Molly Moon

Beat the Heat at the Bellevue Farmers Market

The dog days of summer are upon us. Witness this little fellow I saw at last Saturday's Market:

Meet Sawyer, Market afficionado and recipient of a complimentary dog treat

Yes, the weatherman promises, the heat is here--at least through the end of the week. As if the blessed 80s weren't warm enough, my family is headed over the mountains to "enjoy" mid- to high 90s, coming back next Friday when the Tri-Cities will supposedly zoom over 100F. The downside: I'll miss Thursday's Market. The upside: as we leave Richland, I hope to check out their farmers market, The Market at the Parkway.

But since, for most Western Washington folk, a couple days in the 80s are enough to provoke whining and rain dances, I leave you with a few beat-the-heat tips, Market-style.

Tip #1: Grab an ice cream. From Molly Moon on Thursdays or these guys on Saturday:

Parfait is parfait--perfect for a summer day

Tip #2: Treat yourself to an apple granita (slushy) at Rockridge or a mojito-like lemonade at Crepes on Thursdays or a fresh-blended fruit-and-veggie concoction at The Juice Box on Saturday.

The unslushy version ain't bad either

Tip #3: Stay out of the kitchen and fire up the grill. A couple days ago we grilled rib-eye steak from Skagit River Ranch that had been soaked in a little lime juice and rubbed with chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Alongside the steak we grilled Market sweet onions and red and green bell pepper strips. Then we served it up as fajitas, on homemade tortillas (not that hard to make) and topped with sour cream and the awesome fresh Green salsa from Saturday's Seattle Salsa Guy.

John, serving samples

 John makes his salsas weekly, usually not more than a day ahead of each market. They feature freshly-squeezed organic lemon and lime juice, sea salt, Walla Walla onions, local cilantro, and, of course, plenty of tomatoes! There are Red and Green blends, in Hot and Medium levels of heat, as well as a chunkier Pico de Gallo which John labels the "Coarse Blend." His recommendation, if you don't try my fajitas? Fish tacos. Grill up some salmon or rockfish, sprinkle with garlic or sea salt, squirt with lemon. Wrap it in a corn tortilla and top with fresh salsa and sliced avocado. Mmmm... Unfortunately, we couldn't try the fish taco option because we'd already hogged down our entire container of green salsa with the fajitas. Maybe next week...

Or, Tip #4: Don't cook at all! Come down and grab a pizza or tamales or crepes or hum baos. Soup or a burger. Chase your main course with a slice of pie or the last cherries of the season, an apricot or two. Whatever you do, come hungry!

Stay cool, fellow food lovers.

Out-of-the-Box Eating

Source of Bite-Size to Meal-Size Yumminess

If you were at the Market last week, you noticed the appearance of a new prepared-food vendor, The Box: Asian Fusion Cuisine. Owner and chef Reis Llaneza has garnered press in Kirkland, where he tootles around various locations, serving up his delicious takes on street food. The Bellevue Farmers Market is fortunate enough to be The Box's only farmers market stop! Consider the Pork Belly Hum Bao and Kahlua Pork Hum Bao the kids and I sampled--perfectly cooked and seasoned tender meat nestled in a steamed white bao (familiar to all Chinese food "Peking Duck" and char siu bao lovers), garnished with the crunch of diced and shredded vegetables. My children literally fought over them (for the sake of peace, I did not get the entire one-third of each hum bao I was legally entitled to) and devoured them, vegetable garnish and all. If you knew my son, you would know that a snack tasty enough to make him overlook the presence of vegetables is a tasty snack indeed.

Reis prices the hum baos like sliders--cheap enough to have a couple. He also offers a Chop Chop Salad I found several people at the Market eating, and the day's vegan option was a Guajillo Pepper Chili. For those non-vegetarians in search of a meal-size offering, Reis recommended the Chicken Karaage Plate, designed like a bento box with "tender pieces of fried chicken served with a house sauce, steamed rice, and side of Chop Chop Salad."

