Sunday, May 30, 2010


This month's Chocolate with Francois challenge was his recipe for chocolate blinis. Linda from Diva Weigh chose this recipe and I'm so glad that she did .  I never made sweet blinis before and thought it would be similar to the savory ones I've made in the past. I was very wrong-the recipe itself was very easy to put together and the batter was so rich and delicious.  My challenge was flipping the blinis and gauging when they were ready to be flipped.  The little edges were bubbling and calling out to me, flip me, flip me. So I would try to flip and the chocolate would come oozing out from all edges.  My official tester enjoyed the blini mistakes and even though they looked all mushed and wrinkled like little chocolate baby cakes they still tasted incredibly rich.

 I try to  imagine the first person who decided  it would be a great idea to combine chocolate with eggs and create a chocolate blini.  Can you imagine the look on their face when they got the combination of ingredients just right and took that first bite.  That soft cake like exterior and the creamy chocolate interior.  These don't need butter or syrup,they are perfect just plain. But I thought wouldn't some caramelized bananas and a side of whipped cream just send them over the top?  And yes it did-what a natural combination of flavors.  This was my Sunday night dinner- I know it's not very healthy and certainly doesn't meet any food pyramid recommendations.  But it does meet my criteria and that's when in doubt eat chocolate ! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daring Baker's Challenge - Croquembouche

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
It's amazing what a little over confidence can do to you-I love pate a choux-and I thought I was pretty good at making eclairs, swans and cream puffs using the choux.  So when I saw this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge-I thought great no problem ,piece of cake.  Ha-the choux was the least of my worries-it was the building of the piece montee that was my downfall!  You see Seattle and caramel glaze do not a marriage make-especially during Spring rain showers.  I was so proud of my little piece montee and couldn't wait to get up at the crack of dawn to photograph it-figuring I would have some great early morning light.  Well imagine my surprise when I came around the bend into the kitchen and saw caramel glaze dripping off the cake stand and sad little puffs that had rolled off the piece montee onto  the counter top and floor.  So back to the drawing board.
Fortunately the Vanilla Creme Patissiere and the Pate a Choux are not complicated and the recipes provided by Cat were excellent.  My cream puffs have never been more airy or tastier !  The 2nd time around I knew not to even attempt the caramel glaze and decided on chocolate ganache.  But I didn't want a giant cream puff tower covered in chocolate so I decided to add some Belgian Sugar Pearls to half the batch of choux just before baking.  I applied the sugar just after the egg wash.  They turned out so pretty and had a nice  crunch from the sugar-the next time I make cream puffs I'm going to make the entire batch with the sugar-very tasty.


Quel Horrible ! And the pretty spun sugar -all gone

Vanilla Creme Patissiere

For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.
Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Cooling the Pate a Choux

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny. As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.

Pate a Choux ready to pipe
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).

My little choux

Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool. Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

So pretty and brown and so light

When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze.

Love the Belgian Sugar

Sometime this summer, when it is dry I will try them again with the caramel glaze !

Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 oz good quality chocolate-finely chopped

Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat.  Take the boiling cream and pour it over the finely chopped chocolate.  Gently shake the bowl so that all of the chocolate is covered by the cream.  Let it sit for 2 minutes then gently whisk until the chocolate is melted.  

Here is the rest of the instructions if you are brave enough to try the caramel glaze .

Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.
Chocolate Glaze:
8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)
Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.
Hard Caramel Glaze:
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.
Assembly of your Piece Montée:
You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get a feel for how to assemble the final dessert. For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer. Practice seeing which pieces fit together best.
Once you are ready to assemble your piece montée, dip the top of each choux in your glaze (careful it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/plate/sheet. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up. (You may want to use toothpicks to hold them in place – see video #4 below).
When you have finished the design of your piece montée, you may drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit!
Additional Information: Here are some videos you may want to take a look at before you get started on your piece montée.
1) Martha Stewart Assembles a Croquembouche:
2) Assembling croquembouche using the interior of a cylinder:
3) Asembling Free-standing Croquembouche with Chocolate Glaze:
4) Assembling a Croquembouche with Toothpicks and Cone:
See this google images search of Croquembouche for inspiration:
Here’s a link to a dairy-free pate a choux and crème patisserie recipe:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whoopie ! Life is Sweet !

