New To-Go Soup

With sweater weather fast upon us, it’s time to cozy up with a bowl of soup. Not only have we resumed selling it at our cafés, but we’re also introducing a line of favorite Macrina soups packaged for you to take home to heat and serve.

 

“I love a bowl of soup on a crisp fall evening,” says Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder. “The simplicity of soup on those early, dark nights, and the aroma that fills the house as it’s heating, is soul-satisfying. And there’s nothing better than dipping a buttered slice of crusty bread in soup.”

Our first two are Tomato Bisque and Chicken & Vegetable. They come in 32 oz. containers, which is enough to serve four. Add a salad and a loaf of crusty bread and you’ve got dinner.

The Tomato Bisque is silky smooth and gets its deep, rich flavor from ripe tomatoes, roasted red peppers, fennel, rosemary, and thyme. The soup is thickened with rice and gets its velvety texture from being pureed with olive oil and cream. Perfectly paired with our grilled cheese sandwich.

The Chicken & Vegetable is our version of the classic hearty soup. It’s loaded with chicken and chopped vegetables in a fragrant vegetable stock seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

Stop in one of our cafés to grab a healthy soup and a loaf of your favorite bread. Also available for delivery through DoorDash.

Project Barnstorm: Plum Conserves

On Leslie’s Vashon Island farm, there is one very productive Italian plum tree. The blue plums have a sweet yellow flesh that is ideal for an unforgettable fruit conserve. For those of you not yet familiar with Project Barnstorm, Leslie’s new line of fruit spreads, it’s a tasty celebration of the seasons. By picking the fruit at its peak, or buying it straight from some of the best local farmers, the fruit spreads capture the natural essence of the fruit. Leslie’s fruit spreads have less sugar than jam, allowing the ripe fruit’s natural sweetness to shine through. Opening a jar at any time of year brings summer right back.

Leslie’s Plum Conserves get a lovely dimension of flavor from just a hint of fresh rosemary. The Plum Conserves are delicious on a cornetto or yogurt fruit bowl or served as a dollop with roast chicken or pork loin.

While it may be tempting to open the jar right away, you may want to add it to your larder. Larder is a little-used term these days, but most houses built in pre-refrigeration days had one. Usually built on the north side of the house, close to the ground with a mesh window to allow air to circulate, larders were food storehouses. Because they weren’t cold like a refrigerator, much of the summer harvest was cooked and stored in sealed jars. With freezers and refrigerators, it sometimes seems that food changed from something we make to something we buy. We lost something essential in the transition. While you might not be doing the growing and jarring yourself, bolding a larder containing farm-fresh specialties will connect you to the land all winter long. There’s a special joy that comes from pulling a favorite treat from your larder and dressing up your meal with the sweet flavors of summer.

At our cafés, we have served this conserve on a Ricotta-Stuffed Brioche French Toast and have used it on a Rosemary Ham & Brie Sandwich. For the holidays, we love to serve it with Dinah’s Cheese from Vashon Island or Cambozola Black Label with our Sardinian Flat Bread. Or keep it simple and dress up a bowl of vanilla ice cream with a dollop of Plum Conserves and a few roasted almonds for crunch. This very versatile condiment will be hard to keep in your larder for long, but you won’t be sorry.

Plum Bistro: Redefining Vegan Food 

Makini Howell makes incredible plant-based food. For her, eating vegan comes naturally. Not only was she raised in a vegan family, but her family has been in the food business for over 40 years. “It was my mom that started our company,” Makini says. “She still has a restaurant in Tacoma, and my sister actually makes the cookies for Plum.”

Plum Bistro, on 12th Avenue on Seattle’s Capitol Hill in the lively Pike/Pine corridor, is an airy, contemporary space. In pre-Covid times, first-rate servers delivered beautiful plates of food to a bustling room of diners. A glance at a stylishly arranged plate of Makini’s seared spiced tofu with fried avocado, greens, chile powder, and black bean puree, and you might think it was topped with a piece of grilled halibut. But Makini isn’t trying to replace animal proteins in any way. In the introduction to her cookbook she says, “I’m really not trying to replace anything because I don’t feel…like I’m missing anything. I’m just using other sources of protein.”

This approach has won her legions of fans in Seattle and beyond—in 2019, The New York Times recognized her as one of 16 Black chefs changing food in America. Her creative, healthy approach to food and consistently beautiful dishes have led to a steadily growing vegan food empire in Seattle.

