Champagne-Poached Pears with Saffron Syrup

BY JESS THOMSON makes: 4 servings | start to finish: 45 minutes from Edible Seattle September/October 2011 Poaching little Seckel pears with a pinch of saffron imbues them with a great sunny hue—you can often get great local threads grown on the Olympic Peninsula, by Phocas Farms, at the Ballard farmers' market. And while methode champenoise perrys are rare thus far, if you can find one (and are willing to cook with it, rather than drink it), a sparkling perry would be a lovely Champagne replacement. If you can't find Seckel pears, use peeled Bosc pears, and double the other ingredients. Recipe 3/4 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups Champagne Pinch saffron 4 firm-ripe Seckel pears, peeled, seeds cored out from the bottom, stems left intact 2 tablespoons honey Steps Combine the...

pear ginger cobbler

Taylor Gold Pear Cobblers with Ginger and Cardamom

makes: 4 servings | start to finish: 70 minutes by Jess Thomson, from Edible Seattle September/October 2011 Secreted underneath a golden crust made with flour, masa harina, and cardamom, the juicy, sweet pear concoction that forms the base for these little desserts relies on Taylor Golds. You'll know the pears are ready to use when they yield to light pressure when pressed near the stem. You can substitute other pears, as long as their flesh is creamy and juicy. For the fruit Butter, for the ramekins 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 3 large Taylor Gold pears (about 2 pounds), peeled and chopped into 1" chunks 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger For the cobbles 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup masa harina 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 cup...

Honey Roasted Pear Salad

makes: 6 to 8 servings | start to finish: 30 minutes from Edible Seattle September/October 2011 Made with red-skinned pears caramelized in the oven with a thin layer of honey, this is a salad you'll actually feel like eating when it gets cold outside. If you can't get your hands on lemon-infused olive oil, any high-quality oil will work. For the vinaigrette 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard Juice of 1 large lemon Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil For the salad 2 tablespoons honey 2 firm-ripe red-skinned pears, cored and cut into wedges 1 bunch watercress (about 1/2 pound), leaves washed and torn 1 bunch frisee (about 1/4 pound), leaves washed and torn 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese Steps Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet...

Recipe Box: Almond Crusted French Toast

BY MYRA KOHN Almond Crusted French Toast serves 4-6 | start to finish: 30 minutes Recipe adapted from Urbane Restaurant & Bar Contrary to popular belief it is not the French who created French toast (also known as "pain perdu," meaning lost bread). Its origins can be traced all the way to ancient Rome, when affluent citizens of the empire were big fans of a plate of day-old bread brought back to life by soaking in a simple custard. Centuries later, there are few breakfast items that people seem to love more than French toast. Urbane's version adds aromatics to the custard, a bit of citrus and the nuttiness of almonds. Sweet, savory and not too rich, it will wake up even the sleepiest...

Nine Ways to Get in the Loop

Contact City Fruit if: 1. You have quince, fig, or crabapple trees you'd like to have harvested, and you live anywhere in Seattle. 2. You have other types of fruit trees and live in either Phinney-Greenwood or from Jackson St. south—in Mt. Baker, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, and all of Beacon Hill as far west as the freeway. (If you live elsewhere, Solid Ground may be able to harvest your fruit.) 3. You would like to volunteer to pick fruit, and have your own transportation. 4. You would like to volunteer to distribute fruit after picking, and have your own transportation. 5. You would like to buy a minimum of 100 lbs of fruit at a time, for either commercial or personal use. 6. You...

Closing the Urban Fruit Loop

City Fruit respects the trees and shares the harvest BY ABRA BENNETT PHOTOS BY ABRA BENNETT AND CAROL MACILROY Remember the last time you bit into a crisp, sweet Washington apple, that crunchy, juicy, just-barely-acidic explosion of flavor? Lots of our fellow Seattleites don't remember, because they can't afford to buy that apple a day that we all hope will keep the doctor away. Would it shock you to learn that at least 12% of the population of affluent, socially conscious Seattle lives below the Federal poverty limit, and fresh fruit doesn't often find its way into their shopping baskets? Gail Savina, Seattle's own Fruit Fairy, is working to change that, one tree at a time. Love of fruit is a thread that runs...

