Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘vinaigrette

Tilth, James Beard award winner Maria HinesOregon 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!

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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.

Skillet Counter is under construction in the Seattle Center Armory, adding culinary gravitas to the ‘food court’.

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!

It is ironic that I cannot garden but I’m interested in learning about farming. Last week Dev Patel returned from Prosser Farm for an evening at Dahlia Workshop to showcase seasonal harvests.

Kimberly and I chatted in an empty Serious Biscuit prior to class, recently rebranded to reflect its menu.

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!

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

I had had lunch at Pop Kitchen + Bar prior to going home to Australia in November. I returned yesterday to sample their happy hour fare courtesy of GreenRubino. An afternoon downpour was looming and I was glad to be indoors. Located in the Experienced Music Project Museum, Pop Kitchen + Bar has changed management since it opened and it is now operated by Wolfgang Puck.

A signature textured metallic crumble, the café has a spectacular view of the Frank Gehry designed EMP.

The interior is modern with white benches and lemon chairs.

Screens looped music videos above the bar. A generous glass of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon was smooth and fruity.

Vases of daisies in vibrant hues decorated the buffet table.

Layered into a plastic container, the Chinese chicken salad was spiked with a pair of chopsticks. Mixed greens were tossed with shredded chicken, pickled ginger, coriander and shards of crispy wonton skins.

My favourite item on the happy hour menu was the spring salad of mixed greens, sliced strawberries, shaved Manchego and candied walnuts. A piquant vinaigrette was tempered by the sweetness of the fruit and nut.

A fluffy flatbread was topped with mandolined potatoes, cubes of pancetta and dotted with ricotta and Pecorino. I also nibbled on a wedge of cheese pizza of molten mozzarella, Gouda, chèvre and Parmesan.

A healthy vegan option, the cute slider was skewered by a cherry tomato and stacked with a white bean and quinoa patty.

Dessert was ginger molasses and chocolate chip cookies. The ginger molasses cookie had a rich caramelised flavour and the chocolate chip cookie was delightfully chewy.

I left with a gift box which I had guessed were cookies but was surprised by half a dozen macarons.

I had one of each flavour for supper!

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!

A collaboration between CityLab7Olson Kundig Architects and Schuchart/Dow, the mushroom farm was installed at [storefront] in Pioneer Square.

Funded by Invoking the Pause, the Fertile Grounds project by CityLab7 partnered with local cafés, Caffe Umbria, Starbucks and Zeitgeist, to reuse coffee grounds to grow oyster mushrooms.

One of the events of the pop up concept was a mushroom farm harvest dinner hosted by Il Corvo.

A trough displayed the coffee grounds at the front window.

The structure is built with reclaimed plywood and cocooned in plastic.

22°C (71°F) temperature and 88% humidity, the subtropical atmosphere within the tent was calibrated for growing oyster mushrooms.

Bricks of coffee grounds were inoculated with mycelium and the spores germinated into fairy floss (cotton candy) like fibres, weaving a web on the surface of the caffeine soil.

Clusters of oyster mushrooms sprouted through the perforated skin.

The oyster mushrooms grow exponentially towards the end of the six week period.

These wide gills were ready for harvesting.

An illustrated mind map of urban food systems connections.

‘Counting and cultivating co-benefits of coffee culture.’

Handwritten comments were tacked on the wall.

Can you decipher these cute, neat notes? ‘I like to plant blueberries. I like to plant strawberries.’

And in an elegant script, ‘eating is the life’!

[storefront] is a bare space for creativity and thus a mobile kitchen was a couple of portable gas cookers.

The dining table and benches are made with salvaged wood, lovely lumbers that accentuated the sustainability theme.

We sipped Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), and nibbled on porcini and Parmesan grissini.

We settled into our seats and bottles of Elena Walch Schiava were poured. The first course was a simple salad of leafy greens, fennel, pine nuts, raw oyster mushrooms and vinaigrette. It was fresh and zingy, the crunch of the lettuce and pine nuts paired well with the firm and meaty mushrooms.

‘Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.’

Chef Mike Easton stirred the pot of risotto with an oar wooden spoon.

Cooked in porcini stock, seasoned with thyme and a bottle of wine, the oyster mushroom risotto was superb. A viscous bowl of comfort food, we savoured each spoonful of the vegetarian main dish.

Chewy discs of chocolate hazelnut cookies concluded a special meal. 1.5 kg of Nutella was in the batch of cookies for twenty people!

Sincere thanks to CityLab7, Il Corvo and Olson Kundig Architects for a unique experience!

Seattle enjoyed a week of sunshine in late January. The Emerald City shone, and residents and visitors dispersed outdoors to revel in its glorious beauty. I uttered the phrase ‘the mountains are out’ with glee, admiring the snow-capped range reflecting light in the solitary distance.

After a Keren Brown event with authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg in December, I returned to emmer&rye for lunch with Shirley on a spring like day.

At the pinnacle of the Queen Anne Counterbalance, the restaurant is located in an elegantly restored Victorian house.

Upstairs is a private event space and downstairs are connecting dining rooms. We were seated in the front room where natural light filtered in through the bay and stained glass windows.

Shirley recommended the farro fries and, macaroni and cheese. Rectangular planks of golden farro were served with a sage yoghurt dipping sauce. Dense and crispy, the ‘fries’ were well seasoned and a nutty appetiser.

We also shared a beet salad of mixed lettuce, smoked blue cheese and hazelnut vinaigrette. A classic salad, sweet and tender slices of crimson beets contrasted with pungent cheese, crunchy lettuce and piquant dressing.

The fresh salad balanced the decadent mac and cheese. A generous portion of creamy yet light pasta was sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs. It was a hearty, wintry dish.

emmer&rye has the motto ‘locally derived, seasonally driven’. On the website each menu item has links to the ingredients’ local producers. For example, the mac and cheese pasta is from Lagana Foods, and cheeses are from Beecher’s and Mt Townsend Creamery. Bravo Chef Seth Caswell for supporting our community!


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