A brush of snow on the ground, heater running full blast, sweaters, slippers, a hot beverage… Yes, Winter has arrived and it’s time to get on that ‘Culinary Bus’ and head to the kitchen to create something that zings with flavors of warmer places and seasons!

Porcini Mushrooms speak of Spring and hope for warmth!  Chefs and Foodies quiver with delight as these morsels hit the market every year.  So, being January, I delved into my stash of dried Porcini to create this dish!

How to season this particular bird… A rub of ground Porcini will give it a rich earthy aroma and hints of the reawakening forest floor, but more is needed to convince my palate that, indeed, it will be Spring again!  Taking my nose through the spice jars led to Sri Lankan Curry!curry_sri_lankan_wholeThis beautiful blend of Indian Coriander Seed, Cumin Seed, Cinnamon, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed, Cardamom Seed, Japones, Black and Tellicherry Peppercorn, and Cloves from Seattle’s World Spice Market added exactly the right amount of Zing, Pow, Bam needed to make this a highly memorable dish!

After roasting the bird, use the drippings and a few more chopped porcini to make a risotto.  Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

masa fish n plantains
So many gluten free flour blends are heavy with rice flour.  These tend to magnify my waistline…  A perusal of my pantry turned up a lovely bag of masa harina; corn that has been soaked in lime, then ground into a flour.  This made a spectacular light coating for the long-line rockfish I picked up at Town & Country’s Central Market in Shoreline today.

Cut your fish into serving size pieces, salt each side and dust lightly with the masa.  Brown on each side in hot olive oil.  Top with a mixture of fresh mango and minced jalapeno.  Pop into a preheated 400 degree oven.  You want to cook rockfish fully.  It will be flaky, white throughout and no longer opaque.

To complete my theme I served the delicate fish with Abenaki’s Corn Polenta.  I picked up this beautiful multi-hued polenta from the people that grow the corn, grind it with utmost care and then sell it at the Eugene, Oregon farmer’s market a few weeks ago.  This is some of the best polenta I have encountered, to date. I cooked it with fresh stock and a squeeze of lime to bring out the lovely corn flavor. Check out their website

For some fun texture I made my own version of tostones; double fried green plantain.  Simply score the plantain down each side, snip the ends and pop into the microwave until soft and the skin is dark brown/black.  One large plantain took about three and a half minutes in my microwave.  Once the fruit is soft, let it cool just enough to handle and remove the skin.  Cut into 12-14 rounds.  The recipes I’ve seen call for all manner of methods to ‘smash’ the rounds, but being a chef with ‘cast-iron’ hands (who needs fingerprints, anyway!) I placed them between two pieces of wax paper and smooshed them fairly flat with the heel of my hand.  You could use a glass, a plate, a pan, whatever is handy.  Now fry them on one side in olive oil in a cast iron pan.  Turn them over in the oil and place the pan into your 400 degree oven with the fish, until they are done.  I made mine fairly crisp, but do them how ever you prefer.  They can even be cooked extra crisp and served with a dip for a fun appetizer.

Some zucchini sauteed with World Spice’s Caribbean Curry and a bit of fresh minced cilantro to finish!  It was VERY quiet around the dinner table at my house!
Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

HuckleberrySalmonWild ‘Bruce Gore’ King Salmon and wild huckleberries; nothing tame about that combo!

When creating recipes for Northwest treats, it’s fun to pair up ingredients that inhabit the same environs.  They frequently make excellent combinations.

To make this dish, simply season fat salmon fillets and sear in olive oil.  Once evenly caramelized, move the pieces into a baking dish and finish cooking in a 400 degree oven.  Keep an eye on them!  Overcooked salmon is a crime!  When 90% done, remove from the oven and let them rest to finish cooking.

For the sauce, add minced shallot and rosemary to the remaining oil you cooked the salmon in.  When the shallot is done, add a round of tawny port and reduce.  Add huckleberries and cook to a glossy substance.  Remove from the heat and mount with unsalted butter.  Season the finished sauce, as needed.  Plate the salmon and serve with your incredible sauce.

If you are unfamiliar with huckleberries, they are in the blueberry family.  I found some in the freezer section at Central Market.  You can pick them at the end of the Summer in higher elevations.  I used to greatly enjoy doing this!  The bear ‘sign’, I was careful not to step in, made me a little nervous, but hey, sometimes great meals require some adventure to achieve!  Besides their wonderful flavor, they have five times the antioxidant of blueberries!  And, like blueberries, they are believed to help maintain mental function, as we age.  Something to keep in mind.

