Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, and Thou

That's amore. (Photo courtesy Sea Breeze website)
More new discoveries last week at the Bellevue Farmers Market! You and your true love (or devoted foodie friend) can put together the most delightful gourmet picnic with the help of Vashon Island's Sea Breeze Farm and Tefft Cellars.

Cody and I at Sea Breeze Farm had a great discussion and tasting session. First I sampled their Head Cheese, an item I remember from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods:

Ma scraped and cleaned the head carefully, and then she boiled it until all the meat fell off the bones. She chopped the meat fine with her chopping knife in the wooden bowl, she seasoned it with pepper and salt and spices. Then she mixed the pot-liquor with it, and set it away in a pan to cool. When it was cool it would cut in slices, and that was head-cheese (p. 17).

Similarly, Sea Breeze braises and brines the pig's head for a day. Cody laughed about people hearing the name "Head Cheese" and being horrified of getting an eyeball or something, "but most of the meat is from the cheeks."  After tasting a slice, I could see why Wilder remembered it well enough to write about it fifty years later!

Also delicious was their classic French Country Pate with pistachios and onions and the soft, brie-like, raw-milk cheese they age sixty days and call "Vachonbert." I bought a hunk of each and served them the next day on slices of bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Had it not been midday and the kids coming home, our picnic would have been enhanced with a glass of wine from new vendor Tefft Cellars of the Yakima Valley! Paul Tollner and Rhonda Taylor grow many varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Chenin Blanc, and, in 2009, they opened a tasting room this side of the mountains in Woodinville. Their motto is "il suo stile de vita"--"it's a lifestyle!"

So even though I bought cauliflower and asparagus last week, the Market is clearly about more than the vegetables! New up this week: Rome Doherty will be there this Thursday with his luscious jams, including Pear with Creme de Cassis and Rhubarb with Lavendar. Say the password "Megan's Visit" and receive $1 off your purchase!

See everyone Thursday.

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