Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Restaurant in Ballard- Austin Cantina

There is a new visitor in town. Austin Cantina, a Tex Mex Restaurant opening on September 1.
I have a good feeling about the restaurant especially since there will be some interesting dishes like the chile dusted calamari with chipotle mayonnaise and the empanada de plantain made of mozarella, chorizo sausage poblano chiles and warm corn tortillas.
The enchilada filling options are mole, pot roast, pulled pork or vegan zucchini stew.
Judging from the chef's blog, it will be a nice, friendly place and as I noticed on the menu, the prices will be quite reasonable. I strongly believe that you can't judge a person, until you've read their blog.

Will you be one of the first to try?

Austin Cantina
5809 24 Av NW

For the menu, click on this post

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hands Free Cooking

Do you use your hands to toss lettuce or do you whip out some snappy tongs?
Is using your hands more accurate than using a gadget?
This is the question in this article titled " The Power of Touch" , featured in Food and Wine.

In my kitchen, I use my hands for everything but embarrassingly I usually use those clear disposable gloves. I am a closet germaphobe. I am always scared that maybe there is some miniscule germ that jumped into the crevices of your hand and can't be removed with soap and water.

The truth is that a real chef has to touch the food in order to be passionate about it. I wouldn't want the chef to make my food routinely, slabbing the chicken on like those teenagers that work at Subway? I would like to believe that the chef enjoys cooking and molding our food with a passion that only a 4 year old making play dough aliens could understand?
Some questions then arise. Where were those hands before? Does this chef have a cold? Does he/she clean under his fingernails?
What do you think?

Does the use of utensils instead of hands compromise the quality of our food?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Funny Looking Vegetable

It wouldn't hurt to laugh. So here is a picture that will crack you up.

Maybe you would rather a carrot doing yoga.

Don't underestimate the power of laughing!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Incredible Feast- Where the Farmers are Stars

An event to to raise awareness about Washington’s local family farms, and to raise money for disaster relief for farmers in need.

Many famous chefs will star in this feast. There will be live shows and lots of great food.
Chef list:
Renee Erickson/Boat Street; Juli Guillemette/Brasa; Ande Janousek/Carmelita; Taichi Kitamura/Chiso; Scott Emerick/Cremant; Amy McCray/Eva; Christine Keff/Flying Fish; Joseba Jiménez de Jiménez/Harvest Vine; Julie Andres/La Medusa; Emmanuel Piqueras/Mixtura; Philip Mihalski/Nell's; John Sundstrom and Aleks Dimitirjevic/Lark & Licorous; Dan Braun/Oliver's Twist; Lisa Nakamura/Qube; Thierry Rautureau/Rover's; John Neumark/Serafina; Seth Caswell/Stumbling Goat; Maria Hines/Tilth; Ethan Stowell/Union and Tavolata; Don Curtiss/Volterra; Vicky McCaffree/Yarrow Bay Grill; Scott Staples/ Restaurant

When: Sunday, August 26, 4 - 7 pm
$50 per adult, $10 per child 12 and under (children 3 and under free)
For more info and tickets

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Food Bloggers in Seattle

Attention all Seattle food bloggers. I think we should meet up sometime.
I am thinking Pike Place Market, cheap food. If you want to be invited, post a comment on my blog or send me an email.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beecher's Cheese

I was walking around the market on a really hot day. Yes, this happened in Seattle. I decided that it's time to grab a snack. I got this Beecher's cheese stick and Flagship tomato soup, which is also made with cheese. What a combination! Perfectly dunkable dough infused with the aroma of cheese paired with a slightly cheesy tomato soup. Then I eyed the new book on the counter that contains the recipe for the " World's Best Macaroni and Cheese".
The book titled "Pure Flavor" was written by Kurt Beecher Dammeier. For more details on the book, read this post in Cornichon. So back to the mac and cheese. I tried to sneak a peak at the recipe, cheese stick in hand. I was ready to challenge anyone who dared to bother me in the process,sneaking peak after peak trying to make it unnoticeable. Then I looked into the window and saw the machines creating cheese. My A.D.H.D mind was on another path, imagining how much fun it would be to put on yellow rain boots and play in the cheese. The truth is I don't remember anything about the Macaroni and Cheese recipe so I guess I'll just have to get the book. Another proud moment in Seattle, we got the big cheese.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker Dinner at Icon Grill August 30

6:00 PM
There will be a question and answer with Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker, Bob Bertheau, and moderated by Sommelier David LeClaire.

7:00 PM
The guests can move upstairs to the Icon's private dining room for dinner.
Cost is 79$ not including tax and gratuity.

Executive Chef Nick Musser's menu includes:
Green Peppercorn Duck Pate En Croute with summer vegetable salad
Eroica Riesling 2006
Chile Cured Bacon Wrapped Seabass with creamed lobster and sweet corn
Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills 2005
Venison Tenderloin with Manchego and barley risotto, black currant jus and grilled delicata squash
Ethos Syrah 2004
Basil Sorbet Stuffed Heirloom Tomato with Micro Greens
Sweet Goat Cheese Tart with almond-shortbread crust and summer berries
Kobe Beef Sirloin with Stilton bleu cheese and Yukon Gold potato gratin, roasted sweet onion and mushroom demi glace
Château Ste. Michelle Artist Series Meritage 2004
For reservations, Icon Grill at (206) 441-6330

I Found this via Randall Pr

Sunday, August 19, 2007

My Posts This Week

Another week has gone by really fast and I attached a list of some of the posts I wrote in my other blog. This week was special because I taught my first cooking class.

If you are looking for something to do today, then check out the healthy living fair.
I wrote about it in this post.

Need something nice to make today. Try my bruschetta recipe.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Food Bloggers Are Here to Stay

I came across this article in Serious Eats about a blogger who became a food critic.
I know many people are getting chills up their spine as we speak. A lot of people don't like the blog world. They might feel threatened, feel that it's not fair or are just not able to connect with this nonchalent style of writing. For me blogging is my life. I sit down almost everyday to write and on the days that I don't I feel gulty, sad, distant. I feel like I am being a bad girlfriend. Blogging makes me feel complete. It has opened up my world to a life of words. It has taught me to write again, even if some may not consider it writing. It is practice. It is like sharpening your brain everyday. Elderly people should blog so they can stop the again process.
Blogging has introduced me to so many people. I have a whole bunch of blog friends.
People I can turn to when I am down. People that live in other continents. People that are food obsessed like me. People that speak languages that I will never understand.
I am part of a blogging community and no one can take that from me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I have a problem with buffets. I thought about this last week at an Indian buffet. The fact that you can go more than once grosses me out. Mounds of food on my plate remind me of Chef Boyardee, no matter how good the mounds taste. The Indian buffet was really delicious but the fact that all the food touches each other and the sauces blend into a mushy colorful mess doesn't really appeal to me. As I bit into my spicy colorful palette, I noticed some Indian women eating. They had only two different colors on their plate and they ate slowly, dipping the Naan bread lightly in the spicy sauce.
It was as graceful as Swan Lake. I was eating like the ugly duckling and they were eating so peacefully. I was now, not only disgusted with myself but jealous.

I don't like the waiting in line in buffets either, the fact that everyone breathes over the food and their hair touches the food really suppresses my appetite.
What do you think? Are buffets worth it?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some of my posts this week..............

I have another blog and I chose a few posts that might interest some of you.

Book Review on Chocolate Cake Sutra- A bit of how to improve yourself all described in recipe format

My Favorite breakfast Shakshuka, eggs in tomato sauce

Interview with Chef Philippe Thomelin of Olive Tree Catering and a recipe for crusted
lamb cutlets in citrus breadcrumbs, artichoke barigoule and tapenade

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Last Minute Cooking

I woke up yesterday with a migraine.I decided to pull myself out of bed to a yoga class. I figured it might help. It did help for a few minutes but then after yoga I went to bed for an hour. Then I realized that I have guests. I sprang out of bed and started cooking. The guests have little kids so I made my favorite meatball recipe. Every kid and every adult seems to love this recipe. The recipe calls for matzo meal but I used Panko bread crumbs instead.
I made white rice to soak up the sauce. I made a salad. I made a pasta with peas, corn and cream. I boiled some fresh corn on the cob from the farmer's market. I almost forgot. I started the meal
with bruschetta. The bruschetta was made of tomatoes, olives and onions. As for dessert, I made meringues, covered with homemade peach gelato( no ice cream maker required) and topped it with fresh fruit.
I made all this in about 3 hours, except for the ice cream which I made the night before. Things went fine and the guests enjoyed. What I learned from all this....
If you put gummy worms anywhere near the kids then don't expect them to eat too much food. I also learned that even easy recipes can be made for guests!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Amateur Gourmet Isn't an Amateur Anymore!

One day the thought crossed my mind about blogging? Will I have something to say?
Could I Write once a week? Then I found an article titled " How to start a food blog" in the Amateur Gourmet. That was it. I started my blog in the Seattle PI, promising to write twice or 3 times a week. HA! I write almost every day! Now I have my own savory blog because my food obsessed mind has way too much to say.
All this thanks to the Amateur Gourmet! Today I realized that the Amateur Gourmet
upgraded his site! If you read food blogs, then you probably know the Amateur Gourmet. So way to go! I am so proud to say that I am the third person to add comments to his post about upgrading his site. When you read this, there will probably be atleast 20 comments or maybe 200.
Good luck with your new look, Amateur Gourmet.

Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi

I grabbed a book from the library titled "Rude Food" by Vir Sanghvi. I expected to read about real stories in the kitchen, how hard it is to survive in the dirty culinary world, how chefs fight and spit in your food. O.K, I'll stop. I think I expected an Anthony Bourdain type book, one of those books that will scare you into ever even thinking of opening your own place
and might convince you that chefs are possessed with the worst job on earth.

Vir Sanghi is slightly negative about the culinary world but not in a depressing way. He paints a picture of the restaurant world as it really is, minus a constant nagging negativity. He knows how to give credit when needed and makes sure that every detail on every subject is thoroughly explained.

Although a lot of the stories are about Indian cuisine, he writes about every type of cuisine, gives you surprising facts and history and most of all motivation to try foods that may seem odd at first.

The book is compiled of short essays of only a few pages each on basically every trend in the culinary world from truffles which he compares to the smell of sex, to caviar to a whole section dedicated to explaining diet trends.

If you are obsessed with food, the history of food, the smell of food or just want to learn some culinary tips, this is the book for you.

And as far as the subject of wanting to be a chef or learning how to cook( been harassed a lot lately):
All I hear is how this world is so hard. I shouldn't bother because my legs will hurt all the time,
working in a hot kitchen is really bad for your pores. But hey, wake up and smell the coffee
culinary fools. Working is rarely fun and everyone gets sick of their job at one point.
I would rather have a smiling belly then even dream of doing something else.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Orna and Ella Pancakes

Here is a recipe for sweet potato pancakes. It is from a really amazing restaurant in Tel Aviv. Every person who tries them is hooked!

Orna and Ella's Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 1/4 kilo sweet potatoes(750 grams after peeling and cooking)
2 tb soy sauce
3/4 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper
butter for frying

Cream sauce

3/4 cup of chives
250 grams of sour cream
1/3 of a cup of mayo
salt aand pepper as desired
mustard and lemon as desired

1. Peel potatoes and cut into big pieces
2. Cook in a pot of water until soft.
3. Place in a strainer for an hour or two in order to drain the water out.
4. Place potatoes in bowl, add soy and mix with hands.
5. Add flour, sugar, salt and pepper and mix with hands(remove any hard or black parts).
6. The batter should be soft, even and a bit sticky. If it is watery add some flour.
Don't overmix or it will become too sticky.
7. Heat a teflon pan with butter on medium heat.
If you want to perfect it, you can put it in an icing bag and use that. You can also use a spoon or your hands to make little rounds. The dough is a bit sticky so you have to practice on the first few in order to get them to come out perfect. Fry on each side.

The Sauce: Mix all ingredients and season as desired.
* This recipe is from Israel and the sour cream is a bit different. You might have to be creative and use a different cream or yogurt. I noticed that recipes from different countries may vary because the products are slightly different.

Kiddie Food

To read my post about car cookies and pizza, check out my other blog.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Five Foods You Should Know About!

1. Meyer Lemon

Is it a lemon or an orange? I am a big fan of cooking magazines so there are always ingredients that I stumble upon that I am not very familiar with. I found a recipe that required a Meyer lemon so I went out to find one. First stop, Whole Foods. I asked the man in the produce section if he had any. He kindly replied that there are none left and went off for a second. He came back holding a lemon and orange in each hand. He rubbed the two together like you would rub rocks to start a bonfire. Then he said " smell this." " This is what a Meyer lemon smells like, a cross between a lemon and an orange."
I was determined to find this citrus mystery so I went to the Pike Place Market and searched all the stands. There it was, the beautiful citrus treasure. I took it home and started to put together a vinaigrette until I felt compelled to taste it first. I expected it to be sour like a lemon but it tasted more like an orange with the slight bitterness of a lemon. I peeled it into segments and ate it like an orange. A citrus delight!

More about Meyer Lemons

2. Elephant Garlic

Elephant garlic is garlic for the garlicky challenged. It looks hefty and is elephant like in size but is light on taste. It's the Eau de Toilette of garlic, the light version of this smelly kitchen basic. It is not exactly a garlic but more like a type of leek.
See the description here
Each clove is enormous in size and closer to the size of regular bulb of garlic. You only have to give the the garlic one whack to uncover an oversized chunk of garlic. So for those who want a subtle hint of garlic, this may be what your looking for. This may be less potent, but no promises that you won't stink!

