The only difficult thing about exploring the pages of Washington Wine and Food, a new cookbook/winery guide by Seattle food maven Julien Perry, might be deciding where to keep it. Perry’s profiles of Washington winemakers will tempt you to bring it along on visits to the state’s wine regions. Its 80 recipes, provided by top Seattle-area chefs, will make you want to set it near your kitchen. But its elegant photography and hard-cover design make it a handsome addition to your coffee table. In fact, there are a lot of reasons to like Perry’s new book. Most notable is the opportunity it provides to celebrate Washington wine and Northwest cuisine.
[Top: Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, by Andrea Johnson Photography; all other photos by Charity Burggraaf]
Released this past Tuesday by Figure 1 Publishing, the book showcases about 40 Washington winemakers. Perry describes their influences and inspirations. And she accompanies her thoughtful write-ups with two chef-provided recipes to pair with select bottlings from each winemaker.
So, for example, chef Holly Smith, of Kirkland’s Cafe Juanita, shares the secrets to an heirloom tomato and nectarine salad, with squash blossom fritti (above), to pair with W.T. Vintners’ grüner veltliner. And for the winery’s Boushey Vineyard Syrah, she provides a recipe for Muscovy duck breast with Bing cherries, fennel crema, Walla Walla salad onions and salsa piccante.
Perry crisscrossed the state to interview the participating winemakers. A few, such as W.T. Vintners’ Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen (JLT), requested specific chefs to create the recipes for their wines. This is how JLT’s pairings with Smith came about. But most of the others trusted Perry, a respected food journalist, to find the right chefs. Perry also made sure that the recipes were not too hard to prepare at home.
Seattle chef Ryan Donaldson (Gather Kitchen & Bar), for example, lets readers choose the difficulty level in replicating his grilled salmon with syrah bbq sauce and corn risotto (above). The recipe includes instructions for a scratch-made corn stock for the risotto. But he also notes that plain ol’ chicken stock will also work for the dish, crafted to pair with Lauren Ashton Cellars’ Reserve Syrah.
Wine country made simple
“I don’t want people to be intimidated by this book,” said Perry (above), during a phone conversation earlier this week. “I don’t want anybody to think, ‘Oh my God, I have to have this wine with this dish.’ The idea is to explore wines that you maybe haven’t tasted before. But no one has to think that they can’t make a dish if they don’t have the exact wine pairing.”
Considering how well Washington’s red wines pair with hearty dishes, it’s no surprise to find recipes for several meaty entrées. But seafood, salad, soups and vegetarian dishes are also well represented.
Just scanning the ingredients in Rider chef Dan Mallahan’s recipe for nettle gnocchi with wild morels and bee-pollen vinaigrette will make your mouth water. (He created it for J. Bookwalter Winery’s Protagonist cabernet sauvignon.) The minted green garbanzo and burrata toast, which Bottlehouse co-owner Soni Dave-Schock recommends with Locus Wines’ rosé, is sure to impress your party guests. And save room for chef Zoi Antonitsas’ salt-and-pepper chocolate cookies with dried cherry. She created the recipe with AniChe Cellars’ Moth Love red blend in mind.
Generating a buzz
Perry began working on Washington Wine and Food in fall 2018, right around the release of Seattle Cooks, her first collaboration with Figure 1. The earlier work features profiles of and recipes from top Seattle-area chefs. Some teamed with her again on recipes for this new work.
The new book also comes with some serious celebrity cachet, including a forward by Kyle MacLachlan. The actor, who grew up in Yakima, established Pursued by Bear winery in 2005, with the late winemaker Eric Dunham (Dunham Cellars). He has emerged as a champion of his home state’s wine scene. And he did not hesitate when Perry invited him to contribute. Then in mid-June, model Chrissie Teigen, who grew up in Snohomish, plugged Washington Wine and Food on Instagram Stories, sending sales through the roof on Amazon.
At last check, the book was back in stock on Amazon. And it is available online and in-person through other booksellers, including Elliot Bay Book Company, Third Place Books and Book Larder. You’ll also find it in the participating winemakers’ tasting rooms. And a few of the featured chefs, including Brendan McGill (Hitchcock), Maximillian Petty (Eden Hill Restaurant and Eden Hill Provisions) and Aaron Tekulve (Surrell) have copies in their restaurants.
Based in Vancouver, B.C., Figure 1 publishes books on a wide range of topics. Its food-and-wine series showcases the offerings in several Canadian and American regions. And its other titles showcasing the Pacific Northwest include Portland Cooks, The Okanagan Table and Vancouver Eats.