Of course, for now, Covid has forced some closures. “We’ve had to close down our Sugar Plum, our food truck, and our Seattle Center store,” Makini says.

Fortunately, Plum Bistro and Plum Chopped (a fast-casual walkup counter next to Plum Bistro featuring hearty salads) are open for dining and takeout, with dining capacity at 50 percent. “We do a lot of family meals now, they’re affordable and conscious of the fact that a lot of people are out of work,” Makini says.

For health reasons or environmental ones, a growing number of people have started eating plant-based diets. Makini, who can make carnivores forget there’s no meat in the food, has been a significant influence. And despite the many accolades she’s received, and the many loyal fans she has throughout the city, she continues to challenge herself in the kitchen. In the introduction to her cookbook, she explains, “This idea of changing the way you taste pushes us to experiment and recraft, to look at our dishes from outside the box and try to make them even tastier, more indulgent, and more vibrant.”

Drop into Plum Bistro or Plum Chopped, or order takeout. They need your support to get through this unprecedented challenge, and our

October Recipe of the Month – Autumn Roast Chicken with Quince & Apple Cider

The aroma of roasting chicken with the deliciously fragrant, pear apple smell of baking quince will warm your heart on a crisp, fall evening. The combination of allspice, cinnamon and chimichurri spice with the fruitiness of the apple cider adds complexity to the caramelized onions, carrots and quince. The pan drippings make the perfect au jus sauce. I recommend serving this autumnal dinner with basmati rice and a kale Caesar salad!

– Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

Marinade:
1½ cups unfiltered apple cider
¼ cup white wine
2 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground allspice
1½ tsp ground chimichurri spice

Roast Chicken:
2 lbs organic chicken, back removed and cut into 8 pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half and then in 1-inch wedges
3 quinces, core removed and cut into ½-inch slices*
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

*Cutting raw quince is difficult. A quince resembles an apple, but it’s much firmer. Using a sharp chef’s knife, I make the first cut straight down, just to the side of the core. Then I turn the cut side down and repeat until I’m left with a 1½-inch square (the core). I then cut the pieces into ½-inch slices. They will oxidize and brown, so tossing them with the marinade soon a er they are cut will help prevent that. However, they brown as they cook, so a little oxidation won’t show.

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider, white wine, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, cinnamon, allspice and chimichurri spice. Warm over medium heat for 3 minutes and let cool. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade to later toss with the onion, quince and carrot.

Place the cut chicken pieces into a medium bowl and cover with the cooled marinade. Press the chicken pieces down until they are all submerged. Cover with plastic and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. In a separate bowl, toss the reserved marinade with the onion wedges, quince and carrots. Refrigerate until ready to roast the chicken.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare a large baking dish (a 13 x 9-inch lasagna pan works well) by brushing the sides and bottom with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Place the chicken into the pan, skin side up in a single layer. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the marinated vegetables and toss, then add them to the baking dish, tucking them in gaps to create a single layer for even cooking and browning. Pour any remaining marinade over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is browned and cooked to your liking (chicken should reach 165°F).

Remove dish from oven and transfer the chicken and the caramelized vegetables to your serving dish. Pour the juices remaining in the pan over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.

Printable PDF here.

Meet Eric Holstad: Reporting and Systems Manager

“It’s very inspirational to see the passion for the products and to see how well everyone works together here,” says Eric Holstad, Macrina Bakery’s Reporting and Systems Manager. In his role, he deals with every facet of Macrina’s operations from the executive team and sales to production and delivery.

Eric is a natural when it comes to understanding technology and ensuring that it works for everyone else. He manages the software that powers our wholesale operation and prepares key reports that our leadership team can use to optimize our performance. Eric’s analytical skills mesh well with those of Macrina’s President, Scott France. “I really appreciate Scott’s critical thinking skills and the logical thought process behind how he does things,” Eric says.

Another reason Eric is a treasured colleague is that when you have a computer or server issue in the office, he is the magician who makes the problem vanish.

Before coming to Macrina full-time in 2019, Eric worked for Pagliacci Pizza for 17 years. He started in the stores, rising to a general manager before being recruited to the office where his computer skills and attention to detail were needed.

“I love working with Leslie,” Eric says. “Her enthusiasm brings everyone along and gets you pumped about what we’re doing and where we’re going next. And our production and delivery crew is very diverse, much more so than any job I’ve had before, and I think that’s great. It exposes me to new cultures and new kinds of people. I appreciate having that in my life.”

