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Food

Beet cross section
Spring 2018

Beets

Not everyone will love a beet, but it has long been a vegetable of love.

The deep red of a beet and its earthy sweetness speak to some people, who adore the vegetable in all kinds of dishes. Beets have a lot of healthy qualities, too, and even potential chemical uses in solar panels.

That’s not to say beets don’t have detractors. That same earthiness, produced by the substance geosmin, puts off some palates.

The beet—Beta vulgaris, also known as garden beet, blood turnip, beetroot, or red beet—was cultivated in ancient Greece and Rome, but there are stories of beets in the Hanging Gardens of … » More …

Plums
Fall 2017

Plums

Of all the fruit trees, it sometimes seems like the most common backyard resident is the plum. Whether you live in Lynden or Lind, if you don’t have a nearby plum tree, chances are you can find one. A neighbor might even give you a big bag of purple fruit.

Although apples, pears, and cherries dominate the commercial tree fruit of Washington, the state produces the second-most plums in the nation. To be fair, California commands that sector, with 97 percent of the plum market.

That doesn’t diminish the plum as a tasty addition to any homegrown suite of fruit. In fact, Washington … » More …

Plum cake
Fall 2017

Plum recipes

If you have great plum recipes, send them to us and we’ll post them here.

Read more about plums and how to grow them.

Plum Chutney

Yield: 2 pints

Ingredients

4 c. plums, seeded
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
¾ c. apple cider vinegar
1 c. seedless raisins
2 teaspoons salt
⅔ c. chopped Walla Walla sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. mustard seeds
3 Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
¾ tsp. chili powder

Directions

Combine sugar and vinegar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When the … » More …

Peas
Summer 2017

Yes, peas!

Fun facts and a recipe for fresh peas

Kids love peas—as long as you don’t make them eat them. (Eating fresh peas out of the garden is different.) The tiny spheres are fun to push around on your plate, and push off your plate, onto the floor, where the dog, faithful friend, eats them happily, thus relieving you of that onerous chore. Peas are hard to get on your fork, again because they’re spheres, which is why you don’t often get them in restaurants. Your waiter doesn’t want to see you struggling with your peas.

Peas are just another fruit. That’s right, your favorite fresh … » More …

Spring 2009

Yucatecan lentil soup recipe (Tim’s interpretation)

lard

medium yellow onion, chopped fine

large clove garlic, minced
(I actually use much more than this, but don’t want to scare people off)

2-3 slices of good thick bacon, chopped

a little Mexican oregano

1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce)

1 cup pardina lentils

large tomato, chopped, or 8 oz. canned chopped tomato

6 cups water

plantain

hard boiled egg

Melt a couple of tablespoons lard over medium heat in medium dutch oven. Cook onions and garlic until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Add tsp. or so of Mexican oregano and stir. Add mashed up pepper and … » More …

Spring 2017

Leeks

All Ray de Vries asks is that we enjoy leeks three times a day. The Skagit Valley farmer known as the Leek King is not being selfish, though. He’ll also tell you how to grow leeks so you can eat them all year round—and that everyone in the Pacific Northwest should grow them. “We’ve got the perfect climate,” he says.

The de Vries family got into leeks after Ray’s dad, Ralph, retired from dairy farming and planted a large produce garden. Ralph went to Seattle’s Produce Row and asked sellers what they needed. “We need leeks! As big as you can grow ’em!”

So that’s … » More …

“Pori”, or Leeks, Tucuinum sanitatis, 1380s, National Library of Vienna
Spring 2017

All about leeks

Leek Facts

The Central Asian home of leeks and the other alliums is a global Center of Diversity. Useful to both crop-plant breeders and conservation organizations, these centers were first proposed by Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov in the 1930s. Knowing where a plant’s wild relatives hail from enables breeders to bring new genetics into a line, or conservationists to work to preserve that area to ensure genetic diversity for the future.

Chemist Eric Block, author of Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, calls the Central Asian home of the alliums “a tough neighborhood” where plants must fend off insects and other … » More …

Fall 2016

Peaches

It’s just not a summer without them

Among the fruits of summer, one stands alone for its juicy sweetness, sunset colors, and soft fuzzy skin. There’s a reason we refer to good things as “peachy.” Washington’s fame may be apples, but peaches sit proudly next to them, as well as our pears and Rainier cherries at roadside stands and farmers markets.

The volume of other tree fruit grown in the state dwarfs peaches and their siblings, the fuzzless nectarines. According to the USDA, Washington produced 13,800 tons of peaches in 2015, compared to 3.15 million tons of apples and 340,000 tons of pears.

One reason … » More …

Asparagus and morels. Photo Bruce Andre
Summer 2016

Morels

Mysterious. Elusive. Delicious.

The smell of rain-soaked earth permeated the logged-over clearing in the woods in mid-May as my friend Mike and I peered closely at the ground and walked slowly. We were hunting mushrooms.

Mike’s more adept eyes spotted a cluster of light brown, honeycombed caps. He sliced the morel mushrooms with his knife. After a while we filled a small bucket, which we took back to Mike’s mom. She battered and fried them and, as a teenager in northeast Washington years ago, I had my first taste of the rich flavor of the wild Northwest mushroom.

Mike and I had likely picked Morchella … » More …

Wagyu cattle. Courtesy Jerry Reeves
Spring 2016

Fine beef

It was a beautiful sunny day in May when six WSU chefs, decked out in their white uniforms, stood on a hillside 1500 feet above the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, squinting to make out cows grazing on the steep terrain across the valley. Looking like little black dots on the massive hills, Jerry Reeves looked through his binoculars, suddenly pointing and exclaiming, “There they are! Can you see them?”

A retired WSU animal sciences professor, Reeves was giving the chefs, four from Dining Services and two from WSU’s School of Hospitality, a tour of his ranch and pastureland located less than an … » More …