Whether they are topped with strawberry cream cheese, butter, or just plain...I adore bagels. I've talked up bagels before, but I recently discovered nearby Eltana's Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe who have changed things up! They have a unique process to their bagel making: first they boil, then (as their name would imply) they bake them in a wood-fired oven. The result is a mild smokey and crusty bagel on the outside, while the inside maintains a delicious chewy, soft core. They keep it simple with only 7 flavors, unfortunately excluding my favorite cinnamon raisin bagel, but my plain bagel with cream cheese left me feeling comforted and satisfied and most importantly still in love with bagels!
A few nights ago, we ventured out to the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle to enjoy pizza at Delancey. As you can probably tell by now, Diane and I are obsessed with pizza and Delancey has officially multiplied that obsession!
When testing out a new pizza place, Diane and I always order a simple pie, plain or Margherita and a second pie that uses some of our favorite toppings or whatever the pizzeria deems their specialty. At Delancey we ordered a Margherita as our first pie and their Bacon and Onion for the second. We love this ordering technique because you get to test the basic ingredients with the simple pizza, and really enjoy something special with favorites! Bubbling, cheesy, wood-fired pizza was headed our way... Love!
The bacon was salty and perfectly cooked, the sauce was rich and flavorful, onions were sweet and subtle, crust was chewy and crunchy...Love!
The Margherita pizza's simple flavors were delightful, the crushed tomatoes were bright and fresh, the basil was perfectly placed...Love!
And the love continued...the service was sincere...Love...the chocolate chip cookie with grey sea salt brought us back fondly to childhood memories and elevated them in a surprising way...Love...
...your food! This month Diane and I want to blog about all the foods we love. Of course there will be a few of our obvious favorites: pizza, pancakes and ice cream, but I am hoping to share a few culinary surprises!
What's a party without dip?! Lucky for you, I've provided two recipes that are sure to please.
First up, a classic: onion dip. This isn't your Lipton's onion dip, although I have to admit I like that too this one has adepth of flavor and a bit of kick from Ina Garten. If the Barefoot Contessa is making it, I'm eating it.
Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.)
Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.
I love Nordstrom, but what does this wonderful store have to do with food? Beyond their fantastic offerings of clothes, accessories, beauty, Nordstrom serves stellar food at their various restaurants and bistros inside their department stores. The standout dish for me is the Herb Fries with Kalamata Aioli, if your mouth isn't watering now, it will be once you read the recipe! I could not be more excited to find this recipe and your guests will thank me!
Tomorrow is the Big Game and it's not too late to throw a party or at the very least stuff yourself with every fatty, salty, sugary foods you can handle! My favorite way to indulge as if you didn't know by now are WINGS!
Place a 6-quart saucepan, with a steamer basket and 1 inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock. Use kitchen shears or a knife to separate the wings at the joint. Place the wings in the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay out the wings on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator to dry, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the paper towels on the pan and replace with parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven, about 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook 20 to 30 more minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.
While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl with the garlic. Pour this along with the hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine. Remove the wings from the oven, transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.
I found this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Andrew Knowlton's The BA Foodist. He stumbled upon these wings back in 2006 at the Brooklyn spot, The Good Fork. When describing these tasty little wings, he said: "these plump wings were perfect--crispy skin, juicy meat, and bathed in just the right amount of fiery sriracha and sambal oelek sauce. They were nothing like the scrawny, over-cooked, over-buttery specimens I ate growing up." I don't know about you, but I'm sold!
When I first heard of the concept of a potato bar, I really thought it sounded kind of low brow. I know, what a snob. I realize now, that a potato bar is actually ingenious! Everyone can choose what they want and everyone can get as full as they want, without breaking the bank! Potato bars are an easy way to entertain and can please even the most picky, hungry, or health-conscious guest; even better, it's an easy way to be creative.
The best part about this buffet/bar is that it's really easy to set up and you and your friends can graze and create whatever flavor profiles you choose!
Here's what you need:
Baking potatoes like russet potatoes, I say one and half per person will do it. (You can always use the leftover baked potatoes later in the week.)
These are my key toppings:
smoked salmon (torn into small pieces)
cheddar cheese (grated)
goat cheese (crumbled)
blue cheese (crumbled)
Veggies and Herbs
chives (chopped fine)
scallions (thinly sliced)
Preheat oven. Prick potatoes all over with a fork, and rub them with olive oil. two methods: 1) Wrap the potatoes in tin foil and sit them on the oven rack at 350 degrees for an hour and a half. 2) Place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet; bake at 400 degrees until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.
If serving right away, cut a deep cross in each potato; push ends together to open. Season with salt and pepper; add desired toppings. If not, wrap each potato in foil to preserve the warmth. You can leave them in the oven at a low heat to keep them warm or set them out in the foil as you wait for guests to arrive.
These are my humble suggestions, because be creative and make this your own!
Happy Chinese New Year! Today begins the year of the rabbit, marked by tranquility and a time for diplomacy. I hope these blessings of the year come soon! On New Year's Day, Chinese tradition requires that you not use knives or scissors, so you do not cut your good fortune short. So, it's suggested that you either do all your prep for your food the day before or better yet, eat out! If you want to eat at home, but keep tradition, try stopping by your local grocer for pre-cut veggies and meats.
photo source: iStock
So you might wonder, does the food you eat have any symbolism? YES! Eat long noodles for a long life. Share a whole fish with your family and friends for abundance and grab some egg rolls (my favorite) for wealth. In Catonese, the word for shrimp sounds like the laughter, so it is said to symbolize happiness. Here is a great recipe for Longevity Chicken Lo-Mein from Grace Young combining a lot of these ingredients. Based on this information, I'm planning a dinner of shrimp fried rice or noodles with egg rolls over here! What about you?
Here are some recommendations to dine out tonight:
Today is Groundhog Day, the day we look to Punxsutawney Phil to tell us how long winter will be, at least I do! If you haven't heard, this year Phil didn't see his shadow which means and early spring! For most of you across the U.S. having an crazy snow day, this news is great! So, inspired by the movie Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray as Phil, I will celebrate by eating and talking about coffee shop fares. At one point, in Groundhog Day, Phil realizes there are no consequences to eating whatever he wants, so naturally he gorges on pancakes, pastries, and downs coffee by the carafe. Although I would never want to be stuck living the same scenario day after day, I do think eating my favorite foods in excess would not be a bad way to endure.
So today, join me in cooking up some pancakes and pastries or heading to your local coffeehouse and celebrate an early spring!