EVOO Cannon Beach: a cooking love story

My abject apologies for how long it’s taken me to publish this post. Attending EVOO’s market dinner during my last Cannon Beach trip was an absolute highlight, and it well deserves every accolade – not to mention a more timely feature!

(And thanks to my coworker Patrick, who was pestering me this week at our all-staff meetings to get a blog post up! :P)

EVOO is a cooking school located on the south end of Cannon Beach’s main street, Hemlock. It primarily features dinner shows (three courses plus dessert and three wine pairings) and fresh market shows, the latter of which is summer-only and revolves around seasonal produce available at the Cannon Beach Farmer’s Market.

The Rambling Vine‘s Brenna had been raving about EVOO to me for years, and I was thrilled to finally get the chance to attend.

Rather than the hands-on cooking classes one might attend here in Seattle, EVOO produces shows where attendees kick back, relax, and watch husband-and-wife team Bob and Lenore cook fabulous food. They focus less on giving you a recipe up front, and more on demonstrating techniques.

While I still took copious notes, I appreciated not having to write down recipe specifics, and just enjoy the (generous) glass of house red wine – which reminds me, the wine! Fresh market shows’ cost covers the first glass of house red or white wine, and come to find out, EVOO’s own Bob works closely with local vintners to create their own blends. The result is utterly outstanding. (And if you’d like more, you can buy additional glasses for $10 each or a bottle for $24.) You may also browse the shop after the show and receive a 10% discount on your purchase – including the wine.

When attending a show, you quickly realize that Bob and Lenore absolutely love each other and their profession. They egg each other on, play off each other, and are extremely talented at what they do; their love of food spills over to the attendees, and they make each person feel welcome. I was greeted by name, and Bob remembered me the next day when I came in to buy some of the delectable wine (and a few kitchen items – twist my arm!). Both of them are personable and charming, and will also ham it up in front of the camera. (Sorry this one’s blurry; Bob realized I was taking a picture and had to pose with the salmon.)

Bob and Lenore

Bob and Lenore

One of my favorite dishes from the evening was the warm salted new potatoes. This was also one of the easiest! (And I tried it at home recently with resounding success.) Combine 1 1/3 c. salt and a gallon of water; mix to dissolve the salt. Bring to a boil. Scrub and add as many potatoes as you wish and boil for 12 minutes. Drain and serve. (This particularly works well with red, fingerling, or small Yukon Gold potatoes.) Note that the potato skins will look somewhat blanched or whitened.

warm salted new potatoes | The Curried Nut

warm salted new potatoes | The Curried Nut

Our menu included:

Starters
- Homemade bread and sweet butter
- Chop brand salumi
- Pickled spicy cabbage
- Peppered fresh cherries and goat cheese
- (divine) Smoked salmon chowder

EVOO appetizers | The Curried Nut

EVOO appetizers | The Curried Nut

Main Dishes
- Whole roasted chicken
- Grilled wild king salmon

EVOO roast chicken | The Curried Nut

EVOO roast chicken | The Curried Nut

Sides
- Warm salted new potatoes
- Oregon shrimp fried rice
- Broccolini garlic saute
- Poached leeks
- Sautéed kale with shallots/leeks
- Early cabbage fennel slaw
- Mixed greens with shaved cauliflower, carrots, and red beets

Salmon, fingerling potatoes, and sautéed kale | The Curried Nut

Salmon, fingerling potatoes, and sautéed kale | The Curried Nut

Dessert
- Cocoa nib pecan cinnamon-fudge cake
- Fresh cherry gelato
- Salted almond crumble

Drool-worthy dessert | The Curried Nut

Drool-worthy dessert | The Curried Nut

I cannot even tell you how amazing the dessert was. Just look at it!

And then Bob lit candles with a blowtorch.

Blowtorched candles over dessert! | The Curried Nut

Blowtorched candles over dessert! | The Curried Nut

And thus ended our fantastic meal. I already can’t wait to go back, and am fully planning to do the dinner show next time. Thanks to Bob and Lenore for a night to remember, par excellence.