Like every recipe I create for Fearless Feast, this one is, of course, gluten free.  Enjoy!!  Chef Celinda

vealrack-640x480I picked up a gorgeous Veal Rack from William at Pike Market’s BB Ranch this week!  A tumultuous array of recipes cascade through my mind, as I ponder where to begin!
I wanted to do something Big and Showy!!  Veal Rack is the baby to a bone-in Prime Rib, so I decided to prepare it in a similar style; seasoned and roasted then finished with a spectacular pan sauce ~“Veal Rack Oloroso”

Once your meat is 130 degrees, pull it from the oven and set aside to rest.  It will continue to rise in temperature.  I prefer to do a veal roast medium rare.  The young meat is a bit too chewy, if rare.

While the roast is resting, add shallot and sliced mushroom to the pan.  You will probably need to add a little more olive oil.  Just as these are nearly done, add minced shallot and fresh sage.  Don’t burn these!  A generous round of Oloroso Jerez Sherry deglazes and gives incredible flavor.  note:  This sherry is dry, yet loaded with hazelnut and caramel notes!  Reduce the sherry a bit and add stock.  You will need to adjust seasoning as your sauce reduces.  To finish, mount with cold butter and serve over slices of pretty pink veal.

The beauty above was served with baby gold potatoes, roasted in the pan with the veal.

Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

1102-swordfish-filletsA thrust, a parry, dodge and lunge!  To the victor go the spoils; realized in Blood Orange Marinated Swordfish!  I scored a couple gorgeous Swordfish steaks at Pure Food Fish, in Pike Market!PureFood3
Swordfish simply adores citrus.  An hour, bathing in a blend of blood orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper leaves you with a remarkably flavorful and tender piece of fish.  A quick sear, followed by a short rest and this delightful fish is ready to join your favorite side dishes.  The featured picture shows roasted Spring onions, baby artichokes and saffron risotto.
Enjoy!  Chef Celinda

PorkButtThere is little more appealing then a slice of fresh roasted Pork Butt/Shoulder, just out of the oven, steaming and dripping all over!

It is commonly braised and used for pulled pork and a variety of other options.  I love to simply roast them.  The fat within bastes throughout during the cooking process, adding moisture and remarkable flavor.

You can buy these with or without bones.  The bone-in has more flavor, but more challenging when it comes time to slice pretty pieces.  If you have a boneless one, be sure to open the flap created from removing the bones and season inside, as well.

I don’t generally brine a butt/shoulder.  (and YES, the name is interchangeable for this cut of meat)  You certainly can brine, if you have desire and the space.

Once seasoned, if cooking a boneless Pork Butt, you will want to tie it.  Otherwise, the top tends to lift up and become dry.

Pork is so very versatile.  It lends itself to a wide variety of different cuisines, so when it comes to seasoning, its wide open.  If you are cooking a big piece, you may want to keep the seasoning simple, so you can use it to prepare several diverse meals.  I get a kick out of my “Deja-Food” machinations.  The challenge is to prepare of meal, using ‘left-overs’ while utterly fooling the picky eaters at the table.

If you have the ability to handle a large quantity of Pork Butt, I would recommend going to one of the several Cash & Carry stores.  They are all over the Seattle area.  These stores are set up for restaurants and other food oriented retail operations, but they are licensed for non-commercial purchases, as well.  You will pay half the price per pound that you would spend at a grocery store.  You will ALSO have a package containing two full butts.  A ‘whole’ butt is from both sides of the pig, so two pieces. I generally cook one whole one, while cutting the other into two units that I freeze for another day.  You can cut the first smaller, as well.  You are in charge!

Enjoy!! Chef Celinda


Nic’s contribution…

BBgranolabarGr…………………anola bars!  Blueberry!  Gluten Free Granola Bars!

Do you live with lovers of granola bars?  Those individuals that are always in a hurry/snack seekers/lovers of seemingly healthy morsels to nosh on at random times?

I assume you’ve noticed the increasing array of choices, as well as the way a handful of these beauties make you do a double take when the grocery checker gives you the total for that ONE bag of groceries!  Now, I must inquire… have you read the INGREDIENTS?  Some brands, actually ARE healthy, but, many sadly are not.

