Two If By Seafoods

My Michael Pollan Moment

I have a non-scientific anecdote for you: I was at a women's retreat this past weekend and was sitting, chatting, on a sofa with a 94-year-old gal who'd grown up in Ritzville, but who had left decades ago because she "didn't want to be a farmer's wife." I'll call her Pearl. Another woman passed by and handed Pearl what looked like a packing peanut, but which turned out to be a white-cheddar, Cheetoh-like puffed snack. "Try this, Pearl--they're yummy."

Obediently, Pearl took a bite. Obediently, she crunched and tasted. Then her face screwed up hideously.

"What is that?"

She glared at the Cheetoh-like puff like it had tried to poison her, so I ended up holding out my hand so I could throw it away for her.

When I returned, Pearl shuddered. "I eat healthy," she said apologetically.

It all put me in mind of Michael Pollan's admonition in In Defense of Food, not to eat anything our great-grandmothers wouldn't recognize. I guess that includes synthetically-flavored, machine-extruded corn puffs.

Darn. I find them kind of tasty, myself.

This post isn't actually a review of that book, which I gave two stars to on Goodreads, with no review to explain why I was so underwhelmed. (I much preferred The Omnivore's Dilemma and Cooked.) But his advice to eat more real food holds true, and my encounter with Pearl reminded me of how far food has come in the past century.

Another reason to visit our Market--it's chock-full of foods Pearl would recognize. Like the vegetables that went into my Greek salad:

and wild salmon--that is, Jeb's Wild Salmon:

caught in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Jeb's offers several varieties, either frozen or smoked. And their Saturday presence is a nice complement to Thursday's Two If by SeaFoods.

It's easier to eat real, of course, if you like to cook, but for the busier among us, or those cooks who want a night off, the Market also has so-yummy prepared foods. More than you could get through in one season, even if you tried one new thing each week, which is basically what we do, not counting the times we circle back to enjoy a favorite again.

Have you tried...

Biscuit-in-a-Box's Sister Wagen
Hard to read in my picture, but they offer sandwiches and soft pretzels and more!

So put down the Cheetoh-like substance and hit the Markets this week. Pearl will thank you, and so will your insides!

Strawberries, Asparagus, and Garlic Scapes

Of course you saw the strawberries last week, right? I bought two pints just to eat out of hand, and they lasted precisely two hours, with one child responsible for polishing off one pint all by herself. This week I clearly need more: three pints to eat out of hand, another couple to be there the following day, and still another couple to be frozen or made into a dessert.

My oldest has to prepare a fruit dessert as part of her Home Ec class (or whatever they call it now) in high school. I suggested an apple crisp a week ago, but now that the berries are here, I think I'll put this recipe under her nose:

Lemon Shortcakes with Strawberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (or scant cup whole milk w/1 Tbsp lemon juice)
1/2 stick melted butter, cooled

3 12-oz baskets strawberries, hulled
1/4 c torn fresh mint leaves, optional
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

FOR BISCUITS: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a second bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moist dough forms. Drop in 8 dough mounds on a cooking sheet and, with floured hands, pat into a biscuit shape. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

FOR TOPPING: Slice 2 baskets strawberries and transfer to a large bowl. Puree remaining basket of strawberries in the food processor to make a "sauce." Mix with sliced strawberries, sugar, mint, and lemon juice.

Halve warm biscuits and put lots of topping on. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

[This recipe was torn from a magazine years ago. Bon Appétit?]

That's dessert. And for dinner she's planned Two If By Seafoods baked salmon alongside asparagus.

Alvarez Organic Farms was plugging its garlic scapes and onions last week, and I saw a friend with an armful that she planned to sauté. Epicurious suggests this Garlic Scape Pesto recipe. 

In fact, how about the salmon, roasted asparagus, crostini with garlic scape pesto, and a spinach salad? Beautiful colors, all rounded off with the shortcakes. Mmmm. Hooray for Market season!

