knowing where your pizza comes from

leek and lamb pizza

This was a good pizza.

It evolved naturally, inspired more or less equally by our usual Middle Eastern Lamb Pizza, the cover of the latest Food & Wine, and a recipe in Tessa Kiros’ book Falling Cloudberries. I knew I wanted to try a pizza with a leek-based sauce (I’m on a leek kick right now), but I wanted spiced lamb on it as well. In the end, it wasn’t quite like any of the source recipes, becoming something quite perfect all on its own: a melange of braised leeks tossed with hot pepper and tamarind-spiced lamb, layered with mozzarella and adorned with small ripe tomatoes, all resting on a chewy part-whole-wheat crust.

Savory and wonderful as the pizza was, there was something that made me stop mid-chew and stare at my plate for a minute. I realized that I knew where everything on that pizza had come from! Leeks and gorgeous fiery red peppers from Hedlin Farms in La Conner, lamb from Linda Martiny, local mozzarella, Shepherd’s Grain Stone-Buhr flour, salad (with flowers sprinkled in it) from Frog’s Song, and tiny tomatoes from our deck.

The only products I couldn’t put a face to were the salt, yeast and olive oil (well, okay, and the tamarind and cinnamon). I think that’s pretty cool.

dinner

Plus it was an incredible pizza.

Skagit Eat Local Week

eatlocalposter2

Today is the kickoff of Skagit Eat Local Week, sponsored by the local Slow Food chapter and the Skagit Valley Co-op. If you’re in Skagit County, now’s your chance to take advantage of all this amazing area offers. Participating restaurants will be featuring local food specials, and residents are encouraged to shop at farmer’s markets, farmstands and shops selling local products. Are you cooking at home? See how much you can do with Skagit Valley-produced ingredients. Remember, Eat Local Week happens mostly at the end of your fork.

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dinner from a Paris market

Bastille Sunday Market

On Sunday we made sure to make it up to the Bastille open-air market on Boulevard Richard Lenoir. It begins at Place de la Bastille and stretches for several blocks, four aisles wide and teeming with people, dogs and little wheeled shopping carts.

Bastille Sunday Market

You can buy everything from tomatoes to underwear. Not to mention foie gras. And wine.

Bastille Sunday Market

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my favorite cheese

The terrace at Les Florets

A number of years ago, my husband and I took a trip to France for our anniversary. We hiked across the Vaucluse wine country in ninety-degree weather, got sunburned and exhausted, and developed plenty of blisters. We also ate splendidly. I fell in love with the Provence countryside at the same time as I was discovering dry rose, salad with a poached egg on top, hot milk for coffee, and fresh soft cheese. Oh, the cheese!

sheep cheese

The French waiters always looked at me funny for this, but when they would come around with the cheese tray and offer me several wedges, all I ever wanted was a spoonful of the freshest goat cheese, more like ricotta than regular chevre. The flavor was fresh and milky, the texture slightly grainy. I had never had cheese like it, and after we came back to the States I never had it again. Until… Continue reading

lovely eggs

a lovely assortment

In the last two weeks some of the most amazing eggs have come through this house. First I managed to get hold of some from Laura of (not so) Urban Hennery, which were adorable, with improbably large orange yolks that looked like they wouldn’t even fit in the shells.

egg label

chicken bio

The following week, I managed to arrive at the farmer’s market early enough to buy eggs from the industrious small girl at the Frog’s Song Farm booth. Continue reading

find a farmer

local flour

One of the many cool presentations at IFBC was for a group called Shepherd’s Grain. An alliance of small family-farm wheat growers, they are committed to sustainable agriculture and high quality grain production.

local flour

Even cooler than that, Shepherd’s Grain has partnered with Stone-Buhr flour to create a nifty program called Find the Farmer, which lets you see exactly where the wheat for your flour was grown. All you need to do is go to http://www.findthefarmer.com, type in the Lot Code off the top of your flour bag, and voila! Names and locations of the farmers who grew your wheat.

Washington State flour

I think anything that connects farmers to the people who eat their product is a wonderful thing (hence my love for farmer’s markets and farmstands). And sustainable farming, especially of something grown on such a huge scale as wheat, is something we should all support and make an effort to encourage. When people make a special effort to do something right, especially with something as difficult and time-intensive as farming, they need all the support they can get.

[stepping off of soapbox now]

market season!

market sign

Our local farmer’s market finally starts up tomorrow, hurray! We’ve been able to buy the occasional local vegetable at the Co-op, but nothing compares to buying directly from a farmstand or market booth. We don’t subscribe to a CSA, just because I really enjoy the shopping/choosing/visiting part of it all – well, and because I’m picky and like to have a say in what I’m eating in a given week. 

Looking forward to seeing friends, eating Swedish pancakes (possibly) and picking up some good ingredients. Happy market season!

a good food day

November sunbreak

After a successful food safari out on the Skagit Flats on Saturday (including a truly amazing brunch at the Rhody - I mean, seriously, potato pancakes with sausages, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce!?! Not to mention those little cranberry walnut things – yum) we came home prepared for a cozy November evening inside.

We brought home bread and strawberry jam from the Breadfarm (we bought fresh macaroons, too, but somehow they never made it home), fresh leeks, celeriac, broccoli, shelling beans and chioggia beets from Dunbar Gardens, and a nice bag of groceries from Slough Food: multicolored eggs from Osprey Hill Farm, farro from the Methow Valley, guanciale (cured pork jowl) from Salumi, Humboldt Fog and Petit Basque cheeses, and a bag of fresh chanterelles. Dinner almost cooked itself!

Humboldt Fog cheese Continue reading

the last farmer's market + mizuna pesto

farmer's market haul

The Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market had its final day this weekend, so we made sure to go stock up. Squash, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, beets, peppers, a pumpkin for the porch and a big bunch of dahlias – we did pretty well. There will still be a few farmstands open, of course, but it’s never as easy as the market for getting all our shopping done with one fell swoop. Ah, well.

mustard greens

Before leaving on our market trip, wondering what we might end up having for dinner, I was paging through The Babbo Cookbook by Mario Batali, and found an enticing picture of lamb rib chops dancing around a pile of something green. It was, apparently, a pesto made of broccoli rabe. What a good idea, I thought, I’ll get some at the farmer’s market and try it out! Naturally, not a single booth was offering it…but Blue Heron Farm did have lovely fresh bunches of mizuna, or Japanese mustard greens. Thinking one bitter green might well replace another, we bought a bunch and proceeded to wing the recipe.

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the last farmer’s market + mizuna pesto

farmer's market haul

The Mount Vernon Farmer’s Market had its final day this weekend, so we made sure to go stock up. Squash, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, beets, peppers, a pumpkin for the porch and a big bunch of dahlias – we did pretty well. There will still be a few farmstands open, of course, but it’s never as easy as the market for getting all our shopping done with one fell swoop. Ah, well.

mustard greens

Before leaving on our market trip, wondering what we might end up having for dinner, I was paging through The Babbo Cookbook by Mario Batali, and found an enticing picture of lamb rib chops dancing around a pile of something green. It was, apparently, a pesto made of broccoli rabe. What a good idea, I thought, I’ll get some at the farmer’s market and try it out! Naturally, not a single booth was offering it…but Blue Heron Farm did have lovely fresh bunches of mizuna, or Japanese mustard greens. Thinking one bitter green might well replace another, we bought a bunch and proceeded to wing the recipe. Continue reading