Becky’s Perfect Ribeye

By Becky SelengutServes 1 (no sharing, back off!)| Start to finish: 20 minutesfrom Edible Seattle September/October 2009 I'm a purist when it comes to impeccable ingredients. An incredible steak needs nothing more than "oohs" and "aahs" as sauce. It's a crime to cook a steak to anything more than medium rare, and the only tool necessary is a perfectly seasoned cast iron pan, with a large enough circumference to contain a single ribeye. 1 tablespoon high-heat oil, such as grapeseed or canola 1 bone-in ribeye steak, cut at least 1 1/2" thick Sea salt to taste Pepper to taste Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On the stovetop, heat a cast iron pan over high heat. Add the oil to the pan. Season the steak generously, on both...

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Heaven-Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 4 or 8 / Start to finish: 50 minutes from Edible Seattle September/October 2009 This heady combination is the kind of thing that might make a person change religions. If you'd prefer, omit the meat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the hot pan before sautéing the onions. Recipe Olive oil spray 2 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), washed but not trimmed 1/4 pound pancetta (one 1/2" thick slice) or bacon, cut into 1/2" dice 1 cup finely chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled Steps Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9"x13" baking dish with the...

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The Tomato Freak

Pike Place Market has long been considered a national landmark, and a city treasure. It's even inspired a public market movement across the country. But, unlike San Francisco's Ferry Building, regularly drawing Seattleites to shop or eat can be challenging, because it's also one of our most popular tourist attractions....

Sidebar: Simple Ways to Help the Bees

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has drastically reduced bee populations in recent years and has created huge challenges for the industry, which in turn could affect America's food supply down the road. "I don't know what the supply of honey will be in the future or what the supply of bees will be in the future if they don't resolve the problem," says Goetz. Bees pollinate a third of our food sources in America, she says, which in turn means a large percentage of available food could disappear if the bees don't survive. Seattle residents can support the apiculture industry by taking the following steps 1. Buy products like Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar or Haagen Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream. Both...

Books: The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook

BY JILL LIGHTNER I've been looking forward to Pat Tanumihardja's book The Asian Grandmother's Cookbook for a year—ever since she first mentioned she was working on it. When I finally got a copy in my kitchen, I was thrilled: Not only did Pat do a stupendous job collecting stories and recipes, Lara Ferroni worked her photography magic for the ingredient glossary and the recipes. It's compelling, kind-hearted and gorgeous, just as I expected. Pat developed precise recipes for a world of home-style dishes, by connecting with grandmothers from all over Asia: Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Myanmar Indonesia, Japan, India and the Philippines. Some recipes, like hot and sour soup or sukiyaki, are likely to be familiar to everyone, while others (soybean...

Sidebar: Finding Seaweed on Beaches and in Stores

Finding SeaweedSeaweed can be gathered year-round on private beaches with a license; the limit is 10 pounds wet and a license is required. The same health cautions that apply to shellfish apply to seaweeds. If an area is deemed unsafe for shellfish gathering, it's also closed to seaweeding. All State Park beaches are closed to gathering except Fort Flagler, Fort Ebey, and Fort Worden State Parks, where the season, as it is for other public beaches, is limited to April 16 to May 15. Regardless of where you forage, the license requirement and weight limit apply. If you miss the season, you can always find dried wakame or kombu at Uwajimaya, Whole Foods, or PCC Natural Markets. Drying Fresh Seaweed...

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Averting a Seaweed Crisis

Food Traditions, Park Rangers and Three Bored Kids STORY AND PHOTO BY SUMI HAHN It's a glorious day on Puget Sound, the kind where the unnatural brightness bleaches away all the common sense one would otherwise possess on a typical cloudy day. So when my father suggests we bring his three grandchildren—my spawn—along to forage for seaweed by the seashore, I, sun-drunk and giddy, agree. "We're stalking the great brown kelp!" The children chant happily in the minivan as I drive to Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island, a favorite spot among local Koreans for gathering miyeouk, the brown seaweed that is better known by its Japanese name, wakame. A type of alaria seaweed, wakame is the slippery green stuff that floats around...

craig hetherington

The Non-Activist Activist

It's not often that you walk in to a sustainably-driven restaurant kitchen and find a handful of chefs and staff prepping for a hot dog tasting—a "dirty dog" tasting, to be exact....

