Tilth Restaurant

The New York Times — Again
August 28, 2008, 11:25 am
Filed under: In the Media, Recipes

My tomato preserve ice cream recipe appeared in Amanda Hesser’s column in the Sunday Magazine (8/24). Check out the piece here. Here’s the recipe that ran in The New York Times:

August 24, 2008

2008: Tomato-Preserve Ice Cream

By Maria Hines, the chef and owner of Tilth in Seattle.

For the ice cream:

Tomato preserves (see previous recipe), made with 4 pounds tomatoes, prepared up through Step 3

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups half-and-half

½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 large egg yolks

¾ cup sugar

For the caramel (optional):

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon lemon juice

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream.

1. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from their cooking syrup (reserving the syrup). Place the tomatoes in a large, heavy saucepan and mash to a fine pulp with a potato masher. Turn the heat to medium and reduce the pulp to the thickness of tomato paste, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Measure out 1¼ cups. Reserve the rest for spreading on toast. Return the measured amount to the saucepan.

2. Whisk the cream, half-and-half and vanilla into the pulp and place over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. When the mixture reaches a simmer — do not let it boil — turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks, then return this mixture to the remaining hot cream. Stir over medium-low heat until the custard reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer or thickly coats the back of a spoon, then remove from the heat. The custard should be thick and creamy, similar to egg nog.

4. Half-fill a large bowl with ice water. Strain custard into a smaller bowl. Rest the smaller bowl in the ice bath and let cool, stirring often. Chill.

5. Churn the tomato custard in your ice-cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Chill.

6. To serve, make a caramel syrup if you like: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice with 1 tablespoon water. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar caramelizes to a dark amber color. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute. Whisk in the cream, then 3 tablespoons of the reserved tomato syrup. Scoop the ice cream into bowls and drizzle with a little caramel tomato syrup. Makes 1½ quarts.

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Memories of Thailand
March 31, 2008, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Maria's Travels

eat + rock climb = happy

The street food in Thailand is incredible. Me and my partner, Bahia, spent eighty percent of the time eating from food carts. Almost every day there was a new food experience to be had. I have been working in kitchens for eighteen years. I have traveled through western Europe and Morocco, I have cooked in France, and I’ve worked in four regions in the U.S. As a result, I have been exposed to quite a bit of food. So you can imagine how exciting and inspiring it was to come across foods and preparations of dishes that I have never heard of before. My eyes, nose, ears, palate, and hands were constantly engaged.

First I must mention that experiencing the street food in Thailand is not for the squeamish. Leave your safety and sanitation guide at home. If you approach the experience with an open mind and not worry about the lack of plastic food service gloves, dirt, mangy cats, dirty dishes being washed in a plastic bin of still water, and large flying insects that bite, then you’re in for a real treat. But please don’t let this discourage you, because the food is truly amazing.

The green papaya salad is prepared to order in a deep wooden mortar and pestle with green papaya, garlic clove, fresh Thai chili, fish sauce, peanut, basil, mung bean, lime, dried shrimp, and tomato. The textures are all varied and the flavors are spicy, sweet and sour!

They have these Thai “roti” carts that make these delicious thin circular crispy pancakes filled with all sorts of items, such as cashews and condensed milk, banana and nutella, tuna and tomato, and more!
Some of the phad thai carts offer a selection of three different styles of noodles that you choose from and then they make it for you right on the spot on a large flat wok. They have sugar, red chili flakes, spicy vinegar, and chopped peanuts on the side that you put on yourself.

The BBQ carts have grilled meats and fish lightly coated with a sweet, smoky, mildly tangy sauce. Depending on the cart, you can get chicken, pigeon, octopus, squid, catfish, etc. There’s an additional spicy, bright sauce made with cilantro, Thai chilis, garlic, onion and fish sauce that are given for dipping.
There are fried chicken carts that give you fiery sweet garlic sauce and a side of steamed sticky rice.
For something refreshing and cool, there’s fruit shake carts that blend mango, pineapple, papaya, or whatever they have, to order with ice. They also have yogurt to add.

The mango sticky rice carts is where it’s at for dessert. The mangoes are so juicy, floral and sweet with the perfect firm-flesh texture. It was like having a mango for the very first time the way it should be, picked at the perfect time of ripeness, where if you look at it cross-eyed it’ll bruise and leach out its syrupy sugary nectar. Very much the way our peaches and strawberries do in Washington State during peak season.

There were so many tropical fruits I have never even heard of or tasted before. I didn’t get the English names of a lot them, but I have photos you can check out on the Tilth blog. They all had their unique personalities, shapes, sizes, skins, and husks, but all shared the characteristics of being sweet, floral, fleshy, intoxicatingly fragrant, and tasted like the warmth of the sun just exploded in your mouth.

