Stir-fry blog

PCC Podcasts: Get to know Becky Selengut, chef, author, blogger and PCC Cooks instructor

After work a recent crazy Tuesday, I found myself at peace in a classroom high above Greenlake PCC, dicing onions, chopping cilantro and peeling carrots as part of a fragrant PCC Cooks class called "Soup Making For Autumn." 

Chef Olaiya Land taught us to make a trio of soups and flavorful garnishes I'd proudly serve to any dinner guest. Even better, we devoured them at the end of class, despite it being nearly 80 degrees outside (fall will come soon enough, I remember thinking). I learned an easier way to chop onions and to save Parmesan rinds in the freezer to drop into my simmering soup kettle whenever I need an extra flavor boost. And, I discovered many of my classmates were PCC Cooks groupies, who consistently follow a particular instructor through each new season of classes, or who have taken classes with the Cooks program for years. Now I get it. 

The women behind our award-winning PCC Cooks program

In honor of PCC Cooks, we're starting up a new podcast series here on Stir-fry. Each month we'll bring you an interview with one of our PCC Cooks instructors that that sheds some light on how they came to love food.

We're kicking things off with Becky Selengut, a local chef, blogger, cookbook author (find the "Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook" on our shelves at PCC) and all-around fascinating person. Find her on Twitter as @chefreinvented or at her blog.

Flash Player 9 or higher is required. Download it now.

More about: PCC Cooks

Greetings from the Ames Creek Farm tour!

I made the drive to Carnation around lunchtime Saturday, reveling in the sun soaking we received this weekend as the strip malls gave way to evergreens and then glacial valleys. Was it just me, or did the sun seem to saturate any exposed surface with its vibrant glow -- a last burst of summer before fall arrives full force? In any event, what a delightful day to take in Ames Creek Farm as part of this year's farm tour.

Hayrides through fields of squash, green beans and more.

A crowd gathers for PCC Cooks demonstrations, corn on the cob and fresh produce for sale

Hogs in the sun.

Acorn squash ripening under our watch.

The view across the squash leaves.

A party ain't a party without the Kid Picks Mobile!

Delicious veggie quesadillas in-the-making by Patty Pan Grill

Ames Creek is one of three Northwest farms preserved for future agricultural use by the PCC Farmland Trust, an independent, community-supported (thanks to you!), non-profit land trust. The goal is to keep farmers farming land far into the future using sustainable, organic growing methods. 

  • The 97-acre Delta Farm in Sequim, farmed by Nash's Organic Produce
  • The 174-acre Bennington Place Farm in Walla Walla, farmed by Thundering Hooves, a grass-fed meat operation
  • The 178-acre Ames Creek farm in Carnation, farmed by Full Circle Farm, Growing Things Farm and Children's Garden Farm

It feels good knowing at least some land out there is sacred. After all, remember what it produces: 

Welcome, fall.

 

More about: agriculture, Ames Creek Farm, community, PCC Farmland Trust

PCC named Washington state's most sustainably minded retailer!

We're not big on tooting our horn at PCC. But some news is just too good to not share. Like learning last night PCC Natural Markets is Washington State's most sustainably minded retailer of 2009! 

PCC won in the retail category of the Green Washington Awards, sponsored by Seattle Business Magazine, for demonstrating leadership, innovation and commitment to sustaining the environment.  Last year, we were runner up to a fellow co-op you may have heard of: REI. 

A panel of judges reviewed 147 award applications for this year's honors. You can read even more about our efforts in our monthly Focus on Sustainability feature here. Click here and here and here to read about other recent honors regarding our sustainable seafood, recyclying endeavors and more.

We share this award with you, our members and shoppers. We appreciate all those times you bring your own bag, your shared interest in treading lightly on the planet, your passion for sustainable foods and products.

Congratulations to all 2009 Green Washington Award winners! 

  • Retail: Yours truly
  • Manufacturing: Kenworth Truck Co.
  • Academic & Health Care Institutions: Seattle Community College District
  • Services: Gordon Trucking Inc.
  • Utilities: Puget Sound Energy
  • Building: McKinstry
  • Non-Profit: Climate Solutions
  • Natural Resources: Healing Hooves LLC
  • Technology: Talyst Inc.
  • Special Mention: Woodland Park Zoo

 

 

 

 

More about: sustainability

This week at PCC: Farm tour, wine tastings and more!

Make the most of the upcoming sunshine with a multitude of events going on around the region!

