Frost 1st annual doughnut recipe contest

Frost Donuts held a contest for a new summer recipe.  I entered with the Summer Shiso Surprise entry:

“Original bismarck (topped with caramel instead of chocolate) infused with Marjoram injected with Shiso & Green Apple custard and a sprinkle of sea salt. Marjoram would give the outer shell a great floral herb note, and the shiso/green apple combination would be a very refreshing summer flavor! The salt would help intensify the sweet tartness of the entire doughnut. A festive play on the caramel covered apple!”

Although, I didn’t get to be a finalist, I got an honorable mention as the “Most gourmet” doughnut idea.  Yay!  It makes me happy to know that I have some creative juices when it comes to creating recipes.  Maybe….just maybe someday I will come out with a cook book.  That idea is WAYYY down the line, but I should try to write some of these down eventually.  Good times and I will continue to enter contests such as these to try to keep the creative juices flowing.  Bon appetit!

Advertisements

Cochon555

FYI, there will be a MASS amount of updates in the near future of recipes Katie and I have tried and restaurant reviews, however, for now just a brief update on new and exciting things.

Cochon555 was a event held on 5/23 to crown one of ten “Princes of Pork”, held in Seattle at the International convention center at Pier 66.  My wife and I were able to attend as VIPs because of a contest Chef John Sundstrom of Lark held. He asked for a recipe that he could use as inspiration for one of his dishes at this event.  My idea was pineapple pork upside cake layered with smoked pork shoulder and drizzled with harissa sauce.   His interpretation turned into pork shoulder, on a puff pastery, with a pineapple vanilla habanero relish, and a soy ginger sauce.  It was amazing, and there was a buzz going around that it could be THE dish of the evening.  It turns out that Chef Sundstrom did win the “Prince of Pork” crown later that night!  He will be going to Aspen for the Grand Cochon event where he will compete with 9 other chefs from around the county for the “King of Pork” crown.  Good luck John and I can’t wait to dine at Lark in the near future :).  Pics and maybe a small video to follow later.

Sunchoke and Seared Scallop recipe

Seared scallops with sunchoke mash & sunchoke soup

Total time to create the dish ~20 minutes.

Recipe:

1 lb fresh scallops (U-10/12) – I came out with 8 monster scallops

2 Tbsp. Safflower oil or other oil with high smoke point

Dried parsley or chervil

3/4 to 1lb sunchokes

2 Tbsp. butter

2 dollops of creme fraiche

1 Tbsp salt

Finely ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup heavy cream

Always go with fresh scallops when available, but if these were frozen, just thaw overnight, on a covered plate.  Pre-heat a  heavy pan with safflower oil (cast iron or REALLY heavy stainless, NO non-stick please) on the stove top on med-high heat for a few minutes.  When you see wisps of smoke from the pan, you are ready to cook!  After thawed (or already fresh), take the scallops out and quickly rinse them with cold water.  Dry the scallops with paper towels or a tea towel and make sure they are as dry as you can get them!  This will ensure proper browning and deliciousness  (seared not steamed scallops!).  Sprinkle salt over the scallops on both sides.  As soon as the pan is ready lay them in the pan in a clockwise motion with about 1/2 of room between each scallop.  Sizzling will ensue!  After all of the scallops are in the pan (about 1.5-2 minutes), start to turn over the scallops in the same order you put them in.  Another minute in the pan, then start retrieving them in the order you put them in the pan.

