Chefs Demo at the Market

July 31, 2010

Pike Place Market Summer Sundays

Happy to report that the Pike Place Market’s Farm Days are going strong, and continue on the cobblestones now through September 29 with chef demonstrations through September 19.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, western and eastern Washington-based farmers set up on the street under airy tents. The tents allow them additional selling space for the season’s bounty, so customers can enjoy the freshest, most nutritious and delicious, local and organic produce.

Look for farms like Stoney Plains Farm from Tenino, Tiny’s Organics of Wenatchee, Alvarez Farm from Mabton, Alm Hill Gardens of Everson, Martin Family Orchards from central Washington, Sidhu Farm of Puyallup, Full Circle Farm from Carnation, and many more, on Pike Place starting at Pine Street. Look for greens, root vegetables, stone fruits, berries and other delectable “super foods.”

Pike Place is closed to car traffic from Stewart to Virginia on Sundays to create a lively pedestrian plaza of shoppers, farmers, and chefs. At noon (and also at 2 p.m. many Sundays), chefs show with panache how to cook the bounty grown by farmers. See below for the complete chef cooking demo schedule.

At the Pike Place Market, the city’s granddaddy of all farmers markets, shoppers engage in the 103-year-old tradition of “Meet the Producer” when they purchase directly from the farmers. This was the original intent behind the creation of the Pike Place Market by the Market’s founders. “Meet the Producer” is proclaimed in the sign next to the Market’s iconic clock and sign.

Pike Place Market Summer Sundays

Summer Sunday Chef Demonstrations Schedule

August 1: Diego Castroviejo – La Taberna Del Alabardero – Noon
August 8: John Sundstrom – Lark & Licorous – Noon
August 8: Diane LaVonne – Diane’s Market Kitchen – 2 p.m.
August 15: Jason Stratton – Cascina Spinasse – Noon
August 15: Seth Caswell – emmer & rye – 2 p.m.
August 22: Wayne A. Johnson – Andaluca – Noon
August 29: Peter Birk – Ray’s Boathouse – Noon

September 5: Pranee Halvorsen – I Love Thai Cooking – Noon
September 12: Angie Roberts – BOKA Kitchen & Bar – Noon
September 19: Franz Junga – Il Fornaio – Noon

Visit for more info.

Salmon Fillets Baked in Grape-Leaf Wraps

July 31, 2010

Salmon Fillets Baked in Grape-Leaf Wraps

Varietal: Dry Rosé

Serves 4

In this original recipe of mine, which appears in the wonderful compilation cookbook, “Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink” (Sasquatch Books, 2008), I illustrate how to use grape leaves to protect the delicate flesh of salmon fillets as they bake. The leaves add an earthy look, as well as a pleasantly salty flavor and a bit of suspense as guests unwrap their entrée and discover a rich paste of fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes topping the salmon inside the packets. You can choose to eat the grape leaves or not. Wine pairing is a bit complex due to the brininess of the capers and grape leaves, but you can’t go wrong with a silky Washington or California dry Rosé with lots of notes of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and rose petals.

Olive Oil

3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves (about 4 to 5 sprigs of fresh basil, stemmed)

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

4 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed

24 preserved grape leaves (about half a 16-ounce jar)

Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, skinned and boned, rinsed, and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 teaspoons unsalted butter, cold (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and reserve 1 tablespoon of the oil. (Some oil will continue to cling to the tomatoes; this is okay. If draining the tomatoes does not yield 1 tablespoon of oil, add olive oil to make up the difference.) Coarsely chop the tomatoes and add with the reserved oil to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the basil, garlic, and capers, and process until the ingredients are finely chopped and form a thick paste. Scrape down the sides of bowl two or three times as needed to blend the mixture completely. Scoop the tomato-basil paste into a small bowl and set aside.

2. Lay out 6 of the grape leaves on a large cutting board so they form a patch approximately 10 by 10 inches. The dull side of the leaf (the side with the protruding veins) should face up so the shiny outside of the leaf faces out when fillets are wrapped. The grape leaf patch should be large enough to accommodate a salmon fillet, with enough overlapping to wrap the salmon completely.

