My fish has issues; it’s complicated – Sustainable Seafood in a Multimedia World

By Amy Grondin

My Fish has Issues; it's complicated - Sustainable Seafood in a Multimedia WorldJoin Slow Food Seattle for My fish has issues; it’s complicated – Sustainable Seafood in a Multimedia World, a conversation with Chefs Barton Seaver and Becky Selengut at the Broadway Performance Hall on Monday October 17th from 6:30pm to 8pm. A cookbook signing and reception featuring Snoqualmie Vineyards, The Pike Brewing Company, and an oyster bar from Taylor Shellfish will follow from 8pm to 8:45pm. Tickets available now through Brown Paper Tickets, $12/pp.

It’s time to cut through the fog of confusion that surrounds choosing and eating seafood. Sustainable seafood can be enjoyed in such a way that our personal health and the health of the oceans are of equal consideration. There are lots of sustainable seafood options to be had but how do we identify them?

Becky Selengut and Barton Seaver

Becky Selengut and Barton Seaver

East coast meets West coast for this fun and informative sustainable seafood presentation with Becky Selengut, our own local fish whisperer, and Barton Seaver, who’s visiting from D.C. While cooking is a hands on activity that engages all your senses, these two chefs have also engaged their minds and ethics in the process without finger pointing at those of us who are still learning about sustainable seafood. We can benefit from their research and hours in the kitchen by reading the sustainable seafood cookbooks each chef released in Spring of 2011

The evening’s conversation will appeal to folks who receive their information in many different ways, from slow as the printed word to speedy as devices can deliver. As part of the presentation our chefs, led by edibleSEATTLE editor Jill Lightner, will talk about how technology allows them to engage with eaters who may be new to seafood and not necessarily cookbook readers who specifically sought out a sustainable seafood book. Love your smartphone? Smart and sassy blog and Facebook posts, Tweets, websites and YouTube videos by Becky and Barton are just a click away.

Or perhaps you would rather meander printed pages that are glossy with images of seafood briny and sweet from the ocean? A person can pick up either chefs’ cookbook and get the full story – recipes with a dash of science sprinkled in as seasoning. Pick up your copy of For Cod & Country, Barton’s cookbook or Good Fish, Becky’s cookbook after the presentation.

Good Fish   For Cod & Country

What might you learn from our chefs? Both Becky and Barton encourage us to eat a variety of fish besides the perennial favorites of shrimp, salmon and tuna.

Eating a variety of seafood protects the health of humans and fish populations. Creating a marketplace demand for many types of fish eases the pressure on the whole ocean food web by spreading harvest efforts over many species and not over fishing a one popular fish.

An example? Small silver fish – once popular, then over fished due to market demand but on the rise again – just might make it back to everyone’s dinner plate as Barton and Becky’s followers learn from reading a computer screen or a cookbook page about recipes that balance the fishes intense flavor so the rich, nutritional qualities of these environmentally friendly fish are enjoyed.

And in or out of a tin, we need to get over our national suspicion of small silver fish; they are delicious, not scary! Join us on Monday October 17th and we’ll talk about it.

Speakers:

Thanks to our event sponsor, Seafood Producers Cooperative for their generous support and also to our presenting partners: Readers to EatersSnoqualmie Vineyards, Pike Brewing Company, Taylor Shellfish, and edibleSeattle.

Seafood Producers Cooperative   Readers to EatersEdible Seattle

Snoqualmie Winery    Pike Place Brewery  Taylor Shellfish

Vote with your Fork! Dine out for Bristol Bay September 5-9

Slow Food Seattle, Trout Unlimited together again in a command performance!

By Amy Grondin

September 2011 will mark the 4th year that Slow Food Seattle and Trout Unlimited will partner to raise awareness of Bristol Bay, Alaska, its pristine environment, hardworking people and wild salmon. In celebration of Bristol Bay’s salmon fisheries, 17 Seattle-area restaurants will proudly serve wild Bristol Bay salmon from September 5th – 9th. Dining out at one of the supporting restaurants is a delicious and easy way to say the future of Bristol Bay matters. Directly invest your food dollars in Bristol Bay’s sustainable salmon fishery by ordering a meal featuring wild salmon and show that it’s a wild food source that you value. Join us in the fight to save our nation’s last great salmon fishery. See below for the list of restaurants.

