Category Archives: Entertaining

Fall Menu Ideas featuring Field Roast Stuffing

Fall has arrived in Seattle as though a curtain has dropped, ending the summer act and beginning the autumn intermission. The days are slow to start, and quick to end, with raindrops battering against windows as we all feverishly try to hold onto the glorious sunny days we’ve just left behind.

Seattle Skyline

Seattle in the Fall…what a beautiful place to be.

With this transition comes the inevitable shift in behavior. Days on the lake are replaced with afternoons spent reading on the couch, the soft snore of a puppy interrupting thoughts and inspiring a refill to a glass of wine or bowl of truffle popcorn. Evening BBQs and bonfires quickly turn into game nights, where a crackling fire provides the backdrop to the hoots and howls that come from confessions of Cards Against Humanity, or the poorly hummed tunes of Cranium.

Fall Menu Ideas

With a dinner this grand, appetizers can be modest.

Of course the blissful suppers of Capreses and Cava no longer seem quite right, but what replaces them is something while perhaps less glamorous, no less delicious. This Fall Sunday Supper, is relatively easy to put together and a perfect feast to begin or end your weekend. The Field Roast stuffing is the dark horse, making a table even sans Turkey a worthy destination.

What are your favorite Fall traditions?

Fall Menu Ideas: Roasted Acorn Squash with Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Fall Sunday Supper

  • Olives, Hummus topped with Chili Sauce, Crackers, and Cheese
  • Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries in a Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing
  • Roast Chicken
  • Field Roast Stuffing
  • Roasted Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  • Malarkey’s Best Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Field Roast Stuffing

Fall Menu Ideas: Field Roast Stuffing

With this hearty yet sophisticated Field Roast Stuffing you don’t even need a Roast Chicken or Turkey

  • 5 cups stale bread, cubed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 Field Roast links, diced
  • 4 TB Butter
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  1. In a 400 degree oven, toast the cubed bread on a cookie sheet until golden brown about 5 – 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the shallot and field roast in the butter until beginning to slightly brown, 5 – 8 minutes. Add seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large bowl combine the bread with the shallot/field roast mix and stir well to combine.
  4. Slowly adding the broth a few tablespoons at a time, mix until slightly moistened. Pending on how stale your bread is this will take anywhere from 1/2 – 1 cup of broth.
  5. Add to a 9×9 glass baking dish and bake at 400 degrees until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Fall Menu Ideas_RoastChickenFall Menu Ideas: Spinach Salad

20 Comments

Filed under Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

The Little Things: Artisan Pizza Topped with Figs, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Truffle Honey

This past weekend was lovely. Not because of any spectacular event, but because of all the little things. The kind that are easy to miss, and so important not to. Lazy mornings in bed drinking tea and eating croutons. Soaking up the sun at the park while the dogs run as though their hearts might burst. Dinners that creep into the wee hours with new friends. Rediscovering a song you loved back when life was simpler, but didn’t seem as such.

A perfect Sunday breakfast.

Similar to how some create a sound track for their lives, I inevitably find myself creating meals. Breakfasts that comfort or inspire, lunches that speed along or stop to pause, dinners that celebrate simplicity or boast grandiosity.

No weekend is complete without eggs..hard boiled, deviled, scrambled, over easy. I like them all.

This pizza somehow manages to span nearly all of these. While making your own dough might seem intimidating at first, it is surprisingly easy and delivers a much more complex and affordable canvas than the store-bought variety. Easily enjoyed over a long dinner with lots of wine, it is also perfect for a bite on the go, and while there is something undeniably impressive about anything involving the word “truffle”, the minimal number of quality ingredients makes this weeknight friendly as well.

What are the little moments that you most enjoy?

Artisan Pizza Topped with Figs, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Truffle Honey

The drizzle of truffle honey is really what takes it to the next level.

  • 2, 1-lb loaves Olive Oil Dough (recipe follows)
  • Olive Oil for Brushing
  • 1/2 lb sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 cup figs, cut in half
  • Truffle Honey for Drizzling

Utter simplicity, and yet so good.

  1. At least twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven with a baking stone to 550 degrees or whatever is your oven’s maximum.
  2. Dust one of your loaves with flour and dust a work surface as well.
  3. Flatten the dough with your hands to produce an 1/8-inch-thick round.
  4. Place round onto a liberally cornmeal-covered pizza peel (note…if you don’t have one pre-cooking the crust slightly is helpful)
  5. Brush with olive oil, and top with half the mozzarella and half the figs.
  6. Slide the pizza directly onto the stone (I find this scary AND I’m bad at it, so I usually try to coerce someone else into doing it). A number of back and forth shakes may be necessary.
  7. Check for doneness after 8 – 10 minutes, rotating if browning unevenly. Continue cooking until light golden brown, up to another 5 minutes.
  8. While pizza one is cooking, prep pizza two to minimize time sitting (and therefore STICKING) on the board.
  9. Allow to cool slightly, drizzle with truffle honey, and serve.

