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Category: Holidays
October 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Halloween onigiri: the Great Pumpkin says “Hai!”

I’m not big on “cute” in the kitchen. Unless you count the adorable little lady apples I like to dunk in caramel to give to the neighbor kids on Halloween. But last week while we were out and about, Nate and I couldn’t help but admire these mini-pumpkin onigiri. We were so impressed by these holiday treats I begged the Japanese language teachers who’d made them for their recipe.

Japanese rice balls get the Halloween treatment. Love those snap-pea stems! [photo: Nancy Leson]

If you’re not familiar with onigiri, you haven’t spent enough time in our local Japanese restaurants (and if so, may I suggest you head over to Maneki?). While there are many ways to prepare and enjoy onigiri (check out this Q&A on the subject), I figured I’d get in the spirit of the day and — just for grins — share their recipe:

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April 22, 2011 at 8:55 AM

It’s a good Friday — for restaurants, and recipes

Good Friday to you. It’s been some week of eating, both for me and for my Seattle Times colleagues. Need proof? See Providence Cicero’s review of Munchbar, dubbed the “new Bellevue-by-way-of-Vegas restaurant and night spot” in Bellevue Square. And check out Lynn Jacobson’s take on The Spice Room — a date-night-worthy Thai place in Columbia City. Need a drink and a nosh? Tan Vinh got happy at Mulleady’s Irish Pub in Magnolia (barrel-aged Negronis? the pipes, the pipes are ca-awl-ing!).

As for me? I got that old-time religion again this year with the Monday night reading of a newfangled haggadah and plenty of fabulous foods at a Passover seder. There was chicken soup with matzo balls, roasted chicken, matzo roca and yes, controversy aside, we ate quinoa, a tweaked version of the nutted rice recipe from the original Silver Palate Cookbook — with the grain taking the place of the rice and the addition of dried cherries along with the raisins. There was also some fine wine, as well as the less sophisticated and cloyingly sweet ceremonial grape-juice of my childhood (talk about plagues).

We laughed (oh, how we laughed!), we sang, we ate, we recounted the story of the Exodus. Dayenu.

Though I won’t be joining the masses at Qwest Field on Easter Sunday, I will be joining friends for leg of lamb at our annual Easter dinner since, as you likely know by now, I’m an equal opportunity enjoyer. Need a lamb recipe, a ham recipe, or an idea for a not-so-traditional but most delightful Easter cake? We’ve got you covered there. And if you’re wondering whether — and for how long — your hard-boiled Easter eggs are edible, you’ll find that answer right here.

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December 24, 2010 at 9:43 AM

These are a few of my favorite . . . Christmas ornaments

Sorry to see it’s not snowing in and around Seattle today? I’m not. Pretty though that my be, I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with family and friends, and celebrating a couple of birthdays, including but not limited to my husband Mac’s and my brother-in-law Steve’s (we’ll be there in spirit, Uncle Cheese!), who…

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December 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

Dotty DeCoster is perplexed.

“We are quite surprised to find that roasted chestnuts are not appearing this season,” she wrote this week. “We checked with the Sorrento Hotel, for instance, and their chef has chosen not to include them in holiday menus. We used to find them in front of the Olympic Hotel (oh, yummy) for charity; but no sign this year. The Public Market doesn’t show them in a search — or anywhere you’d expect them. And the guy who sold them at Westlake isn’t there this year. Any idea why?”

Hmmm. Let me venture a guess. Perhaps because those marron-loving French people have eaten them all? Despite the famous Christmas song we know and love so well, we, here in the Northwest, don’t have the kind of chestnut-eating culture as the Europeans, or even the New Yorkers (I’ll take roasted chestnuts there over a boiled Sabrett any day). But thankfully, there’s still hope for us yet!

I found these roasted chestnuts (left) at an open-air Christmas market in Chartres less than two weeks ago. And every where I looked in Paris — including the snow-covered streets of the Monmartre — I found them for sale by the pound.

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November 24, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Keep warm, be well, see you next week!

Thankful? Yes, I am. That unlike less fortunate folks, my family’s home with me, warm and safe, the turkey’s in the fridge (which is running — for now!), and the cranberry sauce is already made. Given the state of things around the Sound, I refuse to complain that my “fabulous” year-old dishwasher is on the fritz and the repairman canceled our rendezvous this week: twice. I’m still planning on feeding a houseful on Thanksgiving, and that fritzy-dishwasher is small potatoes, indeed.

