Key Ingredient: SEAWEED

Sushi Kappo Tamura's owner and chef dishes about the edible sea plant that packs healthy nutrients................... Seaweed, long revered in Japanese culture, is available as close as Puget Sound. But can we simply stroll down to Golden Gardens and harvest some fresh kelp for eating? “Yes,” says Taichi Kitamura, owner and chef at Sushi Kappo Tamura in Eastlake. “All seaweed is edible; it is just a matter of tasting good or bad.”

1215eatanddrinkseaweedSeaweed comes in various shapes and forms—pressed and dried into sheets for sushi rolls, salted in jars, dried whole and other preparations. “I like them all, but my choice is wakame,” says Kitamura. Dark green wakame is sold in both dried and jarred forms. Sometimes labeled as sea vegetables, it has an almost indistinguishable, subtle taste. The texture is satisfying. “It’s something in between melt in your mouth and chewy,” he says.

Add wakame to soup for instant health benefits. “If I’m cooking instant ramen at home, I feel bad about it, but if I add wakame to it, I feel l ate something healthy,” says Kitamura. “If I prepare a green salad at home, I add wakame to the top and toss it with a soy-ginger dressing.”

At Sushi Kappo Tamura, he serves wakame with nattō (a preparation of fermented soybeans that “has an aroma similar to stinky cheese”), cucumber and seafood in a sweet, vinegary sauce.

While nori, the dried sheets of seaweed used in making sushi, is more commonly known, “Wakame can be utilized in a lot of different ways,” says Kitamura, “but…people don’t know about it yet.”

Why you should try it: Wakame is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, including calcium, iron and magnesium—and has a sweet, slightly salty flavor and thick texture. “It is unusual to an American palate, but it’s full of minerals and fiber, plus has zero calories,” says Kitamura.
How to use it: Don’t overcook it. “Melted seaweed is not pleasant—it’s like slime,” Kitamura says. Soak wakame for about 10 minutes before tossing it in a vinaigrette made from lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar, and folding it into a green salad. Minced ginger adds flavor.
Where to find it: Metropolitan Market (metropolitan-market.com) and PCC; Uwajimaya (multiple locations; uwajimaya.com). About $6 for an 8-ounce package. Salt-preserved wakame should be boiled and strained.

Why you should try it: Wakame is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, including calcium, iron and magnesium—and has a sweet, slightly salty flavor and thick texture. “It is unusual to an American palate, but it’s full of minerals and fiber, plus has zero calories,” says Kitamura.

How to use it: Don’t overcook it. “Melted seaweed is not pleasant—it’s like slime,” Kitamura says. Soak wakame for about 10 minutes before tossing it in a vinaigrette made from lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar, and folding it into a green salad. Minced ginger adds flavor.

Where to find it: Metropolitan Market and PCC; Uwajimaya (multiple locations). About $6 for an 8-ounce package. Salt-preserved wakame should be boiled and strained.

Wakame and Shrimp Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing Serves 4

  • 1 ounce dried wakame
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 ounces English cucumber, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces cooked salad shrimp

1. Put the dried seaweed into a large bowl, fill it with cold water and soak it for 5 minutes. For more tender seaweed, soak it for 10 minutes. 2. To make the dressing, combine the rice vinegar, lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together. 3. Drain the seaweed and use your hands to squeeze out excess water. Wipe out any excess water in the bowl, and then return the seaweed along with the cucumber and the dressing. 4. Toss thoroughly to combine. 5. Plate the salad and place the shrimp on top.

 

PUBLISHED SEATTLE MAGAZINE, Dec 2015

 

Homemade Aged Eggnog

More nuanced then just-made ‘nog, aging mellows the boozy nose of this super spiked beverage and makes for a harmonious, blended flavor. aged eggnog recieHow & Why to Make Aged Eggnog

Eggnog is made with eggs, sugar, a blend of spirits and milk or cream (or both). In a typical iteration, eggs are blended with sugar and booze creating a thick and sweet beverage, not unlike Baileys. From there, portions of milk and cream are added before serving. Some recipes call for whipped cream, while others fold in whipped egg whites. I took another route entirely and went for an aged eggnog recipe.

Alcohol is a natural preservative, killing off bacteria. I had heard of aged eggnog before—the process seemed so much easier than the last minute preparation required with other recipes. With aged eggnog, eggs and spirits (like rum, brandy, cognac, whisky, or bourbon) are blended and mixed with sugar, the alcohol killing any potential of bacteria from the raw eggs over the course of time. (In fact, some think aged eggnog is safer to drink.)

The real benefit to aging the eggnog, however, can be tasted with each sip. More nuanced then just-made ‘nog, aging mellows the boozy nose of this super spiked beverage and makes for a harmonious, blended flavor. Smoother-tasting than fresh eggnog, aging the drink also turns the consistency thin, a nice break from the thick and cloying versions we’ve all come to expect from the store.

To serve, you can of course fold in whipped cream, if you’re a frothy eggnog lover; just as you can use reduced fat milk if you prefer a lighter version. I add toasted star anise to the jar a few days before I plan to serve it—the warming spices embody all that is symbolic of the holidays in one.

Aged Vanilla Eggnog Makes 8 lowball glasses | start to finish: 20 to 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups bourbon or whiskey 1/2 cup dark rum 1/2cup brandy 12 eggs 1 1/2 cup sugar 1 vanilla bean pod 2 star anise, dry roasted (optional)

To serve: 1 1/4 cup whole milk 1/4 cup heavy cream Ice Whole nutmeg, for grating

Combine all of the spirits and set aside. In a large bowl or standing mixer, add the eggs and sugar. Beat on low speed until all of the sugar has dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the spirits, drop by drop at first to temper the eggs. When all of the liquid has been added, strain into a clean glass jar (using a strainer will catch any solid bits of egg), cover and store in a cool dark place. Invert the jar occasionally, or at least every three days, for at minimum of nine days and up to three weeks total. Five days before serving, add the vanilla bean pod and star anise, if using.

aged eggnog recipe

To serve: strain out the spices and place the eggnog mixture into a large bowl or container. Add the milk and heavy cream and stir to combine. To serve, shake a ladle-full (about ½ cup) of eggnog with ice until frothy. Serve immediately, over a lowball filled with ice and top with some freshly grated nutmeg.

