Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fish and Chips from Bowpicker ~ street food!

Astoria Column ~ built to commemorate the migration to the Pacific coast. Take the trek up the 164 steps to view the incredible sight below. A great way to work off all those extra fries you just inhaled from the  Bowpicker! 

Pull up in your car, walk right up and order!You may have to wait 10-15 minutes but, certainly worth the time. 

Bowpicker is located near the Maritime Museum, right off the main street next to the water. (Another great place to visit while traveling through Astoria,OR)

I have eaten my share of fish and chips around the earth and I will say, they get 5 stars!

They use Albacore Tuna and what a difference that makes~not fishy, not dry, just down right delicious.

Busy in the kitchen-opps, galley!

This was a half order which hubby and I shared-plenty! I noticed an extra bite or two in there.....hummm...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chef Dennis and his no knead bread~it works!

yes, easy to prepare!
Prep time: 2 hours 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 2 hours 45 mins
Serves: 8
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coarse Salt
  • 1 /1/2 Tablespoons of Yeast (2 packets)
  • 6 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • Corn meal for dusting peal
  • Flour to dust dough ball
  1. Start with tap water at about 100 degrees (body temperature), make sure the water is not too hot it will kill the yeast. Colder water is ok it will just take longer to rise, if your letting it sit overnight it really doesn’t matter.
  2. Add the yeast to the water and mix it up. Don’t worry if all the yeast does not dissolve, it will finish mixing in the flour.
  3. Mix the salt into the flour.
  4. Add the flour into the yeast water and start your mixer. (This is wet dough.)
  5. Now place your dough into your container. Cover, but not tightly and place on the counter for about 2 hours to rise. (If you don’t have time to wait let it sit out for about a half an hour or so, and put it in the refrigerator overnight, it will rise just more slowly.) The dough does need to sit in the refrigerator after the initial rise for at least 3 hours before using*
  6. Now that your dough has set up you are ready to form a dough ball. Pull off about a one pound piece of dough (this recipe will make about 3 loaves this size). This is the only time you really handle the dough. You need to pull it down to form a ball, tucking all the ends in at the bottom. The ball should be semi smooth. I had to add some flour to keep it from being too sticky while forming a ball.
  7. Place the dough ball on a cookie sheet with a liberal amount of corn meal under it so it will not stick.
  8. Let this dough rise for 40 minutes, and while it is rising preheat oven. I used a 350 oven temperature.
  9.  Dust the top with flour and make some light slices into the dough for that artisan look.*
  10. Before you place the bread into the oven you need one more thing; in another baking dish, or the broiler tray add two cups of water, the steam it creates will give the crust that nice crackle.This really does give it a wonderful crisp top!
  11. I heated up the water in the micro  for a quicker start
  12. The dough should have a dark colour (probably darker than you think it should be), this is rustic artisan bread.
  13. You may have to experiment a little to get it just right for your oven. Chef Dennis said his oven took 35 minutes to bake the bread.I just tapped the top for that hollow sound,then removed from oven. 
*Its best to make it a day or two before you need it, remember this dough will last up to 14 days in the refrigerator, and the older it gets the better it will taste. You’ll begin to get more of a sourdough taste as it ages. In fact, when and if  you make a second batch Chef Dennis suggests that you don’t clean out the container and let the scraps of your original dough speed up the fermentation process.
*if you don’t have a bread stone you can bake this bread on a cookie sheet , you just won’t get the crusty hardened bottom to the loaf
*(You can form the dough into a longer loaf if you like, or make a bigger loaf, a bigger loaf may require a longer cooking time though)
This recipe can be found on Chef Dennis's web page:
This is one of the easiest breads I have ever made. I was not sure about putting the dough in the refrigerator to rise more, but it worked like magic. 

Nothing better than serving it right from the oven with fresh extra virgin olive oil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pizza in Rome~a great recommendation!

