Summer Fruits


This is the time where all the great U-Pick fruit and veg farms are open.  Here in Seattle, we raspberries, blackberries, tay berries are ready for you to pick.   The great thing about these more delicate berries is that because you are picking it, the price per lb is cheaper because you are doing the labour yourself.  It’s also a great thing to take your kids. I know Pax loves going out in the wagon and picking fruit.  It also gets him to like fruit more.  The great thing about it is you are supporting your local area farms, bringing in a healthy economy for farmers and your community.

So after you end up picking 20 dollars worth of berries (that’s a lot of berry shortcakes), what do you do with it?  I mean, there is only so many preserves you can make and in our family we don’t use it all that quickly.  I think what’s more versatile is to freeze them. It’s pretty simple too, Just watch them, let it dry and then line it on a parchment cover cookie pan  and freeze it, once it’s frozen you can transfer it to a baggie or container.  Then you have fruit all year round. We use it for baking, making smoothies, sauces etc so it’s a great way.

Another way if you want to preserve a fruit in it’s purest form is to can it.  I found a link here.  It has methods for using juice or a light syrup or raw or cooked fruit.  I think this would be great for stone fruits like nectarines and peaches.  I haven’t tried this myself yet but I think if we go picking for plums, nectarines, I would  try this method.

Go out there and pick your own fruit! If you have kids, it’s a great way to pass the time, educate them about plants, fruits and the sort.


Recipe: Steamed fish, roasted potatoes and chorizo, green beans, strawberry dessert

dinner-1Super easy dinner and great for the summer! I use all organic ingredients, hits the farmers market and get fair trade stuff whereever I can.

Chorizo and Small potatoes:

  • A bunch of small potatoes (I found a sack of these small red, purple and gold potatoes at Whole Foods the other day)
  • 1 sweet chorizo (I have a 3 year old and can only take the spiciness so much)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Cut up the potatoes in half.  Cut the chorizo on an angle about a 1/2 cm. I made this all in my toaster oven so I didn’t have to worry about “turning off the oven” as mine turns off when the timer is off.  Liberally salt and pepper your cut potatoes and sausage and add olive oil. Toss, add it to a foil lined tray.  I kinda shape it into a bowl so the oil and juices won’t leak out. Cook in toaster oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes. If you are using your regular oven, then you could do 350 for about 20 minutes.dinner-2

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 handful of green beans
  • the leftover butt end of the sweet chorizo

Add olive oil to the pan. Once it’s heated, add your chopped up garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chorizo which has been chopped into fine pieces. I used this for a little more flavouring to beans. Add salt and peper and cook until it’s still crispy and bright green.  Add a little water while sauteing if you want your beans to be more tender.dinner-3 I had white fish in my freezer and I adapted this from a Michael Symon recipe but it was so so good. My herb garden is growing in quite beautifully so I used a few of my herbs but any soft herbs would do.

  • 2 fish steaks
  • 3 sage leaves
  • a bunch of french tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • splash of white wine (or in my case I used rice wine)
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil

Steaming fish is great and no fuss. I would use fish that is in season but I had this white fish in my freezer so I used it. Chopped up your herbs and add the mustard, wine and olive oil Liberally salt/pepper your fish steaks. add the marinade to the fish and place it in a plate.  I use a woke to steam but if you have a steamer, use that.  I added water to my woke, placed my dish on top (I use something to help it sit on my wok).  Cover.  Your burner should be on medium.  Steam for about 25 minutes. Don’t worry if it collects water because what I did was that to make it look “pretty” I plate my fish into another clean plate and used that sauce left in the steaming plate and poured a little over it.

dinner-4Last but not least was my strawberry dessert! Gluten free of course! I adapted it from Carla Hall’s recipe but made it gluten-free.  Head to the link for the recipe. The only changes is that you need to cook it longer when it’s gluten free flour. About 20 minutes. I also added vanilla to my whippy cream and basil to my strawberries. DELISH.  I loved that you can just use any fresh fruit available for the season.

This was dinner last night!


Recipe: Paella

Late posting as my friend Jon came into town and he bought a paella pan, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  It was such a delicious dish!

Paella with Chicken, Chorizo and Shrimp

  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1 mild chorizo (for the kiddo’s sake)
  • 10-15 medium sized shrimp
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of stock
  • 1 cup of wine
  • a couple of teaspoons of paprika
  • few threads of saffron
  • a cup of frozen peas/carrots
  • half a pint of grape tomatoes halved
  • half an onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic


Since the paella pan we used served only 2-4, I used my handy dandy dutch oven (made in France!) to cook part of it.  It will feed about 6 people. Generously salt and pepper your chicken.  Place, skin side down on medium heat.  Let the meat work for you and it will lift off the pan when it’s ready to turn over.  I generally use dark meat with the bone in, skin on because it’s tastier.  I also split the drumstick and the thigh so it can fit better into the pan. Turn over and fry for about 4-7 minutes each side

Add the garlic cloves and chopped onion when the blood runs clear on the chicken.  Cook until translucent. Heat up your stock in a separate pot.



We used Valencia rice which is a short grain spanish rice.  Add rice and let the oil coat the rice.  Add chorizo slices.  Add paprika.  Add more salt/pepper to taste.

In a small dry pan, heat up saffron threads on medium until fragant.  Pour the white wine and cook until bubbling and then take it off the heat.



Keep adding hot stock until the rice is just covered and turn down the heat to a barely simmer. Add the white wine.   Place the vegetables on top and and push it into the rice/stock mixture. Let it sit and simmer until the rice cooks, for about 15 minutes or until liquid has disappeared, and rice has cooked through.

Just before the liquid disappears, add the shrimp on top.  We added it just before it was finished cooking through the liquid because shrimp cooks fairly quickly.

paella-4Doesn’t that look so yummy?  If your rice hasn’t cooked through, add more hot stock. I tended to add stock and then check on it if it was too low but my rice wasn’t quite cooked through. It’s not a risotto so you do not want it to be too runny.

It was so delicious!



Nom nom nom.  The pan was made in Spain, the meat is all organic and gluten free. The veggies were also organic.   All the flavours blended so well and it really didn’t take that long to have it on the table. I would say it took about 1.5 hours from start to finish.



Father’s Day Ideas: BBQ. Enough said.

What celebrates your Pa more than a good old fashion bbq?  It hits on that time when the sun shines longer and you get to eat food outside and relax on your deck.  Even if you don’t have a deck, you can even go to a nearby park/beach bring one of those cheap coal bbq sets and it’s still a great way to celebrate your big guy’s day.

Our suggested meal plan:  burgers, roasted sweet potato fries or roasted veggies, drinks, ice cream,

Hamburger Recipe

Forget buying frozen prepped patties, you can make your own and it’s simple!  We our picky about our meat so we have started ordering all our meat from a butcher in Walla, Walla Washington called Blue Valley Meats. They have 100% grass fed beef and are even starting to introduce meat that are gluten free — meaning that the food/feed that they are feeding their animals have no gluten in them. Their chicken, well it tastes like chicken.  Sounds silly but these days, with our food being so processed, sometimes things just don’t taste how they should taste.  Prices are very reasonable for happy meat.

  • 1 lb of  ground chuck (should be a little fattier)
  • half an onion chopped finely
  • red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
  • Buns (I like brioche buns but Tim is gluten-free.  Rudi’s makes a good gluten free bun)
  • cheese (We are partial to cabot cheddar cheese. So tasty!)
  • tomatoes (there are fair trade certified ones sold in PCC Health Markets or Whole Foods)
  • Lettuce
  • Condiments to your liking

Put the ground chuck in a bowl. The cut should be fattier because it makes a juicier burger. Add the chopped onion, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  I would be aggressive with my salt (2 tsp) to bring out the taste of the burger.  Mix all the ingredients together by hand but do not over mix.  Form patties the size of your palm. Toss it on the grill.  Cool one side for longer about 5-7 minutes and then the other side for about 2 to 3 minutes.  It shouldn’t take all that long to cook if you have loosely packed your patties.  Add your cheese after you have flipped your burger so it will be all nice and melty.

Toast your buns,  TOAST!  I can’t stand a soggy bun! Add it to the grill just a minute before you need to take the burgers off the grill.

Top it off with tomatoes, lettuce (we liked those boxed organic mixed lettuces) and smear it with your condiments.  I like mayo and dijon on mine.

Ice Tea Recipe

When I lived in Austin, I loved Zhi Tea’s peach ice tea.  It’s fair trade and organic and it’s probably the tastiest peach tea I have had so far. You can get their tea online. I’m obsessed with tea and the amount of tea I have can fill a whole pantry shelf.  Yikes.


$15.95 for 3.5 ounce tin

Peach Sweet Ice Tea

  • looseleaf tea
  • sliced peaches
  • sliced lemons
  • sugar syrup (we use a fair trade certified cane sugar that you can buy even get from Costco!)

The ratio of tea to water is usually 1:1 but the size of spoon you use depends on how large the tea leaves are.  For larger leaves, I like using about a 1/2 tbspn.  For smaller leaves I would go 1 tsp.  For this brand I would go for 1 tablespoon.  Boil 8 cups of water and add your tea leaves.  I like to simmer my tea leaves for about 5 to 6 minutes.  Strain the tea into a jug, put it in the fridge to cool.

To make the sugar syrup, for this amount of water, I would add a half a cup of cane sugar  and half a cup of water.  Boil until a pot until the sugar dissolves.  Add it to the tea.

Just before serving, add 1 peach sliced and half a lemon sliced.

If your man likes beer than I hear there is a fair trade beer from Peak Organic Brewing Company.  How is it fair trade?  Apparently, one of their brews uses fair trade coffee mixed with beer.  That is one crazy combination.  I have no idea how that would taste!

Last but not least.  ICE CREAM!

2013-06-06 17.14.30

Ben and Jerry’s is FAIR TRADE certified!  I just bought this on sale at Safeway for $2.50.  I was hankering for chocolate.  I can’t wait to try it.  GMO free, not owned by a huge food conglomerate .  I read that Unilever (which owns most ice cream brands) aquired Ben and Jerry’s in 2000 so it’s not a family owned company.  Unilever is however committed to sourcing responsibly in their pantry food brands and teas in a certain timeframe.  Good news for that!

After this post, I feel like having a bbq myself.  I just need to get myself a bbq.

#FTsummer #Father’sDay

Father’s Day Ideas: iced coffee to perk his morning

I’m joining a few other participants to blog about making your summer fair trade #ftsummer.  Since Father’s Day is coming along soon, we’re sharing a fair trade/locally sourced recipe idea for your dear dad.

Javier Cruz – Stumptown’s coffee producer from Colombia

Stumptown Coffee.  Direct trade house blend.  If you haven’t heard of this company then you need to get right down to Portland or someone who serves up stumptown coffee.  You can tell they are obsessed with coffee and that is a good thing because it’s a damn good cup of java.  Really smooth.  Their direct trade blends means that they are face to face with the farmers paying more than a fair price for their hard work harvesting these beans. Our family likes to cold brew it.

Iced Hazelnut Latte

  • 1 12 oz package of stumptown coffee (I would get the roaster to grind the beans if you don’t have a grinder.  Make sure it’s a coarse grind like for a french press)
  • 7 to 8 cups of water
  • hazelnut half and half (we like using organic valley brand)

Dump the entire contents of coffee grind in a large container like a large juice jug or something that will hold the grinds and water.

Pour in 8 cups of water.  Let it sit overnight (at least 8 hours) in the fridge.

Strain out the coffee grinds and pour brewed coffee in a clean jug.

Take out your dad’s favourite mug. Pour in about a cup of cold brewed coffee and add half and half to taste.  I like about 3 tbsps of the creamer.  It’s already sweetened so there is no need to add sugar.

Serve it to your dad and perk him right up.