(Visited 3 time, 3 visit today)

Lost in translation: traveling in foreign languages

I have a confession to make. When I started planning my Europe trip last year, I didn’t think twice about going to places where I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t think it would be a big deal.

Then I got to those places.

Sure, a lot of folks speak English, but much like me, here in Seattle, they appreciate it when foreigners make an effort to say something – anything! – in the local language.

I knew this fact, really. In my head. I also thought that it wouldn’t be that hard to do. (Then I learned that I’d been mispronouncing for years the one German phrase I know; I was mortified. I’m sure everyone I said it to just thought, “Oh, bless your heart.”)

Image courtesy of SomeEcards and cmiller103313′s Pinterest.

Regardless, I tried to extend myself grace. Most folks seemed to appreciate the fact that I tried to speak their language, whether or not it was pronounced perfectly. (I’ve heard that is not the case in Paris; stay tuned.)

SO. The lesson? Study up; learn to pronounce the words – as best you can! – and make the effort to speak a foreign language, even if it’s just “Do you speak English?” or “Where is the bathroom?” These are the two most important phrases you need – and the wherewithal to decipher the answer to the latter.

I am immensely grateful for my Rick Steves foreign language phrase books, and highly recommend them; he has published stand-alone and combination books for the following languages:

  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese

My particular favorite was Rick Steves’ French, Italian & German Phrase Book, as I was visiting Germany and Switzerland. Switzerland, you may know, is a conglomeration of French and German speakers, and I found that there was no distinction between where I might need to speak either French or German. I defaulted to German and found they spoke French, and vice versa; it was sometimes easiest to wait until they spoke first before I commenced my English-language begging. :)

Salzburg, Austria | The Curried Nut

Stiftskeller St. Peter, Salzburg, Austria | The Curried Nut

I was so proud of myself when I walked into a little bakery across the way from Stiftskeller St. Peter, above. This bakery is teeny, so small it only sells a couple varieties of sweet rolls – each for about €1. I was able to successfully order one – in German! – hand over my precious coin, and continue on my very merry way.

It’s the little moments like this that make me feel like I truly experienced Europe – the people, the language, the food. I wouldn’t have gone into that little bakery unless Rick Steves mentioned it on his walking tour; I would have missed out on a Salzburg tradition. We don’t go to Europe to eat at McDonald’s – though they do have one on the ritziest street in Salzburg, the Getreidegasse.

Salzburg's Getreidegasse McDonald's | The Curried Nut

Salzburg’s Getreidegasse McDonald’s | The Curried Nut

No, we go – or at least I go – to Europe to experience something different. To get outside my comfort zone, even if it means mispronouncing “Sprechen” every. time. I say it. (At least I can laugh about it!) To create memories; to connect with people around the world that aren’t that different than I; to eat fondue and chocolate and local Weizen bier in Bern, street vendors’ gingerbread cookies in Salzburg, afternoon tea on a plane to Windsor.

To borrow from Dead Poets’ Society’s John Keating:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

This is why I travel. This is why I write. This is why I study that foreign language. And I encourage you to do the same.

(Visited 16 time, 16 visit today)

5 things I’ve learned from Pike Place Market: a tourist’s guide

Image courtesy of Seattle.gov.

Pike Place Market is one of the top tourist attractions in Seattle, and for good reason. It’s got quality food, shops, and flying fish; if you want to take home an inexpensive memento from your time in Seattle, go here. The original Starbucks is also located inside the market. You’ll recognize it by the line.

But if and when you do go to Pike Place, keep these tips in mind. I’ve learned these tricks over the last eight-plus years of navigating downtown on my lunch breaks, and many of them will apply just in general – they aren’t unique to the market.

1. Walk. Don’t drive. I cannot stress this point enough. The intersection of 1st and Pike is, routinely, a standstill – not to mention the fact that pedestrians will ignore any semblance of vehicular right of way.

2. Keep walking. Yes, there’s a cool sign at the entrance. Yes, there’s a bronze pig. Yes, there’s an (albeit disgusting) gum wall. But don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk with your fanny pack and mondo zoom lens to take a picture of it. Step to the side.

3. Buy flowers in the spring/summer. Need I say more?

Pike Place Market flowers | The Curried Nut

Pike Place Market flowers | The Curried Nut

4. Be aware of your surroundings. If/when you suddenly hear a commotion/yelling by the bronze pig and can’t make out the words, fish is being thrown. Move, unless you would like to catch it.

5. Visit the Turkish Delight store for the best store-bought baklava (cash only); the Souk for wonderful Indian spices; and Frank’s Produce for fantastic – you guessed it – produce. (It’s not the one at the market entrance. It’s on the other side of the cheese place a few stalls in. Credit cards require a $5 minimum purchase.)

(Visited 13 time, 13 visit today)

What’s on your (summer reading) list today?

Are you a list person like me? Do you have a list for everything?

I’ve found lately that I need to write things down if I want to have a hope of remembering them later. (Sigh … and I’m only 31. :P) But my favorite list so far has been my summer reading list. Part of me wanted to get all fancy schmancy about it, making a template in Word or Excel with little checkboxes.

Let me tell you that while that type of list is fantastic, for me it’s sometimes best left for a non-summer-reading list. Like a grocery list. The one that isn’t going to change all that much week to week, that won’t have (too many) cross-outs, additions, etc. (That’s why I like the Knock Knock “All Out Of” shopping list.)

This image was brought to you by Amazon.com.

But perhaps it’s me. Because when it comes to books, I’m a bit … “all over the place.” I have my nose in up to four (and sometimes more) books at a time, and I’m one of those contingency readers – I always need a backup plan, just in case I feel like reading that book RIGHT NOW or the other book I wanted to read didn’t turn out to be as good as I hoped (*cough*The Book Thief*cough*). And once I start a book, I feel obligated to finish it, especially if I write it down in a fancy list.

So my summer reading list has become just a simple note on my iPad. No paper to keep track of; no muss, no fuss; and it syncs with my phone and computer.

How times have changed, of course. I was the kid who, on the first day of summer vacation, asked my mom if I could alphabetize all our books. (If I’d thought of it, I probably would have tried to incorporate the Dewey Decimal System.) I painstakingly wrote lists of books to read on a paper, and then promptly misplaced it.

Thank you, Lord, for computers!!!

What are your favorite ways to keep track of your summer reading (or other) lists? And what’s on your summer reading list?

What’s on my summer reading list? (Thank you for asking.) Right now, I’m just trying to finish the ones I’ve started. I did just finish Dallas and Melissa Hertwig’s It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways; it makes me want to do the Whole 30. I haven’t decided if it’s crazy or if I’m just a good rationalizer.

Other books I’m reading include:
- Under Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles), which is a fantastic read so far: gripping and everything you could want in an adventure story. The perfect sequel to Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles), with hints of Narnia and The Mysterious Benedict Society thrown in for good measure.

- . I saw the movie and absolutely adored it; so far, I’m kind of struggling to get into the book. There’s such a dichotomy between book and movie anyway – I know it’s not specific to this one! It’s always hard to know when is best to read the book first, or watch the movie first. To be honest, though, I don’t think I would have picked up the movie if I’d read the book first. It’s a little … muddled. But the movie is so fantastic! I must recommend that, at least.

I’ve also got a couple of nonfiction books I started reading months ago that I must pick up and finish, including Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers and The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content..

What I would really like to re-read this summer is David Shalleck’s Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella. I’ve read it multiple times, and reviewed it already here; it’s the perfect beach read and a great inspiration for fresh summery cooking.

As always, check out my Goodreads page for the latest and greatest on what I’m reading.

(Visited 5 time, 5 visit today)
This entry was posted in Books.

Tales of Cannon Beach

I just got back from a delightful visit to Cannon Beach! The last week was spent eating food …

Pacific Way Bakery goodies | The Curried Nut

Pacific Way Bakery goodies | The Curried Nut

… walking the beach …

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach | The Curried Nut

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach | The Curried Nut

… baking Sierra Nugget chocolate chip cookies (by hand!) …

Sierra Nugget Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Curried Nut

Sierra Nugget Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Curried Nut

… and eating them …

Sierra Nugget Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Curried Nut

Sierra Nugget Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Curried Nut

and so much more. I started reading several different books, tho’ haven’t finished any of them. Currently reading Colin Meloy’s Under Wildwood and Lindsey O’Connor’s memoir The Long Awakening, and enjoying both immensely. Under Wildwood has a touch of Mysterious Benedict Society to it – but is darker; The Long Awakening is painfully real, engagingly written, a page-turner.

Other highlights included revisiting some of my favorite haunts (Haystack Rock and Jockey Cap) and restaurants, particularly Pizza a Fetta. Pizza a Fetta is hands down my favorite pizza place … ever. Large portions, whether by the slice or a whole pie; whole pineapple slices on the Hawaiian pies; savory tomato sauce; thick crust that’s been cooked just right – oh, my. Life does not get better than at this restaurant.

Pizza a' fetta on Urbanspoon

I also had the amazing opportunity to attend a fresh-market dinner show at EVOO Cooking School. That deserves an entire post in itself, so stay tuned! The food and wine were amazing, and Bob and Lenore are just peachy. Looking forward to sharing more about it!

(Visited 23 time, 23 visit today)

Cocktail Reception with A.J. Rathbun at Zinc Art + Interiors

“When does a liqueur become luscious?” A.J. Rathbun asks in his book Luscious Liqueurs. He answers his own question with the suggestion of making your own liqueur.

Frankly, I didn’t know you could do that.

(Although you could probably fill a book with the number of things I don’t know about liqueur.)

Thanks to a cocktail reception for his book Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, however, that is about to change.

A.J. served up two drinks from Ginger Bliss:
- Persephone’s Elixiar, with white tequila, pomegranate liqueur, OJ, and orange bitters;
- Lucien Gaudin, with gin, Cointreau, Campari, and dry vermouth

… as well as two of his homemade liqueurs highlighted in Luscious Liqueurs:
- the sweet (Always Bet on Blackberry);
- and the savory (Lebaoku, featuring vodka, basil leaves, and lemongrass).

I generally go for sweeter cocktails anyway, so preferred the blackberry – but Lebaoku was a complex surprise that would pair nicely with Thai dishes.

Of course, I had to pick up copies of three of A.J.’s books, all of which will easily compliment each other. Ginger Fizz provides the reader/budding mixologist with a solid foundation to mix liqueurs and implement them in any drink, while Luscious Liqueurs takes drink mixing and infusing to a whole new level. It includes recipes for 50 liqueurs you can make at home, including the divine blackberry we sampled; part of me would love to simply stop there, but on the same token, if all of the recipes are as good as that one – I won’t have a problem experimenting and branching out. The last book, Party Snacks!, will provide all the food you need! I’m particularly excited to try the salmon-dill toasts and caramelized onion shells. (I shouldn’t be working on this as it gets close to dinner time … I’m hungry already!)

The event was hosted at Zinc Art & Interiors, a lovely space in downtown Edmonds. I’d not seen or heard of it before; it’s adjacent to Corry’s Cleaners on 3rd and Main (and is MUCH more exciting than the cleaners’). :) Inside, Zinc is light, airy, and open, and filled with eclectic items for home and kitchen. Perfect for this reception, if you ask me! The staff is exceptional, friendly, and of impeccable taste in interior design, space, and style. I also appreciate that they cater to all ages; kids will be enthused by the items selected especially for them. (I enjoyed the red wagon, myself.) Zinc is also hosting its first annual Dog Days of Summer dog show! Check it out on their website, listed below.

