Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye...


Traffic was tricky and slow as molasses but we made it to Columbia City around 6pm. The air was cool and there was still light out so we took advantage of the time left  to shop the market one last time.

We took home baby bok choi, organic green tomatoes, heirlooms, this time around, from Alvarez Farms for more jam (the first batch was a hit), a pie pumpkin for dinner tomorrow, Russian Heirloom tomatoes and Asian pears (from Rockrigde) and Fuji apples--crisp, sweet and juicy as can be, picked this morning.

Tonight, however, three of our favorite things at the market also happened to be the most cute and rare: gorgeous organic Romanesco broccoli, sweet, green, fuzzless and surprisingly delicious Baby Kiwis from Greenwater Farms in Port Townsend.

We could not resist these teeny tiny--about the size of a grape--sunbursted babies. I'm thinking of resiting the urge to eat them out of hand (you eat the whole thing, skin and all) and instead make a bit of jam out of them.

There were also stunning Boletus edulis, the King Bolete, Porcini (Italy), Steinpilz (Germany), or Cep (in France) from the great people at the Foraged & Found Edibles stand. We'll be picking some of these beauties next Saturday at the U-District Market (the baby kiwis will be there too).

After shopping at the market we walked up the street to Tutta Bella for dinner. The place was packed and  looking better than ever. The mood was festive (there was even a private party in the back room) and we polished our delicious pizzas, wine, cappuccinos, macchiatos and tiramisu while the lovely Jerin Falkner sang and played her guitar downstairs.

All in all, even with the scintilla of sadness in the air--parting is such sweet sorrow--we had a decidedly wonderful time on this last day at Columbia City Farmers Market.

Now, how many months is it until May again?

Continue reading "So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye..." »

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One last hurrah at Columbia City Farmers Market

We are back in the city after a couple delicious days in Vancouver BC, just in time for one last visit to the Columbia City Farmers Market

Yep, I know, the season has really flown by but tomorrow will be the last Wednesday (at least until next May) to visit and shop this wonderful market.

So, get your shopping baskets ready and stop between 3 and 7 tomorrow afternoon to load them up. Shop for produce, fish, shellfish, cheese, free range chicken, pastured-raised organic meats, jam, cider and bread.

Visit the newly opened Columbia City Bakery, have dinner at Tutta Bella or *La Medusa (*made with the freshest of ingredients from local farmers) or go home and make supper with your beautiful and yummy finds and toast to another fabulous season at this Seattle neighborhood market. And see you next year!

What's Fresh at the Market

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

At the market: Wild Blue Mountain Huckleberries


These rare, gorgeous and delectable intensely dark blue (about the size of blueberries) mountain huckleberries ($4 per 1/2 pint) were purchased this afternoon from Foraged & Found Edibles at Columbia Farmers Market.

They were foraged in and around the Mount St. Helens and Mt. Adams area and just in case you wish to get some they'll be available for purchase next Saturday at the U-District Farmers Market.

Following Christine Ferber's (what else is new) basic blueberry recipe, they were taken home, cooked with sugar and juice of two small lemons and are sitting right now in the refrigerator, in a covered glass bowl, waiting for the second simmer and boil tomorrow afternoon.

I'm counting the hours until I can taste this beauty.

Friday, September 23, 2005

On autumn's arrival and our farmers markets



Last Monday it felt as if someone had finally turned on the air conditioner in Seattle. Happily, none of us will have to foot the bill.

The weather has been lovely since I returned (how I missed Seattle cool temps in warm and humid Paris!) and walking around the city is a real treat any time of day or night.

On Tuesday, for example, after the Neil Diamond concert (it was fantastic, in case you are wondering), instead of taking a cab home the four of us walked from the Key Arena and down first avenue all the way to our building--all the while laughing, talking and cracking jokes--a block away from Pacific Place.

It was delightful. And even while still wearing my summer linens and with no shawl in sight, it was cool and comfortable. Just wonderful.

By Wednesday however, it started to get breezy and a bit chilly. Browsing the market stalls at Columbia City I notice some of the farmers wearing sweaters and rubbing their hands together, crossing their arms to warm up a bit. Some others, around 6:45, were reaching for pullovers to finish the day.

After ordering a lemonade to go wash down the grilled veggies and greens and tamale, I was actually hankering for a cup of hot chocolate instead. My hands were a bit cold too.

And that's when it hit me: autumn has officially arrived in Seattle! And, even though I happen to love the fall wind, the falling leaves and the fall color, it also makes me a bit sad to know that for most of the Puget Sound Neighborhood farmers markets the last week of September (and October, November and December) will be the last hurrah of the season, until next spring.

I'm not suggesting we all capitulate to cold weather, overcast skies and drizzle and give up on fresh, local produce. Or that we immure ourselves in the aisles of Metropolitan Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or Larry's Market.

On the contrary, I propose that we rejoice in the fact that at least for a couple more months we can still walk or drive our merry way to our neighborhood farmers markets and shop to our local produce loving heart's content.

Because while we downtowners have Pike Place Market available year round (and Ballard and the Madison/Capitol Hill markets) it is the neighborhood markets that bring the local color to the rest of the Seattle/Puget Sound area.

So get out there, visit these markets and shop while you still can. Wear your fleece if you must, pack a pashmina or that funky poncho or scarf you knitted and stay for dinner while listening to the musicians.

Take home some eggs, butter, cheese, organic/pastured meats, smoked salmon, amazing shellfish and troll caught albacore tuna, jams and jellies, cider, berries and root vegetables, greens and herbs and apples and pears.

Tell your favorite farmer how much you have appreciated his hard work and dedication. How every time you prepare a dish using an ingredient purchased from him or her you remember all the effort that went into planting, cultivating, harvesting and then packing and  schlepping--sometimes, half a day's drive--to a Seattle area market stand. How you honor in your cooking his commitment to good eating and living.

Then...start thinking of all those pot pies, stews, curries and fricassees, of all the soups and porridges and hot chocolate to come, of hearty pasta dishes, roasted turkeys and duck.

And in our wine loving state, the harvest and the crush and all the wonderful wine that will be coming our way soon.

So what if the weather is turning? Let's warm up our slightly enfeebled bones and let the bacchanalia begin!


A few of my favorite markets, dates and times:

  • Broadway – Sundays, 11am-3pm, May 15 - Nov 20, 2005
  • Columbia City – Wednesdays, 3-7pm, May 11 - Oct 26, 2005
  • Lake City – Thursdays, 3-7pm, May 19 through Oct 21, 2005 
  • Magnolia - Saturdays, 10-2pm, June 4 though Sept 24, 2005
  • University District – Saturdays, 9am-2pm, May 7 through Dec 17, 2005
  • West Seattle – Sundays, 10am-2pm, May 8 through Dec 18, 2005
  • Bellevue- Thursdays, 3pm - 7pm May 19 through October 13

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Feast at the Market

"On Tuesday, October 4, from 5:30 to 10:00 pm, the finest restaurants in and around the Pike Place Market welcome you to sample their fare at Feast at the Market, a benefit for the Pike Market Medical Clinic.

The Feast is kicked off with appetizers by the Sur La Table Culinary Program at registration where each guest receives a book of tickets, one ticket for each of the participating restaurants. Diners travel from restaurant to restaurant at their own pace, sampling Seattle's finest foods throughout this prix-fixe Feast. The evening wraps up with a coffee and dessert tasting."

To see which restaurants are participating and to order tickets on-line please click here

Saturday is Hurricane Relief Day at the Market

"Shop the Pike Place Market this Saturday, September 24 and help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Many Market merchants, farmers and craftspeople are donating a percentage of their day's sales to Habitat for Humanity's relief efforts. The more you shop, the more you'll help!

In addition, live and silent auctions of Market items are taking place at Local Color and the Desimone Bridge (Pike Place and Stewart Streets) beginning at 7:00 p.m. Enjoy live music throughout the day and evening, including one Market street performer from New Orleans."

via Pike Place Market Freshwire Newsletter. To subscribe (it's free!) click here

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Noshing at the Market & more on the passion flower

Grilled veggies and greens, vegan yellow corn tamale and a lemonade, $6.

Notice the maiden voyage of the Frida Kahlo pink bag from the Tate's exhibit. It held up pretty well considering by the end of my shopping excursion it had about 5-6 pounds of produce inside. ;-)

Continue reading "Noshing at the Market & more on the passion flower" »

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Incredible Feast Where the Farmers are the Stars


"Mark your Calendars! Chef Tamara Murphy, owner of Belltown's Brasa Restaurant is the inspiration behind The Incredible Feast Where the Farmers are the Stars which will take place Sunday, September 11th from 4 – 7 pm at the West Seattle Farmers Market.

17 farmers are currently on board and will be partnered with 17 well known local chefs. Each farmer will be paired with a chef who will design a recipe and cook a signature dish for guests to taste.

