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All You Can Eat

Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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July 7, 2008 4:15 PM

First you can't, now Yukon

Posted by Nancy Leson

After the bad news about the king salmon fisheries on the Yukon River Delta, this good word just in from the Great North: the Alaska Department of Fish & Game are allowing a limited harvest of Yukon River king salmon, taken as "incidental catch" during the chum (keta) salmon run. Which will explain why you might find the "king of kings" on restaurant menus and at seafood counters this week. I just put in a call to a handful of restaurants I thought might have gotten their hands on the goods. No dice (so far) at Flying Fish, Ray's and Oceanaire Seafood Room. But you can grill your own at home. As I type, they're moving swiftly at Mutual Fish ($26.99/pound steaks, $29.99/pound filets), where a shipment was received this morning. And you can also find the kings at Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman's Terminal, where filets are selling for $24.99 pound. Get 'em while they're hot. Dinnertime's in the offing and they're not likely to be available for long. And if you're out and about and see the kings for sale, come back here and let me know, OK?

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July 7, 2008 3:03 PM

Bull shirt: Txori wants your blood

Posted by Nancy Leson

How's this for fun? You might know them better as the couple who brought us that bastion of Basque cookery The Harvest Vine, but Joseba and Carolin and the rest of the folks at their Belltown pinxtos bar, Txori, kick off their week-long San Fermin Fest today with "Run with the Bulls" fundraising event. The festivities are described in Txori e-mail newsletter thus: "a mass of participants will run up the two alleyways behind Txori in an effort not to get `gored' by one of the human-powered bulls dripping with red paint." Which, they promise, will wash out of your souvenir T-shirt.

Runners can sign-up till 7:30, but I might suggest getting there sooner, plunking down the necessary $20 for your uniform (the aforementioned T-shirt) and donating some blood to the Puget Sound Blood Center first. The Bloodmobile is parked outside Txori right this minute and they'll be happy to take your bright red donation from 4 to 7 p.m. At which point you may then step inside the pinxtos bar, raise a glass of sherry, down some smoky octopus and alley-oop.

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July 7, 2008 12:30 PM

Holy moley, where's the cannoli?

Posted by Nancy Leson

Jim Somborovich wrote complaining about his Old Hunger:

"I'm a long time Seattle resident originally from Detroit, Michigan. One of the food items that I miss from Detroit is a good cannoli. Yes, we have cannoli on the West Coast, but they really aren't the same as Detroit's. Maybe you know what I mean? I have been disappointed in the cannoli I've tried here and in San Francisco. A relative says the same about the Las Vegas area. Any suggestions?"

Sure Jim: Move to South Philly. Only kidding. Sort of. And yes, I think I know what you mean, because I, too, miss the cannoli I remember from my youth. I grew up in Philadelphia where Italian bakeries were a dime a dozen. Cannoli -- that crackling pastry! the delicate, lightly sweetened ricotta filling! -- remains a taste-memory I cherish.

The closest thing I've tasted to those simple sweets hereabouts were the cannoli at La Vita e Bella in Belltown. They're sold at its sister restaurant, Mondello in Magnolia. And co-owner Corino Bonjrada's mom, Enza Sorrentino, also offers traditional Sicilian-style cannoli at her restaurant Sorrentino, on Queen Anne Hill. I've had some especially memorable cannoli at Serious Pie , though those are tiny, and probably not what you're after. They taste like ricotta-stuffed rugalach, offering me something even better: two childhood taste memories in one!

Anybody else want to tell Jim where to go for a good cannoli?

In the meantime, Jim (and anyone else longing for a sweet, simple taste of Italy), here's a dessert tip for you: Go to a decent supermarket or cheese shop and buy a small container of fresh ricotta cheese. Then get your hands on some chestnut honey, like the kind sold at specialty shops under the brand name Rustichella d'Abruzzo . Now, drizzle some honey over the ricotta: it's kind of like eating cannoli filling straight-up. And if you can find some Amaretti cookies to crumble over the bowl, all the better:

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July 7, 2008 8:52 AM

Camp stove cookery: any ideas?

Posted by Nancy Leson

July 4th has come and gone, which means it's really summer, right? For my friend Laura -- and maybe for you, too -- that means it's time to go car camping. She wrote with this query:

"I'd love to get some suggestions for good, fairly simple meals to make on a camp stove. Tired of Hamburger Helper, spaghetti, hash, etc., we're hoping for something that tastes fresh, and maybe local. We can haul some prepared ingredients in our cooler when car camping. Backpacking can complicate plans, but dehydrated rice-and-bean pouches are dreary after a long hike. Don't you think your readers would have some great menu ideas for either situation?"

Indeed I do. Eaters? What say you? It's been way too long since I went car camping, but I'd make certain to tote along a variety of fresh herbs and interesting spices ("snack size" Ziplocs work well for transport). Everything tastes better with fresh herbs and spices. Don't forget the good salt and you might want to invest in a mini peppermill. I've got one that comes in a pouch and fits right in my hand.

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July 2008

Food for Thought | Nancy Leson on KPLU

Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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