River’s Edge Smoked Salmon

March 29th, 2010

It doesn't get much more spring than this...

I got a really nice package on my doorstep a few weeks ago from a woman that I used to work with at The Alameda Cafe — Erika Simeon. I hadn’t spoken with her in years and since then it turns out that she and her dad have started a business smoking and selling the above — River’s Edge Smoked Salmon.

The past two and half years they’ve been perfecting this secret recipe smoked salmon and I was lucky enough to get samples of the King and Coho. The King was definitely my favorite because it was so moist and flavorful. The Coho — on the salt bagel above with cream cheese, capers, and scallions — was a bit drier but still really good.

According to Erika they use wild line caught Northwest salmon, organic brown sugar, and solar evaporated sea salt for the small batch alder smoked salmon.

We went to the coast last weekend and I brought along a couple packages of chevre, along with some fresh herbs clipped from the garden and some of last year’s garlic. I minced the herbs (oregano, mint, thyme, chives, sorrel) along with the garlic and whipped them into the chevre with a good amount of half and half. One of the tastiest things that we ate over the weekend was wamed and sliced Pearl Bakery baguette smeared with the garlic and herb chevre and topped with River’s Edge Smoked King Salmon along with a nice, dry French rose.

Although River’s Edge products aren’t available in local stores yet — I’ll let you know when they are — you can purchase the smoked salmon online. If you’re local email Erika at erika@riversedgesalmon.com for free Portland area delivery.

Local smoked salmon at your service

River’s Edge Smoked Salmon
www.riversedgesalmon.com

Smoked Salmon Alfredo — Siletz Tribal Smokehouse

November 17th, 2009
Introducing smoked salmon alfredo

Introducing smoked salmon alfredo

Even though this isn’t a recipe-based blog every once in awhile something happens in my kitchen that I have to share. A few days ago, armed with a quarter pound of smoked salmon and a handful of brussels sprouts I decided to make smoked salmon alfredo. With brussels sprouts. It was delicious and I’m going to give you a recipe in a minute.

First I want to tell you that the smoked salmon I used was a nice surprise. I often get shelf stable smoked salmon (rather than refrigerated, often vacuum-packed smoked salmon) for various far away folks during the holidays and walking down the aisle where I normally find it at New Seasons I noticed a new package of smoked salmon on the shelf — this one from Oregon. I grabbed a box.

You can't miss the packaging

You can't miss the packaging

I’d like to give you some info. beyond the fact that it was yummy, and moist and made my stomach happy but for some reason the website attached to the product — Oregon Smoked Foods, Inc. — is acting funny. I’ll revisit it soon and get you some more information. I’m curious. The only info. I can give you about the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians is that I gathered and included some very interesting old recipes from the tribe for a story I did about lamprey in 2006 for the Portland Tribune.

For now, let me tell you about the tasty smoked salmon alfredo I made.

First I sauteed several thinly sliced brussels sprouts over medium heat with half a diced yellow onion and two minced fresh cayenne chiles in a couple teaspoons of bacon fat and tablespoon of butter. After a few minutes I added the broken into hunks smoked salmon and took the pan off the heat. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees.

Next I put a salted pot of water to boil and once boiling I added a pound of spaghetti and let it cook till done.

While the pasta boiled I put a small oven-safe dish in the oven once it was preheated to 400 degrees and left it in there for a few minutes to warm up. I removed the pot once it was hot and cracked a couple eggs into it with a cup or so of finely grated asiago, a half cup or so of half-and-half and I whisked that together.

Then I mixed this heated egg/cheese slurry with the right out of the pot and still piping hot cooked pasta and the hot brussels/onion/chili/salmon mix. I ground some fresh pepper over the lot, added a few shakes of sea salt, and topped the spaghetti with some minced parsley. It was delicious and I highly recommend it.

This smoked salmon salad from Tria Cafe in Philadelphia that a hungry blogger recently wrote about sounds pretty yummy too if you’re looking for other smoked salmon ideas.

Travel Oregon’s Cuisineternships — applications due Friday

September 15th, 2009
If you don't tell them about your basement frankenstill you might be able to learn from the pros.

If you don't tell them about your basement frankenstill you might be able to learn from the pros.

There’s no time to lose if you feel like free schooling with some of Oregon’s finest food folks including Full Sail Brewery’s brewmaster Jamie Emerson, salmon and rockfish fisherman Lars Robinson, Bendistillery distiller/owner Jim Bendis and others. Travel Oregon’s Oregon Bounty Cuisineternship applications are due this Friday. What do you get if you win? One of seven all-expense-paid trips (including airfare, lodging and a $1,000 meal stipend) in Oregon which includes a five-day, six-night apprenticeship as a chef, cheesemaker/chocolatier, craft brewer, distiller, rancher, fisherman or winemaker.

The biggest component of the application is putting together a two minute digital video of yourself. Check out already submitted videos here. Keep in mind that you can apply for as many of the seven cuisineternships as you want. Go here for answers to some contest FAQ.

Winners will be announced after September 28th on Travel Oregon’s website.

The chef — Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon
The cheesemaker and chocolatier — David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery and Jeff Shepherd of Lillie Belle Farms
The craft brewer — Jamie Emmerson of Full Sail Brewing Co.
The distiller — Jim Bendis of Bendistillery
The ranchers — the Pickard and Boyer families of Oregon’s Country Natural Beef
The fisherman — Lars Robison of Dockside Charters
The winemaker — Lynn Penner-Ash of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery is waiting for you in his cave.

David Gremmels of Rogue Creamery is waiting for you in his cave.

Lars Robison looks fine but did Gabriel Rucker take his Dramamine?

Lars Robison looks fine but did Gabriel Rucker take his Dramamine?

Travel Oregon
www.traveloregon.com
Oregon Bounty
www.bounty.traveloregon.com

Fish Friday — Newman’s Fish Co. Wholesale

June 19th, 2009
Some of the 80-plus Portland restaurants that Newman's Fish Co. works with. They put the reusable tags on crates going out.

Some of the 80-plus Portland restaurants that Newman's Fish Co. purveys to. They put these reusable tags on fish crates going out.

I was surprised when I asked John Cleary — owner of Newman’s Fish Company in Portland — how many local chefs stop by the 10,000 square foot North Portland warehouse to check out daily fish deliveries, cold smoking, live tanks and fish cleaning stations. For the most part Cleary says that the only chefs who stop by are ones that don’t make the minimum delivery order of $100. Well, those are the lucky ones because there’s a lot to see and learn especially if you’re at the warehouse in the early morning.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Newman’s Fish Company in City Market in Northwest Portland — the retail arm of Newman’s Portland that gets its pick of the lot in terms daily fresh and frozen deliveries. I met with Cleary at the Newman’s warehouse on an early June morning when halibut was on the verge of becoming cost prohibitive. Cleary was on the horn back and forth with processors across the country trying to bring them down in price but not sacrifice quality. Halibut is a big deal since the company goes through 3-4,000 pounds of it a week.

Newman’s isn’t Pacific Seafood or Ocean Beauty — it’s a small 20-plus-years-in-Portland independent business with very high standards when it comes to sourcing but not as much leverage as the bigger guys. Cleary orders a lot of Newman’s seafood air cargo as opposed to barged because he wants his fish hook to table as quickly as possible.

Newman's Fish Co. John Cleary holding a Southeast Alaska Chinook just after arrival from PDX airport

Newman's Fish Co. John Cleary holding a Southeast Alaska chinook just after arrival from PDX airport

That same air cargo of Chinook about to be headed and gutted

That same air cargo of chinook from 100 pound gel iced and lined boxes about to be headed and gutted

Newman's gets its rockfish -- a bycatch of the halibut industry -- whole and heads, guts, dresses and fillets it

Newman's gets its rockfish, in this case rougheye (a bycatch of the halibut industry) whole. They head, gut, dress and fillet it

One of the prettiest fish Cleary's seen all year -- the latest delivery of Kona yellowfin tuna

One of the prettiest fish Cleary's seen all year -- the latest delivery of Kona yellowfin tuna

Newman’s Fish Company
www.newmansfish.com
503.286.5950

To read about Newman’s Fish Company retail in City Market go here.

Seafood: Newman’s Fish Co. in City Market

May 27th, 2009
Newman's slices and filets all the fish in house

Newman's slices and filets all the fish in house

And gets daily deliveries

And gets daily deliveries

Even though the Portland area is woven by rivers, studded with lakes and not far from the Pacific we’re not known for our seafood. I recently had coffee with the editor of a local magazine and she was bemoaning the fact that our fair city has such slim pickings in terms of fish markets.

It’s true but with a little effort and a little more gas or peddling you can source some super fresh, delicious seafood here. When most people think about seasonal food they think of produce but everything is connected to the seasons including seafood.

Right now Newman’s Fish Company in Northwest Portland should be rolling in Copper River salmon but prices are way too high this year — so high that they’d have to charge $40 a pound to make any kind of a profit. Newman’s manager Angela Stewart isn’t shedding any tears — she’d much rather eat ocean caught wild, fresh salmon any day. Yes, she’s a little biased — her family runs a chinook and coho salmon fishing boat out of Southeast Alaska — but she claims that river caught salmon doesn’t have the fresh flavor and great texture that Pacific salmon is known for.

Newman's smokes all sorts of seafood at their North Portland warehouse

Newman's smokes all sorts of seafood at their North Portland warehouse

Other fresh and seasonal Newman’s seafood — halibut started in March, crawdads open the first of June, and Oregon albacore is up in July. Pretty much year-round you’ll find all the tasty farmed shellfish — clams, oysters, mussels — as well as crab, lobster, squid, shrimp, scallops, herring and more.

There's always a great selection of locally farmed oysters, clams and mussels

There's always a great selection of locally farmed oysters, clams and mussels

Dungeness and Maine lobster are usually in the Newman's tank

Dungeness and Maine lobster are usually in the Newman's tank

A vast majority of what's in the case is fresh and line caught and almost everything else is frozen at sea.

A vast majority of what's in the case is fresh and line caught and almost everything else is frozen at sea.

Newman’s Fish Company
735 NW 21st Ave.
503.227.2700
www.newmansfish.com

Read about the wholesale side of Newman’s Fish Co. here.

Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest by Tami Parr

May 19th, 2009
Judge this book by its cover -- if it makes you hungry buy it.

Judge this book by its cover -- if it makes you hungry buy it.

Last weekend I finally got my copy of Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest by Tami Parr of the long-running popular blog Pacific Northwest Cheese Project. Now I have some questions for you:

1. Do you ever have more types of cheese in your refrigerator than can be juggled?
2. Do you wonder where and how said cheese is made?
3. When you hear the name Wallace do you think — “Cheese, Gromit!”
4. Do you wish that more restaurants would stop serving the ubiquitous berry cobbler and chocolate cake every night of the week and start serving cheese boards for dessert?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions I think you’re going to like this book. I’m tossing mine in the back of the car whenever I head out for a road trip because chances are good that one of the 17 Oregon, 31 Washington, 3 Idaho and 20 British Columbia cheesemakers profiled in the book will be en route.

Tami spent much of last year traveling, visiting and interviewing 70-plus Pacific Northwest cheesemakers so each entry is studded with photos of cheeses being mixed, molded and dried; goats, sheep and cows that make the cheese possible; curd vats, cheese in molds and more. She writes about many of our region’s most interesting and delicious cheeses and includes farm and creamery visiting hours if you want to stop by for a curd or two.

There’s a cheese primer at the end of the book with info. on everything from storing and pairing cheese, to where to buy artisan cheese in the Pacific Northwest, as well as tasty cheese-centric recipes from restaurants such as Park Kitchen and Boat Street Cafe.

Those responsible for this should get a copy of Tami Parr's book

Those responsible for this destruction should get a copy of Tami Parr's book

I’ve already learned a lot from the book. Last night I read that Ancient Heritage Dairy owner Kathy Obringer worked at Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati way back when. I’m from Cincinnati and Mecklenburg’s has long been one of my favorite restaurants there. Spaetzle, schnitzel, ham and sauerkraut balls and big steins and glasses of all kinds of amazing German beers on draft. I visit almost every time I’m home. Next time I’m near Scio I’ll stop by Ancient Heritage. Or maybe I’ll say “hello” at the PSU Portland Farmers Market first…

Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest

By Tami Parr
The Countryman Press, spring 2009
196 pages

Hook and Line: Luna Sea Tuna

February 25th, 2009

Because we braved it through the snow to the coast this Christmas...

Because we braved it through the snow to the coast this Christmas...

Every other Christmas we go to the Oregon Coast to visit with my boyfriend’s family. They travel from California and we meet them in Yachats. We always cook up a big seafood feast at some point during the stay — usually in our small motel kitchen. This year we had steamers, broiled prawns, hot clam dip, and cold Dungeness salad at Grace’s. Grace is my boyfriend’s, mom’s, husband’s…..never mind — let’s just say she’s my lovely in-law who’s lucky enough to live year-round on the coast.

Living up to her name, this year she loaded us up with cans of albacore before we ventured back to Portland. I’m not talking typical canned tuna. These portions of juicy, meaty albacore were hook and line caught by Luna Sea Products — one can is alder and hickory smoked, another is zesty garlic and jalapeno, and the other is low-salt white meat straight-up. We’ve tried them all and they’re delicious — definitely not something you want to throw with a can of mushroom soup and noodles and call good.

I made a salad today with butter lettuce, avocado, fresh lemon juice, herbed olive oil (thank you Alice), grated asiago, and topped it with a soft boiled egg and a portion of the smoked tuna. It’s the best salad I’ve had in a long while.

What does this have to do with Portland food and drink? you ask. The blog — as well as my book — will include plenty of flavors from surrounding areas as well because what would Portland food and drink be without Central and Eastern Oregon ranches, Mt. Hood area fruit, coastal vineyards, dairies, and fisheries…