Smoky Clam Chowder

January 31, 2013

Smoky Clam Chowder

Wine Varietal: Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris

Serves 4

The addition of salmon jerky gives this rendition of clam chowder a hearty flavor and a real Northwest flair. Salmon jerky is available at the four fish stands in the Pike Place Market, although I am especially fond of the version made by Pure Food Fish.

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes boiling potatoes

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

2 cups milk

Pinch dried thyme, crumbled

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

2 (6.5-ounce) cans chopped clams, with juice

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 to 3 tablespoons diced salmon jerky

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the potatoes, celery, and onion. Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

2. Add the clam juice, milk, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

3. Add the clams, whipping cream, and smoked salmon, and stir well. Cook several minutes more, or until the mixture is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

4. To serve, ladle the clam chowder into soup bowls and serve right away.

Cook’s Hint: For informal croutons, lightly butter Saltine crackers, place them in the bottom of the soup bowls, and pour over the chowder.

Recipe reprinted from “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” by Braiden Rex-Johnson.


Cheers to the Promise of 2013!

January 7, 2013

Hope everyone had the happiest of holidays, and cheers to the New Year!

We will be taking the next few months off to clean out the office, while we noodle around on a new book.

Which means, for the foreseeable future, the Northwest Notes blog is on hiatus. I figure if Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson could take six months off last year, and Hillary (Clinton) is taking some time off this year, so can I.

Thanks for reading my bl0g over the past many years. It started way back in December 2004 with a recipe for Holiday Crab Boils. . .and wraps up for now, at least, with a total of 707 blog posts as of today.

I will continue to our Recipes of the Month, along with a suggested wine pairing, as recipes are one of the most popular features on the Northwest Wining and Dining website.

And perhaps I’ll write an occasional blog post about a subject of great interest and/or urgency. Got to keep that SEO ranking high as well. J

Please continue to catch up with me on the social-media networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Also please don’t forget that my Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook is available in both print and e-versions. At just $14.95 per copy for the print version (substantially less on, it’s the perfect gift book and/or Northwest souvenir.

Thank you for your support so far, and cheers to the promise of 2013!

Tara’s Healthy, Homemade Baked Granola

January 3, 2013

Just yesterday, in a lovely holiday gift package, our friends at ART Restaurant and Lounge in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Seattle sent over a sample of pastry chef Tara Sedor’s Homemade Baked Granola.

And boy, was it ever good!

Tara was kind enough to share her recipe, and you can even view a step-by-step photo tutorial on the Four Seasons’s Facebook page.

To make the recipe at home, you will need:

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1 cup dried fruit, such as dried cherries, dried apricots, dark or golden raisins, or a mix

Milk or plain yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 300 °F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet or spray with nonstick spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, brown sugar, and salt.

3. Add the maple syrup and honey and stir well until all of the oats are evenly coated. Give the mixture one final stir.

4. Transfer the granola to the prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly over the pan. Reserve the mixing bowl.

5. Place the granola in the oven and bake until golden brown, mixing the granola every 20 minutes with a heatproof spatula, about 1 hour.

6. Transfer the granola back into the reserved mixing bowl. Add the dried fruit and mix until distributed throughout.

7. Store the granola in an airtight container or Zip-loc plastic storage bag.

8. To serve, divide the granola among cereal bowls and top with milk or plain yogurt.

Cook’s Hint: For New Year’s gift-giving, fill a Mason jar or goodie bag with the freshly made granola. Add a ribbon or bow and gift to very lucky family members or friends.


Pacific Rim Seafood Boil

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! As we say goodbye to the holidays and heavier-than-normal eating and drinking patterns, here’s a recipe that will begin your diet regimen in style. It’s an all-time favorite of mine that I hope will become one of yours as well. It was printed years ago in one of my early books, “Inside the Pike Place Market.” Enjoy!

Pacific Rim Seafood Boil

Wine Varietal: Off-Dry Riesling

The Dungeness crab is the prize catch of the oldest shellfish fishery in the North Pacific. Cancer Magister, the “big crab,” provides one of the best traditional foods of the region, often simply steamed or boiled. Here the “Dungie” finds refuge in a light, healthy broth redolent with fresh lemongrass and gingerroot, a Pacific Rim twist on the traditional Northwest crab feed. To eat this dish properly, seafood forks, crab crackers, and extra napkins are mandatory.

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 pound Alaskan spot prawns or medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved

4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves discarded and soft inner core chopped into 1/4-inch rounds, about 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons minced gingerroot

4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

Pinch hot red pepper flakes

1/2 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine) or dry Sherry

4 cups homemade vegetable stock OR 2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups water

2 precooked 1- to 1 1/2-pound Dungeness crabs in the shell, cracked into pieces suitable for picking

Pickled ginger, for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells, lemongrass, gingerroot, and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the herbs give off their odor and shrimp shells turn opaque, stirring frequently. Add mirin, vegetable stock, and water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover pan, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove broth from heat and pour broth through a fine-meshed strainer, pressing solids with a spoon to squeeze out all the juice. Discard solids.

2. Return broth to wok and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the spot shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until shrimp just turn pink. With a slotted spoon, remove shrimp to a bowl and reserve.

3. Add the crab pieces to the broth and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until crab is warmed through, stirring occasionally to redistribute. Add shrimp to the pan and remove from heat.

4. To serve, divide seafood and broth among individual bowls and garnish with pickled ginger.

Serves 4 as an entrée; 6 as an appetizer