Potato and Salmon Cakes with Ginger and Scallions

I found this recipe in the March 2012 issue of Food and Wine magazine and adapted it to my own liking.  I don’t care for crab or salmon cakes with too much filler where you lose the taste of what I believe should be the main ingredient…the seafood!  I also used leftover salmon that I had baked the night before for dinner.  If you’re using raw salmon from scratch, the directions are below otherwise skip to step 2.

MAKES 12 SMALL CAKES

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound skinless wild salmon fillet
  • Safflower or sunflower oil, for greasing and frying
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6 scallions), coarsely chopped
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Dill Sauce, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water. Add a large pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly, then peel. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash.

Meanwhile, put the salmon on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the salmon is medium-rare inside.

Gently flake the salmon and add it to the potatoes along with the scallions, eggs, garlic, ginger, onion, tamari and sesame oil. Mix well, then season with salt.

Form the potato mixture into fourteen 1/2-cup patties.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of safflower or sunflower oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the potato cakes over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining potato cakes, adding more oil and adjusting the heat as necessary.

Bake the salmon cakes for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

Serve with the Dill Sauce and enjoy!

Mamnoon – Seattle, WA

I’ve been meaning to go here for a while, ever since I noticed construction going on while dining across the street at Terra Plata.  The space is gorgeous and without knowing you’re in Seattle, this could easily be in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.  Very urban and edgy.

And the food…I honestly can’t say enough great things about it.  A blend of Lebanese and Syrian food, it’s absolutely delicious and unlike anything else in the city.  Lots of bright spices and fresh vegetables, perfectly cooked meats and sauces that you can’t help but sop up with whatever bread you have left on the table.  Each dish is so uniquely different from the last that you end up having a hard time picking a favorite when it’s all over.  I went with a group of 6 and after eating there I think it’s probably best to go in a group so you have the opportunity to try a bunch of different things.  That or you’ll just want to immediately go back to try what you didn’t have room for.  We ordered a lot…primarily vegetarian heavy items…and I walked away satisfied, content and excited to go back!

Be sure to order one of the khobz – specialty breads, the bateresh – charred eggplant with minced lamb, fatten hummus – fresh chickpeas, grilled bread, green garlic yogurt and pine nuts (one of my all time favorite dishes to make in culinary school!) and the kefta – minced lamb, onion, pistachio and baharat.  YUMMMM!!!

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Pasta with Robiola and Truffles

Oh lordy was this divine!  Rich?  Yes!  Indulgent?  Yes!  Worth the calories?  Heck yes!!!  I was lucky enough to receive 6oz of fresh Oregon black truffles from my sister-in-law and her husband for Christmas this year and wanted to find a worthy recipe to use them in.  We were hosting some people for dinner and the Seahawks game (GO HAWKS!!!) and this seemed like the perfect comfort food meal for the occasion.  I wasn’t able to find Robiola but the cheesemonger recommended Double Cream Cremont which was a great substitution.

4 FIRST COURSE SERVINGS

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 8 ounces dried egg fettuccine or tagliatelle
  • 8 ounces Robiola Rocchetta cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium fresh white or black truffle, peeled and sliced, or one 2-ounce jar sliced truffles

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Cook over moderate heat until the milk solids turn a rich brown and the butter smells nutty, about 6 minutes. Pour the butter into a bowl.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the reserved water and the browned butter and toss with 2 forks. Add the cheese and toss until it begins to melt; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to warmed bowls, shave the truffle on top and serve right away.

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Lark – Seattle, WA

John Sundstrom’s new Lark location is stunning from the outside in.  Cool industrial exterior with a equally stunning interior that shows off the good bones of the restaurant.  The high ceiling and windows provide ample light and while there aren’t a ton of tables, the space still feels large and roomy.  If you don’t plan ahead or can’t get a reservation, their upstairs bar Bitter/Raw serves the full downstairs menu along with crudo and charcuterie.  They also have a happy hour from 4-6pm during the week.

I could have ordered the entire menu which made it very hard for me to narrow it down but overall I loved our selection.  The only dish I didn’t snap was the Montana wagyu steak tartare with capers, coronations, aioli and crackers but that’s because I got too excited when it arrived and dove right in.  Delicious!  Other dishes that caught my eye and I hope to try soon Cavatelli with lamb and pork bolognese, Parmigiano Reggiano and pickled cardoon as well as the Ninety Farm lamb duo with Corona beans, black kale and Meyer lemon…yum!

