The Romaines Restaurant Blog

Heirloom Tomato and Cherry Panzanella

2016-07-29 10:26:26 rsadmin

Its late July and the summer is getting too hot to cook. Fortunately, the flavor and vibrantly beautiful produce that is ripening in the fields lets us create delicious dishes with a minimum of heat in the kitchen. As vegetables and fruits come in and out of season, different combinations of vegetables lend themselves to recipes that are possible for only week or two during the summer. So this week we feature the last of cherries in our CSA with the season’s first heirloom tomatoes.

Heirloom Tomato and Flathead Cherry Panzanella
4 Heirloom tomatoes, diced and juices reserved
Salt and Pepper
1 cup cherries, pitted and cut in half
¼ cup Feta Cheese, such as Joe’s Hawaiian Shirt Feta from The Flathead Cheese Company, crumbled
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp Balsamic Vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
3 TBS olive oil
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade

½ Le Petite Outre Baguette, or other Baguette, into 7 slices.
Olive oil

1. Place the diced heirloom tomatoes in a bowl with their juices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. In the meantime, pit the cherries. (We highly recommend a high quality pitter if you work with cherries every summer.)
3. Brush the baguette with olive oil and toast in the oven at 350, or better yet grill it until toasted.
4. Mix the Cherries, Tomatoes, Feta, vinegars, salt, olive oil, and basil leaves in a bowl.
5. To serve, place a piece or two of bread in a bowl and spoon the salad over it. Be sure to include the juices to sop into the bread.

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CSA Share Recipes

2016-07-01 14:28:30 rsadmin

Romaines partnered with the Western Montana Growers COOP to purchase a CSA for the restaurant. We share recipes using the vegetables with other CSA members, so take a look at what you can do with what is local and fresh now.

We have two kinds of peas in our boxes this week, and its way too hot to cook in the evening. Time to make salads that you can cook ahead of time.
Grain Salad with Tarragon Chicken Salad
1 cup of quinoa, brown rice or other grain of your choice
2 cups water
2 TBS olive oil

3 chicken breasts, approximately 2 lbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
1 TBS lemon juice (from zested lemon on chicken)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dried tarragon, or better yet, 3 tsp fresh
¾ cup olive oil

Snap and Sugar Peas, strings removed and cut into bite sized pieces
Toasted almonds, sunflower seeds or optional nut of your choice

1. The night or morning before serving the salad, boil the grain in the water until cooked. Stir in the oil to keep the grain from sticking, and refrigerate.
2. While the grain is cooking, coat the chicken with the salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Cook on a grill, or in the stove, and then refrigerate. When cool, cut into bite-sized cubes.
3. Place the oil and other ingredients except oil in a blender. With the blender on, slowly add the oil to emulsify.
4. Mix the chilled grain with the chicken pieces, peas, and optional nuts. Drizzle on the dressing to your desired amount. Chill the salad until you are ready to eat them.
5. Do you have extra garlic scapes from previous weeks? Blanch them in boiling water until tender, cut them into bite size pieces and add them to your salad!

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Sunflower Oil

2015-12-01 13:24:02 rsadmin

I am happy to announce a menu change at Romaines that few of you will notsunflower-11574_1280ice, but some will welcome.  I replaced Canola Oil with Sunflower Oil in all of our dressings.

When Romaines started I was looking for an oil that was both flavorless and in-ex
pensive enough to use in large quantities.  (During our busy season, we use five gallons of oil in our dressings a week.)  Unfortunately, good olive oil has its own flavors, and is expensive, leaving us with the choice of Soybean Oil or Canola Oil.  I chose to use Canola Oil because I know Soybean Oil is an allergen for some, and is grown using a lot of chemicals.   Canola oil seemed to me t
o be a slightly better, although not ideal choice.

So why change from Canola Oil, you ask?   Some people exclude canola oil from their diet because it causes a reaction similar to an allergic reaction, and it is also processed to make it suitable for culinary applications.   Ari Levaux wrote an article on the history and process of making Canola oil which you can find here  In addition, the Canola oil plant is often conventionally grown with a genetically modified variety to be resistant to herbicides.  Knowing these drawbacks to Canola oil, I’ve been looking for a cost effective replacement with a neutral flavor for some time.

The Sunflower Oil we are using is produced by Sustain Oils, and is a Non GMO verified oil.  As with most seed oils, it is probably heated during processing.  This oil is a great choice for our dressings, and will allow more people to enjoy them.  On your way to Romaines during this cold weather, picture a field of sunflowers with their heads all pointed in the direction of the August sun because sunflowers power our dressing.

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How to Better Hard Cook an Egg

2015-03-31 11:39:35 rsadmin

photoWe hard boil a lot of eggs at Romaines, though a better term is hard-cook because we’ve discovered that the best way to cook an egg in its shell is not to boil it at all.  Boiling seems to stick some shells permanently to the cooked egg white, making them impossible to peel.    We’ve tried many tricks, and steaming eggs allows the shell to come off cleanly every time.

With Easter coming, here is how to hard cook eggs with steam:

  1. Place a steamer in a pot with water just coming up to the steamer.
  2. Add cold eggs, and turn on the heat to high, letting the water come to a full boil.
  3. Once at a full boil, place a cover on the pot and set at timer for 14 minutes.
  4. Make an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and then water, leaving enough room for the eggs.
  5. After 14 minutes, transfer the eggs to the ice bath.  If you would like your eggs more or less done experiment adding or subtracting a minute from your cooking time.
  6. Once they are cool, you can color them with your favorite colors, or make them into your favorite devilled egg recipe.
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Building the Pulled Pork Sandwich

2015-02-18 10:16:50 rsadmin

The incredibly popular Romaines pulled pork sandwich.

Welcome to the Romaines blog. We will be keeping you up to date about menu items and other news on this post. Today I explain the creation of our pulled pork sandwich.

The pulled pork sandwich is one of our most popular sandwiches. While developing the recipe, I wanted to create a pork sandwich that featured Montana raised pork, but was different than a BBQ sandwich. I love Mexican food, so a braised pork with flavors of chili peppers was a natural choice. The adobo sauce I developed is spicy without being too hot, making it perfect for the wide variety of tastes we serve at the restaurant. The first versions of the sauce were flavorful but the chili didn’t linger on the palate. We added cocoa powder to the sauce which added a depth to the flavor and made for a great sauce.

Next it was time to choose the toppings. The strong flavors of the pork sauce require something a little refreshing on top. The pickled onions balance the deep flavors of the pork well, and cabbage gives a little added crunch and substance to the sandwich. The feta cheese contributes a cheese flavor and adds a little saltiness. The sandwich was finished when we topped it on a roll that could hold all of those ingredients.

I also wanted to feature a dish that pairs well with our beers. The pork sandwich goes well with both our Kettle House Cold Smoke and the seasonal Bayern.

Come in and give the pulled pork sandwich a try. We’re sure you’ll see why it’s a top selling sandwich at Romaines!

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