3. Place a salmon fillet in the center of the grape leaves. Lightly sprinkle the fillet with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 4 grinds of black pepper per fillet). For each fillet, cut 2 teaspoons of cold butter into 4 pieces and dot evenly over the fillet. With a spatula, spread one quarter of the tomato-basil paste over the top of the fish. Fold the grape leaves, first from the top and bottom, then from the right and left sides toward the center, overlapping. Place the salmon packet on the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat this process with the remaining grape leaves and fillets.

4. Cook the packets for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness desired. To test for doneness, cut into the center of a packet with the tip of a small, sharp knife and pull the salmon apart gently. If it is still slightly translucent in the center, it is cooked medium rare. If it is opaque in the center, it is well done. Be very careful not to overcook, as the salmon will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven.

5. Place the packets on dinner plates and serve immediately, allowing guests to open their own packets. Or you can open the packets part way so that just a bit of the steamy fish peeks through.

Cook’s Hints: (1) The recipe uses about half of a jar of preserved grape leaves. Those not used can be rewound and repacked into the jar with their brine; add water if necessary to cover the leaves. (2) The packets can be prepared up to the point of cooking early in the day and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature for about an hour, then bake immediately before serving.

Recipe reprinted from Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink (Sasquatch Books, 2008).

Terrace Dining at Mission Hill Family Estate

July 29, 2010

Mission Hill Family Estate

On July 17, one of our favorite places to visit in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Mission Hill Family Estate, kicked off its Reserve Concert Series, which will feature noted jazz artists and highly acclaimed Canadian operatic and symphony performers throughout the summer.

According to a press release, “The concerts afford a unique opportunity to enjoy a live performance in an unrivalled natural setting. The outdoor amphitheatre provides a stunning view of the Monashee Mountains and Lake Okanagan, sure to enchant audiences on a fine summer evening.”

The Midsummer Magic Okanagan Symphony Gala, celebrating the OSO’s 50th anniversary, kicked off the summer music series. On August 7, musician Wil Campa will perform his unique blend of Afro-Cuban jazz music. On Labour Day Weekend–Friday September 3–Juno award-winning jazz guitarist Jesse Cook will look to repeat his previous 2008 sold-out show at the winery. The finale to the season is a benefit concert on September 18 by the Canadian Tenors with their eclectic mix of classical and contemporary pop, in support of Voices for Bulembu, a Vancouver-based charity doing transformational work in Africa.

Special pre-concert dinner packages to celebrate the cultural festivities will be offered at the Terrace Restaurant, which offers guests breathtaking vistas of the vineyards and lake and has been honored as one of the Top-Five Winery Restaurants in the world. Gourmet fare and Mission Hill’s award winning wines will also be available for sale in the Wine Shop. Save-the-date and more information for the concerts are on the winery website.

Also as part of the summer celebration, Mission Hill is introducing a late-afternoon “Tastes of the Estate” small-plate, shared-experience menu. Complementing this will be a new Affinities Tour, with guided tours of the winery grounds, Estate Varietal Kitchen Garden, underground barrel cellar, and sampling a Tastes-of-the-Estate dish along with wine pairing. The Terrace Restaurant’s innovative cuisine is prepared by up-and-coming young Chef Riley Bennett under the direction of Executive Winery Chef Matthew Batey. Riley was a finalist in the recent Bocuse d’Or Culinary Competition in Toronto. Riley continues Mission Hill’s Cuisine du Terroir philosophy, a seasonal and regional approach to dining that is meticulously crafted around the wines and local artisanal ingredients.

Also scheduled for this season is the winery’s popular Sommelier Saturdays classes, led by the Sommelier team of Jesse Harnden, Mike Lee, and Brent Belanger. These fun and informative tastings help hone taste buds and refine palates with a comparative tasting of Mission Hill wines alongside international counterparts of various regions and styles.

All in all, there are many opportunities to taste and enjoy Mission Hill Family Estate on your next visit to the Okanagan!

Seattle’s Best Sliders (?)

July 26, 2010

Kerry Sear, executive chef at ART Restaurant & Lounge, is known about town for his amazing sliders—vegetarian, beef, and salmon—that he originated while still chef/owner of Cascadia restaurant and now serves during ART’s super-popular (and incredibly reasonably priced) happy-hour (Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

Woodmark Hotel

Woodmark Hotel

But during our recent remodel, when the offer of dinner at the new Bin on the Lake (BotL—get it?) followed by an overnight stay at the Woodmark Hotel on Kirkland’s Carillon Point was especially welcome, the media types around the table all agreed we had found a worthy contender.

