Cucumbers and zucchini have started showing up in the most unusual places. There is a big pile in the break room at work with a sign pleading, “Take some, please.”

The other day, a pile appeared next to my neighbor’s mailbox. Last night when I got home, I found three anonymous zucchini on the front porch—sort of like finding an abandoned baby on the doorstep.

So how can you take advantage of these abundant late summer vegetables?

Since local lettuce is past its prime, try cucumbers and zucchini in salads made for hot days. Greek salads are usually high in salt—something we all need to avoid—due to olives and feta cheese. So keep the inspiration but vary the ingredients for a healthy alternative.

A good goal is to aim for less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium (salt) per day.

Try this recipe for a low-salt, cooling cucumber or zucchini salad. Then prolong the flavor of summer well into the dark months of winter with easy, salt-free pickles.

Cool Cucumber Salad

1-2 cucumbers or zucchini (about 3 cups), peeled
2 medium, firm tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup low fat yogurt

Katy Wilkens 2.jpg

The author, nutrition expert, Katy G. Wilkens.

Sixth annual event featured local food

A crowd in excess of 200 filled the Masonic Hall on Sunday, Oct. 11 to enjoy local food, all of which was prepared and supplied by well known chefs and cooks from West Seattle and the Northwest at Eat Local Now.

This, the sixth annual staging of the event, saw local exhibitors, and heard speakers all focused on the ideas of sustainability and eating locally grown food.

The menu included salmon and catfish sushi rolls prepared by Chef Hajime Sato of Mashiko's Sushi Bar, roasted winter squash and carrot soup from prepared by Chef Bill Taylor of Talaris Conference Center, several salads and miso-glazed salmon from Chef Dalis Chea of Fresh Bistro Cafe.

Several other main courses and dessert were served including chocolate bread pudding with mint creme by Chef Toby Matasar of Eats Market Cafe.

Speakers at the event included Hajime Sato, talking about sustainable sushi, John Garfunkel for Global Source Network and Betsey Wittick of Bainbridge Island Vineyards who explored "Bridging Classrooms and Communities through food, farming, culture and education."

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

A crew of chefs prepared a locally grown mixed green salad from Helsing Junction Farm. CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW MORE.

Three Girls Bakery
6209 15th Ave. N.W.
Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday - Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

We've heard of farmhouse breakfasts -- stoking the farmhands for a day of hard work on the farms, with their hands. At Three Girls Bakery, they serve farmhouse sandwiches.

Long a fixture in Pike Place Market (since 1917) the historic establishment has opened a Ballard location, baking the bread for the market store and serving the denizens of Northwest Seattle at the same time.

The cute storefront on 15th Avenue Northwest, complete with curtains in the windows, looks homey and inviting. This is one of two companion brick buildings on 15th that still look like the old days, housing businesses downstairs and apartments upstairs. Appropriate for Three Girls, since it's an old fashioned kind of place.

When we first came to Seattle from a small town deep in the Oregon hills, the original Three Girls Bakery beckoned to us from its Pike Place Market Corner. Hearty sandwiches, substantial soups, real bagels and a counter to believe in called us. We had never seen cheese Danishes like this before.

Photo credit: 
Patricia Devine

Three Girls Bakery on 15th Avenue Northwest is rustic and homey. It reminds these food reviewers of New York City, farm life and grandma.

School cafeteria lunches can be full of salt, fat and concentrated sugars, none of which are good for kids.

Many school lunches have more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium (salt)—more than a whole day’s suggested intake for an adult—in just one child-sized meal.

We know one in seven children is salt-sensitive. That means, if they eat a high-salt diet for several years, they will develop high blood pressure and all the diseases that come along with it. So, how can you prevent future health problems and be sure your children get the best nutrition when they are away from home?

Pack school lunches with your family. This will teach all of you a lot about good nutrition.

Pick a quiet time to sit down with your children and make a list of foods they like and will eat. Children are much more likely to eat foods that they have helped pick out, so take them shopping with you.

Focus on good nutrition as a goal for their meals. Just like doing homework is important, so is eating right.

Here are some ideas to get you started. Remember, lunch doesn’t always have to mean a sandwich.

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Photo courtesy the author

The author, nutrition expert, Katy G. Wilkens.

Sixth annual event is Oct. 11

The chefs and local food producers take center stage at the Sixth Annual Eat Local Now! fundraising dinner on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 5 to 10 p.m. at the West Seattle Masonic Lodge, located at 4736 40th Ave. S.W.

The featured chefs include many West Seattle favorites, including:

Toby Matasar - Eats Market Cafe
Tony Kurzinski - Feedback Lounge
Dalis Chea - Fresh Bistro
Hajime Sato – Mashiko
Nance Tourigny - Personal Chef and Cooking Instructor
Bill Taylor - Talaris Conference Center
Maria Gonzalez
Brad Glaberson

"I'm preparing one of the courses from local farmers and producers," Tourigny said. "I'm preparing it for 220 people showing up for Sunday's dinner. I think it's really important to support these people. What they are producing is so incredible. It's a real treat to be able to play with all this food."
Bill Taylor added,"I'm tremendously supportive of locally produced food. I love West Seattle."

Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy of

The Sixth Annual Eat Local Now Dinner is set to take place Sunday, Oct. 11 at West Seattle Masonic Lodge. Several local West Seattle chefs will be featured creating dishes entirely from locally produced food.

It isn’t everyday that I go looking in my yard for salad additions, but I did that just the other day, and if my neighbors saw how excited I was to find a lowly dandelion in my yard I might be drummed out of the neighborhood.

You see, a class I took this weekend through the Women of Wisdom Foundation here in Seattle opened my eyes and tastebuds to edible possibilities I have previously overlooked.

Jennifer Sundstrom, our teacher for the class, lists the title of Ethical Sustainable Wildcrafter on her business card. But there’s nothing stuffy about Jennifer in person. She’s smart and knowledgeable about herbs (some of them are also known as WEEDS) and delights in sharing her knowledge.

Did you know that rosemary is a part of the mint family? I didn’t. And that if you take just a tiny taste and chew it between your teeth you can feel that mintiness.

Perhaps you’ve seen plantain in your yard? Or, god forbid, dandelions? They’re edible, and not just edible, good for you. (Caveat: You do need to know for sure what you are picking before you eat it. There is a false dandelion, for example.)

Photo credit: 
Rhonda Brown

The Mighty Dandelion, much-vilified, but perfectly edible.

Sustainable West Seattle, CoolMom and BALLE Seattle will host the 6th Annual Eat Local Now! fundraising dinner at the West Seattle Masonic Hall on Sunday Oct. 11 from 5 to 10 p.m.

The evening includes dinner, speakers active in the local food movement, exhibitors, a silent auction, music and dancing. According to a news release from the organizers, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a locally produced dinner while celebrating the people who grow, cook and support the local food movement. 

The star attraction is a menu of fresh local food prepared by talented area chefs. Locally and sustainably produced beer, wine and fresh cider will be available at a cash bar. 

Dave Muehleisen from 21 Acres Farm in the Sammamish Valley will speak about the challenges facing Puget Sound farmers. Exhibitors will present information on many local food related organizations, with a silent auction offering donated items from restaurant gift certificates to CSA subscriptions.

The Jeff Fairhall Local Food Hero Award will be presented to a person working to promote local food in the community at the event. Local Food Heroes can be nominated by sending an e-mail to

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Photo credit: 
Image courtesy Eat Local Now!

The sixth annual Eat Local Now! event will be held Oct. 11 at the Alki Masonic Hall, 4736 40th Ave. S.W.

1415 N.W. 70th St., 838-1960
Wednesday - Sunday 5 - 10 p.m.

Delancey's pizza is a labor of love chronicled on the owner's, Molly Wizenberg, award-winning food blog, Orangette.

For several weeks they've been inventing, conceiving, tweaking, experimenting, adding, subtracting and polishing. Intriguing from the beginning, Delancey continues to fascinate us.

Local ingredients are key here, and they know the guys who grind their flour (Shepherd's Grain, an alliance of Pacific Northwest farmers).

Most among us have a personal relationship with pizza. The Ballard Food Police remember our first taste -- at Shakey's in Salem, Ore. The crisp crust, the flavor of the tomato sauce (with spices mom didn't use at home) combined with melted cheese, the novelty of pepperoni -- heavenly.

Photo credit: 
Jim Anderson

Ballard's newest pizzeria Delancey, at 1415 N.W. 70th St., is a delight.

28 teams competed for grand champion title

Twenty-eight teams competed for the title of grand champion in the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association competition on Sunday, Sept. 20.

The teams came from as far away as Vancouver B.C. and central Oregon to compete in the event, now in its sixth year. The association, a recognized affilliate of the world famous Kansas City BBQ Society, was formed in 1991 by a group of barbecue cooks in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years it has grown from 20 members to more than 400 internationally.

Thousands of people attended this years event, which had contestants vying to be the best at pork shoulder, brisket, chicken and ribs.

Michael Stevenson, of Lynnwood, who normally photographs the event was in his second year of the competition. He uses apple juice as a secret ingredient and sprays it on his baby back ribs right on the grill.

"It keeps them moist and gives them flavor," he said.

Ty Staley, who took home the title two years ago was back this year with a new $16,000 barbecue grill. He said the secret to good barbecue is to cook, "Low and slow."

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

J.D. McGee opens the top of the 55 Gallon Drum Smoker built by Brian Moriarity. He won the grand champion title at the sixth annual Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association competition. CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW SLIDESHOW.

There may be nothing quicker for dinner than a carton of food you pick up at the supermarket and pop in the microwave, however, usually there is more salt packed in that pretty little box than you should have in a whole day.

How do you keep the salt out and still fix a quick meal? One answer is a technology from the past: a slow cooker such as a Crock-Pot.

Pull out that 1980s answer to the pressure of time. Slow cooking gives food time to develop that meaty, brothy taste called “umami” that chefs love.

By cooking foods slowly, you will increase flavor and decrease the need for salt. Put the ingredients in your slow cooker before you head off for work and when you get home, dinner will be ready.

Island Beef

2 pounds beef top round steak, fat trimmed and cut into thin strips
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 20-oz. can unsweetened pineapple chunks, juice reserved
½ cup water
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

Katy Wilkens 2.jpg

The author, nutrition expert Katy G. Wilkens.

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