We didn't make it far from The Box--about ten steps to the Molly Moon truck, in fact--before I ran into Leslie, a fellow mom from my children's elementary school, who was carrying a box of tomato starts, all sorts I'd never heard of that she'd found at Hedlin Farms. Following her lead, I swung by and picked up a variety called "Stump of the World," which, according to the gals at Hedlin, yields a "bushy plant with Brandywine pink fruit as big as your head." In other words, stake this puppy well.


After the eight-year-old licked her ice cream scoop right off the cone onto the pavement (I applied the ten-second rule and a napkin from Reis), we ventured down to Rockridge Orchards to buy the absent twelve-year-old some fresh cider as a guilt offering. There, the display of rhubarb caught my eye:

My husband is not the World's Biggest Rhubarb Fan, having eaten too much of it in every way, shape and form, growing up in Eastern Washington, but the stalks were so very beautiful that I couldn't resist buying a Whole Lot of Them. A whole, whole lot.


Since strawberries aren't in season yet, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie was out, but I did find this recipe for the admittedly-nasty sounding "Stewed Rhubarb." Because it contains strawberry jam, you get some of the same flavor as the pie, and I (at least) found it luscious over vanilla ice cream, as did some friends we had dinner with. Better yet, instead of the recipe being "easy as pie," it was way easier. Give it a try.


Stewed Rhubarb (adapted from The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook)


1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c strawberry jam (I used my mother-in-law's homemade jam)
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt


Combine all ingredients in a two-quart saucepan over medium heat. When it boils (there is hardly any liquid to speak of, at first, so I waited till the jam bubbled), turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer 10-20 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender. (I cooked it till it broke apart because I didn't really want chunks on my ice cream.)


Serve warm or refrigerate. Spoon over vanilla ice cream. Or split a biscuit, pour over, and top with whipped or ice cream for a Rhubarb Shortcake!


What will you discover this week at the Market? And don't forget--if you miss Thursday, the Saturday Market opens this week! 10-3P in the First Congregational Church parking lot, 752 108th Ave NE. Double Markets--yippee!

It's Good to Be Beige

For all you map-o-philes, the Center for Disease Control has released an interesting new one: County Level Estimates of Diagnosed Diabetes. This is the first time they've been able to break the data out on a county-by-county level, versus a state level. Leaving aside the newly-revealed "Diabetes Belt" in the nation's southeast, the data on Washington State are enlightening. Those burgundy counties (i.e., more than 10% of the population diagnosed diabetic) are Grays Harbor and Adams. King County clocks in nicely beige, with fewer than 7% of the population diabetic. One thing to note: these figures are only for people 20 years or older, so the rising rates of childhood diabetes are not represented. They probably demonstrate strong correspondences to the adult rates, however. For more information, check the Scientific American run-down. I wonder how many of their identified risk factors play a role in Grays Harbor or Adams, not to mention those deeper orange counties: (1) high obesity rates; (2) sedentary lifestyles; (3) lower education levels; and, (4) higher percentage of non-Hispanic blacks. Because the researchers are government-funded, there is much mention of encouraging people to live an "active lifestyle" and to watch the the number of calories, but no mention of the where those calories should come from. Well, it's a start.

Speaking of where calories should come from, eating fish gets another endorsement, this one from Science Digest. If you happen to carry the "bad" APOE gene, one found in 15% of the general population and 50% of those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, "a diet high in Omega 3 oils and low in cholesterol appears to significantly reduce the negative effects of the APOE4 gene in mouse models." Around our house we refer to fish as "brain food." If your supplies of Loki Salmon are running low, remember they can be found online and at local Thriftway markets, as well as the year-round Ballard, U District and West Seattle Farmers Markets. As for the BFM's tuna supplier, Fishing Vessel St. Jude, find their cans at Whole Foods.

And then, in a final note that completely undermines all that has come before, I'm thrilled to have spotted the Molly Moon truck around Bellevue. Look for it Wed-Fri and again on Sunday, from 5-10 p.m. at All The Best Pet Care, 1048 116th Avenue Northeast and check the Molly Moon blog for updates!