Big Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends
by Tom Douglas
(With Ed Levine, Shelley Lance, and Jackie Cross)
is a great restaurant town. There's always somewhere new
to try, where you can get creative, unpretentious food,
backed by strong culinary talent. Tom Douglas is a big player
up there. He and his wife, Jackie Cross, own and operate
three consistently top-rated restaurants: Dahlia
Seafood, and Palace
Kitchen. A few years ago, he captured the Seattle food
experience in his first cookbook, Tom
Douglas' Seattle Kitchen. Now, Douglas (with Ed
Levine, Shelley Lance, and Jackie Cross) gives us something
new to appreciate with Tom's
Big Dinners: Big Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends.
on your frame of mind, Tom's Big Dinners is either
an incentive or easy excuse to eat big and often with plenty
of friends and family around the table. Douglas should know.
He grew up in a large family, with plenty of noise, house
rules and three square homemade meals every day. Food and
conversation were plentiful, and it's clear that he loved
it enough to capture it in a cookbook. Like Marion
Cunningham (Lost Recipes), he advocates slowing
down and appreciating life, with food as the impetus. And
that's exactly what Tom's Big Dinners celebrates
in 13 large-meal-oriented chapters.
Big Dinners opens with a heartwarming introduction and
a simple discussion of basics, including instructions for
making Chicken Stock and Chicken Demiglace. Douglas then
launches into a full menu for a Chinook Salmon Roast. It
starts with Mom's Crab Dip on Russet Potato Chips, followed
by Whole Salmon on the Grill Stuffed with Sea Salt, Lemon,
and Onion; Hazelnut Rice Salad with Parsley and Artichokes;
and a toothsome Butternut Squash Gingerbread. This menu,
as are all throughout the book, is balanced with wine pairings
that lean heavily in the direction of Washington State.
is A Chinese Feastjust how you would want to eat in
Chinatown, with lots of intensely flavored bites to sample.
Try a taste of everything including Sticky-Finger Ribs,
Wok-Fried Clams with Chinese Black Beans, and Five-Spice
Roast Chicken. It's neither challenging to find the ingredients
nor difficult to prepare.
Big Dinners continues with 11 more clever, family-style
meals. They're diverse, interesting and fun. A Wine Cellar
Dinner starts with Goat Cheese Fondue with Toasted Bread
and Apples, and ends with Chocolate Crêpes with Gewürztraminer
Syrup. Columbia Crest provides the wine for each course.
A vibrant ethnic meal can be found in Grandpa Louie's Dream
Greek Vacation, and there's a nice surprise in the Czech-inspired
Remembering Labuznik. How about Slow-Roasted Pork with Caraway
Onion Gravy, and Bitter Orange Chocolate Mousse for Dessert?
sets out a compelling vegetarian meal in the Pike Place
Market Menu, and its antithesis appears in the down-home
Screen Door Barbecue. Dinner with Dale Chihuly is rustic
and sophisticated, yet completely accessible-from Olive-Stuffed
Flank Steak, and Wilted Escarole and Garlic-Fried Garbanzo
Beans, to a Pine Nut Marzipan Tart.
Big Dinners is also big on clear cooking instruction,
useful advice, helpful tips, food sources and wine suggestions.
It's easy to follow and fun to read. While most recipes
yield six to eight servings, don't pass on Tom's Big
Dinners if there are only two at the table. Don't scale
down the recipes, either. Eat well tonight and share the
CHEESE FONDUE WITH TOASTED BREAD AND APPLES
by Kevin Schoeler