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Too Many Cooks

Archive for November 2011

Signature Tastes of Spokane

Treat the cooks on your holiday shopping list to a little taste of the Spokane culinary scene.

Just in time for the season of gift giving, Smoke Alarm Media is releasing “Signature Tastes of Spokane.” Co-authors  Steven Siler and Nicole Manganaro have gathered recipes from locally-owned restaurants around the area. Chefs, caterers, farms, markets, wineries and bakeries also shared recipes for the book. It features more than 100 recipes, along with black and white photography of the area's culinary culture.

Signature Tastes of SpokaneThe book covers drinks, appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts.

We're sharing a recipe from the book in Wednesday's food section. Look inside for the recipe for the Bucket of Love from chef David Blaine and Latah Bistro.

Siler, editor-in-chief at Smoke Alarm Media, has also produced “Signature Tastes” cookbooks for Boise, Idaho, Bellingham, Wash. and Charlotte, N.C. The “Signature Tastes of Seattle” is planned for a January release. The nationwide project will eventually feature all 50 states and 150 different cities.

Signature Tastes of Spokane is being released later this week and can be purchased at and

It will also be available soon at Auntie's Bookstore, Rosauers Supermarkets, Super 1 Foods, Huckleberry's Natural Markets, Barnes and Noble stores and at many of the restaurants and retailers featured in the book.

There's more information on the “Signature Tastes of Spokane” page on Facebook.


After the feast

There are some who love the leftovers even more than the Thanksgiving feast itself.

We've rounded up some great ways to use up the turkey and other goodies over the weekend in today's Food section. 

Here are a couple more bonus recipes to try:

Turkey Rarebit

From Fine Cooking Magazine, October/November 2011. Recipe by Bruce Weinstein.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter; more for the baking sheet
8 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 thin slices skinless roast turkey breast (or roast chicken breast)
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup brown or dark amber ale, such as Newcastle
6 ounces aged English Cheddar, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Position a rack 4 to 5 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. 
Lightly butter a large, rimmed baking sheet. Smear one side of each slice of bread with the mustard. Set the bread slices mustard side up on the baking sheet and top with the turkey.
Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the scallions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute more, stirring often. Add the milk and beer; whisk until thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add all but 1/4 cup of the cheese, the Worcestershire, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and whisk until bubbling, just a few seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce over each sandwich. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Broil until bubbling and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool for a couple of minutes before serving. 
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Approximate nutrition per serving, from the magazine: 780 calories, 24 grams fat (14 grams saturated, 28 percent fat calories), 54 grams protein, 82 grams carbohydrate, 135 milligrams cholesterol, 1,460 milligrams sodium.

Turkey Taco Chili
Adapted from “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Comfort Food” (John Wiley and Sons, 2010)
2 pounds turkey cutlets or about 2 1/2 cups leftover turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 packet taco seasoning 
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken or turkey broth
1/2 cup red taco sauce
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
Salt and ground black pepper 
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro leaves
Crushed tortilla chips, optional
Season turkey cutlets or leftover turkey with taco seasoning, set aside.
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add turkey pieces. If using turkey cutlets, cook about 5 minutes or until cooked through. 
In a large bowl, stir together diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, taco sauce and garlic salt; pour into pot. Add beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using turkey leftovers, simmer just long enough to heat turkey through and let flavors combine.
To serve, season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with shredded cheese and cilantro. Serve hot with crusted tortilla chips, if using.
Yield: 6 servings

Curried Turkey and Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries
From Fine Cooking Magazine, October/November 2011. Recipe by Ivy Manning.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
Kosher salt 
1 cup Israeli couscous 
6 ounces skinless roast turkey meat, cut into medium dice (1 1/2 cups) 
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped 
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped 
2 scallions, thinly sliced 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar 
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder 
Freshly ground black pepper 
In a 1-quart saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the dried cranberries, stir, and set aside.
In a 3-quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until the couscous is cool. Drain again thoroughly and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the cranberries and orange juice, turkey, almonds, celery, and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and curry powder. Add to the couscous mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Variations: Israeli couscous is similar to regular couscous but is larger and pearl-shaped. If you don't have any, use orzo or another tiny pasta shape instead.
Yield: 4 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving, from the magazine: 470 calories, 20 grams fat, (2.5 grams saturated), 22 grams protein, 53 grams carbohydrate, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 610 milligrams sodium.

Thanksgiving recipe: Mixing past with present

For many of us, each holiday season is a time to count our blessings.

I am blessed to I have a husband and two kids who let me cook for them. I am also blessed that my mom is a great cook to whom I owe many of my pantry skills.

