This weekend around 1,200 rapacious foodies are flocking to town for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference—a lavish series of workshops, parties, tours and dinners for a global cast of chefs, writers and media types. What's this got to do with you? Well, for the first time ever the IACP's opening up its big Culinary Book Fair to locals, giving Portland's legion food obsessives the chance to hang out with more than 50 of the world's most revered author-chefs, from meat master Michael Ruhlman and Indian pro Madhur Jaffrey to Ruth Reichl and Julia Child's legendary editor, Judith Jones, plus a boatload of quality Northwest food writers. Bonus: Many of the authors are promising samples of their wares for hungry fans. In honor of the culinary blowout, we asked a handful of authors coming to town to contribute one dish to our ultimate dinner party menu.
Grilled cobia with Alligator Point clam vinaigrette. "Cobia is a firm, white-fleshed fish that stands up well to grilling. Using mesquite or hickory wood in your grill gives the cobia a nutty smokiness that complements its natural flavors. When drizzled with the clam vinaigrette, it's a match made in heaven."
Why it's awesome: " The beauty of this dish is its simplicity and seasonality of the moment. It is very light and healthy. Another added bonus is that you can have the men be responsible for part of this dish due to the grilling of the fish."
Be careful: " Make sure your grill is clean and very hot. Also, depending on what part of the country you live in, you can substitute the seasonal fish that is available in your local market and the same would be true for the clam substitution."
Notes: "I would suggest serving this with Willamette Pinot Gris."
You can download a PDF of the recipe here.
Ganache-glazed chocolate bundt cake. "A big, rich, super-chocolatey bundt that will keep you in cake for a week!"
Why it's awesome: "Because everybody loves good chocolate cake, and you'll have leftovers for your breakfast."
Be careful: "If you don't use the classic bundt, the pan will be too small."
Notes: "If you want to make a smaller cake, the batter freezes really well!"
Ganache-Glazed Chocolate Bundt Cake
This chocolate cake is truly a marvel. Not only is it luscious and moist, it bakes up beautifully in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the batter can be frozen without affecting the cake's flavor, texture or ability to rise. At Grand Central, we use this formula to make cupcakes, layer cakes, kugelhopfs, sheet cakes, loaves, and, my favorite, a classic 12-cup Bundt cake drizzled with chocolate ganache. I'm usually not a stickler for fancy ingredients, but this cake deserves the best chocolate you can find.
Serves 14 to 16
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 ounces) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces, or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
21/4 cups (1 pound) packed light brown sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8.5 ounces) sour cream
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) lukewarm freshly brewed coffee (110°F to 115°F)
2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
9.5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) heavy cream
Prepare to bake.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
Melt the chocolate.
Put the unsweetened and semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl suspended over a pot of barely simmering water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chocolate has melted and is completely smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the dry ingredients.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very light in color—almost beige-y white—and the texture is fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a few times during the process to ensure that the butter is evenly incorporated.
Add the eggs and vanilla.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the eggs, letting them fall in one at a time and incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice during the process.
Add the chocolate.
Add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture all at once and mix on low speed until slightly combined; you don't need to fully incorporate the chocolate at this point.
Alternate additions of the dry and wet ingredients.
Whisk the sour cream and coffee together to achieve a smooth, room temperature liquid. (Adding too much of a cold ingredient can cause the chocolate to seize.) With the mixer on low speed, add one-third of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add half of the sour cream mixture, mixing to combine. Repeat, using half of the remaining dry ingredients and all of the remaining wet ingredients, mixing after each addition. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stop the mixer before they're fully incorporated. Add the milk chocolate chips and finish mixing by hand, using a sturdy spatula and being sure to scrape up from the bottom of the bowl.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The cake is ready when it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan slightly and springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The top will probably split; use a cake tester to check doneness. Unlike with most cakes, the tester probably won't come out clean because of the melted chocolate chips. Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before making the ganache.
Make the ganache.
Put the chocolate in a shallow bowl. Put the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until a skin forms, then immediately pour it over the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes, then stir gently. The ganache should be glossy and have a smooth texture. If any chunks of chocolate remain, place the bowl over simmering water briefly and stir until melted.
Glaze the cake.
Turn the cake out and glaze it on a rack, if you have one. Place the rack on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Pour the ganache over the crown of the cake in one deliberate motion, distributing it as evenly as possible all the way around. Let the glaze set up for 20 minutes before transferring the cake to a plate or cake stand.
Happy National Bundt Cake Day!
November 15 is the day. You'll be greeted by a cheery face reminding you that this is the birthday of the Bundt cake. It is also the anniversary of the day that Grand Central Bakery introduced Bundt cakes to its lineup, fifty years after the famous cake pan was born. We celebrate with $1.00 slices of cake and the chance to enter a drawing for a 12-cup classic Bundt pan and recipes for our glazed vanilla and chocolate Bundt cakes.
Reprinted with permission from The Grand Central Baking Book: Breakfast Pastries, Cookies, Pies, and Satisfying Savories from the Pacific Northwest's Celebrated Bakery by Piper Davis with Ellen Jackson, copyright © 2009. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Home-churned lemon-herb butter. "How fun is this given as a gift or made for your own dinner party? Start with cream in a mixer bowl and churn your own butter, turning it into the most luscious herb butter to top a fillet of salmon, a steak, spoon into a baked potato, or tuck inside an omelette."
