Feminist Chef

9 Oct

WELL HOWDY, MOTHERFUCKERS! I’ve been gone for so long! I got a promotion in April, from sous chef to head chef, which means I haven’t written a thing in the past year that wasn’t menu specs or some flowery verbiage on an item’s description. My new job is both deeply challenging and profoundly empowering, but my other creative pursuits have all but fallen off the face of the earth.

You know how there’s about 940 examples of people writing about their jobs on the internet and then their boss finds out and said writer gets fired? Well, I have to remind myself of that. Its not that I want to shit talk or even criticize my place of employment, in fact I’m remarkably proud of the restaurant that I’ve come to feel is my restaurant. I love it there. But being an impassioned feminist means that I find unintentional, massive, structural flaws in all sorts of establishments, and mine is no different. If anything, I believe that the restaurant industry has a lot to overcome before I’d consider it a socially equitable industry. I would love to have a creative outlet where I could share my viewpoints on what its like being a feminist chef… but I don’t think I can do it here. Unfortunately in my small town, everyone knows everyone and what I’d call (imperative) constructive criticism others would call slander. That, or I’m a damn coward. Not sure which. So while I try to get back into the hang of writing I’m going to play it safe. I’m going to write about food. And stuff that’s related to food that I think is insane. And maybe some garbage food I find of Pinterest.

…and maybe, if I’m feeling saucy, I will write about the assholes. Because the industry knows no shortage of assholes!

For now, let’s talk about some fucking mushrooms!

Last weekend I was supposed to go chanterelle picking with my two buddies, which I found VERY EXCITING because NO ONE WILL EVER TAKE ME MUSHROOM HUNTING. Dude, people who pick mushrooms are so territorial about their little hidey holes of mushroomery that its damn near impossible to figure out how and where to safely hunt for mushrooms. I know plenty of people have taught themselves from books and internet resources, but since I’m fairly averse to the idea of the paralytic, diarrheal ocean that is toxic mushroom poisoning, I’m only interested in ingesting things I find in moldy old stumps if someone smarter than me tells me its ok.

Go figure I forgot I had to work that day, so while I sprinted around in the florescent lights of the kitchen, Steve and Danielle combed the Mount Baker wilderness in the dappled sunlight like a couple of goddamn enchanted forest gypsies. And it paid off! After three hours they arrived back in town with 12 pounds of beautiful golden chanterelles. They dried them on their counter tops and the next day Danielle handed me a full grocery sack to do what I wanted with.

photo 2 photo 3

Over the next 48 hours I made gruyere and chanterelle biscuits, a rich, simple chanterelle cream pasta, chanterelle bisque, and this sexy little thang, the chanterelle and gruyere quiche. It’s not hard, I’ll tell you how!

photo 1

Firstly you need to make some dough, which is actually a lot more open to interpretation than most people think. I put two cups of flour and a tablespoon of salt into the food processor. I cut up half a stick of cold butter into little pieces, and while the processor was on I dropped them in piece by piece until the flour looked sandy. Then I grabbed 3/4 cup of ice water and drizzled it in until it clumped together into a ball. Took the ball out, rolled it onto a floured surface, put it in a buttered pie pan and VOILA YOU MADE A CRUST, LOOK AT YOU GO, YOU BEAST! The crust needs to be par baked so it doesn’t so out when you add the filling, so throw it in the oven at 350 for like, 12 minutes or until its firmed up and showing a little color. The bottom of it will be puffing up in a little air bubble, so stab it with a fork a few times and now that problem is solved!

Oh yeah, you have to saute the mushrooms! Put them in a pan with nothing else and let them sauté  until they release all their water and the water evaporates. Then, AND ONLY THEN do you toss with butter and salt and pepper. If you do add butter at the beginning the shrooms stay soggy. And if you add salt at the beginning they just sweat it all out anyway.

Ok, add the sautéed, not soggy/not wet shrooms into a bowl with 5 eggs, a fistful of grated gruyere, and whatever else you have lying around. I added half a bunch of nearly dead rainbow chard and some scallions. I seasoned it with about what you’d expect, plenty of salt and pepper, some red pepper flakes, and a bit of rosemary. Stir all that around, put into par-baked shell, and bake the whole mess for about 40 minutes, until the eggs are firm and a toothpick comes out free of any egg-goo.

There you have it folks. Also, you can put literally anything into a quiche so do whatever the fuck you want! As long as you don’t add butter to mushrooms before they’ve released their liquid you’re good. If you DO add butter at the beginning of a mushroom saute then fuck you because you’re the reason people think mushrooms have a gross texture. Do a favor to all the mushroom haters out there and please stop doing that immediately. K Bye!

