Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maximilien Happy Hour

I have been going out a lot lately, trying to enjoy the summer while I can.

I am a sucker for happy hour food. There is one place I just have to tell you about.
The happy hour at Maximilien is just wonderful. Maximilien is the French restaurant located in the Pike Place Market behind those guys who throw the fish. Let me translate this. They have a patio that overlooks the water!

The happy hour is Monday- Friday from 5 to 7pm and Saturday from 8pm to 10pm.
For 2.95, you can choose from a whole bunch of items like Mussels, Belgium Fries,
Tarte Flambé with Brie, Tomatoes and Herb and others. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is " tres Francais". J'adore!

My only regret is not trying the happy hour earlier in the summer. All those beautiful warm days have slipped away. Oh well, the view is just as gorgeous in the fall.

For the happy hour menu, Click here

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tomato Fare this Weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend?
How about the Tomato Fare?

Go for a drive to Quincy, Washington and taste over 100 different kinds of organic, locally grown, Heirloom tomatoes. There is live music, wine tasting and a lot more.

For more info, click here

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wonderful Salad with Feta, Pears and Walnuts in Baguette Cups

I feel very lucky to know a few languages. I speak English, French and Hebrew. I know a lot of phrases in other languages but I would not say I come close to knowing them.
Knowing how to count up to 50 in Vietnamese just gets the Vietnamese ladies to crack up.
Reading cookbooks in other languages is a lot of fun. I always get introduced to new ingredients and unique food combinations. There is also a downside to using a foreign recipe; many times the temperatures are different and sometimes the ingredients vary widely in taste, especially milk products.
I got this recipe from a Hebrew Cookbook Called "The Treasure of Al Ha Shulchan" which means "The Treasure of On the Table". "On the Table" is a Hebrew food Magazine filled with recipes and ideas. The treasure is a book with all the most popular recipes from
the series.

Wonderful Sweet Salad with Feta, Pears and Walnuts in Baguette Cups

I adjusted the recipe quite a bit. Here is my version.

6 pears (peeled)
1/2 a cup of vinegar
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 a cup of water
1 stick of cinnamon
A pinch of cardamom
6 slices of baguette.
1 endive (broken into pieces)
A few handfuls of lettuce (I used a regular mixed greens)
1 carrot (cut into strips)
120 grams of feta cheese
1/2 a cup of walnuts

1. Bring pears with vinegar, sugar, salt, water, cardamom and cinnamon to a boil.
Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Cut pears into sticks.
Keep sweet dressing for later.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Pull out the insides of baguette slices (the soft part) Toast in oven for 5 minutes.

4. Mix all the rest of the ingredients (including pears) except for the nuts and cheese. Pour 1/4 of a cup of dressing on top and mix.
5. Fill baguette cups with salad and top with feta and walnuts.

The recipe calls for pomegranate seeds as well. You can use some if you find them.
I didn't use them.

Note: I usually have extra salad left over and I just eat it with the leftover dressing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

If You Live In Seattle, You better Love Chocolate!

Lately it seems like chocolate is becoming the new Seattle choice for foodies.
New chocolatiers are everywhere and the selection is getting a little overwhelming!

Some new chocolate venues......
You can try Chocolopolis in Queen Anne or Claudio Corallo
in Ballard.

The other day I was strolling through The Chocolate Box when I noticed that they had some beautiful, yet familiar chocolates. They looked like Cosmic chocolates to me but
I wasn't sure. Could it be? Cosmic chocolates in Seattle? Oh and yes, they are here.......
Read more about Cosmic here.

Now my last tidbit of chocoinfo is that I got a little sneak peak at what Theo is offering for the holidays. Yes, I know it is early but winter is on the way in.
Flavor combinations like milk chocolate covered peanut butter and vanilla caramel graham, dark chocolate covered peanut butter with vanilla caramel graham, milk chocolate covered marshmallow with vanilla caramel graham, and dark chocolate covered marshmallow vanilla caramel graham.... I love the milk chocolate peanut butter one....

Theo will be selling S'mores from August 21-August 23. For 3 dollars a hit you can choose your own chocolate combination. The hours are from 3:00- 6:00 PM.

What is your favorite chocolate flavor? Where do you buy your chocolate?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pappa Al Pomodoro

My version of Holly Smith's recipe

Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita is an inspiration for so many chefs.
She has her own highly successful restaurant, her own James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northwest 2008 and even has a son.
For those of you who don't know what the restaurant world is like; many long hours, hardly any free time on the weekends, strenuous physical labor in hot kitchens.
A women that can mother a child while doing all this must be some kind of super hero.

Last week Chef Holly Smith did a cooking demonstration at Whole Foods. She showed some foodies how to make Pappa Al Pomodoro. It was one of those times when a recipe isn't necessary because you actually remember all the ingredients just from watching. Not complicated just mouthwatering.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I lay in bed the next day and thought about how I was going to make this soup. Plotting how I would choose the juiciest tomatoes and squeeze them liberally while waving olive oil into the bowl like a genie with a magic wand and dabbling basil into the bowl like a fairy does with her fairy dust.
I made a lot of soup the next day and fought with my hubby over the last drop.

I will link to Rebekah Denn's PI Blog where she posted the recipe. Do not hesitate.
Holly Smith made it with heirloom tomatoes and she didn't use any canned tomatoes in her demo. In the recipe, she adds a can of San Marzano tomatoes. I am sure this has to do with the high cost of heirloom tomatoes.

Oh and as if Holly doesn't do enough already, you can find her Pocco Caretto Gelato at the neighborhood farmers markets.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Judging Ekal Vidyalaya Contest

I have been running late on my posts with so much to tell my readers and so little time.
I told you a few weeks ago that I would be judging a unique contest for the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.

Ekal Vidyalaya is a charitable trust that initiates, supports, and runs non-formal one-teacher schools (popularly known as Ekal Vidyalayas) in remote tribal areas all over India. It promotes literacy and education to those who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

Almost all the food was Indian food and since we had to judge on creativity, I had the assistance of Ava, the lady who put together this whole event. She explained what the dishes were supposed to taste like (since I wasn't familiar with every single Indian food) and then I had to give it a mark on creativity, taste, health factors,
and appearance. It was such a fun thing to do.
The other judges were Jay from Gastrolust and Sunita Shastri, creator and distributor of Meghana foods.

Dessert was my favorite choice, the winner was Vijayalakshmi Ramaswami, with Tomato Coconut Halwa. In the appetizer category, the first prize winner was Vaishali Jadal with Watermelon Soup.

Later they had an auction and the prize that I contributed was a foodie tour in and around the Pike Place Market with me. Last Saturday I met up with the winners (my new friends) and we trekked around the market to all the specialty stores, discussing our favorite foods and spices.

For a peak at my favorite places in the market, click here for part 1
Click here for part 2
Click here for part 3

Thanks Ava for putting together this event. Does anyone have any Indian recipes that I should try. Please send to

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August Foodie Events in Seattle

Hi Everyone,
Just a few things that you might want to check out this month!

Washington's largest outdoor wine event, the Prosser Wine & Food Fair, takes place at Art Fiker Stadium from 3 to 9 p.m. Over 30 wineries and 20 food vendors will provide guests with some of Washington's finest food and wine. Wine: Olsen Estates, Vin du Lac Winery, Snoqualmie Vineyards and many more. For the list of food and wine, click here.
Tickets : $ 20
For Tickets: (509) 786-4545 or 1-800-405-1517.

Sunday, August 10th Purple Cafe Garage Sale
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, 14459 Woodinville-Redmond Rd., Woodinville(425) 483-7129
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., wines from Purple's shelves will be sold at garage sale prices. Great bargains on the same fine stemware used in the restaurants and Purple Cafe's signature wrought iron furnishings will also be available for purchase.

