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Too Many Cooks

Potato Salad Plants a Seed

Kickstarter’s Potato Salad challenge – which raised more than $40,000 in its first week, far-exceeding its $10 goal and attracting national media attention – seems to have spurred a couple of Spokane projects.

Backers can now help a Spokane 20-something grow tomatoes. They can also pay for ingredients for a yearlong cooking project reminiscent of “Julie and Julia.”

The latter project – “My Joy of Cooking Challenge” – comes from Greg Kauwe, 31, the subject of the May “In the Kitchen with … ” feature in the Spokesman-Review Food section. The project was mentioned in the story, but that was before the Kickstarter campaign.

Kauwe is on a mission to complete one recipe per week for a year from the 1946 edition of “Joy of Cooking.” He posted the Kickstarter project on week 12, hoping to raise $500. Donations would help him take on the more “daring/costly” recipes. He writes about each one on his blog.

Rewards include being thanked on Twitter or mentioned in a wrap-up blog post when the project’s complete, selecting a recipe for Kauwe to cook, and receiving a video of him making the dish you picked for him to prepare.

The “I’m Growing Tomatoes” project was posted by Jonas Burke, who describes himself as “just a poor, currently unemployed 20-something struggling as we all do.” On his page, he says he’s ready to go with garden supplies, tomato seeds, a green thumb and sense of humor. He lists risks and challenges as “aphids and other garden pests.” He’s hoping to raise $50 by Aug. 6.

Rewards include being thanked on social media as well as while he’s watering the plants, an e-card noting the progress of the plants and  having a plant named in your honor as well as receiving updates and postcards. Bigger spenders can name a plant, decide what he does with the tomatoes and receive a video or live-stream as proof, and receive seeds from the plants. For $50, he will send you one of the plants, with a “full back story and a letter of thanks.”

Burke acknowledges the frivolity of his plan.

But, he writes, “It'd mean a lot if you could donate to my silly fund.”


For the love of Fery’s chicken spinach pasta salad

After reading “In the Kitchen with Fery Haghighi” in Wednesday’s Food section, Nikki Lockwood wrote in with her own memories of Au Croissant and Fery’s Catering.

A registered dietitian turned stay-at-home mom, Lockwood, 46, lives in Spokane’s Manito neighborhood. Here’s her story:

When I was a teenager, I worked at the U-City mall, back in the 1980's when it was full of stores and people, and definitely a hangout for all us “valley girls” and boys. My first real job was at the Great American Cookie Company, which I loved. Forming cookies from the dough (premade from scratch by the manager), baking, selling the big cookies and the teeny tiny ones by weight, and cleaning up the store at the end of the day, I loved it. 

Au Croissant had a shop near the Cookie Co. and I would occasionally splurge and have lunch there. I could eat all the cookies I wanted for free, but “real food” sounded good sometimes. This was before debit cards and I was a teen and so it just depended on if I had enough cash with me. The first time I went in there, I was amazed at the choices and all the good-looking food. I opted for a pasta salad and was hooked! They had a chicken spinach pasta salad, and it was so good. It had a tangy, peppery taste, and I had never tasted anything like it. My experience, coming from a working class family with both parents working, was just the macaroni salad that mom made, you know, mayo, tuna, little elbow macaroni and other stuff. So the spinach chicken pasta salad was a revelation and one of those foods that opened me up to the wider world of food. It was the early 80's in Spokane, not sure when “pasta salad” became popular but it definitely came onto my radar after that. Anyway, it was expensive to me, to spend $5 for a little bowl of it, but I would sit and eat it very mindfully, not even trying to distinguish the ingredients, that didn't occur to the 16-year-old me.

Eventually the Au Croissant shops closed and I would from time to time remember that first pasta salad love of my life. Skip forward many years to when my daughter was 5, about 20 years later, and we are at an outdoor potluck to celebrate the kids’ “graduation” from their preschool/kindergarten school. I have my plate of food and dig into some nice looking pasta salad, still standing around the table with all the food, and stop chewing and ask, “Who brought this pasta salad?” The dad who brought it pipes up and I ask him if he made it and he said that he did. I then share with him my pasta salad teen love affair with the old Au Croissant pasta salad. He comes clean and tells me it's from Fery's Catering, the same people that owned Au Croissant and it's been available this whole time.  

The thing is, he got it. He understood my love. He told me he has friends who are always trying to figure out the ingredients and re-create it. We shared a moment of food-love and because of that moment, I now know the salad is still available. From time to time, I stop by Fery's and get a little bowl of it. I can afford it more easily now, financially, but metabolisms change and a little bowl is probably enough anyway. Sometimes, I have to wait for it to be made, and patiently wait I do. What's 10 minutes after 20 years? Sometimes, I think I should ask for a job, so I can learn the secret of making it.

