One 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
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.
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
Poaching is a simple cooking technique used for things which need to be cooked gently, either because they are very tender or because they cook really quickly. Poaching is very forgiving in terms of slowly cooking things to the point of being perfectly done.
Tree fruits are often good poached. The low heat of poaching allows you to cook them slowly so you can determine when they are just soft enough to pierce with a fork, but not so soft that they begin to fall apart. Continue Reading
Is there anything like the taste of the first deep red strawberries of the year? Sweet-tart and juicy, local strawberries ripened on the plant before picking are a perfect example of the advantages of eating local foods. Berries shipped in from California and elsewhere and ripened in a box are just not the same quality.
Deep red color and fruity fragrance add to the sensory pleasures of this early local berry. This recipe takes advantage of all your favorite features of strawberries to celebrate their peak season. Continue Reading
I had an inordinate amount of eggs on hand, and was thinking about recipes which use lots of eggs. Pound cake usually has lots of eggs in it, but I had never tried making it with honey instead of sugar. Continue Reading
Today, I continued taking advantage of the abundance of locally produced eggs currently available. When I was young, one of my favorite pies was custard. During the years that eggs were getting a bad rap for causing heart disease, I quit making or eating custard pie. Now that I know better, I wanted to try making a locavore custard. Continue Reading
It was the last Farmers Market of 2011, and I was looking for an ingredient to make a festive, end of the year dish which would be both a flavorful and a visual end-of-season celebration. I found exactly what I needed at Alm Hill Gardens–chioggia (pronounced “kee-OH-jee-ah”) beets. Continue Reading
In our family, holiday feasts always end with pumpkin pie. I don’t know when or how it became a tradition, but I can tell you in my family pumpkin pies are taken very seriously. Perhaps it was because my mother made pies that won purple ribbons at the County Fair.
Anyway, I remember one Thanksgiving when we had dealt with most of the bird, lots of dressing (and actual stuffing in those days), and the many side dishes that make a holiday feast wonderful. It was time for what everyone had really been waiting for all day–the pumpkin pies. There was a sense of anticipation amidst all the noisy hubbub of relatives who hadn’t seen each other for months. Continue Reading
After tasting honeycrisp apples grown at BelleWood Acres, I wanted to prepare them in a dessert that would change the flavor as little as possible. Many fruit desserts have so much added sugar and spices that it’s hard to enjoy the basic apple taste. Continue Reading
A “clafouti” is an odd sort of thing to describe. It’s kind of a fruit custard, only not really. It sort of has the texture of pastry, but not quite.
Truthfully, you’ll just have to try it for yourself. What I know for sure is that this one is delicious!
I still had some of the blend of cooking apples left that I’d purchased at Cloud Mountain Farm’s Fall Fruit Festival, and I hadn’t tried baking a clafouti before, so it seemed like a perfect time to try. Despite it’s fancy French name, it’s quick and easy to prepare. Continue Reading
A Rustic Apple Tart is the centerpiece of a meal menu I created after a visit to Cloud Mountain Farm’s annual Fall Fruit Festival. I’ve since used the recipe as a cooking demonstration at BelleWood Acres for the 2011 Whatcom County Farm Tour event.
I first planned to make a classic apple pie, but my friend Pat (co-owner of Artisan Wine Gallery on Lummi Island) convinced me to try a rustic tart instead.
I wanted to include cheese in the recipe as well, since that’s also a classic American flavor combination with apples. The crust of a tart needs to be a little sturdier than a pie crust since the tart crust is the cooking container. I decided to experiment with adding cheese directly to the crust. Continue Reading
This recipe was quite a challenge. First I had to figure out how to substitute honey for sugar in a pie crust that is essentially a replacement for a graham cracker pie crust. The dough was similar to the texture of silly putty, but had a beautiful silken sheen from the honey. When I first put the crust in the oven to bake, I expected it to melt to the bottom of the pie plate. Happily, that didn’t happen! The crust didn’t shrink at all during cooking. Continue Reading
Strawberries! The first of the season! These strawberries were from Boxx Berry Farm (Ferndale), though there are also many other producers in Whatcom County.
For a good demonstration of the advantages of buying local produce, try comparing a quart of Boxx’s fresh strawberries to a quart purchased from a chain grocer. These Boxx berries were deep red and fully ripe over the whole berry, while the grocery berries usually have white or green patches that aren’t ripe. The Boxx berries were in perfect condition throughout the whole basket, while grocery berries may be bruised and spoiled near the bottom of the basket. Finally, grocery berries frequently have a sour taste and require sweetening to enjoy. The Boxx berries were naturally sweet right from the basket. Perfection! Continue Reading