Outside of work, one could define Eric by three deep passions: music, computers and food. He enjoys listening to music and collecting vinyl records of his favorites. “I’m a fan of music in general,” he says. “There’s no genre I wouldn’t listen to. I’m very open when it comes to experiencing music.” When he has time, he plays the bass guitar. But time is limited these days by a relatively new addition to his life: a young daughter. “It’s such a life-changing event to have a child,” he says.

Challah Crowns for the Jewish High Holidays 

At Macrina, we make Challah every Friday, offering it in both plain and poppy seed. We braid three ropes of dough in the European Jewish tradition to represent unity. According to The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden, the three braids stand for truth, peace, and justice, and the poppy seeds represent manna that fell from heaven. We bake our challah loaves to a deep golden mahogany color and a firm crust. The soft, tight crumb pulls apart easily. The shiny, honey-sweetened bread is excellent toasted, turned into delicate french toast, or passed around the table with a meal.

For the Jewish High Holidays, we form our Challah into rounds—or crowns—to recall the cycle of the year, or as Roden characterizes them, “where there is no beginning and no end.” The honey in the crowns represents hopes for a sweet new year. We make our crowns in both plain and studded with raisins.

This year we will be offering our Challah Crowns from September 18–20 to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and September 27–28 to celebrate Yom Kippur. Whether they’re part of your religious tradition, or you just love great bread and the tradition of sharing it with others, stop by one of our cafés and get one of these beautiful, symbolic loaves.

Meet Trevor Kitchin: Food Safety GM

At heart, Trevor is a teacher, his field before coming to Macrina Bakery. As our Food Safety General Manager, Trevor puts those skills to good use. He worked with Blake Gehringer, Macrina’s Production Manager, to establish food safety plans for both retail and wholesale operations. He spends his days training, answering questions, observing, documenting, testing, and continuously learning.

Trevor Kitchen

In 2016, Trevor was hired by Macrina and applied his skills as an educator to food safety, as an assistant manager for three years before taking over the top spot in 2019.

“I love the teaching part and have a lot of patience,” Trevor says. “I recognize where employees are and help them get to the point they need to be.”

Many languages are spoken at our bakery, and all of Trevor’s teaching skills come into play. “I use visual guides and often work through the GM of each department, all of whom can translate,” Trevor says. “When I do formal trainings I hire translators.”

It could be said that Trevor has a rooted interest in food safety that goes beyond the obvious: He’s married to our Retail Operations General Manager, Crystal Kitchin.

Both Crystal and Trevor were born and raised in the Seattle area and are very close to their families. At their wedding, in addition to their extended families, many members of their Macrina family were there to cheer them on—along with a Macrina wedding cake.

Trevor took Crystal boating in the San Juan Islands, one of his favorite places. “She fell in love with the islands as well,” he says. When time permits, they love exploring the islands in the nineteen-foot Cutty Cabin boat. At home, visiting family and spending time with their husky are significant parts of their life.

And the best part of his job (besides Crystal)?

“The people that work at Macrina are fantastic,” Trevor says. “That’s why I work here.”

Meet Jennifer Truong: Macrina’s Wholesale Office General Manager

Born and raised in South Seattle, Jennifer Truong had no desire to leave the city when she graduated from the University of Washington in Environmental Studies. Her job search led to Macrina Bakery, which was hiring Customer Service Representatives. “I was looking for a job to help me pay off my student loans,” Jennifer says. “Office work and the chance to connect with people was great.”

Five years later, Jennifer has grown into the job of Wholesale Office General Manager. “I fell in love with the whole team,” Jennifer says. “They continue to grow me and give me new opportunities. It’s a great environment to work in. “I manage the Customer Service Representatives, making sure we deliver exceptional customer service.”


In addition to taking care of Macrina’s wholesale customers, Jennifer works with production and delivery to ensure they have what they need to execute their jobs.

Jennifer cites Macrina’s Wholesale Manager Fanny Alvarado, and her hard work and management style, as a major influence. “I’ve learned from Fanny to remind myself that this is really a small business. We have the ability to be flexible and adapt to changes as we need to. We learn and grow from our experiences.”

Outside of work, Jennifer loves to get together with Amy Bui, Macrina’s General Manager of Wholesale Sales, and dine out. Often they visit Macrina’s wholesale customers. “I’m definitely a foodie,” Jennifer says.