Why it's awesome: "This butter freezes so well, it will be the go-to ingredient for dressing up simply prepared foods. It's the ultimate DIY project that has a real wow factor for friends and family. Plus, it is so versatile; it could be packaged as the picture shows or simply arranged on an oblong plate and sliced to serve."
Be careful: "This is a foolproof recipe—start with quality ingredients and you'll have magnificent tasting butter."
Moroccan pickled beets. "A quick pickle you can whip up on the morning of your party or a day or two before."
Why it's awesome: "It's beautiful and easy as well as tasty, and it works as an appetizer, salad, or side dish."
Be careful: "This recipe is so simple it's nearly foolproof."
Moroccan Pickled Beets
2 1/2 cups diced (about 1/4 inch) cooked and peeled beets
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed in a mortar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put the beets and garlic into a bowl. In a small nonreactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt and cumin to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the beets. Let the bowl stand at room temperature, turning the beets occasionally, for several hours. If you won't be eating the beets the same day, store the bowl, covered, in the refrigerator. The beets should keep well for at least two weeks.
Just before serving the beets, toss them with the olive oil.
Dark-chocolate fondue "served with a variety of compatible ingredients for dipping (such as bananas, frozen cheesecake squares, strawberries, etc.). Melt your favorite high-quality dark chocolate over low heat with a dash of heavy cream, and keep warm in a fondue pot. It couldn't be simpler!"
Why it's awesome: "Who doesn't love chocolate?? And who doesn't have a (circa 1970s) soft spot for communal dipping at dessert time?"
Notes: "This is our favorite dinner-party closer with a glass of chocolate-compatible dessert wine. (For ideas, simply turn to our 2007 IACP Cookbook of the Year, What to Drink With What You Eat, to find Banyuls, PX sherry, tawny port, etc.) Every chocolate lover is amazed by the realization that chocolate can taste even better when paired with compatible flavors, both in the fondue pot and in the glass!"
Steak and green-bean salad with blue cheese. "A casual tumble of steak strips (make mine quite rare, please), brightly colored beans and lush, ripe tomatoes make a great presentation, without a lot of fussy food styling."
Why it's awesome: "This no-lettuce main-dish salad is gorgeous on a big platter, and it can be tossed together in just a few minutes. It's adaptable for several dietary restrictions—fits a low-carb lifestyle, you can leave the steak off a serving for the vegetarian, and (depending on the cheese and vinegar selection) it's gluten-free."
Be careful: "I urge you not to be careful—this dish was made to be played with! Find the most crayon-box-inspired tomatoes you can get your hands on, and go for it! Switch up the cheese, try a locally produced artisanal vinegar, toss in some walnuts or hazelnuts…you can entertain with variations on this theme all spring and summer!"
Notes: "All ingredients for this dish can usually be found at Trader Joe's, which, as the title of my book implies, is one of my favorite places to shop. With all the bounty the Willamette Valley provides, you could just as easily source all-local ingredients for the meal."
Steak and Green-Bean Salad with Blue Cheese
This no-greens, meaty salad is great for grilling evenings, or even the night after, using leftover steak.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. rare grilled steak (rib-eye, skirt, sirloin, or whatever you like), sliced in strips
½ lb. green beans, cooked until crisp-tender (a combination of green and yellow beans is pretty, too. Make sure the beans are young and tender, not "woody")
1 gorgeous tomato, cut in eighths
2 oz. firm blue cheese
Make dressing by whisking together the vinegar and mustard, then whisking in the oil.
Arrange the green beans and steak strips on a platter, and garnish with the tomato wedges. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crumble the blue cheese evenly over the top, and dress the salad.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Under 10 minutes
Poulet à la moutarde, or chicken braised slowly with mustard, brandy and fresh herbs, served atop hot, buttered noodles.
Why it's awesome: "One of my chefs at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris told me that his mother invariably served braised dishes for dinner parties. I've embraced that wisdom. Most braised dishes, including classics such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon, can be made a day ahead, casually without a deadline, as you sip wine. The next day, reheat for an hour in the oven and voilà! These slow-cooking dishes invariably taste better the second day, too."
Be careful: "Tie bundles of fresh herbs together with string, lest your diners find brittle stems of thyme and rosemary in their dinner. Rabbit can be substituted for chicken, but it's much oilier than chicken, so the sauce requires much dutiful skimming after cooking."
Notes: "This simple mustard chicken seems to be the recipe most often made from my book by readers. It calls for chicken thighs, which makes it a recession-friendly dish, plus most people have the ingredients on hand. I like to serve it with a simple side dish, such as sauteed green beans or arugula with a light spritz of fresh lemon juice and good olive oil. Traditionally, I pair this with a crisp white such as sauvignon blanc, but I most recently served it with an Oregon pinot noir to rousing success." See the recipe at kathleenflinn.com/mustardchicken.html.
