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Too Many Cooks

Archive for October 2011

Deep, red colors of Fall

 

Ever since I was in grade school (many years ago), a more obscure hallmark of Autumn has always been the arrival of pomegranates in the produce section. Back in the day, it was a crapshoot — about half the pomegranates you’d pry your way into would be a) rotten or b) unripe. It made the good ones taste even better.
These days, I’ve found that all pomegranates are *not* created equal. There’s your average pomegranate, and then there are the truly colossal POM Wonderful ones. And they are wonderful. Read here to learn about the varietal and their orchards.

Those wonderful pomegranates arrived at Spokane-area stores this week and they are one of the few items I will overpay for.


Just take a look at the arils. Deep red, big, tart but sweet, and of course juicy.


Today I had mine sprinkled on a bowl of plain Greekyogurt. Simple and delicious.
Tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite way to eat a pomegranate?

P.S. If you find it frustrating getting to the little bits of goodness without making a total mess, check out this video that shows an easy and sensible way of harvesting the arils.


 

Apple time

There's still time to join the fun at the Spokane Public Market this weekend. Vendors at the market, 24 W. Second Ave., are hosting Apple Craze through Saturday.

Shoppers can taste more than 50 varieties of local apples and find informational sessions on growing and cooking apples.

They'll also celebrate Halloween 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday with family-friendly activities. The day includes live music, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating at market booths. The first 500 visitors to the market on that day will receive a free coupon book.

It is the last weekend of Apple Festival fun at Greenbluff and the Spokane Farmers Market.

Here's a recipe for all those apples you'll be bringing home. I tasted this pie at Sun People Dry Goods Company one day and then couldn't stop thinking about the delicious crust. The natural living store is adjacent to the Spokane Public Market.

Angie Dierdorff was kind enough to share her recipe when I sent them a random e-mail message begging for it.

Thanks again, Angie.

 Sun People Apple Pie 

 Dierdorff says the recipe was inspired by a similar one in her grandmother's “Joy of Cooking” (1964 edition). 

Two batches of Angie's processor pastry:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup unbleached white flour

1/2 stick unsalted cold butter, cut in small cubes

3-4 tablespoons Spectrum Organic Palm Oil Shortening

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 2-3 tablespoons ice water

In food processor, dump in dry ingredients and pulse a few times. With lid on and processor on low, add butter and shortening and mix until just incorporated. Add ice water until dough starts to stick together and form a ball. Place dough on wax paper and form a flat disk - chill 30 minutes to 4 hours.

For the filling:

Approximately 4 to 5 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples of your choice (She used Golden Delicious from Cliffside Orchard, which sells produce at the Spokane Farmers Market.)

2 tablespoons potato or corn starch

1/2 - 3/4 cups organic unrefined cane sugar (depending on the sweetness of apples used)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Cinnamon, to taste (Dierdorff uses about 2 teaspoons per pie)

Dash of Himalayan salt 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out one crust between two pieces wax paper. Transfer to pie plate, add filling. Roll out second crust and place over apples. Crimp edges of pie, sprinkle sugar over top and use a fork to make several vents in top crust. 

Place in 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees and and bake 45 to 60 minutes until apples are tender, sauce thick and bubbly, and crust nicely browned.

Let sit for about 30 minutes to cool.

Yield: 1 pie

First bite at Rex’s Burgers and Brews

The former Niko's location is now home to Rex's Burgers and Brews.

Chef Jason Rex is leading the culinary team for a menu that features a build-your-own burger menu along with handmade onion rings, sweet potato fries, wings, sandwiches, pasta, steak and more. It just opened this week.

Diners can choose their meat (or beans) for a basic price, and then add cheese and other grilled toppings for a bit more. When your burger arrives, you take it for a trip through the toppings bar for other fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and whatnot.

I stopped in with a group for friends for lunch and ordered the bean burger topped with Boursin cheese, grilled mushrooms and onions. It was one hot, delicious mess. Thank goodness for the sturdy handmade buns to hold the precarious pile of grub together. It was $7.95. The cheese sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions added $1.75 to the ticket.

My dining companions liked the char on their thick beef burgers. One topped his with Gouda and fried egg. The other steered clear of cheese, but added grilled mushrooms.

There are just a handful taps, but plenty of bottled beers. I'll go again. If only to solve the mystery of the Rex Balls appetizer.

Rex's Burgers and Brews, 14 N. Post St., is open Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pull up a seat

There is nothing I love more than sharing a meal with friends.

Whether around the table, the campfire or the snack table at work, food has a wonderful way of drawing people together. We hope this blog will be a bit like that.

One of the great joys of my job is that people share their cooking triumphs and failures. They stop me to talk about their dinner at local restaurants; they share tips for great bargain wines and they ask about an unfamiliar ingredient. At the office, we often find ourselves swapping notes on fallen quick breads, our favorite new IPA or a restaurant we've discovered (or rediscovered). We inevitably learn something new.

It's been fun trying new techniques and being reminded of old favorites. Now, we're ready to share that conversation with you.

So, I've invited a group fellow food lovers at The Spokesman-Review  to join me here at Too Many Cooks. The team includes Gina Boysun, an online developer for spokesman.com; Ruth Reynolds, a copy editor who looks at those weekly Food sections behind the scenes; and Carolyn Lamberson, an assistant city editor, who has written occasional food stories. We'll share inspirations, frustrations and discoveries from our corners of the food world.

We worried a bit that writing a group blog about food might be akin to that old adage that leads to dinner spoiled. Instead, we expect it to have the opposite effect. We hope that Too Many Cooks will become a place for readers to find something new and share their experience, too.

Join us.

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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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Contributors

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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