Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday at the Table

After a hectic and long work week, hubby and I headed out last Friday afternoon for one of our favorite close-to-home get-aways - Seattle's Pike Place Market.
Usually we just wander through, beginning with the hand-crafts, on through the flower, fish, and vegetable stands, and then usually to the Italian grocery. Sometimes we stop in at Market Spice or the original Starbucks, always at Sur La Table, and occasionally at The Crumpet Shop, never really knowing what we'll end up bringing home when we start out. For some odd reason, this visit turned out being all about cheese.
For one, there was a brand new "tasting room" for local Mt. Townsend Creamery. We'd had some of their cheeses before, and for that reason alone, we knew we had to stop. In reality, it was a very small store-front, but there was a healthy array of cheeses available for tasting.
We settled on two we'd never tried before - Off-Kilter, a scotch ale washed cheese that we had on burgers last night, per Mt. Townsend's website recipe (yum!); and New Moon, that we'll try in chicken quesadillas later this week.

Well after that tasty stop, we decided to head on over to Beecher's Handmade Cheese, a cheese-making facility and shop right there in the market.

Again, we chose a cheese new to us, their Flagship Reserve. Not sure how we'll be enjoying it, but maybe I'll try a recipe from Beecher's Pure Flavor, which is where I got the soup shared below. 
Buying locally produced products like these cheeses is really satisfying. What's local to you that you enjoy? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Tomato-Cheddar Soup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium onions, diced
1 28-ounce can + 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

10 ounces white cheddar or other semihard cheese, grated (2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cheese and cream and stir until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.
When served at the market, this soup is topped with fresh cheese curds, with a fresh breadstick alongside. Next time I make it, I think I'll top it with croutons.


  1. Oh, YUM - I'm trying that soup! I loved Pike Place - we always loaded up at Market Spice. And I still have my gift card from the original Starbucks. You make me miss Washington! Over on the other side, we had Greenbluff Farms - a huge cooperative of farms and orchards. We were up there almost every weekend picking our own fruits and veggies. Here in Oklahoma, there's cows. Some local dairies and beef. But nothing like those wonderful Washington apples.

  2. I've been to pike's place market once, when I was pretty young. I remember guys throwing fish around and that's about it!!!

  3. OOOh, I love that tomato soup recipe. I think I know what I'm making for lunch today. Thanks

  4. Oh yummy! I LOVE cheese. Local to us, umm, well, in summer there's raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. There's whisky, and shortbread and cheese of all sorts. There's venison, and some fabulous meat at the farmers markets

  5. Oh, that looks so fun! Hmm, local to us...corn? Ok, there is an overload of sweet corn in the summer, but the area right around us is basically a fresh produce paradise. Lots of watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and peaches are grown around here. Oh, and there are a couple huge asparagus fields just down the road.

  6. I haven't been to Pike's Place in a couple of years. You make me long to go! Maybe I'll have to talk hubby into it this weekend, we always have so much fun just browsing around up there.

  7. I love Beechers Flagship cheese. We have several good goat cheese makers close by. I buy local honey at the feed store when I pick up my chicken feed. Also strawberries, asparagus, cherries and nuts of all kinds are grown up and down the valley here. Gosh I'm getting hungry! There is a great cookbook called Local Flavors by Deborah Madison. She lists Farmers Markets all over the U.S. and recipes for the produce sold from them. Really good!