Breaking out the crock pot

The commitment to cook and eat at home is constantly renewed. This summer Alex and I bought a bookstore. It’s great and we’re happy, but adjusting to having a family member go back to work hit us harder than we expected. He’d taken on making lunch every day and dinner most days. Now he works at the store all day, I work at my day job and then head for the shop at night. We had a lot of pizza and takeout Chinese. After a couple of weeks of this I rebelled. No more industrial food! Ted made a lot of dinners while we adjusted. Last week I broke out the crockpot and made a dinner that was waiting for us when we got home. I see a lot more crock pot dinners in our future! Here’s a quick chicken broth idea. It starts with a chicken dinner. Prep: pull … Continue reading

Brewing fresh tea

This is so simple you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been doing it. What tea to choose? One option is to buy pitcher-sized bags of packaged tea. You can also get loose tea in the tea aisle of the supermarket. Look at the bottom of the shelf, sometimes it’s down below the packaged varieties. Some stores carry tea in bulk. You can bag a small amount to try out new flavors. You can also purchase a large bag to save money if you know what tea you like. The house favorite is English breakfast, a full-bodied black tea. You can try Earl Grey, although I think the flavor is better when hot. I like flavored teas like peach tea as a change in the summertime. Where to store it? Tea should be stored away from light and moisture. In our house one cabinet is devoted to tea of various kinds. … Continue reading

Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette is just a fancy name for oil and vinegar dressing. Olive oil This is the time to use the fanciest olive oil you can lay your hands on. I buy small bottles of organic olive oil, preferably from named farms. My favorite place to buy it is the Abundantly Green farm store when they have olive oil from a farm in California. If you don’t have it or if it’s just too spendy, you can use any bottle or can marked “extra virgin olive oil”. Vinegar There are so many vinegars in the world! There’s balsamic, dark and rich and a flavor in itself. There’s white wine vinegar which imparts a crisp clean taste. Rice vinegar’s slight sweetness makes it a good choice to just sprinkle on salads on its own. Apple cider vinegar tastes like apples, as you might expect, and has a bite! If you’re doing sweet … Continue reading

Summer CSA

I picked up my CSA share on Tuesday. It’s veggie Christmas, a package of surprises! When I bring the sack into the kitchen everyone gathers around to see what we got. CSA means “community supported agriculture”. A farmer sells shares in April or May, then delivers a bag of produce all summer long. The customer gets a discount and the farmer gets money in a normally lean time of year. Quite a few Kitsap farmers offer shares, most in the summer, and a few in the fall or early spring. This year my CSA is with Abundantly Green, a certified organic farm. The farm isn’t all that far from my house. One of the bonuses of the CSA is driving out every week to pick up the share. I love watching all the chickens run around – we have chickens but Cliff and Marilyn have so many more varieties! This … Continue reading

April – May 2014: shopping list and menus

Here is what we bought and what we made from it in the first month of farmers market season. We started shopping at the Poulsbo Farmers Market and switched to Bremerton when it opened. What we bought Greens: salad bowl (lettuce growing in a planter), kale Vegetables: broccoli raab, green onions Roots: last year’s potatoes, new potatoes, carrots, parsnips Fruits: last year’s apples, new rhubarb Meat: Roast beef, steaks, pork roast. Flour: wheat, spelt, triticale. Crumpets from London Maid. Delivered to the door Milk, chicken Pantry Rice, pasta, oatmeal Homegrown Kale, cilantro, herbs, eggs What we made Breakfast: Oatmeal Eggs and crumpets Dinner: Roast, baker, salad Pork chops with rhubarb compote, mashed potatoes, salad Steamed rice, vegetables Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, salad Chicken biryani Beef stew with root vegetables, bread Chicken soup with root vegetables (uses up leftover mashed potatoes) Pantry meal: tuna and pasta Fried rice: uses up all … Continue reading

Master Gardener Foundation plant sale

At the Master Gardener foundation fundraising auction last year I was the winning bidder on a special prize: the right to shop half an hour early on the opening day of the annual plant sale. That day was yesterday. It was like being queen for a day. I showed up at the door and said cheerfully, “I’m the early shopper.” The master gardener who greeted me said politely, “I’m sorry, there’s no early shopping.” I said, “There is for one!” She lit up and said, “Oh! You’re the early shopper!” She took me on a private tour of the tables. I got to swan around and cherry-pick exactly what I wanted. I picked up a lovely little cyclamen and a maroon geranium I thought was the prettiest plant in the building. I didn’t abuse the privilege, I wasn’t greedy, and only took one of the two bleeding heart plants. I … Continue reading