The Seattle Food and Wine Experience

Leslie Mackie discusses Macrina Bakery’s auspicious start and the buzz surrounding SWFE in an interview with TableTalk Northwest last year.

If you haven’t scooped up tickets for the Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE) yet, you had better act fast! VIP Tickets to Sunday’s event are sold out and general admission spots are going fast. This annual culinary event of epic proportion features the Northwest’s best food paired with the finest wine, beer and cider from around the world.

As you sample your way through Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, be sure to stop our table in Les Dames d’Escoffier Alley for a bite of Seeded Sardinian Flatbread layered with Smoked Salmon Mousse, pickled slaw and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

“What really sets SWFE apart from other food and wine events are the carefully crafted experiences within the event,” says SWFE Producer Jamie Peha.

In addition to tasting food and beverages from more than 200 vendors, this year SWFE invites you to taste reserve caliber wines with QFC wine stewards, learn how to cook with beer, refine your sense of smell during the Wente Vineyard Aroma Experience, and guide your palate to the perfect wine with help form Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

“We want guests to walk away with education about the beverage and food products they encounter at the event,” adds Jamie.

Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, this year’s event beneficiary, is a wonderful non-profit organization of women leaders in the culinary world whose focus is on raising scholarship funds for women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, while also supporting community outreach and local sustainable-agriculture projects.

Click here for more event details and ticket information.

Valentine’s Day Brunch: Cherry Brioche French Toast

Cherry Brioche French Toast

Instead of scrambling to find a last-minute Valentine’s Day dinner reservation, whip up a delicious brunch for your Valentine – or your favorite single friends. Our Mini Cherry Brioche is only available for a limited time and it makes a wonderful French toast. Topped with warm maple syrup and rich brandy whipped cream, it’s a sweet way to start the day whether you’re happily single or blissfully coupled.

Cherry Brioche French Toast
Click here to print this recipe!

Ingredients

For the brandy whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

For the French toast:
5 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1 Mini Cherry Brioche
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter

*Available in our cafés.

Serves 2

Preparing the brandy whipped cream:
In a medium bowl, place the cream, brandy, sugar and vanilla. Mix with a whisk or hand-mixer until the mixture holds its shape, about 2 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Preparing the French toast:
1. In a medium bowl, place the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, cream, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Pour custard into a shallow baking pan.

2. Cut the brioche into 1-inch thick slices. Dredge each slice in the custard, making sure all sides are evenly coated.

3. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil and butter. Lay the brioche slices in the pan and cook until both sides are golden brown.

4. Divide French toast slices among 2 plates. Serve with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a dollop of brandy whipped cream.

Pike Chocofest 2015: Sip, Savor and Swoon for a Good Cause

Pike Chocofest 2014

One of the sweetest events of the year is just around the corner – and we aren’t talking about Valentine’s Day! We’re getting ready to make mouths water at the seventh annual Pike Chocofest.

Crafted with beer and chocolate lovers in mind, Chocofest covers three levels of Pike’s Microbrewery Museum this Sunday, February 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. As you sip and savor your way through the event, stop by our table where you will find our delicious Mini Cherry Brioche with savory barbecue pulled pork. For the perfect bite, pair it with a sip of a sweeter, full-flavored beer like Pike Kilt Lifter.

In addition to welcoming nearly 100 food and drink purveyors, Pike Brewing Company is debuting its Chocolate Cask Beer Festival. This new section of Chocofest features about 20 breweries that will incorporate chocolate into naturally carbonated cask beer.

Tickets for Chocofest are on sale now for $50, which includes all the food you want, a commemorative tasting glass, 10 drink tickets, live music and discounted parking. All proceeds from this event benefit the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (PSA), an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the waters of the Puget Sound. This year, Chocofest will also include the Save the Sound Valentine Store where guests can support PSA by buying treats for their loved ones.

Click here for tickets and more event details.

