Friday, September 26, 2014

SWEET WEEK SEATTLE: Happening right now!

Hello fellow foodies! What is one event currently happening all over Seattle? Sweet Week!! Local bakeries, chocolate shops, and any food establishment dedicated to anything sweet is having a $5 special  for a very special unique treat, made only for Sweet Week.


From Sept. 25-28th, a dessert version of Seattle Restaurant Week will take place. Be prepared for a sugar and chocolate overload, which is always a good thing to start the fall season.
Participating restaurants/bakeries/cafes will have a special $5 treat just for you. Please remember to politely ask for the "$5 sweet treat" when ordering.

Participating sweet venues include:

Hot Cakes (Ballard)
Flying Apron (Redmond and Fremont)
Ala Mode Pies (Phinney Ridge)
The Confectional (Downtown and Cap Hill)
Chocolopolis (Upper Queen Anne)
Cupcake Royal (Cap Hill and Madrona)
D'Ambrosio  (Ballard)
Dahlia Bakery (Belltown)
Fresh Flour (Ballard and Phinney Ridge)
High 5 Pies (Cap Hill)
Parfait (Ballard)
Sweet Mickeys (Ballard)
Theo Chocolate  (Fremont)


Be sure to add some sweetness in your life this weekend Let me know what your favorite sweet treat it!

Happy Baking,
Kimm



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Latest foodie interview: Mykl Wu of Behind the Craft!

Hello beautiful readers! As many of you already know, I love meeting new foodie people and learning more about the food industry.
I recently met Mykl Wu, who works and writes at  Behind the Craft, a podcast which is dedicated to knowing the "craft" of anything food or drink related. Sounds like my kinda person! Plus his personal food blog, Thank You Cooperate highlights delicious food and restaurants.






Interview with Mykl Wu:





Bio wise: I was a television news producer for about 10 years before discovering my love for food and returning home to run my family's restaurant business. Ever since then I've been learning about the craft of cooking and food. Now I write about food and produce a podcast called Behind the Craft, where we go "behind the craft" of everything about food. Whether it's brewing beer or sharpening a knife. If it has to do with the food industry, we want to know about it.
 
 
Ramen.
 


1) What brought you into the food world?


I've always loved food. Even as a child I'd separate instant ramen from its broth and pretend I was eating Japanese somen. But even with my family I never quite gotten into the cooking aspect of food, until I saw the original Iron Chef. After that I was hooked. From then it was Michael Ruhlman's amazing Chef's trilogy that inspired me to take on the craft of cooking. I've been obsessed since.

 
2) What is your most memorable dining/food experience?


That is like asking who's your favorite child (not that I have any lol.) They're all special in their own way. Whether it's an adventure eating street side mussels in Istanbul or fresh sea urchin tostada's in Ensenada, to a hard to get seats at Momofuku Ko or Rose's Luxury, they're all memorable. Once I drove 3 hours from Barcelona to El Bulli (after they've closed) just to pay homage and have a picnic there. It was simple jamon, bread, and cheese but damn if it wasn't one of the most memorable experiences.

 
3) What is your least favorite food trend?


My least favorite food trend is also my favorite - Ramen. Even though this pedestrian bowl of comfort has been around for centuries, nobody in the U.S. cared about it until David Chang made it cool (and amazingly delicious, obv.) Now everyone thinks they can make ramen. And everyone claims to love it. In a way it's good that people are getting to know it, but it's bad because the overall quality is diluted. Making ramen takes years of skill and love. It needs to be appreciated and not just liked because it's trendy.

 
4) Describe your perfect meal at home.


(It's an interview of superlatives! lol) It's hard to pick the "perfect" meal. But I'll go two ways on this. One is the ultra simple but super delicious of a perfectly seared steak, some crusty bread and a bottle of red wine. That's when you just wanna unwind. It's quick and extremely rewarding.

The other would be a great big family meal where everyone chips in or better yet, just kinda watch and taste while I do all the cooking. Even though some people will think I'm insane but Thanksgiving dinner would be up there as a perfect meal at home for me. Sure it's stressful and tons of work, but at the end of day you've managed to feed and make the people you love happy, and isn't that what cooking is all about?

 
 
Steak dinner at Mykl's house. Can I be invited next time?

 5) You are on an island, what 3 food ingredient would you bring with you to cook?


Given the fact that I'm on an island. I'd just need salt, pepper, butter. I can catch all the seafood and surely there are some citrus (for acid) on the island. And that's pretty much all you need! 
 
 
 
Be sure to check out Behind the Craft for more food news and Thank you Cooperate for one of the best food blogs I have read.
 
