Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cook N for Valentine's Day, plus Brunch N at Palisades

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mr Cook and I ventured out this morning for a brunch date at Palisades Restaurant in Seattle. This is one of our favorite little places to have brunch. The buffet is top notch, loaded up with fabulous seafood, an assortment of salads, macadamia nut pancakes, hot chocolate dipping sauce, fresh fruit and an assortment of pastries...of course this is in addition to the entree that we have learned to ask for "to go" as we cannot possibly fully indulge at the buffet and still have room for breakfast wellington or steak and eggs.

Gone this visit was the fabulous oyster bar. We were told that they had opted to provide an assortment of crab legs instead. (I missed the oysters)

What really made my morning though....the Bloody Mary Buffet!

The new Bloody Mary bar. Holy Cow! I was offered a selection of 4 types of vodka, and two types of salt and when my bloody mary arrived looking quite clear and non-bloody mary like, my waiter informed me that the Bloody Mary buffet was located in the bar. Hello?

So I made my way to the bar with my glass of vodka and I found two types of bloody mary mix - one spicy, one mild- and a complete selection of hot pepper sauces and accoutrements all neatly lining the bar. Fresh cilantro, basil, lemon and lime slices, celery, several olives, pickled onions, pickled peppers, pickled green beans, pickled asparagus, marinated mushrooms, marinated carrots, and then little kebabs of cherry tomato and shrimp...little kebabs of salami and olives...

It was the best bloody Bloody Mary bar I have ever encountered. (Okay it was the first bloody mary bar I ever encountered...) It even made up for the absence of the oyster bar....a little.

In addition to a fabulous brunch, Mr Cook bought me a card and has promised to buy me a tea rose to plant in front of our new garden fence.

He knows me well. I am much happier with a plant or tree for my garden than a bouquet of flowers that will be gone in a week or two. (although roses are nice and would never be refused.)

But Alas....Valentines is not all about me. I spent a little time yesterday making a special treat for Mr Cook. Mr Cook is not a big fan of sweets (well, he says that, but he that doesn't seem to deter him from gobbling up sweets when they are provided). He does have an interesting affinity for beef jerky however. Often he will walk up to a bag in the store and hold it for a few moments...then put it back. He never actually buys beef jerky, he just looks at it. (He doesn't like the price of beef jerky.)

So for Valentines this year, I bought some london broil on Thursday. Sliced it up and marinated it in soy sauce, worchestershire sauce and liquid smoke on Friday night. Then laid it out on racks of our food dehydrator on Saturday. Voila...Valentines jerky.

We have had that dehydrator for close to 10 years and this was the first time we used it. It worked well and I am thinking about trying out a few more jerky recipes. You can also cook this slow and low in your oven...

Beef Jerky

2lb lean beef (flank steak, top round, london broil...) cut in thin strips
1/2c soy sauce
1/4 c worchestershire sauce
1Tbsp liquid smoke

Combine soy sauce, worchestershire sauce and liquid smoke to make the marinade. Marinate the beef strips in this sauce overnight.

Drain the beef and lay out on dehydrator racks...Dry according to the instructions for your particular dehydrator. It took about 6 hours for ours to reach what we determined was the right consistency of dryness for us. Watch it after about 4 hours and keep checking it until it is to your liking. can dry beef jerky in your oven. Set the oven to 150 degrees. Lay the beef strips across the rack of a broiler pan. Keep an eye on the jerky to ensure it doesn't get too dry. It can take as long as 8 hours for the jerky to dry in the oven.

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