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When visiting The Herbfarm they served us a wonderful corn bisque. After the dinner I asked the chef what was in it. He told me it was nothing more than corn and lots of melted butter. That sounded good to me.
I went the next week to my little farm down the way to get some fresh white corn from them to try to recreate the soup. I made a thicker version than what we had but you can easily thin it down more. The herb oil, though not needed really does add a little something to it.
Hopefully you can still get some nice corn around your parts. If not, I would hold off making this until you can get some of the good stuff. I just don’t think it would taste as good using frozen.

Fresh Corn Bisque

3 ears fresh white corn (yellow works too), kernels removed
1 TBSP unsalted butter for saute
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper (white)  to taste

Herb Oil

1 TBSP chopped fresh basil
1 TBSP chopped fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup vegetable oil

To make the soup:
Melt 1 TBSP unsalted butter in a large skillet. Add corn kernels and saute for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add corn to food processor and pulse 3 times. Slowly pour in butter while machine is running.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Pulse one last time to incorporate salt and pepper.
Pour into bowls and top with fresh corn and herb oil.
*If you would like your soup to be thinner, add water not chicken stock to thin it out. Using chicken stock or vegetable stock takes away from the corn flavor.

To make herb oil:
In a food processor, add all ingredients and blend until herbs are infused into oil.

Other than Huckleberry Hound cartoons as a kid, I had never heard of a huckleberry. I thought it was just a made up name.
On a trip to Idaho to visit relatives, my aunt pulled out a pitcher of Huckleberry Lemonade. And from that point on I was hooked. I was buying huckleberry anything while I was there. I was even the geek at the airport buying all the huckleberry stuff they were selling, from jam to taffy. Now you know who buys that kind of stuff at the airport, me. 😉
Luckily my parents live in that state now, so whenever I go to visit I can get my huckleberry fix. Huckleberry is very, very popular there.
So when my friend L said she was going to Idaho did I want anything, I quickly handed her money and said, fresh huckleberries if you can find them. She did. I was happy. They are pretty hard to find and so you pay a pretty penny for them. If you can’t find them you can use blackberries. Not the same but they will do the trick!

Huckleberry BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

6 buns (I like to use sandwich or hot dog buns)
Huckleberry Coleslaw (recipe follows)
Pulled Pork (4-6 pound pork butt prepared)
Huckleberry BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)

Place bun on plate. Spread a good amount of coleslaw. Top with pulled pork. Top with BBQ sauce.

Huckleberry Coleslaw

1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix 
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup fresh or frozen huckleberries
3 TBSP canola oil
½  cup granulated sugar
2 TBSP cider vinegar
¼ tsp salt

Place coleslaw mix into a large bowl.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, canola oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and huckleberries in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly.
Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

Huckleberry Barbecue Sauce

3 cups tomato ketchup
1 ½ cups water
½  cup brown sugar
¼ cup sweet onion (I used Walla Walla), minced
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 cup huckleberries (fresh or frozen) or blackberries if you can’t find huckleberries
2 TBSP hoisin sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP molases
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground dry mustard

Combine all the ingredients (except the huckleberries) into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes on medium low heat.
Add the huckleberries and bring back to a boil.
Reduce back to a simmer and cook for another 15-30 minutes depending on how thick you want it. The longer you cook it the thicker it will get.

If you read my other blog then you might know that I allergic to most things that Mexican food makes up…raw tomatoes, raw onion, all peppers. My options are very limited. So whenever I see a recipe that is Mexican influenced but has none of the things I can’t eat I get very excited to try it. The orange bacon sauce sounded so very unusual when I came across it in the cookbook, but sounded like it could be good, and it is. I would have never in a thousand years thought of that combo, which is why I am more of a baker than a cook.
They were originally enchiladas but that was way too much work, with having to fry the tortillas and all. I just bought some pre-made tostada shells and that was so the way to go. When you do that, this meal can be made in minutes…and who doesn’t love that.

Cream Cheese Crab Tostadas with Orange Bacon Sauce

8 tostada shells
Bacon and Orange Sauce(recipe follows)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound freshly picked crab meat
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded ice berg lettuce
½ cup bacon, broken into pieces

Mix together cream cheese, crab, and Parmesan. Place in a shallow baking pan. Place under broiler until mixture bubbles up and just starts to get brown(don’t let it get too brown). Remove from oven.
Divide mixture evenly onto each tostada shell, spreading it out evenly over the whole shell. Pour sauce over crab mixture. Sprinkle with lettuce and bacon.

Bacon and Orange Sauce

4 ounce bacon, chopped
6 TBSP flour
¼ cup finely chopped onion
½ tsp ground chili powder
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp black pepper
2 cups crab broth, seafood bullion or chicken broth(last resort)
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 TBSP grate orange zest
1 tsp crush garlic

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Lift out the bacon with slotted spoon, then stir in the flour and cook for a minute more. Stir in onion, chili powder, coriander, and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in the crab broth, orange juice, orange zest, and garlic and continue stirring until th mixture is smooth. Continue stirring until the sauce comes to a boil, then remove from heat, and stir in cooked bacon bits.