Meet a Deer Park dairy farmer

June is National Dairy Month.

To help celebrate, Yoke’s Fresh Market at Argonne Village in Spokane Valley is offering shoppers the chance to meet Deer Park dairy farmer Stephanie Littrel.

Littrel will explain where dairy products come during the meet-and-greet, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at store, 9329 E. Montgomery Ave.

Littrel is a third-generation dairy farmer who took over the 600-acre family dairy farm from her grandfather. He started dairy farming in 1953.

Today, Littrel – along with her husband Scot and son Derek –  mange the care, feeding and milking of some 200 Holstein and Brown Swiss dairy cows.

Her Yoke’s visit is part of Meet Your Local Dairy, a project of the Dairy Farmers of Washington. 

Inland Northwest Dairy Ambassador Ashley Rochlitzer is also slated to attend the event and hand out free containers of chocolate milk. 

For more information, visit

Casper Fry plans special five-course $50 dinner for Tuesday

What are you doing for dinner Tuesday night?

Casper Fry in Spokane’s South Perry neighborhood is planning a special, five-course dinner for $50. Reservations are recommended.

Tony Brown of Stella's Cafe will be cooking with Chef Josh Grimes of Casper Fry.

Here’s what’s on their menu:

Course one – Spring Onion Pekoras with Green Harissa, Fava Bean Puree, Sesame and Mint.

Course two – Potato Polenta with Charred Leeks, Pickled Golden Raisins and Watercress.

Course three – Butter Lettuces with Josper Grilled Plums, Honey, Sheep's Milk Cheese, Cornbread Crouton and Champagne Mustard Vinaigrette.

Course four – Rhubarb Barbecued Tofu with Sweet Potato Gratinee, Fermented Spinach, Oven Dried Tomato and Creme Fraiche.

Course five – Lemon Shortcake with Red Wine Poached Blueberries, Dark Chocolate and Chantilly Cream.

For more information, visit Casper Fry’s Facebook page at

Casper Fry is located at 928 S. Perry St. On the Web:


To make a reservation for the June 10 event, call (509) 535-0536.

Crustless quiche offers low-fat springtime meal option

A Spokesman-Review reader from Pablo, Montana, recently wrote to Too Many Cooks trying to locate a favorite asparagus quiche recipe from the mid 1990s.

After consulting newspaper clippings, microfiche, the internal online archives, even Google, we think we have found what she was missing.

The Associated Press story from spring 1996 features a low-fat, crustless quiche made with asparagus, scallops, cheese and scallions.

For best results, the story recommends, buy purple-tinged, tight-budded spears, peel the stalks and cook the same day the vegetable is purchased. Avoid any stalk with a large woody white base.

When preparing asparagus, the story also recommends, peel the stalk using a small, sharp paring knife to cut under the thicker skin at the base of the stalk. Work toward the tip, making the cut shallower as you progress upward.

Serve the quiche alongside a green salad for brunch or supper - or any springtime meal.

Here’s the AP recipe from March/April 1996:

Crustless Aspargus Quiche

1/2 pound asparagus

1 cup canned miniature corn, drained

1/4 cup instant potato flakes

1 cup chopped green onions or scallions (6 to 8)

1/2 pound scallops (in 1/2-inch slices if using larger sea scallops)

1/2 pound (2 cups) Jarlsberg light cheese, shredded

6 large egg whites

1 cup evaporated skim milk

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Snap tips off asparagus; cut off and discard any woody ends. Chop spears in 1/2-inch slices and plunge, with tops, into boiling water for 3 minutes; drain. Oil spray a 9-inch glass pie plate. Line with half the asparagus and half the corn. Cover with potato flakes, then with onion. Arrange scallops on top, about an inch from the rim. Sprinkle on half the cheese. Whisk egg whites. Whisk in milk, soy sauce and pepper. Pour half the egg mixture into pie. Top with remaining asparagus, corn and cheese. Pat down. Pour on remaining egg mixture. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 205 calories, 134 mg calcium, 22 g protein, 5 g fat, 440 mg sodium.


Vegan brownies remind reader of hard time cake

The recipe for vegan brownies which recently appeared on the front page of the Food section reminded a Spokane reader of something her mother-in-law called Hard Time Cake.

According to the reader, who wanted to share the recipe but not her name, Hard Time Cake was created during World War II when eggs, milk, butter and other staples were rationed.

“I've made it numerous times, especially when our kids were young and money was in short supply,” she wrote in an email to Too Many Cooks.