In Praise of Fresh

Wow. Summer is going strong, and if you aren't eating Market fresh yet, let me persuade you not to miss this! Take just one, eeny weeny example:

It's green bean season, people. They're skinny and crisp and flavorful, and they're on our dinner menu just about every day this week. So far we've had them two ways, both so delicious that I had to share them with you. As always, ingredients found at the Market are marked with an asterisk (*).

Green Beans with Bacon and Goat Cheese
1 lb green beans, trimmed*
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 slices bacon*
1 dried-fig-encrusted goat-and-sheepmilk cheese from Tieton Farms* (1 little cheese is enough for 2 recipes)

Steam beans till crisp-tender. Drain and add butter. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble cooked bacon and cheese over and serve warm or at room temperature.

Once you've run out of the awesome cheese, you might want to try a more international recipe. My book club met last night, and as always, we tried to theme the food to the book. In this case we had read Lost in Shangri-La, a fascinating nonfiction account of a plane that went down in WWII in a highland Papuan valley. The survivors of the wreck encountered Papuan tribespeople with Stone Age technology, who had never before seen white people or modernity.

 I highly recommend it for WWII and adventure buffs or those with an anthropological bent. One of the members of our book club had lived as a missionary in Wamena and knew all the places mentioned in the story, so we had her draw up a typical Indonesian menu for us, for which each of us prepared a dish. Everything was so tasty that most of us went home uncomfortable, but a particular hit were the "Buncis Tumis," the stir-fried green beans. Thus:

Buncis Tumis

Heat in a wok or large skillet:
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 tsp crushed garlic (3-4 cloves)*
2 tsp grated ginger (about a finger length)
½ sweet onion, sliced to shape of green beans*
1 cup sliced carrots, sliced in shape of green beans*
2 cups green beans, cut in 1-2” lengths*
½ cup water

2-3 T kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce found at Asian markets)

Stir fry until beans just begin to grow tender, maybe 3-4 minutes.

Remove to serving dish.  Toss well with fresh ground black pepper.

Clockwise from top: Chicken Curry, Buncis Tumis, Turmeric Rice, Gado Gado ("Mix Mix")

As long as you're stopping by Uwajimaya or the Asian Food Market for kecap manis (pronounced "ketchup mayonnaise," if you need to ask the clerk), you might as well grab some Indonesian Gado Gado dressing or a packet of "Bumba Gado Gado" (Gado Gado Spices) to make your own. Then just make up a tray of your favorite fresh items--

  • potatoes, boiled and cubed*
  • cucumbers, peeled and cubed*
  • boiled eggs*
  • tomatoes*
  • green beans*
  • sweet potatoes 

--sprinkle cilantro* over and drizzle with dressing. You can also squeeze fresh lime over it. 

And lastly, while I'm on the subject of fresh, did you notice the newly-caught salmon from Two If By Seafoods?

From the bin labeled "Grill Me"

 Get 'em while they last!

Heat-Wave-Proof Food

It's time for the annual heat wave, folks! Which means it's time to think about food that doesn't heat up the house. The Market can help.

And I don't just mean ready-made food, though there's that:

Beef Picadillo was a-w-e-s-o-m-e

A cool soup, paired with salad?

And then there's the pizza, the falafel, the hum baos, and other food trucks, of course.

But supposing you wanted to have guests over? We recently had a surprise guest roll into town, and I wanted to share our Market-Fresh dinner menu with you, with all Market-available items marked with an asterisk (*).

hors d'oeuvres
carrot* and celery sticks
cubed Ladysmith with Chives cheese*
cubed Cheddar (although a second Market cheese would've been great)
raw or roasted almonds or hazelnuts*
sliced pepperoni*
main courses
Grilled Two if by Seafood salmon brushed with Seven Red Tagine's Elemental Basil Sauce
Strawberry*-Spinach* salad
Steamed sugar snap peas*
Brown rice pilaf
Blueberry Pie* with vanilla ice cream
A couple notes: strawberries are ending soon! Grab them and cherries while you can. Spinach can be hard to find, but you can substitute another favorite green. I did cook the pilaf on the stovetop, but since it only takes about five minutes of active attention, I don't count that as "slaving away." Finally, we made our own blueberry pie out of Market blueberries and the pie-crust recipe featured in the Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook, but pie-baking definitely counts as heating up the kitchen...
They're promising another shipment...

