Monday, October 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Appetizers, Care Of Local Brands

These easy-to-follow recipes will be a pre-dinner hit at any Turkey Day gathering.

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m no chef, unless microwaveable popcorn counts toward culinary competency. So, when I was challenged to test out holiday appetizers from Demitri’s All Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning and Maryhill Wines, I initially balked. Luckily, these simple holiday recipes are nearly foolproof, thanks to local products that use full-bodied flavor profiles to complement the seasonal ingredients.

Demitri’s All Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning

In the late 80’s, Seattle bartender Demitri Pallis concocted his own blend of spices and flavors – and more than 20 years later, Demitri’s All Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning mix is a staple in our city’s watering holes. It’s also used to marinate meat and season snacks – including the tasty treat below. Each pumpkin seed delivers enough sweet heat to keep you reaching for more.

Bob’s Pumpin’ Pumpkin Seeds 

  • Seeds from 1 or 2 pumpkins
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cups of Demitri’s® All Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Rinse seeds and mix into 5 cups boiling water.
  3. Add salt and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Melt the butter and mix with Demitri’s.
  5. Drain the seeds and toss with the butter mixture.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spread seeds out in a thin layer.
  7. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.

Speaking of Demitri’s, sipping a Bloody Mary is apropos anytime throughout the holiday weekend – and when you make a drink with bottom-shelf vodka, polish it off and lick your lips with satisfaction, you’ll know who to thank. Sprinkle with some Demitri’s Rimshot Rim Salt for an extra kick.

Demitri’s Bloody Mary

  • 1-2 teaspoons of Demitri’s® All Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning
  • 6-8 ounces of tomato juice, V8, or Clamato
  • 1-2 ounces of vodka
  • Demitri’s RimShot Rim Salt
  • Lime wedge
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  1. Gently moisten the rim of a 12 or 16-ounce glass with lime and flavor with Demitri’s rim salt.
  2. Combine Demitri’s seasoning with tomato juice, vodka and ice, then shake.
  3. Pour mixture into glass and garnish with celery, asparagus, bean, bacon or pepperoni — or all of the above!
  4. Top off with a few drops of lime juice and serve.

Maryhill Winery

There’s good reason why Wine Press Northwest named Maryhill Winery as the 2009 Winery of the Year. Located on the southern tip of the Columbia Valley, the label has produced 28 award-winning wines and 23 varietals since it was established in 1999. This is no run-of-the-mill vino you gulp down to tolerate your in-laws.

This year, the distinctive flavor of Maryhill will spruce up your Turkey Day feast. With this trio of delectable dishes, you’ll be able to satisfy a range of picky palates — not to mention add color and variety to the table. The best part? These easy-to-follow recipes will make you look like a chic, culinary genius.

Lamb Braised in Zinfandel

  • 2½ pounds of cubed lamb shoulder or leg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of flour
  • 1¼ cups of Maryhill Reserve Zinfandel
  • 1 cup beef of stock
  • 8-10 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4-6 ounces of canned mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons of rosemary
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ cup of freshly chopped parsley

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or other heavy kettle)
  2. Brown lamb, sprinkle flour over meat and stir well.
  3. Add beef stock and tomato sauce, as well as half the wine.
  4. Stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens (add more wine if needed).
  5. Add rosemary, small handfuls of salt and pepper, celery and onion.
  6. Cover and simmer gently for one hour.
  7. Stir in mushrooms, parsley and remaining wine, then simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Serve over roughly smashed Yukon Gold potatoes.

Country Leeks with Gewurztraminer 

  • 2 heaping handfuls of leeks, cut in ¾ inch lengths (use part of the green)
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • ½ cup of Maryhill Gewürztraminer
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup of grated Swiss cheese
  • Bread crumbs
  1. Boil leeks in water until tender, drain (reserve liquid).
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  3. Stir in flour until a paste is formed, then add wine and 1 cup of drained liquid.
  4. Stir constantly until mixture is thick.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add yolks very slowly.
  7. Add cheese; stir until smooth and creamy.
  8. Place leeks in casserole, then cover with cheese sauce and breadcrumbs.
  9. Bake at 325° F for 20-25 minutes.

Zinful Beets

  • 3 cups cooked, grated beets
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • ½ cup of Maryhill Reserve Zinfandel
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Small grating of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Melt butter in saucepan, then stir in flour until a paste is formed.
  2. Add Maryhill Reserve Zinfandel, and blend thoroughly.
  3. Add beets, sugar, nutmeg, cloves, salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer over low heat until tender (add more wine if needed).

About Lena Park

Born in Buffalo, raised in Federal Way, and educated at Boston College, Lena has been exploring cities from coast to coast her whole life. Though she desperately misses the snarky irreverence of Bostonians, she loves living in this green and rainy city again as a bona fide Seattleite. In the years that she’s been gone from the Pacific Northwest, Lena has been busy writing for sports blogs, literary journals, college newspapers, and social justice-based magazines. When she’s not hunting for a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood joint, furiously scribbling in her notebook, or busy clacking away at her computer, Lena finds Zen in playing baseball with the Seattle Diamonds, sipping on a PBR at Lottie’s, and watching reruns of Friday Night Lights while drooling over sinfully delicious Tim Riggins.
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