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IMG_5985IMG_5989 Burrata with charred leeks, Taggiasca olives, olive oil croutons

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Half wild mushrooms with garlic, shallot and butter

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Tamarin with fondue and shaved black truffle

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Arctic Char, smoked root vegetable dashi, maitake, green garlic custard

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Malt ice cream with crispy hazelnuts and gianduja “magic shell”

Napa Valley Wine Tasting

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My husband and I love everything about Napa, especially the wine, and try to get down there a couple of times each year.  I constantly get emails from family, friends and friends of friends asking where to go wine tasting so I thought a post about some especially good – not to miss spots – would be great!

There are wineries that take reservations and others that don’t.  Personally I prefer the ones that are reservation only simply because it means there will be no tour buses, less people, and more one on one time most likely with the owner or wine maker.  What’s not to love about that?!  One of the downsides to reservation only wineries is that sometimes that means there’s an expensive tasting fee.  At the end of the day I think you need to figure out what your goal is.  Are you looking to just have the experience of wine tasting without buying?  Are you wanting the convenience of just popping into a place off of Highway 29?  Are you interested in buying hard to find wine not accessible to the general public?  Whatever your answer is, I’ve got plenty of places for everyone.  Below I have them categorized to help you narrow down your selection.

*I highly encourage anyone and everyone to hire a car service for their day of wine tasting.  It might make your day a little more expensive but it’s a lot less cheaper than a DUI and will make the day safer and more relaxing I promise.  Just remember, “You booze, you cruise, you lose!”

Napa Valley Tours & Transportation

Appointment only:

Fleury – $35 tasting fee.  This is hands down one of our favorite wineries!  The winery itself isn’t anything to write home about.  It’s a warehouse with tasting tents set up inside however the wine is the true star here.  Go here if you’re looking for some great wine to purchase.  Our favorites are the Passionne, The “F” in Red, Le Fleur 29 and Rocket Juice.  Yum…makes me want some now!

Schramsberg $45 tasting fee.  If bubbles are your weakness, then this is your place!  I typically recommend people start their day here since drinking champagne is a little easier to do earlier in the day in comparison to red wine:)  You’ll definitely get your $45 worth of champagne, they serve generous pours and you’ll learn a lot about the history of champagne as well as the winery itself.

Quintessa $65 tasting fee.  One of the most expensive tasting fee I’ve ever paid at a winery but the architecture and winery itself are stunning.  By visiting this winery you’ll get a full tour of how the grapes are grown, harvested, sorted and processed into wine.  It’s a beautiful set up and the wine is really delicious.  Just a heads up if you do end up buying – we suggest cellaring their wine for a good 5 years.  It tends to taste a bit young before letting it age a little longer.

HALL Rutherford  – My husband and I had our rehearsal dinner in the gorgeous wine cave here.  Situated up in the hills, HALL Rutherford has stunning views and is overall a lovely wine tasting experience.  From whites to reds, their wines are delicious.  The “Bergfeld St. Helena” is a favorite in our house.

CADE $35-$60 tasting fee.  Located atop Howell Mountain with breath-taking panoramic views of Napa Valley, this winery is a bit of a trek but worth it!  I happen to love their Sauvignon Blanc but I also never say no to a Cabernet Sauvignon:)

Gabrielle – This is such a special winery and not one to be rushed.  I believe I spent about an hour and a half here and probably could have been there all day had it not been for my other appointments.  Gabrielle takes you on a walking tour of her beautiful property and then brings you to a charming table set by the pond and under the trees for some wine tasting, as well as her salts, herbs, honey, etc if you’re interested.  The Silver Stallion is incredible as well as the Cask 321.

Caldwell Limited appointments each month.  Another winery set high in the mountains, this too is a very special place with the most charming owner (John).  This is probably one of the most exclusive wineries I’ve ever visited and they don’t offer many tastings a month so call ahead if you want to go.  All of John’s wines are stunning but something that also stood out was the wine his workers sell as their own.  John has been nice enough to gift them land on his property to make their own wine which is a pretty incredible opportunity for anyone let alone a very generous and thoughtful gift if you ask me.