Here’s the recipe:

Hard Time Cake

3 cups water, divided

1 cup oil

1 cup raisins

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa (heaping)

4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cups nuts (optional)

Boil 2 cups water, oil and raisins in a saucepan on the stove for 3 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup water, sugar and cocoa. Then add the mixture to the cooled raisin mixture. Sift, then add, the following ingredients to the batter: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix in vanilla, and add nuts, if desired.

Bake the batter in a 9-by-13-inch pan for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Note: The cake is very moist and requires no frosting. But chocolate frosting pairs well with it as does a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips on top before putting it in the oven.


Gourmet glamping comes to Spokane

Road-trippers can glamp their way from Spokane to Alaska with a new outfitter named Northern Adventure Tours.

Packages include gourmet meals prepared by a private chef, luxury canvas tents with queen-sized beds and private rental vehicles, which allow glampers to check out roadside attractions at their own pace.

Find the full story - plus a few recipes - in Wednesday's Food section. Meantime, here's one of Alaska chef Joe Hardenbrook's recipes - with instructions for home or camp as well as on the road or trail.

Yukon Quest Fruit & Veggie Smoothies

From Joe Hardenbrook of Northern Adventure Tours

Packed with vitamins and minerals, this smoothie makes for a breakfast or snack. The sweetness of the fruit contrasts with the celery’s salty tang. Spinach adds texture and boosts nutrition.

1 banana, sliced

1 apple, chopped

1 cup frozen Alaskan blueberries

1 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup spinach leaves

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 cup orange juice concentrate


Combine all ingredients in blender or pitcher (if using immersion blender). Add water to just below top level of fruit and veggies. Blend until desired consistency is achieved. Pour into glasses and enjoy.

On the Road: Joe Hardenbrook and his wife prepare food for mushers competing in the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, Alaska’s two 1,000-mile sled dog races. On the trail, mushers need a lot of fat and carbs to keep their energy up, and these smoothies have proven to be a favorite.

Process all ingredients together and pour into silicone mini-loaf pans. Freeze, then push frozen blocks of smoothie mixture out of the pans and vacuum seal. On the trail, mushers will put the vacuum-sealed bag in their parka pocket to thaw, then snip off the corner of the bag and enjoy.

Yield: 2 large smoothies or 6 trail servings


Sneak Peek at Mother’s Day Brunch

Wondering what to make Mom for Mother's Day brunch?

Timothy Grayson, the Whitworth University-based district executive chef for Sodexo Dining Services, shares a bunch of brunch recipes in Wednesday's Food section.

Here's just one of his creations. Look for the rest in tomorrow's newspaper.


Swedish Vanilla Green Bluff Berry Gazpacho

6 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries or other berries

3 quarts, plus 1/4 cup cold water, divided

1 cup of white granulated sugar

3 slices fresh lemon

2 cinnamon sticks

8 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup cream sherry

1 cup plus 8 tablespoons vanilla Greek yogurt

Place strawberries, 3 quarts water, sugar, lemon slices, and cinnamon sticks in large saucepan. Simmer over low heat until fruit is soft (about 15 to 20 minutes) Mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water and stir mixture and sherry into strawberry liquid. Continue stirring over low heat until soup is slightly thickened. Chill in refrigerator. Combine 1 cup of chilled vanilla Greek yogurt into mixture before service. When serving top with a 1 ounce scoop of yogurt as garnish.

Serves: 8

Pair that spring chinook salmon with a Spokane merlot

Wondering what to pair with char-grilled chinook salmon this spring?

The Pacific Northwest staple, also called king salmon, goes well with at least one wine from Spokane, according to Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue.

In an April 23 story on Wine Press Northwest, they recommend Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2011 Four Vineyards Merlot, which retails for $18.

The merlot “sings with aromas of cherry and plum while gathering up milk chocolate and black pepper. Bright flavors form a melody of black cherry, boysenberry and cranberry amid a structure of smooth tannins and pomegranate acidity.”

Find the complete story here.


Dining out, Mason Jar style

After eight years of living in Portland and abroad, Douglas LaBar returned to Cheney, his hometown at the end of the summer of in 2012, opening The Mason Jar two months later. He shared some of his recipes with us.

Mason Jar Hearty Granola

From The Mason Jar, Cheney

4 cups rolled oats

2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

½ cup dark honey

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole almonds

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss oats, cinnamon and salt. Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla until completely combined. Pour honey mixture over oats and use hands to combine, making clumps. Pour mixture onto pan, spreading out evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, flip with spatula and sprinkle almonds and return to oven. Bake for another 5 minutes, remove from oven, flip with spatula and sprinkle with hazelnuts and return to oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool completely. Sprinkle raisins and cranberries on top and transfer to airtight container.

