Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dinette Restaurant Review

 

 

Dinette Restaurant has a great concept called “toasting.”

I have been to Dinette several times and this time we had the frittata toast and the chicken liver mouse toast.  The herb frittata toast I was not a big fan of but the chicken liver mouse was great.  They have several toasts on their menu and I think it is their best thing on the menu. Another one that I liked from previous times was the Gorgonzola toast.

Today we also had the roast beet salad with apple, which was very nice.  We also tried the figs stuffed with goat cheese.  They were good but I like them wrapped in bacon as they do at Quinn’s.  Other items we tried on the menu today was the Sausage with onions which was OK and the Ricotta Gnocchi with lamb leg which was delicious.  The dessert menu looked good, however, we were too full to have any.

I really enjoy Dinette and if you haven’t been there I would recommend trying it out.  My favorite pieces of the experience are the toasts.  Also the atmosphere is interesting too, their dishes are old school with different patterns and everyone always gets a different pattern.

On their website you can also sign up to get emails about their Sunday Supper. I have never been, however, would like to try it out.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Dinette
1514 East Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122-2130
(206) 328-2282
Dinette on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheesecake

 

Picture from Flickr GottaHaveMunkey Photostream

Cheesecake is believed to have originated in ancient Greece which I didn’t know.  Now a days there are hundreds of different cheesecake recipes, however, every cheesecake has some type of cheese. The most commonly used are cream cheese, Neufchatel, cottage cheese, ricotta, and quark cheese.

Growing up I wasn’t a big fan of cheesecake but that is because it was made out of a type of cottage cheese.  I didn’t start liking it until I had the cream cheese type or what is called today the New York cheesecake.

Now I love the New York style cheesecake but I had never made it before.  I like the simple plain cheesecake.  Nothing on, nothing inside just good creamy cheesecake with crispy bottom and it has to be home made, the store bought is just not the same thing.  After doing some research on this kind of cheesecake I found a recipe in my Cooks Illustrated magazine.  It takes awhile to cook but it is the best cheesecake ever.  You have to make this cheesecake when you have guests coming over, otherwise you will eat the whole thing.  Also warning it is very rich and creamy, but that is how I like it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

A common difficulty with baking cheesecakes is its tendency to “crack” when cooled. This is due to the coagulation of the beaten eggs in its batter. There are various methods to prevent this. One method is to bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath to ensure even heating. Other methods include blending a little cornstarch into the batter or baking the cheesecake at a lower temperature and slow cooling it in the oven, turned off, with the door ajar. If these methods fail, a common practice is to cover the top of the cheesecake with toppings such as fruit, whipped cream, or cookie crumbs. Alternatively, cracks can also be repaired by simply using a flat knife and some warm water. After the cake has been chilled for a few hours, simply dip the knife in warm water and mold the cheesecake as if sculpting. Cracks and unevenness can easily be taken care of in this fashion. This method also works well for repairing the sides and giving the final cheesecake a flawless look. For crater size cracks, try using the bits that are stuck on the side of the pan to help repair the damage.

My cheesecake did “crack”  when I cut into it but I didn’t follow the steps above nor did it matter to me.  It was still delicious.  Please share your ideas of how to make the cheesecake taste or not to “crack.”

Cheesecake (New York Style)

Apated from: Cooks Illustrated

Serves 10 to 12 | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 70 minutes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
2 pounds Philadelphia cream cheese (4 bricks), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat the oven to 500 F.

Brush the sides and bottom of a 9” spring form pan with butter. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the bottom of the pan and tilt it to coat evenly with crumbs. Use your hands for this process, you might have to add some more butter.

Beat the cream cheese in a standing mixer until very smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat on medium speed until sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl after each addition. Add lemon zest and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in cream and sour cream with a wooden spoon.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cheesecake at 500 F for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200, leaving the oven door open until temperature reduces. Bake until the cheesecake’s perimeter is set, but center jiggles when pan is tapped, about an hour. Turn off the heat and use a long-handled fork or spoon the hold the oven door open by about one foot. Let the cheesecake rest for an hour, then place it on a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate it until chilled, at least 4 hours.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Square Ladle

Square Ladle
Picture from Cooking Enthusiast

Here is another must have in your kitchen: The Square Ladle.  I use this for everything, soups, stews and anything with a sauce.  The square ladle is just so much better than a round one because it solves the problem of how to get into the crevices and edges of your pot.  You don’t know what you are missing until you get one.  Trust me, I always thought, it is a ladle how good can it be? This is a must have in your kitchen.  You can get it at Cooking Enthusiast. It is also a great gift idea for someone else who enjoys cooking or loves kitchen gadgets.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Art Review

Art

Picture from Art website

 

