Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Specialty Butcher Shops in Seattle

I just wanted to give my 2 cents on specialty, small independant butchers around town. I have been to Bill the Butcher in Woodinville, Sandpoint Way and Madison Valley and he has great quality meats. He has a nice selection of aged meats and specialty cuts. The Swinery in West Seattle is great when it comes to anything from the "PIG", hence the name. I have always loved A&J meats on Queen Anne and that to me is a great representation of a true Butcher. My other favorite and one that is not as known to the residential cook but held most high in fine-dining establishment, is Select Gourmet in Kenmore, WA. If you blink, you might miss it but don't! You will find all of your favorite delicacies from homemade sausages merguez- real chorizo to foie gras, duck fat, duch legs, marrow bones, quail, phesant, the most amazing bacon, waygu beef, rib-eye's to die for. You can also get things for a picnic on your way to St.Edwards Park. Oh and if you are ever passing through Cle Elem don't forget to stop at Owen's Meats, another favorite for all cuts of meat and the jerky is hands down the best! Don and Joe's at the Pike Place Market will always be revered as most high on my list of true butcher's and the place I will always reserve my Prime Rib or Filet tenderloin roast for Christmas dinner. Overall they all have their strengths but when it comes to great quality, a one on one relationship with a true butcher and hands-down great tasting meat, you can't go wrong with all of the aforementioned.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farewell Gourmet!

I am writing today to express my complete sadness, not over the loss of a person, but over the loss of a truly great magazine. When I heard the news that Gourmet had shut their doors, it seemed the only person I could truly relate with was my mom. We have such a connection when it comes to food and Gourmet was one of those connections. The two magazines my mom read when I was young was Gourmet and Sunset. Gourmet was no ordinary magazine, this was "THE" food magazine that carried us along through good times and bad. This was the epitome of real cooking and not just the recipes, the fabulous writing, articles, travel... This is an era that I will never forget and I will hang onto every Gourmet magazine that I own. It will become a reference guide, a treasure, a great resource and an old friend.

We will miss Ruth Reichl, and everyone who contributed to make this magazine
such a success over the years!

Thank you Gourmet for a lifetime of amazing recipes and stories!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cobblers, Crisps, Brown Betty, Slumps, Crumbles.....

It's funny when you think about it, all the different types of toppings there are for fruit desserts. I mean where did Brown Betty come from and who is Betty anyway?
Here are some of the answers... Oh and I like all the below with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream when the dessert is still warm.

Crisps, Crumbles & Buckles- These are great with Blackberries, Marionberries or I like a combo with fresh peaches. Usually made with flour, oats, sugar, softened butter, salt and spices (optional). All three have a streusal type topping which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance. Easy and delicious.

Cobblers- My husbands favorite which is more of a biscuit-like topping. In my recipe I add 1/4 cup cornmeal to 1 1/2 cups flour, whipping cream, baking soda, baking powder,1/2 cup sugar ( I like the evaporated. organic cane sugar in the topping). Add 1/4- 1/2 cup regular sugar to berries, depending on sweetness, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and 2 Tablespoons flour. YUM!

Brown Betty- Anyone with the name Betty can take credit for this recipe! This one dates back to Colonial times and has two different methods:
One of the oldest recipes found is basically like a bread pudding with apples. The other recipe for Brown Betty is when the apples are sprinkled with brown sugar (hence the name), cinnamon, dash of salt and bread crumbs sprinkled over the top and baked. I'd drizzle a little butter over the bread crumbs or toss the bread crumbs with melted butter, then sprinkle over apple mixture. Top with Vanilla ice cream. With the bread pudding version I would add caramel sauce and ice cream.

Slumps and Grunts-"Early attempts to adapt the English steamed pudding to the primitive cooking equipment available to the Colonists in New England resulted in the grunt and the slump, a simple dumpling-like pudding, (basically like a cobbler). Usually covered and cooked on top of the stove. In Massachusettes, they were known as a grunt (referring to the sound that the berries made while cooking). Phew! Always wondered about that one! In Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island, the dessert was referred to as a slump.

Pandowdy-This dough is rolled out, like a pie crust but but ends up being flaky and delicious.

Clafouti- A custard-like French dessert. Reminds me of a thicker version of a Dutch Baby (flour, eggs, milk & butter) Fruit is placed in a buttered baking dish, custard
is made, then poured on top and baked.

