One of my favorite work stories is the day I got a call from a guy who wanted to buy some possum meat. We get that type of call all the time — people looking for beaver, lion and squirrel — so this request was not too strange. I told him we did not sell possum, expecting that to be the end of it.
Instead he started to argue with me, saying that he was looking at our price list online and possum was on there as being a “stock item.” Baffled, I asked him for the item number. He gave it to me and I could barely contain my laughter as I said, “Sir, that’s not possum, it’s poussin — baby chickens.”
That happened years ago but it still makes me giggle.
For anyone else unfamiliar with poussin, they are basically a chicken a few weeks younger than a game hen. Once processed and packed, they weigh about 15-17 oz, making them ideal for a one-bird-per-person dinner.
I rarely ever buy them, but I had a recipe that I wanted to try out and it called for 2 each 3# chickens. Since I was only cooking for two people, I figured two poussin would work just fine.
Party favor: Pumpkin & Bourbon Chocolate Bar, Canlis Restaurant
My husband and I had big plans for Nov. 18th. We had heard about a pretty amazing dinner involving some big names in the culinary world. René Redzepi (of Noma fame) was headed to the Pacific Northwest to do a dinner with local talents Matt Dillon and Blaine Wetzel.
Sadly we called an hour after the ticket sales opened to find the dinner had long since sold out. And, to add insult to injury, the wait list was twice as long as the number of reserved seats. *Sigh*
To make ourselves feel better we decided to go up to Seattle anyways. I cashed in my last vacation day and we spent 36 blissful hours in the big city to the north.
Our first stop was in West Seattle to meet up with one of my friends and his girlfriend. We hit up Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky and indulged in their brunch claim-to-fame: endless mimosas for $12. Since I wasn’t the one driving, let me tell you — I got my money’s worth! Also the fried chicken was amazing. Seriously.
Fried chicken, biscuits and sausage gravy at Ma’ono
The next day we set out for one of the newest darlings of the Seattle food scene: The Whale Wins, run by Chef Renee Erickson. The vibe of the restaurant was an interesting juxtaposition — minimal but somehow still homey and warm with a touch of feminine charm. If I lived in the city, it would probably be one of my favorite spots to go. The service was great and the food was fantastic.
Iberico Jamon with salted housemade butter
Yarmuth Farms Dylan goat’s milk cheese with olive oil and cranberries
Grilled raab with corn, harissa and peanuts
Roasted and chilled delicata squash with Parmesan and white beans
I have been on cider bender the past few months. Since early October my fridge has contained no less than one half-gallon of fresh apple cider, purchased anywhere from Farmer’s Markets to the grocery store. I’ve drank it straight, mulled with Applejack and used it for various cooking endeavors, like this brined pork roast.
However, the best creation I made are these apple cider caramels from an old issue of Food & Wine magazine. They tasted (depending on which friend of mine you asked) like caramel apple pops, apple fritters or candied apples. To me they were just as I imagined, a perfect combination of the spiced cider flavor — cloves, cinnamon and tart apple — and creamy decadent caramel.
They were also luxuriously soft. While they’d hold their shape in the refrigerator, once popped in your mouth, they would melt almost instantly. They were so good I had to fight my natural instinct to hoard them and instead manged to share them with co-workers, friends and even some of my favorite customers in Seattle.
My friend Ariel loved them so much I think I have to make a batch just for her and her husband to enjoy. I gave her a few to take home and got this hilarious text message later that night: “Holy sheep shit, Batman” is what Eric said after trying a bite of one of your caramels. Now that’s a compliment, people!
“Get ready for the holidays” salad: Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, pomegranate seeds and Parmesan
While I like to think it’s still technically fall (it is, right?), this salad has “winter holidays” written all over it. I’m already envisioning it as a staple for my December menu planning. It’s both red and green, the unofficial colors of December, and it uses pomegranate which is a fruit I always forget about until this time of year.
Sorry pomegranate — it’s not you, it’s me!
Anyways I came across this salad while digging through my giant stack of “things to make someday” — pages and pages of recipes liberated from various culinary magazines. I was a bit stressed out because the past few weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to make real meals. While I’ve managed to whip up several different desserts (just wait for the apple cider caramel post!), my savory cooking has suffered. I’ve been surviving on my favorite ramen and Amy’s frozen “light and healthy” entrees. *sigh