Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dessert Day

With our guest here last week, I felt free to indulge in some extra baking; after all, there was another mouth to feed, so there was less likelihood that I would be eating 50% of everything I made. 33% is much better for me, right? 
I had a marathon baking day involving 7-layer bars, (crust requires slight tweaking, hopefully there will be a recipe in future) small almond cakes aka friands, and some buckeyes. 
Now I am not from Ohio, I did not attend The Ohio State University, and I do not pledge allegiance to college football. However, I do think that a nice bit of peanut butter candy enrobed in chocolate deserves to be enjoyed regardless of sports or state affiliation. We are equal-opportunity confectionary consumers in this household. This recipe is very easy, although a bit time-consuming, and making the centers can, and probably should, be done a few days ahead of when you want them. We found that they were delicious the day they were made, but after sitting for a few days in the fridge, the confectioners' sugar really hydrated and the centers became creamier. 

Having a chocolate dipping set (a little fork with two tines and a hollow spoon) helps tremendously, and they're only a few dollars at your nearest big craft store. Dipping takes a little bit of practice to get the exposed circle of peanut butter nice and even...I need more practice myself, as you can see. Is that just an excuse to make more? Of course not. 

1 1/2 C peanut butter (Jif or Skippy or your preferred brand, not the natural kind)
1/2 C softened butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb box of confectioners' sugar
12 oz dark chocolate ( I used 60% cacao Ghiradelli chips)
1 Tb vegetable shortening or margarine

Beat peanut butter, butter, extracts, and salt until smooth. Stir in the confectioners' sugar. The dough will be very crumbly. Take 1 - 1 1/2 tsp of the dough and roll into a ball. You will probably have to squeeze and work the dough in your hands to warm it up a little before the ball will hold together nicely. Place balls on a tray or sheet pan lined with parchment or a Silpat. Chill the peanut butter balls in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 days. 
Melt the chocolate with the shortening in a double boiler or in the microwave. Place each peanut butter ball in the chocolate with your dipping spoon or fork, and let a small circle of peanut butter show, uncovered at the top. Place dipped peanut butter ball back onto the parchment to cool and set. 

**Update: I find Skippy brand peanut butter is a bit more oily than my usual preferred brand, and this means the balls are easier to roll and don't need the few days in the fridge to hydrate.**

Hubband proclaimed he would rather eat these than any other candy he could think of, so I deem them a success!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home Again, Part 4

After Seattle, Glacier Bay, and Juneau, we continued down the Inside Passage and arrived at Sitka, AK. Sitka gets only about 1/4 of the visitors in a year that Juneau does, due to a slightly rougher passage and a shallow harbor that forces everyone to use small boats to tender from the large cruise ships to the pier. We went on two excursions in Sitka: a hike through Tongass Rainforest, and a Marine Life photo safari. Tongass in Sitka was just as amazing as its northern end in Juneau had been, but with more ecosystems. Our hike took us through the forest itself, (sometimes through a tree itself)to tiny coves, an estuary where the pink salmon run was going on, and to the muskeg. Muskeg is a really interesting acidic ecosystem, similar to a peat bog. The soil can hold 15-30 times its weight in water, so stepping on it isn't a good would feel like a sponge, and then you would sink. The soil is so acidic that the few shore pines that can grow in it gain only 5-15 feet in height in 400 years. We have few pictures of the forest, unfortunately, because while we were there it was accumulating some of the more than 200 inches of rain it gets per year. I feared for the camera's safety. Also, if you ever risk being out in the rain for 3 1/2 hours, double check to be sure your coat is waterproof, not just water-resistant...not that I would know anything about that situation...
Eventually we had to leave that amazing forest and head to our next activity, a Marine Life Photo Safari, which was incredibly fruitful. We headed out on a covered catamaran, (protected from the wind, which I was very grateful for) and very soon we saw a group of harbor seals sunning on rocks. Just a little further out, we came across a lone humpback whale feeding in shallow water, surprisingly close to another grouping of rocks. We watched it for a while, and moved on to find a cove that provided the opening to an estuary, where pink salmon were continuing their run, and where a large number of bald eagles were getting their fill. I'd never seen so many eagles in one place before, even in my time working with exotic animals. It was breathtaking. We eventually continued out in the bay, seeing large numbers of various birds on the way, and saw two sea otters wrestling in the water. I was very excited, having been hoping to see an otter or two, so imagine how I felt when the captain announced that we were slowing down to try to creep up on a raft of otters! A raft is a large grouping of sea otters who are just floating together, and I had never even seen a photo of one. They very kindly stayed put for us, and there must have been about 60 otters in the raft, just floating together, interacting, with a few breaking off every now and again to wrestle or swim a bit more energetically. Here are two that were a little separated from the raft, which you can see a little bit of in the top right corner. Look at the belly on the otter on the left!
After marveling at the otters for at least half an hour (I myself would have been happy to stare at them all day) we moved even further out in the bay, and found ourselves with humpback whales on every side. There were probably 4 or 5 out there, casually feeding, ignoring us. Hubband ran up onto the top deck to be sure the photos wouldn't be obscured by the windows, as some earlier shots had been, and caught these two amazing photos:

