Pasta & Co, Seattle
news from kurt

PORTABLE PICNIC – SUMMER 2008

 

WHAT'S COOKING WITH KURT

 

For those of you who haven't fled Seattle in search of warmth and sunnier skies, it's that have-to-get-outdoors time of the year again and we couldn't be more ready. Bring on the boating, beachcombing, clamming, hiking and kayaking! We've even got a few Mariners' games on the calendar, hoping to see Ichiro hit one over the fence. With all the great summer activities in our region, who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen? There's no better season for great-tasting, casual outdoor meals, the ready-to-eat kind you can pick up at Pasta & Co. We've got portable deli fare bursting with pure flavors that you can take anywhere-from the beach to the boat, to the backyard or the back deck. You'll find seasonal favorites such as Pasta & Co's classic potato salad, all-American fried chicken, vegetable side dishes and flavorful pasta salads. All are picnic-friendly and ready to complement a barbecue feast or any summer entertaining occasion. We've even got the perfect tote so you can bring along your favorite wine, and clever tablecloth weights to hold everything in place. Our pantry picks were chosen especially for picnics and outdoor dining, too. Stop in and we'll make this your best-tasting summer yet!


Yours in good taste,

 

 

PICNICS WITH NORTHWEST STYLE


Whether impromptu or carefully planned, picnics are the perfect way to enjoy a casual meal outdoors during our beautiful Northwest summers. You may not know that the excursions we call picnics originated as hunting feasts in medieval France and England. As long ago as the 15th century, pastries, hams and baked meats were prepared and transported to the forest or countryside to sustain hunters during their quest. The word "picnic" probably stems from the French "pique nique," an obscure word meaning "a shared dinner."

 

By the Victorian era, picnics had come into their own as a social custom in both England and the United States. As a simple, informal meal without orderly courses, picnics were a welcome break from the formal dinners typically served in upper class homes. Eating outdoors in an idyllic rural setting broke formal rules and ensured a convivial party.

 

When Americans adopted the picnic tradition, they made it their own with regional menus in different outdoor settings. Clambakes, shrimp and lobster boils on a New England beach, hot dog and hamburger cook-outs at a Midwestern ballpark, crayfish boils and fried chicken in the South eaten at tables spread under Live Oak trees, fire pit salmon roasts in the Northwest-all these outdoor feasts have genuine regional flavor. Add sandwiches and salads packed in baskets and carried to a picnic table in a city park and you'll find American picnic styles are as diverse as our country's inhabitants.

 

At Pasta & Co, we're right in synch with these innovative all-American traditions. Our commitment to serving pure food with no additives or artificial additives means you'll enjoy summer picnics packed with flavor and great tastes.



CAREFREE SUMMER MEALS FROM THE DELI


This summer we're serving ready-to-go-anywhere deli items. Everything is easy to transport and guaranteed great tasting at room temperature. Bring your picnic basket to Pasta & Co and we'll help you fill it with a delicious meal. Planning a barbeque or casual weeknight supper on the deck? Let us prepare your side dishes and salads. From school graduations to Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings, we'll make summer entertaining extra easy so you can enjoy your guests.

 

Our new deli main dishes reinterpret classic picnic fare. PICNIC CHICKEN is our adaptation of Southern-style fried chicken. For the Northwest version, we've marinated skinless, boneless chicken strips in buttermilk, double-dipped them in seasoned flour and deep-fried the pieces to crispy perfection. Our new pre-grilled and ready to heat TURKEY BURGERS make preparing dinner extra easy, too. A blend of seasoned ground turkey, cheese curds and Italian sausage, these burgers are great in a toasted bun topped with all the fixings.

 

Salads are a summer 'must' so we're dishing up a variety to suit all occasions and every appetite. Our new pasta salads include a cheese SUMMER TORTELLINI SALAD with Mediterranean flair from Roma tomatoes, Kalamata olives and arugula tossed in a light vinaigrette. Or enjoy WHOLE WHEAT PASTA SALAD WITH FRESH VEGETABLES. It's a hearty medley of whole-wheat rotini, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, green onions and Kalamata olives, all accented by grated Romano cheese.

 

To take advantage of the bounty of summer vegetables, we're serving a new Thai-inspired side dish, GREEN BEANS WITH SOY AND LEMON GRASS. Its lively soy sauce, ginger and lemon grass dressing gives a punch to crisp-cooked beans. The result is a versatile dish ready to pair with casual burgers or upscale grilled Porterhouse steaks. For those with adventurous palettes, our SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN SALAD combines two Southern favorites with fresh corn, green onions and cilantro in a spicy garlic and lime dressing.

