Galette. Get It.

14 Nov

At some point you can no longer ignore the copious bags frozen fruit in your freezer. Every time you reach in to grab large ice cubes for the round of Old Fashioneds (or Palermos) you’re making for the girlfriends, the bags of this summer’s raspberries accost you like a pushy teenager in line at an all ages show, falling all over themselves. Fine, I’m on it – let’s bake.

Siiri Sampson Raspberry Galette

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All rights reserved.

Here’s what happened:

[soundtrack I baked to :: my own playlist]

There was also some leftover pie crust I’d saved from a previous project, hiding behind the gallon bags of raspberries. Dug it out and thawed it while the oven preheated to 400F. Thawed and rinsed the berries, tossed them with zante currants, diced butter, a dusting of flour, brown sugar (how much? SOME.) and a tiny bit of freshly grated nutmeg. Then I recalled there was this super rand-o bag of rhubarb fermenting in the fridge, in vodka and stuff. It’d been in there for a couple of months, in preparation to make Rhubodka. (you can take a guess how far that project went…) so I yanked it out of there, strained off the liquid (which is now labeled and brewing in the pantry for a quiet evening in January or something….) and folded in the rhubarb.

This whole mixture looked weird, runny and borderline dump-it-in-the-trash worthy. But I didn’t because that’s rude and also we don’t waste food at Chez Sampson. It’s few and far between that something is unsalvageable, so I rolled out the dough as thin as I could get it on greased parchment. Land a few dollops of the mixture in the middle (attempting to strain off as much liquid as possible). Folded the sides over. You’ll be glad you had it on parchment so you can peel it off without tearing it too much.

Baked at 400F for about 25-35 minutes – just keep your eye on it. Make sure it’s on a rimmed half sheet pan because it will betray you and run all over the pan. Keep the faith though, pull it when the crust is golden, and let it sit, unmoved, untouched, till it’s room temperature. When you realize you have to make at least 3 more to get rid of what’s in the freezer before you can start other projects, give it away.

What a great way to end a day that started off with a fantastic brisk walk through the gorgeous, sunny city with one of my best friends and a café au lait.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All rights reserved.

And to top it off, I took delivery of this insanely fresh baked bread.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All rights reserved.

Steam actually came out when we cut into it. I tried to remain composed and limited myself to a couple slices (as far as you know). Then shared the rest with a fantastic pair of friends who just had a (totally chill) baby, when I delivered dinner to them the next night. They agreed, the bread is legit gorge-your-face worthy. They texted the next morning to let me know it’s also great toasted with peanut butter for breakfast. Duly noted.

Sweet Potato Hash. It’s Brunch.

9 Nov

Brunch. It’s the best, I’m sure you agree. It’s the romantic, laid back, effortlessly chic sibling of the proper breakfast.

Brunch with quail eggs, sweet potato hash and chimichurri

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Planning one to have friends join in on is wonderful, but there’s definitely a level of satisfaction that comes along with pulling it together from all the odds and ends that fill the fridge throughout the course of a busy week’s worth of cooking. Today has been the epitome of grey Seattle fall, and I’m content watching from indoors. But, a girl’s gotta eat, so I dug out the treasures that were hiding. Here’s what happened.

[soundtrack I cooked to :: Sylvan Esso]

Roasted sweet potatoes that I baked in the oven with thyme and smashed garlic were combined with sautéed onions, diced tomato and avocado. Applewood smoked bacon lardons accompanied scallions over sunnyside up quail eggs, all nestled on top of bacon fat wilted greens. (obviously I put chimichurri all over everything after I took this picture because the obsession is real and I’m not above it, so there’s that…)

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

I brunched not once, but twice this weekend. Yesterday I kicked off a new set of projects with some fellow creative (who are not cooks). We celebrated with boats and brunch at The Fishermen’s Terminal.

