nov2010_washington_wheat_field

Building A Better Wheat

WSU research relies on the house mouse to tell us what tastes good BY RENE´ FEATHERSTONE What about flavor? Of all the possible questions, Craig Morris hadn't expected that one. Asked by a woman in the audience at the wheat quality lecture he gave at the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition in Minneapolis in 2009, the question wouldn't let go of Morris. With the insistence of a rodent burrowing, it slipped into his scientist brain and rustled around until he decided to do something about it, namely a "binary preference design study." He started this January at the USDA Agricultural Research Service Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Pullman, where he's the director. "But what about flavor?" could have been a comment...

Resources

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers This new downloadable publication from Organic Seed Alliance provides a comprehensive how-to guide to seed saving practices. OSA has researched the most reliable information and encourages the reader to experience their own "reality on the ground" to learn what practices work best for their climate and farming system. The seed saving guide, a current listing of upcoming workshops, trainings and other educational opportunities, as well as lists of companies selling organic seed and valuable links to other resources are all on the OSA website, www.seedalliance.org. Organicology - "The Study of a Sustainable Food Future" will be held February 10-12, 2011 in Portland, OR. This biannual conference, produced by Oregon Tilth, Organic Seed Alliance, Food Trade...

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Big Ag vs. Small Seed

The Organic Seed Alliance fights the good fight on multiple fronts BY LORENE EDWARDS FORKNER PHOTO BY CAROLE TOPALIAN Seed is not static. It is a living, natural resource whose integrity is fundamental to a secure food system. That's an enormous job for a tiny bit of germplasm. It's the "living" part of the equation which requires careful stewardship. Fortunately, Pacific Northwest farmers, independent regional seed companies, backyard growers, and those of us who eat, have the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) on our side. Based in Port Townsend, the OSA is a non-profit organization whose work in education, research and advocacy is dedicated to revitalizing seed management skills. You see, seed, and our relationship with it, cannot be locked away on a shelf along...

Tips for Hosting Your Own Soup Swap

PLAN AHEAD: Give your friends at least two weekends to make and freeze their soup. You might also need to clear some room in your freezer. Swaps can be large or small, but at least six swappers make the numbers work best. SIX FOR SIX: Ask guests to bring six quarts of soup, frozen in one-quart containers. Some recipes will need to be doubled to get this amount. CHOOSE CAREFULLY: Some soups do not freeze well. Test your soup ahead of time if you are concerned. CONSIDER RESTRICTIONS: If any guests follow a restricted diet (vegetarian/vegan, diary-free, gluten-free), consider circulating this information so participants can plan accordingly. PLAY BY THE RULES: Once everyone has arrived, gather guests for the Telling of the Soup. Prepare...

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Soup Swap

Cooking, community and some friendly completion BY TARA AUSTEN WEAVER PHOTOS BY KNOX GARDNER Like many great ideas, Soup Swap was born of boredom and a long, dark winter. Twelve years ago, Seattle resident Knox Gardner grew weary of the large pots of soup he made to combat the rain and cold. Even if he froze the leftovers, he was still stuck eating the same meal again and again. Taking a page from holiday cookie swaps, Gardner invited friends to bring their own soups, frozen into six individual servings, for an exchange. That night everyone went home with six new soups and a new tradition began. Now, as soon as the weather turns cold, friends email Gardner asking when the swap will be held. In...

FOUR FISH: The Future of the Last Wild Food

BY PAUL GREENBERG PHOTO BY LAURA STRAUS Four Fish is one of the most powerful food books of 2010. It's been called "The Omnivore's Dilemma for the oceans" and that's not an overstatement of it's clear readability, sensible suggestions and important—frequently surprising—background information on the state of our oceans. This excerpt from the book's introduction provides a glimpse into the background of the author, as simply a boy who really loved to fish. In 1978 all the fish I cared about died. They were the biggest largemouth bass I had ever seen, and they lived in a pond ten minutes' walk from my house on a large estate in the backwoods of Greenwich, Connecticut, perhaps the most famously wealthy town in America. We...

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This is a Farm

The future of Yesler Terrace starts on the ground BY HEIDI BROADHEAD PHOTOS BY DELLA CHEN On May 8, 2010 a group of eight teenagers and several adult volunteers assembled at the Yesler Terrace Community Center, and after hanging out near a small office around the back with a hand-painted sign, "GroundUp," they headed down past rows of white, two-story resident houses and yards, through a gate and down a dirt road. The goal for the day: to lay the ground, 12 or so rows of compost and dirt, for a new 2 1/2 acre urban farm on the southwest corner of the Seattle Housing Authority's oldest community, Yesler Terrace. The Yesler Terrace Urban Demonstration Farm, at 825 Yesler Way, is a program of...

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BINGE: Italian Sausage

BY JESS THOMSON Olsen Farms: Potato-fed beef? We're fans. Brent Olsen's beef Italian sausages are hot, lean, and smoky, with a great snap. Split them down the middle and grill them meat side-down, then slap 'em in a bun with grilled onions, like master smoker Doreen Nelson does. Also makes: Summer, German, Andouille. Colville, $9/pound. Rain Shadow Meats: At $5.99 a pound, Rain Shadow's Carleton Farms pork sausages get our vote for value—just don't tell Russ we'd buy them for twice the price. Made with a classic mix of fennel and garlic, with dried instead of fresh oregano and thyme, they're very versatile. Try them in pasta. Also makes: Andouille, Spanish and Mexican chorizo, hot Italian, Bratwurst, breakfast links. Seattle, $5.99/pound. Sea Breeze...

Second Time Around

BY JESS THOMSON We love turkey, but let's face it: from year to year, it doesn't taste all that different, especially if you come from a family of traditionalists. But the days that follow? They're fair game. If you're looking to take a trip down memory lane without making a sandwich, try our hand pies, made with Edible's All-Butter Pie Crust. Stuffed with turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes, then dipped into cranberry sauce, they are a one-bite distillation of Thanksgiving. Still have more? Stir the bird into a rich tomato-based white bean and sausage chili, or try a bacon-studded breakfast hash made with sweet potatoes and parsnips, then topped with goat cheese and a fried egg—both can also be made with chopped...

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Sugar Hubbard

With the arrival of fall, many of us start to crave the taste of winter squash. It usually coincides with a strong desire for hot apple cider and braised pork....

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Elliott Bay Brewing Company

The Burien pub is airy and inviting, and Elliott Bay's head brewer Doug Hindman's affable attitude suggests that the complex brewing system he manages brings him more joy than stress. "Craft brewers are generally a pretty agreeable lot," he says, and not surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with him....

nov2010_seif_rachel_joule_seattle

Perfect Partners at Joule

In a world filled with food porn, we thought it was time for more direct action BY JAY FRIEDMAN PHOTOS BY RINA JORDAN Call me a voyeur, if you will. I admit it. I like watching a couple of chefs who love to make it dirty. "Make it dirty" is one of the few things you'll hear said aloud behind the counter of Joule, where chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi preside over the kitchen. In a city full of fabulous restaurants, without doubt my favorite seat in Seattle is at that counter, watching Rachel and Seif in action. They seem like an unlikely team, but beyond the white shirts and pinstripe aprons they wear as uniforms, there's more to their story. They are partners—in...

826_seattle_book

Books with Benefits

BY JILL LIGHTNER What's better than a great book? A great book that supports a worthwhile nonprofit organization. Up in the wilds of Greenwood, 826 Seattle has built a remarkably cozy home for genius. The tutoring center provides free, drop-in homework help along with flat-out brilliant field trips for schools and creative writing workshops. They also publish the work of students from schools around town. And run a moderately famous space travel supply store. A new book of theirs, What to Read in the Rain, helps fund these free educational programs, and it's a compilation of work from students and authors you don't want to miss: Michael Chabon, Tom Robbins, Lauren Weedman, John Moe and even Tom Douglas, who contributed a pancake recipe...

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Sweetness and Light

Cadeaux Chocolates feel old-fashioned, in a dainty, elegantly restrained sort of way. The chocolate is firm and rich, with a pleasant snap that gives way to lush centers. These centers show the same gentle restraint in their flavors—coffee or salt might accent a dark truffle filling, but will never overpower the chocolate. Honey caramel is one of the finest, with a thick liquid filling lightened by a precise touch of fragrant honey. These are the sort of chocolates that please and impress through subtlety. Available from Ballard Market, Metropolitan Market (all locations), PCC, Savour, West Seattle Thriftway and Whole Foods. Jonboy caramels are a delightful surprise. They're chewy without sticking to one's teeth, buttery while packing intense flavor, and totally sophisticated while...

Knowledge Is Power

A refractometer isn't so much a gadget as it is a way of life for shoppers in search of the best possible fruit. Most commonly known for its use in vineyards, a refractometer measures fruit for brix degrees: the amount of sugar in its juice. Squeeze a few drops of juice from a sample cherry, apricot, peach or tomato and you'll know to a precise degree what eating experience you can expect. Premium growers are beginning to use brix measurements as a statement of quality (you'll spot occasional "brix tested" stickers on peaches and grapefruits), and the scale provides a fascinating education on the precise differences between a decent tomato and the Holy Grail of tomatoes. The most important features in...

Editor’s Letter

BY JILL LIGHTNER Last year, folks robbed my neighborhood's food bank the week before Thanksgiving and walked off with about $2,000 in food. You can sum up the community's reaction as a very, very firm "this is not acceptable behavior." Over $100,000 in cash and food poured in over the course of a few days. So much, in fact, that the Rainier Valley Food Bank had more on hand than it needed, and it was able to share with multiple locations around town. Rage was channeled into something grand and powerful. It felt purposeful, and it paid off. It's hard to remember, in a year filled with large-scale disasters around the globe, that our own neighbors might be dependent on a food...

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Spice It Up

BY AMY PENNINGTON Spiced Apple Chutney In late fall, gardens heave a near audible final breath and give up the last of their fruits. Fields turn fragrant with the pungent smell from fermenting fallen fruit and the last of anything sweet is gathered from bare tree branches or browning vines. For a canning enthusiast, or a 100-mile dieter, November marks the last ditch effort to get fresh food in a jar and up into your cupboard for winter indulgences. Apples hold well on the branch and are often harvested late in fall. Apples are quite flexible as they have a higher acid content and can be successfully canned or paired with a myriad of additional fruits or infusions. I have it on...