The whales were beautiful, and brought back memories for me, as every New England schoolchild goes on at least one whale-watching field trip. I hadn't seen a humpback in person in about 15 years, and I was thrilled to see so many. As we moved around, we also saw Steller sea lions, just barely poking their faces out of the water. 
It was a great time, but it had to end, and the catamaran brought us directly back to our cruise ship, where some silly person who was still utterly soaked to the skin finally got to take a hot, hot shower and warm up from that 39 degree air. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Morning-Time Dilemma

I love brunch. It's not so much that I enjoy the later time frame; it's the combination of sweet and savory foods. My main breakfast dilemma is sweet vs savory, and it's always difficult. If we go out for breakfast, I won't know what I'm ordering until the last second, when the server comes over, everyone else has ordered, and I've narrowed it to two selections, one sweet, one savory. Whichever I blurt out under pressure becomes my breakfast. At brunch, though, everyone expects a bit of both, and my indecision becomes a non-issue (for the moment). 
Recently browsing Dorie Greenspan's blog, I came across a post about an article she had written for Bon Appetit Magazine involving a Bacon-Cheddar quick bread. "Mmm", I thought. "Cheesy porky bread." Then I noted that the recipe also included dried pears. "Wait... cheesy, porky bread... with sweet bits?! An integrated sweet/savory breakfast option!"
I normally wouldn't just have something like that around the house, but we had a guest coming to stay, and I decided he would be an excellent excuse. I mean guinea pig. Oh wait, I mean test subject. CRAP! I mean, uh... I thought he might enjoy some freshly baked breakfast bread. Yeah, that sounds better. 
I of course decided to play with the recipe a little bit, and used my homemade bacon, some Comte cheese, thyme, and dried unsulphured Turkish apricots. 

The bread was lovely. Dense, very flavorful, decidedly savory but studded with sweet, soft chunks of apricot, it was a wonderful departure from run-of-the-mill breakfast. It was especially delicious when topped with poached or over-easy eggs.
Thank you Dorie! 

Bacon-Comte Quick Bread
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan and Bon Appetit Magazine

The original recipe calls for cheddar cheese, walnuts, minced sage, and dried pears. I changed them to Comte, thyme, and apricots just for my own preferences, leaving out the nuts. If you want to add nuts, she recommended 1/3 C of walnuts, toasted and chopped. I made a second loaf with bacon, Keen's Cheddar, sage, and dried apples, and it just wasn't as tasty. Keen's cheddar is a very strong, tangy cheese, almost with a hint of 'Blue' flavor which overpowered the other ingredients, and the apples soaked up too much liquid from the batter, making the finished bread dry. Stick with a moist dried fruit like apricots or pears. 

