Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dark Days - Week #6

Dark Days #6
Butternut squash and sage soup with sage breadcrumbs Whatever you do, DO NOT skip making the breadcrumbs, these absolutely make this dish! We had a little snow fall the day we made this – so it was a little strange harvesting sage from the front yard covered with snow!
1 ½ tablespoon butter (Golden Glenn Creamery, Bow, WA)
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (not local)
2 cups chopped onions (Walla Walla, WA)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (organic, not local)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage (front yard)
4 cups ½ inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse sea salt (Bonair, brought home on vacation)
1 garlic clove (organic)
5 to 6 cups chicken stock (home made)
2 crustless slices fresh whole grain wheat bread, torn (Essential Baking Company, WA)
4 teaspoons butter (Golden Glenn Creamery)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (front yard)
Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, parsley, and sage; sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash and coarse salt; sauté until squash softens and onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add 5 cups stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until squash is very soft; about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender, allowing some texture to remain. Return soup to pot. Thin with stock if desired. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired.
Place bread in a food processor; blend until fire crumbs form but some slightly coarser crumbs remain. Cook butter in skillet in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden; about 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and sage. Cook until crumbs are crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Serves 6. Taken from Bon Appétit, February 2008

Dark Days - Week #5

Dark Days #5
Christmas Eve we were lucky enough to have the evening to ourselves. We decided to splurge on making some prime rib(no we did not go for the full size roast from the recipe, just picked up a nice 2 bone roast). We served it with oven roasted baby bok choy (Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA) and mashed red potatoes (Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA).
For dessert we had peach crepes made from local flour and frozen peaches from the summer. For a little decadence we added some Smith Brother's whipped cream on top (WA).
Roast prime rib au poivre
1 9 pound prime rib beef roast (about 4 ribs), excess fat trimmed (Painted Hills, OR)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (organic)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (organic)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon mixed whole peppercorns, coarsely crushed (not local)
1/3 cup minced shallots (organic, WA)
3 ½ cups beef broth (homemade)
1/3 cup Cognac or brandy (not local)
Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Place beef, fat side up, in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle beef all over with salt. Mix mustard and garlic in a small bowl. Spread mustard mixture over top of beef. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns over mustard mixture.
Roast beef 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 125 degrees for rare, tenting loosely with aluminum foil if crust browns too quickly, about 2 hours 45 minutes. Transfer beef to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Let stand 30 minutes.
Pour pan juices into 2-cup measuring cup (reserve roasting pan). Spoon off fat from top of pan juices, returning 1 tablespoon fat to roasting pan. Reserve pan juices.
Place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add beef broth, then Cognac or brandy (mixture may ignite). Return pan to heat and boil until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add reserved pan juices and remaining 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns; whisk to blend. Transfer pan juices to sauceboat.
Carve roast and serve with pan juices.
Serves 10. Taken from The Bon Appetit Cookbook (2006)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dark Days - Week #4

Not your grandma’s turkey soup!
We had some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving that we froze We had ordered a Mad Hatcher Turkey from Rain Shadow Meats. This was the inspiration for this meal. However, since we made this meal on the darkest day of the year, it required “harvesting” carrots from our yard with the help of a head lamp.
½ onion, chopped (Walla Walla, WA)
½ lb carrots (our yard)
4 oz Chanterelle Mushrooms (western WA)
2 quarts chicken stock (homemade)
3 tablespoons rosemary (our yard)
½ teaspoon salt (Grenada – purchased while on vacation)
½ teaspoon ground pepper (not local)
1 bay leaf (Grenada – purchased while on vacation)
½ lb chopped cooked turkey
Soften the onion, carrots and mushrooms in a Dutch oven, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, salt, pepper, bay leaf, bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the chopped turkey and heat through. Makes 4-6 servings.
Served with a Cranberry Vodka martini. The cranberry simple syrup was made from local cranberries. And the Vodka is from Washington apples made in Woodinville – Soft Tail Spirits.