I’ve been playing around with some recipes.  This is today’s favorite!  The peanut butter ones disappeared before I could get any pictures.  I’m told they taste exactly like peanut butter cookies.  I’ll share that recipe soon.  You got this picture because I’m home alone.

  Gluten Free Blueberry Granola Bars

This recipe is also free of:  Dairy, nuts, soy, corn and processed sugar.  Don’t tell the fam, but they are even vegan…

1 1/2 Cups Toasted Gluten Free rolled oats                                                   (place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned)

1 Cup pitted dates, emulsified in a food processor

3/4 Cup dried apricots, minced either with a food processor or by hand.  note:  I used unsulfured, but that’s a personal choice.

3/4 Cup dried blueberries

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/3 C hot agave syrup

While the oats are in the oven, emulsify the dates and mince the apricots.  Place in a mixing bowl with the blueberries and salt.  When the oats are done, immediately add to the fruit mixture.  Heat the agave in the microwave until just about to boil.  Pour this into the bowl and mix everything together.  Press the granola mixture into a plastic wrap lined 8×8 baking dish.  Refrigerate.  When they are fully chilled and firm, cut into bars, wrap individually and put back into the fridge.

Caution:  Stampede Warning!

kale salad_nWarm Kale Salad

This is an easy to prepare dish I created at my last restaurant.  Kale is such a popular ingredient.  I toyed with a couple different concepts, finally falling in love with this preparation featuring Organic Baby Kale.  Earthbound Farms packages my favorite blends.  Look for it in the packaged salad and greens aisle of your favorite grocery store.  Like so many recipes I created for my restaurants, it is free of gluten, soy, and corn.  This lovely dish also contains no nuts, egg or dairy.  So unless you can’t eat bacon, it’s a crowd pleaser!

To prepare the salad:

Earthbound Farms Organic baby kale  note:  You can use larger kale, but must carefully remove all stem material and tear into bite sized pieces.  These older greens will have a stronger flavor, but it’s all a matter of personal preference.

Crisp bacon crumbles I really like to use apple smoked bacon!

Bacon fat, reserved from cooking the bacon

Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Thinly sliced fresh garlic

Maple Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the bacon fat in a sauce pan.  note:  you can substitute olive oil for some of the bacon fat, if you have concern at consuming the bacon fat.  Be aware that the flavor for the salad is primarily from this ingredient, though.  Add approximately half as much vinegar as fat.  When these are beginning to get hot, add the garlic.  Cook quickly, remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour over the clean baby kale. Toss gently.  Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of maple sugar and s&p to taste.  If substituting olive oil for part of the fat, you will need to season it heavier to compensate.   Finish tossing and serve immediately.  This is not a dish that can be left to sit.


So many pretty peppers!  How to choose?  A little of this… a little of that… FUN!market peppers

The Ballard Farmers Market was the perfect place to be on such a beautiful Sunday.  Besides the peppers, I also found some enticing little apples to make a gluten free crumble tomorrow and a piece of sheep milk feta (no cow milk!) from Glendale Shepherd.  Chatting with the owner, it seems the only other critters on the farm are rabbits, so many of you that are lactose intolerant can rejoice in their beautiful cheeses!

Should you be a sausage maven, check out Sea Breeze Farm sometime!  They have standard hours on Saturday at the U Dist Market and Sundays at Ballard.  They are delighted to chat about the ingredients in their multitude of impressive looking sausages.  At the moment, all do have dairy in their recipes, but none use gluten, soy or corn syrup.  Excellent news for many would be devotees.  Rose tells me they are quite willing to make custom batches for those with food allergies.  Minimum orders are required.  There were an array of others goodies in their case I may have to check out another time!


Let’s make chili!  Always a gluten free favorite meal at my house.

I have put some of my favorite ‘Jacob’s Cattle’ beans,  to soak while I wander down to the Farmers Market for some of those spectacular local peppers I have been admiring.  I think I might try the Ballard Market today!

Jacobs Cattle are an heirloom bean, originally from Germany, sometimes alternatively labeled as Trout or Dalmatian Bean.  It is a sweet bean with maroon and white markings and has it’s own distinctive flavor. 

In Seattle, you can purchase the beans in the bulk department at Whole Foods and at Central Market