Earlier this summer I was having dinner at Bravehorse Tavern with Scott and the tomatoes that came with my salad were smoked, it was a delightful surprise. (Though, I suppose they were described as smoked on the menu but I am not known for paying attention, especially when there is a beer menu to peruse.) I put the picture above on Twitter and talked about the delicious smoked tomatoes and, yipee!, the Tom Douglas company (@palace_kitchen) invited me to come see how to make them in the kitchens at Palace Kitchen. I gathered up Maggi and my camera and visited on an early afternoon during dinner prep.
First you make a small cut in the skin of your tomatoes. Say hello to Dezi, hi Dezi!
Lower the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes then plunge them into ice water. The skins should wrinkle and be easy to peel off.
Serve some rose! Also know that instead of cherry tomatoes you can cut some good meaty tomatoes into cubes.
The Tom Douglas kitchen have a large smoker that was currently the home to a dozen pork loins, so they showed us how to layer a pan of peeled tomatoes over a pan full of wood that has gotten a good head start. Cover it all so the smoke gets trapped inside.
They use, if I remember correctly, applewood. Here is a charred applewood stick that smelled amazing.
They also showed off using a torch to get wood chips going. Flames! I think Herschell was showing off just a bit here.
Our tomatoes were served on top of chilled melon soup and it was amazing. I honestly miss it.
A peek at the back wall of the kitchen, say hello to Kiss!
Thank you so much Herschell and Dezi for showing us how to smoke tomatoes, and especially for letting us peek inside the kitchens during preparations for the day.
Next I’ll show you the tomatoes we smoked at home. Did it work out? The suspense is killing you.
· comments  · 09-3-2012 · categories:food ·
I did a very poor job of capturing these. Probably because my order of focus when we are grilling is:
- Cold drink!
But I wanted to let you know about these because they are pretty cool.
To make them you put a skewer through the length of a hot dog (if you are prone to immature humor there is plenty of room for pain jokes here, clearly), then slice a long spiral through the hot dog cutting all the way down to the skewer. Grill it, remove from the skewer, stretch it out a bit and, ta da!, the hot dog is long enough to fit a bun. Also you might find that ketchup stays inside the bun as you’re eating. Chow has a quick video tip on making these: Why you should spiral cut your hot dog for grilling. They take the skewer out before grilling which actually makes way more sense than the way I’ve been doing it. Oops.
· comments  · 08-30-2012 · categories:food ·
Mighty Thirst: Shots in ‘Cots | Mighty Girl. I wonder if you could do something similar with tomatoes and ice cold habanero infused vodka?
Once Upon a Pedestal: Polka Dot Cake from Bake Pop Pan. Adorable! A great use for the cake sphere pans.
The Amazing Incredible Broccoli Surprise Sauce « Tea & Cookies.
How can I make my homemade frappes less watery? And more like Starbuck’s frappes? What’s their secret?! | Ask MetaFilter. The answers include a few great tips and an almost recipe for the frappe.
Where to Enjoy Eating This Summer – The Stranger. I shall strive to eat at all of these places, a huge number of them are in my part of town so I have no excuse.
Wet cherries in Washington state are dried by helicopter. Wow. At Edible Geography.
New Beer: Russian River Row 2, Hill 56 | Serious Eats: Drinks. A beer I hope to find here in Seattle. And soon.
banamak.org – Sometimes mamma knows best – Four alliums and a zucchini frittata – kuku kadu. I love zucchini and have recently come to regret not having the sort of yard that grows them. Zucchini 4 evar.
Taste Test: Is There Good Pinot Noir Under $15? | Serious Eats: Drinks. No Oregon Pinots were in the list, are they all over the $15 price tag? There are also great suggestions in the comments.
Whole Bean Vanilla Cookies Recipe – 101 Cookbooks.
· comments  · 08-6-2012 · categories:food · links ·
Somehow I hadn’t tried mezcal until last week. Happily the two of us have been introduced and I think a long friendship will bloom.
Earlier in the month LUPEC Seattle announced the upcoming event would be all about mezcal and a few days later I found myself looking through the menu at Canon here in Seattle (a must visit, fyi). They happened to have a mezcal cocktail that also include a shaken egg white, which is something I’d just been playing around with making the Ramos Gin Fizz. What emerged was a gorgeous drink that had a smokey and almost spicy foam and oh-my-gosh-people it was delightful. I don’t have a picture of this cocktail because it was too dark. Comfortably dark though, a good sort of dark. I’ll be back there often, I live dangerously close.
Above is shown the mezcal drink I had at Mezcaleria Oaxaca while learning all about the spirit with LUPEC. That charred stick is, I think, a smoked bit of agave. It added enough smoke so that every time I took a sip I got a good amount of smokey scent. It was fantastic. They also offer mezcal flights and, no surprise, I prefer the smokier ones.
That thing about the worm? We learned it’s mostly a legend and is only included in the cheap bottles because tourists expect it to be there. Whew.
· comments  · 08-3-2012 · categories:drink · food ·
||This post is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, simplicity is delicious. Click here to learn more.
The first time I had a Ramos Gin Fizz I was at the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland, a bar that takes great care and pride in preparing classic drinks very well. The drink was served in tall glass with a long spoon and had a surprisingly delicious citrus scented foam. I remember the foamy part taking up more than half of the glass and the action of pulling it up out of the glass with the spoon was thoroughly enjoyable. We attempted to recreate this drink at home using a cocktail shaker. We shook it for a very long time, trading off when one of us got tired, until we got that hard-to-describe ropey feeling. All we could produce was a liquid drink with a foam top that could be described as limp. It was still delicious but the novelty was missing.
Fast forward a few years and I was looking into what else could be created with my whipped cream maker. I was looking through recipes for mousses, fast infusions and foams when I came across the hint that some modern bartenders use a whipped cream maker to make a Ramos Gin Fizz. I had to try this for myself.
The classic cocktail shaker versus the whipped cream maker, which has lately been put to a bunch of newfangled uses in innovative kitchens.
Tip: if you’re using a cocktail shaker take the spring out of a Hawthorne strainer and put it into the cocktail shaker, it will help create the small bubbles that you’re going for.
And the winner is:
The whipped cream maker did an outstanding job of recreating the foamy drink I remember. It was so easy it felt like cheating. It came out without any liquid part to the drink but as it sat the bubbles popped and a liquid layer appeared at the bottom. The cocktail shaker, despite my best efforts, only managed to produce a drink with a small layer of wet foam that was not nearly as stiff and lovely. I had three goes at shaking the drink, clocking in at 7:30, 10:15 and 10:30 respectively. I would have given it another try but my left elbow protested. The bartenders at the Velvet Tango Room must have mighty arms. For the sake of rushing it to the camera as quickly as possible I didn’t add seltzer water to either of the glasses pictured above, but I do enjoy it being included.
Ramos Gin Fizz in a whipped cream maker
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 egg white
1 ounce heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon orange flower water (I used A. Monteux, it comes in a little blue bottle)
about 2 ounces of seltzer
Put your serving glass and the bottle of your whipped cream maker (I have an iSi 1 pint version) into the freezer to chill while you measure out your other ingredients. Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds to mix and get everything nice and cold. Strain the liquids into your whipped cream maker and charge it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Shake the whipped cream maker about five times, then dispense into your glass. Note: Be careful and stop before all the liquid is dispensed, the last little bit might splatter in all directions. Add a little seltzer to the glass and serve with a spoon.
It is said that the foam should be sturdy enough to hold a straw straight up. Will it?
· comments  · 07-26-2012 · categories:drink · food ·
When Scott and I moved to Seattle and it’s rather spartan state run liquor stores we found ourselves telling our friends about this magical liquor store that California had. It was the size of a small grocery store, it was well lit and cheerful and sold food, glassware and everything you might need. It was called BevMo and we missed it. Earlier this year liquor sales laws in Washington state changed moving liquor into grocery stores and non-state run retail. So when BevMo invited me on a tour of their new stores in Washington state, Tacoma and Silverdale, I had to admit I was curious. This is what I learned.
We started with some side by side wine comparisons and I really enjoyed the picks by Paul Gregrutt. The Maison Bleue “Au Contraire” 2011 Chardonnay and Abeja Cabernet, both Washington wineries I’d never tried before, were the standouts for me.