Bin on the Lake P.L.T. Sliders

Executive Chef Scott Lents’ amazing Scallops P.L.T. (layered with prosciutto, Bibb lettuce, and cured tomato and served on puffy, fluffy, housemade brioche buns gently kissed with garlic aïoli and topped by a leaf of fresh basil) are a revelation. The plumpest, most prime Diver sea–its edges wrapped in a fine layer of prosciutto, was seared and caramelized to golden-brown perfection. Non-pork eaters (such a yours truly) can ask for the P.L.T. without the P, no problemo.

We enjoyed the P.L.T. almost as much on a subsequent visit, and our table mate (who had never experienced them, but had enjoyed chef Kerry’s iteration) agreed they were grand.

And You Think You Have a Tough Job?!?!

July 23, 2010

Another fun photo from our summer vacation. . .the Norwegian Sun (the boat we seemed to follow all over the Baltic Sea) gets a paint job.

And you think you have a tough job?!?!

Excellent Washington State Adventures

July 22, 2010

Washington State Travel Scene

Deception Pass on Whidbey Island

If you’re in search of new adventures this summer (and who isn’t?!?!), then look no further than Washington State Tourism’s new online forum.

A recent press release from the good folks at Washington State Tourism touts the group’s newly launched “Excellent Washington State Adventures” Web site, which features the new online forum–“Excellent Washington State Adventures”–where travelers share their favorite destinations and experiences around the Evergreen State.

Washington State Travel Scene

Inn at SageCliffe near George, Washington

“We Washingtonians love our state, and love to share it with others.That makes Washingtonians some of the best travel guides to help visitors discover the best places and activities across the state,” said Marsha Massey, Executive Director for Washington State Tourism. “We hope residents and visitors alike will want to log on and share their trip memories, and in turn inspire others to plan a trip and experience the wealth of travel adventures our great state has to offer.”

Visitors to the Excellent Washington Adventures site will find a wealth of trip suggestions and personal stories about destinations around the state, such as Mount St. Helens, camping on the Olympic Peninsula, and exploring the Bavarian town of Leavenworth.

The site helps travelers plan trips to Washington by inspiring them through the experiences of Washingtonians and past travelers who have posted stories, recommendations, and photos. Travelers can browse for adventures based on “top rated,” or by category, such as “Wine and Cuisine,” “Arts, Culture and Heritage,” “Beaches” or “Family Fun.

Sharing your own adventures on the site is as easy as creating a profile and uploading photos and memories, the press release concludes.

Tar-Flavored Vodka and Other Scandinavian Specialties

July 20, 2010

During our recent summer vacation to Scandinavia and Russia, we enjoyed a four-hour tour of Helsinki, Finland, that culminated in a Finnish food workshop.

We were offered Finnish beer or vodka to accompany the tastes of reindeer salami, smoked salmon, heavy butter with fish roe, and wonderful fermented dark bread.

Because I’m not much of a beer drinker, I opted for the tar-flavored vodka, which smelled so strongly of tar I could hardly get it past my nose. Once I took a small sip out of the little bucket (pictured above), the tar flavor continued along with a very sweet aftertaste. Hmmm. . .maybe this is an acquired taste.

Dessert brought some relief thanks to the cloudberry cake and cranberry-studded dark chocolate (Finns supposedly love their chocolate). But the salted licorice may be another acquired taste, not unlike the tar-flavored vodka.

Once Stateside again, a ProChef SmartBrief article showed me that perhaps the Finns were simply ahead of their time, since an Alaskan distillery is making smoked salmon-flavored and one in Seattle touts bacon-flavored vodka, both reportedly very popular for use in Bloody Mary drinks.

Chinook’s Dish of the Day

July 19, 2010

Chinook\'s Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Salad

On a recent Saturday, as it was gettin’ toward noon, I was hankerin’ for some water views and a good seafood salad, so we hauled it over to Chinook’s at Fisherman’s Terminal for a Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Salad, a special of the day. It more than fit the bill. . .plenty of succulent shrimp and salty-sweet crab with a good, garlic-y Caesar dressing.

Which more than qualifies Chinook’s seafood salad as our Dish of the Day.

Meet Me at the IceBarCPH

July 16, 2010

On our final afternoon in Copenhagen, when temperatures were close to 90 degrees outside and temperatures had been unseasonably warm since our start in London 15 days before, we sought most welcome comfort at the cool (both literally and figuratively) IceBar CPH by IceHotel.

