Beef Stew on a Snowy Evening

November 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

Could there have been a better night for beef stew?  Monday’s snow-pocalypse made it the perfect night to hunker down with a bowl of daube.  I know a few of you weren’t able to fetch your dinners last night – don’t worry, it will be even more delicious today!  Dinner deliveries were made on schedule, thanks to the intrepid Panacea delivery vehicle (that would be my Subaru Impreza).  I felt that I was on a mission of mercy – delivering nourishing meals to hungry, housebound families throughout south Seattle.  Cue the trumpets.

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Picture This

November 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

One sign of a busy Monday is that there is hardly any photographic evidence of the day.  When we’re racing to puree soup and whip up French dressing, who has time to snap pics of the proceedings?  Not I!  So I’ll have to paint  the scene with words… On Sunday I made vegetable stock, and that was captured on film.  I love this stuff!  I love great meat stock, too, but this is undeniably easier to make, and much less messy.  Fragrant and lovely – and check out the color!  Roasted vegetables make all the difference.

JM & Owen were the masterminds behind the twice-baked taters. I think they turned out very nicely – overstuffed and fluffy.  The potato was mashed with chevre and tarragon, then topped with parmesan.  At dinnertime I reheated them in the oven until the the tops were golden.  That took longer than we had expected – sorry if you had wait toooo long for yours, too.

The wonderful vegetable stock became the base for tomato soup with fennel.  First, we browned fennel, onion, & tomato on the stove – that helped deepen the flavors.  After the vegetables simmered with the stock,  we pureed the batch with a hand blender.  I wasn’t up to the Vitamix!  A cook has to know her limits.

Finally, we served a retro salad with JM’s fancy french dressing.  It could have been bottled, it was that authentic.  My mom said it sent her back to 1959, and she would know.  I won’t lie, I’m a vinaigrette girl at heart, but I admire that dressing. Ingenuity with ketchup. God bless America!




Slurp Your Vegetables

November 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Earlier in the week I made a very robust vegetable stock.  Roasting the vegetables before they simmered in water was key, and the results were great – like the difference between a roasted carrot and a boiled carrot.  I simmered the stock for 45 minutes or so, removed the vegetables, and then simmered the stock some more.  It reduced down to a dark, strongly flavored broth which I froze in 1/2 cup containers.  This will be an amazing base for sauces and complex soups.  It also turned out to be a fantastic centerpiece for a quickie lunch.  I defrosted the stock and added 1.5C of water.  I raided the fridge for a little bit of this (sliced carrots, shredded kale) and a little bit of that (those noodles my kids didn’t finish).  Everything simmered together for 5 minutes,  I added some shredded parmesan, and sluuuuurp. It was souper.

Panacea Luvs Columbia City Bakery

November 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m lucky enough to live in South Seattle, and it’s easy for me to pop into Columbia City Bakery on Rainier Ave to buy loaves of the best bread in the city.  And the occasional cookie.  And sometimes a sandwich.  In the summertime, CC Bakery is at quite a few farmers markets, ensuring that even people that live in far flung neighborhoods (like Queen Anne, or Magnolia) have access to top quality bread.  It’s a mission of mercy.  Now the good people at Columbia City Bakery are taking things one step further – they’ve started a CSB (Community Supported Bakery).  You can hand-pick glorious breads and pastries to be delivered to your neighborhood.  Check out their site and spread the good news!

We wanted a piece of this action – bringing awesome baked goods straight to you.  Panacea will be offering loaves of Columbia City bread and desserts to add on to your dinner.  Artisan bread, freshly baked Monday morning and devoured Monday night.  That’s nice.  If you’ve prepaid for a month of meals, don’t hesitate to add on a loaf or some cookies if you want to.  We’ll bill you at the end of the month.

