Saturday, October 30, 2010

Le Gruyere and Ham Pizza for the fall

I subscribe to the Whole Foods Market newsletter and I was very grateful for that when this recipe came over my e-mail. I was actually looking at a recipe for Le Gruyere and butternut squash casserole because my parents have an abundance of squash this fall but the pizza recipe caught my eye.

It sounded like it might be a little rich with the creme fraiche but as it turns out it was perfect. You only use a 1/3 cup of the creme and it is dolloped instead of spread so it is not over the top. I followed this recipe exactly and it was delicious so don't miss an ingredient including the fresh thyme sprinkled on at the end. (Actually I used a pizza stone and a pizza dough from QFC called East Coast Pizza.)

This pizza would be great as an appetizer or a main course.


1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 12inch pizza crust - your choice

1/3 cup creme fraiche

3/4 cup grated Le Gruyere

2 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips

2 T fresh thyme

In a large skillet heat oil and add sliced onions, salt and pepper. Cook until caramelized and browning. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or whatever your crust requires.) Dot crust with creme fraiche and sprinkle caramelized onions, Le Gruyere cheese, and prosciutto. Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, sprinkle on thyme and cut into wedges. Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 Seattle American Lamb Jam was a tasteful success

Yesterday afternoon while Seahawks and fans were getting drenched in the first major storm of Seattle's winter season, a less formidable group were gathering at the Bell Harbor Conference Center at Pier 66 for the second annual American Lamb Jam. Huddled inside the dry warm space with twenty-one of Seattle's finest chefs, the intrepid group of foodies dined on Moroccan lamb shank sloppy joes from Boka Kitchen and Bar and Lamb pastrami on rye from Re:public restaurant.

The event was even larger than last year with more eateries and wineries participating. As my sister and I ate and drank our way through each entrants offerings we soon began to realize that unless we wanted our bloated bodies carried out of the Center when it was all over we were going to have to pick and choose.

It was not an easy task since there were so many wonderful dishes to try. Andaluca who had one of my favorites last year had another great dish with a lamb in fillo triangle that was spot-on. Ponti Seafood Grill had a terrific lamb char sui on a Chinese steamed bun (a bit more sauce would have been nice), and the Barking Frog with a show stopper of a pot pie made with lambcetta and confit chanterelle.

The fan favorite of the evening turned out to be Grilled lamb shoulder confit with preserved huckleberries and creamy parsnip. A very excellent and tender bite that received many oohs and aahs. The dish was prepared by Chef Mark Bodinet from Copperleaf Restaurant of Cedarbrook Lodge who gets to compete in New York against winners from other Lamb Jam's across the country.

We didn't think that everybody had a winner this year. Ray's Boathouse disappointed after a good showing last year with a fillo wrapped offering that was as dry as dirt. Bell Harbor international conference center had a uninspired lamb gyro that was more sour cream than anything else. But fortunately there were very few examples of no-so-great dishes.

Overall, not a bad way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. I'll be back next year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Using Local Ingredients in Season - Walla Walla Sweet Onion Tart with Bacon

The trend is definitely going in the direction of fresh and locally produced food. Walla Walla isn't exactly neighboring Redmond these days but we do share the same great state and that is close enough. I'd rather eat an onion from Walla Walla than from anywhere else in the world.

One of the reasons this particular onion has achieved such greatness is its sweetness. For once you can peel and chop an onion without crying your eyes out and any chef will tell you that is a bonus. But it is the flavor of the onion that sets it apart.

A recent sailing trip required some easy to serve picnic items and a nice onion tart fits that bill quite nicely. I found the recipe in a Food & Wine issue from November 2000 in a salute to the Evergreen State. It is so rich that you can and should use it for special occasions. The suggest that you pair it with a full bodied Semillion - from Washington State, of course!


2 sticks frozen unsalted butter

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 T sugar, plus 1 tsp

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

For filling:

1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon

3 large sweet Walla Walla Onions

salt and freshly ground black pepper

7 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1 1/2 T freshly grated Parmesan

1 tsp minced rosemary

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Make the Pastry: Work over a medium bowl, grate the butter over the large holes of a box grater: freeze. In another bowl combine the flour sugar and salt. Add butter and cut mixture with pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and mix with fork until a dough forms. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

Make the filling: In large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Pour all the three tablespoons of bacon grease off and add the thinly sliced onions to oil. Cook onion over low heat until tender and carmelized. It will take about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper and cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface into a 15 inch disc. Fold the dough in half and place in 11 inch tart pan. Trim the overhang. Freeze the tart shell until chilled, about 10 minutes.

Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry starts to dry. Remove weights and foil and bake for about 3 minutes longer until golden. Let cool on rack.

Turn the oven down to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk cream and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients finishing off with a 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pour into tart shell and bake for 25 minutes or until the custard is set. Transfer to rack to cool slightly. Remove tart from pan and serve.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indian Spiced Chicken Wings with Peach-Mango chutney

After a quick trip to Wenatchee where we scored a pile of beautiful fresh, ripe peaches I came to the realization that they weren't going to stay ripe for very long. We couldn't eat them fast enough singly so I had to look for other options. Usually a lovely pie would ensue but since I am trying to watch my desserts I had to think of something else.

As I gazed at the other contents of my pantry I saw a couple of nice mangos that I'd been saving for smoothies. They screamed to be married to my peaches in one way or the other and because they were mangos it was chutney that popped into my head. Ah Ha! That would use my peaches and keep them around for awhile at the same time.

The chutney recipe was easy to find and easy to make. Now the question was how to combine it with the organic chicken wings that were defrosting on the counter. I decided to make the wings with Indian spices and serve it with some garlic chips.

