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Upside Down Coffee Cake

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is Mister Sive walking you through his crazy yummy coffee cake. Above is a blueberry version he made a few weeks ago. Below a cherry concoction he made the other evening, which we have been enjoying since. Morning, noon or night, this coffee cake is sure to please. Take it away TPS!

My mother encouraged us kids to cook from a very young age.  I remember the first “adult” dish I cooked was a paella, I think in 7th grade, and in high school I cooked one dinner a week. Like many households in the 70’s, The Joy of Cooking was a key reference, and inspired the following recipe. Ted and I have Mom’s old copy, with her notes on the sides of which of us five kids liked which dishes. I’m not sure, though, that Mom would approve of the importance of Breakfast Dessert in the Watson Sive Household… Maybe I’m old enough now to ask her on my next visit.

This coffee cake uses a pastry dough and has a marvelous caramelized top. I bake it in a 9” springform pan, which makes the flipping-over-after-baking-and-keeping-it-all-together a bit easier. 

Grease that pan with a good 2 tablespoons of butter, to be sure the cake slips out easily. Mix together ½ cup lightly chopped walnuts and ½ cup dark brown sugar and spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

For the dough, stir with a fork: 2 ¼ cup flour, 1 cup of white sugar, 2 tablespoons of baking powder, a tiny pinch of salt, and ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Then, cut 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of cold butter into ¼ inch cubes, and cut into the flour mixture. Everyone has their own favorite method; mine is with a quick, light touch by fingers. As always with pastry dough, less is more.

Whisk together: 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, ¾ cup of whole milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour this over the pastry mixture, and stir lightly, maybe ½ way to fully mixed. Then, add 2 cups of fruit in small bite sizes (perhaps whole blueberries, half cherries, or cubed peaches) and lightly fold, until just mixed.

Spoon the wet dough over the sugar and nuts, and spread evenly. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 minutes, until it springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.  

Transfer to a cooling rack, run a knife along the side, and immediately release the side of the springform pan. Let cool a few minutes, and then carefully flip the cake and peel off the bottom layer of the pan. 

Serve while warm and you’ll be someone’s favorite person for the day.

 

 

 



 

 

Olive Oil Oven Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus season is a treat I look forward to all year. We eat asparagus pretty much year round, but most often than not, they are quite thin spears. When the fresh chunky spears start arriving, then I get excited! This Wine & Dine Wednesday post is how to prepare it super simply in the oven.

Oven to 375 while you prepare the asparagus. For thin I never peel them. For the thick, pretty much always, as the lower portion can be quite woody. Plus, that is how the French do it, so that is always reason enough for me. Insert big grateful smile. With a vegetable peeler take off a layer starting at the half way point to the bottom. I then like to cut the bottom at an angle because I like the way it looks. Thanks Ina! Then a lovely layer of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get you hands on. Finally a dusting of sea salt. Then into the hot oven for 10 minutes. Start poking with your finger. You want give but not soft. Could take up to 15 to 20 minutes depending of thickness and to your liking. Then eat, eat, eat and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.



 

 

Adelsheim Pinot Gris 2017

Wine & Dine Wednesday is about a stellar wine as well as a yummy salad to go with it. A combo! First off, a lovely Adelsheim Pinot Gris. Going to college in Oregon, Adelsheim is a winery I have long admired, always regarded as creating top-flight wines. I was looking for a white to go with the salad I was making to go alongside a piece of halibut. The bottle all but jumped off the shelf at me. It was like visiting an old friend. Layers of interesting complexity and just as special as you had remembered. It was pretty perfect with the salad and fish.

From the maker: Crisp, bright flavors have always been the hallmark of Adelsheim Pinot gris. In this 2017, you’ll find aromas of white peach, minerality, and pear blossom. It pulls off the difficult feat of providing a gentle creaminess that lends a rich, mouth-filling texture and long finish, yet is still impressing as a wine that’s crisp and clean.

For the salad greens, baby arugula was the winner. As well as a simple balsamic vinaigrette–using a quarter of a cup of really good balsamic vinegar, a big dollop of Dijon, salt & pepper, then whisk in a half of a cup of extra virgin olive oil. Cube up small bite sized pieces of watermelon. Crumble feta over the salad. Gently mix all together. Enjoy!

