Snippets From Friends…
As a result of this new Log House Plants blog, I’ve heard from a number of folks and thought I’d share some of what I’m learning. For instance, Bonney Lemkin, a Master Gardener I knew long ago in Seattle, writes about her volunteer work at Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Washington: “The garden is adjacent to the classroom, making it convenient for the students to join our workparties. They are learning a lot and we’re delighted to work with them as well as have the benefit of their youthful energy. We find this a great way to talk to them about growing food and eating fresh. Over time, they have started to use more and more of the produce in their cooking. During the summer, we donate the produce to the food bank.”
How cool is that? Bonney works with Shorewood Culinary Arts, an awesome two-year program for high school juniors and seniors, where Master Gardeners and trained chefs give students a dirt-to-plate, hands-on introduction to the food industry. The kids host outstanding Guest Chef Dinners featuring local chefs from fabulous Seattle area restaurants like Lark, Cafe Juanita, Tilth, and Poppy. These noble volunteer chefs help the class plan and prepare a terrific meal for up to 85 guests. The students also run a catering service and can whip up an informal lunch for four (their minimum) or a sit-down multi-course feast for 300. I’m thrilled when young people get hooked into growing and cooking food–it’s hugely important for the computer/facebook generation to fall in love with the natural world and what better entrance point than food?
Check out the program at www.shorewoodculinaryarts.org
Snippets From Neighbors:
Another Bainbridge Islander, Greg Atkinson, is teaching an innovative program at Seattle Culinary Institute. Greg is developing a generation of young chefs who not only shop locally and cook seasonally; they also run green kitchens, composting as much kitchen waste as possible and sourcing everything with thoughtful care and attention. Greg’s website is www.westcoastcooking.com and here’s a link to his program at Seattle Culinary Academy www.seattlecentral.edu/seattleculinary/
One day at the grocery store, Greg taught my Mom his wonderful way with broccoli and mustard seed, which he wrote down on a mushroom bag (which she still uses for reference). I adapted his recipe (a lot less butter, for one thing) to the following delicious if less sumptuous dish:
Broccoli With Popped Mustard Seeds
2 teaspoons virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
2 cups broccoli florets
1 teaspoon horseradish paste *
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a wide, shallow pan, melt oil and butter over medium high heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop (use a frying pan screen to keep them fro exploding all over the kitchen). Add broccoli and cook until tender-crisp (about 3 minutes). Stir in horseradish paste, season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and pepper and serve hot. Serves at least one.
* The best horseradish paste is refrigerated and contains no high-fructose corn syrup or fat of any kind. If you can’t find it, try this recipe: (The WOW part is self explanatory once you start to make this. If you happen to have a cold, one whiff of this delicious stuff will clear out your sinuses in a heartbeat.)
WOW! Prepared Horseradish
6 inches fresh horseradish root (remove any green parts)
plain rice vinegar
Trim and peel the horseradish root and cut into 1-inch chunks. With a food processor and the coarse grater blade, grate (don’t grind) 1/2 cup of horseradish with 1/4 cup vinegar. Remove to a strainer placed over a bowl and catch the vinegar. Use it again with each small batch until all has been grated. In a bowl, combine grated horseradish with just enough of the vinegar to moisten it all (if you used a big root, you may need more vinegar). Add about 1/8 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt for each half cup or to your own taste (the effect should be subtle, if the word can be applied to raw horseradish). Both are used to enhance the horseradish flavor, not make the stuff sweet or salty tasting. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed glass jar for up to a month.