Thursday, May 29, 2008

Morel Gathering

Memorial day weekend I traveled over the Cascade mountains to the Yakima Valley, to a secret location and gathered up these morel mushrooms.

How totally cool it was ... hunting down these babies.
A six and a three year old were along for the forage and thrilled to spot the hard to find mushrooms, tucked under fallen trees, poking up through branches of green needles.

Listen I found one look here's one and another one wow there's a bunch over here...

Back to the house we drove happy looking forward to cooking up our risotto of spring aspargus, morels and peas. The zest of lemon added a perennial spring pop. This dish was a ragu of veggies served on top of a traditional risotto of onions, white wine, rice, stock, cheese, salt and pepper.

Paris is so crazy beautiful. I watched the Frugal Traveler this morning on the New York Times homepage, watched Matt bop around Paris for a week. The short video ends with a trip to the market and a party at his 350 euro a week apartment.
Wednesday morning is Mark Bittman's video and he cooks up something good, almost always something good.

Stopped off at The Tasting Room - Wines of Washington on our way back to Seattle. From local mushrooms to local wine Cascadia sure is super fine.
Visiting wineries and tasting wine is not for everyone but if you do enjoy it I recommend a trip up the hill to this gorgeous cooperative tasting room overlooking the Yakima Valley. If I go again I'll order food and wine, sit in the sun and soak up the fertile grounds.

I picked up the 2008 Washington Wine Commission's catalog and am blown away by all the people making wine up and down the I-5 corridor, the Puget Sound west of the Cascades. did I get here...a need to move on from the Missoula Valley, where people are now making wine and selling wine !! There's a winery in Seeley Lake ! And one in Hamilton Montana and like three in Missoula.

I also picked up the Washington Health Foundation's pamphlet on why wine is good for us. The list of health benefits just keeps getting longer, benefits from the moderate drinking of wine. How to define this ????

Here is a tip from Paul Beveridge, Wilridge Winery, Seattle. Paul says, "One of the things I like about wine is that is tells you when you have had too much." (I love the voice of a good wine) "Wine, as preserved fruit, is good for you in moderation but like so many things, is toxic if you have too much. Getting tipsy is one of your body's ways of telling you it's time to stop."

So friends, Cheers to mushrooms and wine.

Blogging on a cool Seattle evening with moderate red wine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Simple Syrup

Saturday May 17th and the temperature was up up up there in the nineties so I made myself a bottle of simple syrup to sweeten my summer iced tea.

2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until thick like honey.

Keep in the frig to sweeten iced teas and Margaritas too.

After my recent trip to Northern California I tried to recreate the Margarita I enjoyed at the Bluegrass Bar and Grill and found out it is the simple syrup that most likely brought the other ingredients together so nicely...the tequila, lime, and in this case, the Grand Marnier.
For good eats ideas checkout the Bluegrass menu, it is unusual and creative and they execute it well.

Executed food...doesn't sound real tasty now does it. Hey have you heard of SCALLOPS? Now this could prove tasty ... and fun ... it stands for “Sustainable Communities ALL Over Puget Sound”.

I'm going to get involved to bring chickens to my hood, a community chicken coop, so I'm not responsible for all the shit.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Down on the Farm with Fried Rice

I've started interning on a farm one day a week. It is a five acre spread with chickens, goats, ducks - until recently. In two weeks all four ducks were eaten by an eagle. Sad for everyone left behind..Ducky, the last to go, had been with them for six years. Recently Karen bought four new ducks and one goose to form a pack in hopes of deterring the eagle.

Not new to vegetable gardening I am learning a lot and I love being on the land. The animal husbandry is new to me and I'm hooked, actually I wrote that a couple of weeks ago and this past week - I was up to my ankles in chicken and goat shit and realized "it is all about managing the shit". Which in the long run enriches the soil and of course the fresh eggs are worth it and the goat cheese and milk and meat but in the day to day, you have to keep the shit moving.

Yes returning home from the farm with my eggs and other goodies is indeed my favorite part of the adventure.

Cooking and eating fritatta's galor, the bright yellow color of the farm yolks and WOW an old recipe for fried rice popped into my head.

Fried brown rice with bean sprouts, green onion and eggs, seasoned with honey and tamari.

Talk about simple, fast, delicious and healthy....I've cooked it five times in two weeks and Scott man has cooked his own version up once. That is the beauty of this dish...a theme with room for creativity but the original recipe is the dope.

Back in the 70's at The Seward Cafe in Minneapolis, cook Terry Inzerillo put this dish on the menu...

Fried Rice
chopped scallions
mung bean sprouts
brown rice

Saute the veggies briefly
push to the side and add egg and scramble

Mix in the rice
add one teaspoon of honey and a couple teaspoons of tamari and fry it up (add more honey and tamari to taste)
eat with chop sticks

So easy healthy and versatile, I can't say it enough....satisfying !

Another quick and delicious fried rice is the Thai Fried Rice recipe in "Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

Thai Fried Rice

Serves 1

2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced (or even more if not using optional ingredients)
1 to 2 ounces of thinly sliced boneless pork (optional)
2 cups cooked rice (preferably Thai jasmine)
2 scallions, trimmed, slivered lengthwise, and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce, or to taste

Garnish and accompaniments

About 1/4 cup of coriander leaves
About 6 thin cucumber slices
1 small scallion, trimmed (optional)
2 lime wedges
1/4 cup Thai Fish Sauce with Hot Chiles

Notes: Once you've tossed the garlic into the hot oil, you can also add about 1/2 teaspoon Red Curry Paste or Thai Roasted Chile Paste (nam prik pao). It adds another layer of flavor and a little heat too.

YES it is another great and satisfying dish.

Below is a recent dinner party with several fabulous Asian flavored dishes and several tasty American cooks.