Were you a Slow Food Seattle member four years ago when we first decided to partner with Trout Unlimited in their Savor Bristol Bay campaign? Then you are familiar with the background details of the Pebble Mine issue and we thank you for being a part of the on going efforts to protect Bristol Bay.

If you are a new Slow Food Seattle member you may be asking, “Why do we need to save Bristol Bay and from what?” A quick primer on the issues follows but this link will satisfy those of you who want more: www.savebristolbay.org/about-the-bay/about-pebble-mine.

Dine Out for Bristol BayMultinational foreign mining companies are proposing one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines (known as the “Pebble Mine”) in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s salmon-producing watershed. This is a wilderness gem that that contains some of the most productive wild salmon rivers left in the world. Thankfully the mine permitting process is years long and it has allowed for time for Trout Unlimited to inform the public on the issues.

If the Pebble Mine were to be permitted and allowed to open, the Bristol Bay watershed would be exposed to the persistent chemicals used to extract gold and copper from the mine site. These chemicals once used would be left behind as toxic liquid waste after the mine’s productive days are over, roughly in 50 years. Ten square miles of liquid waste in the resulting containment pond would be separated from Bristol Bay’s interconnected freshwater systems by earthen dams. A spill of the toxic waste or seepage from the containment ponds would irreparably harm the freshwater food web. Since everything returns to the ocean, the marine food web of Bristol Bay would suffer the same fate. Wild salmon play a central role as a keystone species that ties these two food webs together. There isn’t another fish to play this role if salmon don’t survive the good intentions of the Pebble Partnership.

Based on what we’re learned with recent environmental disasters, accidents are often not a matter of if, but instead when. Pick your disaster –a flood, maybe an earthquake? Both are a possibility in Alaska. Our best attempts to engineer our way around Mother Nature’s forces have not proven to be as successful as we had hoped in other parts of our nation. By the way, formal surveys show that 80% of the local population of Bristol Bay does NOT want the Pebble Mine for reasons such as these.

The loss of Bristol Bay’s sockeye would be truly disastrous for the dozens of Alaska Native communities that have caught wild salmon as part of a subsistence lifestyle in Bristol Bay for thousands of years. Bristol Bay Sockeye disappearing would also leave over 12,000 commercial fishermen and processors without work. The loss of Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery would also create ripples in the seafood marketplace as it is the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, contributing 40% of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. But there is still time to protect Bristol Bay before mining permits are issued.

This is where Slow Food Seattle members can help! It may seem insignificant to simply make a menu choice to battle a multinational corporation but trust me. It works. In the late 80’s tuna became “Dolphin Safe” because we didn’t eat tuna from un-dolphin friendly companies. Remember the Give Swordfish a Break campaign from the 90’s in which consumers successfully told the market place to change the way they sourced these mighty yet vulnerable fish? With your help in this new decade Trout Unlimited can do the same for the wild salmon of Bristol Bay.

So get out there next week and Vote with your Fork for Bristol Bay – smile and raise your glass to the table next to you that is eating wild salmon, too!

Seattle-Area Restaurants: September 5-9

Trout Unlimited Savor Bristol Bay

Wild Salmon Returns to Washington’s Coast, Streams and Dinner Plates

Salmon. Photo: Barrie Kovish

Salmon. Photo: Barrie Kovish

As the calendar turns to May 1st – hooks and lines will be deployed from the sterns of Washington’s salmon trollers as the commercial fishing season officially opens. Once again, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council with the input from fishermen and fisheries biologists have checked the numbers, done the math and deemed that Washington’s Chinook salmon runs were strong enough to support a commercial fishery in 2011. Though this will sound counter intuitive, a commercial fishery means a good thing for health of wild salmon.

The survival and restoration of wild salmon is the top priority for fisheries managers. If the salmon numbers are not at a sustainable level, not one hook is allowed to meet the surface of the ocean or the lip of a salmon and fishing boats stay tied to the dock. Fishermen have long recognized that not fishing is sometime a necessary hardship face in order to fulfill their roles as stewards of the natural resource known as wild salmon. But stewardship of wild salmon is not just something for commercial fishermen and fisheries biologist to be concerned about. Eaters of wild salmon can also do their part as stewards of wild salmon. And yes, eating them is one of those things! The action of eating salmon reminds us with each delicious bite why we need to be conscious of our actions away from the dinner table and in other parts of our lives that might directly or indirectly affect the survival of wild salmon.

