April 29, 2010

Community Kitchen - Tamales

I am leading a new community kitchen in Ballard, WA.  If you are interested you should come out.

Starting May 18, 2010, Sustainable Ballard Food Guild will be hosting a community kitchen at the Ballard Community Center. As a group, we’ll make several dishes and everyone will take home the meals to freeze or eat during the week. Each month will have a different theme. Local and seasonal vegetarian dishes will be the focus.

When: Third Tuesday, 6-9pm
Where: Ballard Community Center, 28th Ave NW at NW 60th
Cost: $25 per session, scholarships available
Register in advance:
call 684-4093 or
in person at any Community Center or
online www.seattle.gov/parks by clicking SPARC/lifelong learning/cooking

Menu: Mexican theme for May
Tamales with cheese, chilis/cheese, black beans & squash
Salad or greens, depending upon what is available at the market
Mexican garlic vegetable soup
Bring 1-2 large jars for soup and some containers for tamales and salsa to take it home with you.

April 23, 2010

Pear thyme butter

I decided to use my slow cooker to make this recipe. This had two benefits.  First, I placed the pears in the slow cooker in the morning before I left for work.  When I came home the pears were completely cooked down.  The second benefit was that I didn't need to add any additional liquids to help prevent scorching. I can definitely see using the slow cooker for making other butters and small batches of apple sauce.

I didn't bother to peel or seed the pears beforehand.  I ran the cooked pear through a sieve. This worked well and would work even better if I had a food mill. 

Pear Thyme Butter

3 lbs of pears, rough chopped
1 cup of honey
2 T of lemon thyme
2T of lemon juice

Place pears and honey in slow cooker.  Cook on low overnight or at least 8 hours. When the pears are completely soft run through a sieve or food mill.  Stir in thyme and lemon juice.  Place in half pint jars and process for 15 mins.

April 16, 2010

Rosemary Red Wine Jelly with Shallots

I wanted to come up with a tapas style jelly. I had two partial bottles of red wine. So that became my base. My next thoughts were toward what sauces I enjoy making from red wine. So the addition of rosemary and shallots.  A little bit of this on baguette combined with a poached egg or roasted mushrooms is a great starter. Opening a jar of this is wonderful. A beautiful ruby color with a smell that is a nice blend of rosemary and shallot. 

8 cups of red wine
1/2 cup diced shallot
1 Tablespoon of Rosemary, minced
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 packet of no sugar pectin

Place the wine in a non-reactive pot and reduce by half over medium heat.  When reduced add all ingredients. and simmer for 5 mins. Add pectin and return to a boil. Boil for an additional 5 mins.  Process in water bath for 15 mins.

April 8, 2010


Last fall I decided to make some more flavored vinegars.  I had made a number of different flavors through out the spring and summer. Clive blossom, nasturtium, black pepper and hot pepper.  This fall I went with cranberry and leeks and carrot, leek and hot pepper. Making infused vinegars is one of the simplest projects you can do.  It also has the added benefit of being very tasty and versatile. I use vinegar in almost every dish that I make.  After adding the initial salt I will add some vinegar to crisp up the flavor.  Most of the time I can get away with less than half of the salt called for in recipes and still have all of the flavor.

Cranberry Leek Vinegar

4 cups white vinegar
1 cup cranberries, washed and picked over
1/2 cup leeks, white part only, sliced

Place cranberries and leeks in a glass container. Cover with vinegar.  Allow to soak for at least 1 month.
  You can use stoppered bottles as shown above or glass jars.   Both have benefits.  You can use the glass jars and then decant into bottles.  This way you can have many different vinegars steeping and only a few bottles are needed. 

Spicy Carrot Leek Vinegar

4 cups white vinegar
1 carrot, minced
1/2 cup leeks, white part only, sliced
 1-2 chiles

Place carrot, leeks and chiles in glass jar and steep for 1 month.