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Holidays on the Lamb

The last two months of the year are a time of celebration and giving thanks. Family and friends gather around the holiday table to reconnect and reminisce while enjoying a hearty meal together. When I was growing up, lamb often found its way onto our holiday table. An untraditional meal to many, lamb became our tradition, and to this day, the smell of lamb wafting through the house brings back all those memories of home and comfort....

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The Proof is in the Parsnip

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “Fine words butter no parsnips.” In other words, flattery (“buttering up”) is meaningless without the behavior to back it up. A variation of sorts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” it's a particularly apt turn of phrase when speaking of parsnips, that humble root vegetable whose gnarled exterior is at odds with its creamy, sweet interior....

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A Very British Picnic

Surprisingly, although the British summer is often non-existent, we Brits have a splendid repertoire of traditional summer foods...

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Quinoa

Food trends have a way of coming on quick and fizzling out in much the same way...

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Baked Lemon, Honey, and Rosemary Cheesecake

At this quiet time of year, when the earth is still sleeping and only a few green shoots remind us that we are about to tumble headlong into the madcap cacophony of spring, the pickings are slim when it comes to seasonal produce. Instead, this luscious baked cheesecake is a celebration of those cupboard ingredients that are so easy to take for granted here in the Pacific Northwest: fresh ricotta cheese from the farmers market, our astonishing local honeys, and new farm eggs -- all imbued with intriguing hints of the rosemary that grows like a weed in our backyards. If you can get Meyer lemons, they would work wonderfully, but ordinary lemons, such as I used here, are more than fine....

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Brrrrrrrrr!

When the temperatures drop, it’s time to turn to comfort menus and heartier dishes....

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Farro for the Cold

Farro is part of a larger wheat family consisting of three ancient varieties: emmer, spelt, and einkorn....

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Sorghum: The Versatile Grain You’ll Fall For

In our kitchen, the cooler months beg for pantry items that are versatile. I often find myself hunkering down a bit more than usual in the winter, as many of us do in Seattle, relying on old standbys like soups and stews, homemade bread, and roasted vegetables....

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The Mother of All Condiments

This past fall I had the great fortune of teaching a quarter-long class on preserving to an eager audience of health-minded, highly educated individuals at Bastyr University. Using the prolific campus garden and taking cues from local farms, I built a thirteen-week course based solely on what was seasonally available to put up for the pantry. ...

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Apple Chutney/ Pumpkin Butter

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....

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Elderflower Syrup and Pickled Maple Blossoms

Last summer on the highway home from a long weekend at Lake Chelan, I pulled my car across three lanes of traffic when I spotted a tall slender tree hunched over by the weight of its small blue berries. I had noticed the same trees on the way out to the lake, but wasn't sure they were what I thought they were – elderberries....

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The Back Story on Yeast

To the uninitiated, a sourdough starter sounds like a lousy co-pilot—it's a soupy mixture of flour and water, about the color and consistency of a melted milkshake. But to see it only for its parts is to miss the beauty of the whole....

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The Simple Art of Homemade Tortillas

Cooks who believe in the phrase "easy as pie" will have no problem when Cristina Zurita Ceniceros says that making flour tortillas is as simple as throwing together a pie crust....

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Locally Grown Pie

Pie matters. It's dessert, yes, which all by itself is enough to rate of high importance, but pie is also a symbol of just about everything that is good and true....

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DIY Holiday Gifting

Several holiday seasons ago, I decided to stop buying material gifts for family and friends and start making handmade presents....

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You Say Tomato

I have been a dedicated home canner for years and have preserved damn near everything for stockpiling the season—jams, chutneys, sauces, drinks, tuna—you name it. ...

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Adventures in Fermentation

When I was in elementary school, my mom packed my lunch every day. I wasn't one of those kids who glamorously got to wait in line for a hot lunch; I was the one with a grease-stained paper bag....

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Plum Crazy

Together, plums and cherries make a happy marriage of texture and flavor: plums break down easily in cooking, and cherries hold their shape. They are both stone fruits, and maintain a slight almond essence that can be highlighted with a splash of brandy or kirsch....

Send in the Shrubs

Several summers ago I stayed on my friend Lynda's farm in the Methow Valley. As expected in eastern Washington, the long summer days saw temperatures climbing and without air conditioning (we were on a farm, after all) we suffered through the stifling heat by moving slowly and wearing sun hats. In the evenings, we would sit on the porch and sip yuzu vinegar with a splash of sparkling water and a glass full of ice. It was Lynda's trick for keeping cool and while the first sip was bracing, the second was nothing short of refreshing. An addiction was born....

Carrot Jam Sweet & Spicy Carrots

Winter is a great time of year to tackle a kitchen project that will both add to the pantry shelves and bring a little color to the gray days. While there isn't much local produce available over winter, carrots are a cold-weather standout, and a fabulously flexible vegetable—equally tasty in both sweet and savory dishes....

A Very Dainty Jelly

My grandma was a Depression era farm girl turned career woman, who went from home-canned veggies and burlap skivvies to high heels, high efficiency and a love of Betty Crocker instant cakes and Marie Callendar frozen pies....

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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....

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Love and Walnuts

Nocino brings people together—I knew that even before I knew what nocino was. I was sitting in Trattoria Arcari in Colorno, Italy, sipping a sweet dark rich liquid when Mrs. Arcari, her apron still on, sat down next to me....

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Taking Stock – Making Stock

Winter is the perfect time to move your attention from stocking your pantry to stocking your freezer. The absence of farm fresh greens brings dependence on root vegetables and alliums—perfect partners for making homemade stock....

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Tomatillo Salsa/Grape Jelly

I started making this salsa at home when I overplanted tomatillos in the garden one summer and ended up with far too many. It's an amazing garnish for stewed black beans and can easily be used as a dip for chips....

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Cordials

Cordials are essentially sweetened syrups infused with herbs, spice or plants. They are simple to make and offer a wide range of flavors and essences to anyone willing to experiment....