Rosehip Recipes :: Homemade Rosehip Granola Recipe

baking granolaRosehips are bright red ‘berries’ that form on the stems of rose bushes and trees after the blooms die back. These fleshy globes encase seeds for the roses and can be eaten raw or dried. Rosehips form in mid-autumn and are best harvested after the first frost. This homemade rosehip granola is best served over yogurt with a spoonful of honey. To learn how to harvest rosehips (November is a perfect month for it!), check out this post. For more rose hip recipes and inspiration, check out this post for Rosehip Sherry.

Rose Hip Granola

makes about 3 pints | start to finish: about 30 minutes active time

2 cups rolled oats 2 cups sliced almonds 2 cups raw, unsweetened coconut flakes 2 tablespoon untoasted sesame seeds 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup dried rosehips 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

rose hips for harvestingPreheat the oven to 350°F. Place the oats and almonds on a sheet pan and stir to combine. Put the pan in the oven and toast for 5 minutes. Add the coconut flakes and sesame seeds. Toss to redistribute, and spread out into a single layer. Toast until the coconut flakes are golden brown and sesame seeds are fragrant, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on the salt. Add the rosehips and ginger and stir well to combine. Let cool completely before filling pint jars. washed jars • pantry storage

PHOTO FROM DELLA CHEN PHOTOGRAPHY

HOW TO :: Preserving & Canning Pears

Seckel pears are diminutive, with muddy, olive green skin and a firm texture. Their tiny proportions make them impossible to resist, and the perfect size for a light dessert after a rich meal. They ripen toward the end of September, so be on the lookout as the season is short. Pears are poached in a light caramel syrup - you can determine how dark you'd like to burn the sugar. I prefer mine deeply amber, imparting an almost burnt quality to the fruit. Of course, you can also infuse the syrup with any number of aromatics. Here, we use vanilla, but lavender buds, fresh thyme or even a bag of your favorite tea. When you crack open the jars, the pears’ exterior will have a gorgeous caramel hue, whereas the centers stay creamy. I like to serve the pears whole, with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of the syrup. Make sure to use wide-mouth pint jars here, so the pears fit without bruising. Caramel Vanilla Seckel Pears makes 6-8 pints | start to finish: about 1 hour active time

2 1/4 cups sugar 5 1/2 cups warm water 1 vanilla bean, cut in half, beans scraped and reserved 5 pounds Seckel pears

In a large, completely dry, saucepan, add the sugar and shake the pan gently to level it out. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Without touching it, leave the sugar to melt and brown; do not stir it. The sugar will begin to brown at the edges. Once starting to brown, gently swirl the pan slightly, making sure to keep the sugar level, so it does not coat the sides of the pan. The sugar will caramelize, becoming dark brown at edges. Stir the melted sugar slowly, incorporating the dry sugar, until all of the sugar is melted and amber colored. Wearing an oven mitt and long sleeves (molten sugar will spit and pop) carefully pour in the warm water while simultaneously stirring. Any sugar crystals that form will melt in the water. Add the vanilla bean pods and the reserved seeds, and set the pot aside. (This is also when you when add other aromatics, as pictured below.**)

caramel infusions

Peel the pears, leaving a small piece of the stem intact. Immediately drop them into the syrup. When all of the pears have been added, return the pot to medium-high heat. Bring the syrup to a low boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook the pears for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are just beginning to soften, but are not cooked through all the way. The exterior flesh will be easily pierced, but the core of the pear will be firm.

Remove the pears from the heat and, using a soup spoon, immediately add them to the clean jars, lowering each pear in gently to prevent bruising. Pack the jars as densely as you’re able, leaving 1” of space. Once the jars are packed, pour the caramel-vanilla syrup over the pears so they are submerged, leaving 1/2” of headspace in the jars. Cut the vanilla pod into even pieces and add a small piece of it to each jar. Gently tap the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims and seal the jars. Place the jarred pears in a prepared water bath and process for 20 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter overnight. Store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 1 year.

washed jars • water bath

**You can infuse the caramel water with many an array of aromatics. Try fresh thyme, lavender, ginger, cardamom, cloves, etc. I always recommend doing a small batch on the side first, so you can judge the potency and see if you like the flavor. From there, add aromatics to the pot and steep as you like. As I tell all of my students, the potency of the flavor will grow in strength over time, so keep it a little softer then you'd ideally like. A little clove goes a long way - trust me.

HOW TO :: Apple Pie Filling Canning Recipe

This simple recipe guarantees you’ll always have the best apples on hand for pie baking. bowl of applesApples are available all year long, but they are certainly not in season all year long. New crop apples, those that are harvested and sold in the same season, are the best tasting—their juice just contained under firm, naturally shiny skins. Ditto for pears, which are best eaten soon after harvesting. To preserve the natural, raw integrity of fresh fruit, buy both in bulk when they come into the markets. Boxes of apples are infinitely less expensive than buying a pound at a time, so choose a favorite variety (most farmers offer samples) and load up. As for the little pears, keep your eyes open and buy the lot when you have a chance.

Apple Pie Filling makes about 4 pints | start to finish: about 1 hour active time

This simple recipe guarantees you’ll always have the best apples on hand for pie baking. Blanching the fruit before canning them will preserve their crispness, ensuring that they won’t break down to mush when they’re baked. Choose a firm, crisp apple, and mix something tart (Bramley) with a sweeter bite (Spitzenberg). When it comes to baking time, simply pour the apples into a prepared shell and bake, or slice them thin for layering in a tart. Either way, expect to use two pints of filling per 9” pie.

6 pounds apples, cored and sliced 1 cup water 1 cup apple cider 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup apple pectin (available online or in health food stores) 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Fill a large stockpot half full with water and bring to a boil. Drop in half of the sliced apples and cover, returning to a boil. Once the water returns to a boil (about 8 to 10 minutes), use a slotted spoon to strain out the apples. Add the slices directly to clean pint jars, leaving a small amount of room at the top. Repeat the process with the remaining apple slices. On a folded-over dish towel (for padding), strongly tap the bottom of each jar on the counter, to help pack down the apples. If necessary, redistribute apples so each jar is full, with 1” of headspace.

In a medium saucepan, add the water, apple cider, sugar, apple pectin, lemon juice, and spices; bring to a boil. Simmer the liquid for 15 minutes, reducing it slightly. Using a ladle or a liquid measuring cup for ease, pour hot juice over the jarred apples, leaving 1/2” of headspace. Gently tap the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims and seal the jars. Place them in a prepared water bath and process for 20 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter overnight. Store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 1 year.

washed jars • water bath

Cooking with Fish Sauce

 Ma‘ono’s Mark Fuller dishes on his go-to ingredient

To the uninitiated, the mention of fish sauce might well result in wrinkled noses. However, the oft-misunderstood ingredient brings a welcome punch to a variety of dishes. Because fish sauce falls outside the flavor categories typically recognized by the American palate, the savory-salty taste is hard to define. The Japanese describe it as “umami”—roughly translated as “deliciousness.” At Ma‘ono, the mystery works.

0815_keyingredient

“People won’t know why the food tastes great, but it does and that’s what matters,” says Mark Fuller, chef and owner of Ma‘ono Fried Chicken & Whisky (West Seattle, 4437 California Ave. SW; 206.935.1075; maono.springhillnorthwest.com), a Hawaiian-influenced restaurant that also serves now-famous fried chicken dinners. “I’m looking for flavor in all of my dishes and fish sauce is a fermented product that’s a bit funky and offers subliminal and compelling flavor.”

Fuller relies on fish sauce for his kimchi, adding it during the beginning stages of a three-day maceration, along with raw oysters, to give the cabbage a kick-start. This fiery relish is served with the fried chicken as an aromatic, fresh-tasting side. Fuller also opts for fish sauce—instead of the more traditional anchovies—in a version of Caesar salad. “I use it as a flavor like I would use salt,” he says.

Why you should try it: A versatile pantry staple, fish sauce imparts a noticeable difference in recipes—and not just in the usual Asian fare. Use it in place of soy sauce or other pungent foods, like cheese. A splash can be added to sauces and broths for body.

Where to find it: Fuller uses Three Crabs fish sauce at Ma‘ono. “It’s the best fish sauce we can get here. It’s high quality and it’s readily available,” he says. At home, he opts for Red Boat artisanal fish sauce, which is more of a splurge. Both are available at Uwajimaya stores (Bellevue, Chinatown–International District, Renton; uwajimaya.com). Three Crabs and other brands can be found at H Mart locations (Bellevue, 100 108th Ave. NE; 425.990.8000; hmartus.com).

How to use it: A little goes a long way. “In moderation, it can elevate just about anything,” Fuller says. Try adding a spoonful to marinades and vinaigrettes. Combine lemon juice, olive oil and fish sauce and brush it over your veggie kebabs right as they come off the grill. Try a splash in your mac and cheese or risotto, in place of Parmesan. But, Fuller says, “Start with a few drops and taste as you go.

 

Homemade Plum Fruit Roll Ups

Plum Fruit Roll UpDehydrating fruit is an excellent preservation technique if you don't have time to make jam and jar up whole fruits. Simply toss sliced or pureed fruit into the dehydrator of low oven and leave it be for hours. Dehyrdrating fruit is an awesome overnight project! To make fruit puree, cut fruit of your choice into small pieces and add to a pot set over low heat. Depending on how juicy the fruit is, you may or may not need to add some water to the pot. Start small, adding only 1/2 cup of water at a time. As the fruit warms, it will release natural juices.

Cook the fruit down slowly until soft and pulpy. Add sugar to taste. I use about 1/2 cup for every 4 pounds of fruit and increase in small increments until the flavor tastes right to me. (I always opt for low-sugar snacks, so my fruit leathers are not super sweet.) Once completely soft, add to the bowl of a blender and puree, working in batches for a large pot of fruit. Pour fruit puree into a fine mesh strainer, and push through using a rubber spatula. This fine strainer will hold out seeds, skins and any tough fruit fibers.

Line a sheet pan or dehydrator tray with parchment. You may want to lightly oil the parchment first, which helps the leathers from getting stuck to the parchment once dry. Pour sieved fruit puree over the parchment, spreading to a thin, even layer - like icing a cake!

Put in your food dehydrator for 3 to 4 hours or turn your oven on the lowest heat setting and bake for 2 hours. If using a dehydrator, check every hour after the initial run to see if fruit leather is dry. If using an oven, turn the oven off after 2 hours, and without opening the door, turn the light on and leave the fruit in overnight. Check in the morning to see if the fruit leather is dry. Repeat process, as needed until fruit leathers are 100% dry or allow to finish drying at room temp should any moist spots on the leather remain.

Cut dried leather into strips, and roll. The parchment acts as an insulator and protects against further drying out. Store in your cupboard.

