Spring into Spring with fresh meal inspirations from the Culinary Program at 21 Acres. All of our culinary classes highlight the use of local, seasonal and sustainably-grown ingredients. Our goal is to inspire and empower guests to consider using more whole foods as the foundation of their diets in order to promote personal and environmental well-being.
Here’s the current schedule:
Cultural Classics: Chutney, The Ultimate Flavor Enhancer | Thursday, April 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Chutney is a thick sauce of Indian origin that often contains fruits, vinegar, sugar, and spices. This flavorful condiment has been used throughout history and across many cultures to enhance mealtime flavors. Inspire your senses in this hands-on class.
Local Foods for Local Adventures and Weekday Snacks | Friday, April 15, 6:30-8:30 pm
Join Chef Kristen Fuerstein in this hands-on exploration of locally delicious, easy-to-prepare portable snacks. Menu items to include: Not Your Basic PB&J Granola Bars, Savory Veggie Bites, and other pack-able snacks.
One Food Three Ways, Sea Vegetables | Saturday, April 30, 1-3:00 pm
So you think veggies only come from your garden or the farm? Welcome to the new world of seaweed! These sustainable plants might be your new go-to green. In this hands-on class you’ll have the opportunity to use various seaweeds in three delicious dishes: salad, a main course of salmon infused with sea veggie butter, and a decadent dessert.
Spring Salads & Salad Dressings | Friday, May 6, 6:30-8:30pm
Are you ready to lighten up for Spring and Summer? As the weather gets warmer, our bodies naturally begin to yearn for lighter and fresher foods. Join culinary educator Rebecca Sorenson in this hands-on kitchen experience to learn how to build tasty and satisfying salads.
Eat Your Weeds: An Introduction to Spring Foraging | Saturday, May 7, 1-3pm
Don your farm boots and possibly a rain jacket to join culinary educator and wild plant expert Rebecca Sorenson in exploring the fields of 21 Acres. Rebecca will guide you in search of wild, delicious, and nutrient dense edibles. After foraging, we will assemble our bounty in the kitchen and transform it into a flavorsome wild green pesto served with fresh farm bread, a tasty wild salad, and a mouth-watering beverage of nettle infusion.
What’s On Your Plate| Tuesday-Friday, May 10-13, 6:30-8:30pm & Saturday, May 14 12-2pm
Note: This course has been approved for 10 CPE credits for Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Calling all nutrition professionals, educators, and anyone else with an interest in the inspiring story of local food history. Join Ruth Fruland, Ph.D, and professionals from the 21 Acres staff as we explore the essence of food culture in the Pacific Northwest within the context of environmental sustainability over the course of four evenings; we will examine and celebrate four iconic Pacific Northwest foods: including salmon, potatoes, apples, and wheat.
Cultivating Cooks 201 | 5 consecutive Wednesdays, May 18-June 15, 6:30-8:30pm
Calling all aspiring chefs! Our Cultivating Cooks Youth Culinary Series is under way for the 2016 season. We’re excited to introduce Chef Andrea Roelen as the fearless leader of this inspiring program best suited for young adults ages 12-17.
Spring into spring with fresh vegetarian flavors | Friday, June 3, 6:30-8:30pm
Looking to expand beyond meatless Mondays? Are you looking for new veg-menu inspirations? Join Chef Kristen, our resident vegetarian chef, in this hands on culinary experience. We will use locally sourced ingredients to create a plant-based menu guaranteed to delight your taste buds as well as promote a steady flow of energy throughout your day.
Sneezing, aching, nose-running, snot-forming, cough coming on – yep that was my life over the latter part of last week and through the weekend. I’m sure many of you can relate. Tis’ the cold and flu season. There are many nourishing whole foods, however, that we can turn our focus toward this time of year. In fact, in case you missed it, the culinary education team at 21 Acres just provided a cooking class centered around this very topic. Rebecca Sorenson, a naturopathic doctoral student at Bastyr University, provided extremely useful information on how and why whole foods can provide us with germ fighting defenses. I was impressed with the knowledge and “work-ability” of the suggestions Rebecca presented and I thought it would be worth everyone’s while if I share similar information here. I can also attest to the effectiveness of the ingredients listed below and the recipes that follow. After 2 large bowls of the ginger chicken soup and a good dose of onion syrup that Rebecca graciously shared, my cold was well on its way to being history. (more…)
Man it was dark today, mostly due to the low clouds and fog I believe. I guess winter has officially started. As the dark days slowly welcome back the light, there are a handful of mood-boosting foods to include with your meals or snacks – especially if you’re prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s no secret that some foods just plain ‘ole make us feel better. Foods such as chocolate, creamy casseroles, fresh baked bread, warm saucy pasta, or mashed potatoes all have key nutrients that give our mood a boost. Let’s look at some specific examples.
