August 9, 2009

a meal for some hard working folks

We had an opportunity last weekend to host a dinner for a group of hard-working pastors and their families at our home. With lots of folks pitching in to help with set up, plating, serving and child care, we were able to throw a bunch of different flavors/tastes at our guests. It was exciting to use some of the produce from our own gardens in the meal, like our fava beans (really happy with how those turned out), squash blossoms, Japanese cucumber… and of course, our Sun Gold tomatoes—the first variety to ripen.

the menu

garden fava beans, chevre, pineapple mint

fried squash blossoms
chevre, sauteed summer squash, pine nuts

freezer-set quail egg yolk
balsamic syrup, pecorino, parsley

kumomoto oyster
japanese cucumber, shallot, lime, olive oil

hamachi crudo
japanese cucumber, shiso + white balsamic vinaigrette

farmers' market beefsteak, garden sun golds, mozzarella, basil

field greens
chicken, gooseberry, balsamic syrup, parmiggiano, cracked almonds

seared scallop
bacon, wakame, favas

spaghetti e vongole
taylor’s manila clams, fish stock reduction

roasted bone-in ribeye
balsamic reduction, thyme

tonnemaker hill market cherries

and just a few of the pictures...

With the beautiful weather of a perfect summer evening, I was reminded of the bounty of summer produce, the joy of al fresco dining, and the perfection of sharing a meal with great company.

August 5, 2009

gnocchi di ricotta

Checking out one of my all-time favorite food blogs, I spotted an easy recipe for a ricotta-based gnocchi. Ever since tasting the bone marrow gnocchi at Le Pigeon in Portland, I've loved trying different variations on gnocchi that contain no potato (the gnocchi alla romana at Sitka and Spruce is another favorite).

In this recipe, the ricotta gives the gnocchi a fantastic light, pillowy texture---similar to the way it can lighten the texture of pancakes---making gnocchi that are a great base for simple summer flavors. The only adaptation I made to the recipe was the addition of some fresh thyme leaves from our garden.

Depending on the ricotta you use, the dough can be quite moist. The trick here is to use as little flour as possible... just enough to hold the dough together so it can be rolled, cut, and immediately dropped into a pot of boiling water. The less flour there is in the dough, the more etherially cloud-like the gnocchi will be.

We dressed the gnocchi with fresh corn sauteed in browned butter, sage, clove and oregano blossoms, and added just a few vibrantly flavorful cherry tomatoes from the garden. A quick, easy dish for a Wednesday summer supper.

August 3, 2009

tribute to kogi and marination mobile

Now that L's brother and sister are both in Los Angeles, I occasionally check out the Los Angeles Times food blog. Back in February, I first read about a phenomenon that had previously only been known to foodists in Southern California: Kogi. Shortly thereafter, the New York Times did a piece on Kogi as well, helping their fame--and their use of Twitter--go national. A Korean taco truck? What's not to like? Now, we've even got Marination Mobile, our very own Twitter-powered Korean/Hawaiian taco truck up here in Seattle.

I live too far away to try Kogi, and I haven't had a chance to check out Marination Mobile yet, but we had some leftovers from a dinner we hosted this weekend, so I thought we'd make a little Asian-inspired taco of our own.

Kogi and Marination Mobile, here is my tribute to you. I'm going to call it teriyaki-glazed chicken taco with sesame wakame salad, crispy fried chicken skin and Sriracha.

Keep up the good work...