Recipes from the Pacific Northwest

The beautiful, the green, the splendid Northwest!

Although I am not a native of the area, I have come to love the gentle climate and the green, green, green that is evident year-round in western Washington. Other people have weeds. We have wild rhododendrons. Rain? Well, we do get a soft mist now and then, but it only encourages nature in her extravagance.

Cooking for my family has evolved from three different sources: from my husband’s German background, from my own pioneer heritage, and from specialties I have collected since coming to Seattle.

Summertime around Puget Sound means picnics to the mountains or the beaches. We might take the ferry over to Whidbey Island, where the old and the modern mingle. There is the up-to-date Naval Air Station at Oak Harbor. At Coupeville can be seen an old blockhouse and some examples of Indian war canoes. Out on the point at Admiralty Inlet is Fort Casey, standing in lonely disuse. This great cannon-mounted cement bulwark was a coastal defense station sixty years ago.

Leaving Whidbey Island by ferry, we might choose to drive home by way of Deception Pass Bridge, which spans a channel so narrow that the water boiling through at the change of the tide presents a hazard to shipping.

If we have several days to spend, we like to go out to the Olympic Peninsula, where we can swim, dig for clams, and camp, with the ocean thundering on one side and the glacier-wrapped mountains rising on the other.

Whether the outing is short or long, these are some picnic foods we like to take.

Quick Potato Salad

4 or 5 potatoes

6 hard-cooked eggs

1/2 cup dill pickle juice or vinegar

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped green onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

Salt and pepper to taste

(This salad gets its good flavor from the fact that you add the seasonings to hot potatoes.) Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Cook in salted water about 20 minutes. When done, and while they’re still hot, break them up into pea-sized pieces with a fork. Chop 5 of the hard-cooked eggs, and reserve one for garnish. Combine the pickle juice or vinegar, mayonnaise, and mustard. Add dressing with green onion and celery to eggs and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl, garnish with hard-cooked egg slices, and sprinkle with paprika. Let chill. Serves 10 to 12.

Banana Picnic Loaf

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed banana

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs and mashed banana. Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Add vanilla. Bake in greased, floured 1″ x 13″ pan for 35 minutes at 350º F. Let cool in pan. Frost with lemon butter frosting.

Lemon Butter Frosting

3 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons cream or canned milk 1/4 cup soft butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and beat until creamy and smooth.

My husband, being of German extraction, is fond of breakfast cake. Here is one that we like, a recipe I made up myself.

Upside-down Breakfast Cake

2 cups sour milk

1 teaspoon soda

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

(Note: If you don’t have sour milk, you can make some by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk.) Combine the sour milk, soda, and eggs, and beat well. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture, along with the melted butter or margarine. Pour into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Sprinkle on top a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. This mixture will sink to the bottom and make a sugary, buttery layer. Bake at 350° F. for about 25 minutes.

No one should say good-bye to the Puget Sound area without having samples of our superb seafood. Along the Seattle waterfront, among the curio shops, are little stands where one can buy a bowl of clam chowder or a carton of fried shrimp to eat while watching the ferryboats cross Elliot Bay. Because canned fish is used in the following recipe, this salmon potato pie could be made anywhere.

Salmon Potato Pie

6 to 8 medium potatoes

1 pound canned salmon, flaked

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

2 tablespoons butter

Pepper to taste

1 cup light cream

1/2 cup milk

1 recipe pie crust

Peel potatoes and cut in very thin slices. Fill a 2-quart baking dish with alternate layers of potatoes and salmon, sprinkling potatoes with salt, chopped onion, and parsley. When dish is filled, dot with butter and season with pepper. Combine the cream and milk. Pour 3/4 cup of the liquid over the potatoes and salmon. Cover with pastry, cutting two slashes in the top. Bake at 375° F. for about one hour, or until potatoes are tender. Turn off the oven. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the pie through openings in the crust. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until cream is absorbed.

Jellied Tuna Salad

1 package lemon gelatin

1 can chicken-rice soup

1 can tuna fish

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup whipped cream

1/2 cup walnuts

Dissolve the gelatin in the heated soup (undiluted). Wash tuna fish to get rid of oil. Let gelatin partially set; then add tuna, celery, mayonnaise, whipped cream, and walnuts. Let set. Serve on crisp lettuce.

And last of all, here is the king of all seafood salads, the dish that I always order when I go out to lunch:

Crab Louis

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/3 cup french dressing

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/3 cup chili sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded lettuce

Crab meat

Combine the first six ingredients. Arrange shredded lettuce on plates. Place crab meat on lettuce. Top with dressing. Garnish with wedges of hard-cooked egg, slices of tomato, whole ripe olives, and slices of pickled beet. Serves 3.

[illustration] Art by Richard Hull

Sister Kammeyer, mother of six children and a free-lance writer, won first prize in the 1970 Relief Society poetry contest. She has published a book of humorous verse, Saints Alive! At present she teaches spiritual living lessons in the Alderwood Ward Relief Society, Cascade South Stake.