I have finally gone to Art which is at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle.  I have been wanting to go here for awhile just never made it there.  The atmosphere is very nice, and classic décor, just what I like in a restaurant.  Now to the food, I had the Scallop Carpaccio.  I am a huge Carpaccio fan and if there is Carpaccio on the menu I order it.  This was not very good.  First the scallop slices were a little to thick, also I feel that if you are serving Carpaccio with seafood it is supposed to be dressed with lemon or lime and make it a little sour, but this was dressed with caviar and some kind of aioli. Not something I would order again.  My husband had the chilled blue shrimp, and it was good but nothing out of the ordinary. For entrée I had the Truffle Gnocchi with truffle cheese and my husband had the dry aged beef striploin. Both very good, the gnocchi was very creamy and done perfectly however, very filling.  The Striploin was prepared perfectly too.  The entrees were very good but nothing out of the ordinary that i would get usually at a Four Seasons.  Then the dessert menu came.  WOW!  This was my kind of dessert menu, I wanted to order everything on the menu.  I couldn’t decide between the Apple pie, Molten Chocolate Cake, Warm Sticky Toffee pudding or the Vanilla Dusted Donuts. After awhile we decided to go with the Vanilla Dusted Donuts with maple ice cream and Washington huckleberry compote for two.  According to my husband who is the donut expert these were the best donuts he had ever had, he said these are better then the ones at Lola or the Dahlia Lounge donuts.  They were very good I have to agree but I am not the donut connoisseur. Overall I think Art is a good restaurant but I would probably just go back for the dessert menu. 

Art
99 Union St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 749-7000
ART (Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PF Chang’s China Bistro Review

PF Chang's China Bistro

Picture from PF Chang's China Bistro website

 

We went to PF Chang’s Friday night. I think PF Chang’s is one of those places that you can always count on. I have been to Hong Kong and had really good Chinese food, there are a few place in Seattle that you can get good Chinese Hong Kong style but that is different depending on where you are from. As most people know there are eight main regional cuisines, or Eight Great Traditions: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. And in Hong Kong it is usual Cantonese style. But living on the East Cost, Chinese food there is very different and still really good. If you ask an East Coaster about Chinese in Seattle they will tell you that there are no good places. I think that Chinese food in Seattle is actually more like Chinese food, more of the none grease fresh things you can get in Hong Kong. But I enjoy both and I think you actually get a little of both in PF Chang’s. 

At PF Chang’s we ordered the Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Harvest Spring Rolls and Peking Dumplings for apptetizers. I really like the lettuce wraps and the spring rolls and dumplings were good too. The only problem I had was the sauce that came with the Harvest Spring Rolls, it was too sweet. 

Then for entrees we had the Chicken with Black Bean Sauce, Mongolian Beef and Singapore Street Noodles. The Singapore Street Noodles used to be my favorite item on the menu. But this time it wasn’t as good. I would say the Mongolian Beef was my favorite thing this time. 

PF Chang’s service is good the problem I have with this place is that it is loud and very large but it does serve my craving for Chinese food. 

PF Chang’s China Bistro
400 Pine St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 393-0070
P.F. Chang's China Bistro (Bellevue) on Urbanspoon 

 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Voila! Review

Voila
Picture from Voila website

Tonight we went to Voila– our neighborhood French Bistro. This is the third time we have been there and the place is great. The atmosphere is very cozy and the food is good. They always have a few specials to choose from. Tonight I started with an aperitif – Campari and orange juice, which is my favorite. As a starter I had the tuna Carpaccio which was delicious, and then one of my favorite things on their menu is their onion soup. It is Delishhh! With the soup I had a glass of Merlot. I have had their onion soup three times now and it is always good. My husband also had the onion soup and then their pan fried duck with potatoes that was their special for tonight. It was all very Delishhh! For dessert I just had some espresso ice-cream. In the past we have also had the Boeuf Bourguignon there, the Kobe Beef Hamburger and their Tarte Tatin all very good things to have. On top of that we had a very good looking waiter from Italy tonight and the service was excellent.

A great little neighborhood restaurant!

Voila
2805 E Madison St
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 322-5460
Voilà on Urbanspoon

 
Saturday, October 11, 2008

El Gallito Review

El Gallito
Picture from El Gallito website

We were craving some good cheap Mexican food Friday night so we went to El Gallito. El Gllito is more of a “hole in a wall” place but I really like it.  The food is good and cheap. Their salsa with chips is really good and spicy. This time when we went they had gotten new menus that were nice. I usually have the 3 taco’s entrée with rice and beans but this time I decided to have the 3 soft taco’s PuertoVallarta style. It was good, but I just don’t like the cooked chicken inside a taco. So I would stay with the regular 3 tacos with beef or beef Colorado.