Soybeans

SOYBEANS When we started making tofu, I started looking for local—and hopefully organic--soybeans. I called Alvarez, Baird, and Full Circle farms and was not able to find any. It turns out that organic—and thus non-GM—soybeans are relatively rare. According to the National Agricultural statistics board, in 2010 93% of soybeans grown in the US were GM, a large portion of those from Monsanto's Roundup Ready line. Ironically to those who think of soy as a vegetarian food, soybeans are mostly processed into meal for livestock,...

Adventures in Tofu

The first time my husband made us tofu, one of the (many) things I could not figure out, was how he had mysteriously caused the soy milk to thicken....

Growing Pears

HOME GROWN Pears are a relatively easy fruit to grow in Western Washington, with fire blight and stony pie being the most troublesome issues. By choosing cultivars with the best resistance to the blight, you can minimize your orchard's chance of being affected. Make sure to pick up any fallen fruit and dispose of it in Seattle's yard waste bins (or home compost bins if you live outside of Seattle). By following commercial pear ripening procedures, you'll get sweet, juicy pears with great texture. HOW TO PICK A PEAR Most pear varieties don't ripen well on the tree; their ripening process begins near the core, and by the time the bites next to the skin are soft, the innermost sections are complete mush....

Sidebar: Orcas Island

GETTING THERE You'll see long lines at the ferry terminal even in the off-season. And since you can't make reservations for a spot, you'll need to get there early. You can contact WSDOT for help figuring out when to arrive, but you should be prepared for about an hour's wait time on the weekends. If you drive, fill up before you get to the island, where gas prices are much higher than on the mainland. DINING Allium Locally-focused dinner and brunch with a view. Hours fluctuate depending on the season. 310 Main Street, Eastsound |www.alliumonorcas.com Lily on Orcas Lopez Island ice cream and take-out sushi by Allium. Hours fluctuate depending on the season. 310 Main Street, Eastsound |www.lillyonorcas.com New Leaf Café French cuisine meets the Northwest for breakfast, lunch, and...

The Blessings of Orcas Island

George the alpaca is nibbling a carrot from the palm of my hand. His fuzzy snout is surprisingly slobber-free. Before long, the entire troop of alpacas on Once in a Blue Moon Farm is at the fence, wanting snacks....

Curse You, Rachel Finkelstein

Miracle Whip is Satan's sandwich spread. BY BECKY SELENGUT I know this because on one of only two occasions that I forgot my school lunch, I ate half of Rachel Finkelstein's tuna fish sandwich. It took a few bites to confirm, but yes, it was undeniable: I was eating tuna laced with the devil's condiment. I spat out the filth and committed myself to remembering my lunch each and every day. Forget for a moment the school lunches you see kids with now, packaged in fancy coolers and insulated lunch boxes with mini ice packs, sub compartments, and happy meal-ish toys. In the 70s, you ate locker-hot tuna sandwiches in greasy paper bags, pb & j's, or you ate nothing. Nearly as important as...

Comfort Geek

The Dual Personality of Jason Franey BY JESS THOMSON Canlis Restaurant, so much a Seattle icon that it barely requires being identified as such, likens its culinary goals to driving a nice car; the point is to move forward, but it's important to use that rearview mirror to see what's behind you. Given their reputation for flawless (and obligatory) valet service, it's fitting. And given how executive chef Jason Franey has, over the last three years, been able to successfully emulsify his envelope-pushing approach to food with the restaurant's reputation for a certain handful of timeless dishes—themselves edible relics of Seattle's history—it's clear that Canlis still owns one very sweet ride. And the driver knows what he's doing. For those who haven't been...

