What I ate on my PNW vacation… (Part 2; Seattle)

When I vacation, my main goal is to try as many amazing restaurants as possible. Last week I posted about the food I had while in Tacoma and today we’re talking about Seattle. This is good stuff, ya’ll! (If you missed my Tacoma post, you can check it out right here, and you can read about Portland tomorrow)

Seattle-EatsWhat I ate on my PNW vacation… (Part 2; Seattle)

SEATTLE

Piroshki Piroshki

Delicious, delicious, delicious. I have never had a piroskhi so I’m going to assume you haven’t either. It’s a sweet or savory hand pie made with the most insanely flaky crust and a variety of fillings. I tried the beef and cheese (good) and the mushroom, chicken, and rice (mind-blowing). Eat it on a curb while people watching at the Pike Place Fish Market.

Il Corvo

This is the best meal I’ve eaten in my entire life. I didn’t even know food could taste this good. Every day the menu changes and features 3-4 scratch made pastas with the most incredibly well-executed sauces. We ordered two of the three choices on the menu for the day and it was so good that even when I got hungry I didn’t want to eat again because I knew that no food would be as good as these dishes. For only $9 a bowl I feel like I practically stole this meal and I cannot believe how upset I am that this place exists so far away from my home. Go there immediately.

Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Not really a full restaurant but that’s okay. The team at RGB create an array of seasonal, fresh brewed ginger beers that are unlike any soda I’ve ever had. They aren’t too sweet and feature flavors such as white peach and hibiscus. It was an excellent refresher for a hot afternoon and I can’t even imagine how delicious it would be with some booze in it (Gin…I’m lookin’ at you!)

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Cheddar, Bacon, Beer Soup

I started this year on an extremely cheesy note.  No, seriously I ate copious amounts of cheese and it was amazing.  This is a soup I’ve made once before but this time I tweaked it and took it to a whole other level of amazing.  Trust me, you want to make this soup.  The fact that it utilizes three of my favorite things is just the icing on the cake!  Or should I say the bacon on the beer!?  This is the ultimate comfort soup.

Bacon, Beer, Cheddar Soup

Cheddar, Bacon & Beer Soup

 recipe adapted from Delish

what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of bacon, diced and fried
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 bottle (12-oz) of Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Banana, & Peanut Butter Ale
  • 2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups(ish) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bacon, Beer, Cheddar Soup

How to do it:

  1. Fry your bacon and reserve 3 tablespoons of the grease.
  2. Add your celery, onion, jalapeno, garlic, and thyme to the grease and saute for about 8 minutes (or until soft).
  3. Add 8 oz. of the beer to the vegetable mixture and allow it to reduce by about half.  Then add the chicken broth and bring it to a simmer.
  4. While your soup base simmers, mix up a roux.  Melt your butter in a small saucepan and whisk in your flour until it is slightly browned.  Mix the roux into your veggie mixture.
  5. Once the soup is thickened, pour in the heavy cream and begin adding your cheese one cup at a time.  Taste test your soup often and stop when it’s cheesy enough for you!  This varies depending on each person so testing as you go is KEY.  I used around 4 cups for this batch but go with your gut.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste then serve it up over your favorite kind of pasta.  I use oversized noodles from a local gourmet grocery.  Get creative!  It goes really well over rice as well.

Bacon, Beer, Cheddar Soup

San Tan Brewery

I debated about whether or not to file this as an “Eating Arizona” post.  This recipe utilizes a craft beer from this sunny state but technically it was prepared in my backyard so it’s sort of a mix between Eating Arizona and “Shit my dad cooks”.  I’ll get to the recipes in a minute but first, some back story.

My dad and I generally get the groceries together because we both approach shopping the same way.  We slowly meander through the aisles sampling things, reading labels, and trying to find unique ingredients with which we can cook new and interesting meals.  This weekend we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some cheese and bulk items when we got horribly sidetracked by a salesperson from San Tan Brewery offering free beer samples and brisket mac n’ cheese.  This mac n’ cheese was UN-REAL!  I’ve never had such a cheesy, comfort-foody, slightly tangy bite in my mouth and I immediately turned to see my dad making the same “ohhhhhh wow this is delicious” face.  The San Tan Salesman offered to give us a few recipes from their brewery that both utilize their brews as well as pairing well with their flavors.  Count me in.  Below is the recipe I chose.  If you live in a state where San Tan’s beers are unavailable choose a craft.

