Halibut with Polenta and Red Pepper Salsa

Recipe courtesy Joshua Green of Ponti Seafood GrillServes 4 | Prep Time: 1 hourfrom Edible Seattle Spring 2008 2 1/2 cups water 1/2 cup polenta 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 Anaheim peppers 2 poblano peppers 2 red bell peppers 2 banana peppers 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1/2 cup diced sweet onion 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar Salt and freshly ground pepper 4 halibut filets (about 1 1/2 pounds total), skinned 2 ounces pea shoots For the Polenta Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the polenta, stirring constantly for the first minute or so. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently,...

Grilled Prawns with Beans and Miner’s Lettuce

Recipe courtesy Ethan Stowell, of Union, Tavolàta, How to Cook a Wolf and Anchovies & OlivesMakes: 4 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutesfrom Edible Seattle Spring 2008 Chef Stowell prefers using jumbo Hawaiian blue prawns and round Italian controne beans for this light, springy salad, but large shrimp and cannellini beans will also work. 1 cup dried white beans, such as controne or cannellini, soaked in cold water overnight 1 shallot, peeled 1 stalk celery 1 medium carrot, peeled 2 cloves garlic, peeled 16 jumbo prawns, peeled and deveined Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 cups loosely packed miner's lettuce leaves, all stems removed Zest of 1/2 a lemon Juice of 1 lemon ...

Summer 2008

Summer has a way of convincing me that gluttony is a good thing. Berries for breakfast. A gigantic pile of carrots and haricots verts for lunch. A tomato salad, grilled corn and zucchini for dinner. It's a lot of food, but it's energizing and healthy in a happily unintentional way. None of these meals are chosen for being good for me: I'm just eating what tastes good, and there's no such thing as too much. It occurred to me a few years ago that home canning would let me feel like a virtuous glutton year round. I don't worry too much about getting the very first of everything as the season progresses, because I know that once a particular food shows...

An Ambassador for Chickens

AN AMBASSADOR FOR CHICKENS by Shelley Bjornstad photo by Carole Topalian You have chickens? In your backyard? Really? Why? I must have had this conversation 50 times in the last year. Ever since I decided to build a coop in the yard of my Greenwood home and raise a trio of hens, I have become an ambassador for backyard chickens. Chickens are surprisingly rewarding as pets—endlessly amusing, each with its own personality and behaviors, each with its place in the pecking order. And I can't think of another pet that contributes to the household by producing something as lovely as fresh eggs. With their bright yellow yolks and pastel-tinted shells, fresh eggs can only be described as tasting "more eggy"—my home-grown eggs taste better...

A New Pig in Town

A NEW PIG IN TOWN story and photo by Heidi Broadhead Heath Putnam just wanted some tasty pork. And he figured he was not alone. "There are certain things that people pay money for willingly. They hit people on a really, really low level. Good food is something like that. Porn is something like that. Prostitution. Drugs," he said. "When I tasted the Mangalitsa, I knew it was one of those things." Mangalitsa pigs, also known as Wollschwein or Wooly pigs (the name that Putnam chose for his business), are native to Hungary. This lard-type breed of pig (i.e., valued for its natural marbling as opposed to American pigs that are bred and fed to be lean) was not available in the United States...

Barn Doors of the Sea

BARN DOORS OF THE SEAby Eric Chastainphotos courtesy of IPHC and MOHAI In Monty Python's sketch "Fish License," John Cleese, trying to buy a fish license for his pet halibut, extols, "I chose him out of thousands—the others were all too flat." It stuck in my head: Not only was it wildly funny, the name of the halibut in question was Eric. At the time, I knew virtually nothing about halibut, but I already liked it. The Pacific halibut's life begins as one of perhaps 500,000 eggs produced by a single female fish. After hatching, the larvae start out swimming vertically, like salmon. When they reach about an inch in length, the left eye migrates over the nose of the fish and...

The Queen of Condiments

THE QUEEN OF CONDIMENTSby Bethany Jean Clementphotos by Lara Ferroni In which Edible Seattle visits the home of a prominent Pacific Northwest chef and reports on the contents of their refrigerator(s), snacks served, tricks performed by pets and other miscellany. The Subject: Renee Erickson, the calm, lovely and very slightly foul-mouthed chef/owner of Seattle's beloved Boat Street Cafe. On a Friday morning, Erickson is found watching black-and-white-era Julia Child in her Phinney Ridge bungalow. She got the DVD as a gift, she says. Her home is unmistakably reminiscent of Boat Street: rustic, charming, nearly overwhelmingly pleasant. A big blackboard on the dining-room wall has an old wine list from the restaurant with a drawing of two happy dogs chalked on it; white...

Finland by the Suitcase

FINLAND BY THE SUITCASEby Anna Rothphoto by Lara Ferroni Karoliina Kuisma is watching my first encounter with Finnish candy with amusement. "You can spit it out if you want," she offers, but I am determined to finish. She smiles, a little mischievously. The salmiakki is sour and salty and tastes like the most intense licorice ever. The flavor's not really unpleasant until I get to the center, where a cache of powder completely overwhelms my taste buds. I'm all for trying new sweets, but my brain is having a hard time categorizing this with butterscotch disks and Jolly Ranchers."Sometimes I buy the powder and just stick my finger in," she says, then tells me that I tried the least...

A Force for All Seasons

A FORCE FOR ALL SEASONSstory and photos by Lara Ferroni Maria Hines is deep in preparations for the day at Tilth, her acclaimed Seattle restaurant. Her kitchen crew towers above her, but it's clear that she is in charge, managing the whirlwind of movement in her self-described "goat rodeo." Staff members carrying bowls of lemons and trays of onions narrowly avoid collision, shouting warnings of "Corner!" and "Door!" None of this fazes Hines. While she's petite, and so is Tilth's kitchen, her unassailable spirit is quite the opposite—as is the meat cleaver in her hand. Hines answers questions while simultaneously hacking up whole chickens faster than most people tie their shoes. The chickens are Washington-grown Rosies—organic, of course, like almost all of...

The Calm Before The Cake

THE CALM BEFORE THE CAKE by Amy Broomhall photo by Lara Ferroni My fascination for decorated cakes came early in life when my brothers and I would pore over the Australian Women's Weekly "Children's Birthday Cake Book." Every Australian home with children has this book, and at each birthday party one attends, a cake from its pages is inevitably present. Would we have the duck with popcorn feathers, Smiley Shark or the number eight made into a race track? This decision-making process filled many rainy days on our farm, the anticipation sometimes greater than the cake itself. My urge to decorate only grew stronger after I had my first child. My crazed "must be the perfect mother" brain ranted: No son of...

Like Your Own Backyard, Only Better

LIKE YOUR OWN BACKYARD, ONLY BETTERby Sean Hughesphoto by Carole Topalian Tucked away behind schools, in between houses or down winding alleys, you'll find the many Seattle community gardens—or P-Patches, as they're called. Within each P-Patch gather urban gardeners of all stripes: apartment dwellers, homeowners with unsuitable yards, and people who just want more space. They garden year-round or seasonally in the little 10-by-10 swaths of ground, some growing all of the produce that they eat. And what a bounty these gardeners coax from the land! Whether greeted by the supple green tendrils of a sugar snap pea climbing a lattice in the early spring, the multitudes of seed-heavy sunflowers tipping over under their own weight in late summer, or the...

Local Food for Local Hunger

LOCAL FOOD FOR LOCAL HUNGERby Amy Penningtonphotos by Lara Ferroni It's gray in here and the lighting is quite dim. Boxes of bananas, government-provided canned goods and miscellaneous containers of cookies and candy are stacked to the ceiling. It feels like a Costco, except the food and supplies are not for sale. I'm poking around the warehouse of Pierce County's Emergency Food Network. The Emergency Food Network (EFN) was established as a nonprofit in 1991 and serves as Pierce County's sole nonprofit food distributor. Not to be confused with a food bank (where people come to accept food if they are hungry), EFN services more than 74 food programs and food banks within Pierce County on a daily basis. Essentially, they act...

Mining for Lettuce

MINING FOR LETTUCE By Patricia Tanumihardja Photo by Sunny Savage Christened with a most unlikely—and dare I say un-pretty—name, miner's lettuce may not sound like the most appetizing of edibles. But if you were a miner during the California Gold Rush, the sight of these straggly plants emerging from the soft soil would have been as welcome as a plethora of gold nuggets. The plant took its name from these very miners, who consumed it to supplement their daily vitamin C intake and fight scurvy. The miners were not the only ones who appreciated miner's lettuce. The American Indians not only ate it raw and cooked, they made a tea from the plant, hence its other name: Indian lettuce. Californian tribes...

Book News

Design: Move beyond compact fluorescent bulbs and yard waste composting with The Northwest Green Home Primer, created by sustainable design experts Kathleen O'Brien and Kathleen Smith. The book itself shows plenty of thoughtful design—practical checklists, attention to budgeting, and case studies are balanced with glossy home photos that inspire serious coveting. Wine: Dedicated wine connoisseurs are equal parts impressive and intimidating, and it's always something of a relief to learn from one who's just a regular guy. Steve Robert's Wine Trails of Washington was published in January; it covers 228 wineries, divided up into "tasting trails" that can be visited in a weekend. It avoids repetitive tasting notes and emphasizes the experience—which seems like the very best way to learn your...

Backyard Farming

    There is a difference between joyfully planting a vegetable garden in April and keeping the slugs out of your strawberries in July. There is also a difference between planting a few tomatoes and a brilliant, properly scaled vegetable and flower garden that keeps your family and friends in fresh goodies all summer. Colin McCrate, owner of Seattle Urban Farm Company, not only understands these differences, he helps smooth them out by working with you to properly plot, plant and maintain a garden that suits your needs and your space. The company's services include planning, advice, installation, harvesting and maintenance—with or without a personalized gardening education—for everyone from those with overgrown spaces and without a clue to expert gardeners who just...

Tacoma’s Bison Tacos

The neon bison sign out front was enough to spark my curiosity, and the explanation is simple: This tiny place near Point Defiance serves a lot of bison meat (and it's organically raised, too). They make tacos, burritos, burgers, sausages and soups with this extremely low-fat meat (they call it "the world's original health food"), accompanied by a full menu of vegetarian options and yogurt-based shakes. The shop is ideally located for grabbing a snack before spending a warm afternoon in the park. Tatanka Takeout4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston253-752-8778 ...

Snack Locally

For nearly a year now, I have been on a mission to eat my way through every existent bag of Uncle Woody's Caramel Corn. The good news: The West Seattle–based company keeps making it. The bad news: I now have a daily habit. The thick caramel coating has a brown-sugary richness with just a hint of salt, hitting that spectacular snack trifecta of sweet-salty-crunchy. My fandom even extends to the sensible zipper-bag package—when I left a half-eaten bag in the pantry while on vacation for a couple weeks, the contents were exactly as crunchy upon return as before I left. Calling it good for you would be a stretch, but the ingredient list is entirely real food, so it's not...

Northwest Tofu

Biting into a square of tofu made the same day is like eating food in a dream: The creaminess dissolves so smoothly, with such grand elusiveness, it's hard to define such basics as flavor. This is why one commonly available form of tofu is known as "silken"—except based on the standard grocery-packed variety, "watery" might be a better descriptor. At this small family-run shop, they go through about 300 pounds of soybeans in making fresh tofu each day (except Wednesdays, when they're closed). Much of it goes directly to the restaurant trade, but you can pick up ultra-fresh, bulk-packaged tofu and soy milk on the premises. Breakfast, lunch and cooked-to-order dim sum are served at the handful of tables—dig into...