Food from the Earth

Chef Cody Castiglia, owner of Della Terra Catering, may have earned his cooking chops in New York canning, preserving, whole-animal charcuterie-ing, baking, pasta making, and even cooking at a James Beard House dinner, but he loves it in the Pacific Northwest. He moved out here for a girl and is staying for the food. A dedicated proponent of farm-to-table — the real deal with exceptions only for things like olive oil and lemons — Castiglia chose to open his own catering business to avoid compromising that ideal. He dug into his Italian background, naming his business for the earth that makes food possible. In addition to catering, Castiglia has a knack for culinary instruction. Back in New York, he even taught classes for refugees and homeless students. He currently teaches cooking classes at 21 Acres in Woodinville — things like sausage- and cheese-making. Castiglia shared some of his tips on cooking with fall and winter ingredients.

Chef Cody Castiglia

Photo by Robin Marie Photography

Make Mushroom Stock
Much like the “nose to tail” trend, utilize all parts of your locally sourced vegetables from “root to stem.” Save mushroom trimmings in the freezer. When you have a good supply, add them to a pot with water to cover, a few peppercorns, and thyme sprigs. Cover and simmer for six hours or until the flavors are concentrated. Use mushroom stock instead of chicken or vegetable stock for risotto for an earthy flavor. Also, consider substituting locally grown farro for rice.

Cook Dried Beans
Alvarez Farms (Yakima Valley) has a wide variety of dried beans, which I love to cook with when it gets cold. Soak the beans overnight, then drain, and cover the beans with an inch of water. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the beans for one hour, and then begin checking for doneness. Depending on their age, size, and variety, beans can take anywhere from an hour to three hours to cook through. We’re looking for tender but not too mushy. Braise them down with plenty of garlic, pancetta, and winter greens. Or blend them with 21 Acres pumpkin-seed tahini to make a great hummus.

Simple Northwest ‘Citrus’ Turkey
Sumac is an herb with red buds that produce a lemon/citrus flavor. Brine the turkey overnight. On the big day, pat dry and rub with sumac and thyme (21 Acres sells a pre-blended sumac and thyme rub) before roasting.

Easy Spiced Apple Compote Cut tart local apples into a small dice, and then sauté in butter. Add a squeeze of honey and a pinch of a favorite spice (like cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg). Deglaze the pan with apple cider vinegar. Cover with apple cider and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

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