Conservation Area at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Conservation Area at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Take the simple act of brushing your teeth. The habit of turning the water off while brushing can save a gallon of water each time you polish your pearly whites. One gallon, twice a day for 365 days…okay, 730 gallons of water! Why is this important? Salmon need fresh cold water in streams, not down drains, to complete their life-cycles. Same goes for washing your car. Using the car wash not only saves water but all the chemicals and oil that make your car dirty are filtered before they go down the drain and out to sea. Wash your car at home and the waste water washes into a gutter untreated or soaks in to your lawn on its way back to the ground water system. And lawns? Plant a rain garden or a drought tolerant variety of grass and limit the use of fertilizers and other chemicals.

If you would like to visit the streams that will be benefiting from your newly found water conscious ways, consider volunteering for an afternoon of habitat restoration with a local salmon conservation group such as Long Live the Kings, Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group or the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Or what about joining Slow Food Seattle, Edible Seattle and the Stewardship Partners on Saturday, May 28th on the banks of Griffin Creek and the Snoqualmie River at Full Circle Farm near Carnation, WA to do your part to save wild salmon by restoring a stretch of water essential to salmon spawning success? It is your choice whether wield a shovel or a camera. All levels of activity and support are welcome.

For more information and to register to participate please contact Stewardship Partnership’s Volunteer Coordinator, Alex Ko. Once you register you will receive complete details and directions.
Share on Facebook too: RSVP on Facebook too!

Should you decide to join us for the work day, here are a few things to bring and remember:

  • It is the Pacific NW so dress in layers, bring rain gear, gloves and wear sturdy shoes or boots.
  • Bring your own snacks and water.
  • You will be outside and ‘facilities’ may be limited.
  • Come ready to work but be mindful of your own limitations. Please don’t over do it!

To read more about wild salmon habitat, check out the story in the May/June edition of Edible Seattle.

See you down by the Creek!

- Amy Grondin, Slow Food Seattle Board Member

Flowers and Barn at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Flowers and Barn at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Slow Food Seattle Albacore Canning Day with Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown.

In the spirit of Terra Madre Day, over fifty Slow Food Seattle members and community supporters came together on November 28th for a day-long fish canning workshop called – “Time to Tin a Tuna!” – taught by Jeremy Brown, a Bellingham-based commercial fisherman and longtime proponent of Slow Food.

Wild Pacific Albacore has been in the news for all the right reasons – topping the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List and on National Public Radio in a feature on the growth of micro-canneries in the Pacific Northwest.

Though you can find canned albacore tuna at your local food co-ops or fish markets in many communities, this was an opportunity to learn firsthand with someone well-versed in the process and safety considerations of using pressure cookers. At the end of the day, attendees left with both with the pride of supporting a local fisherman and a good stock of Wild Pacific Albacore to last through the long northwest winter. In past years, Jeremy had done these canning days in the coastal town of Port Townsend, Washington with Amy Grondin, a Slow Food Seattle board member and Port Townsend resident. This was the first time collaborating directly with Slow Food Seattle.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

We were at maximum capacity a matter of days after announcing the event. We were able to use a commercial kitchen space donated by Gourmondo, a local catering company and Jeremy arrived with everything we needed to preserve our own delicious and nutritious, locally caught albacore tuna to see us through until the 2011 albacore fishing season.

The fish was pre-cut into steaks and with the help of a rotating assembly line of volunteers – we cleaned, trimmed, chopped, packed and processed a thousand pounds of albacore in eight hours!

The recipe was an old Breton family recipe Jeremy picked up while in France many years back – simple and delicious for anyone with a pressure canner and access to some great local fish:

  • Pack tuna cut into about 2-inch chunks into jars along with a pinch of salt (we used kosher salt and 12-ounce jars).
  • The secret ingredient that adds just the right level of sweetness is a slice of carrot.
  • Add extra-virgin olive oil about half-way filling the jars, wipe the rims, cover with the lids and process.

Slow Food Seattle made the round-up on Terra Madre Day on the Slow Food USA blog!