Chocolate is rich in magnesium, which according to recent research out of Norway, a country cloaked in darkness six months out of the year, has been associated with lower incidences of depression. Keep in mind that the higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the greater amount of magnesium and the lower amount of sugar. (For many of my clients sugar increases feelings of depression and anxiety.) A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 70-80% cocoa content in your one or two ounce chocolate treat. While 21 Acres recognizes that chocolate in not locally produced, the kitchen and culinary education team do on occasion work with local chocolate companies whose values are in line with 21 Acres in terms of economic and environmental sustainability. Our culinary classes and kitchen source chocolate from Seattle based Theo Chocolates as needed. (more…)
“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right.” Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror
With New Years just around the corner, I often reflect back on what I’ve learned, where I’ve been, and who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the last year. I then start to think about where I’d like to go, what I’d like to learn, and who I’d like to meet in the coming New Year. This concept of making a change, setting a resolution, making an intention is familiar to many of you I’m sure. As a nutritionist dietitian I often receive comments from clients or acquaintances in regards to what they’re going to give up (food-wise) or how much more time they’re going to spend at the gym. These common “New Year’s Resolutions” are of-course well intended, but what if the resolution was a little less self-punishing and a little more self-promoting or better yet more beneficial for the larger community? (more…)
We wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season. Enjoy some of these favorite memories and traditions shared by the staff of 21 Acres.
Veleda – Event Staff and Volunteer@21Acres
My younger sisters and I used to sneak out of bed and peek to watch my mother sewing dolls for us on her treadle sewing machine. We saw where she hid the projects and would check the progress daily, until she removed the completed dolls to a better hiding spot until Christmas. We were always very “surprised” to find the now -dressed dolls under our tree. I still have one of those dolls.
In order to allow more time for gift exchanging and enjoying on Christmas morning,, I discovered that my kids were delighted to each have a box of their favorite breakfast cereal wrapped and under the tree among other gifts, to be eaten as each was ready. This became a tradition which each of them now carries out with their own families.
Deb – Adminstrator@21Acres
Throughout my childhood, every Christmas Eve, we went to my Grandparent’s home for dinner. On the way there, we always looked for a house bordering the freeway with a large blue star high above their roof (a bit of a competition to be the first to announce the sighting!). Returning to my hometown (the Olympia area) as an adult with my own children, “progress” had replaced the home with a strip mall, but much to my delight, the strip mall continued to put up the star and my children learned to look for it as we traveled between their grandparent’s homes for Christmas Eve and then back to our home in Woodinville. To this day, the star is there and for me, it represents the spirit and magic of Christmas –God’s love, peace, safety, family, tradition and giving. Hoping to share the star with my grandchildren in the coming years.
Liesl – Market Manager@21Acres
Christmas as a child was always spent at grandma’s house. She had a beautiful stone fireplace where the stockings were hung and always picked a tree that reached the ceiling; I thought they were bigger than life. When Christmas morning came, my sister and I were always up early, very early. There was a strict policy to not wake Mom and Grandma until 7:30. Until that time we could look in our stockings, but never unwrap the presents under the tree. My sister and I would slowly pull each item out of our stockings, always ending with an orange in the toe. Then just before 7:30, we would repack the stockings so we could open them all over again with the rest of the family. The suspense and untethered joy of Christmas morning is a rare ]gift; be blessed this holiday season!
Brenda –Public Relations & Communications @21 Acres
Celebrating Sinterklaas – For those of you who know me well, you may know this is a Dutch tradition for the Vanderloop/Jacobson family. The wooden shoes go outside the front door the eve of Dec. 5, in celebration of St. Nick’s birthday, and they are magically filled in the morning with treats and a gift. A few things have changed over time, I used to get chocolate “fairy food” left in the milk chute when I was little at home in Wisconsin; As the kids got older, treats changed from chocolate to craft beer, my son 🙂 and chocolate to a vintage classic book, my daughter :). Some years, St. Nick actually plans ahead, as he has to use pony express to deliver to the ‘kids’ no longer at home. And yes, there are a baby pair of wooden shoes awaiting a new grandchild next year!
