Weekly Volcano Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: 'What’s Cooking' (6) Currently Viewing: 1 - 6 of 6

October 9, 2014 at 11:37am

South Sound fall cooking classes

Chef Tom Pantley has been hosting cooking classes for 25 years. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Contrary to the 70 degree weather we are still experiencing here in the South Sound, it is fall. This means you have to put a cover on your barbeques and smokers then dust off the pots and pans. Ready yourself for family holiday gatherings, because even though Halloween hasn't arrived, it is right around the corner. My advice, aside from psychologically readying yourself to tolerate your weird uncle and smooch-happy meemaw, is to spruce up your skills in the kitchen with a cooking class or two. Here are a few options on the local level to get crafty in the kitchen:

Toscanos Café and Wine Bar

437 29th St. NE, Puyallup

Chef Tom Pantley of Toscanos in Puyallup has been hosting demonstrative-styled cooking classes for 25 years. Sunday, Nov. 30 is your next opportunity, and a $60 ticket price includes a four-course dinner paired with wine samples, plus recipes and instruction. Pantley covers a variety of cooking techniques, so stay tuned for the theme. Reservation is required, 253.864.8600.

Bayview School of Cooking

516 Fourth Ave. W., Olympia

Bayview School of Cooking is a "no duh" choice when on the prowl for cooking classes. It hosts a variety of classes year round that include instruction from trained professionals as well as guest chefs, plus wine and beer pairings. There are even courses for your mini chefs. Class fees range from $25 to $90. Here are a few standouts for the season:

  • Oct. 9: Beautiful Braises;
  • Oct. 27: Gluten Free;
  • Oct. 28: Biscuits;
  • Nov. 5: Pacific Northwest Party;
  • Nov. 11: Fall Veggies;
  • Nov. 13: Holiday Appetizers;
  • Nov. 20: Citrus, Pomegranate and Olives.

Visit bayviewschoolofcooking.com for full course details and registration.

STAR Center

3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma

STAR Center in Tacoma hosts a plethora of activities for all members of the family, including cooking classes. These classes are often mindful of proper nutrition and highlight seasonal flavors and fun. Class fees are typically $25 to $30. Here are a few coming up this season:

  • Oct. 25, noon: Halloween Spooktacular Treats and Tricks;
  • Nov. 14, 6 p.m.: Cooking Class with Chef Ron: Fancy Up Your Thanksgiving Feast;
  • Dec. 13,10 a.m.: Baking Up a Story: The Gingerbread Man;
  • Dec. 13,noon, Baking Extravaganza.

Visit metroparkstacoma.org/star for full course details and registration.

Primo Grill

2701 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

Though I was unable to confirm upcoming dates and themes, Chef Charlie McManus of Primo Grill has hosted some spectacular and diverse cooking courses in the past for foodies. I recommend visiting the new Primo Grill location on Sixth Avenue.

Dazzle your guests with your newfound culinary prowess. Wow their taste buds and set your goals high. Maybe we will see you on the next episode of Food Network's Chopped.

October 7, 2014 at 10:50am

Cooking with Harmon Brewing Co.

Jesse Holder of Harmon Brewing Co. discusses the joy of vanilla ice cream and Super Samurai Barleywine Ale at Harmon's Brewmaster Dinner Oct. 2. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Beer isn't just for drinking, folks.

Eating beer isn't a new or even modern concept. According to Homecooking.com, beer production began nearly 8,000 years ago, and beer consumers of the very early days considered it a food staple. National Public Radio recently reported that ancient Egyptian and Sumerian physicians considered cooking with beer a healthy practice.

Good news for beer and food lovers of modern days, yes?

Beer is a well-established ingredient in a variety of succulent and mouth-watering dishes. The fall and winter seasons, with their bevy of rich and delicious foods, pair perfectly with beer as part of a recipe - and, of course, to pair with the food.

Tacoma-based Harmon Brewing Co.'s Jesse Holder, director of brewery operations, and head brewer Jeff Carlson have spent time in the kitchen tinkering with beer recipes. While most dishes are a hit, there may be a few that don't work out.

"While we drink plenty of beer, we are still only mad scientists in the kitchen, trying things that ninety percent of the time turn out great; there is still that off-dish that we had in a dream, that isn't quite up to our standards," says Holder. "It should be noted that we are in no way trained chefs."

However, trained chefs or not, these guys love to experiment and have a lot of fun talking about it. We had a little Q & A session with Holder and Carlson.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: What kinds of foods best lend themselves to being prepared with beer as an ingredient? 

