A sirloin French-Lavender story

Elena Fernandez

During 3 years since I moved to Seattle I´ve trying with no success to find fresh duck foie. I have to admit that this is not an easy thing to find in Spain either. You won´t find it in our neighborhood store as foie is considered there kind of a wedding banquet delicacy.

I´d just given up when yesterday I discovered by chance at my local Uwajimaya a frozen area full of these weird ingredientes that maybe a minority of Asian, French and Spaniards love to cook: quail, pig tail, rabbit and duck in all their versions: foie, magret and confit. I had tu rub my eyes to be sure that I was not in the middle of a dream… So, in an impulse I decided to grab two beautiful sirloin steaks too to prepare one of these dishes that we enjoy in banquets and Christmas festivities.

Once at home I told my griller master, my 11 year old son, to prepare the sirloin on the grill while I sliced the foie blocks in the middle to cook them properly. You only need to prepare them pan seared 2 minutes each side. I decide to grill red bell peppers too because they have a powerful flavor but not too heavy as a starch so they could balance the whole dish.

The final touch was a sherry vinegar reduction, a really personal and new creation: 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 3 tablespooons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a tablespoon of lavender cooking slow for around 10 minutes. My lavender comes from one of my favorite places in WA, Purple Haze Lavender Farm. A place that I visited two years ago. I was a bit concerned about the marriage between the foie and the lavender but thinks worked out perfectly so I wanted to share this discovery to you in case you want to surprise somebody close to your heart with this beautiful dish.

Oh, a final detail. When you put the foie on top of the sirloin add a pinch of Maldon salt. This salt will bring the best from this beautiful fatty piece to your mouth.

receta foie

 

Chilean seabass with paprika infused olive oil-Galicia style

Elena Fernandez

Altough here in the Pacific NW we enjoy the best salmon ever a fish lover like me needs a pink break from time to time. Chilean seabass is always the best option for me as its soft delicate but luscious texture reminds me so much my beloved hake, a kind of fish that is totally imposible to find here in Seattle.

I usually buy my fish at Uwajimaya but last Tuesday I was running errands in Redmond and I decided It was time to have a peek into the Whole Foods fish section. The nice employee confirmed that seabass is always the jewel of the Crown and that 95% of the customers are Asian or European. “The other clients walk close with curiosity but they barely order. I think they feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of cooking it”

Don´t be! Cooking fish is easy and we are pretty good developing easy tasty simple recipes. This is one of them, pretty classic in our Atlantic NW, Galicia.

 

Ingredients

1 Chilean seabass fillet

6 small potatoes

1 onion

5 garlic cloves

Bay leaves

1 salt tablespoon

Extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Fresh parsely or cilantro

Paprika infused olive oil

1 tablespoon of Spanish bittersweet paprika (other kind would be OK too)

A whole piece of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil

 

Preparation

In a pot place the peeled potatoes, the 5 peeled garlic cloves and the onion cut in big chunk pieces. Add the bay leaves, the black pepper and cover with water.Pour a tablespoon of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and let the potatoes cook at medium temperature until they are soft (between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the kind of potato). You can test them pinching with a knife. Add the seabass filet cut into square pieces and the minced fresh parsley or cilantro. Cook 10 minutes more.

While the seabass is cooking prepare the paprika olive oil. Fry in a pan the whole garlic piece cut in a half without peeling it until is Golden Brown. Take out the garlic and wait until the oil is at warm temperature not too hot. Pour the tablespoon of paprika and stir until the oils gets a bold red color.

To plate everything put 2 potatoes and piece of seabass on a plate. Drizzle everything with the paprika oil and add some pieces of the fried garlic too.

I love pairing this dish with a rosé wine as it has a stronger flavor than a usual fish preparation. My yesterday choice was a classic one: Marqués de Cáceres DO Rioja. Enjoy!

 

seabass 3

 

 

 

Our river that runs forever

Elena Fernandez 

After a long hold on period due to Phd duties The Yummy Bull is rolling again, or I would say, running again… My first post of fall season is about an interesting topic related to Natural resources: the new Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, supported by a ton of local collectives in Eastern Washington and by FORKS association in an event that took place on Monday in Pike Place.

The Yakima Basin Integrated plan is leaded by American Rivers, The Wilderness Society and Trout Unlimited and its objective is to enhace Yakima River water supplies to create a sustainable frame that will permit to manage this precious resource for everybody involved in harmony.

Two of his primary goals are restoring salmon and steelhead populations from under about 25,000 today to 300,000 by improving fish passage into the Yakima Basin’s headwaters and to enhance water storage to make up for a declining snowpack due to climate change.

Yakima Valley´s bounty is really appreciated in Western Washington for local chefs and It has to be preserved for the next generations. Many of the nation’s wine grapes, apples, cherries, , and pears come from the Yakima River Basin, and 1/3 of the hops world production come from here too.

fotos comidaThe Yakima Basin Integrated plan represents perfectly the spirit of FORKS, as a meeting point for the beginning and the end from the food chain, so many times lost and disconnected by the intermediaries. A dialogue that makes perfect sense in a place like Washington where local produce is revered like a treasure.

I not only had the opportunity to learn about this interesting plan but to taste beer from Fremont Brewery, wine from Sous Soul Winery and food from the new restaurant Orfeo just opened by Kevin and Teresa Davies, owners of Steelhed Diner and Blueacre Seafood. Fresh and really good food, especially the smoked cod salad with his beautiful wood flavor.

Ronald Holden, a Seattle veteran food blogger didn´t want to miss this event either. So I was lucky to enjoy his always entertaining conversation. He is preparing an updated version of his book Home Grown Seattle: 101 true tales of local food & drink.buscar and I´m looking forward to read it again.

Get here more info to support the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan

yakima_river

Totally obsessed with Jack´s BBQ pecan pie. The best in WA

Pecan pie photoshop

Seabass Vasc Country Style, a recipe for love

Elena Fernandez 

If you ask a Spaniard about his favorite fish, he probably will tell you that It´s hake, by far. His delicate flesh and flavor make hake perfect for a million different ways to cook it. One of my favorites is the most classical way, Vasc Country style in a wine and parsley sauce with clams. Really easy to prepare. Finding hake in the Pacific NW is an impossible dream, but luckily the Chilean seabass make the treat.

Two years ago I invited  my friend and trainer Jessica and his new boyfriend Jaffer for dinner. They loved my clams and seabass dish so I promised to send her the recipe. But I never did it.

This winter our friend Seth, a Texan Seattle newcomer who loves fish, wanted to learn more ways to enjoy the Pacific NW sea bounty so I remembered this old recipe and my old debt to Jessica and I finally sent it to both of them.

Jessica cooked the dish for Jaffer and I would say, looking at the pic, that she did a great job! The happy ending of the story is that this weekend they got engaged! so I want to think that (altough I know It´s not true) that my  Spanish dish played a role in this beautiful love story.

So, you know, maybe If you cook my seabass recipe, your love life could get a kick too! It this happens, please share with me your story and send to me a photo! Because, you know, love is all around…

 

CHILEAN SEABASS WITH CLAMS

INGREDIENTS FOR FOUR PEOPLE

Four seabass fillets

One pound of clams

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

1 glass of water

1 glass of white wine (Spanish Albariño recommended)

Four tablespoons of Extra Virgin olive oil

flour

pepper

salt

Crush garlic, parsley and salt in the mortar and pestle. Fry the onion in olive oil at low temperature for about 10 minutes until the onion is traslucent. Add the water to the mix in the mortar. Pour it into the sauteed onions and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat with a glass of white wine.  Incorporate the spiced seabass fillets covered in flour. Add the clams. Move slowly the pan to thicken the sauce while baking at medium low heat about 15 minutes.

 

merluza

Greek yogurt + mango and apple fruit compote = healthy after workout snack

Elena Fernandez

I have a lonely mango in my fridge who was about to be spoilt and I remembered that my grandma loved cooking sliced apples with brown sugar, a cinammon stick and a clove for dessert all the time when I was a kid. So I added my mango into the show and some ginger and Sherry vinegar to give to the mix some acidity and spiciness. Fifteen minutes and voilà! A beautiful mix to add to savory and sweet dishes. I mixed mine with Greek yogurt and honey for an after workout snack. Enjoy it!

compota frutas+ yogur griego

 

My pairing of the week

Samish Bay Cheese + toasted bread from the Breadfarm. Add 3 drops of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for perfection

Samish Bay Cheese + toasted bread from the Breadfarm. Add 3 drops of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for perfection

Snout and Co. Juicy cuban style pork in a heavy metal food truck

Enjoying mojo pork style at Snout and Co. Don´t forget to visit the new food truck pod at Barnes and Noble parking lot in Bellevue

Enjoying mojo pork style at Snout and Co. Don´t forget to visit the new food truck pod at Barnes and Noble parking lot in Bellevue

Mediterranean food for energetic entrepreneurs

Foto culinary collective 1

Elena Fernandez 

The Yummy Bull had the opportunity to host a Mediterranean dinner last Friday for Euro Seattle Startup Weekend, as I was representing Spain in the Organization Committee.

Startup Weekend is a global movement of active entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. The top ideas will work during the whole weekend creating a business model as a beginning of a new venture.

I´d never prepared food for 100 people but this is what life is all about, about pushing your own boundaries. Right?

Luckily I counted with the sponsorship of Culinary Collective, one the most important and respected Spanish gourmet importers in the US who donated all the Spanish food for the meal. Making good food with amazing ingredients is always easy…

I was alone and tight in time to prepare the catering, so I conceptualized a realistic, diverse and healthy menu. I chose to prepare a “bonito del Norte”, a variety of tuna from the Cantabrian sea, and piquillo peppers salad (see recipe below).

Foto cena 7I wanted to feature an array of Mediterranean countries in my dinner so I decided to showcase French endives too.  I love their bitter flavor, not so common in the Pacific NW, because fits perfectly with smoked salmon and  blue cheese. I couldn´t find best dressing that salt, Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Pedro Ximénez Reserva vinegar.

Brie and blue cheese combined with grapes and Spanish Marcona almonds, the “Ferrari of the almonds” in experts opinion, and Italian delis rounded the meal for meat and cheese lovers.  More veggies and hummus, coming from the other side from the Mediterranean, made things easy for the vegetarians.

I wanted to add a light, colorful and healthy dessert so I decided to bring Greece to the table too adding yogurt with berries and pomegranate to the ecuation. And for the sweet tooth authentic Seville tortas de aceite and catalonian milk and dark chocolate.

A diverse Mediterranean dinner for a diverse and energetic bunch of entrepreneurs who worked hard all weekend long to bring their best ideas into life.

I`m proud to say that we received a lot of compliments about all  the meals that we served during the weekend. You know we, Europeans, take food business really seriously.

Where You can find Culinary Collective products in the Seattle area:

Metropolitan Market, DeLaurenti, The Spanish Table

 

Foto cena 5

 

 

Bonito del Norte and Piquillo Peppers salad

 1 can of Piquillo Peppers or Roasted Peppers

17 oz Bonito del Norte

1 sweet onion

5 Extra Virgin olive oil tablespoons

Parsley

For the dressing

5 Extra Virgin Olive Oil tablespoons

2 Sherry Vinegar tablespoons

Cumin

Grounded black pepper

Salt

Slice the onion and poach it at slow heat for 10 minutes in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Drain it and put into a flat tray with the sliced peppers. Pour the dressing and add the bonito and parsley as decoration.

foto ensalada atun

Culinary collective annual open (ware) house, the best Spanish gourmet food at amazing prizes

Culinary collective open house