Mole negro Oaxaqueño (black mole from Oaxaca, Mexico). "One of my favorite chocolate dishes to make is a mole sauce."
Why it's awesome: "Our book is about chocolate history...only one of the chapters considers historical recipes...and they're rather exotic as they include a variety of ingredients not typical of 21st-century chocolates common to North America: marigold leaves, chile pepper, various flowers, seeds and odds-and-ends...."
Be careful: "In the book we have references to the use of chocolate in witchcraft—used to seduce men or women. Those 'seducers' caught were brought before the Inquisition and forced to confess what they did...and how they prepared the chocolate and what they mixed into it."
Notes: "During the cookbook expo I will be distributing examples of American Heritage Chocolate—a type manufactured in the style used during the American colonial era. Stop by and have a bite!"
Mole Negro Oaxaqueño (black mole from Oaxaca, Mexico
Chile guajillo: 5 pieces
Chile chilhuacle negro: 5 pieces
Chile pasilla Mexicano: 5 pieces
Chile mulato or ancho negro: 5 pieces
Chile chilhuacle rojo: 2 pieces
Tomatillos: 125 grams
Tomatoes: 250 grams
Cloves: 3 pieces
Allspice berries: 3 pieces
Marjoram: 3 sprigs
Thyme: 3 sprigs
Avocado leaf (dried): 1 leaf
Oregano (dried): 1 tbs.
Lard or vegetable shortening: 2 tbs.
Sesame seeds: 1 cup
Peanuts (with skin): 10 pieces
Almonds (unpeeled): 10 pieces
Raisins: 3 tbs.
Pecans: 6 pieces
Onion: 1 medium
Garlic (unpeeled): 6 cloves
Cinnamon (Mexican): 1 large stick
Plantain (peeled; sliced): 1 large
Corn tortillas: 2 large
French bread: some pieces
Mexican chocolate: 60 grams (or more to taste)
Sugar: 60 grams
Oil: 60 grams
Salt: To taste
Chicken broth: as necessary
Chicken: 10 pieces
Onion: 1 medium
Garlic (peeled): 2 cloves
PREPARATION: PART 1
With a damp cloth clean the chiles and remove the stems, seeds and veins. Reserve the seeds. Toast the chiles until black but not burnt. Cover them with hot water and let them soak for 10-20 min. In a skillet toast the seeds, medium heat, until golden. Increase the heat and toast them until black. Cover with cold water and let them soak for 5 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a blender and add enough of the liquid to make it pass through a sieve. Save; set aside. Roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and unpeeled garlic cloves for 10 minutes. Peel the garlic cloves. Save; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and use it to fry the following ingredients but separately, and save them separately: the raisins, the bread until browned, the tortillas, the plantain until golden (add more oil if needed), the sesame seeds. Pass through a sieve to remove the excess oil, and in the reserved oil, fry at the same time peanuts, pecans and almonds. Grind the seeds on a metate (alternatively use a food processor), adding water if needed.
PREPARATION: PART 2
Blend the tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onion, and spices. Separately blend the seeds, nuts, banana, raisins, bread and tortillas, adding chicken broth as needed, until well blended. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening on a large kettle, fry the chile paste until it dries. Then fry the tomato mixture. Let it simmer for about 10 min. or until it changes color. Add the rest of the blended ingredients except the chocolate and the avocado leaf.
PREPARATION: PART 3
Let it boil for about half an hour and add the chocolate. Toast slightly the avocado leaf over the flame, adding it to the mole. Leave it simmering for a time, then taste and check for the flavors of chocolate and sugar. Add chicken broth as much as needed, the mole should have the consistency to cover the back of a spoon. On a large pan cook the chicken pieces with garlic, onion and salt. Place a piece of the chicken on the serving dish, cover with the mole, and serve it with rice and hot tortillas.
Kung-fu guru Dan Halsted digs up another rare 35-mm print: This one was found in an abandoned Taiwanese movie theater, and features the original Ghostface Killer.
The Florida duo of M1 and SticMan has become one of the fiercest tandems in the game.
Pendulum celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, with a best-of collection of its brightly costumed, vaudeville-inspired, high-flying aerial movement and dance.
The radio variety program presents a special Bridgetown Comedy Festival show, featuring comics Maria Bamford, Lizz Winstead, Tig Notaro and Matt Braunger, with music by Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside.
[FEST] CITY REPAIR EARTH DAY
Celebrate yo mama with the most arty hippie cadre in town: MarchFourth Marching Band, bike parade, interactive art, nonprofit talks and Sam Adams appearance included. Washington High School field, 531 SE 14th Ave. 10 am-7 pm. Free. Info at cityrepair.org/earthday.
[MUSIC] RAMESH MISRA
One of the living masters of the sarangi, a bowed fiddle with sympathetic strings, Misra has guested with, among others, Aerosmith, the Free Radicals, and Mpath. First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., 499-1153. 7:30 pm. $10-$20 advance, $25 at the door.
Neil Innes—the man behind legendary Beatles piss-takers the Rutles—isn't just a "musical parodist." The 65-year-old Brit's solo material proves he has the heart of a sublime musical stylist and an ear for sharp hooks and heartwarming lyricism.