Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Serious Pie and Merry Christmas!

Have you ever had a meal where you had to stop, close your eyes, and just take a long moment to memorize every little flavor and texture you are experiencing so you can remember it on a gross-week-old-leftover night? I realize not everyone out there who is reading this may be foodies; my analogy would be going on a trip where the scenery is beautiful, or you are enjoying a peaceful moment, and you must truly take in the moment so you can look back on it when you return to the real world.

Anyways, Serious Pie was this moment for me. We went out for Calvin's birthday and waited 2 hours before we could be seated. We all said, "this better be worth it." And boy was it.

Serious Pie is one of the newest restaurants by Seattle-Celebrity Chef, Tom Douglas. One of my best friends, Carmen and Jamie, got married at the Palace Ballroom which is a part of this franchise and the food at that wedding was so good I'd hardly call it wedding food.

Serious Pie is a gourmet pizza restaurant that is about the size of an average living room. It has about 7 long tables that remind me of an upscale cafeteria. It is dark and the smells that come out of the real stone pizza oven fill the place up with a delicious, yet not overwhelming, aroma. Because there are so few tables, the line is out the door and there are no reservations. We did find out that they do take-out, so I think next time we might opt for that to avoid the long wait! is what you really care about, the food:

This dish was simply amazing. The waiter recommended it as his favorite dish on the menu and I can see why. It is Brussels sprouts with tender and crispy pork belly. I loved it so much that the next night I ran to Central Market and picked up frozen pork belly and Brussels sprouts and have been attempting to make it. The true test is Christmas, where I am planning on bringing a knock-off as a yummy appetizer. If I finally get it, I will post the recipe.

We all ordered different pizzas and did the good ol' lunch-room swap-a-roo. Kyle and I were lucky to be able to barter as a couple--which meant we got to try every pizza!

These pictures just don't do justice to the heavenly delight we experienced. I was trying to be artistic and get a good shot, but it was just too dark to get a nice one. This is my AMAZING chantrelle mushroom and truffle cheese pizza. It was my favorite on the menu. The crust is so scrumptious and has a salty kick. I have decided that when Kyle and I make pizza at home, I am going to add some kosher salt to the flour to try to emulate Tom's serious pies.

Our friend Pert is such a pig--he ordered TWO pies for himself. Can you believe that?? I'm kidding--Kyle and I instigated it and suggested we order 4 between the three of us so we can try extra pizzas! Above is the salumi pizza--a great, meaty pizza.

Here is pizza #2 that Steve also ordered: the cherry bomb tomato and sausage pizza. It is apparently one of the most popular pies on the menu.

Here is the grand finale--this pizza was on the cover of Seattle Metropolitan magazine and is one of the signature pies of the restaurant. The waiter said they start with an olive oil base, then put several pieces of top quality bacon on top. They stick it in the oven to crisp the bacon. Then, they crack two fresh eggs over the pie and put it in the oven until the eggs set, and are still soft in the middle. Then they top it with dandelion leaves and Parmesan cheese. If you go to Serious Pie, this is a must-try! You'll never have anything like it anywhere else!

Happy Birthday Calvin!

Also, I want to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for being a part of our lives through this silly blog with a whooping 9 followers (we love all 9 of you)! 2009 was definitely full of challenges for everyone, but Kyle and I hope that you all have a peaceful and happy holiday and a 2010 full of health, happiness, and great food.

Happy Eating,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Roast Chicken Recipes

As I have blogged before, I'm a big fan of chicken and more specifically roast chicken. Nothing beats the smell of a crisped, browned, juicy chicken coming out of the oven. So recently I found a few new recipes that I wanted to try out and here are the results.

The first chicken I made was the Barefoot Contessa's Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken. The only thing I did different compared to the recipe was I rubbed Hawaiian sea salt and black pepper underneath the skin. All you do is loosen the skin from the body and then rub in the salt and pepper. I feel the chicken comes out juicier and more flavorful.

