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What's for Dinner #383 - The Shank of the Summer Edition! [through August 28, 2015]

Last night was tomatillo-braised pork shoulder tacos. Cut a small shoulder (2.25 lbs) into three slabs and salted them overnight before searing and cutting them into chunks. Dry toasted a halved white onion with a mess of garlic and a couple habaneros. Pureed all that with about 1.5 lbs of tomatillos and braised everything over charcoal for maybe three hours. Fished out the pork, then reduced and de-fatted the liquid on the stove before returning and reheating the meat. Ate with tortillas, lime, cilantro, thinly sliced white onion, and crumbled cotija. Side of shucked raw corn and black beans with a little oil, lime, and salt.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

That's not a "that" person comment in the least, ghg.

We do own a press, and usually have some masa harina in a glass jar somewhere around the kitchen. Just doesn't often come together on weeknights.

In Chicago I used to have fresh masa in walking distance---at least on weekends. Not so here.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Oh the lettuce wrap is a great idea, especially since supermarket tortillas are dreck in this part of Seattle. There's a neighborhood restaurant that will sell them fresh by the dozen, but I can't always make that happen. Will try lettuce soon. Thanks for the idea.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Tonight was tacos de carnitas. Corn tortillas, salsa verde with avocado, carnitas, roasted zukes, quick-pickled red onion and carrot (with habanero, dried oregano, garlic, allspice, and black pepper), cilantro, and queso fresco. Simple dressed arugula to go with.

grill grates

Forgot to mention: tests have also shown GrillGrates raise the cooking surface temp by at least 200°, especially helpful if you're trying to sear food on a weaker gas grill. The website and marketing have an odd late night infomercial vibe, but the products are legit.

Jul 16, 2015
eight_inch_pestle in Cookware

grill grates

Will second this. They're also great for preventing small items like asparagus or sliced onion from falling into the fire. And you can flip them upside-down and use the flat backs as a griddle for great searing.

Jul 15, 2015
eight_inch_pestle in Cookware

What's for Dinner #375 - the Cornzapoppin! Edition [through July 19, 2015]

Last night was a simple frittata/gratin I think I've mentioned here before. Milk, eggs, gruyere (or whatever's handy in the fridge), with a mixture of veggies from the yard and/or fridge. This time we went with shucked raw corn, minced scapes and chives, chive flowers (they bloomed twice this summer, which is always nice), along with some grilled carrots and garlic cloves. Stirred a little dill pollen into the mixture before baking, and topped each square with a little more pollen, a drizzle of oil and fig balsamic, and some Hawaiian pink salt we like because it keeps its crunch.

Sunday was pulled pork sandwiches. Six-pound butt rubbed with a variety of the usual suspects, then cooked for most of the day with a little applewood and hickory mixed into the coals. Ate on cheap white buns with slaw and a homemade vinegar (eastern Carolina) BBQ sauce.

Tonight will be enchiladas verde from Bayless, substituting leftover pork shoulder for the pollo. Maybe. Might also be subs or pizza from the neighborhood shop if we're too tired.

What's for Dinner #373 - Summer Celebrations [through July 9, 2015]

Record heat around the emerald city, so it's all been outdoor cooking lately. Two nights ago was a mess of baby backs rubbed with a whole bunch of spices and cooked pretty gently over lump charcoal and some chunks of applewood. I had a kinda involved salad planned, but I'm not gonna lie: the DirecTV went down so we skedaddled to a neighborhood bar to watch the World Cup. By the time we made it home with a few beers in us we just stood around the grill with a couple more drinks and simply ate a pile of juicy ribs off the cutting board.

Last night I wanted salmon and she wanted chicken so we had chicken: grilled thighs rubbed with pixian chile-bean paste, ground ginger, shaoxing rice wine and soy sauce. There was definitely a little apple left in the coals, which was nice. Side salad of shucked corn and chopped sugar snaps with oil and lemon and garden herbs.

What's for Dinner #372 - The Hot & Cold Edition [Old--through 7/2/15]

hot diggity.

What's for Dinner #372 - The Hot & Cold Edition [Old--through 7/2/15]

Last night was grilled lamb chops with leftover broccoli salad and boiled potatoes. Overcooked the chops, but reheating the potatoes on the grill was a win: smoky, browned, and fluffy, they were the best thing on the plate. We then went to a housewarming party and on the way home grabbed some Salumi grissini sandwiches from the snooty grocery store and toasted those up over hardwood charcoal as well. Ate one and could have eaten five.

If the store has happy brats, tonight will be grilled brats, simmered with beer and onions and mustard and then briefly browned over the fire before eating on buns with dijon and grilled spring onions. Need to think up a side. Planted a dwarf raspberry bush this spring that should fruit for many renters after us: will whip up a little heavy cream and honey to make a simple berry dessert for the woman.

What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]

American English is my favorite English, but there's no denying it: eating something "tinned" sounds so much nicer than eating something "canned."

