Category Archives: Cooking

Pimientos Piquillo Rellenos de Carne

One on of my favorite dishes is when my chilien wife makes a speciality from her home country “Pimientos Piquillo Rellenos con Carne (Stuffed Smoked Piquillo Peppers with meat)”. As the tast grows in intensity is it almost a requirement that they are to be made a day in advance, the stuffed Piquillo peppers are served as “tapas”, they are creasy delicious.  Continue reading Pimientos Piquillo Rellenos de Carne

Spaghetti allo scoglio – Il Covo

Ones in a while you come across something special, you know it immediately and enjoy every minute of it. We came across such an experience today in Hotel Ristorante Pizzeria Il Covo. They served “Spaghetti allo scoglio” for us, it is a combination of mussels (clams, scallops and plenty mussels) with plenty of garlic, saffron and white wine served over fresh homemade pasta. I had the “grande” edition, but could have been very happy with the medium edition 🙂

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Hidden Seattle: Hidden Spots I Love

As a photographer, Seattle is a treat. The city offers tons of diversity, in so many ways is the city different from other American cities. It is a place i love to visit, and I get to go there every year while my work brings me to the #SQLSummit in the town.

Visitors to Seattle know all about the Space Needle, fresh seafood on the waterfront and the world-famous Pike Place Market. However it is the those hidden, out-of-the-way gems that makes the visit to Seattle memorable.

I got no intent to describe every attraction of Seattle if you need that go get yourself a book 🙂 this blog is about the little places I enjoy so much.

Places i enjoy to visit for food a beer…

No doubt its easy to get high quality food at some amazing restaurants, yet there is some which has won my heart, places i visit every year as a tradition. You can eat for next to nothing, and with great authenticity.

Mediterranean Mix, not exactly a high-end restaurant, this establishment is very lacking in ambiance, or to the money the place looks like a dump, the food on the other hand authentic Greek food when its at its best. This is the kind of place where one walks up to a counter to order and they bring the food to your table on a tray and for 7 dollars you will have complete meal, and I swear its the best I had outside Grace. And if that’s not enough, they have a hot dog stand in front that grills the dog and offers it “Seattle style” – grilled onions and cream cheese! Amazing. This is a must-see if you are out, but not too late at night, the area is pestered with so many drunk annoying people, but in the daytime no worries at all.

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Beer is always good, and there is heaps of places where they serve good beer, the Tap House is for many people a first choice. It is not where I enjoy going, the Tap House “Grill” is like a hooters without the girls. Thus their beer is good, it totally lacks any ambiance. I prefer Six Arms situated between the pike and the Capital Hill neighborhood. They brew their own beer and its never a disappointment, especially their stout is a wonder of Seattle. Besides their usual fine selection of beers they are keen to feature special event editions which I never fail to enjoy while i am usually in Seattle for Halloween.

Another place to-go is the House of Hong. A good friend of mine took us there for some  Dim Sum. Prompt and pleasant service, a wide variety (and growing!) of dishes, and at an incredible value. One downside is the the parking, which seems hard to figure.

Merguez and Spanish chorizo, if you are up for a quick lunch, which is a hell of an experience, then Uli’s Famous Sausage at the pike might be the place for you. Its a small place, the tables and chairs is really uncomfortable but the food! the food is just unforgettable!

Photo of Uli's Famous Sausage - Seattle, WA, United States. Merguez and Spanish chorizo

Photo scenic

This topic is really difficult as Seattle is littered with American history and Surrounded with stunning Nature, plastered with landmarks, what should one choose. As a photographer I adore many of the places and the nature Seattle and surroundings has to offer. Yet there is a place i love going to. It is a small cab fair from downtown, and offers some of the most spectacular views of Seattle at night. I am of cause referring to the gas park of Seattle. The park at day if a OK place to visit for a little HDR venturing, but its full potential opens at night. It offers the complete skyline with Seattles most famous landmarks. Forget a hotel 45 dollar fee for a glimpse of the Space Needle. I got a few nice captures of the place in my blog post A good photograph is knowing where to stand. A little word of caution, I do not recommend dragging all your photo equipment to the place, it is very dark and isolated. A tripod, you camera with a wide lens and you are set, there is no reason why you want to look like a million in such places.

Where I venture with caution

I would also have mentioned downtown Seattle, but recently there has a been a change to the worse. There has always been a number of homeless people in the area, but it seems that it has changed from the usual crowd. It is not the usual mixture of people down on their luck and drunks, but also heavy crack addicts. It makes it a unsafe place to go with expensive photo equipment, and difficult to photograph without provoking certain types. It is a shame, while downtown Seattle is perfect for Monochrome photography. It has this special ambiance which is at odds with many other American cities, where you will find the center to be a concrete parking lot, surrounded with glass monsters.

Take a time to read this article to realize the enormous problems Seattle faces.

EMP Museum  and the Needle, is it worth it

For meany Seattle starts at the iconic Space Needle. View the 360-degree panorama of the Emerald City and surrounding area seen from the observation Deck. With its height of 520 feet above the ground you can see the mountain ranges including Mt. Rainier, the waterfront, the lights of downtown Seattle and more. The question is it really worth the 23 dollars in admission. For me the it is not worth going up into the needle, sure it is an impressive sight, but the observation deck 73rd floor of Columbia Center is both higher,  better and at the half price.  At nearly 1,000 feet it offers the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. The 360 degree panoramic view includes Mt. Rainier, Bellevue, the Cascade Mountains, Mt. Baker, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle and the city of Seattle.

The EMP museum is on the other hand a visit for all music lovers. I am not a big enough fan to enter the museum on every Seattle visit, but I love walking around the impressive and organic building which comes across as a sculptural form. If you do enter the museum, then make sure to visit the SCIENCE FICTION section in the cellar, it is pretty awesome.

Next to the Space Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass. It is a place you simply cannot miss, it is very difficult to describe how marvelous this place is. The pieces is both impressive in size, form and color. It is so impressive and so different that you wonder what substances the artist was on when he created it. I recommend visiting the museum during non-peak hours, otherwise it will be difficult to enjoy the displays with all the people around.

Seattle underground

Seattle burned down a 100 years ago and they built another city on top of the old one. Most street level businesses in Pioneer Square area are actually level two of their buildings and level 1 which used to be the street level in the old city is now the basement. Some of the sidewalks near pioneer square have glass chips which let light into the 100yr old pavements underneath them. There’s an underground tour that takes you through this linked network of underground streets. It’s quite an experience. If you take the adult tour then the descriptions is a bit more colorful.

  

The fat marbling ensures a juicy and flavorful steak

Everybody loves a great steak; it is easy to get it juicy, tender and not least delicious every time. The secret to a good steak is using both a skillet and the oven.

When choosing your meat make sure it is a thick ribeye cut from the marbled sirloin. The fat marbling ensures a juicy and flavorful steak. Cooking your meat while it is cold is not giving the best of results; do remove the meat from the refrigerator about 1 hour in advance, to avoid a cold core.

Ingredients For one to two people

  • 500-600g of the rib eye.
  • A little oil for frying.
  • 50 g of butter.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic.
  • Fresh thyme.
  • Salt and pepper.

Equipment

  • Skillet without plastic handle, do remember your potholders
  • Meat thermometer
  • Oven at 170celcius

 

Walkthrough

Preheat your oven to 170Celcius. Put your thickest pan the stove, what we are about to do is giving the steak a frying crust, and for that, we need to preheat our skillet in order for it to be piping hot before we use it. If your skillet is not hot enough, then we end up boiling the meat in its juices rather than frying it. When the meat has received a crust (1-2 minutes on the skillet depending on the thickness), then, and only then flip the steak over and fry it on the other side. Avoid moving the meat around on the skillet.

Add butter, garlic and thyme. Let it all cook a few minutes. Now put your skillet in the preheated oven, and give it 170 degrees Celsius for five minutes. Use potholders when removing pan out. Check core temperature of the steak with a meat thermometer:

If the meat is not finished, rose as far in the oven for two minutes and check again. What I usually do is aiming a few degrees under the desired result, as the core temperature rises slightly, while the meat rests. Let the meat rest uncovered for five minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Cooking temperatures

  • Rare 45 degrees.
  • Medium 55 degrees.
  • Well Done 65 degrees.