Lemon & Olive Oil Preserved Asparagus Recipe

It's full on asparagus season. Those verdant stalks are a dime a dozen these days, so while I full encourage GORGING on them any chance you get (morning omelet, shaved raw in salad, in my awesome lettuce + pasta dinner & of course grilled) I also highly encourage you to do some preserving this spring! True confession: before I moved to Washington as a 20-something, I had never eaten asparagus. I grew up in New York and while we ate vegetables at every meal, asparagus was never one of them. It wasn’t until I started working in the Seattle restaurant industry in the late ‘90s that I got into the swing of things and started looking forward to our local asparagus season. With such a versatile vegetable, the chefs would grill, sauté, steam and bake asparagus, creating a two-month parade of verdant and fresh-tasting dishes.

Luckily for us, Washington is a major producer of the country’s asparagus supply, producing over 22 million pounds annually, making it that much easier for locals to gorge. Sadly, these snappy green stalks are gone too soon—the season never lasts as long as I like.

The solution to this, of course, lies in preservation. While it’s difficult to keep the crisp in an asparagus spear, the flavors are easy to preserve. Here, a delicious way to put up a spring glut - a preserved asparagus recipe wherein the spears are submerged in flavorful oil. Of course, it’s never a bad idea to quick-blanch and freeze a bag or two. Between jars in the cupboard, containers in the fridge and a handful of freezer bags, you can stock up enough to last nearly until next spring.

Lemon & Olive Oil Preserved Asparagus makes 4 pints | start to finish: about 30 to 45 minutes active time

Asparagus is a low-acid food and therefore needs special care when preserving. Here, olive oil preserves by inhibiting oxygen from touching and spoiling the asparagus. It will not, however, ward off bacteria. To insure you do not introduce bacteria, you briefly pickle the asparagus before the oil bath. The final product is stored in the fridge, as a cool refrigerator will also retard bacterial growth.

To eat this, simply strain from the oil (reserve the infused oil for sautés or salads) and use the spears in salads, soups or as a light snack. I love it for breakfast, underneath an over-easy egg and alongside buttery toast.

5 pounds asparagus, woody bits trimmed 1 ½ cups white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon peppercorns 2 cloves garlic, cut in half 1 cup fresh lemon juice 4 wide strips lemon zest 2 sprigs rosemary, cut in half 2 cups olive oil

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add pint jars (you may need to work in batches) and let sit for 10 minutes to sterilize. Using tongs, remove jars from water and set aside until ready to use.

Measure the asparagus to match the depth of the canning jar, leaving a 1” gap at the top for headspace. For pint jars, the spears should be about 4” long.  Rinse the trimmed spears and set aside in a shallow baking dish.

Add the vinegar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour over asparagus spears, letting them marinate for 10 minutes.
While the asparagus is brining, add the aromatics to the jars. To each pint jar, add equal parts salt and peppercorn, one half a garlic clove, 2 ounces of lemon juice and 1 strip of lemon zest. Set aside.

After 10 minutes, drain the vinegar and pack the pickled spears tightly into the jars. It helps to turn the jar on its side while adding the asparagus. When the jar is nearly full, add one rosemary sprig. Press asparagus together as firmly as possible and pack the jar completely.

Pour the olive oil over the asparagus, tapping the jar lightly on the countertop to release any bubbles. Cover the asparagus by 1/2”, creating an olive oil seal, and leaving about 1/2” of headspace. Place in the fridge to macerate for at least two weeks before eating. Asparagus will last about 3 months.

sterilized jars • store in fridge

Chamomile and Coconut Granola Recipe

chamomile granolaOriginally published in my book Apartment Gardening, this is one of my all time favorite recipes. This is also the recipe that was highlighted in this fun interview I did for the Wall Street Journal. (And YES, I still feel the same way about bacon.) With all that recipe sharing, I figured I should probably offer it here, too - right?! I often have a jar of this granola on the shelves of my pantry. It's a nutritious and filling topping for non-fat yogurt, making it an excellent choice for anyone trying to eat healthy or commit to a morning routine.

My friend Lynda worked as a cheese maker at a goat dairy. A few summers ago I got to spend a few days out in farm country with her, and every morning for breakfast I had a deep bowl of her perfect goat milk yogurt topped with spoonfuls of her homemade granola and a drizzle of honey. Her granola has no added butter or sugar, so it’s not gooey-crunchy like most granola, but it does have toasty, flaky bits like coconut, oats, and almonds. The flavor is intensified with some chamomile buds and sesame seeds. After trying this, you’ll never think of granola in the same way again.

Chamomile & Coconut Granola

Makes 6 servings

1 cup rolled oats 1 cup sliced almonds 1 cup raw, unsweetened coconut flakes 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon crushed dried chamomile buds 1 tablespoon untoasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F. Place all ingredients on a sheet pan and stir to combine. Place in the oven and toast for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and toss, redistributing granola into a single layer. Toast until the coconut flakes are golden brown, another 3 to
4 minutes. Serve by the handful over a bowl of plain yogurt with a drizzle of honey and some fresh fruit. Cooled leftover granola can be stored in the pantry, in a sealed container, for about 3 weeks. For MORE recipes using chamomile, check out my Chamomile Cordial recipe here.

For TIPS on harvesting and drying chamomile for recipes or medicinals, check out my How-To guide here.

Rhubarb Recipe

Rhubarb Yogurt SauceWe are firmly rooted in rhubarb season and while my preferred consumption is via my morning raw juice, I do love rhubarb for it's astringent, bracing quality. Pairing well with fatty foods and delicious when raw, rhubarb is often overlooked as a staple and treated simply as an addition to cakes and pies. Big mistake! Here, a more simple rhubarb recipe highlighting the bitter qualities of rhubarb - a great place to start for anyone puckering at the thought of eating rhubarb raw - from my eBook series, Fresh Pantry. Get the eBook here, and the print book (full of seasonal references & growing tips) here.