For the chips I took a homemade flour tortilla and cut it into several triangles. Early in the day I chopped a couple of garlic cloves and then poured about a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil over them in a small bowl. I let it sit all day allowing the garlic to infuse the oil with its flavor. These are so easy to prepare: just heat the garlic oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat, when the oil is hot place the triangles into the oil, cook until brown, turn over for another second or two until golden and remove to paper towel. Immediately sprinkle with a little bit of garlic salt. Delicious.

For the wings I used the Albers Corn Meal recipe for oven fried chicken except instead of the usual spice suspects I broke into my Indian spices. Cumin, Coriander, Cardoman, Chili Pepper, etc. You should make it to your personal taste so it can be either mild or hot.


1 dozen organic chicken wings

2 T butter melted

2 large eggs beaten

2 T milk or water

1/2 cup Albers Yellow Corn Meal

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 teaspoons of your favorite Indian spice mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread melted butter in baking dish 13 X9 inches. Combine eggs and milk in medium bowl. Combine corn meal, flour, salt and Indian spice mix in medium bowl. Dip chicken into egg mixture to coat and then dip into corn meal mix until covered. Place in prepared baking dish.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until chicken is golden and done. Serve with peach-mango chutney and garlic chips.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Eastside Dining Experience - The Flat Iron Grill in Issaquah

We here in Redmond are always looking for new places to dine and we're willing to drive a little ways to do it. A pleasant drive along Lake Sammamish - east or west side - will bring you to Issaquah and a new restaurant called The Flat Iron Grill.

Located in quaint Gilman Village it is the site of the former Iris Grill. My one visit to the Iris Grill left me with a few real obvious impressions - mediocre and overpriced cuisine, shaky service & LOUD. The reason it was noisy wasn't because it was crowded but because the space is large with cathedral ceilings and nothing to absorb sound. The Iris Grill tried to cover it up with piped in music but it actually made it worse.

The Flat Iron Grill has done quite a bit to remedy that situation by using multiple sound absorbers in the form of curtains, carpet and actual sound absorbing boards hung on the ceiling. The restaurant will still not make your quietest dining experience list but it is vastly improved. My dining partner and I never had any difficulty having a conversation or talking to our waitress.

The improvements help not only with the sound but also with the general ambiance by making the area feel warm and inviting. They have done the walls in warm brick colors and decorated with a lot of iron memorabilia and knickknacks. The overall impression is comfortable and pleasant.

Our reservations were for 730P on a Friday night and our table was ready when we arrived despite the fact that it was a quite busy. The service was pretty good overall, our waitress approached our table immediately to say she would be with us very soon, she had just begun to cross the line to "too long" and I had actually just opened my mouth to say something about it to my partner when she came back. The rest of the evening she was flawless.

They have an interesting wine list with some labels we were not familiar with. We tried the Haystack Needle Tempranillo '07 from Washington at 8.50 a glass and were moderately happy with it. As an appetizer I couldn't wait to try the Figlets - figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in nueske's smoked bacon - and they were very tasty. I could have used a skosh more sauce for rolling them in though.

Other appetizers included House made Mozzarella, Grilled Oysters and Salsify Flan plus a number of others. You could easily do a series of tapas for a meal at the Flat Iron Grill. Prices on the starters range from $8 to $16 a plate.

For our entree my partner chose the Jambalaya with chicken, chorizo and a selection of shellfish at $24 while I went with the Muscovy Duck served with sweet potato gnudi, roasted fennel, and arugula and blood orange marmalade butter sauce for $25. The Jambalaya, although it looked fairly unremarkable on the plate, was given two thumbs up by my companion and my taste was pretty good. The duck looked marvelous on the plate and was perfectly cooked but the topping was too salty. It might have been saved with a counter of the sweet marmalade but there was too little of it on the plate to make a difference. In fact, if I might just say, there were more words in the description of the sauce than there was actual sauce on the plate.

Overall though I give this new restaurant 3 stars out of 5 and I will definitely go there again soon even if it is just to eat some more of those Figlets. It is not inexpensive and you can expect to pay over a $100 for dinner for two with wine. There is also outdoor seating for those few warm nights on the Eastside in the summer. Go and enjoy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Honey-Soy Broiled Black Cod

Last year my husband and I went to the Boat Show at Shilshole Marina in Seattle. After the show we went to Ray's Boathouse and hit the bar upstairs for some outstanding sunset views and some grub. We ended up having a number of appetizers rather than entrees and one of those included a sample of smoked Sablefish.

Sablefish is also known as Black Cod and I was floored when I tried it at Rays for the first time. It is the silkiest tasting fish I have ever had. It practically melted in my mouth.

That's why when I was visiting Gemini Fish Market in Issaquah this week and spotted black cod in the case I jumped on it. Even though I never cooked black cod before I thought that most of my salmon recipes would work well with the fish because both have a high fat content. I brought out one of my favorite cookbooks, Salmon by Diane Morgan, to find the perfect match.

First I Googled black cod recipes and I found out that many chefs are using a Japanese approach to preparing this increasingly popular and sustainable fish. That included a very interesting looking recipe from Iron Chef Morimoto that I would like to try sometime. But for this time around I wanted to make it as simple as possible because my biggest fear was ruining this perfect piece of fish.

In Diana Morgan's book I found a recipe for Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon that definitely has a Japanese flair. It looked simple enough that not even I could make a mess of it and perfectly transferable from salmon to black cod. The results were beautiful and it was a huge hit in our house.


