On an autumnal Seattle night, what to do with:
Dragon's tongue beans from Redmond PCC
Crunchy and gorgeous sweet peppers
Plump heirloom tomatoes
plus sunny zucchini, sunburst squash and shiny, regal eggplant?
Make ratatouille, of course!
Mixing together all that lovely produce, plus generous amounts of dried oregano, marjoram and a pinch of chili flakes.
This recipe for Express Ratatouille by PCC Cooks instructor Lesa Sullivan is a cinch. Save time by enlisting a friend to help you chop all that produce. I subbed a can of Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes since I forgot to pick up heirlooms and added some local, organic corn that I shaved from the cob. The house smelled wonderful as all those seasonings simmered and commingled on the stove. Even my meat-loving husband was happy due to the wealth of flavor within, though we think this would be marvelous with a side of grilled pork loin or a slab of baked halibut.
At the request of the Organic Trade Association, PCC played host last week to nine international food writers who traveled here to learn about organic food and the organic certification process in our country. The group hailed predmoninantly from Korea and China, and represented food and lifestyle publications that ranged from Marie Claire and Epicure to the Korea Daily and Kyunghyang Daily newspapers.
Our organic produce is ready for its close-up.
They also enjoyed a killer lunch from the Edmonds PCC deli! Here's the menu, just for fun:
- Roasted Thundering Hooves Grass-fed Top Sirloin With Chanterelle Bordelaise
- Pan Roasted Fraser River Sockeye with Thai Glaze and Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Grilled Local Sunburst Squash with Mint
- Local Organic Cheeses with Fig Balsamic Confiture
- Washington Riesling Poached Peaches with House-made Ginger Cookies
Yum! The deli even made the garnish: Those lacy, chocolate swirls!
Believe it or not, it's still summer until Sept. 23 this year. Thankfully, summer's bounty -- our autumn harvest -- will linger long into the darker days. Make the most of our remaining daylight with tender, organic summer squash, tomatoes and other treats on the grill! I go the simple route by lightly coating my veggies with oil and dusting them with a pinch of salt before grilling them quickly over high heat. How do you like to grill your produce?
After: Grilled tomatoes explode with flavor. This organic sunburst squash was mellow and lovely.
How to round out this meal? I just grill some wild salmon from our sustainable seafood department. Did you know PCC was the first full retail partner with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program? Pretty amazing.
Back to my grill I go! Grilled vegetables also add a wonderful flavor boost to salads and serve as a great appetizer alongside some good bread and some of our dips and spreads.
Co-op members: We're shifting our Fall Member Meeting one day forward to Wednesday, Oct. 27 at St. Demetrios Hall in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood. That's one extra day to whet your appetite for a sustainable, seasonal meal (served promptly at 5:30 p.m.), for conversation with fellow members and for interesting talks from representatives of three of our favorite producers: Theo Chocolate, Fidalgo Bay Coffee and Alaffia Sustainable Skincare, all based here in Washington. Reserve your spot by Oct. 19.
Last year's meeting in full swing.
Read even more details about the meeting here. It's going to be a great night!
Click here to learn more about how our member meetings work.
Not a co-op member? Here are some reasons you should really consider joining.
We're entering one of my favorite times of year in Western Washington, when produce departments, home gardens and farmers markets burst with organic, locally grown produce, from apples to zucchini. Just look at our Produce in Season chart for evidence!
Sun-dappled apples in the Yakima Valley.
Lon Inaba, enjoying some sun-drenched watermelon in one of his farm's fields. See the whole watermelon patch in this video.
Check out our Recipe Database for plenty of inspiration for all that farm-fresh produce you'll be lugging into the kitchen!
Many of us at PCC wear more than one hat. P.J. Cawley, produce coordinator at our Redmond store, is a prime example. It's not enough that he's a leader for staff and a font of knowledge for shoppers. No, now he's going to share his vast produce knowledge with all of you!
P.J. demonstrates how to look for the telltale golden spot of a melon that spent more time ripening on its vine.
Be sure to explore our whole series of fresh and easy how-to videos we've dubbed PCC Quick Bites. You'll find quick, helpful tips on topics including:
- How to select perfectly ripe watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydew and crenshaw melons
- How to know when an avocado is ripe, and, how to slice it
- The safest way to slice up watermelon for a fruit salad
- How to grind your own fresh peanut butter in our bulk department
Keep checking back, because here's a look at upcoming PCC Quick Bites!
- Which apples are best for a) eating out of hand b) cooking or c) baking?
- The right mushroom for each recipe
- How to select and slice fresh pineapple
- How to select a perfectly ripe mango
We welcome your suggestions! What would you like to learn about?
You know summer's near its glorious end when our gardens (and PCC's produce department) are overflowing with summer squash, especially our lean, green (and sometimes golden) favorite: zucchini. In this month's Sound Consumer we track down some fresh takes using this abundant, ubiquitous taste of summer. Find those great recipes here.
Put these babies to good use.
I've learned dozens of handy new cooking techniques from PCC Cooks classes I've taken, from how to make homemade ramen noodles to how to build layers of flavor within a perfect fall soup. I hope you'll treat yourself to a class this fall, whether it's learning to make holiday biscotti from scratch or any number of other delicious options. View the catalog here.
Making fresh ramen noodles from scratch.
There are too many interesting classes to list them all here, but don't miss your chance to learn:
how to maximize flavor with Cooking with Herbs and Spices
how to balance your energy through Food and Mood.
a delicious take on breakfast in Basics of Japanese Cooking
meals that will get you through these cooler months in Thai Comfort Foods
hearty, satisfying favorites sans the gluten in Gluten-free Southwest Comfort
which foods ease menopause and combat thyroid imbalance in Foods for a Healthy Hormone Balance
You can view our entire catalog of classes here. Happy cooking!
And if you can resist the urge to eat them immediately, check out this video to meet our peach grower, Bob Berryman of Twin Springs Farm, and learn a tasty new way to savor them!
Click the photo to reach our Video page.
If you're anything like me, you're hustling to make the most of these final glorious weeks of summer, cramming in a last camping trip, BBQ, picnic, bonfire, hike, sail, kayak, bike ride or open-water swim while the sun still shines. Don't forget that our Health and Body Care department offers abundant all-natural ways to keep bugs at bay during all your outdoor endeavors.
One favorite here at PCC Headquarters is All Terrain Herbal Armor, which contains five natural essential oils recognized by the EPA as repellents. It's also 100-percent DEET free (bonus!). Click here for my friend Lydia's extensive, helpful piece about all-natural repellents and the various properties of the essential oils within them. Or you can also click here to learn to mix up your own from scratch.