Archive for January, 2010

Feeling A Bit “Sheepish”

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

With the wet weather firmly entrenched her in the Northwest, I find myself drawn to heartier foods like puréed soups, preserved spoon fruits and, my favorite, braised meats…specifically lamb shanks.  I have a refined my recipe for Stout Braised Lamb Shanks over the years and have come full circle to a traditional preparation.  I can assure you that it is worth the effort for the end result.  Enjoy!

Braised Lamb Shanks

Serves 6


6 Lamb Shanks
Flour for dredging
½ cup olive oil
Sachet of, bay leaf, garlic and rosemary
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced large
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
¾ cup chicken stock
1 bottle Irish Stout
Salt and pepper to taste


Lightly moisten lamb shanks in a bowl with water.
Combine flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat in the mixture.
In a large Dutch oven, add the olive oil and brown lamb on all sides over medium heat.
Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Remove the lamb and set aside on a platter or sheet pan.
Drain the fat and discard.
Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Scrape the browned bits from the bottom.
Add the lamb and cover with the stout and chicken stock.
Add the sachet and cover.
Simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Anniversary Dinner

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Last night my wife and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, and we treated ourselves to a fine dining experience at The Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie Falls.  I choose to have a 5 course Chef’s Epicurean Tasting Menu provided by Chef de Cuisine Jack Strong.  Our server also suggested a wine flight with the meal and I was more than happy to accept.

I began with an amuse-bouche (amooze-boosh) of tuna tartare with lemon zest, chive oil, volcanic ash sea salt, garlic and cucumber; a wonderful way to start the evening.  That was followed by a Fall Squash and Apple Bisque with goats cheese creme brûlée paired with Nicolas Feuillatte, Champange, Brut, Epernay, France, MV.

I then had the Caramelized Onion and Fall Root Vegetable Buckwheat Tart paired with Basel Cellars, “Forget me not”, Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, WA, 2007.  This was followed thirdly by a Seared Scallop with braised fennel and a cranberry coulis paired with The Pines 1852, Pinot Gris, Columbia Gorge, OR, 2007.

We then were both given a Prickly Pear Sorbet to cleanse our palates and entice our taste buds for the tasty and titillating treats to come.

The entree was a Smoked Fallow Venison Strip Loin served with spaghetti squash, Full Circle Farms braising greens, local apples, pancetta and a Cascade huckleberry reduction.  Paired with Brazin, Zinfandel, “Old Vines”, Lodi, CA, 2006, it was the highlight of the meal for me.  I grew up eating venison with much regularity and the flood of memories that came rushing back with that first bite were most welcome on this happiest of occasions.

To finish of a truly delectable eventide, I was given the Twice-Baked Cheddar Souffle.  Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, roasted mission figs and quince candied persimmon, paired with Château Ste. Michelle, “Reserve”, Late Harvest Semillon, Columbia Valley, 2000.  My wife opted for the Triple-Layer Coconut Cake; lime curd, coconut cream, pomegranate and coconut shards.  We were both elated with the finish to our meal and the personal touches showed a professionalism I truly appreciate, and am often critical of.

Self Gratifying

Monday, January 11th, 2010

So after a bit of an absence due to the Holidays, I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen.  I have a busy January and I am looking forward to cooking for my clients.  I am doing a lot of different things and will even be able to do some projects at home like make chicken stock and packaging my dried herbs.

I am also looking forward to getting healthy this New Year by taking advantage of my home produce delivery and starting my garden much earlier.

I have some interesting trips planned as well, with opportunities to taste great food and drink wines from all over the world.  I will be sure and update as often as I can to pass on some tips and tid bits to you all with the hope of inspiring you to get in the kitchen or try something new in and around the area of Seattle.

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