The Perfect Washington Coast Vacation Breakfast

On the first day my sisters and I were in Washington we stopped at Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Co. to pick up some fresh seafood for dinner. To keep preparation simple we decided to get two cooked crabs. Before we got to the cottage we stopped at Sid’s Market in Seaview and bought fresh sourdough bread and a bottle of wine. What could be simpler and more delicious than chilled cracked crab, bread and butter and a good glass of wine? We ate until we were full but there was still some crab left. What do you do with left over crab? You make omelets for breakfast.

At the Astoria Sunday Market we picked up some fresh chives, goat cheese with dill and fresh eggs. Later that day, at Jack\’s Country Store, I found an avocado for a mere $1.79 that I splurged on. Living in California I’m really not used to that price for avocados. Jack’s, just up the road from where we stayed, is a real honest to goodness general mercantile. The floors are wood, there are rolling track ladders to reach the top shelves of the oak showcases and there is a beautiful stained glass ceiling. They carry everything from paint and hardware to hunting clothes, kitchenware, toys and pet supplies. It’s very much like the general store we shopped in when I was in high school in rural California a mere forty-something years ago.  It has everything including a grocery store where you can get avocados. They have a great catalog too. Take a look and be amazed. The stage was set. Omelets for breakfast were firmly on the menu for the next day.

I learned to make omelets by watching Julia Child on TV. Really, that’s where I learned and that lesson has served me well. Omelets are wonderful things. They can be simple or exotic. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And, you can use just about anything for a filling, even leftover cracked crab, and fresh goat cheese with dill, organic chives and avocado and if you serve it with toast made from leftover sourdough bread spread with Blueberry Lavender Pepper jam from the Painted Lady Lavender Farm,  you’ll  have the perfect Washington coast vacation breakfast.

Bon Appetite!

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Astoria (Oregon) Sunday Market

Recently two of my sisters and I took advantage of low Southwest airfares and flew to Portland. When we left Sacramento it was raining and in the 50’s. We arrived in Portland to sunshine and 86 degrees. That was a rarity. It should have been the other way around. Eighty-six is pretty warm but we weren’t complaining.

First order of business was to head over to the car rental pick-up location and load up our rental with our luggage. Then it was off to one of my favorite farmers markets, the Portland market at Portland State University. Unfortunately, we arrived with less than an hour before closing and had just enough time to make a quick perusal of the possibilities for lunch. We sat under the beautiful big trees and ate our lunch as the vendors broke down their stalls and packed their trucks. Next time I’ll make sure I have a couple of hours of shopping time. Tummies full and anticipation high we headed back to the car for our leisurely drive from Portland to the coast, then north to Long Beach, WA and five days of a much needed vacation. If you’re ever in Portland on a Saturday between 8:30am and 2:00pm, check out the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University. It’s open 8:30am – 2:00pm March 19 – December 17  and  9:oo am – 2:00 pm November and December. If the PSU market won’t fit into your visit there are markets happening in Portland everyday but Friday. You can find out more about locations, days and times here.

Sunday morning we decided to drive over to Astoria, a nice two-hour drive away and check out their Sunday Market. The Astoria market is easily the largest farmers market in the Columbia-Pacific region — and one the largest statewide, with up to 200 vendor spaces. In addition to its size it’s one of the few Oregon markets open on Sundays.  After a wonderful breakfast at Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe (They also have a booth at the market which sells yummy bakery items) we walked a couple of blocks to the market which was already very busy. The market is a mix of food (ready -to-eat and fresh), art & photography, handmade clothing, things for kids and pets, body care products, crafts and jewelry and plants and garden items. There is also a prepared food section where you can sit and eat and listen to some local music.  This isn’t one of those flea markets where products come from everywhere all products sold at the Astoria market are made or grown by the vendor, so you’re supporting local folks.

One of the most interesting things I found at the market was a young entrepreneur selling goat milk soaps. This bright young lady named  Mary told me her title was, Milkologist and Monster Master of Mary\’s Milk Monsters.  With a title like that and a smile like hers who wouldn’t take a few minutes to listen to what she had to say.  She told me she got into making soaps because her goats (her 4H project) give a lot of milk and she was looking for a new way “to make use of their hard work.” By adding her own hard work she has come up with a wonderful little business. You can find out more about how she makes her soaps and  meet some of her goats on her website. If you won’t be in Astoria anytime soon, you can buy her soap through her website. A very nice way to support a very engaging and energetic young entrepreneur.