Dark Days - Week #3

One of our go-to meals. Typically I judge all Italian restaurants by their Carbonara.
You can use bacon, but the guanciale just gives it a greater depth of flavor. Guanciale is very easy to make, just take a pork jowl and salt (and spice) cure it in the fridge for a week and then hang it in a cool (under 60 degrees) location for a month to dry out.
Only make enough of this receipe for the meal as it does not reheat. Should be served immediately.
Fettuccini Carbonara
1 pound fettuccini (home made from Red Mill white and semolina flour, Sky Valley Farm eggs)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (not local)
4 ounces guanciale or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips (cured from Carlton Farms pork jowl)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (not local)
2 large eggs (Sky Valley Farm)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving (not local, but purchased from Calf and Kid, a local cheese shop in Seattle)
Freshly ground black pepper (not local)
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (we omitted since ours died in our front yard)
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the fettuccini spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al-dente”.") Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the guanciale and saute for about 3 minutes, until it is and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.
Add the hot, drained fettuccini to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the guanciale fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the fettucini carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.
Adapted from Tyler Florence, serves 4-6 people
Served with local bread.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dark Days - Week #2

For the Dark Days Dinner #2 we decided to incorporate it into a party we were having with a bunch of friends. Again, we were not able to utilize local ingredients for the oil, vinegar, sugar and salt. One thing that struck me as counterproductive as we were shopping for our dinner is that we needed to go to 3 different stores in order to get all of the ingredients local. At what point is the carbon footprint worse by driving around than allowing a couple of items to be shipped from somewhere else? I mean, until more stores carry local goods isn’t the shipping of other goods somewhat of a sunk cost?
By the way…That parsnip was huge.
Enjoy the meal!!!

Wines paired with the dinner:
Non Vintage Capitelo Sparkling Wine (Willamette Valley, OR)
2009 Maison Bleue Petit Joie Marsanne (Yakima Valley, WA)
2004 Boudreaux Cellars Syrah (Desert Hills Vineyard, WA)
2003 Rulo Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, WA)
Limoncello liquor (brought back from Rome)

Escarole (6 leaves) (OR)
Fuji Apples (Eastern WA)
4 oz blue cheese (Big Boy Blue- OR)
Onion (Farmer’s Own Organics, Seattle, WA)
Olive oil (not local)
1 tablespoon butter (Tillamook, OR)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (not local)
Place onion along with oil and butter in a heavy pan over low heat and add a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally for about an half an hour then add brown sugar and continue cooking for another half an hour.
Place escarole leaf down on plate. Top with 1/8 inch slices of apple, blue cheese and onion.
Chicken, Sausage & Mushroom Pot Pie
2 cups all purpose flour (Red Mill, OR)
¾ teaspoon salt (Bonair)
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes (Tillamook, OR)
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water (can only assume it’s local ;-) )
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature, divided (Tillamook, OR)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (Red Mill, OR)
2 tablespoons olive oil (not local)
12 oz mushrooms (1 portabella and several chanterelles – NW Washington)
1 cup finely chopped shallots (about 5) (Farmer’s Own Organics, Seattle)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (our yard)
1 ¼ lb Italian sausages (about 6) casings removed (Carlton Farms, OR)
2 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (Mad Hatcher Farms, WA)
½ cup Madeira (use a WA red wine in its place – Eastern WA)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth (personally canned using local ingredients)
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, thickly sliced (Sky River Farms, WA)
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with one tablespoon water (for glaze) (Sky River Farms, WA)
Blend flour and salt in a processor. Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add 4 tablespoons water. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by ½ tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Mix 2 tablespoons butter and flour in bowl to smooth paste; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with oil in large deep skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots and thyme. Sauté until mushrooms brown, about 8 minutes. Add sausage; sauté until no longer pink, breaking up with spoon, about 7 minutes. Add chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until chicken is no longer pink on outside, about 5 minutes. Add Madeira (wine); boil 2 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Mix in butter-flour paste; simmer until sauce thickens, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to 10-cup round banking dish; top with egg slices (We modified it and put it in “French Onion Soup” bowls to make individual servings)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface to 13 to 14-inch round. Place atop filling. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhand under, crimp edge. Brush crust with glaze; cut several slits in crust.
Bake pie until crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes and serve
Taken from bon appétit (December 2008) 6 servings
Roasted Root Vegetables with Honey, Balsamic Vinegar
½ lb medium carrots, peeled and left whole (front yard)
½ lb medium beets, peeled and quartered (OR)
½ lb medium turnips, peeled and halved (OR)
1.2 lb medium parsnips, peeled and left whole (Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA)
3 shallots, unpeeled, but in half through the stem end (Farmer’s Own Organics, Seattle, WA)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (not local)
Salt and ground black pepper (salt Bonair, pepper not local)
½ cup honey (WA)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar (not local)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and salt and pepper in a big bowl. Dump them out onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes. Whisk together the honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Take the vegetables out of the oven, pour the vinegar-honey mixture over, and toss. Return the vegetables to the oven and cook until fork-tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. The recipe also called for topping the vegetables with 4 oz chilled fresh goat cheese, but we omitted this ingredient.
Taken from Tyler Florence’s Tyler’s Ultimate: 2006 – Serves 4
Pear Cobbler with Cranberry Streusel
Unsalted butter, at room temperature (Tillamook, OR)
Granulated sugar (not local)
4 Bartlett pears (Washington Growers, WA)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Bonair)
¼ cup brown sugar (not local)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (Red Mill, OR)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (not local)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (brought back from vacation on Grenada)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (Tillamook, OR)
½ cup brown sugar (not local)
½ cup all-purpose flour (Red Mill, OR)
½ teaspoon salt (Bonair)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (Coquille Cranberries, North Bend, OR)