Note: The Mason Jar uses locally made Wild & Sweet Rich Honey.

Yield: 1 pound


From The Mason Jar, Cheney

½ cup chevre

10 slices baguette

1 large roasted bell pepper, sliced into ½-inch thick strips

Fresh Basil (15 to 20 leaves)

Balsamic reduction (See below)

Toast baguette. Spread chevre on toasted baguette. Place slices of bell pepper on each toast. Roll basil leaves and julienne them, then sprinkle over baguette. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Note: The Mason Jar uses Heron Pond Farms Garlic and Sea Salt Chevre.

Balsamic Reduction

From The Mason Jar, Cheney

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Place balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until liquid is reduced by at least half.

Tomato Bisque

From The Mason Jar, Cheney

3 pounds ripe tomatoes

¼ cup chopped onion

½ teaspoon celery seed

1 bay leaf

4 whole cloves

6 ounces tomato paste

¼ cup butter

¼ cup flour

3 cups milk

1 ½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil, for garnish

Croutons, for garnish

Core, peel and chop tomatoes, then place in saucepan. Add onion, celery seed, bay leaf and cloves. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes until tomatoes very soft, stirring occasionally. Blend in tomato paste.

In another other saucepan make a rouxrue: melt butter, add flour, and stir with wire whisk until blended.

In a third saucepan bring milk to boil, then add it all at once to roux rue mixture. Stir briskly until sauce is thickened and smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Combine rouxrue/milk mixture with tomato mixture; stir until smooth. Season to taste. Garnish and serve.

Note: Tomato mixture can be made and frozen.

Candied Orange Peels

Candied Orange Peels

6 oranges

1 1/2 cups sugar

Cut off ends of oranges. Cut away peel along the curve of the fruit, leaving most of the pith. Slice peel lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.

Cook peel until tender, 10 to 15 minutes, in a medium pot of boiling water. With a slotted spoon, place peels in a single layer on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; let peels dry slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. In a medium pot, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a roiling boil on high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Add peels, cooking until they become translucent, and water and sugar mixture thickens into a syrup, about 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, place peels in single layer on rack set over rimmed baking sheet, letting dry 3 to 4 hours. Mix with remaining sugar until well-coated.

Note: You don’t have to stick with oranges. If you have other citrus on hand, try a combination of grapefruit, oranges and lemons – 4 of each fruit – with 2 cups of sugar, cooking with 1 1/4 cups and coating with 3/4 cup.

Note: This recipe originally ran in the March 5, 2014, Food section.

Something’s cooking in Browne’s Addition

A new tavern is slated to open in the space that formerly housed E.J.’s Garden Bistro.

Floyd Loomis, who previously served as chef at Asiago’s Ristorante in Boise, plans to open the new Browne’s Tavern in mid April at the old E.J.’s location, which closed last fall shortly after its one-year anniversary. Built in 1901 as a residence, the building anchors the northeast corner of the intersection of West Pacific Avenue and South Cannon Street in the heart of Browne’s Addition.

Loomis is partnering with Mary Moltke, owner of Roberts Mansion Bed and Breakfast next door. The tavern will provide catering services for the mansion, and its gardens will be available for tavern customers.

The casual eatery will serve eclectic fare with a wide international influence­. Entrées include chicken breast stuffed with house-made sausage, red curry risotto, and duck with blood orange reduction, roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

 Breakfast items include a breakfast burrito with house-made sausage, and pastries and scones, including some from Chaps. Appetizers feature a warm charcuterie plate, Milanese rice balls, chevre-stuffed mushrooms and house-smoked salmon chutney. The menu also offers a variety of salads, desserts, pastas and lunch specials.

The restaurant opening is still several weeks away. Meantime, there are job openings for line cooks, prep cooks, servers, a sous chef, bartender and bar manager. For more information or to apply, email Loomis at

Mike Buyanovich shares his meatloaf recipe

Cindy Hval was able to change her kid’s mind about “meatlope” by fine-turning a recipe she got from Kraft.

After her story ran in the March 19 Food section, reader Mike Buyanovich wrote to her to share his own tried-and-true version, saying he hoped readers would enjoy it, too.

“This is kind of a high-end meatloaf, but it's awesome,” he wrote. “Great for sandwiches, too!”

Buyanovich came up with his recipe like most home cooks do: by experimenting.

“The eggs, oatmeal and cheese work awesome at keeping it together,” he wrote. “Nobody wants a meatloaf that falls apart when you try to slice it.”

Plus, “The V-8 and green pepper give it a bit of a kick, and the carrots give it some color.”

Another perk: the soup mix spares you from chopping onions, a task many home cooks dread.