After my last trip to Italy with my touring group of ladies, I had to be in Rome to fly back home so... I took Elizabeth's Minchilli's recommendation to visit this wonderful pizza establishment. Elizabeth has taken several classes from the owner himself, he does offer classes to the public I read, making breads and his fabulous pizza. Elizabeth reports from Rome where she writes about all things delicious and beautiful. She also gives private walking tours taking you to some of the most exciting eating establishments in Rome. Although I have never met her, I know we have many things in common. Sometime soon, I will give her a call! If you are in Rome, look her up......I know it would be a great experience for you. She also writes a fabulous blog about her findings in Rome and also in Florence.

Bonci is famous for his constant innovation of toppings and ingredients.

This was the pizza I chose~loaded with fresh basil!

The pizza was warmed and then the basil was added at the last moment.

Delivery truck and address if you want to find BONCI! It is delicious!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Calf &Kid in Melrose Market, Seattle

The Calf & Kid is Seattle's premier cheese shop specializing in a wide variety of imported and domestic cheeses, with an emphasis on artisan and farmstead cheeses of the Pacific Northwest. Their selection of cheese changes seasonally, guaranteeing there will be something new and wonderful to taste upon every visit. They also have samples to taste and great explanations about the cheese. Worth a visit for certain!

They also offer a selection of gourmet accoutrements including crackers, jams, chocolate, and fresh bread delivered daily from Seattle's own Macrina Bakery.Be sure to stop in for a taste of one of life's greatest affordable indulgences: cheese! Your mouth will thank you. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

GLASSYBABY~Seattle's other best

One really will not know how fabulous these are until you hold one in your hand.

The vessels or vases are unique in shapes and come in all shades of brilliant colors.

They are sturdy and can be used in so many different ways......and what mood makers!

When you are in Seattle visiting, or even if you live there, I hope you can stop by and visit the Madrona neighborhood for a real experience and meet some fabulous people out front and behind the scenes.

3406 E. Union
Seattle, WA 98122

Friday, January 06, 2012

Chocolate Mint Macaroons

French macarons are delightful little treats, however, they take some practice and patience! I do not have good piping skills to say the least! I am working on ways to make my meringue sandwiches look more professional. In spite of all the imperfections, they tasted really good!

The macaroons are made from egg whites, ground almonds, superfine sugar and powdered sugar.

Not fancy ingredients for such a delicate bite-sized after dinner treat! Oven: 325 degrees for 10-15 min.

1 cup  confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds~try Trader Joe's, already ground
1/4 cup superfine sugar
2 extra large egg whites, room temperature
1tsp. peppermint extract
green food coloring drops, to your liking
chocolate sprinkles for top portion of meringue
line cookie sheets with parchment paper

For the filling
4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar
3 oz. melted milk chocolate bar, melted and then cooled

Process the ground almond meal and confection sugar in food processor for 20 seconds.Using a large sifter, gently sift out any large pieces of almond.Whip the eggs whites until they hold soft peaks and gradually add the superfine sugar. Beat in the peppermint extract and food coloring.Using a large spatula, fold dry ingredients into the egg whites, one third at a time and thoroughly incorporate and fold until all the almond mixture is well mixed. The batter will become shiny and thick with a ribbonlike consisitency. This may require at least ten good folding strokes.

The next step is tricky, well it was for me using a pastry bag. I kept squeezing it too hard an the filling kept exploding out of the bag! That's where the patience part came in for me! Fill the bag, using a 1/2inch/1-cm plain tip. Pipe circles onto the prepared baking sheets.( I drew circles to help me keep my portions close in size to one another)I got about 20 circles made. Top only the top portions you will use with the sprinkles or they will not sit flat. Let the batter on the sheets now sit for thirty minutes.You should be able to gently touch the surface without any batter sticking to your finger.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. The macaroons are ready when they have a crisp shell. If the bottoms are still soft or sticky, try returning them into the oven for a few more minutes with the oven door ajar.

Cool completely. Carefully peel off the parchment paper and place on wire rack. Use the filling to hold macaroons together.( as much as you like)