Newport, OR. — Dungeness crab would surely be part of my last meal, if I was given a choice. Sweet, fluffy, and succulent, it beats lobster any day in my book.
Though I’ve enjoyed it countless times, I’ve never fished for it.
On a recent trip to the lovely central coast of Oregon, my fellow food writers and I, who were guests of Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, were treated to our own private excursion through Yaquina Bay aboard the family-owned Marine Discovery Tours boat.
On a picturesque 70-degree morning, we boarded and set sail. Just be forewarned that the waters can get choppy the farther out you go. But none in our party — even a few who were extremely prone to motion sickness — were done in by the effects.
The dock area in Newport.
You may be richly rewarded for braving the waters, too. We saw whales. Well, at least their blow holes, if not their tails breaking the waves. Still, it made for an unforgettable moment.
Embrace the steam.
I always think that steaming is an under-appreciated and so often under-utilized cooking technique.
I think people fear that steamed foods will turn out bland, mushy, almost hospital-like sterile in nature.
But when done right, steaming is a gentle way of cooking that preserves moisture and flavor.
Case in point: fish.
I love grilling fish or sauteeing it, especially to get the skin crisp. But being Chinese-American, I also adore steamed fish. There’s nothing like a whole steamed fish brought to the table at a banquet meal. The flesh falls apart with impossible tenderness. Its texture is rendered beyond silky. And there’s just a lovely delicacy to it, no matter how small or large the fish.
Patricia Wells knows fully well the merits of steaming. In fact, the five-time James Beard Award-winning writer and cooking teacher devotes an entire chapter to steaming in her new cookbook, “My Master Recipes: 165 Recipes to Inspire Confidence In the Kitchen” (William Morrow), of which I received a review copy.
Top-selling Italian ricciarelli cookies at Market Hall Bakery.
More than three decades ago, this lot on College Avenue in Oakland sat empty except when it transformed into a pumpkin patch every Halloween.
But siblings Sara, Tony and Peter Wilson had a vision that it could be so much more.
The New Zealand natives set to work to turn it into the first European-style food court in the Bay Area.
This year, Rockridge Market Hall Foods celebrates its 30th anniversary, a remarkable achievement in this day and age when fewer and fewer family-owned markets seem able to survive yet alone thrive.
The bakery case.
A wide assortment of cured meats for sale at Market Hall Foods.
Just part of the cheese selection.
To celebrate, the marketplace is hosting monthly events all this year that feature fun free activities and treats. To see what’s upcoming, check out the calendar here.
Dinner is served — right off the grill.
This might be the ultimate summer dish.
“Planked Wild Salmon with Nectarines, Thyme, Honey, Almonds, and Ricotta” combines summer’s prize of wild local King salmon with some of the season’s most luscious stone fruit — all co-mingled on a cedar plank that imparts a ravishing smokiness on the backyard grill.
Best yet? You can devour it all in good conscience because it’s all sustainable.
The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes From the West Coast” (Figure 1), of which I received an advance review copy, before it is released publicly in October.
It was written by Ned Bell, who founded Chefs for Oceans to raise awareness for responsible seafood choices, and is a member of the Seafood Watch’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. He wrote it in conjunction with Valerie Howes, the food editor of Reader’s Digest Canada.
Doing the right thing when it comes to seafood can be daunting. Species that seemed plentiful often find themselves over-fished in no time flat. Do we have to give up eating what we love? Or is there another way?
Cardamom snail and sticky bun from The Midwife & The Baker stand at the Santana Row farmers’ market.
If you haven’t yet checked out the new summer farmers’ market at Santana Row, you’re missing out.
Le Marche takes place every Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., through September. The main Row is closed off to cars, so you can stroll both sides of the street easily to check out the wares of more than 50 vendors.
A bevy of stands to check out.
Beautiful summer tomatoes for sale.
There’s everything from organic produce to fresh seafood and meat to cheese to baked goods.