30
Jun 2014
Simple Slaw

I've come to accept that I'm a bit of an oddball regarding the degree to which I have an anti-sweet tooth. I played up that fact in the introduction to Salty Snacks, noting that I've long had what I thought of as a salty-tooth where everyone else seemed to have a sweet tooth. And while it's true that I generally prefer savory foods to sweet (particularly in the snack realm), it's more than that. I actively dislike sweetness where--to my palate--there's no call for it. I don't want honey in my vinaigrette, maple syrup on my Brussels sprouts, sweet cocktails or raspberry glaze on my pork chop. A total kill-joy, I know, but that's just how I'm built. Not that I don't ever eat sweet ...

23
May 2014
Salmon Season Special Offer

Between gin, snacks and salmon, it's kind of hard to know which of those favorite topics I touch on more often here. But with the traditional mid May launch of Copper River salmon season just passed, it's little surprise salmon is on top of mind right now. It's something like the swallows back to Capistrano, an event that signifies the general launch of key commercial salmon fishing season throughout the region. This was part of the story of Northwest summertime seafood that I wrote about for the May issue of Alaska Airlines Magazine (which you can catch here, jump to page 140). And a sub-plot of the local salmon story is that of the marbled salmon that show up on occasion, primarily in Washington fisheries. Each May I'm lucky enough to attend a lunch for the ...

15
May 2014

Lots and Lots of Gin

Lots and Lots of Gin

What a terrible state of affairs: a gin backlog! To clarify, it's a backlog of reflections on gin rather than bottles of the stuff itself. I wish the latter were true too. I've been a fan of gin for a good while now and went through a peak gin phase a few years back while prepping for a panel about gin for the 2007 International Association of Culinary Professionals conference and working on a couple articles on the subject. At the height, I had as many as 10 different gins in the house, from distilleries near and far, for studious research purposes. Today that number is a mere 3, but I shan't be complaining.  Among them is one of the gins I've been meaning to chat with you about, and a ...

13
May 2014
Rosemary Toasted Walnuts with Tart Cherries

It's great when life confirms for you now and then that you are, indeed, hanging out with the right people: folks with similar outlooks on life, priorities in line with your own. I've had some recent examples of that this past week based on conversations about the weather. In someone else's circle, that might mean talk of relishing longer, warmer afternoons for a game of golf, or perhaps chatter turns to wardrobe and fun new seasonally-appropriate togs. Not around here. Those I spend quality time with, instead, turn to conversations of food and drink when the weather conditions shift. The mercury's position on the thermometer might nudge us one day toward a warming Manhattan, another to cooling gin & tonic. Balmy days inspire swapping tales of what's on the grill for dinner, while disgust with an unseasonably cold day might be met ...

18
Apr 2014

It's sad but true -- as a Washingtonian, I am most decidedly a wet-sider. I've lived pretty much my whole life here on the damp, evergreen west side of the Cascade mountains. And while we get over to the Yakima and Tri-Cities area every year or so to visit friends, that feels like quite the trek. The extra hour for Walla Walla means we get there seldom, while I know Seattle-area folks who weekend in Walla Walla without giving it half a thought. Spokane, Pullman and other points to the far east of the state are just not on our hit list of local jaunts we're  often likely to make. But that may change here pretty soon after flipping through every page of the new The Crimson Spoon...

01
Apr 2014
A World of Salt near Seattle

Seattleites may not know it, but right in our backyard is one of the country's (actually, the world's) top purveyors of that darling of the kitchen: gourmet salts. SaltWorks up in Woodinville has been in this business since 2001. Its earliest inception is one of those classic entrepreneurial stories of a one-time hobby taking over someone's life to the point that there was little choice but to open a business given the hobby's growing demand for space. The entrepreneurs in this case are Naomi Novotny and Mark Zoske, who had little idea what they were going to become when first developing the brand out of a spare bedroom in their home. Today they're importing salt from 21 countries around the world, including Sicily, Australia, France, Mexico and Japan. Among the distinctive salts is a range of Himalayan pink salts (mined from ancient sea beds) that are all the ...

05
Mar 2014
Spicy Peanut Butter Cookies with Dukka

Authors aren't supposed to have favorite book projects, or so I've heard, just as a mother's expected to not profess having a favorite kid. And of course I do have a special affection for all the books I've worked on over the years. But just between you and me, Salty Snacks was a particular favorite. Not only was it a chance to dive head-first into a category of food I most crave -- salty-crunchy things (in the long run including not-so-crunchy items as well) -- but also an arena that proved to be great fun on the creative front. When I started that project it was a wide open slate with a few foundational points of departure: chips, crackers, popcorn, nuts. And within those classic categories ...

03
Mar 2014
Northwest EBooks Promotion

The new series of eBooks that I launched a couple of months ago is on a special promotion right now. Today the price of each of the seven titles is down to $.99, and over the course of the next few days the price goes up one dollar per day until returning to the full price on Thursday. ...

18
Feb 2014
New Snacks Class!

Right after the new year, I headed back to Denver, the home of Craftsy, to shoot another class for this fun, dynamic platform for those who love to get creative with anything from cake decorating to quilting. And cooking is certainly a most delicious way to get creative! This new class reflects my lifelong love of all things salty -- the focus of the lessons in Homemade Salty Snacks (this link includes a $10 rebate!), an exploration in going DIY with that popular category of food, allowing you to customize to suit your own taste and maybe skip that snack aisle at the grocery store now and then. I had really enjoyed shooting my first Craftsy class, French Home Cooking Essential Techniques, that's an arena that I adore as well. But shooting this new class was even more fun because, ...

07
Feb 2014
Cooking for Your Love — A Give-Away

It doesn't matter where we were. It wasn't the restaurant or the server or the menu that was at fault. The calendar did it. February 14 to be exact. It was a decade or so ago and my husband and I had gone out to a restaurant we'd been to many times in the past, and have been back to since. Not a fancy place; a casual, popular spot with very good food. But there's something charged about that evening, energy in the air: it has to be an unforgettable night, expectations of diners are incredibly high, restaurants are booked solid, customers' expectations don't quite get met (whether on the part of their date or the meal) and quickly the loving moment of Valentine's Day bliss crumbles under the force of the reality of a day when restaurants are overtaxed to an almost unparalleled degree. So, even though the expectations my ...