Author: littlelocavoresara

savory vegetable crumble with hazelnuts and hard cider

This winter has worn heavy. Slowly, the darkest days are getting lighter. The sun spreads across the sky a little earlier each morning. If it’s not raining too hard, I hear the birds finding their songs for the season. The other day, I caught a glimpse of a fat squirrel tipping off a skinny branch. Spring is coming. But it is arriving at a snail’s pace, and I am growing more impatient every day. Yearning for long walks through the city, along Alki Beach, or weaving my way through Discovery Park. Toes sinking into the sands of Lake Washington. Watching the sun set, sending the most brilliant gradients of color streaking across the sky over Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. I am ready for summer in Seattle. I am longing, too, for the farmer’s market. Exploring (and tasting) the bounty of summer. We are entering the spring hunger stretch — the last of winter’s reserves are wearing thin, but the precious first shoots of spring haven’t fully arrived yet. In the depths of winter, I’ve ventured …

roasted chopped potatoes

it was always you

This is a love letter. An ode, if you will. A potat-ode. Douglas Adams apparently once said, “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problem just with potatoes.” I beg to differ. Over the years, favorite foods have come and gone. (Brussels sprouts are still holding strong.) But potatoes were a constant. Twice-baked. Scalloped. Mashed, of course. Salt-roasted. Baked and buttered, or loaded with bacon, scallions and sour cream. Fries, wedges, chips. Tots. Pureed with leeks and cream for soup. Hash browns. Home fries. So many options. All of them a favorite. When I was much younger, French fries were my vehicle of choice to consume as much ketchup as possible. (There’s another favorite, for you.) Having Celiac makes enjoying potatoes more difficult. While potatoes are inherently safe (as long as nothing is added), fryers shared with breaded items make enjoying deep-fried potatoes difficult. When I find a restaurant with a dedicated potato-only fryer and Belgian-style frites on the menu, I guarantee that I will eat an entire order. By. My. …

sweet potato risotto

grain-free sweet potato “risotto” with bacon-wrapped squash

I have a confession. I have never made an actual risotto. OK. I did try it once. Years ago. I knew very little about cooking at the time, and followed a recipe in a book. One of the first cookbooks I ever bought for myself. But I didn’t use Arborio rice. (I thought that all rice was interchangeable. BIG lesson learned.) After hours of stirring and simmering and adding more (and then more) stock, the rice was still crunchy. Not creamy. Not satisfying. Not good. Then I discovered Schar’s gluten-free Anellini pasta noodles at a dedicated gluten-free bakery and grocery store in Michigan. The woman working in the shop that day told me her mom prepared the noodles risotto-style. I was inspired, and this was the kind of “risotto” that I made for years. It cooked quickly and was soft, creamy, rich and totally indulged my pasta-holic side. This recipe was a serendipitous discovery. A few weeks ago, I had a roast simmering away in the crockpot. I wanted to make a side dish that was …

how to use thanksgiving leftovers

how to use your thanksgiving leftovers

Let’s be real. Thanksgiving is all about the leftovers. You see my sister makes these amazing turkey sandwiches. Her secret is, she puts an extra slice of gravy soaked bread in the middle. I call it the Moist Maker. Raise your hand if you really wanted to soak a piece of bread in leftover gravy to put in the middle of your leftover turkey sandwich after hearing about Ross’s sandwich on Friends. It must have been good, because he freaked out when someone else ate it. That sandwich was the only good thing going on in his life. And, as I’m nearing 30 myself, I can kind of understand where he’s coming from. That must have been one helluva sandwich. For the first Thanksgiving I ever hosted, all on my own, I bought my turkey just a few days before Thanksgiving. There wasn’t much of a selection left at the grocery. I ended up with a huge turkey. I think it was at least 20 pounds. (We had 7 people over for dinner.) We had …

sweet potato and hard apple cider chicken pot pies

It’s the season for serious comfort food. I may have gone on a little bit of a pie bender after introducing you to how I make gluten-free pie crust. Sweet or savory, the options are really limitless! These little cuties. They’re bowls of savory, comforting warmth full of seasonal goodness. Sweet potatoes and granny smith apples enhanced with the crisp, refreshing flavor of cider. They’re hearty, but not heavy — partly because they don’t have crust on the bottom. These are time-saving pot pies. I like making individual pot pies because they’re cute, and leftovers are more convenient for carrying to work, but this recipe would be just as good in a savory galette or a single large pot pie. Autumn has finally arrived here, in full force, with cooler temperatures and rain. I was driving through downtown the other day and watched men climbing trees to hang Christmas lights, and noticed that most of the trees still have their leaves. I was grateful to still see so much foliage. It’s totally sweater weather, but …

