Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1)  For Easter Sunday, Tryst in Arlington will be extending its Sunday brunch hours from 10am-3pm on Sunday, April 8, to offer diners a special two course, prix fixe brunch menu for $22 per person (tax and gratuity not included) . Guests will indulge in specialty items such as Lemon & Ricotta Pancakes, Breakfast Pizza (eggs, house-made sausage, herbed goat cheese & caramelized onions) and Croque Madame (country ham, Mornay, sunny side up egg & greens).

A children’s menu will be available a la carte. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 781-641-2227. Tryst will not be serving dinner that evening.

2)  The Quinault Indian Reservation is over 200,000 acres of pristine productive conifer forest land that meets 23 miles of unspoiled Pacific coastline in Washington State. The people of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) continue to fish the same land their ancestors did centuries ago.

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro presents a special dish “Quinault Tribe Steelhead Trout with Wild Mushrooms, Orange Scented Beets and Pickled Saltwort ($27)” on its menu for a limited time. The Steelhead Trout comes directly from the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN).

This particular fish is important for a few reasons. First and foremost, it is delicious and has a very limited season. Grabbing great ingredients as they become available, especially if it is just for a brief moment during the year, is important to us at the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro. Everyone can eat farmed salmon, cod and tuna almost any time they want. But, there is a lot more out there--like this particular trout. Sourcing the best ingredients during their limited peak, working directly with the Quinault Indian Nation, supporting their sustainable practices, and helping to also preserve an American tradition means a great deal to us,” said Josh Lewin, Executive Chef of Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro.

The entirety of this dish is ‘Pacific-Northwest’ in scope from the steelhead itself, to the foraged mushrooms and saltwort (seabeans); literally tasting as if the diner is standing on the river pulling the fish out and cooking it right there. It is a real ‘time and place’ dish,” said Chef Lewin.

This Quinault Tribe Steelhead Trout is available daily at the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro for dinner Monday through Saturday 5:30PM to 11PM - Sunday and Holidays - 5:30PM to 10PM while it is at its peak. It is anticipated to be pulled sometime in early-mid April.

Here is the Recipe (Yields Two Servings):

(2) 7 ounce portions steelhead trout, skin removed
6 small beets, mixed colors
1/4 lb. seasonal wild mushrooms, cleaned
Vegetable stock
Duck fat or lard
Kosher salt, black pepper
3 oranges halves
Thyme and bay

1. Place beets in a small baking dish with the oranges thyme and bay. Fill halfway with vegetable stock. Cover tightly and bake at 325 degrees until tender (Roughly 45 minutes). Peel beets right away, leave whole and set aside.
2. Heat a heavy skillet and add enough fat to lightly coat. Season the steelhead liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. When the pan is hot, sear the fish on the top side turning 90 degrees halfway through.
3. Carefully turn fish to the other side in the pan and discard the animal fat. Turn heat to low and add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan. Baste continuously with the butter until cooked to medium rare, about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, add mushrooms to a sauté pan and add 4 ounces vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is halfway reduced. Add 1 tablespoon butter and continue to cook until mushrooms are done and liquid has almost completely reduced. Check seasoning, plate and serve.

3)  On Wednesday, April 25, from 7pm-9pm, Towne Stove and Spirits will “Go Green” by hosting an evening with Greg Stiemsma to benefit the Young Audiences of Massachusetts. This basketball prodigy and Boston newcomer will double up as a celebrity bartender for the night to further raise awareness of one of the state’s leading non-profits that focuses on providing students with access to quality art programs.

Sip, snack and shake it up with one of Boston’s newest favorite athletes in Towne Stove and Spirits’ luxurious Back Bay Room. Sports aficionados, philanthropists, socialites – and everyone in between – will be treated to complimentary wine and beer selections alongside hors d’oeuvres prepared by Culinary Director Lydia Shire. Stiemsma’s dedication to community causes is one that has graciously traveled with him from Wisconsin to Boston and Towne is proud to raise its glass to this unforgettable night-with-a-cause.

Cost: $50 donation to Young Audiences of Massachusetts (includes complimentary beer, wine and light hors d’oeuvres)
More Info: This event is ages 21+. To reserve tickets, please visit: E-Store Boston. For more information on the Young Audiences of Massachusetts, please visit:

4)  On Tuesday, April 3, The Beehive presents a tribute to the innovative jazz genius Miles Davis with cuisine, libations and live entertainment. Join The Beehive for this celebration of an American icon as some of the most powerful and seasoned musicians in Boston honor the late-great Miles Davis with everything from bebop tunes to cool blues.

Miles Davis was an innovative composer and bandleader and is regarded as one of the most influential and respected figures in 20th century jazz. Along with his musical groups, Davis was at the forefront of major developments in the genre like bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz and jazz fusion from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. His album “Kind of Blue” is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music and his work garnered him eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and three Grammy Hall of Fame Awards.

The spirit of Davis comes alive at 8pm as Phil Grenadier on trumpet, George Garzone on sax, Tim Ray on the keys, John Lockwood on bass and Luther Grey on drums take the stage to honor Davis in all of his musical incarnations with a powerful and breathtaking set until 12am. The night’s music will be complemented by the culinary contributions of Executive Chef Rebecca Newell from 5pm-2am.

5)  Butter Café and Bakery, located in Walpole, will be celebrating Easter this year by giving its customers a free order of homemade marshmallow peeps with every order placed for the upcoming holiday. Customers merely need to mention that they’d like their free peeps when placing their custom order by calling 508-668-2123.

When: Available March 23-April 8 (orders must be placed on or before 4/08/2012).

And here is the Recipe for Butter Café and Bakery Homemade Peeps

3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup cold water
3 envelopes plain gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of Salt
Colored Granulated Sugar

To Start:
--Prepare a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan as follows....Cover the pan lightly with shortening.
--Place a half a cup of cold water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and reserve.
--Put the corn syrup, sugar, salt and a half cup of water in a heavy medium size pan on low heat. Stir mixture until the sugar is dissolved and it starts to bubble.
--Cover it for about 3 to 4 minutes to make sure that the sugar crystals on the sides of the saucepan melt.
Uncover and turn up the heat to medium high heat and insert a candy thermometer into the mixture.
--Boil the syrup without stirring. When the temperature reaches 240 degrees take off the heat.
--Pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. After all the syrup has been added, turn the mixer to high and beat it like Michael Jackson for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is really white (should be like the consistency of Fluff). Now add the Vanilla.
--Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth it out. Let it sit at room temperature uncovered overnight.
--The next day, sift the colored granulated sugar onto a cutting board and turn the pan over in order to remove you’re soon to be Peeps. Tap the stiffened Marshmallow out of the pan and remove. Use your favorite “animal –like” cookie cutter and shape your peeps. Dip the cut sides of each strip into sugar to coat then cut each little bit.
--Shake to get rid of the extra sugar.

Makes about a pound.

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