Merry Berry Medley

August 31, 2011

Merry Berry Medley

Wine Varietal: Raspberry or Blackberry Fruit Wine

Serves 6

Berry season runs long and strong in the Northwest, beginning with small, sweet local strawberries in late spring and ending with local cranberries in the fall. A mix of these sweet gems sprinkled with a crunchy-oat topping, baked, and served warm from the oven epitomizes the bounty of summer.

4 cups mixed berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

Pinch salt

1/4 cup butter, room temperature and cut into small chunks

Strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 6-cup baking dish or casserole. In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the lemon juice, vanilla, and tapioca. Taste and add remaining 1/4 cup sugar if needed. Let stand 15 minutes, then pour fruit into baking dish.

2. Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a mixing bowl. With a pastry cutter or your hands work butter into dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over the berries.

3. Cook crumble for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and fruit is bubbly at the edges.

4. To serve, spoon crumble into individual bowls and top with ice cream.

Recipe from Braiden Rex-Johnson’s private collection.

Joule Continues to Be a Jewel

August 29, 2011

Joule, in the Wallingford neighborhood a few miles from downtown Seattle, has long been one of our favorite restaurants for its creative and seamless merging of Korean and French cuisine.

I’ve blogged (and raved) about it many times before, and glad to report it continues to do what it has always done so well.

Here’s a dish I enjoyed as my entrée on a recent visit–Hawaiian Prawns Stone Pot with Scallion Grits and Collard Greens. The meltingly tender grits, loaded with butter, were topped by gorgeous prawns with the heads still on.

Although messy (this was one dish where you had to play with your food!) they was very much of a reward.

Just for fun, here’s a shot I did with my iPhone4 using the Hipstamatic app, which makes photos look old-timey, as if taken with plastic cameras from the 1960s.

And here are the remains of the meal taken conventionally. . .

And with the Hipstamatic.

It’s getting close to lunch time as I write this, and I truly wish I had a pot o’grits and some of those incredible shellfish for my midday repast.

Much to Like at Luc

August 26, 2011

We had a memorable dinner on a recent Sunday evening at Luc, the casual bistro sibling to Chef in the Hat Thierry Rautureau’s long-running white-tablecloth restaurant, Rover’s. The two sit in the very same block in Madison Valley, just outside of downtown Seattle.

Here’s the gorgeous plate of Copper River Salmon Gravlax Salad, an appetizer that was so substantial I enjoyed it as my main course.

Next to it sits a very serviceable Bibb Lettuce Salad with Walnuts and a light, tasty vinaigrette.

Spencer’s Whole Trout Amandine was one of the best we’ve had about town–a thick, meaty fillet with tons of butter, almonds, lemon, and parsley. The roasted potatoes were butter-bathed and yummy as well.

A couple of glasses of Rosé (both sparkling and still) for me and a Pinot Noir for Spencer and we could easily understand why Luc has become such a popular destination for both neighborhood folk and visitors like us alike.

Spider: 2, Braiden: 0

August 23, 2011

Last week we spent a few days on the Oregon Coast in Lincoln City, then two days in Astoria, a charming maritime-based town on the border between Oregon and Washington.

It was a good, if rather hectic, trip.

Last Monday  in our hotel room in Astoria, I woke up with two insect bites on my left forearm. We’d slept with our balcony door propped open, and I figured a hungry mosquito had made a midnight feast of me.

The “mosquito bites” itched like crazy and got very red and raised over the next two days. From the outset Spencer, who’s deathly afraid of spiders, said he thought they were not “mosquito bites,” but spider bites.

By the time we arrived home on Tuesday night, they were looking pretty angry. By noon Wednesday, there was a pink ring radiating out from the two bites and moving up and down my arm.

Spencer insisted I call our doctor. I did better and sent the iPhone photo (above).

Christy, the nurse, called back quickly with a bevy of questions and a concerned/worried tone in her voice.

Our doctor called a few minutes later and slapped me on antibiotics and Benadryl Anti-Itch Cream to fight sepsis!!!

As much as I hate taking medicine, almost instantly, I began to feel better.

Over the next several days, the puffiness and pink circle went away. I was so relieved. Thanks heavens for penicillin!

It’s been a tough couple of months for the left side of my body, between my run in with the tape dispenser in March, and now, a venomous spider in August!

Let’s hope these incidents don’t come in series of threes.

Trattoria Cioppino’s Cioppino Dish of the Day

August 19, 2011

We finally had a chance to try Cioppino, the wonderful new bistro we’ve written about before that overlooks Green Lake, on a recent Saturday night (busy, busy!) and were wowed by the signature and eponymous dish–Cioppino!

Here’s the gorgeous stew that was loaded with gobs of seafood–tiny octopi, salmon fillet, mussels, Alaskan spot prawns, Mediterranean mussels, halibut, and who knows what else–all perfectly (not overly) cooked to just tender in a hearty tomato-saffron-scented broth.

