Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

April 30, 2013

Alaskan Wild Salmon

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir

Serves 4

The musky, yet sweet taste of balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with the fatty flesh of salmon. The balsamic glaze is good on other types of seafood as well, particularly black cod (sablefish) or Alaskan weathervane scallops.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, bones removed, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and cut into four (6-ounce) pieces

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fish stock or chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons basil chiffonade (See Cook’s Hint, below)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly coat a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon fillets without crowding with oil or nonstick cooking spray.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the salmon fillets without crowding. (Alternatively, use two skillets or cook the salmon in two batches.) When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the salmon fillets, flesh side down, and cook 3 minutes, or until the fish is golden brown outside but still rare inside. Place the salmon in the reserved baking dish skin side down and place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish just turns opaque.

3. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and fish stock. Cook until reduced to 3 to 4 tablespoons, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the butter and basil, swirling to blend.

4. To serve, divide the salmon fillets among warmed individual plates and drizzle with the glaze.

Cook’s Hint: To chiffonade, pull basil or sorrel leaves from their stems, stack neatly one on top of another, and roll tightly like a cigar. Using a very sharp knife, cut the leaves into thin slivers. Unroll the slivers, fluff, and measure.

Recipe reprinted 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.


Don’t Miss the First-Ever Victoria, BC, Spot Prawn Festival

April 29, 2013

Spot Prawns

Hungry foodies will want to plan trips to Victoria, British Columbia, in May and July to coincide with two upcoming food festivals: the inaugural Victoria Spot Prawn Festival and Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food & Wine.

According to a recent press release, the Victoria Spot Prawn Festival runs from May 25 to 26, 2013, and kicks off with a long-table dinner and film presented by the Island Chefs Collaborative. Tickets are $150 CDN and limited to 250 people.

On May 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to take in crafts, music, guest speakers, and chef demos by local favorites such as Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and Vancouver Island Salt Company. Fresh seafood will be available on site along with plenty of other food vendors.

This family-friendly party by the sea is free to attend and not-to-be-missed!

From July 25 to July 28, 2013, experience Victoria’s fifth-annual festival of food and wine with Taste held at the Crystal Garden. Showcasing more than 100 British Columbia wines, guests will experience local fare prepared by top Vancouver Island chefs from some of the city’s finest restaurants such as The Marina Restaurant and AURA Waterfront Restaurant + Patio at the Inn at Laurel Point.

Tickets for the main event are $79 CDN, with more intimate events with themes such as Swine on the Vine and Sips &  Seafood filling the remainder of the festival schedule.

For more information, visit

Twitter Handles: @IslandChefs and @TravelWithTaste


Oregon Chardonnay Symposium Showcases New Wave of Artisan Winemakers

April 22, 2013

White Grapes

Oregon Chardonnay is garnering national attention, taking center stage in the New York Times article “Oregon Chardonnay Speaks Up” last year and mentions in February’s Sunset Magazine article, “The Great White.”

And it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. The second Oregon Chardonnay Symposium on Saturday, May 4, at Red Ridge Farms will showcase a new wave of smaller producers and set out to define their signature style of North Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay.

The event will begin with an educational and interactive panel discussion, featuring eight artisan producers and nationally renowned wine writers. The discussion will include a technical tasting of very limited production Chardonnays from the panelists.

Participating Wineries

Arterberry Maresh

Big Table Farms


Division Winemaking Company

Durant Vineyards



Walter Scott

Participating Media


Katherine Cole, wine columnist for The Oregonian and author of “Voodoo Vintners: Oregon’s Astonishing Biodynamic Winegrowers”


Paul Gregutt, “Wine Adviser” columnist for The Seattle Times and NW editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

W. Blake Gray, author of the Gray Report blog, winner of the 2012 Wine Blog Awards for Best Industry Blog and columnist for, will also be participating in the event.

A walk-around tasting at the Durant Vineyards Tasting Room will follow the panel discussion, featuring wines from the participating wineries along with charcuterie plates accompanied by Oregon Olive Mill olive oils. Participants will be provided with seminar notes, tasting notes, and a logo wineglass.

Tickets are limited to 60 and cost $60 each. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Red Ridge Farms at 503-864-8502.

Panel Discussion Topics:

· Each winery will define their signature style of North Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

· Drive and influence of each producer

· Visions

· Oak regiments

· Vineyard sources, soil and climatic influences

· Winemaking practices

· What does the future hold for Oregon Chardonnay


The Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms

5510 NE Breyman Orchard Road

Dayton, OR 97114


Saturday, May 4, 2013

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Panel Discussion and Technical Tasting

3:30 p.m. Expanded Tasting

Find more information on Facebook or Twitter @OregonOliveMill.




Wining and Dining with Guests Through Seattle and Environs

April 15, 2013

The first week in April, from Thursday at 1:30 p.m. to Sunday at 11 a.m., we enjoyed showing my brother and sister-in-law around Seattle.

Welcome sign nan and brad

Here’s the cute “pig” blackboard sign in our condo that welcomed them to town.

Place pigalle oyster stew photo

We had our first lunch at Place Pigalle in the Pike Place Market (oyster stew, beet salad, duck confit, crab cakes). Here’s a gorgeous shot of Place Pigalle’s oyster stew, one of the best, if not THE best, version in town.

Wild Ginger Seven Elements Soup

At Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar, in downtown Seattle, three of us ordered the justly famous Seven Element Soup, which is available only at lunchtime (pity!). We also managed to down platters of Seven-Spice Beef, Siam Lettuce Cups, Hanoi Tuna, and bok choy.

Restaurant Marché Vegetable Plate

My brother was here partly for business reasons, so on the day he crossed over the mountains to attend a meeting in Yakima, Spencer and I took sis-in-law on a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for a nature walk, exploring downtown, and lunch at our friend, Greg Atkinson’s, lovely Restaurant Marché.

We loved the menu, and enjoyed wild salmon, the Market Vegetable Plate (a daily-changing entrée with “five veggies five ways,” such as braised greens, grilled asparagus, carrots, and pea flan the day we were there).

Restaurant Marché Salad Niçoise

Here is my gorgeous Salade Niçoise with a very generous portion of perfectly cooked albacore tuna riding atop. The recipe is on Greg’s website and would be a snap to whip up at home.

And although we really weren’t hungry, we had to try a scoop at Mora Iced Creamery shop just outside of Marché. Pistachio, Gianduja (Italian hazelnut chocolate), and Coconut were our delectable choices.

Debra prinzing bouquet book

It was thrilling to see my dear friend Debra Prinzing’s book, “The 50-Mile Bouquet,” prominently displayed in the front window at Intentional Table on Bainbridge, in the Madrone Lane area  just outside Marché.

Steelhead Diner Caviar Pie

Our three dinners began in grand style at Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market, just across the street from bro and sis-in-law’s hotel, the beautiful, boutique-y Inn at the Market. In a bit of New Orleans-style lagniappe, chef Anthony sent over one of our absolute favorite dishes in Seattle–Caviar Pie.

After devouring that, we ordered more: Dungeness Crab Cake, Kasu Cod, troll-caught salmon. . .

Steelhead Diner Whole Idaho Trout

and the gorgeous whole Idaho Trout swimming in a brown-butter bath and sprinkled with a plethora of plump pecans. Yum!

Terra Plata shisito peppers

Vowing never to eat (or drink) again, we somehow managed to rally the next evening at Terra Plata, where the truly addictive Shisito Peppers with Aïoli didn’t last long.

Terra Plata Scallop Crudo

Nor did the Roasted Olives, Medjool Dates, or Scallop Crudo (pictured above).

Terra Plata Scallop Crudo

Scallops with Melted Leeks and a fried quail egg was my entrée; the meat eaters enjoyed the Braised Short Ribs.

Terra plata pavlova dessert

Two desserts sated our sweet tooths (teeth?!?!). Here’s the Pavlova. . .

Terra plata apple tart

And the Apple Tart.

RN74 Tomato Soup Fondue

For our last supper (sounds rather dire!), we lived it up at the always ebullient RN74 in downtown Seattle. Sis-in-law loved the Tomato Soup Fondue, while bro ordered a gorgeous Green Pea Soup with Dungeness crab. Spencer opted for escargots (served in the shell!), and I got the Butter Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese.

RN74 Black Cod

Here’s the generous portion of Black Cod with Bok Choy and Wild Mushrooms that I ordered. Beef Bourguignon, Duck Breast, and Beef Filet satisfied my dining companions.

RN74 Woodward Canyon Wine

From the Last Bottle list (an ever-changing board, much like a railroad-station board) we chose a 2005 Woodward Canyon Winery Red Blend (made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc and Merlot) that was drinking absolutely perfectly (and a steal at $110, which is the reason we love the Last Bottle List so much!).

Etta's Seafood Salmon Cakes

Bro and sis-in-law wanted a really good Dungeness Crab Benedict for their final meal in Seattle. So bright and early (at least for Spencer and me) at 9:30 on Sunday morning, we trotted down the hill from their hotel for brunch at Etta’s, one of legendary Seattle chef Tom Douglas’s 10 restaurants.

By now, even intrepid eaters such as Spencer and me were in a food and wine coma. So I was very appreciate of the brunch special of the day since it was a bit on the lighter/healthier side: Salmon Cake and Grilled Asparagus and Arugula Salad (well, maybe the fried egg on top wasn’t so healthy!).