More on those new projects to come, but for now, here’s a teaser.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Weeknight Foods: Brown Sugar Glazed King Salmon with Cabbage Salad

28 Sep

Seattle has shifted into Fall, it’s true. If you live here, have friends here, watch the national weather reports or generally have ever heard of Seattle, you’re probably not surprised. But before I completely let go of the white knuckle grip I’ve had on Summer for  the past 12 or so weeks, let’s look at a quick and easy weeknight meal, shall we? King Salmon fillet baked in the oven with a simple brown sugar glaze, served with a sizable dollop of house made chimichurri sauce and a cabbage salad that just won’t quit.

Baked King Salmon fillet plated with cabbage salad and chimichurri sauce.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

There’s really no need to make this out to be something more complicated – this is clean food, minimal ingredients and cook time, with bright flavors that basically speak for themselves. In fact, the salmon prep only has 5 ingredients total and I could probably have my awesome nephews prep this under next to no supervision (not that my sister would go for that because boys, spatulas and tiny fistfuls of brown sugar do not a clean kitchen make. But I digress.).

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

First we deal with the salmon. Preheat your oven to 400F and prep a quarter sheet pan (or a rimmed baking sheet) with parchment (or tin foil that you’ve prepped with a nonstick spray). Prep your fillet or have your fishmonger take care of that for you. What does that mean? Good question. Basically you’re cleaning the skin (which you leave on to bake and then either leave on the baking sheet and pull the fillet away with a spatula, or leave it on and serve whole), checking for bones and patting it dry. There is a variation of this dish where I sear the fish in the cast iron skillet on high heat for a couple minutes and then finish it in the oven. This makes the skin super crispy and you can just eat it all up if you’re game!

I give the salmon a dusting of salt and pepper, then a thin coating of mayonnaise, finally crumbling brown sugar over the top. The mayo seals in the fats of the fish, and the brown sugar creates a glossy, faint sweetness that still has a nice depth to compliment the flavor of the fish quite nicely.

You’re only cooking the salmon for 10minutes TOPS. It should be portioned out already per person and this fillet is about 7oz. I like to slightly undercook the fish to keep the delicacy of the meat and body of the fillet at the best possible texture. The chimichurri I had laying around as I always do, and you can find that recipe elsewhere on the blog by searching in the top search field. The cabbage salad was insanely easy and has no recipe. One head of baby cabbage that I essentially shred with my mandolin or a sharp chefs knife. The dressing has a dash of this and that, including fresh grated ginger, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, fish sauce, sunflower butter, olive oil salt and pepper. Whisk it all together, snip in some scallions, currants and pepitas. Then douse the cabbage, toss vigorously and put in the fridge as far in advance as you can to the meal – up to a day. The longer it sits, the better it gets, and lasts me about 3 meals. (3 single servings)

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Something about the crunch of the cabbage against the tahini and slight umami of the fish sauce goes perfectly with the sweetness of the brown sugar glaze on the salmon. If you make this salad ahead and have it laying around, this entire meal can be in your face in under 30 minutes (because we still have to wait for ovens to preheat people, we’re not made of magic, okay?)

Happy Birthday To Me!

21 Sep

*Disclaimer: This post is long, full of pictures, and much more focused on my life and birthday than it is the food. So if that’s not your thing, I won’t be the least bit offended if you skip this one. There’s a good salmon recipe coming up in the next post…..I’ll win you back, I just *know* it!

On my 5th birthday I was a cake-loving, shy, close-mouthed smile girl. We've come a long way, baby! But, Lord, look at those fabulously '80s outfits we all have. And also, I'd like to note that my mom is still this beautiful, so I'm REALLY lucking out in the gene pool. Of note: my mom is 38 years old in this picture. (I KNOW!!!!!)

On my 5th birthday I was a cake-loving, shy, close-mouthed smile girl. We’ve come a long way, baby! But, Lord, look at those fabulously ’80s outfits we all have. And also, I’d like to note that my mom is still this beautiful, so I’m REALLY lucking out in the gene pool. Of note: my mom is 38 years old in this picture. (I KNOW!!!!!)

Any summer baby like myself will tell you that we wait allllll year for the warm months to arrive here in the Pacific Northwest. And when they do, we bask proper. I was ahead of the game this year, prepping numerous playlists for all SORTS of shenanigans. The winning of them all, head and shoulders above, was my “100% Summer” Playlist, which I’m only giving up now because summer is over, and let’s face it, us Leos tend to be a little “Me, Me, Me” about stuff like that. It’s just a thing.

