I finally realized all the fuss about naming kids when Lenore and I attempted to name our establishment. Not having children, I often chuckled at the lengths parents would go to name their offspring. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the importance of leaving a legacy, not to mention the nicknames that ruthless playmates might try to get away with.
Well, from the minute we thought of our concept, we decided that we could not go any further without a name. After all, a name defines you. It let’s your customer know what you are about and helps you better know yourself. Our name was the work of several days, many lists, and many friends. When we were finished had looked hundreds of names.
We kept going back to a name we had picked for our “almost” restaurant in Seattle. We had all but signed the dotted line when Lenore joined her girlfriends for a trip to Tuscany; fifteen women together in a villa. Anyway, on that trip, they kept asking Lenore for details and she described the menu as anything olive oil based. This prompted a unanimous vote from the ladies for Olivia, the Italian name for olives. The men joined up with the women for a second week in Tuscany and you can imagine my surprise when they announced that they named our restaurant! We arrived home from that trip eager to open Oliva, only to find the restaurant deal had gone south on us.
We moped around a few weeks, decided to build a second home in Cannon Beach with the restaurant savings, and got a poodle, named Olivia. So why bring that up here? Well, by the time the school came into the picture, we could no longer use Oliva or Olivia, and yet our desire for Mediterranean cuisine was still a driving force. We thought of every other ingredient we loved, but alas, kept returning to olive oil. Why not? We tested it on a few friends, and they loved EVOO!
There are a few ways to pronounce EVOO! Ã¬e-vueÃ® Ã¬ee-voeÃ® and Ã¬ee-vee-oh-oh.Ã® We liked the idea of saying the letters the best, but didnÃt like ending with Ã¬oh-oh.Ã® So we say just E-V-OH! Confusing because we still spell it EVOO! Well, we are happy with the decision but it sometimes confuses our guests. Here is one of those EVOO based recipes we enjoy so much. It is our lemon cupcake that replaces half of the butter with EVOO. The flavor is very EVOO. Enjoy. Ciao – Bob
LEMON EVOO CUPCAKES
1 Ã¦ c AP flour
1 â€¡ tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of â€¡ lemon or 1 TBS
4 eggs, RT
3 TBS milk, RT
2/3 cup EVOO
7 TBS Butter, melted
Preheat oven 350Æ’F. Grease cupcake pan or line with paper cups. Set aside.
Sift flour and baking powder. Set aside.
Blend lemon zest and sugar by rubbing in zest with fingers to distribute oils in zest. Put into mixing bowl. Beat eggs into sugar and zest on medium until mixture is pale yellow. With mixer on lowest speed, add milk and flour mixture, lemon juice, melted butter, and EVOO; beat until blended.
Pour batter into prepared cupcake panÃ³to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tests done. Remove from pan to cool.
Suggested serving: Top with whipped cream garnished with fresh berries. Or top with 7-minute icing or Buttercream icing.
For the most part our classes are geared toward adults. When Spring Break comes along we need to reverse that. Because whole families come to town, adults with young children are not available for an evening dining class. So for us, it was logical to offer kid’s cooking classes during Spring Break, which in Cannon Beach means about 4-5 weeks with so many school districts breaking different weeks. This way moms and dads get a few hours to themselves while we cook with their kids.
What to put on the menu is our biggest challenge. Do we offer only foods they love but are full of sugar? Or do we concentrate on the nutritionally dense foods? We pretty much think the menu will never please everyone anyway, so we apply the same philosophy we use with adults. Pick things in season, from local sources, starting with whole foods as much as possible. Include a variety of flavors, textures and temperatures, and agree that no food is a bad food in moderation. That way we can always have something sweet, something fresh, uncooked, and lots that are full flavored and nutrient rich.
We believe in making most things from scratch but not if the details are too many for the attention span and skill level. It is better to buy a quality canned pizza sauce, for example, than to start with raw tomatoes to make the sauce. This way the focus is on the pizza and not the sauce. Our goal is to help kids see a connection between enjoying foods that they have made themselves.
In tomorrow’s class, we are doing a new cake recipe that Lenore made up, and it has me a little concerned. The recipe has 15 ingredients enough to discourage a seasoned cook. Lenore claims it has good repetitive learnings; measuring wet and dry ingredients using teaspoons and cups. And despite the long list of ingredients it is a simple procedure. They make, bake and serve the cake in one pan. And no eggs, so they get to taste the batter! And it’s a good one to remember for those times you really have a taste for something sweet, but nothing is in the refrigerator. This whole recipe can be made from your dry goods shelve.
