Regional Treats

Aug 2012

One of the unexpected outcomes of pursuing a path in the world of food writing is that of being asked to judge cooking competitions. It's not something I'd had in my scopes when thinking about this career path, but must say it's a really enjoyable part of the picture. From salmon recipes in Alaska to Spam recipes at the Puyallup Fair, I've judged a lot of contests over the years. It's one of those things that--from the outside--looks pretty swell. Can't ...

Aug 2012
Green Goddess Crab Salad

It's such a delightful problem to have. More crab than you can eat in one sitting. Friends who have a home on Whidbey Island had had pretty good luck with the crabbing last weekend,  got through as much as their family could consume, then dropped a quick email to see if we'd like to take some off their hands. Next thing you know, we're picking a parking lot to meet in, they handed off 4 Dungeness crab that had been caught-and-cooked the ...

Jul 2012
A Canadian Canola Escapade: Saskatchewan

I took about a thousand pictures in this field bursting with yellow blossoms, set against the blue sky accented with white-and-silver clusters of clouds. Okay, I exaggerate. A bit. It was a few dozen perhaps. But I could have kept going if me and my fellow travelers didn't have yet another great meal to run off to.....  The place was somewhere outside the city of Saskatoon, capitol ...

Mar 2012
A Black Forest Adventure, with Cake

“So, do you want to maybe go to Germany today?”  Anne-Marie asked us. Not your usual breakfast time conversation but it’s one of the benefits of spending time in the Alsace region of France. Taking a brief drive to have lunch in Germany is a fully realistic option. And we took our friends up on it during a trip in the fall of 2010, piled in the car and in ...

Aug 2011
Albacore and Ale in Astoria

It had been a good 15 to 20 years or so since my last trip to Astoria. So I was especially happy when an invitation came through from the Oregon Albacore Commission and the Western Fishboat Owners Association to join on an albacore escapade to Astoria last week. Didn't hurt that I'd recently put my latest cookbook to bed. The prospect of a mini road trip to the ocean coast sounded like just what the doctor ordered after a particularly hectic few months ...

Aug 2011
In Search of Wild Mushrooms

I love this snippet about "How to Forage for Mushrooms" from a not-too-long-ago issue of Esquire magazine. (My husband pulls random pages out for me -- this one doesn't happen to have the issue month on it.) Step 1 reads "Find a humid forest." followed by Step 2: "Leave that forest and go to a farmers market or a good grocery store." They then go on to talk about general tips for choosing mushrooms. At the store. I had to laugh ...

May 2011
Marbled Salmon: Delicious and Distinct

Yes, I know. I just wrote about salmon in my last post. And I'm writing about it again today. Deliciously redundant because it is, in fact, officially salmon season now that the first gleaming specimen has made its way south from the Copper River up in Alaska. I'll admit to not having had a bite of the glorious Coppers yet, the most well-known harbinger of salmon season. But I did, yesterday, have a most extraordinary lunch of Washington State troll-caught king ...

Mar 2011
Wines of Washington: Dynamic & Delicious

There was a time when I really did try to keep up. In years past I was not only covering the local wine scene a bit more directly when I was food editor of Seattle magazine. But I also traveled to Bordeaux, France, with the team from the Washington Wine Commission to translate at the booth for VinExpo (the world's largest wine trade show, or at least it was at the time, early 2000s). I tried to stay on ...

Mar 2011
WSU’s [Cougar] Gold Standard

What a delicious surprise it was. I showed up at my sister's front door last weekend and followed her into the kitchen. "Do you want some cheese?" she asked. We were about to leave for lunch, so it seemed an odd offer, but then I understood. She and her husband had (finally) cracked open a can of Cougar Gold cheese that they'd gotten for Christmas in 1998. Yep, that's right. A dozen years ago. And not only was it good, ...

Jan 2011
James Beard’s Scalloped Potatoes and Celery Root

Yeah, I know. Though technically it was less than two months ago, Thanksgiving already feels like a faint memory from months gone by. So I won't dwell on details of that day's feast that we enjoyed here at my house. The ginger-and-orange brined turkey that I grilled over mesquite-enhanced charcoal out in the garage. The mashed potatoes with fried sage. Stuffing with chanterelle mushrooms. All I'll say is that it was, ...