Stir-fry blog

Summer's finally here: Make an ice cream float!

I still remember feeling like a genius the first time I deviated from the standard root-beer-and-vanilla-ice-cream float combo back in elementary school and paired rainbow sherbet with Orange Crush: YUM! Twenty years later, it's still fun to concoct new floats, especially with the wealth of high-quality, all-natural ice creams and carbonated beverages at our disposal. With PCC Chef Lynne Vea leading the way, I knew we couldn't go wrong. Check out this float demonstration we did yesterday (click the picture) on KING5's "New Day Northwest":

That voluptuous float above? A refreshing combo of Ciao Bella blood orange sorbet, Coconut Bliss "Naked Coconut" coconut milk ice cream,

fresh fruit and Reed's Double Ginger ginger brew. Fantastic!

Doing this segment brought to mind a wealth of other combo ideas (rhubarb Dry Soda and strawberry gelato, anyone?). What are some of your favorite float combos? I also learned just how you make real ice cream look good on live television: sccop in advance and re-freeze!

Sorbet and coconut milk ice cream, getting ready for the limelight.

More about: dairy alternatives, desserts, frozen, ice cream

Videos! Kid Picks on Facebook! Podcasts!

Hope your July 4 was a blast. For us at PCC, it's another sign that we're in our high season of events and fun. Here's an update on all the new ways to join in! And don't forget to check our events page for all the great happenings, from wine tastings and summer parades to fund raisers and bike drives.

PCC Kid Picks is now on Facebook and Twitter! Now you'll always know where the Kid Picks Mobile will be next, along with updates on product tastings and fun photos from events, like the Pride Parade and Kirkland Half Marathon. One of my favorites: Watching the Kid Picks Mobile get a soapy bath:

It takes a lot of elbow grease.

Producer Profile Videos are back! Ricardo, our social media guru, and I are traveling around the region to share the stories of some of your favorite local PCC producers. We launched the series with with a trip to Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream in Maltby, Wash. Did you know their butterfat content is around 19 percent? To compare, most premium ice creams are around 14 percent. No wonder it's so decadent.

PCC Farmland Trust has a new website! And it's a beaut. Now it's even easier to see all the great work they've done preserving local organic farmland. Did you know that the purchase of certain PCC products (including Choice Organic Teas, Talking Rain sparkling water and the Farmland Trust Vegetable Platter from our Deli) sends even more money to their farmland fund? Check this page to see how you can help on your next shopping trip. 

Have you listened to a PCC Podcast? We have a selection of audio stories from PCC Cooks instructors, the Cascade Harvest Coalition and more. Have a listen and learn more about topics such as eating organics on a budget, the history of food policy, and how some of our chefs first learned to cook.

More about: community, Kid Picks, PCC Farmland Trust, podcasts

Local soapmaker donates organic soap to clean Gulf seabirds

We're so proud of local soapmaker Ballard Organics Soap Company. Chief executive Ben Busby-Collins is donating a thousand bottles of his certified-organic soap to the Gulf oil spill relief effort, where it will be used by environmental groups to clean oil-soaked seabirds.

"It's just astounding the volume of oil they're having to deal with in this disaster," Ben told told KOMO4 TV this week. And a tip of the hat to the neighborhood blog My Ballard, which reported it first.

We've known Ballard Organics soap was good stuff for quite some time. PCC was its first retail partner, and we sell its soap in each of our nine locations and even offer it in each store's restroom. It's free of animal products, synthetic fragrances, artificial preservatives and dyes -- meaning fewer chemicals against your skin each and every day.

More about: community, health and body care products

Using my noodle: A PCC Cooks Homemade Chinese noodle class

I've long admired those who knead and cut and stretch their own noodles. It's downright mesmerizing to hear the dough thud and thwap against a floured counter, then watch it s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out between two confident, floury hands, like this amazing noodle man.

But we didn't do too shabbily at all at last night's PCC Cooks Homemade Chinese Noodle class, taught by Christina Chung.

Handmade golden needle noodles, baby! We incorporated them into a most delicious vegetable stir-fry.

One fascinating thing about noodles is how few ingredients they require: Typically some type of flour, salt and a bit of water. How could something so tasty be so simple? 

Mixing up dough for the ramen.

Jared stretching the ramen dough.

Cutting and twisting the ramen.

Those noodles eventually became this, a fresh, tasty salad with curry-sesame sauce!

We rolled each "needle" noodle from a pea-sized blob of dough between our palms.

The jade drop noodles -- tiny smidges of pasta flavored with spinach juice -- were fun to make. Just drop the batter through a strainer into boiling water.

Here's the tasty result, which, when added to our mushroom and tofu soup, gave it a gorgeous glow.

Even making the garnishes was fun. We used cutters (in the arsenal of any bento box maker) to shape the carrots just-so.

Some were shaped like cherry blossoms; I dubbed these marigolds.

Handmade noodles are time consuming, but totally worth it for their delightful flavor and unbeatable texture. Can't wait to see what future classes Chef Christina has up her sleeve!

More about: noodles, PCC Cooks

PCC Farmland Trust: Dine out and help preserve organic farmland

The good folks at PCC Farmland Trust sure have had a busy spring. First, they unveiled a brand-spanking new website! Next, they added the 100-acre Orting Valley Farms in the southern end of the fertile Puyallup Valley to the list of local organic farmland they've helped preserve from development for furture generations. Wanna know how they make this happen? Your generous donations. And now they've cooked up another delicious way to help.

Celebrate one of the best times of the year in the Northwest -- the arrival of the Summer Solstice -- with a delicious, four-course prix fixe meal of locally derived foodstuffs 6 p.m. June 22 at Emmer & Rye restaurant atop Seattle's Queen Anne hill (that's chef Seth Caswell to the right). It's the latest Local Chefs for Local Farms dinner in a series that launched at Tilth earlier this year. Tickets are $125 per person (not including tax and tip) and all proceeds support PCC Farmland Trust's Future Farm Fund to purchase organic agricultural easements. Call 206-282-0680 for reservations.

Can't make the dinner? Here's another fun way to help: Sip some wine. Since 2007, Powers Winery of Kennewick, Wash., has donated $2 from each bottle of its Chardonnay and Cabernet sold at PCC to the Farmland Trust -- nearly $50,000 so far. In April alone you helped raise $1,570, proof that it's a good thing to drink great wine! Not sure what was going on in April, but Washington's organic farmland thanks you for slaking your thirst at PCC.

More about: PCC Farmland Trust

Watch a little girl live her cooking-show dream on "Gardening With Ciscoe"

If Saturday, June 5 turns out to be another brisk and rainy "Juneuary" day (and even if it's not) don't miss an especially great episode of "Gardening With Ciscoe" at 10 a.m. on KING-TV. Co-host Meeghan Black and PCC Chef Lynne Vea team up to cook some delightful Italian-inspired dishes with Ella, a local 6-year-old with a passion for food and cooking who is battling a type of cancer known as neuroblastoma.

Ella, admiring her handiwork.

As an avid cooking show fan, her wish was an appearance on Food Network and the chance to meet some of its stars. But her illness has kept her from traveling, and PCC is proud to have made at least some small part of her wish come true. PCC Cooks instructor Iole Aguero also provided Ella a hands-on cooking class (with several of her friends!) last Friday at PCC Edmonds. You can read about her day here. We're thrilled that Ella has been treatment-free for two months and has been able to attend school part-time. May she find many more adventures in the kitchen!

More about: Ciscoe, community, Lynne Vea, PCC Cooks

One hundred miles, nine PCC stores, one day

Rain couldn't dampen their enthusiasm. Neither could 18 flat tires, one broken derailleur and a 12-plus hour journey over 100 miles. The nearly 20-member crew of PCC's third Tour de Neuf managed to visit all nine co-op locations by bike on Memorial Day! And what a day it was.

The crew, led by organizer extraordinaire and PCC Fremont assistant store director Layton Wakatsuki (far left), posing in the parking lot of the newly remodeled Issaquah PCC, the tour's official start.

The ride itself was just one aspect of this logistical challenge. The day began at 7 a.m. at PCC Fremont, where the crew loaded a rented truck with bikes, then piled into rented vans for the trip to the starting point: PCC Issaquah. They (and a pair of support vans piloted by customer service manager Mimi Simmons and Jeff Johnson from PCC Fremont's produce department) journeyed from there to Redmond, Kirkland, Edmonds, Greenlake, View Ridge, Seward Park, West Seattle and finally, many hours later, Fremont.

Check out that form!

A shoutout to PCC Cooks on the jersey of Craig Scheak, husband of PCC Cooks manager Marilyn McCormick.

And on the back as well!