Here’s the recipe:
Gingerbread Spice Cake ( dump one pan method; no eggs)
1/2 c sugar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c AP unbleached flour
2 tsp cinnamon
tsp ground clove
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
cup maple syrup or molasses
2 tsp. vinegar, apple
In ungreased 8x8x2 square pan, combine all the dry ingredients; the first ten (10) to the line. Blend until spice color is even throughout.
Make three (3) indentations (holes) in the flour-spice mixture in the pan.
Hole #1, put in vanilla & syrup in one
Hole #2, put in the oil
Hole #3, put in vinegar.
Pour the water over all. Using a fork stir until all the lumps are gone and dry ingredients are all moistened.
Bake the cake in 350°F preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Cool in pan on rack. Serve with or without whipped cream.
Around here, we really look forward to Sunday. It rarely feels like the day before a new work week. I like it because it is my day to be in the retail store, while Lenore teaches class.
Based upon the encouragement of people who took Omelets 101, we added Crepes 101, which is taught on alternating Sundays. Participants in these classes receive an interesting starter course and are then shown how to make the entree. Today they are learning Crepes Florentine, with poached eggs and Hollandaise…ooh la la!
I always find it interesting how things from the past find their way back to our dining table. Crepes have been “hot” on-and-off for decades. I can say with fair confidence that Julia Child was probably first to bring them into vogue in this country, and as Lenore commented earlier today, the reason crepes fell out of favor was probably because of the tortilla! What we used to do with crepes we now do with tortillas.
There is something to be said for finishing a weekend of “beach time” with a hearty breakfast, especially if you make it yourself! And just for the romance of it, how about making the old classic, Crepes Suzette, flambe and all? The recipe is below.
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sweet butter, melted
cup cold water
The compound butter for sauce:
2 sticks butter, softened
3 TBS sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 oranges
1-2 TBS Cognac & Grand Marnier
Method: In blender, place flour, eggs, sugar, salt and half of the milk. Blend by pulsing a few times until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until resembles a thin syrup. Set into refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight.
To make Sauce: Blend butter, sugar, orange zest & juice in blender or mixing bowl. Roll into a log wrapped in parchment. Chill thoroughly or freeze.
To assemble the Suzettes: Melt 1 TBS /serving of the compound butter-sauce in a medium hot skillet. Using fork and spoon, turn crepes in sauce one at a time to coat, then fold into fourths nice brown side showing. When all crepes are coated, pour 1-2 TBS of both cognac and Grand Marnier on top of the crepes. Carefully ignite, keeping head back from flame. Serve on warm plates with some sauce. Repeat until all servings are made.
S.O.D. is the tag we affectionately use to describe our Sous chef Of the Day! This program gives those who are thinking aobut changing cooking from their avocation to their vocation a chance to see if itÃs for them. SOD also suits those who just want to learn more than one of the interactive dining classes can provide, but most are quit accomplished cooks who really enjoy the process and want to learn.
We have been told tuition is way too low, but with the extra hands we get for the day, we benefit, too. By now we have had many S.O.D.Ãs. The first question we ask each of them is what they hope to get from the experience. Followed by the most important questionÃ³can you stand on your feet all day! We hope to emphasize tasks that suit their interests. They have all been unique, and we think of them often. Here are a couple that come to mind.
ItÃs hard to forget Jim. He also volunteers at the local American Legion Hall as a cook the first Sat of the month. It’s the OYSTER FEED–a great meal. We should know as Jim often drops in during our evening class on those evenings with a fresh batch of fried oysters! What a treat! It does cost us thoughÃ³we hand over a loaf of our daily bread, and the exchange seems to amuse the participants in our evening class with a spot of local color.
Erin is impossible to forget! What a character! Not at all shy but not at all sure if she has what it takes for the food industry. After two weeks in our kitchen, it was unanimous–she did, does, and is now working in the industry! She sent an email describing her new job in New Orleans at the famous The Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter. She is their new line cook and doing every thing from fillet mignon to lobster with total ease. HereÃs a quote from her email.
Ã¬I canÃt tell you how much my experience with you and Lenore has helped me. It has given me a confidence in my talent that I never would have hadÃ³I would never have been able to walk into a restaurant like this one, say I have no experience, but I have passion and the ability to learn.Ã®
As I recall that is exactly what Lenore told herÃ³sheÃs a natural; has talent, and sheÃs already tried food combinations that define her uniqueness and passion. Before she left, I told her there would always be a spot for her at EVOO.
We have a SOD today. His name is Peter, and a group of his friends are joining us this eveningÃ³for dinner. Tomorrow we’ll have the pleasure of working with another SOD. And so it goes. Cioa – Bob
WOW! 15 hours later and you have a one hour DVD….crazy. We finished shooting yesterday and both Lenore and I are exhausted. You kinda get used to the camera lighting and “pin drop” quiet after a while, but the endurance factor is huge. I have to admit that Lenore makes it all work for me.
As we started the shoot, Lenore was trying to figure out how she could be best utilized during filming. After the first take it was obvious……keep track at what I am saying wrong. 🙂 She kept great notes so when we broke in between “takes” she could comment on what might have been missing or what we should add in the next shot. It was brilliant! But you all know how I feel about my lovely wife and partner of 19++ years.
Day 2 was fun. We took some “B” footage in Manzanita at the whole foods store. You will get to see our poodles up close and personal…almost worth the price of the DVD. When all was “in the can” we took a big sigh and looked back at what we had completed. I am confident that both Rick and Chris (Enloe Media and Ballasiotes Marketing)have their work cut out for them…they have to squeeze it down to 60 minutes. I guess Lenore and I had the easy task after all.
Ciao – Bob
Today is our first day of the DVD production. Just when you want to look your best—cameras pointed at us, Lenore woke up before the alarmÃ³really early and is operating on less sleep than usual and having a bad hair day, as well. And I am feeling the early signs of an adolescent pimple breaking out on my nose. Today, of course, the sun is shining; with all of CB rejoicing, our camera man needs to rig a sun shade for the window to cut the glare!
One of the topics for BACK STAGE is breaking down of a whole fish, and salmon being the most popular in the great Northwest, we ordered one for the occasion. ItÃs a beauty! Little did we know in the planning stages for this that the price of Salmon would reach a per pound price of $11.50 “wholesale!” Right now and for the next few months, Salmon will be scarce, because about 700 miles of the Columbia River has been closed to commercial fishing. That’s not the worst of it. Here we are sitting on a whole fresh salmon; itÃs the beginning of the week with no classes until the weekend. Yes, I could freeze it, but fresh is best, even if I didnÃt just pay a bazillion dollars for it! I could have bought frozen troll caught salmon locally for less than half the price of fresh. Needless to say, turning this fresh stuff into frozen before I use any of it just seems wrong! I called a friend and local chef in town, explained my Ã¬taleÃ® or is it a fishy Ã¬tail?Ã® Anyway, I asked if he could use it. He can but cannot afford the price I paid, so we struck a deal somewhere in the middle. IÃd rather it be eaten fresh than have to freeze it!
And this is how this first day began.
P/S: As I am finishing this, the grease trap in the dish room has just backed up. For those who donÃt know what a grease trap isÃ–Ã–good for you! Nuff said.
We are partnering with Enloe Media & Ballasiotes Marketing Communications in Seattle to create a behind-the-scenes, BACK STAGE PASS to EVOO, featuring demonstrations, methods and how-to-doÃs from our live classes. The idea was inspired by several customers who said they wish they could see what goes on before they get here. They are interested in that pre-work call, Ã¬mise en place.Ã® You should make a DVD that fills in the blanks, they said. So, thanks to Rick Enloe, the producer, and Chris Ballasiotes, the technical guru, we begin production this Sunday, March 19, 2006. We are pretty jazzed!
In addition, there will be a few of what Rick calls Ã¬BÃ® shots, including scenes from our daily life in and about Cannon Beach. Some scenes with our dogs, so you can finally see more than their poodle heads peeking down from our library. And, weÃll include some shots shopping locally for products that we use. People ask all the time where do you find such great ingredients. We donÃt think our classes would inspire anyone to cook if we told you that only restaurants can get great ingredients. No, we actually find great local products. Even our seafood wholesaler, Pacific Seafood, purchases direct from local fisherman, and makes their catch available to everyone.
The DVD will be approximately one hour in length and be broken into chapters (topics) for ease of navigation and use. Following are the chapters we have planned. Not promising they will all be there but it seems these are the topics that seem to need more explanation than we do in class. After a brief introduction, including Sunday nightÃs class, the DVD will break down into the follow:
Home Curing and Preservation
We hope you enjoy watching BACK STAGE PASS to EVOO as much as we enjoy making it. WeÃll keep you posted on our progress. DonÃt hesitate to drop us a email with advice and comments. You can reach us both at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ciao, Lenore & Bob
Title: Happy Saint PatrickÃs Day!
