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Market Inspiration for Adobo Sauce

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Category : Bellingham, Farmers' Markets, Sauces and Dips

Adobo SauceMy visit to the Bellingham Farmers Market last Saturday was the first since the Market was rearranged into its winter configuration. It was like exploring a new Market, except for the delight of finding familiar faces in unfamiliar places. There were a few vendors set up along the sidewalk, and a small handful of the “fast food” vendors on the other side, but most remaining vendors had moved in under the main shelter across from Boundary Bay Brewery. It was nice to see everyone looking relaxed and happy as the busy season begins to wind down on their farms.

Besides picking up our weekly egg CSA from Red Barn Lavender, I didn’t really have a shopping list on this particular day. Instead I was looking for inspiration, something a little unexpected or surprising, that I could turn into a new locavore dish using other autumn ingredients. Continue Reading

Savory Stuffed Pumpkin for the Holidays

Category : Holidays, Main Dishes, Recipes, Side Dishes

Savory Stuffed PumpkinColorful leaves, a chilly bite in the air, howling gales and horizontal rain–ah! Fall in Whatcom County, just the way we like it! And at the Farmers Market and farms all around the County, what says “Fall is here and winter holidays are coming!” more than beautiful orange pumpkins? Continue Reading

Brown Beef Stock

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Category : Make It Yourself, Recipes, Sauces and Dips, Soups, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Brown Beef StockWhen I mentioned to a friend on the phone the other day that I was making beef stock, there was silence on the line for a moment. Finally she responded, “Why? Doesn’t that take a long time?”

My reasons are simple. Besides the fact it’s the only way I can get stock made with local ingredients, the flavor of homemade stock is light years better than any commercial products I’ve tried.  Continue Reading

Shiitake and Cheese Omelet

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Category : Breakfast, CSAs, Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Shiitake Cheese OmeletThis omelet recipe is a perfect example of incredible local flavors. Cascadia Farms shiitake mushrooms are the highlight–they make nonlocal shiitakes seem like tasteless paste. I’m certain you’ll savor this dish.

We’re fortunate to have a diverse variety of locally made cheese from which to choose. I use local goudas a lot because they often come flavored with herbs or spices. For this recipe, though, I used a plain gouda made from goat milk. The goat milk flavor was all that was needed to balance the eggs. Continue Reading

Locavore Eating–Why Bother?

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Category : January, Seasonal Menu Ideas, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Locavore Eating--Why Bother?Let’s be honest. There are some downsides to trying to eat as a “locavore” (a person who eats locally grown foods as much as possible), even here in Whatcom County.

First of all, it’s not usually “one stop shopping.” There’s some extra time involved going to farm stores, Terra Organica, one of the the Community Food Co-op locations, or the Farmer’s Market–sometimes all of the above. Continue Reading

Beet and Carrot Frizzles

Category : Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Beet and Carrot FrizzlesFrizzles are a fun way to prepare winter root vegetables. While this recipe uses carrots and beets, just about any root vegetable can be used–potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac (celery root), and so on.

I like to include carrots to add a touch of sweetness to any root combination. Some roots have a slightly bitter taste, and carrots will help balance the flavor.

The crispy texture and whimsical appearance are delightful. They also offer a simple way to make any menu seem a little fancier for entertaining. Continue Reading

Winter Vegetables

Category : January, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Winter Vegetables and Locavore MeatloafOur mild coastal climate here in Whatcom County is a boon to locavores* during the winter months. With a little insulation from the earth itself or a thick layer of mulch around the plant to protect its roots, a lot of vegetables can keep producing food on into spring. In fact, some will taste even better after touched by a light freeze.

Some of the best brussels sprouts I ever ate, for example, were harvested from my garden in February. They weren’t lovely to look at on the stalk, but after peeling a couple layers of the outer leaves from them, they looked just like any others. The flavor was sweet and memorable, with less bitter flavor than brussels sprouts harvested in the fall. Continue Reading

Squash Cider Soup

Category : Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian

Squash Cider SoupSquash can be a little scary to work with in the kitchen. Getting through the tough outer shell can be a formidable challenge, to say the least, and the solutions often veer toward the dramatic. People use heavy meat cleavers, small hatchets, serrated electric knives, or they may drop squash from stairs or ladders onto concrete decks. I finally opted for safety, eating only smaller squash varieties with thinner skins, such as delicata.

This year, though, my friend Nancy Simmerman came up with a less drastic solution for almost any kind of squash. It still requires one cut to divide the squash in half along its “equator”–halfway between the stem end and the end where the blossom used to be, but then it gets easier. Continue Reading

Frozen French Fries

Category : Make It Yourself, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Frozen French FriesPotatoes are one of my favorite foods to substitute for commercially prepared convenience versions, especially for health reasons. For example, commercially frozen french fries typically contain all kinds of unhealthy trans-fats and preservatives. By spending just a little time in the fall, I can have delicious–and healthy–frozen french fries throughout the winter. When I take them from the freezer to fix for dinner, I cook them exactly the same way as the commercial variety. In other words, it’s just as convenient. Continue Reading

Locavore Convenience Food

Category : Make It Yourself, October, Seasonal Menu Ideas, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Manufactured Convenience Food? Not Necessary!

Photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia

Eating as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown food as much as possible) doesn’t mean you have to give up convenience. It also doesn’t mean you have to eat processed foods.

Are you a busy family cook who sometimes doesn’t have time to do more than grab a frozen something from the freezer, heat it up, and serve? With just a little planning and preparation, you can still make those freezer dinner raids when you’re strapped for time. The difference will be your meals will have better nutrition, fewer chemicals, better quality and taste, and you’ll know you’re supporting local family farmers and the local economy. In short, you can still have those frozen french fries–but they’ll be a lot better for you, your family, and your community! Continue Reading

Meatloaf Comfort Food

Category : About Food Sources, CSAs, January, Main Dishes, Recipes, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Locavore MeatloafWhen I think of classic comfort food, I think of meatloaf. When I was a child, meatloaf was my favorite main dish. Top with a little Worcestershire sauce and ketchup, serve mashed potatoes and green beans on the side, and I was a happy kid.

Others must feel the same way. “Meatloaf” is one of the top five recipes people search for on the Food Network web site, and it’s categorized there as a “Comfort Food.” Continue Reading

Homemade Sauerkraut

Category : Condiments, December, Make It Yourself, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Homemade SauerkrautA couple of months ago when I was harvesting the last produce from my home garden, I brought in a cabbage which weighed ten pounds after I had removed the outer leaves and cleaned it up. Since this was about the third head of cabbage that size I’d had to deal with, not to mention a half dozen heads of more normal size, I decided it was time to learn to make sauerkraut. That way I could spread out eating the cabbage over several months. As it turned out, making sauerkraut is pretty simple. Continue Reading

Apple-Glazed Pork Chops

Category : Holidays, Main Dishes, Recipes

Apple Glazed Pork ChopsPork is a perennial favorite in our family. Roasts, chops, sausage, bacon, ham–there are so many cuts and preparation methods from which to choose that I think of it as one of the most flexible meat sources. The simple pork chop recipe below tastes amazing (if I do say so myself) and is perfect for a holiday main course. Continue Reading