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

 

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy breaking down tuna steaks.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy - both of cooklocal.com - breaking down tuna steaks.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Photos: Jennifer Johnson

Reflections on the Changing Seasons, Terra Madre and the Quillisascut Farm

By Amy Grondin

Walking my dog each morning through the fields near my home gives me a chance observe the changes that turning seasons bring. Today there was a definite nip in the air signaling for me that autumn was seriously taking hold and the summer that many say wasn’t had passed. If you are a farmer, you see the changes in your own fields as crops come in and out of season. For shoppers, the offerings displayed in Farmers Market stalls act as indicators of the changing seasons. Summer sweet berries give way to crisp apples, thin skinned summer squash are replaced by their hearty, thick fleshed winter cousins and delicate greens and shoots fall back for chard, kale and collards that cascade in green-purple waves on market tables, awaiting their turn in a sauté pan.

For me the coming of fall also finds me planning ahead for winter yet remembering the experiences and tastes of the past summer. One of the finest experiences, loaded with sun ripe flavor and hands on experience, was my week spent in early August at the Quillisascut Farm School for the Domestic Arts in Rice, Washington for the Second Annual Slow Food Youth Workshop.

The first Slow Food Youth Workshop was proposed in October 2008 by Quillisascut Farm owner Lora Lea Misterly while attending the third Terra Madre gathering in Torino, Italy. Terra Madre is an international celebration of sustainable small scale food producers. It is hosted biannually by Slow Food International. At Terra Madre, religion, language barriers and debates are all set aside, not because the organizers ask that these differences be checked at the door, but because what is shared in common by the multicultural participants is so very powerful. All that attend Terra Madre are striving to preserve, foster and share their own unique way of producing sustainable food that is good, clean and fair.

During Terra Madre’s proceedings a challenge was issued by Slow Food USA Leader Josh Viertel for all in the room to bring Terra Madre home. Folks were asked to bottle up the energy and inspiration that was generated by the 5,000 people who were brought together from far reaching corners of the world. Once back home, how would each attending continue their work to produce good, clean and fair food while inspiring other to become a part of the sustainable food network?

The Slow Food Youth Workshop would be Lora Lea Misterly’s way to bring Terra Madre home. People between the ages of 18 and 29 would come to Quillisascut Farm for a week of learning first hand where their food comes from and how to embrace the seasonality of local goods. How lucky were Kim Bast and I to be standing next to Lora Lea at Terra Madre when she hatched the idea to host a workshop on her farm! While our status as youth had been officially dropped a while back, our role would be to assist at Quillisascut while learning with others through shared agricultural and culinary tasks.

Back home in Washington, with two Slow Food Youth Workshops completed, I happily report that a total of 22 Slow Food Youth representatives have visited the Quillisascut Farm. They have willingly taken on the duties of caring for goats and poultry, learned about organic gardening and had first lessons in making cheese with farm fresh goat milk. They have cooked meals together using the fruit, vegetables and meat raised on the farm, and have been overheard expressing their pleasure that the sustainably grown food they had followed from the field to the plate actually tasted better! Energized and relaxed at the same time by the rhythm of life on the farm, all shared increased awareness that our differences are our strengths and that respect, sustainable, biodiversity, community and enough are more than words – they are concepts to live a life by.

Much more than sustainable food was cultivated during the time spent on the Quillisascut Farm. And we have much to share! This past August four of the people attending the second annual Slow Food Youth Workshop were from Seattle. Two attending the workshop were sponsored by Slow Food Seattle – Andrew Heimburger from Seattle Culinary Academy and Erica Carre from FareStart – and two were sponsored by their workplaces – Ryan Stoy from Rainier Club and Anna Bazzi from TASTE at SAM.

 

These four exceptional individuals have agreed to work together with me to plan an event that will allow Slow Food Seattle members to meet them, hear their stories from the Quillisascut Farm and raise funds to send others from the Seattle area out to the Quillisascut Farm School for Domestic Arts in Rice, WA for the third annual Slow Food Youth Workshop in 2011! Stand by for updates and event details in November…But until then, please enjoy this recipe created by Chef Karen Jurgensen while teaching at the Quillisascut Farm School for Domestic Arts:

Jacob’s Cattle Bean, Kale and Chèvre Soup
The goat cheese adds a delicious tang to this comforting soup. The heavy cream binds the beans together and makes the soup thicker, so resist the urge to substitute whole milk or half-and-half. Because of the high fat content, this soup freezes well. Note: Canned beans are not a suitable substitute as the beans make their own stock and sauce.

