November 15, 2008
I recently had the pleasure of working with, then testing, one of Walter Pisano’s recipes for an upcoming article in The Seattle Times Sunday magazine, Pacific Northwest. The article discusses Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian feast served on Christmas Eve. Walter is the chef/owner of Tulio Ristorante in downtown Seattle, a place we frequent for its warm and inviting ambience and Walter’s divine Italian home-style cooking with a twist. Not to mention Christmas Eve, when he serves several of the Feast dishes in addition to his regular menu.
Here’s a photo of his Vongole Ripieni–Baked Stuffed Clams with Toasted Parmesan Bread Crumbs–truly one of the best bites I’ve ever put in my mouth.
And here’s what I did with some leftover clams, clam broth, and buttery bread crumbs, which combined perfectly with whole-wheat pasta and a handful of Alaskan spot prawns.
Look for my article on Feast of the Seven Fishes and Walter’s stuffed clams recipe in Pacific Northwest magazine on Sunday, December 21.
September 24, 2008
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 14th annual Oyster Wine Competition at Anthony’s Homeport on Seattle’s Shilshole Bay in April, not as one of about a dozen judges, but as research for an upcoming story for Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Sunday magazine. It was a fascinating experience watching the judges slurp an oyster, chew it, then take a sip of one of the 20 wines that were being judged for their “bliss factor” when paired with Kumamoto oysters. You can read the results in the October 5 issue of Pacific Northwest; in the meantime, here’s veteran oyster judge Lane Hoss, marketing director of Anthony’s, hard at work.
September 1, 2008
In late July, I was honored to be invited to attend the second annual Riesling Rendezvous conference at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington. It was truly a life-changing experience as 200 producers, media members, and distributors gathered at the venerable chateau, spending two-and-one-half days tasting through hundreds of Rieslings from Germany, Austria, Australia, Michigan, the Finger Lakes, and even Tasmania!
Twice a day we did comparative tastings of up to 30 Riesling samples at a time, and I’m happy to say that Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia definitely held their own. Perhaps I’m prejudiced, but our wines offered a fruity freshness and refreshing vitality missing in some of the petrol-heavy, knifely acidic, Old World wines.
I’m scheduled to write an article on my experiences for Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Sunday magazine, in 2009, so please stay tuned.
August 31, 2008
My September 21 article for Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times Sunday magazine, is tentatively titled, “The Cider House Rules,” and it features an interview with Drew Zimmerman, co-owner of Red Barn Cider in the Skagit Valley.
A few weeks after the interview, ably assisted by beer experts Charles and Rose Ann Finkel (owners of The Pike Brewing Company) and by my hubby Spencer Johnson, we gathered 31 Northwest ciders (and one hailing from England) and held an informal cider taste-off.
Here we are in the heat of the challenge, swirling, sniffing, and dissecting the ciders that came from as far north as Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and as far south as Salem, Oregon.
August 2, 2008
My August 17 story for “Pacific Northwest,” The Seattle Times’ Sunday magazine, will feature Julie Steil, owner of River Valley Cheese in Fall City, Washington. Here are some of the adorable baby goats she milks twice a day.
And here is your intrepid reporter getting up close (and far too personal, in my opinion) with some other members of Julie’s herd. The goats nibbled my denim jacket and pants legs, while the yak butted me in the buttocks, and the water buffalo looks like he’s about to charge!
July 31, 2008
Research for an upcoming article in “Pacific Northwest,” The Seattle Times’ Sunday magazine on hard cider took us up to the Skagit Valley to meet with Drew Zimmerman, co-owner and self-described “cider-culture pioneer” of Red Barn Cider. We enjoyed the bright red barn that’s been converted into an atmospheric tasting room, and the bucolic setting amid four-year-old apple orchards and vineyards planted with Pinot Noir and other Puget Sound Appellation varietals. Look for my article, whose working title is, “The Cider House Rules,” on September 21.