Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cook Me! - Forbidden Rice w/ yogurt, lime, mango & banana.

We post a lot of food pics to Facebook. Yeah, it probably annoys some of you, and we should probably tone it down. But your tears of jealousy feed us too!

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of cooking for Ann, her mother, and our friend Karin. I decided to whip up a smoked salmon potato hash with horseradish sauce & fried egg (not pictured). I needed to add some citrus & sweetness to offset the savoriness of horseradish sauce & potato hash. So I riffed off a favorite breakfast dish of mine from Revel: Forbidden Rice with yogurt, mango banana relish & lime zest.

Now, Revel does theirs with puffed rice and kaffir lime yogurt, and it's totally awesome. But puffed rice is actually very hard to do if you don't have the proper equipment. And kaffir limes are fairly difficult to find, even in Seattle. So I did the best I could with what's available.

  • 1 cup Forbidden Rice (black rice is super-nutritious, and has a really nice mild nutty flavor; can be found at Whole Foods, etc)
  • 1 banana, diced
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (also found in Whole Foods)
  • 1 pint of yogurt (vanilla bean or plain are peferable; blend with lime juice and zest for super limey flavor)
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1 lime, zested (reserve juice if you need more sour to offset the sweetness of banana and mango)
  • Serves 4
Boil water for rice. 2/1 ratio, per usual. Dump in rice, bring to a boil, and then set to low and let simmer. Here's a little cooking tip from Aragorn: DONT DISTURB THE RICE!Now, I'm pretty sure a giant octopus won't emerge from your boiling rice. But, you'll notice your rice will possess a better quality if you leave it undisturbed.

While your rice cooks, in a small sauce pan, combine your diced bananas, mangoes, sugar, vanilla bean paste and a small amount of water. Cook over medium heat until you get a nice simmer, then lower heat and let the fruit sauce reduce as well. Add more vanilla bean paste until you get the desired vanilla flavor. The natural sugars should be enough, but also feel free to add more sugar if you need to thicken it up.

Once both elements are thoroughly cooked, bowl a half cup of rice, then top with yogurt, and then banana mango relish. Zest lime for flavor and color. Serve.

It's a moderately healthy and ridiculously easy breakfast dish that will impress significant others, in-laws, friends, or late night acquaintances that are mysteriously still at your place in the morning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's not always June at June

Another fantastic Seattle Restaurant Week has just concluded which is fortuitous since I just suffered from a lisfranc dislocation of my foot and resulting surgery. It would have been difficult to hobble around to new eateries when I am supposed to elevate my leg but this gives me plenty of bed rest time to craft some res week blogs.

The month of June evokes a sense of happy beginnings of a warm summer but as a restaurant, it's more than about that sunny season. Its chefs advocate fresh, seasonal food available at each season.

We ventured to Madrona - a neighborhood that's close but one we never ever go to in order to experience Seattle Restaurant Week try #1. This fun night was shared with a small posse of friends: the Strubs and the Williams who were out for their first night sans baby.

June is nested on a quiet street in Madrona near other shops and a Molly Moons. We started with some happy hour-priced wine since we were delighted to have arrived a little before our 7pm reservation time.

First Course

Nick's 'meh' salad
Nick opted for a salad that was very similar to one he's made in the past: endive, radicchio, mixed greens with apple, blue cheese and bacon lardons. This isn't anything extraordinary and something you'd see typically on menus; Nick thought it was average. But June's first courses had nice presentations.

It was a blustery day so the celeriac soup sounded like a good option for me. It was a good starter with some nice subtle flavors but again, was fairly typical. Steve had a beet salad which looked pretty tasty.

Celiarac soup

Beet Salad


Pumpkin Gnocchi
I am both a pumpkin and gnocchi whore so put those together and I'm sold! If there is a dish with a fried or gooey egg, I will often go for runny egg as well. Just a note in case you know of a delicious combination of something involving runny egg, pumpkin or gnocchi....

All of the ladies ordered the pumpkin gnocchi which looked amazing when it arrived. The sauce and the gnocchi were delicious but I was missing that crunchy and chewy texture from the gnocchi when it has a nice sear on it. I prefer that dark sear to add additional texture to my gnocchi; folks who like theirs soft and pillowy may love June's. I am such a fan of gnocchi (and whenever I say it, I am reminded of Top Chef contestant Fabio saying in his Italian accent that they are "little soft peellows") so I am constantly disappointed when they aren't made exactly to my liking.

Nick had the chicken which he said had some sort of bacon sauce and brussels sprouts. The chicken was perfectly cooked although the bacon sauce was a bit salty.

Nick's bacony chicken & brussels sprouts

As I mentioned, I am more than enthusiastic about pumpkin so I ordered the pumpkin bread pudding. Nick got the chocolate espresso terrine. The bread pudding had some good flavors, a delicious honey sauce although was a little on the sweet side. Regardless, I was a fan since it was pretty velvety and sumptuous.

Pumpkin bread pudding
Nick's chocolate espresso terrine was  also tasty. Not spectacular but solid. Which pretty much sums up our experience at June. It was cozy with friendly service and seasonable food made well but June isn't often the most spectacular month of the summer; August in Seattle typically trumps June in terms of weather, activities and product that's in season. Like the lovely month of August, other restaurants and more memorable dishes topped June in our November 2011 Seattle Restaurant Week adventures.

Chocolate terrine - nice presentation