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The Paley's Place Cookbook

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Written by Carolyn Jung   

Photography bu John Valls © 2008
It's been quite a few years since I had the pleasure of dining at Paley's Place in Portland, OR while on vacation. But I still remember it.

The restaurant, opened in a beautiful Victorian in 1995 by husband and wife, Vitaly and Kimberly Paley, is the epitome of charm. The bill arrives in a copper cigar box; the restroom is adorned with tiny perfume bottles.

Only 50 seats, the restaurant specializes in local, seasonal cuisine. Executive Chef Vitaly Paley worked in the kitchen at renowned establishments such as Union Square Café and Chanterelle, both in New York City. His wife worked the front of the house at equally stellar establishments, Bouley, and Gotham Bar & Grill, also both in New York City.

So it comes as no surprise that their new cookbook, "The Paley's Place Cookbook'' reflects that pedigree. Fresh, pure ingredients are emphasized in their elegant Northwest cuisine. Personal stories abound, reflecting the couple's warm personalities.

That's not to say that all the recipes are down-home easy. After all, this is a cookbook by a James Beard award-winning chef. So don't be surprised to see such required ingredients as caulfat (the lining of a pig's abdominal cavity), lamb's tongue, snails, beef marrow, and even hay.

But don't let that scare you off. Interspersed between the more challenging dishes for "Shoulder of Lamb Roasted with Hay and Lavender'' and "Duck Wellington with Mole Sauce'' are recipes that are much simpler, including "Warm Spot-Prawn, Tomato, and Feta Salad,'' "Grilled Figs Wrapped in Proscuitto'' and "Apricot, Sage, and Cornmeal Cookies.''

What caught my eye was "Saute of Market Vegetables with Miso Butter.'' What I liked was that the mix of vegetables could be altered with the seasons, making this a year-round dish. For instance, the original recipe calls for zucchini. But when I made this dish in January - not exactly the ideal time for local zucchini - I substituted some Brussels sprouts instead.

The vegetables - a mix that also included baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans - get blanched first. The miso butter could not have been any easier to make; Just stir together equal parts softened butter and blond miso paste. Everything gets a final warming and mixing in a sauté pan over medium heat.

If you're expecting the dish to taste very Japanese-like with the bold, salty, savory flavor of miso soup, you're going to be surprised. The flavor is much more subtle. The miso adds a heightened umami note to the whole dish, and creates a much lusher sauce with more body than mere butter alone would.

But the dish does not scream "Asian'' from the get-go. In fact, even though it has miso in it, this vegetable medley could probably be served alongside almost any main dish you like, no matter what the cuisine. I'm already thinking this would be wonderful alongside Thanksgiving turkey.

You might not have the gumption to make every single recipe in this book. But no doubt, you'll be charmed into making the more straightforward ones.

Read more of what Carolyn has to say about the Sauté of Market Vegetables with Miso Butter on

Sauté of Market Vegetables with Miso Butter

Reprinted with permission from The Paley's Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest by Vitaly Paley and Kimberly Paley, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press.

Serves 4 to 6

Carrots, cauliflower, summer squash, eggplant, baby turnips, beets, potatoes, kohlrabi, Walla Walla onions, torpedo onions, shallots, garlic. A gazillion varieties of tomatoes, corn, and green beans. It is hard to restrain yourself when shopping for vegetables at the Portland Farmer's Market in the height of summer. So I don't. I buy everything in sight, as I know that my cooks and I will find creative uses for it all.

This dish is inspired by Japanese cooking, where miso seems to make food taste salty without any salt. Butter rounds out flavors but lets the miso speak. Use these vegetables as a guide. Support your local farmer's market and buy what is fresh and in season.

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup blond miso
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound green beans, stems trimmed
  • 1 small head broccoli, separated into small florets
  • 1 small head cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 1 bunch green onions, white parts only
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large green zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 1 large yellow zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 24 baby carrots, peeled, trimmed, and glazed
  • 1/4 cup Persillade (See below)

To make the miso butter, place the butter and miso into a small bowl and mix with a fork until well blended. Cover, and set aside at room temperature.

Have a large bowl of ice water ready. To cook the vegetables, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season it with salt until you taste it. Add the green beans all at once and cook until tender yet still brightly colored, about 5 minutes. Remove the beans from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately refresh in the ice-water bath to stop the cooking and help the beans retain their bright color. Drain and dry with paper towels, then set aside.

Repeat the process with the broccoli, cauliflower, and green onions. Taste for doneness and be mindful of the cooking time, as it will vary from vegetable to vegetable.

Quarter the green and yellow zucchini lengthwise, then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large skillet over high heat, add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the green and yellow zucchini pieces, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until they turn golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Discard the oil and wipe the pan clean.

In the same skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all the vegetables, including the carrots, to the skillet to warm them through, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the miso butter until it melts, and then the persillade. Transfer the vegetables to a large serving platter and serve immediately.


Reprinted with permission from The Paley's Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest by Vitaly Paley and Kimberly Paley, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press.

Makes about 1/3 cup

If there is one thing I cannot do without in my kitchen, it's this simple mixture of garlic and parsley chopped together. Used sparingly, persillade has an extraordinary ability to transform the flavor of any savory dish. It is easy to make and holds well, covered, in the refrigerator for a day or so, although it is best when freshly made.

I developed a taste for it when Kimberly and I spent a year at a small restaurant in the center of France, near Limoges. France has a gastronomic Mason-Dixon Line: in the north, the food rests on butter and shallots; in the south, it is olive oil and garlic. In Alsace (in the north), if you put garlic in the food, people act like you set their mouth on fire. The further south you go, the more garlic you find, with its most assertive use near Nice, close to Italy. It is important to note that garlic is a powerful tool and its use needs to be modulated to suit various preparations.

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only
  • 3 large cloves garlic

Finely chop the parsley on a cutting board, then gather it to one side of the board. Finely chop the garlic. Mix them together and chop some more until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a small container, cover tightly, and refrigerate until ready to use.

About The Paley's Place Cookbook

Image At Paley's Place Bistro and Bar, Vitaly Paley brings French training and international influences to bear on his unquenchable passion for the local foodstuffs of his adopted Oregon. In THE PALEY'S PLACE COOKBOOK, he adapts his food for the home cook, tempting the reader with a casually elegant Walla Walla Onion Tart with Fresh Goat Cheese and Summer Herb Pesto, a show-stopping Cedar Planked Salmon, an indelible Crème Brulée, and many others. Stories of the farmers, fishers, and foragers who supply Paley's Place with ingredients and inspiration; wine notes emphasizing local wines; and photographs of the food, the restaurant, and Oregon landscapes make this book a showcase of the region's culinary riches.

Available at

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


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