Welcome to My Buzz!

I'm Tamara Kaye Sellman. I'm a professional writer, home cook, herb gardener, farmer's market foodista, and former cookbook editor, bartender and restaurant cook. I like to post original recipes, useful foodie links, comments about food television, and other bits and pieces about my adventures in the food wilderness which inspire me in the kitchen. I am also the blogger behind Extra!Extra!, a blog for people who belong to CSAs and for gardeners and bulk shoppers who wish to put by their abundant produce and avoid food waste.

10.13.2011

BuzzFood merges

Announcement: It's time for me to take two food blogs and roll them into one. I'll be focusing my efforts on my other food blog, Extra! Extra! Just a matter of housekeeping for me, really. I'll be adding bits and pieces of what I've offered here at BuzzFood to the mix at Extra! Extra!.

About Extra! Extra! This blog offers tips, techniques and recipes for preparing surplus vegetables acquired from CSAs, box store purchases, farmers' markets, gleaning, foraging, backyard gardens and roadside stands. By doing so, you save money, learn how to be a better home cook and live more sustainably.

Related good news: some of my efforts at Extra! Extra! have led me to a cookbook opportunity... stay tuned (for now, it's a Sekrit Projekt).

Thanks for your support for BuzzFood, your reading and responding are what make blogging a worthwhile pursuit. See you over at:

http://extraextrarecipes.blogspot.com


                            





10.10.2011

[foodie adventures] Sugarpill on Capitol Hill (Seattle)

I've been playing around with herb blends for a while, but with all these new flavored salts and sugars hitting the gourmet scene, I was thrilled to discover a little shop in Seattle that offers a wide array of unusual seasonings as well as herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. Sure, it might be fun to make your own... but this little shop is going to do it better, trust me. And I predict this will be the shop to get stocking stuffers and hostess gifts for your foodie pals this season, as well.

SUGARPILL

900 E. Pine St (Capitol Hill)
Seattle, WA 98122 
206.322.7455
Hours: Sun 11a-3p • Mon and Wed 11a-530p • Tuesday closed • Thurs, Fri and Sat 11a-7p
Herbalist and homeopath Karyn Schwartz,
hard at work on the perfect rosemary salt blend. 


I met proprietor Karyn Schwartz at this hidden little treasure trove just around the corner from Seattle Central Community College back in July and have been back twice since. I blame her for my recent addiction to the fantastic fennel-infused finishing salt with nigella seed that she conjures over the counter at the store. What a treat! I use it on everything: eggs, fish, chicken, potatoes, whole grains, pasta, you name it.

Sugarpill sugars inspire distinct
ideas for  baking you might not
have considered before.
The selection of flavored salts and sugars at Sugarpill, which Schwartz has positioned as a gourmet purveyor of culinary, mercantile and apothecary wares, is really quite broad: salts are infused with lime, alder smoke, celery seed, truffle and other distinct flavors, while the sugars are flavored with real lime, habanero, pomegranate and the like.

You're invited to taste each of them and, trust me, once you start, you won't want to stop. Each open bowl has a tiny spoon that you use to sprinkle a few grains onto the palm of your hand, which you then lick away to taste. Tip: bring a bottle of water if you plan on tasting. You can buy smaller disc-shaped containers of sugars, salts and herbs for around $3 (depending on the product), which I find quite reasonable; then, once you fall in love with a particular product, you can always go back and buy the larger container, which I did with my fab fennel find.

Shelves of seasonings fill the
entire eastern wall at Sugarpill.
The offerings at Sugarpill are meant to meet a variety of interests, as well. If you're looking specifically for hard-to-find herbs, Schwartz's store is a great first place to check; I found dried epazote there only after looking at numerous locations, including Mexican grocers, and coming up empty-handed. If you're looking for garnishes for cocktails, look no further; your margaritas, bloody Marys, daiquiris and mojitos will be all the better for it with a Sugarpill rim. There are also essential oils for use in homeopathic and aromatherapeutic purposes, bath salts and all kinds of yummy local foods including chocolates, jams and teas.

Definitely consider a quick trip to Sugarpill this fall when you're out looking for ingredients for holiday baking. You're sure to enjoy your time there. And should you decide to visit, drop by the Cakespy Shop across the street and say hello to Jessie Oleson for me, would you?

[hat tip to Tiffany Ran for telling me about this wonderful place!]




10.06.2011

[tv dinner dish] Great Food Truck Race redux [spoilers]

I was pretty happy about the outcome of this year's contest.

I'm not a huge fan of the green sweatbands the Lime Truck dudes wore, but their food sounded delicious: fresh, healthy and full of flavor, color and texture. If I saw their truck in my neighborhood, I would drop everything to try it out.

