Homegrown: Slow Food, Served Fast, Wherever You Are 

According to Calvin and Hobbes, “There’s an inverse relationship between how good something is for you, and how much fun it is.” Some might say a similar rule holds true when it comes to food. Exceptions prove the rule.

Homegrown, which opened in 2009 and now has ten restaurants throughout the Seattle area, is one of those exceptions. The trifecta of taste, health, and sustainability come together in their reasonably priced meals. They’ve made it fun to eat responsibly!

Childhood friends and Homegrown founders Brad Gillis and Ben Friedman are environmentalists at heart. They also love to gather with friends around great-tasting food. They built their business around these passions— call it sandwich environmentalism.

Now, Homegrown has taken that ethos and delivered it—literally—to your home. You can get a sandwich, but much more, too. Homegrown Goods offers a selection of ready-to-eat meals, fresh 20-minute-meal kits, and a handpicked selection of groceries for those that want to throw their own thing together.

“Everything we sell is backed by our quality standards,” says Brad. “We run every purchase thorough our sourcing standards and make sure we feel comfortable with what we’re buying.”

Homegrown Goods has its own fleet of delivery vans and drivers. They pack chilled items with ice packs, and everything arrives in a sealed box. You are notified by text when your delivery arrives. Your food is delivered one to two days after you order, on a day of your choosing. Delivery areas include much of Seattle and the Eastside, and their delivery area continues to expand.

Since Homegrown Goods launched last summer, high demand for everything has encouraged them to expand their line of offerings. Now you can choose from more than a dozen different meal options on any given day, but Brad expects to more than double the selection.

Whether it’s a Turkey, Bacon, Avocado sandwich or a Farmstead Cobb salad at one of their locations, or a Mediterranean Salmon Bowl from Homegrown Goods, food sourcing is central to Homegrown’s mission. They select the best growers and producers in each category from each region with a twin focus on deliciousness and what’s good for the planet. At Macrina, we’re proud to have our bread featured in many of their sandwiches and available through Homegrown Goods.

 

Food is one of the most vital connections we each have to our planet. What sustains us should also be produced sustainably. We have great admiration for the leadership role Homegrown has taken in their effort to change the food system, so it’s not just healthy for us, but for the planet too. Homegrown does the research so you don’t have to—and with tasty options delivered to your home or served up at one of their many locations, they make it easy—and fun—to do something that is good for you, and, well, just good.

April Recipe of the Month: Coconut Cream Cake with Fresh Berries

This luscious layer cake is a lovely treat for spring holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day. It has flavor and beauty in spades. The whipped cream functions as a frosting, the toasted coconut adds texture and taste while the juicy berries add color and some tartness to the sweet cake. The cake is best enjoyed the day you make it, but it will keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Makes one 9-inch layer cake

3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup coconut milk
5 egg whites
2 tsp almond extract, divided
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2¼ cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
2 cups heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a 9-inch x 3-inch springform cake pan by brushing it with oil and lining the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

Spread the coconut evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven, tossing every 3 minutes until golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, place in a medium bowl and let cool.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: coconut milk, egg whites, 1 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well and set aside.

Sift the cake flour, 1¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1 cup of toasted coconut. Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes. Scatter half the butter cubes over the surface of the flour mixture. Mix on low speed. After 1 minute, add the remaining butter cubes. Continue on low speed until the mixture has a texture that is coarse and crumbly, with no visible lumps of butter.

Add half the wet ingredients and mix at medium speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake on a center rack for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour. Remove the cake from the pan and remove the parchment paper.

If the cake is slightly domed, cut the raised part off so the top is flat. Then, using a good serrated knife, carefully cut the cake into two horizontal layers. They will be fragile, so handle them gently. Stack them on each other to keep them from drying out.

Place the sliced strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a bowl and stir them gently together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the heavy cream, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp vanilla extract. With the whip attachment, start mixing at low speed, then increase to medium and continue until medium-firm peaks form.

To assemble, place the bottom layer on a serving dish. Spread 1½ cups of whipped cream evenly over the top. Lay three-quarters of the berries over the whipped cream in a single layer covering the entire top surface. Add the second cake layer and spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake and wipe any excess off the edge of your serving dish.

Press the remaining toasted coconut to the edge of the cake (you can cover the top, too, if you like the look). Garnish the top with the remaining berries. Refrigerate the cake until you’re ready to serve it. Enjoy!

