WHAT'S COOKING WITH KURT
Swimming, sailing, boating, water skiing, hiking, digging for clams, catching crabs or fishing the first run of Chinook - all the pleasures of a Pacific Northwest summer are right in our backyard here in Seattle. How did we get so lucky?! Our season of sunshine is also a great time to gather friends and family for an outdoor meal. Pack a picnic and have a bonfire on the beach, or set sail to catch the sunset over the Olympics and serve supper topside. To make any summer dining occasion extra easy, our ace Pasta & Co culinarians have cooked up delicious deli items that are perfect for all your outdoor entertaining occasions. Round out your menu, or pick up everything in one of our shops for a complete meal. We've taken summer classics such as ribs and potato salad and updated them with flavor twists. Choose our version of buffalo chicken wings (they have a kick!), add a salad, a crusty loaf, some great cheeses and a favorite wine, and you're ready to go. Outdoor dining is all about thinking portable, easy-to-eat and fun. We've also stocked our pantry with new items that will add lively taste to your favorite summer dishes. At Pasta & Co, we make and sell only what we believe is the very best. Come in and try a new dish or choose your favorite. Bring your picnic basket or cooler and we'll help you fill it with a moveable feast ready to entertain a crowd or your family.
Yours in good taste,
SUMMER ENTERTAINING WITH STYLE
Summertime and the livin' is easy. Cole Porter had it right with those lines from his famous musical, Porgy and Bess. Summer living is meant to be relaxed and totally easy. Menus are more casual. Flavors more intense to keep pace with the heat. Entertaining can be spontaneous or mark a special occasion. From Father's Day to the Fourth of July, from dinner on the lawn with concerts at the zoo or Marymoor Park, to bonfires on the beach, Seafair gatherings and boating parties, we've plenty of terrific occasions for outside entertaining, Northwest style. Simply grilling dinner on the deck with the Olympic Mountains silhouetted on the horizon is a thrill on a sultry August evening.
Picnics probably originated in France since the French word picquer means "to pick at food." It was the Victorians in England however, who, in the 1880s, popularized picnics as informal social occasions by combining a jaunt in the countryside with a shared cold meal toted along in willow baskets by servants. Whatever the origin of the picnic, spreading a blanket over the lawn or setting up a table in the park is an ideal way to entertain a group. Kids and adults alike love dining in the great open air. Dishes can be made in advance, packed in a cooler or picnic basket and toted to the location, grilled on site, or simply carried outside from the kitchen on a tray. Set up a buffet or pass platters and bowls family-style at the table to make serving easy.
Food Safety Tips
If you're transporting food, follow these basic food safety guidelines to ensure your picnic or outdoor meal remains free from contaminating bacteria:
Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Cold food needs to be kept at 40ºF (refrigerator temperature) or lower to prevent contaminating bacteria from forming.
Eat take-out food within two hours of its purchase, or take it home and wrap in plastic wrap or foil; chill food thoroughly before packing items in an insulated cooler.
When packing your cooler, take food directly from the refrigerator and layer it with ice or frozen gel packs to maintain coolest temperature; note that full containers will stay colder than half-full ones.
NEW DELI ITEMS MAKE OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING EASY
Classics with a twist. New dishes with sizzle. We've got picnics, barbecues and all your outdoor entertaining covered with Pasta & Co's summer deli selections. Pack your cooler with a variety of our terrific salads. Or leave the grilling to us and take along a main dish that's ready to heat and eat. Either way, we make it easy to enjoy dining in the great outdoors.
Pack a tub of our creamy MEDITERRANEAN SPREAD to get your meal started. Ideal as a vegetable dip, a sandwich spread, or mixed into salad dressing, it's a savory blend of feta cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream bursting with garlicky-herb flavor - a perfect topping for our Turkey Patties. Pair the spread with GRILLED CHICKEN PROVENÇAL SALAD for an easy-to-transport main course. Infused with the sunny flavors of southern France, this salad combines tender, oven-roasted breast meat and onions with fresh basil, both sundried and fresh tomatoes, capers and artichoke hearts dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Our store managers also cheered for DIAVOLA CHICKEN WINGS, our own version of buffalo chicken wings. The meaty wings are brined with lots of garlic and bay leaves, tossed gently in oil infused with red and black pepper, garlic and paprika, and roasted. They're dynamite paired with CHIPOTLE POTATO SALAD, one of Pasta & Co's all-time favorite deli items. Its combination of cooked red potatoes and yams tossed with a light mayo-herb dressing sparked with chipotle peppers will add a kick to any meal.
Salads are a must for summer, and our store managers insisted we bring back some of your seasonal favorites, including SMOKED SALMON SALAD. Made with our own Pescine pasta and lox-style Nova Scotia trim smoked salmon from Gerard & Dominique, it's dressed with a grainy mustard-Tabasco-dill vinaigrette. We've also brought back a popular salad in the veggie category. Bright with color and taste, our GOLDEN BEET SALAD, it stars French fry–style cut beets and fresh spinach. Tossed with a light rice wine vinaigrette, we've topped it with Blue cheese and walnuts to create a lively blend of flavors and texture.
SERVED WITH STYLE: NEW HOUSEWARE ITEMS
The greens have it this summer: Lime, chartreuse, avocado, fern and cedar. They're THE hip and trendy colors of the season. We've snared the bright lime hue in sleek, new melamine serving bowls from Zak Designs, along with their pristine white cousin. Large enough to hold a generous portion of your favorite Pasta & Co salad, these versatile bowls are dishwasher safe (but not heat resistant) and extra sturdy. Have no worries about using them outside or letting the kids help carry. We're also stocking Zak Designs' elegant gallery tray to assist with your summer entertaining. Covered with a durable, wipe-clean white finish and large enough to hold dinner plates or serving dishes, it's the perfect tray for transporting almost everything between kitchen and patio or backyard. We didn't forget dear dad either. Our silicone basting brush from Chef'n in avocado (remember what we said about green?) and frost makes the perfect Father's Day gift. It's heat and stain resistant, and gets high marks from our resident Pasta & Co chef for the way it holds sauce without dripping.
CATERING TO GO DOES SUMMER
Simplify summer entertaining and leave some of the cooking to us. Pasta & Co's Catering to Go is just a phone call away! We're ready to make your Father's Day dinner (June 18), graduation party, or Fourth of July bash the most delicious ever. You can order from our mouthwatering selection of appetizers, cheeses and desserts to round out a menu and give yourself more time to spend with your guests. Call 48 hours in advance and we'll have your restaurant-quality selections ready to go at your scheduled pick-up time. Call your neighborhood Pasta & Co store or check out the complete Catering to Go menu and ordering details at www.pastaco.com.
Get out of the picnic food rut. There's more to lunch on the lawn or dinner in the park than deviled eggs and cold chicken, as good as those might be. To inspire your next portable feast, pick up a copy of this year's outdoor entertaining "must have" cookbook, "Picnics: Easy Recipes for the Best Alfresco Foods,” by Robin Vitetta-Miller. From savories to sweets, there are dozens of easy recipes for finger foods, wraps and sandwiches, flavorful salads, some with ethnic flair, along with dips and spreads, refreshing beverages, and sweet temptations. You'll find tips and hints, in short, everything you need to prepare and pack a bountiful outdoor meal.
SPICE-RUBBED GRILLED SALMON STEAKS
We've borrowed some ethnic flavors in this recipe to blend a spicy, dry rub that complements the mellow taste of the Northwest's favorite fish. Whether you choose King or Chinook, Sockeye or Coho, catch it yourself or pick up a fillet at the market, make it wild to enjoy truly full-flavored fish. Remember to give yourself enough prep time to let the spices soak into the fish. (But if time is short and company's coming, we've also got a terrific prepared rub from the Sauce Goddess on our pantry shelves ready to help out.)
Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended. Brush salmon fillet with olive oil, then use your fingers to gently rub the spice mixture evenly onto the fish. Place salmon in a rectangular pan and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium hot according to manufacturer's instructions. Place salmon on grill, skin side down. Cover grill and cook just until fish begins to flake and flesh turns opaque, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the fillet's thickness. Do not turn. Remove from grill and serve. Serves 4.