1 lb black cod fillet cut into 4 pieces, skin on

2 T soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup mirin

1 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

For Sauce

4 tsp wasabi powder

2 T fresh lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

Combine 2 T soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin and ginger in small bowl. Pour over black cod fillets in small bag to marinate for 30 minutes. Do not marinate longer than 1 hour because it will begin to cook the fish.

Place all ingredients for sauce in small saucepan, mix, and heat over medium-high heat until it boils while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and turns syrupy. Set aside and keep warm.

Place black cod fillets on cookie sheet skin side down. Put under broiler (about 3 to 4 inches below heat) and cook until it begins to color - about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over so skin is up and broil another 3 to 4 minutes. Don't worry about skin burning since you will remove it before serving.

Remove fish from broiler and pull skin off the back. Place perfectly cooked fillet over bed of steamed rice and pour a nice dribble of the sauce over the whole thing. Enjoy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spinach Caprese Salad with Garlic Croutons

Now that our Farmers Market in Redmond is open we have an opportunity to get lots of fresh produce, cheeses and bread. All of those delicious things are available in this terrific summer salad. If we can't get rid of the rain then we can pretend it's summer by eating it on a plate.

Nothing says summer more than a warm tomato and this salad has them in spades. Since it's a bit early yet for big fresh summer types I used sweet cherry tomatoes. Fresh mozzarella is available at a number of stalls at the market and you can find organic. The bread can also be purchased from the market - you can just use the leftover heel for the croutons.

This is an easy recipe to make. Start by preparing your croutons:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice up enough 1/2 inch squares of white bread for as many salads as you are making. Take 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, mince and add to a small pan of extra-virgin olive oil (2 T) over low heat. Cook until the garlic is just translucent. Spread croutons on cookie sheet, pour oil over croutons through a sieve, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and then turn to coat before placing in the oven. Bake for ten minutes or until croutons are crunchy and lightly golden.

For the salad take about a cup of cubed fresh mozzarella and drizzle with1T olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Toss together in bowl and set aside to come to room temperature.

Take about a cup and a half of cherry tomatoes cut in half and place in bowl. Chiffonade 2 Tablespoons of fresh basil and toss with tomatoes. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar.

Combine the mozzarella and tomatoes together and then distribute on top of beds of baby spinach. Drizzle the remaining dressing from bottom of bowl on to salad and top with croutons. Ta dah!

Cowboy-Braised Short Ribs with Baked Black Beans and Cornbread

There really is nothing better than a well braised short rib so when I order from Thundering Hooves I always make sure that I get a few. It is also a good idea to eat your favorite cuts when you've cut your consumption of red meat. Eat what you like!

My mother has a fantastic recipe for short ribs that I've made many times that has a tomato based sauce with lots of onions and served over mashed potatoes. I have also braised my short ribs in wine and those have all turned out exceptionally tasty. But I was inspired to try something new and entirely mine this time around.

Our neighbor in the Methow Valley operates his own back-country packers outfit and has a herd of about 50 horses right below our humble cabin. He is required to cook for his guests in old cowboy fashion and it's usually all about the meat. Our own camping experiences have allowed me to experiment with cooking over a fire and it can be romantic for some and dirty for others.

I love doing a steak with a good rub and I found an excellent combination that included ground coffee, brown sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, etc. I called it my cowboy rub and it tastes beautifully over a fire or on a grill. I decided to try similar flavors in a short rib recipe - coffee, barbecue sauce, etc .

The results were sensational and could be easily transferable to a real camping situation. In fact, I would suggest you cook them a day ahead, remove the rendered fat from the surface of the sauce after it has cooled, and then reheat over the campfire. Preparing short ribs a day ahead for the purposed of removing the fat is common practice.


6 short ribs (about 4lbs)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 T olive oil or 2 T rendered bacon fat (I used the 2 slices of cooked bacon in my baked black beans!)

2 onions thickly sliced

2 carrots sliced

2 celery stocks chopped

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (here is where you can add your own take - sweeter, hotter, etc.)

2 cups brewed coffee

1 cup beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat oil in large dutch oven (cast iron preferred). Season the short ribs with salt & pepper. Brown ribs in dutch oven on all sides over medium-high heat. Remove ribs, set aside, then add onion, carrots, celery to hot pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Put ribs back in pan and add barbecue sauce, coffee and beef broth. Cover pan and place in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until falling off the bone tender. At this point you can cool for serving the next day or you can skim the excess fat off the surface of the sauce. If you'd like a thicker sauce you can remove the ribs, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with cold water, when thickened put ribs back in sauce. Can be served with baked beans and cornbread.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Portobello Stroganoff

Fortunately, I have just the kind of delicious recipe that makes you consider going veggie more frequently. I absolutely love using portobello mushroom as a meat substitute. They are dense, chewy and they play well with others.

I have to be truthful with you and say that most of this recipe came from my fading memory. It was, of course, a beef stroganoff recipe that they described as extra-special. The specialness came from some additional flavor ingredients outside of the traditional onion and sour cream.

Adding flavor to this recipe is important because the mushrooms are fat-free and so they need a boost. The technique is also important for flavor and so you need to follow the preparation instructions as well. You don't want your mushrooms to be soggy.


4 large portobellos, gills removed, and sliced not too thinly

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup butter or olive oil

1 pint sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable base (Superior Touch - Better Than Bouillon -Vegetable Base) QFC-Redmond

1/4 cup ketchup (oh Yes!)

