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Mashed Cranberry Beans

Category : May, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Mashed Cranberry BeansRecently I interviewed Krista Rome, who started the Backyard Beans and Grains Project on some farmland near Everson (see an article about that interview).

I purchased some cranberry beans from Krista to experiment with in my kitchen, and I asked her if she had any cooking tips to offer. When it comes to cooking with beans, Krista recommends keeping it simple. “Also,” she says, “don’t add salt or anything acid until the very end. It stops them from softening.” Continue Reading

Yorkshire Pudding Popovers

Category : Breads, Holidays, May, Recipes, Snacks

Yorkshire Pudding PopoversYorkshire Pudding is a classic dish in Great Britain. By tradition, it is made to accompany the Sunday roast beef dinner in England, and is part of their national cuisine. It’s often served with gravy at the beginning of the meal. Continue Reading

Down Home Biscuits

Category : Breads, Breakfast, May, Recipes, Vegetarian

Down Home BiscuitsCooking is an essential part of eating as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown foods as much as possible). Fortunately, flavorful local ingredients only require simple cooking methods. Continue Reading

Homemade Paneer Cheese

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Category : Appetizers, Make It Yourself, May, Sauces and Dips, Snacks, Vegetarian, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Homemade PaneerIf you love cheese, learning to make it at home can open a whole new world of culinary adventure. While some cheese requires special ingredients and tools, many cheeses can be made with equipment you probably already have in your kitchen. 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

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

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

Where’s the Beef?

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Where's the Beef MenuRaising high quality grassfed beef commercially has been a challenge in Whatcom County. First, it takes a lot of land to raise enough cattle for year-round meat availability. Second, they have to be slaughtered at a USDA-approved facility, and none was available here.

Several farms have overcome these obstacles and local beef is now available for those locavores among us trying to be healthier and reduce our carbon footprint by “eating local.” It’s very difficult and expensive for farms to get their grassfed beef certified organic, but most locally produced beef is raised as organically and humanely as possible. If you have any doubts, you can always ask the farmer (another benefit of eating locally), or ask the market where you buy the meat. Continue Reading

Early Grilling Menu

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Early Grilling MenuAs the weather warms (at least when we stand in direct sunlight out of the wind), fantasies of grilled food begins to appear in my mind. Fortunately we just purchased a new countertop grill, so there’s no need to wait until July. Now we can have grilled food at any time, so I decided to try a locavore hamburger.

Hamburger buns present a challenge to Whatcom locavores, though. The nearest commercially produced grain is grown in Skagit County, and they don’t produce very much.  So what can we do? See my article on Food Purchasing Priorities. Continue Reading