Puget Sound. No place like it on earth, especially when the sun shines, right? OK, true enough, but really, there’s actually nothing quite like all that rain we’re so (in)famous for. And really, when you slow your scurry between car and cover, when you un-hunch your shoulders, when you just walk, amble even, and breathe in all that cold, damp, rain – laden air…it’s damned fine. Nothing quite like this green, clean sliver between the vast, cold Pacific and the cloud-shrouded mountains, all wrapped in our inclement blanket.
And there’s nothing that sums it any better than an oyster – a Washington oyster, that is (although Vancouver Island will do, too). One small slurp of creamy, briny, meaty, delicate goodness. A morsel that tells the tale of an entire ocean, neatly encased in its barnacled package, the labor of shucking serving as a toll for the reward within. A bivalve code for the place between the expanse of an ocean and a sliver of beach. The place where tide meets river, salt meets sweet.
Late Spring and early Summer are the domain of Apollo and the fruits of the sun, while the harvest of Poseidon’s fields are at their briny best in late Autumn and early Winter. Ocean confit. Ripe little berries bearing the essence of the cold, salty, churning, mystery of the sea. What could be better than being inside, safe, warm, surrounded by friends, feasting on little nuggets of the treacherous cold deep? Mighty fine. And all the better, of course, with a fine bottle of Muscadet, sleek, lean, saline yet sweet as meadow grass and a kiss of clover honey. Or think Chablis, or Picpoul, Txakolina perhaps. Champagne (or a nice, crisp Blanquette de Limoux) will do nicely, too.
Take your pick… The world IS your oyster – all you need is an oyster knife (and a corkscrew).
It's happening, folks: a stretch of hot, sunny Seattle weather that's actually starting *before* the fourth of July. This is a rare event indeed, and calls for celebration on all fronts. We suggest the following fun ways to beat the heat!
1. Make homemade popsicles
My take on peach-raspberry popsicles ready to pop into the freezer!
Wondering what to do with all those strawberries you just picked, the organic blueberries you snagged at PCC, that swiftly ripening pineapple on your kitchen counter? Try these easy recipes from the Sound Consumer and swoon. For those of you who prefer step-by-step instruction, check out my attempt (and victory) here.
2. Make one of these three inventive ice cream sandwiches
Need we say more? Find the recipes here from our July issue of PCC Taste magazine, now available in all PCC locations.
3. Make a giant strawberry ice cream sandwich
Are those dainty ice cream sandwiches just too small for your liking? Try Chef Lynne Vea's easy recipe for a GIANT ice cream sandwich you can share with your neighbors.
4. Make a fresh rhubarb ice cream cake
Savor the last of spring rhubarb and our wonderfully sweet local strawberries with this lovely (and simple) dessert.
No matter what, from all of us at PCC, have fun getting your vitamin D this weekend!
It’s not that I don’t like chardonnay… It’s just that the mere word has about the same effect as “muzak” on my gray matter. It’s the Mantovani, the Kenny G, the Barry Manilow of grapes. Not to mention that there are a gazillion exciting, diverse, delectable, different other wonderful white wines to be had and enjoyed. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t lovely, terroir-driven chardonnays, but who really wants to listen to the same band or read the same writer over and over again, anyway?
Each year we post the 10 most popular recipes from our online collection. There are perennial favorites (like our PCC Emerald City Salad). But it's most fun to see which newcomers pop up.
Is your favorite on this list? I am partial to No. 5.
- Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing
- PCC Emerald City Salad
- PCC Perfect Protein Salad
- Steph’s Tofu
- PCC Sesame Quinoa with Edamame
- Kale Chips
- Black Bean and Yam Quesadilla
- Soba Noodle Stir-fry
- PCC Quinoa Tabouli
- Spice Scented Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
Here's a look at your favorites in 2011.
And, in 2010.
Happy cooking, and a very happy new year!
Pomegranates always appear just as gray skies and dark afternoons become routine again during the chilly months here in the Northwest, offering a rosy glow and a welcome sweet-tart burst of brightness during a season of root vegetables and sturdy greens.
Crisp, tart, beautiful.
Breaking into them needn't require ruining your shirt. Try this method to get at those plump, juicy seeds and you'll be ready to make any number of pomegranate recipes like:
- Satsuma and Pomegranate Salsa
- Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds
- Pomegranate Plum Reduction Sauce (to enjoy atop Whole Spice Crusted Moroccan Chicken, of course!)
- Pan-roasted Pancetta Wrapped Prawns with Pomegranate-Wasabi Reduction (ooh-la-la!)
Of course, you can always just eat them atop yogurt, add to a glass of bubbly for color and a hint of sweetness, or just spoon 'em up plain. After all, you earned them! Perhaps the challenge and mystery of breaking open a pomegranate is what launched them into lore and legend.
I first heard of chia seeds as something to eat from my running friends. Back in 2010 they raved about a book, "Born to Run," that hails these tiny powerhouses of nutrition as a mighty energy source.
Get your chia! Find it in the bulk section at PCC.
If you're as curious as I was, head into PCC's bulk department. Take home a handful or a sackful or organic chia seeds. Either way, try them. There's a reason you're hearing about them seemingly everywhere (including over the weekend in this New York Times article).
- Just 2 tablespoons of the tiny chia seed delivers 6 grams of soluble fiber and 4 grams of protein. Learn more about chia and other power super seeds (including hemp and flax) in this Ask the Nutritionist column by PCC Nutrition Educator Nick Rose.
- Chia seeds are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- They're easy to eat. Sprinkle atop your yogurt or oatmeal, add them to smoothies, slip into your breads and muffins, or add them to citrusy water (or watermelon or strawberry juice) for Chia Fresca. Or, try this recipe for granola with chia from PCC Chef Lynne Vea.
- PCC also carries Mamma Chia beverages -- chia fresca without the work.
- There's also this recipe from our PCC Community and a recipe for Chia Pudding from our Sound Consumer newsletter.
No, that's not pepper: it's chia seeds with my morning yogurt!
One tip: just like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and other favorite seeds, chia seeds have a tendency to get stuck between your teeth. Tuck a spool of dental floss in your bag and you'll be good to go.
How do you most like to enjoy them?
It's the final countdown! And as you gather recipes old and new for the big feast Thursday, don't miss our collection of gluten-free favorites.
- Try three complete gluten-free holiday menus (including a vegetarian option and ideas for those leftovers) here.
- Discover recipes for entrees, sides and desserts on Pinterest.
- Explore PCC's gluten-free foods selection (more than 1,800 items and counting!) with our online search.
For good measure, here's one of our favorite gluten-free sides. What are yours?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us at PCC!
Funny how some of the most wonderful flavors in the world are often also the most misunderstood. Flavors with character, the distinct accent of their particular home terre – and more soul than the waiting room in purgatory – flavors that have been unjustly tarred with bad press in the forum of conventional wisdom and that bear the ignominy of the of pseudo-sophisticate’s scorn.
I’ve had Beaujolais on my mind these days. New releases from some of the region’s best producers have been showing up in town almost weekly, and as our thirsts have been whetted, La Copine and I have had the opportunity to open a bottle or two. It’s been a treat, as always – one of those little pleasures that don’t cost a heckuva lot, but that provide a unique kind of loveliness that is beyond quantifying with any price tag.
Think ripe fruit. Not bursting with sugar ripe, but the almost tangy, vibrant flavor of berries or cherries when they’re at that solstice – like instant when sweet fruit, the earth it grew in and the sun that nourished it all seem to come together in a harmony so delicious that it’s best enjoyed at mezzo piano. Just enough volume to hear, the intrigue and allure of the flavors prompting you to open your senses and “listen” more intently.
Meanwhile, Beaujolais Nouveau is days away from making an appearance. Traditionally, this is the first red wine of the just completed vintage – and an opportunity to taste what a season in the vineyard has bestowed upon the region’s growers. Nouveaux or “primeur’ wines from honest, scrupulous growers can be lovely, youthfully bright expressions of the vintage that give a good idea of what the growers more “serious” wines will be like(although Nouveau from many of the region’s best growers are plenty “serious” in their own right).
Sadly, however, the good name of Beaujolais Nouveau – and the region in general -- has been trashed by the exploitation and marketing wizardry of Georges DuBoeuf, whose ersatz, factory-made, manipulated, wine-like product has come to virtually define the region by dint of its ubiquity. (If I were a Beaujolais grower, I’d lobby for M. DuBoeuf to be exiled for treason. Stripped of his French citizenship and given the boot. Adieu, pour toujours.)
But enough trash – talking. We’re here to talk about real wine. The nouveaux arrive today, and will vanish into waiting glasses before the year is done – but there’s plenty of gorgeous Beaujolais to be had year-round. And while great Beaujolais is delicious in any season, the contrast of its bright sunny fruit, with the smell of fallen leaves and the early dark and chill of an early evening is soul-warming. We’re thirsty now – and counting the minutes ‘til the day’s work is done…
Enjoy. Life is short – make every glass count!
We're off to a strong start in our efforts to get I-522, the GMO foods labeling initiatve, placed on the November 2013 ballot in Washington. Here's a quick update on where we stand, by the numbers:
- 150 plus = The number of PCC partners, including creameries, organic bakeries, restaurants, health and body care producers, chocolatiers, pasta makers, dairies, coffee roasters and so many more who have endorsed I-522 and support the labeling of genetically engineered foods. See them all here.
- 241,153 = The number of valid signatures backers of I-522 (hopefully, including you!) must submit to get the initiative on the November 2013 ballot.
- 50,000 = The number of signatures PCC wants to collect, with your help, in the month of October.
- $100,000 = The sum PCC contributed to the signature-collecting effort.
- 70 = Percentage of non-organic, processed foods that already contain some, or several, genetically engineered ingredients.
Learn more about I-522 and why we support it here. Want to sign a petition? Check this map for locations around Washington state or visit any PCC store. Want to get involved? Email us: GMOvolunteers <at> pccsea.com