2 T Worchestire sauce

salt and pepper

fresh parsley

White or Brown Rice

Heat half of butter or olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, lay flat and walk away - try and keep from over-stirring the mushrooms because you want them to get nice and brown and not to release all that moisture - when brown turn over and repeat. When mushrooms done (you might have to do them in batches) remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the rest of the butter and olive oil, add onion and cook until slightly browned, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add mushrooms back to the pan, lower heat to medium low, then add vegetable base, ketchup and worchestire sauce. Taste the base of your stroganoff at this point and add additional vegetable base and salt and pepper as needed. (Remember the sour cream will soften the flavor considerably). When heated through add sour cream. Cook until just hot and serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy.

Meatless Mondays start to catch on

There is a movement in this country that has begun to pick up some speed according to a story in the Washington Post yesterday. It is the Meatless Monday campaign that is a "movement backed by a broad array of public-health advocates, animal welfare advocates and environmentalists that asks carnivores to give up meat one day a week." This is the perfect place to start for those of you who've started thinking about reducing the amount of meat you consume.

Meatless Mondays were first introduced during the second world war when it was all about giving things up for the cause. With so many of our young men and women fighting overseas it wasn't a hard sell and, in general, Americans hadn't yet come to feel quite so entitled to meat 3 times a day. I guess that partially explains why we weren't so fat in those days.

Needless to say the meat industry didn't like it then and they don't like it now. They are combating the argument by saying that their scientists suggest that eating meat often is actually the best possible thing for you. That would explain the Hormel commercial with the little boy holding a "meat" sandwich as big as his what is wrong with that picture? In our culture that seems normal but in other cultures the meat on that little boy's sandwich would feed a family for a week.

But since this movement was brought back alive by a non-profit organization called Health Monday in association with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003 it has really begun to take off. Recently the chef Mario Batali has joined the movement and incorporated it into his fourteen usually very-meaty restaurants by offering a vegetarian selection with the moniker (MM). Also the Baltimore public schools, 32 US Hospitals (that seems like a good fit), and the city of Ghent in Belgium to name a few.

If you'd like a good recipe to start with you should check out my Portobello Stroganoff. It's delicious and you won't feel like you're missing a thing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fresh Rockfish with Red Onion -Lemon Vinaigrette

In order to eliminate factory farmed meat from our families diet I have been incorporating a lot more fish in my weekly menu planning. But like most people I am not always perfectly satisfied with the freshness of the fish that I am purchasing. Supermarkets, even Whole Foods and PCC Natural Markets, are not always as fresh as I prefer.

I refuse to purchase fish from Fred Meyer or Safeway because they've sold me some of the worst fish I've ever tasted. QFC is not much better but if you get there on the right day you might get lucky. The best way to get fish in Redmond is to develop a relationship with the people in charge of fish at PCC and Whole Foods and get them to tell you when their shipments usually come in.

If you are able you should take a pleasant drive around Lake Washington to arrive at the town on the other side; Issaquah. A new fresh fish store called Gemini Fish Market has opened on Gilman Boulevard and so far they've been fantastic. Sign up for their weekly e-mail to get the latest and the greatest that he has to offer.

An example of his last offerings will make your mouth water:

Fresh Columbia River Salmon (from a small tribal fishery - DELICIOUS)
Fresh Alaskan Troll Caught King Salmon both Red & White
26 Live Maine Lobsters
Fresh Dungeness Crab Fry Legs

That should give you an idea and they have lots of wonderful oyster choices and other shellfish. Not long ago he received some fresh rockfish and raved about the flavor so I picked some up and prepared this dish. The vinaigrette recipe is from the cookbook Wildwood, Cooking from the source in the Pacific Northwest.

Rockfish with Red Onion-Lemon Vinaigrette

1 pound rockfish fillets
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Red Onion-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 T Extra Virgin Olive oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons
4 lemons, peeled and segmented
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

To make the vinaigrette just combine all ingredients and mix until well combined in small bowl. Set aside.

To cook the rockfish place 1 T olive oil in ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the fish and cook until the edges begin to turn up. Turn over fillets in skillet and then place pan in center of preheated 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until fish is done. Place on plate and spoon vinaigrette over the top.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Puttanesca Meatball Sliders

My spouse is a big fan of puttanesca sauce because he loves olives and capers. So when I spotted this recipe in the March issue of Sunset magazine I knew I had to make it for him. Anyway, few people can resist a slider.

I actually saw Mario Batali prepare something very similar on the Iron Chef on the Food Network. At the time I thought it was an ingenious idea and filed it away in my tiny brain for later. But, until this issue of Sunset came out, I had forgotten all about it. (Note, I did mention the tiny brain.)

Of course, I didn't follow the recipe word for word. Not just because I am a contrarian but because I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. Let me just say that the recipe didn't suffer terribly from my tinkering. Somethings you have to work very hard to wreck.

So much of this recipe can be done in advance and that is why they would make an excellent finger food for any party. Just reheat the meatballs in the sauce and serve them up on soft rolls. And if you ever had a hard time getting your children to eat and enjoy a meal.........try this!!!



1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. each red chile flakes and fennel seeds, crushed (use a mortal and pestle on the seeds)

1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed

1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1 Tbsp. roughly chopped capers

1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp . each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 lb each humane/organic ground beef and ground pork

1/4 cup vegetable oil


16 fresh basil leaves about the size of dinner rolls

16 small (2 inch wide) soft dinner rolls, split and toasted

1/2 cup shaved pecorino

Make sauce. In a pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, chile flakes, and fennel; cook until garlic softens, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine egg, milk, and panko and let sit for a few minutes. When crumbs are softened, stir in grated pecorino, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Add meats, breaking up with your fingers, and mix well with your hands. With wet hands, roll meat mixture in to 16 balls, each about 1 1/2 in. wide. (I made my meatballs larger so it only made 10 because I wasn't serving them for a party.)

