Thursday, December 30, 2010

Red Wine Reduction...BBQ Sauce? Or Something?

So, I reduced the liquid to about...I'd say 25-40%. I wasn't paying too much attention to the amount at the beginning, but I know there was less than half when I called it quits. 1229001339.jpg It smelled pretty awesome the whole time it was simmering. Eventually it got to a place where I didn't pucker my face at the alcohol content of this brothy substance. But what I really had to do was add some sugar. Brown sugar, specifically. 1229001440.jpg So now I have a sweet-beefy-winey marinade of some sort. Might do some steak or something with it. Might not do anything with the potatoes because I don't think I'll have the time to mess around in the kitchen in the next couple of days. But that's ok, because I got 2 more AWESOME things done today! Firstly, I roasted a butternut squash: 1229001803.jpg Which means soup...or squash cookies...or other general yumminess to occur in the future. I'll probably portion it out (it's all pureed now and refrigerating) and freeze it, for later use. Yummmmmsquashyum. And secondly/lastly, I made Russian tea cakes! 1229002200.jpg For the first time! 1229002204.jpg They turned out pretty good, though next time I'll probably make them more ball shaped (I was silly and followed the recipe when it said to smush the cookie-balls down a bit before baking them). And I'll make sure to have more powdered sugar on hand so I'm not so stingy with it. So YAY! I posted again, just like I said I would! Which means you (the reader/s) will hopefully check back for more. And, more importantly, I will hopefully have posted something more. ;) G'night!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Something Involving a Red Wine Reduction Sauce and Wine-Soaked Potatoes

Okay. In order to make sure I actually write about the culinary experiment/experience that's about to happen in my kitchen, I'm posting this now...pre-cooking. To maybe (at least) guilt myself into finishing this particular documentation.

So...on Monday, I made a pot roast in my crock pot. A crock pot roast, if you will. Being my second pot roast in as many weeks, I decided to do something a bit different than the last time: use red wine as the liquid base instead of broth. Unfortunately, since I'm not a qualified food scientist (yet), I failed to correctly calculate the probability of the wine reducing enough to not be alcoholic within the confines of my cooking method. I cooked the roast (along with some red potatoes and carrots) on low for about 9 hours. When I finally took the lid off and bit into a just tasted like a wine-soaked potato. Sadface. The roast was spectacularly flavored (in my opinion, at least), but alas...the vegetables were a failed attempt at ingenuity.

See here, the potatoes displayed thusly, in all their glorious failure:


So I saved the sauce (which is mostly wine, with a bit of beef juice and other seasonings), which is now reducing on the stove. I'm going to cook it down until it's pleasant to taste and won't get me tipsy, then perhaps add the veggies and make a soup. Add in a squash or something. Who knows?

Stay tuned...hopefully I'll have the next post up tonight. Or tomorrow. No promises. ;)

P.S. Thank you, interwebs, for entertaining my desire to write as though I have a large blog following with readers hanging on my every witty comment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My take on a Harvest Bisque

We had a celebratory Autumnal Equinox/Full Moon dinner party last month at our house, and for it, I made my very first bisque.

I'd originally planned the flavor combination to be butternut squash, sage, and goat cheese. But a little ways into the soup-making process, I realized that I didn't have enough butternut squash. So I put in some canned tomatoes. Then it was too tomato-y. So I added some pumpkin that I'd been roasting. That brought it back to a squashy sort of yumminess.

For serving, I added some caramelized red onion, crumbled goat cheese, and fresh chopped sage leaves.


I must say, it turned out pretty well. 'Twas quite a dank way to start off the wintry months.

And it felt sooo good to walk out into the front room and see everyone sitting, eating, talking, laughing, etc. Definitely added to the cook's satisfaction. I see more dinner parties in my future. ^_^

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grand Central Bakery

Second. Pastry Post. In A Row.

Or third, if you count oatmeal cake as a pastry.

Anywho, stepped into a Grand Central Bakery this morning for the second time in my life.

First time was about a month ago, in Pioneer Square, while I was working on the Parfait truck during the Seattle Square Market. I thought I wanted a grilled cheese, then got inside and realized what I really wanted was their "tuna tosti," which is, essentially, a tuna melt. Grand Central tuna salad (which has an interesting more-salty-than-usual tang to it...owing partially to the capers they put in it), plus Beecher's Flagship Cheese, grilled on sourdough. Their bread is SO GOOD. I'd never had a tuna melt on good bread before. Of course, since I've only been eating tuna and mayonnaise for a few months now, I haven't had too many chances to enjoy tuna melts, good bread or no.

