Fruit Crisps Deliver Summer on a Plate

By Lorna Stokes, Pastry Chef

peachesI love summer because of all the local fruit that is in season – cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and apricots. The choices are almost overwhelming! And just as soon as they come into season, they are right back out again, so you need to be ready to take advantage of the bounty!

One of my favorite desserts to make in the summer is a fruit crisp. It’s such a simple preparation, it consistently tastes amazing, and it’s always a hit! Rarely have I met a person that doesn’t enjoy a warm, bubbly fruit crisp with melting vanilla ice cream on top.

What makes a crisp fun for me is the many ways you can jazz it up and be creative. For instance, add cinnamon and ginger to the topping. Or add lemon zest to the blueberry filling. Maybe serve an orange cranberry ice cream with a pear crisp. The possibilities are endless, and you just need to think out of the box. With crisps being so quick and easy to prepare, trying different variations isn’t frustrating or exhausting, but instead, it’s tons of fun!

Below is the basic crisp topping recipe I use. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Trust me, even if it doesn’t turn out quite like you wanted, you will not have any trouble finding people to eat the “mess ups!”


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  •  Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, mix together until butter is completely mixed in and forms a crumble.  Sprinkle on top of your favorite fruit filling (find recipes on etc) and bake according to recipe directions.

 A few variations you could try:

  • Add 1/2 cup Quaker Oats and 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Add 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • Omit brown sugar, replace with white sugar, and 1/2 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme (great with blueberries)
  • Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Add 1/2 amaretti cookie crumbs

Sunsets Inspire Culinary Creations

by Executive Sous Chef Paul Duncan

sunsetbyDZWhat an amazing first summer I’ve enjoyed here at Ray’s!  I was hired as Executive Sous Chef in June and was fortunate enough to lead the crew in the Boathouse kitchen through their first summer after our major remodel of the dining room.  I inherited an outstanding group of culinarians and have hired a few more to complete the team. It has been exciting working through such busy months with them and watching them learn and grow with our business levels high.  I look forward to many more summers and the changes of the season, which will certainly influence the menu and the direction we are going in.

Having moved recently to the Northwest from the island of Maui, I am still impressed with the views from the dining room and deck here at Ray’s.  Being on the water here is only  a complement to the food and service we strive to provide. Ray’s is famous throughout the area and we like to keep it that way, not only for the view at sunset but that beautifully prepared morsel you savor in that moment. I still find myself walking through the swinging doors of the kitchen to peer out as the sun goes down. I’ve seen my fair share of sunsets in Hawaii but I do believe the ones from Ray’s rival any that I have seen there.

All of this strikes inspiration in the food we are creating, as Fall is rapidly approaching. I look forward to the inspiration that lies ahead in the crisp clear autumn skies and what new creations will hit the menu.

stuffedgulfprawns_optThe first dish that I had the honor of creating for the Boathouse is the Dungeness Crab Stuffed Jumbo Prawns with Red Quinoa Tabbouleh. It was certainly a dish inspired by the waters in front of our restaurant and that of the warm summer months. The dish is accompanied by habanero and cilantro infused béchamel.  I believe the combination works beautifully, with the crispness of the quinoa and the richness of the prawns, finished with the velvet heat of the béchamel.  I would like to share the tabbouleh recipe so you can prepare it at your home and enjoy during the last remaining weeks of this beautiful summer.  As for the complete dish, you’ll have to come visit us at Ray’s and I will prepare it for you…


Red Quinoa Tabbouleh

2 cups red quinoa
4 cups water
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups scallions, sliced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chiffonade
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice

In a large sauce pan, add water, quinoa, salt and bring to a boil on high heat.  Once it comes to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low and finish cooking until the tails pop out.  Fluff the quinoa and allow to cool on a sheet pan.  Toss in a large mixing bowl with the fresh ingredients and add the cooled down quinoa. Combine with olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and check for seasoning.

New Ray’s Retail Has Arrived!

Everyone needs a cool new t-shirt for the summer and we’ve launched our new line of tees, hats and sweatshirts just for you!  One of the highlights of the new line is the return of the “Ray Bird” on an awesome hooded sweatshirt, perfect for those cool summer and fall evenings.  Here’s a list of the items now available at the Cafe Front Desk (will be available online soon!)

Ray’s Collectibles

Original Tee $15.00
Rays Sign Tee $20.00 (blue, brown, grey)
Sketched Building Tee $18.00 (white, grey)
Ray Bird Hooded Sweatshirt $38.00
Youth Ray Bird Hooded Sweatshirt $28.00
Hats $15.00
Full Zip Hooded Sweatshirt $46.00 (navy, light blue, grey)


Ray’s Partnership In Caring

by Doug Zellers, Ray’s General Manager

Chef Wayne Johnson and GM Doug Zellers

As the sunny days of August reach their peak, it marks the coming of what I consider to be the most meaningful task I complete each year.

Since 2004, I have volunteered  to assist with the Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) annual events. AWW is the philanthropic organization representing the Washington wine industry and the nation’s largest charity auction showcasing Washington wine.  The three-day event (Aug. 15-17)  is the wine industry’s annual gift to its communities across the state, benefiting Uncompensated Care for patients and families at Seattle Children’s Hospital and it has raised more than $26 million since its inception in 1988.

My role grew from that of a Sommelier to a Captain to the task I have now -coordinating more than 30 of Seattle’s best Sommeliers as they volunteer their time to serve patrons at 14 intimate winemakers dinners Friday night and at the Wine Gala live auction dinner ( 700 guests) Saturday night.

The team of sommeliers for the 2009 AWW events

Over the past nine years at AWW, I have worked side-by-side with some of the best service teams in our great city.  This year being my first at Ray’s, I have a partner in caring – Chef Wayne Johnson.  While Chef Wayne (and before him Chef Peter Birk) and I have been at opposite ends of the event in the past, I finally get the chance to work in tandem from within the same organization.  Ray’s is proud to support such a noble cause and I am more than proud to be co-leader with Chef Wayne as we present his offering – the main course entrée for the Gala.

Great things happen when teams come together and work as one. This year’s AWW auction, and the money we help raise for the children that need it most, should be nothing short of spectacular.  The partnership I have with Chef Wayne and the great things we do as a family at Ray’s is already leading to great things, and we are just getting started…