Palace Ballroom Cookbook Bonanza!

Short notice, but the good food folks at Tom Douglas Restaurants are hosting this really cool sounding event on Monday night, Dec. 1st, at the Palace Ballroom. It’s called the Ultimate Holiday Cookbook Social, and it sounds like a blast.

There will be a ton of chefs and authors there to sign books and dish up some of their specialties. Holla to the fact that we have so many awesome local chefs here in Seattle! And it’s $20 bucks to get in! Some of the chefs/authors on the docket are Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s, Leslie Mackie of Macrina Bakery, Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates, and Tom will be there too. There are a gaggle of others so make sure to check out the roster.

The chefs and authors will be autographing their books too. Should be a fun event and a good chance to cross off some holiday gifts off of the list. You’ll need to RSVP, so please email christinal@tomdouglas.com. And I promise this will be the last Tom Douglas post for awhile; this event was too cool not to mention.

Photo from Nancy Leson’s All You Can Eat blog
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Tips for turkey leftover hangovers

Much like the rest of the country, I indulged and gorged yesterday on Thanksgiving. My mother did an excellent job with our turkey – she brined it, roasted it with a generous butter smear and added oranges, apples, and onions for aromatics. Delicious. But much like everyone else, we’ve got a ton of leftover turkey and need to find a few ideas for what to do with it.

What I like to do with mine (outside of reheated leftovers) is to get a fresh baguette, slice it up, put gravy on one side of bread, cranberry sauce on the other and turkey to separate the two. Heat up the gravy so you have this nice ying-yang with the warm, savory gravy and the tart, cool sauce. And add the stuffing if you want to end up on the couch afterwards. Simple, quick and easy; I love this.

Other folks on the internet have weighed in with some ideas. The team at Serious Eats made an entire list of sandwich ideas for their leftovers. Tom Douglas has recipes for turkey pot pie and turkey pho (as we know pho is usually made with beef, this is more like a turkey noodle soup). There are a ton of recipes out there for leftover Thanksgiving eats, but remember the advice that the Chicago Sun-Times has; keep things simple!

Enjoy the leftovers and get ready for the holiday shopping season!

Cool Food Book: Fat

 

Here is another very cool food book that deserves some attention. It caught my eye with the title – Fat. Yup, it’s a book about cooking with fat and it is as great as it sounds.

Discovered this book from an event that the awesome Kim Ricketts was hosting. The author is Jennifer McLagan; her first book was called Bones and this book focuses on the ultimate flavor instigator, fat. The book’s full title is Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. But just calling it Fat is pretty rad.

Chef McLagan uses scientific research to show that fat is beneficial and historical evidence to highlight that fat is important culturally. Plus its delicious. Raise your hand if the idea of bone marrow rice pudding gets you giddy. She was fun to listen to her talk about her viewpoints on food and fat; how fat was once considered good. Fat paycheck. Fat of the land. But the tide has turned in the last 30 years and now we’re more mindful than ever in our relationship with fat.

Her goal now is to debunk that thought and to highlight how fat is beneficial to us – that the push towards nonfat moved us towards toward refined carbs and things like high fructose corn syrup. But she isn’t necessarily a crusader, mostly she just wants to highlight how delightful and pleasurable fat can make food.

The book is broken down by butter, pork fat, poultry fat, and beef fat. And it’s littered with fun anecdotal stories and enough research to justify cooking with fat. Some of the recipes are fun to just read the titles. Here is the roll call for some that just sound delightful without even knowing the ingredients;

  • Brown Butter Ice Cream
  • Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel and Rosemary
  • Bacon Fat Spice Cookie
  • Foie Gras Butter
  • Bacon Baklava

I could go on, but I really do love this book. It’s probably my favorite food book of the year.

Give this book as a gift for your food friends that love the glory of bacon or the benefit of marbling or would embrace roasted bone marrow with open arms. You know, that friend that would gladly indulge in Bacon Ice Cream. The title alone will get the conversation started, but the content will keep the conversation going.

Toasting to Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving upon us, many of us will be in the festive mood. You could be festive for holidays, football, food, or family. Maybe all those things! And celebrating the holidays is a perfect chance to enjoy a great bottle of wine with friends and family. But the tricky part is trying to make a sense of what wine to have with Thanksgiving dinner.

Sparkling wine

Beth in the Wedge, this section is for you. Sparkling wine is one of the most underrated of all wines. Sparklers are perfectly suited to match with a ton of food. An apertif? A good way to start the meal. Because Thanksgiving menus are so diverse, a sparkling wine would be perfect to pair. The bubbles and acidity refresh your tastebuds and palate. This is a good thing! And don’t hold yourself to just champagne! Prosecco (Italian) and Cava (Spanish) would be an excellent change of pace.

First off, not all sparkling wines are Champagne. This designation only exists for wines made in the Champagne region in France. Everything else is sparkling wine. Sparklers are a great way to make any moment special, the bubbles (the ‘mousse’) create a visual story. And good sparklers will have a complex flavor that is pretty close to magical. Cheers to that.

Alcohol levels

Alcohol levels are tricky, but there aren’t that many hard and fast rules. One Syrah could be at 13% while another could be at 15% – this happens across other varietals too. High alcohol occurs from leaving the grapes on the vine longer so the fruit gets more ripe and the sugar levels rise to create high alcohol levels.

The dilemma. High alcohol levels in wine (>14% alcohol) can get you a bit tipsy quickly. This could a be a good thing if alcohol is the only way for you to make it through a long dinner with your family, then imbibe indeed. At least indulge in good wine – just don’t drive home.

