Garden Gathering Saturday, April 23 in collaboration with Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department and the Snohomish County Conservation District. Events begins at 10am at the Karen I Fryberg Tulalip Health Clinic and includes a brief discussion on rain barrels and master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about your own gardens. There will be a giving away of vegetable starts from the greenhouse.
By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News
All photos by Niki Cleary
If you’re like me, you’re chronically short on time, so home cooked meals can be a challenge. Maybe you’re like a couple of my family members, you hate eating the same meal twice and will avoid it like the plague. If you’re frugal, the idea of good food going to waste just makes your blood boil. Enter the leftover makeover, and suddenly, everyone is happy.
The leftover makeover is all about planning ahead and being flexible. It starts at the beginning of the week with a foundation meal. If you read my last recipe article, “It’s too hot to cook,” you know I’m a bit of an amateur foodie. I’m also a huge believer in food activism. You don’t have to be an extremist to be an activist, by the way. In my opinion one of the best ways to affect change is to vote with your dollars.
Most of the food I buy and eat is local, and whenever possible, I buy it from people I know. I also purchase a produce box from a local organic farm every week. That said, I’m not afraid to pick up a handful of ingredients based on pure convenience. A bit of advice, don’t make health too difficult or you won’t stick with it.
Food is far more than nourishment, it’s a way to connect with the people around you. Most of the meals you see in the syəcəb didn’t happen at my house, they happened at my mom’s, or a friend’s. Why? Food is better when it’s shared with good company. Plus you can enlist the diners as prep cooks before the meal and dishwashers after (I love food, not dishes).
Making a meal that can be plated all at once takes practice. Don’t feel bad if you botch it. I do all the time. Trust me, the people eating will be just as happy to snack in courses as they will be when you hand them a full plate. You’ll get the hang of cook times the longer you cook.
Don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t know how to cook over live fire? Learn. Or just cook indoors, the broiler setting on your oven works like an upside down grill. If you see unfamiliar produce at the grocery store go ahead and buy it. Google it for recipes and maybe find a new favorite. Be flexible, it’s not brain surgery, just dinner.
The foundation meal: Salmon and salad
A foundation meal is like a ‘choose your own adventure,’ book. It’s just a starting point and the rest of the week’s menu can go anywhere from here. We’re starting with a fresh King Salmon caught right here in Tulalip Bay. Remember, support our local fisherman, they are a living link of our culture.
If you’ve eaten food cooked over a wood fire, then you know the rich flavor wood smoke adds. That said, I don’t cook over a fire, instead I buy salt. Not just any salt, but alder wood smoked sea salt produced by a company called Salish Saltworks.
We cooked our salmon on a Weber grill, over indirect heat. Because this is a large fish, we had to cook the halves one at a time, for about 30 minutes each. Indirect heat (notice the coals aren’t directly beneath the fish), allows the meat to cook more evenly. Large cuts of meat cooked over direct heat tend to be burnt on some areas and raw in others. The grill should be hot, about 400-450 degrees.
Salmon is tasty. It really doesn’t need much to dress it up. In this case I coated it evenly with smoked sea salt and pepper and topped it with butter. I use Plugra which is a European style butter. Why? Because America’s Test Kitchen gave it great reviews, and sometimes I totally buy into the marketing. Plus, I think it tastes good. Each fillet is cooked for about 30 minutes, no need to flip the fish, just leave it alone.
Remember when your mom used to yell at you for opening the door because, “You’re letting the heat out!” Same principle. Every time you raise the lid on the grill or open your oven door you let the heat out and extend the cooking time. Be patient, what’s the worst that happens, you burn it? Trust me, it’s still tasty, just add some cayenne pepper on the backside and call it ‘cajun’ blackened salmon.
For a quick side I chopped some red peppers and apples and tossed them over a bed of mixed greens. A healthy meal definitely needs something decadent, so I went to the freezer. Anytime I make cookies, I make a double batch and freeze half the cookie dough.