Thanksgiving in our house when I was growing up always included the usual suspects: turkey, stuffing, gravy, spuds, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. These items were canonical in the meal.

The turkey, roasted in a stand-alone roaster, always came out juicy and perfectly cooked.

My mom's gravy was and still is top-notch. In our extended family, it is the gravy by which all other gravys should be judged. I have never been able to duplicate it, even though I have watched her make it more times than I can count.

I have copious notes from her about how to make stuffing. Over-toasting the bread isn't a bad thing. Check your seasonings. Too much sage, bad.

Not enough salt, bad. Bake it long enough to let it get nice and crusty on the outside.

My evolution as a cook includes carrying forward the tried and true bits of wisdom from my mom, straying from tradition by trying variations of recipes and dishes that sound delicious in their own way.

This year that means:

The perfect turkey wine?

If you've the unforgiving task of finding wine to pair with turkey for the upcoming holiday, here's the silver lining… It will take some research and the Spokane Winery Association can help.

Nineteen members of the association will host special events 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Sunday for the annual Holiday Wine Fest.

Tasters will have the change to sample new vintages, gourmet food and wingle with the wine makers and other wine lovers. Ask the winemakers what they'll be serving with the holiday meal.

Tasting fees may apply.

Download a map with recommended tour routes at

I've listed the participating wineries in the extended post.

Before the pumpkin pie

I'm not trying to steal the show from November's favorite pumpkin dessert.

It's just that I tucked a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies into my file a few weeks ago and nearly missed my opportunity to make them before the snow steals the season and forces us to start thinking about Christmas. 

I'll be sharing these tall pumpkin cheesecake brownies today at the final potluck in The Spokesman-Review's Valley office. It is closing after the end of the year as the early retirees leave and the remaining staff members are consolidated downtown.

When I first came to Spokane, I was a city government reporter fresh from my first journalism job for The Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. I arrived on the cusp of new governments for the City of Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake.

The reporting was challenging, but what really made Spokane feel like home was that little office in the Valley. It was a great way to be introduced to a bigger city. There was a nice mix of staff, both young and older. We worked closely. Those who had been around awhile shared advice (and scary stories of when that office had been the target of a bombing) and the young transplants discovered the area together.

The potlucks? Well, it helped us welcome new people and wish them well when they left. It was how we celebrated my marriage and my firstborn son together. Today, it will help us send off those who are retiring and bring some life and laughter to the little brick office one more time. We'll connect and remember.

The food? It was always legendary, of course. But it was never the best part. Not by a long shot.

The recipe came from the Cookie Madness blog.

Here it is:

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:

12 oz cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons brown sugar (dark or light)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 large egg plus 2 tablespoons beaten egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

Brownies Batter:

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon plus a tiny pinch of salt

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (1 ½ cups), melted and cooled

1 cup (4.5 oz) Flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray.

Make the filling first. Beat the cream cheese and both sugars together with a mixer, then reduce speed and beat in the pumpkin, egg, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in the flour. Set aside.

In a second bowl, beat the butter, salt and sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the melted chocolate chips then stir in the flour. Pour all but about 3/4 cup of the chocolate mixture into the pan.

Spoon the pumpkin mixture evenly over the brownies layer.

Drop reserved brownie batter over pumpkin to give the brownies a splotched, marbled look.

Bake on center rack at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until brownies test done. That is, when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about two hours at room temperature and then chill for a few hours or overnight (the longer the chill, the better). Lift from pan and cut into 16 large squares.

Ben & Jerry’s hosts benefit for family

Ben and Jerry's in River Park Square will host a benefit tonight to raise money for a local family.

The store's owner is working with North Central High School senior Michaela Freeman to help a local family from Finch Elementary School. Freeman hopes to raise enough money to help the family pay for Christmas presents and a holiday dinner. The benefit is part of her senior project.

Freeman went to Finch Elementary and she wanted to give back to a family in her community. The family she chose has been hit hard by the recession. Both parents are unemployed and they have two small children.

Ben & Jerry's Spokane will donate 20 percent of sales between 6 and 8 p.m. tonight to Freeman and the family from Finch Elementary School.

If you can't make it to Ben & Jerry's tonight, but would like to help, contact Michaela Freeman at (509) 455-8500.

Get it before it’s gone

I keep very few cookbooks on my shelf for easy access. “The Joy of Cooking,”  an old church cookbook with some favorite reipes, two of Alton Brown's books. And my cooking bible, a.k.a. “How To Cook Everything,” by Mark Bittman. 