5 slices bacon, chopped
1 C coarsely grated Comte cheese
1/2 C Comte cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes  (Between shredded & cubed, about 6 oz total cheese)
1 C diced moist dried apricots, preferably unsulphured
1 Tb fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 C whole milk
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" metal loaf pan and set aside. Cook sliced bacon in a large skillet until lightly browned and crisp, then transfer to paper towels to drain. In a medium bowl or on your cutting board, combine bacon, all of the cheese, the apricots, and the thyme. In another, larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Whisk together eggs, milk and olive oil, then pour over the flour mix and stir until just moistened. Batter will still be lumpy. Add bacon-cheese mix and stir until incorporated. The batter will be sticky and ugly and lumpy, but ignore that. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, smooth evenly, and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until golden on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home Again, Part 3

After our time in Glacier bay, the ship moved on to the state capital, Juneau. Fortunately, our room faced the port so we woke in the morning to a view of the city:
Hubband, T, and A were booked to go on a float trip down the Mendenhall River, near Mendenhall Glacier. Being prone to motion sickness, I opted to go on a hike through the temperate rainforest on Douglas Island, just across the channel from Juneau. We decided that it would probably be better if the camera came with me. There were about 24 of us on the excursion, and we split into two groups to go through the forest. It was beautiful there. 
It was very different from the forests I knew growing up in New England; there were far more lichens and mosses, and fallen trees decompose very slowly due to the cold, leading to a very wild, almost overgrown look. Some on the walk expressed the thought that the forest looked 'jumbled' or 'messy', but I just saw it as renewal. There were still berries out, even though we were there at the beginning of fall.
We walked a few miles through the forest and eventually came out on the shore of the Pacific, on the far side of Douglas Island. There is really no dirt here on the island, just rock topped with volcanic ash and the composted remains of old plant life. There was a very sharp delineation between forest and shore, because the shore really didn't have that compost layer. There were some tenacious rye grasses growing among all the rocks and bits of shell but the rest of the vegetation was mostly sea weed brought up by the tide. While at the shore, we watched a pair of Harbor Porpoise feed, a pair of bald eagles defend their territory from another, and a porcupine strip bark off a hemlock tree. 
After we walked back through the forest and were transported to the pier, I waited for Hubband, T, and A so that we could go on our next excursion. Unbeknownst to me, they had returned much earlier than I had, and much wetter and colder, so they had already reboarded the ship to change into drier clothes. They did have a good time, but also learned just how cold glacier run-off can be. (If you're curious, it's about 34 F.) Eventually we found each other and headed off to the mine, where we heard about the founding of Juneau, mining techniques, went inside a mine shaft, and saw an equipment demonstration. The view from just outside the mine shaft entrance was amazing:
After panning for gold and garnets in the old tracings from the mine (cheesy, I know, but still kind of fun) we went back to downtown Juneau looking for a snack. One of my rainforest guides had mentioned a little hut near a parking garage that sold king crab, so Hubband, A, and I headed there while T stopped at a different hut making crepes. Hubband and I each got a cup of steaming hot king crab bisque, while A got an order of legs. Both came with delicious garlic rolls. The bisque was unlike any other I've ever had; there was definitely a mustard flavor to it, and while it was thick and rich, it didn't sit in our bellies like a brick the way some will. There was a ridiculous number of enormous chunks of crab in each cup. Fabulous. A, who doesn't particularly like seafood, ordered the crab legs in a fit of adventurousness, and reaped the dividends. Steamed freshly to order, caught that day, he was shocked by how much he loved them. T caught up with us, carrying an enormous crepe folded in 4 and filled with chocolate, strawberries, and bananas. Perhaps not as authentically Alaskan as king crab, but delicious. The young woman making those crepes loved her job, and it showed. Everyone we met in town seemed to share that quality of love; mostly it was a love for their home, and an eagerness to share the reasons why. I think the reasons were pretty obvious.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Blogger has been refusing to load my photos for the last two days! Sorry for the delay; I'll post as soon as I can!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Foodie Friends

Last night Hubband and I were treated to a Florida Foodies dinner at a restaurant we love, bluezoo, by Foodbuzz as part of their Dine On Us program. The goal of Dine On Us is to bring together food bloggers beyond the internet, to eat together and share our common love of food and story-telling. We were lucky enough to meet Chris of Pickles and Cake, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Ingar of Taste Memory,  Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, Jenn The Leftover Queen, Erin & Chris of the olive notes, Lys of Cooking in Stilettos, Christey and Peter of FotoCuisine, and Bryan The Tattooed Gourmet. Also in attendance was Ryan, the director and managing editor of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. She flew all the way from San Francisco to join us, and I'm very grateful to her and Foodbuzz for sponsoring this gathering. Many thanks are also due to Jenn and Judy who have spent many hours over the last few months organizing this dinner, which was the first to be suggested and organized by bloggers themselves, and not initiated by Foodbuzz. 

We were treated to a six-course meal, including amuse-bouche and dessert, with wine and cocktails, in a private dining room. This was the amuse:
a littleneck clam with bacon ragout and white wine reduction. It was followed by the first course: shrimp cocktail steamrollers, which I do not have a great picture of, but I'm sure many will be posted in the next few days on some of the blogs listed above. Both the amuse and the first course were delicious, with the shrimp cocktail having a very modern presentation and amusing way of eating it that served as a great ice-breaker. 
The salad was our second course: mixed greens with roasted red beets and yellow beet ribbon, candied walnuts, walnut powder, brioche crouton, and goat cheese fondue. Delicious. The earthiness and subtle sweetness of beets, with the tang of goat cheese and the buttery walnuts, a great and classic combination with a new twist. Third course was Arctic char, curried beluga lentils, zhataar-spiced carrots, and a yogurt-harissa spill. This was my least favorite course, as my arch-nemesis, cilantro, was found in every component. The fish was perfectly cooked, however, and I wish I could have eaten it. 
The fourth course was chicken, cooked sous-vide style (vacuum-sealed and put in a temperature-controlled water bath, 66 degrees C for quite a while). The chicken was then warmed in the oven and seared quickly to crisp the skin, served with tomato sauce and parmesan polenta, and picholine olive gel. This course was good, but not amazing. The flavors were too familiar, and all the novelty lay in the cooking technique. It was, however, the best polenta I've had. 
Dessert was a warm chocolate cake, surrounded by maracaibo chocolate pudding and caramel sauce, topped with peanut ice cream. A decadent and lovely ending to a very fun meal. 
Some of the lovely ladies in attendance:
It was a fantastic night, with good food and great company. All of these bloggers (and their supportive spouses!) were warm, funny, friendly people with whom I would be happy to spend many more such evenings.
Thank you again to Jenn, Judy, Ryan, and Foodbuzz for organizing and sponsoring this event! 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Popeye Would Be Proud

Recently I was debating on what to make for dinner when I randomly remembered a restaurant of my youth: The Ground Round. Why anyone might want to name a restaurant that is beyond me, (the restaurant itself was actually quite nice) but when I was young we loved to go there, and I often ordered the spinach salad, before it was cruelly removed from the menu. It was a wonderful salad, with hard-boiled eggs, bits of bacon, and a warm dressing, and it was often amusing to see the face of the server when a child ordered raw spinach with no prompting. They were much less surprised when my sister and I wanted to order cinnamon dippers, bits of deep-fried dough rolled in cinnamon-sugar and served with fudge and strawberry dipping sauces, for dessert. 
In the spirit of The Ground Round, I made this salad with warm dressing, using my homemade pancetta.
Incidentally, the pancetta turned out fabulously. I know it's rude to toot one's own horn when it comes to achievements, but...toot toot! I'm very proud of it and I will absolutely be making more when I run out. It has way more flavor than anything I've found in a store. Hooray! 

Warm Spinach Salad

This salad was great as a dinner, with two eggs per plate and some rotisserie chicken. It would also be a wonderful side dish with no chicken and less egg, just divided into more servings. I'm leaving the amount of spinach open, after all, only you know how much salad you want, and you can always save any extra dressing. Use regular bacon if you don't have pancetta.

