Thursday, July 29, 2010

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Because Kai and Jules gave us a full flat of raspberries and because they had traveled from the Skagit Valley, we needed to use them up quick. This was not a problem for me because I love raspberries. Aaron got to searching around and found the recipe. I didn't realize until today that it was an Emeril recipe, but I have to give him credit for this one. It's really, really good. I still really dislike him though. A lot. Moving on...

There's a great sweet and smoky flavor that comes out of this and it's perfect for this time of year. I only did prep on this one. The whole thing was entirely Aaron's idea and I am so glad he found it. Even if it is Emeril.

Raspberry Chipotle Sauce from Favorite Recipes from Emeril's Restaurants:

Makes 1½ cups

1 Tb. olive oil
½ c. small diced onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped (we definitely put in more)
2 pints fresh raspberries, rinsed
½ c. raspberry vinegar (we subbed white wine vinegar)
¾ c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt

In a medium pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly caramelized, 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chipotle chilies and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Add the raspberries and cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar and salt, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before using. Aaron was really excited because he’s had issues with reducing sauces before. This one worked like a dream.

If you want to, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Aaron and I decided that having the solids in gave it more character.

He then used it two different ways, reserving the rest for other meals. First he mixed it into some ground buffalo meat for buffalo burgers. Then he mixed it into a bit of mayo for the burgers. I love how the seeds show up in both.

And look at that burger! It was fantastic! The sauce added a subtle sweet-spicy flavor that just rocked with the buffalo. It helped that we had an awesome tomato from Kai and rocking lettuce from the farmer’s market, not to mention those buns. They’re from a local bakery and these pubs buns just make burgers sing.

This was a rocking sauce. We used it the next day for buffalo tacos. I want to make this again for a BBQ glaze. I think it would also be awesome with blackberries. So there you go Emeril. You got me to eat something of yours. I'll learn how to deal just because this is so good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had amazing friends who brought her yummy deliciousness just because they were visiting. And then she turned that deliciousness into even more deliciousness and spread the happy food love around.

My friend Kai and his fiancee Jules are amazing. I've known Kai for quite some time, but what makes his visits so special, other than the bounty of food he always brings, is that he's known Aaron since they were both six. It's fun watching old friends, especially when Aaron noted that it was ironic to be cleaning up the house for someone he used to invite over to mess up his house.

Anyway, he and Jules were in town doing some wedding related things and they brought this flat of raspberries that are now among some of the best tasting raspberries I've ever had. It's good to know people who can grow things. What was so serendipitous about receiving these raspberries is that Renai had been getting on me to make this out of this world raspberry buttermilk cake. Not only that, when I was in Juneau, her mom told me that if I hadn't made it yet, I had to. I said I would when I got home and lo and behold, raspberries!

They aren't kidding about this cake either. It is amazing, which is why it gets to be the second Smitten Kitchen recipe this month. I made three of them in a week.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake slightly modified from Smitten Kitchen:

Makes one delicious cake

1 c. flour (I did 2/3 all-purpose, 1/3 whole wheat. Like Renai.)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1½ Tb. raw turbinado sugar (or use regular, like the original recipe. I like the crunchiness of the raw)
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional. Just do it. I did closer to 1 tsp)
1 large egg
½ c. well-shaken buttermilk (or 2 Tb. buttermilk powder)
1 c. fresh raspberries (I definitely had more, but I also ate a lot of them in the process. Just eyeball it)

Heat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan. Mine are 10", which led to a slightly flatter cake, but still good. I also floured with whole wheat because it lends a slightly nuttier flavor, which I love.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons raw sugar. As you can see, I did this two different ways. This first time I just scattered them all over the place because I didn't really care. The second time, on one of the cake I was very careful and even. I think I like the look of the random scatter better, at least in whole cake form, but to each their own.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate. Pay attention to the short baking time. It is done really quickly and I don't usually get perfect cakes at the low end of times given in recipes, but this time I did. It was perfect at 20.

Serve it up and watch your friends enjoy. There's a reason Renai and Nicki were on me to make this. It is an amazingly easy, amazingly tasty cake. It was a big hit at my house, at work, and at my friend's house for movie night. You could put in any berry and it would work. It's not overly sweet, so you can force your dessert on non-dessert people and they will understand why you bake all the time. Be careful of how easy and tasty this is. It is dangerous to put yourself on an all-cake diet!