Hope you enjoy making the different variations while berries are at their prime right now!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

My mom and I went to see the sneak preview of Julie & Julia and it was fantastic! Meryl Streep plays a perfect Julia. Her mannerisms, voice and sense of humor was just as I remembered! It is everything I expected and more. It made me laugh, cry and want to eat and cook! My mom who had the great honor of knowing Julia Child and Simone Beck (Simca) said the actresses portrayed them well. You see the personal side of Julia and the sweet relationship she had with her husband, Paul. I'll never forget when I was at a special event for Julia and I went up to her and said "hello", I had met her years before but as soon as I said I was Sharon Kramis' daughter she instantly responded and said "say hello to your mother she's a great cook". I thought wow! My mom has been my mentor all these years and to hear Julia Child speak so highly of her was wonderful.
When my mom was in Provence taking cooking classes from Simone Beck, Julia and Paul lived on the same estate and after one of the classes Julia invited my parents over for hor d'oeuvres and wine. She served parsley ham, olives, thickly sliced french bread, toasted (butter served alongside). Paul served wonderful French wines. When I was a teenager my mom had Simone Beck over for dinner. It was a time I will never forget. It was great to see a movie not just about Julia but also Simca, who was also amazing and changed the way we cook today. We may not live in France but we can sure cook and eat like we do. Julie Powell what a cool woman to take on such an amazing goal and follow through to the end. You are truly inspirational as well and I think Julia would be proud.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Incredible, Edible Egg

Do you ever have questions when you are cooking such as:
When I am hard boiling an egg, do I add the egg to cold water or
boiling water? Why do I sometimes get a blue ring around the egg yolk?

When you are hard-boiling an egg there are different schools of thought on the best way to hard-boil an egg.
I like to remove my eggs from the refrigerator to take off the chill, about 15 mnutes. Add eggs to cold water. Bring to a boil and turn down heat to med.-low or a smiling boil. Cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat
and place in a bowl of ice water. Crack under cold water, removing shell. When you decrease the temperature while cooking , this also shrinks the egg inside the shell making it easier to peel.
My other favorite way to have eggs is a 4 minute egg cooked the same way but just briefly run under cold water.
I like to use an egg topper or cutter to remove the top of the egg. A favorite is the Clack precision cutter which cracks the egg using pressure and forming a perfect circle. I love eating right out of the egg
with a medium soft yolk which is great with buttered toast. Eggs are amazing the way they
make a souffle or a Dutch baby puff up, it's like magic. Eggs are the used in everything from baking to zabaglione to fritatta's. It is the single most important and widely used ingredient.
I don't know what came first, the chicken or the egg but I am glad there are eggs.

I am currently on Vashon Island where they have great farms. I love to get fresh eggs, when the yolks are bright orange in color. I am on my way to check out some new cheese and dairy farms. Speaking of Vashon Island and eggs, if you haven't ever read the book "The Egg & I" by Betty MacDonald, you have to check it out. She lived on Vashon Island and it is a classic. Good read for a teenager too! Gotta run but I'll let you know what I find out.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here is a great recipe that my mother taught me how to make.
This is from her first cookbook "Northwest Bounty", published in 1988.
With fresh salmon at the market & Sorrel popping up in my yard, this is a wonderful way to use the two together. You could also bake or grill the salmon, make the sauce and add just before

Serves 4

Poached Fillet of Wild King Salmon
with Wind-Dried Salmon & Sorrel

4-8 oz. Copper River or Wild King Salmon
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart white wine fish stock (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 oz. shredded wind-dried salmon (dry-smoked kippered salmon may be used instead, though this will add a smoky quality to the sauce rather than the rich salmon flavor that comes from the wind-dried fish)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup fresh sorrel, cut roughly (chiffonade)

To poach fillets, place in a skillet to fit 1 layer and pour in the white wine, adding cold watre to cover if necessary. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Poach at slowest simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Reduce fish stock in a non-aluminum pan to 1/2 cup. Add cream and dried salmon. Simmer until sauce is thickened and of a smooth consistency. The dried salmon will expand as it is cooked. Correct seasoning with salt and white pepper. Five minutes before serving, add Sorrel.
Remove the fish from the poaching liquid, drain and serve immediately with sauce.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

I catered my son's auction for 185 people last Saturday. We have quite a few red peppers left over ,so I'm going to make red pepper jelly. I will try and do something a little different than the normal red peppers, cider, vinegar, crushed red pepper version. I'll let you know how it turns out and what I end up doing. I've been making different Mostarda's lately, which brings me back to Verona. Italy, 2006. I was with my mom at Marcella Hazan's 80th birthday party. This party took place in a beautiful Villa where Giuliano Hazan has his cooking school. We started out in a large study that had over 100 different types of cheeses paired with wines as well as different types of mostarda's (mustard fruits) and chestnut honey. Mostarda means the
must of the grape and is a main ingredient in a true mostarda. Their are many different types of mostarda such as Mostarda di frutta and mostarda di cremona. I love to use at least 4 different
types of fruit and it's all about cooking the fruit down. Removing the fruit from the syrup, reducing and then adding the fruit back into the syrup until the fruit no longer releases it's own juices and the syrup becomes a beautiful crimson color. I will be posting some great recipes on my website @, so stay tuned.