The crew was beset with repairs throughout the journey -- 18 flats total! Ouch. That's enough to fly through anyone's backup supply, hence, the group bought six extra tubes at one point during the day.

Wet weather made for a soggy ride early the day. Rain = soggy shoes. Thank goodness for this afternoon sunburst!

A contingent of the determined crew. From left: Alana Anderson, Esther Gorsuch, Dylan Hendricks and Jacqui Levy of PCC Fremont and in the yellow, Rachel Marcotte of PCC Edmonds.



More about: fitness, PCC Cooks

Where's the grass-fed beef? At PCC

There's a lot to like about grass-fed meats: Higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids; Less fat; Delicious flavor; Cattle and sheep eating a diet their bodies were designed to eat. At PCC we offer 100-percent grass-fed meats from Thundering Hooves in Walla Walla, Wash. (find it fresh at PCC Fremont, with more locations to come, and frozen all stores for now),  Eel River Organic Beef from northern California and Umpqua Valley Lamb of Oregon. 

Our PCC crew headed to KING 5 TV's studios Wednesday to talk (and cook) grass-fed beef on New Day Northwest. It was great fun being a fly on the wall as the broadcast came together.

Sven, our meat merchandiser, shares his favorite cut of beef: a hefty bone-in rib steak.

PCC Chef Lynne Vea mixing up ground grass-fed beef with carmelized onoins for moisture. She pre-cooked the burgers to medium rare so that they'd finish cooking quickly during the show's cooking segment.

                   Ever wonder how to perfectly form a burger? Roxanne's dainty hands form these lovely patties with a biscuit cutter (note: I'm so entranced by this I can't get my finger out of the lens!).

Lynne is an amazing cook, a lovely person, and highly skilled at making things look wonderful on television. Here's some of her handiwork for the show. Check out some of her past work.

Dress-rehearsal in the studio. Wednesday's show also featured violinist Regina Carter, reps from the Salvation Army spreading word of a giant food packaging party for Haiti this weekend and much, much more!

See the finished video here! Catch New Day Northwest weekdays at 11 a.m. on KING5, and don't miss PCC's segments every other Wednesday. Coming up: PCC talks summer sun protection. Not that we would know anything about the sun on a dreary day like today...


More about: grass-fed beef, lamb, Lynne Vea, pastured meat and dairy

Party for a cause: Fundraiser for the UW Student Food Cooperative

In a town of beloved co-ops, there's always room for one more. So we're excited that University of Washington students are launching their own food cooperative to ensure a supply of healthy and organic prepared foods within easy reach. Even better, much of it is grown right on campus! The rest they hope to source from local farmers and artisans.

The crew celebrating the gift of life, otherwise known as Cedar Grove Compost. (all photos courtesy of UWSFC)

Right now, they need seed money (pun intended) to buy a food cart to better distribute the goodness. Join them for a fundraiser dinner and dessert auction (plus live music and dance performances!) 6 p.m. Saturday, May 29 at OmCulture, 2210 N. Pacific St. in Seattle, right near Gasworks Park. Tickets are $11 for students and $18 for the general public (visit Brown Paper Tickets to buy them in advance) or $15 for students/$22 general public at the door. 

The UW farm in full swing last summer.

Help them get their start.

Free fun this weekend at PCC

Where will the Kid Pick Mobile turn up next? Connect with Kid Picks on Facebook and you'll always be in the know! For now, we'll give you some strong hints...

ENJOY HEALTHY SNACKS at the Girls on the Run 5K, 10 a.m. Saturday May 22 at Seward Park. This run/walk is open to the comunity -- women, men, children, leashed pets and all-terrain strollers are welcome. Make sure the kids visit the Kid Picks Mobile for free healthy vittles.

FREE NUTRITION CLASSES at PCC Edmonds, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, May 23. PCC nutrition educator Leika Suzumura will use each 45-minute session to help parents provide the meals and snacks kids need to be their strongest. Enjoy delicious samples, hands-on activities and leave with information that will help feed the whole family. Kids, picky eaters and dedicated parents all welcome! Registration is not required, but you can call 206-547-1222 for more details. And yes ... you'll find the Kid Picks Mobile there, too!

HELP SEATTLE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL by buying Kid Picks-approved items at PCC. Through June 15, 5 percent (up to $10,000!) of all Kid Picks sales go to support the important work done at Children's. Click here to learn more about this Families Helping Families promotion and don't forget you can always consult our handy dandy Kid Picks Database!

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