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Early Summer Stir-fry

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Early Summer Stir-fryCooking a perfect stir-fry dish requires careful planning as the ingredients are being chopped and prepared. Especially important is to group the ingredients by cooking time. Continue Reading

Wilted Mustard Greens

Category : Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Wilted Mustard GreensMustard greens are an ingredient I hadn’t worked with before. In fact, I somehow have managed to never even taste them. When I saw fresh local mustard greens in the produce case at Terra Organica this week, I decided it was time to fill in that gap in my eating experiences. Continue Reading

Garlic Extras

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Category : June, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Garlic ScapesMoving toward a locavore lifestyle (eating only food grown locally in Whatcom County) can initially seem to limit your choice of ingredients. For example, bananas and mangoes require a tropical growing climate, and don’t do well in our mild Pacific Northwest weather. However, as I’ve begun to explore local foods, I’ve also found new ingredients and food varieties to add to my meals. Garlic scapes and green garlic are excellent examples currently in season. Continue Reading

Herbed Meatballs

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Herbed MeatballsStart with a simple recipe, add a few pungent local herbs, and you have a whole new gustatory experience. Let me show you what we can do with pasta and meatballs.

I started with some Lummi Island grown, grassfed beef. I grated some dried homemade bread (made with bread flour from Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, and other local ingredients) to make some bread crumbs. Then I walked out into the garden and snipped some fresh thyme and rosemary leaves. I had some aged gouda cheese from a recent visit to Appel Farms Cheese Shoppe, and some green garlic grown at Broadleaf Farm that I had purchased earlier from Terra Organica. Add a little salt and the meatball ingredients are complete. Continue Reading

Beef and Napa Cabbage Stirfry

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Beef Cabbage StirfryStirfry is always a good option when you need something quick to prepare, or when you want to use up small amounts of ingredients left in the refrigerator. You can combine almost any kind of meat and/or vegetables, add simple seasonings and a little liquid, fry it quickly in a hot pan, and dinner is ready! Continue Reading

Tangy Napa Cabbage Slaw

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Category : Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Photo of Tangy Napa Cabbage SlawFresh local napa cabbage is incredible–crisp, juicy, beautiful and flavorful. The cabbage was so ripe and tender and the head was so full, I could hardly pick it up without crushing outer leaves under my fingers. You’ll never get a head of cabbage like that when it has to be shipped for a thousand miles. Continue Reading

Grilled Hamburgers with Salsa

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Category : Grilling, Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Grilled Hamburger with SalsaThere’s nothing like the crispy crust of a well-grilled hamburger! Commercially available local grassfed beef is a little hard to find in this area, but it’s well worth the effort in terms of flavor and quality.

I went to the online Farm Finder and searched for beef. Only one farm, Third Thyme Farm in Sumas (360) 988-5805, reports specializing in grassfed meats, including beef. There are also farms who produce meat only for friends and family.

The difficulty is the absence of a USDA inspected meat-packing facility in the County. The Lopez Island Community Land Trust came up with a novel idea to solve the problem for farmers who are members of their Island Grown Farmers Cooperative (IGFC). They built a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) which operates under a USDA Grant of Inspection and travels to the farms to do the butchering on site. While most of their members are outside Whatcom County, there are some local members, too. They have an outlet grocery on Lopez Island, but many of their member sell directly from their farms. Continue Reading

Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Category : Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Photo of Cucumber Yogurt SaladOnly a locavore can understand the excitement I felt when I saw the beautiful long English cucumbers from Dominion Organics in Ferndale in the produce rack at Terra Organica. The first appearance of any variety of fresh produce in the spring is like running into an old friend you haven’t seen for awhile. It’s always cause for celebration. Dominion grows these early beauties in their greenhouse so they can be harvested while the soil is still far too cool for planting them outside in the garden.

When I talked with the produce person to confirm these were definitely grown locally, they also noted happily that the “plastic” wrap around each individual cucumber was completely biodegradable. That was good news, too. Continue Reading

Green Garlic and Bok Choy Sauté

Category : Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Photo of Green Garlic and Bok Choy SauteI was delighted to see both local green garlic and fresh local bok choy on the produce rack at Terra Organica this week. I haven’t tried green garlic before, and I love farm fresh bok choy, so I decided to see if the two were compatible. I’m happy to report that they are indeed quite a tasty pairing.

Both bok choy and green garlic have thick stems as well as more tender leaves. This requires some special preparation since the stems need longer to cook. It’s important to separate the leaves and stems as directed in the recipe below so you can start cooking the stalks first, then add the leaves about two thirds of the way through the cooking time. Using that method, everything will be perfectly done at the same time. Continue Reading

Creamy Potato Cheese Soup

Category : Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian

Photo of Creamy Potato Cheese SoupWhen you have a busy week ahead of you, it’s nice to cook something in enough quantity to use for a few days as leftovers. Soup is a perfect make-ahead dish, since the flavors of soup continue to blend once the dish is complete. As a result, the leftovers may be even more flavorful than the original servings.

This soup is fairly quick and easy to make, with a stick-to-your-ribs heartiness that is as welcome in a thermos on a chilly spring day as it is on the table. It’s an easy recipe to customize, too, by adding chopped  greens, carrots, fresh herbs, or whatever local veggies you have in the fridge. Continue Reading

Green Garlic Menu

Category : April, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Green Garlic MenuI was really excited this week to find some local green garlic in Terra Organica (Flora & Cornwall, Bellingham). Green garlic (also called “garlic greens,” “spring garlic,” or “baby garlic”)  is a good example of a food item you don’t often see in grocery stores except when it’s locally produced.

Garlic is usually planted in the fall for harvest midsummer of the following year when the tops begin to turn brown and dry up. That’s a signal that the plant is sending all its energy into growing the bulb just below the ground. However, in early spring, before the garlic begins to form a bulb, it grows a stalk and leaves that look much like scallions, or green onions. If harvested then, it’s called green garlic. Continue Reading