fall seattle farmers market haul

my market haul 11-8

Autumn has arrived. The rainy season is upon us. But, after more than 20 years of snowy seasons, I’ll take it. (Snow on Halloween. Snow on Easter. Sometimes snow on Christmas, because that’s real life. Sometimes snow drifts that were taller than me!) We got lucky last year. It was a mild winter, and a gorgeous summer. The trade off of the subtle seasons was, unfortunately, drought and forest fires across the state. I have a feeling this year we might finally be introduced to the true Seattle rain. The I-haven’t-seen-the-sun-in-21-days kind of rain. We’ll see. Is it weird I’m kind of excited? (Talk to me again in 4 months when I’m vitamin-D deficient and wallowing in seasonal depression.) This week for me is all about the veggies. I’m taking a conscious step away from animal proteins for the moment, which often take center stage in our meals and on our plates while veggies, fruits, legumes and grains are secondary. I’m listening to my body (and everyone else’s ragged voices), and am trying to fill …

my farmers market haul

my recent market hauls

It might be a surprise, but I don’t go to the farmers market every weekend. Sometimes, my shopping trips are so fruitful, they feed us for more than a week. Sometimes, I have a hankering for tuna melts (my husband makes the best ever) or the Thai restaurant in our building. (The scents of Thai cooking and deep-fried spring rolls waft through our apartment every day, and sometimes our bellies follow our noses and give in to takeout.) This is a few weeks worth of trips. I meant to share my first haul with you weeks ago (when I actually went to the market), but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately — autumn rolled in and brought with it allergies and a lingering head cold which sapped all of my motivation. This is what I bought, and how I used these ingredients to craft meals and explore new recipes and ideas. Sunday, September 27 Wow! It really has been a minute. I’m sorry I didn’t share this beautiful bounty with you sooner. …

baked plum and grape pie

italian plum, concord grape and apple gin pie 

This pie has been many years in the making. Back in 2010, I checked out David Lebovitz’s newest cookbook, Ready for Dessert, from my local library, eager to learn about making pastry and ice cream. It was then, I think, that I really discovered that baking requires a lot of work. (It would be many more years before I figured out that it is very much worth the extra effort.) I’m not sure I made a single recipe from that book; I was intimidated by the names alone. Profiteroles. Crème Brûlée. Gâteau Victoire. Ingredients I hadn’t yet discovered, like black currants and anise. And Concord grapes. There was a recipe for a Concord grape pie in the book, which I dreamed of making for my little brother (who was, and still is, a huge fan of all things grape flavored). This was, however, before I discovered farmers markets, and the extent of my shopping skills involved picking out the most exotic produce from Whole Foods. Concord grapes could not be found. The recipe had so many …

gluten free pie crust ready for baking

easy as pie gluten-free pie crust

It must be fall, because all I want to do is bake. I never used to think that making pie was easy. You have to work quickly so everything stays cold, and there are just so many steps between crust and filling, making and baking. And those intricate, beautiful, lattice-woven crusts? No, thank you. The saying easy as pie actually refers to eating pie, not making it (same goes for “piece of cake” apparently). But over the years, I have discovered there’s a real peace in making pie. Once you have your routine figured out, there’s something pleasurable to the process. It’s almost as if time slows down, even if you’re moving quickly. The tactility — blending butter cubes into flour, rolling out the dough, flipping it into a pie pan — is almost like digging your fingers down into the sand on a beach, or making mud pies as a kid. Making pies, for me, started as a way to process (or put off, depending on how you look at it) emotions and to, …

sweet peppers in season

the first of fall

Just like that, it’s October. It seemed like summer was just swept out from underneath me. In a whirlwind three months — from late April through early August — we planned our wedding, got married, and had our honeymoon (surprisingly, it was our first full vacation together). We left Washington at the beginning of August when the breeze was still soft and warm and the sun’s last light didn’t fade until 10 p.m. (or later). Then we spent 10 days in hot, humid Hawaii. When we got home, it was fall already. We’ve been slow to get back into the swing of things, riding the euphoria of being newlyweds. The wedding and the honeymoon are over, but there’s still plenty on our to-do lists. Thank you notes, announcements, ordering pictures and the mind-boggling demanding process of changing a name. This is my favorite time of year. It is so full. Of nostalgia and potential; one season overlapping with the next. Early fall is so abundant in all things that it feels decadent, almost sinful. Though …