Sunchokes aka Jerusalem artichokes, oddly enough are not artichokes at all!  Sunchokes look similar to ginger with a darker brown skin, and an asymmetrical shape.  They are a root vegetables that are similar to a potatos, starchy but with a very pleasing nuttiness that accompanies them.  You would clean and cook these just like a potato.  I prefer the skin on, but if need be, you can peel the skin off.  If you keep the skin on, make sure to clean thoroughly with a brush and cold water.  Get a pot of water boiling big enough for the sunchokes and at least 3 quarts of water.  After the sunchokes are clean, roughly chop  them into 1/2in to 3/4in chunks, you don’t have to be precise here.  Just make sure to cut them into same size pieces, so when they are boiled, they all cook evenly.  After the sunchokes are fork tender, throw them into a blender with the cream, butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pulse 5-8 times until you have a chunky soup consistency.  Strain this mixture to get your soup.  You’re then left with your mash!  To plate, put a generous spoonful of the mash in the center, lay 4 scallops on the mash, then ladel the soup over the scallops.  Put a dollop of the creme fraiche and garnish with the parsley or chervil and you are done!  Bon apetit!

Toulouse Petit -Best happy hour in the nation?! It SAYS SO on the menu!

My wife and I had heard from a good friend that Toulouse Petit had foie gras for under 7 bucks.  After I heard that sentence we had to try it.  As a newcomer to the wonderful world of foie gras, I was delighted to hear that I could try this delicacy for under $10 anywhere.  For that price, I was thinking that I would be getting a piece of liver that was the size of a quarter.  I can’t say how wrong I was!  You could find a comparable piece of foie on the menu for twice that price at some other Seattle restaurants.  The flavor of the foie was superb as well!  I never knew that pears and cornbread would mesh so well with the foie gras.   In any case, the rest of the menu did not disappoint either.  With over  60 happy hour food offerings, I was a tempted to think that most of these would be the greasy sub-par offerings of most bar menus.  Again, WRONG!  Happy to be wrong I might add.  Some of the other offerings we had:

Fried Alligator – Think gamey chicken, a bit on the dry side, but not as “chicken-y” as I thought it would be.

Oysters – Rockefeller x 2, Benneville, Kilpatrick was out that day.  First time having oysters done this way, and I was hooked!  We ended up going out and getting 2 dozen Hama Hamas a little later to try this on our own.  Delicious!

Shrimp Etouffe – I had to try either this or their gumbo, I mean come on, this restaurant is supposed to specialize in cajun cooking!  This was one of my favorites because being a Seattleite, we do not get this kind of rich soul food.  There was a distinct seasoning, which I think was File, but I’m not quite sure.

Escargot – My wife had to have these delicious little morsels, as it is always ordered if we see it on the menu.  Great flavor, not too much butter, as some restaurants have them swimming in it.  The escargot flavor was still very present.  Bravo!

Shrimp and Grits – SPICY!  The grits were the best we have ever had in a restaurant bar none.  Creamy, a little bite, and very well seasoned.  The shrimp were grilled quite well, no rubber here!

Fried Oysters – Yummmm. Fried anything is good, but the cornmeal breading was perfect on the oysters.  Not to much, very gritty texture, and melt in your mouth oysters on the inside.

Louisiana Abita Amber – Not my favorite by far, but wanted to try a little of the regional beer with dinner.  Won’t go for it again, just not my cup of tea.  I prefer much hoppier beers, with more flavor.

Mystery mocktail – Fruity drinks are what my wife likes, and she asked the bartender to make something especially for her, and it turned out delicious.  Cheers!

Pear Hazelnut Frangipane tart – Usually I don’t order desert at restaurants, but I have a soft spot for anything hazelnut.  I took the plunge and will order this every time I go there.  The hazelnut flavor abounds and plays very well with the perfectly cooked pear.

Banana’s Foster – Now we didn’t get to see the flambé action for this dish, but it was extremely deliciousness nonetheless.  We will get this every time we visit as well.  It was our first experience with this dessert, and I can’t complain at all!  The sauce had a strong rum flavor which paired nicely with the creamy vanilla ice cream.

Overall I would have to say that this was by far the best happy hour menu I’ve tried so far.  The quality of the food is above average, the service was great, and best of all most of the items we ordered were only $5.  Everything is made in house and from scratch, but the prices would lead you to believe otherwise.  I can’t wait to go back and order another horde of dishes.