The people working behind the counter were fun to talk to while I waited for my sandwich. I told them I was working on the ice cream truck outside, and one of the guys was really excited and promised to come out and get some ice cream on his break. When he came up to the truck about an hour later, he declared (in a very apologetic way) that he didn't have any cash, but he brought things for trade. Apparently, to him, a $4.50 bowl of ice cream is worth 6 HUGE cookies and 3 full free coffee stamp cards. Works for me! (free cookies and coffee for the WIN!)

Which brings me to this morning. Stopped by the Eastlake location to pick up a dozen muffins, and got a latte and a sticky bun for myself. I'm all about culinary exploration right now, and before today I'd never eaten a sticky bun. Never even touched one. Can't remember seeing one in person either. But I'd heard about them...and totally thought they were just some cinnamon roll-type thing involving honey or something instead of icing.

Oh, was I wrong. Sticky buns are sooo much more.

In fact, I was so distracted by the sheer bliss I experienced in the nomming of this pastry that I didn't even get a picture of it before it was more than half-eaten.


Look at that carmelization! The pecans! The yum!

Srsly, though. The top is just chewy, sugary, ohmygod-ness. Plus nuts. Everything else is secondary.

Oh yeah, I was impressed with the latte, too. Manual espresso machine + Caffe Vita coffee = another win for Grand Central Bakery.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nielsen's Authentic Danish Pastry


Actually, you won't find any of those here. You WILL, however, find quite the selection of delectable, delightful, and scrumptious Danish-style pastries which one could describe with many other synonyms of "yummy". They've got danishes, kringles, snitters...and a bunch of other things that I don't remember the funny names for.

Cookspace, the shared commercial kitchen that Parfait uses, is just a block away, which means that I was lucky enough to have happened upon Nielsen's one day heading to work. It makes me very sad that I've only made it back a handful of times since then.

This morning, though, I was picking up my check at the kitchen and was in serious need of some carbolicious nommage.

More shots of espresso than my body's used to in the morning + no food = Danish pastry deficit.
(Or, at least, that equation was true this morning.)


This one has ham and provolone. And at 8:30am, it was still warm. WIN! ^_^

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cloud City Coffee


This is the first post of what will probably end up being a series of sorts. I've become a frequenter of Cloud City, which is conveniently located 0.4 mi away from my house, according to Google Maps. They have tasty (and pretty!) coffee, a cheery crew of early-morning employees, and FANTASTIC nommage!

nommage ('nŏm əj), noun. Portions or selection of food to eat. (see also: snack, snackage, hors d'oeuvres, tapas)

They make all their own food there (except the doughnuts, which are from Mighty-O, and the bagels, the origin of which I'm unsure), which means that everything is FRESH and usually WARM in the morning.

They have a wide array of different kinds of quiche, assorted scones and muffins, and on occasion they will offer this magical little thing called an Oatmeal Cake.


When I first saw these in the bakery case, I was intrigued, confused, and a tad repulsed. What did they mean by "oatmeal cake?" It sounded squishy and bland to me...but that's probably just my bad past experiences with overcooked, soggy oatmeal talking. The first several times I saw it, I just stared it down (studiously, of course) through the glass before ultimately choosing another coffee accompaniment.

And then, when I decided I wanted to try it, it wasn't there...for a couple of weeks, I think. The first glorious rainy morning we had in September, though...there it was. All warm and gooey and cinnamon-y. The icing stuff has shredded coconut in it, like german chocolate cake frosting does. And it was so moist! And warm! And definitely NOT bland, thank goodness!

If ever you find yourself in this lovely little cafe, and happen to catch the eye of an Oatmeal Cake in the bakery case...go forth and nom, my friend! Do not yield to whatever resistance your inner oatmeal-hating child tries to press upon you! Nom, I say! Nom!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peaks Frozen Custard


Hello, my name is Bre, and I have a problem.

There I was, a day off of the ice cream truck, a world (or city, at least) of opportunity laid out in front of me, and I found myself being lured into a frozen custard shop. Seriously, Self? Do you really need to expend your free-time energies on MORE frozen confections?

Apparently so.

I've upheld a lifelong (and now professional) addiction partnership with ice cream, had many-a-rendezvous with gelato, and lead an on-again-off-again flirtation with sorbet. But this was my first meeting with frozen custard.

And what a first date! [/relationship-ice cream metaphor]

Srsly. It was ridiculously good. I got cookie dough in a hand-rolled waffle cone. The texture reminded me of soft serve, but was definitely its own thing. So smooth! And the cookie dough wasn't in little balls...but, rather, crumbles, I think. Which was also awesome.


AND, when I got to the bottom, there was chocolate!

...but not JUST chocolate...

0827001523.jpg was a malt ball! What an awesome idea for the bottom of the

Ok. Looking up Ice-Cream-aholics Anonymous gatherings NOW.