Thursday, March 13, 2014

Small plates and bowls - PNW Theme - Mark and Debbie - LTCC Small Group

The last two dinners we hosted, we used the bamboo server. Kathy and I discussed the theme and we decided it would be fun to do a Pacific Northwest Theme, Also I want to use my cast iron skillet in some capacity, that used to be my primary heating go to tool. Mark and Debbie seem to be an athletic, outdoor sport oriented couple and hopefully this will resonate.


  1. Set small plates, bowls will be placed on small plates
  2. PNW Gumbo in bowl, shared spiced rice to taste. remove bowls
  3. Scallop in a blanket
  4. Shrimp salad, remove orange bowls
  5. Stuffed clams two ways, remove clam shells
  6. Dandelion salad, remove small plates
  7. Break, cook elk kabobs, replace small plates, serve in cast iron skillet
  8. Remove small plates
  9. Serve rhubarb/apple in small bowls


Ahead of time, since we are going to freeze it, I did this Sunday night.

PNW Gumbo

When the Papaun bamboo server dinner was over and Kathy started to take Jonnie and Sharlyne for a tour of the house, quick like bunny I threw anything that had not been eaten from the server into the chicken broth. After our guests left, I chopped some vegetables: asparagus, some green onions, an organic red pepper and threw them in and left them on low all night. Friday evening after we got back from Covington, I took my ladle and poured five ladles worth into the BlendTec. I blended it until it was smooth. Then I tasted it; it tasted like and had the consistency of gumbo with the spice on the back end. OK fine, how to make it PNW? I you do your research, you may find that many people feel there is no such thing as PNW cuisine and if there is it comes down to smoked salmon. In addition the native peoples primary food sources were salmon and clams. I don't agree there is not such thing as PNW cuisine, there is a vibrant foodie culture here, but it certainly gives license to explore. Instead of shrimp, we will make this gumbo with salmon. I had some Wal-Mart wild caught boneless, skinless salmon in the freezer. The Ken Onion Shun knife made short work of the frozen salmon. I poured some of gumbo into a saucepan to cook the raw salmon. The last time I went to WinCo they had small packages of Pike Place Fish Market Sockeye Candy Bites (I try to always use smoked salmon without sodium nitrate and they don't use it), so I peeled the skin off a couple bites, chopped them up and tossed them in. Then I used the FoodSaver I got on sale from the Sumner Fred Meyer, sealed it up and threw it in the freezer till the day before.

Then I remembered I had a third type of smoked salmon, the canned type they sell in aluminum envelopes, so I opened a package took some out shredded it and will use it as garnish.

I will also make a flavored rice to spoon onto the gumbo.

Tuesday Night

Place the elk in a pyrex baking pan to start thawing in the fridge, NOT the meat drawer. I would like to get it soft enough to handle with a butcher knife, but odds are I will need to use a saw.
NOTE: happy surprise, it was just soft enough to cut with a large butcher knife.

Fat Free Greek Yogurt Sauces

Shrimp Salad

Juice a half Mandarin orange. Use the shell to hold a shrimp sauce made of yogurt using Giada's recipe. Make the sauce up, store in a covered pyrex and store the "bowls" in the fridge.

Stuffed Clams two ways

I grated a potato, microwaved for 75 seconds with a bit of oil. Split the mixture in half. In each of the two sealable pyrex containers, I put equal amounts of grated, cooked potato and nonfat Greek yogurt, season both with garlic powder and salt, ( ok, I confess, a splash of red pepper). Then make the ruling sauce spice for one paprika, for the other turmeric. One hour before serving I will pull from the fridge and bring the temp up till it is a bit above room temp.

Wednesday Night

Scallop in a Blanket 

Took some of the frozen cooked breadfruit, added some egg white so it would blend, 1/4 medium red onion, 1/2 Jalapeno, couple pinches of salt, (be conservative with the salt), blend to a puree. The key is to add as little moisture as possible and still blend. I found the sauce setting on the Blendtec got the job done.

Use a teaspoon, make it as tall as possible, not a flat pancake. Keep the heat low, it needs to set up, but not burn the bottom. Place a scallop in the middle, spoon more of the mixture on top of the skillet, broil.

WA Apple/Rhubarb with Oatmeal/Cashew Crumbles (GF, LF)

2 small WA Gala apples, peeled, cored, diced
Same amount of volume rhubarb
1 TBSP almond milk, be conservative, the apples with throw off moisture
Vanilla to taste
Sugar to taste, (I try to minimize sugar, but rhubarb goes beyond tangy, so I try to rationalize it with organic, minimally processed cane sugar, though we all know it doesn't make a difference)
1 TBSP cashew flour
Sea salt to taste
Stir till well mixed in a pyrex with a matching cover, microwave 4.5 minutes, ( for reference, my uWave is 1250 watts)
Pull mixture out, give it the hairy eyeball. You need some liquid, but the two times I have tried this, I have had too much, I stir in 1 minute tapioca to soak it up.

For the crust the main ingredients are 1 minute oats, cashew flour, and cinnamon, (this is to taste, but do not be too conservative with the cinnamon, it makes the dish), add a tsp of hazelnut oil, then cashews. Pour enough almond milk to dampen the mixture. Sea salt to taste.
NOTE: both times I have tried this some of the cashews have burned, next time I will sprinkle the cashew flour on the fruit and toss the oatmeal mixture on top of it.

Broil, watching carefully, you want a crispy crust, not a burnt crust, let it cool, place in fridge uncovered, cover in the morning.

If all went well, when you serve the fruit will be a bit like a soft, moist fruit leather and the top will be crispy.

PNW Gumbo, pull out of freezer, put it in the main compartment, not the meat drawer.

Thursday, day we serve

Spinach and Dandelion Salad

Harvest, wash and toss dandelion greens, caramelized red onion, and spinach. Season with basil, salt, and pepper. Create a raspberry/hazelnut oil vinagrette and mix this together.

Elk Kabobs - this is the primary course

WA cherry and apple sauce. One day before prepare the sauce, I did a WA state cherry and and WA gala apples, just a little oil, pinch of salt, a tiny bit of red pepper and some ginger juice.
It is fine to prepare the veggies, especially the potatoes, in advance.

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