The cookies pictured are adapted from a Quaker oats recipe for cowboy cookies (http://stage.www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipe/cowboy-cookies.aspx). Since I’m not fond of raisins and chocolate together, I cut the raisins out. I use real butter, and reduced the sugars from 1 cup each to ¾ cup each. You can generally reduce sugars by ¾ to ½ without affecting the texture, but be aware, the cookies don’t brown as quickly. Pay attention or you’ll overcook them. Of course, if you’re like me, crispy cookies are even better, so, who cares if they get overcooked? Break out the milk or coffee, dip them and enjoy anyways.
As soon as you’ve eaten, prepare your salmon for the following meals by flaking it (peel it apart with your fingers and pull out all the bones), then packing it up and freezing immediately. You have two hours from safe temperature (off the grill) to refrigeration. Food safety is one of the few places where I am a fanatic. Process your leftovers immediately or just throw them away. Don’t risk food poisoning. It’s not worth it.
It’s okay to put it in the fridge and pack it the next day, but better to freeze it the same day you cook it. My rule of thumb is that meats are good for about six days total. Three days from the time you buy it to the time you cook it and an additional three days after you cook it. However, you can keep meat in the freezer for about 1-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge prior to use.
Meal 2: Salmon tacos
Even if you didn’t remember to thaw your frozen cooked salmon the night before (I didn’t, as usual), you can toss the freezer bag into a bowl of cold water and it will thaw in about 30 minutes. While your salmon is thawing, chop veggies. These will end up in your tacos, so pick stuff you like.
I have some general rules I follow when making tacos. I rarely use lettuce, I choose cabbage instead. Why? Lettuce is a pesticide heavy crop and cabbage isn’t. Cabbage also tends to be less expensive and it’s crunchier. As for the other toppings, I’ve almost always got bell peppers on hand during the summer, I love cilantro, and lime, so that’s what I chopped. This week we also received pluots in the produce box, a pluot is a hybrid between a plum and an apricot. It tastes like a plum, but slightly sweeter. I diced those up too. A little fruit added to something savory just takes it to the next level. Trust me, it works. Don’t be shy with the veggies, any extra will be repurposed later this week.
Finally, I’m prejudiced against microwaves. I don’t actually own one anymore and I find that I rarely miss it. Instead of nuking your tortillas, toss them directly on the burner over low heat (if your burner has settings from 1-10, that’s generally a 2 or 3). The tortillas end up flexible and the char marks add flavor. Want tostadas? Just cook them until they’re crunchy instead of flexible.
Now that all your toppings are prepared, and your salmon is thawed, toss it in a skillet along with whatever seasonings you love. If you were hoping for specifics, sorry, I don’t measure unless I’m baking. I do toss my spices in a bowl, mix and taste before I add them to the food. In this case I used garlic powder, chili powder, salt, paprika, black pepper and a little bit of allspice. Trust me on this, the allspice doesn’t taste sweet in small amounts, and it plays well off the pluots.
Now that everything is done, heat your tortilla’s and assemble. Eat. Repeat.
Meal 3: Chicken tenders, stuffed jalapenos, pasta and fruit salad
You’re probably wondering, where is the salmon? It’s in the freezer, we’ll use it tomorrow. Tonight we’re taking the leftover veggies from our tacos and turning them into homemade pico de gallo or fresh salsa. Size matters. The finer your ingredients are chopped, the more surface is exposed and the more the flavors pop. This salsa is made from finely diced red and yellow bell peppers, garlic scapes (which taste like a cross between green onions and garlic, what can I say, my mom has a lot of random ingredients in her fridge), roma tomatoes that have been seeded (slice them into quarters and scrape all the wet stuff out) and diced, juice from about half a lime and the same spices we used on tacos yesterday. Cover this and let it sit out at room temperature, cold food doesn’t have as much flavor as warm, so unless there’s a food safety reason, I don’t refrigerate before serving.
Once the the pico de gallo is done, we need to light charcoal for the grill. Everything being cooked today is actually grilled, which means high heat and short cook time. Barbecue has become a general purpose term, but it actually means low heat and long cook time. So for future reference, grill = hot and fast, BBQ = low and slow.
Stuffed jalapenos are up next. First, slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and seed them. Fill each with a small rectangle of pepper jack cheese, top with pico de gallo and sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Then set them aside. We’ll grill them as soon as the coals are ready.
