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Arugula Salad with Toasted Chèvre and Spring Blossoms

BY ANNE LIVINGSTON Serves 4 | start to finish: 30 minutes (active time: 10 minutes) Any assortment of edible flower petals, from spicy nasturtiums to mellow tulips or pansies, taste and look delectable with peppery arugula. Because the flowers are too delicate to be rinsed before eating, use only flowers that have not been sprayed. Even dandelion petals (from a pesticide-free front yard) can add festive color and healthful properties. Other places to find edible flowers are the farmers’ market (again, make sure the flowers are not sprayed). Some grocery stores also carry containers of edible flowers in the fresh herb section of the produce department. 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon honey 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra...

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Spring Pea Polenta with Garlic and Ham

BY ANNE LIVINGSTON Serves 4 | start to finish: 25 minutes The combination of peas and ham is a wickedly delicious late spring comfort food. Add this to creamy polenta to make a satisfying springtime lunch or side dish. It is light enough to enjoy on a sunny porch, yet robust enough to strengthen your soul on a Seattle “June-uary” day. You can add any part of the pea plant—sprout, shoot, pod, or pea—to this polenta. If you do use pea shoots or sprouts, though, make sure that they are very young or they will be too woody to enjoy. Taste a shoot raw to check for maturity, and if it is too chewy, snip off the tendrils to use in the...

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Buttery Sole Poached with Spring Vegetables

BY ANNE LIVINGSTON Serves 4 | start to finish: 15 minutes The combination of fennel, onions, chiogga beets, carrots, and butter creates a sweet, rich background for sole’s delicate flavor. Because a sole filet is so thin, it cooks quickly—and the less it is disturbed or moved, the better. This recipe requires no manipulation, because the fish steams in the pan right over the vegetables, then thinly sliced fennel stalks add a refreshing crunch and a hit of subtle, sweet anise flavor. This dish is quite saucy, making it a great partner for a rice or polenta dish, such as the ham and spring pea polenta included here. 1 bulb fennel, including stalks and fronds 1 small yellow onion 6 young slender carrots, peeled or...

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Strawberry Upside-down Pound Cake

BY ANNE LIVINGSTON Serves 10 | start to finish: 1 1/2 hours Springtime rewards us for our patience with luscious strawberries straight from the garden or market. Left uneaten for a couple of days, however, their shiny plumpness begins to fade. Layered into a simple upside-down pound cake though, strawberries don’t need to be perfect. Baking turns tired strawberries luxuriously jammy—especially combined with brown sugar and black pepper, which intensifies the flavor of the berries. After baking and flipping this cake, prepare to love strawberries in a whole new way. Serve with more sliced fresh berries, and even a scoop of ice cream, to create a multidimensional strawberry celebration. Leftover cake can be covered and kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator....

May/June 2014 Cooking Fresh

Garden Party BY ANNE LIVINGSTON “Leaf, root, flower, fruit”—this catchy phrase is used by gardeners to refer to crop rotation. It’s also a good reminder of what our meals have been missing lately. After months of roots and hearty winter leaves (are you tired of kale yet?), early summer comes with an explosion of flowers, berries, and tender lettuces. Now that everyone’s here, it’s time to get the party started. These days I like to scatter salads with spring blossoms and petals, balancing the spiciness of arugula with warm, toasted goat cheese. Buttery sole with tender spring vegetables, and garlicky polenta with fresh peas, both celebrate this time of year when spring turns into summer. Finally, strawberries—the first berries of the...

May/June 2014 The Skagit Valley

Savoring the Skagit the edible wonders of Bow and Edison BY MEGAN HILL The sprawl of Burlington and Mount Vernon are behind me after just a couple of traffic circles, the neat rows of potatoes and almost-neon green pasture reaching towards the gentle blue-gray swell of the Chuckanut Mountains. A bald eagle floats overhead and the sun glints off an upper slope of Mount Baker. The scent of hay and fresh earth waft in the open window and the city feels much further than the one-hour drive behind us. Chuckanut Drive connects Burlington to Bellingham via the scenic route, passing farms and dairies before climbing into the coastal mountains separating Skagit County from Whatcom. The enchanting scenery is one reason to come all this...

May/June 2014 The Grain Gathering

The Grain Gathering three days in the wheat fields at bread camp BY JESSAMYN TUTTLE On a crisp, late summer morning, just as the sun was coming up, I found myself in a grassy field eating bagels. The field was part of the WSU extension campus in Mount Vernon, the bagels were hot out of a wood-fired oven and steaming in the cold air, and my companions were several dozen cheerful bakers, farmers, millers, maltsters, and amateur bread enthusiasts, all up early and ready to start another day at The Grain Gathering (formerly Kneading Conference West). The three-day conference was packed with knowledgeable people eager to learn from each other. At one end of the campus, a mud-spattered group worked together to build an...

May/June 2014 Snoqualmie Ice Cream

Churning Up Sustainability Snoqualmie Ice Cream is as delicious as it is environmental STORY BY GRACE HENSLEY PHOTOS BY GRACE HENSLEY AND LYNNE HARRISON It took ten years to make the honey-lavender ice cream that is slowly melting in my cup, but the journey started even earlier. In 1997, Barry Bettinger and his wife Shahnaz left their hometown in northern New York to buy the small gourmet Snoqualmie Ice Cream company, then located in Lynnwood, WA. Barry had grown up on his father’s award-winning conservation farm, eventually becoming a dairy plant manager, but harbored a dream of running his own business. “It was either ice cream or cheese,” says Snoqualmie marketing manager Samantha Hill, “as long as they could work together.” In 2003, the...

