Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip

by Jess Thomson Serves 8 | Prep time: About 2 hours, start to finish I love packaged onion soup dip as much as the next person. Maybe it's the MSG? Here's a homemade version that won't leave you wondering what you just swallowed;the deep onion flavor makes it worth the effort. To go classic and local, serve with Tim's potato chips. 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 large yellow onions (about 2 1/2 pounds) 4 large shallots (about 1 pound) Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 3 cups (24 ounces) sour cream Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then start slicing the onions and shallots, first in half through the root and then into...

Organic University

second in a series on modern ag educationby Heidi Broadheadphoto by Brian Charles Clark "Agriculture is not a sexy word," says Dr. John Reganold, Regents Professor of Soil Science at Washington State University, talking about the difficulties of recruiting students for agricultural careers. "Well, to me it is. I really like agriculture. I really like soil." The 18 organic ag majors now studying at his school probably agree with him. WSU has long been the premier agriculture education institution in the state. Established as a land-grant university, the school opened in 1892 as Washington Agricultural College and School of Science with the mission of giving people in farm communities around the state the chance to study agricultural science and other topics, including...

Bacon-Wrapped Root Vegetable Gratins

by Jess Thomson Makes 24 mini gratins | Prep time: 35 minutesfrom Edible Seattle January/February 2009  Stack fingerling potato, carrot, and parsnip pennies between pinches of Parmesan cheese, wrap them in bacon, and bake them into bite-sized vegetable gratins--the result will turn someone into a root vegetable enthusiast in one mouthful. You'll need to cut rounds of roughly the same diameter out of the vegetables, so look for specimens similar in shape. Vegetable oil spray 8 parsnips, peeled 3 large carrots, peeled 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes 2 1/4 teaspoons flour Salt and freshly ground pepper 2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese 24 (3-inch) segments bacon (from twelve 6" slices) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with...

Winter Party Snacks

WINTER PARTY SNACKSby Jess Thomson I don't actually own a television, but if there's one time I'm likely demand a spot in front of my neighbor's big screen and morph into a full-force sports, film, or politics fanatic—none of which I am the rest of the year—it's now. Of course, I always trade good party food for my seat—food that's filling and snackable, and unlike the stuff of Super Bowls past, food that's local. It's an approach that works as well with Inauguration Day as it does with the Oscars, I find, as long as there's enough to go around. Don't worry, we're not talking about taking away winter's smother-yourself-with-cheese approach to snack food. We're just bringing it closer to home,...

Buying the Farm

More CSAs Means More Optionsby Amy Penningtonphoto by Ann Vandeman Community Supported Agriculture programs were set up to help support farmers in the off season by garnering them a dependable income. Come winter, farmers put their land to bed and tuck into seed catalogs for the upcoming season. That means little (if any) income, while money is being spent on seeds and equipment. Many farmers have turned to operating CSAs as a way to help diffuse the financial stress of winter by encouraging people to purchase 'shares' in the farm for the upcoming year. A share is considered a small piece of the farm-to-come for the following year, and is delivered in the shape of a box full of farm goodies--always vegetables,...

Dig Deep

DIG DEEPby Jenni Pertusetphoto by Lara Ferroni The geoduck is an intimidating clam. It's huge and ugly and I've never been sure why anyone would want to eat it. But as a locavore, I was curious about this quintessentially local food, and set out to prepare it, eat it, and learn about its harvest. With no idea what to do with geoduck, I turned to sushi chef Ryu Nakano, owner of Kisaku in the Tangletown neighborhood. When I asked if he could introduce me to geoduck, Nakano displayed the clam's versatility and his own by cooking me up a six-course meal. The feast included geoduck chowder, butter yaki, Japanese-style curry, and of course sushi. My favorites, a sashimi salad and an appetizer...

Roots Grow Deep in the I.D.

INTER*IM: ROOTS GROW DEEP IN THE I.D.by Megan Hillphoto by Jill Lightner The pig was special. For the first time in its 33-year history, the Pig Roast's special guest was organically fed and sustainably raised on a local farm. Held in June, the annual community celebration took place at the Danny Woo Community Garden in the International District. Set back from Jackson Street's bustle, garden's 1.5 (rather vertical) acres host 100 separate plots for ID residents. Plots are...

