Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nan Naw Zell's Recipes

4 Generations-Traci, Rhonda, NanNaw Zell, and Alice Harris
Taken at Catfish Cabin (Zell's favorite place to go)

Nan Naw Zell (aka Joe Zell (Harkey) Tullis) was THE most awesome woman I have ever had the pleasure to know.  She has been gone for years now, but rest assured, MANY of us carry her forward every day to the core of who we are.  She was a marvelous home cook.  She also cooked for years at their local cafe (Splendora, TX, pop.<300), and also cooked at the school lunch room.  She cooked for family events most of my life.  I could write an entire book about her attributes, but for today, I am going to share two of my favorite recipes of hers.  Sometime in the early 1970's, I came home from UT-Austin and asked her to tell me her recipes so I could write them down.  She chuckled her gentle chuckle, with her shiny glint in her big brown eyes and said "Welllll, I don know about that.  I don't really have a recipe.  I just make things."  So I said, OK, let's make them then.  So we did.  I wrote down approximate measures, how much salt she put in the palm of her hand, the shape of the bowl she used for the dumplings, the thickness of the dumplings as we rolled them out.  I never guessed at the time what a treasure this day would be to me.  So, I want to share it with you a little bit here.  I'm sure the cousins will really appreciate having these some day too. Enjoy!

Chicken & Dumplings

This is the size and shape of bowl she used for the dumplings.  I have carried this size and shape around with me for years, because that is what Nan Naw had!  I even saw to it that my daughter has one.

By the way, I "named" her Nan Naw as a baby myself, and it just stuck for eternity.

The tamale pie had a layer of cornmeal on the bottom of a pie plate, then the the meat layer, and was topped with the final layer of the cornmeal.

Tamale Pie-Texas Style

Friday, November 26, 2010

Small Business Saturday!/SmallBusinessSaturday?v=wall

This is one of THE most positive mass fresh ideas I have seen in quite some time.  How awesome would it be if all of us JUST supported our local, small businesses for even one day????  I think the effect would be colossal.  Even if you had not planned to shop this Saturday, but made it a point to go out and support just one small business, it could be huge.

As a small business owner, existing solely to help feed my local community, I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your support and just how much several of us depend on that continued support.  Without you, I certainly would not be here, and my awesome employees would not have jobs they apparently love and heavily depend upon. The figure I have seen "out there" is that for every dollar you spend locally .68 is returned to the community (compared to .38 when you shop big chains).  I would venture to say it is even higher here, as all of us are extremely locally focused in almost everything we do-food, entertainment, gifts, rent, banking, farmers markets, feed mill, veterinarians, dairy supply, water supply, septic services, sand/gravel, hay, kitchen stores, hardware stores, lumber yards, clothing, wine/cider, etc.....and the list is so much longer than this.

So tomorrow, I will be here working our farm store in the hopes you come by from 10 to 2.  You could make a lovely trip of it, and make it a point to visit even just the fine food choices we have here in Edison(Bow).  Three cheesemakers, artisan bread, and our own European grocery (Slough Food), and 2 other bakeries.  Plus you could also stop for grass fed meats at our own Island Grown Farmers Coop.  Ask me for recommendations! Please!  Ask!!!

Farm Store:
15203 Sunset Road
Bow WA 98232

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thoughts on Food Choices

As you might imagine, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about food, usually really good food.  I happen to enjoy really good food, I enjoy cooking really good food, and I love being a part of making really good food available to my local eating community.  We live in an area where these foods are readily available on a local level.  I do not consider them "elitist", but it does maybe take a little more effort and planning to make them the main component of your daily eating.  For instance, you may need to concentrate your shopping to Saturday, if that is the day for your local farmers market.  And you might need to be able to plan your week on the fly, so to speak, depending on what is fresh and available.  But hey, this is the fun part! It gets a little more difficult when the markets start to end, as you may have to seek out the farmers individually, or rely on grocery store food for that part of the year.  Maybe a combination is what usually happens.

Goat Ricotta & Herbs Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I am certainly NOT opposed to doing the bulk (or even all) of your shopping in a grocery store.  You have the most amazing array of fresh foods on the planet in almost every neighborhood.  It is more about making good choices, cooking the food yourself,  staying away from packaged/processed foods, eating out less, and relying more on yourself.  Every day eating does not have to be "gourmet".  Your choices can be dictated by your available time.  Save the eating out for the really good places, and make it special.

I buy so little from the grocery store, mostly coffee and wine, but certainly other staples and foods as desired.  I was in the store last week getting pasta for a wild mushroom dinner I had planned.  I had some whole wheat pasta, some fresh vegetables, some staple food items, wine, a few canned items (tomatoes), but not any "junk" food.  I was behind two women with a huge cart of food.  I wasn't stalking them, but I don't look at the magazines in the line, so I saw their cart contents.  It was chock-a-block full of "junk"-donuts-chocolate and plain in a box, cookies, lots of soda, chips, white bread....the only "real" food was 2 mega sized packs of ground beef and one gallon of milk.  Their total was $117.00.  They paid with their food stamp card.  They were young and fairly overweight (ok, obese).  The contents of their cart told me they do not likely cook much.  I found it sad and a little irritating that the food stamp dollars can be spent this way.

Today I found this Newsweek article along these same thoughts:

It is my hope we can all begin making the more local and more natural choices.  For me, as a food provider, it is much bigger than that.  I also provide income for 4 employees.  And studies show for every dollar they earn, .68 stays in our local community.   My guess here is that number is even higher, as they too are locally focused on their choices.  I know the women who work here are highly skilled and accomplished women who truly love what they do.  I also know they depend on this income source.  I also know I cannot do it without them.  We have created a beautifully supportive and nurturing source for your local goat cheese needs.

Goat Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes in Season

Goats (& Cheese) Debut on KOMO4 News

On November 17, 2010 we were on the 4 o'clock news IN Seattle.  We had an assortment of our cheeses which were showcased for Eat Local for Thanksgiving.  We also brought a live goat with us, by request I might add.  It was a lot of fun bringing the goat to the city, walking him into regular elevators, through the fancy lobby of Fisher Plaza, and up to the news station.

Tom Watson and all the KOMO staff were so kind, professional, and fun to work with.  I was a bit nervous as everything happened so fast.  Debbie, esteemed goat handler, went with me.  Could not have done it without her.

Here is the link to the news clip. You may to allow Active X for it to work.

Rhonda on KOMO patio

Debbie in KOMO patio (4th floor up)

Debbie and Goat by Space Needle