I absolutely love yogurt, especially when served alongside a savory dish of roasted or heavily spiced meat. Here, yogurt is made into raita, a traditional yogurt sauce often made with cucumber and mint, but I’ve replaced the cucumber with small bits of rhubarb. Honey is added to the mix to round out the sour flavor of both the yogurt and the rhubarb, but it can be omitted if you prefer the tang.

Lamb Meatballs with Rhubarb–Yogurt Sauce

SERVES 4

LAMB MEATBALLS 1 pound ground lamb 2 teaspoons garam masala 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon red chile flakes 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon dried oregano Freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh-Pantry-RhubarbRHUBARB-YOGURT SAUCE

4 ounces rhubarb (about 2 stalks), trimmed and cut into a very small dice 1 cup plain yogurt 1 teaspoon honey ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the ground lamb and all of the spices except the nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix well until the spices are evenly distributed throughout the lamb. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, about 3 inches in diameter, and place them in a roasting pan (be sure to leave space between the meatballs). Drizzle olive oil over the top of the meatballs and put in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are roasting, make the rhubarb raita. In a small bowl, combine the rhubarb, yogurt, honey, and nutmeg, stirring to combine well. Set the mixture aside.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving alongside a bowl of rhubarb raita.

PANTRY NOTE: Lamb meatballs can be made ahead and chilled until ready to use, up to three days. Leftover rhubarb

 

 

Le Pichet’s French Onion Soup Recipe

1214frenchonionThis is the recipe for french onion soup perfection - that uber rich broth that holds velvety onions and is covered in burnt cheese. Le Pichet is in Seattle and a def must-visit if you haven't been in some time.

For Le Pichet’s French onion soup (aka soupe a l’oignon gratinée or gratin lyonnais), chef/co-owner Jim Drohman uses at 14-month cave-aged Comté cheese, which has a strong, nutty flavor and smells slightly of the barnyard. On its own, the cheese is satisfying, but melted over a bowl of rich, French onion soup, it’s sublime. At Le Pichet and Café Presse, “duck jello” is added to the onion soup. Duck jello is the term Drohman uses to refer to the gelatin-rich duck juices that are left in the bottom of the pot when slow-cooking duck legs for confit. This sort of addition is typical of the French bistro kitchen, where nothing tasty is ever allowed to go to waste. Since most home cooks aren’t regularly cooking duck legs, use duck or chicken demi-glace, which can be purchased in small containers in stores, but which can also be left out of this recipe. Read more about Comte cheese here.

Chef/co-owner Jim Drohman serves this soup with 14-month cave-aged Comte cheese

8 servings

Ingredients 4 cloves garlic, germ removed 2 1/2 pounds yellow onions 1 sprig thyme 1 bay leaf 1/2 stick unsalted butter 1 1/2 cup sherry 3/4 cup dry white wine 2 quarts chicken stock 1/8 cup duck or chicken demi-glace, optional Salt and black pepper 2 cups grated Comté cheese 8 slices rustic country bread, preferably day-old

Peel the onions and slice thinly. Slice the garlic thinly. Wash, dry and stem the thyme. Chop it finely.

Bake the slices of country bread on a sheet pan in a very low oven until dry and crispy.

In a large soup pot set over medium heat, sweat the onions and garlic with the butter, stirring often, until richly colored. Add the sherry, increase the heat and cook until the sherry is almost completely reduced. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock and duck demi-glace (if using) and bring to a simmer. Simmer to combine the flavors, about 20 minutes.

Carefully skim the soup to remove any fat. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls. Top first with the crouton and then with a nice layer of Comté cheese. Heat under the broiler until crusty and golden. Serve immediately.

Homemade Yogurt

yogurt + bowlHomemade yogurt is ultimately an easy kitchen project anyone can put together with success, as long as you’re willing to accept a little inconsistency……... When I was in elementary school, my mom packed my lunch every day. I wasn’t one of those kids who glamorously got to wait in line for a hot lunch; I was the one with a grease-stained paper bag. On the very rare occasion, my mom would pack up a yogurt cup. I favored the kind with sweetened yogurt on top and jam-like fruit on the bottom.

Thankfully, my taste buds have matured and the thought of pre-sweetened yogurt is cringe-inducing. And while I eat yogurt daily, I never considered making it at home until my friend Lynda eco-guilted me by pointing out my habit creates considerable waste from all the plastic yogurt containers I blow through. This simple statement of fact forced me into the kitchen.

Homemade yogurt is ultimately an easy kitchen project anyone can put together with success, as long as you’re willing to accept a little inconsistency. Made from the binding of milk proteins, homemade yogurt will vary in texture and richness each time you make it. Temperatures, good bacteria and milk fats will vary slightly with every batch you make, so no two will be identical.

To make yogurt, milk is heated to just below boiling and then cooled—a warm jump start wherein good bacteria can proliferate—and then held at a consistently warm temperature for hours. You need to introduce good bacteria (just like bread yeast) to the milk to activate the fermentation process. You can use either non-fat, low-fat or whole milk as all produce excellent results. The biggest challenge with homemade yogurt is maintaining a warm space needed for the milk proteins to bind together. You can incubate warmed milk in a number of ways: storing in a cooler with a hot water bottle, placing in a warm cupboard next to a hot water heater, even using one of those 70s-era plug-in yogurt makers. Over the years, I’ve settled on a simpler technique that doesn’t require special equipment—justyour oven.

After the yogurt sets up in the oven overnight, it is chilled where it will thicken further. Homemade yogurt varies in texture. I prefer a smooth, pourable consistency, but you can easily manipulate yogurt into a thicker, lusher product.  If the final batch is too loose or you are after a Greek-style yogurt, strain the chilled yogurt through a fine mesh sieve at room temperature for several hours. This produces less yogurt (about a pint, depending on just how thick you want it) and a cup or two of whey that you can use in another recipe (try using it to cook polenta).

