Macrina in the Community

St. Macrina, our patron saint, was known for working to improve the quality of life for people in her community, and we strive to do the same. On our first Thanksgiving, back in 1993, Leslie brought some extra loaves to the Noel House, which was located in a nearby alley. “The ladies there were so appreciative of the fresh baked bread it brought me to tears,” says Leslie. Our mantra became that of St. Macrina.

We enrich our communities through the joy of artisan baking, but we also donate directly to non-profit organizations that do outstanding work supporting members of our community. Our employees frequently join us in donating, and we match each of their donations.

As part of our celebration of Juneteenth, we donated $2,500 (including matched donations from employees) to Community Passageways. In September, we are donating $2,000–$3,000 to three additional local community organizations including: Helping Link, Plymouth Housing, and St. James Cathedral Kitchen. Here’s a bit more about these incredible organizations:

Community Passageways

This community-based, black-run, black-owned organization was founded in 2015 by Dominique (Dom) Davis. They work primarily with court-involved young people of color and help break the school-to-prison cycle with a school-to-life pathway by restoring lives, nurturing dreams, and developing life skills. In the last five years, Dom and his team have helped divert over 120 years of prison sentences.

Helping Link

Since its founding in 1993, Helping Link has supported our local Vietnamese community with free services and programs such as citizenship classes, a computer lab, English classes, and much more. They help foster cultural resilience and empower members to celebrate their histories and traditions.

Plymouth Housing

Since 1980, Plymouth Housing has helped Seattle break the cycle of chronic homelessness by providing adults experiencing homelessness with opportunities to stabilize and improve their lives. Plymouth follows the “Housing First” philosophy, operating on the principle that people cannot improve their lives until they have a safe, stable place to live. Plymouth owns and operates 14 buildings, both renovated historic properties and new construction, from South Lake Union to the International District. In the coming years, Plymouth plans to build an additional 800 apartments.

St. James Cathedral Kitchen

The Cathedral Kitchen feeds a nourishing, hot meal to 150 guests on Seattle’s First Hill every weekday. They serve anyone in need, regardless of age, gender, or creed. Throughout the pandemic, out of concern for their guests, they switched to to-go dinners and a bagged lunch their guests could eat the next day while still providing a limited number of physically-distanced tables for those needing a moment of shelter.

In addition, Macrina donates thousands of pounds of bread and pastries to local organizations that help feed those in need, including The Salvation Army, Alma Mater in Tacoma, El Centro de la Raza. Over the next few weeks, we’re also donating over 300 meals to Helping Link and St. James for fundraising events.

“Donating to these organizations is just one way Macrina supports our communities and works to better achieve our mission,” says Scott France, Macrina’s President.

Pecan Sticky Buns

Perhaps no pastry requires more napkins or inspires cravings more than homemade pecan sticky buns. They’re warm, gooey and soft in all the right places—and absolutely delicious.

After years of customer requests, we’re launching our own based on Leslie’s recipe for her homemade brunch favorite. We make them by layering our slightly sweet and pillowy brioche dough with toasted pecans and cinnamon sugar, tightly rolling it, then baking it upside down on a rich brown sugar and butter caramel with orange zest and vanilla. We invert the rolls while still warm, causing deep swirls of caramel to run through the bun leaving the pecans gooey and proud on top.

The silky not-too-sweet roll has a light, tender crumb that provides a divine contrast to the toffee-like caramel and crunch of toasted pecans.

The Pecan Sticky Buns are available individually in our retail cafés and as a four-pack. They are best served warm (5–8 minutes in a 325°F oven).

Spice Blade Steak & Cauliflower Salad with Tzatziki Sauce & Grilled Olive Bread

During the long PNW summer days, our favorite cooking method is outdoor grilling. Cut from the chuck (shoulder), the blade steak has excellent marbling and is flavorful and tender. A line of gristle runs down the center, so it’s important not to overcook it, otherwise it will get chewy. If you use an instant-read meat thermometer and are attentive, you’ll fall in love with blade steak. In this recipe, we prepare the steak with a Shawarma spice dry rub a day in advance. Since you can prepare the rest of the meal ahead, you only need to grill the steak and bread and assemble the plates when it’s time to eat. If you can, enjoy the meal with a glass of your favorite wine, a few friends and the rich light of a long summer evening.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

