Monday, November 2, 2009

F:\Documents and Settings\nuuky13\Desktop\MENU for Nov.pdf

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Interview with LaFuji Mama

Last week I was flattered to be interviewed by one of my favorite blog moms, La Fuji Mama. It was a fun chat and I really enjoyed talking with her about my passion for good, local food and how it led me to my work at the Ballard Farmers Market.

Interview with La Fuji Mama.

This mama is a wonder... let me tell you. I have a hard time getting things done with my one toddler, and she has two kiddos under three yrs. Amazing! And she can bake. That in and of itself is awe-inspiring to me. My house is the place where bread comes to die. I hope that you can take the time to check out the interview and her other amazing posts. Enjoy!

BTW This is the cartoon I was refering to in the interview:

Plug for Farmers Market

I think it shows the choices quite nicely. ;)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweet Potato Stew

I think this may be the simplest whole foods recipe I make. It is so good on a cold winter day. I reduced the cayenne pepper for this post. The original recipe I made up had 1 tea of cayenne. You may try this... but unless your kids are super human, the heat may be a bit much for them. It is one of those things that you want to try with a group of adults. Of course, all of these recipes you can easily adjust and make them perfect for your family.

Sweet Potato Stew

4 large sweet potatoes
Water to cover
2 Tbs sliced (or 1 Tbs grated) fresh ginger
1/4 tea cayenne pepper
1/2 tea cinnamon
1/2 c peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, really doesn't matter... just don't get the kind with added sugar)

Peel and slice sweet potatoes into small chunks. Put in a large pan and cover with water. Boil (with lid on so it doesn't reduce much) until potato pieces are falling apart into tiny chunks. Mash the sweet potatoes (without draining the water, leave the water in the pot) until you have a thick sauce like consistency. Add in all other ingredients, and salt to taste.

Serve topped with sour cream or whole milk yogurt (not flavored), with salted peanut pieces and chopped cilantro.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The end of summer

It is official. The summer has come to a close. I pulled the tomatoes today. This is the last of them. It was warm as I was gathering. About 60 degrees... drizzling slightly. Just enough to put droplets on my glasses. I pulled and prodded to see if there were any left that would be worthy of a meal. As you can see I found quite a few.

The kittens were out there with me. Not really kittens anymore. Little Bo is still tiny for a cat, but she is almost 5 lbs. Samson is over 7 lbs and only looks small in comparison to Taio (our 20 lb main coon). They played around me as I worked, systematically pawing at things as they saw fit.

I love fall. I will miss the light however. Here in the Pacific NW, with the rain comes the clouds... and with the clouds comes the darkness. It is time to think about taking Vitamin D again. Time for tea and warm drinks and opening your curtains for every daylight hour you can. Soon we will have 6 hour days.

But then, comes Christmas crafting. ;)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Market Days

This week was the first farm frost. Last of the tomatoes, last of the summer squashes, basil and other summer lovers all done.

My list is still impressive however. :)

Carrots, celery, curly kale, corn, Choggia beets (sweet) and golden beets, parsley, dill, cilantro, and mint, garlic, Rose Finn and Ozette potatoes, broccoli, parsnips, rutabagga, and a whole pound of chantrelle mushrooms. Traded for: bell peppers, raspberries, pears, chicken legs, chicken wings, and farm fresh eggs.

Menu for this week:

New template from here. Isn't it cute?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Dried Apple Chips

We still have some apples left over even though our pantry is now stuffed full with strawberry applesauce, so I thought that the food dehydrator needed some more work.

I remember apple chips fondly as a child. My mom would cut them up and put them in our oatmeal, rehydrate them for baking, or even just drop some in a bowl for an afternoon snack.

A corer/peeler/slicer is really kind of essential in making these easy. It took us about 10 minutes to get fill up two dehydrators and I was teaching the kids how to do it at the same time.

It made fast work of the hard parts.

You just cut one slit down the side of the sliced/cored apple, place them on the tray, and get ready to enjoy your chips!

I have read that you can dip them in water with two capsules of Vitamin C in it and they will retain their color better. I don't mind the mild brown they took on. I think the essential part was getting them to the dryer from the cutting quickly. With my little helpers, it took no time.