You can find A.J. Rathbun on the Internet at http://www.ajrathbun.com, and Zinc Art + Interiors at http://zincartinteriors.com.

(Visited 8 time, 8 visit today)

My Writing Process: Blog Tour

Ever wondered how your favorite bloggers write their posts? I know I sure do. How does Ashley at Not Without Salt come up with that beautiful photography and write such charming posts? How do I find such a unique niche and inspiring recipes like Daytona at Outside Oslo? I would still love to know those answers too. :)

You DO get to hear from some awesome bloggers as part of this tour, though! Susan Williams (That Susan Williams) invited me to join; she writes “about food, faith and fun. I couldn’t limit myself to JUST writing about food because I absolutely adore telling a good story!” Some of her favorite posts she’s written include peach pit jelly and fourteen years late for the big yellow bus. She writes about her style and process here.

I’m also looking forward to posts on Monday, 6/30/14. Rick O’Connor (Dad to the Future) is one of the biggest Back to the Future fans I know. :) He’s recently started an excellent blog and will be joining the tour on the 30th, too! Can’t wait to read it; Rick’s recent post in response to the news of Tony Gwinn’s passing is utterly heart-rending.

Katherine Bacher is rounding out the tour at her blog, Katherine Bacher’s Bits and Pieces. I’ve been following her writing for a long time, and am greatly anticipating reading about her process and style.

And now … a little peek inside my process.

1. What am I working on?

I just finished up a piece for The Analytical Couch Potato about Star Wars and Lucasfilm’s recent announcement that the Expanded Universe is not considered canon. Other than that, it’s a pretty quiet season for me, with nothing firm scheduled. I’m looking forward to cooking and baking a lot this summer; Gravensteins will be in season in August-ish, and that’s always my favorite thing!

I also need to wrap up a couple of posts I’ve had mulling in my head for a while, including a piece on Israeli food that I’m very excited about. I’m headed to Israel again soon and have it on the brain like you wouldn’t believe!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Some days I feel like I’m still trying to find my niche. I cover a lot of material, between food, literature, and (a little bit of) wine; I try to capture life as I experience it, and varied and crazy happens all too often. ;-) (I was a European Studies major in college so I wouldn’t have to focus too much on one thing; I needed the variety to keep me from getting bored. Apparently that’s still the case!!)

I am starting to focus a bit more on seasonal, fresh, local ingredients in Seattle and Snohomish County. A farmer’s market is about 5 minutes away from my house, and I enjoy utilizing what they have fresh each week!

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I absolutely love it. I really do. As I mentioned above, I thrive on variety; it keeps up my interest level. I am the perennial multitasker … ha!

Really, though, I love to cook and share food with others. Life happens around the table; we eat three or more times a day and that is where the magic happens. We share about our days, our highs and lows and everything in between. And good food is one thing we absolutely take away and remember. Meals have the power to invoke nostalgia, a memory of a place or moment in time.

Dead Poets’ Society‘s John Keating said it well (and this applies equally to food as it does to literature): “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. … poetry, beauty, romance, love; these are what we stay alive for.”

4. How does my writing process work?

It honestly varies widely. Some of my posts are completely stream-of-consciousness, which can work wonderfully – or terribly. Others have certain criteria or information I have to include, like the blog tours. Still others are a combination of both, or neither. :) I wouldn’t say there’s one way that I approach it that’s a be-all, end-all. Topic and mood often dictate my writing process; sometimes the muse simply descends and I manage to write a particularly good post (in my humble opinion).

I especially enjoy when I have a story that’s a perfect segue into the topic I’m writing about. This doesn’t happen all the time, so when it does, it makes life much easier! :) One of last summer’s posts about Gravenstein apples is a perfect example of this. The little moment between me and my mom was so perfect – I still chuckle when I read it. It’s these “little moments” that make up everyday life and turn it extraordinary.

