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Meatless In Seattle

Chef on a Sheostring Tom Douglas is a 1994 James Beard Award winner for Best Northwest Chef. He was also chosen as Best Chef by Seattle magazine.

Many food critics and chefs would be the first to tell you that Chef Douglas has helped to define "Northwest cuisine" or what some call "Pacific Rim" cuisine.

Tom's cooking reflects the melting pot of Seattle, a city that has Japanese, Vietnamese, and all-American food influences. He uses local ingredients to respect Seattle's ethnic food traditions. At the same time, he has been able to update old classics with his own flair.

He owns three popular Seattle restaurants: Dahlia Lounge, Etta's Seafood, and Palace Kitchen. In 1997, Palace Kitchen was nominated for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.

He now has a line of spice rubs which you can find in gourmet food shops. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their daughter.

Grilled Asparagus With Hazelnut-Star Anise Mayonnaise
Salmon With Grilled Shiitake Relish Served With Corn On The Cob
Gingersnap Cookies With Mango Sorbet

Definition of star anise: It is a star-shaped dark brown pod that contains a pea-size seed in each of its eight segments. It is native to China. In Asian cuisine, star anise is a commonly used spice and tea flavoring. It is also widely used to flavor liqueurs and baked goods in western culture. It is sold whole or as a ground ingredient which is generally known as "five-spice powder." It is a very common dry seasoning.

Shiitake mushrooms: Though originally from Japan and Korea, the delicious mushroom is now being cultivated in the United States. The stems tend to be tough, but you can use them for flavoring stocks and sauces -- just remove them when you are done with them. You want to choose mushrooms with edges that curl under. Avoid any with broken or shriveled caps. This mushroom is versatile and is suitable for almost any cooking method including sauteing, broiling, and baking.

The following recipes are all from "tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, which was a 2001 James Beard Award winner for Best Americana Cookbook.

Grilled Asparagus With Hazelnut-Star Anise Mayonnaise

Ingredients for the mayonnaise:
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 star anise, ground (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 cup toasted, skinned, finely chopped hazelnuts

Ingredients for the asparagus:
2 pounds asparagus, tough bottoms snapped off
Olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, sliced or cut into wedges for garnish


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the egg yolks, vinegar, citrus juices and zest, honey salt, and pepper, and star anise. While the machine is running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until the mixture is emulsified. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chopped hazelnuts for a garnish and process the rest briefly with the mayonnaise. Remove the mayonnaise to a small bowl.
  2. Fire up the grill. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and lay horizontally across the grill grates. This prevents them from falling through the grates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll the asparagus with tongs to grill them evenly, and don't be afraid to char them a little bit. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the asparagus and the heat of the grill. Medium-thick asparagus takes about 6 minutes.
Plating: Arrange the asparagus in bundles on plates. Drape some of the mayonnaise over each bundle. Sprinkle the remaining chopped toasted hazelnuts over the mayonnaise and garnish with orange slices or wedges.

Tom's notes from his book: This mayonnaise is also good with steamed artichokes, blanched green beans, grilled zucchini, or grilled fennel, or as a dip for crudites. You can also serve it as a sauce on fish; it would go well with salmon. It also makes for a great dressing for chicken salads.

If you don't want to grill the asparagus, steam them. Just be sure not to overcook them. Asparagus should be bright green and still slightly al dente.

Etta's Pit-Roasted Salmon With Grilled Shiitake Relish

For the salmon spice rub:
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

To finish the dish:
Six 7-ounce salmon fillets
Olive oil
Grilled shiitake relish
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
Fresh basil leaves


  1. Fire up the grill.
  2. To make the spice rub, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl. Coat both sides of the salmon fillets with all of the rub. Brush the grill and fish with oil. Grill over direct heat, covered, with the vents open. When the salmon is marked by the grill, flip the fish and finish cooking.
Tom likes salmon medium-rare, which requires a total grilling time of around 10 minutes, depending on the heat of the grill. The sugar in the spice rub can burn easily, so watch it closely.

Ladle some shiitake relish over each salmon fillet and garnish with lemon wedges and fresh basil leaves.

A step ahead: The spice rub can be made a couple days ahead and stored, tightly covered, at room temperature.

Serve with oregon pinot noir.

Tom's notes from his book: It might sound like an odd combination to serve pinot noir with salmon, especially if you believe in the old maxim of red wine with red meat and white with fish. But the smoky-flavored salmon is perfectly matched with a delicate but intense pinot noir from Oregon's Williamette Valley, which is southwest of Portland.

For The Shiitake Relish:
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushroom caps, wiped clean
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Fire up the grill.
  2. In a bowl, toss the mushroom caps with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the mushrooms on both sides, over direct heat, until cooked through, about five minutes total.
  4. Remove the mushrooms from the grill and thinly slice.
  5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the shallots and garlic and sweat them until soft and aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  7. In a bowl, combine the mushrooms, shallot-garlic mixture, herbs, vinegar, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve at room temperature.
If you want to make this relish and you're not planning to grill, you could roast the mushrooms instead. Toss the mushrooms with the oil, salt, and pepper, then spread them on a baking sheet. Roast them in a pre-heated 450-degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Grilled Corn on the Cob:

4 fresh ears of corn, shucked

Grill the corn until done, about 8 minutes over medium heat, turning as necessary to brown evenly. Remove the corn from the grill and butter, if you wish.


1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon grated cinnamon

"A simple, homey cookie, but one of our favorites. Grated fresh ginger, instead of powdered ginger, gives these cookies the snap the name promises. We serve gingersnaps with creamy desserts, such as ice creams, sorbets, or custards. These flavor-filled cookies are best when they are still very slightly warm from the oven."


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or with a wooden spoon, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and ginger and mix to combine. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Refrigerate the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for at least an hour before shaping the cookies.
  2. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup sugar on a plate. Form 3/4-inch balls of the dough and roll the balls in the sugar before placing them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press the balls of dough flat with the palm of your hand. The cookies should be spaced 2 or 3 inches apart after they are flattened. Bake until golden brown and set around the edges, but still slightly soft in the center, 7 to 8 minutes, turning the baking sheet around in the oven halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to colon the baking sheet before removing them with a metal spatula. The gingersnaps will firm up as they cool.
A step ahead: Gingersnaps will stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also keep the baked and completely cooled cookies in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for a week or two. The cookie dough can be made ahead, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for even longer.

Tom's notes from his book: Here are some tips for rolling out cookie dough: Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or to the rolling pin, but don't use too much or the cookies will be tough. A metal or plastic board scraper is helpful and inexpensive tool to use when you are working with dough. Tom uses a board scraper to lift the dough occasionally as he is rolling it to check that the dough is not sticking.

If the bottoms of the cookies seem to be browning too quickly, "double pan" them by sliding another baking sheet underneath. Also, it's a good idea to turn the pan in the oven once or twice while the cookies are baking so that they cook evenly. If you have more than one baking sheet in the oven, you should switch the top and bottom racks halfway through the baking.

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