And now, a testimonial… This week we received a wonderful message from a customer, and she said it would be fine to share it on our blog.  It’s a great story :

‘…I have been meaning to write and tell you how AMAZING Monday’s dinner was!  That sauce on the chicken!  It brought back a great memory:  In 2006, we went to Italy with friends and we ate some braised boar in a little hill town called Castellina en Chianti.  When we were done, the waiter came to take the serving platter, but we all erupted in protest because he was taking the remaining dribbles of sauce away and that. Sauce. Was. Good. He was delighted by our enthusiasm and ran off to the kitchen to bring us more bread, some of the “molto meglio” olive oil and proceeded to show us how true Italians wipe their plates clean.  He put four chunks of bread down on the sauce and then sprinkled it with the olive oil, some salt and pepper and then cut the bread up into bite sized pieces, tossed it like a salad and brought us four clean forks. “Scarpetta” he called it, miming that we sop up the sauce with these oily, salty bread chunks.  Since then, whenever there is a bit of heavenly sauce left on our plates, as there was on Monday, we turn it into scarpetta — and that Columbia city loaf was perfect for it! ”

I will be trying this technique pronto.  Simple genius.

You Don’t Scare Me, Romanesco Cauliflower!

November 2, 2010 § 2 Comments

Yesterday we cooked Pollo di Casseroula, Roasted Potatoes, and Romanesco Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs.  The chicken was baked in a sauce of tomatoes, capers, & white wine.  The secret ingredient – mayo. My husband, Owen, was the mastermind behind this dish and he would prefer I call it aioli.  Best Foods aioli.  It was whisked in at the very end to add a creaminess to the sauce.  My finicky 5 year old ate her chicken up before she even had a chance to think of something to complain about. And that’s fast.

My great discovery this week was Romanesco Cauliflower.  I’ve looked sideways at this vegetable for a long time.  You can’t help but stare, really. What ARE you?  Last week one showed up in my CSA box, and it was time to figure out how to cook it.  So I called JM’s husband, John.  He’s a chef and he knows about these things.  He was like, you know, just cook it.  Apply heat.  Blanch it.  Easy.  And it really was.  When you cut this vegetable in half you see it’s got a pretty big core.  Do not discard!  This core is not tough like a ‘normal’ cauliflower stem.  It’s not even as tough as a broccoli stem. It’s sweet and nutty.  We cut each head into 8 or so pieces, tossed them with olive oil and roasted them in a 400 degree oven.  They cooked really fast – 15 min.  We served ours with toasted panko bread crumbs tossed with lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.  Another great preparation is to blanch them – they keep their vibrant green color.  I think Romanesco would be great blanched, chilled, and served with some sort of creamy dressing. But I don’t think Panacea can served Romanesco twice in one month – people would talk.  So let me know if you try it at home. Be bold!

Catching Up on Kitchen Notes

November 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

Life is whizzing by these days. Last week I spent more time than usual at my girls’ school, reveling in Harvest Fest 2010.  It was a ton of fun. When I looked up, my hair was full of hay and three days had gone by.  Whoa.  I didn’t get a chance to post the pics and reminiscences of the dinner we cooked October 25.  So, let’s turn back the hands of time…

Dinner that week was Pork Picadillo, Poblano Rajas, Delicata Squash Salad & Rice.  It was a feast! We started Sunday with a big box of beautiful poblanos.  I put them right on the gas flame to peel of the skin – snap, crackle, pop!  It look a long while, but we peeled those peppers.  At the end of it all our ginormous box of poblanos had been transformed into a modest-sized bowl of roasted peppers. Hmm.  The rajas were absolutely delicious – roasted peppers sauteed with onion, cream & mexican cheese – and I think they really complemented the picadillo.

We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about the picadillo, and I’m sure we’ll make it again someday.  First of all I just love saying ‘peek-a-dee-yo’. Also, I’m a fan of these sorts of dishes (you have no idea what you’re eating, but it just tastes so good).  Would you believe me if I told you it was diced pork with nectarine, banana, dried apricot… would you? « Read the rest of this entry »

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