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Lane Morgan

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since Mar 10, 2014
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Recent posts by Lane Morgan

Thanks to all for the chats, suggestions, and interesting topics. I'm glad to know about this site and will stick around for more conversations. Photos are from the front yard yesterday--between rain squalls.
6 years ago
Our rainbarrel/garden tool hanger setup is plumbed to a sink and to a spigot for attaching the hose or filling buckets. It's great for washing vegetables and removing other chore dirt without going inside.
6 years ago
Corn salad (mache) can be a nice cover crop when you don't want to scare the neighbors. It's hardy in your zone, edible, self-seeding, low-growing and attractive (at least to me). I use buckwheat for a quick cover crop on beds because it grows fast and is easy to clear out for planting. Buckwheat leaves can go in salads--best when they are young.
6 years ago
the sauce...not a secret, but I can't remember details. Probably it was huckleberries, sugar, and some sort of not very fruity liqueur (kirschwasser?), simmered together. Huckleberries have such an intense taste that not much else could compete anyway.
6 years ago
Gosh thanks, Jim. I've been lucky to hang out with some great gardeners and cooks over the years. When it comes to leeks, that means Binda Colebrook, author of Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest. She taught me that, despite what I've heard many times, the smaller thinner leeks aren't necessarily better tasting than the big stubby ones. More depends on varieties and growing conditions. I know that a number of the thinner types are bred for a shorter season--early spring planting for summer harvest. I don't bother with those as there is so much competition for garden space in a short western Washington summer and we can always eat scallions then.

I value leeks as a winter vegetable, and that means the slower-growing, denser varieties that won't freeze out. I usually plant in February for harvest next November through March or April when they bolt to seed. I've been saving my seed and I don't actually remember what I started with (don't tell Binda that; she's much better than I am about keeping good records) , but probably it was Giant Musselburgh. They get massive in good soil. I do know that the garden books I read when I started with leeks told me to hill up the soil around the plants as they grow to blanch the stalks, since it's the white part that we really want to eat. I decided that's way too much work, so I dig a little trench and transplant my starts into that. Then I just fill in the trench as the plants get taller. Way easier and it works just as well.

I love leeks--in soup, grilled, in stir fries, in kim chee, in salads like green onions. I own a whole cookbook devoted to leeks.
6 years ago
Hi Mark,

I missed this post yesterday---sorry. Especially now that I live in town and don't have to plan shopping trips so carefully, I'm not all that strategic about my pantry. However, I always want to have canned crushed tomatoes since I don't buy fresh ones in winter. I try to keep something citrusy around, always some Asian fish sauce, balsamic vinegar, balsamic glaze, good soy sauce, and of course olive oil.
I have garam masalas and chile powder mixes to keep from getting bored with eating lots of lentils and beans. And Romano cheese. I get organic tofu in 2-pound slabs at the Cash and Carry restaurant supply store and freeze it. Freezing changes the texture and makes it a sponge for flavor. And did I mention chocolate? Can't get through the winter without chocolate.
6 years ago
I've never cooked a goose--so I'm no help here.

I've had two wild goose Thanksgiving dinners, thanks to a Montana friend. One was memorably good--rich, tender, wonderful meat. The next one, for which we made an amazing wild huckleberry sauce, was like eating rubber bands, albeit with really good sauce. I don't know if the hunters might have been able to tell the difference when they dressed the birds, and I wasn't the cook so I don't have any light to shed.

That experience made me think that if I were to be presented with a wild goose to cook, I would go the crockpot route just in case its another tough one.
6 years ago
We are lucky to have a Mexican butcher shop in town--lots of cheaper cuts there including tongue, tripe, and for the less adventurous, carne asada, which is (I think) flank steak cut on the bias, very very thin. At any rate it's a tough and tasty cut and a little goes a long way. Each year I use it to make bracciole for our housemate on his birthday. He's from a Sicilian family in New Jersey and finds it hard to get that kind of home cooking in Bellingham. It's a good one to make in quantity and freeze. There are lots of fancier recipes, with prosciutto and other treats, but Robert says this is the most like his grandmother's.

(If you're a Jersey Sicilian you pronounce it bro-zhole and you call the spaghetti sauce gravy.)

The carne asada is so thin it is stretchy, so when you roll it up with around a filling it kind of seals itself together.

3 lbs carne asada (or round steak, sliced sandwich thin)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 cups fresh parsley
1 cup grated romano cheese
olive oil
Your favorite spaghetti sauce--maybe a quart of it?

Mix the garlic, salt and pepper, parsley and romano cheese together.
Put a teaspoonful or two of mixture onto each steak.
Roll up and secure with toothpick.
Brown in heated olive oil.
Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 30-40 minutes.

This serves a crowd. We had eight well-feed people last time, plus a bunch of leftovers.
6 years ago

Simple soups

Here's one easy, creamy soup, which I got from my friend Larry Gonick.
I haven't tried this, but I think a vegan version with coconut milk would work just fine. I usually use 1%. When you have tasty vegetables, you don't need a lot of butterfat to make the soup good.

3 large leeks, white parts only, chopped
2 pounds winter squash, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup milk or cream
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the leeks and sauté gently 3 or 4 minutes until they soften. Don’t let them brown. Add the cubed squash, stir to coat with oil, and sauté another minute or two. Add stock, bring to boil, and then simmer, covered, until squash is soft.

Purée mixture. Then add the milk or cream and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with grated nutmeg, and serve hot.

And here is another, not creamy, and really best with meat stock and/or lard

This is adapted from Elizabeth David’s book of Mediterranean food, a great sourcebook of traditional recipes (with traditionally vague measurements). You may substitute olive oil for the lard; it won’t taste the same, but it will be good. This soup has a robust flavor, as you’d expect, and with good bread and a salad, it makes a complete meal.

1/4 cup lard or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 medium cabbage, sliced
1/2 pound dried haricot beans or navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 quarts stock or water
salt and pepper

Heat lard or olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan or soup pot. Add onion and brown. Add pumpkin, cabbage, beans, and garlic and cook briefly, stirring to coat the vegetables with oil.

Add stock or water, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook gently, covered, until beans are tender, about 2 hours. Adjust seasoning before serving.

And here's my basic vegetable stock, from the book, along with the reason I forced myself to actually write it down.

I’ve made some not-tasty vegetable stock in my time. I used to figure that pretty much any garden leftovers, plus some onion, would make a good broth. I was wrong. The wrong flavor balance can ruin the soup, especially soups designed to highlight mild vegetable flavors. Now that decent vegetable broth and vegetable bouillon mixtures are widely available, it’s not necessary to make your own. However, every garden produces vegetables that are too grungy to serve up on their own but are ready to give their flavors to the pot. Here’s a good basic combo. The lentils add a bit of depth that I like, especially in vegan dishes. Leave them out if you want a clearer, lighter stock. This freezes well, so make lots when the mood and the ingredients coincide

An onion, roughly chopped. (I don’t peel it. The skin adds color).
2 medium leeks, white part only, chopped
2 carrots
2 cups of chopped garden greens. Chard and beet greens are good choices, lettuce is another possibility. Avoid the cabbage family except for maybe a bit of kale
A handful of parsley
A bay leaf
2 celery sticks or ½ cup chopped celeriac (optional)
1/3 cup lentils
8 cups of water

Put all ingredients and the water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 40 minutes. Strain, pushing the vegetables against the sides to collect those last bits of flavor. You can add salt to taste or wait and salt the soup when it’s made.

6 years ago

I've used this recipe with moose, bison, and lean grass-fed beef, so I'm thinking it would be fine with venison.


1 tablespoon olive oil
3- to 4-pound boneless chuck or other lean roast
2 medium onions, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups pearl barley

Heat olive oil in a heavy pan. Brown roast over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften. Add mustard, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover pan, lower heat, and simmer until roast is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or whatever it takes) You don’t need any other liquid.

During the last 40 minutes of cooking, melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add hazelnuts and cook over medium-high heat until they are crisp and brown. Add water, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and barley. Cover and steam over low heat until water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Remove meat, slice, and serve with barley and pan juices.
6 years ago