Evergreen Station (Ferndale) at the Bellingham Farmers Market often has really beautiful organic vegetables–not just high quality but also visually lovely. Last weekend I was particularly delighted by their large rutabagas. The skins were perfectly smooth, the color varied from pale gold to purple, and the size was enormous. I bought a single 2-pound root, not sure how I would use it. Continue Reading
Colorful 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
Frizzles 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
Potatoes 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
A 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
Fresh picked produce is beautiful to look at, which is one of the things I enjoy so much about cooking with locally grown food. However, some vegetables are so visually striking that they stand out on the produce racks. Broccoli romanesco (also called Roman cauliflower or coral broccoli) is one of those vegetables with a remarkable–even bizarre–appearance. Continue Reading
Recently a friend called me and asked if I’d like a big batch of broccoli stems. She was freezing broccoli from her garden, and usually purees the stems to use for soups, but didn’t have room this year in her freezer. “Sure!” I said, and the next morning a big bag of stalks was on my doorstep.
For some people it’s weird, I know. Broccoli stems are often seen as trimmings, and discarded. I really like the flavor, though. I think stems taste sweeter and less bitter than the florets. They also don’t have the grainy floret texture that children and others sometimes find objectionable. Continue Reading
Today’s recipe is a good example of how little you need to do to produce extraordinary flavors when cooking with fresh, local ingredients picked ripe. There is so much natural flavor in Dragon’s Tongue beans that a little butter, basil, salt and pepper are more than enough to round out the dish. Dragon’s Tongue beans are a variety of green beans which are yellow like wax beans, but with vivid purple stripes. They are tender and sweet, with no tough strings. Just wash and steam! How easy can it get? Continue Reading
As I was preparing my menu for this week, I found myself reminiscing about the experiences which led to me having the main ingredients. I realized that many of my locavore recipes have had stories behind them. It’s yet another unexpected pleasure discovered as I continue to transition toward eating only locally grown foods.
Today’s vegetable dish began several days ago with a visit to my friend Nancy Simmerman at Gude Erth Farm here on Lummi Island. Nancy spins and knits natural fibers, and has a studio near her home where she sells the clothing she designs and constructs (call 758-2489 for an appointment). I stopped by to talk with her about a project we’re working on together. While we were visiting, another mutual friend dropped in and we all enjoyed a nice cup of tea while catching up on our latest summer travels and visitors. Continue Reading
(See to the right and behind the bowl in the photo.) She said she had seen it used in Asian dishes.
At first I was baffled. The roots were so woody that I couldn’t imagine how to prepare them in a way that would make them easy to chew. Finally I found a suggestion online to pan fry the chopped roots to make them a little crispy, and then grind them up with a mortar and pestle. Continue Reading
Celeriac is currently in season early winter, and I thought it might make an interesting flavor twist if used as a non-traditional ingredient in a traditional dish. I’ve been experimenting with ways to prepare it. Celeriac is also called celery root, which is exactly what it is. It’s whitish, typically about the size of a baseball or softball, and has little flat stems sprouting out of it every so often randomly. It kind of looks like an organic alien spacecraft…or something. Continue Reading
Tuscan country cuisine is a wonderful style of cooking. The flavors have a special place in my heart, and bring back fond memories of trips to Siena, Italy, and the surrounding hill towns. Our first visit was when I took my daughter there to celebrate her graduation from high school. We fell in love with the beauty of the countryside, the incredible art, the warmth of the people, and the “slow food” approach to meals. Continue Reading