Ultimately, to truly answer the question: I have a running mental list of things I’d like to blog about: recipes, books, life. When one comes up, I get the pictures, assemble the recipe information (as needed), and sit down … and write. I don’t try and polish it while I’m writing; I just put all the information in a post and then go back and rework it. Some posts need more reworking than others. ;)

It also helps when I can step away from the post for a while and return to it later; the fresh perspective helps me see problems, awkward phrasing, missing information, and so on. Scheduling posts in advance also helps, because it gives me X amount of time to revisit as desired. :)

One other bit I also recently clued into: “Friday favorites” posts are quite popular in the blogging world, but oftentimes I’ll finally hit Friday and not have time to write a post, pull pictures together, etc. Or maybe Tuesday comes around and I have a brilliant idea for a FF post. So I write it up and schedule it for Friday … voila! It’s like the crock pot of blog posts.

(Visited 33 time, 33 visit today)

Teriyaki green beans

If you need a quick and easy side dish (and even if you don’t), might I suggest these incredibly easy teriyaki green beans?

Teriyaki Green Beans | The Curried Nut

Teriyaki Green Beans | The Curried Nut

Growing up, I was a fan of canned green beans. Not the French-cut, just the normal “thick-cut” green beans, and heaven forbid there would be fresh green beans at the grocery store. None for this girl, thankyouverymuch.

Thankfully … my tastes have matured. :) And I absolutely adore this recipe: the speed, the ease, the flavors, the color … everything. It’s a speedy (speedier) side dish inspired by Saveur’s recipe for green beans with sesame sauce.

I also enjoy the fact that these teriyaki green beans are served cold: I really don’t think they’d do as well warm/hot, especially as they’re meant to be a summer dish – all about the cool freshness!

Teriyaki green beans

Ingredients

  • Fresh green beans (not canned)
  • Soy Vay teriyaki sauce
  • Water
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Trim the ends of the green beans, either by hand or with a knife.
  2. Fill a saucepan at least halfway full of water (enough to cover the amount of green beans you are cooking). Bring water to a boil.
  3. Add the green beans and cook 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the green beans to a bowl of ice water and let cool.
  5. Remove the green beans to a platter or other serving dish. Add desired amount of teriyaki sauce and mix together.
  6. Serve.
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(Visited 34 time, 34 visit today)
This entry was posted in Recipes.

2014 Edmonds Arts Festival

When does summer truly start for you?

We like to joke here in Seattle that summer begins the day after the 4th of July, due to the inordinate number of years that it has rained on the 4th only to be gorgeously sunny the 5th. Based on data collected between 1974 and 2012 … there is a 74% chance of slight precipitation (in other words, “Seattle rain”) on the 4th.

Summer truly starts for me on the third weekend in June: the weekend of the Edmonds Arts Festival. My mom took me, my brother, and varying friends over the years every year on Friday afternoon. It usually fell on the last day of our school year, which invariably was a half-day. Voila! Instant summer fun.

This year, a friend of mine joined me on Saturday for a couple hours of browsing. The weather was primarily overcast, but we did get a break in the clouds for a wee bit, so that was particularly nice. I love the sights, smells, and sounds of the fair!

One of my favorite things about the festival is the food. They have all the standard fair food – funnel cakes, elephant ears, greasy burgers and fries (that taste oh, so good), strawberry shortcake, fudge, ice cream, and more – which conglomerates into one fabulous fair-food smell. I love it, I really do.

2014 Edmonds Arts Festival Food | The Curried Nut

2014 Edmonds Arts Festival Food | The Curried Nut

No funnel cakes were in the cards for me this year, since they likely include milk; I consoled myself with a piroshky. (This still surprises me and my mother to this day: I spent years wrinkling my nose at her piroshky, only to try it after a year of Russian-language study and find I loved it.) It’s now in writing, Mom … you were right! :)

I also always enjoy looking at the various booths onsite. Row upon row of artisan creations, whether garden art, pottery, photography, paintings, jewelry, or more – I am constantly blown away by the talent and creativity represented at the arts festival every year.

