Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Breakfast is Local and Yummy!

Three fried eggs on a bed of sauteed red dandelions, purple spring onions, wildcrafted glasswort, all from within 15 miles of here (thank you Joy for the bag of glasswort from your forays to the beach!). Delicious and Nourishing . . .


My friend Nan asked:

"I've never hear of glasswort...sounds,,,crunchy. How does it taste, Justine?"

Good question(s?) which I really ought to have answered in the post, but I was rushing because we were getting ready to drive to Seattle to pick up Abigail Rosalyn!

Glasswort is a lot like sea purslane: a bit crunchy and salty--think of a cross between cucumber and olives. Glasswort is smaller "leaved" than sea purslane, in fact it almost looks like horsetail, with it's jointed stems.

The name comes from the historical fact that it was used in glass production by reducing it to an alkaline ash (which is used somehow in the glass making but that part I don't know about, so look here for info and a photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasswort)

Chlorine in Your Baby Carrots

Ugh. Why mess with children's food? Just for the cosmetic effect? It seems that the food industry in this country can't leave any stone unturned in the way of interfering with the natural way of things. I say eat food that's knobby and misshapen along with the perfect specimens--that is, it real food the way is comes to us. We need to stop expecting total perfection and to accept the variations in food (and people!) that make life interesting and nourishing.

Posted via web from justine's posterous

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coconut Goodness: Product Review

Ok, I am a bit cynical sometimes (don't cough so loudly!), skeptical about giveaways and promotions. And I have purposely shied away from the commercial on my blog (I don't want to give mixed messages and have my hands tied). Add to that a previous experience with a product I didn't like and why would I try a product offered from the same company on the condition that I review it on my blog? Well, curiosity and trust in my own internal "truth-teller". And I was out of coconut oil (that last part's only kinda sorta true--I had a bit, and this town is not that small. We have an adorable health food store! I can buy what I need, really. But who doesn't like free?).

So when Tropical Traditions approached me about reviewing their new Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil I said yes, but with those reservations intact. I knew I would have to write whatever my truth was, and that they might not like that, but that I will not compromise my beliefs just for some free product.

They sent me a quart jar and a book on coconut oil. Very trusting, I'd say. They don't know that much about me. They don't know that I have told people in the past that theirs was not my favorite product.

What I learned very quickly was that they have reason for this faith: the oil is really good. No, great. Smooth and delicately delicious, it has a coconut scent but does not smell like suntan lotion (my husband's usual complaint). It disappears into dishes but adds a gentle richness. In short, it has all of the best attributes of a coconut oil and none of the drawbacks. Click over to Tropical Traditions' explanation of how this oil is made, because I found it very enlightening; it seems to make a lot of sense as a process.

I tried the oil straight out of the jar (yum!) and in many dishes. I tried it on friends and family. And we did blind taste tests against other brands, where I had people give me their impressions without knowing what kind they were tasting. And this oil passed all of those examinations with flying colors.

Most of you are probably already using some coconut oil and understand it's potential benefits. If you choose to try the Gold Label oil out, do mention that I referred you (my ID# is 5015484). I may be cynical, but I am practical: I like the stuff and I would love to get some more!

Enjoy, and add some coconut goodness to your meals and your life.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Local Eats: Celebrating Lavender and the Market

Who knew we were living in the Lavender Capitol of the USA? Well, ok, close to it--Sequim (pronounced "skwim"), with its Mediterranean climate, is the next town over from Port Angeles--about 15 miles away--and it is indeed Lavender Central this time of year. The third weekend in July is reserved for the annual Lavender Festival, which draws people from all over, not just our little neck of the woods. There is a street fair with art, music, food and lavender products of all sorts, farm tours, demonstrations. And this year we were actually lucky enough to be here for the fun!

Eli and I wandered the street fair yesterday: we sampled Lavender Lemonade and Lavender-Mint Iced Tea, we bought some bulk culinary lavender (and a few gifts that won't be mentioned), and I found a really cool pair of earrings by Meg Jones (like the Boney But pin on this page for a birthday present to myself. It was sunny and breezy--a perfect Pacific Northwest summer day!

In honor of the festival I made this Lavender Sage Roast Chicken for dinner when we returned:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

I didn't measure (as usual) so I will try to guess how much I used, but (as always) I recommend tasting as you go along to see if you like the balance of flavors. My tastes may not be the same as yours!

2 Tbs. dried lavender flowers
1 Tbs. fresh sage or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. sea salt (or more)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. soft butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. coconut oil
(or just use one of the fats if you like)

Place the chicken in roasting pan. Loosen the skin over the breast of your chicken by carefully sliding your hand beneath it, wiggling your fingers until you free the membranes--do this slowly so you don't tear the skin. Put most of the herb butter under the skin then spread it around by massaging the outside of the skin, distributing it as evenly as you can. Rub the rest of the butter on the legs and wings, then squeeze half a lemon over the chicken. Put the squeezed lemon half in the cavity.

Roast for about an hour, basting every 10-15 minutes. The chicken should have crisp skin and clear juices (look in the gap between the thigh and body) when done.

We served this with mashed cauliflower, which I was tempted to season with lavender-- but opted instead for nutmeg. The pan drippings were wonderful on the cauliflower, and we had a "farmer's market" salad (whatever I find in the fridge that I collected from the market this week: greens, herbs, fruit, veg, whatever).

Sometimes I feel so spoiled here with the riches that surrounded us. I don't want to gloat, so you need to let me know if my meal descriptions are welcome as inspiration or not . . .

Which brings me to tonight's dinner, a product of today's market (our farmer's market runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer) and a box of elk from my father-in-law. I'll just leave you with a menu--if you want how-to's, let me know.

A Typical Saturday Feast:
Wine and cheese
Baked oysters with melted butter
Braised elk steaks with mushrooms and carrots
Buttered English peas (thanks for shelling the 2 lbs of peas Eli!)
Field greens salad with nasturtiums and marigolds
Raspberries and chocolate with cocoa

We don't eat like this every night, but most Saturdays we have oysters and/or fresh fish from the market, along with the tenderest produce that won't last. I am hoping to make a trade with a neighbor for some Dungeness crab tomorrow, so maybe Sunday's dinner will be a feast as well (keep your fingers crossed for me!) . . .
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