Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shrimp Lasagna

This is a must try recipe! Super fantastic shrimp lasagna with spicy red sauce and creamy Bechamel!

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, then finish for 2 minutes under broil.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Italian Chop Salad, Vino at the Landing

This is my favorite salad ever, so far... I could eat this everyday and be very happy. My boss says it's a man's salad, because it is hearty and filling, but I think it's good for all genders :) There's a lot going on texturally, from the crunch of croutons and crisp bite of brined baby carrots, to the soft chewiness of salami, and the bright juiciness of Roma tomato, it all blends together in a delicious unified whole with the introduction of my creamy Italian dressing.

The secret to a great salad is dressing it properly, adding just enough dressing so you taste it over the greens but doesn't overwhelm the salad and become too rich or heavy. If the greens are wet enough but I want more flavor I add salt, a little salt goes a long way towards boosting flavor, adding a little more acid; a fresh squeeze of lemon juice, never hurts either.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Caprese Salad

For my Caprese salad, or Insalata Caprese, I wanted to stick with traditional flavors but enhance them and tweek the presentation to match my more modern, but still rustic, approach.

I pulled inspiration from my days as a sushi chef and line the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella in a diagonal line across the plate, I then add a pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and top with a thick chiffonade of basil, you can just tear your basil by hand if you like. In addition to olive oil I like a nice drizzle of balsamic reduction. Balsamic vinegar alone is too watery and acidic, unless you buy the expensive stuff, but you can enhance the flavor of the cheap stuff by very slowly reducing on a low flame (this will stink up the kitchen) and then whisk in a bit of sugar off the heat to finish.

This is a great dish to start an Italian meal with, or to have as a main course with a bit of crusty bread. Quality of ingredients is key; make sure to have perfectly ripe tomatoes and flavorful mozzarella, some brands are definitely superior to others...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

Since putting Tomato Basil Soup on the menu for Vino at the Landing it has very likely become my most requested recipe! It's so simple but delicious, no cream, just pure tomato basil flavor. I won't give out the exact recipe but I will tell you it's loaded with roasted garlic, a touch of sugar to balance the acidity, and finished with shaved Parmesan on top of a little island of house made croutons. You can't beat this for heartwarming, stomach pleasing goodness on a rainy day, of which there are many here in Seattle.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flounder with edamame in Thai chili broth

I'm all about being resourceful in the kitchen and this dish is a great example. My new apartment isn't yet well stocked but I did buy some frozen wild caught flounder and edamame just to have in a pinch. Inside my fridge I have mostly condiments, but also have butter, eggs, tortilla shells, and beer; y'know, the essentials. What I did here was make a sauce using some chili garlic paste (which is always a kitchen essential in my world), butter, half and half, and some juice from a jar of peperoncini as well as juice from a can of whole tomatoes. I used fresh ground sea salt and cracked pepper to finish. The edamame took awhile to soften in the sauce with a lid on, then when they were close to tender I slid the fish in to gently cook with the sauce. I'm still waiting on plates to arrive in the post,so I simply ate it from the pan and couldn't resist licking it clean, it was that good! Necessity is the mother of my kitchen!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Taste of India

Everything I had was good here and I plan to go again. Samosas are my favoite thing to order, perhaps my favorite food ever, and these did not disappoint. Crispy, flaky shells with tender potato insides and the twin sauces accompanying were good if somewhat standard. Even better though, at this particular restaurant, is the naan. I ordered garlic naan and was very pleased to chew on the hunks of garlicky goodness, not burnt or tough or limp like other Indian establishments but fresh, hot and flavorful. The only dish that I could have lived without was the Palak Masala Paneer, frankly I've had better. The paneer, a mild cheese, was not as fantastic as I've had before, and the creamed spinach that is palak was a bit too creamed and one dimensional in flavor for me. Not bad, just not great. The service and atmosphere were both pleasant and unassuming, I am eager to go again and delve deeper into their extensive menu and see what tastes of India wait to be discovered.

Baguette Box in Freemont

Not a bad sandwich (I had the pork with cilantro and red onions) but a bit over priced and lacking in wow. I felt as if it was missing something, some tang or heat, pickled peppers perhaps? Nothing really wrong with the food or place, just that it could be so much more for the money, with Paseos just up the hill with better food and more generous portions for the buck, I can't imagine bothering with this place, too bad to, it's conveniently located and I imagine they are getting by on that.

Etta's Seafood

Well, I've only had the soup and bread but it was very good. The clam chowder had a subtle white wine and brine flavor to it and was good till nearly the end when the heaviness of the cream started taking its toll. I just stopped in for a very early dinner and filled up on the chowder and very decent bread. The room itself is relaxed and the large windows afford good views of tourists strolling by. The entrees seemed a bit expensive but looked beautiful, not a place I'd go often on my own but would be great to take visiting relatives to after a day at Pike's Place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Il Terrazzo Carmine

I've been missing the cutting edge cuisine of Chicago but not missing the prices. Here in Seattle most of the food is more directly rooted in the traditions of the countries the cuisine originates from, which can be fantastic when done well. Il Terrazzo Carmine is an example, probably the best example, of this traditional approach done extremely well, at least for Italian dining.

The room is formal but not overly stuffy, they managed to not sneer at my bohemian attire and were politely welcoming, though certainly not effusive. My server, Brian, was a friendly young man (the servers were all male on this night) from Jersey, he was capable and attentive to everyone equally. Over all the service is just as polished as the attractive silverware but had a relaxed feel, I felt comfortable despite being so obviously out of place in my Sketchers and T-shirt.

Il Terrazzo Carmine has exceptional food. The soup I ordered, the Zuppa di Pesce, was a revelation of properly cooked seafood. Tender calamari rings, moist salmon, and fresh mussels swim in the light tomato, garlic, and basil infused broth, powerful but balanced, a difficult dish to follow. Indeed the Ravioli Di Capriolo, a very good pasta stuffed with veal, spinach, and mushrooms with a heady veal based sauce, was a very good dish, it simply didn't seem as spectacular in light of the amazing soup that it followed. I was also pleased with the bread and butter served, I finished off my little basket worth happily, eagerly tearing away at the bread and dipping it into my soup to sop up the goodness.

Sticking to a small serving of pasta and devouring all my bread, I was able to have one of the more satisfying meals of my life without breaking the bank and left happy and full into the night to walk along nearby Puget Sound, a romantic evening sadly for one, though not so sad as I was able to fully concentrate on the transcendent Italian cuisine.