Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heads up for Foodie Fans in Seattle

Attention GoGastronomy fans! I have to give you the heads up that pre-sale internet tickets have gone on sale for Anthony Bourdain and Mario Battali on stage at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle on May 30. Even though I don't exactly agree with their marketing as the "bad boys of cuisine," it'll definitely be a lively discussion, moderated by KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank from "Too Beautiful to Live." I'm a big fan of KIRO Radio and grateful to them for interviewing me for not just one, but two of their shows.

You can get tickets and more info at: I'm sorry I didn't send this message out earlier, but I'd been focused on another event as well as my day job.

But I'm telling you now, isn't that worth something?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Easter Supper Menu Planning

As much as I'd like to make this event a "Best of" some of my specialty dishes, I've got to think practically. Unlike the smaller venues I've hosted, a bigger event requires even more strategy and provides for less forgiveness. But one nice thing I've learned is a key step is to take advantage of the situation and more hands mean more labor, so I'll figure out ways to delegate.

Regardless, I've got to put a few familiar favorites on the menu, with a twist on the theme to express my saintly -- ok, more likely sinful -- self:

Bubble Bubble Toil in Troublesome Devilish Ham
ham braised in a caramelly fizz
Goodie Goodie Green Beans
my not-so traditional take on the traditional casserole
Copycat Coconut Sumtangurrudder
perhaps my rendition of a beloved coconut cream pie or my friend's mother's southern-style coconut cake
And I'm so excited, friends are already responding and people are actually coming! One friend is bringing "A Virginal Veggie Plate."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Springtime Celebration for the Saints and Sinners

On a whim during a conversation with a friend this evening, I've decided to invite people over for Easter Sunday. I've had a few practice runs with hosting people, and figure I might as well really go for it. Right now the invitation list is limited to a few close friends I've been intending to have over and I have no idea whether or not any of them can make it. But what the heck. It's my mission to make space and create community. And it's my joy to cook and entertain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Day's Mix of Joy and Pain in Seattle's Culinary World


This morning I was greeted with a reminder on my calendar that Outstanding in the Field tickets were on sale today. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the dinner last year featuring the culinary exptertise of Matt Dillon, then recently rated by Food & Wine Magazine as one of the Top 10 New Chefs.

When I saw the schedule last week, the only info was one date and TBDs for the location and the guest chef. I have to admit that this morning I didn't even look, I just bought tickets for the first Seattle location I saw. I decided to contact this great couple I met at last year's event to see if they were going and they asked which one I was going to. Which one? And I looked at the site a little closer and was amazed to find that there were actually THREE dinners scheduled.

I looked at the one I had purchased and I was so happy to find that the guest chef was Seth Caswell, formerly of Stumbling Goat Bistro. I'd been a long-time fan of his food and even had an opportunity to dine with him a few months ago (see Last Dance Gypsy Dinner post from November). Now that I recall, I did mention last year's Outstanding in the Field dinner at the table and his ears had perked up because he had done one years prior when he was living in the East Coast. He didn't know that it came here to Seattle, too. Dare I wonder if I could be indirectly responsible for his participation at this dinner? Hmmmm . . . Regardless, I have to find this set of coincidences a bit remarkable and I'm really looking forward to this dinner, even though it's not until July.


I received an email later today that Culinary Communion has closed. I've had some amazing meals there, as part of a dining club I belonged to. It was possibly the closest thing to fulfilling my fantasy of being a judge on Iron Chef. It's not that I like to be judgmental about the food, but I loved watching chefs experiment with great food and having the opportunity to taste their incredible creations. This was the kind of venue where I got to try Josh Henderson's (Skillet) ranch ice cream and his version of bacon & eggs with maple-braised pork belly, a poached egg and coffee syrup -- breakfast for dinner never tasted so good. Another evening, Brian O'Connor (then from Laurel in San Diego and now The Cliff House in San Francisco) made a delicious salmon topped with crispy salmon bits. A great way to try the versatility of salmon two ways in the same bite.

I'll really miss CC, but the location still hosts The Lunch Counter and I hope soon, The Swinery.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Manifesting Yumminess

Last night as I was walking my dog, I was pondering what to do for dinner. I evaluated what I had in my fridge and the condition of my kitchen and decided it would be best to pick up something. I am blessed to live in a commercial area that is abundant with gourmet delights to fit just about any craving and budget, so I thought about what I wanted. First of all, I didn't want to walk too far. I just got home from work, so was still in heels (lesson: change shoes when walking dog) and it was friggin cold. I wanted something quick, healthy-ish, yummy and cheap.

It was as if the clouds parted and the sun beamed on the corner of NW Market and 20th. There was this sandwich board that called out to me. Needless to say, I was intrigued. In the old Patty Pan Grill space is now GreenGo Food, a quick-food takeout place for those who support the slow food, buy local, and organic/natural movements.

Behind the counter was Dylan Stockman, a friendly host who happily shared the story of his new storefront and its food philosophy. All ingredients are organic and local, whenever possible, and use compostable items. They have a relationship with the farms they buy from and even list them on a sheet of paper just below their menu. I settled on the cheeseburger and non-fries, and for next time, I really want to try their polenta or all-day breakfast. Dylan and his family are a very welcome addition to the magic that is Ballard. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Progressing in My Planning

I have a few strategies when it comes to menu planning, which I follow (or don't) according to my whim at the time.
  1. what's in season
  2. ingredient/s that I have in abundance
  3. special ingredients I'd like to share, especially from my travels
  4. occasion or theme I'd like to celebrate
  5. what's on sale

This time, however, I'm thinking of convenience. This dinner is on a Friday night which means I won't have time to do much prepping before, and the way my work has been going, it may feel like a long week. We'll be taking advantage of the hot tubs at my place, and I may take advantage of not having to drive home.

So, let's work backwards. At the end of the night, I'll want a dessert that can be done ahead of time. Something light and cool to enjoy after or during hot tubbing. After tweaking on my friend's special brownies technique last weekend (no, not THAT kind of "special!"), I really like the combination of chocolate and salt. Since I'll want something light, I'm thinking of mocking Josh Henderson's mother's deconstructed chocolate cream pie. I was craving more almost immediately after I tried it the first time and I think it's been almost a year since it's been on Skillet's menu. If he won't bring it back (hint! hint!), then I will do what I can to resurrect it. He did give me a couple of tips on how to make it back when I came crawling to him begging him to do it again. OK, it was just an email, but in my mind, I felt like a crackhead itching for his fix.

Great, dessert done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Munday . . . at Skillet

Yes, Monday's can be so mundane, and what better way to break up the day than with a fun lunch hunting for my favorite food truck, Skillet, in Capitol Hill with some of my favorite ladies.

Chef Josh Henderson peeks out to take C's order
Skillet's famous wagyu burgers with their delectable bacon jam

Cardamom rice pudding -- with three spooons to share, of course