Pride Mountain $20-$75 tasting fee.  Set up one of their tastings or tours for you and up to six to twelve other guests and enjoy the view and stunning wines.  I personally love their Merlots.  2010 was a phenomenal year for them which is unfortunately sold out at this point but I’m enjoying their current release now and it’s delicious!

Merus – Since visiting Merus, I now see on their website that it says, “Because our production is so restricted, the winery and its tasting salon are closed to the general public and may only be visited by invitation”.  I would check with your hotel concierge to see if they can get you in because it’s well worth it.  Their wine is outstanding!

Open to the public:

Robert Sinskey

Duckhorn

Freemark Abbey

Sequoia Grove

Frank Family

Silver Oak

Castello di Amorosa

Dream Bowl

I found this recipe in the February 2015 issue of Bon Appetit and couldn’t wait to make my own Dream Bowl creation.  Rather than a traditional recipe, this is more of a guideline to help you create the concoction that best suites you and your flavor profile.  Below is the breakdown with suggestions and ingredients to consider.  I roasted my sweet potato and butternut squash in harissa and loved the flavor it added.  A little spicy but not too much.  Enjoy!

The Base
What’s even better than a bed of delicious cooked grains? A duo! We like black rice with red quinoa, farro with red rice, bulgur with freekeh, or spelt with lentils (okay, so that’s a legume—see how crazy this can get?).

The Greens
Before you prep the other toppings, thinly slice heartier greens—e.g., kale, collards, savoy cabbage—then toss with apple cider vinegar to moisten and give them a few squeezes. They’ll be tenderized by the time you’re ready to assemble the bowl.

The Crunch
For an alt-crouton experience, toast a mix of nuts and seeds, such as sunflower and hemp with some fennel, in olive oil until golden and crisp, then season with salt and pepper. Bonus: Now you’ve got flavorful oil to work with, too. (Read on.)

The Upgrades
1. Use the leftover seed-toasting oil to griddle some sliced Halloumi cheese (our new favorite—don’t tell feta). 2. Dress up your grains with a generous handful of tender chopped herbs, such as mint, parsley, chives, and fennel fronds.

The Roast
For the ideal crispy-creamy balance, cut winter squash, carrots, or sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces, then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a dab or two of harissa or a shake of curry powder. Roast at 425° until tender.

The Dressing
Bold is better. For our Turmeric-Tahini Sauce, whisk together 1/4 cup tahini, 3 T fresh lemon juice, 2 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/4 cup water until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste of course.   Pour liberally on pretty much everything.

Bonus Tip
Don’t toss—at least not before admiring your work. Separating the components lets you design perfect bite after perfect bite.

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Kondo – Tokyo, Japan

I knew this was a 2 Michelin star tempura restaurant but I didn’t know much more than that.  Surprisingly I was able to make reservations just a day in advance for 6 people which was even more shocking when I saw how small the place was.  There was absolutely no English signage so had it not been for our taxi driver pointing it out to us we probably never would have found it.

Once inside we were seated around the tempura bar with a front row seat to tempura delights being fried in front of us (also Chef Fumio Kondo unbeknownst to us).  With three menu choices to choose from, we decided to go big and ordered the largest of the three, the “Yomoji” menu which included – an appetizer of 2 Japanese dishes, sashimi, tempura (7 vegetables, 4 fish, 3 shrimp), and Kakiage (a mixture of scallops and honewort fried in batter).  It was an aggressive order but our thought was “go big or go home!”.

Highlights were the shrimp, tuna sashimi, and tempura vegetables.  My least favorite dish was hands down the first appetizer which included two types of raw fish (which were very good) and then a large snail and fish liver.  I’m not a fan of liver to begin with and this one didn’t do anything to change my mind.  That being said I tried it to be polite and moved on:)

With each piece of tempura that we were served, we were told to eat half with a little salt and the other half dipped in the tempura sauce which had fresh diakon in it.  Overall I enjoyed the simplicity of the salt.  Everything was so fresh and cooked to absolute perfection.  Watching the chefs delicately prepare each dish was a treat.

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Sashimi, fish liver (I believe monkfish) and sea snail

 

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Steamed tofu with yam, gingko nuts, and potato

 

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Tuna sashimi

 

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Shrimp heads

 

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Shrimp

 

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Lotus root

 

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Kisu – flat white fish

 

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Shiitake mushroom

 

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Some sort of fish/eel wrapped in shiso

 

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Onion

 

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Kakiage

 

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Fruit for dessert

 

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