TAKE A HAYRIDE, enjoy live music and shop for farm-fresh organic produce at the annual PCC Farmland Trust Harvest Festival, part of the King County Harvest Celebration Farm Tour, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at Ames Creek Farm (27307 N.E. 100th St. in Carnation). Join us for tours of the farm, cooking demos with PCC Cooks instructors and taste tests at the Kid Picks Mobile. For directions to this free event visit pccfarmlandtrust.org. For info on other farms participating in harvest celebrations, visit king.wsu.edu.

MEET A PCC BOARD MEMBER en route to the farm tour. A board member will be at PCC Redmond from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 26.

DISCOVER different wines in our collection at our wine tastings. Thursday, Sept. 24 it's a selection of our favorite organically and biodynamically grown wines at PCC Edmonds and Issaquah. The same night at PCC Fremont we'll share some of our favorite wines to go with pizza. On Friday, Sept. 25 explore Spanish wines at PCC Redmond. All tastings run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Cost is $5 per person, paid at the door. Your tasting fee includes 1-ounce pours of each wine offered. RSVP at 206-547-1222 or email winetastings@pccsea.com.

HELP the hungry by joining the food packaging work party at University District Food Bank (1413 N.E. 50th, Seattle) 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23. Help package bulk foods purchased with PCC Food Bank Program donations from PCC shoppers like you. Contact Community Relations at 206-547-1222 or email communityrelations@pccsea.com for more information.

CATCH THE KID PICKS MOBILE so your children can taste test a variety of healthy foods at the Ames Creek Farm Tour Sept. 26 or at the Issaquah Soccer Club's micro soccer games Friday, Sept. 25 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Klahanie Park (25000 S.E. Klahanie Blvd., Issaquah). For more on the league visit issaquahsoccerclub.org.

LEARN MORE about the benefits of fairly traded items. We're holding two Rewards of Fair Trade events where you can speak to vendors and sample fair trade products, including coffees from Fidalgo Bay Coffee, teas from Honest Tea and chocolates from Fremont's own Theo Chocolates. Stop by the patio at Edmonds PCC 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 or the patio at Fremont PCC 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4.

More about: community

One easy recipe for late summer's bounty

Stumped on what to do with all the great local produce this time of year? Need a fresh, crunchy salad as a side to a heavier dish? Have I got the solution for you! This super simple PCC Summer Vegetable Salad, developed by our PCC deli.

The ingredients, seated above on my kitchen counter:

  • 3 chopped English cucumbers
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 diced yellow pepper
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1 pint chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch chopped green onion
  • 1/2 pound cubed Israeli feta cheese
  • 1/2 bunch chopped parsley (I prefer Italian)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine prepared vegetables and cubed Israeli feta in a large bowl. Mix lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with vegetables and salt and pepper.

We enjoyed it last night with Swedish meatballs and rice. Good stuff.

More about: salad

Natural relief from sinus pain

I hope your family and friends aren't suffering as much as mine. These past few weeks it seems every other person I run into is dealing with some sort of sinus pain (myself included). Maybe it's the changing seasons, or the changing pollen count. In search of some relief, I chatted with Kibby, one of our health and beauty care merchandising specialists (click here to learn more about our standards for what we stock in this department). Here are some of her suggestions: 

  • Try nasal irrigation (fun name, ancient tradition). Kibby says she know it sounds gross, but also that it really works. Rinsing the nasal passages with warm, salty water via a neti pot (that's one above) or other delivery system supports the natural cleansing function of the mucous membranes and helps clears nasal congestion and particulate matter (pollen and such) from the nose. Still nervous? Even Oprah has featured neti pots on her show.
  • PCC carries a wide range of herbs and herbal supplements called for in natural remedies long-reccomended for sinus pain. Sometimes, something as simple as a steaming cup of peppermint tea can help matters. Click here, here and here for more labor-intensive remedies. 

And, here's a handy list of natural nasal sprays and sinus-pain relief you'll find at PCC:

Hope this helps! I'm off to try some of these for myself.

 

Happy anniversary West Seattle PCC!

So nice to see so many of you at West Seattle's anniversary party last weekend! The turnout was even bigger than we expected and we were thrilled so many of you got to enjoy barbecue, cake and lemonade as our little thank you for shopping with us!

                                   Kathy from Edmonds preps free burgers for a crowd (photos by our own Janice Parker) 

                                                                                 Hungry shoppers!

                            PCC Board members Maggie Lucas (left) and Stacey Donahue serve up anniversary cake

   PCC Cooks instructor Birgitte Antonson demonstrates how to cook Falafel with Tahini Dressing and Israeli Salad

Anyone have any West Seattle memories to share? Please leave a comment!

 

 

 

More about: community

This week at PCC: Celebrate 20 years in West Seattle with cake and BBQ!