Chefs who have signed on to date:

Tamara Murphy – Brasa
Chris Keff – Flying Fish
Holly Smith – Café Juanita
Thierry Rautureau – Rovers
Eric Bahn – Monsoon
Brian O’Conner – Madison Park Café
Julie Andres – La Medusa
Tai Chi – Chiso
Philip Mihalski – Nell’s
John Neumark – Serafina
Joseba Jimenez – Harvest Vine
Kerry Sear – Cascadia

Guests will be able to meet and interact with each farmer and sample original dishes from these 17 different farmer/chef booths, play food-inspired games, listen to great foot stompin’ music and purchase wine and beer from local vintners and breweries.

Net proceeds will benefit the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. Tickets are going fast… $35 for adults and $5 for children.

Tickets are available at all Market locations and from the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. Volunteers interested in helping out, please call 206-632-5234."

The Incredible Feast Where the Farmers are the Stars
Sunday, September 11th from 4 – 7 pm
West Seattle Farmers Market
(corner of California Ave SW
and SW Alaska)

The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance is a 501 (c ) 3 non-profit organization registered with the state of Washington. In addition to helping family farmers make a living wage in Washington State, we accept food stamps, WIC and Senior FMNP coupons at all our markets, and give space to community service organizations to do outreach on market days.

Friday, September 02, 2005

At the market: Edamame on the Vine


Today it was at least five or six organic eggplant varieties (I love eggplant!), edible flowers (bachelor's buttons, calendula and nasturtium mix for $2.75), organic purple tomatillos, organic red pear cherry tomatoes, baskets full of fat and juicy heirloom tomatoes, strawberries from Mount Vernon, red raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, sweet onions, pluots, nectarines, peaches, Gala apples and pears.

But my favorite find today: Edamame on the vine. $2.50. Take some home when you see them, please. Separate them from the vine, boil them for 5 minutes, salt them (I used Maldon) and eat them while still warm. These were the best I've had. Anywhere. Ever.

At Madison/Capitol Hill Farmers Market
(Fridays 3pm - 7pm)
20th & E. Madison


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Off to the Farmers Market? Carry a Cute Bag!

Today is Wednesday, which means a trip to Columbia City Farmers Market for me. I keep a couple bags in my car for this purpose. So, here's a couple more stylish options to carry your produce and farmers market bounty.

This time around, the totes come from the lovely Cath Kidston.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pistachio and pastry bliss

The beautiful pastry was purchased last Wednesday from the Columbia City Bakery's stall at Columbia City Farmers Market. This buttery, flaky, nutty and delightful pastry with a creamy pistachio center is reason enough to stop by their stall-as is their Rye, baguette and pain au chocolat (made with Scharffen Berger dark chocolate).

Though they've already been wholesaling their breads and have a wonderful presence at the market, we really can't wait for their brick and mortar artisanal bakery to open.

The bakery, owned by Evan Andres (Evan and his team used to bake all of the breads served at Tom Douglas's restaurants & sold at Dahlia Bakery) and Andrew Meltzer (who also worked for Douglas) will be located where the old and sort of undergroundy Club Nimba used to be, at 4865 Rainier Avenue South.

They are hoping to be open by late next month.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Organic Wednesdays @ Pike Place Market


With the Ressam sentencing taking place next door and multiple television, radio and police cars blocking the way to and from our building Mr. C and I were looking for a place to escape for a couple hours on this very, very hot-- albeit gorgeous-- summer day.

So we walked to 94 Stewart for lunch, Sur La Table to check their sale and look for a Rösle food mill, Chinois strainer and a round, flattish birch pestle for my jam making efforts. From there we crossed the thank goodness it is not so busy as it is at the weekend street, to peruse the organic bounty at the market.

I jumped with joy when I spotted my first Mirabelle plums of the season. These came from Katsumi & Ryoko Taki, the friendly farmers behind Mair Farm Taki in Wapato.

Perfectly round yellow plums that are so cute and cheerful they beg to be eaten on the spot but will have to wait their turn until I can put them to good use in a pretty colored and tasty jam later this week.

There were all sorts of red raspberries, chard, beets, radishes, fava beans, baby turnips, white carrots and garbanzo beans (chickpeas) still in their pods, attached to the plants ( from the great guys at Alvarez Farms). I've never seen those before!

Organic Wednesdays is a wonderful mid-week treat for both downtown residents and visitors alike. It affords shoppers a relaxing time with beautiful vegetables, fruits and unusual offerings from friendly farmers eager to share notes on their produce, tips on how to cook their goodies at home, who are always glad to indulge snap happy photographers that seem to appreciate their hard work.

Continue reading "Organic Wednesdays @ Pike Place Market" »

Friday, July 22, 2005

Black Currants, Red Currants and Gooseberries, oh my!


I've waited all year for this moment. Spectacular fresh black currants, red currants and gooseberries, $3.99 a pint, gorgeous as can be, from Richter in Fife (his raspberries are some of the best and sweetest in the country, stocked by Dean & Deluca and Zabar's).

I found these beauties at my local Metropolitan Market (Queen Anne) but I imagine the other locations might have them too. Best to call ahead. In any case, Richter sells their gorgeous fruit at local farmers markets so keep an eye for their little, colorful, shimmering and tasty gems.

Red, white or black currants, paired with fresh honey and Greek yogurt, it is one of my favorite things to eat, anytime of day or night. Add them to a tart or serve with fresh whipped cream on angel food cake.

Currant season is very short (4 weeks) so don't delay. Take them home and make jam, jelly, currant sauce for glazing poultry or to serve as an accompaniment with pork tenderloin or game. Or infuse good vodka with them. And look for his Tayberries (Woodring makes an excellent spread) and Nectarberries (my favorites!).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

At the market: Fig leaves, shallot and garlic blossoms


Among the many gems found yesterday at Columbia Farmers Market here are three for you to consider (from friendly and fabulous farmer Wade Bennett of Rockridge Orchards):

  • Fig leaves: Dark green, large leaves that blanched cwill become the vessels and coverings of anything you can imagine, beautifully. I plan to use these over the weekend to wrap fresh chèvre and homemade fresh fig compote with roasted lamb. 10 for a dollar.
  • Shallot Blossoms: Sprinkle in salads, pasta, sandwiches and dips for a mild shallot flavor. 50 cents each.
  • Garlic Blossoms: Use instead of garlic. I tossed these in a Roasted Beet, Walla Walla, Portabello and Pepper salad last night and the flavor was just lovely--not too pungent and a lot of fun to work with. 50 cents each.

Also taken home: Fresh butter ($5.00) from Monteillet Fromagerie in Walla Walla (we slathered it on the bread with dinner), gorgeous and plump beets (a dollar a bunch), sweet cherries and delicious bread from Columbia City Bakery (scheduled to open in August).

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Late Afternoon at Bellevue Farmers Market


Traffic was a bit iffy getting into Bellevue and I even managed end up driving around Harbor Island while trying to get a short cut from the south end where I had been working for most of the day. But once I made it to the market-around 4pm--it was a breeze to park and shop and I was relieved to know that my last goal of the day will be accomplished after all.

Mr. C was grilling dinner tonight. A very young and tender chicken with nothing on it but red pepper flakes, a bit of Maldon salt and the sauce we picked up the night before last while having dinner at Palace Kitchen--Tom Douglas Redhook Blackhook Barbecue Sauce with Poblano Chilies and Molasses. So I was looking for some lovely ingredients for a quick salad to be served along with the chicken.

The market looked lovely and there were plenty of people--many families with small children and no dogs allowed this time around-- doing their shopping and tasting and browsing about. There were goose and Araucana eggs, cheese, salmon, honey and jams, apple cider and all sorts of foraged greens.

I was glad to find intensely green and gorgeous Rapini, heirloom tomatoes, lavender, oregano and garlic tops, organic white radishes, fresh baby lettuces and lovely lemon cucumbers. While perusing the stalls for dessert--cherries it was-- I saw enough things to tempt me and by the time I was done shopping my basket was a bit heavier than expected.

I walked away with Skagit strawberries, wonderfully sweet red raspberries from the friendly gal at Alm Hill Gardens ($4.50 per pound) in Everson--the first of the very early season for me--and Juliets, the cutest, most lady-like tomatoes I've had in a long time ($4.25 a pound).

The drive home on I-90 was easy peasy and once I put everything away I started the first simmer of a batch of Christine Ferber's Blueberry Jam--blueberries from California picked up with the chicken at Larry's as it is too early for local blues--and immediately got to work on the salad. Beautiful organic lettuce, sliced white radishes--so sweet and crunchy!--, sugar snap peas and sliced Juliets drizzled with the simplest of vinaigrettes.

