Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Few Things to Be Thankful for at 2014's Last Bellevue Farmers Market

The original teacup squash, grown by the hub
Alas, we have come to the end.

And there's not even any time to mourn properly because Thanksgiving and Decembermageddon will shortly be upon us. At least my 11YO daughter reminded me to put out the Thanksgiving decorations, for their brief stint before the Christmas bomb goes off in the house. (Exhibit A: my favorite tablecloth [right], all but buried under three computers and truckloads of papers, homework, and other crud.)

If your mind is desperately trying to get a head start on the season, let me help you out. Whether you have to put the whole meal together, or someone just assigned you one dish, the Market has what you need.

Your holiday Market shopping list:


  • Cranberries for sauce. It's fine to make it now--all that sugar keeps it indefinitely.
  • Salad greens. Chard, kale, spinach, mixed greens. Thanksgiving meals can be so starch-heavy that you want your salad to perk up the palate. The flavorful greens go well with Holmquist Hazelnuts and Tieton Farm and Creamery Cheese. Toss in some thin apple or pear slices!
  • Soup. Make your own with some butternut squash or pick up some quarts to go from Got Soup? Everyone just needs a teensy cup of flavorful soup, to prepare them for the heavy-duty eating ahead.
  • Bread and rolls.
  • Cider and wine.


 Martin Orchards has mouth-watering apple and pear flavors. Drink them straight, heated with mulling spices, or splashed in with sparkling water for your own "sparkling cider." We bought a half-gallon of the pear, but my children have been complaining because we've had to ration it. This visit I'll grab the gallon.


  • Potatoes for roasting and mashing. Lots and lots of potatoes. In a range of colors and without any nasty pesticides.
  • Carrots and brussels sprouts. Roast 'em. You won't be sorry.
  • Now, I know you already got your heritage turkey. But don't forget sausage and herbs for the stuffing!
  • And round off with a couple pies. Buy on the spot, or place an order with Adrienne's, with pick-up at Bellevue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday!

Just look at those puppies!
Ye all-important Order Form
And, supposing you weren't asked (or trusted) to bring anything. Well, every hostess likes a thoughtful gift. May I suggest...


Yup. Chocolates or toffee or a bottle of wine or a jar of honey or some beeswax candles or a jar of pickles! If they're avoiding carbs and you don't want to unfriend them (yet), maybe some flavored hazelnuts..? All I know is, if someone showed up at my house with Market food offerings, he or she would be my New Best Friend. It's that simple.

Sigh. So while I have much to be thankful for, I'll still be counting the days for baseball season and Market season to resume. In the meantime, continue to check back here for your weekly food news and foodie book reviews!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Which Just Goes to Show People Can Freak Out Over Anything

I knew it! I knew it!

The Wall Street Journal ran an article today about the latest diagnosable disorder: orthorexia nervosa. "Orthorexia" is not, as you might imagine, some sort of spelling disease, but rather an unhealthily obsessive attitude toward healthy eating. Imagine those folks who bore and proselytize you with their stringent diets, diets undertaken not from genuine food allergies but from a desire to be "healthier." Next thing you know, that urge to control what gets ingested takes over the person's life, driving not just their friends and families crazy, but themselves as well.

Among the proposed criteria: an obsession with the quality and composition of meals to the extent that people may spend excessive amounts of time, say three or more hours a day, reading about and preparing specific types of food; and having feelings of guilt after eating unhealthy food. The preoccupation with such eating would have to either lead to nutritional imbalances or interfere with daily functional living to be considered orthorexia.
That is, if your healthy-food obsession leads only to driving people nuts, but you're still getting proper nutrition and able to function in other areas of your life, you don't have orthorexia--you're just tiresome. But if your chosen diet is ironically impairing your mental and physical health, it's time to see a counselor.

Whew. Got that out there. Because good food should be a source of joy, not anxiety!

Consider these dehydrated apple chips Samantha at Collins Family Orchards created:


The awesome thing--not just how they look and taste, but the fact that they were made with just apples, lemon juice, water, and lots of time in the dehydrator. Sam did say it takes a ton of space and time and doesn't make much, but she might have said that because my mouth was watering and she could tell I was about to ask if I could have the rest of the jar and any more she might be hiding in the back.

But the purity of Sam's apple chips does bring me to some bad news (orthorexia nervosa sufferers, please skip this next bit). The Environmental Working Group has put out its first "Dirty Dozen" list for Food Additives. While there are 10,000 legal food additives, of which only a fraction have been tested for safety, the following dozen are "known or possible carcinogens and some can have reproductive and developmental effects":


  1. Nitrates and nitrites (preservatives in cured meats)
  2. Potassium bromate (a flour "improver")
  3. Propyl paraben (endocrine disruptor)
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  5. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  6. Propyl gallate
  7. Theobromine
  8. Secret flavor ingredients
  9. Artificial colors
  10. Diacetyl
  11. Phosphates
  12. Aluminum additives
Looking at this list, I do buy deli ham regularly (uh oh) and hot dogs occasionally (not worried about this), but my bacon and sausage come from the Market, and our folks don't use those preservatives--hence everything being refrigerated or frozen.

Basically, avoiding highly processed foods will protect you from this Dirty Dozen, so largely do-able, unlike avoiding air pollution, for instance.

Two Saturday Markets left! And with Thanksgiving looming, it's time to plan ahead. Get your cranberries and make your sauce now (it'll keep).

Lovely berries [pic from our own Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm]
Load up on apples and squash. Pies can be frozen, as can those sugar-topped casseroles and the soups.

Make rolls or buy them from one of our capable bakers.

Sausage for stuffing!

If you've been invited somewhere, grab that bottle of wine or cider as a hostess gift. Or some toffee. Or a pie. Believe me--a little money, wisely spent at the Market, and you'll secure invitations for years to come. Eat happy and healthy and relaxed, my friends.