This is something exciting and new, the Washington BevMo stores have growler filling stations. The current offerings are Mac & Jack’s African Amber, Georgetown Brewery’s Manny’s Pale Ale, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Schooner Exact 3-Grid IPA, Widmer Raspberry Imperial Russian Stout, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, Harmon Brewing Expedition Amber and Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA.
The stores carry local favorites as well. I spied Cougar Gold cheese and Triple-X Root Beer on the shelves.
I was so happy to see Sun Liquor among the offerings. I love their gin. If you’re making martinis the Hedge Trimmer goes well with olives while the Gun Club deserves a twist. I highly recommend a visit to one of their locations, these people make some awfully nice cocktails.
And for those of us who like to be a bit fancy, they had all three kinds of Lillet and a wide selection of bitters. I have only recently tried Lillet and I was an instant convert. It’s true love folks.
John Ueding from Click Distributing introduced us to some his favorite Washington spirits. The Rose Geranium Liqueur from Bravo Spirits was enchanting. Also, the Woodinville Whiskey Company tasting rooms are only a bike ride away, a bike ride I will be taking very soon.
We ended with some beer tastings. I love a big hoppy beer and here are the ones that I fell for.
Silver City Brewery Saint Florian. Saint Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters and a portion of the profits go to a Washington State Council of Firefighters benevolent fund. This had a lively and big aroma.
Pike Brewing’s Space Needle Golden Anniversary 2012 Vintage IPA had a citrus aroma that left me sniffing my beer a bit more than might have been completely acceptable in polite company. Pike won a contest to brew this for the Seattle Space Needle’s 50th anniversary this year but I was told that the beer might stay around longer than just this year but if you find yourself near one grab it just in case.
Hale’s Aftermath Imperial IPA is a limited release that also had a huge hoppy aroma. The Hale’s brews seem to be evolving lately and even though I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore I think I’ll be traveling back for a visit. Just Beer has more notes on the beers we tried on the trip.
We came home on the Ferry while the sun was setting, so nice. Thanks to BevMo for a really nice day, I learned a bunch and found a few new favorite things.
· comments  · 07-12-2012 · categories:drink · seattle ·
This, my friends, is a 3-foot long package of spaghetti. Because when I find something like that in a store I don’t leave it there. Our day will be spent with family and friends who are visiting and friends who are already here, I have limeaid and cheese toasts ready and waiting. But July 5th will be devoted to cooking up excessively long spaghetti. Because America is all about excess. Or something like that. Actually the spaghetti is very festive looking in a Big Looming Firework In Your Dining Room sort of way. I hope you have a great day and manage to stay cool!
· comments  · 07-4-2012 · categories:food · holidays ·
Dinner Tonight: Brussels Sprouts Salad à la (the Late) M. Wells | Serious Eats.
Nomiku: bring sous vide into your kitchen. by Lisa Q. Fetterman — Kickstarter. A Kickstarter campaign for a lightweight portable sous vide machine, nice! Via Serious Eats.
So This Exists: The BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcake at Bourbon Steak in Washington, DC | Serious Eats.
Why You Should Spiral-Cut Your Wiener – CHOW Tip. I love that this is both whimsical looking and very practical. (Video.) Via Swiss Miss.
Susan Spicer’s Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Vinegar, Mustard, and Tarragon | Serious Eats. This might replace a similar dish we make but that one includes cream and we never have that in the house.
This cherry’s got moves | Hogwash. A gluten, soy, egg and dairy-free cherry tart. It might not be vegetarian but, hot damn woman!, way to work your way around food allergies.
4th of July Foods! – Shutterbean. Fabulous round up of recipes to bring with you to your various gatherings.
· comments  · 07-3-2012 · categories:food · links ·
I’ve been seeing a lot of boozy popsicles up on Pinterest and I’m all in. These are the ones that have caught my eye:
Grapefruit and Strawberry Greyhound from Endless Simmer.
Cherry Wheat Beer from Sweet Remedy.
Strawberry Peach Vodka Popsicles also from Endless Simmer.
Raspberry Limoncello from Everyday Food.
