Monday, October 23, 2006

Local Flavors

Oct. 22, 2006
Hosted by Chris, featuring dishes made with locally grown or locally produced ingredients.

The spread.

Chris' Mediterranean dip made from labne.

Grape juice made from Dianne and Kim's backyard grape arbor.

Becky's Mexican Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats.

The Recipes

From Myrna

Smoked Salmon Stuffed Eggs
From T
he Herbal Kitchen, 2005, by Jerry Traunfeld of The Herbfarm Restaurant

12 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream*
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt*
1/2 cup (3 ounces) diced cold smoked salmon*
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped chervil (or 1 tablespoon dill or 2 teaspoons tarragon)*
fresh ground pepper

Put the eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and remove it from the heat. Excactly 18 minutes later, pour the hot water out and run cold water into the pot until the eggs are cool. Peel the eggs.

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. for a very smooth and creamy filling, push the yolks through a sieve with the back of a spoon; otherwise, just mash them with a fork. Beat in the sour cream and salt, then stir in salmon, fresh herbs and as much black pepper as you like. Spoon the filling back into the hollows of the whites. Cover and refrigerate the eggs until you are ready to serve. Garnish with fresh herbs.
*Note from Myrna
This cookbook is focused on using fresh herbs -- he has an earlier book, The Herbfarm Cookbook. Re ingredients, I used regular sour cream, fresh chives and tarragon. I always use kosher salt in my cooking and lots of fresh ground pepper. His method of hard boiling the eggs was very good -- no discoloration, yolks perfectly cooked and came out easily -- I speared the yolk with a fork to pull out and if needed, used a small spoon to remove any remaining yolk. FYI, I buy 6.5-ounce cans of Portlock wild Alaska smoked sockeye salmon at Costco and keep it on hand for bagels and cream cheese, hors d'oeuvres, and pasta dishes. It's super good and makes a special -- and fast -- pasta entree.

From Dianne and Kim

Ribbon Fruit Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup any flavored jam or preserves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar and vanilla; beat until blended; add flour and baking soda; stir in oats and nuts. Reserve one cup of oat mixture for topping. Press remaining oat mixture into 8-inch square pan. Combine raisins and jam and spread to within one half inch of the edge. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture and press lightly.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes – or until golden brown. Cool in pan and cut into 20 bars.

Roasted Peppers with Garlic

6 sweet bell peppers; red, yellow, green or orange
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin lengthwise
About 12 fresh basil leaves or 4 Italian oregano sprigs 5 inches long
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut peppers on their natural section lines, seed and remove stems. Place in single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet; roast under the broiler until totally blackened. Remove from oven and fold foil over roasted peppers and cool. When you can handle them, remove blackened skin. Slice lengthwise into strips.

Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange about 1/3 of the peppers in the dish; scatter about 1/3 of the garlic and half the herbs over them; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little more oil. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients, ending with garlic and the remaining oil. Add some capers at each of the layers, if desired.

Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 4 hours. The peppers can be made up to 8 hours in advance, but they should be refrigerated. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
When peppers are in season, these garlicky ones are a bright and delicious addition to any meal. Serve them as an appetizer with a crusty loaf of bread, some fresh mozzarella or smoked provolone (or your favorite cheese selection), and a nice red wine; or as a vegetable accompaniment to grills and roasts, or as a salad course. Many variations of this dish are served all over Italy, sometimes capers or anchovies are added, but it is best with lots of garlic.

From Becky,
who also shared salamis from local purveyor Salumi

Mexican Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

1/4 cup low fat butter
1 pkg. (10 oz.) regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups chocolate rice crispies cereal
1 cup broken pecan pieces

Grease well a 9x13 pan with butter. Melt 1/4 cup low fat butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows, and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Add cereal and pecans. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into pan with a sheet of waxed paper or a greased spoon. Let cool, and slice into squares with a greased knife.

From Chris, who is still fine-tuning the recipe...

Recipe inspired by the absolutely fabulous fattoush at Omar Al-Khyam restaurant in Renton, WA.

This is a Lebanese bread salad with toasted pita and fresh vegetables in a lemony dressing. Makes 6-8 side servings.

Juice of 2 lemons, about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons green za'atar (with sesame)
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together, or shake in a jar to combine.

5-6 tomatoes, seeded (about 1 medium per serving)
2-3 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced
1 yellow pepper
1/2 cup gently packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon sumac
8-oz. package of Mediterranean Zatar pita chips*

Break the pita and cut the tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepper into bite-size pieces or slightly larger. About 15 minutes before serving, combine prepared vegetables in bowl, add enough dressing to coat, and toss well. Add mint and sumac and toss again gently. Add the pita just before serving so that it doesn't get soggy.

*I used pita chips from the Pita King Bakery in Everett ( that I found at Central Market in Shoreline. But you could make your own -- toss in olive oil, salt/pepper, and za'atar before baking.

Middle Eastern Dips
Courtesy of chef Wahid

Serve both of these dips with fresh or crisp pita wedges, and/or with cut veggies.

In a small bowl or ramekin, mix green za'atar with olive oil in equal proportions (for example, 1 tablespoon za'atar with 1 tablespoon olive oil).

In a small serving bowl or on a plate with a lip, spoon labne (prepared Middle Eastern yogurt cheese) and flatten it slightly. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle sumac on top.
Za'atar and sumac are commonly used in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cooking. Green za'atar is usually composed of wild thyme and/or wild oregano mixed with toasted white sesame seeds and salt. Sumac has a nice fruity-tart flavor that is not quite as overpowering as lemon. Try it sprinkled on any dish on which you would squeeze fresh lemon juice. Za'atar and sumac can be found at Middle Eastern groceries. (I found both at Byblos Mini Market in Lynnwood.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Chow Babe Brunch

Brunch invitaion, 2004.

The Tea Party

The Tea Party, Bainbridge Island, WA, 2003. The tea party's main attraction were the elaborate hats we all made for the ocassion.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

About Chow Babes

We are a small group of women gather to share food, recipes and friendship.