The light begins- January

The light remains a little longer each day and it feels good. In my early days on Orcas Island, the dark lingered longer but in a good way. It was a time to rest and regenerate. Winter in times past truly began for us after the holidays. The last of the tourists and part time residents fled the rainy, cold dark and save for a scattered showing in the spring, they didn’t return until Memorial Day. Without internet like it is today, the dark was filled learning and reading off the screen, creating, sharing food. Potlucks were popular as was craft night, “stitch and bitch”. We spent guilt free time binge watching Northern Exposure on VCR tapes recorded by friends and did I mention the crafts. I learned to spin wool (not very well), knit and bought a 4 harness cherry wood loom. It’s something I’m still holding onto.  The weaving went well enough that I made and sold chenille scarves at our still thriving, local art cooperative, Olga Artworks. Keeping the wood stove going and the pipes warm was also a priority. Early garden planning was always a joy as it still is. But now we don’t mark up catalogs, call in and verbalize each item number. And we don’t wait patiently for seeds (or anything) to arrive 10-14 days later. And so it was.

Twenty five years later looks different for us and the island as a whole.  We are just short of five months at Wild Island.  Many restaurants still close in the winter for a few weeks and as long as ten weeks. A shift has slowly occurred and people are much more active than the times mentioned above. Locals are out and about. Busy. Folks are visiting more in the off season to avoid the crowds. Our local Chamber of Commerce has done a bang up job creating festivals and parades and putting Orcas Island on the map.  Businesses like Girl Meets Dirt are doing promotions like this one  that share the bounty of our island. We’re even in NYTimes top 52 places to visit in 2019. This change of pace requires an adjustment. It means attempting a steady pace year round versus the summer blow out and winter restoration theory. It might require a few more morning baths!

We enjoyed a  few days off over the holidays and we now are staying open through the winter. Winter to me primarily being January and February.  We’ve seen smiling faces walk through Wild Island’s door these first two weeks of 2019. People come for a quick stop on their lunch break, or they’ll call in an order for pickup. I love too, when customers, a majority at this time of our community and friends, come have some food then stay and feel the comfort of our dining room. It’s intimate and conversations jump between tables. One of my favorite dishes we’ve had on special that I hope to get on the daily menu is a warm kale salad.

I finely cut kale- a variety is nice but you use can use any single variety. Give it a little massage with a dash of olive oil, lemon and salt. I top the kale with warm quinoa, roasted squash (insert any root veggie), mushrooms and chickpeas, It’s seasoned with salt, olive oil and lemon and topped here with red kraut, avocado and cilantro. I’m thinking a nice tahini, green goddess like dressing could be nice here too.

Happy January!

Wendy


roasted carrot ginger turmeric soup & dukah

I’ve got a new gig I’m loving. We are finishing up the second month of Star Route Kitchen food club. We’re preparing and delivering from scratch, whole food menus to a handful of Orcas Island residents. Check out my new Star Route Kitchen page where you can get some ideas of your own for plan ahead foods to have for the week.

We are currently in R&D mode these last few months of the year. I’m asking for feedback on recipes, logistics of packaging and delivering and getting my cooking chops back on track. Chloe and I are having a blast on Mondays cooking and on Tuesdays delivering. We may add next year, a second menu option such as anti-inflammatory or something in that direction. The goal, in season at least, is to use our garden goods and island farm produce and stay on the wonderful trend that has been happening… Keeping it local. And I clearly state that is not exclusive. I will buy from around the world but always organic when available. The food that leaves my kitchen is the quality of the food we eat at home and my standards are high.

Last week,  this  carrot, ginger, turmeric soup with a coconut milk and veggie stock base rocked. Not to toot my own horn… or Ollie’s (my  awesome, jazz trumpet playing husband for any new readers). It was warming and tasty especially with the Dukah we made to garnish it. And here I added a little goat yogurt.

Continue reading

Summer salads

It’s so summer. I could almost say the hottest, driest summer I can remember. It’s been roughly 6 weeks that have reminded me of  growing up in Florida where virtually everyday the sun rises and stays out shining hot. Except here it’s about 70 degrees instead of 90. I’ll take it.

We earned it here in the PNW. I didn’t get the garden in till the third week of May because it was so wet. The four leggers and 2 leggers were slopping around in mud pretty much till the end of May.

Our four goat mama’s  cranked out three sets of triplets and one set of twins. We had a full house with 11 kids and 4 moms. And so we are building a new BARN. Ollie is so supportive of this venture- it also gives his farming roots a chance to grow and thrive…  The boat and/or sports car has been bumped to the next decade:)

We (well they) will be moving in by September and we’ll be ready to bring on the winter.

wendyellenthomas.com

Continue reading

Carrot, ginger, turmeric, cashew smoothie

AKA  “Golden Bliss smoothie” – thought I should just say what it is straight off there in the title but I like Golden Bliss:)

We’ve been drinking this colorful, energy packed smoothie many a winter morning and straight on into spring. It’s packed with protein,  immune boosting and  anti-inflammatory properties.

I could drink it everyday because it tastes so damn good but we alternate with the berry spinach smoothie. The carrot conversation was happening for me as we (me again at least) have been influenced by media that carrots are high sugar (albeit natural) and carbs and then the Glycemic Index (GI) gets thrown in there and that sounds serious. In the last decade research on not only GI is readily available but also GL- Glycemic Load- which is how the body processes the food. It’s similar with our cholesterol scores. You’ve got to read the fine print- HDL LDL and ratio… Here are a couple links to check out on GI and GL  …..  TTYL (just kidding).

Continue reading

White Kimchi with Pear & Fennel

Inspired by the fermenting demo at 610 Magnolia with Chef Edward Lee, I made this white kimchi with pear and fennel within days of returning home from the IACP conference in Louisville. It’s loosly based on the recipe from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

Continue reading

Apple and Celeriac salad

This apple and celeriac salad brings a freshness and brightness to your meal while committing to the definition of “seasonal”.   And I say “seasonal” with the utmost respect. I’ve never been ready to give up bananas or avocados, chocolate, olives or other “staples”. Shit did I just do “quotes” again.  And I suppose those items fall under the definition of  “local”.  I can say I am not a proponent of berries, beans, tomatoes or summer squash in winter due to cost and moreover lack of taste. But on to “salad”!

apple and celeriac saladThis awkward root veggie, rather foreboding at face value, grows like a beet or kohlrabi.  With it’s thick roots and roughly a third of the ball in the ground and the rest nestled in the soil, it has a mild, almost sweet taste. See here.

Continue reading

Lemon tahini sauce

Are you thinking what? Lemon tahini sauce? Really?

Yes. really. It’s basic and it’s so good. And we all need a reminder sometimes of the basics. I went to look up the recipe online only to find my favorite Mollie Katzen recipe. I searched my shelves at home high and low for my Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’m so sad. I think in an extreme Kon Mari moment I gave them away. I haven’t completely accepted that possibility and am hoping I will stumble across  them.veg-and-lemon-tahini-sauce-7

Continue reading

Chunky Chicken and mushroom soup

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup…

chicken soupWe are working, I hope, through the last of the days on end rain storms where even the worms drown in unforgiving driveway puddles…

IMG_7389 and unplanned driveway streams…

IMG_7390Goats are hanging near the doorway..

IMG_7398As well as the dynamic duo…

IMG_7397

Continue reading

zucchini pasta, kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes,basil and more

Here’s another summer dish that’s fitting for dinner and a great one to take to a potluck… How many of you go to potlucks? It’s a regular thing here on Orcas Island. We don’t have a lot of entertainment.I think this zucchini pasta loaded with kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and red onion should peak the interest of the paleo and plant based eaters alike! And anyone in-between for that matter.

wendyellenthomas.comI got this handy dandy spiralizer that I’m sure I mentioned last summer. or did I?

Continue reading

Grilled veggies, millet, greens, cocoa chili dressing

Grilled red peppers, yellow squash, zucchini and pork shoulder chops on a bed of greens and millet is topped with a dressing concocted of olive oil, grilled red pepper, cocoa powder,worcester sauce, honey and a dash of lemon. You can add as much heat as desired. This recipe is based on the one I found in the June issue of Yoga Journal (a favorite of mine) and I think it’s a great one for this holiday weekend.

summer veggies, cocoa chili dressing-6I think it would be just as lovely as it was written in Yoga Journal with grilled corn, black beans and a mesclun mix. But I opted for pork (just bought a LOT of local pork) and our garden greens which at the moment are tender young kale and spinach. I made the millet the night before and warmed it up with some broth- a little water and salt would do just fine.

Continue reading

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: