Like-minded food communities with an interest in earth-friendly, mindful eating are building steam. Foodies seeking ideas and encouragement gather together around slow food dinners, community-supported agriculture, homesteading forums and group buying clubs. In kitchens around the Northwest, the way we shop, eat, and prepare our food is changing.
To be mindful of what we eat doesn’t have to be complicated, and we’re fortunate to have a number of nearby chefs and innovators bringing us organic, local, and whole food options to enjoy. Whether you grow and preserve your own ingredients or take advantage of the abundance of farmers markets and organic food sources nearby, these recipes will inspire you.
Here, four enthusiastic chefs and innovators share their appreciation for fresh food and what inspires them, with favorite recipes to feel good about.
A visit to Leavenworth is an annual winter tradition for many in the Northwest. The Bavarian-themed town is known as much for its holiday celebrations as for its stunning natural beauty and year-round outdoor activities. A quick trip often turns into an overnight stay for many.
Just outside of town, the earth-conscious Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort has evolved over the years from a conference retreat to a luxe green destination, with on-site yoga, a spa, refined lodge décor, and artwork from internationally-acclaimed artists like Dale Chihuly’s Chihuly Icicles.
Sleeping Lady’s Kingfisher Restaurant & Wine Bar serves an organic, locally sourced menu with a focus on fair trade and sustainably farmed ingredients. New executive chef Joshua Holmes has worked at food destinations like The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and Tom Colicchio’s Craft in New York. He brings his top culinary training and years of experience to the resort’s large and inviting restaurant.
In addition to overseeing the restaurant, Holmes works closely with Sleeping Lady’s 2-acre organic garden and greenhouse to showcase the freshest ingredients for the resort’s farm-to-table dining experience.
“Raw food right from the field excites me,” Holmes said. He is inspired by the natural simplicity of the trails and grounds at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort. “It’s an incredible growing environment here.”
He encourages the home cook to try a variety of local, seasonal vegetables. “Challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to try something new. More often than not, you’re going to find something you really enjoy,” he said. “The best thing to put into your body is what’s ripe at the time.”
Recipes from Executive Chef Joshua Holmes, Kingfisher Restaurant at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort.
Butternut Squash Slaw
- 1 head butternut squash, cut into matchsticks
- ½ bunch sage, chopped
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- White balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows
- Kosher salt and white pepper
Combine all ingredients and let sit for at least one hour prior to serving.
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 shallot, diced and sweated down
- 1 ½ tablespoon dijon
- Juice of one lime
- 18 ounce grape seed oil
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon thyme
Combine all ingredients except oil and thyme. Blend in slowly, fold in thyme and season
Arugula, Butternut Squash, Poached Apple, Chèvre Salad
- 3 ounces baby arugula
- 2 to 3 ounces butternut slaw recipe
- 1 poached Granny Smith Apple, reserving ½ tablespoon liquid, recipe follows
- 4 tablespoon crumbled chèvre
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Toss arugula with EVOO, sea salt and apple syrup. Arrange in center of plate. Arrange butternut slaw over the top of the arugula and the apples around the dish. Finish with crumbled chèvre.
Notes: Spiced pecans can be added for additional texture. Pairs well with grilled pork, or meaty fish such as swordfish.
Poached Granny Smith Apple
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- ½ cup simple syrup
- 1 lemon, juiced
Working quickly, slice Granny Smith apple into half moons slightly thinner than a quarter inch. Gently poach until apples just begin to soften and take on a translucent look.
Thrive Café in Seattle has been buzzing for the past five years as a center of green eating with a menu featuring gluten-free, dairy-free, organic and raw foods. It’s both a café and a gathering place, feeding Northwest foodies with an approach to eating focused on food conversations and building community.
Owner Monika Kinsman is excited to share Thrive’s approach to eating. “People want to eat food that makes their body feel good and function how it should.” She said Thrive focuses on food made without harm — to the body, to animals, or to the planet. It aims to make that food available to people with busy lifestyles.
Kinsman encourages people looking to make positive changes in their diets to educate themselves. She also says not to do it alone. “The biggest influences on the food people seek out have to do with the community around them,” she said. “Find a friend or family member to do it with you.”
Thrive offers an all-day menu featuring salads, soups, smoothies and juices. There are also food-related items like juicers and kitchen tools, as well as classes, guest speakers, and a popular food and film series.
“Thrive is really about how you feel when you eat healthy food,” Kinsman said.
