Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dinner at Tilth

It takes me a while to get around to trying fine dining places. When the weekend rolls around, often all I want is something comfortable, and with a really good IPA on tap. Something you don't typically find at fine dining. Well, after hearing so much about Tilth, we finally decided to get over there and give it a go. I had high expectations, but even so, this place still totally blew me out of the water. What a gem!

Let's begin - first, it's along the main strip in the uber-cute neighborhood of Wallingford, which I lived in when I went to college and have a total soft spot for. It's in a renovated house, and it's a little noisy, a little cozy, but once the food arrives, you won't care.

Our friendly and attentive (but not pushy) waiter recommended splitting 6 of the small courses between the two of us, which I found fantastic, because I love splitting small plates! I can't comment about the wine, because I don't order wine much when I go out, but the food was fantastic.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baby Artichokes with Bread Crumbs and Almonds

I love fresh artichokes. I've grown up eating the giant thistles, steamed until tender, dipping the meaty ends of the leaves into melted butter and scraping off the good stuff. And the heart is the best part, I would carefully scrape off each tuft of fluff, leaving the heart as intact as possible, so as not to waste any. They were always such a treat!

So when I saw a giant package of baby artichokes at Trader Joe's, I couldn't resist. I had never had baby artichokes before, I had no idea what I would do with them, or even exactly how you prepared them, but I took them home anyway.

So after poking around for recipes, and not finding too many, I decided to wing it. A crunchy topping sounded like a good idea, so I grabbed some old bread I'd stashed in the freezer. I was actually going to use pine nuts, but it seems I was out, so I subbed in blanched almonds - which turned out to be a great idea! And of course, lemon has to go in there somewhere. It all turned out really good - and very simple.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Asian-inspired Turkey Burgers with Cabbage Slaw

It's always really nice when you throw some things together in a clean-out-the-fridge kind of moment, mostly hoping for something simply edible, and you end up with something so delicious, you make it again and again. Tonight was one of those nights. I'd had some gai-lan (Chinese broccoli, which is sooooo good) languishing in the fridge. Half of a sad cucumber. An old half-head of cabbage. I knew I needed to use these up, so an a-ha moment came on - I had some hamburger buns and some ground turkey in the fridge that I had randomly picked up but hadn't had any plans for - what about turkey burgers with a cabbage-cucumber-cilantro slaw?

I threw a couple of my favorite Asian condiments, plus ginger and green onion, into my basic turkey burger recipe and was exceptionally pleased. They had a ton of flavor, and were so moist and tender! And these had no cheese, but you won't mind. Slap these on a whole-wheat bun, and you have a super-lean and healthy burger that tastes great. These will definitely go into standard rotation.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Steak and Arugula Salad

Hooray for summer! That means wonderful fresh fruit and veggies, and lots of salads. I love salads, they're fresh and crisp, and you can throw in whatever you've got, and you've got a pretty good chance of it coming out good for little time and effort. Bonus 1: lots of veggies, so lots of vitamins, it's good for you. Bonus 2: no to little cooking! And when it's over 80 degrees inside, because there is no A/C in Seattle, that counts for a lot.

This is one of my favorite salads. It's a snap to put together, and it's got steak and crispy shallots, 2 man-pleasing ingredients. It's budget-conscious since it stretches a steak -- you only need about 4 oz per person. It's pretty simple, so don't skip the crispy shallots, they really add a lot of dimension to the dish.

I'm giving approximate amounts - this is salad, after all - feel free to tweak as you like.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Bounty Hash

I think this is my favorite summer meal. I might declare something else my favorite later on, but for right now, this is it. Light and loaded with sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, delicate fingerlings and herbs, a little bit of crispy bacon for texture and salty pork goodness if you like, and an egg to round it out, it brings together some of the best of summer in one easy, but super delicious, dish. And please excuse my egg; they can't turn out perfect every time!

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Semifreddo with Caramel Sauce

This is such a snap to put together, and has a luscious taste of vanilla and brown sugar. It has all the components of ice cream - egg yolks and cream - but none of the cooling and churning. Plus, my ice cream always seems to turn out icy if not immediately consumed - this stayed nice and creamy. I highly suggest chilling the serving plates - this stuff melts quickly, and it will buy you time to serve to your guests, or at least keep your own serving from melting before you're halfway done.

For something that's even richer than ice cream, it has an amazingly light and fluffy texture.