eateries. After cocktails (a refreshing Inverness mule of Scotch, ginger beer and fresh lime juice) and Mackie’s potato crisps at MacLeod’s Scottish Pub, we joined the Saturday night queue at Ballard Pizza Company. Our group of four gathered at the communal bench and bopped to 80s and 90s hip hop as we ate.

I returned during the week for lunch with Shirley. A gargantuan wheel cutter was a beacon for pizza lovers. Painted pewter, a glass paned garage door rolls up on those beloved Seattle summer days. Play That Funky Music greeted us.

A New York style pizzeria, Ballard Pizza Company sells ‘fat slices’ and ‘whole pies’. Pasta and gnocchi were carb alternatives, and salads and soups were lighter meals. There were eight beers on tap with a flat price for pints and pitchers. Wine on tap was noted as ‘coming soon’.

Staff was rhythmically stretching dough on enormous wooden paddles. A cheese pie is the base and you can add any toppings priced per item.

A daily stromboli special had salami, asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.

There were six pizzas sold by the slice: cheese, pepperoni, ham and pineapple, tomato and rapini, sausage and mushroom, and broccoli and garlic confit.

We ordered and paid at the counter, and had the pizzeria to ourselves for several minutes. Timber and brick were the requisite rustic material on the walls, roof, chairs and tables.

Each table had three shaker jars of chilli flakes, dried oregano and grated Parmesan.

We shared slices of tomato and rapini, mushroom and sausage, and broccoli and garlic confit. The thin crust was a little firm with an even char. Bitter greens and juicy tomatoes were an appetising combination.

Florets of broccoli were interspersed with cloves of garlic confit. The garlic was sweet and mellow, and I would have been happy with just the caramel coloured morsels and mozzarella. The sausage and mushroom was a highlight. Peppered with Italian sausage and crimini mushrooms, the slice was spicy and meaty.

Ballard Pizza Company will be popular with the late night crowd!

Disclosure: I attended this event as a guest of Curator PR. This is not a sponsored post.

I’m a slow grocery shopper. I browse the aisles for discounts, read the nutrition labels, convert measurements to metric, and compare brands. AmazonFresh delivers our non-perishable staples, and we’re lucky to live within walking distance to Melrose Market and Pike Place Market.

Whole Foods Westlake is my local supermarket and we’re there several times a week for vegetables, fruits and incidentals. Whole Foods has a reputation for being expensive (hence the moniker ‘Whole Paycheque’) but it is a greengrocer, butcher, baker, deli and purveyor of specialty goods all in one that is both of quality and convenient.

Located near Alderwood Mall just off I-5 exit 181B, the first Whole Foods in Snohomish County is opening this Thursday 15 March in Lynnwood.

My tour was scheduled on Friday at 9am and it was a surprisingly quick half hour drive to Lynnwood. The 33,000 square feet standalone store clad in Douglas-fir wood was a beacon on a bleak day.

Decorated in pastel colours throughout, the store was brightly lit and bustling with staff training and shelf stocking.

We breakfasted on muesli bars from the bakery.

A tray of berry muffins.

Of the 150 employees, fifty per cent currently work for Whole Foods so it’s a one to one training ratio. Founded in 1980 in Texas, Whole Foods is a natural food store. It stocks many organic products but it’s not certified organic. It has since expanded to Britain and Canada, and they’re considering sites in Alaska, Tacoma and West Seattle.

Denise Breyley is the Local Forager for the Pacific Northwest and I covet her job! She described it as being a ‘matchmaker’, sourcing products from local farmers and producers. There are seven recipients (Firefly Kitchens is one) of the Local Producer Loan Program in the Pacific Northwest. The money is for new equipment purchase, organic certification and other capital investments.

CB’s Nuts used the funds for a peanut butter jarring line which is in Mirracole Morsels‘ peanut butter cookie, and Middle Fork Roasters coffee is in their ‘pick me up’ cookie.

Mt Townsend Creamery is another beneficiary of the Local Producers Loan Program. These wheels of Trufflestack and Cirrus are from the first batch made with loan money.

The produce section is next where we sampled Sumo Citrus. A hybrid of Japanese Satsuma and Californian oranges, the citrus fruit is plump, seedless and bursting with sunshine.

