Homemade Stock – 3 Recipes for Winter Preserving

Winter is the perfect time to move your attention from stocking your pantry to stocking your freezer. The absence of farm fresh greens brings dependence on root vegetables and alliums—perfect partners for making homemade stock. Making chicken stock can be an incredibly easy process using leftover roast chicken, or a more intense cooking project if you are searching for a perfectly clear stock with intense flavor and brilliant clarity. Try both! For the vegetable stock, we move away from traditional flavors and add a fennel bulb to the mix.
homemade chicken vegetable stockPantry Note: Chicken stock will not necessarily go bad in your freezer, but it does have the potential to get freezer burn. To minimize the risk, cover your stock with a layer of plastic wrap, making sure it is lying directly on the surface, before putting on the plastic container lid. I have used stock that is plenty older than four months with good results. Continue reading

Holiday Nibbles – Spiced Pecans

pecansI absolutely LOVE this time of year. I crave the hustle bustle, the busy sidewalks and I don’t even mind standing in line at the post office, but most importantly I love being social. Dropping in on friends or hosting small fetes is what the season is all about and I hope this post finds you all in full swing and with peace of mind.

I wanted to share one of my favorite all time recipes that works beautifully for holiday noshing and is perfect for any last-minute plans or too-lazy-to-cook attitudes. These Spiced Pecans, from my first book Urban Pantry, are at once sweet and spicy. First fried in a small amount of oil, they are then coated in sugar, producing a hard crackling. From there, cooked nuts are quickly tossed with a mixture of sugar and moroccan spices that I promise you are irresistible. Many recipes are good – this one is GREAT. You must try it. Continue reading

5 for Friday, Katie Okumura – Marketing Manager & radio Co-Host

I have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

536796_426697254007552_1639940695_nI was fated to meet Katie Okumura – she is my soul sister in many ways. Many years ago, at a mutual friends wedding, I was the day-of coordinator while Katie was the Maid of Honor. Little did I know this PYT would soon become a big part of my life. KatieO now works in marketing and merriment at Tom Douglas Restaurants, my professional alma mater of sorts. She is in charge of creating and implementing the events, marketing strategies, web copy, etc for several of the restaurants. A pretty cool job, right?! KatieO-On-The-Go is also a weekly contributor (and frankly the charming glue that holds two wayward chefs together in lively conversation!) to Seattle Kitchen on KIRO, Chefs Tom Douglas & Thierry Rautureau’s food radio program. Continue reading

Giving New Meaning to “Wine and Dine”

Barley RisottoHow to Enjoy a nice, vintage wine not just with your meals, but in them.

Adding wine to cooking is no big trick – people have been using wine in meals for years. Think Coq Au Vin and you’re in the ballpark. I’m often asked what wines are best for cooking. If a recipe calls for a ‘dry white’ wine, which is best to use? As a rule of thumb, the better the wine, the better the outcome and flavor of the final dish. Using vintage wines will upgrade a nice and freshly prepared meal into something luxurious.

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Garden Work & Nelson Mandela


Photo from “A Prisoner in the Garden”.

I came across a post on the internet this week, after learning of Nelson Mandela’s death. There are so many lessons, thoughts and mantras that he left behind with his words, and the following passages are particularly meaningful to me. Namaste.

This is a short excerpt from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

“The Bible tells us that gardens preceded gardeners, but that was not the case at Pollsmoor, where I cultivated a garden that became one of my happiest diversions. It was my way of escaping from the monolithic concrete world that surrounded us. Within a few weeks of surveying all the empty space we had on the building’s roof and how it was bathed the whole day, I decided to start a garden and received permission to do so from the commanding officer. Continue reading

5 for Friday – with amyp!

HI! I decided to interview myself for 5 for Friday this week, as I’ve just released my 11th eBook, Fresh Pantry – BEETS! Annnnddd……maybe I forgot it was Friday. It happens. BEETS is the eleventh volume in the 12-month series and features fun and inspired recipes for onions that will liven up your kitchen, without boring your palate or relying on processed foods. Fresh Pantry: Beets features: 16 creative & easy recipes spanning every meal of the day, including morning noshes –  Corn Crepes with Beet Sauce, afternoon snacks/apps like Beet-pickled Eggs (these are so gorgeous) & a KILLER Fennel-Beet Borscht that will warm your soul and keep you healthy all winter long. I hope you check it out, post it to your Pinterest, share it with friends and sing this book series from the mountaintops! I wrote Fresh Pantry eBooks as a means to help people eat seasonally and it’s been a labor … Continue reading

5 for Friday – Sarah Littlefield, Curator of Vintage Wares

I have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

Sarah & LarisaOk, you guys ready for this? Get your bookmarking fingers ready or grab a pen and paper – you’re going to want to take notes. Meet the fabulous, cheerful and adorable Sarah Littlefield. I don’t have any recollection about how Sarah and I first met. We have many mutual friends and have found each other at parties, dinners and events over the years, always saying hello, but never digging deep. It wasn’t until I found Sarah on Instagram & Facebook that I really fell in love. She calls herself a “picker of vintage wares“, but “picker” doesn’t do her justice. Sarah is a consummate curator, as far as I’m concerned. With her business, Seattle Junk Loveshe roves all over the Pacific Northwest (and well beyond) on the hunt for utilitarian items, objects, furniture & lighting from the early 1900’s thru the 50’s. There is a skill and expertise in her work, regardless of her humility, and she has an incredible eye for gorgeous and well-constructed pieces. Continue reading

Winter Transition in the Garden – How-To

garlicHere in the Pacific NW we’ve had the good fortune of a relatively mild autumn, while on the east coast it snowed this week. Regionally, garden news will vary in terms of timing – I still have tomatoes in the ground in gardens here in Seattle, but everyone should (or should have!) work to transition their gardens this week or next.

A winter garden transition essentially rids the beds of any lingering summer crops and any plants that will not over winter. In their place, it is best to cover and protect the soil. You can do this by … Continue reading

5 for Friday – Jameson Fink, wine writer/editor & podcast host

6534627839_76f069349aI have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions.

I have so many things to tell you about Jameson Fink, that I need to slow down my thoughts and focus as I write. First of all, how awesome is that name? It was love at first sound bite.

I met Jameson many years ago at the inaugural International Food Bloggers Conference, where he was helping Foodista, the website that created, sponsors & puts on the event every year. While he worked for his registration, I snuck in under the title of ‘friend’ (I am not a blogger, nor have I ever been), abusing my priveledges in an attempt to glean some free information about the wonderful world of websites. (Side note: The conference is an absolute MUST for anyone interested in food, writing, blogging or web work and is coming back to Seattle in September of 2014.) Continue reading