La Rustica

Sep. 12th, 2008 11:24 pm
bellwether: (Default)
A and I got back a little while ago from an amazing dinner at La Rustica, a little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant tucked into the southern corner of Alki beach way over here in West Seattle. The menu was crafted with a tremendous amount of care, paying attention to both seasonality and location! I approve. The seafood was particularly good. I had a paella with mussels, clams, shrimp, and boar that was absolutely delicious. A's polenta with boar was possibly even better---I know I was jealous when I tasted it.

Plus--the waitress was very knowledgeable about the wine list and gave us a great recommendation. A and I both thought that La Rustica reminded us of Drago in Santa Monica, our favorite LA restaurant.

In short, if you ever find yourself out on the West Seattle side of the world, check out La Rustica.

La Rustica
4100 Beach Dr SW
Ste A
bellwether: (Default)
I'm in the process of making lemon-vanilla frozen yogurt, loosely based on David Lebovitz's Super Lemon Ice Cream in The Perfect Scoop which I still curse [livejournal.com profile] butigotahelmet
for every time I have a hankering for triple-chocolate ice cream.

This recipe is super simple, which I like, since that means I can start it before dinner and it might be ready by dessert time. We shall see.
Kevin's yogurty interpretation of David Lebovitz's version of Barbara Tropp's Super Lemon Ice Cream )
I also added a little whiskey (~1 tsp) to my yogurt as I don't like my yogurt to freeze too hard--I'm hoping the small bit of alcohol (whiskey + vanilla extract -- you know vanilla extract is basically vodka, right?) will prevent the mixture from freezing solid.

I don't know how the frozen product will taste, but the intermediate product is delicious....

EDIT: Yogurt's done! It's pretty good. This ended up pretty tangy--much like Pinkberry. Yum.
bellwether: (Default)
Recently, the New York Times featured an article on the Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. This quest starts with the Tollhouse cookie recipe, off the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag, an easily defendable starting point. Millions of bakers have successfully made these cookies to delighted oohs and ahhs.

It turns out, Nestle left a key instruction out of Mrs. Wakefield's (the owner of the Toll House Inn, where the cookie recipe originated) original recipe. Practically, this instruction would not have been well received by many home bakers--specifically, the step that was left out was to let the prepared batter age to allow the flour to fully hydrate. Additionally, the NYT recipe suggested the addition of a sprinkling of sea salt on the cookies.

A and I tested the NYT recipe, testing the cookies resulting from batter aged 0 hours, 24 hours, and 36 hours. This was a real chore, I can tell you. At 0 hours, the cookies spread very easily in the oven, resulting in a thin chewy cookie--the principal difference at this point from the Tollhouse recipe is the salty sweet finish.

At 24 hours, the cookies were noticeably different. The chilled batter did not spread out, and as the NYT recipe suggested, there were distinct layers of crispy, chewy, and soft cookie. The cookies was also more golden brown. The 36 hours cookies were similar, but developed a much darker uniform golden color. In comparision, the 0 hour cookies were pale tan orbs.

Overally, in flavor, the 24 hour cookies and 36 hour cookies were not sufficiently different to warrant an additional 12 hours of waiting. Frankly, the 0 hour cookies were delicious, and perfectly acceptable. The sea salt sprinkling was fantastic, and I'll be incorporating that into other baked goods. This is definitely my new go-to cookie recipe!
bellwether: (Default)
I TA'd "Singapore Saturday" today at the New School of Cooking in West LA--this is my third stint at assisting, and I'm addicted. It's so much fun, despite student foibles such as lack of *any* seasoning, burnt Dungeness crab (which, omg, is quite unpleasant), and utensil theft. :)

The smell from the kitchen transported me mentally back to grade schoool in Indonesia.... The Gado Gado was fabulous! [livejournal.com profile] morganlf and I will have to make it, and then we'll post the recipe. :)
bellwether: (Default)
I made blackberry frozen yogurt tonight, to try out a herb combo that I've been thinking about.

It was a hit--[livejournal.com profile] morganlf and [livejournal.com profile] glass_diamonds both liked it and urged me to write down the recipe... so, for posterity, here it is. I also liked it, but it was a bit seedy. Next time, I'd defrost the berries, puree them, and strain out the seeds before using.

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

Frozen blackberries (1/2 a package)
4 cups of non-fat yogurt
2/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of pomegranate juice (non-sweetened)
2-3 Tbs lemon verbena leaves (a small handful)
3 Tbs sweet basil (a few large leaves)

Strain yogurt in cheesecloth for 30 minutes to an hour

Puree everything in a blender.

If *not* using frozen berries, chill the mixture in the freezer until really cold or partially frozen.

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze as per manufacturers instructions.
bellwether: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] morganlf and I are safely in St. Andrews. We travelled through King's Cross nearly 24 hours to the minute before the bombings, but were safely in Edinburgh (amid the craziness of the G8 and the associated protesting) when the bombings actually occured. The mood here is somber but resolved--it reminds me a great deal of the aftermath of 9/11. Thanks to everyone who sent worried emails--we're fine.

Alison is attending sessions of the "The Middle Ages on Film" while I'm exploring St. Andrews. If you're not a golfer, the town is 15 minutes from one end to the other, and while it does have several fascinating medieval sites, I've nearly exhausted the historical venues.... Time to move to other venues as I explore Scottish lagers and reading on the beach. Not necessarily in that order.

Oh, and a word of advice. Just because you can deep fry something, doesn't mean you should. In this case, toast. Don't deep fry toast. And then don't serve it for breakfast. Ech.

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