PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Archive for January, 2012

UNFI Signs New Contract With Safeway

January 30th, 2012 by

What the new UNFI-Safeway alliance means to the Co-op

Kenna Eaton, General Manager

First a little background: over five years ago, the Food Co-op joined with many other natural foods cooperatives across the country to form the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). As a result of this alliance, the NCGA was able to sign a national contract on behalf of its members and collectively we became the number 2 purchaser from United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI, previously known as Mountains Peoples Warehouse).

We recently received notice that UNFI, our primary distributor, has signed a new contract to begin delivering natural foods to all Safeway stores beginning October 2011.We were, and still are, unsure exactly how that relationship will impact the Food Co-op and our shoppers.

UNFI is naturally looking at growing and increasing their profitability in a business that has a very thin profit margin. Thus they have turned their attention to building the mass market side of distribution. An additional result was for UNFI to decide it was long past time for them to re-analyze their products: what they had in their warehouses, how much they carried and how they needed to change that mix. And while we knew those changes were coming, we are still unsure what the long-term impact on our Co-op will be.

We are not alone—all our sister co-ops have the same concerns. Recently, NCGA staff held several meetings with UNFI to discuss our concerns and ensure that NCGA members are minimally impacted during this transition. As a result, UNFI has made several commitments, among which is to look at the regional importance of items and to listen to its customers’ requests when an item is tagged for discontinuation. Fortunately, many of the items discontinued so far have not been ones we carry.

Yes, these changes will impact us. So far the impact has been minimal and may remain that way—after all, Safeway has been selling natural foods for several years. However, this issue is really a reminder that we must focus our energies on food security, keeping our dollars local and making sure we walk our talk. The Co-op is thinking also about what else we can do on a larger scale. We’re looking at other wholesalers. We’re talking to other Co-ops in the region. We’re looking at how we can better support our local growers and producers. We’re thinking strategically about the bigger picture. And I can’t help but see it as an opportunity for us to review what we do every day, to look at what we need to do to ensure we have a healthy, robust grocery store for our members and to meet our members’ changing needs.

Local Focus: The Winning Apple Pie

January 27th, 2012 by

This recipe won the Apple Dessert Contest at the Port Townsend Food Co-op’s Apple Festival in October 2010. The winning apple pie was made by Jan Tobin, the Port Townsend Food Co-op’s Wellness Manager. The recipe is adapted from Barbara Rider of Bruce Rider and Sons apple growers in Watsonville CA.

3 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp Himalayan salt
1 ¼ cup Spectrum vegetable shortening
1 organic egg
4 Tbsp water
1 tsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

8 Jonagold organic apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
scant 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 Tbsp organic brown sugar
small amount of organic milk
dash of organic sugar

  • Loosen up flour and measure into bowl. Add salt and shortening to flour and crumble with fingertips until meal-like.  Mix together egg, water and vinegar. Dribble over flour mixture. Mix with fork until all holds together.
  • Mold into two rounds. Roll each out to size of pie pan on floured board. Place one round in bottom of pie pan. Place a layer of apples on bottom crust. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Sprinkle half over layer of apples. Repeat for two more layers of apples. Sprinkle brown sugar over the last layer of apples.
  • Place top crust over apples and secure sides of top and bottom crust. Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle on sugar. Make knife slits down center of pie. Cover edges of crust with tin foil, removing last 15 minutes. Bake at 450º for 5 minutes and 350º for 45 minutes or until apple slices are tender. Remove and let cool before slicing.

Local Focus: Making Your Own Apple Pectin

January 27th, 2012 by

By Sam Thayer, From The Forager. Volume 1, Issue 3. August-September 2001

When making homemade jams and jellies, commercial powdered pectin is usually the most expensive ingredient. A few generations ago, powdered pectin wasn’t readily available, and the skill of making pectin at home was common knowledge for the family cook – yet today it is a rare individual who knows how to do this. I learned how to extract pectin from apples a few years ago when I made jams and jellies for a living (as many as 600 jars per day). Not only does this save money, but more importantly, it provides the satisfaction that only comes with doing things from scratch – one of the reasons that I love using wild foods.

To prepare liquid apple pectin, it is best to use under-ripe apples that are still a bit green, hard, and sour. Ripe apples contain less pectin, but the level varies greatly from one tree to the next; some varieties are suitable when ripe, while some have virtually no pectin by that time. Over-ripe apples are the worst.

You can use your damaged or misshapen apples for making pectin. Chop them in halves or quarters, fill a large pot, and then add just enough water to almost cover the apple chunks. Cover the pot and place it on low heat for a long time, until the apples are fully cooked and you have something that looks like runny applesauce with skins and seeds in it. Stir the apples every twenty minutes or so while they are cooking.

I arrange a strainer for this “sauce” by placing a cheese cloth (actually a white T-shirt) over the top of a five-gallon pail, secured by a cord tied around the rim. (A piece of cheese cloth in a colander works fine for smaller amounts.) The hot applesauce is then poured into the strainer; what drips out the bottom should be a clear, thick liquid that’s a little bit slimy to the touch. That’s your liquid apple pectin.
I usually let mine strain overnight because it drips slowly. You can get more pectin by pressing it, but then it comes out a little cloudy and carries more of the under-ripe apple flavor. I like to make a few gallons of this pectin at a time and then save it by canning or freezing – it’s not hard to get a year’s supply with one batch.

To test the strength of the pectin, pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol into a glass and then drop in a spoonful of pectin. The pectin will coagulate into a jelly-like mass. If this mass can be pulled out with a fork and it forms a heaping gob on the tines, it is concentrated enough to jell perfectly. If it can be picked up by the fork, but mostly hangs from it, then it will jell loosely. If it cannot be picked up by the fork in mostly one mass, then the concentration is too weak for it to jell. In this latter case, you just have to boil it down to increase the concentration of the pectin. (Note: the alcohol test doesn’t work right if the pectin is hot.)

You can mix liquid apple pectin with fruit or juice and boil it down until the mixture has enough pectin to jell. This can be a little tricky. If you mix it with a fruit juice such as chokecherry that has little or no natural pectin in it; you will want to boil this mixture down to approximately the same volume as that of the pectin that you put in. If you mix it with high-pectin fruit such as wild grapes, you might only have to boil it down a little. Boiling the fruit-pectin mixture will not harm the flavor unless it cooks to the bottom of the pan, which will not happen if you keep stirring it as it boils. (An overcooked or burnt flavor is generally the result of cooking the jam for too long only after the sugar has been added.)
I like to use liquid pectin instead of water to cover fruits such as currants or wild cherries when I boil them to extract the juice. After boiling down a little bit, such juice often has enough pectin to jell. If it is cooled down, the pectin concentration of the juice can be determined using the alcohol test described above. One great thing about apple pectin is that it can be used to dilute or balance the flavors of certain fruits that are not tart enough to make superb jam by themselves, such as elderberry and chokecherry.

When using homemade pectin, you can’t just follow the proportions found on the chart in a Sure-Jell packet; you have to understand something about what makes jelly jell. Basically, there are two factors involved in this: the concentration of sugar and the concentration of pectin. Too little of either one and you end up with syrup. It is possible to compensate for a little less sugar with more pectin, or vice-versa – but you can only stray from the recommended ratios a little bit. The most common reason that people have batches that do not jell is because they want to add less sugar than the recipe calls for. If you are going to make jam or jelly, you may as well accept right now that these confections are mostly sugar; that way, hopefully, you will avoid this temptation.

