Halibut Nuggets with Hazelnut Crumb Crust

March 31, 2013

Halibut Nuggets with Hazelnut Crumb Crust

Wine Varietal: Off-Dry Riesling

Serves 4

The arrival of fresh halibut, a.k.a. “hippo of the sea,” is one of the harbingers of spring in the Northwest. Luscious hazelnuts, a product of orchards in Washington state and Oregon, elevate chunks of the dense, lean, large-flaked finfish to new heights in this easy, yet elegant riff on traditional fish ‘n’ chips.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs or unseasoned dry bread crumbs (See Cook’s Hints, below)

1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

2 teaspoons minced cilantro, plus extra sprigs for garnish

1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets, skin and bones removed, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and cut into 16 pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Set the baking sheet aside.

2. In a small mixing b owl, stir together the mustard, soy sauce, butter, and honey. In another small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, hazelnuts, and the minced cilantro.

3. Lightly sprinkle the halibut pieces with salt and pepper. Dip the top of each halibut nugget in the honey-mustard mixture, allow the excess to drain off, then dip in the hazelnut-crumb mixture. Place the nuggets on the prepared baking sheet without crowding.

4. Bake the halibut nuggets for 8 to 12 minutes, or 10 minutes per inch of thickness. The fish should just turn opaque. To test for doneness, cut into the center of one nugget with the tip of a small, sharp knife and pull apart slightly.

5. To serve, mound the rice in the center of individual plates. Place the nuggets in a symmetrical pattern around the rice mounds and garnish with the cilantro sprigs.

Cook’s Hints: To make unseasoned dry bread crumbs, place a layer of white or whole-wheat bread slices on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bread turns light brown and dries completely. Allow the bread to cool, then place it in a food processor or blender and process until you have the desired texture. Panko bread crumbs are a lightly colored, coarsely textured crumb used in Japanese cooking to coat fried foods. They are available in Asian markets and in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

British Columbia Plays Big Role in the Canadian Wine Industry

March 25, 2013

Ever wonder how much the wine industry contributes to the Canadian economy?

According to a press release, the findings of the largest research study ever conducted on the Canadian wine and grape industry–Canada’s Wine Economy: Ripe Robust Remarkable–reveals a prosperous and expanding $6.8-billion-dollar industry.

Commissioned by the Canadian Vintners Association, the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario, the British Columbia Wine Institute, and the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, the report confirms the wine industry has become a large and significant contributor to the overall Canadian economy, especially in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

Key findings for British Columbia Wine include:

• BC Wine Economy has 212 wineries and over 864 vineyards on more than 9,800 acres of land.

• The BC Wine Industry’s $2.0 billion economic impact is a significant driver to the BC economy. For every bottle of wine produced in the Province, there is $42 of economic impact generated.

• More than 10,000 people have jobs in BC as a result of the wine and grape industry.

• British Columbians enjoy more than 234 million glasses or 47 million bottles of British Columbia wine each year.

• BC welcomes over 800,000 visitors every year through the wine economy, that is more than the province drew for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

• The BC Wine Industry generates $476 million in tourism and tourism employment related economic impact.

• More than $298 million in federal and provincial taxes and liquor board mark up is generated by the wine industry in BC each year. In taxes alone, the BC Wine Industry contributes $222 million.

For more on British Columbia wines, please refer to my seventh book, “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.”


Northwest Wining and Dining Welcomes MIRROR

March 18, 2013

SAM MIRROR art installation

With our condo perched at the intersection of First Avenue and Union Street, catercorner to the Seattle Art Museum, we’ve been lucky enough to have a bird’s-eye view of the new permanent outdoor art installation during construction and the intense testing process.

SAM MIRROR art installation

Entitled, MIRROR, by Doug Aitken, the huge LED display wraps around SAM’s northwest corner. Digital sensors that monitor the weather, pedestrian activity, and surrounding traffic transmit data that is used to animate LED images taken from digital footage Aitken captured throughout Seattle and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.

SAM MIRROR display

The exhibition will be unveiled on March 24. In the meantime, here are some images Spencer and I captured while shooting off our bird’s-eye balcony.

More on Locally Grown Food

March 11, 2013

Fresh produce

Is locally grown food making an impact on the produce industry?

The answer is a resounding “yes,” according to an article in Restaurant Hospitality magazine.

“So many consumers prefer it [locally grown produce] there’s been a noticeable demand shift in the produce industry,” according to the article.

Giant agricultural lender Rabobank funded a study entitled, “Local Foods: Shifting the Balance of Opportunity for Regional U.S. Produce.” Based on statistics gathered in the study, Rabobank concluded that its core customers–mainly national-scale growers based in California–should adjust their business models and get on the locally grown bandwagon.

We’ve been singing this mantra for years, beginning in 1992 with publication of the first edition of the “Pike Place Market Cookbook.” Nice the rest of the world is finally catching up!


Facts and Figures on the Locavore Movement

March 7, 2013


In our last two blog posts, we’ve discussed food and beverage trends for 2013.

Today we’ll hone in on one particular food trend that shows no signs of fading: The Locavore Movement.

In a recent article in Restaurant Hospitality entitled, “How Hot is the Locavore Trend?,” writer Bob Krummert noted that, “A new study finds 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for local food.”

Other interesting statistics brought to light in the A. T. Kearney study are the reasons grocery shoppers largely embrace local-food options:

1. It helps local economies

2. Local food delivers a better and broader assortment of products.

3. Provides healthier alternatives.

4. Improves carbon footprint.

5. Increases natural or organic production.

And subjects in the study aren’t just giving lip service to the Locavore Movement. Thirty-eight percent said they would pay up to 5% more for local foods; 24% would pay up to 10%; and 8% would pay more than 10%.

Northwest Wining and Dining Visits the Northwest Flower & Garden Show

March 1, 2013

Attending the Northwest Flower & Garden Show has become a beloved annual tradition in our family. This year, it took place during the last weekend in February, and we scheduled our late-afternoon Saturday visit around a lecture my dear friend and gardening and home-design expert Debra Prinzing was presenting.

Entitled, Channel Your Inner Floral Designer: Four Seasons of Beautiful Bouquets, Debra spent her alloted hour showing us inspired and inspiring floral arrangements she had photographed for her latest book, “Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets from the Garden, Meadow, and Farm.”

Here are some of the photos I snapped as we made our way around the impressive and expansive, award-winning gardens on the main floor, as well as the numerous vendor booths and two of our personal favorites–the Ikebana and Orchid Society displays.

I love the way food is the focus in these gorgeous metal and acrylic vases. I took home a long, tall version, and can’t wait to start experimenting with new floral arrangements!

How serene and calming is this gorgeous yellow-orchid and dark-wood bonsai?!?! How does the flower get water, I wonder?

Gotta love these rose and celadon Cymbidium orchids!

This baby photographed blue, but it was really a deep purple color.

One of the main reasons I like to go to the Flower & Garden Show is to make use of one of my favorite iPhone apps, Hipstamatic. This shot above, Spiky White Orchids, seems so lace-y and dream-like, thanks to Hipstamatic.

The theme of this year’s show was Hollywood, and we were drawn to this homage to The Hobbit in one of the major gardens. This and all the remaining shots were taken with the Hipstamatic app.

I love the sheer whimsy of  Teddy Bear Tea Party.

This is Green Slippers.

As a writer, I just couldn’t resist this shot. I remember the Smith-Corona my mother gave me right before I left for college. It served me well writing many a term paper, as well as short stories and poems. Thanks for encouraging my creativity, Mom!