Here are some videos I've made with friends in the last year about food and terroir.
"Terroir" is a term from the French 'terre' (land) that refers to the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a food by the environment in which it is produced.
Here are some videos I've made with friends in the last year about food and terroir.
A terroir-laden pairing:
The same video, with increased information about ingredient sourcing. Everything you could ever want to know.
Butter, butter, butter, butter, butter all over, all the time.
A trip to San Francisco's Chinatown, and a silly little video about it.
Aerial footage of the Evergreen Organic Farm with a perfect soundtrack.
Early spring in Eld Inlet at the Evergreen Shellfish Club's oyster garden.
The Washington Restaurant Association posted an article about me!
I was interviewed back in July for a (long-delayed) series they're doing about the farm-to-table movement because the writer had seen a poster for this dinner I was organizing as Vice Chair of Slow Food of Greater Olympia. The dinner was an all-vegetarian, all-local, seven-course meal for forty guests prepared by Joel Hart of Hart's Mesa (a friend and, as of recently, my new boss!) and held at Pigman's Organic Produce Patch in the Nisqually Valley. Neither Joel or I are likely to advocate for a vegetarian dinner, so we were surprised when realizing that in order to stick to our only-produce-from-the-farm-we-stood-on self-imposed parameters, we'd have to forgo the meat - and still satisfy people! And they were satisfied. I mean, the first course (after the Olympia oysters shucked to order by Sound Fresh Clams & Oysters, of course) was little glasses of gazpacho bloody mary with pickled asparagus with self-serve bottles of Bainbridge Heritage Organic Doug Fir Gin to complete the drink.
Here are some pictures of the event: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.950981628299071.1073741831.138518616212047&type=1&l=bf6e55d10f
Anyway, when the fella from the WRA (Washington Restaurant Association) called me, I was making nectarine jam in my sweltering hot tiny apartment, and ended up going on quite a few rants about the state of the organic food industry, food rules, and compromising. So, the article is less about Slow Food and more about those things I often want to scream at people who are also in this slow food/farm-to-table/sustainable food movement. There are a few cringe-worthy sentences (that I would be remiss if I didn't tell you how much they flatter my giant ego): "Like a guru in a sanatorium, her words are mature beyond her years, bringing much needed latitude to our tight-fisted convictions." But overall, this article summarizes my food philosophy and approach to food justice. It's calming to have someone else lay it all out for ya.
Read the full article here:
Are you hungry?
Open your fridge and pull out:
1. Put the pasta in a bowl and plop chevre on top.
2. With clean hands, rub the chevre all over the pasta. Get in all the little crevices.
3. Lick your fingers clean. Do not waste one bit of that amazing cheese.
4. Top with beef and kraut, and eat.
You might want to add more ground beef and kraut after you take the picture.
And if you're following your dinner with some creamy tart rhubarb homemade ice cream, well then, you're just like me!
(This is a Sunday morning snack for a long cosy day. It bridges the gap between snack and meal; perfectly appropriate for a first meal at noon.
It’s a meal of leftovers, one of those beautiful creations that stretches a dinner from one meal to fifteen meals. The meal in question was a full-blown Winner Winner Chicken Dinner that, since 36 hours ago, has made 8 servings and is expected to provide at least 8 more servings. I've been buying Draper Valley organic chickens from the Olympia Food Co-op since my farmer Don Grower at Endicott Farms decided not to raise chickens this year. They are a decent, accessible chicken for me right now. I use this slow-roasted chicken recipe from Nourished Kitchen, or an adaptation of Seven Spoons cookbook's basic faster-roasted chicken. The other night, Maxwell made stuffing that we shoved inside the chicken. What was in the stuffing? Oh, just red onion, carrot, leek, butter, rosemary, sage, stale bread, chicken stock, eggs, salt and smoked duck breast. What? Yeah, I said smoked duck breast. And we made extra.
Find, if possible, a quality bakery in your area that makes good, crusty loaves of bread from a natural fermented starter. Ask if they can slice the bread for you. This bread should be good enough to eat, alone, untoasted. I'm in love with The Bread Peddler's multigrain loaf, which has good tensile resistance (chewy goodness). Toaster ovens are a worthwhile investment.
Slather the toast (after cooling for a few) with creamy, fresh chevre with herbes de provence from Twin Oaks Creamery at the Olympia Farmers Market (currently open Saturdays 10am-3pm). You could stop right here and eat, or you could add:
The chicken gravy on here is the absolute tits. Basically schmaltz (chicken fat) and butter. Try it slathered on things, eat it with a spoon. You might want a chair nearby. It makes life possible - can't you feel your joints and connective tissues sigh in relief? Make it after you've roasted the chicken, using the liver and neck and any other odd bits. Make extra and store in the fridge. Later, chop it up and put it on toast. Heat it and drizzle on life.
Smush on some of the roasted garlic you had baking in little foil jackets next to the chicken. At least eight cloves to a slice. When I use the oven, I like to use every square inch of it, so I had six heads of garlic roasting (rub off outer skins, cut off tops so cloves squeeze out easily when roasted, wrapped in foil), cubes of organic red potatoes and hella rosemary, and a pan of sliced, oiled, and salted fennel bulbs, onions, leeks (white and green parts), and brussels sprouts. Cook until soft and/or crispy and/or charred. Eat some, refrigerate the rest. This way, you don't have to cook much again for days!
Neck meat. Long hailed as the most succulent of meats, chicken neck meat joins chicken skin as my favorite. It yields an sufficient amount of meat, even after roasting alongside the chicken and lending itself to the chicken gravy. It will often arrive in the odd bits bag inside a store-bought chicken. Do not be alarmed. Roast as with the chicken, and use in gravy and/or put aside in the fridge. In a slow moment, use your fingers to pull the meat from all the fun little crevices in the vertebrae. In another, slower moment (or hour) separate bones and suck the remaining bits from the stripped bones. There is a particularly delectable bit inside the bones, connecting the vertebrae.
When it comes to chicken skin… Most disappears within minutes from the still-hot-enough-to-burn chicken, crisp and unctuous and perfectly salted. Save what’s left, like the tepid, pale skin from the breast that spent its evening pressed against the pan. Another day, slice it thin, or cut with kitchen scissors (my favorite are Betty Crocker and from Dollar Tree). If you want more crispy skin, pan fry it. If you just want some more fatty goodness in your life, drape it on whatever you’re eating.
Use a flavor-neutral, crisp, flakey sea salt to gently finish the toasts. I like Cyprus White sea salt (available at Buck's Fifth Ave Spice Shop) or the classic Maldon sea salt (available in adorable little tins for $1 at Little General Food Shop). My favorite quote from my favorite episode of 'Mind of a Chef’ (featuring the Seven Fires): Francis Mallmann in Patagonia, Argentina says, “I love to salt from a distance when I cook outside, you see, because I really like the way the salt falls.”
Salt makes it all come together, enhances the flavors, makes the soul of the chicken discernible.
Make this dish, or a variation on it. Make something completely different, inspired by these toasts. Just go for it.
Just: put bread slices in the toaster. While toasting, peer interestedly into your fridge and pantry, and set on the table anything that appeals. Listen to your gut. Grab the bread and slather, press, drape, sprinkle it with whatever you've got. Don't be shy. Generally, I think, things that taste good - taste good together.
I could have titled this post: "What To Do When You're Over Vegetables" or "Being Okay With Composting Old Vegetables" or "Relax, Eat What You Want, And Just Eat More Vegetables Next Year."
Sometimes I eat a lot of vegetables. There's this funny comparison thing that happens when most of your friends are farmers, where you think, "Jeez, Emily, you're eating or preserving only a grocery bag full of vegetables every week! That's basically nothing!" This has been the season that I come to terms with imperfection - allowing the broccoli to yellow in the fridge while I attend to applesauce, roasted plums, and a million little jams. Some years, I think, I will eat more vegetables. Some years, I will make more jam. Maybe one summer in the future I will spend no time at all cooking, and will eat out at every meal. That'll all be okay. (I promise, to both of us. It'll be okay.) Eating is about survival, and about celebration. Health is about more than just weight and rules.
SMILE AND EAT YOUR DAMN FOOD!
This fall, I'm prioritizing fat, meat, and hot water with lemon. I'm focusing on snuggles, productive meetings, and a sunny outlook on life. I like this soup because it facilitates all of those things, and you can pull it all together while watching a silly TV show after a long day of kicking ass.
Beef stock started the morning before in a slow cooker adds gelatin, flavor, and onions/celery/carrots (vegetables!). It's so full of good saturated fats that after a night in the fridge, the soup will be solid! That's a great sign. It also makes a humungous amount of soup, so after you and your sweetie eat it for dinner, lunch, breakfast, and dinner again, you can invite hordes of friends to eat some and know that you're giving them a tonic to ward off winter colds and chills. Maxwell has been cooking this soup down in the morning, cracking eggs in it, and turning it into a Spanish torta for my breakfast - so good!
If it fits your lifestyle right now, think about purchasing a ¼ of a cow (grassfed, if you want) from a local farmer (we got ours from Colvin Ranch in Tenino, WA), or go in with some friends to buy it. Ask to keep as many bones as possible, to make easy, nutritious stock/broth. Get a chest freezer to keep it all in, and be reassured that you'll always be prepared to make soup. Our ¼ cow cost about $600 and takes up half of the 7.1 cu. ft. chest freezer we purchased for $200. It's an investment, to be sure, but it will supply two people with beef for 6-12 months (depending on how much fish Maxwell catches) and that beef will always be nearby for late-night steak cravings.
If you're near the Salish Sea, the South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust has a great Direct Sales Farm Map, to connect you with all sorts of folks selling meat and vegetables direct to YOU!
Hungarian Beef and Potato Soup
This recipe is originally from Food & Wine.
Don't stress about the details. This is not a recipe that requires you make a mad, last-minute dash to the store for marjoram. It'll taste good even if you only add paprika.
Yes, you read that right.
Chocolate Peach Dutch Baby is in the house!
Put your hands up and BOW DOWN to the newest baby boo in your stomach-oo!
Pernigotti Cocoa Powder added to a well-loved recipe for wild and crazy oven pancakes with all manner of added ingredients. torpedos of fresh homemade sticky peach jam plopped throughout the batter. More jam slammed on top before eating. KA-POW!
It's like: sticky, chewy on the edges. I took another bite, just then, to really analyze it for you. Or: to really em-alyze it for you (Get it? Did you get it?). It's a chocolate-y, creamy hello with a bright, warm touch to the back of your throat by the peach jam. Toothsome, more satisfying than CocoPuffs, nicely sweetened by coconut sugar's nutrient-rich comfort, a beautiful guilt-free breakfast. Enjoy with a full heart.
How can you make, too?
Oh, please do.
Petite Chocolate Peach Dutch Baby
Peach Jam (recipe from Martha Stewart)
makes approx. one pint
Proportions for small cast iron pan (approx. 8-inch diameter)
1. JAM - Working in batches, pulse peaches in a food processor until chunky. Transfer to a small saucepan, and add sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil, continuing to stir, until bubbles slow, foam subsides, fruit rises to the top, and jam sticks to a spoon when lifted. Let cool. Refrigerate until completely cooled. Peach jam can be refrigerated for up to 2 months (from Martha Stewart).
Can also be cooked down in a slow cooker after pureeing.
2. DUTCH BABY
3. THE EATING OF IT - After a few cooling minutes, divide Dutch Baby into quarters. On each quarter, place a heaping spoonful of peach jam.
The options are endless.
I make Dutch babies in different size cast-iron skillets, depending on how many I'm feeding: medium-sized cast iron pan if feeding friends, an extra large pan if feeding very hungry friends, or a small cast iron pan when just feeding myself. The basic combination of butter, eggs, milk, flour, salt can scaled up or down; sweet and savory supplements are to be added at the cook's discretion.
Technique - ADDING APPLES OR ONIONS OR OTHER HARDER MIX-INS
When adding an ingredient that needs to be softened before eating (pear, onion, apple, etc), just put it in the pan with your butter in the oven while the thing is preheating, with some sugar or other sweetener if you're aiming for caramelization.
[NOT PICTURED] SAUSAGE ONION KALE DUTCH BABY WITH HEAT
Sautée chopped onions in a cast iron pan, then add good sausage and chopped hearty greens. Add a little spice to the batter and pour in cast iron on top of sausage-veg. Bake.
BLACKBERRY PESTO DUTCH BABY (with optional RABBIT AND CREME FRAICHE)
Do not add sugar to batter. Drop blackberries (fresh or frozen) into pan once butter is melted, oven is hot, and batter is poured into warm cast iron pan. When done, spread patches of fresh basil pesto. Optional: Add strips of rabbit sautéed in butter and salted well. Dollop creme fraiche on top.
STRAWBERRY CINNAMON DUTCH BABY
Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon to batter. Add coconut sugar to batter. Drop chunks of strawberry into pan on top of batter. Sprinkle a hefty amount of cinnamon on top, and bake.
CLASSIC POWDERED SUGAR AND LEMON JUICE DUTCH BABY
Add coconut sugar to batter. Bake until brown on edges. Drizzle with ample lemon juice and send down copious amounts of powdered sugar.
PLUM JAM AND SAGE DUTCH BABY
Add 1/2 teaspoon dried sage to batter. Streak batter-filled-pan with homemade Italian purple plum jam, lots. Sprinkle more dried sage on top and bake.
BLACKBERRY DUTCH BABY
Load the pan with hella frozen blackberries in the middle of spring, before any other fruit is ready. Talk to a cute dog while you bake.
CINNAMON APPLE DUTCH BABY
Heat chopped apples with butter in oven. Add cinnamon and coconut sugar to batter. Sprinkle cinnamon on apples and on top of batter in pan. Bake.
TART YELLOW PLUM JAM WITH FINES HERBES
Mix 1-2 tablespoons French Fines Herbes blend (combination of usually parsley, chervil, lovage, thyme, tarragon, chives, dill, marjoram, basil, and/or cress) into batter. Drop spoonfuls of tart homemade yellow plum jam (just a bit of coconut sugar added while reducing) into batter. Bake. Serve with yogurt, more herbes, and more jam.
I run the Shellfish Club at The Evergreen State College. We are a state-funded shellfish garden in Eld Inlet at the bottom of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound). We're a noncommercial operation, so our thousands of Pacific oysters are for student consumption and academic exploration only. My co-coordinator and I lead students through the woods every two weeks (usually around midnight) to our shellfish garden to shake oyster bags and feast on our EverSweet™oysters. This glorious job gives me unlimited access to the best oysters I've ever tasted (even better than Taylor Shellfish's Shigoku oyster) and that experimenting has brought me one very satisfying recipe: fried oysters.
Emily's Top 10 Reasons to Eat Oysters:
1. Delicious raw.
2. Nutritious (high in protein, iron, omega-3s, calcium, zinc, vitamin C).
3. No feed inputs after larvae stage (so oyster farmers are dependent on good quality water to supply their product with phytoplankton, making oyster farmers some of the most ardent environmentalists).
4. Tasty when fried (and easy to fry).
5. Positive impact on water quality (a single oyster filters 30-50 gallons of water per day).
6. Low maintenance (thousands of oysters can be grown with 15 minutes per week of work).
7. Picking up an oyster directly from the beach, shucking it, and eating it right there (still alive) is the most connected I've ever felt to the earth.
8. Oyster beds are, like a garden, biodiverse spaces for dozens and dozens of different species to congregate.
9. Oysters look like vaginas and vaginas are pretty cool.
10. Oysters have only a rudimentary nervous system and are immobile after the three week larvae stage, making them a viable protein/nutrient source for the vegan-inclined-for-moral-reasons, since they had no evolutionary advantage to developing a pain response. Here's a great blog post about that.
Today we'll talk about frying them, crisp crunchy coating around warm soft salty sweet oyster.
It's easier than you think. All the complicated batter, breadcrumbs, and sauces you've seen at restaurants are unnecessary. They will distract you from the essence of your meal: fresh oysters. All you need to fry the most decadent oysters is: hot grapeseed oil in a pan, a ziplock bag partially filled with flour and spices, and fresh oysters.
To Fry an Oyster:
1. Obtain shelled oysters. Fresh ones. Grow your own. Check out Olympia Seafood Company downtown. Buy some from Evan and John Adams at Sound Fresh Clams & Oysters at the Olympia Farmers Market. Pick up a bowl of geoduck chowder and a couple dozen oysters at Taylor Shellfish's utilitarian storefront in Shelton. Oysters can be stored in the fridge (in a bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel - never underwater) for up to a week, but the flavor will quickly start to deteriorate.
2. Steam those babies. As many of us know, nothing tastes better in a steam room than a cheap can of beer. Oysters feel the same way. Or rather, they taste the same way. I have a small steamer that sits in my stockpot, so I fill water or beer to right below the steamer and bring it to a boil. Fill the pot with shelled oysters, cover, bring liquid to a boil, and steam for 9-14 minutes, or until some of the shells are popping open. The timing is not super important, as we are only steaming the oysters to (a) make the oysters easier to shuck, and (b) firm up the flesh so it will be more turgid when fried.
3. Shuck those babies. Using sturdy gloves (on both hands, as oyster shells and shucking knives are both sharp) and a shucking knife (or a butter knife or whatever you have - I was once spotted on Red Square in an evening gown shucking oysters with a Philips screwdriver), split the oyster shells open from the hinge, scraping the knife along the shell and severing the abductor muscle on either side. Admire the beauty:
4. In a ziplock bag, mix flour, a hefty dose of salt, and whatever spices you'd like. I'm fond of paprika, dill, and garlic powder (but then again, I have a very poor sense of smell/taste and am not a spice-combining-genius, so make up your own combinations!). Drop the shucked, drained oysters into the bag and shake it around until the oysters are all covered in flour.
5. Fry in grapeseed oil on medium-high heat, flipping every few minutes, until golden, crispy, and verging on too-cooked.
6. Eat them on salad or in a sandwich or with friends or alone in your bed. Eat them cold out of a cup while driving. Eat them whenever you need some golden delicious nutrients. Use them as currency: trade them for sauerkraut, leaf lard, trade them for gold.
Wild and cultivated oysters around the world are dying and failing to develop a shell in the larvae stage, because of ocean acidification and our species' folly. The best way to honor them that I have found - beyond fighting for environmental regulations and raising public awareness - is to enjoy them, to share them, and to love them while we still can.
I've never been much of a breakfaster.
What do you mean, I can't just drink a quart of raw milk?
For years I struggled to find the perfect combination of whole foods with adequate protein, carbs, and fats to keep me somewhat satiated and civilized until lunchtime.
I've tried various models of proper morning nutrition - overnight soaked oatmeal (steel-cut or oat groats) cooked in a rice cooker, crepes, dutch babies, homemade granola and yogurt, and I've stared at an overwhelming number of compilations of "20 Easy Breakfast Recipes" and "10 Breakfast Recipes with Whole Grains." I've done my research on the breakfast front, spending hours reading all the tips and secrets to an easy, healthy breakfast ready in minutes and bookmarking with every intention to test. I even have recipes bookmarked for breakfast pizza, breakfast soup, breakfast nachos, and breakfast noodles. I had 68 bookmarks in my Breakfast folder and none of them were what I wanted. I don't like anything sweet in the morning (The secret to busting sugar cravings: eat lots of quality protein and fats) or anything too complicated in flavor or preparation. So how did I crack the egg (code) and come to this calm place of breakfast competency?
I found a roommate who cooks breakfast for me every morning at 7am.
When choosing a roommate, it is important to find one with similar likes and dislikes. Does he like to dance to the same few Top 40s songs on blast every single morning? CHECK! Does he like to make and follow endless rules about running a house? CHECK! Will he stay away from your emergency LaLoos Deep Chocolate Goat's Milk Ice Cream? CHECK! Will he serve you sautéed vegetables and fried eggs every morning wearing a white lacy negligée and singing Iggy Azalea's "Work"? CHECK CHECK CHECK!
My hetero-flexible housemate is a dream-come-true; his breakfasts are incomparable. In the springtime when I was dating his roommate James O'Keeffe and first ate Jeff's standard breakfast of steamed vegetables and fried eggs, I was not amused. I thought: "I like interesting and exciting meals with contrasting textures and flavors!" I turned down the meal and would instead spent hours and twenty ingredients crafting a masterpiece with seared radishes and cured pork (below) or other complex messes. The result was worth writing about, of course, and would have impressed those around me - except that the boys had all left for work by the time breakfast was ready.
Clearly, if I was going to switch from independent study contracts to actual college courses, I had to buck up and settle for the provided and timely nourishment offered. Luckily, since I've moved in Jeff refined his technique, replacing the Bragg's Liquid Aminos with Espresso Balsamic Vinegar, and now I bring a bowl of utter joy into class to irreverently chew throughout my morning lecture. This bowl of fried vegetables and eggs sustains me for at least a couple hours, gives me protein, doesn't weigh me down, and contains enough vegetables that I don't need to worry about them for the rest of the day.
Want to hear how we make it?
We keep our kitchen stocked with: onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, hearty greens (kale, collard, chard, beet), butter, coconut or apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt. With those items, you'll always be ready.
Wake up. Open your eyes real wide. Stretch your face and your ribcage. Bound energetically out of bed, then make your bed. Chug a pint of water. Turn on some loud hip-shaking music like on our 'Mornings' playlist.
Coffee is a pretty good idea at this point.
1. Heat a large (cast-iron pan) on medium with at least three tablespoons of butter. Sometimes I use half a stick. You may use coconut oil, lard, or grapeseed oil, but note that olive oil has a low smoke point and oxidizes with high heat or in the oven over 350 degrees. I prefer not to heat olive oil at all.
I like to use Straus Creamery Organic Butter (available at the Olympia Food Co-op) or Organic Valley. I buy salted butter because it tastes better than unsalted. Ideally, I'd buy unsalted and add good quality salt to my own preferred levels, but as I go through at least a pound of butter every week (sometimes two or three) I've had to draw the line. Compromising is good.
2. Chop onions and add to pan when the fat in the pan is hot (so much that you can feel the heat when holding your hand two inches over). We average one large onion for two people or two large onions for three people. I'm particular about the size; here's my recommended onion size: peel, remove base madness, cut in half, cut horizontally into ½ inch strips, then cut those in half. You'll end up with 1/2 inch wide quarters of onions. Or, you know, cut them however you want.
3. Stir, stir, stir! You're going to want to stir the pan every few minutes and continually make sure all elements are coated in fat and nothing burns on the bottom. So... stir, brush your teeth, stir, put on your big girl sturdy tights, stir, pour some coffee, stir, dance on the table, stir. If you need to take a long dance break, turn down the heat.
4. When your onions are shiny and pliable but not yet translucent, mix in chopped stems from the hearty greens you'll be adding toward the end of the dish. You can strip your hearty greens now, or strip them later and save the stems for tomorrow's breakfast. You can add cabbage at this point, too.
5. Beets and carrots! Golden beets are delicious and don't overpower the same as red beets. Purple carrots also add a delicious color. I like thin strips or disks about 1/4 inch thick and not more than an inch wide. If your beets are a bit old and soft, add them some time after the harder carrots. It's all about estimating hardness here.
6. When everything is soft, you're going to want to strip. Your greens, I mean. Maybe at this point, you're showered with your day clothes on, teeth flossed. Maybe you're going to spend the morning in your pajamas. Maybe you're naked. The point is, now it's time to strip your greens. We use a variety of collard greens, kale, beet greens, chard, the occasional carrot tops. I like to wash my vegetables before eating. As discussed before, you can save your stems for tomorrow's breakfast (if you add them this late in the game, they'll be somewhat crunchy and astringent).
7. Roll the green leaves into a thick bundle and cut into inch pieces then cut those roll-ups in half. Does that make sense? Basically, you want to avoid the tragic three-inch-piece-of-greens problem that often happens with salads. Chop your hearty greens. Turn up the heat a notch or two and add your greens.
8. Sprinkle or glug about a teaspoon of coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar (my favorite is espresso balsamic from Olympia Olive Oil).
9. Cover the pan and let the greens sweat. Keep lifting the lid and stirring every few minutes.
10. Start your fried eggs! I like the heat on 40%, crack eggs (two per person) into warm melted butter. When the white is halfway cooked, generously salt the yolk only. Two drops of truffle oil per yolk is also delicious. As soon as the white is cooked through and no longer translucent on top, turn off the heat and flip your eggs. This usually results in a fried egg with a gooey but not runny yolk. Here's some information on egg labels and refrigeration of eggs.
11. Meanwhile, your vegetables should be getting close. Keep stirring and cooking until you're satisfied with the tenderness.
That's all. Put it all in a bowl. You're done now. Breakfast is ready. You did it.
Of course, an hour is a long time to prepare a meal. Sometimes I wake up late or antsy and just want to get out the door as soon as possible. Sometimes I just fry a couple eggs for breakfast. Sometimes I just drink a quart of milk for breakfast. I don't feel as good, as energetic, as satisfied, sure - but I can get on with my day and motivate other people to put time into their food. Ultimately, the getting on with my day is most important.
Do put some time and effort into your breakfast. Don't worry if it doesn't happen every day.
Emily and Jeff's typical fridge: Clockwise from the top-left: chicken stock, collard greens, kale, other kind of kale, dinosaur kale, rainbow chard, more collard greens, soaked/sprouted almonds and walnuts, kraut, coconut sugar (we have ants), purple carrots, beets, chicken from Don Grower, tri-tip steak from friend of friend, pork flank from James, compromise eggs (Wilcox pasture-feed), two gallons of raw milk and a quart of raw cream from Sigmon Dairy in Rochester.
It's been an rough couple of weeks here at the Lip Smackin' Crusade. I let myself fall in love a bit. I got caught up in a fantasy of my future children being taught how to play football by their strong father, all with adorable ruddy cheeks. When emotional brakes were applied and the relationship was put on hold, I lost my focus. Life got kind of hazy.
I'm back now and I'm feeling pretty ruthless. Ruthless like tackling and fish-hooking someone; ruthless like taking over the world, like walking across a windy bridge and staring down legions of soldiers.
I'm ruthless from eating pig hearts.
What better cure for a broken heart than a new heart (or two)?
These pig hearts were left in my freezer by one of my breast friends, James O'Keeffe, when he left on tour with his band Second Coming (check out their new song 'FERGuson'). James, co-founder of the Olympia Meat Collective, raised these pigs while teaching butchery and charcuterie workshops. A compulsive improv vocalist, James sang to his pigs every day. These pigs were well loved in life and in death. When I ate them, I felt the love in their hearts and it radiated through my body and eased my own hurting heart.
Eating heart had me singing the songs Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells ("Have a heart, have a heart") and Sentimental Heart by She & Him (you know, Zooey Deschanel). Also, reciting the opening line to e.e. cummings' poem i carry your heart with me, beloved of high school lovebirds and anyone who has fallen in love less than twice.
Heart is very easy to cook. Not so easy to find.
This is one of those instances where you'll have to contact a farmer directly, or get all buddy-buddy with your local meat counter and ask for access to the blackmarket. Stewart Meats at the Olympia Farmers Market might be able to help you out. If you live in South Puget Sound, check out the Direct Sales Farm Map published annually by the South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust to find a meat producer. As most of their customers only want steaks, chops, and ground meats, you could get killer deals on tongue, liver, heart, kidneys, feet, and whatever else you'd like to cook. When my roommate and I bought an eighth of a cow, I got the tongue and liver for free! After a while, even the farmers' families get sick of those tasty, nutrient-rich items and they'll be happy to pass on their stash.
Where do you source your specialty cuts?
How to burn your heart:
Devastatingly, all but two of my pig heart photos were lost in transition from camera to hard drive to computer. You'll have to imagine close-ups of the delicate tendrils and tubes. Pretend you can see the brown chewy fried strips of heart resting on garlicky mashed potatoes.
1. Hold the heart to your heart.
2. Wash the heart.
3. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, good music, and patience - cut off the white unyielding bits. Don't get too fussy, but keep in mind you'll be spitting out whatever pieces you can't break down with your teeth.
4. Cut into strips about 1/4 inch thick, any length/width. Hack it up.
5. Heat half a stick of butter in a frying pan. When your hand held four inches above feels heat, proceed:
6. Lay the strips of heart in the butter. Using tongs, flip them every once in a while.
7. When brown on both sides, maybe a little burnt, place on a plate.
8. Taste. Experiment with cooking it more or less, slicing it thinner or thicker. Or just fry it all up and
9. Eat the heart plain, eat it with bread, eat it with mashed potatoes. Cut up small pieces into soup. Feed it to your sweetheart. Whatever you do with the heart, remember you have one, too.
I'm reading Health Food Junkies: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating by Steven Bratman, M.D., a book that explains and offers clear advice on overcoming the eating disorder of orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthfully. At this point of healthful eating (whatever that means to the individual), adherence to the rules trumps logic and can lead to isolation, guilt, excessive restrictions, and (most worrying) a decrease in enjoyment from eating. My mom lent me the book, after we realized that while I have gotten past most of the hurdles of eating disordered thinking, I retain a tendency to judge others based on their diet and I have intense fear over being without my favorite foods for long (making traveling stressful). The book identifies the thin lines between passion, obsession, and self-harm that are so difficult to navigate with food. Especially in the holistic medicine world, one can easily fixate: eliminating an ever-increasing number of food items, only eating this-size meals this-many times a day, food prepared to this degree of cooked or uncooked, and only eating food that is this-amount of local/humane/pesticide-free/processed.
I was skimming an angry post about this book by the real food blogger Food Renegade and reading the comments below the post prompted me to write this post. There was such strongly-defended food obsession revealed in readers' comments that I had to stop and question my own health food compulsions and the purpose of my own blog and my life's passion on food. Would I, too, be promoting a food dogma that deems industrial foods as 'evil' and unsuccessfully masks/mitigates intense fear of the world? I don't want to be scared of food and I don't want you to be, either. These days the internet is full of 'real food' or 'traditional food' bloggers. They've got some awesome recipes and advice. However, if they don't remind you that enjoyment and relaxation is the most essential part of eating, be wary.
You want to talk traditional food? Food has traditionally been eaten to keep people alive. It has been eaten to give us enough energy to do what we need to do. It has been prepared in ways to connect individuals and communities. Optimal health is new. It's a luxury. Our bodies, products of sloppy and delightful evolution, are not optimal. They will not function optimally, regardless of the purity of that which you put into it. You will get sick. This fact, like our ultimate mortality, must be accepted if life is to be embraced fully.
Food has gotten too complicated. When I was a teenager, I was trying to lose weight so I did some research and chose anorexia. Luckily, that didn't stick. In hindsight, what I really chose was orthorexia, because I spent the next five years 'in recovery from anorexia' pursuing all kinds of healthy diets, each with their own specific rules and complicated choreograph. Being a creature with little tolerance for rigidness, I quickly grew bored with the raw food diet's excessive vegetable chopping and the gluten-free diet's lack of bread and butter at restaurants. I just wanted to eat, and I wanted to feel okay about it.
What I've learned since I started my journey with orthorexia and as I climb out, and what I attempt to share with you here, is the simple fact that good food tastes good and it's not complicated or energy-intensive. Today I eat bread, I eat meat. I eat the food that I crave. With the food that I do choose to eat satisfying me, I don't crave junk food so I have no need to resist. When I do crave it, I eat it with minimal guilt. I don't want to make the mistake of offering you a 'fool-proof steps' to the right diet. I'm worried that the "simple answers to today's food disorientation" that I tout is not readily accessible without all the knowledge and ingrained food rules present my head. I hope that I can make good food more accessible to you. I don't want to help you live a long life or cure you of your asthma/allergies/colds. I want you to eat ethically-sourced food that tastes good to you and makes you smile. I want that food to add pleasure to your daily life, not be a chore. I want you to eat a doughnut if you want it, and I want you to joyfully eat chocolate pecan pie with your family on Christmas Day without asking a single question about its ingredients.
Food for sustenance, food for pleasure, food for energy, food for health. I don't have optimal health. You won't either. We're going to be conscious of our food, but we won't be ruled by it.
The perfect salad is not simply greens with dressing - it's a deconstructed sandwich, with or without bread.
It has body, it has intrigue, it has a dynamic play between contrasting flavors and textures. I've written about meat salads before [my favorite way to eat lettuce: with warm meat, slightly wilted lettuce, a hot butter dressing, and some cheese and soft sautéed vegetables]. See, it's not that I don't like to eat vegetables... I just prefer them cooked, in fat and salt. I firmly believe we have evolved in such a way that cooked vegetables (and meat) are easier for our stomach bacteria and apparatus to digest. Michael Pollan in his 2013 book Cooked discusses:
According to the “cooking hypothesis,” the advent of cooked food altered the course of human evolution. By providing our forebears with a more energy-dense and easy-to-digest diet, it allowed our brains to grow bigger (brains being notorious energy guzzlers) and our guts to shrink. It seems that raw food takes much more time and energy to chew and digest, which is why other primates our size carry around substantially larger digestive tracts and spend many more of their waking hours chewing— as much as six hours a day.
