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Cook Food, Share Food

For more than 20 years, Christina Orchid has been serving seasonal menus that reflect the best of her native Northwest.

Orchid is the executive chef and co-owner of Christina's, located on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, between the coasts of Washington State and Vancouver Island.

She's been featured in several national publications, including Bon Appetit and Harper's Bazaar.

Harper's called Christina's a "welcoming restaurant" and noted that Orchid "incorporates the bounty of the region in her innovative menus."

Orchid believes everyone should cook a meal.

She says she wants people to stop being intimidated by the kitchen and grocery stores, and share food with friends at the family kitchen table.

Orchid believes people have lost the ability to share stories over food, because they're too busy and tired to cook.

She thinks cooking can be fun and simple, while nourishing the body and soul.

Orchid is also firmly committed to social justice and the environment, and uses only sustainable seafood and produce.


Fennel Salad with Parmesan and Zested Lemon Vinaigrette

Ingredients for the dressing:
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup to 1 cup olive oil, depending on the tartness of the lemon
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for the salad::
3 cups arugula, trimmed and washed
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
Parmigiano-reggiano cheese for garnish

Assemble the salad ingredients on a plate, with the greens on the bottom. Scatter the fennel slices over the top. Drizzle with a little of the dressing. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan pieces over the top of each salad.

Shellfish Ragout

2 andouille sausages, cut in half
1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1 8 ounces can V-8 juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
20 large fresh mussels, cleaned, debeared
20 large fresh clams, cleaned
8-12 small red potatoes
1/2 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain. Set aside.

Cook the cut pieces of sausage in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot using medium heat. When the sausages are almost brown, add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.

Add the chicken stock and V-8 juice to the pot. Cook for another minute. Then add the cumin and dried herbs. Simmer for an additional minute, then add the clams, the cooked potatoes, and mussels in that order. The clams take the longest to cook, so they should go into the liquid. The mussels steam quickly so they can sit on top.

Cover the pot with a lid and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the shellfish opens. Salt and pepper the ragout to taste and serve with baguette for dipping.

Pumpkin Flan

Ingredients for the caramel

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 Tablespoons brandy (optional)
1/3 cup orange juice
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
4 6-oz. cap., 3-1/2-inch diameter oven-proof ramekins


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Using medium-low heat, melt the sugar to create a sugar syrup that turns golden in color.

Pour the caramel into each of the ramekins. Set aside.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl until completely smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated.

Strain the mixture, then pour into the caramelized ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Fill half of the baking pan with hot water. Place baking pan in a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, run small sharp knife around the edge of the flan to loosen. Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release the flan. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan. Repeat with remaining portions of flan and serve.

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