Lifestyle

One palate-pleasing pub

By Eileen Mintz

What's Cooking

In my quest to find great little places that really know how to please patrons, I came across Collins Pub, located at the edge of Pioneer Square in the same block as the Smith Tower. It is here that pub owner Seth Howard has expressed his passionate dream of running a pub that would appeal to all kinds of tastes. With 20 years of food business experience, Howard managed to make his pub family friendly, business friendly and even crafted an appealing menu with the help of a rising star chef Addam Buzzalini.

Though chef Addam is only 28, he has been cooking professionally for 12 years. He has worked from Italian to French kitchens and his experiences also include gourmet catering. But now, chef Addam takes on his newest challenge, upscale pub food for Collins Pub, a welcome addition to the fun dining restaurant scene.

Addam Buzzalini may be known for making one of the finest hamburgers in town and world class beer-battered fish and chips. Yet, chef Addam is just as comfortable with five course designed menus paired with wine at one of his wine maker dinners.

I discovered his talents when I headed for the appetizer menu and chose hummus and salmon plates that were ever so satisfying. But it was the wild mushroom ``en croute'' in a pub! Now that says talent from this prized chef. With a philosophy that speaks to quality foods prepared simply, he can't go wrong.

Chef Addam platted the hummus appetizer and suggested serving it with warm toasted Greek pita and especially ``lots of quality extra virgin olive oil.'' With the addition of a salad of cucumbers, roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese it was not only a site to behold but delicious to the last taste. Here's to fun party food!

COLLINS PUB HUMMUS

Makes enough for 10 to 15 people

4 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 cup quality extra virgin olive oil

3 lemons, freshly squeezed and strained

1 heaping tsp. garlic, fresh chopped

2 Tbs. tahini paste or 1Tbs. sesame oil

1 Tbs. parsley, chopped

kosher salt and cracked pepper

Rinse and drain the beans with cold water. Place them in a food processor. Slowly add the olive oil, then the lemon juice and continue mixing for five minutes. Add remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toast a large piece of Greek pita bread in a frying pan with a little oil for a few minutes to brown lightly. Slice into six points and serve with the hummus.

GREEK SALAD

1 seedless cucumber, diced small

4 roma tomatoes, diced small

1 cup Kalamata olives cut into quarters

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup quality feta cheese

3 Tbs. red wine vinaigrette

Combine all the ingredients in a steel bowl using enough vinaigrette to coat the mixture

RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

3/4 cup red wine vinaigrette

1/4 cup oil (blended 80/20) or canola or olive oil

1 tsp. garlic, chopped

1 tsp. shallots, chopped

1 Tbs. green onion

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Combine together and shake before using.

COLLINS PUB SMOKED SALMON APPETIZER

Chef Addam suggests picking out alder smoked salmon and arranging the salmon on a serving tray one layer thick and then sprinkled with red onions and capers and cream cheese. Or make a buffet of items such as chopped egg, garlicky pickles, assorted olives and cream cheese. Then serve with crusty bread or gourmet crackers.

1 pound cold smoked salmon, sliced thin

1/4 cup capers, well drained1 cup of canola oil for capers

1/8 cup red onions, finely diced

3 to 4 each chopped egg, separated (option)

Little garlicky pickles (option)

1 cup cream cheese

3 Tbs. pesto (store bought works fine)

Extra virgin olive oilCracked pepper

Crackers and crusty bread

Arrange the salmon on a platter or plate to the side of the rim. Fill around all surfaces. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

In a mixer with a paddle combine the cream cheese and pesto and beat until smooth and well mixed.

Heat the canola oil to 350 degrees F. and slowly add the capers. Carefully add them in as they may possibly splatter. Fry them for 30 seconds and then remove them from the oil with a strainer and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil off.

To serve, sprinkle the finely diced onions and capers liberally over the salmon. Then add cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Make way for a good size amount of basil cream cheese in the middle and serve with crackers or crusty toasted bread.

CHEF ADDAM BUZZALINI'S WILD MUSHROOMS ``EN CROUTE''

Chef Addam says that you can cut the pastry larger and with the addition of fingerling potatoes and spring asparagus, it makes a delicious light entrée or small appetizer size.

1 package puff pastry (made with butter)

1 egg

1 cup water, cool

1/2 cup goat cheese

3 cups of blended and chopped wild mushrooms, i.e. hedgehog, chanterelle, black trumpet, shitake, oyster, Portobello or whatever kind you prefer

1 Tbs. garlic, chopped

1 Tbs. shallot, chopped

1 tsp. rosemary, fresh chopped

1 tsp. thyme, fresh chopped

Kosher salt

Cracked pepper

80/20 blended oil or canola oil

Truffle oil (use if mixing with a little cream as a sauce accompaniment)

Combine the mushrooms in a steel bowl with the garlic, shallots, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and mix with hands using enough oil to coat well. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F. till just done (about 8 to 12 minutes.) Remove and cool immediately. Prepare puff pastry--defrost if necessary. If making for appetizers, cut into two-inch-by-two-inch squares of dough or for larger portion cut into four-inch-by-four-inch sizes.

Lay out the pastry on a flat clean surface; place a little goat cheese on each piece and cover with the chilled mushrooms mixture. Fold the dough over the mixture and dip your finger into the cool water to gently seal it together. Preheat oven now to 400 degrees F.