For a hands on class about homemade fermentation, including how to make yogurt, kefir kombucha and more, check out my upcoming class schedule. Hope to see you there!

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HOMEMADE YOGURT

makes 4 cups | start to finish: 30 minutes active time + overnight rest

6 cups of dairy milk 4 tablespoons plain yogurt with live yogurt cultures

Heat the milk over medium heat until quite hot, but not boiling—about 180 degrees if you’re using a thermometer. Remove pot from the heat and let cool until it’s 115 degrees, still nicely warm, but not immediately hot to the touch.

While the milk is cooling, preheat the oven to 120 degrees or your lowest setting. Turn oven off once it’s been warmed, but do not open the door.

When milk has reached 115 degrees, place the 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt into a large, non-metal bowl and slowly whisk in one cup of the warmed milk. Add the rest of the milk to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover with a large plate or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, poke a few holes on top to allow air flow;  if you’re using a plate, air will escape around the edges.

Working quickly, place the bowl in the oven and close the door. Turn on the oven light, if you have one, and let the bowl sit overnight.

In the morning, remove the bowl from oven and test the set of your yogurt. If the yogurt is very thin, like heavy cream, and you’d like it thicker, you may reheat your oven to 120 degrees and place the bowl in the oven for another 4-6 hours. Afterwards, move to the refrigerator to chill completely, where yogurt will continue to thicken slightly.

If you would like a Greek-style final yogurt, set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and drain off the whey. The longer you strain the yogurt the thicker it will become, so be mindful and check the set every hour or so.

Store the final yogurt in a covered glass jar or plastic container in the refrigerator. Yogurt will keep for several weeks. Save four tablespoons as a starter for your next batch.

washed jars • store in fridge

HOW TO :: USE HEMP SEEDS IN YOUR COOKING

Cannabis sativa is having a moment—from selling out in our first recreational marijuana stores to adding heft as hemp to vegetarian dishes around town. And while everyone is talking about the former, we’re here to celebrate the latter. hemp seeds

Hemp seeds (which have no psychoative effects) are a favorite of Colin Patterson, chef and owner of Sutra Seattle (Wallingford, 1605 N 45th St.; 206.547.1348; sutraseattle.com), the city’s only vegan fine dining restaurant. “Hemp seeds are one of the only plant-based foods that contains the same omega fats you find in fish,” says Colin Patterson, who has always relied on whole foods for flavor, not fake meats and proteins such as tempeh or seitan. “I don’t think [fake proteins] showcase food very well, it’s an easy out, and it’s also not very nutritious.”

Hemp seeds can be pulverized and used as a thickening agent for vegan-friendly “creams.” “If you add saffron to broth-soaked hemp seeds and purée them, you get a similar effect to a seafood saffron sauce,” as the omegas contribute a subtle fishy undertone.

At Sutra Seattle in Wallingford, Patterson uses hemp seeds for sauces, creams, salad dressings and soups. The seeds help enrich lobster mushroom risotto or a house-made Caesar salad, which he also blends with seaweed for a strong, ocean-like flavor. They may also be eaten raw, although Patterson suggests soaking them for at least 15 minutes before eating. “They have a very subtle, toasty flavor,” and soaking them helps to release the seeds’ nutritional flavor. “You’re making them come alive.”

Why you should try hemp seeds: For vegans or people with dairy allergies, hemp seeds give food a velvety texture that is otherwise hard to create. “Without [having to use] coconut milk or nuts, hemp seeds let you explore a fatty feel,” Patterson explains, “and diversity is good in a diet.”

How to use them at home: Soak the seeds in liquid—broth, water or vegetable juice—for 15 minutes or longer. Purée and strain to remove any solid pieces of the seed. For adding creaminess to soups, plan to use about 1 cup of hemp seeds per every 1.5 cups of liquid. For salad dressing, add soaked seeds to a blender with fresh herbs, lemon juice and water, and blend until the desired consistency is reached—no need for oil, as the seeds add the fat.

Where to find hemp seeds: Patterson orders them in bulk and recommends purchasing shelled hemp seeds, which break down more easily. They are sold as hemp hearts or shelled hemp seeds at most natural food stores, including Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com; $21.99/pound). They are also available in 7-ounce (organic) and 8-ounce (non-organic) bags at PCC Natural Markets (pccnaturalmarkets.com, $10.50).

Click here for Patterson’s recipe for smoked lentil sunchoke cake with black garlic hempseed sauce.

**published in Seattle Magazine, February 2015 PHOTO CREDIT: CHUSTINE MINODA

WEEKEND DIY :: Orange Marmalade

marmalade This time of year, the best way to boost your pantry is to step outside our local sources and reach for some citrus. As winter draws to a close, we could all use a little zing, and this recipe for orange marmalade is zingy and versatile.

The secret to a good marmalade is in your preparation. Make sure to leave time to peel and slice your fruit properly, and reserve the seeds for an added boost of pectin. You can leave the citrus rinds as thick or thin as you prefer, but I like long thin slivers in my marmalade. This recipe is a great marmalade basic that will leave chewy rinds suspended in clear orange jelly. You may use any oranges you like. I love Valencias for their heavy juice, or Cara Cara, whose rind smells and tastes like a traditional orange but whose fruit gives a lovely red tone.

This basic marmalade recipe can be modified to suit you with the addition of spices or booze. A splash of bourbon stirred in at the end will smooth out the bitterness of the citrus and give the marmalade some depth. You may also add a vanilla bean to the pot, infusing the fruit with a round sweetness from the beans. A whole clove or two also complements the citrus, offering a bit of warm spice to the jar.