Buyanovich makes his meatloaf about once a month – and if his friends find out, they “conveniently” stop by.

He likes to serve it with au gratin potatoes. That is, when he eats it as a main.  “To be honest,” Buyanovich wrote, “I make it for sandwiches.”

Mike Buyanovich’s Meatloaf

3 pounds super-lean ground beef
1 box Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup mix
3 eggs beaten
2 cups V-8 juice
2 cups oatmeal
2 shredded carrots
1 green pepper, finely chopped
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Ketchup, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well mixed. Transfer mixture to a loaf-pan. Bake until thoroughly cooked, about 1 ½ hours.

Yield: 1 loaf

These recipes could all be Oscar party winners

Safeway’s executive cheff Jeff Anderson is celebrating the Oscars with recipes matched to some of the nominees.

The options include Grilled Steak Tacos with Roasted Poblano Cream and a Michelada Spicy Beer Cocktail for a “date night” with “Her” to a “Frozen” dessert like Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches.

The 86th annual Academy Awards air on ABC at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

No matter which film title you want to hear after “The envelope, please,” these recipes could all be winners.

“Her” Grilled Steak Tacos with Roasted Poblano Cream

Roasted Poblano Cream

1 (8-ounce) onion, peeled and sliced 3/4 inch thick

1 teaspoon salad oil

12 ounces fresh poblano chiles, rinsed

8 ounces Roma tomatoes, rinsed

1 (16-ounce) carton sour cream

Salt and pepper


16 ounces beef skirt steak

½ teaspoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

12 medium green onions, rinsed

1 teaspoon salad oil

6 corn tortillas, warmed

For the roasted poblano cream: preheat barbecue grill. Rub oil on onion slices. Place chiles, tomatoes, and onion slices on grid 4 inches above a solid bed of hot coals, or over high heat on a gas grill (close lid on gas grill). Cook vegetables, turning as needed, until well browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes; when done, transfer to a board. When cool enough to handle, peel, stem, and seed chiles; core and peel tomatoes. Chop chiles, tomatoes, and onion.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir vegetables until hot, about 2 minutes. Add sour cream and stir just until hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scrape mixture into a bowl; keep warm.

For the tacos, cut steak crosswise into 6- to 8-inch lengths. If beef is thicker than ¼-inch, place between sheets of plastic wrap and, with a flat mallet, gently and evenly pound to ¼-inch. Set aside.

In a wide bowl, mix green onions with oil to coat. Set onions on grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (close lid on gas grill). Cook, turning occasionally, until onions are well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large board or platter.

Lay beef on grill; close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning once, until beef is done to your liking (cut to test), 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to board or platter with onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill warm tortillas with beef, green onions, and Roasted Poblano Cream.

Notes: If you prefer to oven-roast the vegetables, arrange onion, chiles, and tomatoes in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan and broil 4 inches from heat.

Serves: 6

“Her” Michelada Spicy Beer Cocktail

kosher salt

ice cubes

juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 to 4 dashes of hot sauce or to taste

1 bottle ice-cold Mexican beer

lime wedge for garnish

freshly-cracked black pepper (optional)

Have a bowl of water and plate of kosher salt ready. Salt the rim of a pint glass by first wetting the rim with the water, then swirling the glass rim in the plate of kosher salt. Fill glass ⅔ full of ice. Pour lime juice and sauces over the ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and pour in ¾ of the bottle of beer. For an extra kick, top with freshly-cracked black pepper. Stir and serve with the opened bottle of remaining beer.

Serves: 1

“Frozen” Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

1 1/3 cups vanilla ice cream

1 (2-ounce) bottle multicolored candy sprinkles

8 crunchy peanut butter cookies

Let ice cream stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. Pour candy sprinkles onto a plate. Scoop ice cream onto 4 cookies. Top each with another cookie, squeeze them together gently, then scrape the ice cream edge smooth with a small spatula. Roll edges in candy sprinkles.

Eat ice cream sandwiches immediately, or freeze in airtight container at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

Serves: 4

“Frozen” Greek Yogurt Smoothie

⅓ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

1 cup strawberries, washed, hulled and halved

¾ cup blueberries, washed

1 banana, cut into chunks

1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 to 2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 cup ice cubes (if using frozen fruit, you can reduce or eliminate the ice)

1 teaspoon flaxseed oil (optional)

1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)

whole strawberries for garnish (optional)

To the jar of a blender, add the juice first, followed by the fruit, yogurt, agave nectar or honey, then the ice. Pulse a few times and then blend on high until the smoothie is creamy. Taste and add more agave nectar or honey if needed. Add a small amount of flaxseed oil and/or wheat germ to boost the nutritive value of the smoothie. Pulse a few times to incorporate. Pour into cups and garnish with strawberries.