When you reckon that your fruit-pectin mixture is about right, mix in sugar at a ratio of about 5 cups of fruit-pectin (or juice) to 7 cups of sugar. Stir constantly – especially with jam – to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pan. After the jelly comes to a full, rolling boil, let it do so for about a minute. Then, if everything has been done right, it should be ready to pour into jars. If you are not confident, however, this is the stage for the final jelly test. Turn the heat down low when the boiling begins. Dip a large spoon into the mixture and then hold it over the pot sideways. If the last jelly falls off the spoon in a sheet rather than a drop, or if you get a drop that hangs down bulging at the bottom and doesn’t fall (this happens especially with wooden spoons), then you’re in business.

If the jelly passes this test in either way, bring it briefly to a vigorous boil on high heat. Here you will find yet another indicator of whether it will jell or not. It will not just boil; it will boil up, get foamy, and probably make you scared that it will boil over. (If you don’t turn the heat off soon enough, it will boil over.) This is when you pour the jam into clean mason jars and cover with clean lids. Turn the jars upside-down for a minute or two to sterilize the lids, right the jars, and try to ignore them for a few hours while they set. (Note that home canning of jam and jelly is not dangerous, and you do not need to sterilize the jars in a boiling-water bath or use a pressure canner!)

Hopefully this doesn’t make the whole process seem harder than it is. Like many skills, once you learn how, it’s a piece of cake. It may be encouraging to know that I never use the alcohol test anymore, and rarely even rely on the last jelly test. After making a number of batches, you can tell just by looking at the jelly if it’s going to jell.

Is it worth all this trouble just to make your jam from scratch? Trouble? There’s no trouble when I do it – just a lot of fun. And that’s what it’s all about.


Local Focus: Apple Juice and Apple Cider, What’s the Difference?

January 27th, 2012 by

Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples, but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. It takes about one third of a bushel to make a gallon of cider.

To make cider, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash that is the consistency of applesauce. Layers of mash are wrapped in cloth, and put into wooded racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice is bottled as apple cider.

Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice.

The flavor of cider depends on the blending of juice from different apple varieties. The term “flavor” refers to the palatability of a distinct apple juice flavor and the aroma that is typical of properly processed apple juice. Cider makers are most particular about concocting a blend that will create the desired flavor and produce the perfect balance between sweetness and tartness.

Cider needs constant refrigeration because it is perishable. It will stay sweet and unfermented for up to two weeks. Cider can also be frozen, but be sure to pour off an inch or two from the container for expansion during freezing.

Although a glass of cider a day cannot guarantee good health, the sweet juice is a good source of potassium and iron. Apple cider is pure and natural with no sugar added. A 6 ounce glass has only 87 calories. Apple cider, like other juices, fruits and vegetables, contains no cholesterol. Pectin, contained in apple cider, has been shown to keep serum cholesterol levels down.

Fresh cider can be purchased at roadside farm stands, local orchards, and many supermarkets. When you buy locally produced cider, you help local food producers and boost our economy. So drink up!


Local Focus: Apple Recipes

January 26th, 2012 by

apple-photo-web.jpgIf you are enjoying an abundance of apples, here are several ways to use and preserve your apples, from apple sauce to apple cider to apple pie.

Orchards are even more personal in their charms than gardens, as they are more nearly human creations. Ornaments of the homestead, they subordinate other features of it; and such is their sway over the landscape that house and owner appear accidents without them. So men delight to build in an ancient orchard, when so fortunate to possess one, that they may live in the beauty of its surrounding. Orchards are among the most coveted possessions; trees of ancient standing, and vines, being firm friends and loyal neighbors forever. The profits, too, are as wonderful as their longevity. And if antiquity can add any worth to a thing, what possession has a man more noble than these, so unlike most others which are best at first, and grow worse till worth nothing; while fruit trees and vines increase in worth and goodness for ages.

– Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888)

1. New York Stove Top Applesauce
2. Apple Butter
3. Apple Preserves
4. Old Fashioned Apple Pie
5. Making Vinegar at Home
6. Apple Cider
7. Apple Jack
7. Apple Snacks

New York Stove Top Applesauce

6 cups (6 medium) of McIntosh, Crispin, Jonagold and Cortland apples cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine apples, 3/4 cup water and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are very tender and skins are softened, about 40 minutes.

Uncover and simmer until almost all liquid in saucepan has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cinnamon. Cool 30 minutes
Using fork or potato masher, mash apple mixture until coarse and chunky. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until cold.

Makes about 3 cups.


Apple Butter

8 lbs. apples
2 cups cider
2 cups vinegar
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp ground cloves

Wash, remove stems, quarter and core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing.

To preserve apple butter:
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot butter into hot half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. (Use a good reference book for more about the water bath canning process.)

Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed., Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia (2006)

Apple Preserves

6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
4 cups sugar
2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine apples, water and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Add lemon slices (optional) and sugar. Return to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add nutmeg.

To preserve:
Sterilize canning jars. Pour hot preserves (after boiling hard 1 minute) into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. (Use a good reference book for more about the water bath canning process.)

Source: So Easy to Preserve, 5th ed., Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia (2006)

Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

Have everything cold; do not make the dough too moist; use pastry flour if possible; roll only once. Paste kept on ice over night becomes much more flaky than when first made. To prevent the lower crust from becoming soaked brush with whites of egg. Brush the edge with unheated whites of egg or water and press the two crusts together with the thumb and finger, a pastry roller or the tines of a fork. Always leave an opening in the center of the upper crust that the steam may escape. Bake pies having a cooked filling in a quick oven and those with an uncooked filling in a moderate oven. Let pies cool upon plates on which they are made because slipping them onto cold plates develops moisture, which always destroys the crispness of the lower crust.

Plain Pastry
Sift one cup of flour and one-fourth teaspoon of salt into a bowl rub into it five level tablespoons of shortening until the whole is reduced to a fine powder; add cold water slowly to make a stiff dough. Place on a slightly floured board and roll into a circular shape to fit the plate. Fit it loosely into the plate as it shrinks when baked.

Apple Pie
Line a pie plate with good paste. Fill with thin slices of good cooking apples; sprinkle with one-half cup of sugar which has been mixed with a heaping teaspoon of flour and a pinch of salt; cover with an upper crust and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.

Apple Custard Pie
Heat a pint of milk steaming hot and pour it into a mixture of three eggs slightly beaten, three heaping tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a very little nutmeg or lemon. Grate one cup of apple using mellow slightly tart fruit; add to the milk mixture and bake in a very moderate oven without an upper crust. If the pie is baked too quickly the apple will separate from the milk.

Dried-Apple Pie
Soak and stew apples until tender, pass through a sieve and add sugar, a little orange or lemon rind, and a small amount of butter. Fill and bake as any other pie. Serve warm with sweetened cream.