Heat oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook meatballs until well browned all over, turning as needed, 6 to 8 minutes total; reduce heat if needed. With a slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to paper towels.

Gently stir meatballs into sauce, return to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is very thick, 10 to 15 minutes.

To serve, put a basil leaf in each roll. Set a meatball and a generous spoonful of sauce on each basil leaf, then add a little pecorino. Close sandwiches with toothpicks if you like. Serve with napkins.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs are Worth Waiting For - Slow Cooker Alert

It looks like Redmond is going to be getting a stretch of cool weather this week. Not quite what we've been experiencing so far this year with these wonderful warm days. This recipe is a terrific cold weather dinner and your family will love you.

Despite all of my best intentions of reducing my beef intake I do still enjoy eating it every once in a while. And, as far as I'm concerned, if you're going to fall off the wagon you might as well fall hard. Many people would argue that the best way to do that is a juicy, grass-fed steak but my favorite cut is the more humble short rib.

The short rib is beautifully marbled and when slow cooked is fall off the bone tender. In the 60's and 70's the short ribs were a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, and though increased popularity has driven up prices over the years, they still fall well below the cost of filet mignon. Short ribs are also starting to appear more frequently on restaurant menus.

There are so many great recipes for short ribs it is difficult to choose. Our family recipe had a tomato based sauce with lots of sliced onions, slow cooked and served over mashed russets. Perhaps my all time favorite for sentimental reasons.

But you have to try new things and there was plenty to choose from. I decided on a recipe from John Besh strictly because I've seen the guy on the Food Network, he's from New Orleans, and he seems to understand how to give dishes a lot of depth. The recipe is super-involved and I shortened the whole process considerably. This is my adaption of Chef Besh's recipe.


2 to 3 pounds beef short ribs, bone-in, about 8

Sea salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups zinfandel

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 T minced garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked off stem

1 1/2 oz. canola oil

1 cup small diced onion

1/4 cup each small diced celery and small diced carrot

6 ounces canned chopped tomatoes

1 cup good deep beef broth

1 oz mushrooms, preferably porcini

1 bay leaf

Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. Whisk zinfandel, sugar, garlic, fresh thyme, and a pinch of salt. Place ribs in mixture and marinate for 12 hours. (I marinated for about 2 hours and they were fine.)

Remove ribs from marinade and allow them to rest and come to room temperature. Put canola oil in dutch oven over high heat. Brown ribs in batches until crispy brown on exterior. When done set aside and add diced vegetables into the pan. Stirring constantly cook until onion turns mahogany color, about 10 minutes, scrape up all the good brown bits from the pan.

Reduce heat to medium and add ribs back to pan along with the wine marinade. Let wine come to a boil, skim foam off if necessary, and then reduce heat to low. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer uncovered until meat is fork tender and falling off the bone, roughly 5 hours. (I did not have the time for that so I cooked it covered for about 2 1/2 hours.)

Remove ribs from pan, cover and set aside. Continue cooking sauce for another 30 minutes until reduced and coating a spoon. You can strain the sauce but I left it with the cooked down veggies still in it. I also thickened my sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Return ribs to pan and coat with braising liquid. Serve over your favorite starch. Chef Besh prefers polenta but I like a traditional garlic mashed potatoes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Molten Chocolate Mousse Cups taste like Chocolate Air

I am a true Northwesterner. I love everything about it including the rain, the dripping forests and even the slugs. That is why I can't live without my Sunset magazine.

The quintessential Northwest magazine it has been in continuous publication since its first issue in May of 1898. There are only a handful of magazines that can boast of that kind of success. I believe the reason is that its editorial focus is on an area of the country that is absolutely riveting in its beauty and diversity.

They also have some really good recipes to go along with their pictures of ferns and waterfalls. Their February issue featured one of the most spectacular recipe sections they've ever published in my humble opinion. It was called a Bite Size Chocolate Party and it included a fabulous array of tiny chocolate desserts.

Consider Two-Bite Chocolate Cream Pies or Brownie Ice Cream Mini Sandwiches. And the Sugared Chocolate Beignets are definitely on my bucket list. The one that I did try and am recommending to you is the Molten Chocolate Mousse Cups!!!!

First let me say that they are remarkably easy to make and store in your freezer. Second, unless you're having a party or have an enormous family I recommend cutting this recipe in half. Third, pay attention to the cup size. They say 4 ounces and you should try to stick to that. I had these tiny cappuccino cups that were just too small and they didn't bake up well.


14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup unsalted butter

6 large eggs, seperated

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

Melt chocolate until almost completed melted and then remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside.

With a mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites and salt in a bowl until foamy. With mixer still on, slowly rain in sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

Stir yolks into chocolate mixture until completely blended. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in whites. (This takes quite a while to get everything nicely incorporated). Spoon mixture into 12 - 4 oz. ovenproof coffee cups. Cover each cup with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week. (I've kept mine longer and they still seem fine). Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set cakes on a baking pan and bake until puffed, cracked on the edges, and wet looking in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. (Mine get slightly more puffed and slightly less wet looking in the center but they are still heavenly).

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Bad Food News - Rotten Tomatoes

Just when I think that I might be going a little overboard worrying about the food we're eating in the United States, something comes up to remind me why I should be paranoid. In another piece of good reporting the New York Times has reported that Kraft, Safeway, Frito-Lay, and B&G foods have been taking bribes from a tomato food processor called SK Foods. According to federal prosecutors the bribes were offered in order to allow SK to sell them tomatoes so full of mold and other defects they would not pass federal tests. Not that we have any kind of inspection system or anything.