Serves: 1


“American Hustle” Summertime Potato Salad

2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes

2 large eggs

Pinch of kosher salt for cooking and final seasoning

½ bunch sliced scallions, white and green parts (reserving some for garnish)

2 tablespoons drained capers (reserving several for garnish)

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup Greek yogurt

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup finely chopped dill pickles with 1/4 cup juice, about 2 pickles

½ small onion, chopped

2 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

½ bunch dill, chopped

½ lemon, juiced

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Put potatoes and eggs into a big saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to a simmer. After 12 minutes remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let cool. Continue cooking the potatoes until a paring knife poked into them goes in without resistance, about 3 minutes longer. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let cool.

Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, mustard, pickles and juice, onion, scallions, capers, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes.

Peel the cool eggs and grate them into the bowl. Break up the potatoes into rough chunks, add to bowl, and toss to coat with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with reserved scallions and capers.

Serves: 6

“American Hustle” Sidecar

Lemon for garnish and juice

Superfine sugar

1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger good-quality brandy such as Reynaud V.S.O.P.

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 ounces sweet and sour mix

¼ ounce triple sec

Cut off both ends of the lemon. Push fruit through center, leaving a tube of peel. Squeeze fruit core for juice (you'll need 1 tablespoon for the cocktail and more to moisten glass rim). Cut peel tube into ¼-inch-wide strips. Set aside.

Moisten rim of a pre-chilled cocktail glass with lemon juice. Dip rim into superfine sugar to coat. Set aside.

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice. Add brandy, lemon juice, sweet and sour, and triple sec. Agitate contents together in an up-and-down motion for 5 to 10 seconds. Pour shaker contents through the strainer into sugar-rimmed glass. Twist one lemon strip over the drink, drop it in and stir.

Note: This version of this classic cocktail comes courtesy of Martuni's, a cocktail bar in San Francisco.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” Scallops with Rotelle

1 (12-ounce) package rotelle pasta

1 pound bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry

¾ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon ground mustard

¼ teaspoon white pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil

2/3 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with

¼ cup water

1/3 cup light sour cream

In a 6-quart pan, bring 4 quarts water to a boil over high heat; stir in pasta and cook, uncovered, until just tender (about 10 minutes).

Meanwhile, place scallops in a large bowl. Add paprika, basil, thyme, mustard and white pepper; mix until well coated. Heat oil in a wide nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add scallops and cook, stirring often, just until opaque in center; cut to test (about 3 minutes). Lift out and set aside, reserving juices in pan.

Drain pasta well. Transfer to a warm, deep platter and keep warm.

Increase heat to high and cook reserved juices until reduced to about 3 tablespoons. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to broth. Bring to a boil again, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and scallops; spoon over pasta.

Note: To trim sodium, use reduced-sodium chicken broth.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” Classic Martini

½ ounce dry vermouth

4 ounces gin

¾ cup cracked ice

Dash of Angostura bitters (optional)

Strip of lemon peel or green olive

In a cocktail shaker, pour the vermouth and gin over the ice. Stir or shake several times until mixture is very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass, add a dash of bitters, if desired, and garnish with lemon twist or olive.

Note: For extra-icy martinis, keep your gin in the freezer.

Serves: 1

Dutch Bros. Coffee hosts food drive on Valentine’s Day

 Dutch Bros. Coffee shops in Spokane and Coeur D’Alene are offering free drinks on Valentine’s Day in exchange for donations of nonperishable food items for local food banks.

Customers who bring three nonperishable food items will receive a free medium drink. Customers who bring five items will receive a free large.

The promotion is part of Dutch Luv Day, an annual event in which Dutch Bros. partners with local food banks in seven states.

Spokane locations, locally owned by Kevin and Kerry Parker, will donate to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Coeur D’Alene locations, locally owned by Jeff and Brandi Buller, will donate to Community Action Partnership Food Bank.

“It’s our privilege to use Dutch Bros. as a force for good and help feed local families,” Dutch Bros. Coffee Co-Founder Travis Boersma said in a news release about the event.

Last year’s Dutch Luv Day yielded 7,504 pounds of canned food locally and 205,322 pounds company-wide.

Dutch Bros. Coffee is headquartered in Grants Pass, Ore. It’s the country’s largest privately held, drive-through coffee company, with more than 200 locations and 2,000 employees in seven states.

For more information, visit

Gonzaga Prep grad competes in “Cutthroat Kitchen”

A Gongaza Prep grad appears in this weekend’s episode of Food Network’s reality competition show “Cutthroat Kitchen,” hosted by Alton Brown.

