HOW TO :: Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Last year, my friend Ritzy went apple picking and brought home about 40lbs of apples. That’s a lot! I told her to drop them to me and I’d take care of half of them. Using the recipe below, though on a much larger scale, I made a HUGE batch of homemade apple cider vinegar that lasted me all year. It lasts because I make sure to use it only in raw applications – cooking the vinegar kills the live microbes and probiotics that are so good for you. THIS PROJECT IS WORTH THE EFFORT! The resulting vinegar was apple-forward, and a bit tangy on the finish. While the nose was pretty vinegar-y, it would be great in a beverage – not offensive in anyway. It’s good to note that the I left one batch to ferment in the air for two months more after the initial fermentation period – the … Continue reading

Why Tomatoes Crack & Split

split tomatoesIn late summer, I’m bound to receive texts from my friends and clients showcasing cracked and split tomatoes asking me what went wrong. In short, you can blame it on the rain.

When tomatoes (and all ripening fruits) have a sudden fluctuation in their water levels, they are bound to react. After a somewhat dry summer (and with a consistent watering schedule), a sudden downpour allows plants to drink up way more water than usual. As they take up water, the fruits expand, causing the skins of tomatoes to Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Cooking with Peppers

Fresh Pantry, PeppersTis the season for getting the last of the peppers. Now is a GREAT time to roast and freeze varieties that aren’t available all year – sweet Jimmy Nardellos or fresh and hot cayenne or hungarians. You can also pickle pepper, or make big pots of pepperonata for winter stews and snacking. All of the below recipe ideas are available in my eBook, Fresh Pantry : PEPPERS, which also includes 14 recipes + essays on How To Grow Peppers all Winter Long and an instructional method for making Homemade Red Chile Flakes. For anyone reading this post, I’d love to offer it to you for $.99. Follow this special link to download and purchase. For now, the goal is fresh-eating – enjoy them while you can with these recipe ideas……. Continue reading

The Whole Plant :: Using All of the Crops You Grow

Squash vinesLearn how to harvest plants from root to stem. Don’t stop at eating fruits and vegetables — eat pea vines, squash blossoms, and even tomato leaves!

Urban farming implies that you’re growing in a small space, so maximizing that space with an eye toward production is the most practical way to grow and harvest food. Fortunately, many plants are a virtual buffet, with edible, harvestable parts from root to stem. You need only know what bits you can harvest and how to introduce them into meals for a progressive harvesting schedule that lasts for months. Today: a round-up of goodies to harvest and cook with — a timely, seasonal guide for what to harvest now. Continue reading

Best Salads in Seattle

Amy PenningtonIt’s not easy being green. Literally. Yesterday, after another lack luster salad selection while out to lunch, I took to the airways and posted a note about my abhorrence of “mixed green salad.” You know the one – a small plate full of simply dressed greens that look like the mixed salad bag from Trader Joe’s. I hate those salads, truly. To me, they are the ultimate intimation of either a lazy chef or passionless chef.

Am I being judgmental? Yes, of course, and listen….. I know that it is tough stuff to run a kitchen, work your rear off and not make a lot of money. But I also know (know!) it takes so little effort to make a nutritious, green salad that tastes great. Take, for instance, Continue reading