Feeling very nostalgic this week.  Probably just the after effects of Mother's Day.  You know how it is when everyone is celebrating a day that you can't or don't celebrate for whatever reason. With my job I have constant contact with people-happy people,people heading out on vacation or returning home.  So they are already in festive moods-add a holiday to the mix and they are giddy with excitement.  All day long I gave and received Happy Mother's Day Greetings.  It was sweet even though I'm only a step mother to my kitty Mischa and doggy Hailey.  But it made me think of all the people-both men and women who have been a mother to me when I needed it most.  Friends no longer in my life, a stranger just passing momentarily on the street yet sensing my sadness and reaching out ,touching my arm and asking "are you OK".  A brother who wrote something in an email so sweet and poignant it brought tears to my eyes , a sister who knows what I'm feeling and thinking all the time.
Every day someone comes into our life and touches it -sometimes just briefly and we don't even notice, sometimes they linger and we end up lingering over the meeting , trying to figure out what message the universe was trying to deliver through the contact and then just giving in to the experience and adding it to our "character bank ".  I have always believed we have something to learn from each other with every contact and those contacts add to our own character ,spirit or soul whatever you choose to call it.  On Mother's Day this week I had a contact that will stay with me and one I will draw on when I forget how precious life is.  And you know we all do, we get caught up in going somewhere,doing something,seeing someone,meeting a deadline-that we miss the moment of the present-and once it's gone,it really is gone.

The moment I had with a customer on Mother's Day started just as a normal interaction-you know -hi how are you ? heading home ? where did you go for vacation ? Her answer was New York-and then she added she was there for the whole car bomb incident in Times Square-and not only was she there,she and her friends and some family members were standing next to the car when it went off with the pop pop pop and the smoke.  They thought the car was on fire and started to walk away-and then the police came-forcing everyone quickly out of Times Square. It wasn't until later, sitting in a restaurant,when they caught what had happened on CNN.  And then she knew just how lucky she was-then she knew how many angels had surrounded her and her loved ones, how the Universe in that split second reached out and said, no not now, not here, not today.  For whatever reason-everyone who was there that day was blessed by circumstances that stopped a very terrible thing from happening.  And this beautiful woman with the warm smile and sparkling eyes was standing in front of me telling me the story of that day.  In that moment I really looked at her and thought how different it could have been-she wouldn't have been sharing that moment with me-we wouldn't have been laughing about crazy New York cabbies,about the wild and woolly side of Times Square and about going home to family. She knows how blessed she was and is and I know .  And in sharing that moment with me I was reminded how precious every single second of life is.  Does it sound corny- I don't care-I don't want to become complacent with life.  I want to be corny,and sappy,and happy and embrace it with excitement and exuberance.  I want to celebrate every second every day and share love and happiness with those I care most deeply about.  And I don't ever want to forget that those people who come into our life are there for a reason.....for the moment..... for life. Peace

When I was thinking about what could I bake to celebrate life and what I writing about-what could sum up how life should be, well what better way then with a "WHOOPIE PIE"  . Now I don't want to diminish my thoughts by saying something I bake could sum up that feeling- I just want to capture that feeling in some small way through my baking.  And doesn't just saying Whoopie make you happy, make you remember something sweet and joyful from your childhood.  Here's to the joy of life and the wish for good memories and sweet moments for all of us.

I used the fabulous "whoopie pies" cook book written my 2 fellow baking peeps-Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell.  What fun bakers they must be to put together the recipes in this book.  And it's a wonderful book of mix and match -so many recipes you could mix and match to Whoopie eternity. Buy It !

I made S'more Whoopie Pies-yummy yummy yummy.  Here is the recipe from Daily Candy-but go out and buy the book -there are wonderful scrumptious recipes to be tried.  

S’more Whoopie Pies
makes about 48 two-inch cakes

Graham Cracker Whoopie
Ingredients1½ c. graham flour
¾ c. all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ c. buttermilk
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined.
4. In a measuring cup, combine milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add milk mixture to batter along with flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until completely combined.
5. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the baking sheets. Repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
6. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each or until the cakes begin to brown.
7. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
8. Spread with marshmallow cream and chocolate ganache, but if you’re in a hurry a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff and a square of chocolate will do the job.
Marshmallow Cream
1½ c. Marshmallow Fluff
1¼ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp.vanilla extract
1. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together Marshmallow Fluff and shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Reduce mixer speed to low, add confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
Chocolate Ganache
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
½ c. heavy (whipping) cream
1. Put chocolate in a large, heat-proof bowl.
2. Heat cream in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat just until it bubbles.
3. Pour cream over the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate is melted.
4. Stir until smooth. Allow the mixture to rest until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours. You may also refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes, until it is firm enough to spread, stirring every 10 minutes.

