Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Absolutely amazing and beautiful! The mastery of the Washington state native Dale Chihuly, expressed by the museum’s display, not only reminds us how superior creativity can produce something which gives great pleasure to the eye and soul, with beautiful colors and shapes, but how with the same outstanding creativity, it can travel around the world, from one continent to the other, elaborate ancient art classics, and finally recreate new masterpieces which are even more beautiful than the old.
Chihuly’s artistry has arranged for a bench under fantastic colored shapes. For those familiar with Dr. Seuss, one room presents glass constructions which seem almost especially prepared for those who love, or used to love, imagining scenes taken out of one of the Californian children author’s books.
Reflected by the beautiful pieces of blown glass, at times hidden between brushes and trees, before exiting to take another tour of Seattle, take one last look at Chihuly’s glass nature and what comes next beyond the memorable visual experience.
GLASS ARTIST – DALE CHIHULY
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, glass artist Dale Chihuly began his career after attending the College of Pudget Sound at the North End of Tacoma and after graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle. Formed by glass work and interior design experiences at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, under Harvey Littleton, and by interior design and glass work practiced at the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as by years spent learning abroad the skills of glass blowing and glass artistry especially with Italian Venetian glass makers, this northwestern glass artist is today among the most famous and respected artists in the glass world. Influenced by the American North West, by its nature, and by Native American art, the creator of the pieces exhibited at Seattle’s Glass and Garden Museum has seen his work exhibited throughout all continents. In 1971, after returning home from travelling and exhibiting glass masterpieces, the artist founded the Pilchuck Glass School, where his style and skill still inspire a new generation of international glass artists and glass blowers.
Around the corner from Chihuly’s Garden and Glass Museum, to see from above the famous city of Microsoft, Amazon, Pike Place Market, or if you wish to take pictures of the largest import export trade port city of the North West of the United States, or if you fancy a Starbucks drink, take a ride in Seattle’s highest elevator which will take you up to the 605 feet high Space Needle where you will enjoy a 360 degrees bird’s view of the very dynamic Emerald City.
SEATTLE’S SPACE NEEDLE
Built to be shown during the 1962 World Fair, Seattle’s Space Needle was the brain child of Edward E. Carlson, President of the Western International Hotels group. Mr. Carlson had drawn the tower on a paper napkin inspired by the German Television Radio Tower of Stuttgart built in 1956 by German Architect Fritz Leonhardt. It took American Architect John Graham, and his crew and assistants, 13 months to build the observatory tower with its revolving restaurant which was made to withstand 200 miles an hour winds and which during the fair, was visited by 2.3 million people at a rate of approximately 20,000 visitors per day.
SEATTLE’S PIKE PLACE MARKET
Pike Place Market is a huge roofed in place where you can buy, taste, order and ship not only wonderful fresh oysters, dungeness crabs and other seafood delicacies, but also superb whole or filleted or smoked salmon. However, attention, this seafood does not come cheap here!
Spices, farm fresh fruits and northwestern vegetables are also available at the many boots which make up Seattle’s Pike Place Market. If in season, there you can even find northwestern black truffles…not chocolate truffles!… Real black truffles harvested in the region which you can use to flavor your truffle butter or if you like, to prepare your American tournedos a la Rossini…
Native Americans of the Pudget Sound region celebrated and splurged on a great variety of seafood and salmons. Ancient stories of salmon catches report of Native Americans experiencing great abundance of this fish which they caught with spears and cooked on vertical cedar stakes.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KING (CHINOOK), SOCKEYE, COHO (SILVER), CHUM AND PINK SALMON
King salmon also called Chinook by the Native Americans is the largest of the salmons. It is caught between May and August and can weigh up to 40 pounds. It has a buttery flavor and texture. Sockeye salmon is medium sized and comes with a bright red orange flesh. Many of these salmons are especially caught along the Copper River. It has a good and fairly intense flavor. The Coho, also called Silver salmon, has a milder flavor than the King and the Sockeye. Chum and Pink salmons are less fatty, have a dryer texture and flavor and are often used for canning and smoking purposes.
BOOKS, COOKBOOKS AND RECIPES
TEAM CHIHULY by Dale Chihuly, Foreword by the author, limited edition to 10,000 casebound copies, 2007, Portland Press, P.O. Box 70856, Seattle, Washington 98127; Tel. 800 – 574 72 72; 235 Beautifully printed color and black and white patina photographs with comments by the artist who explains how he came to experience his ever improving skill and artistry.
PIKE PLACE MARKET COOKBOOK by Braiden Rex-Johnson with foreword by Tom Douglas, 2003, Sasquatch Books, Seattle; paperback, 221 pages with black and white illustrations and no photographs.
Throughout the years, this author published books which focus on Seattle’s Pike Place Market. My favorite of Braiden Rex-Johnson’s books on this topic has recipes, anecdotes, and descriptions and facts about personalities from the market’s scene. The book has several seafood and fish recipes, including nine that feature salmon and five describing how to prepare dishes with crab meat.
Today, unfortunately the northwestern salmon population has decreased, and one popular and easy way that local folks still use to prepare this fine fish of the region is by grilling or barbecuing it on water soaked cedar planks.
IAN’S HONEY SPICED CEDAR PLANKED SALMON
2 flat planks of cedar wood (about 5 1/4 ” x 11 3/4 x 7-8′ or 13-14 cm x 29-30 cm x 2-3 cm), soaked for at least 60 minutes in clean tap water
1 1/2 – 2 pounds of fresh filet of salmon (with the skin), rinsed, drained, patted dry and cut into four 6 inch or four 15-16 cm pieces
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. chili powder mix
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. powdered cumin
Enough olive oil to brush the fish pieces.
Enough honey to drizzle over the salmon
Preheat an outdoor Weber grill. Mix the spices and prepare the dry rub for the fish. Place the salmon pieces, skin down, on the water soaked cedar planks, brush them with olive oil, and cover them with the rub. Allow the salmon to rest covered with rub for about 5 minutes. When the grill fire is ready, place the salmon on the cedar planks on the grill rack and close the lid of the grill. Let the salmon smoke and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the fish has reached an internal pinkish but not raw texture; when you see some fat bubbling from the fish, brush finally the salmon with honey and let it cook for 1-2 more minutes. Serve with cranberry and almond rice.
BEST PLACES SEATTLE COOKBOOK; Recipes from the City’s Outstanding Restaurants and Bars by Cynthia C. Nims & Kathy Casey, 2001, Sasquatch Books, Seattle; paperback, 269 pages with black and white printed recipes of several seafood and non seafood dishes served at local popular restaurants few of which have closed since the publication of the book. However, the recipes and the very useful descriptions of northwestern ingredients framed in maroon-highlighted columns make it worth keeping and using. Two of my most favorite recipes of the book: How to prepare Tequila Cured Gravlax Salmon (p. 40), according to Fullers’s Chef Tom Black (the place has closed) and how to barbecue salmon (p. 101) according to Ivar’s Salmon House (still open and very popular in various locations of the region – in Seattle: 401, NE Northlake Way Seattle, WA 98105, Tel. 206 6320767).
CULINARY ROOTS AND RECIPE’S ADAPTATION OF SEATTLE’S FULLERS’S CHEF TOM BLACK’S TEQUILA CURED GRAVLAX SALMON
This recipe comes from the restaurant which unfortunately is now closed. It calls for kosher salt, which will draw the excess water out of the fish changing its texture, density and flavor, but does not cook the fish. This gravlax should not be served to people who have health problems, especially those who have immune deficiencies, or to pregnant women or very small children.
3 cups golden brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
1 entire salmon fillet, skin on (about 2 pounds)
grated peel of 1/2 organically grown orange
grated peel of 1 organically grown lemon
2 fresh sprigs of mint, stemless and minced
2 fresh sprigs of dill, stemless and minced
2 fresh sprigs of basil, stemless and minced
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/3 cup of Tequila
2 large sheets of either wax or parchment paper (both sheets should be large enough so that you can fold them both inwards to make a final sealed parcel of salmon)
2 equally sized wooden planks or two wooden cutting boards
Combine sugar and salt and adding the grated peels, the minced herbs and the crushed coriander, divide the mixture in two portions. Place one plank or wooden cutting board in a larger Pyrex dish; line the wooden surface with one of the two sheets of wax or parchment paper. Distribute one portion of herb-salt-sugar mixture over the sheet of paper and deposit the salmon filet skin down on the salt mixture. Pour over the skinless flesh of the salmon the Tequila and cover the flesh of filet with the remaining salt mixture.
Cover everything with the second sheet of paper, and keeping both paper sheets together, fold them inwards and wrap them around the salmon as to pack it like a closed sealed parcel. Top everything with the second wooden surface and tie everything tightly together with either two heavy duty rubber bands or two pieces of rope.
Refrigerate for 3 days, turning the salmon parcel over every day and paying attention not to spill any brine which in the mean time tends to spill out f the parcel. After 3 days, open the parcel, wipe off the salt and brine and slice thinly for whatever you decide to serve with this gravlax appetizer.
WHERE TO EAT AND BUY SPICES, NORTHWESTERN PRODUCE, BLACK TRUFFLES AND SEAFOOD – WHERE TO DRINK THE VERY ORIGINAL STARBUCKS COFFEE DRINKS
LOWELL’S RESTAURANT & BAR – PIKE PLACE MARKET, Seattle, Washington 98101; Open daily at 7:00 AM for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails; Tel. 206 622 2036 –
MARKET SPICE, PIKE PLACE MARKET, 85 A Pike Street, Seattle, Washington 98101; Open daily; Tel. 206 264 6292 –
SOSIO’S FRUIT AND PRODUCE INC. – 1527 Pike Place, Seattle, Washington 98101; Open daily; Tel. 206 622 1370 (for truffles contact Mike Osborn, Owner) –
THE ORIGINAL 1971 STARBUCKS CAFE AT PIKE PLACE MARKET STREET, 102 Pike Street, Seattle, Washington 98101;
CAN’T COME TO SEATTLE OR TO PIKE PLACE MARKET FOR THE BEST FISH OR OTHER FINE FOOD? CALL SUPPLIERS AND LET SEATTLE BRING THIS MARKET TO YOU!
FOR FRESH FISH PACKED AND SHIPPED – CALL PIKE PLACE FISH MARKET (since 1930) – CALL 206 682 7181 or 800 542 7732