Amanda – Local Foods & Nutrition Education Coordinator @21Acres
During the holidays of 1999-2000 I was living in Salzburg, Austria. When it comes to Christmas, you really can’t hold a candle to how well the Europeans celebrate the season. From shopping for hand made gifts at traditional outdoor holiday markets, to sipping Gluhwein while listening to traditional Christmas carols (Silent Night was written in Arnsdorf, Austria in 1818), Europe really is a magical place this time of year – especially in the small towns like Gimmelwald, Switzerland.
After we finished fall semester finals, a handful of classmates and I boarded a train heading for the Swiss Alps. We first arrived in Interlaken, Switzerland. Then boarded a smaller train to ride further into the mountains. Upon arrival, we walked a short distance to a cable car tram that took us literally up the mountains to the very small village of Gimmelwald, population 100. We spent two nights in the appropriately name Mountain Hostel run by an American couple. The woman was from Eugene, Oregon – she and I bonded over our Oregonian-ness.
The hostel had a kitchen for us to use, but having arrived with just our backpacks and only a few snacks, we were in need of groceries. The next village up the “road” was home to the only grocery store at that elevation. In fact as I remember the store wasn’t much larger than our market at 21 Acres. We made our purchases and soon discovered that walking back in the deep snow was going to be challenging. The shopkeeper suggested we rent sleds from a nearby shop. So, down we went on traditional wooden sleds – the ones with the steering on the front that you maneuvered with your feet. A couple of us doubled up so the person in the back could manage the groceries. Amazingly we and our groceries all arrived in one piece! As the evening continued the previously overcast and periodically snowing sky opened up. The view from the hill just next to the hostel looked right at Mount Eiger and Jungenfrau two of the tallest peaks in the Alps. Words can not describe the holiday “perfectness” of that scene, of the whole day really.
If you ever get the chance to be in Europe during the holiday season, do yourself a favor, drop everything, tell your family members here in the US you’ll send them a postcard or call, and just go! Froliche Weihnachten (Merry Christmas, Austrian German) my friends!
Scott – Permaculture Specialist@21Acres
My mother’s growing Catholic enthusiasm has made the end of December a very significant time for our family growing up. Each year our family buys a Christmas tree in early December that gets covered in heirloom decorations our family has been accumulating since long before I was born. Last year I made hoshigaki ornaments, gifted them to loved ones, and added them to our tree in my futile attempt to give it life. On Christmas Eve, we usually go to a late night mass and then drive around at midnight to admire lights and decorations in residential areas. We then return home, go to sleep, and wake up to soft sounds of Christmas carols, gift exchanges, and homemade meals. My most memorable experience during Christmas was nothing like the tradition I had grown up with when in 2012, I pedaled to Mexico with a caravan of circus vagabonds far away from the family and friends I grew up with. As the end of the 5,126 year long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar approached, I participated in my first Vision Quest, fasting without water for 100 hours in the dry Mexican jungles surrounding the ancient temples of Palenque. A consistently calm, warm, and sunny climate throughout that December made a suddenly severe transformation into torrential rains, winds, and flooding on the day of solstice. My tent and home was swept away by a river while I stared in amazement at thousands of indigenous Mayans drenched and rejoicing around a skyscraping bonfire in the pouring down rain all night long. Stepping outside my traditions helped me better understand others around me with more compassion and that events and disparate yet convergent gatherings, regardless of whether they are called Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Saturnalia, or Solsticio can have a profoundly significant impact beyond my imagination.
Seriously, who can believe it’s the holidays yet again? Perhaps it’s the frantic traffic, the very focused shoppers who nearly run into you as they check their lists twice, or maybe it’s the shops, streets, and homes a glow with bright colored lights that remind us ’tis the season! Another frequent reminder is the “holiday foods” that appear at family gatherings, office break rooms, and seasonal parties galore. ‘Tis the season for indulgence! But what if we took a break from all the craziness that the holiday season often presents, especially in regards to food? What if we created a new holiday tradition that allowed for more mindfulness around food and our eating environments?