Shaker Apple Pie
Pare, core, and cut into eighths sour apples and put into a lower crust; add a half a pint of seeded raisins. Put on the upper crust being careful to not let it stick to the lower crust. Bake in a slow oven until the apples are thoroughly cooked and the crust is nicely browned. This will require about forty minutes. While the pie is hot take off the top crust and lay it aside, then with a wooden or silver knife stir the apples and remove any hard pieces that may be left. Add sugar, nutmeg, and a small piece of butter and replace the top crust.

Recipes from The Encyclopedia of Practical Horticulture published in 1914 in North Yakima, Washington. Quoting associate editor Wm. Worthington, “A very complete department of recipes for cooking, preserving and serving the various fruits and vegetables is given.”  The collection was edited by Miss Alice M. Hodge, Stout Institute, Menominee, Wisconsin. 


Making Vinegar at Home

Two factors require special attention when making vinegar at home: oxygen supply and temperature. Oxygen is spread throughout the mixture by stirring it daily and by letting air reach the fluid through a cheesecloth filter, which is used in place of a regular lid. The temperature of fermenting cider should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Lower temperatures do not always produce a usable vinegar, and higher ones interfere with the formation of the “mother of vinegar.” Mother of vinegar is a mat that forms on the bottom of fermenting wine that has gone bad.

Do not use a metal container when making vinegar; acid in the mixture will corrode metal or aluminum objects. Glass, plastic, wood, enamel, or stainless steel containers should be used for making or storing vinegar. The same holds true for making or storing foods that have more than 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in the recipe.

Steps for Making Cider Vinegar
The following steps must be followed to make a high-quality cider vinegar:
1. Make a clean cider from ripe apples.
2. Change all of the fruit sugar to alcohol. This is called “yeast fermentation.”
3. Change all of the alcohol to acetic acid. This is called “acetic acid fermentation.”
4. Clarify the acetic acid to prevent further fermentation and decomposition.

Step 1–Making Cider
Cider is made from the winter and fall varieties of apples (summer and green apples do not contain enough sugar). Fruit should be gathered, then washed well to remove debris. Crush the fruit to produce apple pulp and strain off the juice. Use a press or cheesecloth for straining.

Adding yeast to activate fermentation is not essential, but will speed up the process. Special cultivated yeasts are available for this purpose at wine-making shops and biological labs–bread yeasts are not recommended. To make a starter, crumble one cake of yeast into one quart of cider. This makes enough starter for 5 gallons of cider; double the recipe proportionately when making more.

Steps 2 and 3–Making Alcohol and Acetic Acid
Pour all of the liquid into one or more containers to about three-quarters capacity; do not close the lids on the containers. Stir the mixtures daily. Keep the containers away from direct sunlight and maintain the temperature at 60 to 80 degrees F. Full fermentation will take about 3 to 4 weeks. Near the end of this period, you should notice a vinegar-like smell. Taste samples daily until the desired strength is reached.

Step 4—Filtering
When the vinegar is fully fermented, filter the liquid through several layers of fine cheesecloth or filter paper–a coffee filter works well for this. This removes the mother of vinegar, preventing further fermentation or spoilage of the product.

Storing Your Vinegar
The vinegar is now ready for storage in separate, capped containers. Stored vinegar will stay in excellent condition almost indefinitely if it is pasteurized. To pasteurize, heat the vinegar before pouring it into sterilized bottles, or bottle, then place in a hot water bath. In both cases, the temperature of the vinegar must reach at least 140 degrees F to sterilize the product, and should not exceed 160 degrees F. Use a cooking thermometer to ensure the correct temperature is met. Cool the containers and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

Flavored Vinegar
Flavoring can be added to homemade vinegar just before bottling. Good examples of additives include green onion, garlic, ginger, or any combination of dried or fresh herbs. To make flavoring, place material in a small cheesecloth bag and suspend in the vinegar until desired strength is reached. This will take about 4 days, except for garlic, which takes only 1 day. For every 2 cups of vinegar, use one of the following: 1/2 cup crushed fresh herbs, 1 tablespoon of dried herbs, 2 large cloves of garlic, or 8 small green onions. Other good flavorings include tarragon, basil, nasturtium, chives, mint, chervil, borage, hot chilies, and raspberries. Adjust the amounts to taste, but be careful not to overload the vinegar. Too much vegetable matter can destroy the acid and ruin the preservative quality of the vinegar.

Some flavorings may not go well with cider vinegar’s distinct taste and color. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, use more delicate or decorative flavors. When flavoring store-bought vinegar, you will still need to pasteurize it and use sterile bottles.

Flavored vinegars taste great and have a beautiful color, making them excellent for use in salads. You will be tempted to display flavored vinegar; however, be sure to keep your bottles out of direct sunlight, which will destroy the flavor, acidity, and color of the vinegar.

Because the acidity of homemade vinegars will vary, do not use them in foods to be canned or stored at room temperature. Homemade vinegar is, however, excellent in salads, cooking, or freezer and refrigerator pickled products.

Prepared by Christine Nicholas, Intern Doris Herringshaw, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, The Ohio State University Extension, Human Nutrition, Columbus, OH


Apple Cider

* 1 gallon apple juice (or 16 pounds apples)
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon yeast energizer
* 1 1/2 teaspoon acid blend
* 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme
* 1 campden tablet
* 1 package champagne yeast (for 1 to 5 gallons)

Place chopped fruit or juice in primary fermentor. Add balance of ingredients. Stir to dissolve sugar. Stir daily for 5 to 6 days or until frothing ceases. Strain out fruit and squeeze as much juice out of it as you can. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
Rack in three weeks, and again every 2 months until the cider is clear.
Gently stir in 1/4 cup sugar per gallon. Bottle in champagne bottles or clean pop bottles. Age three months.

Read post “Apple Juice, Apple Cider: What’s the Difference?”

Apple Jack

Early settlers made this by setting their apple cider outside in the winter and allowing it to become slushy. They would then skim the frozen water off of the surface, leaving a “hardened” cider behind. Commercially, it is now distilled. This is illegal for the home brewer, but the freezing method is effective.

First, make Apple Cider (recipe above). Skip the final step, and allow it to age the three months in the secondary fermentor.

Second, siphon it back into the primary fermentor. If you have a deep freeze, put the primary fermentor in it overnight. If not, use ice cream buckets and the fridge freezer. Remember to leave room for the water to expand when it freezes.

The alcohol will not freeze, so it is forced into the center of the container when the cider is frozen. The brewer then has the option of either skimming the ice off of the surface, or siphoning the alcohol out of the center. The siphoning method will result in a higher alcohol content than the skimming method.

Alternatively, you could follow this method using your favourite Apple Wine recipe.


Apple Snacks

Start with a good quantity of fruit! The process of drying fruit removes moisture which results in considerable shrinkage of volume of fruit. You will need to start with a lot of fruit to be sure of a good quantity of dried product at the end of the process! Dried pear slices or pear leather make delicious, take anywhere, eat anytime snacks!

Drying Apples
Select firm textured apples for drying. To prepare the fruit, wash and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Pre-treat with a lemon juice/water solution (1 cup of lemon juice to 1 quart of water) or an Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) solution to prevent browning. Place slices onto drying rack. Dry fruit at 135° F. When fruit is pliable and there is no sign of moisture it can be stored in air tight bags or jars. After proper drying, apples and pears will keep in a cool, dry place from six months to a year.

