When I was a young mother, I was always amazed at how easily I became connected with a community of other parents with children. No matter where we were, if there were other kids there, I felt connected, even if it were only by a smile of recognition. Now I’m finding food can provide the same kind of connection — not only to the human community but also to our environment.
Whenever I drive north of Seattle, I love to drive “the back way”, through the Skagit Valley. Seeing the fields where our food is grown and stopping at roadside stands makes it into a more meaningful experience than speeding along I-5.
Rexville Grocery , on Best Road, has long been an advocate for the Skagit Valley through the organization, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. Rexville serves not only as a gourmet grocery but also as a community center. At any given time, their cafe and deli is filled with talk and laughter. Last weekend there were some gorgeous chantrelles sitting out front so I couldn’t resist.
Next stop was Hedlin’s roadside stand just outside of La Conner. Beautiful garlic was the prize there. A roasted garlic soup topped with chantrelles was starting to sound very tasty. If only shopping were always this easy and enjoyable.
Roasted Garlic Soup with Chantrelles
2 heads roasted garlic
1 T water
1 chopped onion (available at Hedlin’s)
2 3/4 cups chicken stock
2 yukon gold potatoes, cooked and peeled (Hedlin’s again)
1 roasted Poblano chili, seeded and chopped (from Billy’s)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 -1/2 lb chantrelles
1 T butter
Preheat oven to 300. Place garlic in a pan with 1 T water. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour.
In a saucepan or soup pot, combine onions and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for 30 minutes. Cut cooked potatoes into chunks and add to the stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Clean and saute chantrelles in butter in a separate pan.
Squeeze the roasted garlic pulp into the stock mixture. Puree stock in a food processor or with a blender. Return to the pan. Add cream and buttermilk. Heat very slowly and add grated cheese while stirring. Fold in chopped pepper and chantrelles.
This recipe is adapted from Christina’s Cookbook. When I think of local food and Orcas Island I always think of Christina Orchid. So many of the people I know from the island worked at her renowned restaurant, Christina’s, at one time or another. She even made Krista’s tiramisu wedding cake. Her cookbook is a delightful collection of recipes, all based on local ingredients, and her stories of growing up in the Pacific Northwest.