This time of year is perfect for thinking more about how we source our ingredients for those special holiday meals. When we choose high quality, locally produced, pesticide-free ingredients we not only heighten the flavor and nutritional content of our favorite family recipes, we also end up supporting our local economy and reducing the carbon footprint (aka travel miles, petroleum-free growing practices) of our meals. Speaking of flavors, let’s take a closer look at some flavor profiles, which are more likely to be enhanced by choosing higher quality ingredients. (more…)
Submitted by Amanda Bullat, MSN, RD, CD, 21 Acres
“…and a partridge in a pear tree.” Pear season is in full swing! Did you know that the Pacific Northwest produces more than 80 percent of the nation’s pears? While peak season is typically Fall and Winter, a few varieties are available much longer throughout the year.
Nutritionally speaking, pears are similar to apples in that they come in at just about 100 calories each for an average size, offer about 5.5 grams of fiber, contain 10 percent of the daily vitamin C and 5 percent of the daily value for potassium. The potassium helps to keep our blood pressure in balance and the high soluble fiber content can contribute to healthy blood cholesterol levels. In one recent study, researchers found that for every 25 grams of white-fleshed produce eaten, participants were 9 percent less likely to suffer from stroke.
As a member of the rose family, pears make great additions to sweet as well as savory dishes. Some favorite ways to enjoy these seasonal delights include poached, sautéed, baked, roasted, grilled, and raw. Pears’ high pectin content also make them perfect for jams and spreads. Some of the varieties you may find include Anjou, Bartlett, Asian, Bosc, Comice, and Seckel. Anjou is typically the easiest variety to come by. They come in green and red varieties each with their own subtle flavor profiles. Anjous are great for munching raw, in a chutney, or as a pie. Bartletts are also widely available and offer a classic pear flavor. They work well for canning and pureeing. Bosc pears are usually more firm in texture, which makes them best for baking or poaching. The Comice, my personal favorite, are sweet and juicy – tasty for eating raw. The tiny seckel pears are the perfect size for a petite snack or light dessert.
Although many of the varieties are picked ready to eat within a day or two; if your delicious selection needs a little softening try leaving the pears on the counter at room temperature. Pears are natural ethylene producers, meaning they ripen well on their own after being picked. Once you’re content with their softness, they can be transferred to the fridge to maintain freshness.
Pears are a very versatile fruit as they pair well with a variety of flavors including, warm spices like allspice, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Nuts such as pistachios, almonds, and pecans are also great partners as well as dark chocolate – my personal favorite! For the local cheese fans among you, our resident cheese specialist Marie Caldron recommends the following local cheese pairings for any of the above pears: Cascadia Creamery’s Cloud Cap and Glacier Blue, Beecher’s Clothbound Flagship, and Mt Townsend’s Red Alder. At 21 Acres, our favorites are cheese from Cherry Valley Dairy, Mt. Townsend Creamery and Sammish Bay Cheese.
Amanda Bullat MS RDN CD is a registered dietitian nutritionist with master’s degree from Bastyr University and a background in natural and sustainable food systems. Amanda has taught classes for Whole Foods Market, Keene State College in New Hampshire, Seattle Mountaineers, and various other community organizations. When she is not teaching or coordinating our culinary education program, Amanda supports and inspires clients through her private nutritional counseling practice.
As I pedal my bike down the Sammamish Trail toward work, it’s all I can do to avoid squashing squirrels as they dart back and forth across the trail, scurrying to gather nuts and seeds to store for winter nibbling. Perhaps we should take advice from these furry friends: Scientific evidence continues to support the many health benefits of nuts and seeds as a part of a well-rounded diet.
An important plant-based protein source, nuts and seeds also contain valuable amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are especially rich in plant sterols and healthy fats – particularly mono- and polyunsaturated varieties. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts) as a part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. The combination of fiber, protein, and fat (roughly 4 grams of saturated fat for a 1.5 ounce serving) provided satiety to meals and snacks. This can be especially helpful during the holiday season when we’re often busy and on the go. While nuts are healthy, they are also calorically dense. Nuts range from 160-200 calories per ounce. A great option in order to not over spend your daily caloric bank account on a small snack is to substitute nuts and seeds for other foods in your diet, especially for foods higher in saturated fat. While nuts and seeds can easily be lumped into one category, each variety has its own unique nutrition benefits and delicious-ness. (more…)