Cranberry sauce: exhibit A.

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November 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Thanksgiving recipes? Betty Crocker, on the line!

This is the time of year when I start feeling like the one-woman version of the Betty Crocker Hotline. My phone and e-mail inbox are already lighting up with queries like this one: “Hey, do you have any new riffs on our favorite stuffing?” writes my dear friend Kathy. “I want to change things up a bit. I saw a recipe that used olive rosemary bread and thought adding some of that with the cornbread would be good. Less apple, maybe? Some dried cranberries or apricots instead?”

Sorry, Kath: I don’t have any new riffs on our favorite Silver Palate stuffing recipe, having already tweaked it over the years by using cornbread stuffing-mix rather than fresh cornbread, and subbing rye bread for whole wheat. That said, I think you’re on the right track. And what about tossing some dried cherries in with the mix?

My go-to guide for stuffing (among other long-loved recipes) is the original Silver Palate Cookbook. That’s where you’ll find this, the original recipe for Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples. For my (slightly) tweaked version, looky here.

Next up, my pal Glenda gave a shout, asking for my no-knead bread recipe (she wants to take a loaf to a friend’s house for use with appetizers). She also pleaded for directions for making my “famous rolls” (as she calls them), having sampled those back when she came to my house for Thanksgiving. I forgave her for forgoing my Thanksgiving table again this year, and swiftly sent along this recipe for “Heavenly Flour-Bread Rolls,” my adaptation of a Southern biscuit recipe. And I also sent this blog-post, with links to my original post on no-knead bread (try it, it’s easy), and a brown-bread version that Mac thinks tastes even better!

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November 15, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Hell-O, Jell-O! — recipes from my house to yours

When Nate was eight, doctor’s orders called for him to go on a clear liquid diet for two days. In sympathy, Mac and I went on the diet with him. Among the too few things we were allowed to eat (if you can call it that), was Jell-O. By day two, as our son’s cries for “real food” got louder (as did the shouts and murmurs of our collective stomachs), I came to the conclusion that Hendrick’s gin was, in fact, a “clear liquid.” Mac agreed, and we raised a toast to our health while Nate hoisted 7-UP. I bring up this dramatic dietary episode because in its aftermath, my son refused to eat Jell-O “ever again.” And then, a couple months ago, he got the Jell-O jones. Which brings me to today’s post.

Jell-O salad for breakfast? I just ate this.

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November 10, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Carne adovada: make it at home for the holidays

Today in The Seattle Times, you’ll find our annual Holiday Cuisine section, offering turkey tips, wine ideas and a wide world of recipes, including some of my time-honored favorites (like the cranberry sauce with rum and sour cherries I make every Thanksgiving) as well as Savory Chicken and Bacon “Cupcakes” with Tabasco Cream Cheese Frosting (a Kathy Casey newbie I’m hoping to try this year).

You’ll also find a seafood gumbo recipe from that sassy New Orleanian Poppy Tooker, and my latest “favorite”: a recipe for carne adovada — the dried chiles-fueled pork stew I couldn’t get enough of when I visited New Mexico this summer. Like the gumbo we serve at home each Christmas Day, that adovado (full recipe here) is one of those great one-pot dishes perfect for holiday parties and potlucks. Never tried it? Why wait?

Ready to make carne adovada? How do you say “mise en place” in Spanish?

My adovada recipe comes courtesy of Rocky Durham, culinary director at The Santa Fe School of Cooking, who knows his way around chiles — fresh and dried. The first time I made it, I was so impressed with the results, I knew I had to share the love here on All You Can Eat.

The first time I prepared Rocky’s recipe, I sliced, trimmed and cubed a pork shoulder roast (which is a pain because you never know exactly how much meat-to-fat ratio you’ll end up with), so to save time and trouble, I’ve since talked my butcher into doing the slicing and dicing. Did you know you can do that? It’s a wonderful thing! Alternately, you might use country ribs rather than shoulder roast, or keep your eyes open for pork “stew meat.” Either/or, the end result is delicious. Here’s a look at the cooking process:

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