If the pies  last long enough to store,  the authors recommending keeping them in a single layer because they tend to stick together.  I lined a cookie sheet with clean parchment and then put another layer of parchment over the top of them and built a little aluminum foil tent over that-I think that helped keep them fresh for delivery to the office the next day!
Bon Appetit my little Whoopie Pie Peeps !  And to Angela from BC who took the time to share her moment with me , I wish you a life filled with angels, laughter and people who love and care for you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

It is very sweet and touching to read all the Mother's Day related posts among food bloggers. So many memories, so much learned and shared.  And for those of you whose mother's are still with you - I wish you many many more days of sharing and love.  I lost my mother years ago and when she was alive our relationship was never one of those idyllic mother daughter relationships that everyone would love to have.  And it's taken me all these years to remember the sweet moments we used to share.  For the longest time all I could remember were the bad times and those obliterated the good times or as I refer to them now, as the not so bad times.  On a day that is meant for celebrating that motherly bond I am flooded with those rare sweet moments we experienced. Maybe because they were so few between they have become so much sweeter.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the women who are so much a part of our lives, both the good and the bad-they have helped make us who and what we are today.  This little bit of sweetness is for all them.

Thanks to Martha Stewart for the recipes  I used today. And Happy Mother's Day Martha !

Butter Cake Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

Makes 26 cupcakes or two 9-by-13-inch cake layers.
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
Raspberry Jam-approximately 1 1/2 cups
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For cupcakes: Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside. For cake layers: Cut a long sheet of parchment or waxed paper into two 9-by-13-inch rectangles to line the bottom of two 9-by-13-inch baking pans. Butter and line pans. Butter linings, then flour pans, tapping out excess. Set aside. (Alternatively, if you have only one pan, set aside second piece of parchment paper to bake one layer at a time.)
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium-high speed until pale, 2 to 3 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and mix, scraping down sides of bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk. Stir with a rubber spatula until the batter is evenly blended.
For cupcakes: Pour batter into lined cups, filling each two-thirds full. (You will have batter left over for additional batches; set aside.) For cake layers: Pour 2 3/4 cups batter into each prepared pan. Smooth the top of each layer with a small offset spatula.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes for cupcakes, 20 to 25 minutes for layers.
Let layers or cupcakes cool in pans on wire racks, 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen. Invert cake layers or cupcakes to remove from pans (peel off parchment from cake layers). Re invert, and let cool completely on racks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to decorate.
For cupcakes (or cake layers, if baking in two batches): Repeat with remaining batter, lining muffin tin (or baking pan) when cooled.
Scoop out a very small cylinder of the cupcake from the center. Using a pastry bag filled with the raspberry jam fill the cavity with the jam just to the top of the cupcake.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
I made up a small batch of simple syrup and added Raspberry extract.  Once the syrup had cooled I lightly brushed the top of the cooled cupcakes with it.

 Meringue Butter cream Icing


Makes about 10 cups.
3 cups granulated sugar
12 large egg whites
2 pounds (8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Whisk sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees.on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.
Fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks and mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Add vanilla; beat until frosting comes together, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat on lowest speed until air bubbles diminish, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

Use your favorite pastry tip and sprinkles for decorating.  Now go give your mom a big hug and thank her for being the kind of person she is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

MMMMarionberry Scones

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. ~Isak Dinesen

I was very fortunate last week in that I got to take a little mini vacation in the middle of the week.  J and I headed to one of our favorite spots along the Oregon Coast-Neskowin.  More specifically a place called The Breakers.  The Breakers is a place you want to tell everyone about because it's such a wonderful getaway and it's also a place you don't want to let anyone know about so that it retains all the things that make you love it in the first place.

 J and I have been going there for several years now and so far,fingers crossed, it still gives us the quietness and wonderful undisturbed walks on the beach we have come to love.  It's a group of 11 privately owned condominiums right on the beach-and I mean right on the beach -not 2 blocks back from the beach. I never care if it's blue skies and sunshine or Northwest storm days when we arrive.  I know that I will either be sitting in front of the huge picture window watching the ocean or walking along the beach-either way I'm happy as the proverbial clam.