I know I will be making this again and soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mississippi Street Fair

This year I went to the Mississippi Street Fair on N. Mississippi Ave and it was amazing. Mississippi isn't too far from me, about 20 minutes walking, and is full of great food and cool shops. There was food, music, vendors, booze, and a ton of people, yet it didn't seem too crowded. This was such a gorgeous day and a nice welcome back to Portland for me.

And of course there was amazing food. This is pineapple-jalapeño ice cream from Fifty Licks
. Yes, pineapple and jalapeño. There were chunks of jalapeño in there, but it wasn't overwhelming. It was sweet and spicy and so perfect.

Not all of the food was fantastic though. There were a bunch of BBQ carts, but this was clearly not the greatest one.

However, this was amazing. This is a Spicy Thai peanut butter sandwich from a new cart on NW 23rd, PBJ's Grilled. It was amazing. You can't see our faces very well (because Corey was making a dorky one), but we are thoroughly enjoying this. It's challah bread (good challah. And I know my challah), orange marmalade, sriracha, fresh basil, curry, and peanut butter. Holy crap! so good! It's sweet and spicy (kind of my thing at the fair, I guess) and the peanut butter is just perfect. I can't wait to try some of the other ones, like the Betty or Cream of the Crop.

Overall, it was a great time and I'm looking forward to next year where I can try crazy new foods and enjoy a celebration of my almost-neighborhood.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

A post? From me? You don't say!

So here's something you might already know: summer school is rough! I am almost on the other side, with a research proposal, a class weekend, and an exam to go. The research proposal is almost done, class is this weekend, and the exam is something we do with our classmates. I am starting to remember it's summer.

And what do I do? Post a recipe from when Portland was going through Juneuary. These biscuits were made to go with some awesome salmon chowder, which made sense because we had salmon and it was cold outside.

These biscuits come from Smitten Kitchen, which Kirsten turned me on to when we first started talking food. They are so good, dead easy, and you'll want to eat them with everything. I subbed out the blue cheese for cheddar as Aaron's not a big blue cheese fan. As she notes in the original recipe, it's a fine substitution. I loved it!

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits modified from Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits from Smitten Kitchen:

Makes 12 biscuits

2¼ c. all-purpose flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 Tb. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1½ c. coarsely grated cheddar cheese
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 c. well-shaken buttermilk (I used 4 Tb. buttermilk powder)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. I did this whole portion in a food processor. It's faster and it still works. Stir in cheddar cheese and scallions. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined. If you use buttermilk powder, like I did, mix the powder in with the dry ingredients. Use the equivalent amount of water at this point for the buttermilk.

Drop dough in 12 equal mounds about 2 inches apart onto a greased large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Mine were perfect at 16.

These are so incredibly flaky and delicious. I do love my regular biscuits, but man, these are good. They'd make for an awesome brunch item as well!

We had it with chowder, which was ridiculously thick as the picture above demonstrates. Although super thick chowder doesn't sound so great now, I promise you it was great in Juneuary. And those biscuits were a perfect partner.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel + Food: Juneau!

Recently, and I do actually mean within the last month, Aaron and I went back home to Juneau for his 10 year high school reunion. It was a blast and we ate so much of my favorite food at my favorite places and had a couple of new experiences.

This is pretty much what Juneau looked like the whole time I was there, which is unusual. What I mean by that is though it may be like this in Juneau all the time, it usually clears up for July 3rd and 4th. The reason the 3rd is so important to Juneauites is that it doesn't get dark enough for fireworks until very late in the summer, so the fireworks happen at midnight, July 4th. Generally that means the 3rd is a big party and the weather rocks, but not this year, which is only the third or fourth year in my life that the fireworks have been postponed and the weather has been bad.

Despite this, we hit up all our old, favorite places. Before even dropping our bags off, we hit Peter's Oriental (affectionately known as Pete's) just before they closed and got my second favorite spring rolls in the world (my first favorite are made by the neighbor I had growing up in Juneau. She gave my family a big bag of them just before we moved and they were devoured in one sitting. No joke.) It's such a nondescript little place in what we call a mall in Juneau, but it is so good. Fair warning: once you've had it, you will crave it and I haven't found anything like it anywhere else.