General manager Erik Brisbin suggested we heat up the leftovers for Sunday brunch and add a few eggs. Sounded yummy, but we added a can of Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, some additional seafood, and whipped up an amazing Seafood Stew for Sunday dinner.

For all of these reasons, Cioppino’s Cioppino wins our Dish of the Day.

Sunset Supper and Fall Market Save-the-Dates

August 16, 2011

If you haven’t already, you need to buy your tickets for one of the best parties of the year: Sunset Supper at the Pike Place Market.

Enjoy food from Seattle’s best restaurants and the region’s premium winemakers and microbreweries.

Dance under the stars and buy a raffle ticket or spin the wheel for great prizes to support the Pike Place Market Foundation and all the good work they do.

Other upcoming dates of interest to Market lovers include:

Market Anniversary Celebration: Tomorrow–August 17

Downtown Home Tour: September 18

Second Annual Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival: October 1-2

Luscious Lecosho

August 12, 2011

One of our favorite restaurants in the ‘hood, right down the street from our condo along the Harbor Steps, is Matt Janke’s luscious Lecosho.

We’ve been remiss about writing about Matt’s second restaurant, not because we don’t love it, but because we sometimes just want to sit and eat and enjoy and not overthink things too much.

It’s the same reason I sometimes order a favorite dish time and again. And that favorite dish at Lecosho is the Grilled Octopus with Chickpeas, Salsa Brava, and Mama Lil’s Vinaigrette. It’s listed as an appetizer, but I find the bulky bowl of beans and tentacles is plenty to satisfy and satiate my appetite.

A few weeks ago, I had my grilled octopus accompanied by a side order of good grilled asparagus. Oftentimes, when “Yakima grass” isn’t in season, I substitute one of Lecosho’s finely crafted House Green Salads that’s always topped with a perfectly coddled egg.

These two dishes, plus Matt Janke’s thoughtfully selected and reasonably priced wines by the bottle and glass round out a dining experience of “food we like” (the restaurant’s catch phrase).

Way to go, Matt!

Dish of the Day: Steelhead Diner Chili

August 9, 2011

One of my favorites dishes–something that I get a fierce craving for from time to time–is the vegetarian chili at the Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market.

Here’s a gorgeous cup of Alex’s Vegetable Chili, the thick, spicy stew topped with a melt of oooey, gooey Pepperjack cheese; a BIG dollop of sour cream; cilantro; and pico de gallo; and accompanied by a rakish raft of crispy cracker.

For being so warm, comforting, and downright satisfying, Steelhead Diner’s vegetarian chili more than deserves my Dish of the Day.

Salmon Burgers Redux!

August 5, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I ran an article about finding the best salmon burger in Seattle. Ray’s Boathouse Cafe won by a mile.

When I sent the link to my brother and sister-in-law in central Florida, they were inspired. So that very evening, with their three teenagers off at camp and a quiet night on their hands, Nancy and Brad grilled up a batch of salmon burgers purchased from Fresh Market.

Sad to say, they weren’t very impressed with the burgers (we would have been better off just grilling a piece of salmon, Brad reports), they were impressed with the evening’s wine pairing, a bottle of  Cruz Allen 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir from Mendoza, Argentina.

In a follow-up email, Brad had this to say about Argentinian wines in general:

“Although known for Malbec, Argentina is producing other great varietals now. They are excellent quality for the price. Argentina is similar to Australia about 5-10 years ago, before Australia was ‘discovered,’ and prices went up. Here is a good piece on Argentinian wine making.”

Thanks for the insight, Nancy and Brad!


August 2, 2011

A few weeks ago, with a new camera in hand that gave me an excuse to attend an event I might not normally have gone to, Spencer and I set out in the Lex for Fremont, a.k.a, The Center of the Universe.

Our destination?

The Red, White, and Dead World’s Longest Zombie Walk.

As reported by the seattlest blog, “Last year the event managed to get 3,894 zombies to come to Fremont, taking the world record. However that was soon beaten by 4,026 undead bodies at England’s Big Chill Music Festival. This year the event managed to take back the title by bringing 4,233 people to the streets!”

The Zombie Squad had a colorful booth, and we met lots of other likely suspects along the way. The hearse in the photo above seems a particularly appropriate backdrop, as does the sign in the background advertising local radio station 107.7, The End.

Since this is, after all, mainly a food blog, I wanted to prove to you that zombies work up an appetite when they are out doing whatever it is zombies do all day. Here they are eating real food–no human flesh!–along the sidewalk.

There were zombie children. . .this one with a zombie baby perched on his shoulder. . .

And zombie families.

A young zombie boy enjoyed breakdancing with adult creatures of his ilk. . .

While a zombie d.j. spun appropriate tunes for the somewhat dazed, bloody crowd on this uniquely Seattle and totally unforgettable summer afternoon.