Tequila soaked watermelon wedges from Recipe Girl, and maybe add a stick like the ones below from A Pretty Life:
· comments  · 06-26-2012 · categories:drink · food ·
Summer hasn’t quite arrived here yet but this book has been brightening my overcast afternoons. I’ve been a devoted reader of the Sprinkle Bakes site for ages and am completely delighted by her book: Sprinkle Bakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist. It’s filled with basic recipes and instructions to for incredibly charming and creative desserts. I am completely in love with everything inside.
The instructions are all clearly photographed and explained so you can feel like a rock star while you’re working.
The projects are all so cheerful and unexpected. She provides templates in the back of the book for those things which are a bit more complicated.
These Mehndi Hand Cookies are amazing, right?
I am so very in love with these glittery snow apples. I’m going to make these the moment leaves start falling off the trees.
· comments  · 06-20-2012 · categories:books · food ·
· comments  · 06-14-2012 · categories:food · links ·
Here in Seattle we have easy access to one of the most hipster-y beers out there. It’s called Churchkey and it’s made in steel cans with a seam and completely flat tops and you have to open it with, guess what, a churchkey. The box and cans are so very pretty. So very Don Draper putting the playhouse together. A while back Scott brought home a six pack of the beer and I remember liking it a lot. Last week he told me about somebody who found the beer just eh. And so we hatched a blind taste testing plan.
We got six different beers for the test, three low brow and three middle-ish (?) brow: Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Rainier, Churchkey, Red Hook Pilsner and Laguinitas Pils.
I labeled two sets of cups with numbers then we each poured a bit of each beer into the cups in a random order for the other person. I printed out forms where we could keep notes and guess which beer we thought each was. Then we sipped and evaluated.
the unsurprising results
We could both tell which one was the Churchkey beer, it had a distinct metallic tang. Not bad, but very easy to pick out of the bunch. We both also identified the Budweiser as the least exciting beer in the bunch. I also got the PBR correct, probably due to some deep familiarity.
the surprising results
We both thought that Rainier was a more expensive beer. I guessed that Rainier was actually the Laguinitas, Scott though it was the Red Hook. Each of us also put one of the more expensive beers under the less expensive category.
the most important question
Which beers did we actually finish after the tasting was done? The PBR and the Rainier. I have no explanation for it. It’s like the opposite of that champagne blind tasting where everybody liked the less expensive bottles best but went back for more Cristal afterwards.
I like the Churchkey beer, it’s novel and good and just plain fun to hold and open. These days the box comes with a churchkey opener of it’s own, but we don’t remember that being included in the first box we got. It makes me wonder if so few people own churchkey openers that the beer company had to include them. I’d love to know for sure. We have enough beer left over to host a larger blind tasting, who wants in?
update: I hear from Justin, one of the creators of Churchkey beer, that the six packs have always included an opener, which settles the debate between Scott and I over whether we initially had a six pack or just a few cans. A beer loving friend gifted us a couple of cans to start with. I win, thanks Justin!
· comments  · 06-7-2012 · categories:food ·
Huge congratulations to Alice on the release of her cookbook Savory Sweet Life!
I love the way the chapters are divided by occasion, but not necessarily special occasions. “Lunch Between Friends”, “Snow Day”, “Block Party” and “Summer Fun in the Sun” are all chapters.
The recipes are droolworthy but not intimidating, it’s all crowd pleasing food made extra special. There are useful tips for preparation, storing and variations. The photos are bright and clear and not only make me excited to make the food but also to get to the part where you get to share it with people you love. And there are lots of recipes you can prepare ahead of time (including two breakfast casseroles that you assemble the night before, I adore those) so you get more time to spend with people.
This is a salad I’ll be making tonight.
These waffles were inspired by a now-closed restaurant here in Seattle called the Jitterbug which was a block away from the first house Scott and I lived in when we moved here. We miss those waffles too so extra thanks for this recipe Alice!
· comments  · 06-6-2012 · categories:books · food ·
Blue Ridge Baker: The Chocolate Chip Cookies. A combination of the NY Times cookies of lore and a Cook’s Illustrated version. Via Best of Metafilter which points us towards this excellent comment.
Turkey Melon | David Lebovitz. Wowsers.
How to Read a Homebrew Recipe | Serious Eats: Drinks.
How-To: Cupcakewurst @Craftzine.com blog. How interesting!
