Monday, February 2, 2009
A Tale of Three Birthday Dinners - Dark Days Week 11
Sometimes, it just works out this way. Grady's birthday was last Thursday. I had made plans for us to go to Seattle on the weekend and celebrate with some friends there on Saturday night. And, we also wanted to have Jeff over for a birthday dinner, but he couldn't come on Thursday night. So, Grady ended up with birthday dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And they represented the range from a homemade meal, a home-cooked meal, and dinner out - with varying degrees of attention to local foods.
Thursday I had to work late, so I got some ready-to-cook food at Pastaworks on Hawthorne - ravioli and a tomato sauce with greens. These were made by a local business, but I don't really know about all the individual ingredients they use. To accompany the pasta, I roasted a delicata squash and some mushrooms I had gotten at the People's Coop farm market the day before. Pastaworks is a good source for chicken that is locally raised on small family farms. If it weren't so darned hard to park around there, I would shop there more often. So, that was the home-cooked, but not entirely homemade meal.
Friday night I made beef stroganoff (see recipe information below). Beef from New Seasons market (Country Natural Beef), mushrooms also from the farm market and Tillamook cream. The broth was out of a pot roast I had made earlier in the week using a roast from our beef share. I could have used locally made noodles for the stroganoff, but Grady prefers it with rice. Jeff brought a lovely winter salad with red cabbage, apples, carrots, onions and fennel.
Saturday night we ate at Artemis Cafe in Seattle. Their website says they showcase "local, high quality ingredients", although the menu doesn't give any details. The food was very good, but the meal was mostly memorable for the great company and livey conversation. We dined with six of our long-time friends who live there. This is part of the group Grady first met when they were all in architecture school at U.W. a year or two ago.
I checked back and found that the recipe I used for Beef Stroganoff came from Bon Appetit, via Epicurious. So, you can take a look at that link. But, I made several modifications:
1. I don't use the mustard at all because I despise mustard. I don't think anything feels missing. But, if you are a mustard lover, have at it.
2. As mentioned earlier, we had it with rice since the birthday boy prefers stroganoff on rice. But, if it was for me, I'd use the noodles.
3. I don't use the paprika at the end - not because I don't like paprika, though. Some other recipe I've used in the past suggested finishing stroganoff with fresh ground nutmeg and we have always liked what that does for the dish. I don't know how much- I just grate a whole nutmeg onto the finished stroganoff until it looks right. But, you might want to try the paprika. I'm sure it would be tasty as well.
Finally, the original impetus for the trip to Seattle was to join Laura and others at a gathering of bloggers interested in local foods. I'm going to include the recipe from that in a separate post since Laura asked us all to share.