The salad tasted even better and brought a smile to my face when I remembered the friendly faces that had just sold me the crunchy and fresh vegetables and fruit  just a couple hours before.

And I thought of the farmer from Alm Hills who had invited me to try her red raspberries --try one even if you do not buy them, they are very good!, she had said to me-- and even helped me make a small arrangement of her gorgeous peonies--that were now sitting at our table-- and imagined her battling I-5 traffic, driving her truck back to Everson which is almost at the border with Canada, past Bellingham, after a long day of work at the market. My long day was not even a fraction of hers.

There really is nothing like putting a face and pair of hands behind the food on one's plate to remind us of the privilege that is to have such wonderful produce at our reach and for the friendly and hard-working farmers that gladly and proudly bring it to our neighborhoods and tables every week. Very humbling indeed.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pike Place Market Street Festival


If you are looking for something to do around the city over the weekend, here is a nifty idea: head downtown to enjoy the lovely weather while browsing and noshing your way around the market. The Pike Place Market Street Festival starts tomorrow complete with food, beer and coffee gardens. Proceeds will benefit The Market Foundation. And what can be better than having fun while helping others?

Pike Place Market Street Festival
May 29 - 30
11 am - 7 pm

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Chinese Broccoli and a very hot day


at Burien Farmers Market. The farmer, a very friendly Laotian lady with the biggest of smiles but barely a word of English, asked for the vendor next door to translate for me her favorite way to prepare these greens. "Trim the bottom of the stalks and stir fry them with garlic. Very tasty".

It was slim pickings today at this particular market. 90% crafts, wine, food, plants and 10% produce. In my basket today it was only the Chinese broccoli, a beautiful but tired from the heat bunch of Red Leaf Lettuce and red spring onions.

The sky was blue and the sun was even hotter than yesterday. So hot in fact I could barely stand it so after quickly perusing the stalls I made a run for it and headed for the cool comfort of an air conditioned car and closed sunroof. I could not wait to get home. Gone was the thought of a grilled steak for dinner.

The highlight was seeing Mount Rainier from the parking lot, teasing me with its coconut and oh so chilly ice cap. How I wished I could have been playing in the snow on a day like today.

My plan was to wait until the afternoon cooled off a bit and then head east towards Bellevue and their Farmers Market but by 5:30 the air was hotter (86F) and they idea of spending 28 minutes in traffic on 520 was not appealing enough for me.

I stayed home and refreshed by a 65F inside temperature and a small bowl of Greek yogurt with my delicious Rhubarb with Acacia Honey and Rosemary Jam and  finished watching Another Country instead.

Hopefully the weekend will be cooler.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More on Puget Sound Farmers Markets


Those of you that have been reading this blog for the past year or so already know how dear to my heart and my cooking are Farmers Markets--especially those in and around Seattle.

In today's Seattle Times, there is a wonderful article on the importance of supporting farmers markets everywhere but especially those around Puget Sound: Farmers markets are a win-win for growers, consumers. It is a lovely, relevant and very enjoyable read.

Visit a local market today!

Columbia City Farmers Market
(one of my 3 top favorites)
4801 Rainier Ave. S.
Rainier Ave S. @ Edmunds Street
Wednesdays 3-7
May 11-Oct. 26

Also on Wednesday: Kirkland Wednesday Market

Thursday: Bellevue Farmers Market

Friday: Bothell Farmers Markets , Capitol Hill/East Madison Farmers Market

Saturday: Bainbridge Island Farmers Market

Sunday: West Seattle Farmers Markets

Plus: Broadway, Lake City and University District

Info: Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets AllianceNewsletter.

Washington State Farmers Market Association's partial market guide for 2005.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What's fresh now at Seattle area farmers markets


Last week at Columbia City Farmers Market we purchased Cardoons, Bamboo Shoots, Rhubarb, Wood Sorrel, Beets, Heirloom tomatoes, Garlic Spears and Shallot Tips. Gorgeous peonies in at least three colors were also spotted.

What's fresh now.

2005 Washington State Farmers Market Directory

Sunday, May 08, 2005

More from Issaquah Farmers Market


These snapshots were taken yesterday while perusing the tables and booths at Issaquah Farmers Market. The drive from Seattle was easy peasy, with hardly any traffic to deal with on I-90 and the weather was cooperating with mild temperatures and an overcast sky. I love these kind of days.

This was my first time at this particular market. I rarely find myself around Issaquah anymore and driving out there to peruse their Saturday market was a great way to get reacquainted with the area.

There were plenty of lovely onions, asparagus, fresh mint, pea vines, leeks, baby bok choi and gorgeous Araucana eggs from Dog Mountain Farms.

The farmer was very friendly and we talked goats and eggs--one of my favorite foods--for a while. There were also lots of herbs and heirloom tomato plants for sale and fresh flowers galore. Irises and tulips in dozens of amazing colors.

Continue reading "More from Issaquah Farmers Market" »

Monday, April 25, 2005

Sunday at Ballard Farmer's Market


Consider yourself extremely lucky if you were in Seattle yesterday. It was such a spectacular day of sun, low humidity and the bluest of skies. Perfect day to head out to Ballard to visit the local farmers market,  forage for dinner, browse and shop around, have some brunch, make friends, meet vendors and growers and make the most of the gorgeous weather.

Living walking distance to Pike Place Market means that on any given day we may find ourselves down there for breakfast, lunch or shopping for dinner. However, yesterday was a day to get in our car, enjoy the short drive to Ballard, find a great parking spot and spend the day at one of our favorite city neighborhoods.

One of the gifts of living in Seattle is the abundance of fabulous Farmers Markets that operate year round. And I am not just talking about Pike Place Market. So there is no reason to have to wait for Farmers Market Season in the Puget Sound.

Did you know that along with Pike Place and Capitol Hill, the Ballard Farmers Market is open year round? If you have never made it to Ballard's Sunday Market or have not been there in a while I encourage you to visit these farmers and vendors soon and not miss one of our ultimate Sunday destinations.

This market is brilliant. Yesterday we found lovely handmade chocolates from Zen Boy, Les Fromages d'Anne Marie artisanal cheeses--bought a fresh marinated chèvre from Paul, a sweet cheese man from Belgium--, fresh asparagus, foraged wild greens and mushrooms, artisanal pastas, nuts, duck eggs, the freshest most plump and tender oysters and mussels, premium salmon and tuna.

There were all sorts of fragrant and edible scented geraniums, Lady Fern fiddleheads --we'll be preparing these tomorrow--, the most incredible lavender caramels, lavender flavored caramel corn and jelly, amazing pears and apples, golden beets and delicious Czech pastries and Mexican treats. More on our favorite market and Ballard finds at a later date.

And not only is it located within the historical district but it is surrounded with lovely shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants that also happen to be independent, locally owned businesses. Some of our favorites shops in the city happen to be in Ballard. Places such as:

  • Lucca -This store is a treasure trove of delightful finds from chandeliers to MarieBelle Chocolates, from Mariage Frères teas to imported Italian fragrances, Moleskine journals, handmade jewelry, bags...
  • Olivine -Makeup, perfume, bags, jewelry, stationary, shoes and accessories
  • Bark -In Seattle, this is the best place to shop for your pet, naturally.
  • Souvenir Curtis Steiner is a genius! Mr. Steiner's striking selection of handmade cards and jewelry (his own designs and creations) are truly works of art and his gallery of objets trouvés one of the city's best kept secrets. Ask for Mortimer
  • Re-Soul Fabulous shoes, furniture, art and accessories in a wonderfully happy space.
  • Portalis Wine Bar and shop with lovely--and for the most part free--tastings every Sunday, noon to 3pm.

Continue reading "Sunday at Ballard Farmer's Market" »

Monday, January 10, 2005

Little Rounds Of Sunshine: Meyer Lemons


One of my favorite citrus in the world and definitely my favorite lemon. When they are in season, there is, no matter the cost, no other lemon for me.

Around these parts we use them in our  tea, in lemonades, when making preserves, marinades and in our baking. Last month I used Meyers on my Paper Chef soup and just yesterday, once again, sliced Meyers and their juice went into my Paper Chef Roasted Chicken.

Meyers are at the peak right now and at least outside of California, in the Seattle area, they are available at Pike Place Market & Trader Joe's. I picked up some at Catanzaro & Sons (2 for $1.50) at the market yesterday afternoon. They are absolutely gorgeous!

Until now I've been freezing the juice and slices of the Meyer Lemons in little freezer safe container--for the off season--, the ones my friend L would send me from Northern California (from her own garden, no less!)  but look at the great Preserved Meyer Lemons recipe Stef posted last night!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

One More Reason To Buy Puget Sound Produce

From Sunday's Seattle Times, Greg Atkinson writes about Nash Huber, a Sequim man trying to harvest a new crop of farmers.