Hi All: this is a Special DayÃ³its St PattyÃs Day and one of my favorite days in the year. First, because I think of my sister and brother-in-law whose wedding anniversary is today. Happy Anniversary, Cheryl and Tim Kearns! She married a lucky Irishman, a former police officerÃ³no stereotype there. We love you guys!
Today brings back great memories of Irish pub hopping in the Wash DC area and before that, Cleveland. It was a big deal back thereÃ³maybe a little more than here. Lenore and I used to start early to get a spot in line. The rest of the year these little pubs were sized right for their crowds, but St. PatrickÃs turnout for Ã¬greenÃ® beer guarantees a line out the door. Lenore and I always went for the food and ale, not the green beer, really. We like the corn beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes. And is it just me, or doesnÃt a Reuben sandwich and Guinness Ale taste exceptional good this time of year?
Our celebration at EVOO this year is simply the wearing of the green and playing the Irish tunes of Kathyrn Clair, a local prize. Kat does the vocals, fiddling and plays the guitar on her latest CD, Luna Sea Arts Sampler 2005. Check out her website: www.lunaseaarts.com.
TodayÃs Ã¬Fresh specialsÃ® at EVOO include green soup (A chunky spinach bisque) and fresh Reuben sandwiches made from local corn beef without nitrites and our housemade rye bread.
Fresh Spinach Bisque 2 TBS shallots, minced
1 TBS garlic minced
4 bunches fresh spinach, cleaned, chopped
2 TB salted butter
2 oz. heavy cream, reduced by half
8 oz whole milk, warmed
16 oz unsalted chicken broth/stock, heated
TT sea salt, ground pepper, ground coriander
2 tsp tarragon, chopped
Method Heat EVOO in sautÃˆ pan; add shallots and garlic; sautÃˆ until aromatic and slightly translucent. Add spinach and cook until just tender. Add butter and cream and season with spices. Add Pernod and cook 30 seconds. This mixture should be thick at this point. Add warm milk and chicken broth to desired soup consistency. Puree mixture with hand held blender. You may strain at this point for a cream soup. Garnish with tarragon and serve.
Lenore and I have been together 20+ years now and at some point along the way we were able to articulate just what makes “us” work. We have dubbed it the “satisfaction factor.” Believe it or not this does have something to do with food, too.
But first, the satisfaction factor is at work every day in our relationship when each of us is feeling that our viewpoint, feelings, or otherwise personhood has been respected and given the satisfaction of being heard. Not that we always agree on things, not at all, but that we know each others true thoughts and feelings can be expressed without judgment or reprisal. It’s our recipe for a good relationship, if you will.
The phrase also applies nicely to what we believe is the true pleasure of cooking! It is not just eating a well prepared meal with foods hand picked from local farms and markets. What makes the satisfaction meter climb is when we do the cooking ourselves. We watch this happen over and over in our classes. People working to make a better omelet in Omelets 101 class, for example, don’t make a better omelet at all—they make the BEST omelet they ever tasted!! We hear that all the time. We decide that what is at work here is the satisfaction of doing it themselves.
And finally we apply the “satisfaction factor” to making sure every plate has enough variety to help our taste buds remain “satisfied,” or go the distance to to last bite. First advice to apply is use a smaller portion of high flavored foods. Second, layer flavors rather than mixing them, allowing each bite to be just a little different than the last, and finally, serve wine and foods at the temperature our taste buds can truly enjoy; not too hot not too cold.
We use an analogy to describe our concept of designing small plates; we call it the “chocolate experience.” When you take a bite of really great chocolate, like from Belgium, you experience an incredible rush of luxurious rich chocolate in your mouth. Second bite maybe the same, but by the third or fourth you are beginning to loose the original sensation until you are just eating chocolate. Your brain knows it is still good, but you are no longer using your taste buds. So no matter what you are eating, the taste buds cannot go long on “one note” of flavor. By putting a variety of flavors on the plate, you increase the duration of taste bud enjoyment. Serving food at a temperature that brings out the best of the food is also key since you only have a few bites until your taste bud experience fatigue.
White Bean Salad with Grilled Garlic marinated Ahi Tuna served with Minted Gremolata is an example of a small plate that has high flavors and enough variety to promote full satisfaction. At work here are the clean flavors of each component working side by side, getting an occasional hit from the high flavored Gremolata.
