Category Archives: Local

A Summer of Simplicity

By | Cooking Outdoors, Dishes, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, People, Sauces, Seasonal, Traditions | No Comments

Last year was complicated. For the first time in my life, words actually escaped me. I spent a lot of time holed-up indoors, anxiously awaiting emergency phone calls. I stayed productive, searing mountains of meat and poultry and draping them in multi-leveled sauces. I finished my newest book, Pan Sauces (Scheduled to be released by W.W. Norton in August 2018) and I regularly chastised myself for not updating my website. Then I let it go. That was the right decision. This summer my circumstances have changed. I feel bright and hopeful, and my sauces have been similarly fresh and simple: vinaigrettes, dressings, and coulis. Historically, my summer menus involve a whole lot of hungry friends and a new culinary obsession – there were summers of arepas, fried noodles, and smoked meats. This year, I have been magnetically drawn to the fresh foods of my childhood. Perhaps it is nostalgia for family now…

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This Week’s Spontaneous Sauce – Classic Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce

By | Dishes, Entertaining, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, Sauces, Seasonal | No Comments

Seattleites have historically been fair weather sports fans. The Volland household falls squarely into that fickle camp. We LOVE to watch our teams when they are winning, but would rather do something else when they aren’t. Needless to say, we have rarely missed a Seahawks broadcast in three years. Part of the fun of being a newbie sports fan is game day meals. Fiddling with fresh ingredients during commercial breaks assuages a little of the guilt that comes with spending a weekend afternoon in front of the TV. I cook lots of simmered food in pots – chili, soups, and frijoles with nuggets of smoked pork. These are served with hot, black skillet cornbread, oatmeal biscuits, or corn tortillas. Occasionally I’ll do a Sunday ragu.  Japanese oden with hot mustard really hit the spot one particularly cold game day. Our equivalent of a baked potato or nacho bar tends to…

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This Week’s Spontaneous Sauce – Cilantro Curry Dressing

By | Books, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, Sauces, Seasonal | No Comments

It’s a brand new year. Like most people, I’m starting 2016 with the whispered mantra “I can do better”. I didn’t write much this month. I rationalized my procrastination by calling it a seasonal hiatus, but in truth I just didn’t think my holiday dishes were cutting edge or artful enough to make public. Instead of polishing up recipes for elegant gingerbread demi glace or cranberry quince relish, I made merry with friends and family, ate too many cookies, whipped up easy mid-week meals, and felt slightly ashamed that my concoctions would never be considered those of a “Sauce Master”. (That title change will forever get under my skin.) In 2016 I can do better, and the place to start is by crawling out of the food blogger’s pit of despair and stop confusing “better” with “more complicated”. I wrote my book to teach home cooks that the “right” way…

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This Week’s Spontaneous Sauce – Cider and Sage Pan Sauce

By | Dishes, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, Sauces, Seasonal | No Comments

I’ve always loved cider. Squat brown bottles of Canadian cider were always tucked in among the beer during our summer vacations. I drank more pints in London pubs than I probably should have. Over the years I turned my back on cider and my eyes wandered to our sexy local craft beers, but I’m thrilled that good, local ciders are back and demanding attention. They are far too good to forsake. I’m searing a lot these days – testing out temperatures and surfaces, but I’m not yet ready to lock in recipes until I can explain what is going on in the pans. That means I’ve got good pan residue that I can spontaneously deglaze with whatever is handy. Cider has been handy, apples are handy and I have a giant shrub of purple sage that is always calling out for attention. No doubt this recipe will be tested and improved…

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Preserving our Spectacular Roses

By | Ingredients, Local, Preserving, Sauces, Seasonal, Sweets | No Comments

Every year at this time, I attempt to preserve the mind-blowing aroma of the tea roses in our front yard. This is inevitably followed by me throwing out the untouched rose-infused products I made the year before.  Previous experiments with rose water and simple syrup infused with rose petals were charming, but quaint isn’t really my cooking style, so I never worked them into a recipe. I can only imagine the look of surprise on Jeff’s face if I spritzed rose water on our linens, and then his sleep-deprived scowl after a night of my constant sneezes.  Last year I made some very nice Rose Scented Almond Milk. It was so good that I included it in the book. But milks don’t keep. My compulsion for preserving the roses is threefold. 1) Our antique rose bush produces, without question, the most aromatic blossoms I have ever come across. I’ve shared…

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Nettles

By | Adventures, Ingredients, Local, Obsessions, Sauces, Seasonal | No Comments

Why, oh why, would I want to eat a wild plant that stings? My skin is so sensitive that I get rashes after a night on hotel sheets. Why would I voluntarily wander in the woods, plucking leaves that are famous for causing painful welts? Because, I’ve always wanted to test my culinary mettle with nettle. Last year I was particularly motivated because I wanted to include a nettle pesto recipe in Mastering Sauces. Our friends, the magnificent Runnings, have several acres of wilderness and woods just half an hour away. Last year, my foraging adventure evolved into a feast and a pretty great party, so I invited myself over for a repeat performance. This year, instead of stressing about testing and logging recipes and the threat of serious allergic reaction, I was able to just have fun. Nettles are treated as “no big deal” by locavore cooks and herbalists….

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