This is just another case of the "chickens coming home to roost." For the last decade the party in power didn't believe that business and industry needed to be regulated and so they didn't regulate them. Because as we all know the captains of industry are the most altruistic bunch you are every likely to meet and would no more endanger the American public then drink a martini without an olive, right?

They certainly proved that in the banking industry, unregulated they made a great deal of money for themselves, not so good for the rest of us though. And how can we forget the peanut recall where the product left the farm knowingly contaminated with salmonella and sickened hundreds? Peanuts that were so disgusting that our neighbors Canada refused them entry.

The problem is that inspecting food, airplanes, banks, etc. after the poo has hit the proverbial fan or somebody has died, is like closing the barn door after Elvis has left the building. People enjoy thinking that revelations such as the ammonia in the hamburger of McDonalds & Burger King is an unusual event when in fact basically our entire food industry is self-regulated! It is becoming increasingly evident that unless you know exactly where your food came from it is a total crap shoot.

I visited Krafts website to try and find out exactly how many tomato products they have but was unsuccessful because they have so many brands. But I did find that they consider themselves one of the most trusted names in the food industry. "We've put in place strong food safety and quality systems for our ingredients and our products."

Apparently some of their food brokers didn't get the memo because one of them was recently arrested at a New York airport. Allegedly Robert Watson, a food buyer for Kraft foods, found himself $20,000 short of a fully paid tax bill. So he called his buddy, a tomato broker in California, and asked him for the money. The broker was happy to help out although, being good businessmen, told him it would have to come out of his normal "commissions."

According to the New York Times these tainted shipments involved as many as 55 companies. "In some cases, companies detected problems and sent the product back - but in many cases, according to prosecutors, they did not, and the tainted ingredients wound up in food sold to consumers." That doesn't leave me feeling warm and fuzzy about the food industry.

The good news is we have access to farmers markets. The bad news is that Redmond Saturday market doesn't start until May. In the meantime, buy fresh and local as much as you can. At least you can see if your tomatoes are rotten.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Valentines Day Breakfast that will melt your loved ones Heart

This Valentines Day lands on a Sunday. A day of sleeping in, reading the paper (if you still get one!), and enjoying a leisurely, late breakfast. The whole day just screams out for a delicious breakfast treat that will make your loved ones feel special.

Recently I wrote about a new cookbook of mine called Wildwood. It is named after a restaurant in Portland, Oregon of the same name. The book focuses on fresh local ingredients from the Pacific Northwest.

This Valentines Day breakfast recipe is inspired by this cookbook. The author and chefs version uses real cream, wine, asiago cheese, wild mushrooms & thyme and is served on a homemade brioche. But it is based on an original version that used a simple bechamel sauce.

I went for simplicity based on what was in my refrigerator at the time. But their is no reason that a cook couldn't modify this recipe using what he or she has in their refrigerator. The whole point is to make it a rich and one-of-a-kind delicious.

Serve with buttered French Bread Toast or English muffins. Mimosas never hurt either~!


1/2 cup fresh cup cooked crab meat from the leg of a King Crab

1 cup 2% or whole milk

2 T butter

1 T flour

salt & pepper

1/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese (optional)

1/4 tsp dill or thyme (optional)

Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan. Add flour, salt & pepper and mix to create a roux. Slowly add milk at medium heat to roux stirring continuously. As mixture thickens and begins to come to a boil, remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until completely melted and then add crab and herbs. Stir and set aside.

Prepare 4 egg omelet with 1/4 cup milk, salt & pepper. Do not overcook.

Place omelet on platter and pour creamed crab over the top. Serve with toast, mimosas and a valentines day card! Enjoy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday Chili

There are only 4 more days until Super Bowl Sunday and mouths are already beginning to water. If you live in New Orleans or Indianapolis then you will be excused from thinking of things other than "what the heck are we going to eat?" But for the rest of us it is the most burning question, right in front of "what kind of commercials are they going to have this year?"

If you're lucky then you have probably seen some pretty incredible Super Bowl Sunday spreads before. Whether it be a from-one-end-of-the-table-to-the-other cornucopia of every salty snack ever dreamed of by Frito Lay or a gourmands dream of stuffed lobster tail and caviar, it is always something to look forward to. Both of those options have their guilty appeal but one of them is as easy as opening a bag while the other will keep you busy all day.

Personally, I'd rather watch the game and the commercials then be in the kitchen the whole time. It's not fun slaving over a stove while people are cheering, screaming, etc. in the other room. Unless you are the paid caterer your place is with the rest of the party.

To that end I'll be offering some delicious but simple ways to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday without spending the whole time over a hot stove or opening a bag of chips. This quick, easy and tasty chili recipe will do the trick quite nicely. It has multiple qualities that make it a good choice for a football treat:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy
  • Can make ahead
  • One pot meal preparation
  • It is vegetarian but your meat loving friends will never know it.

Super Bowl Sunday Chorizo Chili

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

1 -15 oz can stewed tomatoes

2-15 oz cans black beans

1-15 oz can corn giblets

1-12 oz Trader Joes Soy Chorizo

2 T Cumin (Taste your chili here because the chorizo is very spicy. You can add or subtract additional spices according to your own tastes.)

1 or 2 Tsp Chili Powder

1 T vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Add vegetable oil to large pan over medium-high heat. Throw in chopped onion and squeeze in chorizo. Break up chorizo while stirring and cook until onion is softened. Add all other ingredients. Stir and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. You can prepare in advance and store in the refrigerator until game time. Heat thoroughly on stove before serving.

Taking it Easy on Super Bowl Sunday

Keeping things simple when you are having guests is what it is all about. Unless you have hidden powers it is terribly difficult to mix with your friends while your head is buried in a bowl of pasta. Not being born an "Incredible" I am not capable of that trick.

