Upcoming Cooking Class • November 5th • How to Make Pasta


Upcoming Cooking Class • November 5th • How to Make Pasta

Pasta seems simple enough to make but it's all about the subtleties. Join us on November 5th to learn more! In the meantime, enjoy a Cavatelli Pasta recipe.

Purchase tickets here


Cavatelli Pasta with Fresh Cheese

Makes enough Cavetelli for 8 to 10 guests


1 #                  Fresh cheese such as Ricotta, Glendale Brebis Frais or Fromage Blanc

1                      Egg

¾ Cup                         Milk

4 Cups                        All Purpose Flour

1 tsp               Salt


Optional:  ¼ CBasil Puree



Sift the flour into a bowl or directly onto the counter’s surface.  Beat the egg and add the milk, cheese and salt and combine well. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the egg mixture into the well.  Mix the wet and dry together until combined.  Knead the minutes for several minutes until smooth, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking.  Cover and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes. 


Roll the dough out into a 3/8” thick sheet and cut into strips about ¾” wide. Dust them well with flour so they do not stick in the machine. Pinch the end of each strip so you can feed them into the cavatelli machine.  Pass them through and dust the resulting pasta lightly with flour.  You may either cook the pasta immediately in salted water, or freeze for later use.  Boil just until the pasta floats. 




Potato Gnocchi Recipe using Carola Potatoes


Potato Gnocchi Recipe using Carola Potatoes

Fall Cuisine : Potato Gnocchi

We'd like to share a recipe with you!

Carola Potato Gnocchi

By Vincent Nattress

Recipe for approximately 300 medium sized gnocchi

Most gnocchi recipes you will see call for roasted Russet potatoes as the base. This makes sense because Russets bake up into a very light, very low water content, fluffy base to start your gnocchi making process. Potatoes tend to be either mealy or waxy. Russets are the extreme of mealy. Red creamers are the extreme of waxy. Moisture and waxiness are the gluey aspects of a potato that lead to a tough or sticky gnocchi.  The moisture activates the gluten in the flour we add to the spuds and certain types of potato are just naturally more waxy and gluey.  We don't happen to grow Russets on our property however, we do grow beautiful Carola potatoes. The Carola potato is both waxy and sweet. The Carola potato, a member of the Solanaceae family, is a midseason yellow fleshed spud. While Carolas have not become a huge commercial success - largely because Yukon Gold have stollen their thunder - they are one of the tastiest potatoes you can find.  You would need to find a small, local producer like Ebb Tide Produce or grow you own.

Gnocchi made from Carola potatoes are not going to produce that soft, tender, melting gnocchi we have become accustomed to.  Instead the yellow fleshed Carolas make a creamy, custardy, slightly sweet and delicious gnocchi.  They are particularly delicious browned in whole butter with sage.


5 # Small to medium size Carola potatoes, all similar in size

2 Eggs, beaten

2 Cups All Purpose flour*

1 tsp Salt


*you may not use all this flour depending on how moist the potatoes are. It also depends on weather conditions like humidity - the humidity will affect not only the moisture in the potatoes but also the moisture in the flour.

In a stock pot, cover the potatoes well with water, season the water with salt and bring the water to a simmer.  Watch the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until you see the first of the spuds rupture; the skins should have just burst open.  

Remove that potato to a warm area near the stove and allow to steam (giving off water) until the rest are done.  Continue to remove potatoes from the pot as they become done.  

Once all the potatoes have cooked throughly and have been allowed to steam for 5 minutes, use a pairing knife to remove the thin skins.  Place the peeled potatoes, in batches, in a food mill fitted with a fine blade and process them directly onto your countertop.  Season the pulp with salt and pour the beaten egg over the top.  Now sift about 1/2 Cup of flour over the top of the potatoes and eggs and blend the flour in using a bench scraper.  Spread the mixture out again with the scraper and sift in another 1/2 Cup of flour.  Blend in with the scraper and knead lightly to see how moist or dry the dough has become.  More likely than not the dough is quite tacky and needs at least another 1/4 Cup of flour.  Sift that over the dough and combine well.  Feel for moisture - you want a smooth, not too sticky dough - and if necessary add a little more flour.  

The good thing about the Carola gnocchi - and this is because of the intrinsic richness and sweetness of the potatoes - they can take more flour and egg than russets.  Once you have added JUST ENOUGH flour to make a smooth, non-sticky dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes, then return it to the counter.  

You may find that as the dough has rested it has become more sticky and now needs more flour kneaded into it.  If so, do so.  If not, cut it in 8 pieces and roll them out, one at a time, into logs 1/2" in diameter.  Use the bench scraper to cut the logs into 1" lengths.  Dust them in flour and roll them across either the tines of a fork or a gnocchi tool to form ridges on one side and a small depression on the other.  Place on a floured baking sheet.  

Boil in salted water just until they float; gnocchi are self timing. Remove to an oiled baking sheet. 

You may either serve them immediately or chill and reserve for later service.  I like to reheat them in brown butter and salt, until they are browned well on both sides.  They are delicious with a little sage leaf and grated aged sheep's milk cheese (like Glendale Shepherd's Island Brebis).





1 Comment

What happened to our pork?

We had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in Seattle last week.  For country mice like us this is a pretty big deal.  On my agenda for the visit – along with taking the girls to see the lights at Westlake and visit the Zoo – was getting some of the food we cannot find at home on Whidbey.  Itineraries and priorities are almost always set by our stomachs in this family.

Pork is one of the things I have been missing.  I will not buy factory farmed meat, especially not pork.  I know how fully sentient pigs are and I am not going to eat something that I know has led a miserable existence, especially not if it was aware of it.  I have found a source for pork from a small farm on Whidbey, but it is only available by the half or quarter animal, and since we lack of a big freezer that is not really an option for us.  So the trip to the city was our chance to visit a good meat shop and get turned on to some fine swine.  Boy were we in for a disappointment.

I went to Whole Food at Westlake with the purchase of pork in mind.  I headed straight to the meat counter, after brief detours at the cheese counter (half a wheel of Red Hawk for Maggie Rose) and the beer section (some new Christmas beers for Daddy).  Once there, I asked the guy behind the counter about the origin of the pork, but he really did not seem too sure of his answers.  He told me the pork was from Coleman Farms in Colorado.  It was, he assured me, antibiotic and hormone free but he could not tell me much more, such as the breed of pig or the farming practices Coleman uses.   I really wanted pork for dinner, so I selected several pieces of boneless loin, cut from the loin end, which had the nice dark band of muscle across the top that I always try to find.  The price was $6.49 per pound.  I left with the pork, but I also with the feeling that Whole Foods has a lot of training to do in the meat department.

I took it home and prepared it as lovingly as I could.  I wanted it for dinner that night so I did a quick 30 minute rub of salt, sugar and seasonings.  I pan roasted it and cooked it to just a hair past medium.  I accompanied it with Georgie’s delicious German Butterball potatoes and some braised leeks and Belgian endive with honey and cider vinegar.  Thank goodness we had the cheeses I mentioned earlier and the good veggies to go with it, because the pork just did not taste like much of anything.  I literally turned to my wife Tyla mid way through the meal and said “It is a shame that an animal had to die for this.”

I love pork.  In fact I have a theory that all of the world’s great cuisines are pork-based.  And I have butchered, cooked and eaten a lot of pork in my life.  I even had the privilege last spring of going on a pig hunt in Sonoma County, on a huge ranch above Healdsburg.  I came home with two pigs, a boar and a sow, to butcher for the hunting party.  Nothing went to waste.  I made bacon from the bellies, cured and smoked the ham hocks, roasted the loins, cured the hams and made the best wild boar sausage one could hope for from the lesser cuts.  Finally my Mexican friends and I took the carcass and heads and did barbacoa (where the bones are rubbed with chilies, spices, garlic and oil and roasted very slowly) and made fresh tortillas and salsa to go with it.  We had the best tacos you have ever tasted.  All that was left was the snout and liver, so I made a classic liverwurst out of them.  That pork was incredibly delicious, and I am convinced it was that good because of all the acorns those pigs feast on and all the exercise and fresh air they got up there in the coastal mountains of California.  Those were happy pigs and we could taste it.

I mention all of this because I want to be very clear that I am not in any way anti-pork, nor am I opposed to taking the life of a mammal for food.  I am, not by any stretch the imagination, a vegetarian.  I am an omnivore through and through.  But the fact of the matter is that most of the pork being sold is either off-putting because of how it is raised and/or flavorless to the point of being unidentifiable as pork.

That is why it was so wonderful yesterday morning to have had such a divine swine experience.  My family and I were having pancakes for breakfast and we wanted a little protein to go with it, lest my daughters experience a mid-morning crash after their carb and syrup induced high.  We did not have any bacon, but we did have a package of my buddy Chuck Tessaro’s home-cured pancetta.  Tyla cut it up in pieces and pan-fried it to a crispy-chewy-peppery perfection.  The girls devoured it.  Tyla and I had to fight them off to get some for ourselves.  Chuck’s cure was great, but better still was the flavor of the pork.  Chuck had selected a really good Berkshire pork belly from his favorite purveyor, Select Gourmet Foods in Kenmore.  The flavor of the pig shined through.

And as my kids say at the dinner table each day “Thank you Chuck for the time and care you spent to find the pork, and thank you farmer for raising the pig, thank you pig for giving your life to feed us, and thank you Chuck for making the pancetta.”

As with most types of commercial agriculture, the dozens of breeds of swine that existed just 50 or 60 years ago are disappearing, having been replaced with narrowly selected lines of swine bred for factory farm conditions.  These new breeds are not selected primarily for meat flavor or hardiness or whether or not they are able to reproduce without help, in other words, the kind of traits small-scale farmers have been selecting for since the time of domestication 10,000 years ago.  These pigs are selected for things like conversion rate (how fast they turn feed into meat and fat) and the length of their loins because – and this is true, I am not making it up – if the pigs loins are too long their loins will not fit in the boxes they ship pork in.   These are cookie-cutter pigs and they are raised in horrible, crowded conditions, and the factory farms that produce them threaten the environment around them because of their waste streams, AND the pork they produce tastes like nothing.

We can do something about it.  There are small farmers out there who are raising heritage breeds of pig.  There are CSAs and farmers markets that sell locally produced heritage pork right here in western Washington.  So the next time you get a hankering for a pork chop, find a purveyor that raises heirloom or heritage breeds and does so on pasture.  Then try the pork and you will discover that the pleasure you derive from it is well worth the price difference between that pork and the slop being sold in most stores.

Here is the address for Select Gourmet Foods and for Local Harvest.   They arewell worth checking out.

Select Gourmet Foods Inc

15022 Juanita Drive NE, Kenmore, Wa 98028

Phone 206 528 0332


Local Harvest:     http://localharvest.org

Also, here it the link to the recipe Chuck used on the Pancetta:   http://www.chow.com/stories/10131



1 Comment


First Asparagus of the Year

After a certain Tampa Bay Times article was published yesterday, "Farm to Fable" about Tampa's fictional Farm-to-Table restaurants, we wanted to let you know where your food is coming from if you eat at our Table-to -Farm restaurant in Langley!

This week’s menu features:
Ebb Tide Farm (Whidbey): Greens
Sky Root Farm(Whidbey): Broccoli, Beets, Carrots
Glendale Shepherd(Whidbey): Cheese
Stokesberry Sustainable Farm (Olympia): Duck
Orchard Kitchen(Whidbey): Rhubarb
Living Rain (Skagit): Asparagus
Oregon Mushroom (Keno, Oregon): Fresh Morels

Here is the link to the Tampa Bay Times



November Newsletter

The Orchard Kitchen hosts Farmhouse Dinners, Cooking Classes and Special Events on Whidbey Island.

Thank you all for being a part of the Orchard Kitchen. 
Our weekend dinners and cooking classes have been filling up with happy customers. It feels great! This newsletter will keep popping up in your mail, about once a month, to let you know what we have planned for our classes and various other happenings, too. 


Classes at the Orchard Kitchen: November offerings: Learn More

How to Make Cassoulet - Oct 31 & Nov 1    This weekend still has some spots left!
How to cook a Thanksgiving Feast- Nov 7 & 8
An Indian Feast - Nov 14
Wine Club Tasting- Nov 15   Stock up on your holiday wine to give as gifts!
Fundamentals! How to Cook Protein - Nov 21
Cider Tasting - Nov 28

Nuts & Bolts: Click Here to Reserve Your Place!
Classes start at 10:30am with hands-on instruction around our kitchen island. We all sit down for lunch around 12:30pm to reflect on the class and relax together. Most classes cost $75 plus tax and are offered both Saturday & Sunday unless otherwise noted. Wine classes cost $100 plus tax. These wine classes focus on the wine and have a short cooking demo instead of hands on instruction but always include lunch so we can experience how wine and food pair together.  


Whidbey Island Farmers we are excited to support:
We are amazed at the amount of food being grown on the island by some very talented farmers. We are grateful that they are able to supply us with their beautiful bounty. We wanted to introduce you to them.

Ebb Tide Produce is located on our 5 acre farm. They are an integral part of the Orchard Kitchen.  http://www.ebbtideproduce.com/

Deep Harvest -  A certified-organic vegetable, seed and flower farm on Whidbey Island
Sky Root - *growdirt * eatfood * shareit*

We also source sustainable meats and cheese from some pretty cool places too...we'll tell you about them next month. 

Don't forget! We also serve dinner on Friday and Saturday nights in our Farmhouse Restaurant. Call us at 360.321.1517.

Holiday Hours for our Restaurant: Please see our calendar here

We are excited to see you and look forward to feeding you!
Tyla & Vincent Nattress




Copyright © 2015  The Orchard Kitchen, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
5574 Bayview Rd. Langley, Wa. 98260






Crossing of Seasons:

by Vincent Nattress

I am just now, after four years of working with our friend and farmer Blake, beginning to have a good handle on our seasons at Orchard Kitchen. We have a great and long growing season, especially compared to the upper mid-west and New England; we have lots of things coming out of our garden in May and even April. But a decade and a half in California corrupted me. The Salish Sea is just not as hot, and many crops I was used to in early summer in Napa either come later or just do not thrive at all. Of course this year was so warm I did start getting plums off my trees in late June, but that is a total anomaly.

 I have been noticing, of late, recipes that have seasonally mismatched produce in them. There is a sort of ratatouille (it really bares no real resemblance to a traditional ratatouille, but that is what the chef titled it) that I always look at it one of the Ottolenghi cookbooks. I really want to make this dish, but it has both butternut squash and green beans in it. Here on Whidbey that is a pretty much an impossible combination if you are using locally sourced produce. By the time the butternut is ripe (if that ever occurs- other winter squash does better here) the beans that are here are very much in the shelling stage, not the green eating stage. I don’t know any climate where fresh beans are at their best when hard squash is ripe. Maybe you just have to keep the squash over until summer and make the dish then but we lose something when we force the seasons together on the same plate.

 When foods from seasons you would think were distinct and separate occasionally and naturally cross paths, we must seize the moment! I remember volunteering at the Masters of Food and Wine in Caramel one year, and Chef Philippe Legendre was very excited to have both fresh black Perigord winter truffles and fresh morels; the season for truffles usually ends well before the first morels appear. He could not resist putting them both on the same plate.

 I had a similar moment this week. I was playing with the delicata squash, which is just now ready and truly delicious, and I was trying to find some acidic counterpoints to it for this week’s menu. When I did my weekly tour of the farm I found that I had both fresh raspberries and some remaining rhubarb; two plants I associate with spring or very early summer. The rhubarb was definitely beyond its prime, but it yielded a beautiful pink acidic juice, the acid for my vinaigrette. And the raspberries, well, they are just delicious.

 I am pretty excited about this dish. It feels like an example of the property speaking to me, trying hard to tell me what to put on the plate. I hope you will enjoy this dish as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Cheers, Vincent Nattress

The menu for October 2 & 3, 2015



Braising! Class this Saturday, October 3rd 10:30am til 1:30pm


As the weather changes, so do our appetites, and the Time of the Braise is upon us.  We will learn about this low-and-slow way or cooking, and how it transforms humble ingredients into succulent, satisfying dishes.  From braised greens to beef short ribs, you will leave with the knowledge to create this sort of alchemy at home.

Braised 3 Sisters Short Ribs

Chicken Cacciatore

Braised Greens

Braised Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic

Click Here to Buy Tickets