 

We brought back some "oldies but goodies" dishes for summer, too. Pasta & Co's tried and true version of GREAT AMERICAN POTATO SALAD is a classic made with the standard mayo, pickles and eggs. For good measure, we're also serving our popular ROASTED RED POTATO SALAD. This contemporary potato salad combines red potatoes, sweet corn kernels and chopped fresh basil tossed in a light vinaigrette. Another returning favorite, SUMMER COUSCOUS, features chopped parsley and fresh tomatoes dressed with our basic vinaigrette.

 

Salads don't have to be just side dishes. Our GRILLED CHICKEN PROVENCAL SALAD is also a hearty main dish. Combining boneless, skinless grilled chicken pieces, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, basil and roasted red onions, it's a lighter meal, but one packed with flavor. The same goes for NORTHERN ITALIAN RICE AND SHRIMP SALAD. Its combination of medium Chilean shrimp, white rice, and artichoke hearts seasoned with red onion and parsley in a vinaigrette-dill dressing is equally satisfying as a light entrée or side dish. Make summer as relaxed as it's meant to be and stop by Pasta & Co any day of the week to pick up your fabulous summer meal.



THE SUMMER PANTRY


Intense and zesty flavors, pungent spices, artisanal chocolates, miniature cookies, hand-fried potato chips and savory rubs to intrigue grillmeisters. Our Culinary Council outdid itself tracking down exotic as well as practical summer pantry items with widespread appeal. For the barbecue king, we're stocking three Booze Rubs to enhance the flavors of foods destined for a meeting with fire. The original BOOZE RUB SAVORY BLEND is typically used to season flank steak. BOOZE CHILI LIME RUB offers a pungent blend of spices and sweet citrus with New Mexican chili powder and organic lime juice, while BOOZE LEMON ROSEMARY RUB is reminiscent of homemade Caesar dressing. Once food is grilled, garnish it with THAI FUSIONS MANGO BBQ SAUCE for a tropical flavor sensation. For potato chip fans, we've found the ultimate: TYRELL'S HAND-FRIED POTATO CHIPS from England. Salted to perfection, they're the tasty result of one farmer's passionate "seed to chip" operation. And since we're on the subject of picnics, how about an "easy to pack and carry" dessert? We're stocking SWEET MINIATURES COOKIES, delectable little treats loaded with intense flavor in both VANILLA BROWN BUTTER and CHOCOLATE ALMOND. Add ROGUE HIPPIE CRUNCH from Lillie Belle Farms in southern Oregon to round out the sweet side of summer. You'll also be able to take a chilled bottle of wine to your picnic using our insulated WINE PICNIC TOTE. And while ants aren't welcome guests at picnics, our set of four tablecloth weights shaped like the little black insects will prove useful when the wind blows.



DISCOVER INNOVATIVE SALADS FOR SUMMER


Go beyond greens. Move over lettuce and tomatoes. Catherine Walthers' new cookbook, Raising the Salad Bar, is packed with inventive ideas for creating great-tasting salads using non-traditional ingredients. A journalist as well as a former personal chef and cooking instructor, Walther offers a fresh take on her subject and presents a salad collection that's seasonal and innovative, updated for today's tastes. Recipes include ethnic ingredients and flavors, new varieties of vegetables and fruits arriving in supermarkets, and a range of delicious homemade dressings, from vinaigrettes to seasoned oils. If there's one cookbook you must take home this summer, this is it!



OUR BEST SUMMER MEATLOAF


You may think of meatloaf as a winter dish, but we expect you'll reconsider when you taste this recipe. It's lighter than the classic version, dressed up as comfort food and ideal for any season. Garnish slices with Thai Fusions Mango BBQ Sauce (see summer pantry items) to create a sensational flavor pairing. You'll find the original recipe in Pure Flavor: 125 Fresh All-American Recipes from the Pacific Northwest.

 

Pure Flavor Turkey Meatloaf

(Serves 6)

 

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 ounces Italian chicken or pork sausage, casings removed
  • 5 ounces Beecher's Fresh Cheese Curds, roughly chopped, or Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces to make 1 cup
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons Italian blend herbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet or loaf pan.

 

In a large bowl, combine the turkey and sausage meat and mix thoroughly.

 

In a medium bowl, combine the cheese, onion, celery, garlic, herbs, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bread crumbs, and 6 tablespoons water, mixing gently. Add the cheese mixture and combine gently. Do not overmix.

 

Form the meat mixture into a loaf that is uniform in thickness, approximately 2-1/2 to 3 inches high and 8 inches long, and place it on the prepared baking sheet or loaf pan. Moisten your hands with a little water and pat down the loaf to form a smooth surface.

 

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf registers 160°F. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Copyright 2008 Pasta & Co

 

Bellevue
425.453.8760

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University Village
206.523.8594

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Pasta & Co is part of the Sugar Mountain family of businesses;
sibling company to Beecher's Handmade Cheese,
Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, Maximus / Minimus,
and Northwest Earth & Ocean.