Thursday August 14th, Meet Jason Mesnick of The Bachelorettette at Waterfront Seafood Grill
Waterfront Seafood Grill, 2801 Alaskan Way, Pier 70, Seattle.
Chat with Women hosts a cocktail party with Jason Mesnick, finalist from the latest season of The Bachelorette.The event begins at 5:30 p.m. on Waterfront Seafood Grill's beautiful outdoor deck.
Tickets are $125 and include three drink tickets, appetizers and a chance to win a private drink and dessert with Jason at the restaurant after the event. Additional chances to win will cost an extra $25. A portion of the evenings proceeds with benefit the Kirkland Boys and Girls Club. To reserve tickets to this event, contact Waterfront Seafood Grill at (206) 956-9171.

Friday, August 15th Celebrate Pike Place Market at the Annual Sunset Supper
More than 50 restaurants, breweries and wineries serve their dishes along with live music and a chance to win prizes.
Pike Place Market, 1501 Pike Place, Seattle (206) 682-7453
For admission price and details, click here

August 24th, The Incredible Feast, Where the Farmers are Stars!
Support the farmers and raise money for disaster relief for farmers in need.
Seattle's top chefs, lots of farm fresh food, music and a wine and beer garden.
Sunday, August 24, 4:30 - 7:30 pm, outdoors at the Phinney Farmers Market site (67th and Phinney Ave N). Tickets are available at ($65 adults, $10 kids), or at any market info tents.

Sunday, September 7th, Gig Harbor, Sacrificio
Sacrificio at Culinary Communion, a day for families to come together to slaughter a pig. Learn about charcuterie or just be more in tune with what you eat.

Chef demos at Metropolitan Market

Chef Gabriel of Culinary Communion will be demonstrating Peach & Black Truffle Jam with Seared Foie Gras on Thursday, August 7, from 4-6pm at the Admiral store; Chef Katie of Culinary Communion will be demonstrating a Peach & Duck Fritters recipe on Thursday, August 14, from 4-6pm at the Queen Anne Store.

Many of you have been writing me asking about cooking classes......
Here are two places, you can get your cooking fix.

Culinary Communion

Sizzleworks (formerly Rain City Cooking School)

Here is a post I wrote a really long time ago about where to cook in Seattle

I love getting emails so keep them coming!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

NY Times Chocolate Chip Recipe

Have you heard of the New York Times best chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Last night I was talking to a friend who said she hadn't heard of it. I wasn't going to share this experience until I realized that there were still some people missing out on the big secret.
Have they found the secret to a perfect cookie? Last Friday I made the dough. I baked some on Saturday, I baked some on Sunday and the bittersweet part is that they still taste amazing nearly a week later. Bittersweet because I can't stop breaking off little bites and I am not too sure my body needs it.

I had to make changes to the recipe, because of convenience. I notice that I am not the only one who is using chocolate chips and not chocolate discs, Orangette blogged about her experience.
I also used regular flour in recipe and not bread flour with cake flour.

So the thing about these cookies that was interesting to me............

1) Sea salt is added on top. This brings out the sweetness in the cookie.
2) The fact that the batter has to sit in fridge for a very long time. This really develops the flavor.

I always read recipes until the end but this time I missed something and baked them 12 hours later instead of 24 hours later. Then I made a dozen the next day and a dozen two days later.

Batch number 1 (12 hours later)
The first batch I sprinkled with sea salt and brought some cookies to a chef friend to try.
They're good, they're brown, they're moist but I think you should add coarse sea salt.
Batch number 2 ( 24 hours later)
I added the coarse sea salt on top and brought them to a few of my friends. They loved them.
The cookies really tasted better after 24 hours of mingling in the fridge. I could imagine how the chocolate chips felt. They were squished between the thighs of the heaps of dough. The chocolate chips needed to be hugged in this chilly weather.

Another thing I have to add is the baking time, 18- 20 minutes is a long time. Next time I will try to bake them a little less. I was doing a million things at the same time so my timer was the indication that the cookies wanted out. Everyone loved them but I would have wanted a softer cookie.

Try them and you will be hooked. Please let me know what you think.

Note: I have a little thing I do when I make cookies. I save some of the chocolate chips on the side. This way I put some chocolate chips on top, right before they go into the oven. This makes sure that the chocolate chips are on the top of the cookie.

The recipe