BLADE STEAK
2 Tbsp Shawarma Spice Blend, ground (available at worldspice.com)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1½ lbs top blade steak (or sub flat-iron steak)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

CAULIFLOWER SALAD
1 head cauliflower
2 bunches scallions, ½-inch slice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp garlic, finely chopped, divided
½ cup tahini
½ cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

TZATZIKI SAUCE
2 cups Greek yogurt (preferably low-fat)
1 English cucumber, finely diced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp white pepper, ground
1 Macrina Greek Olive Loaf, sliced ½-inch thick (8 slices)

DIRECTIONS

BLADE STEAK
Combine the dry ingredients. Rub the mix into both sides of the meat. Drizzle with olive oil and use your fingers to rub it over the meat. Place the meat in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

CAULIFLOWER SALAD
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Halve the cauliflower and remove the core; coarsely chop or break it into 1 to 2-inch florets. Place the florets in a large bowl and toss with the scallions, olive oil and 2 tsp garlic. Spread the florets on the prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool.

In the same large bowl, add the remaining 1 tsp garlic, tahini, water, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Whisk to combine.

Add the roasted cauliflower, mint and cilantro to the dressing. Toss well.

If you wish, season to taste with salt and pepper. Once dressed, allow the salad to rest at room temperature to marry flavors before serving.

TZATZIKI SAUCE
In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

GRILLING THE STEAK
Preheat your grill to 500°F. Brush a bit of oil on the hot grill to help prevent the spice rub from sticking.

Grill the blade steak for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. Remove the steak from the grill at 130°F for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly.

While the steak is resting, grill the bread. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted and marked with grill lines. Place 2 slices on each plate. Divide the cauliflower salad among the plates, top each with a portion of the sliced steak and a generous dollop of tzatziki. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Crab Salad Lobster Roll Sandwich

Macrina’s Lobster Rolls are the perfect bun for a summer seafood sandwich or grilled sausage with caramelized onions and peppers. No matter how you fill these rolls, the key is to butter and grill or sauté the sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through.

INGREDIENTS

Makes 4 sandwiches

6 cups water

2 Tbsp kosher salt

1¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided

1 lb frozen shrimp, 16–20 size, (deveined, shell on)

8 oz fresh crab meat, cooked

2 ribs celery, medium dice

2 tsp capers, chopped

3 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped

3 tsp shallots, finely chopped

½ cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 Macrina Lobster Rolls

Butter

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add the frozen shrimp and bring back to a boil, cooking for 3–4 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Strain the shrimp and transfer to a bowl. Quickly cover with ice cubes to stop the cooking process. Toss and let cool for 10 minutes.

Peel the shrimp and coarsely chop them in ½-inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, add the diced celery, capers, tarragon, shallots, remaining ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the crab and chopped shrimp. Stir to combine.

Cut a pocket into the top of each Lobster Roll. Brush with butter and grill or pan sauté on both sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through. Put an equal portion of the shrimp and crab salad into the pocket of each roll. Serve with your favorite chips or green salad.

Enjoy!

Darker Crust, Exceptional Flavor

Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.

And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.

Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.

When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.

Brown Sugar Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake

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There are many reasons to live for raspberry season, and this is one of them. The moist tender crumb has that buttery brown sugar sweetness, which finds its complement in the refreshing tart flavor of the raspberries. The recipe comes together quickly and your house will smell wonderful while it’s baking. The raspberry glaze and topping of chopped roasted almonds make it a beautiful treat for brunch or dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

Makes one 9-inch x 5-inch loaf

COFFEE CAKE
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped; divided
6 oz (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1¼ cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen will also work)

GLAZE
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp raspberry jam

DIRECTIONS:

COFFEE CAKE

Preheat oven to 325°F

Prepare a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan by brushing the interior with oil. Cut a 10-inch x 9-inch piece of parchment paper and press it into the pan to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add ½ cup almonds and toss with a spoon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar. With a paddle attachment, mix on medium-low speed until light in texture and pale in color, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, almond and vanilla extracts; mix well. Add the egg mixture to the creamed butter in 3 additions. Incorporate the liquid before each addition. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the mixer bowl, making 3 additions of each. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything. Add the raspberries and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

Scoop the mix into the prepared loaf pan and level the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake will be golden brown.