What's for Dinner #371 - School's Out for Summer Edition [through June 28, 2015]

The girl is traveling far more than expected for her new gig. Been almost a decade since we did long distance and I had to motivate myself to cook for one so frequently. Last night I made myself some hummus and spread it on a multigrain hazelnut toast. Done (with tea and a few garden berries for dessert).

For her return tonight (OK, she was gone 36 hours) I rubbed a couple small (6 oz.) king salmon fillets with aleppo and salt and tossed them on the grill. Boiled new potatoes with butter, sea salt, and fresh tarragon. Side salad (she loves creamy veggie salads) of raw broccoli florets, halved red grapes, and toasted almond slivers in a yogurt and apple cider dressing, with a touch more aleppo. Beer for me, a pink for her.

What's for Dinner #370 The Grass is Green Edition! [through June 21, 2015]

Flying solo this week, which tends to mean simple. Last night was a lamb shoulder-blade chop. Salted and peppered and tossed on the grill over mesquite. Cooked until medium so the connective tissue could soften (maybe somewhere between 450° and 500° for something like 17 or 18 minutes, wasn't paying the closest attention as post-Blackhawks whiskeys were involved). Shoulda gone a little higher for more char, but still quite good. Finished in the kitchen with a drizzle of olive oil, squirt of lemon, and some chopped castelvetrano olives. Spinach with oil, fig balsamic, and that "drunken" goat cheese, shaved, to go with.

What's for Dinner #363 - The Merrie Month of May Edition [through May 12, 2015]

Last night was all about repurposing leftovers and using up veggies: kale and duck adobo quesadillas. Reduced some leftover adobo sauce to a paste and then thinned with a little cream. Sliced up some kale and sauteed it with garlic before adding leftover shredded roast duck, dried cranberries, and the adobo. Cooked everything through then added cheese and topped with diced radish. Made some quesadillas dry, some with a film of duck fat in the pan. Shoulda made a salad or something but was lazy.

What's for Dinner #363 - The Merrie Month of May Edition [through May 12, 2015]

Tonight was cream of asparagus soup. Gently sauteed sliced leek and garlic until golden before adding a large bunch of trimmed asparagus, a bay leaf, rosemary sprig and warm milk to cover. Pureed (sans bay and rosemary) when the asparagus was tender and reheated in a clean pan. Tossed in a handful of shredded red-veined sorrel to wilt at the end and topped each bowl with rosemary and chive blossoms and tiny mint leaves. Also beat a bunch of lemon zest, rosemary flowers, and sea salt into a knob of butter. Dropped a dollop on each bowl and spread a little more over crusty bread. Good eats.

What's for Dinner #363 - The Merrie Month of May Edition [through May 12, 2015]

Last night was roast duck with red chile adobo sauce, pretty much exactly following the instructions in Rick Bayless' One Plate at a Time, although I used one 5.5-pound duck instead of two 4-pound birds. Quite tasty, altho I'll certainly make adjustments moving forward. Made a side slaw of shredded carrot, radish, and apple with cilantro, dried cranberries, dried Mexican oregano, orange zest and juice, and a little oil.

What's for Dinner #362 - The May Day Edition [through May 5, 2015]

Saturday night was simple pizza using TJ's dough.

Last night did a first-course salad of seared duck liver and heart (bought a nice duck at the farmers' market) tossed with oil, cream, lemon, dijon, and some young mustard greens. Topped with shaved Parmesan, chive blossoms, and black pepper.

Main course was a dry-aged ribeye, rubbed with just salt and pepper before searing hard and eating rare. Topped with sauteed quartered mushrooms finished with red wine and cream. Garnished with a mess of rosemary flowers. Side of roasted asparagus. A nice Barnard Griffin cabernet to go with.

Have Seattle's Craft Brew Tasting Rooms Become Beer Raves?

Fremont can certainly be overwhelming at times, but we did stroll in at about 4 o'clock on Monday, as glorious a spring afternoon as there ever was, and find outdoor seats no problem.

I guess I should be clear, because it probably makes a big difference in judgment: none of these places are necessarily "destinations" for us. If we walk by and it looks inviting, we stop in. If it looks overrun by Amazombies we move on---no harm no foul. I can imagine making a special trip through Ballard-Fremont traffic and being quite frustrated.

Peddler is a small but pleasant and sunny room (yes, I think the old Jolly Roger space is still empty). Not a huge hefeweizen guy, but do really enjoy the tangerine wheat here. Main problem with Peddler is it seems to be among the most frequent stops for those horrid pedal-powered moving bars rented by tourists and bachelorette parties. In which case, run run run. It is also sometimes packed with cyclists if the weather is nice. And the chairs outside are plastic and, you know, on Leary.

We've only been to the new Northwest Peaks space once, and it was still clearly in transition: 1-part tasting room, 2-parts 2 Bit Saloon (RIP). Curious to see how it turned out. Might stop in after the farmers' market on Sunday. Will report back if we do.

Have Seattle's Craft Brew Tasting Rooms Become Beer Raves?

