Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe: October 27 through November 2

Menu A

WG broccoli and Cabot cheddar soup: lil sopressata sandwich
Chardonnay, Windsor Sonoma, Russian River Valley, CA 2008

braised beef short ribs: natural jus, buttermilk whipped potatoes, glazed baby carrots, fresh horseradish
Valpolicella Superiore Classico, L’Arco, Veneto, Italy, 2004

sweet potato cake: sour cream whip, candied pecans, sweet potato sorbet

Menu B

cucumber and radish salad: dill and crème fraiche dressing, pickled onion, scallion, arugula, feta
Muller Thurgau, Anne Amie, Willamette Valley, OR, 2009

steelhead trout: grain mustard beurre blanc, spaetzle, Brussels sprouts in brown butter, grapefruit-pearl onion marmalade
Chardonnay, Verget, Bourgogne ‘Terroirs de Cote d’Or’, France, 2008

creamy rice pudding: whipped cream, candied citrus peel, chocolate hazelnut biscotti 

$25 food
$15 booze

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe: October 20 through October 26

Menu A 

shrimp and celeriac remoulade: watercress, carrot, sugar snap peas, horseradish
Rosé, Brumont, Cotes de Gascogne, France, 2010

grilled squid: chorizo and root vegetable stuffing, lemon emulsion, sautéed greens, grapefruit, cilantro
Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc, Au Bon Climat, Santa Barbera County, CA, 2009

sweet grass dairy green hill cheese with mimi’s apple butter, house-made baguette and spiced pecans

Menu B

baby beets, turnips, and radishes: tarragon  and grain mustard dressing, apple, toasted pecans, fried parsley
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Valle Reale, Italy, 2010

spaghetti and meatballs: artisan spaghetti, veal and pork meatballs, spicy tomato sauce, oregano, arugula, pecorino
Etna Rosso, Terre Nere, Sicily, Italy, 2010

mint panna cotta with chocolate and local honey

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five and Ten Prix Fixe: October 13th to October 19th

Menu A

Woodland Gardens lettuces: horseradish dressing, hardboiled egg, pickled beets and mustard seeds, feta, fried shallot
Gruner Veltliner, Ecker, Austria, 2009

crisp catfish dusted in chickpea flour: fennel chutney, cabbage braised in mustard seed-yogurt curry, Carolina Gold rice, lime emulsion
Riesling, Dr. F. Weins-Prüm, Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett, Mosel, Germany, 2008

Apple crisp with whipped cream, cranberry port sorbet and pecans

Menu B

gratinee lyonnaise: local onions, Greendale gruyere, baguette
Vouvray, Le Bouchet, Demi-sec, Loire Valley, France, 2009

bacon wrapped rabbit roulade: red wine vinegar and honey jus, root vegetable hash, roasted mushrooms
Chiroubles, Domaine de la Chappelle, Beaujolais, France, 2009

Pumpkin pie with maple reduction, whipped cream and pepitas 

$25 food
$15 booze

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

finished pot roast... no carrots though. beets instead.

mashed potatoes for said pot roast

salt, red bliss potato, unsalted butter, whole milk

I love mashed potatoes. 

The most famous mashed potatoes are those of the famed French chef Joel Robuchon. His recipe is 2 parts taters to 1 part butter made smooth with a smidgen of milk. His are mashed potatoes to enjoy in moderation. I had the famous taters at Atelier in Las Vegas recently and while they were decadent and luscious I think we can easily replicate a similar experience with a  lighter hand. Slightly lighter. Everything in moderation people…

Robuchon also calls for unpeeled potatoes to keep the potatoes from saturating water during the cooking. The only problem with that is that you then have to peel hot potatoes and that’s kind a nuisance. Hell, there’s a kids game surrounding the fact that no one wants to hold a hot potato. Chef, you listening? Maybe the hot potato song doesn’t translate. I will sing “Pommes de terre chaud…” next time in France and see if I get understanding stares or not.

Serves 4 abundantly

2 pounds smaller potatoes, peeled and cut in half. I love Red Bliss and Yukon Gold
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 pound unsalted, cold
½ cup whole milk, maybe a touch more if the potatoes are starchy

Cover the potatoes with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add one teaspoon of the salt. Cook until they are tender but don’t overcook them. Drain the potatoes and place them through a ricer. Mashing in a mixer is a no no. Electric mixer even more so. Ricers rock. They look like really big garlic presses. That’ll get the gluten going in the potatoes and give you that gummy texture we seek to avoid.

So you have pressed the potatoes through the ricer and because you cooked them until perfectly tender you have a beautiful fluffy mass of riced potatoes. Add the cold butter and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Add the warm milk and season to taste with the remaining salt. Serve immediately.

pot roast

Pot Roast.

The cut of beef known as “chuck” is from the shoulder and neck area of the animal. It is a definite working muscle and would be the toughest steak ever if you grilled it and served it, but when you gently braise it , the meat just becomes butter. Let’s remember that braising is cooking in a  moist, covered environment. It doesn’t have to be swimming in liquid, rather just kept really moist. A gentle Jacuzzi for the meat.