Low alcohol wines (<14%) are good to pair with Thanksgiving dinner because your palate won’t be fatigued and you’ll still be able to actively participate in the family festivities. Heaven forbid palate fatigue from too much alcohol – your mouth could get overwhelmed by a high volume of alcohol. Don’t you want to taste both the food and wine you’ll be enjoying? Palate fatigue is the moment when alcohol has bombarded your senses and your sense of taste has gone haywire. To lessen it’s impact, pace yourself. Enjoy your entrees, be patient. Everything will still be there – even your family.

Wine pairing

Like roast chicken, turkey can play nice with almost any type of wine. Full-bodied (rich, complex) is a way to go, but take care not to get anything that is too bold (strong flavors that lean one way too heavily). The subtleties of Pinot Noir or Viognier would be excellent. The tricky thing with Thanksgiving dinner are the sides; so many divergent flavors that could overpower the nuances of wine. Sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries all make for a tough match. That’s why it would be a good idea to have a handful of bottles at the ready. Riesling is an awesome match; it’s bracing acidity and easy drinkability would be perfect for a rich meal like Thanksgiving.

Basically, have fun with dinner! Bask in the glow of the occasion and enjoy each moment with those around you. Happy Thanksgiving from Going for Seconds!

First glance at Kerry Sear’s ART

“Art” is something that is wholly personal and subjective. Food can be considered art. Presentation, flavor, nuance, creativity; these things all have a hand in dining. Food can incite passion and it can also be literal and whimsical. Now, Kerry Sear is showcasing his artwork at his restaurant, ART, in the new Four Seasons Hotel.

With it’s location Downtown and near the Seattle Art Museum, the ambiance and feel of ART is, well, designed. Kerry Sear is returning to the Four Seasons fold, which is where he first got his start; now he is able to fully put his imprint on ART, one of the more anticipated in the Downtown core.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the place is the bar in the dining room. First off, it’s backlight and changes color. Secondly, it’s huge; it looks like it can seat 25. And the bar is kind of pseudo open with the center as the kitchen. A nice thing about this open format is that you can smell what’s cooking. And whatever we smelled was awesome.

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Daydreaming with Barack Obama’s dinner menu

Add the culinary world to the list of folks that are excited for the tenure of our 44th President-Elect Barack Obama. How so? Scores of chefs are jumping at the chance to be the White House’s executive chef, and some other chefs would love to partake in the inauguration festivities. The dude is from Hawaii and lives in Chicago, of course he’ll love food.

As President-Elect Obama builds up his staff, he’s also going to have to build up his kitchen. With two growing girls and his focus on healthy and safe foods, it’ll be interesting to see who Obama will pick to be the executive chef. He loves Rick Bayless’ take on regional Mexican and even Carmelo Anthony could be affected by the chef choice! This whole personal chef thing blows my mind.

Last week, the Seattle Times AP released this really great article of top-notch chefs and what they would make for Barry’s inauguration party. Distinguished chefs such as Rick Bayless, Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, and Andrew Zimmern each have their own ideas on what they’d serve for the party. Rachael Ray stepped in, but the best she could do is sliders. Probably because she could do this in 30 minutes.

All of this talk about Obama’s food opportunities got me thinking; if I had the massive resources that he has ahead of him, what would I have on the menu? If I could have my pick of chef, who would it be? If I was the honoree at the most anticipated and exciting party of our generation, what would I serve? I still don’t know these answers, but I am awfully envious that our new President-elect can actually make these choices.

-Update 1/14 – And it’s been announced; The First Family will retain the current executive chef of the White House. Congrats Cristeta Comerford. Read my take on things here.

Brunch at the Tilikum Place Cafe

This past weekend, we had brunch at one of Seattle’s newest restaurants; Tilikum Place Cafe. First heard of it from a Daily Candy email; because they highlighted that Tilikum Place Cafe has baked eggs, a trip to grab a bite at this new spot was in order.

Tilikum Place Cafe is located in a part of town that isn’t really Belltown and really isn’t Lower Queen Anne. It’s right off of Fifth and Denny where Fifth turns into Cedar. Near the statue of Chief Sealth under the monorail. It took us a bit to find it, but now that we know, it’s super easy to find.

We went for the brunch to have the baked eggs. I do enjoy baked (or shirred eggs), and those at Tillikum Place Cafe were pretty good. They served them in small cast iron pans and it was two eggs, some diced onion, cream, spinach, and toasted breadcrumbs. This was delightfully decadent. Spread over their baguette and it made for quite the bistro meal.

Also on the brunch menu for us was something they called ‘Dutch babies’. They were baked pancakes with roasted apples. Sounds simple, but as we know, simple doesn’t always mean easy. Also, cooked in cast iron, the edges were nice and crispy, the dough of the pancake was still dense and quite filling.

I have to mention the orange juice. It was fresh squeezed! I do love a good OJ, and I had to help myself from downing it! After getting used to drinking other orange juice, I got used the taste of juice that was a slight bit processed. Fresh squeezed is awesome. I would do it myself if it didn’t require a bushel of oranges, a juicer, and tons of elbow grease.

I look forward to other visits to Tilikum Place Cafe to see what’s in store in dinner and visit a few months down the road to see how they’ve evolved. With a pub/bistro take on the decor and a few locals at the bar, its a great place to eat while watching the street out the big windows. These alums from the Palace Kitchen do provide a unique restaurant experience in that odd part of Seattle. Whatever you want to call it.

Tilikum Place Cafe on Urbanspoon

Photo by Ronald Holden at Cornichon.org