Brooke E. Egger, who grew up in Colville and now owns private chef and catering businesses in Santa Barbara, Calif., is one of four competitors in the “SoupsyDaisy” episode, which airs at 10 p.m. Sunday on the cable channel.

She can’t tell Too Many Cooks what happens or who wins.

But according to an online plot synopsis, one chef is forced to use only a 500-watt light to cook chicken soup on a cookie sheet. Another must use a bait bucket to supply a fish fry.

The show, which premiered last August, pits four chefs against each other in three rounds of kitchen challenges, shenanigans and sabotage.

Chefs have 60 seconds to gather ingredients, then bid on culinary curveballs with money from a $25,000 pot of cash given to each at the start of the show.

The winner keeps whatever cash is left.

“You’re going into it blind,” said Egger, 35. “Things are breaking. People are pushing each other. It’s definitely a battle. We were all throwing elbows, for sure.”

The 1997 Gonzaga Prep grad said she was contacted by Food Network to participate in the show, which was filmed last fall.

She owns Brooke E. Degustations and Brooke E. Catering in Santa Barbara.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Egger said of the experience, adding, “I can’t wait to do it again.”

Wanted: Cast iron cooking classes or competitions

Kenneth Porter has a couple of cast iron pots.

“I make a Creole pork stew. I use the smaller one for that,” said the Spokane Valley home cook. “The bigger one I use to cook up tomato mac and cheese.”

But he wants to hone his cast iron cooking skills and try out new recipes.

So he's wondering if anyone offers cast iron cooking classes in the Spokane area. He also wants to know if there are any local cast iron cooking competitions.

At 80, he doesn't want to compete, but he thinks it would be fun to watch.

“It'd keep me off the street,” he said, with a laugh.

If you know of a cast iron cooking class or competition, or plan to hold one soon, let Too Many Cooks know or send an email to Spokesman-Review Food editor Adriana Janovich at or (509) 459-5446.



Tis the season for holiday cocktails

Looking for something to fill your glass of holiday cheer this season?

Here are some favorite winter cocktail recipes from local bars and lounges.


Benevolent Spruce (or Blushing Pine)

Developed by Kristi Gamble at Clover in Spokane’s Logan Neighborhood

1.5ounces Dry Fly Gin

0.75ounces POM Pomegranate Juice

0.25 ounces Campari

0.25 ounces Allspice Dram (an allspice liqueur)

0.25ounces lemon juice

4 dashes Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters

3 sprigs of rosemary (2 shaken in cocktail, 1 for garnish)

Yield: 1 serving

Hot Oatmeal Cookie

From The Onion Bar and Grill, downtown Spokane

½ shot butterscotch schnapps

½ shot Baileys Irish Cream

½ shot Jägermeister

½ shot Goldschläger

8 to 10 ounces ohot cocoa

Dollop of whipped cream, for garnish

Sprinkling of cinnamon, for garnish

Yield: 1 serving


Chata Coffee

From The Onion Bar and Grill, downtown Spokane

¾ shot Chata Rum

½ shot Kahlua

½ shot dark crème de cocoa

8 to 10 ounces of coffee

Dollop of whipped cream, for garnish

Chocolate drizzle, for garnish

Yield: 1 serving


Hot Jac’d Apple

From The Onion Bar and Grill, downtown Spokane

1 shot Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

8 to 10 ounces hot cider

Cinnamon stick, for garnish

Yield: 1 serving


Hot Buttered Fireball

From The Onion Bar and Grill, downtown Spokane

1 shot Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

8 to 10 ounces  hot buttered rum mix

Dollop of whipped cream, for garnish

Cinnamon stick, for garnish

Yield: 1 serving



Developed by Amanda Pankratz at Butcher Bar at Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie, downtown Spokane

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 pint whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 ounces bourbon

1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

4 egg whites

1.5 ounces Torres 10 Year Imperial Brandy

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks. Add 1/3 cup of sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg. Blend well. Chill to below 42 degrees. When ready to serve, beat egg whites to soft peaks in another medium bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of sugar. Then, whisk gently into cooled mixture, steam or heat to order, and add brandy. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 to 7 servings


Hot Buttered Rum

Developed by Amanda Pankratz at Butcher Bar at Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie, downtown Spokane

2 ½ tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cane sugar

½ teaspoon powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon clove

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1.5 ounces Amrut Old Port Rum

 Yield: 1 serving


Bourbon Tea

Developed by Amanda Pankratz at Butcher Bar at Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie, downtown Spokane

6 ounces Tea Forté citrus mint, steeped and muddled with

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

0.5 ounces local honey

Handful of fresh mint leaves

1 drop On Guard essential oil from dōTERRA (clove, cinnamon, wild orange edible essential oil)

