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Hazelnut Cookies

Category : Desserts, Recipes

Hazelnut CookiesHazelnuts, also called filberts, are a good way to save carbon fuel by eating locally. The majority of the world’s hazelnuts are produced in Turkey. We’re fortunate to live in one of the two states in the U.S. where hazelnuts can be grown commercially (Washington and Oregon).

At the Bellingham Farmers Market recently I was delighted to discover Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards (Lynden), local hazelnut producers. Holmquist grows DuChilly hazelnuts at their family run farm, a variety they say is sweeter and has thinner skins without the usual bitter flavor. I completely agree–their hazelnuts are wonderfully sweet and delicious. Continue Reading

Herbed Meatballs

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Herbed MeatballsStart with a simple recipe, add a few pungent local herbs, and you have a whole new gustatory experience. Let me show you what we can do with pasta and meatballs.

I started with some Lummi Island grown, grassfed beef. I grated some dried homemade bread (made with bread flour from Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, and other local ingredients) to make some bread crumbs. Then I walked out into the garden and snipped some fresh thyme and rosemary leaves. I had some aged gouda cheese from a recent visit to Appel Farms Cheese Shoppe, and some green garlic grown at Broadleaf Farm that I had purchased earlier from Terra Organica. Add a little salt and the meatball ingredients are complete. Continue Reading

Cooking With Local Herbs

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Herbed Meatballs MenuYou may already be cooking with “fresh” herbs from the grocery store, but if you haven’t tried locally grown fresh herbs you’re in for a delightful experience. The difference in flavor between dried herbs and fresh herbs, even fresh herbs shipped for long distances, is huge, but local freshness boosts the flavor by yet another quantum leap.

When you work with local farm fresh herbs, the first difference you’ll notice is the fragrance. Chopping herbs for a recipe is one of my favorite cooking activities. The scent is exquisite, and you can easily judge the freshness of your herbs by the smell alone. Continue Reading

Raspberry Yogurt Cheese Dessert

Category : Desserts, Recipes, Snacks

Photo of Raspberry Yogurt Cheese DessertSometimes I happen to create a recipe that is a serendipitous combination of simplicity and deliciousness. This recipe is a perfect example. It’s so good!

It starts with some homemade yogurt cheese. Add the flavor of fresh mint and some local honey for sweetness. Finally, I had some frozen raspberries from last summer in the freezer, and I put those on the top.

The result was unbelievable. Be quick when you serve it to friends or family or you may not get any for yourself! Continue Reading

Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok Choy

Category : Condiments, Recipes, Side Dishes

Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok ChoyI love Broadleaf Farms’ napa cabbage–have I mentioned that yet today? Probably. It’s so perfectly crisp and delicate at the same time. Simply marvelous!

This week’s menu was based on a cheese fondue with bread chunks for dipping. As I tried to decide what to use for a side dish, it occurred to me that a cheese fondue has ingredients similar to a cheese sandwich. What do you have with a cheese sandwich? Pickles! Continue Reading

Smoked Gouda Fondue

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Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Smoked Gouda FondueCheese fondues were popular decades ago. In fact, if you’re over 40, admit it–you have a fondue pot somewhere in the garage or storage room, don’t you? The number of unused fondue pots was so large that it became a joke to have one, kind of like having exercise equipment used as a laundry rack.

Well, it’s been long enough that fondue is coming back into fashion, though you don’t actually need a fondue pot to serve them. You can use individual serving bowls, if you like, and use the microwave to reheat them if the fondue sauce cools down too much. Continue Reading

Exploring Local Cheeses

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Explore Local Cheeses MenuArtisan cheeses are one of the great joys of locavore eating in Whatcom County. Several local farms produce traditional and gourmet cheeses which are available year round.

I recently visited Appel Farms (Ferndale). Their family-owned dairy has been producing a wide variety of delicious cheeses for over 30 years. You can browse the coolers in their retail store, the Cheese Shoppe, located right on the farm, open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm. Each cooler has an inviting array of tasting samples so you can readily savor the flavors and styles of cheese available. It’s a culinary adventure since Appel’s products range from familiar cheddars and feta to less well known varieties like paneer and quark. Their aged, smoked, and flavored gouda cheeses are my personal favorites. Try their red pepper gouda–a tasty delight! Continue Reading

Herbed Yogurt Dressing

Category : Condiments, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Photo of Herbed Yogurt DressingThis dressing is so simple that the incredible flavor is almost shocking. If you have any doubts that local farm fresh food tastes better than food that’s been harvested elsewhere and shipped long distances, try this dressing. You’ll never go back.

Uses for this dressing are only limited by your imagination. Obviously it goes well with salads, but try it also on warm vegetables, over baked potatoes,  or as a dip for raw veggies. Or just drink it. Okay, I’m kidding, but trust me–you’ll be tempted to take a sip! Continue Reading

Quick Brioche

Category : Breads, Recipes

Photo of Quick BriocheBrioche. Sounds like something gourmet that would take hours to prepare, right? And it tastes like it, too. In reality, you can make a loaf of brioche in less than two hours–and most of that is rising time and baking time, during which you can read a magazine.

As far as I know, no one grows grains commercially in Whatcom County. It’s not the ideal climate. However, Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill (Bellingham) uses regional grains from as close to home as possible. They grind organic flour freshly each week, and they make a hard red spring wheat flour especially for use in bread making. The texture, fragrance, and flavor are delightful. Continue Reading

Savory Stuffed French Toast

Category : Breakfast, Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Photo of Savory Stuffed French ToastThe savory flavor of herbed yogurt cheese (a good alternative to non-local cream cheese) makes a nice change from the usual sweet and sugary form of French toast.  The eggs in the toast blend well with tangy cheese and herb flavors. The result is a hearty dish suitable for any meal of the day.

While I started with a homemade Quick Brioche for the bread, you could use any locally made bread you like. You could also adapt any of your favorite bread recipes to use local ingredients. Continue Reading

Special Breakfast for Special Days

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Special Breakfast MenuPeople sometimes think that by limiting themselves to food produced locally, locavores are also limiting themselves to plain, simple, boring dishes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While farm fresh local food often has so much natural flavor that little needs to be done to make it delectable, you can also get as fancy as you like with the same ingredients.

This week’s menu includes Savory Stuffed French Toast, a perfect dish for making any breakfast extra special. I prepared it on Mother’s Day recently, and it’s also suitable for birthdays, brunches, or for overnight guests. Continue Reading

Blue Cornbread

Category : Breads, Breakfast, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Photo of Blue CornbreadLast week’s menu introduced Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill (Bellingham) and the fresh grain flours they grind weekly. This week I wanted to try some of their blue cornmeal. Blue corn has more protein and lysine than yellow corn, which is high in beta carotene. The blue color is a nice change, too. Other than that, you can cook with blue cornmeal just the same as you would with yellow or white.

Really fresh cornmeal has an extra bit of crunch to it that gives cornbread a nice texture.  Some local butter and honey on the fresh warm cornbread is simply out of this world! These are flavors to savor slowly. Continue Reading

Beef and Napa Cabbage Stirfry

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Beef Cabbage StirfryStirfry is always a good option when you need something quick to prepare, or when you want to use up small amounts of ingredients left in the refrigerator. You can combine almost any kind of meat and/or vegetables, add simple seasonings and a little liquid, fry it quickly in a hot pan, and dinner is ready! Continue Reading