Cooking, in effect, took part of the work of chewing and digestion and performed it for us outside of the body, using outside sources of energy. Also, since cooking detoxifies many potential sources of food, the new technology cracked open a treasure trove of calories unavailable to other animals. Freed from the necessity of spending our days gathering large quantities of raw food and then chewing (and chewing) it, humans could now devote their time, and their metabolic resources, to other purposes, like creating a culture.
Note: In the book, Michael Pollan allows that fermenting foods is an auxiliary way of digesting raw products.
This brings to me salads, and boredom. Are you bored of salads? I am. I'm bored watching you eat that dull mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. How about something with soul? How about eating something exciting? Something that has you saying out loud "Damn! That is good!"
I'm not going to give you a recipe. There is no recipe for The Perfect Salad. The Perfect Salad requires flexibility and creativity. The Perfect Salad is up to you.
Here is a loose template - Pick some or all [at least four] elements
1. Greens: any kind of lettuce or delicate green, with strong or mild flavor; rip into rough 1"x1" pieces [nothing worse than a too-large piece of lettuce... NOTHING]
2. Sautéed vegetables: on medium heat, fry in butter/lard with salt: onions, garlic, carrots, apples, squash, shelled fava beans [anything of that genre] until soft
3. Meat: shredded chicken or rabbit is good, ground beef/lamb/bison/pork [especially when cooked with espresso balsamic vinegar], warm coppa chunks. Prepare a decent amount.
4. Cold items: lacto-fermented pickles/garlic, sauerkraut, fresh pea shoots, sprouts, thinly sliced apple, radish slices
5. Cheese: I recommend Delice de Bourgogne [a ripe triple cream that melts deliciously when coming in contact with warm salad elements], vintage Irish Dubliner, shredded Glendale Shepard's Island Brebis, smoked applewood cheddar, goat brie, Danish blue, Roquefort, Bucheron, or basically anything that catches your fancy. [No, plain chevre from Trader Joe's is not acceptable. There is so much more to the world of food than Trader Joe's chevre.] Good cheese is worth the money.
6. Hot butter dressing: Melt a lot of butter. I use at least 2 tablespoons for one serving. Never melt butter in the microwave. Buy a small saucepan, cut butter into chunks [$1 kitchen scissors work great for this], and melt over medium-heat. You don't need a snazzy dressing when your salad ingredients are high-quality and exciting on their own. Let's get our salad excitement from the components of the salad, not the processed liquid we pour on top, shall we?
7. Roasted root vegetables: only if already planned - no need to start a roast just for a meat salad. Coat in fat, salt, season [put a chile in the pan, or some herbs] potatoes, yams, fennel root, onion, whole garlic cloves, beets, etc. Roast at 350-400° until gentle.
8. Bread chunks: the best available [in Olympia, that's The Bread Peddler], preferably handmade from a fermented sourdough starter, toasted and cut into 1"x1" chunks, and massaged with butter or smothered in hot butter
Pour melted butter over the lettuce. Mix. If your oven was on, put bowl with lettuce in for a minute or two to further wilt the lettuce. Wilted lettuce = good lettuce. Don't burn it! If you burn it, pour more butter on it.
Throw everything together in a bowl. Not everything in your kitchen, just the things that your bacteria points to. I think 5-6 combined elements is the way to do The Perfect Salad; ensuring they are elements [having been cooked or fermented in some way] and not just ingredients [shredded carrots or dried cranberries].
Go all out but/and use restraint. Use crunchy salt like the pink delicate Murray River salt [available at Buck's Fifth Ave].
Hey, guess what?! You don't have to use pepper. Contrary to popular recipes, it is not an essential part of every meal and can cause gut irritation [especially when pre-ground].
Salt, however, is essential to your survival. Your body literally cannot survive without it. Dehydrated? Hungover? Drink salted water [better: 1tsp salt and 2tsp sugar dissolved in water]. The argument that the average American diet contains more than the recommended amount of sodium and it's better to not add it? That's based on a diet of fast food and frozen dinners.
If you eat mostly whole foods, you're not getting enough salt unless you add it. And you should be eating mostly whole foods. So buy yourself some good salt and use it!
Tip: Always eat salad from a bowl, so you can easily scoop up every morsel and there's no chasing it around the plate.
Brag about your delicious Perfect Salad.
Don't share. Call someone and describe it to them.
Challenge that friend to create an interesting salad.
Say NO THANK YOU to boring salads.
Today’s a day where I send my best friends away (after a brunch of apple cinnamon pancakes), curtly telling them I need space to cook and clean alone. A day where I angrily throw mushy plums to the ground, pretend to watch a French In Action video, break a favorite baking dish, and listen to this Pink song ad nauseam. And: a successful day of cooking projects and alone time.
My love of cooking for others and helpful, hungry friends who live nearby mean most of my meals are quite a production. After a weekend with family, I wanted to cook for only me and talk to only me. Also, I didn’t want to share one bite of this sandwich:
I’m pretty shellfish when it comes to my oyster sandwiches.
Try it at home!
Root Roast: chunks of sweet potato, fennel bulb (available at the Olympia Co-op), old cauliflower, red onion, and a pretty purple potato. I used whatever odd bits I had lying around. A root roast is great for veggies on the soft side of edible. Almost anything goes! All goes in a dish: glugs of olive oil, salt (I used Celtic sea salt available for cheap in bulk at the Olympia Co-op), and homemade parsley flakes. Cover in foil and roast at 400°F for… a while. Until the sweet potatoes are about to fall apart. Remove foil and pour on melted butter/lard/chopped garlic. Return to oven and let it crisp up! Your risk of overcooking is slim. Huge opportunity for multiple meal leftovers!
Smoked Oysters: Cannery Row Smoked Samish Bay oysters, found in my freezer. Edible as is, but I fried them in butter for flavor. I can’t direct you to purchasing these exact oysters, but next time you’re driving up the Washington peninsula, stop at the Hama Hama Oysters retail store in Lilliwaup and pick up some smoked oysters. They do it well!
Bucheron cheese: My favorite. This soft goats milk cheese will remind you of brie. It reminds me of sex. The different textures, tastes, and smells all in this one cheese: it’s that perfect combination of food and sex.
Lopez Larry’s Habanero Mustard Sauce: Spicy. Tasty. Purchased from Lopez Larry himself at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Fair along with this garlic hat, modeled by my grand old Potato (Papa):
As per my sandwich habits, this one had to be wrapped in foil so as to be physically possible to eat. Foil is by far my number one sandwich tip. It was a bold, comforting, and toothsome sandwich, very happily satisfying. A good sandwich for eating alone.