Beat egg and brush the pastry with the egg and place each ``croute'' on a lightly baking pan leaving enough room between each piece. They will puff up. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serving suggestions from Chef Addam include adding truffle cream along side and a bed of cooked spinach if you make it a little meal.

CHEF JEFF NATHAN'S CHICKEN ROULADE

This recipe is from Chef Jeff Nathan, who not only has a public TV cooking show but a line of frozen foods, two cookbooks and at the same time he is the proprietor of Abigael's, a kosher restaurant in New York.

3 lbs of boneless chicken -- could be a large breast piece with the bone taken out and then pounded thin

Butcher twine

1 pound challah

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup margarine

1 onion, diced small

1/4 cup sun dried cherries, chopped

1/4 cup sun dried cranberries, chopped

1/4 cup sun dried apples, chopped

2 Tbs. fresh sage

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1/4 cup apple cider

Cube the challah or egg bread into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large sauté pan heat the oil and margarine. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the dried fruits, seasonings and apple cider. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes and stir until well combined. Pour over challah and mix well. Cover lightly and set aside to cool. Allow to sit for flavors to combine for at least 30 minutes.

Fill the stuffing into the boneless and pounded-thin chicken. Roll into a few logs and tie each log with the butcher twine. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 if using large pieces of chicken, less cooking time for small pieces. Check to make sure it is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Slice thin with an electric knife and set the slices in a fan pattern around a large plate. Serve with cherry vinaigrette.

CHERRY VINAIGRETTE

1 Tbs. honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup cider vinegar

12 cherries--can be canned since it's not the season

1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped

1/2 cup oil

1/8 cup walnut oil

In a small bowl combine the honey, balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, cherries and sage. Slowly whisk in the oils. For a thicker consistency use a hand blender. Adjust seasonings with salty and pepper as desired. Drizzle over chicken roulades.

DEE SIMON'S CORNISH GAME PARTY HENS

I had Dee's Cornish game hens at a women's dinner party last summer. I have to tell you that I so enjoyed them and asked Dee for her recipe. She says she doesn't really measure anything, (sign of an experienced cook) but would do her best to give me the recipe. Serves eight.

4 Cornish game hens, rinsed and patted dry

1 (16 oz) jar of orange marmalade

1 bottle of teriyaki sauce

2 cups Mediterranean or French green olives with lemon

2 marinated lemon rinds cut into match stick pieces (preserved lemons)

In a large bowl, mix the marmalade with the teriyaki sauce until well blended. Add the Cornish game hens and coat with marmalade. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the hens on a shallow roasting pan with about one inch of the marinade. Cook for one hour, or until hens are cooked throughout. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Cut each hen in half and lay out on a platter. Garnish with olives and lemons. Dee suggests that this dish can be served hot in the winter and room temperature in the summer. She also likes to serve it with a rice pilaf and says the Near East Original brand works out perfectly. And it can accompany a Middle Eastern Romaine Salad.

DEE SIMON'S ROMAINE SALAD

1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Romaine lettuce -- enough for two (double recipe for four)

Chop lettuce. Chop garlic very fine. Sprinkle both with salt. Using the side of a knife, scrap and mash the salt into the garlic until you have a paste. In a small bowl combine the olive oil and garlic paste, add pepper and stir. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add lemon juice. Pour over lettuce and mix.

SHAYLA GOLDSTEIN'S MOROCCAN --STYLE COUSCOUS

Great flavored side dish with lots of flavor and smells divine!

11/2 cups chicken stock or you can use a mixture of orange juice and water

1/8 tsp. ground cumin ( or more)

1/8 tsp. ground coriander

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1 cup couscous

2 green onions, finely chopped

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup shelled pistachios or pine nuts

In a small saucepan, bring liquid and spices to a boil. Stir in couscous, onions, cranberries and pistachios. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for five minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

PATTI SIMON'S FAVORITE LEMON BARS

Patti's recipe is surely a sun-kissed wonder! And Patti ought to know as she has a catering and restaurant background, just one of her many talents. She told me that she would even come out to your home to teach private cooking classes. Now that's a novel idea!

CRUST

11/2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

11/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter

FILLING

6 large eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup flour

1/2 powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the flour and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a paddle attachment, add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is the size of small peas. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch pan. Bake crust for 20 -25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Decrease the oven down to 300 degrees F.

To make the filling, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and then flour. Pour filling into the crust and bake for 40 minutes or until filling is set. Cool for one half hour and then dust with powdered sugar.

CAYENNE RESTAURANT'S SPICED NUTS

4 cups mixed nuts

11/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (it's spicy so use lesser amount if desired)

3/4 tsp. cumin

2 each egg whites

3 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbs. honey

Place nuts on a sheet pan and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 minutes

In a mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy and white (no stiff peaks). Remove the nuts from the oven and place into a dry mixing bowl. Add honey and egg whites and mix. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place nut mixture back onto the sheet pan and return to oven at 350 degrees F. for an additional 10 minutes, stirring nuts after five minutes. (can use two cookie sheets) For some sweetness, toss cooling nuts with 2 TBS. of sugar.

HINT: great taste atop a salad ? so chop and toss in!

Eileen Mintz can be reached by calling 206.232.1984 or by email at eileenmintz@comcast.net

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