Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Tom Douglas took a minute away from his busy schedule – with The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook hot off the press, Thanksgiving around the corner and a book tour in the works – to talk traditions, techniques and most importantly, turkey!
AM: Congratulations on your newest endeavor – The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle. How does this cookbook differ from your other literary efforts?
TD: Thank you! Our books continue to focus on the pure enjoyment of getting into the kitchen and cooking for family and friends. The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook takes you on a step-by-step journey to becoming a terrific baker if you’re not already and complimenting your repertoire with a northwest flair if you are. We bring you traditional Douglas family favorites like grandma’s gooey caramelized schnecken or the most sought after favorites from our restaurants including real maple custard éclairs. As in all of our books you can count on carefully tested recipes that work for the home cook as well as the professional.
AM: Since this book emphasizes the importance of technique, what do you feel is the most important thing a chef must master?
TD: Patience. To become a good baker the most important ingredient is taking your time, following a recipe closely, double checking your oven temperatures, having all your ingredients set out in front of you before you start and then let the magic happen!
AM: What’s your take on the modern culinary scene in general and molecular gastronomy in particular? Are you using it in your restaurants?
TD: We always stay up to date on current trends and techniques. While some trends don’t seem plausible for the home cook or baker, new ideas sort of trickle down. You can now buy a home sous vide machine or find liquid nitrogen at your local bottle gas supply business.
AM: It’s almost Turkey Day! Have any pointers for making the perfect bird?
TD: No stuffing inside the bird! A few aromatics like coffee beans, orange peel and sage get put into the cavity but not packed in. The airflow will cook the bird more evenly. Then a bit of sage and black pepper butter under the skin and roast at 350 until it’s 155 degrees in the thigh. Delish!
AM: I was looking through your big Thanksgiving section in the Macy’s Culinary Council Holiday Cookbook. I’m a big fan of side dishes, while most people are all about the tryptophan. What are your faves?
TD: Maple glazed sweet potatoes, lightly steamed green beans, celery root russet potato mash, wild mushroom and hazelnut stuffing.... shall I go on?
AM: Are you celebrating the holiday in any way special this year? Any fun family traditions?
TD; I am cooking out of my new Dahlia Bakery book this season. My wife Jackie’s strata with broccoli rabe, Italian sausage and cheesy egg custard is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast because you can assemble it the night before and pop it in the oven first thing when you wake up.
AM: Apple, pumpkin or sweet potato pie?
TD: Definitely pumpkin! We have two kinds in our new book, a creamy custard pumpkin and a traditional pumpkin and I’m making both including the candied pecans and cranberries.
AM: Lastly, what are you most thankful for this year?
TD: My daughter graduated from Colgate University this year and I couldn’t be more thankful and proud. I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy 2013!
For more on Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Tom Douglas, visit macys.com/culinarycouncil
Want more delicious recipes? Be sure to pick up the Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook – just in time for the entertaining season!