Last fall at a farm event, a woman told me she always enjoys reading my recipes. I asked her if she had a favorite. “Oh, I’ve never tried one,” she said. “I don’t know how to cook, but your recipes always sound so good.”
I was reminded of our conversation again just recently when I found an online video interview featuring Food Network star Alton Brown. Brown was asked if he thought a person could learn to cook by watching TV shows. He emphatically replied, “No.” Food shows could entertain and educate, he said, but too much about cooking requires hands on experience best learned from someone in person. Continue Reading
If 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
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
I’m discovering that when I can’t find a locally produced version of a common ingredient, making it myself is sometimes easier than you’d think. For example, I’ve already posted a simple technique I learned for making butter. This week I wanted to make a dish that normally uses cream cheese. I couldn’t find a local brand in the grocery stores, but I saw several local dairy products that I suspected could be used to make it. I decided to come back after doing a little research.
When I got home, I googled “how to make cream cheese” and quickly found several alternatives. (I love Google. I tell everyone that we have to make sure it is never taken over by dark forces…) Below I describe the method I finally used. The process was incredibly easy, and the results tasted surprisingly good. The texture was rich and creamy, just as you want cream cheese to be. Continue Reading
A cheese soufflé is a classic dish, and I wanted to see if it could be adapted easily to locally available ingredients. This recipe is a variation based on Alton Brown’s Cheese Soufflé.
There were two main challenges. The bechamel sauce that flavors the eggs and cheese usually has a little flour in it as a thickener, and cream of tartar is usually mixed into the egg whites to strengthen them and keep them fluffy. Continue Reading
Cottage Pie is a mixture of ground beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and baked to blend the flavors and brown the top. The vegetables used are typically peas, carrots, and celery, but you can use whatever you like. This is a good dish for cleaning out the produce crisper in the refrigerator.
For this dish, I wandered through Terra Organica and found some wonderful collard greens from Terra Verde (Deming) and delightful little sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) from Osprey Hill Farm (Acme). I decided to carry the “sun” theme farther by getting some Yukon gold potatoes from Hopewell Farm and Broadleaf Farm (both near Everson) for a light sunny color on the top. Continue Reading
Last week I didn’t see locally produced butter in the dairy cooler at the Community Food Co-op, which usually stocks some. Since I don’t know of any locally produced cooking oils, I’m using butter instead, and was concerned when I couldn’t find any.
I remembered a friend had told me that butter could be made from whipping cream pretty easily, but I didn’t remember the details. I saw some Twin Brook Creamery cream, so purchased a pint. When I got home, I called the Creamery to see if they made commercial butter, or if they could tell me how to make it from their whipping cream.
Debbie returned my call and said they didn’t make butter for sale to the public, but that they regularly made butter for their own use from their cream. She said the recipe below is how her mother-in-law does it. I think you’ll be astonished at how simple and quick it is–and it’s fun! Continue Reading