Adapted from: The Northwest Essentials Cookbook by Greg Atkinson

I’m allergic to so many Summer foods that sometimes it can really bum me out. But fresh corn time is the best! I love, love, love good fresh sweet corn. I have been known on more than one occasion to eat just bowls of corn for dinner. Just corn cut right off the cob sauted in butter, then a splash of cream and some sea salt. Mmmm(I am making myself hungry).

The other way that I love corn is when it is in a chowder. My chowders aren’t super thick but they are loaded with all incredibly bad for you(read tasty) things like cream and butter. But I am quite sure the veggies balance that out, right?

Crab and Corn Chowder

¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup of butter plus one TBSP
2 cups red potatoes, peeled and chopped
a dash of white pepper
sea salt to taste
4 cups of lobster stock(or fish stock if you don’t have lobster stock)
1 TBSP chicken flavor base
2 ½ cups heavy cream
¾ pound Dungeness crab
2 cups fresh corn, cut off of the cob
chopped chives for garnish

In a large stock pot, cook celery, onion and garlic in 1 TBSP of butter. Saute for about 5 minutes, until tender.
Add potatoes, white pepper and lobster stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes, while the stock reduces.
Add chicken base, cream and ¼ cup butter(bad I know but really good). Simmer another 20 minutes.
Check soup to see if it needs salt, it might not.
Stir in the corn. Cook another15 minutes.
Add the crab and cook another 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives if desired.

Before moving to the Pacific Northwest I knew very little about Oregon…still don’t. But I knew Rouge beer. Full Sail Ale. And Tillamook cheese. Beer and cheese. That is what I knew. Well, and I knew they had good wines.
I love Tillamook cheddar, it has such a great flavor and is pretty much the only type of cheddar I buy(the exception being a Irish white cheddar). I thought I would throw out a vegetarian meal for the non-meat eaters that are out there using the cheese I love so dearly.
A simple pasta dish with a creamy cheese sauce topped with crunchy hazelnuts for a little texture contrast. If you are a meat eater the sauce is also nice for making what I call heart attack lasagna. You take lasagna noodles and over them with a 1/3 of the sauce(spread out). Sprinkle ½ cup of cooked bacon followed by ½ cup more Tillamook cheddar. Repeat the layers two other times. Bake for  30 minutes(350) until nice and bubbly. Be sure and do some extra exercise that day if you do make the lasagna version. 😉 Your heart will thank you for it.

Three Cheese Hazelnut Pasta

1 lb fettuccine pasta
½ cup white wine(I used A to Z Pinot Gris(Oregon)
2 cups heavy cream
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1 tsp minced shallot
1 ½ cups chicken stock
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¾ cup Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup Fontina cheese, grated
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned or not depending on your preference
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
In a saute pan add butter and let melt. Add shallot to pan and saute for two minutes.
In a medium saucepan combine cream, wine, and chicken stock, add shallots and any leftover butter. Reduce until it has slightly thickened but not to sauce consistency(you still have cheese to add!).
Add cheeses to cream mixture and whisk until you have a smooth sauce.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta.
Place the pasta back into it’s original pan. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.
Fold in half of the hazelnuts.
Pile pasta onto a serving platter and top with remaining hazelnuts.
Makes about 4 meal servings or 8 appetizer servings.

I’ve been sick. And I mean sick. But I had signed up for a cooking class at J. Matheson’s Gift Kitchen and Gourmet awhile back and I was not going to miss out. Why not skip? Well, my class was with Greg Atkinson.
In my quest of learning all about Pacific Northwest cuisine, I ran across Greg Atkinson’s name quite a bit. I now own all of his cookbooks(some of which were a little hard to find as they are out of print). His latest one, West Coast Cooking(yes, I own it) was what they were featuring at the class.
Now, I will admit that when I go to demonstration classes I really don’t learn that much. Most cooking techniques I am familiar with at this point. But I do love to go and listen to the chefs point of view and soak up their inspiration for their dishes and their cooking style in general. Greg had great stories and was a pleasure to listen to. He definitely has a passion for cooking food, especially that of the Pacific Northwest.
The place itself is very cute. Carrying all my favorites from Emile Henry to fun bowls from TAG. . Who knew there was a gourmet kitchen shop in downtown Everett?
As far as the class itself, you are welcomed by a glass of wine and some appetizers that they pass around while you are waiting for the majority of everyone to show up. Our menu that night was:

Mango and Avocado Salad
Slow-Roasted Alaska Halibut
With Spring Vegetables and Aioli
Strawberries Brulee

All simple flavors and all very tasty. I will be making a version of the Strawberries Brulee over on Culinary Concoctions.