Drying Pears
Any summer or winter variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135° F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.

Basic Fruit Leather
Pureed fruit can be dried on special, heavy plastic sheets in your electric dehydrator. To prepare apples or pears for leather making, wash fruit thoroughly, remove seeds, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Mixture should be of pouring consistency. It is important to add honey to help keep the leather pliable when dried. If the puree is too thick, add liquid to thin. If too tart, add more honey or sugar. Heat apple or pear mixture to 190° F to prevent oxidization, cool before pouring onto dehydrator trays. Coat trays with a layer of fruit puree about 1/8 inch thick. Dry at 135° F until leathery. Be careful there are no moisture pockets. Roll up fruit leather while warm, wrap in plastic and store. Makes a great, easy to pack snack for any outing.

Applesauce Puree for Fruit Roll-ups
Make applesauce by quartering the apples, trimming off the blossom and stems ends, put in pan and add a little water. Simmer, stirring frequently, until soft. Put the cooked apples through a food mill or strainer to remove the peels and seeds. Add about 1 tablespoon honey per cup of applesauce to keep the fruit leather pliable so it can be rolled up. This results in a nice smooth puree for making fruit leather. (If it’s too thick to spread easily, add more water.)

Fruit Leather Made from Applesauce Puree
Lightly grease dehydrator trays and spread puree evenly and thinly onto trays. Set temperature at 130-140° F. (55-60° C.) and dry until fruit leather feels dry and pliable, with no sticky spots. Remove from trays and cut into pieces. Roll in wax paper and fasten rolls with a strip of freezer tape. For long-term storage, put roll-ups in freezer bags or quart yogurt containers and store in freezer.

How to Prepare Dried Apples for Use in Apple Pie Filling and Sauces

1/2 pound dried apples
2 1/2 – 3 c. water (or more)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Sugar to taste (1/2 c. for slight sweetness up to 2 c. for those who like it super sweet)
Combine dried apples with water in heavy saucepan, place over low heat. Simmer, covered, until apples have the consistency of thick preserves. Add more liquid as needed. Be careful heat is not too high. Stir periodically to prevent scorching. When thickened consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in spices. Taste and add sugar as need. Let cool completely. Use as filling in such recipes as Fried Apple Pies. Left over filling will keep covered in the refrigerator for about a week. Also makes a nice sauce garnish for roasted pork and poultry.


Savory Quinoa Flakes for Breakfast (or anytime!)

January 26th, 2012 by

Gluten-Free. Serves 1-2 people, depending on how hungry you are and if you are adding any other foods to your meal.

Recipe from Food Co-op Member Adrienne Robineau

I make a savory hot cereal for breakfast using quick-cooking Quinoa Flakes. It’s very quick, easy to make and really good to eat and I wanted to share it with Co-op members.

Broccoli (or zucchini or other green veggie)
1-1/2 tsp your choice of seasonings (I recommend Mrs. Dash)
1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup vegetable broth (I recommend Pacific Brand)
2 tsp freshly ground flax seeds (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground sesame seeds (optional, I use a combo of black and white sesame seeds mixed with dried sea vegetable flakes that I mix up myself from the bulk food area of the coop—you can also buy it pre-prepared, called “Gomasio.” in the seasonings aisle.)
¼ to 1/3 cup quinoa flakes (I recommend Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa Flakes.)

* Finely chop ½ onion and ½ head broccoli or other green veggie (you can do this in advance and freeze small baggies of them to have on hand quickly before going to work.) Add seasoning.

* Cook in small pan with olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat 3-5 minutes until onions are clear and green veggie is cooked through, stirring most of the time to keep from burning or sticking.

* Add vegetable broth, ground flax seeds and ground sesame seeds (or combo/Gomasio). (Helpful hint: keep one small electric coffee grinder solely for seed grinding—mark with Sharpie, if necessary, to keep coffee beans out; use a kitchen basting brush to remove ground seeds from grinder.)

* Bring broth, veggies and seeds to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add Quinoa flakes and turn on 90 second timer. Stir constantly until timer goes off (more flakes = drier; less flakes = wetter; your choice).

* Remove from stove and let cool a bit. Add salt to taste. (I recommend Herbamare seasoning.)

Additional protein: you can add a scrambled egg to the veggies after they cook and before you add the broth.
Alternate flavor: you can add or substitute Portobello mushrooms for the broccoli and/or use Pacific brand Mushroom Broth instead of veggie.
Less Salt: don’t add any additional salt or Herbamare and use Pacific brand’s low salt vegetable broth.

Feeding Your Four-Legged Loved Ones

January 26th, 2012 by

Recipes for making your own pet food

With the recent pet food scare and the recall of millions of cans of dog and cat food, many people are beginning to reconsider the wisdom of feeding their pets commercial pet food. Andi Brown reminds us, in her book The Whole Pet Diet, that “there’s no watchdog ensuring our companions are getting even minimum nourishment” from their pet food. “The pet food industry,” she goes on to eaxplain, “is entirely self-regulated and, sadly, most companies are focused on the bottom line. The government doesn’t regulate the quality or sources of pet food ingredients, and pet food companies are allowed to use poor-quality and even dangerous ingredients that barely sustain life and almost never promote good health” (14). Pet foods are composed of by-products (foods rejected for human consumption like beaks, feet, feathers, hooves, hair, eyeballs, and bones), fillers like corn, wheat, rice, and potatoes with corn the number one ingredient found in pet foods today, and chemicals, including preservatives like BHA, which has been shown to be carcinogenic in laboratory studies. And this is the food that is never recalled. Many people are deciding, given the questionable nutritional value of commercial pet food, to restrict the amount they give to their pets or to abandon commercial pet food altogether and make their own.

Following are a few recipes from The Whole Pet Diet that not only contain healthy basics like meat and vegetables, but also vitamins and minerals contained in herbs and other supplements. The most important thing to remember when it comes to feeding your pet is to try and get them as many whole foods as possible, some uncooked, food that would be suitable for you to eat yourself.

Spot’s Chicken Stew (for dogs and cats)
yields 20 cups with serving sizes as follows: 1-1/2 cups to 10 pounds; 2-3 cups 11-20 pounds; 4 cups 21-40 pounds; for each additional 20 pounds add 2 cups

2 ½ pounds whole chicken or turkey (bones, organs, skin and all)
¼ cup chopped fresh garlic
1 cup green peas
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped sweet potato
½ cup coarsely chopped zucchini
½ cup coarsely chopped yellow squash
½ cup coarsely chopped green beans
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 Tbsp kelp powder
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
11-16 cups springwater

For dogs only: Add 8 ounces whole barley and 6 ounces rolled oats and adjust the water content to a total of 16 cups or enough to cover the ingredients (I don’t recommend the grains portion for cats).

Combine all of the ingredients in a 10-quart stockpot (stainless steel, please) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat as low as possible and simmer for 2 hours (the carrots should be quite soft at the end of the cooking time). Remove from the heat, let cool, and debone the chicken. With an electric hand mixer, or using a food processor and working in batches, blend all the ingredients into a nice puree; the stew should be slightly thicker for dogs and more soupy for cats. Using ziplock bags or plastic yogurt containers, make up meal-sized portions. Refrigerate what you’ll need for three days and freeze the rest.