 Neskowin is about 10 miles north of Lincoln City so if you have a Jones for shopping,restaurants or casino gambling you are a short drive away. Not me, I head to the coast for renewal and to re-charge my spirit and I'm never disappointed.  I have a special draw to the ocean,always have,and always will.  Maybe it's something to do with my zodiac sign-I'm a Cancer.  Or maybe it's the memory of the first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean.  I was about 11 years old and my Aunt Mary and Uncle Honey used to take a couple of the nieces and nephews to Atlantic City for a long week-end.  It was before all the crazy casinos popped up-when walking along the boardwalk or under the boardwalk was an exciting adventure.  Tasting salt water taffy,watching the amazing diving horse jump off a very high platform into a very small swimming pool,hearing the music blaring from the bars and wishing like crazy I was old enough to capture the attention of all the cute lifeguards !
But what I remember most was first smelling the salt water as we walked to our hotel room,butterflies in my stomach over the excitement of what I expected to see associated with that salt water smell. Then my Aunt Mary pulling back the hotel drapes,and oh my gosh, I didn't think I could breathe- miles of open beach and the water-oh the water.  It went on forever and ever and the waves pounding the beach,one after another,building on the horizon and coming into within feet of where I would be standing . I don't remember what I thought when I first saw the ocean but I will always remember what I felt-love, pure love and that hasn't diminished over the years.  I always dream of living in a little cottage at the beach and that dream gets me through many of life's challenges.  Do you love the ocean as much as me ?  Or are you a mountain or desert person ?

Sadly we had to leave our little hideaway and on the way home we made a quick (you know jump out of the car grab the food and get back in the car) stop at one of my favorite cafes in Cannon Beach-The Lazy Susan.  I had a deadline to make back in Seattle so we really didn't have time to stop for breakfast but I knew we had time to run in and grab something just baked and always yummy.  And right there on the counter were the most incredible Marionberry Scones-huge and loaded with berries. I usually don't get excited by scones because most look like large concrete lumps !  But these on the counter, be still my heart-we bought two and quickly devoured both of them. They were gone after we had driven  less than 10 miles from the cafe.

Lazy Susan Marionberry Scone before it disappeared from the dashboard of our car !

 When I got home I searched the Internet to see if their recipe was published anywhere and I couldn't find it but I did find this recipe from a bakery in Coos Bay Oregon.  I made a few little tweaks and the scones were so tender and sweet, I can't wait to find fresh marionberries at the farmer's market and try these again !  Bake them, I promise you will never buy another scone again. And if you run across the Lazy Susan's Recipe for their fabulous Marionberry scones please share !

Lazy Susan Marionberry Scone

Marionberry Scones
Recipe courtesy Chris Erb, Early to Rise Bakery
Makes 12 scones
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and parchment (I used wholewheat pastry flour only for the dusting through out the recipe)
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening -I used margarine
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk -I used 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and 1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups Marionberries (or substitute blackberries) -since neither are in season yet I used a frozen mixed berry medley

Icing:-I didn't ice instead with about 10 minutes left to bake I used and egg wash and sprinkled with decorator's sugar.
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the scones: In a mixer, blend dry ingredients, shortening and butter together thoroughly until mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add most of the milk and mix for about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, adding more milk to completely moisten dough. Be careful not to over mix. Flour hands and divide the dough in half and place on 2 pieces of floured parchment paper. Re-flour hands and shape dough into a large circle about 10 inches in diameter. Place about 3/4 cup Marionberries evenly on each circle, leaving a 2-inch edge. Re-flour the parchment papers. Re-flour hands and fold up edges to completely cover Marionberries. Flatten out scone with floured hands to 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 6 pie shaped pieces and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes-I've checked my oven temp over and over and it always check accurate but with these I ended up baking them 40 minutes-so keep a close eye on them until they get that lovely golden brown tint to them, rotating once halfway through the cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

To make the icing: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Mix for about 30 seconds or until thick. Drizzle scones with lemon icing. Let icing harden before serving.

Note: Step away from the scone-these are "can't stop eating them " delicious !