An Edible Cookbook at Design Mom. The pages of the cookbook are the fresh pasta layers in this lasagna, how lovely!
Game of Thrones Cake Pops at Not Your Momma’s Cookie. Warning: spoilers if you have not finished the first book or the first season of the tv show. Though, it was the best way for a spoiler to be delivered.
Home Slice: ‘Pizza Within a Pizza’ | Slice Pizza Blog. Toppings baked into the crust found in a recipe book from 1978, this lady was way ahead of her time.
Joy the Baker – Strawberry Ice. “You know that scene in Bridesmaids when Kristen Wiig is going to the Parisian wedding shower, with the giant cookie, and she’s super pissed at how amazing the Strawberry Lemonade is? This is that. Exactly.”
Meatloaf (Minus 460 Calories and 30 Grams of Fat) | The Feed.
Party Punch: Hibiscus Rum Cooler | Serious Eats: Drinks.
Maintaining a Kitchen Aid Mixer | Artisan Bread Baking. The nitty gritty of getting the insides clean, this ain’t pretty. Via Juniper Moon Fiber Farm blog.
seven spoons – Sugar Buns. These look so delicious. Via Liz Stanley on Pinterest.
DIY Project: How to Make the Golden Nuggets Candy from the Gold Rush BBQ | TikkiDo.com. These are simple and really amazing.
Imbibe Unfiltered: Homemade Rhubarb Bitters.
· comments  · 06-5-2012 · categories:food · links ·
The other week friends, new waffle makers, the concept of a waffle party and Twitter collided and resulted in a waffle brunch. The star of the gathering turned out to be cornmeal ham and cheese waffles which was a collaborative and mostly improvised effort. It was the best sort of effort. Ladies, high fives.
I went home and solidified my own recipe, and so did K over at Eat More Cake as did Tea from Tea and Cookies (she actually couldn’t make it that day but the power of the ham and cheese waffle was just too much to ignore). The Waffles of Insane Greatness recipe variation found at Orangette was a starting point, and K’s recipe results in a large batch. K also had the genius idea to swap oil for melted butter in the recipe and having made many batches I can tell you it is a must. Tea’s recipe involves a sourdough starter (if you have this let me just say to you: lucky!) and I’ve outright stolen her idea of including some course ground corn meal for polenta to add some crunch. (Also I happened to have just that thing in my house which never ever happens to me.)
My recipe below will make a small batch, just enough to fill my stovetop waffle maker twice and (if I don’t botch the first go) we have breakfast for two people and four waffles to freeze. People, I have decided I always want to have cornmeal ham and cheese waffles in my freezer as a potential toaster breakfast option.
Cornmeal Ham and Cheese Waffles
A collaboration by K, M, Q and M and eaten by me (Megan) that was originally based on the A Great Make-the-Morning-of Waffle from Orangette which is a variation on the Waffle of Insane Greatness. Whew.
This batter will make between 6 and 8 waffles (or two goes in my waffle maker). It’s very easy to mix by hand and doesn’t require that you pull out a Kitchenaid mixer. You do, however, need to let the batter rest for half a hour. This is just enough time to wash the measuring cups, set out plates and cook bacon so I call it a win.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- optional: 1 tablespoon coarse ground polenta
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk*
- 1/2 cup buttermilk*
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated cheese (I did a combination of parmesan and medium cheddar)
- 1/2 cup thin sliced ham that has been diced
In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients. Add the milk and/or buttermilk*, melted butter and egg. (The cheese and ham will be added later on.) Whisk until everything is blended and all the lumps have gone away. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Wash the mixing cups, set the table, cook bacon or sausages and preheat your waffle iron to medium or medium high.
Add the grated cheese and ham to the waffle batter. Cook waffles until they are golden. If possible plop them onto a cooling rack right out of the waffle iron so they have a moment to crisp up.
* Since I find it wasteful to buy both whole milk and buttermilk that I’m unlikely to use up I have instead been using Joy the Baker’s buttermilk substitute and squeezing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup and adding whole milk to make for a total of one cup of liquid. Joy also offers options for yogurt and milk, and cream of tartar and milk so none of us have excuses for not making breakfast foods that require buttermilk.
· comments  · 06-1-2012 · categories:food ·