Garden Candy

Garden Candy at Granville Island Market

Garden Candy at Granville Island Market
Vancouver, BC

What food memories do you have of summer ?

Corn, peaches, fresh peas, strawberries; all wonderful, but what about fresh tomatoes?!

Nothing beats the adventure of growing your own tomatoes, picking just the ripe-ready & juicy tomatoe, slicing into it ( while it is still warm from the sunshine ) .. Making a fabulous caprese salad with bocconcini that is oozing with goodness, topping it with fresh basil, a drizzle of glistening olive oil & a grind of fresh pepper & sea salt (I love Vancouver Island Salt Company. Don’t miss out on this taste of Vancouver island at www.visaltco.com) or how about a great BLT sandwich made with freshly toasted sourdough bread.

Tomato Cookbook Inspiration | Culinary Concierge with Christine Couvelier

Tomato Cookbook Inspiration

This summer, I have been using the stone on my BBQ, so cutting the tomatoes in half and grilling them, topped with fresh pesto ( lots of basil in my garden this summer ) has been the side dish to many a meal.

I have been inspired with more tomato creations from a couple of books I just received.

The very clever Barbara-Jo from Books to Cooks in Vancouver, BC (www.bookstocooks.com) has started a seasonal book experience where you receive a book at the start of each season. The surprise and delight of this puts a smile on my face. For the summer season the carefully presented package arrived with 2 books, The Tomato Basket by Jenny Linford and Epic Tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier!

As my tomatoes are ripening earlier than ever, I am busy with tomato recipes each day. Try this wonderful idea for tomato butter from the creative blog Shutterbean.

Let me know what tomato recipes you are making from your garden candy this summer.

Taste, Taste, Taste

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Tastes of Seattle

Seattle is such a fabulous foodie city. Well, Seattle is such a great city in many ways.

Serious Pie Menu | Seattle WA

SERIOUS PIE MENU

I was off on a taste adventure for a few days last weekend to Seattle. It is so easy to jump on the seaplane from where I am based in Victoria on Vancouver Island & fly to Seattle in 35 minutes; landing on Lake Union in downtown Seattle.

Serious Pie | Seattle Washington | Culinary Concierge

A FABULOUS PIZZA FROM SERIOUS PIE

First stop was for lunch at Serious Pie. This restaurant is part of the Chef Tom Douglas’ ever-expanding empire (www.tomdouglas.com).

Fabulous pizzas, great salads, innovative toppings = my favourite pizza ever!! Ok, so I love this pizza so much, I ate two (2) lunches here in three (3) days.

I was then off to Matt’s In The Market for dinner. This is one of the must-tastes of Seattle. Perched on the second floor, looking over the hustle & bustle of the iconic Pike Place Market, Matt’s celebrates the tastes of the Northwest with inspiration from Pike Place Market everyday (www.mattsinthemarket.com).

Matt's in the Market | Seattle WA | Food Review by Culinary Concierge

INCREDIBLE SCALLOPS FROM MATT’S IN THE MARKET

Pike Place Farmer's Market | Seattle WA | Culinary Concierge Review

PIKE PLACE MARKET

A Saturday morning is the perfect time to explore Pike Place Market (www.pikeplacemarket.org).
Farmers, artisanal food producers & anyone passionate about food can be found at the market.

Lemon Cucumbers | Seattle Pike Place Farmer's Market | Culinary Concierge

LOCAL LEMON CUCUMBERS

Rainier Cherries | Seattle Pike Place Market | Culinary Concierge

RAINIER CHERRIES FROM PIKE PLACE MARKET

Seattle Dungeness Crab | Pike Place Market | Culinary Concierge

DUNGENESS CRAB FROM PIKE PLACE MARKET

One of my dinners was at Tilth Restaurant (www.tilthrestaurant.com).

Menu from Chef Maria Hines | Food Review by Christine Couvelier

PEA SOUP WITH ESPRESSO & GINGERBREAD ‘DIRT’ & FRESH PEA SHOOTS’

Chef Maria Hines Menu | Seattle WA | Review by Culinary Concierge

RISOTTO WITH CARROTS, WHITE TRUFFLE & PARMESAN

Chef Maria Hines has created a welcome haven for diners looking for something special. The food is prepared with certified-organic ingredients sourced from as many local farmers as they can support. The menus change often & include fabulous tasting menus (including a gluten-free tasting menu too). It’s always hard to choose what to order, but I am still thinking about the first course of a chilled pea soup with an espresso-gingerbread ‘dirt’ & fresh pea shoots. Wow!

For my last taste experience in Seattle, I was so excited to head to Staple and Fancy Mercantile (www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com).

Chef Ethan Stowell has 6 incredible restaurants in Seattle to choose from. Staple and Fancy Mercantile features simple Italian-inspired food.

Chef Ethan Stowell Menu | Review by Christine Couvelier

PASTA WITH CLAMS FROM THE FANCY MENU

The menu is full of tempting dishes. I had heard about the chef’s Fancy menu, which is a multi-course feast of seasonal ( and every changing ) dishes that showcase the passion of the kitchen. As my server explained, no two tables would be served the same Fancy menu each night. Well, of course I jumped right in. I experienced a 10-course meal that only got better & better with each plate from the kitchen.

Seattle’s food is so fresh, local, inspiring & amazing; I can’t wait for the next visit.

Seattle Culinary Adventures | Christine Couvelier of Culinary Concierge

OFF ON THE SEA PLANE – SEE YOU SOON SEATTLE!

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Farmer’s Market Feasts

Farmers Market Food Trending

Crisp Apples from Farmer’s Market

I love heading to farmer’s markets at any time of the year .. But in the fall = wow, such colours, flavours, inspirations & tastes !!

Recently I was asked to appear on Breakfast Television in Vancouver to share some of the tastes of what I found at the farmer’s market & some quick & easy recipes to create at home.

Farmers Market Feasts Vancouver Island

Farmer’s Market Feasts on BT Vancouver

I love to share my culinary tips & tricks, so off I headed to set up my demo table.

Heirloom tomatoes farmers market Vancouver

Heirloom Tomatoes

I made sure to bring along recipes that were quick, easy, make-ahead & tasted great. How does heirloom tomato bread pudding or kale bread pudding sound? These are great make-ahead dishes that are wonderful side dishes to any meal.

The main dish salad that I shared with BT viewers was a fabulous roasted cauliflower, carrot, pine nut & arugula salad.  Host Jody Vance loved the tips on how to take this salad to work for lunch in a mason jar & not have it become wilted. (My tip is to put the dressing in the jar first, then layer in the ingredients .. Shake & serve when you are ready !!)

Christine Couvelier and Jody Vance Breakfast Television

Christine Couvelier and Jody Vance on Breakfast Television Vancouver

Finally, I brought some tastes for the crew to take home… a plum, star anise & lavender jam; a sweet tomato jam with honey & vanilla; and my fav = roasted heirloom tomato butter!!

Carrots Farmers Market  Vancouver Island BC

Fabulous Carrots from Farmer’s Market

Be sure to get out & enjoy all of the harvest this season & bring home inspiration & great tastes from your local farmer’s market.
 
 
Taste, Taste, Taste!

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