I sent a basketful of scones to J's office but saved one for myself and I'm going to sit in my sun room with a good cup of coffee, my scone and my memories of the ocean.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
~e.e. cummings

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Night to Remember at The Corson Building

This was a wonderful week for me-I enjoyed a few days at my favorite spot along the Oregon Coast; enjoyed the best tour of the Pike Place Market with Seattle Bites Food Tours (watch my blog for the posting regarding this tour ! ) and concluded my whirlwind week with a Saturday night dinner I will never forget.  Saturday night provided a dining experience that was so fabulous calling it a dining experience doesn't do it justice. Val,of More Than Burnt Toast ,was in town and we decided being the  foodies we are, that dinner at the Corson Building would be a perfect way to wrap up her visit to Seattle. If you haven't heard of The Corson Building or Chef Matt Dillon ,you will know a great deal more by the end of this article !

Seriously ,living in Seattle, we are blessed to have this restaurant in our backyard.  I feel guilty for not visiting sooner. A quote from the website best describes , in as few words as possible, what the Corson Building is all about :
"The Corson Building is a home, a restaurant, and a community. Dedicated to food and its direct connection to celebration, community, and culture. Providing one of the few human experiences we all have in common. Eating. Sharing at the table, we can open up our senses and our consciences to our place in the world, along with the place of our neighbors."

Open since June 2008 by Chef Matthew Dillon, winner of Food & Wine's 2007 Best New Chef Award and a semi-finalist in the 2010 James Beard awards. Along with co-owner Wylie Bush-owner of Joe Bar in Seattle  and Co-Chef Emily Crawford (formerly of Boulettes Larder in San Francisco)  a dining experience of magical delicious moments is created. Don't believe me or think I'm gushing with over exaggerations?  Check out a review of the restaurant.

 I am not going to bore you with the descriptions of melt in your mouth tastiness or memorable flavors, just make reservations and be prepared to have a dining experience that you will not soon forget.  If I could afford to , I would dine here at least once a week. Since I haven't yet figured out the magic numbers for the WA lottery I'll be content to plan my journeys to the Corson Building for those special  moments we like to include in our lives. My next journey will be Chef Dillon's Thursday or Friday night dinners inspired by the writings and philosophy of  Angelo Pellegrini  .

Chef Dillon & Chef Crawford thank you for a most incredibly delicious meal .  And thank you very much for the energy that surrounds the dining experience-every one of your staff makes each person feel special and welcomed into your family.

And a special thank you to my dining partners who shared their evening and table with me.  Your energy was so positive and you had so many interesting tales to tell of Bali and Paris and Thailand and the funny rat story of Alberta-the evening went much to quickly.
This is a small  list of my food memories from the evening .  Unfortunately I don't have a  photographic memory and sadly I didn't take notes to document the wonderful sauces or every single thing that was served. What I remember was,well , memorable in it's deliciousness !  To my dining partners if I omitted something you remembered and loved -your comments would be most welcomed and appreciated.

Fresh crisp carrots
Pickled radishes and onions
Squab confit
Squab pate
Duck with couscous and mint sauce and  fresh yogurt
Crunchy toasted bread with a hint of olive oil
Pickled peppers
Geoduck  ceviche-outstanding !
Spotted prawns with aioli

Smoked crab-wonderful-boiled then smoked outside on the wood fired oven over apple wood-this is beyond incredible !

Freshly gathered eggs from the girl's in the backyard -poached ,served  with asparagus and morels
Chocolate truffle-hmmmm,I can still taste the melt in your mouth flavor
Finely shaved pork with hazelnuts

 I know there are some things missing from list but that is the way the shortbread crumbles-which by the way was delicate and sweet and crumbly-fabulous ! And to Marc the Sommelier, next time I'm bringing my own designated driver so I can taste the perfect wine pairings you provided for this meal.

You will see no photos of the food from my dinner-it felt like too special of a moment to pull out the camera-and I wanted the memory of the tastes to linger not the memory of the photo. So if you want to see the fresh crisp baby carrots,pickled radishes, the duck and couscous or my favorite of the night -smoked crab-then you will just have to get yourself to the Corson Building as soon as possible. Or take a look at the Corson Building photo gallery.  And if you aren't able to get to The Corson Building here are some recipes I found on line by Chef Matt Dillon.

Grilled squid with miner's lettuce salad and green sauce
Chef Dillon's Green Goddess dressing
Oil Poached rabbit legs
Scallops crudo with smoked paprika and toasted cuminl
Air dried ham,feta,melon and dill
Beets marinated in rose water with sweet and sour carrots
Sauteed porcini with grapes,almonds and chicory
Black cod with potates,chickpeas and tomato
Roasted chicken with anise,hyssop, peaches and hazelnuts
Plum tart with olive oil gelato

Take someone you love to this special place and Bon Appetit !