San Tan Smoked Chicken

This is an ale smoked chicken with a sonoran desert rub and the amount of delicious it is cannot be quantified.

San Tan Smoked Chicken

This recipe is not my own, but for me to keep it from you is truly sinful.  So, I give it to you…

San Tan Brewery Sonoran Smoked Chicken

ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (you can use pork as well for an equally delicious dinner)
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Granulated Onion
  • 1 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano

Make the magic happen:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 200 degrees F. (if you’re using an oven preheat to 350)
  2. Use one whole chicken, discard the giblets inside, and rinse it off.
  3. Sprinkle your rub all over the chicken.  Give your chicken a serious massage–get that flavor in there!
  4. If using a smoker, pop open your beer & insert it, full, into the cavity of the meat.  If you’re using an oven, drink 1/3 – 1/2 of your beer before inserting it into the cavity.
  5. Place the beer can chicken into your smoker or oven and start cookin’.  If you’re using a smoker this should take around 6 hours though cook times will vary depending on the type and weight of the meat you chose.  In the oven cook for 1.5 hours at 35o.
  6. When your chicken has about an hour to go, start prep on some baked mac n’ cheese for the side.  I used this recipe but mixed cheddar and mozzarella and sprinkled some bread crumbs on the top.  It was the perfect side to this meal.

I’m all about the baked mac now that I’ve been reminded of how much I love it so stay tuned for a companion recipe to this meal.  Do you all eat baked mac’ n cheese?  What do you like to add to your recipe?

Classic Margherita Pizza

I adore pizza.  It’s one of those foods where you can eat it a million different ways.  Just make a basic dough and pile on whatever sounds good to you at that moment.  You can make sweet pizzas, savory pizzas, pizzas with lots of ethnic spices, and pizzas that are simple but perfect.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I tend to order the same thing whenever I go out because I’m always trying to find the best version of my favorites.  My absolute favorite pizza is margherita pizza but I’ve found that 9 out of 10 restaurants absolutely butcher this Italian classic.  Most places slice average-tasting tomatoes and arrange it on a bed of shredded mozzarella cheese from a bag then add some ribbons on basil at the end for a sad, wilted finish.  I am almost always disappointed by this pizza but when its done right it is the most amazing thing you’ll ever taste.  It leaves you wanting more.  Dare I compare it to cocaine?

Margherita Pizza

So after being let down by one too many margherita pizzas, I decided to just make my own.  And you know what?  It turned out beautifully.  I’m no longer reliant on questionable margherita pizzas from strange restaurants.  When I have a craving I can just make my own!

Margherita Pizza

Classic Margherita Pizza

ingredients:
for the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (I microwave mine for 30 seconds and find this to be the perfect temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

on top:

  • 14.28oz can of San Marzano Tomatoes
  • light drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 slices of prosciutto
  • fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • fresh basil to taste (8-10 large leaves)

make some magic happen:

1) Start by making your crust.  First activate your yeast in your warm (not boiling!) water.  Next, combine the dry ingredients and pour the water/yeast concoction into it.  Add the olive oil and stir until the dough mostly forms a ball.  It won’t be perfect but most of the large clumps should have formed.  Dump the contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for a minute or two until it forms a large ball.  Lightly coat the outside with olive oil, place it back in the bowl you mixed it in, and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let it sit for a couple hours until it doubles in size.  Next, punch it down, knead the ball for another minute, then allow it to rest for 20 more minutes.

2) While your dough is resting the second time, start preheating your oven.  Turn it up as hot as it will go–the hotter the better.  If possible, preheat your oven to 500.

3) You can start prepping your toppings.  One of the best parts about this recipe is the simplicity in it.  Pull the whole tomatoes out of the can and put them in a bowl.  I found it easiest to just crush them with my hands.  Set them aside.

4) Roll out your dough onto a floured pizza stone, coat with a drizzle of olive oil, then pour the crushed tomatoes on top.  Place your slices of mozzarella around the pizza then tear off pieces of prosciutto to fill in the blank spaces.  I like to tear the prosciutto with my hands because it gives the pizza a more rustic look and is much easier to eat in the end.  Because San Marzano tomatoes have such incredible flavor, I chose to forgo salt and pepper.    If you are unable to find San Marzano tomatoes you might need to add seasoning to taste.

5) Bake your pizza for 10 minutes.  The crust will bubble and turn a gorgeous golden color and the cheese will melt into the crushed tomatoes.  It’s a really beautiful pizza!  Top your finished pizza with as much fresh basil as your heart desires then dig in.