Solidarity with the Asian Community

The alarming rise of pandemic-related racism against Asian Americans has contributed to an increase in hate crimes, including the horrific shootings in Atlanta. At Macrina, we are proud of our diverse crew, which includes many people of Asian descent, Vietnam in particular. We stand together against hate, intolerance, and racism. Macrina employee, Michelle Galvin, a fourth-generation Japanese American, shares some of her troubling experiences and a plea for kindness in these difficult times.

Over the past year, Covid has changed all our lives dramatically. With changes to how we socialize, work and even buy our groceries, life has been different and difficult. For those of us, like myself, who are of Asian descent, an additional challenge has been contending with heightened bias and discrimination.

Living in Seattle for my adult life has been a blessing. I grew up right outside of Chicago. As a child, my schoolmates regularly taunted me. They called me “Ching Chong Chinaman,” and made fun of the rice balls I brought for lunch. Our next-door neighbors, a family with three boys, said I was the reason for WWII. They blamed me for their grandfather’s death. I was six.

Moving to Marysville, WA, in my teenage years was liberating. Though I was one of the only Asian kids in school, I never experienced racism like I had in Illinois. Years later, as an adult living in the Seattle area, I was relieved my four children would not experience the sort of racism I did. And it has been better, much better. Still, we talk about how irritating it is when people ask us where we are from and when we answer Seattle, they say, no, where are you really from. And once a parent of a kid in my daughter’s first-grade class asked me if I was Mia or Gracie’s mom—she could never tell us people apart, she said. (My daughter, Gracie, asked me at the time if it was because her glasses were broken.) Despite the occasional challenge, my children have always felt comfortable and proud of their Japanese heritage.

One of our family’s favorite places is the International District. We visit at least once weekly —grocery shopping at Uwajimaya, dumplings at Dough Zone or pastries at Fuji Bakery. When the International District was vandalized earlier this summer, it broke my heart. As if Covid and quarantine weren’t enough of a challenge to our beloved restaurants and shops in that neighborhood! Rising hate crimes against Asians have added to the struggle. It brought tears to my eyes to have to tell my teenage children that it was not a good idea for them to go to the International District by themselves to get Boba in the evening because it is not safe.

We have always prided ourselves on the welcoming work environment at Macrina. There is truly no place here for hate, discrimination, or racism. Our head baker, Phuong Hoang Bui, has been at Macrina nearly since we opened, and he embodies the spirit of the Macrina community as much as anyone. His daughter, Amy Bui, who ran around our Belltown café at the age of three is now our general manager of wholesale sales. A great many of our bakers are Vietnamese. They are who we are.

We want to be sure the Asian community knows that we stand with them. We condemn the hate crimes and casual racism that are happening in our community against our Asian friends, employees, customers and peers. Macrina is a long-time supporter of Helping Link and the Vietnamese community. Most importantly, we hope to spread a message of kindness during these difficult times.

-Michelle Galvin

March Recipe of the Month: Corned Beef & Cabbage Slaw Breakfast Tartine

We make our challah bread in the European Jewish tradition. The braided loaf is enriched with egg, honey-sweetened and baked until the crust is firm and golden mahogany in color. The soft, tight crumb pulls apart easily.

Our challah is a customer favorite for French toast or enjoyed with butter and jam. This recipe uses thick slices, pan-toasted in butter, for an open-faced tartine sandwich. The tender, lightly sweet bread adds a complementary texture and flavor to the combination of corned beef, Swiss cheese, whole-grain mustard and a fresh cabbage slaw with carrots and pears.

-Leslie MackieIngredients:
Serves 4

¼ cup whole-grain mustard, divided
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1½ tsp honey
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
½ head green cabbage (medium-size)
1 carrot, peeled
1 Bartlett pear
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 loaf Macrina Challah Bread
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
8 slices corned beef (approx. 6 oz)
4 slices Swiss cheese (approx. 4 oz)
8 eggs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, place 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp whole-grain mustard, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and honey. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Remove the tough root of the cabbage by cutting a V-shaped wedge from the base. Lay the half cabbage on the cut side and cut it into ⅛-inch slices. Using the medium side of a grater, grate the carrot. Cut the pear in half, remove the core and grate the pear with the same grater. Add the cabbage, carrot, pear, parsley, salt and black pepper to the dressing. Toss to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

Cut the challah on the bias into eight 1-inch thick pieces.

In a large sauté pan, melt 3 Tbsp butter. Over medium-high heat, sauté the challah slices on both sides for 1 to 2 minutes until just browning. Place on the lined baking sheet. Divide the remaining whole-grain mustard between the slices and spread evenly. Top each with a slice of corned beef. Cut the cheese slices in half and place a piece on each tartine.

Bake the tartines for 3 to 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Place 2 tartines on each serving plate.

In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt 2 tsp butter. When the butter is sizzling, sauté 2 eggs at a time, flipping when whites are set and cooking to your desired preference (over- easy, over-medium or over-hard). Salt and pepper to taste. Finish cooking the remaining eggs, adding more butter as needed. Top each tartine with 1 egg. Divide the cabbage slaw evenly across the 8 tartines.

You might consider serving these with a Guinness or your favorite craft beer in honor of the Irish. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Printable PDF of this recipe here.

Meet Marc Mitchell: Food Safety AM

At heart, Marc Mitchell is a baker. He studied at Le Cordon Bleu before coming to work at Macrina Bakery in 2013. Marc started on our bread team before moving to wholesale pastry, where he took on leadership roles. But when the position of Food Safety AM opened up late in 2020, Marc’s skills made him a natural fit for the job. He applied and got it.

Not only is he intimately familiar with the various departments, but also with the people, processes and the vital importance of food safety. Like any great pastry chef, Marc is very attentive to detail, which serves him well in his new role. Working closely with Blake Gehringer, Macrina’s Production Manager, Marc oversees every element of food safety at our bakery and cafés. He spends his days training, answering questions, observing, documenting, testing and continuously learning.

One of Marc’s challenges is teaching employees whose first language isn’t English. But Marc has transcended the challenge by learning some Vietnamese, getting translation help when needed, visual aids and frequently demonstrating the proper procedure. “I teach by showing,” he says.

Raised in Washington state to a Filipino mother and American father, Marc learned to love Filipino food. When he’s not working, he and his wife (also Filipino) love to cook chicken adobo and other classic Filipino dishes.

As a kid, Marc learned to work on cars with his father, who sadly is no longer with us. The passion continues, and in his free time, Marc can often be found tinkering under the hood. Pressed on his dream car, Marc thinks a moment, then says, “Ferrari 458 Italia. It’s very nice, but not too bad on the pocket—as Ferraris go.”

Macrina’s Core Value Winners

Macrina Bakery was born of a dream. Leslie Mackie wanted to build a vibrant community around her love of artisan breads. The early days in Belltown, back in 1993, were a whirl of activity and excitement. The crowds gathered, the bread earned a loyal following and garnered awards, and as demand mounted, we opened a wholesale business. Behind every success was a team of talented and hard-working individuals.

A few years ago, we sat down to find words for the values that drive us. We considered the many valuable contributions of our diverse team of bakers, pastry chefs, savory cooks, baristas, café staff and delivery drivers that make up Macrina. We identified five core values: Hard working, remaining positive, continuously improving, embracing diversity, and integrity in all we do. Then we established an annual award for each value.

Our 2020 core value winners lead by example, and their commitment to excellence is a big part of what makes Macrina Bakery shine.

Hard Working: Juan Carlos Machorro, Steward Lead
In this tough year, Juan Carlos has impressed everyone with his resolve to get the job done. Pandemic-related staff cuts made for a lean crew, and it seemed no challenge was too much for Juan Carlos. From fixing water meters for the baking department to snaking clogged floor drains, to washing dishes and taking out the garbage, Juan Carlos, sweat on his brow, works tirelessly behind the scenes to make everything work.

Remaining Positive: Josh Kull, Sodo Lead 
Whether interacting with a customer or a fellow worker, Josh is cheerful, kind and genuine. All of our core values could describe Josh, but his ability to remain positive, especially in the toughest situations, stands out. His positive attitude is infectious and inspires those around him, uplifting the entire staff.

Continuously Improving: Theo Ngo, Savory Department, Assistant Manager 
In 2018, Theo was promoted to assistant manager in our savory department because of his attention to detail and ability to step into any position in savory. To improve efficiency, he developed spreadsheets to capture weekly production numbers for our savory items. Theo’s attention to detail and his determination to continuously improve our ordering, inventory, and new product rollouts has made us better able to survive the many business challenges presented by Covid-19.