I also became a fan of Hodge Podge when Chef Hodge's noncooking sister and girlfriend not only held down the fort in Atlanta, but captured the win during that segment. Grace under pressure.

Roxy's Grilled Cheese took a lot of heckling from Hodge Podge, which I found rather unfair; the sandwiches Roxy turned out looked insanely good and far more gourmet than the "cheese between two slices of bread" that Hodge reduced them to. I mean, come on, a Mushroom Melt? Confit of wild mushrooms, baby swiss, fresh arugula? I'm down with that!

I was happy to see the Sea Birds go, if only because they whined so much about being a vegan option they kinda forgot that that's why they were special in the first place.

And booooooo! to the Korilla truck for trying to pull a fast one by supplementing their receipts with an illegal cash infusion; they were my favorite team going in until Tyler Florence busted them outright on national TV and sent them home with their tiger tails between their legs. And that's a crying shame; a bulgoki taco is about the tastiest new food to make my home cooking menu... yum-my!

This year, the show made me think about how far mobile eateries have come.

The history for American food trucks can be boiled down to this (informal) timeline:

1. Chuckwagons in the west in the late 1800s

Mobile food was rather a matter of necessity in the beginning. Food wagons were part and parcel of the Westward Movement as well as one key way in which ranchers fed their cowboys on the range. Mobile catering also became a  necessary delivery system for food during times of war and natural disaster.

2. Lunch wagons and food cart vendors in the big cities in the early 1900s

It's hard to say what inspired the lunch wagons and street cart vendors in the big cities aside from good ol' American ingenuity, though traveling food purveyors at the Chicago World's Fair might have had a hand in introducing the concept as something that could be fun and upper class as well as utilitarian. (Bread and circuses, anyone?)

3. The Good Humor man heads for the suburbs in the 1930s

Probably he merged smart business strategy during the post-Depression economy (take your product to those masses who still had money to spend on it) with the national desire for something cheap, sweet and comforting during bad times.

4. The quintessential "roach coach" begins to visit blue-collar sites in the 1960s

This movement in the middle to late part of the century probably took off because of the get-back-to-work mentality of American men in manufacturing, industry and union work following World War II.

5. Taco trucks begin to appear in the 1970s

Problem for the same reason as roach coaches, except they aimed to serve the needs of Mexican immigrants.

6. Mobile food vendors elevate the experience, sometimes to a gourmet level, in the early 2000s

Now we have food trucks serving caviar, black truffle, pate and seafood, certainly a reflection of America's obsessive fantasy with high-end food despite the latest economic downturn; maybe it's the notion that a lobster roll plate sold off a truck is somehow more affordable (even though, chances are, it's not)?

I think the presence of today's food trucks are indicative of the times, not at all a fad like some would imagine. Food trucks can circumvent the problem of the bad brick-and-mortar location which is one of the reasons why so many restaurants go out of business. They can also be hired for private events and can serve temporarily oversized groups of consumers (like festival goers) one day, then go back to their normal curbside location the next with little negative impact on the overhead.

All I can say is, Seattle is way behind in the food truck scene than most of the rest of the country (Los Angeles is credited with being the originator of the current movement). I hope that changes soon! Maybe a truck like Where Ya At, Matt? (New Orleans food) or Pai's (Hawaiian food) or Veraci Pizza (towing a handmade woodfire oven) will make it on to the next Great Food Truck Race.

10.03.2011

Extra! Extra! for the month of September






Extra! Extra! is my other food blog, where I write about making use of abundant whole foods during the height of the season. In case you haven't visited Extra! Extra!, here are links to posts from the blog during the month of September.





Sept 1: [fresh picked] Panzanella
Sept 2: [extra! extra!] Blackberries 
Sept 3: [extra! extra!] Chili Peppers 
Sept 6: [extra! extra!] Basil
Sept 7: [fresh picked] The unsavory story of industrially grown tomatoes
Sept 8: [fresh picked] Onigiri from leftovers
Sept 9: [fresh picked] Hunting for the first chanterelles of the season in Maine
Sept 10: [fresh picked] Tartine with goat cheese and confit tomatoes
Sept 12: [fresh picked] Is US food policy feeding the obesity epidemic?
Sept 14: [extra! extra!] Eggplant
Sept 15: [extra! extra!] Fresh French Tarragon
Sept 19: [fresh picked] Summer Corn Salad Recipe
Sept 20: [extra! extra!] Figs
Sept 21: [fresh picked] Grating tomatoes
Sept 22: [fresh picked] Simple and wonderful green beans
Sept 23: [fresh picked] Apple peels aren't trash
Sept 26: [fresh picked] Don't waste it, freeze it
Sept 30: [fresh picked] How to save leftover canned beans