Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We are having a very wet autumn here in the Pacific Northwest.  I have never seen anything like the amount of mushrooms we have growing in the front looks like the Smurfs moved in!

I understand that these pretty things are quite toxic, which is way too bad...wouldn't they be pretty on a pizza?



Monday, November 9, 2009

Soup for dinner on a blustery day...

A while back I posted a link to a recipe for a cheese and broccoli soup.  I've made this one a couple of times now and tweaked the recipe quite a here's my version:

Deb's Broccoli, ESRF* and Cheddar Soup:

Steam 2 large broccoli crowns until just tender, cool and chop into small pieces. Coarsely chop 3 slices smoked bacon and cook in a large sauce pan until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Discard all but 2 tsp. of the bacon fat left in the pan. Cook 1 cup chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in the remaining bacon fat until tender. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook until flour and fat are incorporated. Whisk in 3 cups chicken broth and cook over medium heat until soup thickens a bit. Add 8 ounces Velveeta and 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese that have been cut into cubes, a few cubes at a time, allowing them to melt before adding more. Stir in 1 1/2 cups half and half. Add a couple of pinches cayenne pepper , the chopped broccoli and the bacon and cook, stirring often until heated through.  Garnish with a pinch of cayenne pepper and serve with a crusty dinner roll.

This is definitely NOT lowfat good for you stuff... but a once in a while sitting next to the fireplace on a blustery evening treat....



* In his book "Food Rules" Michael Pollan refers to "Edible Substances Resembling Food...ESRF".  I think Velveeta definitely qualifies for that description...this is one of the rare times you will see me using something like this...but sometimes those old boxed mac and cheese genes just kick in.... : (

Friday, November 6, 2009

A quote for today....

I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness.
Adeline Knapp

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just a thought...

This is a bit off my usual topics for this blog, but, what the's my blog : )  We won't know until all the mail in ballots are counted, but it looks like Washington State's Referendum 71 is going to pass, which I believe is a very good thing. R-71will give equal rights to all registered domestic partners. I was reading some of the pros and cons in the local press and had a thought. I believe that what we need is a new definition of the word “marriage”.

I think we ought to define a “domestic partnership/civil union” as two adults who sign a contract making them equally responsible for all debts and giving them equal access to all all the other legal stuff that goes with with the condition formerly defined as “marriage”.

And let's define “marriage” as the blessing that a church/religious group bestows upon certain “domestic partnerships” according to each particular religion's specific beliefs.

It seems to me that this would uphold our nation's doctrine of separation of church and state and end a whole lot of squabbling over something that ought to be a given in this country; that all persons have equal rights under the law.

Just my two cents (whatever that's worth these days).



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pacific Northwest Bounty....

I stopped at our local "candy store" yesterday...Taylor Shellfish.  So last night it was oysters on the half shell with steak and salad.  And tonight, my favorite...steamed clams with saffron rice...

For the rice...
Heat 1/3 cup white wine (zap in a microwave 30 seconds), add 2-3 pinches whole saffron and allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup each chopped onion and green pepper; cook until softened, about 3 - 4 minutes.   Add 2/3 cup long grain white rice and stir until rice begins to slightly brown.  Add 2/3 cup chicken broth and the white wine and saffron.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for about 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft and fluffy.

For the clams...
Wash 3 pounds Manilla clams in 2 - 3 changes of cold water.  Place in large skillet and drizzel with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add 1 cup white wine, a lot of freshly ground black pepper, 2 - 3 cloves minced garlic and a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

 Cover and cook over medium high heat until clams open, about 10 minutes.  Discard any clams that do not open.  Serve clams and broth with saffron rice in a wide bowl with a salad and a lot of good crusty bread.  Serves 2 - 4 (depending on how hungry they are...serves one if it's Brian or Gerry :)

I like a nice Viognier with this (Walter Dacon Winery...right up the road from Taylor Shellfish :)


Taylor Shellfish

Walter Dacon Winery

Both have online stores....clams, oysters and wine...delivered right to your door for those who don't live near Shelton...