After talking with Mary, and browsing, and shopping for non-food items for a couple of hours we finally got down to the business of buying food and bought chives, goat cheese, eggs, apples and some amazing goodies at the Blue Scorcher Bakery booth to take back to our little cabin in Long Beach.

If you are going to be up in the Northwest this summer take time to visit one of their Farmers Markets. You’ll meet some really nice folks, you’ll find fresh local foods and crafts and sometimes you’ll even meet someone you’ll never forget.

A Guide to North Coast Farmers Markets

Astoria – open 10am – 3pm, Sundays, from Mother’s Day through the second weekend in October
Commercial and 12th Street, Astoria, OR
astoriasundaymarket.com
 
Newport-open 9am – 1pm, Saturdays, May 7-Oct 29
US Highway 101 and Angle Street, Newport, OR
newportfarmersmarket.org
 
Lincon City – open 9am – 3pm, Sundays, May 1 – Oct 16
540 NE US Hwy 100, Lincoln City, OR
lincolncityfarmersmarket.org
 
Tillamook – open 9am – 2pm, Saturdays, June 11 – Sept 24
Laurel and 2nd Streets
tillamookfarmersmarket.com
 
Manzanita – open 5 – 8pm, Fridays, June 10 – Sept 23
Fifth and Laneda Avenue
manzanitafarmersmarket.com
 
Cannon Beach – open 2 – 5 pm, Tuesdays, June 14 – Sept 27
Midtown public parking lot
cannonbeachmarket.org
 
Seaside – open 1pm – 4pm, Saturdays, July 2 – Sept 24, except Aug 27
2315 N. Roosevelt Drive
no web address
 
Columbia-Pacific – open 3 – 7pm Fridays, May – September
Downtown, Long Beach, WA
longbeachwa.gov/farmersmarket
 
Scappoose – open 9am – 2pm, Saturdays, mid May – September
E 2nd Street entrance to City Hall parking lot on E Columbia Avenue
scappoosefarmermarket.com
 
Two Island’s Farm Market – open 3 – 6:30pm, Fridays, May – October
59 W Birnie Slough Road, Puget Island, WA
stockhousesfarm.com/farm.html
 
 
 
 

Warm Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart


This beautiful recipe comes by way of my friend, Kevin. He made these beautiful little tarts for a dinner on Saturday and I asked if I could include the recipe as part of my “love of onions” series. The recipe and Kevin’s notes arrived today.

Goat Cheese Tart With Caramelized Onions

From The Balthazar Cookbook

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUST

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces

2 extra-large egg yolks

3 tablespoons ice-cold water

FOR THE FILLING

¼ cup olive oil

3 large yellow onions, halved through the stem end and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch half-moons

1 spring of thyme

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 extra-large eggs

1 extra-large egg yolk, beaten

To make the crusts, combine the flour, salt, and chilled butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the 2 egg yolks and ice water through the feed tube. Continue to process until the dough forms a ball, about 20 seconds. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into 1 disk if making the 10-inch tart, or into 6 equally sized disks if making the 4-inch tarts. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator.

Over a low flame, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, cooking the onions until soft and golden, reducing their volume by nearly half; this can take up to 1 hour. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, draining off any excess oil. Discard the thyme and bay leaf.

Mean while, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Coat the tart pan(s) with nonstick spray. Fit the dough snugly into the pan(s), pressing it firmly into the bottom edge and fluted sides. Trim the excess with a sharp knife, and prick the dough several times with the tines of a fork. Place the tart pan on a sheet tray for easy handling. Line the dough with aluminum foil, and weigh down with raw rice or beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue to bake a few minutes more, until the crust takes on a light brown color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while the filling is completed.

In a food processor or in the bowl of an electric mixer mix the goat cheese, cream cheese, 2 eggs, and the remaining ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

Spread the caramelized onions evenly over the bottom of the prebaked tart shell(s) and pour the cheese mixture over the onions, filling to just below the rim. Using a wide pastry brush, gently brush the beaten egg yolk over the top of the tart. Aim for complete coverage.

Bake for 12 minutes, until set. Allow to cool for 15 minutes and serve warm.

KEVIN’S NOTES:

The onions did take an hour! I made individual tarts, but there was way too much filling left. I think I could have made at least 3 more tartlets. I may put the leftover onions and cheese filling in ramekins and bake them without a crust. Or, I may coat the bottom with breadcrumbs. Next time I’ll make one large tart. Enjoy!

WHAT TO BUY AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET

Goat cheese

Thyme

Extra-large eggs

3 large yellow onions