Whole Foods Lynnwood will open with at least thirty items in the produce section, will increase to more than one hundred in the first month of trading and peaks at seventy per cent in summer.

Sold by weight, acrylic containers dispensed bulk cereals, dried fruits, flour, grains, lentils, nuts, rice, seeds and snacks. Buying in bulk is value for money and eliminates waste in packaging.

In the bulk section is the cooking department. The wooden counter will have computers for cooking resources, and the area will feature ingredients and local authors, Amy Pennington will be the first on 16 March.

The cheese department is in the back left corner. Patrons can sample all the cheeses, and they maintain a database of your purchases for your reference. You can buy shredded cheese by weight. There are also thirty varieties of olives for scooping.

Cold shelves were full of local pasta and sauces, Ethan Stowell‘s Lagana Foods, Cucina Fresca and Manini’s.

A lime sign above the seafood department encouraged us to ‘bring some local flavour home for dinner’. Each fish and crustacean is tagged with information and staff can assist with sustainability questions.

Whole Foods own Select Fish, a processing facility, for quality control. They partnered with Monterey Bay Aquarium to rate by fishery and Whole Foods does not sell red rated or non-rated seafood. A non-affiliated third party audits farmed aquaculture annually for feed and water quality, and environmental impact. Whole Foods targets three per cent wastage or spoiled seafood which is composted.

A set of clocks indicated what time the beef was minced. The meat department is a full service butchery. Whole Foods applies Global Animal Partnership‘s five-step animal welfare rating system for all meats. A fridge was marked dry aged beef, done in-house for a minimum fourteen days.

The Whole Body department has a swap program where you can bring in two conventional products to exchange for private label equivalents.

Neatly stacked bars of Fran’s and Theo chocolates.

Cans of Zevia soft drink and bags of Kettle potato crisps.

My favourite, ice creams and frozen desserts!

Refrigerators with doors and energy efficient LED lights were installed for milk and juices.

Deli, sandwiches, taqueria, and greens, beans and grains will cater for lunches and dinners. FareStart students supply the packed salads. There is an organic salad bar in the prepared foods department, and rotating themed hot bars (Thai, Mexican, Indian and comfort food). The intention is for it to be a ‘one stop shop’ for meals.

The espresso bar serves Allegro Coffee.

And they have soft serve machines with a toppings selection!

The tour concluded with brownies and cookies from the bakery.

All the staff spoke with genuine passion about what they do. There is much excitement to be ‘part of the Lynnwood community’.

Whole Foods Lynnwood opens this Thursday 15 March with a bread breaking ceremony at 8am.

I attended the annual Tom Douglas Cookbook Social held at the Palace Ballroom yesterday.

Christmas carols were playing and it was a convivial atmosphere. A food lover’s mistletoe, cookbooks tied with ribbon bows dangled from the ceiling.

Authors were dispersed around the room, their stalls laden with cookbooks and samples.

Cute CakeSpy illustrations greeted patrons. Love hearts and unicorns!

Jessie Oleson was as sweet as her treats! Her book is titled CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. On a bejewelled three tiered cake stand were rainbow cookies and cupcakes baked in ice cream cones.

Whimsically decorated cupcakes baked in ice cream cones.

CakeSpy designed greeting cards.

Next was Amy Pennington, ‘go go green gardener’, and author of Apartment Gardening and Urban Pantry.

Kibbeh, a Middle Eastern meatball of bulgur and minced meat, was a nutty appetiser.

Opposite Amy was Tom Douglas, author of Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen, Tom’s Big Dinners and I Love Crab Cakes.

Scallop sized and golden, the Etta’s crab cake was a delectable morsel.

Tom was carving roast chickens rubbed with Chinese 12 Spice Rub.

The pieces of chicken were tender and juicy with a crisp skin.

Further along was Ethan Stowell, author of New Italian Kitchen.

A simmering pot of Mediterranean mussel soup with chickpea, fennel and lemon was spooned into little cups. It was a soothing combination of ingredients, perfect for a cold day.

At the back of Palace Ballroom was Cast Iron Skillet Big Flavours by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne.

Served in cupcake liners, the Dungeness crab and roasted poblano hushpuppies were cooked in an æbleskiver (Danish pancakes) maker.

Adjacent was Dining in Seattle cookbooks. The original volume was first published in 1977 and Past and Present is a compilation of recipes and menus celebrating Seattle restaurants then and now.