In’r bones

26 Jul

I haven’t been blogging because

a) I’m depressed!

b) Not entirely, but a lady’s gotta priotize her creative pursuits when energy is low, because

c) I’m working on my first art show in four years and it’s suuuuuuuuckiiiiing the tiiiiiime ouuuuuutta my liiiiiiife (BUT IN A REALLY GREAT WAY, BTDUBZ), and

d) It’s summertime, which means I get a massive CSA delivery every week and I basically just eat whatever vegetables they bring me in a sauteed pile of nondescript healthful goodness atop some rice or with some bread or whatever.

When it’s hot out I really don’t give two shits what I eat, so long as it’s fresh and good for me. Thus, blogging material is pretty slim. But amongst all this veggie nonsense I was like, HOLY BALLZ TIME FOR SOME LUXURY MEAT PRODUCTS. And this new butcher shop opened downtown, which is kind of a big deal since Bellingham hasn’t had a butcher shop is forever and everyone’s like WHOA I CAN GET REAL MEATZ NOW! (I apologize for my excessive capitalization and z-usage, it’s been awhile and I forgot how good it feels to type my inner monologue). So I bought some bone marrow, which, coincidentally, is kind of the opposite of luxury meat products, since people feed them to dogs, but whatever, I like dogs so I guess it’s all good.


I remember getting bone marrow at the Copper Hog and thinking it was the fucking CATS PAJAMAS so I was like, I got this. 


Aren’t they lovely? Aren’t they perfect? I shoved them in the oven and sauteed some zucchini, spring onion, and fresh garlic with parsley, sliced some bread, readied the last of my favorite cheese (fleur d’aunis), poured some wine and was all HERE I COME, MOTHERFUCKER.


Weirdly, uhhh…

well. It tasted like a wet dog in a fire. Don’t ask me what that means, but it was rough. The marrow was all chunky and gelatinous and runny at the same time. It had an unpleasant smell and generally just put me off. I smeared some on the bread, sprinkled sea salt and some parsley on it, and, hoping for a drastic change of heart, bit in. Still! Rancid tasting! WTF, DUDE!

I guess I’ve either lost my taste for marrow or I just epicly screwed it up, it’s hard to say what happened exactly. But at least there was still cheese. Can’t say I didn’t try!

Ode to Lacey, O’ Queen of My Foodie Heart

19 May

Recently my beautiful friend Lacey invited my friends Scott, Mary, and myself to her idyllic lake house where she lives over for dinner. All I knew is that she said the key words needed to invoke my interest: barbecue, mojitos, and “private dock.” I’m in, duh.

She went bananas with the food, as she is wont to do since she is, especially when it comes to cooking, an ambitious tornado. Lacey has taught me the most about cooking, and when we worked together I learned new things every day. Even at a casual dinner, she teaches without pretension, which I adore. Here she casually murders a crab while some dreamy, cute music plays in the background. That is the essence of why I adore Lacey: she can disembowel a living sea creature while, you know, just hanging out. What a dreamboat.




There were artichokes.



And because she is ambitious and too generous, there were oysters. And crab. And new york steaks. Strawberry balsamic salad with feta, asparagus, angel food cake, and mojitos loaded with mint. Just like in that tragic scene from Dirty Dancing, I brought a watermelon. I was Baby. Clueless! Luckily there were no swarthy, gyrating Patrick Swayzes around to make me feel idiotic.


As usual, she was gracious and welcoming. I recently picked up a hostessing handbook from the 50s at a rummage sale and ate up all the antiquated traditions listed in its pages. Not only did we break all those rules (no fingering the asparagus, elbows were all over the table, and certainly I was guilty of speaking with my mouth full), but it was positively perfect that way. If I were to write a book on hostessing, it would be a single sentence. It would read, “Just do whatever Lacey does.”


The steaks rose like relics! Look at them! They were a work of art. And when it came to oysters she showed me a thing or two.

And then we slurped them down like an underwater circus act, rolled up our sleeves and ate the grilled piles of luxury like it was no big deal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when I grow up I wanna be Lacey.


Holy Pork!

28 Apr



Can we talk about Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen for a minute? Because holy god, this place haunts my dreams. It is a beacon of perfectly pulled pork, an epicenter of whiskey treats, and maybe where I’m going to get married one day, because SCREW PICTURESQUE MEADOWS, love is pork, pork is love, forever and ever I do, AMEN.



I didn’t think I liked baked beans until I tasted these. And in between mouthfuls of tender pork and the coleslaw that is now my boyfriend, I seriously scooped the beans into my mouth with their homemade salt and vinegar potato chips. I did this with zero shame, like a disgusting toddler. And then we got more napkins and I chose to believe that the servers, other diners, and my family members probably weren’t totally grossed out by my methods.

My uncle got this (Hi, Rob!):



And then the sky opened up and Jesus came down and handed us all homemade pickles and sweet mustard and perfect onion rings that don’t get all weird and stringy when you bite into them. And he said, BEHOLD CHILDREN, I have created the mecca of condiments and it is Kickin’ Boot! 