I hope you’re not getting your hopes up that I’ll have some killer birthday cake recipe or cake related picture in here. I didn’t bake or eat birthday cake this year. I didn’t blow out any birthday candles. I must be doing it right, because this has been, hands down, the most amazing birthday (month) I’ve ever had in my entire life. 31 was an incredible year, and I have a distinct feeling 32 will blow it out of the water by New Years.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve been with the blog for a year or more, you know I’m NOTORIOUS for stretching the festivities across the entire month of August. This will never change. You know who benefits from this approach? Everyone I know. Because people love a semi-legit reason to celebrate with friends and family. Without further ado, here’s what went down, where and with whom:

Restaurants

Source: Eater.com [Photo: S. Pratt]

Aragona – Source: Eater.com [Photo: S. Pratt]

Right out the gate, I tried Aragona on August 1st. The bartender was incredibly knowledgeable, the staff was kind, the interior was beautiful, the food was on point and the cocktails were crisp and well balanced. Perfect date spot. Of course, if you’re a Seattleite, you may have heard Jason is shuttering it and reopening soon as the Italian centric Vespolina.

I also hit up Bravehorse a couple times for beers and shuffleboard with old friends, which is a walkable, perfectly relaxing spot to end a week. The new Mezcaleria Oaxaca also proved a valuable downtown/Cap Hill asset in the sunset catching department.

The cocktail of my 30's - The Old Fashioned - has only become better with my age. HA! Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

The cocktail of my 30’s – The Old Fashioned – has only become better with my age. HA!
Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

For full-blown birthday celebrations, I touched down at Miller’s Guild twice with different batches of out-of-towners because I can walk there in 5 minutes, thereby only making me 10 minutes late because, HI, HAVE WE MET?! And somehow, because I’m a mastery of calendars, I was able to con my various groups of girlfriends into taking over Damn The Weather no less than 3 times. If this place continues to get accolades on its current speed-of-sound trajcectory, I’m going to have to start some counter tactics….. Everyone knows about it and while I’m so incredibly happy for my friends that are involved in such a great project that makes the cocktails and food above and below happen, I’m starting to fear I’ll never be able to get a seat! (see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for starters!)

Damn The Weather - Crudo Special. Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Damn The Weather – Crudo Special.
Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Additional mentions go to Westward which provided the quintessential Seattle backdrop for a lovely dinner date, as did Oddfellows (as always). Old Sage was the location of a wonderful food blogger event put on by The Frantic Foodie, and Cure was the antidote for midweek catch up amidst every bicycle-polo-playing hipster the Hill had to offer. Seriously, September cannot sustain this kind of gallivanting you guys. That was insane, and I’m leaving out wedding venues and actual bars, because this is already too long and I haven’t even told the actual story yet.

Trips

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_1I had tickets to see Arcade Fire on their Reflektor Tour at The Gorge at George and took my best friends, Adam and Troy for a long weekend of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. IT WAS 100% AMAZING, SEE???

Troy with his Texas Toast on the left, Adam with steak at the ready, on the right. LOVE these newlyweds!!!! Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Troy with his Texas Toast on the left, Adam with steak at the ready, on the right. LOVE these newlyweds!!!! Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Our trip to my sister and brother-in-law’s river house (on The Columbia River) was delayed due to road blasting for widening the freeway, so we stopped at this perfect truck stop diner where we all got the salad bar and another meal as if we were stocking up for the winter. We closed out that meal with some local made chocolate treats for the car ride and this amazing sunset.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Back on the road, we woke up fresh the next day at the River House ready to tackle three full days of being lazy-as-all-hell. Here’s what that looks like:

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

You can see Troy photobombing in the pool. Nice one, bro. We also disobeyed all signs and went down to the dry-mudded out river bed which was really cool.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

We had some HOT WHEELS to take us around the development of vacation homes. Now, anyone that knows me understands it must’ve been hellishly hot for me to swallow my DUCKS PRIDE and parade around in this Loser Cougs Mobile, but it’s a SWEET ride and I’m forever grateful for my amazing siblings for letting us use the house for the weekend!