Now we’re going to get some pasta underway. Here’s where convenience rules over principles. Instead of making it from scratch, I opened a box, in this case the box is Kraft Suddenly Salads (pasta) classic flavor. Prepare according to the box instructions and if the mood strikes you, add pico de gallo or veggies of your choice to the finished pasta.
Time to prep the chicken. We used chicken tenders because they cook quickly. I basically rolled the chicken in olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Done. There’s so much flavor going on in this meal, you don’t need extravagant chicken too.
For desert today we have fruit salad. I chose peaches and blueberries because both are still in season and yummy, I added bananas to cut the acid and sweeten it, then tossed it all with juice from about half a lime. No sugar needed.
The peppers cook on the grill for about 3-5 minutes at about 450 degrees. Once they come off, put the chicken on. The chicken only needs 2-3 minutes per side. When in doubt, stab it with a knife. The juices should run clear, if it’s still bleeding, toss it back on the grill.
I’m lucky, my mom lets me invade her kitchen often. Prior to this meal I gave her a call and asked if she’d make deviled eggs. She said yes and the deviled eggs were done before I started cooking. Deviled eggs, by the way, are super easy, a great way to use eggs when they approach the expiration date and can be easily turned into egg salad sandwiches the following day (if there are any leftover, which there never are at our house).
The leftover fruit salad can become a breakfast smoothie. Leftover chicken can be sliced in half for chicken sandwiches at lunch. Save your leftover pico de gallo for tomorrow. All leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as you’re done serving today’s meal.
Meal 4: Salmon burgers
Now it’s time to throw all those leftovers together. It’s the end of the week, so this is the simplest meal of the bunch. Toss your flaked salmon in a bowl with a couple eggs to bind it together. It’s going to be wet. Add enough crushed crackers or chips (you can always go fancy with Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno chips, or whatever you like, for some extra flavor) to make it about burger consistency. Form into baseball sized balls and drop them on a piece of foil. Flatten with your hand and then slide the patties into a non-stick skillet over medium heat (about 300 degrees).
I bought dinner rolls to use as buns. Slice them and top with some of that pepper jack we bought yesterday. I also used the avocados that I bought for tacos. Unfortunately, they weren’t ripe on taco day, but they’re perfect here on burger day. You can either cut the avocados into thin slices, or put them in a bowl and mash them with a little bit of lime to keep them from browning. Add the burger and top with the pico de gallo from yesterday.
Desert today is honeydew melon. Because we had one and it needed to be eaten. Tada! A week’s worth of meals from one foundation dinner. Remember to be flexible and don’t take it too seriously, food should be fun.
By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News
As famously quoted by Luther Burbank, a botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”
Giving flowers to someone special, on any occasion, is one of the best ways to let that person know you’re thinking of them. A good florist can make life much easier by helping you choose the perfect floral bouquet. With the rise of online delivery florists it’s easy to forget that a floral shop isn’t just a store, it’s an experience. With the vast array of bright, beautiful colors and delightful smells, a visit to the florist is sure to put a smile on your face.
Local residents are in luck that there is such a shop right on Third Street in Marysville. Owned by Tulalip Tribal member, Debbie Brown, along with her business partner, Shonta, Bouquets of Sunshine makes choosing creative floral bouquets an adventure in art, design, history and fun. From what flowers are best suited for certain occasions or seasons, to classic flowers or modern designs, Bouquets of Sunshine has it all.
An added benefit to shopping for flowers at a shop, versus the local street carts or grocery stores is that flowers are perishable, and shops carry the freshest blooms and can teach you how to treat them for longer lasting enjoyment. Flowers sold in open markets are susceptible to damage from temperature changes and attacks from bacteria and mold. And during holidays when flowers are in high demand, you can place an order ahead of time and beat the rush.
Debbie talks with Tulalip News and explains a bit about what led her to the floral industry and how she ties Native American culture into her designs.
You’ve spent years working in tribal leadership, what prompted you to open a floral business?
Working 20 years at the Tribe, I achieved executive level. My last job was C.O.O of the Tulalip Casino. I always wanted a flower shop; I guess it was my dream job. I love delivering flowers the joy is indescribable. I’ve had my own floral business for 15 years, this September, and was ready to expand. We opened our doors on Third Street on June 15th.
What are some of the challenges in the floral industry?
Definitely 1-800 numbers and places like that where you can order flowers on the Internet. For me, right now, the challenge is getting the word out that my shop is here. But we are a member of FTD.com and Bloomnet.net so you can send flowers across the country. Please visit our website at www.bouquetsofsunshine.com.
Where do you look for your inspiration and do you incorporate traditional Native plants into your designs?
I am continually challenged by all the beautiful work I see others do. I have created specialty items for funerals, graduations and weddings. And my husband Howard does work on the design forms I use. As far as Native plants, I use Sword fern, huckleberry and salal.
So far, what is your career highlight as a florist?
I think for my current career as a floral designer, initially it was graduating from Seattle Floral Design School. I discovered a talent I didn’t know I had. Sometimes I’m designing a floral arrangement and thinking about the person I’m designing it for and voilà it’s finished and oh so beautiful. A lot of times I look at it and can’t believe I even created it.
What is your favorite flower and favorite flower combo?
My favorite flower used to be a Stargazer lily, but now I’m allergic to them! I think a colorful arrangement is the best expression of how someone feels that day; cheerful is always good! Our specialty right now is plants, especially tropical, orchids and anthuriums.
Do you have suggestion/tips for what types of bouquets to send for certain situations?
Definitely roses for an anniversary, the more the better, and always in her favorite color. For weddings, definitely come here, I›m less expensive than anyone else. Often you can›t even do it yourself for what I can make them for. I love to stay at the ceremony too so that I can see that everything is perfect for the bride to walk down the aisle. Funeral arrangements are always a hard part of loss. Tulalip does a great job expressing their love and support through flowers. I can bring my flower books to the family›s home or meet them at the Funeral home. Now I’m just a few blocks away from Schaeffer Shipman. I try to take into consideration the family›s choice of flowers and colors and coordinate all other orders with what the family has ordered. Thank you and other arrangements are generally a very affordable $15 to $35.
Besides walk-ins, what is the best way to place an order with Bouquets of Sunshine?
Most of my orders come through phone calls or emails. I am available by also text at 425-501-5406. You can visit our website at www.BouquetsofSunshine.com and like us on Facebook. We have lots of choices to help you find the right flowers for any occasion. I’m open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. My shop is located at 1512 3rd Street, at the same place Marysville Floral was previously, just down from Hilton Pharmacy. The shop number is 360-716-2626. I’m also the first business uptown to use Salish networks phone service.
Contact Kim Kalliber, email@example.com
By Melinda Myers
Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your garden and outdoor parties. Look for environmentally sound ways to manage these pests in your garden and landscape.
Start by eliminating standing water in the yard. Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.
Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep water moving to prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.
Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much of your skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.
Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. You’ll enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including many garden pests and mosquitoes.
Keep the garden weeded. Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make your landscape less inviting to these pests.
Consider using a personal repellent to protect you against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.
Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors. Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away from you and your guests. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden, while weeding.
Then add a bit of ambience to your next party by lighting a few citronella candles for your evening events. Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties. Scatter lots of candles throughout your entertainment space. Position the candles within a few feet of your guests. This can provide some short term relief from these pests for you and your guests.
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD setand the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.
by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
When you think of the holiday season, what do you think of? Is it time off from work? Is it family? Or is it about the gifts you still have to buy? For most of us it’s probably a combination of those answers, with the emphasis on the stuff you still have to buy. Our holiday season has become overshadowed by the materialism and appetite for consumerism that invades modern times. Not only are we buying stuff to give to people, buying holiday foods to eat, but we are also buying stuff to decorate our houses. For those who attended the 3rd annual Wreath Making Class, offered at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center on December 10, they were able to celebrate the holiday season the traditional way; honoring the cause by creating a holiday wreath with family and friends that they chose to enjoy their time with.
In its third year, the wreath making event was coordinated by Inez Bill, Rediscovery Coordinator for the Hibulb Culture Center, Joy Lacy, Historic Records Curator, and Virginia Jones, Cultural Resources Secretary. They harvested resources such as cedar boughs, salal plants, holly, and ferns from the Tulalip woods that were used to make the holiday wreaths. Of having to go into the woods to harvest Joy Lacy said, “You forget about the little things in life until you get out in the woods and start gathering. It felt good being out in the woods. When you get back there you know what you are missing.”