Olive Oil Dough
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes four 1-pound loaves. Recipe easily halved or doubled.

  • 2 and 3/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 packets granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a heavy-duty stand mixer if you have one.
  2. Mix in the flour until well incorporated.
  3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  4. You can use it immediately after that, although it’s easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.

19 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Hobnobbing: Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines

There is something simultaneously inspiring and depressing about meeting someone your age that is having great success. Double-penalty points if they are having fame and fortune in an area you’re passionate about, and triple points if they’re nice to boot.

A spectacular beer cocktail, inspired by a Mai Tai. Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Such was the case last week when I met Mark Fuller , the chef and co-owner of Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky and a James Beard semi-finalist. Not only has he managed to open not one, but two iterations of a tremendously popular restaurant, he is a phenomenal chef, and just a damn nice guy.

To see the full story on Ma’ono’s Happy Hour swing by my column in Seattleite magazine, but for those of you looking for some culinary inspiration for the weekend, look no further than below for a Mark Fuller original that he generously did a cooking demo of for me; Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines. Stone fruit is perfectly ripe this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and while the lateness of the corn does render it a bit sweeter than the recipe originally called for the kick of the Chipotle Nectarines makes it a mouth-popping yet surprisingly delightful combination.

Chef Fuller in Ma’ono’s kitchen. Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Barbecued Salmon With Fresh Corn Grits & Chipotle Nectarines

Created by Chef Mark Fuller
Executive Chef and Owner of Ma’ono Fried Chicken & Whisky, Seattle

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Marinade:
3/4 cup blue agave syrup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Tabasco® brand chipotle pepper sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco® brand pepper sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds salmon fillet, cut into four 8-ounce pieces

Nectarines:
2 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Fresh Corn Grits:
4 ears corn on the cob, husked and each halved
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® brand Pepper Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade
Combine in a large bowl, agave syrup, soy sauce, Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce, fish sauce, Tabasco brand pepper sauce, garlic and olive oil. Add salmon fillets; cover and refrigerate about 3 hours, turning occasionally.

Nectarines
Combine in a medium bowl, nectarines, mint, olive oil, salt and Tabasco brand chipotle pepper sauce. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

Fresh Corn Grits
Grate kernels from corncob into bowl. Place corn and butter in 2-quart saucepan. Over high heat, heat corn to boiling, stirring frequently until mixture thickens. Stir in Tabasco brand pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Photo credit: Annie Laurie Photography.

Salmon
Preheat grill to medium-high.

Grease grill. Place salmon, skin-side up on grill. Grill about 4 minutes. Turn fish: cook about 4 minutes longer or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve salmon with fresh corn grits and nectarines.  Serves 4.

11 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Seafood, Uncategorized

Spectacular, Spectacular: Grilled Bruschetta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil, and Shrimp

This past weekend my Uncle Daniel took us on a boating adventure up to the San Juan Islands. It is truly breathtakingly beautiful up there, with vistas you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the States. We boated, we kayaked, we laughed, and of course, we ate. Happily bobbing along on the Moon Dance II, a handmade wooden craft by the renowned Sam Devlin, we enjoyed cooking up feasts in the boat’s galley, aptly named the Moon Dance Diner for all the impressive creations Daniel whipped up there.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

A little pre-trip prep…slow roasting the tomatoes.

Day 17 of no buying groceries, coupled with boat friendly cuisine made this one a little tricky, but no less spectacular. The robust and bright flavors of the slow roasted tomatoes come to life when paired against the sizzling buffalo mozzarella. Basil freshly picked from the garden just the day before provides a welcome depth, and when topped with one impeccable grilled shrimp helps elevate an otherwise generally standard antipasto to an elite affair.

Mt. Baker in the distance.

The gents determining where the afternoon kayak should go.

Sunset at Sucia Island up in the San Juans.

We may have briefly lost a kayak, but it resulted in a midnight paddle where the phosphorescent were absolutely extraordinary, lighting up the water as we paddled through its stillness.

A cup of coffee, a morning kayak ride, and returning to Daniel cooking up omelets in the Moon Dance Diner. Doesn’t get better than this.

Grilled Bruschetta Topped with Buffalo Mozzarella, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Chopped Basil, and Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.