Friday, September 10, 2004

It's only a ferry ride away: Bainbridge Island Farmers Market

Here's an idea for tomorrow: Take the ferry in the morning (with or without your car) to Bainbridge Island and visit the Farmers Market. Have a picnic with your loot or have lunch at Café Nola (101 Winslow Way E) or The Harbor Public House. Later, browse around Winslow's shops and take a peek at the amazing selection of tableware, accessories, linens and candles at Domicile (230 Winslow Way E.). By the by, Domicile carries Chilewich.

Bainbridge Island Farmers Market
April 10 - Oct. 16
Saturdays 9am - 1pm
Madison Ave. S. & Winslow Way

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Tony Hill: World Spice Merchants & A New Book

the_contemporary_encyclopedia_of_herbs_spices_seasonings_for_the_global_kitchenCeCe Sullivan has written (in today's Seattle Times) a fantastic article on one of my favorite vendors in the city: Tony Hill of World Merchants, Spice, Herb & Teahouse. His shop is sort of an Aladdin's Cave of Wonders, full of every single aromatic herb and spice and tea you can imagine from all over the world. He even taught me the difference between True Cinnamon & Cassia.

I purchase my Cardamon pods, Ras El-Hanout (or Ras Al-Hanout) , Cinnamon, Cassia, Indian spice blends and Turmeric from him as well as my exotic peppercorns and Bay Leaves. If you have never been to his shop, you are missing out big time!

Tony has just published a book (his first), titled The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices : Seasonings for the Global Kitchen. If the book is as fantastic as his shop-in terms of the wealth of spice and herb information-this will be a must buy, must read for any cook. I'm putting this one on my Wish List ASAP!

World Spice Merchants
1509 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (1) 206.682.7274
FAX: (1) 206.622.7564

Monday, September 06, 2004

Portland Farmers Market Encore!

duck_chicken_quail_eggs_for_saleJust uploaded the latest photos from our visit to the Portland Farmers Market last Saturday morning.

Coming soon: Additional Portland photos and a run down on what we did and ate and shopped for...

Portland Farmers Market Encore!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Albacore Tuna Salad with Lemon Cucumber, Green Grape Heirloom Tomatoes and Corn

albacore_tuna_salad_with_green_grape_heirloom_tomatoes_and_cornYesterday, hungry but with not much energy to cook a complicated meal I made an albacore tuna salad using the beautiful produce purchased last Satuday while at Portland Farmers Market. I had the green grape cherry heirloom tomatoes, lovely pink fingerling heirloom potatoes and my new friends, the cute Lemon Cucumbers.

All it involves is a quick steaming of the vegetables, boiling the eggs. Chop it all up, cut the corn off the cob (with knife) and mix in a bowl. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. The last touch was a sprinkle of fresh tarragon that brightened up the flavors of the vegetables not to mention liven up even more an already colorful (pinks, greens, yellows and white) and friendly salad.

I ate it warm but you may refrigerate it for a couple hrs before serving (I was just too hungry). A glass of wine and a small crusty baguette were happily polished off along with the salad. Not bad for an improvised and quick meal.

Albacore Tuna Salad with Lemon Cucumbers, Green Grape Heirloom Tomatoes and Corn

Albacore Tuna (from a can, troll caught)
Corn (steamed or grilled, fresh or from a can)
Green Grape (cherry) Heirloom tomatoes (or any cherry tomato will do)
Potatoes ( use heirloom but any new potato will do)
Boiled eggs (2-3)
Fage Greek Yogurt (about as much yogurt as you would normally use mayonaisse)
Fresh Tarragon (about 2 teaspoons, chopped finely (I used a mezzaluna)
Salt and pepper to paste

The very cute and very yellow Lemon Cucumber

lemon_cucumbersOne of the things I love most about living in the Pacific Northwest, Washington, Seattle and the Puget Sound area in particular, is, as you may have noticed already, its abundance of superb Farmers Markets. They offer a chance to shop for all kinds of things including a few surprises from time to time, an obscure fruit or vegetable, a spice or herb that's hard to come by or something that’s been on your wish list and all of a sudden there it is, at your fingertips!

And I just love surprises, don't you? And by surprises I mean the fabulous, curious, happy ones, not the "Ohh! Aww! types”. Like the one I got this morning, for example, finding one of my favorite sweaters, Italian Merino Wool (black, V-neck, divine) shrunken within an inch of its life, inside my dryer, washed and dried by mistake. But more of the kind of "Ohhh, goody! I have never seen this before type".

So imagine my glee when this past weekend, when, while browsing the stalls at Portland Farmers Market I came across a vegetable-a cucumber to be exact- that I had never, ever in my life, seen or even heard of before. There, in front of me, was the oddest little creature, the cutest cucumber ever, a Lemon Cucumber.

Of course, I had to ask lost of questions to the farmer, Ron Baune of Rainyway Farm (they grow over 20 varieties of potatoes, mostly heirloom). Lemon Cucumbers (cucumis sativus) are an heirloom cucumber variety dating back to 1894. They are pale to bright yellow, shaped like lemons. When they are pale yellow they can be eaten skin on. As they mature and become a brighter shade of yellow, the skin becomes a tad harder and one must peel it off.

According to The Cook's Thesaurus (what a wonderful site it is!) Lemon Cucumbers “don’t have much of the chemical that makes other cucumbers bitter and hard to digest”. Which makes them even more tempting and friendly, don’t they? We grabbed a few and went on our merry way, already planning how to use them. Mr. Baume told us that they could be used as one would any other cucumber. Cool, out of the fridge with a little sprinkle of salt, in sandwiches, salads and even salsas.

And use them up we did! These lemon cucumbers are so delicious you’ll be tempted to peel them (or not) and eat them like a ripe tomato or even an apple. But, if you can control the impulse, perhaps you can try making a cucumber sandwich or chopping them up, making a quick, fresh Thai Cucumber Salad, like the kind Thai Ginger serves with yummy Chicken Satays. Or perhaps even the tuna salad I concocted yesterday (“recipe” to follow). In any case, if you see these at your local market, count your blessings and buy as many as you can. I guarantee you'll love them and will be, just as I was, happily surprised indeed!

Rainway Farm
Ron & Joan Baune
4395 SW Minter Bridge Road
Hilsboro, Oregon 97123

Monday, August 23, 2004

A beautiful morning at the Portland Farmers Market

portland_farmers_marketThis past Saturday we took a drive to Portland. It was a lovely morning. We left very early, to make the most of the beautiful day. We did not have a set schedule but we had penciled in a few things we wanted to do. The most important of all was a visit to the Portland Farmers Market.

This particular market takes place every Saturday at the Park Blocks of Portland State University, between SW Montgomery & Harrison, between 8:30 and 2:00. There is plenty of street parking (60 minutes, 90 minutes and 3 hour metered parking) in the area and an ATM machine at the corner of the Students Center.

So, with my lovely market basket and camera in hand (that I did not forget to bring) we headed towards the first stand, ready to be surprised, enticed, tempted and amazed. The market starts early on Saturday so by the time we arrived it was already buzzing with activity, the scent of food in the air, packed to the gills with shoppers and vendors.

This market is a marvel. There was a little bit of everything. Honey, Oregon Gourmet Cheeses Camembert and Monteillet Fromagerie Chèvres. You could purchase delicious wine too and Gilson Marine Farms oysters, clams, salmon, lamb from SuDan Farms, eggs, jams and jellies (they even had Lingonberry preserves!), flowers, fruit, vegetables, Sahagún Handmade Chocolates and home brewed sodas, Copper Crown Pestos and Dressings and Delphina's Bakery breads. Many types of mushrooms, and garlic and potatoes of all kind.

I have never seen so many kinds of Heirloom tomatoes in my life. Peaches and nectarines that were as fragrant as a bottle of perfume. So juicy, taking a bite at them while browsing the stands guaranteed your arms would get all sticky and sweet from their drippy juices. Only you would not mind a bit as the scent of the fruit was so seductive and mesmerizing, you barely even noticed.

There were chef demos and gardening help. French pastries and scrumptious macaroons from Pix Patisserie and wood fire roasted corn and cobbler. There were also culinary and aromatic herbs and succulents galore, all for sale. Beautiful calas and dahlias. Wonderful hot food vendors sampling and selling their delicious nosh. Sausage, gelato, burritos and tacos, pulled pork, brisquet. The selection was superb. There was even music and dance.

There were also plenty of Oregonians enjoying themselves, eating and drinking and shopping and visiting with one another. What a great bunch they are. Friendly, warm and welcoming. And once they knew we were from Seattle it only got better. We had so many fun conversations with newfound friends, all coming together because of a love for good food and wine, farmers markets, the Pacific Northwest and our lovely sister cities.

It was out first time at the Portland Farmers Market. We plan to go back ASAP. Only on our next visit we will bring a cooler with plenty of ice to bring back home all those cheeses and oysters and lamb (oh my!) we could not this time. I am already making a list.

Portland Farmers Market at
Ecotrust, NW Irving & Johnson
Thursdays, 4-8 PM

Portland Farmers Market at
PSU, Park Blocks between SW Montgomery & Harrison
Saturdays, 8:30 AM - 2 PM

Portland Farmers Market
Downtown at Schmanski Park
SW Park between Salmon & Main
Wednesdays, 10 AM - 2 PM

Portland Farmers Market Photo Album

Sunday, August 22, 2004

IMBB? No. 7 You're Just the Cutest Little Dumpling!: Tom Douglas Lola (inspired) Sweet Goat Cheese Turnovers with Pistachios and Honey

TurnoverI've never met a dumpling I did not love. In all their manifestations, they are the epitome of comfort food. Whether a Knish (kosher or not) Russian Pelmeni, Italian Gnocchi or Ravioli, Chinese Egg Rolls or Dim Sum, Polish Pierogi, Half moon shaped shrimp Vietnamese Dumplings, Japanese Gyoza and Argentinian Empanadas.

Mention Puerto Rican pastellillos, rellenos de papa, alcapurrias, pasteles, hayacas or empanadillas, Mexican Tamales, Apple dumplings, Chicken dumplings, German dessert dumplings and I'm in an instant trance. Name a dumpling and most probably I've tried it, have eaten it with gusto, gone for seconds and have attempted, many times miserably, to reproduce it at home.

Between the visit to Portland's Market, my fascination with all things dumpling, goat and cheese and a soft spot for the turnovers at Lola, I recognized immediately that I shoul give this a go for this month's latest installment of IMBB? No 7: You're Just the Cutest Little Dumpling!, hosted this month by Jarrett of Life In Flow and Food Porn Watch.

Sweet Goat Cheese Turnovers with Pistachios and Honey have fast become one of my favorite sweets ever and one of the must order dessert menu items (along with the Sweet Goat Cheese Pie) at Seattle's own Tom Douglas's new restaurant Lola.

My version is a last minute adapted (an understatement) one, as I, all of a sudden, wanted to try shaping the dumpling a bit larger with more of an empanada shape. I also wanted to bake it instead of fry it, just to see how flaky the dough (pâte brissé and not Tom's recipe) would come out.

The cheese used in this recipe is a Monteillet Fromagerie Larzac, an aged Chèvre. Its not as creamy or soft as the Chèvre the recipe calls for (more of a Laura Chenel soft cheese or even a Fresh Chèvre). It is neither white as snow (ash runs through the center). But having sampled this beauty while browsing the stands at the wonderful Portland Farmers Market I had to incorporate it into this recipe.

The Raynblest Dark Wildflower Honey used to drizzle the turnovers with was also purchased at the Portland Market. The pistachios (unsalted) came from Trader Joe's and the mint from one of our favorite Sunday stands at Pike Place Market.

The results? A grey hued filling, a color not as attractive to the eye (yet another understatement) as Tom's creamy white but still delicious. The dough, flaky and light. In the end, this was not Tom's turnover anymore but my very own wannabe turnover. Mind you, I ate the whole thing. Only now I love Lola's version even more and I can't wait to go back to have it again. If you can swing by Lola, order the turnovers. Dumplings, I've found, are always better when someone else, an expert (which i am not) especially, makes them. If you can't, then use the recipe link below, follow it to letter and let me know what you think. ;-)

Recipes: Sweet Goat Cheese Turnovers with Pistachios and Honey and Turnover Pastry Dough

Tom's Big Dinners : Big-Time Home Cooking for Family and Friends

Monteillet Fromagerie Larzac

LarzacIt is cheesemaker Jean-Pierre Monteillet's first summer at Portland Farmers Market (on Saturdays) but he is already making a big impression in the area. And though his selection is small and very seasonal I must say his Larzac and Fresh Chèvre have got to be some of the best I've ever had at any Farmer's Market visited so far this season.

I almost purchased the Larzac ($15) yesterday but the thought of it sitting in a hot car all day long while we were out an about until we returned to Seattle was something I could not bear happening to this gem.

It is an aged cheese, with a line of vegetable ash that runs through the center. It has a rubbed/washed rind and a lovely creamy-ish texture and nutty flavor

Since Jean-Pierre told us that his cheeses are available at a very few (and highly regarded) markets in the Seattle area we purchased the 1/2 pound Larzac ($21.99) at DeLaurenti Specialty Foods at Pike Place Market this morning to use it in the IMBB? dumpling turnover recipe today.

Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet produce, at their Walla Walla (southwest of Dayton along US-12) Monteillet Fromagerie three Chévre cheeses from the milk of goats they raise on their very own farm. On weekends, you can visit the farm where you'll be able to purchase, in person, their delicious Fromage Blanc, herbed Chevre and Fresh Montrachet, see the cute goats and their kids and tour the Fromagerie. For more information call Joan Monteillet at the farm.

Monteillet Fromagerie, LLC
109 Ward Road
Dayton, Washington 99328
Phone/Fax: 509. 382.1917

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Christine Ferber's Wild Blackberry Jam

christine_ferbers_wild_blackberry_jamLast Wednesday, while at the Columbia City Farmers Market, mesmerized by all the beautiful produce available, I was having a hard time deciding which berries to take home with me.

There were blueberries, strawberries, plump and gorgeous blackberries and red raspberries. There were also these beautiful golden raspberries that were not only huge but so sweet and delicious that I could not help myself from eating them in the car on the way home. Then, finally, in a corner of the market, on an almost empty table were baskets full of wild blackberries harvested earlier in the day.

They were so many and so cute, tiny and large, juicy and sweet that of course, I had to take them home with me too. By the time I was done shopping I could barely carry my basket, purchased from a friendly African man right at the Market a while back. So I headed home and started making plans for my berry bounty (and the bread and the white eggplant and zucchini and squash and ground cherries).

Whenever I think of great jam, I think of the Fairy Godmother of Jams and Jellies, Christine Ferber. So I looked up my copy of her book Mes Confitures and sure enough, of page 102, there was a Wild Blackberry Jam recipe. The ingredient list and process could not be any shorter or simpler. But do not dismiss this as simplistic jam making. This woman knows jam and I am yet to follow one of her recipes that does not render fabulous jam (or jellies). They work every time with brilliant and scrumptious results.

The jam is dark and thick and with just the right amount of sugar ( I dislike sickly sweet jams). I must admit to having tweaked the recipe (I can't help myself) by using the juice of two lemons instead of one.

So, for those of you wondering what to do with a surplus of Washington Wild Blackberries, this recipe could not be any easier or faster. Now go out, do some picking and get to work. And you too could be having this lovely jam with tomorow's breakfast.

Christine Ferber's Wild Blackberry Jam

2 1/4 pounds Wild Blackberries
3 3/4 pounds granulated sugar (I use Trader Joe's Organic)
Juice of one lemon (or two if you like your jam less sweet)

Pick over the blackberries.Rinse them quickly in cold water without soaking them. In a preserving pan, combine the blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer. Pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover the fruit with a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, bring this preparation to a bowl, stirring gently. Continue cooking on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and skimming carefully. Return to a boil. Check the set. Put the jam into jars immediately and seal.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ground Cherry Jam

ground_cherry_jamWell, after tasting and purchasing the Ground Cherries I found the other day while shopping at the Columbia city Farmers Market, I came home to research the fruit and find a suitable recipe to put these tiny fruits to good use. I had found a Ground Cherry Preserve recipe but finally, I decided to make jam instead.

The jam has a beautiful honeyed flavor and color with teeny tiny seeds that show through but are not as big or crunchy (or tricky for your teeth) as blackberry seeds). Sweet but not so much so that it becomes cloying. It is lovely and unusual and I am glad I got to test this out and make it work but this is not the kind of jam I would go out of my way to make in the future.

After this fun experiment I think I prefer the ground cherries eaten fresh, husked and rinsed, from a bowl or perhaps with some Fromage Blanc or in a Fruit Salad.

Ground Cherry Jam

8 cups ground cherries (husked)
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 lemons; grated rind & juice

Husk and wash the ground cherries carefully. Measure the sugar and water into a large kettle. Bring to a full rolling boil, and boil for 2 minutes.

Add the cherries, lemon rinds, and juice. Bring to a full rolling boil again, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a clean towel, and let stand overnight. (in the refrigerator)

Next day, return to the heat, and again bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook gently until transparent (about 15 minutes). Immediately pour into hot, sterilized glasses seal at once.

Adapted from a recipe for Ground Cherry Jam from Unusual Vegetables: Something New for This Year's Garden

*A note about Ground Cherries: When making jam or preserves treat them as you would cranberries. Do not crush or pop the berries but let them do so on their own while cooking.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The surprisingly delicious Ground Cherry

ground_cherriesWednesday, while shopping at the Columbia City Farmers Market I stumbled into something I had never seen before: Ground Cherries (Physalis Pruinosa), also known as Husk Tomatoes.

A cross between strawberries and tomatillos, it is by all definitions, a tomato, albeit a miniscule specimen. An eensy-weensy, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, yellow, sweet and plummy-lemony tasting, enveloped in a papery husk (wash well as they can be very sandy inside) just like a tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa).

The farmer, a nice gentleman from Royal City encouraged me to taste them, answered all my Ground Cherry questions and suggested I take some of them home ($4 per pound) to make jam or pie with. So I did.

Later, while researching this fruit, I came across a very limited number of ways in which to use up the little wonders. Most of the recipes were for pie and a few for preserves or jam. Oddly enough, water is listed as an ingredient in most of the preseve or jam recipes so I guess once boiled the fruit is not as juicy as it looks. I plan to try out tomorrow one of the Ground Cherry Preserve recipes I found. I'll be reporting on the results later this week.

So, the next time you are out and about and find yourself at a local Farmers Market, look around for Ground Cherries. They are not only cute but delicious.

Ground Cherry Preserves

6 cups ground cherries
6 cups sugar
1 cup water
½ cup lemon juice

Husk and wash ground cherries. Make syrup by bringing remaining ingredients to boil. Add ground cherries and bring to boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Take from heat and let stand overnight to plump ground cherries. Continue boiling the next day until mixture thickens. When desired thickness is obtained, pour into hot jars and process in a boiling water canner 10 minutes.

*The ground cherries on the picture look much larger than they actually are. They are smaller than the smallest cherry or yellow pear tomato, about the size of a laurel seed.

Ground Cherries

About Ground Cherries

Local Harvest

Sunday, August 08, 2004

On Washington's Wild Blackberries, gardening conundrums and Maxim's De Paris Confiture Extra De Mûres

maxims_mreI've always loved berries. All kinds. Strawberries, red and golden raspberries, blueberries but especially the little obscure ones that are harder to find: Tayberry, Huckleberry, Boysenberry, Marionberry, Loganberry, Currants and Gooseberries. When I first moved to the Seattle area years ago one of the most happy surprises for me was noticing how King County's roadsides were covered with these invasive, thorny and for the most part unsightly Himalayan Wild Blackberry (Rubus discolor) brambles. Berry bushes e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. All year long they would haunt you as you drove or walked by them, for the most part a nuisance. The promise of ripe berries that you must wait for all year long.

Except you can't really eat those berries. Unless they happen to grow in a patch of land away from traffic and toxic exhaust you just perish the thought. Now, if they happen to be growing in your backyard and you don't spray them with chemicals you are in luck. Maybe.

While living in Newcastle a few years ago we were lucky enough to have a beautiful garden with hydrangeas, ivy, herbs, evergreens and rhododendrons. The backyard picket fence dividing our garden from a huge empty lot overlooking Lake Washington was covered in blackberry bushes that fell onto our property. We waited with bated breath all summer for the very second when the plump and very juicy berries were ready for the picking.

After the first handfuls of berries and the first few thorny mishaps (ouch!) and staining episodes (there goes my favorite tea towel) you soon forgot the mess. You would devise ways to use these little gems. I mean, the leftover ones that you had not already wolfed down while picking. There were pies and jam and sauces made with them and shared with friends and family the whole summer long. It was fabulous! And you did not even mind the seeds getting stuck to your teeth. You welcomed the whole experience.

So imagined my surprise when I read about how most Seattle area gardeners were trying to get rid of them, forever, using non-chemical and chemical removal methods. Some tried digging the plants out. Others recommended the use of tractors and chains. Rock salt was mentioned too. How about hiring a herd of goats (they eat everything!)? There were (are) whole message boards dedicated to helping home owners with suggestions on how to contain or kill off blackberry vines.

I had to say goodbye to my garden when we moved to our Bellevue neighborhood and my cat had to part with his catnip patch ( I planted it for cuttings but since our cat has always stayed indoors, every kitty in the neighborhood enjoyed the catnip while he watched from the inside, through the window. Poor thing!). And out of all the lovely things that grew there it was the wild blackberry bushes I missed the most (I know for a fact that I was the only one in my neighborhood fertilizing and mulching my plants, much to the chagrin of my fellow residents).

Once in Bellevue, all I had was a huge terrace that saw many outdoor grilling parties but not as much gardening. If I wanted to see some blackberry bushes I had to wait for a walk with my friend Cindy at the Mercer Slough or a drive up on down I-5 or 405. For pies and jams, blackberries were to be found at Larry's Market (at a premium and not even local) or else I had to drive across the lake to purchase them fresh at Pike Place Market or perhaps take a drive up to Whole Foods, in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood to buy a pint or two.

I still, of course, love blackberries. Only now I do not have my own patch but access to baskets full of them all over the city. At community farmers markets and a walk away at Pike Place. With summer in full force, blackberries are ready for the picking, the tasting and the buying. To make pies and tarts, sauces and jellies, compote and jams with. So go out and pick some or buy some. Make the most of the harvest and rejoice (and meditate) on the fact that we live in a state that has such an abundance of these babies that we can indulge in the idea of blackberries as a weekend weed whacking exercise. That some us can consider such a beautiful and delicious fruit a nuisance still boggles my mind.

And if you can't find them fresh, then go and get some fabulous blackberry jam at a Seattle area Neighborhood Farmers Market or stop by a local supermarket or gourmet shop and re-acquaint yourself with this wonderful summer berry. Then come home and have them with Greek yogurt or Fromage Blanc, nuts and honey. Make jam with them to slather on your morning crumpet, croissant, bagel or toast. Make mini tarts with it. Use them as fillings for pastries or cakes.

And if you happen to travel to Paris soon, do not miss a chance to pick up a jar of Maxim's de Paris (with whole fruit in it it is one of the best I've ever tasted) at Monoprix or the Grand Epicerie du Bon Marché. Stop at Hediard or Fauchon and purchase their lovely Blackberry jams. Heck, you can even find lovely imported blackberry jams and blackberry based products at places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. So, put away that weed wacker, re-think Washington Wild Blackberries and go to market ASAP.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Tahuya River Apiaries Huckleberry Maple Honey

huckleberry_maple_honeyAs fond of honey as Pooh Bear. I crave it, dream about it, look forward to shopping for it and I'm always cheered up by its mere presence. A beautiful jar of honey is a thing of beauty. As a general rule, I prefer honeys that are unheated and unfiltered. From organic or wild crops. From local apiaries whenever possible (Fireweed, Blackberry, Wildflower, Raspberry, Japanese Pear). But if they are lovely and imported I'll have those too. There are hundreds of options in our city for honey shopping. DeLaurenti,, The Spanish Table, Whole Foods, Larry's Market, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table and most of the local ethnic grocers carry all sorts of interesting honeys from Washington and California and imported honeys from all over the world. Have you tried an Italian, Bulgarian or Hungarian Acacia Honey? How about a French Lavender or Chesnut Honey?

I devise ways to use it as much as I can in my daily meals. We incorporate honey in our cooking and it is, of course, a staple with our morning tea and breakfast yogurt and an usual suspect when grilling. Living in Seattle, of course, we are absolutely spoiled rotten by the availability, year round, of quality honey at our local markets. Every single community farmers market is a treasure trove of local honeys from all areas of Puget Sound. So, today, while perusing the stands at the University District Farmers Market we stopped to chat with one of our favorite beekeppers, the friendly guy from Tahuya River Apiaries.

His honey comes from the Hood Canal River area by the Tahuya River and they only sell it at local Farmers Markets. I happen to love their Wildflower and their Blackberry Honeys. Today they had a blend of Wildflower/Blackberry. As we are quite familiar with those particluar honeys (and love them so) we asked if there were any others available for sale that we could not see in the display.

In quite the utmost surreptitiously manner, he walked a few steps to the back of his truck and came up with a sampling jar of something he would not even mention outloud. Eureka! A different honey for us to buy. In a low voice and with a mischievous grin he encouraged me to get a dip stick and sample it right away. I did and by the time the honey was melting in my mouth he proceeded to close the jar and put it away in the truck. How curious!

Huckleberry/Maple Honey! Golden, thick and so incredibly delicious I urged him to get me a jar tout de suite. And he did. Immediately, I inquired about the reason why the sampling jar for that particular honey was not out on the table. He said: "You know why! This is only for my best customers" . At that moment I felt even luckier. Was this a a special honey that not everyone at the market was privy to? Is it a limited supply, that only goes to the most apprecitive of honey enthusiasts? Was it my expression of utter delight what triggered this spontaneous gesture of magnanimity? Or was he just pulling my leg, while in a dancing trance from listening to the musician across his stand playing what sounded like Jimmy Buffett tunes? I handed him the $6 (for 16 ounces), put the honey jar in my shopping tote and started making plans for tomorrow's breakfast. Now all that's left is a Trader Joe's run for more Fage Greek Yogurt. :-D

Tahuya River Apiaries
NE 170 Rancho Drive
Tahuya , Washington 98588

What’s the Buzz About Honey?