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

And on Friday night we headed to The Gorge Amphitheater for my very first Gorge Concert!

 

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_10

Before the Arcade Fire concert, we enjoyed all the crazy people watching set to the soundtrack of The Antlers, which was a perfect, chill opener for the show. This picture does no justice to the venue or massiveness of The Gorge.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_11

This photo is totally untouched and perfectly represents why this part of the state of Washington is beloved by so many. A perfect way to start the show.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_12

Summer sunsets – a light show.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_13

That huge white blur that looks like a street lamp at the top of the hill where we watched the show is actually a FULL MOON that was so incredibly bright it was baffling. We hit the gorge on a perfect day to watch the moon rise at the same time the sun was setting.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_15

Sorry, this picture is a bit of a fail, but I’ve been trying really hard to take at least one picture of every show I’ve been to this year, the file is getting pretty full, which makes my heart happy and my wallet a little bit lighter. C’est la vie!

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_9

These two. My homies. Fresh off the newlywed train and onto a road trip with me – these guys are always down for an adventure. Perfect rally crew to spend my birthday with. My favorite and my best.

So that was Friday and of course we made sure to turn George, Washington (yes, that’s actually the name of the town – if you can call it a town) inside out:

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_27

This is one of about 4 buildings in the town. So, now we know where to go to EAT.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_26

Thank god they told us which door to go through, I was afraid we’d get lost! (NOTE: This place was probably closed, not that I’d know because obviously I didn’t get out of the car. Also, there are NO windows. Seems 100% totally legit, right?!)

 

And here’s the crowning glory of their culinary experience:

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_248

When your sign is guarded by a matted down, life-size gorilla and gives directions to “drive to the water tower” I feel like your credibility is *almost* about to come into question. One guess if we drove to the water tower, because, no joke, does anyone else feel like this is a version of “I’ve got some candy for you in my van”?)

So glad I was smart enough to plan the entire menu for the full long weekend, and pack EVERYTHING we needed for a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner every night.

Of course we had to play all the Scrabble (my all time favorite game, if you didn’t know), watch the sunsets, listen to all the tunes, and have all the fun:

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_32

One of the best spread out boards I’ve played in a while. I had just laid down “ion” and then sat back with my fresh, from scratch bellini (lower right, and thanks to the neighbors who have a peach tree DRIPPING with ripe peaches so I could afford the luxury of bellinis every morning)…

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_31

Basking in my nerdiness – so smug with my science play. Don’t worry about that birthday bag of Fritos, I get at least one weekend a year to indulge the trashy side of my taste buds.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_30

Adam, getting ready to throw the game with some major, obscure play no doubt. Let’s just say I didn’t win. My boys don’t let me get away with anything, and I love them for it. If you wanna win big, you gotta play with the big kids!

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_29

Penultimate sunset of 31. This is from the patio at the river house, which sits a few hundred yards from the river on the gorge. Fantastic way to end a Saturday.

For dinner the second night, I had started the previous day. I marinated some chicken breast tenders in an ad hoc marinade that I adapted onsite based on my mom’s incredible flank steak marinade. This one had (among other ingredients) brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, sherry vinegar, scallions, sesame seeds, mustard, red wine and honey. Let it sit in the fridge for 24hrs, stirring every 8hrs for full coverage. Then grill up and slice while it’s warm. Served with fresh tomatoes, baby arugula, herb mix, and a homemade lemon soy vinaigrette dressing.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_33

Simple, fresh Asian chicken salad for dinner on the front patio.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_17

Toad in the hole, s’mores edition. This is a crowd pleaser because chocolate, marshmallow and duh.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_19

This breakfast was an embarrassment of riches. Troy manned the waffle maker, I worked everyone’s eggs, and Adam kept an eye on our hashbrowns. A true team effort. It was *silent* at the breakfast table that morning. Too much face-stuffing.

Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger_A Half Cup Food Blog_Birthday Vacation_5

Sometimes you have to have a meal that is a complete classic, and still give it a bit of a twist. These local brawts were amazing, and we had them on bakery fresh sourdough hoagies with classic condiments and homemade guac. Don’t forget Juanita’s (those tortilla chips are addicting!!!!) Oh, and beer, obviously.

After three days of laying about, doing next to nothing, and constantly sighing out loud because you realize how lucky you are to get time off, go away with friends and family, it was time to head back to the city. This entailed lots of bridges, traffic, and troublemaking in the car. The traffic was EPIC:

This beauty is just 5 minutes from the river house on the way home and is one of my favorite bridges in the state.

This beauty is just 5 minutes from the river house on the way home and is one of my favorite bridges in the state.

And so it begins, we're homeward bound....

And so it begins, we’re homeward bound….

Someone's getting a little slap happy in the car!

Someone’s getting a little slap happy in the car!

I almost forgot! We hit up Cave B for a wine tasting which was a beautiful property that abuts the amphitheater. They didn’t have room for us to have lunch at the restaurant which was a bummer, but we enjoyed sampling a few of the wines and chatting with the staff (you know me, ever the bashful church mouse…I never talk to anyone!)

From the main lodge, just beautiful to sit there and take it all in...

From the main lodge, just beautiful to sit there and take it all in…

Beautiful grapes fell heavy on the vines all over the property like jewels just waiting to be cut and transformed.

Beautiful grapes fell heavy on the vines all over the property like jewels just waiting to be cut and transformed.

And you can stay in these incredible cottages built into the hillside. Just breathtaking. I totally get the allure now.

And you can stay in these incredible cottages built into the hillside. Just breathtaking. I totally get the allure now.

That evening, I took in the final sunset of the year out at the Magnolia Bluffs in great company. The sun setting over the Olympics cannot be beat, and it felt exactly right.

I awoke the next morning, 32, and ready to show the world what I’m made of! I met up with my Board of Directors that night after work for a board meeting at Damn The Weather. We settled some foundational components of The Firm, approved all titles, and generally took care of business. These women are the backbone of my daily life, I am immensely proud to have them backing me.

The Board of Directors. Brains, beauty, brawn and wit.

The Board of Directors. Brains, beauty, brawn and wit.

Rachel, my CSSO (Chief Style and Strategy Officer) and I taking a second out of a deep conversation about following our passions. Love this lady.

Rachel, my CSSO (Chief Style and Strategy Officer) and I taking a second out of a deep conversation about following our passions. Love this lady.

Liz, my DORM (Director of Recruitment and Membership), Tina, the COATB (Chief Of All The Business), and Rachel (CSSO).

Liz, my DORM (Director of Recruitment and Membership), Tina, the COATB (Chief Of All The Business), and Rachel (CSSO).

All the proof, scribed by Leigh Ann, my CCO (Chief Clarity Officer, naturally).

All the proof, scribed by Leigh Ann, my CCO (Chief Clarity Officer, naturally).

We scattered into the evening, as it was a Monday. The first of many board meetings to come was a raging success. I have no idea how I’m going to continue handling all the wonderful things that come throughout the next 12 months. What I do know, however, is that it’s going to be delicious, and I have quite the cast of characters to share it with. I ended the first day of 32 on a pretty perfect note, by just being my self(ie).

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Summer S’moresFest: Curry Chocolate Dipped Smoked Pepper Bacon

25 Aug

Pace yourself, guys, there’s a LOT to take in visually on this one. I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking because you’re probably not going to be listening to me anyway, after you see what I did and where I went.

Gluten Free S'mores with pepper bacon

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

My friend Kat was having a belated birthday party at Carkeek Park, a local beach and all around amazing place to meet loved ones, play, BBQ, beach bum and watch the sun go down. We did indeed do all those things and even got a group picture where we all pretended to be Velociraptors, because duh, and sang the Happy Birthday Song to the Kat.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

We were each tasked with bringing something festive to drink and an ingredient to add to the table of options for S’mores. I do love a challenge, so I thought I’d up the ante with chocolate dipped bacon. Headed over to Whole Foods, the butcher and I had a “YUM, BACON, YES” style conversation (I may have gone a little overboard with my joke about the love affair bacon and I are still having, we just can’t seem to end it, blah blah blah). I came home with this:

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

I also picked up that bottle of Rusty Boar Rose to share with the group, which was purchased with the nod to my chosen S’mores addition, clearly. Everyone loved the tongue in cheek reference and at $10, it was a great buy. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Portioned out the bacon into complimentary sizes for S’mores building. Why make it any harder than need be? Baked the pound of organic, smoked pepper back at 375 for about 25 minutes. I really wanted it to get crispy to hold up to the chocolate dipping. So I watched it and pulled when we had some DARK edges going on.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Let it air dry and cool completely, the fat must be dry or the chocolate won’t stick when you dip it. Hot, melty chocolate and a coating of bacon fat do not a sticky pair make (is that a saying? Whatever! LOOK, BACON!)

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s jump back for a second so I can tell you what I put in the chocolate. I wanted the flavor of the smoke and pepper to be evened out and remain warm but lend itself to something sweet and crunchy, so I paired yellow curry powder with garam masala. This was a measurement by trial scenario, as I’d never done it before and was completely going based on multiple dip taste tests with a knife. I melted the chocolate chips in a double boiler then added in each item by 1/4tsp and tasted after each addition to get a sense for the flavor and warmth. The right amount ended up being 1Cup chips, 1Tsp each of yellow curry powder and garam masala.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Dip, dust, set aside on half sheet pan to cool, or like me, shove in freezer because you’re impatient. Take to party and see the amazement:

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

So many wonderful things, and my dear friend Liz discusses some great pairings over on her blog, Liz Takes the World. The lemon curd and Nutella was REALLY a good choice and I’m stealing that idea. I don’t even like sweets but I started getting a little crazy with my options and ended up having 3 different S’mores. Whatever. Summer.

Then we watched the sun go down:

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Such a beautiful sunset and time with fun people to celebrate a great woman. So I had s’more S’mores. WHAT!?

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Beer Can Chicken? Meh.

21 Aug

For a long while now, I’ve wanted to find or adapt the perfect beer can chicken recipe. Why? I have absolutely no idea. There’s something about it that seemed so fun, hilarious, tacky and adventurous at the same time.

Beer Can Chicken from Food 52 cooked by Siiri Sampson

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Not wanting to start from complete scratch on this endeavor, I happened to skim across Food52’s daily at just the right time and found a trustworthy place to start. Their Beer Can Chicken recipe from Cara Nicoletti had lots of promise to point me in the right direction. The recipe doesn’t have any faults in it, and I have nothing bad to say about it, truly. I just realized I don’t want to spend that much time cooking chicken, wasting propane, or taking that many steps. I just actually do not care enough to make it again.

Avocado and radishes

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Maybe because I have a tried and true, special roasted chicken recipe that has never failed me and is just as flavorful. The beer can chicken was extremely moist, for the obvious reason of having a beer stuff in it. The skin was very flavorful and crispy, but no more so than my oven roasted one.

Beer Can Chicken, Chimichurri and avocado radish salad

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

We served it with a light summer salad of herb field greens, and these luscious avocados and Easter egg radishes.

Avocado and radishes

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

It was delicious, but I was underwhelmed. I had anticipated being blown away, and wasn’t. That’s the thing about having expectations you guys, they’re RARELY fulfilled. But then, while you’re waiting well into hour 2 on the rooftop, something incredibly magical happens and you know you may have missed it if you weren’t waiting for the slowest chicken. So, I suppose it was worth it.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Besides, I got to spend time with my favorite newlyweds and use their man hands to help surgically remove said chicken from the grill. See?

Shallot and Brown Sugar Glazed Grilled Salmon

4 Aug
Grilled peaches from Siiri Sampson Seattle Food Blogger at A Half Cup

Copyright 2014 Siiri Sampson. All Rights Reserved.

Stone fruit. I could go on for days, waxing poetic about how incredible these fruits are to bake. But what’s more interesting is the applications you might not ordinarily think to make. When you want to grill – which you certainly do in the summer – stone fruits are the perfect dessert match.

Roll up your sleeves, and let’s talk shop. Click through to see the whole meal….

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