Archive for the ‘Local Food’ Category

Smash that Pumpkin

Recipe: Blueberry Pumpkin Muffins

I’m not going to make excuses for my blogging hiatus. Well, okay one. We had eighty days of pretty much straight sunshine here in Seattle. Really. Hardly any rain fell from mid-July through to the second week of October. Friends visited, trails were hiked, kayaks were paddled, day-trips were taken. And, I cooked of course – this year I really took my canning seriously – tomatoes, pickled peppers, creamed corn, and ketchup.

And I am, still delighted to be home. Delighted by everything I already take for granted in the is house, again, from the morning light, the 10 minute walk to Kerry Park, and the swing on the porch to the duel fuel stove.

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Crustacean Crush

Recipe: Vintage Crab Cocktail

I lived on the East Coast for seven years, but I never really fell for lobster or lobster rolls. They’re good, particularly in Maine, along the coast, but they just never made me swoon. It’s not just a West Coast bias – I still dream of the fried clams on Cape Cod, for instance.

But when it comes to crustaceans, I am a Dungeness crab-girl. It’s a treat I will forever associate with trips to the beach as a kid, and the taste of the summer. The Washington coast Dungeness season typically runs from December through September.

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Wild About Nettles

Recipe: Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Stinging Nettles

Wild food has a primal call. Catching a fish, digging clams, hunting (I suspect), and even picking a stinging nettle. Okay, there’s no danger involved with nettle gathering – being stung by a nettle is a weird, tingly sensation, but really not painful at all – but it’s still empowering.

So when a friend offered me one last chance to gather nettles this year, I didn’t hesitate, in spite of the persistent rain. (Once the nettles are more than a foot or so high, it’s too late to harvest. Older plants don’t taste great and contain calcium crystals that are hard to digest) Mid-May is really late for gathering nettles, even here in the Northwest. We were lucky to find any.

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Salad Days and Sustainable Seafood

Recipe: Lemon Shallot Shrimp Salad

Sometimes, nothing beats a salad for dinner; on hot days, in August for instance. Or in January. I love roast chicken, tagines, chili, lasagna and cheese, all the typical comfort foods as much as anyone – more, probably.  But I take comfort in salad, too.

We’re lucky here in the Puget Sound. Greens grow abundantly pretty much all year round. Last week I came home from the farmers market with a huge bag of arugula and bundles of kale and rainbow chard.

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Summer Sunshine for the New Year

Chicken Corn Soup

One of my favorite rituals is hanging up new calendars. All the promise of a New Year, held in your hand and hung on the wall; the illusion that the way we order and divide time matters. Or maybe the allure lies in just being able to flip ahead from January to June and be reassured that summer is just a few page turns away.

It’s important to believe in that possibility on days when the sun sets at 4pm. And it can be vital to eat something restorative and colorful at this time of year – something like Chicken Corn Soup. Who can think of corn without thinking of sunshine?

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Charcutepalooza: A Year of Meat, Chaos and Hope

Recipes: Duck Prosciutto Fig Spread, Mostly Poultry Cassoulet

It’s been a year of living dangerously: curing raw meat, making cheese, tending bread and yogurt starter, making sauerkraut in crock that belonged by my great-grandmother – a year of re-defining normal. And I owe the attitude that fueled all that to Charcutepalooza. I started out nervous. And I’m ending triumphant, with a renewed enthusiasm for all things culinary.

Would I have started making my own cream cheese if I hadn’t signed on? Would I have decided my diet is best defined by a proactive standard, i.e. humanely raised, locally grown, fair trade, etc. versus just drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and eating “no mammals” without Charcutepalooza?

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Food Network Virtual Thanksgiving: Blue Cheese and Rosemary Celebration Potatoes

Recipe: Celebration Potatoes

This year is the Food Network’s first ever virtual Thanksgiving. Featuring recipes from all over the web – from food blogs of all sizes and scopes, this compilation is sure to be helpful if you (like me) are still in the planning stages of your Thanksgiving meal. Time has just gotten away from me this year. I know it is mid-November already, but my personal calendar is still stuck somewhere in October.

I’m really lucky the next Charcutepaloza deadline isn’t till December 1st.

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