September 2009


Pears are now in season, or so my seckel pear tree informs me.  Every year at about this time it suddenly bursts forth with - you would think - more pears than one human being could eat before they go bad.  Every year I vow to preserve a portion of them somehow (pear butter, pear chutney, whatever) and every year I end up eating them out of hand.

Admittedly a big part of this problem is that my preferred pear ripening spot happens to be within arm's reach of my desk. You can just guess how THAT works out.

DIY Cheese and Yogurt

We're all looking for ways to save money and eat healthier, and surely this is why the sales of Ball canning jars are up 30% this year over last year!  I recently stumbled across some information on line on how to make your own cheese and yogurt, and I have decided to give it a try.

Why make your own?  Aside from being a fun and interesting science project, homemade yogurt lets you control all of the ingredients.  If you have bought flavored yogurt at the store recently, you may have noticed that the ingredients list is… a little scary.  Skip all the chemicals and weird preservatives, and just put a spoonful of jam into a bowl of your own homemade yogurt!  

Mmm... National Honey Month

Just thinking about sweet, sticky honey makes my mouth water. I’m a honey fiend, and will eat it on anything from toast to tea. All of my favorite cereals have honey in them, and lately I’ve been eating a teaspoon of delicious local, homegrown honey every day because a friend tipped me that it would help with my seasonal allergies. Has it helped yet? I’m not sure. If you’re doing the same thing and have some results to report, be sure to let us know!

But I don’t need allergies as an excuse to enjoy what I consider nature’s perfect food. In fact, honey has a lot of health benefits, including:

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of my favorite meals, and delightfully abundant in the Pacific Northwest.  (Although not as abundant as teriyaki.  We have a weird thing for teriyaki restaurants out here.  There are at least as many teriyaki restaurants as there are Starbuckses, and seriously that is not an exaggeration.  I think most Pacific Northwesterners would be befuddled by the lack of teriyaki shops in the rest of the country.  I had to live in Atlanta for a year, and the entire time I was there I did not find a single dedicated teriyaki restaurant.)

Can a Health Drink Really Be a Meal Substitute?

I am not a Vegan or even a vegetarian, can not claim to be a health-food junkie by any stretch of the imagination, and am not always into "green food". I live in Seattle, so it is unhip and unwise to admit to liking any food that a foodie or health-conscious person would not approve of, lest my contemporaries judge me too harshly for my unethical, unhealthy, or uneducated eating. I am not a gourmand, and have yet to appreciate the reasons why a small bottle of truffle oil should cost more than a large bottle of olive oil (unless it is due to a world-wide truffle blight which I am not aware of) or why the cheeseburger I had yesterday in Ballard cost me $13.

Fried Fair Food

It’s amazing the types of foods that most Americans will eat, especially the fair going ones.  It is even encouraged at most fairs such as the State Fair of Texas to have the “Big Tex Choice Awards” where fried foods are the winning entries.  This year at the Texas State Fair (and Puyallup Fair in Washington State), the rumors are true; they will be serving “Deep Fried Butter”.  The creator, Abel Gonzales came up with this fat and full of cholesterol fried food that consists of 100 percent pure butter that is light and fluffy and sweetened with several flavors then surrounded in special dough and deep fried.  To me that sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, I am curious to see if doctor visits go up after this years round of County and State fairs.

Labor Day: Pacific Northwest Style

I grew up in the Midwest, so a lot of my national holiday experiences were of such classic Americana that they veered dangerously close to Norman Rockwell idealism. When Labor Day rolled around in my Ohio town, hotdogs, hamburgers, ruffled potato chips and six-packs from the nearby Budweiser factory were basically compulsory. Aside from that last item, I don't have a problem with standard American grill fare, but sometimes a heart (and a stomach) wants something a little different. That's why I've decided to compile this Labor Day menu inspired by the best modern staples of my new home in the Pacific Northwest.