Baby spinach leaves, washed and dried 
Hard-boiled eggs
Shredded cooked chicken (optional)
2 oz thick pancetta, cut into small cubes
1 C red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tb grainy dijon mustard
3 Tb olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill plates with your desired amounts of spinach, egg, and chicken (if using). 
Place cubed pancetta in a cold saute pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring as needed, until the fat renders out and the pancetta is browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove pancetta to a paper towel and set aside. Reserve the fat in the pan, and add the red onion. Saute until the onions are softened and lightly browned. Turn off the heat. Add vinegar and mustard and whisk to combine. Let reduce for a minute or two in the residual heat of the pan, then add olive oil and some black pepper. Taste dressing and adjust seasonings to taste (extra vinegar to add zing, extra oil to mellow). Spoon dressing over spinach, egg, and chicken, and top with reserved pancetta.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Home Again, Part 2

Earlier I posted about the first leg of our vacation, Seattle. Although the trip went on for a further 8 days, Seattle was the highlight as far as food was concerned, although later destinations won the prize for being scenic. This blog was originally meant to be about both food and life, but has definitely tended toward the food end, so I have decided to have posts about our vacation interspersed with posts about food that I'm making now that I'm back home. 

As mentioned earlier, we flew to Seattle on a Saturday, wandered, ate, slept, wandered, ate, and then boarded a very large ship. We took a cruise out of Seattle, and our first day and a half were at sea. By the way, just because you're on a big ship doesn't mean you don't feel the motion, no matter what people say. Fortunately, some hard-core wooziness and general "I just don't feel right" were the worst that I suffered, and Hubband...well, nothing bothers him. Except when he looked over the side of our balcony; he finally admitted that looking down 8 stories off a ship was much more disconcerting than looking down 8 stories off a building, although he couldn't put his finger on why. Here's a candid shot I took just before that confession: 

He seems a little suspicious, of what I'm not sure. 
After that first day and a half, we entered Glacier Bay, Alaska for some scenic cruising. Scenic? I'd say so. 
There was also wildlife in the area, happily for me. (You assumed my nerdiness ended at food? Oh how wrong you are, dear grasshopper.) We saw Minke Whales, Bald Eagles, Sea Otters, many types of gulls, Common Murres, and these little fellows, Tufted Puffins. 
Really, you have to click on the photo and make it bigger. Don't they just make you smile?
As we continued up the bay, we went out on deck to see the mountains and eventually the glaciers, and as you might expect in a place known for giant moving walls of ice, it was a tad nippy out. The ship began serving their "signature pea soup" to make everyone feel a little warmer, and our friend A. decided to try it. Pea soup? With 'ham' apparently: 
The glaciers were beautiful: majestic, awe-inspiring, and enormous. Really, the size was almost impossible to grasp. We were 10 stories up at this point, and the ice was taller. Some of these glaciers were 10 and 12 miles wide, and extended back for many more. 
This is a zoom photo of the glacier extended far into the distance, going higher and higher into the mountains. No, glaciers are not pristine white ice, they are shades of electric blue, an effect produced by the light absorption of the varying densities of the ice. The black is all dirt and rock they've picked up over time as they scrape against the landscape. It was almost surreal. These were, without doubt, some of the most amazing, humbling, awe-inspiring, wow-inducing, unforgettable hours of my life, for which I am so thankful. 
If you ever have an opportunity to go, do it. If you don't have an opportunity, try to make one. It is so worth it. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Thank You

I know that I'm a lucky girl. I have a great life in many ways, but what truly makes me lucky is Hubband. I'm blessed to have found someone who is as adventurous and unafraid of food as I am, and who is so supportive of all of my endeavors. He is exceedingly proud of this little blog, and loves to direct people's attention to it, including his coworkers. They, in turn, have been kind enough not only to read it, but to leave very sweet and encouraging comments for me. 
Back in August, before we left for our trip, I decided it was time to send them a little thank-you in the form of baked goods. Being the over-analyzer that I am, I had trouble deciding what to make. It had to be easy to transport, both in the car and through the city as Hubband went from parking garage to office, nothing so incredibly fragrant that the whole office smelled of it, interesting but not wacky, etc. Eventually, I decided on cookies. Specifically, pecan shortbread cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche. It just sounded like something that would be tasty with morning coffee.
Although I had made the cookies before, I'd never made (or eaten) dulce de leche. It's really just sweetened condensed milk, cooked until the sugars caramelize, and is really very easy. You can do it on the stovetop or in the microwave, and all it takes is patience. 
The cookies turned out well and Hubband's coworkers seemed to like them, so I'm happy. 
Thank you again for all of your comments and support!