May/June 2014 Final Course

  Tasting Sunlight BY GREG ATKINSON I used to think of the seasons as a linear chain; now I see them as part of the same kaleidoscope, or facets of a gemstone. Each spring is colored by reflections of seasons past. This year, I tell myself, as I watch the leeks volunteer at the back of my garden and take a hand trowel to the weeds in the rhubarb patch, I will make something wonderful with this produce. And in the cold clear light of spring, it all seems doable. The march of spring produce into markets seems orderly enough at first: tender young nettles for soups and purees, then the glorious, frost-sweetened sprouts of plants that over-wintered, like the jade green side shoots...

May/June 2014 Farm to Table

Life Lessons and Strawberries growing for a new generation on the Thulen Family Farm BY TARA AUSTEN WEAVER If you follow Dodge Valley Road near La Conner far enough—through the woods and along open fields—you will pass a handsome farmhouse, set back from the road and surrounded by a tidy garden. Keep an eye out for the nearby horse pasture—that’s the three-acre plot that Gail Thulen planted with seed peas in 1960. That bit of Skagit Valley farmland was the beginning of it all. From this small start the farm grew—over the next fifty-four years—to some 800 acres of potatoes, cabbage (grown for seed), mustard, wheat, leeks, carrots, beets, and more peas. But it is a strawberry crop that holds special significance to the...

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Summer Fruit Pavlovas with Strawberries, Mixed Fruits, or Roasted Cherries

Summer Fruit Pavlovas with Strawberries, Mixed Fruits, or Roasted Cherries PHOTOS AND RECIPE BY PAOLA THOMAS I often bring pavlovas to summer parties—this ethereal combination of whipped meringue, cream, and fruit as airy and spectacular as a ballerina’s tutu. When I first came to Seattle, I noticed that friends begged me to make them again and again. I soon realized the pavlova is not well-known in America. Both Australia and New Zealand claim to have invented the dessert—a subject of contentious debate—but it was clearly named in honor of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It’s also naturally gluten-free and fabulously easy to make. If you can whip eggs and cream, you can make pavlova. Some people are a little intimidated by meringue, but once...

Capitol Cider taps

Capitol Cider

Julie Tall has a motto, "Don't jump halfway across the ravine." In opening Capitol Cider, Seattle’s first cider-focused pub, in June of 2013, Tall made the jump, and a huge leap of faith as well....

May/June 2014 Artisans

Strut Your Sauce de Mars’s rooster sauce is heating up BY JENNIFER CRAIN De Mars’s Rooster Sauce was created in the tiny kitchen of an apartment in Virginia, where first year law student John de Mars spent his evenings experimenting with a high-speed blender. He popped chile pepper stems into a paper bag on the floor, smashed garlic cloves, and measured dried spices. For two weeks he made batch after batch of hot sauce, until he was happy with the result. The concoction soon became popular on campus. His fellow students ate the deep orange sauce in spades, livening up platefuls of potluck fare or slathering it on morning eggs from bottles de Mars sent home with them. One friend purchased in bulk, to...

May/June 2014 In the Kitchen

  Building Delancey a marriage, and the restaurant, book, bar, and baby that came from it BY TARA AUSTEN WEAVER You may have heard the story already: girl leaves graduate school and starts a food blog. Boy on East Coast reads the blog and falls for the girl, sends her a charming note. Girl meets boy; he moves to Seattle; they get married. The plan is to live happily ever after. Not so fast, the road rarely runs that straight. Sometimes there are detours for pizza. When Seattle food writer Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit in 2007, she expected they would have a fairly quiet life together. She would write and he—a PhD student in music composition who worked in restaurants on the side—would teach music...

May/June 2014 Urban Foraging

Still In Season When Greg Atkinson’s book In Season was first published in 1997, he was a young chef learning his craft on San Juan Island. Today he runs his own Restaurant Marché on Bainbridge and In Season is being reissued. Atkinson’s writing is always lovely (see our Final Course essay this issue for a sample), but what is striking is how this book predates current trends—seasonal cooking, wild food foraging, eating local. Divided in seasons, each chapter paired with a recipe, In Season rings just as true to life in the Pacific Northwest now as it did seventeen years ago. Illustrated with evocative seasonal images by Seattle photographer Charity Burggraaf, In Season is a reminder of how rich and rooted...

Editor Letter May/June 2014

Do you have a strawberry memory from childhood? I’m sad to say I don’t. Growing up we had blackberries and a small patch of raspberries, but strawberries did not have a place in our garden. I now think of this as a shame. I grow strawberries in my garden now, a huge patch of them. Every spring I look forward to their delicate white flowers. Among local growers and food connoisseurs, Shuksan and Hood varieties seem to be the favorite. People complain that squirrels get all their berries, but in my experience you just have to plant more. Once my patch had filled in, I found the squirrels ate about 20% and left me the rest. I don’t mind sharing. I still don’t...