Sweet Thing: To catch the buzz on honey, sample some artisan-made varietals

Honey–Health and Therapeutic Qualities

Backwoods Spicy Grilled Chicken

spicy_grilled_chicken_made_with_north_idahos_backwoods_sweet_sassy_habanero_barbeque_sauceLast time I visited Burien Farmers Market I came upon a booth with a friendly vendeuse, selling, of all things, Habanero based Barbeque Sauces. Made in Spirit Lake Adaho, of all places. They sold several varieties in different sizes and one could try them before buying. All excellent. Flavorful and with plenty of habanero heat. After sampling all of the sauces my sweet tooth won the tasting. I walked home with a bottle of their Sweet & Sassy Sauce.

Since then, I've been waiting for the right time to cook something on the grill with the sauce. That chance came up this past Wednesday. We were craving spicy, peppery heat and with a just bought beautiful fresh chicken (a Rosie from Larry's Market in Queen Anne) we knew exactly what to have for dinner.

The chicken is so simple indeed but you will need a couple key things. First, you'll need one of those inexpensive aluminum pans you can buy in the baking aisle of your local grocer. An oval shaped one. Medium sized. Nothing like those used for turkeys but something a couple sizes smaller. We found ours at Larry's Market. $2. Second, you will need a bottle of Backwoods Barbeque Sweet & Sassy Sauce. Other than that, the recipe and procedure are easy peasy.

Backwoods Spicy Grilled Chicken
One Fresh Chicken
One bottle of Backwoods Barbeque Sweet & Sassy Sauce
One head garlic (chopped fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
A hot grill.

Cut up chicken. In a bowl mix sauce and garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken to coat generously. Let sit for at least a couple hours, overnight if possible. Grill in aluminum baking pan over medium heat until chicken is well done. Try to let it sit for 10 minutes (I dare you to wait any longer. The delicious smell emanating from the pan will make it very difficult for any self-restraint). Eat.

We had ours with roasted sweet potatoes, a tomato salad and Washington Green Fig kabobs. The chicken was extremely moist, very flavorful and cooked just right. With beautiful color and crispy burnt edges. I think it was a combination of cooking it in the pan (where the hot sauce bubbled up as it cooked, helping it cook evenly and effectively yet rendering the flesh moist and succulent) with the garlic and the sauce.

This was spicy grilled chicken the way it should taste. Saucy, hot and utterly delicious. So you do not live in Seattle or Idaho you say? Well, you can order the sauce by mail or online from Backwoods website (They take Credit Cards via PayPal). This is a small family owned venture that deserves our support. Their product is of very high quality and it is one of the very few Habanero based barbeque sauces in the market. I plan to buy it again and try it with baby back ribs. I am sure they will be superb.

Backwoods Barbeque Sauce
P. O. Box 205
Spirit Lake,
Idaho 83869
(818) 718-0789

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This little fig went to the market

From this fig lover, a few choice figgy bites to browse and enjoy...

Falling for figs: The story of one food writer's love affair with the sweet-natured fruit

The Girl & The Fig

the girl & the fig cookbook : More than 100 Recipes from the Acclaimed California Wine Country Restaurant

Monday, July 19, 2004

Nectarine, Peach and Apricot Bellini


Last night, as part of our IMBB? No.6: Griller's Delight exercise, we put together a little beverage to have as an Apéritif. A pitcher of Nectarine, Peach and Apricot Bellini. Made with a lovely 2003 Moscato d'Asti from Cascinetta Vietti (Castiglione Tinella, Piemonte Italy) we found this wine a few days ago at Madison Market ($12.99).

The original Bellini was created in the forties at Venice's Harry's Bar. It was made with peach nectar and Champagne in honor of Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. Nowadays Harry's Bar makes it with Prosecco. I've used Prosecco before but I found the wine too dry and lackluster. After falling in love at first sight with the Cascinetta Vietti's pretty label, I just had to use the Moscato (that and my sweet tooth) instead.

Our Bellini was cold, had fizz, plenty of sweetness and lovely fruity goodness. And contrary to what you may observe, our concotion did not come up green. In fact, it was a pretty shade of pale peach. The glass, made out of a very thin, light green recycled Mexican glass is the reason for the greenish hue on the photograph. ;-)

Nectarine, Peach and Apricot Bellini

You'll need:

A bottle Moscato d'Asti (chilled)
2 Large White Peaches
2 Large Nectarines
4 Apricots

All I did was cut up some wedges of fruit (nectarines, white peaches and nectarines) for the pitcher and used the same amount of fruit to make a purée (you may use a food processor to gently pulse the fruit wedges or halves or very clean hands), to be mixed with the Moscato D'Asti. I put the purée through a sieve in order to get the lovely thick juice without any skin or foliage/pit fruity detritus. Pour purée into pitcher. Add fruit. Add wine. Stir. Serve immediately.

*Purchase the ripest, sweetest, nicest fruit you can find.

Madison Market
1600 East Madison
(on Capitol Hill)
7 a.m. to midnight daily.
(206) 329-1545

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Grilled Yukon River King Salmon with Heirloom Tomato-Basil Salad and Steamed Purple & Yellow Haricots

grilled_yukon_river_king_salmon_with_heirloom_tomato_salad_with_fresh_basilOne of the best things living in Seattle is the abundance of beautiful seafood and how easy it is to find fresh Alaskan fish, just in from the boat or in the case of Yukon and Copper River Salmon, the plane. Yukon River Salmon is like butter. There is no other way to describe its succulent, deep colored, oil rich flesh. It has a gorgeous texture and the fat content makes the fish so flavorful that it really is a sin to overcook it, season it too much or burdening the flesh with too heavy of a sauce or too pungent of a marinade. The flavor of the salmon should be the star. Not a lot of room for messing up the fish if you do the least possible to it to begin with and mind the grill, cooking it for just the right time and not a second more.

So when Barrett, from Too Many Chefs announced the theme for this month's installment: IMBB? 6 - Grillers (and Barbecuers) Delight I knew exactly what I was going to grill. However, only today did I figure how I was going to marinate it and what I would serve with it. I just knew I had to make the most of whatever looked best at the market. I also wanted to test a new gourmet product I had purchased recently.

The salmon came from Mutual Fish. The Heirloom Tomatoes ( a fat, dense and meaty ruby red) from our favorite produce guy, Philip Catanzaro of Catanzaro & Sons at Pike Place Market. We got our peaches and tomatoes from him this morning. We also found beautiful Nectarines and Apricots while perusing the stands. And the Purple & Yellow Haricots came from the market too. But I digress (produce does this to me)....

As I was looking for a light citrus kick to season the fish with I used O Yuzu Rice Vinegar. I brought this vinegar back from Los Angeles (Yuzu is a rare and quite pricey Japanese citrus) and it proved to be a great choice. Extra Virgin olive oil, Maldon salt, freshly crushed pepper, garlic and about 20 minutes later we were ready to grill. The salmon was grilled skin side down on a sheet of Reynolds "Release" Non-Stick Aluminum Foil so as to not risk the beautiful fish slipping through the grate and straight into the fire and brimstone below.

The Yukon was cooked medium rare and served immediately after. It was delicately infused, with all its wonderful natural flavor still showing through. The salad and beans were delicious too. Everything super fresh, without any added vinaigrette or seasonings other than a little crushed Maldon salt.

For dessert we had the leftover fruit at the bottom of the pitcher with a little Fage Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe's and local and very fresh Dancing Bear Wild Blackberry Honey from Everett (Nancy, the beekeeper, sells a large range of honey and honey based products honey from her stand at Pike Place Market). A glorious if simple meal, enjoyed with friends and neighbors in our building's terrace on a sunny Seattle Sunday. A slight breeze. The Space Needle in the distance. Live jazz playing in the background. What can possibly be better than that? ;-)

Grilled Yukon River King Salmon

You'll need:
Yukon River King Salmon
*Yuzu Rice Vinegar
*Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*Maldon Salt
*Freshly ground red and black pepper

Mix all ingredients in bowl (except for the salmon)
Let fish marinate in mixture for about 20 minutes.
Grill to taste (SBV recommends medium rare)

*=To taste. Fellow Nigel Slater fans take heed: My recipes, for the most part, do not include exact proportions, unless it is a preserving or baking recipe. Let your palate be your guide.