Embracing Diversity: Scott Romine, Human Resources, Assistant Manager
At Macrina Bakery, we employ people from many nations and diverse cultural backgrounds. Scotty’s job in human resources often puts him in the position of assessing someone’s ability to succeed in a particular job. Scotty values a diverse workplace. With respect for each applicant, Scotty takes the time to listen and answer questions and to carefully find someone with the attitude and skills needed for the job he is hiring for. Scotty’s work has brought more diversity to the Macrina crew.

Integrity in All We Do: Jennifer Truong, Wholesale Office, General Manager 
At our current scale of operations, ensuring integrity in all we do requires thorough attention to every detail. As the general manager of our wholesale office, Jen interacts with both customers and staff. She brings compassion and directness to the task. Her attentive management and the improvements she has made to our procedures and systems help keep the many parts of Macrina moving in harmony.

Cinnamon Rolls, Two Ways 

When Leslie Mackie opened Macrina in 1993, one of the most time consuming jobs was rolling out the laminated dough for pastries like our hazelnut pinwheels and morning rolls. Leslie considered using laminated dough for cinnamon rolls, but decided not to stress the pastry team more than it already was. Instead, she turned to the bread team for brioche dough.

“The brioche has all the same delicious rich ingredients as the laminated dough but in different proportions,” Leslie says. “I decided to go for a classic more traditional cinnamon roll, similar to my Grandmother Bakke’s homemade version, which leaned toward our brioche dough.”

In 2017, we opened our dream bakery in Kent for wholesale production. Finally, we had temperature-controlled spaces and room for a piece of equipment called a sheeter, which is used for laminated dough. With the new capacity, we launched our line of cornetti, the Italian version of the French croissant.

And now, a new cinnamon roll.

The buttery laminated dough is layered with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with cream cheese frosting. Leslie says, “They have this succulent texture and taste that sends you to the moon.”

Those of you who love our brioche cinnamon rolls need not worry—after more than 25 years of making them we are not going to stop. But you do have to choose: classic or ultimate. The difference is in the dough. The classic is more bread-like, the ultimate has the flaky texture of our cornetti. Both are filled with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with silky-smooth not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

You can buy the new cinnamon rolls individually in our cafés. The 6-pack Classic Cinnamon Roll Tray is also available in our cafés and at local retailers of Macrina products.

To Make Great Banh Mi, Start with the Right Bread 

The Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or Tet, falls on February 12 this year. The day is a significant holiday at Macrina. Our head bakers, Phuong Hoang Bui and Thanh Huyen Dang, are Vietnamese, as are many of our bakers. Artisanal French and Italian traditions influence most of our bread, and the food in our cafes hews Mediterranean with a few American favorites thrown in, but an exception is our Bui Bun, made for banh mi, which was developed by Phuong with help from the bread team.

Banh Mi, the classic street-vendor Vietnamese sandwich, is one of the best comfort foods around. In Seattle, options abound, from traditional to hybrid. The one constant, in our favorites at least, is the right bread—fresh and airy, with the right mix of crackle, spring, and chew.

The baguette was introduced to Vietnam during French colonial rule in the early twentieth century. The earliest “banh mi” were straightforward, sometimes just a smear of butter and some ham or pâté, in the traditional Parisian fashion. But over time, both the bread and toppings evolved to become the unique, zesty Vietnamese sandwich that has claimed a spot in the global hall of culinary fame. Stacked with variations on satisfying fillings like cured and cooked pork, sliced ham, chicken liver pâté, green herbs, pickled vegetables, chili peppers, and spiced-up mayonnaise, the banh mi toppings are held together by a Vietnamese-style baguette or roll. The complex flavor of banh mi is a swirl of history, complementary and contrasting flavors, and a riot of textures—crunchy and tender—that make many other sandwiches seem boring in comparison.

For years, we served a bahn mi sandwich in the Macrina cafés on our Giuseppe Panini Baguette. We filled them with tofu, roast pork, chicken or flank steak, and classic banh mi toppings. It was good, but not quite right—we needed the right bread.

We turned to Phuong, who has been our head baker for over 20 years. Phuong started at Macrina as a dishwasher in early 1994, just after Macrina opened, and quickly proved himself to be a quick learner and skilled with bread in all its phases—dough, proofing, shaping, and baking.