I've mentioned them before, but Bullwinkle's Pizza deserves a second mention. I had my birthday party two years in a row here and the pizza just tastes great. Thin, but not too thin crust and free popcorn. What more could you ask for? PS: Here's the inside secret. The prices are ridiculous, but the pepperoni special is still super cheap. You can even get half without pepperoni if you're like me and not into it. The sandwiches rock too.

I also got to get my Silverbow fix on. The health food store I used to work it used to be located next door, so I had many a lunch here. It was a little crazy because they were showing World Cup games, but I got my super cinnamon and life was good.

Any mention of eating and Juneau should always talk about Pel'Meni. I used to be a hater. Then, one day, I was able to get the potato dumplings (they serve two things: meat and potato Russian dumplings) and I was transformed. You can't always get the potato ones (it seems to depend on if you know who is working behind the counter), but they are so good. They're open late and are perfect after a night out. This is more than I can say about the two food carts we went to while out on the town. Aaron and I had two weird experiences with both of them, one involving an overpriced soda and an angry proprietor. Stick to the dumplings.

One place I always try to go to before leaving is Hangar on the Wharf (The Hangar) because they're coconut prawns are ridiculous. Plus, halibut nachos and a lot of beer on tap? Heck yes.

Sister restaurant, Twisted Fish (The Fish), is only open during tourist season and is almost always packed, but so worth the weight, especially for the coconut salmon. Similar to my very favorite coconut prawns, these lovelies come with blueberry chutney and I wish I had that in my life all the time. Pictured above is one of their personal pizzas, which I had never had before. This one in particular is Giorgio's Salmon Pie (so named because the restaurant used to be called Giorgio's once upon a time) and is covered with capers, red onion, lox, white cheese sauce, and caviar. It was hard enough to take a picture because I just wanted to eat the whole thing right then.

Now it's time to talk about the most important food related experience I had while back home. Alaskan Brewing Company does this thing called Rough Drafts, where they test out new beers and crazy recipes, and they are in kegs and on tap only. I heard they had a ginger shandy and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. We got into town Thursday night. Sunday afternoon, we were at the Island Pub (which used to be called Mike's. My dad worked there and it was awesome) and while asking for beers on tap, the waitress mentions the ginger shandy and I squeaked and almost screamed. And then I had it.

Do you see how happy I am? I managed, over the next couple of days, to get seven pints of this. A shandy, known as a radler in Germany, is half lemonade/half lager. I had a ton of radlers when we were in Bavaria, but I have never had one with ginger. It's like all of my favorite things in beer. They add the lemonade in during the fermentation process (Aaron asked when we were at the brewery). We also tried the XTRATuf IPA, which if you like IPAs, is very good. The Island Pub itself is also quite tasty, especially they're smoked salmon spread. That was one of my first new food experiences in Juneau, which is funny because my friend Tom lives right up the street from it and he's pretty much the only person I hang out with in Juneau!

New to Aaron was Chan's Thai Kitchen, Juneau's only Thai restaurant. Located in a weird corner out in Auke Bay, the hours are short and the lines are long, but the food is fantastic. This is another thing you'll find out about when you ask locals about their favorite places.

New to everybody was Tasty Treat, a new self-serve frozen yogurt place next to A&P Market (Foodland because that's what it used to be called and that's what I always call it). I had no idea it was even called Tasty Treat until today when trying to find it online. The sign outside says frozen yogurt and they deliver. I love this place already!

I know this post is very long (especially for one not about actually making anything), but Juneau is my hometown and near and dear to my heart. If you ever get a chance to make it up there, do it. There's good food, lots of outdoor activities (downtown is pretty much built into the mountain), friendly people, and occasionally, gorgeous weather. This is what it looked like they day I left. Of course.

Thanks Juneau for the ginger shandies and the spring rolls. They haunt my dreams!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Gifts and Homework

I've been busy folks. So, so busy. Who knew grad school was so much work? In the midst of everything, though, you have to enjoy the little things. Like when your friend, who also has a food blog gives you a big jar of homemade pickles.

Sadly, they are gone and so is most of my energy with this heat! However, I have not forgotten you, dear blog (and dear readers) and I will return!
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