I love HTKE for its simplicity as well as for its flexibility. Need a standard pancake batter recipe? It's in there. Don't have buttermilk? Substitutions are in there. Don't have overnight to prep? Quicker procedure is in there. That's just scratching the surface of the book's usefulness.

For some time, there has been an app for that on iTunes. Utility literally at your fingertips. But being a spendthrift, I hadn't gotten around to purchasing it.

Now I don't have to. Starbucks has chosen the iPhone version of How to Cook Everything as it's “pick of the week.” So go get the download card at your closest Starbucks, download the app and have a cooking bible at your fingertips. And save $4.99 in the process.

Sweet Frostings opening Saturday

Sweet Frostings opens tomorrow. 

Partners Judy Rozier and Sally Winfrey are celebrating the launch of their new bakery with a grand opening 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Rozier and Winfrey got their start selling cupcakes and goodies at the Funky Junk last spring. They were planning to offer gourmet cupcakes, cakes, French macarons (like the ones pictured above), whoopie pies, cake pops, cake truffles and decorated cookies.

Sweet Frostings, Blissful Bakeshop is located at the corner of First Avenue and Washington Street, officially 15 S. Washington St.

I got a sneak peek into the bakery while it was under construction. Tall windows and soaring ceilings promised to show off the long counter planned for goodies. It had been brightened by Tiffany blue walls and colorful tiles. 

I'm excited to see how it turned out. I think I'll use that as my excuse to stop by. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the delicious salted caramel cupcakes Rozier and Winfrey brought to our interview. 

Need more excuses to stop in? There are a bunch on the Sweet Frostings page on Facebook.

Is it soup yet?


On Sunday, I had time to prepare a pot of chili and a pot of bean soup to eat for lunches and dinners during the week. This cold weather makes salads less appealing and a bowl of something warm more welcome. I had a copy of “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” written by Lorraine Wallace, Fox news anchor Chris Wallace’s wife, that I had been flipping through for ideas.

 The chili recipe, Ground Turkey and Black Bean Chili  is now a favorite since it uses turkey rather than beef and makes a very mild dish that can be spiced up with a couple of splashes of hot sauce. You might think the red bell peppers would overpower the taste, but I didn’t notice their distinct flavor too much. The recipe follows.

The bean soup is called Senate Bean Soup and is said to be the recipe from the U.S. Senate restaurant. I’ve always loved bean soup but often regret serving it within a few hours. Let’s just say there is a new bottle of Beano in my cupboard! This recipe is a keeper, too, because it is so simple and uncomplicated. As long as you have a free afternoon to watch it simmer on the stove, you will be rewarded with wonderful smoked-ham smell throughout the kitchen.

Senate Bean Soup

From “Mr. Sunday’s Soups”

2 pounds dried navy beans

4 quarts water

1 ½ pounds smoked ham hocks

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a colander, rinse the beans under hot running water until they appear slightly whitened. Pick out and discard any bad ones or debris.

In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, combine the beans, water, and ham nocks and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 3 hours.

Lift out the ham hocks and, when cool enough to handle, remove and dice the meat. Discard the fat, bone, and gristle and return the meat to the pot.

In a small skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until slightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the onion into the soup, along with the salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and taste for seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve. Serves 8.

Ground Turkey and Black Bean Chili

From “Mr. Sunday’s Soups”

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

2 cups finely chopped red bell peppers

1 cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrot

2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

One 5.5 ounce-can V8 juice

Two 14.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Freshly ground black pepper

Place a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the oil. Add the bell peppers, onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until the turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and salt and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the broth, V8 juice, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens, about 1 hour. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary. Serves 8.

MacKenzie River Pizza opens on South Hill

Montana-based MacKenzie River Pizza Co. has opened its second Spokane location.

The business announced on Facebook yesterday that the restaurant near 57th and Regal is open.

The casual, family friendly restaurants are known for their rustic Montana style and pizzas. The pies are served on thick or thin sourdough or natural-grain crusts. They also offer sandwiches made with fresh-baked breads and other entrees including fish and chips, meatloaf and blackened salmon.

The business started in Bozeman, Mont. in 1993.

In defense of a love for pumpkin

There is no way to justify it and no need.

I. Love. Pumpkin.

Those who know me well can vouch for this. It started with pumpkin pie when I was a kid and blossomed as I learned to experiment with cooking and baking.
For me, there is something about the creamy, smooth texture, and the natural sweetness that’s not too cloying — unless overspiced with the usual suspects (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg).
When sifting through the many tweets, stories and posts I scan each day, I perk up when I come across any recipe that does something interesting with pumpkin.
My family is patient. They like pumpkin, but not as much as I do, and suffer from pumpkin fatigue, especially in the Fall.
Right now, the my email inbox includes recipes for:

  • savory pumpkin quiche
  • pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
  • pumpkin smoothies
  • brown sugar pumpkin squares
  • pumpkin fettuccini
  • pumpkin spice granola

And the list is much longer than that.