Jack the Cat’s Turkey Tetrazzini
yields about 10 cups w/serving size ½ cup

1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
½ pound yellow squash or pumpkin, coarsely chopped
½ pound celery, coarsely chopped
¼ pound chicken or turkey liver
1 Tbsp kelp powder
5-7 cups springwater

Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. With an electric hand mixer, or using a food processor and working in batches, blend all the ingredients into a nice puree. Using ziplock bags or plastic yogurt containers, make up meal-sized portions and freeze whatever you won’t use within 3 days.

Bravo’s Bodacious Hearty Burger Stew
yields about 8 cups with serving sizes as follows: 1-1/2 cups to 10 pounds; 2-3 cups 11-20 pounds; 4 cups 21-40 pounds; for each additional 20 pounds add 2 cups

1 pound ground beef or turkey
½ pound millet
½ pound spinach, chopped
½ pound carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp kelp powder
4-6 cups springwater

Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. With an electric hand mixer, or a food processor and working in batches, blend all the ingredients into a nice puree. Using ziplock bags or plastic yogurt containers, make up meal-sized portions and freeze whatever you won’t use in 3 to 4 days.

Special Treats for Your Pet

Voyko’s Paw-Lickin’ Liver Treats
yields 40 1-ounce servings

3 pounds chicken or turkey liver
Fresh or dried oregano (optional)
Fresh or dried rosemary (optional)
Minced fresh garlic (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the liver on a large baking pan and sprinkle the herbs on top. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, then dice the liver into 1-inch cubes. Put a few ounces into individual ziplock bags and freeze the portions that won’t be eaten right away. Your healthy, homemade treats will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, and up to a month in the freezer.

Voyko’s Liver and Greens Shake
yields 4 ½ cup servings

1 Tbsp butter
½ pound fresh liver (beef, chicken, turkey or duck)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried rosemary
¼ cup chopped alfalfa sprouts
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup yogurt
¼ cup grated carrot

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the liver, turning frequently until lightly browned all sides. Add the garlic powder and rosemary, then turn off the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor, add the alfalfa sprouts, parsley, yogurt, and carrot, and pulse until thick and creamy.

Other healthy treats:
For dogs and cats

  • Cantaloupe balls
  • A whole, raw organic egg beaten together well with yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Organic baby food
  • Yogurt mixed with a few raspberries or blueberries
  • Sardines (fresh or frozen)
  • Organic cheese on a salt-free cracker

Veggies for dogs:

  • Celery sticks (plain or with unsalted peanut butter or cottage cheese)
  • Carrot sticks (plain or with yogurt)
  • Apple slices (with or without peanut butter)
  • Green beans

The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats by Andi Brown is available no in The Food Co-op’s book section in the Wellness Department

Frugal Living: 17 Uses For Stale Bread

January 26th, 2012 by


Watch a clip from “Taste the Waste,” a documentary that examines the worldwide destruction of food and asks the question, “Why do we waste so much food and how can we stop this kind of waste?” Film by Valentin Thurn.

“17 Uses for Stale Bread” is from the Wise Bread website at www.wisebread.comwhere you can find more information about frugal living  (written by Andrea Dickson, 3 March 2011)

Image from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Stale bread is a given in most households; even the best-intentioned foodies will occasionally find themselves staring down a rapidly drying loaf of white bread with no idea how to cope. Throwing away food isn’t just a waste of money — it’s a downright shame.

Bread is a varied and delicious staple that is delicious fresh and yet still incredibly useful when past its due date. In fact, one of the better supermarket/bakery deals that can be had is bags of day-old bread. A bakery near my house sells large bags of day-old bread for approximately $2, and it includes things like scones, cinnamon rolls, and raisin bread. Perhaps I could bake these things on my own for less, but considering what an untalented baker I am, these leftover bags are a real bargain. Check with your local bakery to see if they sell or even give away their day-old extras — you might even be able to make an entire meal out of a freebie bag of bread.

Here are some ideas on how to make the most of your leftover loaves.

1. French Onion Soup
You can have French onion soup without a cheesy toasty topper. Well, OK, you can, but no one will want to eat it. Try Alton Brown’s recipe for the perfect French onion soup, but remember that your bread topping doesn’t have to be perfectly even or perfectly round. You can toss a handful of stale bread on top of your soup and still find plenty of room for the cheese to settle in.

2. Easy Soufflé/Quiche
Stale bread and eggs were somehow made for each other. If you love soufflé but aren’t in the mood to worry about it rising or collapsing, use this shortcut recipe for cheese, onion, and bread soufflé that is easy as pie. Love having quiche for brunch? You can even use that healthy, high-fiber bread for a delicious weekend quiche.

3. Stuffing/Dressing
Is stuffing too obvious a use for stale bread? It’s my favorite, so I can’t resist. The only dish at Thanksgiving that I would be heartbroken without, savory stuffing is a sure-fire accompaniment to any poultry-based meal. A small helping of rich, delicious stuffing can save a dry turkey dinner from despair or add some oomph to an otherwise normal chicken sandwich.

Stuffing doesn’t always have to be served alongside fowl, though; it’s also wonderful next to baked tilapia or oysters. Because stuffing has so many regional variations, you are free to branch out and try out all kinds of different recipes. Stuffing is also very forgiving — it will accept the presence of all kinds of other flavors, including squash, broccoli, spinach, sausage, nuts, cranberries, and more.

4. Breadcrumbs
Just how handy are breadcrumbs? You’ll never know until you have your own stash in waiting, ready to top macaroni and cheese and casseroles, to coat your filet of fish or famous fried chicken, to use on top of cakes and cupcakes, or to coat the bottom of a cheesecake when you are low on graham crackers.

Breadcrumbs are incredibly easy to make — just bake your stale bread on low heat (say, 150°F) in your oven or toaster oven until the bread is extremely dry and brittle. Then place the bread in your blender or food processor and churn until you have a golden brown crumbs. Further drying can be achieved in the oven or on the counter.
You can add herbs and salt if you want a savory mix for dishes. Add some brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and coconut flakes for a delicious ice cream topper, or leave the crumbs plain for versatility.

Freeze breadcrumbs in an air-tight container for maximum storage time.

5. Meat Loaf
Probably one of the best-known uses for stale bread, meat loaf can be a family favorite if you make it right. Breadcrumbs are often added to meat loaf in order to add heft and save money, and they can also act to make meat loaf more tender by keeping the protein separated. The best meat loaf recipe that I have ever tried called for crushed saltine crackers, but crumbled stale bread is a logical (and inexpensive) substitute.

Meatloaf doesn’t just have to be made out of beef, of course. Salmon loaf (top with dried dill and sour cream) makes a wonderful treat either hot or cold.

Did I forget to mention crab cakes? Like meatloaf, crab cakes are held together by a small amount of egg and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs (also, I’ve learned that using one chopped scallop per crab cake will add a certain cohesiveness to the patty without changing the flavor). Used canned crab for the best, and cheapest, results.

6. Refreshed Bread
OK, so let’s say that what you really want is fresh bread. You can always refresh your stale bread using this trick.

