24 Jan Special of the Day~ Eat, Drink and Be Merry Does Seattle in Style
Always up for an adventure, our Eat, Drink and Be Merry cooking club has been stirring up exciting opportunities to expand our horizons for years, whether it be whipping up a new recipe or trying a never-before-tasted divine wine. This past December, branching out for us meant hopping on a plane to see our fabulous friend Geannine and savor some of the best eating, drinking, and merry-making Seattle has to offer.
Now a Seattle resident, Geannine, along with our Eat, Drink and Be Merry founder Jamie proved to be the perfect planners for our escapades in the Emerald City, from start to finish. We truly felt spoiled rotten the entire time we were there.
Geannine extended the warmest of welcomes to us upon arrival Friday morning at her beautiful home overlooking Lake Union, popping open the bubbly to get the party started.
Foodie highlights of our trip would include our opening breakfast at Meet the Moon Café in Leschi, a delightful dinner at Poppy on Capitol Hill, a downtown shopping break of appetizers and wine at Purple Café and Wine Bar and a lovely Bloody Mary brunch at The London Plane in Pioneer Square.
The sweet and spicy Bloody Marys we sipped at The London Plane were unlike any other I have ever tasted, a welcome departure from the standard run-of-the-mill brunch cocktail standby and definitely something I hoped to replicate at home.
Especially interesting to me as a cook was the thali-inspired presentation of each entrée plated with an array of accompaniments showcasing local seasonal ingredients at Jerry Traunfeld’s Poppy Restauarant. The melt-in-your-mouth braised pork arrived surrounded by six small bowls, each filled with a different fresh and vibrant side dish to enjoy in conjunction with the main event.
I could hardly wait to get home and reach out to The London Plane and to Poppy to see if they would be willing to share their recipes for my cooking column. As luck would have it, Yasuaki Saito, General Manager of The London Plane sent me their Bloody Mary recipe straight away, adding the caveat that the recipe proportions are very large (they make the big batch at the restaurant once a week), suggesting that perhaps home cooks could make it and share it as gifts. As for me, I cut down the liquid ingredient volume proportionally and added the seasonings to taste, which yielded a fine replica of the sweet and spicy Bloody Mary I so fondly remembered savoring over brunch at The London Plane.
In addition, Jerry Traunfeld, Chef/Owner of Poppy kindly responded to my recipe request, sending me a scan of the Braised Pork with Pears and Thyme from his cookbook, The Herbal Kitchen.
How grateful I am to the fine folks at The London Plane and Poppy for being gracious enough to share your recipes with me, gifting me with Eat, Drink and Be Merry Does Seattle in Style souvenirs that will enable me to recreate fond memories of the trip every time I whip up a batch of Bloody Marys or simmer up some Braised Pork with Pears and Thyme.
If you go~
Eat and drink
Meet the Moon
120 Lakeside Avenue
The London Plane
300 Occidental Avenue #322
Purple Café and Wine Bar
1225 4th Avenue
622 Broadway East
The Monaco Seattle
1101 Fourth Avenue
Buy the Book
The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld
With sincere thanks to Yasuaki Saito and Jerry Traunfeld comes this week’s Special of the Day~ Eat, Drink and Be Merry Does Seattle in Style and recipes for The London Plane Bloody Mary and Braised Pork Shoulder with Pears and Thyme. Happy cooking!
THE LONDON PLANE BLOODY MARY (Modified) vodka, tomato, middle eastern spices
Recipe courtesy of Yasuaki Saito, general manager of The London Plane
Our Bloody Mary incorporates flavors found in the kitchen – the tomato base is laced with harissa, apple cider vinegar and pomegranate molasses. Tastes just different enough to be special but will satisfy traditional Bloody Mary-seekers with a counterbalance of celery seed, Worcestershire and horseradish. Note: there is white wine in the batch, so a Virgin Bloody is not possible.
200 dashes Angostura bitters 4 tbsp Worcestershire 4 tbsp sea salt 2 tbsp pepper 2 tbsp celery seed 2 tbsp horseradish 1/2 pint pomegranate molasses 1 pint harissa (North African hot chili pepper paste) 1 pint apple cider vinegar 2 750 ml bottles dry white wine 4- 6lb 6oz cans crushed tomatoes, puréed
METHOD: Add the Angostura, Worcestershire, sea salt, pepper, celery seed, horseradish, pomegranate molasses, harissa and cider vinegar to a cambro (food storage container). Stir to create a slurry. Add the two bottles of wine and stir again until all ingredients are combined. Meanwhile, purée the crushed tomatoes in the Vitamix blender. Add the tomato purée to the spice mixture in batches, stirring well every time to incorporate the mix. There should be no dark swirls or color variations – the Bloody mix should achieve a uniform color and texture.
BLOODY MARY SALT MIXTURE:
Combine 4 parts sea salt to 1 part urfa biber (dried Turkish chili pepper) in the spice grinder – pulse briefly to combine.
TO SERVE: Take a lemon wedge and rub it halfway around the outside lip of a Collins glass. Dip the moist edge of the glass into the salt/urfa biber mixture, making sure there is a nice amount of salt frosting on the glass. Fill glass with ice, add 1.5 oz vodka, and top with 4 oz Bloody Mary mix. Stir to combine, and garnish with a lemon wedge and a seasonal pickle.
Braised Pork Shoulder with Pears and Thyme
from The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld
Reprinted with permission from Jerry Traunfeld
5 pounds boneless pork shoulder blade (Boston butt), cut into 10 rectangular pieces, or 5 pounds thick pork shoulder blade chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken broth
4 pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, ripe but not soft, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch dice
1 small bunch (1 ounce) thyme sprigs
4 bay laurel leaves, fresh or dry
½ vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons, coarsely chopped thyme
½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sprinkle all sides of pork generously with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot (at least 8 quart), such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Use tongs to carefully lower in as much of the pork as will fit in a single layer and cook until the meat turns a deep caramel brown on the underside, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown the other side, then lift them out and put them on a platter. Brown the remining meat the same way.
Turn the heat under the pot to medium-low. Pour most of the fat from the pan, leaving just a thin layer. Add the onions and garlic and stir them around for several minutes until they wilt down. Pour in the wine and broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve the browned layer. Stir in the pears, and the put the pieces of pork back into the pot. Tie the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and vanilla bean together with kitchen twine to make a large bouquet garni and tuck it in between the pieces of meat. Cover the pot tightly, turn the heat to very low, and cook at a very gentle simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.
Lift the pork from the pan to a large warm platter and cover it loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Discard the bouquet garni. Add the chopped thyme to the braising sauce that remains in the pot, increase the heat, and boil the sauce until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Taste a spoonful, and if you think it needs it, add more salt and pepper. Return the pork to the pot and toss it gently in the sauce. Keep it warm until you are ready to serve, or make the whole dish days ahead, spread it out on a single layer so it cools quickly, refrigerate, then reheat it in the pot on the stovetop or in the oven before serving.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography.
Her first cookbook Little Red Book of Recipes to Love, a beautifully-curated collection of go-to tried-and-true favorites, is out now and available at Wines by Wednesday and the C.M. Russell Museum Shop, as well as on amazon.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at sydnegeorge.com.