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Celebrating the culinary arts: A local author’s new cookbook is piping hot
The irresistible aromas of fresh-baked bread, tarts and pies might soon waft through more Island kitchens than usual — now that one of Seattle’s celebrated pastry chefs has issued her second cookbook.
And this weekend, she’ll be spreading the word about it on Vashon.
Leslie Mackie — a Vashon resident and the founder of one of Seattle’s most established bakeries — will sign books and offer tastes of recipes from her book, “More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle’s Popular Neighborhood Bakery.” On Saturday, she’ll sign books at the Vashon Bookshop, and on Sunday, she’ll make an appearance at Vashon Thriftway, where she’ll hand out samples of Macrina pastries that the grocery store has just added to its product line.
Hungry? Consider these treats. At the book store, Mackie will offer samples of a turnover made with Nutella and bananas and a savory Sardinian flatbread sprinkled with truffle salt. At Thriftway, she’ll offer up what she calls apple pull-aparts, made with brioche dough, fresh-baked Granny Smith apples and cinnamon sugar, as well as gluten-free biscuits packed with marionberry freezer jam.
It’s all part of a push for Mackie to establish herself on Vashon — a place she moved to full-time only a few months ago, after years of shuttling back and forth from Seattle to a second home here.
She’s eager to share her expertise and passion for food with Islanders.
“What’s really important to me is to inspire more people to cook at home and gather people around the table,” she said.
Mackie’s new tome, published by Sasquatch Books, contains more than 70 recipes and beautiful color photography of delicious edibles, including breads and rolls, muffins, scones, coffee cakes, cookies, pies and cakes. There are also chapters about savory dishes that include clams with bacon, sweet potatoes, garlic-buttered crostini and other brunch fare. Vegan and gluten-free recipes get their due in the book as well.
The book — a follow-up to Mackie’s best-selling “Macrina Bakery & Café Cookbook” — is not just a compendium of recipes. It’s also sprinkled with anecdotes about some of the bakery’s most loyal customers, employees and providers.
Mackie developed her kitchen skills at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and was among the first wave of American chefs who experimented with recipes from European master bakers and a long, slow fermentation process.
To Mackie, the craft of baking has a traditional, almost spiritual importance.
“To me, making bread is being an artist,” Mackie writes on her website. “In France, bakers are revered because bread is such a central part of the family and the community.”
Mackie opened Macrina Bakery & Café in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle in 1993 and quickly gained a loyal customer base. She opened a branch of the bakery on Queen Anne in 2001, and in 2008, the bakery added a third location in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood — a facility where all of Macrina’s bread is now baked. In between the opening of the stores on Queen Anne and SODO, Mackie also operated a Macrina Bakery outlet on Vashon, housed in the Old Fuller Store building. It closed in 2008.
Her popular Seattle cafés have been featured in Sunset Magazine, Pacific Magazine, Bon Appétit, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and have received extensive coverage in The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Seattle Magazine and Seattle Met magazine. Mackie’s baking prowess now reaches well beyond Seattle, a result of her appearances on Julia Child’s “Baking with Julia” television series and feature segments on many Food Network shows. She has also received several nominations for the “Outstanding Pastry Chef Award” from the James Beard Foundation, which honors food and beverage industry professionals for their achievements.
Now, Mackie said, she thrilled to be living full-time on Vashon and expanding her profile here at a time when her new book is flying off the shelves of her cafés in Seattle.
“I just want to encourage people to pull out their rolling pins and make something special,” she said.
Leslie Mackie will offer samples from the recipes in her new cookbook at the Vashon Bookshop from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. And from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, she’ll be at Vashon Thriftway, where she’ll share samples of Macrina pastries that the grocery store is now carrying.