Dehydrate for 4 - 6 hours or until done to your liking. We like ours just past crispy.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Apple Peel Jelly

I got this idea from Callista, who made what sounds like the best jelly ever! For our family though, I can not add that much sugar in jelly, so I decided to try out an old fashioned recipe from the Ball Complete Book Of Home Preserving instead, but use her apple peel juice method, and tweak the seasonings. It turned out so wonderful and I have to share:

Old Fashioned Apple Peel Jelly

Step 1: Make the juice

First, boil the apple peels. I had a 9 quart pot filled to the brim. I added enough water so when I pushed down on the peels I could see it, and boiled. I let that simmer on low for over 3 hours once it got to a boil. I just left it there all of nap time. Then I took a colander, and set it on top of an upturned cereal bowl in my largest bowl (HUGE metal mixing bowl that I keep for canning). I don't have any cheese cloth. I didn't think that the people at the store would want me bringing the plague to them, so I figured it could drip sufficiently while I made and ate dinner. I ended up with 10 cups of liquid.

Step 2: Recipe

I then used the juice for this recipe:

4 cups apple juice
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar

(I used raw, organic sugar and it worked just fine)

Prepare lids and jars. (Here for info on how to do that)

Bring juice and lemon juice to a boil and add in sugar, stirring until dissolved.

Step 3: Season the Jelly

For Apple Pie flavor add in: 1 tea cinnamon and 1/2 tea nutmeg

For Apple Cider flavor add in: 1 Tbs whole allspice, zest of one orange, 1/4 tea cinnamon, 1 tea whole cloves (strain out at the end)

Step 4: Cooking and canning

Boil hard, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to sheet from a metal spoon. (For me it took nearly an hour... and I didn't stir it much). You do not need any added pectin for this recipe. The pectin in the apple peels will work fine. I added a pectin box the first batch I made and it make it more like jello! LOL! It still tastes great though.

Pour into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Process jars for 5 minutes in rolling boil, then shut off heat, and leave for 5 minutes.

Remove jars, cool, label and store.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Apple Pie Filling

Today I am sick. This nasty cold has gone viciously through our family this last week, starting with Logan on Tuesday and all the way through Don and I these last two days. It is only a three day thing... but wow. It's a killer. We have spent many an evening all laying on my bed, watching movies, eating popcorn or pasta for dinner.

Getting sick really isn't a mother's prerogative. It seems as though it should be, but when I actually get sick, it is more like something I have to push through than 'recover from'. This week was no different. The worst day of my cold I was delivered 5 boxes of beautiful apples.

No stopping apples. So no stopping applesauce and apple pie filling. Being in Washington, I have honestly never bought apples for canning before. I have always had trees, or known people that have had trees. So this is the first time I have ever paid for boxes of apples and I wasn't about to let them go bad as I sat conversing with my tissues.

Sarah Jean's Apple Pie Filling

Granny Smith Apples
4 1/2 cups of sugar
2 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tea nutmeg (I liked 1 tea)
1 tea salt
1 cup corn starch
10 cups water

Mix all ingredients, except corn starch. Mix the corn starch with a little water and then add it in. Boil all ingredients.

Being that this is the first time I bought apples, I forgot to ask if they were organic. Just to be on the safe side, I washed them all.

Peel and core a large bowl of apples, and cut them into halves or fourths (I like fourths, they are easier to stuff in the jars, but halves look better in the pie.)

I am saving aside the peels for Callista's Apple Pie Jelly. :)

The recipe calls for cramming as many apples in as you can up to the rim of the jar, but I found that if you fill the jar half full with apple slices, and then add a bit of the sour over those, then cram the jars with the slices it worked much better to get the sauce to the bottom of the jar.

Work bubbles out with a knife. Sauce will settle and you will want to add more in a few minutes. Add lids and submerge in hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Happy Canning!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Canning Labels!

Last week I was so frustrated by my pantry collapse that I had decided I wasn't going to can anymore for the year. That lasted for about two days... or until I got two boxes of apples from the market. And then bruised peaches for free, and then corn. Sigh. It really is part of the pioneer in me to put up food when it is abundant and put by as much as possible. I just can't refuse amazingly good, organic food.

So this week was dedicated to peaches, and then corn, and now applesauce. But it was also dedicated to falling in love with my pantry again. To being in love with the process of putting food by and stepping back just enough so that I could see the beauty in my pantry that everyone else saw.

This led me to look for pretty labels for the tops of my jars:

Inspired by Bitter Betty and her wonderful canning labels (which are on all of my green beans) I set out to make my own. The process turned out to be MUCH easier than I thought it was. Although to figure that out, took about 3 hours, a Word savvy best friend, and a very patient husband. ;)

Wide Mouth Jar Labels

What you need:

Microsoft Word
good photos of the food you are labeling
Full sheet shipping labels (can be found at any office supply store)
a good printer
2.5inch hole punch

I have made up a tutorial in pictures, and because it has quite a few pictures showing how I did this, I decided to make it a Flickr set with instructions:

It is a simple process, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite addictive. All my jars have pretty labels now... even the ones for the applesauce currently simmering in my kitchen. My pantry love is back.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Market Days

Sorry I am late on this this week. You can all imagine why. ;) The shell shock of the pantry fall out is still going on. We have to replace some moving boxes that got soaked in peach, tomato, and cherry juice, and we have to wash the jars, but the shelves are reinforced... so when I put the jars back up, it should not happen again. I still don't understand why it happened. Nothing shook the garage... there was no more weight on that shelf than any others. It just gave way. But 25 some odd jars later (I really don't know the number, but my guess is between 22 and 25 jars hit the ground) I am feeling much better about the whole thing. Thank you so much for all of the appropriate horror. It was wonderful to get such sweet responses and emails from you all. A lot of work hit the ground yesterday and at this point I am just really glad it wasn't worse.

This weeks list:
Artichokes, green beans, a flat and a half of blueberries for more jam, leeks, cilantro, parsley, dill, Rose Finn potatoes, Italian zucchini, romaine and oak leaf lettuce, golden beets, red Swiss chard, Sun Gold and plum tomatoes, garlic, blond cucumbers, celeriac, two bags of chicken wings, a dozen eggs, and a thing of chocolate goats milk as a treat for the kids. Plus this:

WE HAVE CORN!!! It is so very very good. I made it up that same night and it was so sweet and tender it didn't even need butter. I just dipped it in a little salted boiling water for about 2 minutes and it was plump and delicious. Fresh corn is something that is really only good in season. They can try to grow it far away and then ship it... but it isn't good. Not like this. Tomatoes and corn are two of the things that really only taste like they are supposed to when you get them in season, warm from the summer sun. This was like a little bite of sunshine. It was amazing!

This weeks menu reflects a little bit of the lack of desire to cook anything on my part. It is a less than creative week. But comfort food can be creative and I am all about comfort on these first few frustrating days of fall.


Monday, September 21, 2009


This afternoon I had finished my jam, it had cooled, and I had put it away. Then I went to get my kids ready to go to the library... and I heard this incredible crash! I ran outside to see if Logan and Cyan were ok, and it wasn't them......... and so I ran to the garage. Yep. The whole top shelf of my canning shelf had crashed to the ground. Peaches, tomato sauce, peach jelly, canned cherries... all on the floor covered in shards of broken glass. You would not believe the string of curse words that left my garage this afternoon with the broken jars that I had spent so many hours slaving over... but I am sure it was rather amazing. In fact, if someone had had a tape recorder right then, it was probably the stuff of future blackmail.

Most of you have not been reading me since the Domestic Goddess Disaster when my freezer broke and I had to find a way to use about 150lbs of frozen food in a day. But this was worse... by far. I took a picture of the floor carnage... but when I had the camera out I didn't know about the 'on top of the freezer' carnage or the 'behind the freezer' carnage or even the 'behind the canning shelf' carnage... so the pictures really don't do it justice. There were 14 more broken jars in other places. No... the picture does not do it justice at all. (Because, of course, it had to be the TOP two shelves that got taken out. Thanks Murphy.) As it was, it still took two shovels, an industrial shop vac (borrowed from neighbor), and a huge garbage can to clean up the mess. The mop will have to be applied a few times... the floor still sticks to my feet. But that will come tomorrow.