Marmalade is a great pantry staple because of its ability to be served with sweet or savory foods. Use this on your toast, or smear a layer on the bottom of a sweet tart. You can also add fresh garlic and water to the marmalade for a fresh-tasting glaze for fish, chicken, or duck. I also serve marmalade on cheese plates alongside a soft creamy cheese.

Orange Marmalade

Makes about 4 half pints start to finish: 1 hour + overnight

2 pounds oranges, scrubbed 1 lemon, scrubbed 3 cups water 2 to 3 cups sugar

With a vegetable peeler, remove the outer peel from both the oranges and the lemon, avoiding the white pith. When done, stack peels, cut into very thin strips and toss into a large pot. Cut the peeled fruits into halves. Extract the seeds and juice from each half, placing the seeds into a muslin bag and reserving the juiced halves. Pour the juice from the fruit into your pot, along with the muslin bag of reserved seeds. Add all of the juiced lemon halves, and 4 of the juiced orange halves. (Adding the juiced citrus halves aids in adding pectin to the marmalade.) Add the water and set over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking until the rinds are soft, about 30 minutes. Cover the pot and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

The next morning, measure the marmalade. For every cup of citrus and liquid, add 3/4 cup of sugar to the pot. Return the pot to medium-low heat and cook down the mixture. Skim off any foam that forms and stir the marmalade often. Put a plate into the freezer for testing the set. Cook until the marmalade gels, 30 to 60 minutes.

While marmalade is cooking, prepare jars and lids for canning by washing in hot soapy water. To test the marmalade, remove the plate from the freezer, spoon a small amount onto the cold plate, and let it sit a moment. Push the marmalade with your fingertip. If a wrinkle forms in the jelly, the marmalade is done. If it is loose and runny, keep cooking and stirring until thickened. When your desired consistency is reached, remove the muslin bag of seeds and the citrus halves, squeezing any excess juice into the pot. You can compost your solids.

Add the hot marmalade to the jars. Using a damp clean towel, wipe the rims of the jars, and place lids and rings on the jars. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs and let them cool on the counter. When cooled, remove the metal rings,check for proper seals, and label with date and contents. Store in a cool, dark cupboard until ready to use, for up to a year. Store in the fridge after opening.

Batido Recipe - a Better Breakfast

chamomileAs a food writer, cook and an urban farmer, most people assume I eat well all the time. It is my job to test recipes, eat out and harvest seasonal produce and any day finds me doing any combination of these work tasks. While it is likely true that I do eat well (comparatively speaking) for someone who grows and cooks food for a living I am often astonished at my poor nutrition. There are plenty of occasions where I will skip a meal, forget to drink water the entire day or succumb to ‘Popcorn Dinners’ because I am too tired or lazy to cook after a long day running around. Breakfast, for the most part, is my downfall. My mornings are full with answering emails and getting organized for my day, a cup of coffee in hand. It is often the case that I’m flying out the door, laptop in one hand, bow rake in another before I remember that I forgot to eat. I hate those mornings because inevitably, I’m already late and don’t have time. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t even like breakfast. I never have. Eating a meal in the morning is often too much for my stomach and if anything, I want something light and digestible, especially because we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I’m in a rush or don’t feel like sitting down to eat, I whip up a nutritionally dense and super easy breakfast-on-the-go – a batido.

Batidos are chilled drinks made with fruit and milk. I add some fiber to mine by shaking in flax meal and every so often, I’ll add a raw egg. Yes, a raw egg. Eggs add protein and calories to an already light meal and also give the ‘shake’ body and froth. I make certain to purchase eggs from local, organic farmers and I’m still alive to tell you about it so I must be doing something right. Just try it – you’ll like it. This is one of my favorite batido combinations and it's perfect for winter, as it relies on dried fruit and flower buds - both available in the bulk section of your local co-op.

Excerpted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen By Amy Pennington, Skipstone 2010

Fig & Flower Batido

1/2 cup milk 4 dried or fresh figs, quartered 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers (optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed Spoonful of flax meal 4 ice cubes

Combine the ingredients for your chosen combination in a blender and whiz on the lowest setting for 2 minutes or so. After the ice is fairly broken up, switch to a higher speed (purée or liquefy) for 3 to 4 minutes. Letting your blender run this long ensures that you won’t be stuck sucking on big ice cubes and that you’ll incorporate enough air to make the drink fluffy, so it feels like a proper frozen drink. Pour into a glass or a to-go thermos and hit the ground running.

Pantry Note: Adding fresh herbs or flower leaves to batidos is not only delicious, but adds a new flavor for your palate. Try mint, scented geranium, or garden roses. Flax meal is used only as an addition of fiber, so feel free to omit if you prefer.

Crispy Squash Croquettes

crispy squash croquettes I love this recipe from my book Fresh Pantry. It is a clever way to use winter squash, changing the texture from something soft to something crispy, which is universally appealing. The smaller the croquette, the more crumb-to-squash ratio, so if you're making for kids who normally steer clear from veg, start small - a little trick!

You can check out the book at your local library, purchase a copy at an independent book store, or download the chapter at my eShop for $2.99.

Crispy Squash Croquettes

Croquettes are little fried patties, typically made with boiled potatoes or fish. I remember eating potato croquettes as a kid growing up in New York. My grandmother’s Italian neighbor in Queens used to season leftover mashed potatoes and shape them into flat-sided domes, then shake them in a brown bag filled with bread crumbs. “Rita used to make hundreds,” my mom recalled, “and everybody loved them.” Inspired by this same idea, the squash here is steamed and mashed as a binder, then liberally seasoned before being shaped and briefly shallow-fried, only to brown the crust before they are finished off in the oven. These crispy croquettes are delicious. Using a starchy squash for these croquettes (such as Hubbard or kabocha) will help them hold their shape better. For frying, I use vegetable oil or olive oil interchangeably.

