Archive for the ‘Local Food’ Category

There’s No Place Like Home

Recipe:Black Pepper Potatoes

Comfort food has been in high demand around here recently.  Prompted by our landlord unexpectedly putting this house on the market – July turned into a month of big decisions– stay or
go – and a lot of stress. For the first time ever, K.M. and I both completely forgot our wedding anniversary.

Right on cue, the garden started to produce potatoes: All Blue, Red Lakota, Yukon Gold and Red Lakotas. Mashed, fried, baked, and of course in the form of a fry –potatoes are reliable, easy to cook and acompliment to everything else on your plate.  Native to South America, the potato’s domestication dates back at least 7000 years.

Continue reading

Moving Plants to Center Stage

Recipe: Cold Carrot Soup with Chilies and Avocados

The first time I tried vegetarian cooking, it was a trial by fire. My mother-in-law was coming to visit from India, and at that time was a full-fledged vegetarian.  This was in 1996, in East Central Illinois; a place where a grocery clerk once asked K.M. why he was buying fresh spinach, when you could “get that in a can.”

I had no idea what I was doing. We muddled through, eating a lot of pasta.  Eating out, in that time and place was nearly impossible.  People actually would say things like, “Well, it’s nearly vegetarian. You can pick the bacon out.”

Continue reading

Garden Class Harvest: Arugula and Radishes

Last night on the farm we picked arugula and radishes.

This morning, they made an outstanding breakfast with home-cured bacon, an egg and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

Fresh Sausage:Grinding it out for Charcutepalooza

Recipe: Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Chilies

I’ve never spent much time thinking about sausages. Eating them, you bet, but really thinking about what goes into making one – not so much, at least not since I read The Jungle as a teenager. We read Upton Sinclair’s classic in history class; and at the time I believed that concerns about food safety, contamination and inhumane conditions for meat packers were just a part of history. And I probably never stopped to think about the lives of the animals. What can I say?  Clearly I was a child of the eighties.

Continue reading

First Harvest: Rhubarb and Chives

Recipe: Rhubarb Chutney

I brought my first harvest home from garden class last week.  Chives and rhubarb – both planted by previous year’s classes – may not sound like much. But to me, it is a bounty and a harbinger of all that is to come. Expect to hear a lot more about the garden’s yield, between now and our last class in November.

Last spring, in Seattle, I joined a CSA and became a loyal farmer’s market shopper. I put a few raised beds in my front yard to grow salad greens, strawberries, peppers, tomatillos, and tomatoes. But I knew I wanted to do more.

Continue reading

Irish Thanksgiving for Charcutepalooza

What happens when a boy whose parents are from Belfast marries a Catholic girl, whose not-so-distant roots go back to Poland and southern Ireland? Their children grow up skeptics, who are not inclined to discuss religion. And St. Patrick’s day is a pretty subdued affair.

My parents had already been married twenty years by the time I came along, so whatever discussion or discord the holiday may have once caused in our household was long over, with only two tangible results:  I was forbidden to wear green on the 17th of March, and we always ate corned beef for dinner, always with sauerkraut.

I hated them both. And don’t ask me why the sauerkraut, rather than cabbage.  None of it is authentically Irish, anyway.  Maybe it was rebellion on my mother’s part. All I know is that both the sauerkraut and the beef came from and tasted of, their respective cans.

Continue reading

Transitional Pasta

I’m so tired of winter.

I know I haven’t had it as bad as some of my friends who live in the Northeast, or the Midwest. And I know in December and January it was a lot drier in Boise than in Seattle, but I am so ready for spring to come – more so than in years past, I think.

I’m tired of waking up to sub-freezing temperatures, bundling up to walk the dogs, and walking instead of running because of icy sidewalks. Everyone we’ve met here in Boise keeps telling us it has been a much greyer, wetter winter than normal for the Treasure Valley.

Continue reading

February’s Charcutepalooza Challenge: Blown Away by Bacon (part 2)

(Read Part 1)

My homemade bacon turned out to be emotionally complicated. I’m still wondering if maybe rather than write about it, I should have just developed a recipe for bacon ice cream.

Close friendships are sometimes hard to hang on to.  Especially the ones that define you when you are young. You grow, you and your friends take different paths, your life’s realities, good and bad, change you.  You make new friends, maybe you share your life with one, two or a few people who become part of the continuing nexus of who you are. If you are lucky, as I am, some of those people are the ones who “remember you when”, and love you anyway.

Continue reading

February’s Charcutepalooza Challenge: Blown Away By Bacon (Part 1)

Charcuterie is alchemy; the power to transform one substance into another using simple ingredients and patience.  I’m not saying that salt has the power of Midas.  That’s something you have to decide for yourself.

I started February’s apprentice Charcutepalooza challenge with three pounds of pork belly, lots of salt, some pink curing salt, brown sugar, coriander seeds, black pepper and less than a ¼ cup of really good local cider. As much as I wanted to use all nine pounds of my pork belly and plunge into the more advanced charcutrie challenge (making pancetta), along with the bacon, I decided to pace myself – though only in terms of pork.

Right now, I’ve got preserved lemons aging in the pantry, a filet of salmons curing in the garage and a crock of  sauerkraut fermenting  in the closet under our stairs.  I suspect my husband might be planning some kind of an intervention.

Continue reading

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is one of those flavors you expect to outgrow. I’m 42 and I’m still waiting.

I love Vietnamese Coffee, Carrot Halwa, Nanaimo bars, and Foolproof Fudge –  and my recipes for all of these treats owe their flavor to Gail Borden.  Lately, I’ve been wondering if I could make my own sweetened condensed milk, mostly  so I could use local milk, but also to tone down the cloying sweetness just a tad. Most of the recipes I found on the web called for powered milk, or when they did stick to real milk, thickened it with butter, which wasn’t an addition I wanted.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: