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Fun with the White House Cook Book

I am so excited to report that we have our next Day Trip/Farm Tour scheduled. It will be Sunday, August 1 at Finn River Farm & Cidery, which I told you about last week and I can hardly wait! We will have pizza dough from their milled flour, toppings from their garden, fruit tarts from their berries, and we are busy lining up local ice cream, cheeses and more from that region! Chimacum is bursting with great farms and artisan products and it will be so much fun to take you out there for the day. This is going to be a great time and I hope that you can come. Once I have all the suppliers lined up I can set the price and then we can start selling tickets. I have had requests already, though I can’t set the price without some more information first. We like to keep it as affordable as possible for you, so I must do my due diligence here.

Last week Mark, Sharon, Erin and I toured ‘Start Now Farm’ in Bremerton. Jean started the Fresh Local store in downtown B-town, and she and Glen have been gardening/farming together for almost 40 years. They are creative geniuses and what they have done is beyond amazing. Their neighbors on either side have opened their yards to them so they have 3 front lawns full of raised beds and 2 greenhouses. In the back of the houses they have more greenhouses and vertical gardens. Seriously, there are cherry trees on the rooftop. As you go up each level there are more and more raised beds and pots full of vegetables and fruit! It is a sight to behold. There is a processing area w/running water, a walk-in cooler and so much more. Jean and Glen take ‘Start Now’ very actively and when they want to do something they go for it. Last summer Jean talked about providing our restaurant with all of our lettuces. She interviewed me to see what we would pay, how it needed to get to us, and all the details she could get. They grew lettuces just for us and now all of our lettuces at the cafe are from their organic farm. She saw no reason to wait or hesitate, she had the idea and went for it. Start Now. Check out that link to their web site and you will be well impressed, believe me. I bet they would even give you a tour of the farm if you asked nice and took them some of our croissants (Jean loves them!). Just don’t damage the kale growing along the sidewalk in front of their home or she will march your buns home and tell your mom on you!

It is great strides like this in our mission that help me to realize that we have had the cafe for 4 years now. We started out knowing no one and nothing and now we know a few people and a few things. Luckily they are the right people and things, so it all keeps growing and moving and we are having more fun than ever. We are also more tired than ever, though we think we see relief for some of that within the next 2 years… that is what we are working towards, anyway. Mark and I have always known our life together is a miracle and now with the cafe it is absolute. Our team and our family of customers is truly ours now, and that feels great! I love recognizing most of the faces in the cafe each day. They are usually smiling and happy to be with us, and on those rare occasions that they are not smiling, we can offer hugs, friendly support and of course, cookies!

Speaking of our fabulous team of amazing staff, Lori is starting back today, part time. Her baby is doing GREAT and thriving after her very rocky start. Her actual birth day will be one year ago on June 6! How can a year have passed? Anyway, we are all excited to have Lori, and her brand of team spirit, back with us 2 days a week. It is also great to not have to train someone right now, which I will take as cosmic payback for the drama we had with hiring folks last year. Thank goodness we got Vicky out of it all!

I should probably remind everyone that we will be closed next weekend for the holiday. We can never compete with the Folk Life Festival and other holiday doings, so we give the team a break. Mark and I will be catering Friday evening and Saturday, though on Sunday we get to go with his parents to Teatro Zinzanni! This was a Christmas present from 2 seasons ago, and we finally can all get together for this fabulous dinner out. They haven’t been before, so I can’t wait to see what they think. I think it is the best entertainment in Seattle and we are so lucky to have it here! If you ever want to take me, just say the word and I will clear my schedule. I am so amazed by the choreography between the show and the kitchen. I would LOVE to be in that kitchen and watching them get it all plated! It must be the most organized chaos ever, a beautiful thing to see in a well-run kitchen. It feels like magic to the audience, though I know it is a ton of work.

One other fantastic experience I am going to have is a brunch at Osteria La Spiga (Chef Sabrina Tinsley!!) in Seattle, with author Temra Costa. Chef’s Collaborative is putting it on along with Elliot Bay Book Company, and they describe it like this: “A sumptuous brunch and conversation with Temra Costa, author of ‘FARMER JANE: Women Changing the Way We Eat.’ Her message: as farmers, chefs, educators and activists, women are changing the way we eat and farm. Joining in the conversation will be three remarkable women who embody Temra’s portrayal of the modern sustainable food movement: –Chef & Culinary Instructor Karen Jurgensen of Seattle Culinary Academy & Quillisascut Farm (Rice, WA) –Farmer Brooke Lucy of Bluebird Grain Farm (Winthrop, WA), and –Kia Kozun, Marketing Manager; Nash’s Organic Produce (Sequim, WA). The cost is $48, which includes a 5-course menu of seasonal specialties from the Emilia-Romagna region, and a signed copy of FARMER JANE.”
If you want to go get tickets HERE, I already have mine. It would be great to have a group of food-loving women from Kitsap join me!

My mom and dad stopped by the cafe last Friday for the anniversary wine tasting and brought me a few things including a couple of professional reference books. The event was very fun and exhausting, so when I got home I set the items on the ottoman for later perusal. On Sunday I moved them to my desk and on Monday morning I finally looked through them. One thing was a really very old cook book called “The White House Cook Book” and while it is in really poor condition in the front, it appears to be mostly intact. The front cover has been recovered with paper that I cannot get off, and inside it has my great, great grandmother’s name and a date: “Antoinette Pottgether, 1901, Chicago, Ill”. The title page is missing so I don’t know which version of this famous cook book it is, but there are also a few personal notes stuffed into the pages, and recipes taped to the front cover. It is SO COOL! My great, great gramma (known as ‘little gramma’) lived to be 100 years old. I just love this cook book and I love knowing that she used it and thumbed through it and I can touch those same pages, albeit very carefully. Mark is an antique lover and he told me that he had picked up a copy of the same cookbook at the antique store in Silverdale. We don’t know which copy is older, they both read “New and Enlarged Edition” on the spine. His is in slightly better shape, and seems to be from Rapid City, South Dakota, as inscribed by Mrs. Robert Moll. There are recipes stuffed and taped into this book, as well. It is quite a food history and I am loving reading this!

I am going to quote out of this book and offer a recipe from it as well, because it is too irresistible to pass up. I hope you love it as I do.

“Everything in the make-up of a salad should be of the freshest material, the vegetables crisp and fresh, the oil or butter the very best, meats, fowl and fish well cooked, pure cider or white-wine vinegar–in fact, every ingredient first class to insure success.
The vegetables used in salad are: Beet-root, onions, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, lentils, haricots, winter cress, peas, French beans, radish, cauliflower, –all these may be used judiciously in salad, if properly seasoned, according to the following directions:
Chervil is a delicious salad herb, invariably found in all salads prepared by a french gourmet. No man can be a true epicure who is unfamiliar with this excellent herb. It may be procured from the vegetable stands at Fulton and Washington Markets the year round. Its leaves resemble parsley, but are more divided, and a few of them added to a breakfast salad give a delightful flavor.
Chervil Vinegar.–A few drops of this vinegar added to fish sauces or salads is excellent, and well repays the little trouble taken in its preparation. Half fill a bottle with fresh or dry chervil leaves; fill the bottle with good vinegar and heat it gently by placing it in warm water, which bring to boiling point; remove from the fire; when cool cork, and in two weeks it will be ready for use.”

So there you have it folks, we are all true French gourmets now. I could go on and on with this book and I have a few other really old cook books that I have picked up over the years, perhaps I will find more recipes in them for you. Do you have any old family artifacts that you cherish? I would love to hear about them. Drop me an email!

~Ciao for now!