Thank you Mykl for sharing your love of food!
Happy Cooking,
Kimm

 

Salmon.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Why I loooovvveeeeee butter: My top 3 reasons!

Baking and cooking all require fat. Fat brings out: flavor, enhances other flavors, and, well, makes food taste darn good. Like salt, it is require for any type of cooking, no matter what cuisine or dish you are creating in your kitchen.

What is butter? For you newbies, butter is made by simply churning ("agitate") fresh cream or milk. And, ta-da, a creamy-yellow mixture appears! I love it on toast, to baking chocolate cookies, or a simple sauté of veggies.


 




Here are my top 3 reasons I can't get enough of butter:

1) Butter melts in your mouth.
Unlike fake fats, like margarine or shortening, butter is a natural fat, thus melts at body temperature. Once it hits your mouth, it dissolves into pure magical foodie goodness. Fake fats tend to leave a weird, white film on your mouth and anything it touches.

2) Butter is natural.
Usually made from cows milk, you will not see any fake, weird, or odd ingredients when you read butter's nutritional facts. It is no secret I enjoy food...wholesome, re al, and unprocessed food. Butter is one of those foods I just can't get enough of.

3) Butter adheres to other flavors....easily.
Compound butter made with fine herbs, cinnamon-sugar butter for toast, European-style butter for grilled steaks....the list goes on and on. Smooth, creamy butter adds depth and flavor to other ingredients. It is rare I consume butter by itself, usually it is paired with other Pacific Northwest ingredients.


Like tea, there are many flavors and varieties of butters on the market. Try them. Try them on different foods with different herbs and spices. One thing I love about food is experimenting and see what the Seattle-community is eating and enjoying.

Butter is one true ingredient that will never go away from any professional or domestic kitchen.


Happy Cooking!
Kimm

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

THE TOP 5 QUESTIONS FOODIES ARE ASKED!

First off... What is a foodie? Someone who enjoys food for more than just fuel and calorie. We crave food flavors, sensations,  and textures. We think about our next meal yesterday, analyze food reviews, and get really, really excited over new restaurant openings.

Like any other hobby or interest, we get recommendations and questions about, well, food. Some we are more tired of answering but will happily do it in the name of food.

 And the questions are...

1) "What is your favorite restaurant?"
Answer: Tough. What cuisine? What price range? Lunch, dinner or breakfast? Are we talking just food or wine and spirits? High end or low end? Cooperate or mom and pop?
My answer: I answer this questions with other questions. Then happily answer their questions.

2) "What's your favorite dish?" (AKA entree)
Answer: Hard. My favorite childhood dish? Or holiday dish? Dish for one? Dish for ten? Family style dish? High end fancy-schamcy dish? The choices and answers are endless.
My answer:  I pick my top 3 all time favorites and answer their question.

3) "What's your favorite cooking or baking book?"
Answer: There are millions of delicious cook/baking books in the world and yet to be published. I have a bounty of books that I easily accumulate over the years.
My answer: When asked this, I pick a basic cooking book, baking book, and my latest one I added to my collection.

4) "What is your favorite cuisine?"
Answer: Like most, I have more than one cuisine I enjoy. In one day, I am enjoying dim sum for breakfast, that afternoon I am indulging with a chocolate crossiant, and for dinner I'm feasting on homemade risotto. My taste buds range from super spicy to super sweet.
My answer: All Asian cuisines and French cuisine tops my list.

5) "What is your favorite dessert?"
Answer: Just like with question #2, I have multiple favorite desserts. Which one I enjoy most depends on the day and meal before hand.
My answer: Anything chocolate or made with seasonal fruit. My favorite sweet snack are French macarons.

What I love about being a foodie is being asked questions about food, local restaurants, and bakeries. Being a person-to-ask is a food blessing and I can't wait to spread more knowledge through Seattle and Eastside.
Let me know what your answers to these popular questions in the comment section below.

Happy Cooking,
Kimm

Friday, May 16, 2014

LATEST SWEETNESS INTERVIEW: With Chef instructor and cookbook author, Lucy Vaserfirer

Greetings fellow readers! My latest foodie interview is with the talented Lucy Vaserfirer, cookbook author (x3!), chef instructor, and overall food-lovin' gal (my type of person). We met during our baking and patissier education at Western Culinary Institute (Portland, OR). From chef instructing, to food writing, and recipe development, Lucy brings a wealth of knowledge to the food world.





Lucy, cookbook author and chef.






My interview:




1) What inspired your culinary and pastry career?


 
I grew up in a very food-centric family and everything we did seemed to revolve around food and cooking, so it was a natural obsession for me from the very beginning. Then when I was in college, I came across a new book called Becoming a Chef and read it cover to cover in a single day. It showed me that culinary arts could be a career. My fate was sealed—I set my sights on culinary school and never looked back.    


 


2) Explain your most memorable dining experience at a restaurant.


 
My most memorable dining experience was actually at a bakery, not a restaurant. Seven years ago my husband and I visited Pierre Hermé on a trip to Paris. At that moment I found myself inside my wildest fantasy. It was like being in a jewelry shop, only instead of diamonds, the display cases were full of cakes and tarts and macarons! We ordered a Kouign-Amann, a Tarte Citron, a Carrément Chocolat, an Émotion Ispahan, and a chocolate macaron. It was love at first bite. The Kouign-Amann was light as a feather, with croissant-like layers of slightly salty pastry and a shatteringly thin caramel crust. The chocolate macaron melted in the mouth. The lemon tart was so puckery it tingled. The chocolate dessert was rich and intense and deeply satisfying, even for a chocolate lover who can’t be satisfied. And the Émotion Ispahan was simply the most delicious thing that has ever crossed my lips. A layer of litchi gelée, a layer of raspberry gelée so vibrant it almost seemed effervescent, and a layer of slightly sweetened rose-scented cream, all topped with a wafer of pink macaron and a single red rose petal, made for a perfect flavor combination. It was divine. All I can say is believe all the hype you hear about Pierre Hermé—he is indeed a pastry deity.


 


3) What tips would you give to a basic cook or baker just learning his/her skills?


 
Cook and bake as often as possible and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Try to focus on learning fundamental techniques rather than just specific recipes. Take any opportunity to watch other skilled cooks and bakers work. And taste everything.


 


4) Describe your cookbook "Marinades." What made you write a cookbook?


 
My desire to document my family’s recipes is what led me to writing cookbooks. We immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan when I was just a little girl, and of course we brought our food traditions with us. When I was a teenager I endeavored to record all of the Uzbek and Russian recipes I grew up with so that I would know how to make them myself when I moved away to college. As my collection of these recipes grew, so did my desire to get it published. The market wasn’t ready for a cookbook of recipes from Uzbekistan, but I could never shake that dream to write a cookbook…


 
Some years later, I was working as an instructor at a school for home cooks. I came up with the idea of doing a class on searing since it’s the one technique that really separates the home cooks from the chefs. The class proved to be extremely popular, and students clamored for recommendations for further reading. Surprisingly there was no book on the all-important subject of searing, so I decided to seize the opportunity and write one myself. Seared to Perfection came out in 2010.


My first cookbook
Lucy's first book, Seared to Perfection.
 


 
The sidebar about compound butters in Seared to Perfection provided the inspiration for my second book Flavored Butters.


My second cookbook
Lucy's second book, Flavored Butters.
 


 
With Marinades, my newest cookbook, I’m out to prove that marinades are the secret to getting amazing dinners on the table every day. It contains 200 different marinade recipes and each one is accompanied by an additional recipe showcasing a way to use the marinade to make a complete meal, for a total of 400 recipes. The wide variety of marinade ideas will take you through every shelf of your pantry, up and down every aisle at the market, and then all the way around the world. I have to say my favorite recipe in the whole book is my family’s Shashlik Marinade from Uzbekistan.




My latest cookbook
Lucy's third book, Marinades.
 




By the way, I'm still looking for a publisher on the Uzbek cookbook in case anyone's interested…


 


5) What is your food guilty pleasure?


 
Anything fried!








I looovvveeee Lucy's blog Hungry Cravings! Be sure to check it out for food inspiration. Her latest book, Marinades: The Quick Way to turn everyday food into exceptional fare  is available at anywhere cookbooks are sold or just click the link to order.
I am very lucky to have read Marinades and it is sure of the most well-written and straightforward cookbooks on the market. From what ingredients do to the variety of recipes, it is a great addition to any professionals or domestic cook's library. I can't wait to try the blood orange-rosemary,  IPA-Jalapeno, and peach-poblano marinade this summer!


Lucy's other cookbooks included Seared to Perfection: The Simple Art of Sealing in Flavor  and Flavored Butters: How to make them, shape them, and use them as spreads, toppings, and sauces are also just as delicious and well-written!


Happy Baking,
Kimm



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW: The New York Baking Company's Silicone Baking Cups!




What is the  best thing about having a blog? Getting to test out new and fun baking supplies! I have dozens and dozens upon kitchen gadgets, tools, knives, and cake pans. I am always on the hunt to add more to my collection.

I was kindly asked by The New York Baking Company to test out their silicone baking cups.  First of all, they come in a tidy plastic package, which easily holds a dozen of their brightly colored holders.  (Don’t worry green thumbs, the material is BPA-free silicone!)



One of my favorite flavors is chocolate, thus I baked a very moist chocolate cupcake in the fun and festive holders. Ta-da, super easy to use! When the cupcakes cooled,  it was quite easy to “pop” them out OR freeze them for a future sweet snack.
Being silicone-dishwasher safe, they are simple clean by hand or machine. Air dry before putting them back in the container.
I know my niece and nephews will love the bright colors and the ease of baking delicious cupcakes (or muffins) in them. Priced at an affordable $9.95,I cannot wait to purchase more and test out more delicious recipes in them.


Happy Baking!
Kimm













Sunday, February 23, 2014

What happens with a professional baker goes VEGAN!

Going vegan is, well, hard. Going vegan-detox-Engine 2 diet is even harder (What is Engine 2 diet: Planet-based, vegan diet with no added oils or refined sugars). Going vegan-detox-Engine 2 diet is even harder when you work in a BAKERY!

Recently I was given “the opportunity” to attempt 28 solid days  going Vegan-detox/Engine 2 diet. Why not? Why not learn about a new lifestyle, learned more delicious recipes, and see how my body feels. Plus, it was less than one solid month...I can do it.

The days off of work were easy-peasy. Quinoa with dried fruit and almond milk for breakfast; Sweet potato veggie patties for lunch; Kale salad with nuts for dinner. LOTS of fresh fruit, veggies, and cashews to snack on whenever I felt hungry…which was ALL THE TIME.  The diet was  difficult while working. The aroma of freshly baked chocolate cake lingered in the air, while samples of buttery croissants taunted my taste buds, and don’t forget about cream cheese icing, which I can happily lick off any spoon.

This posed a challenge: How to satisfy my sweet tooth without any refined sugars, only natural sugars like brown rice syrup, dried dates, and fresh produce.  Gathering my foodie thoughts and flipping through my pile of cooking and baking books, I made a mad dash and bought a new food processor. My mind raced with new and fresh ideas I have never thought of before: “If I puree it, it will have the body of solid food.” Thus, variations of banana ice-cream was created (Chop up bananas, freeze overnight, and  puree until smooth. Eat happily); “Power bites” were invited using dried dates, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, and brown rice syrup; A fellow co-worker made “Vegan cheesecake” by soaking nuts overnight and pureeing them with almond milk, coconut oil, and fruit.

 

Below are my ramblings: My feelings, thoughts, and ramblings through each week and a tip how to survive IF you dare to challenge and take a 28 day Vegan diet-lifestyle.

WEEK ONE: The hardest 7 days! I felt tired, sleepy, hungry, quiet, and not myself.  I was burning too many calories and not consuming enough.  All I wanted to do was nap and eat delicious, fattening, and overly sweet FOODS. TIP: Having snacks on hand is key. Meal planning is key. I set aside an afternoon every week to prep condiments, sauces, veggies, and “Power bites.” My overly large tan purse was always filled with a “ little pick me up” when needed in emergency.

WEEK TWO: It is getting easier…. Meal planning helped. Snacks helped. Grocery shopping and dining out SUCKED.  I rarely dined out because the most I could get was a plain salad with no dressing or protein or cocktail. TIP:  When in doubt about food or if you are in a pinch with time, go natural and unprocessed. Produce is handy, raw nuts are quick, quinioa takes less than 30 minutes to cook….

WEEK THREE: I see the light! Almost finished and how do I feel? Better, lighter, my energy level is at one level instead of bouncing all over, and I feel like I am glowing from the inside out.  Right now, the power of food and how you consume it, truly amazes me than before.  TIP:  Ask around for recipes from fellow foodies, friends, family, and co-workers. I got so many delicious and healthy vegan recipes that I will continue using, even after the diet ends.

WEEK FOUR: The afterparty. On the first day of “back to normal” eating, what did I have? Pork sandwich….extra spicy with a couple (natural) energy drinks. Plus, a couple of adult beverages after a crazy busy work day. Did I feel different than before? You bet.  Sluggish. Tired. My stomach huuuurrrttt.  My taste buds changed. Salty food tastes even saltier and sweets taste over the top. TIP: I love eating healthy, but also love to indulge. Keep it a balance, folks. Being a big time foodie, I truly cannot see my life without enjoying oysters on the half shell, fresh almond croissants, bulgogi, chicken liver pate, or a rich Malbec. Moderation, natural, real, and unprocessed is key.

 

Being healthy and happy is neccessary to living a fresh and natural lifestyle. The more natural and unprocessed I eat, the better I feel, the better I smile, the better glow I have.

Are you up for a 28 day Vegan – detox challenge? Try it, You will amaze yourself!