Farm School Life Changer

It is not often an experience happens upon you and life changes. I went to Quillisascut Farm School in 2004 because I wanted to milk a goat. It was that simple. I grew up with milk goats and daily homestead chores. The desire to reconnect led me to a week at Quillisacut Farm School. It's an opportunity I think everyone should take - forget saving for a food tour of Italy - get your ass in the car and drive to Eastern Washington for an experience of a lifetime. Quiet your brain, wake up early, bust your butt and experience life as it's meant to be. It will shake your core, I promise. Here is a small excerpt from an interview I gave to Lora Lea at Quillisascut last week. I hope it inspires you. Keep in touch!

How did the Quillisascut experience help shape your decisions?

I kept a journal when I was at Quillisascut and on the way home in the car, I wrote in my journal (which I happen to have with me in Scotland!) that “My life has not been altered. My life has been affirmed.” From that moment forward, I have always made business and personal decisions with the environment in mind. I was always good about being conscious – recycling, saving water, etc, but after the farm I went to an extreme. And while it seems extreme to be vigilant about not wasting food or not wasting water or saying you have ‘enough’, any decision I make harkens back to this simple agenda. READ MORE...


Summer Classes

I have some great events coming up this summer and I'd love to see all of your faces. I'm working to add more canning classes this year, as you know. Come learn how to preserve cherries 3 ways OR build your pantry with savory spreads like mostarda, Asian plum sauce & habanero hot sauce. I also FINALLY reschedule the SUPER VIP Italian class! You'll want to save the date for this class that is near and dear to my heart - Italian, Long Island Style. This two hour class will cover the Perfect Meat Sauce & Meatballs. We may even sneak in a quick Homemade Pasta. This class is a total winner and a must for anyone wanting to cook like the grannies do it back home. And speaking of Croatia, I'm also offering a redux of the popular Croatian Cooking Class I taught earlier this year. Strudel pulling, dishes you've never heard of and a little preserving on the side make it a not-to-miss opportunity. For anyone wanting to make the connection between growing & cooking food at home.

Croatian Cooking Class

My grandfather is Croatian, arriving to NYC from Krk - the northernmost island in Croatia. My grandmother is of Yugoslavian descent, as well, so I have double eastern european roots and I love it. A few years ago, I decided I HAD to get over to meet all of my family - cousins, aunts and most importantly my barbara Vlado, my grandfathers brother. He was ill and I knew the opportunity wouldn't be around for long. So, I set my mind to it, bought a ticket and took private Croatian lessons for about 9 months in anticipation of a major language barrier. Croatia was awesome. I absorbed as much of the food culture as I could, forced myself to go in bakeries and markets and speak to the bakers and farmers (Ne govorim hrvatska dobro) and walked away with memories of family and food that are seared in my mind. What a gift!

My cousins in Slovenia made mlinci - a toasted and sauteed pasta - for me when I was at their house during grape harvest. After a day digging my heels into the hillside and harvesting grapes for their house wine, we ate a hearty dinner of roast chicken and mlinci. It was mind-blowingly decelcious. I'd never had a dish like this before. It was pasta-like, but so much more. You roll, bake, boil and then saute (in chicken fat from the roast) wide fat noodles and serve them alongside the chicken. They are at once al dente, chewy, crispy and glistening with a bit of schmaltz. My own personal heaven.

I taught a Croatian Cooking Class this week making many other of my families dishes along with the mlinci. I also taught the students how to make strudel - a stretch of dough that ends up being 6 feet long and 4 feet wide - no joke! This pic is the beginning stages. If you would like to take a Croatian Cooking Class with me, please sign up for my newsletter. I only offer home cooking classes via my newsletter and rarely teach out at cooking schools.

It is simple and humble country-style cooking and nothing can compare. Read all about the class and check out this MAJOR EYE CANDY from one of my students who writes the blog Seattle Pastry Girl (@Seatlepastrygrl on Twitter).She did a killer job and it's most def a blog worth checking out.

Learning to Cook

I just received the best email from a young Seattle mom. "I have only just now decided I'm a good cook ............ But only because of you and your AMAZING cookbook!!! I know of you from my dear friend Gretchen, and now my mom is using Urban Garden Share...but I bought your cookbook when I saw you listed as a speaker at Elliott Bay (though, sadly I had to miss it because I'm a busy mama). I have made 4 or 5 things from Urban Pantry and I love love love them all! I have never considered myself a good cook and always fret about not feeding my family wholesome enough food, but that has changed now! I am sitting here at my desk enjoying my Quinoa Vanilla Pudding and I feel totally nourished and smug :) thank you!!!"

My favorite quote is "I feel totally nourished and smug." THAT is awesome.

Citrus Preservation

Preserving mosaicI had another awesome class in my apartment this weekend past. I am always amazed at how I find the coolest people and they find me. While the marmalade did not co-operate and took more time than expected to set up, we had a fun casual evening at home. One of my students, Stacee, took pictures all night and while I didn't think of it at all at the time, it turns out her work is STUNNING. Check out more on her adorable site, My Digs - she's a great writer and it's a wonderful read in the morning over coffee.  

The next Super VIP Classes are on February 12th and February 19th. If you're interested, email me here for deets.

December Classes


Sunday, Dec 12th - 6pm - Preserving Citrus

.preserved lemons, meyer lemon jam & bourbon orange marmalade

Monday, Dec 13th - 6pm - Homemade DIY Gifts

.fennel-steeped cordial, vanilla sugar, thyme-infused salt & minted apple butter

I am loving the intimate class structure of teaching at home.  If you're interested making your own holiday gifts this year or curious about how best to preserve citrus these casual nights are a great resource. We'll do some basic recipes and I'll demo some creative packaging.

My kitchen is  easy to peer into and there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions and pitch in. My kitchen is tiny, so this class will be small and intimate. This is an AWESOME time of year for preseving. It's the kick off for winter citrus and a great time for DIY gift-making or stocking the pantry.

Students will actively participate, but won't necessarily be donning aprons. Come learn how to preserve in this VERY CASUAL atmosphere. This class is fully casual and open to friends, family and subscribers of this newsletter.

Class is $40 person. Also, I will limit the number of students to make the perfect balance of learning & fun, so space is limited. My little urban pantry sits on the east side of Queen Anne, for any of you curious about the location.

To sign up, please email me directly at

Economical Gourmet

Urban Pantry - Economically Gourmet with me!

6-8:30PM - Come to Class!

Amy Pennington, author of “Urban Pantry Cookbook—Tips for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen” will prepare recipes featured in her recently released book. She will show us how to make quick, tasty meals without a trip to the grocery store. Menu: Walnut Garlic Chicken, Minestrone Soup, Panzanella Salad, and Ravioli. Please note that when purchasing cooking classes online, your seats are not confirmed until you receive a receipt in the mail via US Postal Service. If there is no availability you will be notified as soon as possible by phone or email and not charged for your order.

at Dish it Up in Magnolia.

cost: $75