I'll leave you with the salad dressing I adapted from an Allrecipes version. It's delicious for summer salads because it pairs well with fruit/greens combinations.

Summer Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted, if you like)
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup honey*
1/2 cup olive oil or hazelnut oil*
1/4 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh onion*

For Spinach-Strawberry Salad, blend and serve over 
10 ozs fresh spinach or greens of your choice*
1 cup sliced strawberries*
1/4 cup sliced almonds or hazelnuts* 
1/2 avocado, cut in chunks
2 green onions, chopped*

Have a great week and keep cool! As a P.S., I did get around to reading Wheat Belly and will give my report at a later date. In the meantime, suffice to say we will continue to eat wheat products in the UrbanFarmJunkie household...



Food of Champions: Olympic Edition

#4 on Unpleasant Things to See: Frenchmen triumphing over you (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

So, like many Americans, I've been glued to the couch, subjected to whatever NBC chooses to show me of the 2012 Summer Olympics, whether that be interviews with John McEnroe (huh?) or Ryan Seacrest (seriously--what???), gymnastics at 10:30 p.m., or a replay of the swim final I already watched hours before on the live stream. By the time they aired the Men's 4x100 Freestyle Relay, I had begun to hope that maybe I only dreamed the crushing livestream version, where France's anchor ate Ryan Lochte for lunch. Alas.

France's Olympics aren't going too shabbily. As of this morning, they have 9 total medals to the U.S.'s 18, and a greater proportion of theirs (44.4%) are Gold, to our 33%. Their secret? I mean, besides hard, hard work and carefully-cultivated natural talent? Lately I'm thinking it's the food. I recently finished a fascinating read by Karen Le Billon, French Kids Eat Everything. The title says it all, really, and when I had finished her account of her family's year in France, where they were all indoctrinated into the French culture of food, I was convinced. Dang it! Why did my kids turn up their noses at odd vegetables--all right, at even many common vegetables--beg for snacks all afternoon, and make faces when I presented something new at the table? No more. I was going to introduce more variety in our diet, limit the snacking, and, when the inevitable chorus of "What is that? Ewww!" went up, I was going to go with the French response: "Try it. If you don't like it this time, you will after you've had it a few times." I might even throw in a "you don't wanna swim like Ryan Lochte, do you? You wanna swim like Yannick Agnel. To swim like Yannick Agnel, you must eat everything, like Agnel does."

Take this recent salad, I made, 100% with Market ingredients:

Spinach, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onions, Tieton goat cheese feta. And then I dressed it with

because Wade at Rockridge had urged me to try it out and give feedback. He's told me twice what "shiso" is, and I've remembered it zero times. Some kind of Japanese herb. In any case, the dressing tastes cucumber-y and very, very fresh. Our houseguests took seconds, if not my children.

At the same meal we served grilled Market vegetables alongside: bell peppers, sweet onions, and teeny tiny baby potatoes I got at Alvarez. The main dish: Two If By Seafoods salmon glazed with olive oil and honey.

Recently the Huffington Post ran a slideshow on some Olympian diets. Beach volleyball champ Misty May-Treanor likes Greek yogurt with honey, for instance. On Saturdays you can find Samish Bay's luscious Greek yogurt. Swirl in a spoonful of Cascade Natural Honey and a handful of granola or almonds, and you're set. Just about all the athletes ate a variety of vegetables and steered clear of processed foods. For those who needed to carb load before a big event, sandwiches hit the spot. And you know you can put whatever you want in the middle--it's the bread that makes the sandwich, and we have such tasty ones both Thursdays and Saturdays. The athletes would love our Market.

One final reason to hit the Market this week: some theorize all those fruits and veggies and whole grains relieve depression. The jury may still be out, but it certainly might impact minor bummed-out feelings, like seeing your relay get trounced or looking at all those Olympian bods and trying to calculate how many calories you've (not) burned, prone, on the couch.