7. Cinnamon Toasts
Think you know how to make cinnamon toast? You probably do. But we’re talking about cinnamon toasts. You’ve never made cinnamon toast quite like this. It’s the perfect way to use up fluffy-but-stale white bread, and the results last for days and are a perfect treat to take with you to a party (scroll down a bit for the recipe and pictures).

8. Bisques and Bread Soups
I’m a big fan of bisque as a pre-meal appetizer (slowly sipping a cup of bisque will help you eat less in your main course), and stale bread is a great carbohydrate that you can use to thicken your soup if you lack potatoes or yams. Just toss the bread in and let it get mushy like the veggies, then blend carefully in batches.

If you don’t feel like blending, bread soup is big in Italian cooking, so try out a new recipe while using up leftovers.

9. Bread Salads
Bread salad, also known as panzanella, is a nice change from regular old lettuce-and-dressing and often a hit at parties. Remember that the word “salad” comes from the Latin word for “salt,” and it refers to salted things, not necessarily to veggies. If you want to throw a can of artichoke hearts, some sliced tomatoes, a few handfuls of stale bread, some leftover chicken, and some dressing in a bowl and call it a salad, you’re well within your semantic rights to do so.

10. Bread Pudding
I don’t have a big sweet tooth — I can honestly pass on most candy, ice cream, and even pie. But bread pudding? Nearly impossible to resist. Also, it turns out, it’s incredibly easy to make. I avoided making bread pudding because I was terrified that it would end up being as tragic as my cheesecake disaster, but bread pudding is delicious and simple. It’s a good way to use up dessert-y breads, but don’t let the rosemary loaf go to waste — just combine the flavors with complementary tastes, like rosemary with lemon.

Similar to bread pudding (and yet different) is fruit charlotte. A good way to use up both old bread and excess apples, charlotte may not be the healthiest dessert, but it’s certainly among the most warming.

11. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Hey, half the point of grilling a sandwich is to get the bread nice and crispy, and with dried sliced bread, you’re already halfway there. To get a perfect grilled cheese, I lightly butter and grill both sides of the bread before applying the cheese. That way, the bread is extra crispy on both the outside AND the inside, and the cheese melts faster.

12. Open Faced Sandwiches/Bruschetta
Feeling like you want less bread and more filling? Toast stale slices, and then top with anything you like, from olive tapenade to leftover meat loaf. Any variation of bruschetta will do, and the crunchy, toasty base will hold together better than fresh bread in the face of moister toppings.

13. French Toast
French toast practically begs for the use of stale bread, and there’s no reason to limit this tasty treat to breakfast time — you can enjoy French toast for dinner, too. I personally love all flavors of French toast, but my new favorite involves spreading one side of the stale bread with a light layer of cream cheese (or chevre), and the other side with a tart jelly (like cherry or marmalade) before dipping it in egg batter and cooking.

French toast doesn’t have to be limited to large slices of sandwich bread — a popular snack in my household is French toast bites made of slices of tiny French baguettes that are past their prime.

14. Gourmet Croutons
Nothing can be easier than turning stale bread into delicious gourmet croutons for soup and salad toppings. Simply toss the bread in a mixture of olive oil, dried herbs, and salt and toast until golden brown. You can add parmesan cheese after toasting (adding it before toasting might cause some burning).

Croutons are great for fondue and also to top off a particularly gourmet Bloody Mary.

15. Potato/Rice Substitute
Are all carbs created equal? Could you substitute bread for rice or potatoes? There are some who might disagree, but consider that a very popular Moroccan dish is basically a chicken stew poured over day-old bread. You don’t even have to make Moroccan bread to make this dish. Just tear us slightly stale bread into bite-size pieces and smother the bread with your own curry, Irish stew, or whatever floats your boat.

16. Bread Dumplings
Semmelknoedel are German dumplings that are a little bit like Italian gnocchi, but are made using stale bread and milk. Enjoy in a soup, topped with mushroom gravy or marinara, alongside meats and fish, or however you like your dumplings. Create a slightly sweeter version (minus the garlic, pepper, and herbs) and eat warm with honey, almonds, and ricotta cheese.

17. Bird Food
OK, I’ve heard that bread isn’t good for birds and all that. I’m sure that the Audubon Society would have me stuffed and mounted for saying so, but seagulls aren’t really birds, are they? No, they are just big, flying cockroaches, and bread won’t hurt them at all.

Storing Old Bread
How you store your bread depends an awful lot on the kind of bread it is. When I buy “artisanal” loaves of bread from the supermarket, I do so with the understanding that the bread will last approximately four days on the kitchen counter, wrapped in a paper bag and then loosely in a plastic bag. Regular sliced bread from the bread section of the store (as opposed to the actual bakery) can last for as long as two weeks, so long as the last week is spent in the fridge. Your own storage methods and preferences probably depend a great deal on your climate and your ability to spot the first few strands of mold.

Incidentally, if you see a loaf that is just starting to mold, there is no shame in cutting off the fuzzy part and saving the interior.

The freezer, though, is where stale bread goes to await its reincarnated fate. If you’ve never frozen bread before, Martha Stewart can tell you how to do that. Much of my bread ends up in freezer-safe Ziplock bags, which seem to do the trick. I don’t recommend keeping bread frozen for more than six months, but how long you can tolerate the bags of bready scraps might also depend on your type of freezer and how much space you have.


Winter Holiday Feasting

January 26th, 2012 by

The holiday recipes featured here focus on ingredients that are locally produced or can be obtained locally and on foods that are produced by local businesses. These recipes do not attempt to exclude ingredients that have been shipped in. We invite you to experiment and enjoy traditional party recipes, traditional recipes with a twist, and traditional recipes from other cultures and other parts of the world. Happy holidays!


  1. Spicy Hot Chocolate w/Cinnamon
  2. Toasted Almond Milk w/Honey
  3. Hot Buttered Rum


  1. Tapenade with Goat Cheese
  2. Pesto-Potato Hor D’oeuvres

Main Dish

  1. 1. Saddle of Venison
  2. 2. Roast Chicken w/Gravy
  3. 3. Cheese & Nut Loaf w/Nut Loaf Sauce (vegetarian)


  1. 1. Raw Cranberry Sauce (raw)
  2. 2. Cranberry Sauce for Giving Thanks

Breads & Rolls

  1. Homemade Bread Stuffing

Vegetable Side Dishes

  1. Baked Brussels Sprouts w/Chestnuts
  2. Naked Mashed Potatoes (raw, vegetarian)
  3. Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
  4. Mashed Jerusalem Artichokes (local)


  1. 1. Cuban Flan
  2. 2. Cranberry-Pear Pie


Spicy Hot CHocolate with Cinnamon

4 cups milk
1 ancho chili (in the bulk spice & herb section) cut into 4 pieces with seeds removed
2 cinnamon sticks + 1 cinnamon stick for each mug
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

  1. Combine milk, ancho chili, and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat until steam starts to rise.
  2. Remove from heat and let this mixture steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Put semisweet chocolate into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Strain liquid into the bowl and whisk.
  5. Put mixture into saucepan one more time and whisk and heat until chocolate is completely melted.
  6. Pour into mugs and serve with a cinnamon stick

Adapted by Julie Jaman from Martha Stewart Living (Jan. 2003)

Toasted Almond Milk with Honey

8 oz. slivered almonds (found in bulk at the Co-op)
4 cups milk
4 generous tablespoons honey
4 shots of amaretto (optional)

  1. Toast almonds in a dry skillet on your stovetop (they will turn brown and very fragrant).
  2. Put almonds into a saucepan with milk and heat to just steaming.
  3. Remove from heat and steep, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain into 4 cups (1 cup each), each with a generous tablespoon of honey and a shot of amaretto.

