Tom's Big Dinners: Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends


Douglas grew up in a big family where his mother and grandmother served big dinners every night of the week. Today, he's one of the country's hottest chefs, known not only for making Pacific Northwest cuisine and wine a centerpiece of American dining but also for hosting sensational big dinner parties at home. With his wife, Jackie Cross, Douglas takes an equally innovative approach to cookbooks, sharing menus and memories in an out-of-this-world collection.

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Douglas grew up in a big family where his mother and grandmother served big dinners every night of the week. Today, he's one of the country's hottest chefs, known not only for making Pacific Northwest cuisine and wine a centerpiece of American dining but also for hosting sensational big dinner parties at home. With his wife, Jackie Cross, Douglas takes an equally innovative approach to cookbooks, sharing menus and memories in an out-of-this-world collection.

Drawn from special meals with family members, friends, vintners, and fellow restaurant owners, Tom's Big Dinners brings together thirteen of his favorite feasts, with no-nonsense recipes that make it easy to cook like a restaurant chef without ever leaving home.

The menus range in style from the refined Wine Cellar Dinner, with recipes for Goat Cheese Fondue, Vine-Roasted Squab with Syrah Jam, and Chocolate Crêpes, to the relaxing Screen Door Barbecue, featuring Pit-Roasted Pork Spareribs, Down-Home Collard Greens, and Hard Watermelon Lemonade, and the festive Pop Pop's Winter Solstice, starting with Pop Pop's Perfect Martini and Caramelized Fennel Tart, followed by Creamy Seafood Chowder and Parsley Scones.

The Pike Place Market Menu and Puget Sound Crab Feed showcase classic Seattle-style dishes, while Tom's extravagant Chinese Feast incorporates the Asian influence prevalent in Pacific Rim cooking.

In their energetic and warmly inviting book, Tom and Jackie take the hassle out of first-rate entertaining. Suggestions for do-ahead preparation appear in each chapter, along with wine pairings for each course.

A celebration in itself, Tom's Big Dinners brings big-time fun, flavor, and flair to your own dinners.

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Editorial Reviews

Todd English
Tom… recognizes and celebrates the truly important traditions about food, family, friends and the comforts of a home cooked meal.
Publishers Weekly
Restaurateur Douglas earned a James Beard award with Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, and now he returns with 13 menus for entertaining, each with recipes stretching from cocktails and hors d'oeuvres to desserts and wine suggestions. Although the fare is often West Coast-oriented, as with the Whole Salmon on the Grill Stuffed with Sea Salt, Lemon and Onion, Douglas nods to a variety of ethnic meals: A Chinese Feast, which boasts 12 recipes; Grandpa Louie's Dream Greek Vacation, 11 recipes; and Remembering Labuznik, a festive Czech repast with nine inviting components. The grill comes into play often in such dishes as Vine-Roasted Squab with Syrah Jam, Charred Squid Skewers on Garlic Toast with Arugula, and Lamb Chop T-Bones in Crushed Cherry Marinade with Tarragon Mustard. Desserts are as unusual as Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Lemon Glaze, and Persimmon Pudding with Pear Brandy Hard Sauce and Pear Vanilla Sauce, Sugared Cranberries and Sugared Mint Leaves. As the recipe names suggest, these menus are extremely full-flavored and palate-pleasing. Within reach of most cooks, Douglas's meals do require a fair amount of time, but to mitigate this, make-ahead notes supplement a large number of recipes. Ambitious home cooks looking for new ways to entertain in high culinary style will find an abundance of fresh ideas here. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Douglas is the ebullient-and apparently inexhaustible-chef of Seattle's Dahlia Lounge and two other restaurants there, as well as owner, with his wife, of a catering business and, more recently, a cooking school. His earlier book, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen, presented favorite recipes from the restaurants, while this one offers dishes that Douglas likes to make when entertaining at home, in 13 menus for occasions ranging from "Chinook Salmon Roast" to "Kay and Clay's Merlot Release Picnic." The recipes, featuring the big, lusty flavors that Douglas is known for, are not necessarily uncomplicated, but he recommends having friends help prepare the meal, just as he does in his kitchen at home; make-ahead suggestions are provided whenever appropriate. Menus include specific wine suggestions for each course, and there are color photographs throughout. For most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060515027
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 485,621
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Douglas