Well, We Still Have Our Farmers Market

Already missing the honey and berries (Photo: AP)

Okay, time to stop sniffling into my Bing cherries while I watch Ichiro videos, and get down to business. I wish our dear Seattle icon all the best (including--gulp--a World Series appearance), but he's only got two more days in our lovely, temperate corner of the country, so I hope he can send someone down to the nearest farmers market to grab these goodies before he goes:

Local honey. Imagine my thrilledness when I hit the Market last Thursday and found both Rockridge Orchard's Orchard Blossom Honey and Cascade Natural Honey's Blueberry Honey! I got a jar of each. Wade of Rockridge claims he can taste just a touch of the Broad Leaf Maple in his Apple-Pear Blossom Honey, and I've already posted about the luscious delights of CNH's Blueberry variety.

Wild Alaskan Salmon. Hit up Two If By Seafood (Thursday) or Loki Fish (Saturday) for the tastiest salmon this side of Seastar. We basted our last filet in olive oil and Market honey, seasoned with salt and pepper, and threw it on the grill. It was devoured.

Northwest Cherries. The season is brief, so load up. I've bought some of every variety so far and thrown in a jar of Camp Robber Jams' (Saturday) Cherry Jam with Kirsch for good measure. My visiting mom was inspired to buy a cherry pitter in the hopes of making a pie...

Northwest Berries. The first two blueberry pies are in the freezer, and I have orders to bring back another half-flat. The raspberries didn't even make it till dinner time. Clearly I didn't buy enough.

Pastries from Little Prague Bakery. Did I mention my mother was visiting? Every time we left the house, she seemed to come back with bakery boxes, and the visit to the Market was no exception. We had some beautiful berry cake-looking bar (my nephew called dibs), a melt-in-your-mouth apple cinnamon creation, and an apricot one that disappeared by the second time I looked in the box. These, in addition to granitas from Rockridge, scoops from Molly Moon's and a box of Dark Chocolate toffee from Pete's Perfect Butter Toffee. Yikes. That exploding sound is just my family blowing up after so many sweets.

Compile your own list of Can't-Miss Items at this week's Markets! Maybe we could send Ichiro a care package. He'll need it, with those Yankees fans.

The Market for Every Diet

That's what I'm talking about.

The weather forecast promises the arrival of summer, just in time for this week's Markets! And summer's arrival means it's time to break out the barbecues and bikinis. Well--at least the barbecue. But, if you were indeed thinking bikini this summer, have I got a Market for you.

Some parents and I were shivering poolside for morning swim team practice, swathed in blankets and nursing coffees, while we abused our children by making them actually get in the darned water. And the topic of diets came up. One woman was reading the latest book, a modification of the meat-and-non-starchy-vegetables "paleo" diet. She assured me it was an "easy" diet, one the whole family could try without too much effort. I took a quick look at its anti-sugar and anti-grains stance and handed the book back. All I know is, when I die, they will find me with pasta in one hand and bread in the other.

If you do hold with the "caveman"/paleo camp, you believe human beings' bodies function best on a hunter-gatherer, non-processed diet. We have a Market for that.

Two If By Sea

Your PALEO shopping list:

Fresh/frozen salmon
Pastured beef
Farm-fresh eggs
Salad Mix

Strict paleo dieters lay off the dairy products, but if you lean Atkins-ward or modified paleo, you know cheese, butter, yogurt, and milk are fair game! Add in:

Golden Glen's Cheese Curds and Flavored Butters

Blessed are the cheesemakers! May I personally recommend Golden Glen Creamery's Cheddar with Sun-Dried Tomato, Samish Bay's Ladysmith with Chives, and Tieton Farm & Creamery's Feta, made with goat and sheep's milk? If you can't have crackers with your cheese, make sure the cheese is good enough to eat on its own!

Then, clear on the other side of the spectrum, was the book I read that compared the human digestive system to that of our closest primate cousins. It concluded that, based on our teeth types, length of gut and so on, we were made to eat mostly, vegetarian. Vegetables, fruits, insects, other plants. Of the primates, our innards bear passing resemblance to a Capuchin monkey's. Therefore I give you the

Sugar Snap Peas
Snow Peas
(any bugs you happen to find on the ground--no charge!)