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival | The Curried Nut

Booths at the Edmonds Arts Festival | The Curried Nut

One of my favorites, Creative with Clay, got the award for Best Booth at the festival – and boy, is it well deserved. From the intricate design work on each piece to the colors chosen … I was in heaven in this booth.

Creative with Clay booth. Image courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival.

Creative with Clay booth. Image courtesy of the Edmonds Arts Festival.

And now … summer can truly begin. Local berries have arrived in town; I just bought some fresh Mount Vernon berries at Pike Place Market over lunch today. Looking forward to enjoying those, along with a multitude of other fruits, vegetables, and of course … vacations. Cannon Beach is calling my name, and her siren grows ever louder.

(Visited 22 time, 22 visit today)

Macy’s Great American Grilling Guru: West Coast

Yesterday was the West Coast finals for Macy’s America’s Greatest Grilling Guru, held on the Macy’s Alderwood parking lot as part of their county fair.

It was a blast! Three finalists competed for the chance to go on to New York later this month (the winner will be in the running for first place, $10,000, and a trip to the 2015 Macy’s Fireworks). Seattle’s own Tom Douglas was on site to judge, as well as provide delectable samples while we watched.

An adorable older couple danced to the country/oldies music playing over the loudspeakers, and we just loved it!

DSC_0003

The three contestants and their entries were Jack Scalfani of California (making Mama’s beef short ribs – his mom’s recipe), Margee Berry of Washington (making alder-wood planked shrimp tacos with seared slaw), and Edwina Gadsby of Idaho (making grilled sweet chili salmon noodle salad).

Macy's America's Grilling Guru contestants

Macy’s America’s Grilling Guru contestants

Each contestant had about 45 minutes to make their dish of choice, and all finished with time to spare.

The host, Seth Wayne from KOMO News, played the crowd and interviewed the contestants and Tom throughout the hour, while we sampled these two dreamy appetizers: prawn and salmon.

Tom Douglas's prawn appetizer.

Tom Douglas’s prawn appetizer.

Tom Douglas's salmon appetiz

Tom Douglas’s salmon appetizer

Let me just say that Tom Douglas is a hoot. I met him last September at a #freshbloggers reception before the International Food Bloggers Conference; he’d catered the meal and came out to say hi to everyone. He’s just great – a charmer, to be sure, with a great sense of humor and impeccable taste in food, particularly Seattle’s favorite – seafood. (He waxed eloquent yesterday on Copper River salmon, which is – blessedly! – in season. Have you had any yet? Have you ever had any? Run, don’t walk, and get some – it’s worth every penny! Especially good with Tom’s Rub With Love salmon seasoning … and no, he didn’t pay me to say that!)

Tom wore the first-prize ribbon until he was forced  to award it to the actual winner.

Tom wore the first-prize ribbon until he was forced to award it to the actual winner.

Seth had to smell the progress.

Seth had to smell the progress.

And of course … Tom (and Seth) had to taste-test the entries.

tastetest4

The winner, as mentioned, is slated to fly to New York at the end of the month to participate in the finals of the grilling guru championship. The winner of that will win $10,000 and attend the Macy’s Fireworks in 2015. (I’m drooling!)

And the winner was … Edwina Gadsby of Idaho, with her grilled sweet chili salmon noodle salad!

Second prize went to Jack’s mama’s ribs, and third prize went to Margee and her shrimp tacos.

I honestly wanted to try every single one! They sounded absolutely incredible, and were so inspiring. I’m ready to do some serious grilling this summer! :)

Super duper congratulations to Edwina; best wishes for the finals in NYC. :)

The winner! Edwina from Idaho.

The winner! Edwina from Idaho.

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