An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


A Walk Through Pike Place Market

This is a very special post for several reasons. First of all, I want to thank Jess Thomson for inspiring me to to think about my relationship with the Pike Place Market. She just recently published a cookbook called Pike Place Market Recipes that gives homage to all the wonderful aspects of the market, all the restaurants and beautiful food it has to offer, and what you can do with your loot once you get home.

The first recipe I flipped to was Marketspice Tea Cake, and I was immediately transported back to the fall of 2001. A and T and I were taking a break from studying, and having drinks downtown. I had just moved here that summer and had spent a few handful of times at the market. As we sipped gin and tonics at the Pike Place Bar and Grill, I told them of a crush I had on a guy that worked at Marketspice. I had talked to him a few times while buying teas and spices. So for the next hour, and another drink later, we concluded that I would walk across the street and ask him to join us for a drink. This seemed reasonable.

So I wrapped myself up for the ten long steps across the cobblestone, in the rain, to go see him. I casually walked in like I was shopping for tea on a Saturday evening. The place smelled of the famous orange and cinnamon-spiced tea. I took a complimentary steaming cup and sauntered up to the spice counter. It's funny, because eleven years later, I can't remember his name. Anyway, I think I asked him a detailed question about the intricacies of green tea pearls. As I calmly waited for the description, I blurted out that my friends and I were having drinks across the street if he wanted to join us. And then quickly run-walked back to the bar. Despite the awkwardness, he did show up for a drink. 

The Pike Place Market holds so many other memories, and as it maintains the cornerstone-status of downtown, it symbolizes to me how much I have changed and evolved since moving here. I was a huge 'Sleepless in Seattle' fan before moving here. Fan may not be strong enough. Fanatic is more like it. S and A and I watched it so much that we just referred to it as 'Sleepless'. So upon arriving to Seattle, I promptly sat myself down at the bar that Tom Hanks and his friend eat lunch, the Athenian. I ordered a beer and cracked open a new journal. I couldn't believe I was here. The smell of the damp old wood of the booths, the foggy view of Puget Sound, and the restaurant buzz of voices and dishes...I was in heaven and nervous at the same time. Arriving in a new city with so much possibility. Tom? Jonah? 

No matter how many times visitors have been here, I always feel the need to walk through the market at least once. My dad has a favorite little lunch spot called the Market Grill, where they make 'his salmon sandwich'. We negotiate the first day of my family's visit with, 'When do you want to get your salmon sandwich, while mom and I go eat at Serious Pie?' We have a little routine. We walk downtown and part ways at 4th and Pine. He goes to the market, and we go eat pizza. It works out so nicely. We usually meet back at the pig. Jess talks about the gold pig in her introduction. It is the greeter of the market and a perfect spot to meet. I would love to know how many people have taken a seat and a subsequent picture on that pig.

Now, years later, I work downtown, and we walk through the throngs of people at lunch time to go to our favorite hidden gem of a lunch spot. I won't mention the name because it is a small place, and we don't want to lose our seats. I would have never guessed that eleven years later, I am all grown up, wearing high heels, walking through the market on a random Wednesday for lunch, and not even minding the smell of seafood. 

The recipe that follows is a cauliflower recipe my mom gave me. It too is symbolic of evolution. Until recently, I liked cauliflower, but I didn't love it. As a kid I dipped it in ranch dressing. Then maybe I would take a few chunks off a salad bar or get it on a pizza. Who knew I would be blending it to make pizza crust, or roasting it with truffle oil. Life has so much possibilities. 

Thanks Jess, for sparking all these memories. Now all you dear readers, buy her book here!

Cauliflower in Curried Cashew Sauce
Makes 2 to 4 servings
Inspired by my Mama

This recipe is wonderful as is, or you can add a little protein with eggs or chicken sausage. I caramelized some onions and stirred them in at the last minute. Whichever way you choose, your family and friends will be cauliflower-loving converts.

1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup roasted cashews

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss cauliflower, olive oil, salt, and black pepper together in a large bowl. Transfer to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Roast cauliflower in oven for 15 minutes. Stir and roast until lightly browned and partially softened, an additional 15 minutes.

Combine cashew butter, water, garlic, curry powder, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a microwave-safe bowl. Warm in the microwave for about 20 seconds until able to stir easily.

Pour sauce over roasted cauliflower and stir to evenly coat. This may take about 5 minutes to evenly distribute the sauce. Return to oven and roast until cauliflower are completely softened, about 10 more minutes. Toss roasted cauliflower with fresh parsley and cashews before serving.


Roasted Garlic Fondue

Last week the girls came over to my somewhat empty apartment for a dinner party. It was great because their company, roasting garlic, caramelizing onions, and red wine certainly warmed the space. I recently sold several bookcases and my couch, in preparation for a newly transforming apartment. The fondue party just happened to be occurring on an interlude of couch ownership. So we piled around the kitchen table while cooking and discussing.

Traditionally we have associated our fondue parties with break-ups. Last year in February, when I was freshly in the hot seat, M so kindly suggested a get together at her apartment for a fondue and wine party, thus coining the code phrase 'fondue party'. It was the most soul-feeding Wednesday night a girl could ask for. From that time on, if anyone is having a particularly challenging time, we ask if they need a fondue party...

Caramelized onions and leeks in freshly stirred 'roux', water, wine, and broth

 ...until last week. We decided why not have a celebratory reason to have a fondue party. K is about to have a baby, C just bought a new house with her husband, M just finished apartment shopping, and I was about to get a new couch delivered. So many reasons to celebrate, therefore we added an amendment to the definition of fondue party:

fon due par ty: an event between friends involving melted cheese, butter, garlic, and chocolate in heated pots, surrounded by breads, vegetables, fruits, and cookies for the sole purpose of providing and environment to discuss life with the essential ingredient of wine in hand.


Roasted Garlic Fondue
Yields about 6 cups

This is actually an inspired compilation of several recipes, mostly of which were garlic soup. But it translated quite easily into a dish that fondue foods could be dipped into, in addition to the traditional Swiss cheese-style. It reheated nicely the next day as soup for lunch with a few leftover cubes of bread for dipping.

2 bulbs garlic
A few dashes olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks, thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups water
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a cross-sectional slice off the top of each garlic bulb, so the tops of each clove are exposed. Place bulbs in a oven-safe container; drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the oven until garlic is softened and roasted, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat; add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Saute onion until lightly browned, stirring constantly, 10 to 15 minutes. Add leeks, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, and pepper. Saute over medium-low heat until leeks are softened and browned and onions are golden brown, about 15 more minutes.

Whisk flour and 1 tablespoon butter into onion and leek mixture until dissolved and a roux (a brown paste-like consistency, which will thicken the fondue). Add water, wine, chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat (pictured above).

Remove garlic cloves from the bulbs after they have roasted. Add cloves to the simmering broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Remove Dutch oven from heat and cool slightly. Scoop about half the broth mixture into a food processor; blend until smooth. Return to the Dutch oven; stir in parsley. Transfer to a fondue pot.