Queso Fundido Recipe: A Winning Game Day Dip

Queso Fundido Recipe

Bring some sizzle and spice to your game day party with our Queso Fundido recipe! This popular Mexican appetizer is the perfect snack for football season, and it’s easy to customize to your crowd’s taste. Turn up the heat with roasted jalapeño or make it vegetarian-friendly by swapping the chorizo for sautéed mushrooms. Serve it with our Crostini instead of chips or slather it on warm tortillas. Your guests will be cheering for more!

Queso Fundido
Click here to print this recipe!

Ingredients

4 ounces chorizo, casings removed
6 ounces Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
5 ounces goat cheese
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Hungarian pepper, poblano chile or red bell pepper, roasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 scallions, chopped Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 6 servings

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush a 9-inch baking dish with oil. In a skillet over medium heat, saute chorizo until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and crumble or dice once it has cooled. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the Jack, mozzarella and goat cheese, then mix in the chorizo and 1/3 cup of cilantro.

3. Place the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

4. Peel the roasted pepper, remove the seeds, and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to froth, add the garlic, remaining cilantro, and scallions. Saute until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add the diced pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Layer the sauteed vegetable mixture over the cheese and serve immediately.

Po Do: When Ketchup and Mustard Just Won’t Do

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It’s hard to believe that Po Dog is still in its infancy. In the last five years, Owner Laura Olson has built the Po Dog brand from the bun up, garnished with a heaping helping of media blitz, and made it the Seattle icon it is today. Now, with five businesses under her belt and a team of 47 employees, you would think Laura was ready to take a break, rest her feet, eat a hot dog. No way, she says, hinting that there could be a new business idea marinating at her Pterodactyl {Group} headquarters. We’ll just have to wait and see. To tide us over, Laura took a minute to discuss everything from Po Dog’s illustrious beginnings to sourcing great ingredients.

How did you get into the food business?
I’ve worked in the food and beverage industry since I was 15 years old. I put myself through college while working full time as a server. Upon graduation, I got a “big girl” job (a 9 to 5-er) at a recruiting firm. Although I loved the company and people I worked for, I didn’t have a passion for the job itself and found myself missing the face-to-face interaction I had with people on a daily basis while working in the food industry. I quit my job one day and decided to pursue my passion for food, people and hot dogs.

Where did the inspiration for Po Dog come from?
I have traveled the world and a lot of my culinary inspiration comes from the places I’ve been and the foods I’ve eaten along the way. When I find a meal I really fall in love with, I always come back and try to recreate it hot dog-style at Po Dog. There was the hamburger-with-crazy-toppings movement going on for a while, and I figured, why not do the same with the tube meat that I love?

What’s your favorite hot dog of all time?
I created my own hot dog that I call The Green Machine. It has cream cheese, fresh cut lettuce, dill pickles, sport peppers, scallions and celery salt. It’s fresh and delicious!

How did you decide to team up with Macrina for your Po Dog menu?
I knew how important it was to have a really great bun. I wanted something that wasn’t too heavy since most of my dogs are piled high with toppings, and I also wanted something unique. I couldn’t find any local bakeries that would work with me on creating a bun that would fit the size of my hot dog until I met with Rebecca [Early, Wholesale Sales Manager]. It was the perfect marriage. I wanted to stay as local as possible with all main ingredients, and the bun was one thing I wouldn’t budge on when it came to a local partnership. Macrina made a brioche hot dog bun that was the perfect custom fit for Po Dog. We feel pretty special for that.

What are some of the highlights from the last five years at Po Dog?
Wow, it’s been such an amazing five years. We were featured in one of the biggest selling issues of People Magazine in 2012. Hoda Kotb from the Today show took a bite of our peanut butter and banana hot dog on live T.V.; we filmed for the Canadian show, Get Stuffed, in 2013; and most recently we filmed for the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise that will air early in 2015… We hosted a couple of Seahawks players for toy drives in the past couple of years, and we were also part of the Tillamook Cheese Tour where we gave away over 300 free Mac n’ Cheese Dogs in less than an hour! It’s been a great ride.