Tom Douglas, winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur, is the chef/owner of thirteen of Seattle's most popular restaurants as well as the Dahlia Bakery, home to the much-loved Triple Coconut Cream Pie.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments IX
Introduction 1
Basics 7
Chinook Salmon Roast 11
A Chinese Feast 29
Pike Place Market Menu 51
Wine Cellar Dinner 71
Dinner with Dale Chihuly 89
Puget Sound Crab Feed 107
Grandpa Louie's Dream Greek Vacation 125
Screen Door Barbecue 145
Pop Pop's Winter Solstice 169
Remembering Labuznik 185
Kay and Clay's Merlot Release Picnic 203
Spring Chickens 217
Christmas Eve With the Dows 233
Equipment 261
Ingredients 264
Sources 265
Index 267
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First Chapter

Tom's Big Dinners
Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends

Wild Mushroom Pan Roast

Makes 8 Servings

A few years ago Jackie, Loretta, and I stayed at Anne Willan's Château du Fey in Burgundy with a group of our friends. It was an off week for Anne's school, so we had the La Varenne kitchens to ourselves. Most of the week was spent shopping the local markets and returning to the fabulous facilities to cook for our group of twelve. One of the few meals we did end up leaving the château for was lunch at the famed three-star Cote St. Jacques on the main highway through Joigny in central Burgundy. Our lunch consisted of seven courses enjoyed over three hours with the consensus highlight being a simple plate of roasted wild mushrooms, flavored with just a bit of veal stock, salt, pepper, and duck fat. This is my humble attempt to recreate this simple but fantastic dish.


2 1/2 pounds assorted wild and cultivated mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster, chanterelle, black trumpet, or portobello
2 tablespoons bacon fat, duck fat, or unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Twelve 4-inch fresh thyme sprigs
Four 4-inch fresh rosemary sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Chicken Demiglace (page 9), or store-bought demiglace (see Sources, page 265)
Eight 1/2-inch-thick Garlic Toasts, cut in half


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Clean any dirt off the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth and trim off the tough bottoms of the stems. Leave small mushrooms whole and cut the bigger ones into large attractive pieces. Set the mushrooms aside.

Put the fat and olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer. (If you are using butter, add it to the pan when you add the mushrooms so the butter doesn't burn.) Place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes to get the pan and the fat hot. Remove the pan from the oven, add the mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Shake the pan to distribute all the ingredients. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast until the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked, about 25 minutes turning once with a spatula. The mushrooms may initially throw off a lot of juices, but as you continue roasting, much of the liquid will evaporate. Remove the pan from the oven and pour in the demiglace. Return the pan to the oven for a few minutes more to heat the demiglace and combine the flavors. Remove the pan from the oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pile the mushrooms onto a large platter and surround them with the garlic toasts.

NOTE: If you're making the whole menu, clean the grill with a grill brush after you remove the salmon, then grill your toasts for the wild mushrooms.

Grilled Lamb Skewers With Red Wine and Honey Glaze

Makes 6 Servings

I like the flavor of red wine with lamb, but a long marinade in red wine breaks down the texture of the meat and makes it a little mealy. So, to give the lamb a good hit of rich wine flavor, I make a red wine and honey glaze and brush it on the meat as it grills. Try this glaze on lamb T-bone chops or even a grilled steak.

The lamb skewers marinate several hours or a day ahead, so plan accordingly.


2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch chunks
Six 10-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
1/2 recipe Greek Marinade
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 recipe Parsley Salad (page 136)

A STEP AHEAD Marinate the lamb skewers up to a day ahead, You can make the glaze a day or two ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Allow the glaze to come to room temperature before using.


Thread the lamb chunks on the bamboo skewers and place them in a nonreactive pan. Pour the Greek marinade over the lamb, turning the skewers to coat. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.

To make the red wine and honey glaze, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté the shallot for a few minutes, until lightly browned. Add the red wine, increase the heat to high, and boil until the wine is syrupy and reduced. You should have about 1/3 cup reduced wine. Whisk in the honey, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook the glaze for another minute. Then remove from the heat and allow the glaze to cool.

When you are ready to grill the lamb, fire up the grill. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature. Remove the skewers from the marinade, shaking off the excess marinade. Season the skewers on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the lamb over direct heat, with the lid off, turning frequently with the tongs. Brush with the glaze as you turn them the first time and keep brushing as you turn them, using up all the glaze, until the lamb is done to your liking. The skewers will take 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, depending on how hot your fire is. Pile the skewers on a platter and top with the parsley salad.

Tom's Big Dinners
Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends
. Copyright © by Tom Douglas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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