Monday, December 22, 2008

Eating In: Moose Stew (yes, really), Potato Bread, etc

I haven't felt this relaxed in years.

The snow has forced me to stop all the running around, all the furious "I've gotta do this" and "I'd better do that" and just enjoy my house, my yard, my dog, my kid and my snowshoes. It feels like the life I've always imagined people in small towns live. It's just not my nature to sit still, but the snow if forcing it, and I'm completely digging it.

I'm also going nutso in the kitchen. Yesterday, after snow-shoeing over to my parents house with Ruby in the backpack, I cooked up a batch of those no-bake chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies I remembered my mom baking us when we were little. My sister's 4-year old son, Zach, helped out. It took all of 10 minutes to make enough for days!

But really, the most exciting part of the weekend, cooking-wise, was making the moose stew last night.

Yep--it's made with real moose meat from a moose my dad and uncle got this past October in New Hampshire. Since my uncle lives out there, he's doling out the meat in small batches (for shipping cost reasons, I guess), but since my dad knows Ed and I love wild game (and honestly, we're really the only ones who'd go to the trouble of making a braised shoulder, or slow-cooked stew), we were gifted some stew meat and some sirloin, which went into the stew last night.

I usually cook all my stews in two steps: First, you brown the meat, slow-cook it in some wine/water/broth/herbs/onion-carrot-celery/bay leaves for a couple of hours. Everything but the meat and broth will eventually get tossed out, since the veggies become mush. This step is all about making a really yummy broth and tender, yummy meat. What I do is strain the broth into a big bowl and pick the meat out of the colander, and then return the broth and meat back into the pot. You'll see that the veggies are worthless, but if you're hungry you can salt the veggies left in the colander and snack on 'em, or make baby food with 'em.

Second, you prepare the veggies you'll actually eat in the stew, and I usually do these in steps in a separate pan, coq au vin-style. So last night I cut up a couple of russet potatoes, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and fried them up in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil until still al dente but nice and golden brown, then I put them in a bowl on the side. Next I seared my mushroom quarters in butter with fresh thyme and rosemary, then added them to the potatoes. Then the same with some hunked carrots and large-chopped onions. Cooking on med-high heat the whole time, you're really just getting some color on the veggies. Finally, you put all the veg in with the meat/broth and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

I finished my stew with fresh cream and lots of black pepper and some chopped Italian parsley. It was divine.

We ate it with buttered potato bread, which Ed had made the day before. Head over here for the recipe for that easy, incredibly good bread. Unlike the moose stew, you probably have all the ingredients for the bread in the house already.

What are you cooking in this incredibly snowy weather?

[where: 98118]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eating Seattle: Farmers Markets, Open vs Shut

I can't believe it, but the University Farmers market is going to be up and running tomorrow at the crack of 9am! I knew farming was a game for the hard-nosed, hardy type, but holy cannoli people! Driving from Carnation to Seattle to sell us snow wussies a pot or two of jam? I'm impressed.

UPDATE: Chris Curtis emailed and gave me some specifics. Get all the info over here.

[where: 981o1]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eating NYC: Reports from Momofuku Ssam, Tailor, more

I'm plain tired of traveling. I know, I should just zip it. After all, it's pretty gloomy outside right now, and NYC was gloriously sunny and chilly. I don't want to make you cry, but we even got SNOW during our 3-night trip. The Gods were smiling on us.

But now I'm just full. And tired. So please, do me a favor and head over to read a little about my trip (and what I ate) at the Seattle Mag blog. I'll be back. After a nap.

[where: 98101]

Monday, December 1, 2008

Eating Detroit: A report from Rock City

We're back in town for a few days before making another trip: This time, we're heading back to NYC for the first time in two years! Got recommendations for me? Send 'em. We've only got one night undecided at this point--figuring a walk-in at Gramercy Tavern or Babbo, although Corton (Paul Liebrandt's newest) is compelling. Lunches, tho, are relatively wide open.

Otherwise, head over to my Seattle Mag blog to read about everything we ate during our trip to Detroit. Includes one Iron Chef and one local bbq joint.

[where: 98101]