Grilled Bruschetta Topped with Buffalo Mozzarella, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Chopped Basil, and Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 Ciabatta loaves, cut in half
  • 1 TB butter
  • 4 slices buffalo mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup slow-roasted-tomatoes, room temperature (I’m loving the Smitten Kitchen recipe, right now)
  • 8 jumbo shrimp, raw and tail on, tossed in 1 TB Olive Oil
  1. Preheat grill.
  2. Using either a grill pan or skewers, cook the shrimp until pink and cooked through. About 2 minutes a side. Once done, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, butter ciabatta loaves and grill until nicely marked, buttered side down, about 5 minutes
  4. Remove ciabatta and top with mozzarella over grill marks. Return to grill and cook until mozzarella melted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Cut loaves in half and top with basil, slow roasted tomatoes, and shrimp.
  6. Enjoy!

18 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Appetizers, Entertaining, Seafood, Uncategorized

True Confessions: Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

The conversation went something like this. In fact, it went exactly like this.

“BTW, apropos of nothing, deep down I find it hard to believe anyone actually likes kale. Kale sucks. At best it is edible. At worst it taste like kale. F*ck kale.”

So went the text message tirade from a friend of mine, furious at having received yet another bundle of kale in his CSA box. Up until last week I would have felt exactly the same way. Actually, I did feel the same way. Every time my CSA box would arrive there the kale would sit…staring at me in its infinite leafiness, daring me to try to think of something to do with it before, upon being neglected, it would wilt pitifully away until in a fit of rage and guilt I would toss it in the compost and vow…next time…next time…I’m going to use up everything in my CSA box…everything!

Look who came to visit this weekend! Deacon Dog, formerly known as Scuba Steve…an 11th hour rescue by Georgia Peaches who saved him from being put to sleep.

Not anymore though…for thanks to reading two of my favorite blogs, Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave I came up with the ultimate hybrid…a delicious potato salad tossed with a Caesar inspired dressing, and bulked out with beautiful, dark leafy kale. Even the most avid of kale haters will like this salad, finding themselves deeply conflicted as they cherry pick out the kale, not to avoid it, but to get more than their fair share.

Admittedly, the kale is somewhat buoyed by serving as a Caesar dressing delivery system, but does provide an undeniably lovely contrast to the new potatoes, and thanks to its robust stature holds up beautifully until the next day, making it a perfect make-ahead salad for a dog days of summer picnic, or BBQ side.

What’s your least favorite vegetable you get in your CSA box?

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes
Inspired by Katherine Martinelli and Natalie’s Daily Crave

Kale Salad with Caesar Dressing and New Potatoes

I guarantee, even the most vehement kale haters will enjoy this.

8 cups new potatoes, washed, bad spots removed, and halved
2 egg yolks
1-2 anchovies
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup Parmesan grated + more for topping
Salt and Pepper
1 large bunch dinosaur kale, washed, and coarsely chopped

  1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes completely with water and add lid. Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium-low and cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes, pending on size. Do not overcook. As soon as they are done strain and rinse with cool water to prevent cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender combine the egg yolks, anchovies, lemon, garlic, and Dijon. Pulse until well-combined. Adding in a slow stream with blender running combine the oils until dressing is emulsified. Add in the Parmesan and pulse just until combined.
  3. Toss potatoes with the dressing, add in the kale, and season with salt and pepper. Delicious warm, chilled, or even the next day.

36 Comments

Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Cheap Eats, Entertaining, Make ahead, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina and a *Free* Bottle of Olive Oil

Living in the city, I find that I’m often on guard. This is especially true in my neighborhood, which proudly boasts the most diverse zip code in the USA, but also has the (not so) occasional high-speed car race / gun fight. It’s not really that bad…this is Seattle we’re talking about after all, not Detroit or St. Louis, but it’s also not leave your windows open, drop your bikes in the front yard, walk alone at midnight, small town Americana.

One of my favorite Summer Salads: Mozzarella, Basil, and Heirloom Tomatoes, Drizzled with Olive Oil and Finished with Salt and Pepper

This is why the friendships that we’ve built with the people in our neighborhood are so extraordinary. Perhaps it takes a certain type of person to live in a transitional neighborhood, so there’s some kind of natural pre-selection, but in our little microcosm of the city we’ve managed to create a small town feel, where keys to each other’s homes are shared, dog walks are traded, and calling the neighbor for a cup of sugar is welcomed and often completed with a glass of wine to boot.

In the summer this results in impromptu BBQs, days at the lake, and of course the inevitable doggy play dates. All the gals have made a pact that they won’t fuss about cleaning their house before others come over (though this goes against every bone in my body and occasionally results in an eye twitch), and we’ve all become comfortable enough in each other’s kitchens that taking over a quick salad production or setting the table is second nature.

Getting ready for our most recent feast…three hours of eating, drinking, and laughing.

