Thursday, April 12, 2012

Whiskey Cola Brisket BBQ at Mariners Games

The home of the towering Space Needle,, Nordstrom and Microsoft, and the birthplace of Boeing, has something else that rockets it to the forefront of, oh, everything. Safeco Field aka The Safe, was the first baseball stadium in the country to up its game with quality local eats.

Ethan Stowell, the local wonderchef who is at the helm of the Seattle changes will offer juicy, saucy, boldly jalapeno'ed Holy Smoke BBQ, Double Play Sausage + Chicken, Oyster Po’ Boy and Big League Burgers at Safeco Field starting tomorrow, all made with local high-quality meats, seafood, vegetables and breads. Last year he debuted Hamburg+Frites and La Creperie in the Safeco Bull Pen.

The brisket above has whiskey cola sauce and apple/jalapeno slaw on a potato bread bun. It's big and it's yours for $9.75.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lamb Cake for Easter

At Easter I make lamb cake with the Lambchop face and serve it at breakfast and dinner. If you have the cake mold, it’s easy: use your favorite cake recipe or a box of cake mix.

The mold takes most of the batter, and as it bakes it compresses into a texture
like pound cake. The rest of the batter you can use for cupcakes.

The recipe:
Your favorite cake recipe, or you can use a box of cake mix.

3 3/4 cup powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
2/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes

Heat oven to 450 degrees with the rack in the center
Place the lamb cake mold on a cookie sheet. Grease it on the
inside surfaces, so cake will release.

Into the side with the lamb face, pour in cake batter to fill.
Leave the back side empty, as the cake will expand into this as it bakes. Place
a toothpick along the neck portion. This will provide stability when you are
taking the cake out of the mold, and when it is sitting upright. Place the back
of the mold on top of the front. The mold should fit together.

Keeping the cake mold on the baking sheet, bake the cake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes, for a total of 50 minutes.
To test to determine if the cake is fully baked, remove it
from the oven. Take the back off and put a clean toothpick in the thickest part. If the toothpick comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs on it, the cake is fully baked.

Remove the cake from the oven, still on the baking sheet, and take the back cover off. Let the cake sit for about 5 minutes, then loosen it gently from the pan, remove it and set it on a wire rack until it is cooled, about 1 hour.

Frosting Directions:
This is the classic frosting recipe on the C&H powdered sugar bag. You can use a food processor, standing mixer, handheld mixer or mix it by hand.

Mix the butter and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Add
milk and vanilla and mix again until thick and smooth. The frosting will thicken more by itself - just make sure it isn’t runny.

To frost the lamb, set it on the serving plate. Put a spoonful of frosting underneath it to hold it in place. Start frosting from the bottom up, back to front. When you reach the lambs’ head, go more slowly and use a thinner frosting spatula or knife to get into the curves of the face.

Place two chocolate chips on for the eyes, and for the mouth you can use a sliver of licorice, a clove, or anything else you have handy. I use a clove bud with the stem attached.

As soon as the lamb cake is frosted, pat the coconut on top. Depending on your frosting texture you may need to press some of the coconut in gently. Let it set for an hour before serving.

You can find lamb molds at a few places, like and

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Day

Shepherd's Pie and a Guinness at Paddy Coyne's for St. Patrick's Day. I love shepherd's pie so much I ditched the corned beef and cabbage. At the end I threw some salt on my Guinness just to see how that tastes - it was really good! This pub was crazy wild.

The funny thing is I don't have a drop of Irish blood in me. Whattya gonna do?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Taste of Trees

Washington State’s The Herbfarm, a top-rated restaurant, is always on the delicious side of eating discoveries. They have an interesting take on trees as “…the unheralded workhorses of the food world” giving with their fruits and nuts, but also “flavors from their flowers, saps, berries, seeds, bark, leaves, needles, and even smoke.” Herbs, mushrooms and truffles grow under them and the moon smiles over them.