Less strict Capuchin-Monkey-dieters can add in anything remotely vegetarian. If it were me, I would throw in some of La Pasta's Whole Wheat pasta, which Dmitri explains is not as chewy as the not-terribly-yummy whole wheat pasta found in stores because his is fresh. He also offers Roasted Bell Pepper Pasta, and Lemon with Cracked Pepper. Mmmm... if you're doing carbs, make them worth it.

And finally, if you've decided to ditch the bikini and the diet, there's always a scoop of Scout Mint at Molly Moon's. This, if you can believe it, was a "kids scoop"! Note the size of the Thin Mint cookie slab my twelve-year-old scored.

The Non-Dieter's Diet

Something for everyone. Enjoy the sunshine and have a happy 4th!

Off the Beaten Digestive Tract

You hear plenty about the benefits of eating organic, local, sustainable, etc., but not enough is said about how farmers market offerings provide variety from the run-of-the-mill produce at the supermarket. In their efforts to promote biodiversity and keep heirloom varieties in existence, our farmers don't just raise cherries, peaches, blueberries, and so on--they raise particular strains of them. If the variety's name isn't listed on the sign, ask!

This past Saturday, in my determination to branch out from Rainiers and Bings, I bought a pound of Van cherries. Dark red/purple like Bings, but a little sweeter. Nothing may surpass the blushing beauty of Rainiers, but a blind taste test might win Vans new converts.

Speaking of blushing, the array of peaches and apricots is dazzling. When I read David Mas Masumoto's Wisdom of the Last Farmer, I learned that "blushing" varieties of peaches crowded out non-blushing in supermarket demand, simply because they were prettier, not more flavorful. Yes, we are really that shallow. I've noticed both blushing and pale-faced peaches and apricots at the BFM and am determined to try them all. Consider Collins Family Orchard. I bought a couple pounds each of their peaches and apricots, put them in a brown paper bag at home, and enjoyed them a couple days later at the peak of perfection. Mouth-watering. For my fellow peach-pie makers, Collins reports that freestone peaches should be along in a few more weeks. And, if you buy them by the box (as pie-makers will), they'll be $1.20/lb! For a great peach pie recipe, check out the Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook.

It's not only fruits and vegetables which can be called by name. Salmon lovers have long had their favorite varieties as well, fished in favorite locations. In our house we've been into the fresh sockeye found at Two If By Sea on Thursdays and Loki on Saturdays. I'll leave you with this recipe we enjoyed last night, adapted from Good Housekeeping:

Honey-Grilled Salmon
3 Tbsp Daniel's Honey (Wild Flower variety)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly-ground pepper

Sockeye salmon fillets, up to 24 ozs total

Mix rub ingredients with 1 tsp very hot water to blend. Spread this all over the salmon fillets. Grill over medium heat until salmon turns opaque and flakes easily with a fork, turning salmon once with a wide spatula. (We just grill it on a rack.)

Try one new thing this week at the Market. You'll be glad you did.

News from Over the Mountains

Gloriously Sunny Richland, Washington

Like many of you, I spent the 4th gadding about--in this case, east over the mountains to the Tri-Cities. Sadly, I missed our Bellevue Farmers Market but was thrilled to see plenty of fresh produce that will make its way to our Thursday market this week. Cherries abounded, both Rainier and Bing. More strawberries (my mother-in-law bought a flat for Independence Day strawberry shortcake). Blueberries. Green beans and snow peas from Yakima.

On the Day of Days, we grilled up hamburger patties of grass-fed beef hailing from the Dudley ancestral hometown of Dayton, Washington. As tasty as you might imagine, and leaps and bounds more flavorful than the Costco patties I've been downing at the weekly swim meets. If you haven't tried the pastured beef and hamburger patties available to us through Skagit or Samish or Sea Breeze, this is the week! Fire up the grill and give it a go.