Perhaps somewhere deep, deep inside me I’ve got some Italian grandmother or something, because I love nothing more than feeding a crowd. Sitting outside with finally snoring puppies at our feet, as evening sets in, and the fire begins to crackle, feels like near perfection.

These appetizers are admittedly a bit of work, but are such a wonderfully unexpected combination of flavors I find myself craving them often. The combination of a mandolin and sliced fontina cuts down on the preparation time significantly, and with a few extra hands these can be quickly whipped together.

GIVEAWAY: The olive oil you use in these is key, which is why I’m very excited to be able to offer one reader a bottle of their choice from the spectacular California Olive Ranch. I’m partial to the Arbequina, which is what I used in this dish, but they have a wonderful selection pending on what you want to do with it. Will happily ship anywhere in the United States.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply share this post using whatever social media channel you prefer (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Messenger Pigeon) and then provide the link to your share in the comment section. Easy as that!

DEADLINE: Friday, August 24th. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday the 27th.

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina
Makes approximately 15 – 20 appetizers, pending on the size of the eggplant, but these things go like hot cakes, so plan accordingly

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio, Stuffed with Fontina and Arugula and Drizzled with Arbequina Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

1 large eggplant, top and bottom chopped off

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, best you can afford, I used California Olive Ranch because I’m currently obsessed with their Arbequina variety

Coarse Salt & Pepper

Sliced fontina cheese (if pre-sliced size cut in half so doesn’t lay over the eggplant)

1/2 bag baby arugula

Balsamic vinegar

  1. Using a mandolin, cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips and place slices on a cookie sheet.
  2. Brush each side generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat BBQ and grill eggplant on both sides for about 4-6 minutes or until soft and nicely marked.
  5. Place cheese in center of each eggplant slice and keep on grill until cheese begins to melt.
  6. Remove from grill and return to cookie sheet.
  7. Place small bunch of arugula, perpendicularly, on top of each slice and roll up lengthwise.
  8. Drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic and serve warm or room temperature.

25 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Entertaining, Giveaways, Uncategorized

Simple Surprises: Agave Mojito

Here at Shut Up & Cook, it’s all about the twist on the expected. The interwebs are flooded with loads of food blogs (some good, some great, some downright bad), and all boasting their own interpretation of why they’re unique. You have gluten-free vegetarians, lovers of scones, and those who just want to eat bacon, morning, noon, and night. You have the tidy baker, the messy cook, and new, left-handed moms in the kitchen. I could go on and on, but if you’re here you’ve probably already read your fair share of them, and have hopefully found your niche.

In all my cooking, and my writing, I try to capture the everywoman in the kitchen; this idea of the Attainable Gourmet. It’s all about cooking great food, with great friends, drinking great wine, and seeing what happens when you put all that together. It’s about finding life’s little treasures, when you least expect it, and slowing down enough to actually be able to appreciate it.

Deviled Deliciousness with Chef’s Choice Toppings from Matt’s in the Market

There are so many standard recipes out there, and it’s good to have a few in your back pocket because you never know when you’ll be called on to make a perfect tray of Deviled Eggs or stunning Lemon Tart, but in general, I like to try to take the everyday and make it exceptional. This doesn’t mean fussy, or precious, or requiring 50 ingredients you’ve never heard of, but rather creatively looking at the palette of ingredients available to you, and the inspiration driving, and taking it from there.

This Agave Mojito is easy yet indulgent in spades. It’s made with Blue Agave, saving you from the dreaded simple syrup making (because who wants to be stirring sugar and hot water when you just want a cocktail), and is a perfect way to use up the mint that is quickly trying to take over your tomato plants. The act of letting the mint and the rum infuse makes this less laborious than the standard version, and garnished with a sprig still delivers the visual punch.

What is your favorite twist on the expected in the kitchen?

Agave Mojito
Serves 1, can easily be multiplied for a crowd

Does anything say summer more than this?

  • 8 mint leaves + sprig for garnish
  • 2 oz rum, I like Turkey Shore Distillery because it’s from the street I grew up on…and it’s really good
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 oz Blue Agave Syrup, I used Wholesome Sweetners since it’s organic and lower in calories, mixed with 1 oz hot water
  • Club Soda
  1. In a cocktail shaker add the mint leaves and rum and muddle. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to infuse the flavor.
  2. Add the lime juice, agave syrup, and hot water.
  3. Add a handful of ice cubes to the shaker and shake well to combine.
  4. Strain into Collins glasses, over ice (I like the giant ice cubes because they melt slower )
  5. Top with a splash of club soda and sprig of mint

25 Comments

Filed under Drinks, Entertaining, Uncategorized