The chicken, stuffed full of a few halved heads of garlic, fresh thyme, halved lemons, salt, and pepper. The obvious draw to this recipe is the fat layer of bacon that coats the chicken throughout most of the cooking process. Also I was happy because I was able to utilize our All-Clad baking dish which was on our registry specifically for meals like this.

The golden, brown finished product, which came out juicy with a great garlicky, lemon taste from the heads of garlic and lemon that were baked with it. However I made an amateur mistake and only took the internal temperature from the thigh and not from the breast, so unfortunately I pulled it out of the oven too early and it wasn't cooked all the way through. We ended up eating the dark meat and some of the white meat and I used the rest of the chicken for what turned out to be a great chicken noodle soup.

Greyson my guinea pig.

Meal #2 was the Chicken with Roasted Grapes and Shallots. I found this recipe in Bon Appetit. I made this meal for Emi and my parents at their house.

I included dark purple grapes, red grapes, and green grapes in this recipe. After the grapes bake they give you a very unique flavor. They retain their sweetness, but also gain the flavors from the chicken, seasonings, and shallots.

The finished product, chopped up, and ready to be served.

My Mom provided the salad and soup, and we provided the wine and chicken and the after dinner clean up.

Emi also tried out her new ice cream maker (gifted by one of our very generous friends) and made a simple vanilla ice cream.

The ice cream went perfectly with my Mom's homemade pumpkin pie which was a great way to end our feast.

Of the two recipes, I think the Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken was the best. However the 2nd dish was super easy to make, so if you have the time go for the first one and if you don't have as much time the 2nd one is the way to go.

- Kyle

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lunchbox Laboratory with Calvin

Calvin is back in town for the holidays and his birthday. On Friday I took the day off from work to celebrate his birthday with him. We started the day off by going to Lunchbox Laboratory in Ballard. For those of you unfamiliar with Lunchbox Laboratory it's basically a gourmet hamburger hole in the wall type of restaurant. They have two busted up communal tables that everyone crams into and you definitely leave the place smelling like a greasy burger, but the experience is awesome and the food is inspiring. Where else can you buy a Dork (duck+pork) burger or order a side of fries and have over 5 different salt options to accompany them.

A few words of warning, their hours are sort of random, they always have a line out the door, and gourmet means expensive so expect your meal to be between $15-$20 per person for a burger, side, and a drink. Also drink lots of water afterwards.

I ordered a Mexican Coke (made with cane sugar), skinny fries (I was boring and opted for plain ol Kosher salt, but it was very tasty), and my "Homage to the Dick's Deluxe". For those of you not from Seattle, Dick's is like Seattle's In N Out. My burger consisted of ground beef, tons of bacon, a sweet onion relish, American cheese, and special sauce on an awesome greasy tasty bun.

A close up of the bad boy. I was stuffed after the meal, but happy I was able to try something new on their menu. Obviously not the healthiest of meals, but after one giant burger you'll probably need to take a break for a little while before you're ready to go back.

Calvin got the tater tots with the Asian salt (smoky, Green tea salt), and the White Trash Burger. I'm pretty sure his burger was dork, American cheese, bacon, and a few other things that I don't remember.

We definitely had a great, filling meal and enjoyed the quirkiness of the establishment that you should experience at least once along with the food. I highly recommend this spot to anyone with visitors from out of town who are looking for a unique Seattle experience.

Also check out this random Flickr account I found that documents someone who made twenty trips to Lunchbox Laboratory in one month and all of the different burgers he ate.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lobster with Black Bean Sauce

Kyle did a post a couple weeks ago on my dad's lobster and Chinese food feast he made for us. We got some requests for the recipe, so I thought I'd post it instead of replying in the comments section since it might get lost that way. Thanks so much for all your kind comments--the ultimate compliment are requests for recipes or recommendations for restaurants! We also love our guest bloggers or the recipe/cooking tips you add to our blog. It helps us get one more step closer to quiting the day job for a dream job at the Travel Channel or Food Network!

Lobster with Black Bean Sauce
A Steve Sumida Original Recipe

4 spiny lobster tails
¼ lb unseasoned ground pork
1 to 2 tablespoons Chinese salted black beans (dau see)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 thin slices fresh ginger, slivered
2 stalks green onion, sliced thin
½ cup chicken broth or stock
¼ cup coarsely minced cilantro
Soy sauce, salt, and pepper
1 raw egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons oil (Asian peanut oil is preferred, such as Lion and Globe brand)

Cut each lobster tail into 3 or 4 pieces, crosswise, or split lengthwise.
Lightly season the ground pork with salt and pepper.
Rinse and drain the dau see. Add one to two tablespoons of soy sauce. (A splash of Chinese rice wine or dry sherry can also be added, for more flavor.) Mash the dau see mixture lightly with minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of the green onion.

Heat the oil to smoking in a wok or large pan.
Quickly stir fry the ground pork. Break up the lumps, but do not scorch.
Add and stir fry the lobster pieces. Add the ginger. With just enough oil, smoking hot, the lobster shells should glaze up and shine.
Add the dau see mixture and the remaining green onion. Stir everything.
Add the chicken broth, boil quickly, and cover for a minute.
Add the beaten egg and stir. This should thicken the sauce. If more thickness is desired, add a couple of tablespoons of a cornstarch slurry.
Transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Notes: So-called “lobster sauce” is basically a stir-fried mix of ground pork, chicken broth, and black beans with minced garlic. It is cooked with lobster but contains no lobster by itself. Two live Maine lobsters may substitute for the four spiny lobster tails. Split each lobster lengthwise, head and tail, and adjust seasonings to fit the larger pieces. King crab and Dungeness crab can also be cooked this way.

Happy Eating,


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fred Hutch Gala

Kyle and I had the great pleasure and honor of being invited to attend our first black tie affair this weekend: the Fred Hutch Holiday Gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Seattle. The Fred Hutch sure knows how to throw a good party—they didn’t miss a step, with an open bar, wine tasting room, amazing silent and live auction—and of course, great food. All to support a very important cause: cancer research.

I recently got involved in the Fred Hutch’s Innovators Network through a friend at work who was one of the founding members. The group is for those under 45 who believe in the Hutch's mission and to help with fundraising efforts with the younger generations since the majority of contributors are above the age of 45.

The gala was beautiful with blue uplighting in the cocktail reception area, chevari chairs, and different levels of seating with the use of stages. We were at the "kids table" with the "IN" (Innovators) Group.

Our first course: Roasted Wild Bass with caramelized artichoke, heirloom carrots and Italian truffle cream. The sauce was delicious and I had the urge to literally lick my plate clean--but I refrained. Us commoners would typically ask for bread to sop it up! I didn't want to reveal myself as a non-elite!

Second Course: Garden Rocket Salad with dried sour cherries, pink peppercorn crusted goat cheese, pecan nougatine, and buttermilk dressing. In the dim lighting, we all thought the cheese was a radish! I ate it all in one bite, and although the bite was phenomenal, I wish I would have spread the love throughout the dish...

Main Course: Filet Mignon with horseradish havarti glace, Italian and golden beets, smoked sea salt whipped bliss potatoes, portobello, brussels sprouts, and syrah sauce...phew, that is a mouthful of a name, and it was also a very scrumptious mouthful of food!

Us with Elisha, my fabulous co-worker who got us involved in the group. They passed out champagne in glass beakers that were presented and chilled in an ice-filled champagne glass--very cute idea!

Alternating dessert #1: White chocolate wrapped orange and casis mousse; Orange sorbet with orange and currant syrup and blackberry sauce.

Alternating dessert #2: Molten chocolate cake with merlot syrup; Chocolate pot de creme with chocolate stick. The desserts were perfect for Kyle and I since I love chocolate and he loves fruit desserts.

Fun idea for entertaining: Bring out a platter of garnishes and add-ons for your guests to put in their coffee or tea. Above are Cinnamon sticks, fresh whipped cream, raw sugar, and chocolate sticks.

Kyle looking snazzy in his tux!

Our "kids" table!

John Curley (the old Evening magazine host) was the emcee--we are also posing with Jim Devers, another Evening Magazine co-host who informed us that Megan Black (KING 5 Traffic Reporter) will be the new official Evening Magazine host. We got to find that out one day before they announced it on TV--I almost went to to give the scoop, but I guess it isn't that interesting to non-Seattlites...

There was a white and dark chocolate fondue fountain with all the fixings to dip in the flowing bit of heaven.

Although the photos above all highlight the fun and festive evening, it is also important to point out again that the whole evening was to support cancer research and this great organization. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Innovators Network, or supporting the Fred Hutch, please feel free to comment below or contact me!
Happy Eating,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving Feasts

This post is not as timely as I would have liked to have made it, but hey, better late than never, right?? I figure with Christmas still around the corner and many different parties on most people’s calendar, it is still appropriate to post about my favorite food holiday: THANKSGIVING. And boy, am I thankful for thanksgiving. How can you go wrong with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more gravy? I love it.

Thanksgiving was the holiday that sparked my interest in cooking. Several years ago, rather than sleeping in and only helping clean and hand out drinks to guests, I decided to roll up the sleeves and learn how to make my dad’s famous turkey. I discovered that not only is it fun to cook (you get to be quality control and taste the food as it is being made!) but it is also not as hard as you would think.

I have posted photos of our weekend that is worthy of a couple posts—but for simplicity’s sake, I will condense it to just this one.

Us with Kyle's grandparents and Uncle Dale...This was taken pre food-coma at our FIRST of two thanksgiving meals in one day...

Carving up that big ol' turkey!

Here is a recipe for the best stuffing you have ever tasted:

Step One (the most important step): You have to use giblets--I know some people may think it is gross, but it is essential in order to get a great and full flavor to the dish. Make sure to use a very sharp knife in order to cut the giblets into very small pieces.

Also dice up about 15 crimini mushrooms, 3-4 stalks of celery, and one medium sweet onion.

Step Two: Get a wok or a large frying pan VERY hot and add some olive oil and half a stick of unsalted butter. Put giblets in and cook. Add veggies in and stir fry until onions are tender and liquid begins to cook out and evaporate. Add a couple tablespoons of sage, salt and pepper to taste (I recommend using kosher salt since it adds more flavor that table salt).

In the mean time, boil about 4 potatoes (depending on turkey size, that is for a large turkey). Once they are tender, drain and peel. Mash the potatoes and add the giblet/veggie mixture to the potatoes and mix together and add salt and pepper to taste. Potatoes should remain chunky and not too smooth of a texture to get a robust end product.

Stuff the turkey right before roasting, if you do this too early, you are at risk for a very bad food borne illness--this is why many people do not choose to stuff turkeys.

If you are not willing to take the risk (although their is big rewards, the stuffing is so yummy when it is flavored by the bird!) you can put the potato/giblet/veggie mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

I have another recipe that I will include, and it is for my mom’s delicious and addicting candied yams. If you are interested in any other recipes, feel free to leave a comment, and I will follow up!

Step One: Bake yams in 350 degree oven until they are tender. Slice up and put in large baking dish. Cover with 1/2 - 1 cup brown sugar.

Step two: Pour about 1/2 cup of orange juice over yams and brown sugar (the better the OJ, the better the results! We used fresh squeezed OJ).

Step Three: Cover with mini-marshmallows (optional, if you don't like marshmallows). Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy these yummy yams!

We finished off our two meals with some homemade vanilla and egg nog ice cream I made to compliment our many pumpkin, apple, and other pies, cakes and treats. One of my best friends, Becca, gave me an ice cream maker that I have had a lot of fun with lately. I will post some more concoctions and my favorite recipes soon!

Happy Eating and Happy Holidays to all,