Mary is in out of town on business so Beatrice, Clementine and I will eat pot roast tonight, with local turnips & their green, carrots and buttery mashed potatoes. Great food for a rainy day. I will open a bottle of Valpolicella and relax before a very busy weekend. My book tour starts on Monday so I will need the sustenance.

Classic recipe:

¼ teaspoon chile flake
½ teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
pinch of brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 pound chuck roast, well marbled
2 medium sweet onions, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, cut in two inch lengths
2 medium carrots, cut in two inch lengths
1 small head of garlic
½ cup good red wine
3 cups chicken or beef stock
1 sprig fresh oregano
3 sprigs flatleaf parsley

Preheat oven to 275F.
Combine the chile flake, fennel seed, black pepper, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix with your finger tips and then season the beef with the cure. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Warm a large braising pot over medium high heat.  Add the bacon fat. Blot the beef with some paper towel to remove excess moisture and then add to the hot bacon fat. Sear off on all sides and then remove from the pan. The meat should look all nice and caramelized.

Add the onion to the pot and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the celery and the carrot. Add the wine and then take a spatula and scrape the good bits the will loosen from the bottom of the pot. Add the head of garlic. When the wine has pretty much evaporated add the stock. Add the seared beef, oregano and parsley. Cover and bring to a high simmer. Place in the oven and cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on thickness and tightness of meat. 

After the time parameter of 2 1/2 to 3 hours has passed, check your roast. When you prod it with your finger it should give in with little resistance. Uncover the pot and cook for twenty more minutes. Remove from heat and serve with roasted turnips and carrots, some stewed turnip greens and a healthy dose of buttery mashed potatoes. Search Robuchon mashed potatoes to get a good recipe for them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Five & Ten Prix Fixe: October 6th through October 12th

Menu A

house made salt cod fritters: remoulade, pickled okra
Altesse, Frederic Giachino, Savoie, France, 2009

crisp flounder: herb emulsion, purple and green beans, lemon risotto, beet slaw
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Valle Reale, Italy, 2010

Spiced plum sorbet with fresh orange, hazelnuts, whipped cream and plugra butter cake

Menu B

arugula salad: shaved salumi, radish, hardboiled egg, pickled onion, anchovy vinaigrette
Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella, Alto-Adige, Italy, 2010

braised lamb shoulder: stewed white beans, mustard greens, grape and olive
Coteaux du Languedoc, St. Martin de la Garrigue, ‘Bronzinelle’, France, 2007

Butterscotch budino with whipped cream, candied cashews and cocoa nib sea salt chocolate

$25 food
$15 booze

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dinner at ESS with the Italian Wines of Small Vineyards Imports

There is a little-known trade secret that the best shortcut to picking great wines is to find an importer you trust.  In a sense they have already done the dirty work for us.  Turn around your favorite bottle of non-domestic wine and the chances are good that a very good importer has stuck their name on the back.  The chances are also good that this importer represents a specific point of view, and that he or she has picked these wines based upon a particular ethic.  For Neal Rosenthal, it is all about terroir-driven wines.  The late, great Joe Dressner was committed to natural fermentation.  For Robert Chadderdon, it is a matter of selling wine only when it's drinking well, and not before.

And for Seattle's Small Vineyards Imports it's a matter of working only with producers who are small enough that we can establish a personal connection with them (the winemaker's face often appears on the back of the bottle, in fact).  These growers represent the smallest 10% of their respective regions, and they are always family-owned, family-run estates.  We are hosting Jody Allen of Small Vineyards on October 26th, and we'll be pairing a sample of their Italian portfolio with our own version of Italian cuisine.  Hopefully you can come and sample, too.  -SG

'If you think about it, it's a lot easier to make a great meal for 5 people than for 500, and winemaking is no different."

October 26, 2011, 7:00  p.m.
$95/person plus tax and gratuity

Prosecco, Trevisiol, Veneto, NV, upon seating

Souse Porchetta with crisp Tuscan kale, pickled okra, Calabrian pepper gribiche
Rose of Sangiovese Grosso, Parazetta, 'Sara', Tuscany, 2009

Skatewing with melted fennel, sauteed escarole, preserved lemon and Castelvetrano olives
Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Le Rote, Tuscany, 2010

Veal and pork meatball cannelloni with preserved tomato, ESS mozzarella, pinenuts, mushrooms, and marjoram
Chianti Classico Riserva, Poderi Ciona, Tuscany, 2006

Roast Beef Spinalis with crisp bone marrow, dressed cippolini, and fingerling potato
Rosso Conero Riserva, Marchetti, Le Marche, 2007

Poached pear, honey-pine nut tart, pear sorbet, pomegranate.
Moscato d'Asti, Tre Donne, 'La Perlina', Piedmont, 2010
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