Archive for May, 2009

More Accolades for Dana

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

It seems like you can’t go more than a few days recently without having someone sing her praises. Of course, it’s all well deserved. Here at Tastingmenu, we’ve known how great Dana is for some time (even before she started writing here — in fact it’s why we wanted her to share her opinions on this site.) The latest praise is from the editor herself of Seattle Magazine. And since Dana would never post it, I will. Allison Austin Scheff writes:

“Dana Cree, the pastry chef at Poppy (and one of the Rebel Chefs from April’s Best Restaurants issue) is the thinking-diner’s pastry chef. She analyzes, tweeks, re-works (and Twitters about all of it @deensie) and all of her smarty-chef work really pays off.”

She goes on:

“The most intriguing thing I tasted was Cree’s sassafrass ice cream, made with anise hyssop and sassafrass root (plus spices). I kept taking small spoonfuls and catching intriguing tastes of this, no that. It didn’t quite taste like a rootbeer float, as our waiter had said, it was more like those little barrel-shaped rootbeer candies, with a strange, illusive heat somewhere that disappeared before you could nail exactly what it was. What a fantastic scoop of ice cream.”

And finally:

“…for a dessert that’ll make you think, that might leave you in awe or open your eyes to possibilities you might not have imagined, do yourself a favor and get to Poppy. Dana Cree’s a serious talent.”

Yay Dana! Go read the entire thing.

I now have a vegetable garden. Vegetables coming soon.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I am a big fan of vegetables. Fresh, flavorful, crispy, juicy vegetables can’t be beat. One of my favorite meals of all time was almost entirely composed of vegetables. (The meal was prepared emphasizing the greatness of the vegetables themselves rather than trying to simulate some sort of meat-based dish.) I would eat a lot more vegetables at home if this country was better designed for fresh vegetable consumption (1. Americans need to demand vegetables that have great flavor, not just ones that look good and are cheap, 2. these mythical vegetables need to be available within walking distance from your house, so you can buy them fresh every day.)

Pending a major restructuring of this country’s priorities when it comes to fresh vegetables, I had been resigned to mediocre veggies once a week from the supermarket, and eating expensive quality veggies from Wholefoods once every two weeks. But, I still yearn for better. The econapocolypse and the inevitable crumbling of society has brought all this into focus for me — I need to grow my own vegetables. Unfortunately, if I gauged my ability to nurture living things based on my history with plants then I never would have had children. Past performance would have indicated that they never would have made it to their first birthdays. In addition, the pacific northwest is not exactly prime vegetable growing territory.

Enter Seattle Farm.

For a minimum of $250 they’ll come set up a raised bed in a sunny spot in your yard, fill it with good dirt, run automatic drip irrigation lines so you don’t have to water it every day (this is key for me!!!). And then, even better, for $35 a week they’ll come and maintain your vegetable garden, pick the vegetables, plant new ones, and then walk the freshly picked veggies the 10 feet from the garden to the door to our kitchen. This is my kind of vegetable gardening!!! As for the $35, I spend that much on vegetables just driving by Wholefoods.

Here’s a shot of our new garden:

Over the next few weeks/months we’ll be swimming in: cucumbers, tomatoes, golden beets, sugar snap peas, red cabbage, arugula, ratte potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, purple carrots, scallions, radishes, shallots, cilantro, basil, garlic, and kohlrabi (Dana’s request). Be nice and you might get some.

This company is adorable. They’re providing an awesome and convenient service. While it’s too early to tell you about the quality of my veggies, so far they’ve been doing a great job. I hope they become a huge success.