Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wann - Japanese Izakaya Restaurant

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Went to happy hour with the girls again from work, and this time we went to Wann Japanese Izakaya restaurant at 2020 2nd Avenue, in downtown Seattle. All the menu items we had were fresh, with clean flavors, and an array of tasteful combination's. Here is a mosaic of the pictures I took. You can click on it to link you to the photos on my Flickr page.

Wann - Japanese Izakaya Mosaic

We had:
Simply Soft Tofu (Vegetarian)
Chamame (Vegetarian)
Tako & Mozuku Sunomono
Potato Croquette
Brie Cheese Tempura
Fire Castle (Spicy)
Eel Roll
Avacado Roll
Shrimp Tempura Roll
Spicy Salmon Roll
Sashimi Appetizer
Kokutou CrèmeBrulee
Satsumaimo Clafoutis
Mango Mochi

Wow, that's a lot ay?! Haha! Well, they were all very shareable, and I didn't partake in a lot of the fried things this time, but by the end of it we spent about $27 each. We unfortunately didn't take advantage of the cheaper happy hour menu items, but what the heck! The dinner menu was just too tempting.

I highly recommend this place for anytime! Can you tell? They also have a stellar array of drinks, that we'll have to partake in next time when we're not driving home. ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Macrina Bakery for Lunch!

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I had the most delightful lunch today at Macrina Bakery on 1st Ave. in Belltown, Seattle. With an extended lunch menu, there's lots of variety to choose from, and if you save room some of the best pastries in town!

I had the Verdura Ciabatta Sandwich, which for $10.95, comes with choice of Soup du Jour, Organic Greens or Meze Salad. I had the soup, which was an outstanding beet and carrot soup. It was amazing, the color intensely vibrant, as you can see by the photo. I'd like to try and make it at home. The staff was friendly, and before our main meal, the server gave us some superb Macrina freshly baked bread along side a plate of olive oil infused with thyme, for dipping.

I highly recommend this place for all appetites and food enthusiasts!

Lunch at Macrina Bakery on 1st

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze!

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Another awesome recipe by Tyler Florence!

blueberry scones with lemon glazeblueberry scones with lemon glaze

Straight out of the oven, these really are dynamite. Crisp and flaky on the outside, with a softer and fluffy inside. I had 2 right away. Like, for dinner. SO GOOD. I also made them with 3/4 cup raisins instead of blueberries, and then adding to the dry mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg. It totally worked.

Ingredients

Blueberry Scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate (I usually fold it with a big spoon 6-8 times); do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.

Pour the crumbly mixture onto a lightly floured surface in a pile. It will look messy at this point. Do not fret! Now press the dough with 2 hands into a rectangle about 12" long, by 3" wide, by 1 1/4" inches high. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an UN-greased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool at least 20 minutes before you apply the glaze.
Technically you should make this simple lemon glaze in a double boiler (i.e. over a pot of simmering water with a heatproof bowl set on top) but it's even simpler to zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Nuke it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Ultimate Cheesecake

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Ultimate Cheesecake

This is the best cheesecake you'll ever have. No seriously. Okay, maybe you've had some pretty outstanding cheesecake, but this is TO DIE FOR and the best part is, you can make it yourself! Also it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. It comes from Tyler's Ultimate show, who's recipes by the way, seem to never disappoint.

I kept meaning to post a review for this cake, as I made it for a New Year's Eve party back in 2007. Better late than never right!

Smooth, and creamy, it melts in your mouth, not overly dense where you feel like you've had enough after the 2nd bite, but this sinful concoction makes you want the whole thing. I dare you to have just one slice...it's not possible.

You can find the recipe on Food Network's website, or view it in this post. Enjoy, and don't hold back the moans!

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

For the Filling:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula spread a layer of Warm Lemon Blueberry topping over the surface.

Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.

Warm Lemon Blueberries:

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

In a small saucepan add all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.

Yield: 6 servings

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

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From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.
These are so moist, chocolaty, with the bright zing of orange zest, I could have eaten 10 of them, and apparently so could my co-workers!