Dinner 3/25/10, Crab Fettuccine

Yum!  Katie had a wonderful idea to have Crab Fettuccine tonight!  Although, we did not have everything as fresh as possible, it still turned out wonderfully delicious.  Fresh pasta was from Cucina Fresca (go Seattle pasta!), the crab was from Trader Joes (canned 1lb tin), and we made the Alfredo from scratch.  For the Alfredo we started with a rue, of home made herb butter and some all purpose flour.  We then used both Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, about a cup of heavy cream, black pepper to taste.  Since the pasta was fresh it only took a couple minutes to cook, drain, combine with crab, and then combine with sauce.  Dinner for two in less than 10 minutes.  It can’t get any easier!  Unfortunately, the pasta was so good that there were no pictures taken before we devoured it.  Photos next time everyone.  Bon apetit!

Seattle Restaurant Week Apr 18-29

Fans of the 3 for $30 during March and November can rejoice for the last two weeks in April as Seattle restaurants are offering up 3 for $25 (dinner) and some 3 for $15 (lunch).  Some of the participating restaurants I am most interested in are:

Anchovies and Olives
Bastille
Blueacre (maybe – same owner as Steelhead Diner NEW restaurant)
BOKA
Brasa
CANLIS
CRUSH
How to Cook a Wolf
Lark
Mistral Kitchen
Poppy
Quinn’s
Restaurant Zoe
Serafina
Six Seven
Spring Hill
Spur
Steelhead Diner
The Georgian
Tilth
Trellis
Urbane

Restaurants in bold are those which are higher up on my list than non-bold restaurants.  The list of participants is very large, and I am happy to see Seattle restaurants giving diners a glimpse at what they offer for a fraction of the price of dining at their establishments during non-promotional times. Bon apetit everyone!

Sazerac and Via Tribunali happy hours

Happy hour(s) with great company is more than enough to make you forget about a hard day at work.  The first stop, Sazerac!  Located in the heart of downtown Seattle (4th and Spring), this bar/restaurant had a lot going for it (appealing menu items, lengthy happy hour, and location).  At a length of 4 hours, Sazerac’s happy hour is generous to say the least, however, you may need the additional time (as we did) for a server to actually take your order.  As I sat down with Jon, Dante’s godfather, we perused the menu trying to decide between the sliders and the wood fired pizzas.  In the end we both decided to get the special grind sliders and the crispy “truffles” (5 malt ball sized potato croquettes).

To my surprise, the server decided to d eliver one order of the special grind sliders and nothing else.  What seemed even more odd, was that the sliders arrived at our table in RECORD time i.e. less than 2 minutes after we ordered.  Both sets of the crispy truffles showed up a few minutes later, and then the final set of sliders.  The sliders were mediocre at best.  The buns were VERY dry, the flavor fell flat, and there were no onions on the first set of sliders.  As with most fried things, the crispy “truffles” did not disappoint.  They turned out better than expected, but this was after the sliders set the bar a bit low.  Golden brown and crispy on the outside, well seasoned potato innards, and the sauce was rich and flavorful.  Will I have a hankering for Sazerac again? Probably not.

During our snacking at Sazerac, Jon had mentioned $5 pizzas at Via Tribunali.  Although, I do not usually go out for pizza, due to underwhelming results at chain restaurants, Jon’s suggestion seemed more than appropriate as I felt the need to end the night on better fare than Sazerac had to offer.  On to Via Tribunali!

After a brisk 10 minute walk, we arrived, sat down and ordered promptly, as their happy hour was only 10 minutes from being over.  At Via Tribunali, the waitress acknowledged us as we walked in, and no waiting was necessary!  We decided on the walk that we would go with the salame pizza for $5 (menu).  A few minutes later, the pizza arrived.  The crust was perfect!  Charred very nicely, slightly crispy, and just enough chewiness in the center.   The bits of salami were not too spicy, and there was just enough to cover the pizza (unfortunately, no picture).  At $5 for a 10″ pie, I can say with certainty that I will be going back here, hopefully often.