So if you are in the Everett area(or are willing to drive up from Seattle) you will want to check out this  place out for a  cooking class or two. And while you are there you just might have to buy something as well(I know I did…shocker).

Mango and Avocado Salad

For the Salad:

3 ripe Mangoes
3 ripe Avocados
3 cups cleaned and dried lamb’s lettuce(or spinach if you can not find lambs)
½ pint fresh raspberries

For the Dressing:

2 TBSP Dijon mustard
¼ cup raspberry vinegar
¾ cup canola oil

Cut mangoes in half(get rid of the middle part).  Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon. Discard the skin. Cut each half into 6 vertical slices. Do this to all the mangoes. Set aside.
Cut each avocado in half and discard seed. Remove the peel. Cut each half into 6 vertical slices. Do this to all the avocados.
For each salad, arrange half a sliced mango in a fan design on a chilled salad plate, and lay a slice of avocado beside each slice of mango, creating a striped fan design. At the “handle” of the fan, place ½ cup lamb’s lettuce leaves.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar until combined thoroughly. Whisking rapidly, add the oil in a very thin stream to create a smooth emulsion.
Drizzle about  2 TBSP of the dressing over the intersection of the lamb’s lettuce and the fan of avocado and mango on each plate. Distribute the berries evenly among the salads. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from West Coast Cooking by Greg Atkinson

(Slow-Roasted Halibut with Spring Vegetables and Aioli)

J. Matheson Gifts
2615 Colby Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
(425) 258-2287

J. Matheson Kitchen & Gourmet
2609 Colby Avenue
Everett, WA 98201
(425) 258-4589

(Strawberry Brulee)

Don’t have salmon but want some? You could win the chance to receive three separate 5 lb. shipments of wild salmon fillets (15 lbs. total); one in July, August, and September, 2008, on the date of the winner’s choosing. Each shipment will contain a different type of wild salmon, varying by species and river origin.   And all you need to do is submit an original recipe of your own on the website. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me…that is why I am passing on the info to you.
I am lucky enough that my parents friends B and M go salmon fishing every year in Montana and then smoke and canned(see below) the fish right there. It may not be that pretty to look at, but boy does it sure taste good! We use it a lot in pasta as well as quiche, which is what I made this time around for the contest. Smoked Salmon, Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche. It’s made with a super simple cream cheese pie crust that you swear wouldn’t turn out good, but it always does.
So get to making your own recipe. You only have until June 20th to submit your recipe. Good luck.

Smoked Salmon, Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 9-inch cream cheese pie crust(pre baked for 10 minutes at 375F)(recipe follows)
8 ounces canned smoked salmon, pulled into pieces
1 medium leek, cleaned and chopped
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 ½  cups cream
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh Chervil

Arrange salmon, leeks and goat cheese over the bottom of the partial baked crust.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and cream. Add salt, pepper and chervil and whisk to combine. Pour over the salmon, leek and cheese mixture into the pie shell and  bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cream Cheese Pie Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounce cream cheese, softened but still cool
2 sticks(8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool

In a mixer, combine all ingredients and mix on medium-low until it forms a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

I had this great ideology that when we moved to Seattle, my husband and I were going to be “hip” and live downtown. When they put us up in Belltown for corporate housing I was excited because we could see what living in the city would be like.
Turns out we are suburb people. Big time.
By day 5, I was tired of walking up hill 5 blocks to get milk…for 2 dollars more than what I pay for it at Safeway.
I was kept up by the night club that was down the street. Not by the music but by the drunk people stumbling into the alley and shouting at each other.
My dog was not a fan on having to pee and poop on concrete while cars went flying by.
I witnessed not once, but twice, a homeless man urinating in broad daylight in front of me.
Somehow when a man urinates in front of you, it just doesn’t seem all that glamorous. 😛
Now don’t get me wrong, there are great places in the city. We would love to live in Queen Anne, we just don’t have the funding to do so…well, not how we would want to live.
But we quickly learned we were in need for suburbia. We are not hip. I don’t know why we were kidding ourselves. We are nerds for goodness sake…I mean, we go married on Piday(March 14th, you know, 3.14) on purpose. I don’t know what is in or out. I just know what I like. I don’t follow who the hippest chef or restaurant is in town, I just go to the places I like to eat.
Speaking of not hip….macaroni and cheese. Crab macaroni and cheese to be exact. Not hip but it will add to your hips if that makes you feel better.

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Butter for the pan
12 ounces macaroni
1 ¾  cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) grated fontina cheese
¾  cup cheddar cheese
½  cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese
¼  cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
10 ounces Dungeness crab meat
4 TBSP breadcrumbs
2 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well (do not rinse).

Whisk the milk, cream, flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the fontina, cheddar, Parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta cheeses. Add the macaroni and toss to coat. Fold in crab meat. Transfer the macaroni mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and place butter pieces on top of breadcrumbs. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

6 servings

Adapted from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis