Monday, March 15, 2010
This pie crust was one of the first things I learned to make. I put it in my first handmade cookbook and I still use this recipe today. The key to a great pie crust is to use butter not shortening (I don’t even know what it is) I like the natural stuff. And ice cold water! Yes, you have to use ice cold water. I usually make a few of these and then freeze them to have it handy. I use this pie crust for pies and also for my Quiches.
Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
6 tbs butter
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbs Cold water
1 cup All-purpose flour
This is for one 9” pie crust.
Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender until all the flour is just blended into form pea sized chunks. Sprinkle water one tablespoon at a time. Toss lightly with fork until dough will form a ball. Flour rolling surface and pin lightly. Roll dough into circle and trim one inch larger than upside down pie plate. Loosen dough carefully. Fold into quarters. Unfold and press into pie plate. Trim edge even with pie plate. Flip into pie plate. Moisten pastry edge with water.
Bake at 425 F until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I love potatoes, baked potatoes are probably my favorite but whether baked or fried, roasted, or boiled I still love potatoes. I don’t know why maybe the Scandinavian in me or the way I grew up; we had potatoes with almost every meal.
This time I am making potato gratin. Gratin is from the French language in which the word “gratter” meaning to “to scrape” as of the “scrapings” of bread or cheese, and gratiné, from the transitive verb form of the word for crust. Cooking au gratin is a technique rather than exclusively a preparation of potatoes, such as a gratin dauphinois, and many other foods may be prepared in this way, including various meat and pasta dishes. Usually when you cook au gratin you use breadcrumbs, however I do not like that technique, also when you make gratin dauphiniois you do not use cheese, again not my technique. I like my potatoes prepared with cream, onions, garlic and cream.
A good potato Gratin should be crispy on the top and bottom and have a rich, cheesy taste. If you look closely at your gratin upon taking it out of the oven, you will notice the cream has turned into a curdled, cheese-like substance. This is a most desirable trait in a gratin, as the potatoes absorb water from the liquid, you get a concentration of fat and protein, just as you would with fresh cheese curds.
Then other folks add all kinds of things into their gratin, anything from adding yams, broccoli, cauliflower, scallops and many more. I like mine simple. But if you have a good gratin recipe with other ingredients please share, I am curious to try it out.
½ lbs Potatoes
2 tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Emmental cheese
¼ cup Gruyère cheese
1 Garlic clove
Optional ¼ cup of chicken stock
Peel potatoes (if you wish) and slice them into thin slices. I usually boil them for 5 minutes to make sure they are evenly cooked.
Then butter your pan and lay first layer of potatoes down. Then put the onion and garlic on top of that. Then salt and pepper and then half the cheese. Then put another layer of potatoes down and then some more salt and pepper. Pour a little chicken stock as well if you wish for taste otherwise just pour the cream over the potatoes and then the rest of the cheese on top, I like it both ways without or without the chicken stock.
Put it in the oven 400F for about 30 minutes
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Picture from Roger Reyes Photostream
Recently I got an email from someone that was coming to Seattle just for the weekend and wanted restaurant recommendations. This is very difficult because the restaurants I think should all be in the Seattle downtown and not only should they be in good locations, but the food should be memorable. That is so hard to narrow down. Especially since one of my favorite restaurants is located outside of Seattle, Café Juanita which is in Kirkland. So if you are staying downtown, want walking distance to your places, and you only have a few days in Seattle I would recommend going to some of the following places:
Serious Pie – Excellent Pizza, does not take reservations so go early but it is also open for lunch. Best pizza in Seattle.
316 Virginia St. (bet. 3rd & 4th Aves.)
Matt’s in the Market– Local food great atmosphere. Highly recommend for a fist time visitor.
94 Pike St. (1st Ave.)
Canlis – Excellent Food but very expensive. Also need a taxi for a few minutes. Or you can take the SLUT.
2576 Aurora Ave. N. (Halladay St., south of Aurora Bridge)
Restaurant Zoe – Excellent food, also the same owner as Quinn’s.
2137 Second Ave. (Blanchard St.)
Shiro’s Sushi – Favorite Sushi Place in Seattle.
2401 Second Ave. (Battery St.)
Campagne or Café Campagne – Excellent French Food great place for brunch or lunch.
86 Pine St. (1st Ave.)
Dahlia Lounge – Local place good solid food and order the donuts for dessert.
2001 Fourth Ave. (Virginia St.)
Le Pichet – French little bistro great for breakfast or lunch.
1933 First Ave. (Virginia St.)
Tamarind Tree – Excellent Vietnamese Food. Probably need a taxi from downtown but should only take a few minutes.
1036 S. Jackson St. (12th Ave.)
Wildginger – If you can’t go to Tamarind tree then go here. It is a large place and always very crowded but the food is really good. This is Asian Fusion type of food and not Vietnamese
1401 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2105
If you are scrolling through Pike Place market and you just want to grab a sandwich go to DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine in Economy Market Building and then go to Daily Dozen Doughnuts right outside for some fresh warm donuts.
Hope you enjoy your time in Seattle. Let us know where you went and what you thought.
For Seattleites, what would your list be if you only had a weekend in Seattle?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Picture from Bed Bath and Beyond
One day I was cooking at my uncles and needed a bowl, I just picked up this bowl to use for mixing, and it wasn’t moving from the counter top. I just thought wow what a great bowl, this is stable and just awesome. After that weekend I went to Bed Bath and Beyondand bought myself a set of Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls. I have other bowls in my kitchen but only for serving, these are the only bowl that I use to prepare things in my kitchen, they are solid, durable and VERY stable. This is a must have kitchen gadget and also a great gift for someone.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Schnitzel is a traditional Austrian dish and is a popular part of Viennese and Austrian cuisine. It reminds me driving on autobahn as a kid stopping at these little German restaurants on the way and having this delicious schnitzel. Most of the time Schnitzel is served with lemon and potato salad.
The word Schnitzel is believed to come from the word der Schnitz which means a slice or a cut, similarly Schneider means a tailor.
To prepare schnitzel you can use veal cutlets, thin cut pork loin chops or chicken if you wish, it is really up to you. The preparation is the same.
Today the store didn’t have veal cutlets so I decided to use think cut pork loin chops.
With your schnitzel I recommend either roasted potatoes or potato gratin and mushroom sauce.
Ingredients – Marinade
½ cup white wine
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
Pound your cutlet to ½ inch thickness then let them sit overnight or a few hours in the marinade. When you are ready to prepare dry them off from the marinade batter them in 1 egg beaten and then cover them in bread crumbs.
Heat up your frying pan with some butter and vegetable oil, wait for it to get hot and then lower to medium heat and put your cutlets on your frying pan. About 1 ½ minute on the first side and 1 minute on the other side. You can put them in your oven to keep warm or serve right away.
Monday, March 8, 2010
My dog turned 6 this week and we have always wanted to take him with us when we go out and eat, so we tried out Norms. We also invited his other friends and met for Friday night happy hour at Norms. 3 couples and 3 dogs. I didn’t know what to expect at first but the place was great. Most folks that go there have dogs with them, the dogs are very well behaved too. No barking or fussing. The décor has dogs all over, some are cute some are very funny. We got a booth and the dogs are even allowed to sit with you on the seat. Ther is a menu for the dogs too but we didn’t order any of that.
The food and the happy hour is pretty standard, with $3 drafts and $5 appetizers. We tried a bunch of different things, their hummus platter, chicken wings, potato chips, beef sliders, coconut shrimp. I think the hummus platter and the sliders were the best.
The food is not the best but the place is still great and you get to enjoy it with your dog. I would definitely go back. On top of that the staff is very friendly.
Norm’s Eatery & Ale House
460 N 36th St (Francis Avenue N)
Seattle, WA 98103
Friday, March 5, 2010
I love roasted potatoes; I think it goes with almost everything. I think the trick to roasted potatoes are choosing the right kind of potatoes. I like fresh potatoes, and they are hard to find. Usually you find them in a farmers market but if you can’t find them get fingerling potatoes. Those are great potatoes. You can also add any spices you want, for this dish I chose marjoram.
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Marjoram
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 lbs of fresh fingerling potatoes
Boil the fingerling potatoes for 10 minutes. But the potatoes in half and put them in a bowl. In the bowl pour the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and marjoram and mix it all up make sure all the potatoes are covered. But the potatoes on cookie sheet and into the oven for about 30 minuets or until brown.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Swedish Pancakes or in Swedish pannkakor [pannkakoor] are very common in Sweden, it is really a type of bread that gets fried in a frying pan. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on Thursdays in Sweden after you have pea soup. Those pancakes get served with lingonberry and whipped cream.
I grew up with pancakes in Sweden with jam and whipped cream, usually you can find pancakes or waffle stands in Sweden and get fresh pancakes with jam and whipped cream. Those are my favorite but there are many ways of eating your pancakes and many different types of filling.
Here are some filling examples that I enjoy:
Sugar & Cinnamon
Jam and Whipped cream
Banana, sugar & cinnamon
Apples, sugar & cinnamon
Let me know what your favorite filling is.
Yields: 10-12 pancakes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes
1 ¾ cups flour
3 1/3 cups milk
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tbs vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs butter
Mix the eggs and a little of the milk. Add the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla. Then add the remainder of the milk.
Warm up the frying pan with a little bit of butter. Pour in the batter, about 1/2 cup per pancake. Let the pancake stiffen before you turn it and let it become golden brown before it is done. Also stir the batter before you pour the next batter to make sure the flour isn’t sitting at the bottom.
Use one of the following fillings and then roll your pancake and enjoy.
Sugar & Cinnamon
Jam and Whipped cream
Banana, sugar & cinnamon
Apples, sugar & cinnamon
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Picture from The Wandering Eater
Sometimes when I have a girls get together I also organize a chocolate tasting and it is usually a huge hit. I am not a big dark chocolate fan, I love milk chocolate, but for chocolate tasting you need dark chocolate. I have done a few chocolate tastings and here is what I learned: Do not choose anything greater than 80% cocoa and choose chocolates in the same % range. I usually choose chocolate around 60-70% cocoa. Pick around 10 different chocolates and put them in small bowls with a number and remember to put the same number on the original wrapper so you know what it what. Give everyone a piece of paper and pen and let folks start the tasting. Don’t forget to also have a trash bowl for chocolate folks do not like. Tell folks to rate their chocolate 1-10 and then collect everyone’s numbers and rate the different chocolates. I usually give the remainder chocolates away.
Here are a few items to tell folk on what to think about when you do a chocolate tasking:
Look at the Chocolate in bar form and scan for any air bubbles, streaks, or discoloration. You do not want any of those in or on your chocolate. You want to see a nice shine on the chocolates surface.
Smell the entire bar before breaking off a piece. Get the full aroma of the bar and try to pick out the distinct aroma of that particular bar. Many times you will be able to know what the bar will taste like by smelling it. You can also smell apart a bar filled with sugar and a high cacao content bar.
Listen to the snap of the chocolate as you break a piece off. Should be a nice clean loud snap.
Most important! The look, smell, and snap could all be perfect but if it doesn’t taste good then it is meaningless. Break a small piece of chocolate and put it on your tongue. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue and start to push it around between the roof of your mouth and all area’s of your tongue. This will allow you to taste all the flavors that particular chocolate has to offer. Take it nice and slow so you can really taste out any and every flavor that presents itself.
Chocolate’s texture can big an important part to some people and not as important to others. You can have a sandy, grainy, chalky, smooth, waxy, and even slimy texture. Smooth slick texture is usually preferred but you can like whatever you want.
If you want to get into this even deeper, here is a great Adobe Acrobat PDF that describes the testing experience in detail from Chloe Chocolate.
Let me know how it goes.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I don’t know about you but in the last few years I have become a beet lover. I never used to be but if there are beets on the menu I order them. And I always have beets at home for my cravings. You will notice I will post several different beet recipes in this blog, you will be surprise all the things you can do with beets. If you have some good beet recipes please let me know, I am always up for new beet recipes.
There are many ways to prepare your beats. You can microwave them quickly, that is the easy way. You can boil them in a pot of water, 2nd easiest way. Or the best way and the tastiest way is to bake your beets, that is what I always do, unless I am in a hurry. Here is a great recipe for pickled beets, I think they go with a lot of different things as steak and meatballs. Enjoy!
Pickled Red Beets
Yields: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 60 minutes | Pickle Time: 24 hours
Oven 350 F
2 lbs of red beets
¾ cups vinegar essence (6% acidity)
¼ cups water
5 whole cloves
½ cups sugar
First bake your beats by putting foil around your beets and put them on a platter, make sure you have something under the beets in the oven because juices will come out and you do not want to ruin your oven. Leave them in the oven for about 1 hour for medium sized beets. If your beets are larger or smaller your time may differ, it is easy to check just poke a fork in them and make sure they are soft. Take them out and let them cool. Once you have baked them in the oven the skin is really easy to peel off, just make sure you wash your hands right afterwards or they will stay red for while.
While you are waiting for your beets to cook you can prepare you marinade.
In a pot add the vinegar, water, sugar, cloves and let it boil.
Once your beets are cool enough to chop, slice them to your liking. I like my slices pretty large. Then put them in a jar or container of some sort. And then pour your liquid into the jar and place into the refrigerator. Your beets will be ready to eat the following day. These will last a few weeks in the jar.