Some areas have a bunch of food stalls clustered together. We went to a night food market in Krabi that had well over fifty food stalls! They had everything from boiled and chopped cow innards in a rich broth, fried doughnuts, banana with mung bean and sweet sticky rice all wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, satay of everything, fried rice dishes galore, a variety of rice noodle dishes, green curry, panang curry, massaman curry, cast iron fried quail eggs, coconut pancakes and more!

There were little thin-skinned bananas with a vegetal quality that were slow grilled, which gave them a meaty quality. The heat transforms the skin into a leathery texture and it becomes an oven for the banana. When you bite into it, out comes this hot steam, a smoky, semi-sweet flavor and creamy texture – and it’s on a skewer.

The beauty of eating street food is it allows you to enjoy small flavorful portions as frequently as you want. You can just stumble around from destination to destination eating along the way. How cool is that?! And it’s usually cheap (about $.75 to $3.00 a plate). It’s always so amazing to journey through another country far from home and experience the wonderful flavors that make up their culture and gives you a sense of place outside of your own region.

The other main purpose of this trip was to indulge one of my other passions, which is rock climbing. The rock climbing in Southern Thailand has a world renowned reputation for being one of the best places to climb. It certainly lives up to it.

The cliffs line the beaches in Railey, Tonsai Bay, and Phi Phi Island. There are no cars or roads in these areas. You really feel like you are communing with nature in these paradise locations. We were climbing on limestone sea cliffs dripping with stalactites, shadowed by small caves, bulging with tufas, and beautiful black and red streaks following the length of the crags.

There were some critters to be aware of when climbing in the beach areas or the jungle. We saw plenty of snakes, water monitors (large lizard similar to the komodo dragon), monkeys, wasps, spiders, lizards, etc.
It was also interesting to have to time our climbing with not only the sun but the tide. We found ourselves enjoying a nice day out climbing only to find the tide coming in so quickly that we were waist-deep in water with our climbing packs over our head trying to make it back to land.

Overall, Southern Thailand is a fabulous place to visit! Hope you make it there sometime.


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Maria in Thailand
March 9, 2008, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Thailand

I was recently in Thailand for a rock climbing vacation. I will post stories about the trip later, but I wanted to direct you to some of the photos from the trip.


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Bourbon Hot Chocolate
February 20, 2008, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Beverages, Recipes

We’ve had a few requests for the recipe for the hot chocolate. Here it is:

1 ½ cups whole milk
2 cardamom pods, roughly chopped
3 ounces Theo dark chocolate
Pinch of salt
1 ounce Woodford Reserve bourbon

Simmer milk and cardamom over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove cardamom. Whisk in the chocolate an ounce at a time. If the chocolate flavor isn’t intense enough, add more chocolate pieces to taste. Add a pinch of salt to heighten the flavor. Add the bourbon to a mug and top with the hot chocolate. Serve with marshmallows on top.

From Tilth Restaurant


Maria’s Podcast Interview
January 20, 2008, 2:22 pm
Filed under: In the Media, Podcast, What's New

How did Maria Hines get started in the restaurant business? What does she think about a culinary degree versus an apprenticeship? Why did she insist on being a certified organic restaurant?

Tune in to this 30-minute podcast interview with Maria to find out.

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Maria’s Nutrition Page
January 20, 2008, 1:05 am
Filed under: Nutrition, What's New, Where Maria Eats

I’ve posted a separate link to my nutrition page that you can read when you have a little time. I’ve been studying my own eating habits to prepare for a rock climbing trip to Thailand in February. It’s amazing how little I knew about nutrition — and I’m a chef who went to culinary school. I hope you get a kick out of it.

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Table Talk
October 30, 2007, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Events, Lectures

Today, I’m the guest speaker for a class called “Table Talk: Food, Culture and Development” at the University of Washington in Bothell. I invite the students to start a conversation with me here about their thoughts on the topic of sustainability — or anything related to food. Below, I’ve attached my lecture notes in case anyone is interested seeing my thought process.

— Chef Maria

University of Washington, Bothell Lecture

Guest Lecture: Chef/Owner Maria Hines, Tilth Restaurant, Seattle (Website: http://www.tilthrestaurant.com. Blog:https://tilthblog.wordpress.com/.)

Lecture Overview

A. Perspectives on the aesthetics for composing a dish.
We’ll discuss balance, texture, flavor combination, quality of ingredients, umami, terroir, and scourcing.

B. Sustainability and Organics
We’ll explore the farmer-chef connection, sustainability definitions, eating local, bioregions, biodiversity, food shed security, marine ecosystem safety, and organics. Continue reading