Food

My small Ballard garden has been very kind this year, delivering fresh greens, kale and collards to my table, providing snacks and meals of green beans, squash, some radishes, herbs and one beet.

I haven’t raided the potato bin yet.

Any failure to produce has been entirely my fault for being too busy to properly care for my garden. Oh, we had big ideas last winter, very big. Seeds were purchased, a place in the basement with lights prepared - but you know how life is.

Today, we shelled some gorgeous purple beans that by all rights should have been eaten long ago. I love that purple beans turn green when they cook, just so you know they really are green beans.

The fresh beans were blanched, dried and put into the freezer for soup-making. I picked out the largest beans to set aside for next years crop.

Of course, as soon as we finished shelling the beans I read up about how to save them for seed and soup. Wouldn’t you know it, we should have left them to dry in the pods and had to prepare them for the freezer instead. That’s what happens when you don’t read the directions first.

09/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Rhonda Brown

Shelling purple green beans for future soups.

The PCC Market at 2749 California Ave. S.W. was handing out free burgers, salad, cake, lemonade, yogurt and falafel during cooking and product demonstrations to celebrate its 20th year in its West Seattle location on Sunday, Sept. 13.

PCC cooking classes are held in fully equipped teaching kitchens in some of its markets, including West Seattle.

09/14/2009
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Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Danish-born chef Birgitte Antonsen demonstrates her falafel with tahini sauce and Israeli salad at the PCC Natural Market near the Admiral Junction Sunday, Sept. 13 where she offers cooking classes. She joined other chefs and product demonstrators to celebrate PCC's 20th year at that location.

Portage Bay Café
2821 N.W. Market St.
783-1547
Daily, 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Fresh, local, sustainable. That's what matters to Portage Bay Cafe.

Making meals made with the freshest ingredients possible from organic farms is the goal. While the University District location has been popular for a while, the restaurant is new to Ballard. We're thrilled the old Grace's Kitchen space did not go to waste or turn into more condos, even though some of our best friends live in condos. OK, one person we know does.

The cavernous industrial space at Portage Bay Cafe catches the eye of those interested in building structure, but at the same time manages to seem cozy and like it's been there for years. While spaciousness abounds, most of it is in the kitchen, and the table seating area reminds us a little of livestock pens.

But Portage Bay offers eggs from free range chickens and meat from grass-fed animals, so it's a little contradictory to feel penned-in while the food is from an animal that was not.

Ample counter seating is available, too, but some adjustments need to be made. The stools are too low.

09/11/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Portage Bay Cafe, 2821 N.W. Market St., is a great local breakfast spot, according to the Ballard Food Police.

Washington produces almost 100 million boxes of apples every year – and more than half of all apples eaten in America come from our state.

Today you can find more than 20 types of apples in most local markets. Some apples are great for eating fresh, while others are best for pies or baking, and some cook into the most wonderful applesauce!

Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated. For best storage, try keeping apples at 35 degrees to 40 degrees in the refrigerator crisper drawer, or in a cool basement if you have a whole box. Below are some great apple recipes – and a chart that tells you which apples to use when. Enjoy!

How to eat apples

Fresh:
Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Jonathan, Ida Red, Rome Beauty, Winesap, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn

Pies:
Granny Smith, Winesap, Rome Beauty, Fuji

Baked:
Rome Beauty, Gala, Winesap, Granny Smith

Applesauce:
Gravenstein, Jonagold, McIntosh, York, Rome Beauty, Winesap, Honey Crisp, Fuji

Caramel Apples:
Rome Beauty, Winesap, Granny Smith

Baked Apples

09/02/2009
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The author, nutrition expert Katy G. Wilkens.

It's the last day of business for GreenGo Food, the tiny restaurant at 5402 20th Ave. N.W. But, the mood in the fast, healthy food purveyor is anything but funereal.

There are two reasons for this. One, the restaurant is hopping on its last day, keeping owners and sole employees Heidi and Dylan Stockman busy and breathless.

Second, and most importantly, after GreenGo closes its doors Aug. 28, the Stockmans, including their 4-year-old son Cypress, will be packing up and moving to Mexico to work on a farm, fulfilling a life-long dream.

Dylan said GreenGo, which opened in February but was operational at farmers markets before that, was originally started so that they could eventually sell it and use the money to start a farm.

"When our friend came to us and said, 'We have a farm,' that was a no brainer. That was easy," he said.

Heidi said the restaurant isn't closing for a lack of business, though it always could have been better. ("OK, we failed miserably at marketing. We accept that," she said.)

The main reason for the closure after half a year in business is the toll owning and operating the restaurant was taking on the Stockmans.

08/28/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Heidi and Dylan Stockman keep the food coming during GreenGo Food's final day in business, Aug. 28. The couple and their son will be moving to a farm in Mexico.

Smokin' Pete's BBQ
1918 N.W. 65th St., 783-0454
Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Smokin' Pete's is one of those places we've overlooked for quite some time, based on a long-past visit that yielded little pleasure. We pass the former butcher shop regularly and talk more among our selves about the custom handbag shop across the street.