Let cool for 1 hour.

GLAZE

Combine the powdered sugar, milk and raspberry jam. Whisk to dissolve all lumps. If the glaze is not pourable, add a dash more milk.

Remove the coffee cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Pour the raspberry glaze over the top and garnish the center length of the loaf with the remaining almonds. Enjoy!

 

June Recipe of the Month: Summer Berry Tartlets

Summer Berry Tartlets

This recipe—inspired by Dorie Greenspan—is an adaptation from the Summer Berry Galette recipe in our Seasons cookbook. The Pacific Northwest is a berry lover’s dream in the summer. You can usually find tender freshly picked strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in farmers markets throughout the season. These tartlets are an elegant showcase for the fruit. The sweet creaminess of the custard is the perfect complement to the tart berries. This recipe calls for strawberries and blueberries, but use whatever berries look best when you shop and adapt the recipe accordingly. Macrina’s Flaky Pie Dough disks, available frozen in our cafés (and convenient to have on hand in your freezer), save you a lot of time and simplify your work in the kitchen.

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 disc Macrina Flaky Pie Dough (available frozen at our cafés in 2-packs)
10 strawberries, divided
4 Tbsp strawberry or blueberry jam
4 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1½ cups fresh blueberries, divided
2 eggs, divided
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

Thaw 1 disk of Macrina Flaky Pie Dough overnight in the refrigerator. Set the dough on a floured work surface and allow it to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

De-stem 8 strawberries and dice into ½-inch pieces. Set aside.

Shape the pie dough into a square. Roll it out to 14 x 14-inches, it should be about ⅛-inch thick. Cut into four equal squares.

Lift each dough square onto the prepared baking sheet, staggering them to form the tartlets. Place 1 Tbsp of jam in the center of each pastry square and spread to a 4-inch square. Top each with 1 Tbsp of breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup blueberries and a quarter of the diced strawberries.

Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water.

Starting with one dough square, cut a 2-inch square from each corner. Fold the top flap over the fruit and brush with egg wash. Next, fold the right flap over the fruit, creating a corner, and brush that flap with egg wash. Repeat this process with the bottom and left sides so you have a square tartlet with an opening in the center. Brush all the dough with a final coat of egg wash. Repeat the entire process with the other 3 squares of dough. Refrigerate the tartlets for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To prepare the custard, mix the melted butter, remaining egg, sugar and vanilla extract together.

Place the chilled tartlets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the custard mix onto the top of each tartlet center. Let it drain into the tartlet before adding more to prevent it from spilling out. Bake until golden brown and the custard is set, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let cool for 30 minutes and garnish each with half a strawberry and a few blueberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy at room temperature served with ice cream or frozen yogurt!

Printable PDF here.

Sugee’s Box Lunch Company: A Family Affair 

When Sugee’s opened, Microsoft had been in Bellevue for three years and employed 220 people. Since that date in 1982, Microsoft and the Eastside have grown enormously, and Sugee’s has been right there in the thick of it making dependably fabulous food at great prices. That Sugee’s is closing in on forty in a very competitive market is a testament to the loyal following they’ve built one carefully prepared meal at a time.

Sugee’s, a family-owned catering company, specializes in box lunches available for pick-up or delivery. The quality of their ingredients is what makes their handcrafted sandwiches so memorable. They roast many of their meats in-house, which is why their turkey sandwich will remind you of Thanksgiving. The quality of their house-roasted corned beef shines in their grilled-to-perfection Reuben. The roast beef, ham, chicken, and bacon are also custom roasted in their kitchen. You can taste the freshness of their chicken, tuna, and egg salads, which are scratch-made every day from recipes that have stood the test of time (and earned legions of fans). Every box lunch comes with a bag of Tim’s chips, a pickle, and an unbelievably good chocolate chip cookie.

“The specialness of the cookies is in the time and quality that go into the small-batch mix,” says Pat Amador, who along with fellow owner and partner Richard, founded Sugee’s. “Richard’s famous cookies are handcrafted and baked as needed for the day, sometimes hour by hour. We use Guittard chocolate in our products, sweet butter and real vanilla.” Their now-adult children, Jason and Jaime, grew up working long hours at Sugee’s. Jason has stayed involved in operations (Jaime, with her husband Paul, owns Classic Cycles on Bainbridge Island).