Home Made

History in a bowl of soup BY ANNA THOMAS These are hard times. Right? Most of us are making do with less, sometimes much less. And yet…I feel that somewhere in all this less, there is a secret more. No, poverty can't buy happiness. But hard times might lead to good times in unexpected ways. Does eating feel expensive? The hidden gift of these tough times might be a return to home cooking. That comforting ritual, the simple act of preparing food for ourselves, has been slipping out of our lives, washed away in a tide of busyness. I didn't learn to cook until I left home and went away to college. But in the immigrant culture where I grew up, my mother, my...

Sidebar: Flavor Notes

Olsen Farms Beef Stevens County, Angus and Angus-cross 100% grass and potato-fed, dry-aged 14 days Available from Ballard, University District, Broadway, Lake City, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, Columbia City, and Madison Farmer's Markets Flavor notes: gamey, vegetal, alfalfa, grass, maple, tangy, steel, fishy, earth   Skagit River Ranch Skagit County, Angus 100% grass-fed, aged 14 days, USDA organic Available from University District, Columbia City, West Seattle, Ballard Farmer's Markets, Skagit Valley Co-op and Madison Market Central Co-op Flavor notes: mineral, earth, cocoa, gamey, green notes (asparagus/conifer,) fishy, liver, mushroom, cheese   Meat Shop of Tacoma Lewis County, Charolais-Limosin cross Grain-finished, dry-aged 21 days, USDA organic Available from Olympia Food Co-Op locations and at the Meat Shop just outside of Tacoma (the oldest certified organic meat shop in Washington) Flavor notes: straightforward beefy, lightly caramelized, grass, mild   Country...

Defining the Terms

CAFO: Concentrated animal feeding operation, more commonly known as a feedlot. This is the standard finishing method for the vast majority of US beef. The relative conditions of CAFOs vary, but are increasingly viewed by consumers as unacceptable. Dry-aged: A process that slowly evaporates moisture from very cold beef, resulting in concentrated flavors and marked tenderness. Some experts consider the aging process of higher importance to final flavor than the steer's diet. Dry-aging can take anywhere from 15-28 days (some age even longer). Grass-fed: Applied to animals fed a diet of 100-percent grass, but has also been used to market animals that have spent only part of their life on pasture. Because of this, 100% grass-fed may be a more instructive term...

Hungry for Local Meat

Puget Sound Meat Producers open for business BY HEIDI BROADHEAD Photos courtesy Puget Sound Meat Producer's Co-op On March 14, 2009, in a classroom at the Washington Farm Bureau building in Lacey with an American flag and the requisite coffee and cookies, Cheryl Ouellette called to order the first annual members' meeting of the Puget Sound Meat Producer's Cooperative. Tracy Smarciarz, owner of Heritage Meats and the cooperative's first charter member, invited members to tour his facility. Other board members, and prospective members, from Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Kitsap, and Grays Harbor Counties introduced themselves, proudly talking about their "mother cows," pigs, sheep, goats, and turkeys. "The strength of this group is our diversity," says Ouellette. "Processors, chefs, farmers—we all have something to bring." Although Ouellette is...

beckys steak tasting

Renaissance Beef

A quest for the ideal ribeye BY BECKY SELENGUT PHOTOS BY LARA FERRONI It was fall of 1997 and I'd been a vegetarian for a decade. I stopped eating meat for ethical reasons and not because I didn't love a good steak. One reading of Diet for a Small Planet, a college education in upstate New York and a whole lot of hippie friends had me eating tofu faster than you can say "medium rare". "Humanely raised," "sustainable" and "grass-fed" were years away from being tossed around our urban lexicon like so much green confetti. It was my first week in culinary school and I naively thought I could hold out for longer than the three days it took for me to cave....

chateau ste michele

The Gospel According to Joel Butler

In the panoply of dream jobs, few have more potential for pleasure and satisfaction than Joel Butler's: he is director of education for Ste. Michelle Estates. Sometimes in tee-shirt and jeans, sometimes in coat and tie, he travels the country as a sort of wine evangelist, thumping a bible of enology, converting skeptics with logic and hedonism, rejoicing in those "Aha!" moments of revelation when his parishioners finally recognize the difference in the glass, the quality of Washington wine....