The dinner series begins February 17 with nine courses sequenced for flavor and paired with wine. What’s to eat? There are more things at, but check out these these courses from the menu:

• Sumac-Crusted Pacific Albacore Tuna, Parsnip Cream & Oregon Olive Oil, Fennel, Apple, Radish, and Flat Leaf Parsley
Paired with 2010 Adelsheim Auxerrois, Ribbon Springs Vineyard, Oregon

• Charcoal-Grilled Saddle of Lamb, Rosemary-Farina Cake, Sausage of Wild Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Lamb, Slow-Roasted Onions, and Brown Butter-Birch Tree Syrup Sauce
Paired with 2007 Rôtie Cellars, Southern Rhône Blend, Washington

• Woodinville Whiskey Mini Savarin with Walnut Butter, Bay-Walnut Cream, Walnut “Sand,” Whiskey Snap Tuile & Salted-Big Leaf Maple Syrup Ice Cream

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Rocket Scientist's Molasses Cookies

What does a rocket scientist know about baking cookies? When Anya Stettler (one of the few rocket scientists I know) pulled these molasses cookies out of the oven, they looked perfect, smelled warm and spicy and were soulful, tender and full of buttery, sugary, molasses-y flavor. I grabbed a couple of them and asked how she did it.

She has spent her life with math, chemistry and physics and there was never any hint she baked wonderfully, but there was no ignoring those cookies on the plate. I have spent my life baking cookies and while mine taste good sometimes they look like I dropped them on the floor.

She started baking in the last few years and pretty much mastered it right away. Her scientific training let me in on why her cookies are so good.

Her big secret is that she uses a precise recipe, follows directions (who would ever think that would work?), pulls equal blops of cookie dough from the bowl, then thoughtfully rolls them into perfect balls and sets them on the baking sheet. Most people approximate the ingredient amounts in recipes, substitute this for that, flop things onto cooking vessels and might not know that glass measuring cups are for liquid and metal/plastic are for dry ingredients (they measure differently).

Because her mom is gluten intolerant, Anya made the smaller cookies on the plate with a gluten-free baking mix so she wouldn’t be left out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twain's Feast: My New Favorite Book

We’re all looking for the next good read and last week I got a review copy of Twain’s Feast, absolutely a good read. Andrew Beahrs, an anthropologist and writer, takes a look at foods loved by Mark Twain and rediscovers and eats them in their natural locales. It’s travel, history, food and locavor-osity all mixed into one book that keeps you mesmerized with its effortless yarn spinning.

Beahrs doesn’t write with a big ego or with annoying fake bravado, and he doesn’t smile at everything he eats and repeat ‘good stuff’ or ‘delicious’ – when it’s bad he says so and in a way that’ll make you laugh.

Feeling romantic about stewing raccoons? Beahrs tells of Coon Suppers in Gillett, Arkansas where the smell of the animal’s fat made him nauseous as it bubbled in the outdoor cooking pots. Dogs won’t even eat raccoon fat. At the supper Beahrs attended, a local nodded at the kettles of coon stew and said, “Yeah, we’re gonna eat real well but it won’t be coming out of there.”

Slow cooking with onions and vegetables eventually tamed the beastly flavor and yesterday in Seattle (one leg of his book tour) Beahrs said the flavor was hard to discern and compared the texture of slow-cooked raccoon to pot roast, which for some may be as close as they get to trying raccoon stew.

What did he like? When he tried Olympia oysters grown by Washington’s Taylor Shellfish it put him in Twain’s shoes. “Those Oly’s were a Twain moment for me.” Sheepshead fish in New Orleans and maple syrup made his like list too, though he guessed he’ll never know what prairie chicken tastes like (a Twain favorite) because they are almost extinct now.

“Twain appreciated the best of what was there,” says Beahrs, “and when something was good he knew it.” Beahrs shares that with Twain and between the two of them this book is food writing at its very best.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Moonshine and Everclear Taste Test

I don't know exactly why I bought the corn whiskey. I was curious about moonshine, and it's moonshine corn whiskey made by Junior Johnson, a Nascar driver whose family has been in the moonshine business for a long time. This bottle is legal for some reason, and a friend told me it tastes much better than the moonshone he drank as a kid in Aberdeen, Washington.

The Everclear is something I keep around to make holiday fruit explosions and bitters, and it's fun to offer to people at a party.

The taste test between these two revealed:

  • The corn whiskey was an abhorrence. Cleaning chemical nose, blistering on the palate and with a faint cheap whiskey note. It made the Everclear look good.

  • The Everclear was wild tasting, with an acid nose, incinerating on the palate and with no flavor notes at all. From here on out I'm only using it with blueberries and kiwi.

I will be looking for other ways to get rid of the corn whiskey, and right now it is in the running for a birthday gift for my brother, maybe made into sweet jelly for his morning toast.