There is so much whiskey, IT’S LIKE CANDY MOUNTAIN. Candy Mountain is real guys, let’s go!



Thought for food

25 Apr

Here’s a fascinating interview with a photographer who staged and photographed inmatee’ last meals on death row. Another example of how food carries with it an incredible weight.

Henry Hargreaves

Photo by Henry Hargreaves

Breakfast freakout

9 Apr

Hi, world! It has come to my attention that two blogs linked to a post of mine in the past few days, and now I have a boatload of traffic on here when I wasn’t prepared. I mean, I’ve been pretty negligent about the blog recently (BLAME A GOOD LOOKING MAN, PEOPLE) and now I feel like the pressure is on to be really cute/likeable/readable to what is essentially a bunch of half-interested internet strangers, and I’m like WHOA HO HO I DUNNO IF I POSSESS THE CHARISMA.

So uh, as an act of desperation I am flinging a picture of my breakfast at you. That’s right, I’m pulling one of THOSE cards. Lazy cards. Last minute cards. I’m-at-a-loss-for-creative-output-on-the-spot cards. This is what you get. You’re welcome, internet.


To be fair, my life has pretty much rotated around taco trucks and breakfast foods lately, so at least this breakfast was topical. Let me explain! Recently the taco truck near my house inexplicably vanished, and after several very painful and emotional days completely devoid of any asada burritos, it was decided that DAMN IT, WE’LL MAKE ‘EM OURSELVES. That was last night. This morning, said good-looking man was like, feed me! I’m insatiable all the time! So I did what I always do and fried a bunch of potatoes and onions, threw in whatever was in the fridge (leftover burrito parts!) put some fried eggs on top and called it done. “Burrito hash!” Cover that in Tapatio! Make a smoothie to counteract the greasiness! Toast some obligatorily very healthful seed-bread when everyone knows they’d rather have sourdough! Boom, breakfast.

Single food

13 Mar

WAH WAHHHHH…. wrinkly chicken in a plastic pan! So hopeless looking.

I’d always avoided the rotisserie chickens at the grocery store because they had that weird hot-plasticy smell emanating from the hot case and their lids were always beaded in condensation which is kind of off-putting. I mean, typically I don’t want my food to sweat. Sweating isn’t delicious. But because of my recent poverty and adjustment to single life, I’ve turned to the unassuming rotisserie chicken somewhat regularly to feed myself. Granted, those wet-looking chickens festering in the red lights of the hot table reek of desperation, but there’s something to be said for them.

A) They’re cheaper than a whole raw chicken, and I don’t even have to set off the smoke alarms in my house while tampering with my lowly rental-house oven. That oven is fickle and in dire need of cleaning, and roasting a chicken is often an unpleasant affair in my home.

B) You can do pretty much anything with them.

The key with these chickens is to pick the meat immediately. If you wait until there’s a half eaten carcass in your fridge, all bone and tendons sticking out like your bedhead, you’re never going to want to finish the job, let alone eat the thing. Nothing is quite as unappealing as a cold, half-desecrated chicken with the skin all congealed and hanging onto the meat like a needy, weird boyfriend. I particularly like the job of picking the meat, since you get to get sticky and reward yourself with the tender oysters that pop out perfectly from the top of the spine. Those little morsels are the best part of a chicken, hands down. It’s also pretty satisfying to tear dead animals apart, especially if you’re about to eat them and especially ESPECIALLY if you’re feeling all weird from some funky man-problem you’re dealing with. Nothing says I AM A BEACON OF POWER like a carnage-pile on your countertop and a neat container of all the good meat-bits in a tupperware beside it. It just screams, “I was conquered by someone who knows what they’re doing!”

Or maybe I’m reading into it a little too much, I don’t know. I like to personify my food. I guess I’m lonely!? Or hungry. A little bit of both…? WHATEVER.

Anyhow, I made this soup with it and it was legit. And now I have SO MUCH CHICKEN in my fridge to make into any number of things for the next several days, so I’m frugal and healthy and efficient and a superstar of successfully keeping myself alive via food even though sometimes it totally feels like the odds are against me on that one. NO BIG DEAL! It’s the small victories, guys.


Here, make some soup! Squelch your sadness with me!

-Two heads of baby bok choy, chopped
-Handful of shredded rotisserie chicken
-Chicken stock
-Ramen noodles
-Dash of fish sauce
-Some dashes of soy sauce
-Chili-garlic sriracha
-Regular sriracha, because one kind of hot sauce is never enough

Simmer the stock! Add the noodles! Add the other stuff when the noodles are done! Now eat it! Congratulations, you just kept your blood sugar from dropping to dangerously low levels for another four hours… YOU’RE AN OUTSTANDING HUMAN SPECTACLE.

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