½ cup heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks (Fresh Breeze Organic, Lynden, WA)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8x8-inch baking dish. Dust the dish with granulated sugar; tapping out any excess.
Peel the pears and cut then in half through the stem end. Use a melon baller to scoop out the cores. Put the pear halves in a large bowl, sprinkle with the vanilla, and toss. Then sprinkle over the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss so that the pears are really well coated with the flavorings. Set the pears in a single layer; cored side down, in the prepared baking dish.
Now make the topping. In the same bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt and mash it all together with your fingers. Toss in the cranberries. Crumble the topping mixture over the pears in the baking dish and bake until the topping is nice and crunchy and browned and the pears are very tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.
Taken from Tyler Florence’s Tyler’s Ultimate: 2006 – Serves 4

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dark Days - Week #1

As we get into our first Dark Days meal, we find that this is going to be more difficult than first imagined. As we perused the vegetable aisle at our local "local" grocery store, the fall/winter vegetables that we figured would be from around here ended up not...So we had to improvise (have a feeling this is going to be a theme over the next 4 months).

Meal #1

Cauliflower-Apple Soup with Apple Cider Reduction
Baked Chicken
Washington Viognier/Roussanne

1 Cup apple cider (Hood River, OR)
2 tsp Olive Oil (Exempted - Tried to find local oil - Failed)
2 Cups chopped onion (Washington)
2 tsp Madras curry powder (Exempted)
1 tsp chopped garlic (Washington)
6 Cups Cauliflower florets (Willamette Valley, OR - Had to purchase frozen as all of the fresh cauliflower is from California)
5 Cups chicken broth (homemade stock from mad hatcher chickens and local root vegetables that we canned earlier in the year)
1 gala apple - peeled, cored and chopped (Washington)
1/3 Cup Half and Half (Kent, WA)
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice (Exempted)
3/4 tsp Salt (Bonaire, Caribbean - I know this isn't local, but we picked this up when we were on vacation so it feels more local than the stuff we'd get at the grocery store)
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper (Exempted)

1. Bring the apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until cider is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch over over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; saute 3 minutes. Add curry powder and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add cauliflower, broth and apple, bringing to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender.
3. Remove pan from heat; cool 5 minutes. Place half of cauliflower mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining cauliflower mixture. Return to pot. Stir in half and half; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until throughly heated (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in juice, salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; drizzle each serving with 1-1/2 teaspoons cider reduction. Garnish with coarsely ground pepper, if desired. Yield: 8 servings. (Recipe taken from CookingLight: December 2008).

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken breasts in a oven proof container. Sprinkle with turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bake for appropriately 35 minutes.

Paired the meal with a Darby Winery 2009 "le Deuce" Columbia Valley Viognier/Roussanne

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dark Days Challenge

From Dec 1st through April 15th, we will be detailing one meal a week that is completely local (*see below for caveats).

Our personal definition of local is one gas tank away, so roughly 400 miles. From Seattle the north boundary is Kamloops, BC, to the east is the Montana border and South all the way down to Roseburg, OR.

Some items that we will be using that are not local are dried herbs and spices that don't come from our garden.

Where appropriate, we will utilize items that we have picked up throughout our travels. Since it came home with us, there really isn't any incremental environmental impact from transport.

Feel free to comment if you have any questions on the meals we post.