1.5 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Bourbon

Yield: 1 serving


Spiked Clove-Infused Cider

Developed by Amanda Pankratz at Butcher Bar at Santé Restaurant and Charcuterie, downtown Spokane

8 ounces steamed cider

1.5 ounces of Kirk and Sweeny Rum

1 drop of clove-infused high-proof neutral grain spirit tincture (or steeped cloves)

Yield: 1 serving


Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Martini

Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights

2 ounces Stolichnaya Razberi vodka

0.5 ounces Godiva Chocolate liqueur

0.5 ounces Baileys Irish Cream

Place ice cubes in metal shaker. Add remaining ingredients. Shake until blended. Strain into cocoa-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with a fresh raspberry. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 serving


Winter Mojito

Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights

1.5 ounces Mount Gay Rum

0.5 ounces fresh lime juice

1.5 ounces simple syrup

4 fresh cranberries, for garnish

8 to 10 fresh mint leaves

Place ice cubes in metal shaker. Add remaining ingredients. Shake until blended. Strain into highball with fresh ice. Garnish with a few whole cranberries and mint sprig coated in powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 serving


Tea Toddy

Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights

1 Earl Grey tea bag, steeped in 8 ounces of hot water

1.25 ounces Baileys Irish Cream

0.75 ounce Black Velvet Caramel

1 teaspoon sugar

Steep a fresh cup of hot earl grey tea while leaving space in the glass for 2 ounces of liquor. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 serving


Basil Gimlet

Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights

5 fresh basil leaves (reserve 1 for garnish)

1.25 ounces Hendrick’s Gin

0.5 ounces agave nectar

0.75 ounces lime juice

 In a pint glass, muddle fresh basil, agave nectar and lime juice. Add ice and gin. Shake vigorously and pour into martini glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Yield: 1 serving


 Pumpkin Pie Martini

Northern Quest Casino and Resort, Airway Heights

Crushed graham cracker

1.25 ounces Absolut Vanilla Vodka

0.75 ounces Baileys Irish Cream

0.75 ounces Kahlua

1.25 ounces pumpkin liqueur

Pinch ground cinnamon and nutmeg, for garnish

Coat rim of 10-ounce martini glass with graham cracker crumbs. Pour vodka, Irish cream, Kahlua and pumpkin liqueur into a shaker over ice. Cover and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into glass. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Yield: 1 serving

Priest River Hardwood Grill offers Christmas Eve Dinner

If you’re in Idaho on Christmas Eve and don’t want to cook, Priest River Hardwood Grill is serving a special, four-course dinner.

The holiday menu  is being offered from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 24

The first three courses are an antipasti plate, acorn squash soup with freshly grated nutmeg, and a mixed green salad. That’s followed by an entrée of your choice: Beef Wellington, Cornish game hens roasted with rosemary and garlic, fire-grilled prime rib with cranberry horseradish, applewood-grilled Salmon Oscar, walnut and spinach cannelloni and osso buco. Prices range from $18.99 to $25.99.

Dessert – apple pie à la mode – is also available for $5.99.

Split entrées won’t be available for the holiday.

Priest River Hardwood Grill specializes in grilled and smoked meats and vegetables, cooked over hardwood, mostly local fruit wood. It's normally open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 5634 Highway 2 in Priest River. For more information, call the restaurant at (208) 448-4489.

Dorothy Dean’s Russian Tea Cakes

Too Many Cooks received a call inquiring about a misplaced Dorothy Dean recipe for Russian Tea Cakes.

Teddy Pulley, a home cook and baker in Spokane Valley, said she had been making them for some 50 years. So Too  Many Cooks thought others might be interested in the favorite recipe, too.

Here it is, just in time for holiday cookie baking:

Russian Tea Cakes

(Mexican Wedding Cakes)

1 cup soft butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or blanched almonds

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts. Blend thoroughly. Chill dough several hours. Shape into 1-inch balls, mounds or crescents. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while warm; cool on rack.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies.



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About this blog

We never really believed that old cliché anyway. We're collaborating to share our cooking inspirations, favorite recipes, restaurant finds and other musings from the local food world and beyond.

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Read all the posts from recent conversations on Too Many Cooks.


Adriana Janovich writes for and edits the Wednesday food section.

Carolyn Lamberson Features Editor for The Spokesman-Review. She's a foodie who has no time to cook. Still, a girl can dream ...

Ruth Reynolds is a copy editor at the SR. "I would bake and cook more than I do if I didn't have to keep cleaning off my kitchen counters. My favorite kitchen appliance is my rice cooker. No. My immersion blender."

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