Of course, this being a day of projects and solitude, I didn’t sit down to eat the sandwich until at least two hours after these pictures were taken.
It’s been a day of impatience, going from dehydrator to dishes to oven to camera to cutting board, finished with one thing just in time for the next stage of another project.
Projects of the day:
-picking and slicing over two dozen over-ripe plums for dehydrating,
-and a plum sauce for this weekend’s Slow Food of Greater Olympia Colvin Ranch Fundraising Dinner (to be served with Olympic Mountain sage ice cream and Bread Peddler dark-chocolate-drizzled shortbread cookies, after Olympia oysters, and five courses of beef prepared by Will Taylor of Waterstreet Café – tickets available here);
-roasting beets and chopping cabbage and onions for a freezer-full of borscht (recipe to come. Until then, use this recipe for cabbage soup, add beets, and blend at the end);
-tending to said borscht in its bubbling red fury;
-soaking soft wheat berries for sprouted flour to make the best Brown Butter Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies (discussed in this video);
-soaking almonds and walnuts for this Olive Oil Maple Granola from Orangette;
-drinking coffee and raw milk, coffee and raw milk, coffee and raw milk.
If you are choosing to spend your evening in front of the computer instead of in the kitchen, at least spend that screentime reading about food! My favorite articles of the last week, with summaries so you don’t have to actually read the articles. If you get hungry, I recommend making a blackberry dutch baby, maybe with a little chopped chocolate bar sprinkled on top.
Ex-Trader Joe’s Exec Wants to Use Expired Food to Get People Cooking on Civil Eats — The Daily Table, a new grocery store opening in Dorchester, Boston, aims to inspire people to cook healthier food by offering safe food that has been discarded or is close to expiring and selling it at prices that compete with fast food in low-income areas. The Daily Table will source from wholesalers, farmers associations, manufacturers, supermarkets, fish suppliers, and restaurants, and be able to accommodate huge amounts of the goods, more than a food bank or soup kitchen. There is a federally enhanced tax deduction for restaurants and grocery stores that donate their surpluses, allowing them to recover up to 50% of their lost margin and encouraging food donations to nonprofits like Daily Table. Daily Table will sell raw ingredients, partially prepared food for “speed scratch cooking”, and fully prepared meals – but no soda, candy, or chips, not even chocolate-coated protein bars. They will provide recipes with the partially and fully prepared items, cooking classes, and recipe contests. Wowza, awesome!
To Save These Pigs, Kentucky Farmer Says We Have To Eat Them on NPR — Ever wondered why organizations like Slow Food of Greater Olympia is encouraging you to eat the very heirloom and heritage species we worry about becoming wiped out? This article showcases the successful efforts of Travis Hood to raise a threatened species of pig with a meat known to be exceptionally juice with rich texture. Yum! It’s the basis behind our Ark of Taste at Slow Food (think Noah’s Ark) – vibrant, locally-poignant species for which demand needs to increase in order to preserve the existence of said species! Check out the over 200 items in the USA and over 1200 species internationally here. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have many items on the Ark of Taste, including the Olympia Oyster (grown by the Evergreen Shellfish Club) and the Silver Fox Rabbit (grown by Crosstown Farms and Rabbitry)
From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy on NPR — What exactly does homemade mean? Or from scratch? Organic waffle mix is more from scratch than organic frozen waffles, but would you call that homemade? What about a mirepoixmade with pre-cut onions? A high-end prepared beef bourguignon purchased by and heated up in the restaurant kitchen? Where is your personal line and how much does that distinction matter to you?
Temple Grandin Urges Meat Packers to Livestream Operations — I don’t know about you, but I would watch that all the time! Probably wouldn’t be as nice to look at as these gorgeous slaughter photos by photographer Sheri Giblin; so necessary for a healthy relationship with eating meat. “We need to educate people that when we put that bull in the pasture with the cow the intent from that point forward is to produce food, not a 15-hundred pound lap dog.” – Dr. Dan Thomson, a veterinarian with Kansas State University.
Unlike Chicken and Pork, Beef Still Begins With Small Family Ranches on NPR — A great overview of life as a cow intended as conventional beef. Not the whole life is spent on a feed lot! At the early stages in a cow’s life, it can be hard to tell a conventional farm from an organic farm – they’re not all thunderbolts and manure.
Making School Lunch Healthy Is Hard. Getting Kids to Love It Is Harder. This Lady Did Both. on Mother Jones — I worked as an administrative assistant for Whidbey Island nonprofit Experience Food Project a few years back and got a detailed look at the strict rules and immense paperwork required in the public school lunch system. I am so impressed and inspired by the innovation of Jessica Shelly, the director of food services of Cincinnati’s public schools, where 3/4 of the 34,000 students receive free/reduced lunches. She put in salad bars and spice stations to encourage customization, invited teachers to the lunchroom to model healthy eating, paid attention to the names of menu items, replaced the long tables with second-hand restaurant booths, took extra care to source appealing healthier alternatives at comparable prices, and talked to parents about the healthy changes being made to gain support. While lunchroom attendance is declining across the country, her cafeterias have turned a $2.7 million profit!
Crêpes upon Crêpes
Still hungry? In the last two weeks, my house has been going bananas for crêpes! We’ve had rabbit/pesto/brie/blackberry crêpes, smoked salmon/egg/pesto/hollandaise sauce crêpes, blackberry jam/cinnamon sugar/yogurt crêpes, and egg/brie/pesto crêpes. Crêpes for dinner, crêpes for breakfast, crêpes at midnight. Unfortunately, none with bananas. We have a surfeit of blackberries and pesto and I just discovered how blasted easy they are to make! There are many recipes out there, so I will refrain from a specific post and instead direct you to David Lebovitz’s buckwheat crépes (he recommends a blender to mix and refrigerating the mix overnight) and a Google search for “crepe recipe”which brought up this recipe for brown butter crêpes!
DO NOT BUY A CRÊPE MIX! It’s the same amount of work, I swear. You can mix the batter in a blender. Takes fifteen minutes! Make a double batch, refridgerate, and eat nothing but crêpes for days! For those attached to perfection, go whole hog with these tips from a Chez Panisse pastry chef.
Hint: Don’t be intimidated by the hat on crêpe’s “e”. It's a French accent symbol called an accent circonflexe, and it is option-i-e on your keyboard. You, too, can seem worldly and hip!
My love for Dutch babies runs deep and strong. I first had them fifteen years ago, when my best friend impressed (and scared) me by independently making breakfast for us at the ripe age of eight. They were a Waldorf family, if that explains it enough for you. The sheer and simple deliciousness had me hooked. Custardy, fluffy, puffy oven pancake, endlessly customizable.
