July 11, 2017

Food Insights

“Do you both like to cook at home?” is a question we are always asked when people learn we have worked as chefs. The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. We love to cook, it is a part of our DNA, we enjoy creating food for our family as much as our guests, it is what we live for and why we are in this business. 

We especially like to cook when we are on vacation exploring ingredients that are indigenous to the places we visit.

This summer vacation we are visiting arguably one of the most beautiful corners of the world, the San Juan Islands. Nestled in the glorious Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are a series of lush green gems sprouting out of a deep blue sea. We found a perfect spot on Orcas Island called the Turtlehead Farm. Owned by The Helsell Family, The Turtlehead Farm is a vast property with a few perfect cottages, lakes, ponds, mountains, quarries, gardens, dogs, bunnies, horses, geese, sheep and a giant barn with a rope swing. We spent the days hiking the many trails through deep forests with towering trees, wildflowers, ferns and moss straight out of J.R.R.Tolkien’s imagination. We would turn a bend and find ourselves at another vista with sweeping views of the ocean seeing tiny sailboats in the distance and other islands peeking out of the water. For dinner we planned a short trip to the Buck Bay Shellfish Farm to get a some local Oysters and Clams. The Orcas Food Co-Op in town had a nice selection of local cheeses, nuts, chicken and a few other supplies for our meal. We went into the garden and selected from an enormous variety of vegetables herbs and lettuces. “Be sure to close the gate on your way out because of the bunnies”, our gracious host Mrs. Helsell warned. We made our picks, closed the gate carefully, and walked back up the path to our gorgeous cabin complete with an antique Majestic working wood fired oven.

We got to work on our dinner, washing the veggies, shucking oysters and opening a bottle of local Washington wine. A perfect meal al fresco in a magnificent setting surrounded by hopping bunnies a sweet dog named Hank and the best tasting carrots we have ever eaten!

-Kathleen Schaffer


Wood Fire Roasted Turtlehead Farms Carrots and Beets

 Fresh Rosemary, Grilled Chicken

Sautéed Buck Bay Clams, Fresh Turtlehead Farms Fennel, Leeks & Beet Greens, Bacon, Grilled Sour Dough

Fanny Bay and Buck Bay Oysters

Turtlehead Farms Salad of Butter Lettuce, Sugar Snap Peas, Mint, Chamomile Flowers

 Fresh Apricots, Figs, Beecher’s Aged Cheddar, Candied Walnuts

Syncline Gruner Veltliner

Proverbial S’mores with Theo Chocolate