Holidays 101: Superb Side Dishes

Turkey gets all the glory on Thanksgiving Day, but no plate is complete without a spoonful of stuffing, tendrils of scrumptious salad, and a beautiful basket of bread. We have some savory side dishes that are so good, they might just steal the spotlight.

Holiday Porcini Stuffing

Holiday Side Dishes

Our Holiday Porcini Stuffing Mix starts with handmade bread that’s dried in-house, then combined with cranberries, savory porcini mushrooms, and a blend of sautéed veggies. With enough stuffing to fill a 14-pound bird, you’re sure to satisfy the entire group – and hopefully have a little leftover for turkey sandwiches. Pick up a package, complete with recipe, at any of our cafés.

Sweet Potato & Delicata Squash Gratin

Holiday Side Dishes

This rich and creamy side dish is a must-have at your holiday table. The combination of sweet potatoes, delicata squash, roasted mushrooms and chopped walnuts will have you rethinking standard mashed potatoes. Click here to print the recipe.

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

Holiday Side Dishes

Sure, our Sweet & Spicy Nuts are irresistible right out of the bag, but they are even better chopped and added to a salad of fresh greens and dried cranberries, a roasted mix of winter root vegetables, or as a topping for sweet potato soufflé. Find our signature blend in our cafés.

Dinner Rolls

Holiday Side DishesWhile we have plenty of loaves to choose from, our pillowy soft, full-flavored dinner rolls are an easy way to wow your guests. Choose from Porcini Harvest, Buttermilk, Rustic Potato, Olivetta or Whole Wheat Cider Rolls or mix and match a couple of trays to suit your guests’ tastes. Leftover rolls will come in handy for making those day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sliders. Find our dinner roll trays in our cafés.

Holidays 101: Just Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts

What better way to indulge with abandon than with a table filled with holiday desserts? Using a colorful tablecloth, a few cake stands, and our delicious assortment of pies, tarts and cakes, we can help you end Thanksgiving dinner on a very sweet note!

Maple Apple Pie

Thanksgiving Desserts

This show-stopping double-crusted pie is hands-down, everyone’s favorite. Sorry, Mom. It was recently named one of the 12 Best Bakery Desserts for the Holidays by The Seattle Times.

Dessert Table Tip: Team up this nine-inch pie with our nine-inch Macrina’s Pumpkin Pie and fill in the table with miniature versions of our Brandied Orange Pecan Pie and Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake.

Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Desserts

Streusel is the new bacon; everything is better with it. We’ve perfected pumpkin pie and taken our recipe up a notch (OK, several notches) with a layer of sweet and crunchy pecan streusel.

Dessert Table Tip: Round out the dessert table with a nine-inch Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote and tiers of Gingerbread Spice Cups.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote

Thanksgiving Desserts

This silky, lightly spiced cheesecake is a twist on traditional pumpkin pie. Resting atop a crushed ginger molasses cookie crust and topped with cranberry compote, it satisfies all of your fall dessert cravings in one delectable bite.

Dessert Table Tip: Appease every palate at the table by teaming up this cheesecake with a nine-inch Brandied Orange Pecan Pie and miniature Maple Apple Pies.

Give us a call or stop by one of our cafés to pre-order your Thanksgiving desserts through November 24!

Holidays 101: Easy Party Appetizers

Amuse-bouches, hors d’oeuvres & appetizers, oh my! You don’t need a lot of time or creative flare to pull together an elegant spread of party-worthy bites. Take a look at our favorite ways to kick off the festivities without breaking a sweat.

Grissini

Grissini Appetizer

You often find these crisp Italian breadsticks dressing up the tables in restaurants across Italy, but here Grissini gets a lot of curious looks for its long shape. Rolled with fennel, green olives and olive oil, our Grissini has wonderful flavor on its own, but we love to wrap it with thinly sliced prosciutto just like they do in Italy.

Sardinian Flatbread

Sardinian Flatbread Appetizer

The Seeded Sardinian Flatbread is the newest addition to our flatbread selection. Each piece is adorned with toasted sesame, poppy and fennel seeds, adding extra color, texture and flavor to your holiday table. Top with a savory jam and favorite cheese, serve with charcuterie or break them apart and dip in one of our housemade spreads.

Crostini

Cranberry Apricot Nut Crostini Appetizer

Like the Sardinian Flatbread, our Crostini is a delicious blank slate. We have Crostini available in different flavors, but this time of year we reach for our Cranberry Apricot Nut Crostini. Mingling the flavors of dried fruit, toasted nuts and a hint of clove, this Crostini is a nice balance of sweet and savory. Pair it with our Potted Cheese or top with creamy fromage blanc and a drizzle of honey for a perfect party appetizer.

Francese Crostini

Pane Francese Appetizer

For those who don’t mind spending a little extra time in the kitchen, you can whip up a full-flavor Francese Crostini in a snap! Simply toast a sliced loaf of Pane Francese, spread it with our Fig & Olive Tapenade and then top it all off with some toasted pine nuts for a crowd-pleasing snack everyone will think you spent hours on.

From Leslie’s Desk: Creating Olivia’s Cookie

Olivia's Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the best things about creating a new recipe is naming it. I generally like to keep the names simple and descriptive, but sometimes you just have to have fun with it. A personal favorite of mine is Olivia’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies, affectionately named after my daughter.

When my daughter was still in her stroller, we would often pass an afternoon by going on an adventure. We toured our neighborhood looking at flowers, pointing out all the different colors we saw, and observing the other children. Halfway through our strolls we would stop for a juice and a cookie. We had some pretty good cookies together, but I had trouble finding just the right one. I wanted Olivia to know the kind of cookie my mom used to make, still warm, bursting with oozing chocolate chips.

The truth was that at the time we didn’t even make a cookie like that at Macrina. We had plenty of great cookies, but not the simple classic I was craving. So, using the basic Toll House recipe as a starting point, we came up with a winner. The name selection was easy and the cookie quickly became our biggest seller. As an added bonus, I now have the pleasure of hearing customers say, “I’ll have an Olivia’s.”

You can recreate this all-star cookie at home with our new Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix available in our cafés. Just add butter, shortening and eggs and we’ll take care of the rest! Before you preheat the oven though, take a look at our tips for baking perfect cookies.

FarmRaiser: Freshening Up the School Fundraiser

School FundraiserMove over glossy gift wrap catalogs and generic chocolate bars! There’s a new school fundraiser in town. With the virtuous goal of bolstering local farms and businesses while also supporting schools, FarmRaiser is freshening up the old-school fundraiser model.

Mark Abbott dreamed up the idea for a fundraiser that offers wholesome products that people actually want after his son sold hundreds of dollars worth of highly processed foods one year. From that initial seed grew FarmRaiser, a fundraising program that allows schools to purchase farm-fresh foods and products from local purveyors at wholesale prices, sell these items at a retail price to friends and families, and then keep most of the profits within their community.

“One of the best things about FarmRaiser is that kids get excited about the products they’re selling, not just the prizes they might get for selling something,” says Christina Carson, chief cultivator at FarmRaiser. “They love seeing farmers bring in boxes of fresh, local produce, smelling freshly baked breads, and learning how to use scales in weighing products.”

School Fundraiser

Our friend Cheri Bloom who runs the gardening education curriculum at Montlake Elementary introduced us to FarmRaiser in 2013. Cheri is always looking for creative ways to build funding for her program while staying true to its mission. FarmRaiser offered the perfect solution, supplementing grants from Les Dames d’Escoffier, Whole Foods Market and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

“What I love about FarmRaiser is that I have seen how successful it has been for local farmers and food artisans and at the same time directly linking with our school’s mission,” says Cheri. “Last year’s campaigns did as well, if not better, than other fundraisers we have had. I expect this year to be better with more awareness of FarmRaiser and the students involvement in the campaigns.”

After teaming up with FarmRaiser at Seattle schools last year, we knew we wanted to take part in this program once again in support of Stevens Elementary, Montlake Elementary and Queen Anne Elementary. This year you’ll find our Cranberry Apricot Nut Bread peeking from FarmRaiser bags alongside Mt. Townsend Creamery cheese, Willie Greens Organic Farms produce, and Loki Fish Company seafood.

“I think it is a win-win,” says Macrina Bakery Founder Leslie Mackie. “We get to expose new customers – young and old – to our products and they get to enjoy a hand-delivered fresh loaf of artisan bread made from flour grown here in Washington state. It’s a really smart way to get kids jazzed about buying local and celebrating the wonderful businesses in their neighborhood!”

Check out FarmRaiser online for more information.

Photos courtesy of FarmRaiser

Pumpkin, Spice & Everything Nice

Cozy scarves, crisp leaves and piles of orange pumpkins, that’s what fall is made of. Judging from local breweries, coffee shops, and supermarket shelves, we’re not alone in our love of pumpkin. Spiced with cinnamon, sweetened with brown sugar, or blended with butternut squash, pumpkin-spiked pastries and pies have taken over our Autumn Menu. With so many to choose from, we bet you can find a favorite for any time of day.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin & Vegan Pumpkin Scone

Fall Menu

The sun may not be up when we climb out of bed, but the promise of pumpkin keeps us from hitting the snooze button. Both of these breakfast staples are topped with a sprinkle of sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds for extra texture and flavor. Pair them with a cup of Caffé Umbria coffee or a Mocha to kick-start your morning.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Spice Cupcake & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Fall Menu

When the afternoon lull sets in, the combination of chocolate and pumpkin or spiced cake and brown sugar buttercream will put some bounce back in your step. Teamed up a cupcake or cookie with our cold-brewed iced coffee and sail through the rest of your day.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote & Pumpkin Pie Bar

Pumpkin Pie Bar

These desserts were so popular last holiday season, we knew we had to bring them back. Our silky cheesecake and signature bars are full of autumn flavors and intriguing enough to set themselves apart from the pack. Pick one up to enjoy after dinner with a cup of hot cocoa.

Sweet Week: Seattle’s Sweet Tooth Cure

Sweet Week

We’re pretty sure Hot Cakes creator Autumn Martin had visions of sugar plums dancing in her head when she dreamed up Sweet Week. With the structure of Restaurant Week in mind, she gathered the city’s sweetest eateries to highlight toothsome treats at $5 a pop from September 25 through 28. We couldn’t be more excited to join this delightful bunch.

Our creative pastry chefs get together each week to discuss and test new products. Lately they’ve been stirring around ideas for a new peanut butter-filled item. One sugar-laden afternoon, the recipe for our Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Cake was born.

“After being invited to participate in Sweet Week with so many other talented shops in the city, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase this new product,” says Production Manager Jane Cho.

Our Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Cake is our classic Mom’s Chocolate Cake layered with luscious peanut butter buttercream, resting atop a crunchy peanut butter chocolate crust and wrapped in rich chocolate ganache. This sinfully delectable dessert will be available in a three-inch size for Sweet Week and then in a six-inch and nine-inch size (without the crunchy peanut butter chocolate crust) through Halloween.

Stop by any of our cafés to try the Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Cake and then sample the other delicious confections around town!

Tipsy Cow Burger Bar: Built from the Grind Up

Burgers

The Arsonist burger paired with Jacked Up Fries (Hand Cut Kennebec Potato Fries topped with Beecher’s Just Jack and Roasted Jalapeno Sauce) at Tipsy Cow Burger Bar.

Seattle’s red hot love-affair with burgers is swiftly overtaking the Eastside. Enter Redmond’s latest stop on the burger blitz: Tipsy Cow Burger Bar. Of coarse, we believe that the bun makes the burger, so we’re over-the-moon to play a part in this love triangle.

It all started with one man’s dream to bring meaty goodness to the masses. Keith Mourer, co-owner of Tipsy Cow, is a burger man and an avid traveler. During his stopovers in different spots around the country, Keith makes it a point to check out the local burger haunts. Over the years, he has sampled everything from bison to black bean, but his heart has always belonged to one favorite burger.

“The inspiration for Tipsy Cow came from Shake Shack in New York,” says Keith. “I wanted to open a place that’s fun and casual, and we really wanted to build a better burger using great, local ingredients.”

Armed with that simple concept in mind – building a better burger – Keith and fellow co-owner Dave Zimmerman began enlisting a dream team of suppliers.

“That’s actually how we found Macrina Bakery,” Keith says. “We decided to use the Sodo Bun for our burgers and beef from Long Valley Ranch in Central Oregon. We use Snoqualmie Ice Cream for our milkshakes, local distilleries for our vodka and whiskey, Walla Walla sweet onions for our burgers and onion rings. Our fries are made from Kennebec potatoes, cut and fried in-house daily. The Kennebec potato just makes a better fry.”

After Keith and Dave earned their restaurant chops at Kirkland’s Brix Wine Café, they opened Tipsy Cow in 2013 to a throng of burger-hungry supporters. “The community has really welcomed us. Everything has gone off very well; obviously much better than we imagined.”

With a robust menu featuring a myriad of meat and meatless options, snackable sides, and a tap list of 42 draft beers and ciders, Tipsy Cow’s mounting popularity comes as no surprise to us.

“Right now, I’m really into the Scottish ales, like Black Raven’s Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale, and my favorite burger at the moment is The Arsonist. It’s got fire-roasted jalapenos and serranos on it as well as harissa pepper aioli.”

Our server recommended keeping the flames from this burger from reaching five-alarm levels by teaming it up with a handmade milkshake (booze optional) and heaping helping of onion rings made with breadcrumbs from leftover Sodo Buns. Sage advice and well worth heading.

Berry Crisp

Leslie’s go-to summer dessert is a freshly baked fruit crisp. While grilling dinner outdoors, this dish can be baking and perfuming your kitchen. Leslie’s Berry Crisp pairs sweet farmers market berries with a no-fuss topping of oats, flour, almonds, brown sugar and butter, baked until golden brown and bubbling. You can put your own twist on this recipe by using your favorite combination of berries and nuts. Served while it’s warm with a scoop homemade vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, it’s the perfect ending to a relaxed alfresco summer dinner.

Berry Crisp
Click here to print this recipe!

Ingredients

For the topping:
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup thick-cut oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds (Leslie uses a combination of almonds and pine nuts in the video)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

For the fruit:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
7 cups of mixed berries (Leslie uses strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in video)

Makes one 9-inch baking dish

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375° F. Lightly grease a 9-inch glass baking dish with canola oil.

2. To make the topping, whisk together the flour, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Scatter the butter pieces on top, and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is coarse and crumbly. Set aside.

3. To prepare the fruit, toss the sugars, flour, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the berries and toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes to macerate (soften and absorb the flavors).

4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the berry mixture to the prepared baking dish. Discard the remaining juice. Dot the topping evenly over the berry mixture.

5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. The topping will be golden brown and the juices will be bubbling around the edges. To set the crisp, cool for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with vanilla ice cream and a dusting of powdered sugar!

2nd Annual Summer Supper & Farm Tour

Leslie Mackie's Vashon Island farm

The farm-to-table movement in Washington is as ubiquitous as blackberry brambles in the summertime and there’s no better place to see it in full bloom than Vashon Island! This farm-filled paradise a stone’s throw from Seattle is the perfect day-trip for food lovers. That’s why it is the venue for the 2nd Annual Summer Supper & Farm Tour this Saturday, August 9!

Join Leslie and the Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Green Tables team at the Vashon Island Farmers Market before heading on a private tour of Kurtwood Farms, home to a happy herd of Jersey cows and renowned for its small-batch artisan cheese. From there, visit Langley Fine Gardens, harvesters of some of the island’s best organic produce, and learn how they grow the perfect sun-ripened tomato. Wind down the day with a dinner of fresh, local food, wine and cocktails at Leslie’s home.

Proceeds from our Summer Supper & Farm Tour help fund food education programs at schools around the Puget Sound. Tickets are going fast, though! Click here to secure your spot and learn more about this event.