What's Fresh Now At Seattle's Farmers Markets

golden_and_purple_haricotsRipe and Ready at the Neighborhood Farmers Markets (for the week of July 12-18, 2004)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

When it comes to raspberries, the sweetest come from Fife

washington_raspberriesIn today's Seattle Times:

California surpassed Washington last year as the leading producer of fresh raspberries in the United States, buoyed by a climate that allows for growing year-round. But in the newspaper story, California's leading raspberry grower respectfully directed the writer to visit Richter's farm up north if he wanted to sample the sweetest ones around.

Fife farmer finds sweet success

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Get your Gooseberries

GooseberriesEuropeans have used them forever (Harrods and Fauchon and Tiptree make fantastic Gooseberry Jam) but they are still quite rare in the United States. Their season is very short but they are out there right now, if you look.

Farmers Markets around Seattle have gooseberries for sale for around $6.50 a pound. I purchased these babies last Saturday at the Magnolia Farmers Market. Firm, tart, green and cute as a button. So next time you see them, grab them. Not only are they rich in vitamin C but they are delicious.

Cook them in tarts, pies, stewed, make a jelly or sauce to serve with your next roasted duck or perhaps juice them and create a cocktail. How about Clafoutis or a salsa for fish? Perhaps a nice jam or a curd. Or whip up Gooseberry Fool and serve it on your next cookout. I made Gooseberry Compote with mine (my own version of Christine Ferber Gooseberry Jam recipe from her book Mes Confitures. Delish!

Monday, June 28, 2004

On the importance of buying local, "Grown in Washington"


On today's Seattle Times: Foreign agriculture bruising "Grown in Washington" label

Saturday, June 26, 2004

University District Farmers Market


The University District Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from May 22 through November 20 from 9-2. Its right on the "Ave" at the corner of University Way NE & NE 50th Street.

"Seattle's oldest and largest "Farmers-Only" neighborhood Market hosts over 50 Washington state farmers every week. Featured are seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables from both sides of the state, fresh organic produce, herbs, wild mushrooms, fresh farmstead cheeses, free-run eggs, hazelnuts, cider, fresh pasta, honey, flowers, nursery stock, wine, and fresh bread and baked goods. Every Saturday, shoppers can look forward to performances by local musicians, our popular "celebrity chef" cooking demos, and expert gardening advice from Master Gardener's. Also on hand: Master Composters and seasonal produce samplings"

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Yukon King Salmon in Mango Purée

yukon_king_salmonYesterday, I picked up 1 1/2 pounds of Yukon King Salmon from Mutual Fish ($17.99 p/p). Later on, inspired by all the beautiful produce I found while at the Columbia City Farmers Market and after browsing a recipe on my new book, The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Fish for Pan Roasted Salmon Fillets In Mango Juice I could not wait to get home to start cooking . Taking advantage of a care package my mom had Fedexed only a few days ago, loaded with beautiful mangos and Key limes I knew this was the perfect combination for the evening.

zucchini_blossomsInstead of bottled mango juice as the recipe recommends, I cut up and pureed a few of my beautiful mangoes to get not only the texture and thickness but the lovely bright color and without compromising the flavor. The fish was marinated in the purée for 20 minutes (add salt & pepper to taste and reserve after removing fish from it) and sautéed skin down with one tablespoon olive oil on an All-Clad non-stick pan, for about seven minutes, then transferred to the oven (450F) to finish cooking.

The purée was reduced stove top and poured over the fish after transferring the fish to a platter. I served the salmon with Zucchini Blossoms (deep fried, in a Bellwether Farms Fromage Blanc, While Lily flour, organic heavy cream, sea salt and red pepper batter) and Crème Fraîche Mashed Potatoes (a mix of Yukon Gold and reds, also purchased at the market, mashed by hand with the peel instead of using the Potato Ricer as usual since by the time I got home from work I was not in the mood for ricing potatoes and the hunger go the best of me.

TayberriesThe wine, a 2003 Chatter Creek Columbia River Pinot Gris and the dessert, fresh Tayberries, (a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry), both purchased at the market, were light and lovely.

The salmon, just as I had read on the paper yesterday morning, was like butter. Like butter I tell you. Delectable, flaky, moist and it cooked to perfection. And that color! Heaven! The potatoes, Zucchini blossoms and wine were a wonderful match. I ate every single morsel of fish and look forward to buying some more to cook this Sunday on the grill.

I must say, As much as I love my Copper River Salmon , last night, Yukon was King.

Columbia City Farmers Market
Columbia Plaza,
4801 Rainier Ave South
(at South Edmunds)
Seattle, WA

Friday, June 18, 2004

Bellevue Farmers Market

tomatoesYesterday temperatures in Seattle reached the mid- 80's. It was a glorious day of clear skies, hot sun warmth and beauty. Driving on 520, was a joy. Mount Baker, in the distance, looked like a huge coconut ice cream cone. Beautiful! Sunroof opened, on my way to the Eastside, I took advantage of sitting in traffic on the floating bridge to take some pictures of the boats on Lake Washington and Mount Rainier, so clear and bright it made one feel it was just right behind Mercer Island.

I arrived at the Bellevue Farmers Market around 11:10. They had just opened to the public (their first day of the season) and it was already buzzing with activity and shoppers. However, finding parking was a breeze as there were plenty of volunteers helping out. This is a very well oiled machine. It seems as if it had been in operation for years but in fact I think this is the first time Bellevue hosts their own farmers market. In all my years living on the Eastside, in Bellevue, never once did I hear of something like this going on.

Their logo is lovely and minimalist. Black and brick colored, it features a farmer wearing a hat and working with what seems to be a long handled hoe. When you first enter to the market area you are greeted by friendly volunteers selling T-Shirts, hats, aprons and market canvas bags sporting the market logo. These are well priced and seem well made too.

Continue reading "Bellevue Farmers Market" »

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Farm Season is here!

pike_place_market"Summer Sundays (June 13-September 26)- The north end of Pike Place is closed for traffic, welcoming pedestrians to flood the displays from local farmers. Guest chefs demo culinary creations made with fresh farm produce The season kicks off with the "Best of Culinary School Competition" on June 13.

Organic Wednesday (June 16-October 27)- Pike Place Market features organic products every day. But Wednesdays during Farm Season , its their focus. Farmers extend their stalls along the west side of Pike Place, creating a social and inviting enviroment to shop for the largest selection of the region's freshest organic produce."

Remember to take advantage of one hour of free parking at the Public Market Parking Garage on Western Avenue (look for blue sign).

Sign up for the Freshwire Newsletter and learn what's in season and what's happening down at the market.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Burien Farmers Market

CidersYesterday morning I took a drive to Burien to visit their Farmers Market. It was a sunny day with clear blue skies. Cool, a lovely breeze. Great weather to be outside browsing produce stalls. Burien Farmers Market is small (almost hidden out of sight in a nook between S.W. 150th and 152nd streets, behind Meal Makers) but lovely. Fruit and stands loaded with beautiful and colorful, still cool offerings.

Fresh honey from Enumclaw unheated, from Japanese pears and raspberry. Apple, pear and berry cider in big bottles to take home or to enjoy right there. Mizuna and baby greens so fresh, the farmer, Wade, from Rockridge Orchards told me he had picked them just 2 hours prior. He gave me some to taste. Deliciously cool and crisp! There were rose bushes for sale in all sorts of beautiful colors. Bright yellows, peaches, salmon, intense red-orange. Also available for purchase were garden statuary and accessories (beautiful renditions of leaves in gorgeous shades of green).

Plants, herbs and flowers of all kinds. Homemade pies sold whole to go or as individual servings. Herbal soaps and sachets. The most amazing, intensely colored Rhubarb (I purchased a pound and a half of it for tomorrow). Just picked Bing and Rainier cherries. Gifts and snacks.

I scrutinized every stand, looking for a vegetable I had not tried before (golden beets) or had been longing to find again (Kohlrabi, bringing memories of summer in Germany). My foraging continued with dinner in mind, chatting with the farmers (they came all the way from Fall City, Pierce County and Carnation) about their favorite ways of cooking these vegetables and discovered many uses for parts of these I had no idea were also edible.

With arms full of vegetables and fruit I wobbled back to the car and felt quite content with my purchases. Next, a quick stop at Trader Joe's to purchase the meat for the dish. After driving home it was now time to wash, peel and cut away in order to get dinner started on the slow cooker (my very own rendition of Pot-au-Feu) before returning to work (will post the pseudo-recipe tomorrow). I was already looking forward to the day's end, to find all these wonderful ingredients, cooked slowly to perfion, ready to be enjoyed.

Seven hours later and just before heading out to the Ballet dinner was served. The freshest of ingredients in a simple, comforting meal.

What can be better? Leftovers, of course!

Burien Farmers Market
May 13 - Oct. 7
Thursdays, 11am - 6pm
4th Ave. S.W.

Puget Sound Harvest Schedule