Crab is a favorite. Summer weekends are often spent dropping the crab pot from her double kayak in the Sound, enjoying a paddle, and returning to see if a crab dinner is awaiting.
Another favorite: Seattle. “I love that I live a short drive from downtown,” Jennifer says. “Or I can go the other direction, and I’m in the mountains. I love the views. I don’t know if I could imagine life without seeing Mount Rainier”

New Product Alert: Macrina Bakery’s Ready-to-Bake Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

There’s just something about that smell of cookies baking in the oven—that irresistible aroma, the building anticipation, the cookies warm and gooey, the melted chocolate and crispy edges. Our new ten-packs of Ready-to-Bake Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough make it tantalizingly easy to make your own.

We freeze the dough in individual cookie-sized dough balls. You merely preheat the oven, pop them on a tray, and bake. You can make a few at a time or the whole batch at once. What you don’t eat right away will save for four weeks in your freezer but we are guessing they won’t last that long.

They’re so good that Leslie named them after her daughter. Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookies are our version of the traditional Toll House classic. A combination of butter and shortening gives the cookies a soft, rich crumb. And the right blend of high-quality semisweet chocolate chips and a hefty pinch of sea salt give them the consummate chocolate chip cookie flavor. Food and Wine even included them in a list of America’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

As lovely as they are at the café, they are even better right out of the oven, warm but still gooey. The kits are available at our cafés for $8.99, and available for delivery on DoorDash!

Enjoy!

Pear and Honey Custard Tart

This tart is really easy to prepare, but it is so beautiful your guests will think it took you all day. We often feature it as a special in the café, where the tart’s sweet almond crust has a loyal following. You can also find this recipe in our first cookbook!
Ingredients:

Makes one 10-inch tart

¼ cup whole almonds
1 recipe Sweet Almond Dough at room temperature (recipe below)
3 cups white wine
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 pears, peeled, halved, and cored
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup honey
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread almonds on rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then finely grind in food processor. Set aside for garnishing the tart.

Using your fingers, press the Sweet Almond Dough into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Form an even crust, about ⅛-inch thick, over the bottom and all the way up the sides of the pan. (It’s important that the crust be the same thickness on the bottom and the sides.) Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Line the chilled tart shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or baking weights. Bake on center rack of oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Carefully remove paper and beans and set tart shell aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Combine wine and sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Gently place pears in hot wine, rounded sides down, and poach for 7 to 10 minutes, or until pears are fork-tender. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Continue simmering the poaching liquid until it has reduced by half its volume, then set it aside to use as glaze on the finished tart.

Combine cream, honey, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a medium bowl. Mix well with a whisk.

Place cooled, pre-baked tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Slice the poached pears in half again lengthwise and arrange them in the bottom of the tart shell. (At the bakery we like to spread the slices out in a fan-like pattern.) Pour the custard filling over the pears, filling the shell to just below the top. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until custard is set and golden brown. Let the tart cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan.

Warm the reduced wine glaze over a low heat until it thins, then brush the surface of the tart with a little glaze. Sprinkle ground toasted almonds around the outer edge.

Sweet Almond Dough

This cookie-like dough is easy to make and even easier to work with. Rather than rolling out the dough, you simply press it into the tart pans by hand.

Ingredients:

¼ cup whole almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread almonds on rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then finely grind in a food processor. Measure out 2 tablespoons of ground almonds and set aside. (The remaining ground almonds will not be needed.)

Combine 2 tablespoons of the ground almonds, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. In a separate bowl, mix together vanilla extract, almond extract and melted butter. Add butter mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until coarse and crumbly, using your hands to break up any large lumps. The finished dough will stick together when squeezed between your thumb and forefinger.

At this point, the dough is ready to be pressed into a tart ring. It doesn’t need to be chilled. If you’re not ready to bake with the dough, pack it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. The wrapped dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. It’s a good idea to double wrap the dough before freezing it.

Frozen Sweet Almond Dough needs to be fully defrosted before it’s used. My preferred method is to transfer the dough to the refrigerator 1 day in advance. Generally this crumbly dough is pressed into tart pans by hand rather than rolled out, but once it has been frozen the dough will be quite firm. In this case, roll the dough out to ⅛-inch thick and fit it into the desired tart pan. The dough will probably crack when you lift it, but don’t worry. Simply pinch the cracks together with your fingers to repair.