MAKES 8 TO 10 CROQUETTES

1 pound squash (Hubbard or kabocha), seeds removed and cut into large pieces 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon butter ½ cup finely diced onion 10 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked and roughly chopped Pinch of salt FOR FRYING 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs 1 egg Splash of milk ½ to 1 cup vegetable or olive oil

In a large stockpot, add the squash and about 1 inch of water. (You don’t want to submerge the squash; you only want to provide enough water to steam.) Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let the squash steam until very soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the water from the stockpot. Replace the lid so the squash continues steaming and set aside to cool.

In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion, thyme, and salt. Stir the onion mixture often, until very soft and brown, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Scoop the soft flesh from the squash pieces and add to the sauté pan. Mash together to combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Move the squash-onion mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until very cool, preferably overnight but at least an hour. (Cooling the squash will help the croquettes maintain their shape later, so don’t scrimp on time here!)

Set up your frying station. Place the bread crumbs on a small plate. Beat the egg with a splash of milk in a shallow bowl to create an egg wash and set aside. Add about ½ cup of the oil to a deep-sided sauté pan and set over medium heat.

When thoroughly cooled, remove the squash-onion mixture from the fridge. Using a large spoon, scoop and shape it into football-like dumplings, working quickly so it doesn’t warm too much. Using a fork, gently coat the dumpling

in the egg wash and then immediately move it to the bread crumbs. Roll softly with the fork until the entire croquette is covered. Push it to the end of the bread crumb plate, then shape two or three more croquettes. Handle the croquettes as little as possible so they maintain their shape, and only shape as many as you can fry each time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Test the oil for heat by dropping in a small pinch of bread crumbs. You want the oil hot but not smoking hot. When heated well, the bread crumbs will start frying immediately, though not vigorously. If they are only slightly fizzy, wait until the oil is a bit hotter before frying.

When the oil is ready, gently roll the croquettes into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. They will start to brown immediately. When one side is brown, quarter-turn the croquettes to brown another side. Work in this fashion until all sides are golden brown. The process for one croquette should take about 6 to 8 minutes total. When brown on all sides, remove the croquette with a spatula and slide onto a shallow roasting pan. Continue until all croquettes are done.

Put the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

PANTRY NOTE: These croquettes store well in the fridge, loosely covered, for one day. Any leftover mashed squash can be used in Baked Squash Shepherd’s Pie or as filling for Butternut Squash & Shrimp Dumplings in Green Onion Broth.

Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup :: Clean Eating

Leafy Green & Coconut-Broth SoupThe new year is a great time to recover from holiday indulgences. Personally, I'm so over food and drinks just now. Instead,  I'm craving clean eating foods that I know will work through my system quickly and provide me with energy. (I've been counterbalancing bourbon with green juice for a week!) Craving fuel, January 1 is when I typically make a shopping list and stock up on frozen cut fruit for smoothies, bunches of leafy, winter greens and make sure I have some lean proteins available for adding to meals.  

 

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Here, the good fats found in coconut milk satiate and homemade beef stock provides a calcium and phosphorous dense broth full of minerals providing a base for the Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup. I fill a large, shallow bowl with torn spinach leaves, a handful of mixed herbs (whole cilantro, basil and mint are delicious and invigorating) and some finely chopped green onions. Add thinly sliced jalapeño for spice - they're especially great when you're fighting a cold as the capsaicin from the seeds (the compound that creates the spiciness) thins mucus and helps to open up your nasal passages.

 

 

Pour hot broth directly over the greens - the heat cooks the greens, allowing the soup to come together in minutes. Keep the pantry filled with at least one can of coconut milk (look for a pure brand that avoids adding carageen - a seaweed derivative that is thought to be an allergen) and keep a container of stock frozen in the freezer, for easy meal-making.

Leafy Greens & Coconut Milk Soup 2 parts bone broth :: 1 part coconut milk

Place broth and coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat to boiling. Meanwhile, fill a large, shallow bowl with greens, as above. When broth is at a low boil, pour over the veg and serve immediately.

Leafy Greens for soupFor bone broth, check out this recipe for beef pho from Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen. For a simple chicken bone broth made at home in a slow cooker, here's a goodie from the ever-healthful Nourished Kitchen.

DIY Christmas Gifts

spiced pecansA lot of people have been asking me for recipe and gift-giving ideas this week, so I figured a round-up post was in order. Avoid the last-minute shoppers this weekend and spend time in your kitchen instead. These gifts can be elegant, feel special and are delicious. Make sure to package them simply - channel your inner Martha Stewart. Preserved Lemons - Preserved lemons are a staple of Moroccan cuisine but can be used in most savory dishes calling for lemon. Tasting of muted lemon, with none of the sour tang, they add a subtle undertone to dishes. Meyer Lemons are just coming into season. They are thin-skinned and cure in the salt quickly, so you can still start this project this week and pass them on for holiday gift giving. HALF of one lemon fits perfectly in a small 1/4 pint jar, so you can knock out gifts quickly. Not to mention, you’ll be turning them on to a new ingredient that may just inspire them to get creative in the kitchen.

Spiced Pecans - I'll be the first to admit spiced nuts are a little dated as a hostess gift, but pecans are an expensive treat and this recipe is perfect in every way. Double the batch and plan on making one for yourself.

Herb Vinegar - Made of two simple ingredients—vinegar and fresh herbs— these aromatic vinegars can be made in minutes. Subtle in flavor, herb vinegars impart an undertone of herb along with the tang of acid. They can be used in vinaigrettes to dress green salads, grain dishes or legumes.

Urban Pantry and Fresh Pantry - I can ship this book overnight to you, no probs. Read the reviews on Amazon & I'm happy to sign it for you and write a fun message.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!