Most of Sugee’s delivery is to the Eastside, but they also deliver throughout the greater Seattle area. Customers in Bellevue should allow four hours for delivery. A day’s notice is required for customers outside Bellevue, although Sugee’s will accommodate same-day deliveries if possible.

Over the years, Sugee’s has been involved in many of Seattle’s iconic events—including Summer Nights at the Pier, Bumbershoot, and Folk Life. They’ve also supplied desserts to Nordstrom, the Space Needle, and the legendary Trattoria Mitchelli, where many a late-night diner delighted in the quality of Sugee’s cheesecakes.

Sugee’s used to bake their own bread but switched to Macrina several years ago. “We started with Macrina when we found we couldn’t handle our bread production due to the volume,” says Pat. “Macrina’s sourdough is consistently great, the Bui buns are crackly and fresh and getting more popular with our Italianos and hot stuff, and the rolls and brioche are capable of handling all sandwiches. It’s been a great partnership.”

New Sweet and Savory Treats at Macrina 

Not much beats the sampling of potential new products at Macrina Bakery. The only tricky part is choosing which of the still warm samples is best and should become a regular offering. But the hard choices have been made, and we’re proud to say the creative work put in by Leslie Mackie, our pastry team, and our bakers has yielded some of the best new products we’ve offered in years.

Organic Whole Wheat Bun 

Perfect for juicy burgers or pulled pork sandwiches, this soft bun gets a slight toasted-nut flavor from an organic whole grain flour from Walla Walla and a gentle sweetness from agave syrup. Grill or toast it to caramelize the interior. The buns are sold in four-packs with a recipe card for a slow-cooked pulled pops sandwich with mango cabbage salsa—an exceptional way to enjoy this hearty bun.

Cheese Bagel 

Our MadRy Sourdough Bagels topped with a combination of white cheddar, parmesan and fresh herbs. The hint of rye in the bagel complements the bold flavor of the cheese. Sold individually or in four-packs, this cheese bagel is excellent toasted for a BLT or as a flavorful base for a scrambled egg and ham breakfast sandwich.

Almond Pinwheel 

Our flaky cornetto dough layered with frangipane—a velvety almond cream—rolled into a pinwheel and topped with sliced almonds and powdered sugar. Crisp, sweet edges and an interior loaded with toasted sliced almond flavor. An almond croissant—Macrina style.

Savory Pinwheels 

Caramelized sweet onions, parmesan, olive oil, and a mix of sesame, fennel and poppy seeds are folded into our flaky cornetto dough and rolled into a pinwheel. The savory pinwheels were the first to vanish from trays of samples, and the surprise standout among our tasters. Savory, but with a gentle sweetness from the onions, these are perfect for a savory breakfast or lunch with a bowl of soup or salad.

Great Pizza, As You Like It: Our Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizzas are designed to be customized to your taste. 

“Years ago, we offered a pizzetta in our cafés, and it was a customer favorite,” says Leslie. “This is an adaptation from that, and I’ve been really loving this new version,” says Leslie. “We made it simple so you can dress it up with your favorite toppings at home. Lately, for me, it’s been prosciutto and roasted asparagus. But it’s also great just as it is.”

Our Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizzas come frozen, and you can store them until the need for a quick meal or the impulse for great pizza strikes you. This is not your typical frozen pizza. The flavorful crust is formed from our Giuseppe dough and topped with our house tomato sauce, high-quality mozzarella and Parmesan. Baked, the crust is delicately crisp, and the sauce bubbles through just-browned cheese. That’s the baseline, without any added toppings.

Here are three more of Leslie’s favorite combos:

• Thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes, a drizzle of pesto, torn basil leaves, dash of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle of coarse salt.

• Roasted asparagus, shaved Parmesan, truffle oil, chopped thyme and Italian parsley

•  Italian sausage, roasted red pepper, grated Parmesan, drizzle of balsamic reduction

Our Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizzas bake in 15–18 minutes, depending on how many toppings you add, and feed two with a salad. They’re available at any of our cafés.