spoon

German-style Sweet Potato Salad

Category : October, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes

Sweet Potato SaladSweet potatoes can be prepared exactly as you would prepare regular white potatoes, though the flavor will be considerably different–richer and sweeter. In salads, as fries, mashed, sautéed, boiled, steamed, or however you choose to prepare them, sweet potatoes add a sweet earthy flavor to any dish.

I also use them in recipes just as I would squash or pumpkin. Their sweetness makes them ideal for desserts as well as savory dishes. The classic sweet potato pie is a good example. In the recipe below, I’ve used a favorite German potato salad recipe and adapted it to use sweet potatoes instead. Continue Reading

Farmers Market Finds: Local Sweet Potatoes!

Category : About Food Sources, Bellingham, Farmers' Markets

Sweet PotatoesUnexpected food finds are one of the things that make shopping at any local farmers market fun and interesting. Organic produce farmers are able to do small scale experimenting to see if new varieties can be grown successfully in our climate.

Over the past several years there have been several of memorable moments. Continue Reading

Braised Short Ribs With Mushrooms Recipe

Category : Main Dishes, October, Recipes

Shiitake MushroomsIn honor of the 2013 Wild Mushroom Show, hosted every October in Bellingham by the Northwest Mushroomers Association, I wanted to create a mushroom recipe. The main question in my mind was about which type of mushroom to use. The list wasn’t as long as you might imagine. While there are multitudes of edible mushroom varieties that grow wild in this area, and I love hunting for them and looking at them, I have zero skills at identifying them. I sadly crossed all wild mushrooms off my list. Continue Reading

2013 Wild Mushroom Show

Category : October, Wildcrafting

2013 Wild Mushroom ShowEvery year in October the Northwest Mushroomers Association (NMA) hosts a Wild Mushroom Show at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham. It is a unique event, and a remarkable demonstration of the diversity of nature. It’s also really fun!

Members of the NMA gather fresh examples of as many varieties of mushrooms as possible which grow wild in our area. Tucked in with moss to help keep them moist, hundreds of mushrooms are displayed in trays. Labels identify the Latin names, common names (if any), and icons indicating edible or poisonous varieties. Continue Reading

Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: Borscht Recipe

Category : October, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian

BorschtFor a sample of Debra Daniels Zeller’s work in The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (see my review of this cookbook), this Borscht recipe is reprinted by permission from the book. There were a few ingredients which were not local, so I’ve added notes about adaptations I made to substitute local ingredients. The results were both lovely and delectable. The surprising (to me) use of potato to thicken the beet soup gave it a smooth, creamy texture without the use of cream. Give it a try!  Continue Reading

Book Review: Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook

Category : Book and Movie Reviews

Northwest Vegetarian CookbookAs the end of canning season approaches, and my pantry is full of local ingredients I will use throughout the winter, my thoughts begin to turn toward new and interesting recipes to try. I pull out cookbooks, buy a few new ones, and explore the possibilities.

One of my favorite cookbooks to browse is The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington by Debra Daniels-Zeller. I was first attracted to the book by the enticing cover photo of one of my top food choices–fresh asparagus. Later I had the good fortune to meet the author at a Community Food Co-op event about a year ago. I enjoyed talking with her, and later visited her blog titled “Food Connections: connecting with local foods in the Northwest and beyond.” I’ve been following her work ever since. Continue Reading

Fruit Ball Delight Recipe

Category : Desserts, Recipes, Salads, September

Fruit Ball DelightOne fall day at the Bellingham Farmers Market, Nooksack 9 was offering Butterscotch melons, a deeply flavored variety of cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is something I’ve missed since moving to western Washington state years ago. Continue Reading

Fall Farmers Market

Category : Bellingham, Farmers' Markets

Butterscotch Melon(First published October, 2012)

A fall chill was in the air, and by “chill” I mean it was windy and cold. I hadn’t been into town to visit the Bellingham Farmers Market for several weeks, so I was looking forward to seeing the produce vendors and what they were offering. Continue Reading

Roasted Squash Seeds Recipe

Category : Grow Your Own, Make It Yourself, October, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian

Roasted Squash SeedsWinter squash (including pumpkins) have a nutritional treasure at the center–and a tasty one, too! In the middle of the stringy pulp are the lovely squash seeds. They are quick and easy to roast, filling the kitchen with a wonderful fragrance that only comes in the fall.

Cleaning the seeds can be a bit of a chore. They grow in little clumps, and I pinch them off one at a time like picking grapes. Then I put them in a colander and rinse well under cold water, rubbing the seeds together to remove the slippery juice. (Learn more about how to cut open winter squash.)

Don’t let seed cleaning stop you from fixing this healthy autumn snack. Just put on some good music and have at them! The rich flavor and concentrated nutrition makes it worth the effort. Continue Reading

Winter Squash Adventures!

Category : Grow Your Own, Make It Yourself

Sweet Meat SquashFall is the time for ripening winter squash. Most people are familiar with acorn squash, pumpkins, and maybe delicata or hubbard varieties, but there are dozens of squash varieties available to grow.

They all have one thing in common–most have a very hard shell. The bigger the squash, the tougher the shell. As a result many cooks limit their culinary squash choices. Continue Reading

Sauteed Pears With Vinegar Reduction Recipe

Category : Desserts, October, On the Farm, Recipes, Vegetarian

Sauteed PearsIf we were going to do true confessions I’d have to admit pears are my favorite tree fruit. They’ve been my favorite for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to childhood.

When I was in my twenties, I can still vividly remember the time at a friend’s house in Alaska when I first tasted fresh pears with Gorgonzola cheese. I think I may have swooned.

For the recipe below, I chose a vinegar reduction for a tart contrast to the sweet Bosc pears, some hazelnuts to add a roasted crunch, and some basil as an earthy note to warm up the pear’s brightness. I recommend you be sitting down when you taste it. You might swoon! Continue Reading

Bosc Pears

Category : On the Farm, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Bosc PearsWhen thinking of Washington farm products, most of us think of apples. Washington is known as the largest apple producing state in the country. Did you know that Washington farmers are also the top producers of pears?

Apples are a wonderful fruit and I enjoy many varieties of them, but if we were going to do true confessions I’d have to admit pears are my favorite tree fruit. They’ve been my favorite for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to childhood. When I was in my twenties, I can still vividly remember the time at a friend’s house in Alaska when I first tasted fresh pears with Gorgonzola cheese. I think I may have swooned. Continue Reading

Smoked Salmon Recipe Using Barbecue Grill

Category : Appetizers, Breakfast, October, Recipes, Snacks, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Smoked SalmonI’d read you could smoke salmon in a charcoal barbecue grill using a hot smoking technique, so I decided to try it with some fresh chum fillets I’d just cleaned. Chums make good fish for hot smoking because they are a fattier salmon and so stay moister during smoking. The fish I had was caught the previous day by local reefnet fishermen here on Lummi Island.

I made the brine/marinade shown below and soaked a couple of fillets overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I took the fillets out to drain and dry slightly. I also put a couple big handfuls of alder chips (purchased at Yaeger’s Sporting Goods, 3101 Northwest Ave., Bellingham) in a bowl of water to soak for a few minutes. Continue Reading