I also happen to be a football fan and really would like to watch the Saints vs Colts match-up. As a Seahawk fan this year it will be a relief to watch football players who have some general competency and skill. The Saints/Vikings game was terrific and, even though I'm not a Brett Favre fan, the commentators and cameramen were not able to drive me away.

So given all these facts I have decided to punt in the kitchen this Sunday. I could not resist all the tasty treats at offer at Trader Joes and decided to avail myself of them. I have certainly used them before when having a party so this would not be unheard of.

(A visit to Costco today made me glad I had already completed my SBS shopping. They had so much to offer and taste in the snack food realm that customers were gaining weight in the aisles. I probably wouldn't have been able to resist and bought 10 times as much as I needed. Whooooooo).

My menu this year will consist of some homemade things accompanied by some Trader Joe things; a nice mix. Yesterday I posted my Chorizo Chili recipe and everything else on the menu is pretty self-explanatory. I have not been able to find mini-burger buns anywhere so I just bought hot dog buns and plan on cutting them down to size.


Chorizo and Black Bean Chili ( vegetarian)

Lamb sliders with Bacon Jam (jam is from & lamb is from Thundering Hooves)

Buffalo Chicken Wings w/Blue Cheese Dressing & Celery

Parmesan Pastry Pups w/sweet hot mustard

Organic Yellow Tortilla Chips w/Mango Salso & Beef, Bean and Cheese Dip

Assorted Beverages (As the Dude would say "Careful man, there's a beverage here!")

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pear Salad & Garlic Croutons

One of the benefits of living in such a beautiful area is that it also comes with an amazing assortment of local ingredients that we can cook with. Not everything is in season when you'd like it to be but there is no reason you can't eat local all year round here. That is why I recently picked up a book called "Wildwood, Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest."

The book is written by Cory Schreiber who is the chef and owner of the famous restaurant Wildwood in Portland, Oregon. Although Chef Schreiber focuses mostly on ingredients from Oregon you will find it translates easily for we northerners. The seafood, wine, forest mushrooms, berries and produce that he uses can all be found here too.

This cookbook makes me wish I lived next door to a farmers market because I want to prepare just about everything in it. Consider some of these recipes:

  • Panfried Razor Clams with Bread Crumbs, Herbs and Lemon
  • Salad of Field Greens with Crispy Fried Oysters, Aioli, and Smoky Bacon on an Herbed Crepe.
  • Creamed Morels with Apple Brandy, Thyme, and Roasted Garlic.
  • Roasted Chicken Thighs with Morel Mushrooms, Asparagus and Garlic
  • Potato and Clam Soup with Sour Cream, Thyme, and Garlic Croutons.

The top two recipes you can prepare just about any time of year but the recipes with morels is a short but delicious season in the spring. I am looking forward to pairing the asparagus and morels since Chef Schreiber thinks they're a perfect match that ripen at the same time in the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, I'm not above taking different things from recipes and putting them together in my own way.

The bottom line is that you have to use what is available in your own pantry sometimes because running to the store every time you need an ingredient is bad for the environment and not much fun either. So with some Thundering Hooves chicken thighs, fresh garlic, local pears, fresh rosemary and fresh greens on hand I put something together. When all put together it made a delicious meal.


2 T Olive Oil

2 T Balsamic vinegar

1 T minced fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

8 chicken thighs, or 4 boneless chicken breast halves

In a large self-sealing plastic bag, combine the oil, vinegar, rosemary, and pepper. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and rotate to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife.


2 T olive oil

1 to 2 cloves garlic, depending on your taste

2 cups 1/2 thick cubed french or country bread

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic for 3 minutes, or until translucent; do not brown! Add the bread cubes, tossing to coat. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside. Can be prepared in advance.

Take 1 pear and cut into slices. Place on top of mixed field greens. Prepare your dressing:

1 tsp olive oil

2 T Balsamic vinegar

1 T Honey

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk and drizzle over greens and pears. Top with Garlic Croutons and serve with Roasted Chicken.

Delicious Blueberry Smoothies for Breakfast that are good for you too

Our family always makes an effort to go blueberry picking when they're in season. We usually head up to North Bend to pick them under the beautiful shadow of Mt. Si. They are so plentiful you can fill a bucket in no time.

There is nothing like a blueberry pie in the middle of winter to improve the general mood. It is pure summer in a pie shell. Surprise your guests some time and feel the love.

The great thing about blueberries is that they freeze so easily and so well. In an hour of picking we were able to freeze about 10 quarts in individual 5 cup baggies. We could easily have picked more.

Blueberries are the most fortunate of all berries and we have a lot to choose from in the bountiful northwest. Because of their dark skin they are rich in anti-oxidents that counteract against the toxins in our bodies. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals to say nothing of tasting pretty darned good.

A great way to get a daily intake of blueberries without indulging in pie or muffins is to make a smoothie in the morning. I make one that is so yummy that you could order it as a milkshake and not blink an eye when you drank it. You can play with the ingredients but this combination really works for me.


1 banana, sliced

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

1 cup Activia light vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup 1 % milk (adjust depending on how thick you want our smoothie)

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until everything is incorporated and smooth. Pour into glass, top with 2 or 3 blueberries, and enjoy. Makes two 1 cup servings. (If serving only 1, cover remaining with plastic and refrigerate. It keeps very well.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Take Action and tell USDA you don't want GE food in your Organics

Once again the United States Department of Agriculture is siding with big business over the consumer. It is obvious that their clients are no longer the American people but Corporate America. They do great work for Monsanto and Beef Products, Inc. but not so much for Mr. and Mrs. Brown on Main Street.

The problem here is something called Roundup Ready alfalfa which is alfalfa that has been genetically modified to withstand spraying by the poison Roundup. Despite the fact that we don't actually eat alfalfa we do consume milk, butter, ice cream and beef. The USDA intends to allow companies to label food as organic even though the cow has been fed genetically modified alfalfa.

How does this benefit the consumer? It doesn't, of course. It does benefit the giant corporations that market and sell the food.

There is also the problem of putting real organic farmers out of business. The USDA admits that their study reveals that allowing this will hurt farmers and the organic food industry but apparently that's not enough to stop them from proceeding. Leave it to Corporate America to turn a naturally developing healthy trend into something they can profit on while leaving the entire original ideal in the dust.

The fact is that the poison in Roundup, glyphosate, is dangerous to humans. "Studies have shown that glyphosate clearly is linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and that glyphosate damages and kills human cells even at diluted levels far below recommendations." Since you can grow alfalfa that is not genetically modified why take the risk?

Please let us stop the USDA from making this dangerous decision before the February 16th deadline. You can learn more by reading this from PCC Markets and they will also provide you with a link for taking action. We are the David to the Corporate Goliath, let's see if we can make a difference.

Not long ago I found spring roll wrappers at PCC Market and since then they've become a staple in our pantry. They seem to keep forever although you will find yourself using them more often than you expected. As long as you keep plenty of fresh vegetables in your house you will always have a fresh, easy and fun meal at close hand.

Spring rolls are also a great way to incorporate vegetables into your meal in a way that children might not find so offensive. There are no limits to the kinds of ingredients you can put into a spring roll so making them kid friendly is easy. To ensure satisfaction, have a little fun, and delegate labor encourage your family to create their own!

The reality is rolling a lot of spring rolls is lake stuffing a lot of manicoti, it's nice to have help because even though it's easy it still takes time. Show your kids the technique of dipping the wrappers in water, laying them flat, placing the filling on the wrapper, and then the easy fold and roll. Try having an wide assortment of ingredients that your family will love, for example:

leftover chicken, beef, or fish

cooked shrimp


shredded cabbage

shredded carrots

green onion

green pepper

cilantro and parsley

chopped garlic & ginger

fresh bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts

chopped water chestnuts

You get the picture. There really is nothing that you can't put inside a spring roll. Maybe even try and dessert roll with fresh fruit, coconut & chocolate sauce for dipping.

Below there is a recipe that I follow with various interpretations. You can plan on cooking them or eating them fresh. I split the following batch in two and did half in the oven and left the other half fresh. The ingredients just fill a full batch of wrappers when using 2 wrappers per spring roll, which I recommend.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

3 green onions chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 T chopped fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves chopped

Soy sauce to taste & pepper to taste.

Mix ingredients together. Take 2 spring roll wrappers and dip into water to soften enough to roll easily. Personally I like them pretty wet. Add 2 to 3 T of filling to lower part of wet wrapper laid flat. Roll a couple of times, fold in the sides and then roll until done. Repeat until all wrappers are used up.

You can consume just the way they are or you can preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray non-stick on cookie sheet, place spring rolls on sheet, give them light spray with same non-stick and put in oven for 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown. Serve both with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The USDA and Beef Products, Inc.: a marriage from Hell

It is a great privilege to be able to write about food and cooking. Especially in these exciting new days of discovering local food that is grown safely and organically. It would be wonderful to be able to focus on all the good things that are happening right now but every once in a while we have to get more serious.

The fact is that the discussion about food production in America is just beginning to get heated up, (unlike our planet which started some time back). Our food policies in the United States have resulted in factory farms, E-coli ridden fruits and vegetables, and a population that is getting larger by the minute. This leaves us with lots of cheap burgers accompanied by polluted air & water, deadly diseases, and on a fast track for a handicap sticker and an automated cart at the grocery store.

The latest revelations about food policy and the United States Department of Agriculture's role in it, will not make you want to smile. The New York Times recently reported that the company Beef Products, Inc., in an effort to increase profits, found a way to make the once-relegated-to-petfood leavings into hamburger for human consumption. These fatty leavings, unfortunately, are highly susceptible to contamination so they developed a method of injecting it with ammonia.

I know that sounds delicious but it gets better. The so noble Beef Products, Inc. then found a company and paid them to do a study to see how their new ammonia process was working. The hired hand, (shockingly, I might add), found that the process was practically infallible in it's destruction of E-coli.

It was then that the US taxpayers reasonably-paid employees at the USDA stepped up to the plate to do their job; that is to make sure the hamburger was safe for human consumption. But, apparently, this job has become pretty easy because all it involved was a reading and "approval" of BPI's own commissioned study. This must have taken at least a couple of hours.

In fact in 2007 the USDA was so confident in the BPI's ammonia process they EXEMPTED(!) them from normal food testing. With that vote of confidence by the US government the company has gone on to become the golden source for almost all the fast food giants in the country. (Do we have to name names?) Even more frightening is that the federal lunch program used 5.5 million pounds of the crap in school lunches over the last couple of years.

The upshot of all this corporate favoritism is that there have been multiple incidents of salmonella and E-coli being found in BPI products. It has been the federal school lunch program that has been doing the testing and discovering the nastiness since 2005 but the USDA never got wind of it despite the fact that they're in the same department. (How is that possible to even believe?)

Now that the disgusting hamburger has hit the proverbial fan the USDA has changed its tune. BPI has lost its exemption. The question every American needs to be asking is why they ever had one to start with?