(Makes two servings)
- 12 ounces almond milk
- 2 dates
- ½ stick celery
- ½ banana
- 5 strawberries
- 1-2 cups spinach
- 2 large leaves kale
- ½ avocado
- 3-4 ice cubes
Put everything in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec), and blend for about 45 seconds. You can even throw in the avocado pit!
Heading east from the small town of Arlington, you’ll start a climb into the Cascades marked by the quiet stillness of farms tucked under the low clouds that hang over the mountains.
At Misty Mountains Farm, farmers and artisanal bakers Matt and Arial Buza work together to create the sweet and savory breads and baked goods they offer through a unique community-supported bakery (CSB). Each CSB members’ weekly share is delivered right to their doors. About half of Misty Mountains Farm’s selection is gluten-free, and it is always popular.
The farm is a labor of love for this young couple. As transplants from Florida, they came to the Northwest for its natural beauty and focus on the environment. “Cooking in a sustainable, local, organic, and environmentally-friendly way is out in the open here,” Arial said. “There are so many like-minded people in our community.”
An architect and an engineer by day, the Buzas’ offer their breads through their CSB in Arlington, special orders, and event catering, as well as the Arlington Farmers Market in the summer. They mix their own gluten-free flours and look for organic sources wherever they can.
Their interest in gluten-free baking started as an effort to help Matt, who is gluten-intolerant. The couple knows that many families go gluten-free to support one family member. “Some people who are gluten-free have been eating bread that doesn’t taste good,” Arial said. “We want to make products that will appeal to the whole family.”
Birds Nest Bread
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 ½ cups brown rice flour
- 1 ½ cups sorghum flour
- 1 ¾ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons xanthan
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2/3 cup seed mixture (recommended: 4 tablespoons gluten free oats, 2 tablespoons millet, 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons flaxseeds)
- 1/8 cup gluten free oats
- Whisk the flours, xanthan gum, salt, yeast and cup of the seed mixture in a medium bowl.
- Add the eggs, butter, vinegar, honey, and instant yeast and milk to the dry ingredients.
- Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry mixture with a mixer on medium speed.
- When the ingredients are combined, turn the mixer to high for 5 minutes. The dough will resemble a batter.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. Sprinkle the oats in the bottom of the pan.
- Scoop the dough into the loaf pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the loaf.
- Sprinkle the remaining seed mixture on top.
- Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees 30 minutes prior to baking.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 30 minutes.
- Cover bread lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Sustainable Food Community
Woodinville’s 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Agriculture will surprise you. The size of its impressive structure is unexpected, built high and proud to capture every ray of Northwest sun on its solar panels. The efficient building design, and all of the uniqueness that is 21 Acres, is a tribute to a very local passion for sustainability.
21 Acres includes an organic farm, a commercial kitchen, meeting rooms for classes and events, a learning center, and a farm market with fresh produce, meats, dairy, staples and dry goods. Within the farm market you can find an ever-changing array of creative, seasonal and organic dishes prepared by 21 Acres’ cook, Asako Sullivan.
21 Acres’ vision is to engage the community within a public agricultural center. The focus on locally produced and organic food inspires Sullivan to be creative, aiming to work with local ingredients and incorporate her interest in world flavors.
She encourages home cooks to experiment and be creative, and seek out ingredients that are fresh and produced locally. “People who live in a region should eat food from that region,” she said. “You don’t have to go halfway around the world to find an ingredient.”
Root Vegetable and Hazelnut Miso Udon
(Makes four servings)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 cups root vegetables (turnip, daikon, carrot, Jerusalem artichoke, parsnips, kohlrabi, and/or small taro roots) — cleaned, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup delicata squash — cleaned, cored and sliced
- ¼ pounds uncooked chicken, cut into smaller bite size (optional)
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons miso (white)
- 2 tablespoons nut butter (hazelnut butter, walnut butter or almond butter)
- 1 (12 ounce) package udon noodles
- Chopped scallions
- 1 teaspoon camelina oil
- Chili powder to taste (optional)
- Heat a large soup pot to medium, add canola oil, and sauté all root vegetables, squash, and chicken if chosen, about 3 minutes.
- Add vegetable stock and water, and bring to boil. Turn down the heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are cooked through but still firm, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix miso and nut butter.
- Add udon noodles to the soup and cook according to package directions. Make sure the soup is near boiling point again.
- Turn off the heat and melt miso mixture by placing it in a strainer and dissolving it into the soup. Taste and add extra miso if necessary.
- Divide into bowls. Sprinkle chopped scallions for garnish.
- Serve immediately with a teaspoon of camelina oil or sesame seed oil and chili (cayenne) powder if desired.
Note: Do not boil the soup if you are reheating as boiling will diminish the aroma of miso.