JEFF CARLSON: Any food can be prepared well with beer, depending on the style of the dish and beer. In most cases, beer pairs better than wine.  An example of this would be porters and stouts, some of Jesse's favorites, when cooking a chili. Any medium to full-bodied porter, such as our Puget Sound Porter, or stouts, such as our Stryker Stout, with plenty of chocolate and coffee notes, really help to add another level of flavor similar to a molé.  Another approach would be to mirror flavors found in both the dish and the beer, such as a malty amber with sweet barbeque.

JESSE HOLDER: Jeff likes to braise his ribs with our Expedition Amber or add a little in the sauce for pork chops; really, any meaty dishes work well with the amber. Honestly though, there is no single rule for pairing and cooking with beer, as with wine.  As in most cases, regarding trial and error, it can be hard, but once you create a hit, the rewards are fantastic.

VOLCANO: What style of beer is the best to work? 

CARLSON: Any beer can be used, but first you need to decide if you'll be complementing or contrasting the flavors in the beer or in the dish.  Malty beers for sweet foods is a great complementing element - sweet flavors versus sweet flavor - while hoppy beers complement sharp cheeses and spicy flavors - bold flavor versus bold flavor. 

VOLCANO: What are the most important tips for at-home cooks to know about using beer? 

HOLDER: In our experience, don't drink too much of the beer; you definitely want to save some for your dish and some for your guests.  Having to replace a vintage beer, with one that has less age or flavor, can really put a damper on the evening.

Beer is more complex than wine due to the vast variety and flavors currently on the market.  Stick to complementing flavors rather than contrasting the flavors when cooking with it.  Remember that when you cook with beer, the flavors become more intense and stronger.  The hops tend to concentrate quicker than malty sweetness - a brief simmering is essentially fool proof - but a reduction can change the flavors completely.  Use beer in brazing and sauces; don't just throw the beer in the recipe. And be careful to make sure the dish calls for it.

South Sound Seafood Skillet

18 oz. Harmon Mt. Takhoma Blonde

9 cloves garlic, crushed, divided

1 1/4 onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 lb. of Penn Cove Mussels, remove beards and clean

1 lb. steamer clams rinsed and cleaned

6 large Dungeness crab claws

1 1/2 lbs. salted butter

1 lemon, sliced

Add your favorite hot pepper sauce and Old Bay seasoning to taste

4 sauce dishes

2 skillets

1-4 empty bellies

Place large skillet over hot grill. Add Mt. Takhoma Blonde, half of the garlic, the onions and bay leaves. Bring to simmer and add shellfish.

In a spare skillet, melt butter. Divide melted butters across three side dishes. Add remaining garlic to one of the dishes and stir.  Squeeze juice from 1/3 of the lemon wedges into second dish of melted butter and stir. Add hot sauce and Old Bay to remaining dish and stir.

Remove shellfish from skillet, saving one cup of Mt. Takhoma Blonde liquid, and place the shellfish on a serving plate.  Strain reserved blonde into fourth sauce dish.

Serve shellfish immediately with assorted sauces.


Words and Photos from Harmon's 2014 Brewmaster's Dinner

July 24, 2014 at 3:54pm

"Extreme Chef" winner Chef Amadeus cooking at Olympia's Budd Bay Cafe the next two nights

Chef Amadeus / photo courtesy of Facebook

Remember Extreme Chef? The Food Network produced the show for two seasons (2011-12) where seven chefs were forced into extreme and grueling culinary challenges after being dropped into extreme locations, with one contestant being "thrown off the island," so to speak, each week. Hosted by world traveler Marsh Mokhtari, three chefs competed at a time, often swimming across a lake for ingredients then cooking on a car engine while a bear mauled them in a dust storm. At the end, the winner got to kill the losers with his or her bare hands, or something.

Anyway, Chef Amadeus, the winner of Extreme Chef season one, will be cooking at Budd Bay Café in Olympia tonight and tomorrow night, invited by the Thurston County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Chef Amadeus grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., cooking with his grandmother who was from Puerto Rico and mother from Philadelphia. He honed his skills in the Navy beginning in the mid-'80s. On a visit to the Pacific Northwest, Chef Amadeus fell in love with the freshness of our food and wine country. He now visits our area April through September, often a chef for hire in people's homes.

Obviously, Chef Amadeus will cook a couple specialty dishes the next two nights. If the Big One finally hits our area, rest assured Chef Amadeus can handle it and deliver your meals. Nothing rocks Chef Amadeus.

BUDD BAY CAFÉ, 525 Columbia St. NW, Olympia, 360.357.6963

Filed under: Olympia, What’s Cooking,

June 26, 2014 at 2:01pm

Cooking Class Alert: HG Bistro Chef Rich at Bayview Monday

This salmon dish photo arrive with the cooking class alert.

Last night I stopped by HG Bistro, or The Goose, for its crab mac and cheese, a dish that will post in my Mac and Cheese Madness column in the near future. It's been awhile since I visited the Tuscan style, fine dining spot buried in on of Puyallup's less attractive areas. Two baseball games and a boisterous dude happy with his waterfront living situation entertained the bar.

Owner Tim Hall and his ancestors have owned the building for 45 years, from fireplace shop to the Hungry Goose Eatery and eventually HG Bistro, when Tim went from manager to owner in 2005. Instead of sandwiches and gifts, HG now serves 14-ounce Kobe New York steak from Snake River Farms ($32), Creole seafood and grits ($24), quinoa sautéed with kalamata olive salsa, shallots and zucchini-squash ($15) and a mighty tasty "Crab Mac" ($19), just to name a few.

I have Goose on the brain because I just received word HG Chef Richard Bretana will be sharing his seafood expertise at 6 p.m. Monday, June 30 at the Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia. According to Bayview hype, "Chef Rich loves to feature seasonal, local food in dishes that are as beautiful as they are scrumptious. His menu this evening starts with a Grilled Prawn Salad with Asparagus, Charred Tomato Crema and Greens with Strawberry Vinaigrette. The entrée is a summery Oven-Roasted Herb-Rubbed Salmon served with Greek Quinoa-Orzo Salad with Olive Salsa and Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette. The sweet finale is a decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Berry Compote. Learn to make the special dishes tat make HG Bistro a destinations restaurant."

Bayview says there are a few spaces left in front of Chef Rich, so jump on the $55 ticket now. Complementary wine pairing is part of the deal just in case you need a nudge.

HG CHEF RICHARD BRETANA DOES SEAFOOD, 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, June 30, Bayvoiew School of Cooking at Bayview Thriftway, 516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia, $55, 360.754.1448

June 9, 2014 at 2:10pm

1022 South J heads into summer with a new menu and party

Bring On Summer: Chef Riley Morgan and Manager Rose Peterson of 1022 South J on Hilltop Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Even if you didn't grow up with it, Southern food is comfort food: big, satisfying flavors that are the antithesis of delicate and calculated haute cuisine. Most attempts to refine it are unsatisfying. It's generally best if the chef just gets out of the way and lets the flavors express themselves.

That's why I was interested to hear about Chef Riley Morgan's summer menu at 1022 South J on Hilltop Tacoma. The Southern-raised Morgan has created a Northwest meets Southeast menu, adding a Northwest touch to deviled eggs, pulled pork, collard greens, grits and other Southern staples. He's taking Southern flavors and airing them out for summer.


May 29, 2014 at 3:06pm

No cook summer recipes from Tacoma food experts

Add a Terra Organics strawberry salad to your summer meals. Photo courtesy of Terra Organics

What is the one thing that virtually no one wants to do when the South Puget Sound temperatures push into the upper 80s and beyond?

If you guessed slave over a hot stove to cook dinner, you would be absolutely correct.

Who wants to cook when the temperatures are sweltering? Getting hot and sweaty over a stove burner or by the oven is just no fun whatsoever. Even the barbeque grill on some days can be oppressive.

And who necessarily wants piping-hot food anyway when you're absolutely wilting from the heat?

The easy way out is to prepare a simple green salad, a cheese and fruit plate or maybe cold sandwiches, right?

Yet, do those ideas seem a little, well "yawn-worthy?"

Well, it doesn't have to be that way. There really are some terrific, easy and interesting no-cook dinner ideas out there for those warm days (or really any summer day). Many of them take great advantage of the bounty of fresh and seasonal produce available locally this time of year.

We asked local food experts for their takes on easy and delicious recipes that require no cooking at all.

So sit back, chill out and prepare to be inspired.


About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

Recent Comments

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Ted Smith said:

Thank you for the list of restaurants to try out. I will have to try their Mac and Cheese....

about Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

tastymakan said:

I like your post on Bakery restaurants I like ...

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Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers? www.myharmonyphotography.com

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Web Developers Delhi said:

Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading...

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