double-corn spoon bread


September is the month of corn. Trucks are parked by the side of the road, heaped high with ears of sweet corn and signs saying ten for a dollar (otherwise known as “Please! Take it!”). Coworkers bring in bag- and boxfuls to work, in desperate hope that someone will be willing to deal with the overflow.

When there is extra corn in the house, but I don’t really feel like eating it straight, spoonbread is a nice option. I’m not a big fan of fresh corn in cornbread, but spoonbread is more like an informal souffle with a bit of cornmeal in it. The version I like to make has both fresh sweet corn and roasted green chiles, as well as plenty of cheese, and the effect is rather like chile rellenos, with more of the fluffy coating and less of the chile. You get both a bit of crustiness and a rather pudding-like interior, and it makes a great accompaniment to roast chicken.

charring a jalapeno

Ideally you should use anaheims, or other mild green chiles. Poblanos would be a great choice for a little more heat. On this occasion all I had were some big (and very hot)  jalapeños, so I limited myself to two so the spoonbread wouldn’t be too fiery. You can either roast them in the oven (like I do with bell peppers) or toast them over an open flame with tongs.


Continue reading

Skagit Eat Local Week


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.

Continue reading

clams & beans

clams and beans

For some reason I was in the mood for clams last weekend. When I began delving into cookbooks to look for some new ideas, I stumbled across the exact same recipe in both 1080 Recipes and Casa Moro. Clams and white beans: so simple, but two ingredients I had never thought of combining. We brought back a bag of fresh clams from Taylor Shellfish after our walk on Sunday, and we were good to go.

clams and beans

I went with the Moro recipe, since it seemed a little more interesting, but it’s still not a complicated dish. Saute garlic in wine, add cooked white beans, saffron and parsley, add clams, done. I made it a little more work by using fresh cannellini beans, bought in the pod from Dunbar Gardens, but shelling beans is a very peaceful and philosophical activity – preferably with the aid of good music and a tasty beverage.

equipment for bean shelling

Continue reading

summer slump

I realize there has been a dearth of posting around here since we got back from our trip. Between the incredible heat and drought Western Washington has been hit with, and some personal stress in our lives, we’ve been eating some very comforting and predictable things – soup, pizza, stir fry – and going out for burgers when necessary. We’ve done a lot of cooking, but it either hasn’t been worth talking about or I was too busy to photograph anything.


One thing we have been doing is processing berries. The hot weather has really brought on the harvest, making it a bit more urgent than usual to appreciate them while they’re available. We’ve been buying a half flat of berries every week at the farmer’s market, eating all we can and then prepping the rest for the freezer. There’s not a lot of room in there, thanks to the half a lamb taking up most of the extra space, but we should have a good winter’s supply of fresh raspberries and quite a few blueberries for our morning smoothies. Now that’s a comforting thought.

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, 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



We like to celebrate the beginning of summer with a nice dinner out, and this year we decided to finally try out Lark for the occasion. We’ve been to Licorous before, but never Lark – I was expecting the two places to have much more similar vibes, but Lark was much more rustic and comfortable than I would have thought. It’s a small plates/local/seasonal kind of place, and we were very happy with what we got. We ordered all of our plates in advance, and the waitstaff brought them in whatever order they saw fit, one at a time. With most of the meal we drank a McCrea Sirocco Blanc, a beautiful white Rhone blend that made us really happy.


First we got a plate of Yakima Valley asparagus, thin and perfectly cooked, with a little mizuna salad and drizzles of cheese sauce and tomato vinaigrette. The flavors were straightforward, but very pleasing and fresh.

yellowtail carpaccio

Next came the yellowtail carpaccio Continue reading

grill me an oyster

grilling an oyster
wine & oysters

Finally, a beautiful day! We celebrated by going on food safari, as Jen from Last Night’s Dinner puts it (I’m adopting that phrase, it’s perfect). We had visited the farmer’s market the day before and gotten a bunch of goodies, but on Sunday we drove out Chuckanut for further supplies. We got mussels and Kumamoto oysters at Taylor Shellfish, a loaf of farmer bread from the Breadfarm (plus what may have been the world’s best macaroon), and a completely gratuitous chorizo sausage from Slough Food (hey, as long as we were in there…) We took our haul home, fired up the grill, opened up some wine and settled in to eat shellfish.

hot oyster shell
farmer bread Continue reading