My in-laws treated me to dinner at the Apollo Greek Restaurant in Richland, where I was pleased to see our own Tefft Cellars Winery on the wine list. With such agricultural and viticultural bounty, "eating local" has experienced a resurgence east of the Cascades as well. We had two lunches at Frost Me Sweet, a bistro that began as a cupcake business and now encompasses lunch and dinner. Local food where possible, soups and salads to die for, and--of course--cupcakes! I tried the "Elvis"--chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and an injection of carmelized banana. Wow.

Even the chats at the church potluck yielded interesting nuggets. I happened to meet Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's head of environmental research. He mentioned having been over in Sequim to check on a project measuring the impact of electromagnetic forces underwater on marine life. (People think of everything!) They wanted to see if all the human activity, and the possibility of using the ocean to generate power, bugged the clams and oysters and fish and crabs. Well, it turns out the crabs were bothered. You might ask, as I did, how they knew? The answer: they moved funny. Crabs move oddly to begin with, but I didn't have a chance to follow up on this point. The second nugget I learned was that they're studying three local dams to see the pass-through rate of salmon. They surgically implanted transmitters in tens of thousands of salmon and then monitored them as they negotiated the ladders. I was thrilled to learn that the pass-through rate is in the mid-90s, percentage-wise, and that the study will soon be expanded to include seven dams. Next time you want to complain about your job, just think--you could be performing tens of thousands of surgeries on salmon.

And one final vacation thought: Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm is a great read. Not only does it recount the rough lives and riveting deaths of several Gloucester, Massachusetts, fisherman, Junger also covers the area's commercial-fishing history and how technological advances and governmental oversights led to industry collapse. Fascinating. Read it and you'll know why getting your fish from Two If By Seafoods and Loki Fish is the way to go.

Let Barbecue Season Begin!

I know some of you gas grillers go year-round, but my husband is a purist. Meaning, only charcoal in a tidy pyramid and only on days that are sunny, dry and decently warm. (Definitions of "decently" vary--in 2011 it includes any temperature above 60F.)

Photo courtesy of Loki Fish

Tonight the first salmon goes on the grill, and if you have the same idea, you'll be happy to hear that both Thursday and Saturday markets will feature fresh salmon this week! On Thursdays you'll find Two If By Seafoods. Shannon Ford captains F/V Paul Revere in Bristol Bay, Alaska, a region swept by the radar from Dutch Harbor made familiar to many on the television show The Deadliest Catch. Dad Ernie expects Sockeye, Coho, and some King Salmon to available to market shoppers. On Saturdays you'll meet Amy of Loki Fish, and Amy also expects fresh Sockeye and possibly other varieties. Another treat? Fresh ikura, or salted salmon roe.

A friend of mine prepares her salmon in foil packets under a layer of thinly-sliced sweet onions and a splash of soy sauce. Delicious and easy to clean up.

In our family we 're pretty fond of the crust formed on grilled fish, so we tend to marinate and then grill on a rack. One tasty recipe that can be either packet-steamed in foil or just plain grilled is:

Asian Salmon
(Serves 6)

2 lbs fresh salmon fillets
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 T brown sugar
1 T honey
2 T soy sauce
3 T Dijon or flavored mustard
2 t fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 t minced fresh garlic

Combine marinade ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator up to two hours or at room temperature for twenty minutes. If cooking in foil, make a packet with a double bottom and loosely tent the foil over the top. Otherwise, place the salmon on a rack and slide it onto the grill. Cook until fish flakes.

While we're on the subject of barbecues, I love beans on the side. Alvarez Organic Farm offers a variety of dried beans, perfect for refried beans, baked beans, or just cooked beans for salads. Joe recommended the Mayo Coba butter bean with a little garlic and tomato in a salad. I gave the black beans a try, cooking them in a  few hours in the crock-pot and filling burritos with them. Because their beans are fresher, you can reduce cooking times, and they often don't need the overnight soak!

Add some fresh-baked bread with Golden Glen garlic butter and tossed greens with Market vegetables, and you're set. May this be the first of many sunny days...