Where does your passion come from?
I love what I do. It’s not a job for me; it’s my life. I think it’s extremely difficult to be successful in business without being passionate about what you’re doing. I was working 16-plus hours a day for the first three months nonstop after I opened my doors. I remember there were times I would come home and get into bed exhausted as all heck and not be able to fall asleep because my legs were throbbing in pain from the craziness of the days. Never once during those long, hard days did I ever think I wanted to quit or stop doing it. I love my customers and the brand that I’ve created.

If we peeked into your fridge, what would we find?
King Estate Pinot Gris, about 15 different kinds of hot sauce, and Red Bull. I cook more when we have houseguests otherwise; it’s pretty sparse in my fridge.

Fueled by frankfurters and hungry for more, there’s no stopping the Queen of Gourmet Hot Dogs. We can’t wait to see how she’ll top the last five years.

Party Bites: Create a Crostini Bar

Crostini

A build-your-own-Crostini bar is a fun way to serve up some sweet and savory bites at your next party. You don’t need a lot of time or creative flair to put together a Crostini station that your guests will relish. Simply team up a bag or two of our delicious Crostini with a mix of seasonal toppings. The possibilities are endless, but here are our suggestions for how to wow your crowd:

  • Fill a basket with your favorite Crostini. We have a variety of flavors, but our Wheat Herb Walnut Crostini is both flavorful and versatile.
  • Top a tray with a sampling of cheeses, like triple cream, aged cheddar and goat cheese.
  • Provide a variety of tasty additions, like sliced apples, local honey, fruit preserves and Marcona almonds.
  • Add in a couple of dishes of your favorite spreads. Our Roasted Artichoke Spread and Fig & Olive Tapenade are both crowd pleasers.

12 Days of Cookies: Day 12, Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies

As Leslie says, ginger has a natural warming quality that’s perfect for this time of year. With its recipe closely mirroring that of gingerbread, conventional wisdom tells us that the Ginger Molasses Cookie is a miniature version of the sweet and spicy cake.

Fresh ginger and a texture that perfectly balances chewy and crisp are what make these cookies exceptionally good. Follow along with Leslie as she prepares our Ginger Molasses Cookies in this video!

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Click here to print this recipe!

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons peeled and chopped ginger
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 cup granulated sugar

Makes 16 cookies

1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix with a whisk until evenly distributed and set aside.

2. Combine shortening, butter, and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and pale in color. Add 1 egg and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add remaining egg and scrape down the sides of the bowl again. Add ginger and molasses and mix on low speed for 1 minute. The mixture may look as if it’s separating, but have no fear. It will come together once the dry ingredients are added. Remove the bowl from the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

3. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the flour mixture into the dough. After the flour is fully incorporated, fold in the rest of the flour mixture and continue folding until all of the flour has been absorbed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. At this point the dough can be formed into cookies or stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

4. Preheat oven to 325º F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and pour granulated sugar into a pie pan or shallow bowl.

5. Scoop dough out of the bowl (I like to use an ice cream scoop) and roll the dough into small balls. Toss each of the balls in granulated sugar until evenly coated, then place on a baking sheet, leaving space between each ball. Slightly flatten each ball of dough with the palm of your hand to keep the balls from rolling around.

6. Place 1 sheet of cookies in the refrigerator while baking the other sheet.

7. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, on center rack of oven for 12 to 14 minutes each. To help the cookies bake evenly, rotate the baking sheet every 4 minutes or so. The finished cookies will be golden brown and slightly puffed up but will collapse while they cool. Let cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. The cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

12 Days of Cookies: Day 11, Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Olivia's Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

When Leslie set out to create the perfect cookie, her inspiration was her daughter Olivia and a famous recipe: the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie. There aren’t many recipes on the back of packages that you tirelessly turn to, but the one forever linked to those ubiquitous chocolate chips is a classic.