Maybe it's because we really liked the old butcher shop and never really made the adjustment to Smokin Pete's. We wondered who Pete was and why he smoked. But, for whatever the reason, this place was off our radar.

When driving by recently, we noticed an incredibly rich, sweet and smoky aroma. We commented that if the food tastes anything like it smells, we'd best get ourselves in again for a return date with some barbecue.

So in we went, and when we spotted a soccer mom and another soccer mom with their soccer children, sitting quietly and working studiously through big plates of brisket and links, washing it all own with pints of micro, we felt the endorphin factory kick in.

08/28/2009
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Photo credit: 
Jim Anderson

Overlooked no longer by the Ballard Food Police, Smokin' Pete's BBQ gets high marks from these food reviewers.

Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest, a branch of City Fruit, has collected more than 2,600 pounds of fruit from surrounding resident trees within their neighborhood.

“We’ve got a group of about 30 volunteers and they’ve really been stepping it up and harvesting the fruit,” Jen Mullen of Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest said.

City Fruit is a non-profit, grass roots organizations that started last December. Volunteers are involved in taking care of fruit trees, have an interest in tree care and harvest large amounts of fruit in Seattle, said Gail Savina, executive director of City Fruit.

Because most residential tree owners can’t-or don’t -use all of the fruit produced on their properties, much of it falls to the ground and rots, according to City Fruit’s Web site. In addition, much of the fruit grown in urban landscapes is infested with preventable pests.

“There are a lot of problems in trees,” Savina said. “Much fruit is wasted and a lot of them aren’t good because they’re diseased."

She said City Fruit was created to help promote fruit in all different aspects, to care for, help harvest, share and extend the life of fruit.

08/27/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

These Italian plums in a shady backyard on North 67th Street are waiting to be gathered by Phinney-Greenwood Sustainable Harvest.

Sail Transport Company teamed up with Sustainable Ballard on Saturday, Aug. 22 as they hosted Sail Transport’s docking and produce delivery program at Kick-it Boots and Stompwear on Northwest Market Street.

Established in January, the collaboration between the two groups organizes and leads a team of volunteers who haul an array of organic produce and food from Kitsap County Farmers to the public via Ballard’s Shilshole Bay Marina.

At this weekend’s drop-off point event Ballardites were not only able to pick up fresh produce but were also given the opportunity to learn more about the petroleum-free delivery of organic produce via sailboat from Sequim to Shilshole.

There was also live entertainment from local swing band musicians Casy MacGill’s Blue 4 Trio.

The program’s concept is to mitigate peak oil and climate change. The mission of the company is “natural transport for the local economy and community.”

08/24/2009
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Photo credit: 
Allison Espiritu

Ballardites pick up produce Saturday as part of a collaboration between Sail Transport Company and Sustainable Ballard to bring produce from Kitsap County by sailboat to the docks of Shilshole Marina. CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW SLIDESHOW.

You’re on the road and you’re hungry. But you don’t want to fill up on unhealthy fast food. How do you replace the drive-through's typical meal of burger, fries and soda?

Instead of fatty burgers, think wraps. Use a lettuce leaf or a rice wrapper to hold a tasty filling. Or wrap a corn tortilla around peanut butter and banana. Hummus and pita bread is a great snack.

Or you can make pita sandwiches with mozzarella cheese, red peppers and tuna. Try our recipe for healthy Speedy Wraps that you can fix ahead. Likewise, our Quick Chix Nuggets can be ready to go in your refrigerator to serve with one of the dips below.

Skip the chips! Instead of salty, oily chips, use an air popper for homemade popcorn or try our Brown Bag Popcorn with lots of seasoning ideas to suit your mood.

Replacing the soda in the typical drive-through meal can be easy. Think flavored waters (sour flavors will quench your thirst better), or UHT packaged milk (which doesn’t have to be refrigerated, although it will be more refreshing if it is).

For a special treat, mix up a thermos of our homemade Lemonade. Enjoy!

Brown Bag Popcorn
¼ cup popcorn

08/18/2009
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The author, nutrition expert Katy G. Wilkens.

Bastille Cafe and Bar
5307 Ballard Ave. N.W.
453-5014
Daily 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday Brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Seattle's a restaurant town, and it seems that Ballard's become the restaurant neighborhood.

The opening of Bastille Cafe and Bar has been enthusiastically anticipated by many as nearby residents watched it being built. All eyes were on Bastille as it took its first steps.

The instant rush of criticism and comments about a new establishment, thanks to the Web and social media, can be rough. New places need time to work out the kinks. But Bastille also made itself a hard act to follow with the stunning environment created by the owners. And with a long pedigree between them (Caffe Fiore, Triangle Tavern, Peso's, The Ballroom) they've already gotten attention from food bloggers, print and other media in the six weeks they've been open for business.

08/17/2009
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Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Diners at Bastille Cafe and Bar, 5307 Ballard Ave. N.W., sit on the French bistro's outdoor cafe. The food impresses the