Binge: Pickles

Pickled vegetables are the hipsters of the canned foods aisle. Thrifty, trendy, and sometimes a little spiky, they're a cross between comfort food and a shot of vinegar. Like the styles of so many folks in the Emerald City, experimentation isn't always successful—which is why esoteric housemade pickles can be intimidating. While restaurants like Seatown and Matt's in the Market trudge through the red tape needed to sell their own pickles (did we mention we're excited?), we've taken the hit, tasting through tablesful of the region's pickle jars so we can tell you what to try. Our favorites are below. The unfortunate conclusion? Unless you can get to Puyallup's seasonal farmstand at Duris Cucumber Farms for their fresh-packed cucumber pickles,...

Cooking Fresh: Good Pearing

By Jess Thomson Pears aren't part of the popular crowd; they aren't as flirty as ripe peaches or as amenable as apples. But contrary to how most people eat them—out of hand—pears are just as suited to cooking as other fruit, especially when they're used in the little window of time after they've lost their firmness but before they get super juicy. Secreted under a cornmeal crust and spiced with ginger and cardamom, Taylor Gold pears make an unusual cobbler that pushes fruit dessert season well past the last berry crop. Glazed with honey and roasted, red-skinned pears sweeten a savory salad. Tucked into pork chops with walnuts and bleu cheese, pears almost make you wonder why you'd eat them any...

Taki-San the Perfectionist

the organic adventures of a world-traveling farmer STORY AND PHOTOS BY TARA AUSTEN WEAVER If you ever find yourself at the University District Farmers Market at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, you may see a line of customers in front of the Mair Farm-Taki stand, waiting to buy their fruit and vegetables. The market doesn't officially open until 9. "My Asian customers always come early," says Katsumi Taki, who himself hails from Shiga, Japan. They line up for produce no other local farmer grows—edible chrysanthemum leaves, burdock root, fresh ginger, fuki stalks and Japanese horseradish. These are the seeds of home that Taki now cultivates on 36.5 acres in the Yakima Valley. "I used to grow the same things everybody else grew," explains Taki...

Inside the Theo Chocolate Factory

If you walk into Theo Chocolate at certain times of day, you will find a flock of blue-hairnet-wearing individuals patiently abstaining from the shop's free chocolate samples. Soon, they will be embarking on a tour of the bean-to-bar factory, where they anticipate hoards of samples and, if they're lucky, a chocolate river, complete with a waterfall, surrounded by a garden of sugar buttercups and marshmallow mushrooms....

OUR AVAs – Puget Sound

If you stop to think about it, why shouldn't western Washington be grape-growing country? There's plenty of daylight during the growing season, and Puget Sound's rainfall is not, in most years, any greater than Burgundy's. The climate is relatively cool, but so is the weather in Oregon, in New Zealand, in Champagne, and you don't hear complaints about their winemaking....

Urban Foraging

Book LarderThis new shop is quite possibly the biggest news in town for everyone who reads this magazine. A new bookstore, specializing in new and vintage books about food? One that hosts author events and cooking classes? One that sells a few carefully selected goodies that kitchen gear nerds can't resist? One with a big open kitchen, and a staff that cooks up sample recipes from the books they sell, with spots for sitting and reading and snacking? We expect most of our contributors to just be full-time residents, the way other bookstores have resident cats. Lara Hamilton, the gutsy new owner of Kim Ricketts Book Events, has been hard at work on this lovely space for months, and there's...

Editor’s Letter

Fall has always been my favorite season. Summer's too hot, winter's too cold. Spring—depending on where I've lived—is either too short and thus a disappointment, or too endless in its almost-warm promise (Seattle, 2011: yeah, I'm looking at you). Fall gets it right. I much prefer a sweater to either sunscreen or a parka. I like having plenty of fresh fruit coincide with cool mornings for baking. I like some afternoons being warm enough for a frosty gimlet, and some evenings chilly enough for hot chocolate. I like an occasional big storm rather than, say, four solid months of overcast skies (Seattle, 2011: I'll let it go, I swear). Fall also feels like a good time for learning. Part of...