Recipe of the Month: Grilled Albacore Tuna Spinach Salad

July 31, 2013

Grilled Albacore Tuna Spinach Salad

Varietal: Zinfandel

Serves 4

This may be the perfect main-dish salad since it features one of the Northwest’s tastiest and most economical summertime fish—fresh albacore tuna—in a hearty brown marinade that includes lots of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Even meat-eaters will sit up and take notice! As you would with a meat dish, pair the flavorful, densely textured tuna with a heavy red wine, such as a Zinfandel. “Zin’s” rich, velvety, “chewy” texture and lush berry flavors (plum, raspberry, berry jam) and black pepper and spice notes complement the flavors in this hearty dish.

2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Four 6-ounce albacore tuna steaks, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 cups fresh white (button) or cremini mushrooms, cut in half (or quarters if extra large)
1 bunch spinach leaves, rinsed, drained, tough stems removed, and spun dry or 6 cups ready-to-eat spinach leaves
2 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch-wide slices
1/2 red onion, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide slices

1. Place the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and olive oil in a nonreactive mixing bowl large enough to hold the fish without crowding, and stir or whisk to blend. Divide the marinade in half. To half of the marinade, add the fish fillets, turning well to coat. To the marinade remaining in the other bowl, add the mushrooms, and stir well to coat. Cover both bowls and refrigerate 20 minutes to 2 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat an outdoor or indoor grill. Lightly oil the grill, remove the fish fillets from the marinade, pat dry, and arrange on the grill without crowding. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the fish just turns opaque. Discard the fish marinade.

3. To serve, divide the spinach leaves among four plates. Place a fish fillet in the center of the leaves, then divide the carrot and onion slices among the plates, sprinkling the slices over the fish fillets and spinach leaves. Spoon the marinated mushrooms and any remaining marinade over and around the fish and vegetables.

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.

Northwest Wining and Dining Applauds Farmers Markets in Victoria, British Columbia

July 29, 2013

Victoria, BC, farmers market photo

Thinking of visiting our neighbor to the North, the charming town of Victoria, British Columbia, for a little r&r this summer?

A recent press release reminded us to be sure to visit one of the city’s bustling farmers markets, which are now in full swing. Local favorites include the Victoria Public Market, Moss Street Market, and the Chinatown Night Market.

The Victoria Public Market at the Hudson Building is Victoria’s newest culinary experience! Vendors include everything from a butcher to a baker to a sweet-and-savory pie maker, with popular names such as Salt Spring Island Cheese, Vij’s, Olive the Senses, and Wildfire Bakery among the mix. Hours for the market are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays, with the larger farmers markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Moss Street Market is now in its 22nd season of providing local and organic farm-fresh produce, local foods, handmade crafts, artisan clothing, live music, and community education to visitors. Found at the corner of Moss Street and Fairfield Road, this vibrant  market operates from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Saturday, May through October, rain or shine.

Finally, the Chinatown Night Market, located in Canada’s oldest Chinatown, happens every second Wednesday of the month from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on July 10, August 14, and September 11, 2013. This market focuses on culturally relevant entertainment, food, and artists, making it a showcase of Asian culture and a completely unique market in Victoria.

Northwest Wining and Dining’s Dishes of the Day

July 22, 2013

Palomino Seattle Scallops with Pernod Beurre Blanc

Hard to believe it’s been three months since we chose a proper Dish of the Day (last one was The Capital Grille’s stupendous Seafood Tower), so today I’ve chosen not one, but three for your viewing pleasure.

Above behold the glorious Asiago-Almond Crusted Scallops with Pernod Butter Sauce and first-of-the-season grilled asparagus,  which we enjoyed a few weeks ago at the Palomino Restaurant & Bar location in downtown Seattle (truth be known, it is in the CityCentre Building, where Spencer used to go to work at Callison Architecture every day!).

How the chef got the perfect crispy crust and still managed to leave the scallops rare in the middle is beyond me. I tried to figure out how to replicate the dish at home, but just figured I’d eat it at Palomino as often as possible.

Just last weekend, when the temperatures were high (close to 90!) in Seattle, we were lucky to score an outside seat at Le Pichet, right on First Avenue in the Pike Place Market.

Le Pichet Pike Place Market Salmon

The Seared Salmon with baby garlic tops, flageolet beans, carrots, and asparagus was like summer on a plate, the salmon perfectly cooked to rare and the garlic tops more green than garlicky. A very light white broth brought the dish together so perfectly that I lapped up every last drop with the soup spoon thoughtfully provided!

Gordon Biersch Blackened Tuna Salad

Not so politically correct, but still very well executed, is the (blackened) Ahi and Greens salad at Gordon Biersch. I feel a deep twinge every time I order Ahi, since it  (in fact, most species of tuna, except for albacore) is on the endangered list, but every so often it serves as a special treat. This one was served with a well-made miso dressing and wasn’t overly charred or spicy. A Cajun remoulade sauce was also offered, and went surprisingly well with the fish and greens.


Here’s the “Scoop!” from Northwest Wining and Dining

July 15, 2013

Cupcake Royale ice cream scoop

There’s still time to take advantage of a great summertime deal: Two Dollar Tuesdays offered up by our friends at Cupcake Royale.

