Build a Better Salad...with Lentils

by Melissa Trainer


 Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad

Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad

Do you ever get tired of the same old salad? Do you ever want a more substantial salad that features more fiber and protein?

Well, that’s what I was craving over the weekend so I decided to create this quick Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad. I had about two cups of French lentils that had been kicking around the pantry for too long so I decided to drag them out and just cook them. Because these lentils cook quickly and hold their shape, they are perfect for adding to big hearty salads featuring a motley collection of ingredients. I didn’t think too hard while crafting this dish. I just used what was around the kitchen and in my garden.

While the lentils cooked, which took about 15 minutes, I gathered a dozen or so cherry tomatoes and some baby kale and beet greens from the garden. About ten big basil leaves were plucked while I was headed back en route to the kitchen. The kale, beet greens, and basil were stacked and cut into strips. The tomatoes were sliced in half and a handful of pine nuts were toasted in a pan on the stove.

After draining and cooling the lentils ever so briefly, I tossed about one cup of cooked lentils into a big bowl and then added the greens, the tomatoes and the pine nuts. A balsamic mustard vinaigrette was made by stirring one tablespoon Dijon, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar and about 2 tablespoons olive oil and a tablespoon vegetable oil.  Part of the vinaigrette was drizzled over the lentil mixture and a few shavings of Parmesan were tossed into the collection.  A generous flourish of French sea salt and freshly ground pepper finished off the gig. In all, it was a great super healthy high fiber salad that hit the mark for me.  I have more vinaigrette and lentils sitting in the fridge, so maybe I’ll build an even better salad today…


A BIG View in Seattle

by Melissa Trainer


If you are heading to Seattle this summer or even if you live here, be sure to check out the new and improved view on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center.

I was recently charged with the task of writing the press release for this redesigned space, which will be open to the public on July 1st. Boasting a 360 view of Seattle and the region from a height of nearly 1000 feet, the Sky View Observatory (SVO) is the perfect spot from which to get your bearings and become acclimated to our city and region.

For additional information, read the press release featured June 3rd on PR Newswire.

 Sky View Observatory, Photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Sky View Observatory, Photo by Melissa A. Trainer


Copper River Sockeye!

by Melissa Trainer


 Alder-planked Copper River sockeye at Anthony's Homeport in Edmonds. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Alder-planked Copper River sockeye at Anthony's Homeport in Edmonds. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Divine.

That's the only way to describe the alder-planked Copper River sockeye entree that I enjoyed at Anthony's Homeport restaurant in Edmonds last night. 

My husband and I enjoy this waterfront restaurant and often go there for a happy hour nibble. Their deck overlooks the Edmonds Marina, the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains so it's a deliciously relaxing way to end the work week.

Last night, we found ourselves there rather spontaneously and I was inspired to peruse the Copper River salmon specials on the menu.  I normally stick to the Happy Hour small plate options but I had spent the better part of the week working with Copper River sockeye in my kitchen and scouting for it at fishmarkets around town. There were five entree options on the menu, four of which featured Copper River sockeye and one of which featured the luxurious Copper River king.

I opted for the alder-planked sockeye finished with a smoked sweet red pepper beurre blanc. Nestled on top of fluffy mashed potatoes and accompanied by green beans, my sockeye was a knockout. Sockeye is smaller than king salmon and the prices are more reasonable because the fish is more abundant.  My piece was perfectly cooked and deliciously smoky. The potatoes were the perfect accompaniment.

My husband and I split the entree and we devoured it while watching cruise ships sail by on their way towards Alaska's Inside Passage and beyond.  My entree set me back about $30 but it was worth every penny and I was reminded of just how important it is to indulge in an All-American culinary taste legacy when the season prevails.


Northwest Cherries!

by Melissa Trainer


NW Sweet cherry and rhubarb tart.jpg

I've been researching and writing about Northwest Cherries recently. Over the winter, I stocked my freezer with bags of frozen sweet cherries.

The frozen cherries, along with berries, juice, wheat germ and ground flax seed, were tossed into early morning smoothies. I can't even begin to count the number of bags that we have devoured since January. Even though we don't have any exact proof, we are quite certain that these power packed cherry laden smoothies played a key role in battling those midwinter sniffles and sneezes.

