Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Devine Gastronomique!

Two weeks ago my dad sent me an email asking me to make reservations at the fanciest restaurant in Seattle. Without a seconds delay I picked up the phone and called Rover's, crossing my fingers that they would have reservations open for less than a week away. To my luck, they did! It was one of those utterly divine, life-changing experiences that has left me to re-acclimate to normal food again. We all got different menus; my dad had the Julia Child tribute, Alex had the Menu Degustation, and I had the Grand Menu Degustation. The wait-staff provided an impeccable show of gastronomical intelligence with high class French composure. The delivery of each course came with grace and a hint of theatre. The presentation on each plate was exquisite, playful, and utterly perfect. Needless to say, the food was incredible. As part of an Amuse Bouche, we all got a small cup of soup so smooth it reminded me of why Thomas Keller says to strain soups 20 times, it's worth it. I had the most amazing oysters, and I don't consider myself a person that likes shell-fish. One was warm with a buttery sauce and one was cold with a fennel-vinegar gelee and caviar. They were crisp to the tooth and silky smooth on the tongue with absolutely no "fishy" or ocean flavor to them. Amazing. A first for me at this dinner was Escargot, out of the shell and dancing around my plate amid colorful sauces. Just like the oysters, I was pleasantly surprised by crisp texture and a wonderful delicate flavor. Then there was venison, so moist and tender I didn't need the provided steak-knife. A sorbet cleansed the palate mid-meal with little beet pearls, apparently made by bubbling beet juice into almost cooled agar. Dinner was concluded with a "Symphony of Desserts" followed by macaroons and passion fruit gelees. Absolutely phenomenal, I would definitely put it on par with Daniel in New York.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Northeast meets Northwest

I met up with an old friend on Capitol Hill last night at this fantastic little place called simply, Smith. It's a cozy pub with lots of dark hardwood, dusty books, taxidermy animals, and portraits on the walls. Their happy hour is phenomenal; we got a PITCHER of Allagash white ale for $10!! Not to mention they also had Ninkasi IPA and a handful of other excellent beers on tap. Their food menu was filled with all sorts of tasty, French-inspired pub foods. Since my friend grew up in Montreal, she ordered Poutine, which is according to her, the official dish of Montreal. Poutine is french fries smothered in an au jus style gravy with melted cheese curds on top - delicious! We also got some good homemade mac n' cheese. It wasn't long before we were both in a glorious carbohydrate coma!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Puff Pastry Improv

A few months ago we ended up with a pile of puff-pastry dough scraps at work that I gladly brought home and threw in my freezer for later use. After nearly an entire quarter of lunches comprised of sandwiches or salads made from the same ingredients (the "salad" is really just a sandwich without bread), I decided it was high time that I make something else to take to school with me each day. Last week inspiration struck: Samosas! Granted, I don't think I've ever made an actual samosa, nor did I consult a recipe, so perhaps these are not samosas at all. I started by fine dicing or mincing a few carrots, parsnips, butterball potatoes, red onion, garlic, ginger, peppers from my canned pepper medley, frozen green beans, and celery tops (like parsley!). I sauteed everything in bacon grease, used the singer method to make a roux and then used a splash of water to make it saucy. I threw in some frozen corn and a cooked and chopped sage & garlic chicken sausage at the end. Each piece of puff-dough got a spoon full of this mixture and sealed shut with some egg wash. These baked at 350 degrees until they looked done, and oh man were they delicious! The perfect addition to a school lunch!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thankful for good food!

It's a bit belated, but here is my epic Thanksgiving post. Mandy made bacon-wrapped dates as an appetizer, or literally an amuse bouche (something to "shut your mouth" while dinner is cooking). I almost didn't get a picture of them, they got eaten quick and this is the last one!:

Mandy continued to show off her new-found love for cooking by gracing us with this deliciously authentic Greek salad. Not to mention, it was the perfect light addition to a rather hefty meal.

Debbie made these heavenly carrot pillows:

I, of course, had to make brussel sprouts fried in bacon grease:

Alex was the squash champion of the evening, he made this wonderful medly of winter squashes:

Debbie made Cranberry Chutney, which was incredible!:

And I made Wild-Cranberry Sauce (wow! they were TART!!):

And of course there was green-bean casserole and cornbread dressing, not stuffing (thanks, Josh):

Here is the only picture I got of our handsom bird. He is a heritage turkey from Stokeberry farm. So much love went into the creation of this turkey! It was absolutely divine. To put it, roughly, in the words of 5-year-old Miya, "I'm thankful that this turkey was a alive so we can eat it". And Debbie did a lovely job of carving it!

For dessert, I made the best gluten-free and egg-free cake I think I've ever had. It's a chocolate-chai-pumpkin-cranberry cake. Dorothy brought a sort of pear gallete (although it had yeast in the dough..) that was absolute delectable! And Mandy made cherry pie, yum!: