Friday Favorites

lingonberryberriesdehydrator

foodtoenergyrideablecoolerplayandfreeze

saltedplumcocktailfarmcationRouxbe

This week’s Friday Favorites is from Jess Daniel, Steamy Kitchen’s intern! Next week, you’ll also get to meet La Fuji Mama – Rachael joins our team Steamy Kitchen too.

Also, have you notice the blog design change?!

A big thanks to Scott, my husband, for collaborating with me on the redesign of the site. Scott is actually a web developer/professional poker player (don’t ask about this strange profession combo – but he loves it and I think his poker face is sexy), but never had the time to fondle the back end of my….site. Until now, that is. When contemplating the site change earlier this month, I decided that I would rather pay my husband (no cash required) than a web dev freelancer (lots of moolah) or even trying to fiddle with code myself.

So I did what any wife would do…threaten to withhold his laundry! Yeah baby, it sure worked!

Enjoy our Friday Favorites this week! ~Jaden

Steamy Kitchen Friday Favorites

You know the drill, from left to right, top to bottom:

1) This week we harvested our first crop of lingonberries here on the farm! The tiny tart red berries are often used as a substitute for cranberries and they’re delicious in sauces, jams (like this one at Nami-Nami), baked up in fruit crisp, and made into juice or liqueur; but they’re also sweet enough to sprinkle fresh on top of salads and ice cream. The farmers got the idea to grow lingonberries from (where else?) IKEA. They saw the bright red jars of lingonberry jam on display and thought, “Well, if it grows in Sweden, it’ll probably grow in the Pacific Northwest!”

2) And then obviously, you’ve got your more traditional berries. Here on the island, bushes on every corner are dripping with blackberries, but how to store those fragile things so they don’t mold before you can gobble down your bounty? Generally, I’d advise you to gobble faster, or make jam, but one of my heros, Harold McGee, suggests an alternative approach to storing your fresh berries a little longer. His experiments with thermotherapy for berries kept the mold away for longer and didn’t really change the taste of the fruit. Thermotherapy isn’t the name for a fancy spa treatment, but just means giving the fruit a quick hot bath before storing.

3) Summer is schizophrenic here in the islands: sunny and scorching one day, foggy and spitting rain the next. That makes it tough to “sun-dry” stuff like the 140 lbs of tomatoes that came out of our greenhouses this week. So instead of calling it quits, we’ve invested in a food dehydrator, a simple little gadget that churns out tomatoes, jerky, and dried fruits for easy storage and snacking. Here’s a great article on choosing your ideal drier. I did some just-overripe tomatoes last night — the dehydrator turned them dry, sweet, and slightly chewy in just over 9 hours.

4) I consider the Bay Area in California my true home, so I’m always taking pride in its awesomeness, like the example of this Bay Area Utility that’s collecting food waste from over 2,000 local restaurants and turning it into energy. Food scraps to power your house? Ridiculously cool.

5) And maybe if you have some extra power leftover, what do do? Well, duh! Use it to charge your rideable cooler! Jaden first found this crazy thing on Switched.com’s list of summer gadgets. Apparently it’s sold by NY company, Hammacher Schlemmer. It can travel up to 14 MPH and for just $29.95 Canadian dollars, you can get a cushioned seat and backrest thrown in.

6) In other crazy food gadget news, fellow farm intern Lucy just picked up a play and freeze ice cream maker for $5 from our local thrift store. Yes, I’m jealous. She did promise to let me borrow it to try out some coconut milk ice cream. If I get hooked, I may very well follow this instructable and make my own ice cream maker from a hamster ball (unused of course) or maybe just stick with a method I used back in Cambodia.

7) This week Bittman wrote a column about salty lemonade. But dude, Bittman, any good Singaporean knows that the real ticket isn’t just salty lemon juice but ice cold lemon juice with salted plums! I got my hands on some of these babies while off-island at an Asian grocer and I’ve been soaking them in water and squeezing in a little lemon for a ridiculously refreshing summer sour drink. Apparently, salted plums also also make a mean shoju cocktail, but I haven’t tried it yet because drinking and sharp farm tools just don’t mix.

8) If all this talk of food and farming has got you itching for some good quality time on a haybale, maybe it’s time for you to take a farmcation. An article in Wednesday’s NYT Online featured the agritourism trend: folks taking their vacays on farms to learn more about where their food comes from. Let me just throw in a word that I’ve got an extra couch here on our farm in the San Juans and I’ll give Steamy Kitchen readers a discount! (Just kidding guys.)

9) Or if you’d rather just take a staycation and do something fun in your own home-sweet-home, perhaps try a class at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Rachael of La Fuji Mama has told me its perfect for the stay-at-home mom. Although full access requires a paid membership, you can get a free trial month and everyday they feature a free lesson and all of the instructional video recipes, text recipes, tip and technique videos and community forums are free. I tried the video on lentils and (no pun intended) it was a little dry. But then I got to the video on gnocchi and woooooo-eeeee. You couldn’t peel me from the screen with a bench scraper.