The original chocolate chip cookie was the invention of Ruth Wakefield, who, with her husband, ran the Toll House Inn from 1939 to 1967. After her recipe was printed in 1938, this confectionary delight stole the hearts of cookie lovers across the U.S. It wasn’t long before Nestlé came calling and she sold the rights to her recipe and the Toll House name.

A nod to the deeply delectable gold standard, Leslie developed her own uniquely delicious recipe and named it for her daughter. Since we began selling Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, they have been a big hit with customers young and old, even garnering some media buzz as one of America’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

While you can find the recipe in Leslie’s first cookbook, it’s now even easier to whip up a batch on a whim. We recently introduced Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix; perfect for tucking into stockings, gifting to a hostess, or mailing in a care package to far-flung friends around the globe. Pick up a jar of this mix at any of our cafés!

12 Days of Cookies: Day 10, Swedish Overnights

Swedish Overnights

No Scandinavian Christmas celebration would be complete without Swedish Overnights. Also called Swedish Heirloom Cookies, Swedish Overnights share similar ingredients to Mexican Wedding Balls. These cookies can be dusted with powered sugar, or in this case, colorful sprinkles for a festive touch. Leslie inherited this recipe from her mother’s family and she loves baking these cookies every Christmas. We hope you enjoy them, too.

Check out our video to follow Leslie’s simple step-by-step instructions for preparing these cookies!

Swedish Overnights
Click here to print this recipe!

Ingredients 

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Crystal sugar in your favorite colors

Prepare this dough 1 day before baking.
Makes 3 dozen cookies

1. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and pale in color. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and mix for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 30 seconds, making sure egg and vanilla are thoroughly incorporated. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

2. Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the flour into the dough. After the first batch is fully incorporated, fold in the other half and continue folding until all of the flour has been absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Pull dough from the bowl and onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log about 1 1/2 inches thick, and place the logs on separate pieces of parchment paper. (The parchment paper needs to be at least 4 inches longer than the logs.) Brush the logs with the egg white, then scatter half of the walnuts over each log. Roll the logs back and forth until they are completely coated in nuts. Roll each log up within its parchment paper. Finish by twisting the ends of the paper to create a seal. Chill logs in the refrigerator over night.

4. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Unwrap the logs and using a sharp knife, cut them into 1/2-inch-think coins. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Brush the top of each cookie with a tiny bit of water and sprinkle festive sugar crystals on top.

6. Bake on center rack of oven, 1 sheet at a time, for 20 to 25 minutes. To help the cookies bake evenly, rotate the baking sheet every 4 minutes or so. The finished cookies will be golden brown on the edges and pale in the center. Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month at room temperature.

12 Days of Cookies: Day 9, Spicy Cocoa Nib Cookies

Spicy Cocoa Nibs Cookies

Traditionally, our Holiday Cookie Box has been filled with cookies that Leslie grew up enjoying, made with recipes handed down in her family. A bit of a departure, our pastry team inspired this year’s box of treats. Knowing how much customers love our Mexican Hot Chocolate, with its velvety sweet chocolate and hint of spice, Assistant Pastry Chef Allison Borte wanted to develop something similar for the holidays.

“Expanding on that idea, I started thinking of my love of Mexican cuisine and the idea of a mole sauce popped into my head,” says Allison, who works at our Belltown location. “Mole sauce combines the subtly sweet richness of cocoa with a spicy kick from peppers, typically chipotle.”

Allison began brainstorming products that would capture the essence of that authentic Mexican sauce and our signature hot chocolate. Many baking sessions and taste tests later, she had a winning creation.

“I wanted to think of a cookie that is really different from the cookies we usually do, so I thought that a cookie that combines these sweet and spicy flavors would be perfect,” Allison explains of the creative process behind her Spicy Cocoa Nib Cookies. “Adding the cocoa nib gives it more texture, so there’s a little crunch in every bite.”

Allison’s Spicy Cocoa Nib Cookies have a deep thrum of chocolate flavor with a hint of warm spice throughout. You can find these new cookies in our Holiday Cookie Box at any of our cafés this holiday season!