This morning, I zipped open a new bag of frozen pitted sweet cherries and decided to take a different tact. I grabbed some big fat rhubarb stalks from the garden and started crafting off the cuff. Shortly thereafter, I had a simple NW Sweet Cherry and Rhubarb compote on my hands. It proved divine when ladled over a bowl of thick rich Greek yogurt. I then decided to push the envelope further. I made a quick cream cheese pastry and tossed the compote with diced apples. I had a free form cherry and rhubarb tart in mind. That came together quickly and the results are shown in my photo.

So, even though Northwest Cherry season doesn't start until July when the cherries are plucked from laden trees, I am having fun working with frozen NW Cherries. They are shelf stable. And, because they are sold pitted, they are extraordinarily convenient.

For more information on sweet cherries, check out NW Cherries. Additional information will be posted on that site as the 2013 NW Cherry season unfolds before our eyes!


Dungeness Crab at Duke's

by Melissa Trainer


Duke's Chowder House in Seattle is now featuring local Dungeness Crab on their fresh sheet menu. I wrote the press release, which can be found here.

Indeed, these iconic crabs are the backbone of the NW seafood scene. Duke, a self proclaimed seafood sleuth, traveled to Westport, Washington in order to investigate the crab fishery himself. He toured the Pacific Seafood processing facility in this small fishing town and watched the crabs land on local docks alive and kicking. 

According to Duke, the crabs are so dangerously tasty that you won't be able to stop!  

 Dungeness Crab. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Dungeness Crab. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer


Facebook Food for Thought!

by Melissa Trainer


I am pleased to announce that I am now managing the Facebook page for Duke's Chowder House in Seattle.

Owned by Duke Moscrip, this casual chowder house has six locations throughout the Puget Sound area and prides itself on sourcing and serving sustainable seafood. Duke runs the ship with his son, John, and together they have forged quite a loyal following!

While curating their Facebook page, I will be incorporating information on special events, seasonal menu items, beautiful photos, and newsworthy tidbits. I will also be sharing culinary tips and insights from Duke and the crew.

So, if you like to nose around on Facebook, be sure to head over to Duke's Chowder House Facebook page and click Like.

 Duke's Chowder House, Greenlake

Duke's Chowder House, Greenlake


Millet Medley

by Melissa Trainer


I'm currently developing a series of Grains and Greens recipes.

Yesterday, I decided to jump start my morning by cooking a pot of millet and developing a simple healthy dish from there.

Millet is a very small grain that cooks relatively quickly. Rich in antioxidants and high in magnesium, millet is deliciously versatile and was easily incorporated into a fiber rich salad of corn, black beans, avocado, and coriander.

Millet Corn and Black Bean Salad.jpg

Copper River in the Bronx

by Melissa Trainer


Some enthusiastic young students in the Bronx recently had the chance to sample and work with some canned Copper River silver salmon sent courtesy of the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association of Cordova, Alaska.

Thanks to the energy and enthusiastic thinking of Marge Perry, a food writer, these students were able to participate in a new after school cookery program held at The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx.

For more detailed information on the program and for Marge's simple salmon recipe, see the recently released press release here.  Also, this release received immediate attention in National Fisherman's Blog, "Mixed Catch." Read that here.

 Cordova Harbor, 2011. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Cordova Harbor, 2011. Photo by Melissa A. Trainer


Bristol Bay Sockeye

by Melissa Trainer


Over the last couple years, I have developed and photographed various recipes for the Bristol Bay sockeye consumer website. Designed to highlight this brilliantly red wild salmon, the recipes are simple and straightforward.

 Harvest Chowder! Recipe development and photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Harvest Chowder! Recipe development and photo by Melissa A. Trainer


OMG. Alaska's Weathervane Scallops.

by Melissa Trainer


Back in December, Duke's Chowder House in Seattle started serving Alaska Weathervane Scallops. Free of additives and preservatives and sustainably harvested by just a few boats in Alaska, these big meaty scallops stand head and shoulders above others on the market. For additional information, read this press release sent on December 5, 2012.

 Alaska Weathervane Scallop shells. Photo by Melissa A.Trainer

Alaska Weathervane Scallop shells. Photo by Melissa A.Trainer


Creating Cod

by Melissa Trainer


Slice. Dice. Sear. Steam. That's what I have been doing with countless pounds of fresh and frozen Pacific cod from Alaska. This fleshy white fish is wild, sustainable, affordable, and versatile.

Stay tuned for my recently developed recipes.

 Bacon, Corn and Cod Chowder. Recipe development and photo by Melissa A. Trainer

Bacon, Corn and Cod Chowder. Recipe development and photo by Melissa A. Trainer