July is National Ice Cream Month (who knew?!?!) and so Cupcake Royale is celebrating in grand style, and passing along a screaming-hot (or cool!) deal to their customers; $2 ice-cream scoops on Tuesdays.

So stop by tomorrow, or any Tuesday this month (the offer is good any time of the day) and get a scoop of premium, hand-churned ice cream for just $2 a scoop.

Churning 14 flavors in their downtown ice creamery, you can try one of the newest flavors including Orange Hibiscus sorbet, Honey + Snickerdoodle, Theo Malted Milk Chocolate, or Peppermint + Fudge Ribbon.

More traditional ice-cream lovers can opt for one of Cupcake Royale’s classic flavors–Burnt Caramel with Smoked Sea Salt or Stumptown Coffee with Fudge Ribbon.

And don’t forget about cupcakes! July kicks off the Washington blueberry season, and the Blueberry Brown Betty cupcake is Cupcake Royale’s featured Cupcake of the Month.

This adaptation of the American classic features vanilla and blueberry cake with a brown sugar-cream cheese top, finished with  buttermilk cake crumbs and a single dried blueberry. .

Which just goes to show (borrowing from the famous words of Marie Antoinette), Cupcake Royale is the kind of place where you can have your cake (and ice cream) and eat it, too!



More on Pacific Northwest Farmers Markets

July 8, 2013

In our June 17 post, we updated you on the summer schedule at the venerable Pike Place Market.

In today’s post, we are sharing the good news about other farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest.

Pybus Public Market, Wenatchee, Washington

Pybus public market

After more than a year of dreaming, planning and construction, Pybus Public Market, located at 3 North Worthen, Wenatchee, opened its doors to the public in its inaugural debut (soft opening) on Saturday, May 11, at 7:30 a.m.

The building was built in the late 1940s, and brings together a part of the Wenatchee Valley’s history. . .and a glimpse of its future. Opening weekend included a number of festive events, including the lighting of the large red neon “Public Market” sign that is so reminiscent of the Pike Place Market’s eponymous sign.

Since opening weekend, Pybus Market has been open seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Berries photo

Vancouver, British Columbia, Farmers Markets

Vancouver’s annual farmers markets – typically beginning mid-May and running through late October – are more than just a great place to shop; they’re also a terrific source of food education and a great way to meet the colorful characters of Vancouver’s vibrant food community.

Kitsilano Farmers Market

May 12 to October 20 (Sundays, 10am – 2pm)

With nearly 50 vendors offering an array of organic and conventional foods, shoppers can get their hands on Fraser Valley honey, organic coffee, gluten-free cakes and crackers, freshly baked breads, biodynamic berries and handmade crafts. It’s also the perfect spot to grab some goodies for a picnic on nearby Kitsilano Beach.

West End Farmers Market

June 1 to October 19 (Saturdays, 9am – 2pm)

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood (walking distance from a number of downtown Vancouver hotels), this quaint market offers high-quality produce, pastries, cheeses, honey and more. For a full day of fun, shoppers can combine a visit to the market with a round of shopping on nearby Robson Street.

Main Street Station Farmers Market

June 5 to October 2 (Wednesdays, 3pm – 7pm)

Nearly 40 vendors line up alongside Thornton Park selling goods like pure maple syrup, natural sausages, wild-caught salmon and handmade soaps. Those who want to carry on their shopping streak can continue along Main Street and browse the area’s trendy boutique shops, or stop by Campagnolo restaurant for a delectable market-inspired menu feature created by executive chef Robert Belcham (available Wednesday nights).

Granville Island Farmers Market

Beginning June 6 (Thursdays, 9am – 3pm)

The Granville Island Farmers’ Market offers everything from handmade artisan cheeses to all-natural gourmet sauces. After working up an appetite, shoppers can choose from more than 70 eateries scattered throughout the island, or stop for mouthwatering fish and chips at False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf.

Lonsdale Quay Artisans Farmers Market

May 4 to October 26 (Saturdays, 10am – 3pm)

Located just 10 minutes via SeaBus from Vancouver’s downtown core, the Lonsdale Quay Farmers’ Market brings together some of Vancouver’s best jam makers, honey gatherers, salsa mixers, bread bakers and crafters. It’s also the perfect pit stop to grab a snack en route to the North Shore’s Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain.

My Summer Vacation, Part II: Favorite Market Shots

July 1, 2013

One of the joys of my life is visiting and taking food shots at farmers markets when we are traveling.

Below are the best of the best from our recent Seabourn cruise from Lisbon, Portugal, to London.

Look at the shots and read the captions and relive some of my favorite moments vicariously!

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France


Pheasant salami and other charcuterie at Bordeaux, France farmers market

Pheasant salami and other charcuterie at Bordeaux, France farmers market

Tomatoes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Tomatoes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Giant artichokes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Giant artichokes at farmers market in Bordeaux, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, France

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, france

Fresh seafood display in Rouen, france

White asparagus at the farmers market in Bordeaux, France

White asparagus at the farmers market in Bordeaux, France