Taking the Rice Seriously

by Amy Penningtonphotos by Lara Ferroni Sitting atop a batik Persian tablecloth on the kitchen table is an earmarked book, New Food of Life—Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij. The book is a bible in this home and Yvette Leland can't loan it out for more than a few days—it makes her nervous. Yvette was raised in the UK surrounded by her Persian relatives before moving to the states and living with her Persian aunt and grandmother in Spokane. When she was a young girl, she spent a summer in Iran, and recalls picking stones from the rice grains and the distinct smell of kebabs at the Kasbah, where they would sit outdoors on big cushions and...

Heritage, Heart and Hearth

Where Everything Comes Togetherby Ellen Bhangphoto by Robert Galvin Ignore what comes to mind when you first hear, "American Traditions Picnic." There are no pie eating contests, three-legged races, or bandstands festooned with red-white-and-blue bunting. Gerry Warren, the venerable co-leader of Slow Food Seattle, had a different set of images in mind. This picnic, he explained, would showcase culturally important foods native to the Pacific Northwest. "Did I mention that Seattle's most talented chefs will be doing the cooking?" he said. For the second year in a row, the Seattle chapters of Slow Food and Chefs Collaborative hosted this unique event designed to educate new and potential members. Slow Food, with its mission to promote food that is good, clean...

tokara

The Japanese Confections of Chika Tokara

Number 6208 is a modest white storefront tucked way back on Phinney Avenue. The gate at the sidewalk is draped with fluttering noren, the rectangular entry banners that signal when a Japanese shop is open. The front yard is a large rock garden, with a little maple tree and a wooden rake. The stillness of this place suits what is hidden inside: The rare Japanese confectionary outside of Japan....

absinthe

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

Yeah, that wormwood—the intensely bitter herb that contains the noxious chemical thujone, widely believed to induce hallucinations and insanity. Wormwood also happens to be the main ingredient in absinthe, the controversial "green fairy" of bohemian Paris that supposedly drove Van Gogh to sever his ear…...

Presents under the Tree

The Oregeon Black Truffleby Ashley Gartlandphoto from Creative Commons Years ago, a new restaurant opened downtown and invited their neighbors to an opening celebration. Never one to pass up free food, I attended and quickly found myself surrounded by flutes of champagne, and a bar top laden with sushi and oysters. I only had eyes for the French fries. They weren't any old French fries. They were indulgent, aromatic batons crisped to perfection and laced with something I'd never previously tried: truffles. It was love at first bite. For centuries, people have fallen hard for truffles. Truffle-focused recipes crop up in the first cookbook known to man, suggesting they were revered as early as first century A.D. Later, Roman emperor Nero called...

A chef who’s driven by perfection.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE PERFECTEric Banh's Firm Opinionsby Bethany Jean Clementphotos by Claire Bloomberg In which edibleSeattle visits the home of a local chef and reports on the contents of their refrigerator, snacks served, truths imparted and other miscellany. THE SUBJECT: Eric Banh, the co-proprietor—with his sister, Sophie—of Seattle's favorite contemporary Vietnamese restaurant, Monsoon, and two of Seattle's favorite sandwich shops, Baguette Box on Pine Street and in Fremont. (Monsoon is soon to be Bellevue's favorite contemporary Vietnamese restaurant as well; the eastside location opened in December.) STATEMENTS OF FACT: Suburban afternoon sun streams into Eric Banh's Normandy Park home. The open-floor-plan kitchen/living/dining room serves as a stage for Banh: "The kitchen is the most important room in the house,"...

January/February 2009 Editor’s Letter

January has never felt like the right month for the year to start. It doesn't have the back-to-school excitement of fall; it doesn't have the everything-is-growing excitement of spring. In fact, January rarely has much excitement at all. More than any other place I've lived, the Puget Sound area goes into hibernation. 2009 feels different, though. On one hand, there's an absolutely loopy degree of excitement, best illustrated by the flag-waving, national anthem-singing celebration that happened in my neighborhood on election night. (The anthem was led by a drag queen; the flag wavers took over several major intersections and passed around bottles of Champagne.) On the other hand, more than one friend has gotten a layoff notice recently. It's hard to...