20 April 2010


We received our first shipment from Eden's Organics on Saturday. We signed up to have a bin of organic fruits and vegetables delivered to our house weekly. Eden's Organics is a local Seattle company that delivers fresh, organic produce weekly or bi-weekly to the area. Eden's tries to use as much local produce as possible, but they also partner with organic farms as far away as California and Mexico. Most of the organic farms are family owned and less than 100 acres.

This week our bin had broccoli, carrots, romaine, tomatoes, garlic, pears, apples, blood oranges, cabbage raab, bananas, kiwis, and strawberries.

I had heard of cabbage raab (or cabbage rabe), but had never cooked it or eaten it. Apparently all parts of it are edible and tasty (stem, roots, flowers, leaves, and seeds). It's the sprouted tops of the cabbage plant after it has gone to seed and sprouted over the winter. Nutrient-rich is how I've seen it described. Many people (myself included, until now) don't realize that once it's flowered it's not only still edible, but also highly nutritious and tasty. I decided to make it for dinner with grilled shrimp and creamy portobello mushroom risotto.

After I marinated the shrimp and set it aside, I cleaned the raab thoroughly, dried it, and chopped it into bite sized pieces. I began making the risotto, as it takes the most time. When it was about half way done, I began sauteing some chopped onions and diced garlic in olive oil. I then dumped the raab into the skillet and turned it until it was wilted, then put the lid on to let it steam/saute for a bit. (I wanted to get the full taste of the raab, so I didn't use bacon or lard, but I probably will next time - just to kick it up one more notch.)

I put the shrimp skewers on the grill and continued with the risotto.

When the raab was tender, the shrimp cooked and the risotto finished off with melted Havarti cheese we were ready for dinner. Delish!

The raab was really good. Very similar to wild greens (mustard or collard) but not as bitter. Stacie thought the stems were a bit too fibrous for her taste, but I loved them. I might par-boil just the stems for a bit before sauteing next time to soften them.

Can't wait to see what's in this week's shipment.

KJT - Seattle (2010)

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12 April 2010

Anatomy of a Mess

So the kid likes to feed himself. Although the coordination is coming along, it's not quite there yet. And he's just discovering the joy of dangling food over the edge of the highchair tray, having the dogs get all squirrely, and then dropping it for them to fight over.

Good times!

KJT - Seattle (2010)

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05 April 2010

Braised Pork Belly

Took Sennet to his first Farmer's Market this past weekend. There are only a couple that are open year round. We went to the one in the University District, just to see what they had this early in the season.

Ended up picking up some fresh bread, fresh organic greens, farm fresh organic eggs, some herbed goat cheese, and the true find: a nice, thick pork belly.

Pork belly is the cut of meat that bacon comes from. The belly is sold in a block, before being cut, cured, or dried & aged for bacon. Fatty & beautiful.

The pork belly we bought came from
Wooly Pigs, a company that pasture-raises Mangalitsa pigs very near Seattle. Mangalitsa are an eastern European breed of pig known particularly for it's good lard. They are directly descended from wild boars. The owner of the company imported a heard of the Mangalitsa, and uses the Austrian techniques for raising and finishing the pigs. They are the only breeder of Mangalitsa in North or South America, and they are a member of the Mangalitsa Pig Breeder's Association of Austria. Wooly Pigs' Mangalitsa have been served in such restaurants as The French Laundry, The Herbfarm, and Michael Mina and The Four Seasons of San Francisco.

I learned all of this over the weekend. But what I really learned was that the Mangalitsa tastes great!

I rubbed some fresh garlic and spices & herbs onto the belly and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. I then braised it in the oven with some onions & red potatoes for several hours. When it was almost finished I braised the wild greens on the stovetop. Dinner was excellent - the pork belly savory with a lot of beautiful, clean, white fat. Almost had a foie gras flavor & texture. With a couple glasses of wine, it was wonderful.

Praise the Lard!

P.S. Sennet was already asleep when we ate, so didn't get to partake. But he does seem to be an adventurous eater, at least for now (we hear this will change). Over the last few days he's had tilapia, chicken, mac & cheese, scrambled egg, okra, sweet potato, broccoli, kidney beans, avocado, beets, peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, apples, peaches, bananas, strawberries, oatmeal w/ blueberries & Greek yogurt, cottage cheese w/ raspberries, and Cheerios. Right now we are trying to make almost all of his food - no little jars. Mostly steaming (if necessary) and then blending and saving in the freezer. Other things we just cut into bite size pieces and he chows them down.

KJT - Seattle (2010)

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