Currently, I have two favorites and one failure:

Help for a busy mom

I love to cook. I just don't. Don't have time, really, between a full-time job, two kids, two dogs, a husband and a household of never-ending laundry to deal with. My quest? To fill my recipe box with a couple dozen go-to meals — things that can be made in advance, or prepped early, or that simply come together in a jiffy. My only request is that they be kid-friendly and relatively healthy. I mean I loved baked ziti and all, but my waistline does not.

My current favorite, which I suspect my family is tiring of, is from Gordon Ramsay's “Fast Food.” He recommends serving his sausage and bean dish over crusty bread. I've taken to pouring it over plain couscous. I slice up some Hilshire Farms smoked chicken rope sausage or Jennie-O smoked turkey sausage in lieu of the Toulouse sausages in his recipe. Also, I use canned cannellini beans instead of the mixed beans, and two cans of chopped tomatoes because I like it a litte soupier. And feel free to use dried thyme if your thyme plant, like mine, has been hammered by the recent cold weather.

I'll share this recipe if you share your favorites. Deal?

Sausage & Beans, from Gordon Ramsay's “Fast Food”

4 Toulouse sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

Thyme sprigs

2 finely sliced garlic cloves

14 oz. can of mixed beans (drained and rinsed)

14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes

Salt, pepper and an optional pinch of sugar

Crusty bread

Fry four Toulouse sausages with the olive oil and a few thyme sprigs. Add two finely sliced garlic cloves and cook for three to four minutes, stirring occasionally until the sausages are golden brown. Tip in the mixed beans, then the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and stew for 10-12 minutes. Season with salt (if needed) and pepper and the sugar if the tomato sauce is too sharp. Serve in bowls with the bread. Serves 2.

Helping with a meal

When someone in my life is sick, caring for someone who is ill or having a baby, I always feel like the least I can do is make a meal for them.

Over the years, I have helped deliver meals to family and friends, as well as organize the brigade of meals for someone in need. The trick to organization is juggling all of the questions and concerns from those who want to help, so the family gets a seemless delivery of great meals, instead of a rash of phone calls and inquiries.

I made a meal for a family at my son's school this fall. The mother had been in the hospital and was still very ill. She had a long recovery ahead of her. Her recent thank-you note reminded me that I wanted to share the website the group used to get the meals delivered to her and her family.

Take Them A Meal worked perfectly. The site helps corrdinate the meal deliveries with an easy-to-access spreadsheet that shows when people will be taking meals. There is a space to report what you'll be taking, so a family doesn't get deliveries of lasagna night after night.

It also includes a map and any special instructions for delivery. Best of all, you can get an email reminder for the day you volunteered to make your delivery.

Thankfully, our friend Denise, has been gaining strength and is felling better. In her note, she asked for the recipe for the Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs that were part of our delivery.

I found this recipe on after a friend raved about it. I cut way back on the oil and used low-fat buttermilk ranch dressing when I made it.

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs


“This rosemary ranch chicken recipe is so delicious, tender, and juicy the chicken will melt in your mouth. Even the most picky eater will be begging for the last piece.”

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup ranch dressing

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)

5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Yield: 6 servings

One World Spokane closing

One World Spokane is closing.

The progressive cafe that allows diners to pay what they can for local, organic fare will close its doors Saturday, according to an email message from owners Janice and Keith Raschko.

The couple brought the One World concept to Spokane almost four years ago, with the dream of access to organic, sustainable, local foods for everyone, no matter what they could afford to pay. They allowed people to volunteer hours instead of paying cash and let diners choose their portions and price.

One World volunteers grew a community garden. They worked hard to be a zero-waste restaurant. They invited local chefs to cook and hosted local music acts.

Despite it all, they struggled. They simply needed more diners coming through the doors to make the restaurant work.

The Rashkos said in their note to customers they always intended to bring the movement to Spokane and hoped to someday turn it over to the community. Now, they say they have taken things as far as they can go and will close the cafe, 1804 E. Sprague Ave., after lunch on Saturday.

The chef from the One World restaurant in Salt Lake City is here cooking for the final week. Just as he came to cook the week the restaurant opened. One World will be open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

It may not be the end of One World in Spokane. The Raschkos say they are working with some young people who have vision, ambition and enthusiasm. They may be giving One World a new home. The promised to share that information once it is confirmed.

Until then, One World information can be found on their website or Facebook page.

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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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