Lunch for a Monkey: Noontime with Matthew and Iris Amster-Burton

BY BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT PHOTO BY KELLY O In which Edible Seattle visits the home of a Pacific Northwest food notable and reports on their refrigerator's contents, philosophical underpinnings, pirouetting offspring, and other miscellany. THE SUBJECT: Matthew Amster-Burton, the Seattle author of Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater, a funny, myth-deflating chronicle of introducing a brand-new person to the joy of eating (with plenty of unintimidating, all-ages-appropriate recipes). Also present for the Icebox raid: Iris, the titular hungry monkey, now age five. LUNCHEON SERVED: Pot stickers (pork, bok choy, and ginger, a variation on a Hungry Monkey recipe) and scallion pancakes, made by Matthew and Iris in the snug Amster-Burton Capitol Hill apartment that morning. Matthew fries them up...

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Honey Ridge Farms

We've sipped fermented beverages since Biblical times, when humans first mixed honey, water and yeast with subtle flavorings like herbs or flowers to create mead. Also known as honey wine, this alcoholic beverage remained popular for hundreds of years in England and Northern Europe....

Urban Foraging: Fall Gardening

by Jill Lightner Every house I walked past this summer seemed to have a few vegetables growing in the front yard. My neighbor's dog stomped their spinach starts back in June, but most of the edible plant gardens I witnessed seemed highly successful. A bit of effort now at the end of the season can lead to even bigger successes next year. The secret? Compost. If you don't have your own mulch pile going, pick up a bag of organic Cedar Grove compost or their booster blend. The first is created from Seattle yard waste bins; the second is a mix of those yard collections and washed dairy manure. Cedar Grove products are sold in numerous nurseries, and can be delivered in...

Urban Foraging: Drink Your Daily Chocolate

by Jill Lightner My dream for future generations of local kids: They'll dismiss the Swiss Miss and demand quality drinking chocolate. My plan to make that dream a reality: Introduce as many as possible to locally-crafted Fiori. Instead of heavily sugared powder, Fiori is created from tiny pellets of chocolate that melt smoothly into hot milk. The richness of real cocoa butter makes a small serving immensely satisfying, and it's easy to adjust the intensity of flavor by adding more milk (the recipe on the package suggests nearly equal parts of chocolate and milk). For chocolate purists, there's a simple 70-percent cacao version. For those in search of the exotic, try the white chocolate blended with matcha. History nerds and other traditionalists should...

Urban Foraging: Chestnuts

by Jill Lightner After chestnut blight wiped out an estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees a century ago, this country lost the annual chestnut-craving madness that hits much of Europe and Asia. While researchers hope to release blight-resistant almost-all-American chestnuts into the world within a decade, there are a few successful chestnut farms in Washington, making other varieties of this short-season treat worth seeking out this October. You can find Chinese chestnuts and hybrid nuts locally, both of which are nearly as sweet as the gone-but-not-forgotten American variety; either kind can be eaten fresh, dried and stored, or ground into gluten-free flour. Try them raw, roast them and eat them warm, or save them for holiday baking, but limited supplies mean you...

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The Mystery of Mushrooms

Identifying the fungus among us STORY BY CAMERON KANE PHOTOS BY CAROLE TOPALIAN AND CAMERON KANE I spend a lot of time hiking with my dog, and I see mushrooms everywhere. They colonize rotting logs, jut like inaccessible shelves from tall trees and pop up from the ground as pristine white spheres. The more I noticed them, the more I wanted to know them. Knowing the habits and habitat of the flora engages me with the environment and increases my enjoyment. A walk in the woods becomes a walk with the woods. Which ones could I have for lunch? Which ones only looked innocent? And, most importantly, how could I tell the two apart? No one is sure how many mushroom species grow in our...

Editor’s Letter

The ethics of food-related decisions fascinate me. My circle of friends includes vegans, vegetarians, aquatarians, omnivores, and a whole lot of variations on these broad groups, from the guy who eats fish and birds but not mammals, to the woman who is typically a vegetarian but will contentedly eat whatever dinner I offer, even if it includes meat. There are also the ones who will only buy organic products, and the ones who insist that price trumps environmental considerations. And don't ignore the folks who eat anything except a single troubling food: foie gras, for example, or farmed fish. I make my own decisions on a case by case basis. My kitchen is highly local, but I don't fret about imported...