3. Bubble Tea

My girlfriends are all bubble tea girls, we never go out for coffee but we are always up for bubble. Originally from Asia, bubble tea is a tea that comes in many flavors, filled with little pearls made of tapioca. These tapioca balls, otherwise known as Boba or Pearls have a gummy texture and can be found in different flavored teas, from sour apple flavor to green tea with chocolate. These chewy balls are sucked through enormous straws so that each pearl can plop into your mouth individually. This tea, usually found in Asian cafes can be flavored with a milky sugary mix and can be made hot or cold.
As Bubble tea is becoming increasingly popular, the pearl can be found at juice bars all over the Seattle area. If you are a bubble tea virgin, your first encounter should be with cold bubble tea at an Asian cafe. It may taste akward at first but it becomes addictive after a few slurps.
More on Bubble Tea

4. Pho

Pho, pronounced fa is a Vietnamese soup , that is served in big bowls with heaps of noodles and your choice of protein.
The broth is a clear brownish color garnished with green onions and an assortment of herbs such as basil, mint and even white bean sprouts. The soup is served with thin white rice noodles and hoisin sauce. The amazing thing about this soup is that it is a full meal in one bowl. Usually after a bowl of this, you can hardly think of ordering anything else. It is also fairly inexpensive. For under 6 dollars, you can dine out and be very full. More about pho

5. Panko Bread Crumbs

Panko bread crumbs are a Japanese type of bread crumbs that have invaded the cooking world and made regular bread crumbs seem like they need to get a life. These extra coarse bread crumbs are usually irregular in shape and will promise a crunchier, non soggy breading on anything from fried vegetables to fried chicken.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Five Things I learned Since I Started Cooking

1. Mise en Place
As a French speaker, it is an expression that I understood right away. Mise en place means putting everything in place. This is the entire organization of your workplace before starting to cook, including chopping all your ingredients and setting them up in little bowls or neatly organized on a big chopping board. This means to saute or do anything that it says to do in advance. This way when you start cooking your recipe, you do it quickly and effectively and you don't end up burning one thing while looking for another. It's one of those cooking terms that you probably hear all the time on cooking shows but have never really paid attention to.

2. How to Chop
For many this is the most tedious, time consuming task to be done in the kitchen. I used to cut my salad in all different shapes and sizes, which made it not only unsightly but hard to eat. You need to take a class and get a good chef's knife for this(see number 3 for a better explanation). If you are going to invest in any cooking class it should be a knife skills class
because there are certain things you just have to learn hands on. There are also many sites that can help.
Click Here to Learn How to Chop an Onion
Most people hate cutting onions, but learning the onion cutting technique can make chopping them a lot of fun. I have heard from quite a few chefs that chopping onions is their cutting preference.

3. Get a Good Chef's Knife. This is probably the one thing that any chef or instructor has recommended to me. Yes, you have to spend a lot of money for this! Of all the things that I bought for my kitchen, this is one investment that I feel that I got the most use out of.
The brands that I have been recommended are Henckel or Wustoff but I am sure that there are many out there to choose from. A good knife should cost anywhere between 30 and 100 something dollars. There are better ones of course for more. Just make sure to take good care of the knife and never ever for any reason in this world put it in the dishwasher.

4. Don't Get Fancy on Your Friends. Picture this scenario. My friends are over for a dinner party. I decide to make homemade pasta. I make it in advance. My mise en place is ready and I am ready to toss the pasta in a pan for each one individually. They are waiting, they have already eaten the appetizers and are practically eating the furniture. Then, I realize I don't have enough plates. So I serve three people because some is ready and then continue sweating and grunting obscene swear words while trying to make the rest of the pasta. In the end, I join them after they have all finished eating and my sweating forehead and flustered cheeks reveal that this dinner was not as much fun as it should have been for me. Keep it simple. Make whatever you can in advance because when you have a dinner party, that's what it should be, a party. Even for the host.

5. Your Ingredients Count. If you are making quick meals for dinner just to feed the starving kids or find no pleasure in the act of cooking, then ignore this. I have come to the conclusion that Parmigiano Reggiano is not just a flashy name for a type of cheese, cheap olive oil is a lot of the time tasteless and fresh herbs really do taste better than powdered spices.
It's unrealistic to buy everything fresh all the time but spices like fresh rosemary, basil and thyme go a long way. When I do buy spices, I prefer to buy them at specialty spice stores or in bulk because you never know how long they have been sitting on the shelves of the supermarket.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Funniest Girl Ever!

Whenever I want a laugh I watch this video.