Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Chinese Peking Duck in Your Kitchen

April 29, 2015
Stokesberry Ducks copyright Zachary D. Lyons

Stokesberry Ducks copyright Zachary D. Lyons



When we talk about seasonal ingredients, most of us think of fruits and vegetables. But animals have a seasonal clock, too – and now’s the time for Peking duck! Also known as Long Island duckling, Peking (also spelled as Pekin) duck is an American descendant of the Chinese Mallard. Mild, tender and meatier than the gamier Muscovy, Peking duck loves high heat, all the better for that crispy skin. Many of us only have had the pleasure in a Chinese restaurant; now’s the chance to try it at home – while they last! Janelle Stokesberry reports that they will also have duck eggs on hand.

A few kitchen tips:

* Ducks typically have a thick layer of fat (not as fat-laden as geese but noticeably denser than chickens). Take the time to trim away fat pockets, particularly around the neck cavity.

Many duck-loving cookbook authors suggest air drying the duck to help draw out the moisture in the fat and ensure your chances of crispy skin. Pat it dry inside and out, place uncovered on a rack-lined pan or plate, in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. (Don’t fret if you don’t have that kind of time; even an hour will help.)

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven 425 or 450 and bring the duck up to room temperature.

  • Season really well with salt inside and out – estimate about 1 teaspoon salt (we like fine sea salt) for every 1 ½ pounds. Other seasonings that are nice: Grated fresh ginger in the cavity, five-spice powder, smoked paprika, a simple syrup of honey.
  • With a fork, needle or pin, prick the fat all over, be careful not to pierce the meat. If you don’t own a rack, make one with a few ribs of celery so that the duck doesn’t sit in its own juices.

After 20 to 25 minutes, spoon off any fat in the roasting pan (and there will be some). Don’t discard – it’s like liquid gold, taking roasted vegetables to a whole new deliriously delicious level. (Use sparingly –it’s rich!)

Reduce the heat to about 350 degrees and roast for an additional 20 minutes, drain more of that glorious fat, and check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Now here’s when cookbook authors are all over the map – some like it pink inside, at about 145 degrees in the deep part of the breast; others wait til juices are closer to clear, at about 170 degrees. That’s cook’s choice.

Some, including Janelle Stokesberry, recommend a final blast of heat (back to 425 or 450 degrees ) to ensure crispy, crackly skin. Regardless of what you decide, transfer the duck (and carefully) to a platter. Check for accumulating juices inside the cavity and pour out (and reserve – those are delicious morsels). Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Returning Farms, Great Albacore, Devine Tonics and Wine

April 10, 2015

 Alvarez Organic Farms Returns

Organic Asparagus at Ballard Farmers Market

Hilario Alvarez of Alvarez Organic Farms harvesting fresh peanuts on his Mabton farm. Copyright Zachary D. Lyons.

They’re Back!

The Alvarez Organic Farm crew will be at Ballard Farmers Market this Sunday with their asparagus, dried peppers, red onions, beans, and shallots.

F/V St. Jude at

Ballard Farmers Market April 12

F/V St Jude's Amazing Albacore

F/V St Jude’s Amazing Albacore

Joe and Joyce Malley, the owners of Fishing Vessel St. Jude are dedicated to bringing you the right albacore. And right is

  • low in mercury,
  • high in omega 3 oils, and
  • caught in a sustainable manner.

They base their business on troll caught albacore and constantly test their catch to assure the product they bring to you is the healthiest and best ecological choice for the finest you can eat.

This albacore tuna, whether flash frozen, smoked, or canned has received the stamps of approval by Seafood Watch, Dolphin Safe and New Pacific Albacore.

Market Master’s Recipe- for a Simple Dinner

Organic asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright by Zachary D, Lyons.

Organic asparagus from Alvarez Organic Farms. Copyright by Zachary D, Lyons.

Roasted Tuna, Asparagus & Morel

1 large bunch of asparagus,washed and trimmed

2 ounces morel mushrooms, sliced in bite-sized pieces

1 small red onion, sliced

1 can of F/V St. Jude albacore, seasoned or use Natural in Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil,   ¾ tsp Salt, and pepper to taste

Now for preparation:  Set Oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Use 2 if you need it.  In a large bowl, toss all ingredients until vegetables are coated with oil. Add EVOO if needed. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast 20 to 25 minutes stirring once until vegetables are slightly charred and tender.  NOTE:  If you want a dinner fit for a grand banquet, use one of the albacore filets or steaks that Joyce brings frozen from the F/V St. Jude latest catch, instead of their canned products .  It thaws in a very short time, slices into 1/2 inch pieces easily, and should not be cooked very long.  So wait until after you stir the veggies then add the slices to the pan & sear until just before they turn from pink to white.  Serve with soy sauce and wasabi on the table, or not, as you please.

Servings are less than 150 calories per serving and HUGE in taste.

A dessert designed by Linda Harkness, the Firefly Kitchen manager, would be absolutely perfect for the end of a lovely albacore, asparagus and morel dinner.  Carrot Bars with Carrot Cream Frosting.

 Now for the Wines

Paul Beverage of Wilridge Winery.  The only winery in the City of Seattle.

Paul Beverage of Wilridge Winery. The only winery in the City of Seattle.

A Pioneer in Washington’s Wine Industry

Paul Beveridge, and his wife, Lysle Wilhelmi, are the owners of Wilridge Winery. (Yes, that is his name). They also own their own vineyard on Naches Heights, near Yakima, where the vines are tended organically and biodynamically.

Paul and Lysle opened a European-style bistro in the early 1990’s, in a house on 34th Ave, in the Madrona district. The restaurant was on the 2nd floor and their winery was in the cellar. It was the city of Seattle’s 1st winery. After the restaurant was closed because of laws that were established to prohibit ‘bathtub’ gin being sold in a retail outlet, including restaurants, the couple decided to close the Bistro. Paul and Lysle were pioneers again by working to get that law changed, with help from the Washington Wine Institute.

Paul also contributed significant time and efforts that led to the legislation that allows wine and beer from Washington producers to be sold at farmers markets.

And, if that isn’t enough pioneering, they have also been among the first wineries, let along retailers, to offer their fine wines in refillable bottles.

Stop by to talk to their representative, and have a taste to decide what vintage or blend you want.  You will be proud to be supporting ethically and sustainably grown fine wines from Washington State

Firefly Kitchens

Devine Tonics from Firefly Kitchens. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Devine Tonics from Firefly Kitchens. Copyright by Zachary D. Lyons.

Located in Ballard, Julie O’Brien is brewing up fermented produce, much of which is sourced directly from our local farms, and is available right here at the Ballard Farmers Market.

During this work, they develop a tonic they call Divine Brine. Bring your own jar and she’ll fill it up for you with some of this healthy probiotic tonic. This is not only a super-healthy food for your digestive system, it is a culinary treat for your whole body.

A winner of America’s Good Food Award for each of the past 4 years, stop by Firefly Kitchens to taste. They also encourage you to bring your own jar for a fill-up of their Devine Brine.

Firefly Kitchens owners Julie & Richard

Firefly Kitchens owners Julie & Richard

And try the recipe for Carrot Cake with Carrot Cream Icing (link is above).