Adapted by Julie Jaman from Martha Stewart Living (Jan. 2003)

Hot Buttered Rum
Serves 4

We used to come in from a day in the snow or a sail on the bay for this one, a most inviting drink for the holiday season. This version calls for ginger and cinnamon.

4 tablespoons ginger simple syrup
1 cup rum
4 cinnamon sticks
4 tablespoons ginger butter

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of ginger simple syrup into each of 4 mugs.
  2. Add ¼ cup rum along with 1 cinnamon stick to each of 4 mugs.
  3. Fill mugs with boiling water.
  4. Top each mug with a tablespoon of ginger butter.
  5. Serve with good cheer!

Ginger Butter: In a small bowl put about 2 tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger, ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground cloves, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature). Combine thoroughly and shape into a log by rolling on parchment or waxed paper. Chill until firm and slice into 8 rounds.

Adapted by Julie Jaman from Martha Stewart Living (Jan. 2003)


Tapenade with Goat Cheese

½ to 1 jar Campagna Olive & Black Fig Tapenade
Goat cheese (small wheel or block)

Slice the wheel or block of goat cheese through the center horizontally producing two thinner wheels of cheese. Spread tapenade generously on top of each of the two sections of cheese. Heat just until cheese is slightly warm. Serve with a crusty artisan bread.
From Campagna in Lebanon, Oregon

Pesto-Potato Hor D’Oeuvres
A recipe which Anne Pietsch’s niece sent from Germany

4 big shallots
1 ½ pounds potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Anne’s Basil PestO

1. Wash, peel and slice raw potatoes
2. Peel shallots and cut in rings
3. Boil potatoes and shallots 5 to 7 minutes, then strain everything
4. Arrange potatoes and shallots on a platter and spread with Anne’s Pesto
5. Sprinkle with Parmesan!

From Anne’s Pesto in Rainier, Washington


Saddle of Venison
Serves 6

1 saddle of venison (full length of the fillet)
1/4 pound of fat salt pork or thick bacon
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. unbleached white flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef or venison stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

A “saddle” consists of a portion of the backbone connected to both tenderloins or fillets and is considered the prime cut of venison. Trim off the ends of the rib bones close to the fillet–a small saw is the best implement for this procedure–and add the bones to the stockpot.

Cut half the salt pork or bacon into lardons. With a larding needle, insert lardons into each fillet, about 1/2 inch from the top. Slice two cloves of garlic into toothpick-thin slivers and insert at intervals along both fillets, puncturing the holes for the garlic with a toothpick or an awl.

Place on a rack in a stainless steel baking pan with the rib ends down and cover the fillets with the remaining salt pork cut into very thin strips, or with the bacon. Preheat oven to 550 degrees. Bake the roast at this temperature for five minutes, then lower to 450 degrees. Continue roasting another 1 1/2 hours, basting frequently with the drippings.

Remove the venison saddle to a heated platter and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over a medium flame and stir the flour into the drippings, scraping the bottom of the pan in the process. Add red wine and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Skim off foam that comes to the surface and allow the sauce to reduce slightly. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

To serve, slice the fillet lengthwise, not across, the fillet, making slices about 1/4 inch thick. The meat should be well browned outside and bright pink inside. Spoon the sauce over the meat.


Roast Chicken with Gravy
Serves 6-8

1 whole chicken, wing tips, neck, about 4 pounds, fat glands and back skin removed
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
Melted chicken fat or melted butter
Several sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
Sea salt and pepper
Unbleached flour
About 2 quarts chicken stock
The giblets, cooked in the stock (optional)

  1. Place the bird breast side up on a rack set in a roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with thyme or rosemary. Strew the onion slices in the pan. Rub salt and pepper into the skin and brush the bird with butter, chicken fat or olive oil.
  2. Set the bird in a 450o oven and reduce heat to 350o. Bake about 1 1/2 hours or until the legs feel loose in their sockets. Brush the bird occasionally with the drippings in the pan.
  3. When the bird is ready, transfer to a board and carve into pieces. Transfer chicken pieces to a platter and keep warm in the oven while making gravy. Reserve the carcass for making chicken soup.
  4. Place the baking pan on the stove. You should have at least 1/2 cup good drippings, hopefully more. Add an equal amount of unbleached flour. Stir flour into drippings over a medium flame until well amalgamated and the flour begins to turn brown. Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously with a wire whisk. Strain gravy into a pan. If it is too thick, add a little water. If it is too thin, let it boil uncovered until it reduces a bit. Chop the optional giblets very fine and add to the gravy. Just before serving, season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes or brown rice.


Cheese & Nut Loaf
A rich and filling vegetarian meat loaf

2 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 onion, diced in ¼ inch pieces
1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, cut into small squares
1 tsp. each dried thyme, savory, and marjoram
½ tsp. dried sage
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ cups walnuts, ground or finely chopped
4 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
¾ pound grated cheese: Cheddar, Gruyere, Fontina, smoked, individually or in combination (no matter which you choose, include some Parmesan!)
¼ cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, thyme

Preheat oven to 350º

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a skillet and cook the onion until it begins to soften.
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, green pepper, dried herbs, and a little salt and pepper. Then cook until the mushrooms and peppers are soft.
  3. Place the cooked vegetables in a large bowl, add all the remaining ingredients, and mix well.
  4. Check the seasoning. Leave it a big under salted at this point because the saltiness of the cheeses will become more apparent later.
  5. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch bread pan with two crossed rectangles of baking parchment or foil, leaving about 3 inches overhanging on each side. Liberally butter the lined pan, including the ends.
  6. Put the cheese and nut mixture in the pan, rap the pan sharply on a counter once or twice to get rid of air bubbles, then smooth out the top with a spatula or spoon.
  7. Fold the overhanging paper over the top. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for about 1 hour, until firm to touch.
  8. Remove the pan to a cooling rack and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Pull the paper back from the top of the loaf and turn it out onto a serving platter.
  9. Garnish with vegetables, or tomatoes, or serve with yeast gravy and parsley. Perhaps some grated cheese over top.
  10. Serve with Nut Loaf Sauce (recipe follows), mushroom gravy, or béchamel.

Makes 1 9-ince loaf

Nut Loaf Sauce
Serve with the Cheese and Nut Loaf above. Also goes well with green leafy vegetables such as chard, kale, mustard, and spinach.