OK, need your help on this if you know of a fix. You might have noticed in the last few months some of the photos are showing up sideways or stretched weird on the blog posts. Not often, but every once in awhile. I have absolutely no idea why and I don’t know how to remedy it. I have done a bit of research on it and am coming up dry. I use the WordPress platform for the blog, and have since day one. I really love it. Initially you could manipulate images with sizing yourself but awhile back that option went away. Not sure if a recent update has caused the problem. If anyone is aware of a fix, let me know. Huge THANKS. X, Ted



 

 

Herbed Chèvre & Fresh Corn Frittata

I have written about the ease and flexibility of making frittatas a bunch in the past, but a few I made recently with fresh corn seemed timely so they grab a spot on a Wine & Dine Wednesday post.

Both in Seattle and Ghent, we have had some awesome corn on the cob this past month. Often we will have an ear left over so this is where it comes in super handy. Using up what we have in the fridge before we head back to one place or another is always part of my plan. Last Thursday night we had a piece of herbed chèvre in the fridge and eggs in the egg trays. Along with a piece of baguette, some salad greens and a glass of wine and dinner was served.

Crack 5 eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk, along with a few pinches of salt & pepper. Whisk. In a non-stick pan add a bit of butter to coat. Over low heat add the egg mixture. Before it has set, add the corn kernels you have cut off the cob, scattering then around the eggs. Same with the herbed chèvre that you break apart and dot pieces here and there. The eggs should still be undercooked in the middle but the sides have just begun to set. Take the pan and put it under a broiler. Do not walk away as you want to stay with this to the end. The frittata will start to puff up from the intense heat. Just what you are wanting! Make sure you have on an oven mitt as you move the pan around a bit so it cooks evenly. Once the eggs have fully set, you are ready to dine. We enjoy these equally for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Super versatile. Enjoy!



 

 

Château du Cèdre Marcel Malbec

This Wine & Dine Wednesday is a yummy red we had the other evening with a tasty filet mignon & scallops I made for Sunday supper out on the island. Full disclosure, I was absolutely smitten with the label! I was rushing around the grocery store and it was my last purchase before heading to the checkout line. Was completely taken by the images and fonts. Good news, what was in the bottle was every bit as good as what was on the outside. At under 15 bucks a bottle, we would try it again and again.

A little history and wine speak: Pascal Verhaeghe and his brother, Jean-Marc, bring a welcome refinement to the wines of picturesque Cahors, located about an hour and a half east of Bordeaux. Their father began making wines at Château du Cèdre in the 1970s, and the fun-loving sons took over in the 1990s, banning all herbicides and chemicals, and adopting a domaine motto: “Move forward, experience new ways.”

Fragrant & tasty on the palate with damson plum and blackberry fruit. Full, fresh, and engaging, this Malbec is a hidden gem and the fruit is super clean!



 

 

Shrimp, English Peas & Mint Risotto

The rock shrimp are what caught my eye, getting my mind spinning on what risotto to make out on the island the other eve. I knew I wanted to make risotto but waited to get to the grocery store for inspiration. They also had some biggy big shrimp that looked swell so I got a few of those to roast up to add to the top of the dish. English peas in the organic section in the shell made me happy as all get out and our pot of mint from last year was already overflowing. Done! I was off and running.

I wrote about risotto in my book. My idea for all of us non-professional home cooks is to master a few handful of things, then we can mix up ingredients to make tons & tons of tasty things. Risotto falls into that category. Get the basics down and you can make a zillion versions of it. Roast the big shrimp in the oven to add to the top at the end. I also roasted the rock shrimp for just a few minutes in the oven on a sheet pan. They will continue to cook when you add them to the hot risotto towards the end. The same is true for the bag of frozen peas. They will cook from the heat of the rice. The English peas I added raw to the top of the dish at the very end for a little crunch. They are little nature’s candy. Lastly I tore bits of mint and scattered it about the whole thing at the end. Here is my go-to recipe below.

Heat up the 8 cups of stock to not quite a boil, then turn down the heat a bit, but the stock should remain hot thru the entire risotto cooking process. Next, and here is where I like to use a good sized Le Creuset pot for cooking the risotto in, add a liberal dose of butter and cook a diced onion and shallot till they are not quite brown. Then add a good amount of olive oil to that, along with 2 cups of Arborio rice. Coat the rice with the butter and oil mixture, and sauté for a minute or two to cook through, but don’t brown the rice. All of the above is done over medium heat, but stove tops vary greatly, so adjust accordingly.

Now the liquids begin. Add one cup of white wine to the mixture. I like to use a white that we will be serving with the meal. Stir rice till the wine is absorbed. The depth of flavor the wine adds to the finished product is really noticeable.

Now the waiting hot stock takes center stage. Add one cup of stock to the mixture, stirring till the stock is fully absorbed. What holds many folks back about making risotto is there is a good amount of stirring involved. A constant stir is not necessary, but pretty close. This is where the white wine you opened comes in quite nicely. Sipping a little white wine during the risotto making process is a personal favorite–it is my break from stirring. Continue adding the hot stock one cup at a time, and the rice will become creamier as you go, as it releases the natural starches. Add the 7th cup of stock. Add the almost cooked through rock shrimp to the mixture. At this point, you will be about 20 to 25 minutes into the rice cooking process. You are almost there.

Now add the bag of peas. It does not need to be completely unfrozen as the peas will defrost the moment they hit the hot rice. Stir. Add a cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir. Turn off the heat. Add another cup of stock. Stir. Add a dusting of salt & fresh ground black pepper. Stir. Put on the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes, have another sip of your white wine, as we are almost done. Once that 5 minutes has passed, give it one last stir, adding a bit more stock so it is nice and creamy. In a bowl add the risotto mixture, then add the large shrimp to each bowl and finally a few sprinkles of the grated Parmesan along with the English peas and a scattering of the fresh mint. A bit of work, but that will all fade away when you have your first bite. Happy Spring!



 

 

Marinade/Vinaigrette

We eat lots of chicken in the Watson Sive household, so I am always looking for new ways to prepare/serve it. This day late Wine & Dine Wednesday post slipped my mind yesterday, but thought you might enjoy it today. It is a big batch of marinade/vinaigrette that you split in half, using part to marinate and then bake the chicken in. While the other half becomes the vinaigrette for the cabbage salad. Note, you never use a marinade that has touched raw meat for a vinaigrette, so make a double batch and split in half, setting the vinaigrette aside for dressing the greens later.

Here we go! In a big bowl add 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 4 teaspoons of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper. Whisk all together. Pour half this mixture into another bowl and set that aside as your vinaigrette. As a dressing, this can sit in the fridge for many days.

With the remaining amount in the big bowl that will be the marinade, add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. As well as 2 garlic cloves you have peeled and smashed. Whisk. Add 4 to 6 skinless chicken thighs to this bowl moving them around so they are coated with all that goodness. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready to put dinner together, take out of fridge and let sit on the counter for half an hour to take the chill off. Oven to 400. Pour marinade and chicken into a baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, checking at the 45 minute mark with a meat thermometer, as you are looking for the chicken to read 165. When done, take out of oven and cover the dish with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is resting, cut up half a head of a cabbage for your salad. Dress with the vinaigrette you had made earlier that has been sitting in the fridge. For a super simple meal, add a piece of chicken to the top of the cabbage salad.

OK, here is where you can get creative with leftovers in the fridge or pantry. To our cabbage salad I added some brown rice, lentils, roasted cauliflower and a big handful of sunflower seeds. Truly, add whatever looks interesting to you. We love hearty one bowl meals, so adding other things really beefs up the dish. But you also don’t have to add anything, it will be lovely just as it is without any additions. Enjoy!



 

 

Reuben Dutch Baby

On this Wine & Dine Wednesday first day of Spring a hearty Reuben Dutch Baby I made at Hawthorne week before last for my hubby. He had just driven back from the city seeing his mom and I wanted to make him a special treat. He loves a Reuben! This recipe is from Bon Appétit magazine, which I read on the airplane going to New York and it stuck with me, so I thought I would give it a go. It did not disappoint and was crazy filling.

4 large eggs, ½ cup milk, room temperature, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ cup all-purpose flour, 4 ounces coarsely grated Swiss cheese (preferably Jarlsberg), 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 8 ounces thinly sliced pastrami, sauerkraut, salt & pepper

Place a 10″ cast-iron skillet in oven, preheat to 425°. Whisk eggs, milk, and 1 tsp. mustard in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisking constantly, gradually add flour, whisking until smooth. Season with salt. Stir in half of cheese and ½ tsp. pepper.

Carefully remove preheated skillet from oven and add butter, swirl skillet to coat. Drape half of pastrami into skillet (it’s okay if it bends and folds over itself); season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over. Return skillet to oven and bake until Dutch baby is puffed and golden brown, 12–15 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven and heat broiler. Drape remaining pastrami over Dutch baby; top with remaining 2 oz. cheese. Broil until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.