Attendees of this year’s wreath making class were treated to a festive, communal gathering of Tulalip tribal members, tribal employees, and invited guests who came together with the common purpose of hand making a holiday wreath. “It’s my way of giving to the people. It’s an opportunity for people to make something, enjoy themselves, and to have something they’ve made by hand,” Inez Bill says of the wreath making class.
There was a variety of supplies on hand, so that each person could make their own unique wreath while creating connections with those around them. Even the creative novice would not have difficulty creating something to be proud of, as there was plenty of help and ideas to be offered by the event coordinators. The experience of creating something by hand, in such a welcoming, cheerful environment, makes the end result of having a wreath to giveaway as a gift or hang as a decoration so much more meaningful, something one simply can’t purchase from a retail store.
Among the attendees were three University of Washington students from the international and prestigious Restoration Ecology Network. They came to experience the ethnobotanical influence that the local environment has on traditional Tulalip activities. Inez Bill described the ethnobotancial influence of the wreath making class as being one of healing and keeping our connection to nature thriving.
“To me, I think anything you do working with your hands can be healing. Here, at Hibulb Cultural Center, we follow the teaching and values when we harvest anything. We only take what we need. We move area to area while harvesting. That way we aren’t wiping out one area. We value those traditional values and teachings. I think a lot of the plants that we harvest have medicinal values and other uses but at this time we are using them for wreaths. Cedar boughs have always been important to our people. You can brush yourself off with it. Some of the other plants, like salal, we use the berries from it. These plants we are familiar with. To go into nature and harvest them and have them here, we are hoping to keep that connection with nature in doing events like this for our people.”
Also in attendance were five members of the local Tulalip movement Unity in the Community. They spent approximately four hours in the wreath making class creating holiday wreaths to give to Tulalip elders. “We are community members that have the ability to respond and so we want to do what we can. Utilizing resources that are already given seemed like the easiest place to start,” remarked Tulalip tribal member Bibianna Anchetta.
Offered to all those who participated in the wreath making festivity was a complimentary lunch comprised of traditional Tulalip cuisine. Inez Bill used her own elk meat to cook up an elk stew with nettles, Terri Bagley made a huge batch of fry bread, and Virginia Jones provided blackberry nettle lemonade and blackberry pudding. The blackberry used was the wild ground blackberry native to Tulalip. The stinging nettle used in both the stew and lemonade was harvested this past spring. “It’s a plant and fiber source that our people have used for a lot of different things. It has a lot of nutritional value and is one of the strongest fibers that anyone can use. It is nice to be able to offer our people some of these local, traditional foods when we come together,” Bill says of the stinging nettle and blackberry ingredients.
The holiday season is supposed to be about being around people you care about and showing them you care about them. For Inez Bill and the staff of the Hibulb’s Rediscovery Program, not only did they offer a wreath making class that allowed community members and guests to come together, but they showed their class attendees how much they care for them by preparing a traditional Tulalip lunch. It’s all part of adhering to traditional Tulalip values and traditions, Bill explains.
“Respect and caring. That’s what we try to share with our people when we work with them. A lot of people have forgotten those values. We are here to share that with our tribal membership. Something that was taught a long time ago by aunties and grandmothers and grandfathers we teach here, those teachings and values. Here we can keep that connection and share that connection to nature with our people. This is a living culture.”
The American Indian College Fund is featuring six Native recipes to help families prepare for a wonderful family dinner, whether it’s for Thanksgiving or any time.
Celebrate tradition and stay healthy with this vegan soup:
If you’re cooking salmon, these potato cakes are a perfect complement:
This tasty vegetable dish can be a light lunch, served with tortillas and cheese, or used as a side dish with your favorite Southwestern meal:
Clay Oden’s lean, hearty meatloaf is wonderful with a side of mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, or just sliced up and served on bread:
Warm, multigrain muffins are a wonderful way to start the day, and blue corn is a staple among Southwestern Pueblos. Add some butter and preserves for a decadent breakfast:
Want a hearty vegetarian meal with some kick? This delicious posole, a traditional dish among the Southwestern Pueblo peoples, is spicy and satisfying:
Check out the educational pieces the College fund is featuring for Native American Heritage Month below:
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/11/19/its-nearly-thanksgiving-try-one-these-6-recipes-college-fund-157703
by Melinda Myers
The cucumbers have filled the vegetable drawer, you’ve run out of cabbage recipes and your family is refusing to eat one more BLT. Or maybe you just couldn’t resist that special deal on a bushel of tomatoes, potatoes or apples at the farmer’s market. So what is a gardener or shopper to do with all that produce?
Since properly stored vegetables will hold their flavor and nutritional value longer than those left in a plastic bag or set on the sunny kitchen counter, consider preserving some for the long winter ahead using one of several methods.
Storage orchard racks and slatted crates placed in a cool dark location have long been used to store squash, onions and potatoes. The stackable nature or drawers provide ample storage space, so fruits and vegetables do not touch. Keeping stored fruit separated prevents rot from spreading from one fruit to the next. Plus, the slatted sides allow airflow to extend storage longevity.
Those in colder climates can store their carrots and parsnips right in the garden. Once the soil gets a bit crunchy, cover them with straw or evergreen boughs for easier digging in winter. Then dig as needed or harvest during the first winter thaw. If this isn’t possible or not your style, try out a root vegetable storage bin. The root crops are layered in sand or sawdust and placed in a cool dark location. Just remove and use as needed. No snow shoveling needed.
Drying is one of the oldest food preservation techniques. Most of us have grabbed a few bundles of herbs to hang and dry. Expand your drying endeavors to include fruits and vegetables. The goal is to quickly remove moisture without cooking the food. You can make your own dehydrator or purchase one. Research has shown that blanching vegetables and fruit before drying helps destroy harmful bacteria. Blanching involves a steam or boiling water bath followed by a cold water bath. Timing varies with the fruit or vegetable you are preparing.
Another ancient food preservation technique, fermentation, is experiencing a comeback. Cultures around the world have fermented fruits and vegetables for thousands of years. Unique flavors, storage options and health benefits have many gardeners revisiting this tradition. Fermenting cucumbers into pickles, cabbage into sauerkraut, and berries into preserves are just a few options. The ingredients can be as simple as water, salt, and spices. All you need is a vessel, vegetables and fermenting culture. You can jump-start your efforts with a fermentation crock kit (gardeners.com) which includes the crock, cover and weights to make sure your veggies stay safely submerged in water.
Or quickly lock in the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables with freezing. You’ll need airtight containers or bags that are durable, don’t leak and won’t become brittle in cold temperatures. Some produce does not freeze well and others may need to be blanched before they are packed in the freezer bag or container. But frozen items can easily be retrieved from the freezer and included in your winter meals.
Canning is a bit more involved, but can be lots of fun. This process preserves the food and keeps it safe by preventing the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeast and mold. The sealed jars keep the flavor in and bad microorganisms out. So gather your produce, jars, pressure cooker, canner and friends to create tomato sauce, salsa, jams and jellies to enjoy or give as gifts.
Whatever method you choose, do a bit of research before you start. You’ll have greater success and a lot more fun. The National Center for Home Food Preservation website, http://nchfp.uga.edu, provides all the basic information for storage and food preservation.
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.
Spotlight on the Oregon-Grape
By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
You might have noticed the blooming of flowers, foliage, and other plant species occurring as our summer season kicks into high gear. The abundance of sunshine has increased outdoor activities where these blooming specimens have been the main attraction for people out for a stroll.
As you grab your walking shoes to enjoy some of that summer sun, keep your eyes peeled for a flowering plant native to western North America called the Oregon-Grape, or M. aquifolium for you plant enthusiasts.
The Oregon-Grape is a cousin to the Goldenseal plant and known to be bitter due to a presence of alkaloids including berberine. There are many types of Oregon-Grape, but the tall variety can grow up to 8 feet tall, while the dwarf variety will only grow a few feet in height. Other types include cascade, low, and creeping Oregon-Grape.
All varieties feature stiff branches with leaves that will remind you of Holly with their glossy prickly leaves, which are deep green on top and silvery underneath. Flowers are yellow and bloom in late spring, followed by the presence of small bluish-black berries sprouting in clusters from its branches resembling true grapes, from which it takes its namesake. Berries, ripe from July until September, and have a tart taste with earthy undertones.
As a Northwest perennial, Oregon-Grape is prized for its beauty and heartiness which has made it an excellent choice for city landscapers.
The plant also has a variety of medicinal uses thanks to that bitterness, which has been used by Coast Salish tribes to help stimulate liver function, aid digestion, and used as a laxative.
Oregon-Grape is a great addition to gardens with its vibrant foliage, flowers and berries which will create a colorful splash in shady or woodland plantings. Its ability to survive summer droughts and its tolerance for poor soils make it an easy plant for gardeners to enjoy.
By Maya Evoy
Alaska From Scratch July 4, 2014
There is nothing more seasonal in Alaska in July than a wild salmon caught directly from our local shores.
One evening last summer, after 13 hours on the water, a friend of ours came home with a marvelous salmon. Although it was late, it was still light out, and he and my husband made quick work of filleting while I pulled up a recipe. It wasn’t long before the fish was sizzling in a hot pan, filling the house with the aroma of spices and saltwater mingling together. There is truly nothing better.
That night, I coated the salmon with a homemade spice rub, based on a recipe I found on my talented friend Heidi Drygas’ local food blog, Chena Girl Cooks. Together, we ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the smokiness of the paprika and the cumin, the kick of the chili powder and dry mustard, the nice sweetness from the sugar and a surprising pinch of cinnamon. And can we just talk about that beautiful charred crust for a moment? You get a stunning caramelization when a hot pan swirled with oil meets a perfectly fresh fillet of salmon, patted dry (this is key) and rubbed generously. “I have to write about this,” I said aloud between bites, squeezing a wedge of lime over my fillet before diving back in. “We have to make this again.”
Two nights later, we indeed made it all over again, and this time I made a bright, summery avocado-peach salsa to go with it. When I don’t have peaches on hand, I’ve used mangoes in the salsa with equally terrific results. Since last summer, we have looked forward to eating this dish again, as soon as the first fresh salmon comes through the door and into my kitchen.
Sugar-crusted salmon with avocado-peach salsa
For the salsa:
- 2 sweet but firm peaches, pitted and finely chopped (or mangoes)
- 2 ripe avocados, finely chopped
- 1 small red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1-2 jalapenos (to taste), seeds removed and minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the salmon:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 11/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4-6 wild-caught salmon fillets (about 4-6 ounces each), pin bones and skin removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a bowl, gently stir together the peaches, avocados, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, mustard, cinnamon, pepper and salt.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the salmon fillets dry and liberally season the top of each fillet with the rub, patting it so it will adhere. Place the fillets, seasoned side down, into the hot pan. Cook about two minutes, until rub is fragrant and caramelized but not burnt. Flip each fillet and continue to cook on the other side 2-6 minutes more, being careful not to overcook (cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets and your preferred doneness. I like my wild salmon fillets medium in the center, so mine were ready after four minutes). Plate the salmon and top with the avocado peach salsa. Spice rub adapted from Chena Girl Cooks, originally adapted from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com.
By Doug MacCash, The Times-Picayune
Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation is partnering with two Native American tribes in Fort Peck, Mont., to build affordable, high design housing, the website beforeitsnews.com reported Wednesday.
According to the report:
“Brad Pitt has been partnering with Fort Peck, MT’s Sioux and Assiniboine nation tribes to build 20 super green homes for residents whose income levels are at or below 60 percent the area’s mean income, with a percentage of the homes reserved for seniors and disabled veterans.”
The Make It Right website defines the existing situation in Fort Peck in these terms:
For architecture fans, the Montana development offers the opportunity to see Make It Right-style homes designed for a cooler, more arid prairie environment.
Pitt’s Make It Right began as an altruistic effort to rebuild one of the most flood-ruined neighborhoods of New Orleans. Since 2008 a part of the Lower 9th Ward near the Claiborne Avenue Bridge has blossomed with 100 new homes.
In recent years, Pitt’s organization has taken on somewhat similar projects in Kansas City, Missouri, and Trenton, New Jersey. As of June, there was only one Make It Right home under construction in New Orleans.
Watch Pitt discuss his vision for Make It Right in Kansas City in the video below.