Fremont Brewery is not my favorite beer, but the lines move quickly even when long, the benches and tables aren't plastic but heavy wood, the pretzels are free and abundant, and we usually encounter a good mix of ages and a few families with little ones.

We like Peddler and Northwest Peaks as well. Not a fan of the old Reuben's room, but haven't been to the new one (if it's open yet). Not a fan of Stoup, either---dark without comfortable places to stand if tables are full.

What's for dinner #360: Time to shake off the dross and get busy. [through April 22, 2015]

Tonight was pork chops. Pureed a couple small apples with a navel orange. Added salt, cinnamon, dill, and a touch of brown sugar for an ad hoc brine. Rinsed, dried, and brought up to room temp on a rack. Seared in brown butter and oil, then finished in the oven for a few minutes with a local "baked apple" hard cider. Served on top of shredded kale wilted in the pan juices while the chops rested. Topped with browned apple and pear and red onion finished with a touch of the same cider. Some rosemary flowers on top. Side of thinly mandolined russets baked in milk (and maybe a little heavy cream) with onion, bay, and smoked paprika in individual casseroles.

What's for Dinner #359 - the April Showers Edition [through April 15, 2015]

Last night was rushed: Hawaiian pizza made with fresh pineapple and leftover Sunday ham. TJ's mozzarella and dough and sauce for everything else. I know the pineapple and ham combo is a love-it-or-hate-it thing, but it has pitchers-of-beer college roots for us.

Tonight was salt- and coriander-crusted halibut cheeks roasted with butter and garlic. Sighed as I poured the leftover garlic butter into the compost bin, but I'm workin' on some things. Ate the cheeks on top of wood sorrel tossed with chickpeas, red quinoa, fresh dill, and the garden chives that keep coming back.

Also snagged some troll-caught Oregon salmon and started a batch of lox.

What's for Dinner #358 - The Easter/Passover Edition! [through April 7, 2015]

Ha! I'll have to send you her number so you can remind her, Maria.

What's for Dinner #358 - The Easter/Passover Edition! [through April 7, 2015]

Yup, very similar to dill seed. Little fresher and more potent, but doesn't maintain its flavor as well when cooked for a long time. Nice stirred into a dish at the end of cooking or sprinkled over as a slightly crunchy garnish.

What's for Dinner #358 - The Easter/Passover Edition! [through April 7, 2015]

We don't celebrate, but...childhood memories and all that. Plus, she loves a ham.

Last night was a little farmers market ham coming in at under three pounds for the two of us. Rubbed it a few hours in advance with a mixture of cayenne, urfa biber, cloves, and star anise. Finished for the last 20 minutes with a glaze made from blackberry jam, dijon, ginger ale, and leftover spice rub.

Sides were salt-roasted ozettes with dill and dill pollen. Also some old-school collards (red pepper flakes, smashed garlic, water, and a bit of trotters).

Starter salad of miners lettuce and wood sorrel with shaved parmesan and shallots, all tossed with a little oil and salt in garlic-rubbed bowls.

New Streamline Tavern

Went last Sunday. Was so happy to see the old tattered bar stools. Maybe a slightly different crowd, but many regulars are obviously make the move over as well.

Quick - what to do with giant portabello 'shroom slices?

Nicely seared they make a great vegetarian quesadilla or taco filling. You have just about everything you'd need besides tortillas. Asparagus-mushroom quesadillas with some lightly dressed greens? Yes please.

La Carta de Oaxaca - good?

Funny, don't love Mezcaleria Oaxaca (as mentioned), but definitely favor it over Laredos. Not relevant to the OP, but Mezcaleria will also make fresh tortillas to go.

Never hear it talked about, but I'll also throw out a vote for El Camino in Fremont.

La Carta de Oaxaca - good?

Its sister restaurant is OK, not great. If you're staying in the neighborhood that's one thing, but I wouldn't head up to Queen Anne just for that. (I haven't been to the Capitol Hill location).

Wholeheartedly concur with Fonda la Catrina.

Flavorless chicken breasts

It's the same chicken, but you get more chicken to brown and to flavor with herbs, spices, fats, etc.

Certainly agree that a nicely-handled breast doesn't necessarily require knifework. But if the point is to help someone specifically complaining that her chicken breasts are bland, increasing the ratio of surface area to meat is sound advice.

Flavorless chicken breasts

A good brine should penetrate deeply. Maybe your liquid isn't salty enough or you're not brining long enough. If you have time, it's also nice to let the meat rest for an hour or so after rinsing and drying: the brine will continue to distribute more evenly throughout the meat as it rests.

In any event, definitely add some sweetener, from plain sugar to maple syrup. A little pricier, but replacing some or all of the liquid with fresh cider provides both the sugar and great flavor.

Pounding out or butterflying the breasts will also greatly increase the ratio of surface area to meat. And you can always stuff them with flavorful fillings like pesto with tomatoes.

Lastly, as others have noted, supermarket breasts tend to be pretty bland. Thighs (cheaper) or higher-quality breasts (pricier) are two alternatives.