Looking for a good, cheap and quick Mesican place? Go to El Gallito.

El Gallito
1700 20th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 329-8088
El Gallito on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baked French Toast

 

About two weeks ago I hosted a baby shower for a good friend of mine.  Every time I have a large group of people for brunch I make at least these two things 1. Strata and 2. Baked French Toast.  The Strata recipe I will share at a later time.  But I do these things because you can prepare these things the night before, and the day off all you have to do it stick them in the oven in the same temperature and it works out great.  Who wants to wake up at 6am on a weekend to start cooking breakfast for 20 people?  The Baked French Toast is always a hit, everyone always wants something sweet during a brunch party.

The funny thing is that I had no idea what French toast was before I moved to the US  (long time ago) and on top of that I hated sweet things for breakfast, sweet things were for dessert.  But I changed pretty quickly, especially after my sister-in-law served this french toast one day for brunch.  I have had many different kinds of French Toast and this is my favorite way of doing the French Toast and everyone loves it.  Trust me, this is first thing that always goes during brunch.

Baked French Toast

Serves 8-10 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 45 minutes

1 stick of butter
¾ cups of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 loaf of cinnamon raisin bread
4 eggs beaten
1 ½ cup of half and half

In a pan slowly melt the butter and add the brown sugar to it and then the cinnamon.  Once all melted take the pan off the heat and add the half and half and then add the beaten eggs slowly.  You do not want to have the egg curd if the liquid is too hot.  Make sure you add the eggs slowly and stir the whole time.

Take a 9×13 inch pan.  I use a glass pan and line the pan with sliced cinnamon raisin bread.  Make this in two layers so it is ticker than just one slice.  If your bread is not pre-cut cut the bread in 1 inch slices instead.  Then take the whole mixture and pour it evenly over the bread.  Cover the pan and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Then bake in a pre-heated 350F degree oven for 35-45 minutes.  Then remove the cover off the last 15 minutes to get a crispy top.  Serve warm with maple syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fromage.com

Picture from Fromage website

 

Once in a time we come across a great service and we want to tell everyone about it.  Well I came across Fromage.com. You can go onto their site and order French cheeses and they will have it delivered to you within 3 days.  And the cheeses are amazing, much better than what you can get in the store here in the US.  Their cheeses are vacuum packaged and very well handled.   

I found this place last Christmas when we went to a family christmas party that had received cheeses from Fromage.com.  I started sending them to my parents as birthday gifts and they love them. 

I can’t say enough about this place, it is not cheap but worth it if you are a cheese lover. This is a great gift idea.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Swedish Meatballs “Köttbullar”

Image by Susanne Wrestling

 

The Swedish meatball in Swedish Köttbulle [pronounced cheutbulle] is very different from the German or known Italian meatball here in the US. Swedish meatballs which are a smaller size then the Italian ones are severed with cooked potatoes, creamy brown gravy and lingonberry.  Some history that I found on the Internet:  

– In northern Scandinavian countries beef was considered a luxury item, which meant meatballs were highly prized.  

– Meatballs are traditionally in served at Swedish smörgåsbord and other festive occasions.  

– Swedish meatballs were brought to the USA by Scandinavian immigrants; many of whom settled in America’s northern mid-west states. Other Northern European countries also have meatball/gravy recipes. Regional variations are often a reflection of taste and ingredient availability.  

– In the US, Swedish meatballs were very popular in the beginning of the 20th century, and again in the 1950s-1960s.   

Here is a recipe for my Swedish meatballs, again there are many variations to this, some don’t add the heavy cream, some add ground veal as well, some only have ground beef, some add carrots etc.  But this is my version of them and this is how I like them.   

Swedish Meatballs

Yield: About 24 meatballs, serving 6 

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients
½  cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
½ lbs of ground pork
½ lbs of ground beef
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp of soy sauce  

Take the ground beef and mix them together.  Chop the onion very fine and put it into the mixture then add the egg, heavy cream and breadcrumbs and mix well.  Then add all the remaining ingredients salt, white pepper, and allspice and soy sauce and mix well.  I usually use a fork for that and then at the end use my hands.  

Once you have it mixed it is time to roll them meatballs.  Again, Swedish meatballs are small and should be about 1 inch in diameter.  Fry on a frying pan with butter until brown on the outside.  You can also make them in the oven as well.  

Serve with Lingonberries (lingonsylt) which you can find in many local stores and in IKEA but this is a must item.  The potatoes I usually like are the smaller red potatoes because they don’t flake when you boil them.  And I will boil them with their skin on them.  You can also do other flavors of potatoes like potato au gratin  or roasted poratoes as well. 
  

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