It is one of those things that I will keep finding until I move from this house in 30-odd years. I will find a piece of glass on the back of something clear across the garage and I will laugh and say "Oh! This must be from the year I had the shelf collapse with 25 jars of peaches on it!" and I will laugh.

Let me tell you... I am not laughing today.

I am, however, not freaking out anymore either. Found three more intact jars of peaches behind freezer. And another broken one... but for some reason, having the death count under 30 made me feel better.


Preserving Food ~ Freezing Pesto

There is something uniquely 'summer' about fresh pesto. The green, the taste, even the smell can bring back warm days and the idea that another summer may just be around the corner. Store bought pesto has always seemed sort of lifeless to me. I love the ease of it, and really enjoy the extra flavor it can bring, but it just doesn't have the zing of freshly made pesto with basil strait from the farm or garden. With that in mind, I went about trying to store some of that summer flare for my families winter meals.

I froze 12 half pints of pesto last week after being gifted with a crazy amount of basil. Last year, when I froze it, I left the cheese in. This didn't freeze too well and so I decided this year that I would just leave the cheese out and add it when we made the dish instead.

Basic Pesto for Freezing

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 - 3 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put everything in a food processor and pulse until you get the consistency you want. Makes one half pint (I only have a 1 cup food processor. I am pretty sure the recipe can be doubled or more, but I wasn't able to test it. If someone does do this, would you leave me a comment letting me know how it turned out? Thanks!).

I packed mine in half pint mason jars that I left 1/2 inch head space then froze.

For this recipe, I pulled out my mini food processor. I only use the thing about once a month, but I do love having it as one of my very few kitchen gadgets.

We have already used this recipe for my Pesto Pasta Salad and it turned out great! So much better than store bought.

"The leaning tower of Pesto"

I had a bunch of basil left over, and asked my husband what I should do with it... and he said "give it away. I think 6 pints of pesto is enough." lol! I think he is probably right.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Ginger Plum Sauce

Every recipe for ginger plum sauce I saw had like 7 ingredients. I just wanted something to dip eggrolls in. So when I got these plums for free from a friend, I decided to make up my own recipe:

8 cups of plums (peeled and pitted)
4 cups of brown sugar
3 chunks of fresh ginger (pealed and sliced)
2 Tbs lemon Juice

Reduce plums on low for as long as possible (4 hours was what I did), I ran it through the food mill to get the consistency perfect and then added it back into the pot and added the ginger, lemon juice, and sugar. Simmer for at least another hour (I did two).

SO GOOD! We use it for dipping fresh rolls.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Dishonest Blueberry Jam

Dishonest Blueberry Jam

5 cups crushed blueberries (or 8 cups whole)
5 cups sugar
1 box pectin
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs dried lavender

Combine blueberries, vinegar, lavender and sugar in a large pot. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently.

Run the whole thing through a food mill to get a super smooth consistency and remove the lavender pieces.

Add back into the pot, bring to a boil and add pectin (you do not want to add the pectin before the food mill or you will have less pectin in your jam).

Follow instructions in the Blue Ball Book of Food Preservation for instructions to can.

I have never been a peanut butter person. My whole family likes the stuff... but I can only choke down about a Tbs a year. lol... so for me, this jam was perfect. It was perfect for accompanying my protein fast food of choice, brie. Between the brie, some pepper crackers, and the blueberry jam, I was quite a happy snacker. :)


Friday, September 18, 2009

Farm Party

Last week we had the annual barn stomp farm party! It was so wonderful. The music and the food far out did last years event, although I missed the games that we so enjoyed last year.

The beautiful, sunny fall weather quickly turned cold as the sun went down. But we had a great three hours of dancing, eating, and enjoying the beauty of the farm. My friend Dustin was the chef this year and omgoodness did he do an amazing job! He and his helpers set out an incredible feast that included an entire roasted pig (raised by another friend of mine), a bunch of coho salmon, and more veggies from the farm than you can imagine. It was amazing (not to mention DELICIOUS!)

Here is a slideshow of the highlights... what a fabulous evening!