On the left of Dining in Seattle was Greg Atkinson, author of At the Kitchen Table.

Greg had trays of Yuletide cookies of faux-reos (fake Oreos), lime and pecan snowballs, turbinado sugar leaves, cocoa nib chocolate truffles and almond macaroons.

I zigzagged to Kurt Timmermeister, author of Growing a Farmer and owner of Kurtwood Farms.

Kurt was cutting wedges of Dinah’s Cheese, a creamy Camembert style cheese with a complex flavour profile.

A tower of glazed, frosted, dusted and sprinkled doughnuts was at the Top Pot table.

Becky Selengut, author of Good Fish, had a creative display with a fishing rod and tinned fish boxes on the hook.

I munched on dad’s sardines, gin drunk currants and caramelised onions on a cracker while calculating my guess for the number of Goldfish Crackers in the jar.

I was curious about the striped and cubed jellies. They were from The Seasonal Cocktail Companion by Maggie Savarino.

The Kit Kat shaped jelly shot was cherry daisy and the cube was Earl Grey infused gin. The wobbly orange square was an intense burst of bergamot.

A stack of books and an ice bucket of sparkling mineral water were manned by Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters.

He brought six home made bottles of bitters for tasting. A splash of sparkling mineral water and a couple of drops of bitters was a refreshing beverage.

And finally, Lisa Dupar had a lovely arrangement for Fried Chicken and Champagne.

The mini sausage corn dogs reminded me of the Easter Show in Sydney. Crumbly and meaty, the corn dog dipped in mustard sauce was scrumptious party food.

I was delighted to spot the ginger molasses sandwich cookies. The spiced sugary discs were the essence of the festive season.

The Palace Ballroom buzzed with energy and we were all there to support our local cookbook authors!

Disclosure: I received a demo product from Duo PR. This is not a sponsored post.

A dish that I’ve frequently reflected on from the Sharone Hakman and SousVide Supreme event is the eggs with asparagus and brioche croutons. The freshness of the ingredients was highlighted by cooking them sous vide, their essence presented on a plate.

The complimentary Lagana Foods campanelle from the Off The Menu dinner had a shelf life of two to three days. I followed this recipe for sous vide eggs and this recipe for carbonara for the pasta.

I was in a hurry to make a weekday dinner and the components were prepared and cooked in the time the eggs were in the SousVide Supreme Demi. I recommend using the freshest eggs as sous vide accentuates their flavour and colour.

The eggs are placed directly into the water oven without a food grade plastic pouch or vacuum seal. I experimented with different duration at the same temperature of sixty four degrees Celsius and the best consistency was cooking the eggs sous vide for forty minutes.

While the eggs were in the machine, I diced shallot, garlic and bacon, and sautéed them in olive oil with peas and chilli flakes. To serve, toss with pasta and toasted pine nuts, and crack a sous vide egg on top. Break the yolk and gently stir the egg through.

It was a simple yet delicious combination of quality ingredients, a versatile favourite!

‘For every dinner service there is a staff meal. Family style celebrations prepared by chefs for their crew, the meals are never on the menu, but are designed to show appreciation, provide energy for the evening, and more importantly, please even the pickiest palate.’ Marissa Guggiana

We joined Marissa at Tavolàta for an Off the Menu dinner by Chef Ethan Stowell. A converted loft with a high ceiling and an urban design, the dining room was moodily lit with flickering candles. Mirrors of varying shapes and sizes reflect light onto the bar.

Central to the restaurant is the tavolàta, a communal table.

The Sunday dinner was held on the mezzanine level which has an intimate view of the open plan kitchen.

The upstairs walls had metal inserts for pillars from which I souvenired a bruise on my upper arm.

Served family style, there were nine items listed on the printed menu plus bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and olives.

These vibrant, glistening globes of Castelvetrano olives were mild and nutty.

My eyes widened as wooden boards and bowls were delivered one after the other. We manoeuvred plates, cutlery and stemware as our table was enlivened with appetisers.

Thin slices of prosciutto di Parma were topped with fresh figs and shaved Parmesan. I could have eaten the entire platter of buttery cured meat! Only three ingredients and yet such complex flavours.

Balls of buffalo mozzarella were drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Thick wedges of the soft, creamy cheese were spread onto grilled bread.

The last of the paddles were sword fish and pickled red onions crostini.

The chickpea salad was tossed with celery, golden raisins and lemon.

A requisite bowl of mixed garden greens was dressed with red wine vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan.

A much maligned fish, the grilled sardines had strong flavours and paired well with fennel, pistachio and salsa verde.

Crispy edged with a wobbly yolk, the sunny side up duck egg was resting on pan fried potato gnocchi and chanterelle mushrooms.

Bigoli with anchovy, chilli, garlic and pangritata is the recipe in Marissa’s book. A hollow, tubular pasta, the strands of firm bigoli contrasted with the coarse breadcrumbs.

Fluffy dough balls were dusted with icing sugar and we dipped the zeppole into the glossy chocolate sauce.

We were gifted a bag of freshly made Lagana Pasta campanelle. These little bells will be cooked for a midweek dinner.

We were lucky to have Marissa at our table to share a meal with, and engage in fascinating and convivial conversations. And sincere thanks to Ethan and his staff at Tavolàta for an impeccable service and a delicious dining experience.

Myra gathered a group of food lovers at short notice for a conversation with author Marissa Guggiana yesterday. Marissa was a judge at Lamb Jam last weekend and returned to Seattle from Portland for a demonstration and book signing with Ethan Stowell at the University District Farmers Market this Saturday at 10am and an ‘Off the Menu’ dinner on Sunday at Tavolàta.

 A large stainless steel bowl filled with ice chilled bottled beverages.

Bitter Biscuit arrived with a paper bag stamped with the Dot’s Delicatessen logo. It contained two baguettes and a parcel of peppercorn studded salami.

There were salumi and pizzas from the Serious Pie kitchen. On the left is translucent mangalitza, and on the right is marbled lamb coppa.

Blistered and charred, the sweet fennel sausage, roasted peppers and provolone pizza is a regular order for us.

Buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil are ingredients of the classic Margherita pizza.

Flora and Flying baked Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies.

We snacked on a couple of cartons of Dahlia Bakery caramel popcorn.

Author of Primal Cuts and Off the Menu, co-founder of The Butcher’s Guild, ex-editor and contributor to Meatpaper, a 2008 fellow of Roots of Change and a board member of Ag Innovations Network, Marissa studied at Seattle University and lives in Northern California.

An aspiring playwright, she moved to New York after she graduated but soon returned home and was the first employee at Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream. Her family owned a food distribution company and was buying meat from Australia, cutting and re-selling it. She became interested in the origins of meat and soon changed the business model to buying whole animals only.

Welcome Books is a boutique publisher focused on the context of food, and published both Primal Cuts and Off the Menu. She took all the photos for both her books.

For Primal Cuts, Marissa drove 15,000 miles in a Prius in four months! She interviewed fifty butchers across the country. She spent days with them recording hours of conversations that were transcribed and edited. Her goal was to present the whole industry and not just the art of butchery and knife skills. The book includes recipes for every part of the animal, a variety of cooking styles and culinary traditions, and from industrial to niche retail butchery.

Marissa identified a need to connect butchers to share expertise and thus, The Butcher’s Guild was founded. She mentioned young butchers were learning from YouTube videos! It takes time for butchers to educate their customers and the guild is a network to support this.

Off the Menu represents Marissa’s approach to cooking. Staff meals are quick, cheap and tasty. Basic techniques and quality ingredients are fundamental. The commitment to dining together every day builds morale and exemplifies respect for each other. Marissa ate fifty one staff meals in two months!

She obtained recipes from the cooks and the chefs submitted answers to a questionnaire. Marissa noted Blackbird in Chicago as a highlight where the staff meal was braised, battered and fried duck leg served with waffles and coleslaw. Tavolàta epitomised the concept of the book where staff meals are after service in a relaxed atmosphere. Marissa was effusive about the culture of service in New Orleans. Loyal staff work at the same restaurant for decades.

Off the Menu celebrates the ritual of communal dining. She spoke passionately about her experience at Camino in Oakland. Dignified staff eat in the restaurant, they understand the food and there is a transparency in how the restaurant operates.

Marissa’s interest is in food systems and her next book will be on the future of protein from an academic perspective. Genuine and humble, sincere thanks to Marissa for joining us for the afternoon.

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