Top with sauerkraut and mustard before serving.



 

 

Domaine Magellan Le Fruit Défendu

I spent most of yesterday at the showrooms ordering goods for the shops. That always makes me work up an appetite! I knew I wanted to make Parmesan/Panko chicken breasts with a big heaping Meyer lemon vinaigrette arugula salad atop it for supper. A quick stop into our fab neighbor next to the First & Spring shop, Cone & Steiner, produced this easy French table wine that would be perfect with the meal. And indeed it was.

From the maker: 6 hectares of old Cinsault vines on our beautiful sandstone sites. The vines come from field selections conducted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region at the start of the 1960s. 90% Cinsault, 10% Syrah Red Fruit Défendu comes from a part of the vineyard where the grapes are smaller and more concentrated. The fruit is entirely destemmed and fermented in concrete tanks with pumping over and punching of the cap. Vatting duration is short, at 10-12 days, and all the grapes are picked by hand. The perfect complement to all grilled foods as well as white meats such as roast guinea fowl, rabbit with mustard and Normandy-style poultry or veal.



 

 

Stuffed Shells For A Wintery Night

This snowy Wine & Dine Wednesday post is brought to you by my husband, Mr. Sive. Quite often when I post photos of the tables I set, people ask, “But what did you eat?” This is a TPS classic, which he has been making for many years.

A few days ago we had the rare treat of a snowy night at WestWard. This meal was inspired by that, a bottle of hearty red TKW had recently at a tasting, our shared love of all things pasta, and the desire for a homey fireside meal.  

Stuffed shells is a Watson/Sive standby, and this night I wanted a “stick to your ribs” version, with a sauce thick enough to stay with the bits of shell and pasta, and not slip off. There’s a lot going on in this version, with a variety of flavors and a good hearty result.  

Cook a 12oz box of ‘Jumbo Shells’ al dente, and drain in cold water to stop the cooking. Toss them in a bit of EVOO.

While that’s going on, prepare the sauce. Cut up enough carrots, sliced in half and then 1/4 inch thick, for a cup or more total. Pour a few good glugs of EVOO in your favorite dutch oven, heat up and then add the carrots. (We just replaced our Le Creuset, as the old one was beyond lovingly used!) After a minute or two, add 1 medium yellow onion, chopped fairly large. (You want the onions and carrots to still be in chunks after all the cooking and baking.) Sauté until soft and just turning brown. Add about 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage (or sweet and spicy mixed) and sauté until the sausage is just cooked through. Add 4 cloves of finely minced garlic, and cook a couple minutes longer. Add one 28-ounce can of pureed San Marzano tomatoes, one 6-ounce can of tomato paste, and 1 cup of red wine, and bring to a good simmer. Add a good amount of fresh thyme or oregano (I used the leaves from 8 sprigs), salt and pepper to taste, and leave on a low simmer while you’re assembling other ingredients. Add more wine as needed, but you’ll want a thick sauce.

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons each of butter and EVOO to hot. Sauté 24 or so small crimini mushrooms, halved. The mushrooms will absorb all the liquid and start to caramelize. Just as they start to shed liquid, take off the heat and place in a small bowl. (Later, add the liquid that drains from the mushrooms to the tomato sauce).

In another bowl (I utilized the just-used and cooled pasta cooker to save cleaning!) add a 32-ounce container of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, and half of a 5-ounce plastic container of baby arugula, very lightly chopped. Mix just until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture, about 2 tablespoons in each shell. Don’t worry about being exact!

Now, to assemble. I typically prepare this in two batches, each in a pie sized pan, and freeze one for later cooking, each pan serving four normal people (or slightly fewer hungry Teds). You can certainly make it one large pot. Lightly coat your dish with more EVOO, and add enough sauce to just cover the bottom. Place the shells in one tightly packed layer. Spread the mushrooms evenly, tucking them between the shells. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top with a rubber spatula, to tuck it into the nooks and crannies. Lastly, evenly distribute on the top 8-ounces of grated sharp white cheddar. Yes, we’re mixing the English/Irish and the Italian! The zing and creaminess of the cheddar is a great compliment to the hearty tomato and sausage, and contrasts well with the light ricotta.

Bake at 375, covered loosely with foil, for 40ish minutes. You can serve after just a couple minutes of letting it all rest. With those vegetables and protein and cheese and greens, this is a great one-dish meal. Especially for a snowy winter evening…