Italian bread, a love story

If you love the aroma of baking Italian bread wafting through your home, then this recipe is just for you. This time I am going to make to loaves for bread, it’s easy to make yet make sure you take time to get the right results.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 650 gram of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • water
  • Olive oil
  • 1 egg white

How-to        

You will need a fairly large dough bowl or like I do a kneading machine. Start out with mixing sugar, salt, yeast and 250 gram of flour. Then I add the melted butter and about 2.5dl water. Set your dough kneading machine at a low pace, gradually blending the liquid into dry ingredients until it blend like a batter add more water to get it nicely lean. Let it beat for a few minutes, before gradually adding the rest of the flour

When this is done, increase the speed to medium and knead it until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, make sure your dough is still sticky a fairly wet to the touch.

Cut dough in half, cover pieces with bowl. Let dough rest 20 minutes for easier shaping.

Grease large cookie sheet; sprinkle with cornmeal. Form your bread. Brush loaves with oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 – 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Remove loaves from fridge, uncover. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on top of each loaf. Bake 20 minutes.

In small bowl with fork, beat egg white with 1 tbsp. water. Remove loaves from oven, brush with egg, and return to oven, for another 5 min baking.

Red Cabbage

Festive red cabbage is a wonderful side dish to all classic Christmas trimmings. It’s richly flavoured with red wine, cinnamon, star anise and apples. It is perfectly simple to make, and usually pretty awful when bought.

Half the cabbage; then cut out the white core at the bottom and discard. Finely shred the cabbage. Melt a sugar on a frying pan, careful to avoid it turning too brown, it helps adding a little water to it, to control the process of melting the sugar. Now fry your cabbage in the melted sugar. When the cabbage is starting to soften (remember we want to keep a bit to the cabbage), add honey, butter, ½tsp ground nutmeg, 1 cinnamon stick, star anise, some red wine, salt and pepper. Turn the cabbage on the pan while the red wine reduce and becomes more thickened.

It is possible to prepare prior to serving, and can be served cold as well as hot.

I prefer serving in a large mixing bowl and at times I add chopped apples and oranges.

 

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Moules Marinières

The weather has been a bit of a roller coaster lately with blue skied sunny days interspersed with rain showers and chilly winds. A dish of Moules Marinieres is going fits nicely, being served hot but still light and fresh. Served with Crusty bread or, as the mussel loving Belgians do, with a bowl of thin chips to soak up the creamy juices, this delightfully easy dish is reminiscent of holidays in sunny climes, accompanied by good friends and a bottle of chilled sparkling wine. Citrus y Muscat is the traditional wine, yet I prefer a brut Crémant de Bourgogne.

 

It used to be said that mussels are only in season when there is an ‘R’ in the month, but they are now available all year round. Get them fresh from your fish dealer, any sort of vacuumed packed mussels is a no go… they have to be alive and fresh!

One of the best things about this dish is, once the mussels have been prepared, it takes less than ten minutes to cook and has to be served steaming hot. Do not worry about the wine in the food; the alcohol in the wine is boiled away before serving so this is not just a dish for adults. My five years old daughter devours mussels at lightning speed.

I managed to cut deep into my finger while preparing this dish, and had to take an hour out going to the emergency room for stitches, my apologies for too few pictures of the preparation. I’ll update the blog next time.

 

Ingredients

  • 2kg of live and fresh mussels
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Fennel root finely sliced, Carrots finely cubed
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • A dice of butter
  • a bouquet of parsley, thyme and bay leaves
  • a glass dry white wine
  • 120ml double cream
  • handful of parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Bread, traditionally crusty bread yet I just used Focaccia

Preparation method

  1. Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open that won’t close or broken ones. Tap them against the table, and they should close, if not… it’s not for eating.
  2. Pull out the tough beards from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with a large knife. Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell.
  3. Soften the garlic, shallots, fennel and carrots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big with a suiting lid. It is important that it I big enough to take all the mussels – it should only be half full.
  4. Add the mussels and a glass of wine turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every now and then.
  5. Remove the bouquet, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

Finally a few snaps from my local fish pusher, who has never have left me down on freshness and quality