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! Ciao, Bob
White Bean Salad with Gremolata and Grilled Tuna
As needed EVOO
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 leek, minced
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 cups cannellini beans, cooked
1 orange, zested
1 TBS oregano, minced
sea salt, ground coriander and pepper
1 orange juiced
Method: heat oil in large saute pan; add vegetables and cook until aromatic and soft; add beans, zest and oregano; toss to combine; adjust seasonings; remove and chill; add additional oil and juice of orange to flavor; refrigerate until, needed.
Minted gremolata: 2 lemons, 1 cup chopped parsley. 1/8 cup chopped mint, 4 cloves garlic paste, 2 anchovies-pasted- Method: zest lemons into a small bowl; stir in chopped herbs; fold in garlic and anchovies; adjust seasonings with sea salt, ground coriander and pepper; adjust consistency and additional flavor with EVOO.
Grilled tuna: 1# Ahi Tuna, 3 TB EVOO, a tsp ea sea salt, pepper and coriander, 2 lemons, peeled into long strips, 4 cloves garlic minced.
Method: place tuna in a non reactive pan or dish; combine remaining ingredients in a bowl to combine; gently toss with tuna and marinade for 4 – 8 hours. At service, drain and remove any bits of marinade; then grill using high heat to seal in juices.
As another week comes to an end we can’t help but think of how much fun we are having. Maybe it is because the sun is out this afternoon, but I think it’s because we live at the beach. 🙂
This time next week we will be preparing for our DVD film shoot which is scheduled for release in early June. As the week progresses, I will post the outline we will be filming from. From all of us here in CB, have a great week and make it better by cooking!
Ciao! – Bob
One of the most frequently asked questions of guests attending one of our classes is how we come up with our menus. I thought I should take up a few lines and explain since that is what I am working on at this moment.
Menus are a funny thing! Without trying a lot of chefs have a daunting task to develop menus for their restaurants, considering the factors to keep in mind. For instance, will the ingredients be available when I need them? Will the price be stable enough to keep it on the menu? Will be able to maintain the quality ? Does my staff have the right skills?
Take, for example, salmon – anyone following the news probably knows that the run this year (meaning when salmon start their migratory journey from the ocean back to their place of birth for spawning) appears to be falling short of projections. This could result in 700 miles of coastal fishing being closed. WOW! Fewer salmon drives up costs. So what do chefs do?
We have choices and it usually comes down to simple economics. Is the cost that your guest will need to pay to make it worthwhile, acceptable? And, do I bring in filets or whole fish or something in between?
Overwhelmed yet? Well, I am probably a little ahead of myself. This all makes for great background – but menus at least for us, come together a little differently. Magazines, internet, cookbooks, television, etc. all have contributed to the inspiration for EVOO menu development. For me personally, I take time to see what is new in the trades and see what the consumer sees, Gourmet Magazine, Saveur and Cooks Illustrated seem to be three good resources for that. We have a fairly extensive culinary library which helps to round out my research when I am in development. Then comes the fresh sheets – these are quick blurbs from the farmers that let you know what is season, what may be coming into season and what is in limited supply. It all makes for a grab bag of choices that comes together when we start putting items down on paper.
Our general rule of thumb is, if it grows together (in season) than it usually tastes good together. Lenore is the best partner in the world to have. Besides being a talented educator, retailer and savvy business person, she also is a great culinarian with a wealth of technical application. She checks my menus for redundancy of food and cooking styles and makes sure that the items make sense. She challenges my thought processes and has me expain how the item should come together in front of the guests. She’s always saying, “What are the learnings?” Good stuff that translates into good menus, crossing my fingers. Well, I hope this was a little enlightening and it seems that I used more than a few lines, oops…ciao for now – Bob
Hello from the coast! I journeyed to Canby yesterday to attend the chef-farmer collaborative, put on by Ecotrust. The collaborative is a venture to bring chefs and farmers/growing community together in an effort to foster relationships, and of course, buying/selling opportunities. Our summer produce (this past year) was greatly influenced through contacts made last year at this same event. Viridian Farms, Gale’s Blooming Acres and others provided an abundance of heirloom tomatoes that we processed in August.
For those of you who have been to our table before know that our menus are based upon availability of local farms and the education that we receive from these contacts helps us make buying/menu decisions for the future.
Needless to say, this year was another successful event. We are looking into a variety of products to add to our list, including eggs, honey, goat’s milk, wild rice seed, local duck and potentially sea berries.
Sea Berries are native to both central Asia through western China and in European countries around the Baltic Sea. They are sour like fresh cranberries but because of their color and pectin, they have great dessert applications.
The other advantage of these types of events is the networking of chefs and for us, potential guest instructors. Loads of fun! Until next time! Ciao, Bob