Etta's Seafood Dungeness Crab Benedict

The relatives raved about their Dungeness Crab Cakes Benedict, and Spencer chowed down on one of his long-time favorite dishes about town: Etta’s Breakfast (scrambled eggs, house-made chicken sausage, home fries, and sour-dough toast).

Etta's Seafood Family Group Shot

Here we are about to chow down at Etta’s, looking happy, and perhaps a few pounds heavier, after so much good food and drink in such a concentrated amount of time.

Of course, we did some sightseeing along the way (had to burn off some of those calories!) and enjoyed (and highly recommend) Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. We had been last May with Spencer’s cousin and wife, so feared we might be bored going again so soon. But we had a great guide–Dietrich–who has been working for the company on and off since 1989. He looked at things from an architectural standpoint as well as historical, and we all agreed we learned a lot and had a lot of fun doing it.

SAM MIRROR art installation

We also spent a few hours at the Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibit: Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasure of Kenwood House, London. The paintings were truly inspiring, but perhaps most noteworthy (downright awesome) were the Rembrandt etchings.

Pike Place Market Scene

Bro and sis-in-law enjoyed discovering Pike Place Market, especially Le Panier for morning coffee, croissant, and banana bread.

Utilikilt Damaged Dummy Display

The weather was downright ugly (drizzle, heavy rain, a little sun, sunshine while it was raining!), and here is proof–a downed mannequin in front of the Utilikilts store in Pioneer Square.

Seattle Cityscape from Bainbridge Island Ferry

More proof of the inclement weather; brooding skies as shown from the ferry coming back from Bainbridge Island.

Seattle great wheel elliott bay waterfront july 4 photo

Bro and sis-in-law promised they would be back soon, so I’ve already started thinking about what we will do next time.

For starters? How about a ride on the Seattle Great Wheel?


Dish of the Day: Capital Grille’s Shellfish Tower

April 8, 2013

Capital Grille Shellfish Platter photo

One of my favorite meals is a good shellfish platter. I still miss the ones at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which came with lots of pomp and circumstance as the server placed metal stand underneath the metal tray mounded with shaved ice and studded with all sorts of fresh and cooked shellfish–steamed mussels and clams, oysters on the half shell, steamed lobster, and three kinds of delectable sauces.

Luckily, downtown Seattle’s Capital Grille serves up a shellfish platter almost as grand. Although this photo doesn’t do it justice, it contains steamed baby lobster, cooked shrimp, and half a dozen raw oysters, plus two sauces (classic Mignonette and cocktail sauce). Be sure to ask for the rich mustard-mayonnaise, which goes perfectly with the shrimp and lobster.


Pike Place Market Arcade Lights

April 1, 2013

Pike place market sunset shot

Please save the date for the Pike Place Market’s Arcade Lights, a semiannual celebration of artisan foods, craft beers, and wine on April 19 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (6:30 p.m. for advance ticket holders). Dedicated to promoting independent producers, Pike Place Market has invited 60 purveyors of finely crafted sweet and savory foods, local breweries, and regional wineries to participate in this delectable after-hours festival.

Held in the Market’s historic North Arcade, attendees will have the opportunity to sample and pair favorite artisan foods and beverages while discovering the season’s newest flavors. They’ll meet and chat with emerging purveyors as well as get to know the vendors of their favorite brews and bites.

Arcade Lights offers an opportunity to experience the ambiance and views of Pike Place Market at night while sipping handcrafted ales, Washington wines, ciders and nonalcoholic beverages.

Among the event’s participants? Savory tastes will be provided by Firefly Kitchens, Mt. Townsend Creamery, Pampeana Empanadas, Uli’s Sausage, Roving Pizzaioli, and Zaccagni’s, among others. The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., Six Strawberries, Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company, Mighty-O Donuts, and others will tempt the sweet tooth. Gluten-free baked goods will come from Coffee and A Specialty Bakery.

Local participating breweries include Elysian Brewing Company, Odin Brewing Company, Pike Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing and Reuben’s Brews among others. Wine enthusiasts will delight in a sparkling wine from Masquerade Wine, while cider fans will enjoy tasting cider from The Methow Valley Ciderhouse and Eaglemount Wine and Cider.

Tickets: $28 advance purchase / $35 day of the event. Tickets include 10 tokens to be redeemed for food and beverages and a keepsake glass. Additional tokens may be purchased at the event for $2.50 each.

Arcade Lights benefits the Market Foundation, a not-for-profit organization supporting human-service agencies at the Pike Place Market: Pike Market Child Care and Preschool, Pike Market Medical Clinic, Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank.