Elderflower Syrup Recipe

elderflowerA few summers ago on the highway home from a long weekend at Lake Chelan, I pulled my car across three lanes of traffic when I spotted a tall slender tree hunched over by the weight of its small blue berries. I had noticed the same trees on the way out to the lake, but wasn’t sure they were what I thought they were – elderberries. Some sleuthing in books (yes, I packed my copy of Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples) and a quick bit of online research over the weekend confirmed my suspicion and I made a vow to find some trees on the way home. Yanking my car across the road may have startled my co-pilot Continue reading

TGIF Cocktail Hour :: Spring Amaro

SpringAmaro_BlogI’ve been on a Manhattan kick lately. Any after-hours drink made with whiskey and something bitter has been my go-to for weeks. (I miss you Dry Sapphire Martini!) I’m a huge fan of a dry punch in these cocktails – an extra shake of bitters, a splash of Fernet, Campari or a herbaceous amaro. The bitter quality acts as a digestive, and I like the bracing quality they add as a counterpoint to the sweeter bourbon. Hell, let’s be honest….. I’m happy to sip any bitter liqueur simply, over ice.

It was such a pleasure then, to recently stumble upon a recipe for homemade Amaro from Beth Evans-Ramos on her blog Mama Knows Her Cocktails. Beth is a prolific speaker and travels the country hosting seminars and classes on gardening – her current focus is creating garden cocktails! Not a bad gig. Continue reading

Seattle Garden Party :: Grow & Grill !

Hey East Siders – do you have plans this Saturday?!! The weather has been so lovely and spring has officially SPRUNG, so it’s time to get out the grill and get growing in the gardens. Come join me this Saturday, where I’ll be manning the grill and serving up bits from my eBook series, Fresh Pantry!


Over the years, interest in urban gardening has continued growing and I’m thrilled to be part of a movement that gets people out in their gardens and into their yards to grow their own food. Even more thrilled when they love to cook it! Continue reading

How To :: Building Potato Cages

Potatoes, diggin upPotatoes are one of the most often requested vegetables when I first meet with clients, and they’re a great crop to grow if you have limited space. Potatoes are a ‘tuber’, an underground, fleshy stem bearing buds that eventually turn into the potato. (Jerusalem artichokes aka sunchokes are tubers, too.) Dahlias are also tubers, but those roots are simply food-storing roots for the plant.

Once the potato seed is planted (check out this detailed post with pics for details), the seed (which is a small cut piece of a potato with a sprouted ‘eye’) will put on top growth – a leafy part of the plant that develops in about 4 weeks after planting. This leafy bit produces leaves and flowers. As the plant stem grows, they produce too much energy for the plant and this energy is then stored in the ‘tubers’, which we call potatoes. Get it? Good. Continue reading

Grow With Us Project :: Swanson’s Nursery

GWU_heroimageAs you know, I’ve started working with Swanson’s Nursery to help highlight their offerings and remind people to get out in their yards and grow something this year. The beautiful thing about Swanson’s, outside the gorgeous grounds and their many plant offerings, is the resource their staff offers – they all have wisdom and ideas about how best to plant damn near anything.

This year, they’re trying something new and recently launched the “Grow With Us” project – an innovative new way to connect with customers and offer advice and ideas. Continue reading

Weekend DIY :: Boozy Blood Orange Marmalade Recipe

jams_UrbanPanty. copySundays are a perfect day for a longer kitchen project. We have settled into the ease of a weekend pace, have a bit more time for errands and tend to wind down early in the afternoon in preparation for the week ahead. For that, I introduce Weekend DIY a new article highlighting a small and awesome food project that is easy to tackle on the weekend.

This week, take advantage of winter citrus before they disappear. This recipe will keep your pantry stocked for the year.

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TGIF Cocktail Hour :: Fir-Tip Syrup Recipe

Spruce TipsI spent Easter weekend out in Skykomish and marveled at the many shades of green on the drive up. Evergreen trees stood dark and pine-y against emerald colored leaves and lime-y new growth. It is truly a magical time in the tree canopy – just look around! On a recent walk in Discovery Park, I reached up and pulled a pale chartreuse bit from a fir trees outstretched limbs and chewed whilst strolling. Good stuff. It reminded me now is the PERFECT time to used this Fir-tip Syrup recipe! Continue reading

May Day :: Make This Your Year to Garden + Awesome News

Happy May Day! I’m thrilled to announce a new garden partnership that I hope will get everyone out in their yards and loving their gardens. As an apartment dweller, I’m always jealous of my friends that have yards while simultaneously befuddled at their lack of interest in making the plantings AWESOME. Too many of you buy a house and stick with the existing landscape & plants – let’s switch it up! For the next several weeks, I’ve aligned myself with Swanson’s Nursery in Crown Hill in order to highlight their plant offerings and take advantage of their expertise. I’ve been shopping at Swanson’s for about 14 years now, and they are my most trusted source for both healthy plants and growing information. [Like this brilliant harvesting & pruning tip, here.] When I first moved into my apartment 14 years ago (yup – same apartment I’m in now!) I was coming from … Continue reading