“Phuong took the lead on developing an authentic banh mi bun, a product we’d later name after him,” says Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder. “He involved many of his fellow Vietnamese bakers at Macrina, bringing the whole bread production team together, including seeking out recipes from various cousins and parents, here and back in Vietnam. After months of testing, getting special pans, and testing it with our staff, customers, we launched our Bui Buns named after Phuong.”

The Bui Bun has a crisp crust and tender, airy crumb, just right for the perfect banh mi sandwich. Moreover, the bun, its creators, and the team-oriented approach symbolize one of our core values at Macrina: celebrating diversity.

To Phuong, Huyen, our fantastic crew, and everyone who celebrates the Lunar New Year, we wish you a year full of blessings and good fortune. Thank you for everything.

 

February Recipe of the Month: Salted Caramel Brownies

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we thought it was an excellent time to send out the recipe for this decadent treat. For chocolate lovers, there’s not much better than the densely-textured, fudgy taste of a brownie. These brownies marry sweet, salty and bitter better than nearly any dessert we’ve tried. Bitter ground coffee finds balance in the caramel, as does the semisweet chocolate in the sea salt. The caramel cream cheese may have you wondering just how many brownies are too many. The caramel sauce is simple to make, but Fran’s Caramel Sauce is an excellent substitution if you’re in a rush.

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Makes nine 3 x 3-inch brownies

BROWNIES
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground coffee
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup caramel sauce, room temperature
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coarsely ground Himalayan or Hawaiian pink sea salt

Directions:

BROWNIES
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Line the base of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment. Brush the pan sides with canola oil and lightly dust with flour, so the brownies release easily.

Place a stainless steel bowl over a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of boiling water to create a double boiler. Add the butter and unsweetened chocolate to the bowl. Melt until combined and remove from the heat. Add the sugars, coffee, salt and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until each is fully incorporated before adding another. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and semisweet chocolate chips until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out dry when the brownies are set.

Let cool for 30 minutes. Remove from pan.

CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the caramel sauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Cream until smooth and without any lumps.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with pink sea salt. Cut into 9 pieces. Enjoy!

Printable PDF here.
Printable caramel sauce PDF here.

Santo Coffee Co: High Design, Great Coffee 

Fredy Montero has made his name through excellence on the soccer pitch. A household name to anyone who owns a Seattle Sounders scarf, Montero is one of the most prolific goal scorers in MLS history. Lesser known, but equally devoted to excellence, is Santo Coffee, Montero’s sleek coffee shop located in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood that opened in August of 2019.

The welcoming space—floor to ceiling windows, gorgeous Victoria Arduino espresso machines, elegant modern furniture, polished concrete floors, a window-side bar made from a long “ribbon” of solid wood, plush green vintage couches—is the product of a vision shared by co-owners Montero and his wife Alexis and Mikhail (Mike) and Jessica Ghyvoronsky.

The stunning space transports you, somewhere dreamy, an international destination that’s hard to pin down.

“I’m originally from Russia, Jessica was born in Korea, Fredy grew up in Colombia and he and Alexa lived abroad for years,” says Mike, who can usually be found behind the counter. “We wanted to take inspiration and experiences we had in other countries and other coffee cultures and bring them here.”

Working with a local architect, they collaborated to dream into reality the kind of space they’d love to bring their family and friends to.

Santo Blend, their coffee, is a locally-roasted blend of Colombian single-origin varietals. The well-balanced coffee has a bright, lively flavor and is excellent both brewed and as espresso. It is available in whole bean form and elegantly crafted espresso drinks and pour-overs.

“Because of Covid, we’re only doing takeout right now, but we still have many customers who come every day for their coffee and a Macrina Nutella Brioche, coffee cake, or another favorite Macrina pastry,” says Mike.

For a café built to inspire people to gather around excellent coffee in an elevated space, the Covid-19 restrictions have been hard. Still, they’re taking it in stride and look forward to the day the café will again be made vibrant by people who share their passion for coffee and community.

With vaccinations underway, there’s at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. In the meanwhile, stop in, check out the digs, let Mike make you a great coffee, grab a pastry, a bag of beans, maybe a Santo crew, tee-shirt, or hat, and begin to plan future coffee dates.

“We wanted the space to be one that people felt inspired in and would take some part of that into their own life,” says Mike. “We can’t wait to see people able to gather here again.”

Photo credits: Andrew Story, John Hong