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Karen Anderson

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Everything posted by Karen Anderson

  1. I live in Seattle, not Chicago, so I'm curious to hear what people in the Heartland think of chef John Des Rosiers' invitation for food journalists to dine free (and anonymously) at Inovasi in Lake Bluff. Is the restaurant good? Is this a realistic way to get reviews from hardcore foodies? Are any of you going to do it? Des Rosiers posted the invitation on his blog "Inovasi Thought" this morning. Karen
  2. My three: Swedish scalloped potatoes (no cheese, please!) made with peeled, thin-sliced potatoes; layered with chunks of good butter, some flour, salt, and pepper; baked in half-and-half. Potato latkes (made with coarse-grated potatoes) My ex-husband's spicy German potato salad with bacon (unfortunately, he didn't leave me the recipe)
  3. You might want to check out the new Snoose Junction Pizza in Ballard (on Market Street). They do pizza by the slice, as well as by the pie, and it reminds me very much of Ray's Pizza in New York. Extremely tasty and satisfying -- thin but chewy crust, aggressively spicy red sauce, and the perfect cheese in a nice golden web across the top. The pepperoni is fab, too. Snoose Junction also has a very homey, neighborhood feel -- like a Brooklyn pizza joint. Perfect place to drop in for a beer and a couple hot slices.
  4. Hi Jason, <p>A number of your pet peeves resonate with me. The biggest would have to be the lack of simple sandwiches in an affordable restaurant setting. I lived in Manhattan and Boston and every few blocks there was either a Greek coffee shop or a boulangerie that had tables and served simple, made-to-order sandwiches with high quality ingredients: Roasted turkey, tuna salad, ham and cheese, BLT, etc.</p> <p>There are a few places in Seattle that make good, fresh sandwiches, but most of them are delis with no table service, and no comfortable tables to sit at (a couple of rickety two-person tables near a drafty doorway -- if anything). If I try to get a normal sandwich at a sit-down restaurant, it arrives on a plate heaped with fries or salad, has some kind of tough artisanal bread sliced 1 inch thick, is slathered with chilipotle mayonnaise, and costs $12.</p> <p>The only places downtown I've ever been able to get a fresh, affordable sandwich in an enjoyable lunch environment are Bakeman's on Cherry and a couple of the taverns near Pioneer Square. Has anyone found anything good in the shopping district? Maybe Von's?</p>
  5. I've done several of these (desserts, soups, etc.) and keep all my data in FileMaker Pro, with fields for title, a short anecdote about each recipe, ingredients and instructions. If you are familiar with FileMaker, it should be easy to create both an easy-to-use input layout and an attractive output layout for whatever size page you want to create. FileMaker is not InDesign, of course, but there is still good font control. I have done both stapled books (12 - 16 recipes) and spiral bound books. The spirals a definitely nicer. Cheers, Karen
  6. There's been a lot of buzz about Szechuan Chef (in a strip mall at 15015 Main in Bellevue). I checked it out and it was very feisty, rich Szechuan. Much the way I remembered Szechuan restaurants in New York. You walk in the door and your eyes start to water! The place was packed at lunch time with Asian fellows from nearby Microsoft. And I was amused to see a table full of Bellevue firefighters. Perhaps the kitchen has to keep them on call?
  7. <p>In Seattle the inoffensive meal is inexpensive pink salmon. <p>20 years ago, when I first moved to Seattle and was attending various business dinners, my folks back East would ask "What did they serve at dinner?" Soon they learned to ask "So, how was the salmon?" <p>Of course, after a while I discovered the fabulous wild salmons, including Copper River, that are in a whole other realm from inexpensive salmon. And as my taste in salmon got better, the quality of the "inoffensive" salmon dinners got worse. Now much of the inexpensive salmon is flabby-textured farmed salmon. <p>The inoffensive salmon is often preceded by a pseudo-Caesar salad (drowned in dressing and topped with gargantuan garlic-croutons and grated cheese) and followed by something vaguely cheesecake-like with raspberry topping. <p>(BTW, great topic!)
  8. I always get raves using the "No Knead" Challah recipe from The Spice and Spirit of Kosher Cooking. You simply mix the ingredients, cover, and let rise 2-3 hours. Then shape the challah, brush with egg, let it rise 20-30 minutes, and bake for an hour. It's a very moist, light, and fairly sweet challah. My mother told me that her Polish grandmother would use extra dough from challah baking to make little rolls filled with onion. You take the extra dough, pat it into a flat circle, wrap it around chopped raw onion to form a ball, and brush with egg. During the baking the chopped onions get so soft it's as if they'd melted!
  9. Jeremy, <li> Thai black rice pudding at the Thai Siam and other Thai places. Try Araya's 1121 N.E. 45th Street.</li> <li> Bread pudding with whiskey sauce -- used to get it at Burk's Cafe (now gone); Alligator Soul in Everett and From the Bayou in Tacoma are both probably too distant, as is Cafe Rozella in White Center. Try the Boat Street Cafe near UW.</li> <li> Does creme brulee count as pudding? Just checking. My fave is at Le Gourmand.</li> <li> Indian rice pudding (kheer -- a thin rice pudding) available at most area Indian restaurants. Like Taste of India on Roosevelt Way.</li> <li> Best of all, cassava cake, which is definitely bread pudding-like and turns up occasionally in the dessert cases at Filipino restaurants. You'll have to do some hunting to find this one, but well worth it. If you find it, would you PLEASE let me know? I've only been able to get it at Filipino food booths at food festivals.</li> Cheers, Karen
  10. Seattle has a few alternatives to the pig-trough concession stands, and I head for those theaters: The old Egyptian has a inexpensive shabby-chic espresso bar with a 1960s-beatnik feel to it. The renovated Majestic in Ballard has the basic theater food, but in human-size portions and for very reasonable prices. Another glimmer of hope: The fancy new theaters at the Alderwood Mall in the mega-burb north of Seattle have a Starbucks, with standard Starbucks prices. So, the prices are not cheap but the food/drink you get for your money is pretty good (Earl Grey tea and some shortbread? I'm not complaining). Wish more theaters would partner with Starbucks or the upscale places that are starting to turn up at the newer airport terminals so we we'd have nosh choices beyond nachos with melted yellow petrochemicals.
  11. Two years ago, I found great Szechuan pork and pickled cabbage soup at the Szechuan Bistro, on 85th just west of Greenwood Avenue. Driving by recently, I believe I saw a "new management" sign, so perhaps things have changed. Can anyone else comment?
  12. According to the Progressive Baker site, Spring King flour does not even have a distributor in the Pacific Northwest. Has anyone in Seattle/Portland got a source for it? Karen
  13. I made pizza successfully for several years and didn't realize how important the oven is to the process until we moved and my (gas) Okeefe and Merritt was replaced by an (electric) Kitchenaid that was all looks and no performance. After several failures, with several types of dough (including professional doughs I bought frozen), I finally got a (gas) Wolf and added a professional quality pizza stone (the first, el-cheapo, stone, exploded the first time I used it with the Wolf). Sudden the pizzas were perfect again, no matter which recipe I used. That said, I was disappointed by the vast amounts of sugar called for in many contemporary pizza dough recipes (even from Cook's Illustrated, good grief!). These recipes tasted like the ghastly sweet dough used in California Pizza Kitchens. Here's a basic East Coast dough recipe. The dough is even better after being refrigerated over night: 1 cup trepid water 1 pkg dry yeast 1 tsp. sugar 2-1/2 - 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp salt olive oil to grease bowl cornmeal Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup warm water. In a separate (large) bowl, add the remaining 3/4 cup water to 1-1/2 cups flour. Add the salt. When the yeast begins to foam a bit, add it to the flour mixture. Stir vigorously, then turn the dought onto a floured board and let it rest (safe from cold drafts) while you clean the bowl. When the bowl is clean and dry, rub the interior with a light coat of the olive oil. Knead the dough continuously for 15 minutes, adding flour as necessary, to create a silky dough. Return the ball of dough the bowl, roll it around to coat it with the oil, then cover bowl with two tight layers of plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm (but not hot) place until double in bulk, about 2-3 hours. Preheat oven, with pizza stone in it, to 450 degrees. Punch down dough and flatten it on a lightly-floured board. Divide it in half, returning one half to the bowl (covering it with wrap again). Pounding with the heel of your hand (or using a rolling pin) work the half into a pizza about 12-inches in diameter. Sprinkle a baker’s peel or flat (no-rim) cookie sheet well with corn meal and put the dough on it. Brush the dough with olive oil and add your toppings. Slide the pizza from the peel or sheet onto the pizza stone. Bake 15 minutes or until underneath of crust is light brown. Remove, slice and serve. Repeat with second dough (or refrigerate that dough to use the following night).
  14. The new food court at Sea-Tac airport, focusing on food to take on the plane, is excellent and very reasonably priced. I was disappointed in the run-of-the-mill turkey sandwich I got at Kathy Casey's Dish Delish, but the Parma ham breakfast sandwich I got the following week, from Pallino, was super. None of this is the tired and hideously overpriced "airport food" that you suffer through at the Burbank, San Jose, etc., airports. It's much more like what you find in the nicer office and shopping complexes downtown. The Starbucks sandwiches are good too, even tho there's not much variety.
  15. I had a number of memorable meals there -- not so much the food as the camaraderie. The Scarlet Tree was home to folks from a variety of social backgrounds who shared a common love of blues and jazz. I will miss the place.
  16. at Szechuan Bistro: Szechuan pork and pickled cabbage soup. Anything with fried tofu. And, forwhatever reason, their food seems to be a lot more exciting at lunch. Cheers, Karen
  17. After wondering about Canlis for 20 years, I took my husband and mom there to dinner this evening. The food: superb ingredients, prepared with expertise and restraint. Classic without being at all boring, elegant without being at all pretentious. The service was genuinely gracious. Our waitperson was attentive and respectful with elderly my mom, and very good with my husband, who is generally skeptical about the service in most of Seattle's high-end restaurants. By the time the main cour arrived, we were all charmed and feeling well taken care of. The Canlis seafood chowder (technically, more of a bisque) and the signature house salad were both stand-outs. My husband had steak (Misty Isle, not the Waygu); my mom had lamb chops. I thought their choices were better than the scallops I had. Nice broiled scallops, but the sauce (carrot corriander) didn't seem to find its voice. For food and service, Canlis lived up to my expectations. The unexpected delight was the atmosphere. The interior of the restaurant is dark, almost like a theater, and opens up to an amphitheatrical view north over the ship canal. Exposed beams, slanted floor-to-ceiling windows, slate floor, and Asian-influenced ceramics create a mid-century, Frank Lloyd Wright feeling, with a Northwest twist. No idea what the men's room is like, but I got three great house design ideas from their women's room. To our delight, there was live piano music on a Tuesday night. Many of the diners seemed to be regulars, and everyone looked as though they were having a fine time. Expensive? Yes. Worth it. Absolutely. Go there with people you really care about so you can relax and enjoy it all.
  18. Chris, I very much appreciate your detailed instructions. My mandoline did, indeed, come with a guard. Last night I joined www.cuisine-french.com and watched their mandoline video, which demo-ed mandoline use with the guard and without. (It's a lovely site, BTW.) Today I tried the mandoline with its various blades, and I think I'm getting the idea. This mandoline has different of blades to be shifted in and out of position, so there were many decisions to make and lots of wondering what interacts with what. I learned how to clean and dry the mandoline. Do the blades ever need to be sharpened? Replaced? Karen
  19. There is a hole in the wall Szechuan restaurant, Szechuan Bistro, half a block west of Greenwood at 122 N 85th. Highly recommended. Hot and spicy, east coast style. Also, two blocks north of 85th on Greenwood, a seriously authentic Chicago-style barbecue joint, the OK Corral. <br><br>Wow! Take me to dinner, and I'll come help with the tear-down! ;->
  20. EEEEK! This discussion convinced me that I really <b>did</b> need to see someone else use one of these before I tried it. Has anyone joined this french cooking site? I noticed they have a video on using a mandoline. http://www.cuisine-french.com/cgi/mdc/l/en...urs/200501.html
  21. I just purchased a Bron mandoline at a yard sale. I've googled, downloaded, and read the instructions and decided that this is not a device to be trifled with. I'm a visual learner, and would like to get a demo of the Bron from someone experience in using it (it's considered to be quite a bit more challenging that other mandolines). Please get in touch with me at mysterioustraveler at gmail.com if you are in the Seattle area and could provide a short lesson at a reasonable price -- your kitchen or mine (I'm in Ballard).
  22. Where is Elemental@Gasworks, and where did you read the great review? Is this just dinner, or do they do lunch as well? Was your bad experience a weeknight or a Saturday? Karen
  23. There used to be a New Orleans creole-style restaurant in the international district (it later moved to First Avenue, just north of the stadiums area). The folks who ran it cared about food and regular customers, not about decor or attracting new diners. The food was delicious, and cooked in small amounts so if you arrived late you were told what was left and you made your choice from that. No problem...everything was so tasty you couldn't go wrong. There's a good bit of Cajun/Creole/New Orleans food around--my current favorite is up in Everett--but it's either mediocre or pricey. This was cheap and delicious. Can't remember the name, but I'm hoping someone else can. Sure miss it.
  24. Last Friday was my first time at Ovio. It's definitely a food experience because the rest of the experience is LOUD. LOUD. LOUD. Made me want to go hide out at Ruth's Chris steakhouse or somewhere similarly muted. Once I gave up on hearing what anyone said (one of the other folks at the table was my mother-in-law, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining!) the food was quite enjoyable. My scallops were downright delicious (high quality of the scallops as much as the cooking) and the fish dishes two other folks let me sample (seared tuna was one) were distinctive and delightful. The Caesar salad was...well, a creative take on Caesar, to be sure. I'd go back for the food, but only with someone I knew well enough that I didn't have to talk much.
  25. That would be Cafe Besalu. Seattle Magazine just named their baker the top baker in town. I remember calling about getting some croissants for a weekend brunch--you can call in your order so he'll make extra for your party! The pain au chocolat is to die for! Karen
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