2-2 ½ cups mushroom stock, vegetable stock, or water
2-4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
¼ cup unbleached white flour
5 Tbsp. light sesame or light olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper
1 large clove of garlic, pounded to a paste or put through a press
¼ cup sherry

  1. Put the stock on to heat so that it is boiling when needed.
  2. Toast the yeast and flour in a heavy saucepan, stirring over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned.
  3. Add the oil and butter and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the boiling stock, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce, mustard, pepper, garlic, and sherry. Cook for another 5 minutes. If necessary, thin with additional stock.
  6. Taste for salt. Adjust other seasonings as desired.

Makes 2 ½ – 3 cups

From The Tassajara Recipe Book: Favorites of Guest Season by Edward Espe Brown

Side Dishes

Home-made Bread Stuffing
Yield: 6 to 8 cups, enough for a 12-pound bird.

½ pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
6 to 8 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon or sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried tarragon or sage, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped scallions
½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves.

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large, deep skillet, Dutch oven or casserole. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add nuts and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add bread crumbs and tarragon or sage and toss to mix. Turn heat to low. Add salt, pepper and scallions. Toss again; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add parsley and stir. Turn off heat. (You may prepare recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to a day before proceeding.)
  3. Pack into chicken or turkey if you like before roasting, or roast in an ovenproof glass or enameled casserole for about 45 minutes, at 350 to 400 degrees; you can bake this dish next to the bird, if you like. (Or you can cook it up to 3 days in advance and warm it up right before dinner.)

Source: NY Times Recipe

Baked Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
Serves 4

2 cups of Brussels sprouts, cooked
½ pound chestnuts
Chicken stock or beef stock
Bread crumbs

  1. Fill a baking dish with chestnuts and sprouts, layering sprouts and chestnuts.
  2. Dot each layer with butter.
  3. Moisten lightly with the stock.
  4. Cover and top with the bread crumbs and butter.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350º for 20-30 minutes.


Raw Cranberry Sauce
Special equipment: food processor

1 cup cranberries
1 cup apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
½ cup dates (pitted, un-soaked)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place dates and lemon juice in a food processor and blend well. Add cranberries and apples. Pulse chop until blended. Chill and serve.

Contributed by Jai Deardorff, The Co-op Commons, Nov./Dec. 2006

Cranberry Sauce for Giving Thanks

12 oz. fresh cranberries
1 cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
pinch of cinnamon and cloves (optional)
honey to taste

Wash the cranberries and put in a pan. Pour the maple syrup and water over them, add the optional spices, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries pop open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Stir and taste. Add honey by spoonfuls, stirring, until it is a little bit sweeter than you will want (it will lose some of its sweet taste when you chill it). Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to eat.


Naked Mashed Potatoes
Special equipment: high-speed blender

1 Tbsp. white onion
1 head of cauliflower (chopped)
½ cup almond milk
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. Braggs liquid aminos or Nama Shoyu

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy, place on a plate in dehydrator or low-temperature oven until warm.

Contributed by Jai Deardorff, The Co-op Commons, Nov./Dec. 2006

Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

2-3 parts potatoes (i.e. German Yellow), washed and cut into big chunks
1 part sweet potatoes (i.e. Garnet), peeled and cut into big chunks
1 part butternut squash, peeled and cut into big chunks
Lots of butter
Cream, sour cream, half & half, buttermilk, yogurt, crème fraiche, whole milk, or a combination of these, used generously
A generous grating of nutmeg
A pinch of mace, if you have it
A pinch of allspice as well, if you have it
Plenty of salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil and then steam potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash over simmering water until fork tender. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher, fork, or whisk and add butter and dairy and spices until you like the consistency and flavor. Serve and enjoy.


Mashed Jerusalem Artichokes
15-16 Jerusalem Artichokes

To each 4.55lt (8 pints) Water allow:
25g (1oz) Salt
25g (1oz) Butter
Salt and Pepper, to taste

  1. Wash, peel and shape the artichokes in a round or oval form.
  2. Put into a saucepan with enough cold salted water to cover them.
  3. Boil gently until tender.
  4. Drain and press the water from them and beat with a fork.
  5. When thoroughly mashed and free from lumps, put them into a saucepan with the butter and a seasoning of white pepper and salt.
  6. Keep stirring over the heat until the artichokes are quite hot and serve.

Time: About 20 minutes. 

Seasonable from September to June, enough for 6 or 7 persons.



Cuban Flan
Flan is a traditional Latin treat. In Cuba it is served during the holidays or on special occasions. The following is an old family recipe, rich and smooth.

¾ cup organic cane sugar (for caramel)
2 cans organic sweetened condensed milk
2 cans organic whole milk or half & half (refill condensed milk cans)
6 fresh eggs
1 Tbsp. organic vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350º

  1. For the Caramel: In a heavy saucepan, at medium heat, cook sugar, stirring constantly, until it liquefies. Be careful, it is very hot. When the liquid sugar reaches a nice amber color, pour into a 9” round cake pan. Using a potholder, tilt the pan so the caramel coats the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. To make the Flan: In a large bowl whip the two milks with the eggs and add vanilla. Pour the milk mixture through a strainer (this keeps out egg strands so the flan is truly creamy) into the caramel pan. Fill the pan as high as possible with the flan mixture. Place the flan in a larger pan; pour in enough water to reach half-way up the flan pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Keep water level half-way up the pan; check after a half-hour and add more hot water if needed. Remove flan from the water bath and let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. To serve place the pan in a little bit of hot water (to loosen the caramel at the bottom), run a knife around the edge, and invert onto a plate that has sides to catch the caramel. Serve thin slices with caramel drizzled on top.
  5. Tips:
  6. While making the caramel, keep the cake pan warm by placing it in a little bit of hot water, to make the caramel coat the bottom of the pan easily.
  7. Moving the filled pans can be tricky, so place the larger pan and the caramel pan in the oven on the edge of the rack, then fill the pans (flan mixture and water), then all you have to do is carefully slide the pans into the oven to bake.
  8. Share any leftovers with four-legged friends!

Contributed by Margarita Courney, The Co-op Commons, Nov./Dec. 2006

Cranberry-Pear Pie
Use a piecrust made with butter or lard for this delicious, tart holiday pie.

1 homemade piecrust dough
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 cup maple syrup
6 large pears
4 1/2 tsp. arrowroot dissolved in
2 Tbsp. cold water

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie crust dough and reserve the rest for making lattice. Place cranberries and maple syrup in a saucepan. Peel and core the pears and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, adding to maple syrup as you cut. Bring syrup to a boil and cook, stirring, for several minutes until cranberries begin to pop. Add the arrowroot mixture and cook another minute more, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly. Pour into pie shell. Make a lattice to cover the pear mixture and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.


Wild Rice-Cranberry-Apple Pilaf

January 20th, 2012 by

Contributed by Food Co-op member Christian Gruye, who wrote in an email: “Found it! My friend Diana’s husband Rick copied it into HIS recipe book! Hurray for organized boat builder fellows! I think you would like to keep this moving around the coop community—it is Great!”

  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 apple (peel on, cored, chopped into ½ inch cubes)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • ¼ tsp ground fennel
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the wild rice, water and apple juice to a boil. Reduce heat and cover-simmer about 40 minutes until rice is tender. Remove rice from heat, drain off any remaining liquid and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the celery and mushrooms 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except the rice) and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Finally, add the rice to the pan and toss with the veggies and spice mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm stuffed into halved baked winter squash.