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) Jacob’s Cattle beans or other white beans, rinse and soak overnight (3 parts water to 1 part beans, soaking water reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ cup tomato purée
  • 1 cup chopped preserved roasted red peppers (store-bought is fine)
  • 1 bunch black kale (or other kale), about 8 to 10 leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups (about three-quarter pound) soft goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Put the beans and soaking water in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and skim foam from the beans. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the salt (the water should taste lightly of salt). Cook about 1 hour, until the beans are soft in texture and creamy in flavor.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the carrot, celery, yellow onion and garlic, until the mixture is soft but not brown. Stir in the tomato purée, red peppers and black kale. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and add salt to taste.

When the beans have finished cooking, stir in the vegetable mixture, bay leaves, thyme and chili flakes. Cook for about 20 minutes, then add the heavy cream, goat cheese and black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes more, then season to taste with salt.

Variations: In summertime use fresh tomatoes, peppers, and thyme. For a lighter minestrone-style soup, leave out the heavy cream and goat cheese.

— Recipe excerpted from Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School for the Domestic Arts by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly with recipes from Karen Jurgensen and photography by Harley Soltes (Skipstone).



Eat Wild Salmon and Savor Bristol Bay

Seattle Restaurants and Markets Help Trout Unlimited Alaska to Protect Bristol Bay Salmon from Mine Threat

Save Bristol Bay, Salmon Factory of the World

Freshly caught wild salmon, direct from the pristine waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, will arrive in restaurants and seafood cases in Portland and Seattle early next month as part of Trout Unlimited Alaska’s Savor Bristol Bay campaign.

By participating in Savor Bristol Bay week, businesses and consumers are supporting Trout Unlimited Alaska’s grassroots Save Bristol Bay campaign.

Savor Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay is not only rich with wild salmon, but it’s also where developers want to build a massive, open-pit copper and gold mine called Pebble in the headwaters of some of the most productive fish habitat left on the planet. The proposed mine threatens to pollute the waters of Bristol Bay and harm

what is the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. Trout Unlimited Alaska is working with a diverse coalition of food community members, Alaska Native leaders, commercial and sport fishermen and many others to gain permanent protection for Bristol Bay.

During the week of July 4 to 10, Slow Food Seattle supporters are encouraged to support Bristol Bay salmon by Voting with Their Forks at participating businesses. They can also purchase salmon from Seattle’s PCC Natural Markets and Seattle Fish Company.

Seattle’s Restaurants and Markets supporting Savor Bristol Bay week:

Chef Becky  Selengut (photo: Valentina Vitols)

Chef Becky Selengut (photo: Valentina Vitols)

If you are looking for a hands on approach to satisfying your seafood cravings, join Chef Becky Selengut at the Edmonds PCC on Wednesday, July 7th for her Bristol Bay Salmon Cooking class. Class menu includes: Quinoa cakes with wok-smoked king salmon and herbs; Bristol Bay salmon with watercress soup, chile oil and croutons; Slow cooked sockeye salmon with Columbia Valley red wine sauce and braised fennel. For details and to sign up for the class visit: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/112619

Red GoldWant to see the beauty of Bristol Bay for yourself but don’t have a float plane? Free screenings of the award-winning Bristol Bay documentary, Red Gold, will be held throughout the week. In Seattle, Roy Street Coffee & Tea will screen Red Gold at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6 and at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8. Watch the film while nibbling on salmon snacks prepared by Seattle Chefs!

“We’re pleased to be a part of Savor Bristol Bay week. With West Coast wild salmon fisheries struggling the last few years, we want to do what we can to keep Bristol Bay sockeye plentiful and healthy so that we can keep offering sustainable wild salmon to our guests,” said Chef Kevin Davis, owner of Seattle-based Steelhead Diner and Blueacre Seafood.

Learn more about Savor Bristol Bay week and what you can do to get involved at www.savebristolbay.org

Trout UnlimitedFor more information contact:
Amy Grondin
ajgrondin@gmail.com
206.295.4931