Pecan Shortbread
adapted from Ina Garten

This recipe is simple and very good. I've toyed with the idea of replacing a little of the granulated sugar with light brown sugar to deepen the flavor, but I haven't tried it yet. Let me know the results if you do! Try sprinkling turbinado or raw sugar crystals on the dough before baking for an added sweet crunch.

3 sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 C granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract 
3 1/4 C all-purpose flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 1/2 C pecans, chopped into small pieces

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar until they are just combined and crumbly. Do not cream them together, as this will ruin the texture. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts. Sift together the flour and salt and add them, along with the pecans, to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the dough just starts to come together. Dump out the dough onto a floured surface and shape it carefully into a flat disk. It will be a little crumbly at first, but don't worry about it. Just work it as little as possible. Wrap the disk in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350F. After the dough has chilled, roll it out between two sheets of plastic, or inside a large zip-top bag, to 1/2" thick. Remove the top layer of plastic, or cut down the seams of the zip-top bag and fold back the top, and cut the dough into whatever shapes you'd like. Place the cookies carefully onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown.  

Dulce de Leche

1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

Pour the milk into the top bowl of a double boiler. Add water to the lower pot and bring to a boil, then place the bowl on top. Cook over low heat, stirring every now and again, for about 45-55 minutes, or until the milk thickens and becomes light caramel in color. Whisk until smooth. 

Alternately, pour the milk into a microwave-safe container and cook on 50% power for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cook for 10-12 minutes more on 30% power, whisking every few minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Do not walk away from the microwave, as the milk will sometimes begin to bubble up, and you don't want a Mt. Vesuvius situation with boiling hot milk and sugar. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Home Again

Many of you know that Hubband and I were gone last week on a wonderful vacation with friends T & A, of Memorial Day fame. Yes, I pre-wrote the pancetta and cookie posts and scheduled them to go up while we were gone. Why? Because I knew that my hard-core readers (ha ha!) needed their fix. Also, because I'm sneaky like that. 
Anyway, last Saturday morning, August 23rd, we headed to the airport and began our journey. After one layover and a few time zones, we ended up in Seattle. Once established in a hotel, we met up with our friends and went for a walk to explore and find dinner. We ate at Etta's Seafood on Western Ave, after ogling Pike Place Market. 
I tried their Manila clams with Washington Chardonnay; the description is so simple and unassuming that you might pass it up, but you would be missing out. The bowl is heaped with beautiful tiny clams, and the broth below Not just Chardonnay. Butter, salt, garlic, and a wonderful hit of chile pepper lent great depth and flavor. Bread for dunking: an absolute must. The cornbread pudding was also interesting. Everyone enjoyed their dinner, and we continued with our explorations. 
The next morning, Hubband and I woke up early (darn you, time zones!) and were incredibly hungry, so very unwisely we went back to the Market. It had been near to closing time the day before, so we hadn't gotten to see everything, which was our justification. Our growling bellies prompted us to look at everything with favor, and when we got back to the hotel, this is what we found ourselves carrying:
Ok, so that's kind of alot for just two people. And no, it's not a complete carb fest...there is spinach, egg, and cheese in that piroshsky (top right corner) and there is BBQ pork in the hambow (bottom right corner). And surely there must be some eggs in the custard of the rhubarb tart (central wedge). Other players were (clockwise from top left) a cinnamon palmier, a blueberry scone, fresh strawberries, pain du chocolat, a cinnamon-cardamom-walnut braid, orange-honey bread, almond-filled croissant, almond friand, and fresh raspberries, along with great coffee for me and ice tea for Hubband. Everything was good, but of course we had favorites: the piroshky and the hambow. Both had incredible savory fillings, and I could happily devour one of each just about every day. If you ever find yourself near Pike Place Market, do yourself a favor and pop into Piroshky Piroshky and Mee Sum Pastries. I will be dreaming about that hambow for the rest of my life. We also loved the rhubarb tart and the friand, both from Le Panier. Don't get me wrong, everything was great, but those were the standouts. 
It's probably a really, really good thing I don't live anywhere near that market, as I would be there every day buying fresh vegetables and flowers. 

As tempting as all the beautiful bouquets were, Seattle was only the beginning.