Chocolate Cupcake with Orange Creamcheese FrostingChocolate Cupcake with Orange Creamcheese Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).
  3. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:


¼ cup non hydrogenated margarine

¼ cup room temperature Tofutti

2 cups sifted icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Cream together margarine and Tofutti until blended with hand mixer.

Add the icing sugar ¼ cup at a time, while beating with a hand mixer.

After it’s all blended, add the vanilla and orange zest until incorporated.


Friday, March 13, 2009

The photo shoot at the Cherry Street Coffee House went really well. Wow, so much fun! I got 6 of my co-workers to come and help me eat all the food after it was shot. They were so thankful to have a complimentary lunch and taste all of the delicious food that was being presented. I'm excited for the future and to see what kind of connections I can make through the kind and generous owners, AJ and Ali, who seem to be a huge part of the Seattle arts and food community. AJ even suggested I might be able to arrange for a photography or art show at one of the Cherry Street cafe's at some point, or maybe even have a little party and DJ for an event sometime. How awesome would that be!

Here are some photos, but you can see them all here.


Chicken Salad Sandwich macro
Beef & Lamb Gyro and Feta
Best Homemade Veggie Burger
Lentil salad, olives, and Tabbouli / Tabouli / Tabbouleh Salad
Great news today! I'm going to the Cherry Street Coffee House on 1st and Clay today, to take photos of their delicious food! They got in touch with me because they really liked the photos I took there that I post on my Flickr account. It's really quite exciting!

best veggie burger 2, 2. my lunch today!, 3. Really good Falafel, 4. Best Veggie Burger in downtown Seattle!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes

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Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World - The moistest cupcakes ever!

Ingredients:
2/3 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


Directions
  1. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl; allow to sit for a few minutes to curdle. Beat in agave, oil, vanilla and almond extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until smooth. Fill liners two thirds full. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean; don't over bake or cupcakes will be dry.
  3. These cupcakes need to cool at least an hour before topping or filling, and also to develop the flavor and texture properly. Makes a dozen cupcakes.
Quick Melty Ganache:
This recipe will make enough to drizzle on a dozen cupcakes, or do what I did in the above photo.


Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons soy creamer or soy milk
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Heat soy creamer in a small saucepan over medium heat till just about to simmer. Remove from heat; add chocolate chips and stir till chocolate is completely melted and creamer is incorporated. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes. With a spatula scoop into a prepared pastry bag or plastic bag with the tip chopped off, or drizzle haphazardly with a fork. I put a small teaspoon full onto each cupcake and then with the bottom of the spoon, spread it slightly in a circular motion on top. Depending on how thickly you want it on top, don't spread it fully to the edges, or if you do, it will just be thinner.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Boat Street Kitchen getting slower...and slower.

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I love The Boat Street Kitchen. I love it so much, I go there every payday with my office mates for a little something special. I always expect their food to be delicious (and it was) and the service on the slow side, because they take their time to prepare it really well.

This time, however, was a bit much. We were a table of 4, arrived at 11:30am to an empty restaurant and thought, "Cool, we beat the rush!" But 45 minutes later, we were still staring at our water, and wondering if we should break open the artichoke that was our centerpiece. The food finally came, and we ate it in 8 minutes of course. I even tried to eat slowly, but it didn't happen. My grilled shrimp in saffron broth was divine, but 4 shrimp in some broth wasn't filling at all, and I had to ask for some extra bread.

We finished up, got the check, and hat's when I noticed they had charged me $1.00 for the bread. I couldn't believe it! After all the time we waited, and for as much as we were spending on our pricey lunches, I couldn't even get a complimentary piece of bread.

Maybe it was the new server, and maybe she was just doing things by the book. We usually get our favorite server, who spoils us with little extras like that, but he wasn't working today.

Oh Boat Street, how I lament your shortcomings.

All I am left with, is the sense that I can't go back there unless I have 2 hours to spare for lunch. I really hope they realize that a lunch clientele, cannot spare a couple of hours, and that their service improves.

Here is a photo of my lovely, albeit small, lunch.

Grilled Shrimp in a Saffron broth with fennel
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