November 2008 Archives

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are most certainly spoiled by the huge variety of local, hand crafted, lip smacking micro brewed beers. But order one up at your favorite watering hole, and it will probably arrive in the same old boring pint glass.

"I want to drink my beer out of a giant glass boot!" You scream, while shaking your fists up at the starry night sky. But there really is no reason to scream. You can enjoy a brew in a boot at Die BierStube; a German-style bar tucked into Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood.

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Boot boozing is more of an organized occasion than a leisurely after work drink. In order to order one, there must be at least three thirsty people in your party. Once your two liter arrives, the game begins. Pass the boot around, but never ever let it touch the table. If it does, that person will be penalized. I hear the punishment is supposed to involve chugging the entire boot, but my friends and I hold the guilty person to a rousing round of Truth or Dare. Boot drinking isn't for the weak - it involves some skill. Once the beer level drops to the ankle, you have to tilt the glass just so...or end up with a face full of foam.

Beer lovers will be tickled with Die BierStube's selection. There are more than a dozen German brews on tap including one of my favorites, Franziskaner WeissBier, a wheat ale with notes of banana. If you crave the classic beer and pretzel combination, Die BierStube's are big, warm, and soft and served with squirts of grainy and spicy/sweet mustards.

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So say goodbye to boring old pints of beer. But I'm warning you: once you go boot, you never go back.

Prost!

Shakshooka is a dish made of tomatoes and eggs. It is a great breakfast dish since it has protein and vegetables. Use any tasty bread to dip into it.
Shakshooka in Hebrew comes from the verb "leshakshek" which means "to shake". The dish is basically eggs that have been shaken.


Recipe for 2:

2 tablespoons of oil
3 garlic cloves
Half an onion or 1 full onion diced
3 large tomatoes or 5-6 smaller ones cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of chili pepper or anything else that is spicy
4 eggs
Salt and pepper


1. Heat the oil and saute the onion with the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat, partially covered for 15 minutes.
3. Season with chili pepper, salt and pepper.
4. Add tomato paste and taste the seasoning (it should be spicy).
5. The egg part is very important. You have to make room for the eggs. Make holes
in the sauce and break the eggs inside each hole one at a time (You can break the eggs into another bowl first and then transfer them but make sure to do one at a time.)
6. Cook on low heat until eggs are stabilized. They should look like sunny side up eggs in tomato sauce.
7. Use your favorite bread to soak up egg mixture.

Note: You can also add a little cooked sausage or chorizo for extra flavor.

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1. Make your own croutons. All you have to do is cut day -old bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper or any other spices and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep checking every few minutes to make sure they don't burn
and mix them while you check.


2. Use every type of fruit can you can find, Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit or mandarins in a can. Just toss them in and you have a great salad.

3. Crunch is the key. Anything works; granola, All bran cereal or crushed crackers. Just make sure you get the crunch in there.

4. Yogurt. A little yogurt goes a long way. When you are not in the mood for lettuce but
you know that you need to eat some. Just pour some yogurt on top and mix it in. Top it with some Zaatar, a Mediterranean spice and you get an interesting salad.

5. Flavored Salts. Salts come in all flavors today. Get some truffle salt, some
Nicoise flavored salt or any other salt that can add that flavor you need. Try Secret Stash salts for a large variety of unique salts.

7. Go Nuts. Cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds or any other nut that you can find. They all add the protein and flavor you need.

8. Pickles. I know it sounds odd but chopped up pickles add a salty and wonderful touch to a salad.

9. Eggs. Hard boiled eggs chopped and added to a salad add a certain creaminess along with a nice serving of protein.

10, Cheese. Every cheese adds a different touch. Use a microplane grater to grate the cheese into a puffy topping. You will end up using less and tasting more. Ideas: Parmesan, Ricotta Salata, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese or Cottage Cheese.

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god-in-a-cup.jpg I love coffee. Any book subtitled, 'The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee', is sure to be right up my alley, so when Michaele Weissman's publicist contacted me asking if I'd like to talk to the author of the book God in a Cup, I jumped at the chance.

The book follows coffee buyers from Stumptown, Intelligencia, and Counter Culture, three of the leaders in the U.S. specialty coffee business, as they travel to the source for many of the best coffee beans on the market. Michaele Weissman manages to craft an engaging story of the challenges faced in sourcing the world's best beans. From creating a supply chain that compensates the growers fairly, to making compromises in the course of growing a coffee distribution business, these three rockstars of coffee industry cross paths throughout the narrative as they navigate the complexities of crop failures, corruption, and uncompromising attention to quality. If you love great coffee, God in a Cup is a must read.

In person Michaele Weismann was a delight to visit with. She's genuinely passionate about coffee and offered a number of anecdotal updates to events transpiring at the time the book went to print. While I'm already a coffee snob, having been forever ruined by drinking great coffee, I came away feeling like I knew more about why my taste preferences are what they are. You can follow along with additional updates to the book at the God in a Cup blog.

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one invited to speak with Michaele Weismann. Keren Brown coordinated another fabulous food blogger gathering where we all peppered Michaele with questions about coffee and the book. Among the attendees were Joann, Seattle Tall Poppy, the owner of Muse Coffee Co, and Dawn and Eric from Wright Eats.