It was a strange dichotomy to be wearing a fur-lined parka atop my shorts and a sleeveless shirt as the gorgeous cocktail waitress mixed my drink–a Midnatts Flirt–Nicolas Feuillette Champagne mixed with cloudberry purée (the Danish equivalent of a Kir Royale).
For some weird reason, I’ve always wanted to go to an IceBar or IceHotel, so finally have, although I must admit that 15 minutes and one drink was enough for a lifetime. One less thing on my Bucket List!

Wine and Dine in the Pines

July 15, 2010

Suncadia Exterior

On Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31, you can wine and dine in the pines at Suncadia, a year-round mountain resort community located just 90 minutes east of Seattle. The third-annual Wine in the Pines event invites guests to enjoy a superior array of Northwest wines and cuisine while unwinding amidst Suncadia’s natural beauty.

Above and below are some shots we’ve taken on several memorable visits to the lofty Grand-Lodge-inspired resort. 

Suncadia Interior

“We are delighted to continue a regional tradition with this year’s Wine in the Pines,” said Andrew Wilson, executive chef and director of food and beverage at Suncadia. “With the participation of award-winning wineries, an exceptional selection of food and live entertainment throughout the weekend, Wine in the Pines once again promises to be a highlight of the summer season.”

Suncadia Idaho Trout

Suncadia Lodge’s outstanding Pan-Seared Swift Water Trout with Haricots Verts and Almond Brown Butter served at Portals restaurant

This year’s festival boasts more than 30 participating wineries and a packed schedule of events. The complete schedule of festivities is as follows:

Friday, July 30, 2010
2 – 5 p.m.

Winemaker’s Reception – Theo’s Chocolates, Glondo’s Sausages, Beecher’s Cheese and Efeste Wines are presented at Wine in the Pines’ kick-off reception held in the Great Room at the Lodge. Free for resort guests.
6 – 9 p.m.
Wine in the Pines Preview Night – Held at the Suncadia Village Amphitheater, this event features a casual crab feed and outdoor reception with Northwest winemakers, along with VIP seating for the evening’s Summer Nights in the Village concert. Cost: $50.
7 p.m.
Summer Nights in the Village with Handful of Luvin’ – Friday night’s free concert is sponsored by the Suncadia Fund for Community Enhancement and is part of Suncadia’s summer concert series.

Saturday, July 31, 2010
12 – 2:15 p.m.

Wine in the Pines Workshops – Four entertaining and educational workshops offer guests the opportunity to learn more about wine and winemaking from regional experts. Cost: $35
12 – 1 p.m. – Rhone Blending
Sean Gilbert of Gilbert Cellars will lead a Rhone-blending class giving attendees the chance to create their own blend from Gilbert’s barrel samples.
12 – 1 p.m. – Cabernet & Terroir
Tony Rynders of Swiftwater Cellars will lead a wine-tasting tour through three of Washington’s top American Viticultural Areas (Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills and Walla Walla).
1:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Malbec Mania
Sommelier David LeClaire, founder of Seattle Uncorked!, the Northwest’s largest wine club, will hold a discussion on the growing popularity of the Malbec grape.
1:15 – 2:15 p.m. – Aging Wines
Sommelier Tim O’Brien of Salty’s on Alki will present on how wines age, which wines age well and why certain wines age better than others.
4:30 – 7 p.m.
Wine in the Pines Grand Gala Tasting – Participating wineries and culinary delights provided by Theo’s Chocolates, Picasso 717, Lentines and Suncadia will be highlighted at this elegant tasting event. Cost: $65.
8 – 10 p.m.
Wine in the Pines Winemasters’ Dinner, “The Pacific Northwest Collection” – Suncadia’s Executive Chef Andrew Wilson and special guest chefs from Sunriver Resort, Skamania Lodge and Swiftwater Cellars collaborate to create a magnificent five-course meal. Winemakers will be seated at each table, and an auction of overnight packages and dream getaways will be held to benefit the Education Foundation for Cle Elum-Roslyn ( Cost: $125 per person or $240 per couple.

Tickets to Suncadia’s Wine in the Pines events are available online at A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for each event. For more information about Wine in the Pines or to make reservations with Suncadia, please visit or call (866) 904-6301.

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