Potluck in an hour: muffins and stuffed eggs

Today I decided at the last minute to show up for a potluck in Seattle. I had an hour to throw together something to bring. It was like one of those Food Network time trials: “You have one hour to make your potluck contribution, and your time starts…NOW!” I thought about doing a quick bread, but those take an hour to bake. Muffins only take 25 minutes and accept many different flavorings. I decided to make a dozen stuffed eggs at the same time. I pulled the oldest dozen Pheasant Fields Farms eggs out of the refrigerator. I filled my big pot with water and put it on high. While the water was coming to a boil, I turned to the muffins. I set the oven to 400. I mixed the wet ingredients in a bowl, threw the dry ingredients in a food storage container and shook them together, then … Continue reading

Making your own maraschino cherries

I told one of my friends recently that I made my own maraschino cherries. She gaped at me and said, “Why?” To understand my approach to food, it’s important to know why I am going to all the trouble of making the things I do. I’m not a foodie, or gourmet, in the sense that my central interest is having spectacular food experiences. I am interested in taking control of the sources and preparation of my food as much as I can. While I have been figuring out how to do that, I have rediscovered real taste and how much I enjoy cooking. And I have accidentally stumbled on spectacular food experiences. Ingredients used in making maraschino cherries include high fructose corn syrup, a reliable marker of industrial food. So when the weekly Poulsbo Farmer’s Market newsletter mentioned maraschino cherries for sale one week this summer, I made sure to … Continue reading


“Millions of peaches, peaches for me!” sing the Presidents of the United States. I didn’t have millions of peaches, but I did have a box I picked up from Paul of Gregory Farm at the Poulsbo Farmer’s Market. These beauties were ripe enough to bruise at every touch. Made putting them by a bit more challenging, but it was today’s task. I squeezed a lemon into a bowl (lemon juice helps keep the peaches from browning in the air). Most of the peaches I cut into chunks and dipped in the bowl to coat with the lemon juice. I divided those into two packages and froze them directly. I’ve frozen fruit straight and with simple syrup, and I’m coming to like the straight method the best. I know they’ll be brown when I defrost them next winter, but I’m going to use them in baking cobblers and quick breads where … Continue reading

Unexpected onions

Today I finally got around to planting out the lettuce in the potager garden. What I want from the garden is not so much to produce great quantities as to learn how to grow a variety of things. Last year the garden turned out quite a few beets, carrots, leeks, and tomatoes. Other plants didn’t perform well – the cucumbers didn’t give much, and leafy greens picked up black spot from the commercial compost I started with (the master gardeners locally knew about this problem). Alex and I turned a binful of our own compost into the beds and it seems to have overcome the black spot issue. That’s good news in a bad year for gardening. Our governor, Chris Gregoire, asked the president to declare a farming disaster in several counties. I still don’t have a single ripe tomato, the carrots bolted before they got big enough to eat, … Continue reading