Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Silence of the Clams

Sometimes in the summer we travel. This time it was to family on Puget Sound. But we ate local - really local! Attached are pictures of the clams we dug and then ate. I can't tell you where we dug them (it was a beautiful and remote sandy beach in south Puget Sound), and I don't know how to clean them - my brother in law did all that. But I can tell you that once the clams were clean and cut into pieces, they were incredibly delicious and tender when dipped in bread crumbs and fried for a very short couple of minutes in butter. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice before eating. After my extended family gobbled these down for dinner, we sat around the fire, quiet, contemplating the bounty of the sea. We called it "The Silence of the Clams."

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Summer in a Jar!

We had a great time making blueberry jam and strawberry rhubarb jam at the Co-op's home food preservation workshop last Saturday, at the Backyard Harvest shed.

The next workshop will be in a couple weeks. If you're interested in signing up please email me at and I will send you information about the series.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Kenna's Taco Salad

You'll just have to imagine the beauty of this taco salad that Kenna Eaton, the Moscow Food Co-op's general manager, told me about yesterday. This recipe will serve about 4 people, or two with leftovers.

First, brown a pound of local hamburger. Wash a bunch of local greens, and grate some local cheddar or hard cheese. Get a separate bowl for each person, and put a pile of greens in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle grated cheese on top, and then put a handful of tortilla chips on top of the cheese. (We don't have local tortilla chips, but if you're really ambitious you could make your own flour tortillas from Shepherd's Grain flour and then cut them up and bake them into chips.) Next, spoon on the browned hamburger, and finally, top with some salsa. You can use your own homemade salsa, get some of Virginia's salsa at the Co-op, or use some of the imported stuff. Eat up!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Local Lunch

This local lunch depends on you having several items on hand. But to borrow from the title of a really good book by Margaret Visser, much depends on lunch. (Her book is actually called Much Depends on Dinner.) If you can't eat this lunch now, prepare for it this year and you can enjoy it next year! Item one: a whole chicken from a local farm, roasted and in the fridge. Two: pickled beets. Beets are just coming into season now but I'm just finishing up last year's batch, so no worries. Three: pepper/onion relish, made last fall when onions and peppers were fresh and ripe at the farmer's market. Four: a fresh baguette from Panhandle.

I had to use bottled mayonnaise because I haven't taken the time to make any fresh. But I will remedy this situation soon. Mayonnaise just takes eggs, oil, and a little vinegar. I use my own eggs, but I have to buy the organic canola oil. I intend to learn how to make my own vinegar this fall. More on that later.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

What Season is This??

Okay, this is a photo of the ginger apple pumpkin soup that we had at our house the other night. Beautiful isn't it? It looks like fall but we were able to enjoy this on a cool summer evening because we made it last February with our winter squash and local apples, and then froze the leftovers. I just took it out of the freezer, warmed it gently with some cream.

Roughly chop onion, apple, a knob of ginger, and saute in butter or olive oil in a soup pot. Then add chunks of peeled squash, either pre-baked or not. Cover with chicken or vegetable stock. Cook at medium high until hot if the squash is precooked, cook until the squash is tender if it wasn't cooked before. Then carefully puree it in batches in a blender or food processor. Add some cream if desired, salt and pepper to taste. Heat gently after you've added cream to prevent it from curdling. If it curdles you can reblend it to get back the smooth texture. If you're going to freeze it, don't add the cream until you're ready to eat it.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Local Breakfast

I'm a woman of habit, and one of them is eating bread and jam with a glass of milk for breakfast. This week I'm eating my local bread with fresh peach jam (unfortunately the sugar isn't local - but what can we do about that?) and fresh goat milk. This morning I varied my practice a bit and made myself an eggnog. Food safety experts will tell you that it is not safe to consume raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella, and indeed, I would NOT consume raw eggs from commercial sources nor recommend it to others. But these raw eggs are from my chickens that I know and love. I even know which one is the early riser and which one takes the longest to get going in the morning (that's Margaret, pictured above when she was a bit younger). So, I guzzle eggnog without fear.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Steak, Frittata, Jam

The eat local season is upon us on the Palouse! This weekend we fired up the grill for grass-fed sirloin steaks from Maple K Highlands in Colfax. We've got an 1/8 in the freezer. I also used our own eggs, with kale from Affinity Farm that I got from the farmers market to make a big frittata to satisfy the vegetarian in our family. (It's not me!) Then, the local peaches arrived so after slurping a couple down I had to make jam. It was scrumptious for breakfast this morning on my Panhandle bread toast, made from our local Shepherd's Grain flour, and washed down with the raw goat milk I get from my goat share.

I encourage you to make jam frequently in small batches, which is much less intimidating and overwhelming. I made four 1/2 pints this morning in a couple of hours. It was about a dozen peaches, that's all! Use a Ball blue book for directions or the USDA's complete guide to canning, which is available for downloading on the web. Always make sure to follow recipes and canning instructions no more than 10 years old.

Kale and Caramelized Onion Frittata

1/2 white onion, diced
1 bunch kale, stemmed, chopped
1 dozen eggs, lightly beaten
knob of butter or couple tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion on medium low heat in an oven safe non-stick skillet until soft and sweet. Add the chopped kale and let it cook down until reduced considerably in volume but still bright green. Arrange onions and kale evenly in skillet - this is the last time you'll shift them before presenting the frittata on its platter. Pour the eggs over the kale and onions and let cook on low heat until firm throughout. Run a thin spatula around the edge to loosen frittata. If no uncooked eggs run into the gap, finish the frittata under the broiler. If there are still runny eggs inside, return to stove top, and try again in a few minutes. After browning the frittata under the broiler, use the spatula to carefully loosen the frittata from the pan and either slide or invert it onto a plate. Serves 8. Good hot or cold. Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container; great for lunch or breakfast or a snack!