I could eat them any which way from sun up ’til sundown. Rhubarb, créme fraîche, apple, ice cream, jam, yogurt, blackberry, onion, pear, garlic, chocolate, rabbit, pesto, even simple powdered sugar and lemon – anything you want to put on or in a Dutch baby, I’m game. I am a Dutch baby warrior. I scoff at the terrified faces of my poor roommates when I propose (nay, order) ten eggs to be cracked for Dutch twins. My dream for the fall is a caramelized apple and razor clam Dutch baby.
What’s that? You’ve never had a Dutch baby? You, my darling, are in for a treat.
Simple instructions: 400°F. Butter in cast-iron skillet in oven while preheating. Batter: 5 eggs, 1 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put whatever you want in or on it. Pour batter into hot skillet and cook until hugely puffy, brown on the edges. More detailed instructions below.
Are you ready to make a baby? You’ve got this! Ten steps:
First, make sure you have a medium-sized cast iron skillet. This is an essential stovetop-to-oven kitchen item. Thrift or antique shops have the best deals on high-quality cast-iron. I do not recommend TJ Maxx for cast-iron. Don’t be intimidated by the cleaning rules for cast-iron, just relax and follow these guidelines. Really, any size cast-iron is fine. Bigger is better. Two skillets is better. There is no such thing as too much Dutch baby.
Second, mix your batter in a large bowl. 5 eggs get whisked with 1 cup of milk(preferably raw). Slowly add and whisk 3/4 cup flour (I have successfully used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Mix) and 1/2 teaspoon good salt (if you are in Olympia, check out the affordable and delicious selection at Buck’s Fifth Ave next to Darby’s). You can add a dash of vanilla extract, if you like to have all of your food smell like vanilla.
Thirdly, drop a big blob of butter into that beautiful, well-cared for skillet. How much? More is better. I’ve been accused of forcing my Dutch babies to swim in butter; “Builds character,” I say. About 3 tablespoons.
Fourthly, turn on your oven to 400°F and stick that skillet on a rack in the middle to melt the butter and heat the pan.
Fifth, pick some ingredients. Anything you want. Nectarines? Caramelize in the butter with some sugar and bury in batter. Anchovy paste? Put it on top of the finished product. Jam? Run spoonfuls through the batter before oven-ing it.
Sixth, if using something that needs softening, like apples or onions, chop into pieces and mix into the melted butter in the skillet. Put back in the oven to caramelize while it continues to preheat. Wash a dish or wipe down your counters, or finish mixing the batter. Maybe roll some blackberries in flour and fold them into the batter.
Seventh: Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Sprinkle chocolate on top. Cinnamon. Caramelized onions. Stick it in the oven.
Eight: Dance. You’ll start to smell it after ten minutes or twenty, and the heavens will smile. Try not to open the oven door too much. It’s ready when the center looks just cooked through and the edges are browned and your stomach tells you, “Yes. That baby is done.”
Ninthly, Put some more things on it: Brie. Rabbit. Cinnamon. Peanut butter. LaLoo’s deep chocolate ganache goat’s milk ice cream. Steak strips. There might be fear from others, but once you discover that magical insane combination that everyone doubted would taste good but instead blew their minds and made their stomach bacteria swoon – well, you’ll still meet resistance in the future when you suggest combining geoduck and chocolate, but maybe they’ll try it with less prodding.
10th Commandment: Thou shalt share the Dutch baby.
A fine breakfast spread like this is best enjoyed in front of someone else – immediate feedback on presentation is nice. I went into the kitchen to slice bread to eat with my pesto and eggs before getting to work. Lots of putzing and 45 minutes later, I shot this video. Productive procrastination, just like my papa taught me.
If you (like me) never watch videos posted on blogs, I’ve included the list of ingredients below. That’s really all I’ve said in the above video. Other highlights: “I’d like to put THAT in my water!” and I put my finger over the camera twice. Thanks for watching!
coffee – Dino’s Coffee Company
raw milk – Dungeness Valley Creamery (available at the Olympia Co-op)
bay leaf – Don Grower (Tumwater)
salted heirloom tomatoes – Celeste Wade (Lacey)
beet slices with lemon juice – Celeste Wade (Lacey)
Eastern European OlyKraut
hard-boiled eggs with anchovy paste – Don Grower (Tumwater)
pain au levain [sourdough bread] – The Bread Peddler
heavenly salted butter – (France) The Little General Food Shop next to Rainy Day Records
green onion tops – Don Grower (Tumwater)
miscellaneous spicy greens – Don Grower (Tumwater)
pesto [homemade] with basil, raw garlic, olive oil (Olympia Olive Oil), lemon juice, roasted hazelnuts, Steamboat Island Goat Farm raw cheddar, Celtic sea salt
Tips: Salt your tomatoes. Heavenly. Buy a toothpaste-like tube of anchovy paste at the Olympia Co-op for $2.07 and cheaply make your meal gourmet and Omega-whatever rich. Purchase bread that is called ‘levain’ for the natural starter used (avoid commercial yeast). Don’t settle for ‘okay’ bread. Eat random greens plain. Blend things together and call it pesto. Buy raw nuts and roast them in your toaster oven. Drink raw milk – even if you think you have difficulty digesting milk (it’s all about the bacteria – no time to explain, just do as I say!). Procrastinate by cleaning and making tasty food.
I must say – the downside to a delectable spread like this? Takes forever to eat. I swear I was eating for at least two hours, always feeling guilty when I was working on my computer instead of munching. But my plate is empty now, so I give you my almost full attention (The White Stripes “It’s True That We Love One Another” is running through my head – and now yours).
I tried my damnest to establish the best flavor combinations from the spread, thinking “Combinations are where I excel! I’ll discover something fantastic, like ‘Wowza, beets go so well with salami and pesto on sourdough bread!’ or ‘Anchovy eggs and salted tomatoes are like a slug mating dance in my mouth, all sensuous and slow and sticky!’.” No such revelations. Everything was delicious. The pesto went well with the beets, the anchovy eggs and tomatoes were like a hot day by the river, and I was not impressed by any of it. Of course it all tastes good together. All I’ve done today is lay out a bunch of tasty items and take turns shoving each item in my mouth. Nothing show-stopping. You can do better, Emily!
Don’t you worry. Tonight? I’m making sushi with fried rabbit, carrots, and roasted kohlrabi. Yes, rabbit sushi has finally returned to my kitchen and soon my belly.That should knock some socks off. Or, if they’re not wearing socks (it being summer), pants? Here’s to a whole future of pants-off meals!
Back to work!
There's a lot of bad food in the world. Let's talk about the good food.