It looks to be a warm, gorgeous weekend. If you're anywhere near West Seattle PCC on Sunday, come celebrate our store's 20th anniversary! We'll be out there from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 13 with a free barbecue, cake, PCC Cooks mini classes and product samples. Click this Web page for more details, and hope to see you there!

Early shot of West Seattle PCC, our sixth store, which opened in 1989. Remember 1989? That was when Ken Griffey, Jr. started playing for the Mariners the *first* time, the Kingdome still stood, Washington celebrated 100 years of statehood and Seattle became one of the first cities to start curbside pickup of newspaper, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass bottles and office paper.

CELEBRATE with Seattle Tilth at the nonprofit's annual Harvest Fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at Meridian Park, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. in Seattle. What you'll find: tasty treats, urban livestock, workshops on growing and preserving food and live music, along with the Kid Picks Mobile, the PCC Farmland Trust and PCC Cooks. Visit seattletilth.org/events for details.

BRAG that you helped raise more than $11,000 for local nonprofits by taking part in our Grillin' & Chillin' community barbeques at PCC Edmonds and Redmond over the summer! Click here to see where it all went.

                                                                       Daniel, modeling a tasty meal

LEARN new twists on back-to-school recipes from PCC Cooks Chef Lynne Vea on KING 5 TV's  “Gardening With Ciscoe” show Saturdays at 10 a.m. And check out our new PCC video library for additional cooking inspiration. This week: Zucchini Parmigiana.

CONGRATULATE our latest customer service star, Roxanne Green of PCC Redmond. Roxanne is Health and Beauty Aids Coordinator with vast knowledge to share and an unbeatable smile!

SAMPLE new products on your next shopping trip. Visit our store demos page to learn what's happening at a PCC near you this weekend.

More about: community

Guess how much you raised for your community by Grillin' & Chillin'?

For all those who feel powerless to make a difference in the community, just look at how much you helped by choosing to eat dinner at PCC over the summer. The $3 we donated from each meal purchased at our Grillin' & Chillin' community barbecues (plus any additional donations you shared) have added up to more than $11,000!

That's $11,000 that will go to help six nonprofit community organizations in or near Edmonds and Redmond toprovide therapy, house those in transition, celebrate the arts and community, help young people and feed the hungry: 

Thank you so much for your support!

More about: community

PCC Profile: West Seattle produce lead bakes up decadent wheat/dairy/egg-free cookies

UPDATE: Chew-E-Core cookies now are available at all PCC locations!

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It was holiday season 2006 (that super windy winter) and Jon-Paul Pachenker decided to make some candy for his friends. But the ingredients he combined to create a roca-like sweet (coconut, cranberries, walnuts, chocolate and honey) turned out more like a cookie than anything else. And a good cookie at that. 

His friends liked the chewy texture, the sweet-yet-not-too-sweet flavor, the dip of chocolate. Over time he realized that, beyond tasting good, his creation happened to be wheat, dairy and egg free. A friend talked to her boss at Seattle's Caffe Vita, which agreed earlier this year to sell them. And so began Chew-E-Core, his cookie venture. He calls it "the holiday every day cookie" -- why enjoy something so satisfying only during the holidays? 

That's Jon-Paul below with a cookie jar left empty by Chew-E-Core fans at Seward Park's Caffe Vita. The produce lead at West Seattle PCC bakes each batch of cookies at Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center, where another friend arranged with the owner to give him commercial oven access (see the benefits of being friendly?). Full Tilt has even made a Chew-E-Core ice cream on occasion, he says.

Where can you find Chew-E-Core? At all four Seattle Caffe Vita locations (including Seward Park, just across the street from Seward Park PCC, at Full Tilt and at Red Cup Espresso in West Seattle. Sadly, Jon-Paul's small batches (roughly 150 per week) are too small to fully supply PCC quite yet. But hopefully in the future. 

Jon-Paul was born in New York but grew up in south Seattle. He's worked for PCC more than seven years now, first at Seward Park and now in West Seattle. "I like the people that work there," he says. "PCC is the kind of place where artists and musicians and free-thinkers would rather work."

Like so many fellow PCC employees, he plays in a band: He's the drummer for the Blank Its, a local punk-rock group. How he also manages to find time to bake between work and band amazes me, but it's nice hearing of all the support and encouragement he's received at work from co-workers and bosses. Of course, it's always smart to praise a baker: Maybe they'll share the cookies ;) 

Another good thing coming in the future, Jon-Paul says: A peanut butter/banana version of Chew-E-Core!

More about: community, desserts, gluten free, West Seattle

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