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Author Archive: "Piper Davis"

Good Eggs

I don't care which came first, I'm just glad we have eggs. I love eggs and while I have suffered through the dismal pallor of conventionally raised eggs, I feel blessed that I have a steady supply of "good eggs." I buy the same eggs from Mark and Catherine Anderson at Champoeg Farm that our lucky Grand Central customers enjoy on all of our breakfast sandwiches at the bakery.

My mother spoiled us on farm-fresh eggs. I cannot remember a time when we did not have chickens. When we introduced the first egg sandwich to the Grand Central line-up, finding eggs from pasture-raised, free-roaming chickens was a priority. Eggs from happy chickens that live on grass and eat a diverse diet are magic. If you doubt this, just check out the yolk... bright yellow, sometimes orange. There is a debate in our family whether the intense color is the result of eating the carotene in green grass, or bugs. Whatever the reason, you can rest assured that Champoeg Farm chickens get their fill of both.

Poached eggs on a buttery slice of toasted Como are delicious, ...

Time for Pie

On Monday, I complained about being sick of pie — well, I'm over it. I love to eat pie, I love to bake pie, it's time for pie. Last night I baked my first apple pie of the fall because my mother, and bakery founder, Gwen Bassetti, made her annual trip to town yesterday with a truckload of her big bumpy "Basssetti" apples. Grand Central Bakers will use these unique apples in pies, tarts, and cakes, but I could not resist taking a few home to make dessert.

Everybody brings some baggage to a marriage, especially when it's the third time around for both parties. Fred Bassetti brought an unidentified heirloom apple strain that he casually had named "the Bassetti." More than 80 years ago, the mother of the trees that produced these apples was producing apples in front of the house where he grew up in Foster, ten miles south of Seattle. Fred had propagated a few trees from the original and the apples were popular with a loyal few, until a friend in the orchard business convinced my mom and Fred to graft scions from the old tree and ...

The Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

The eight-grain cereal, whole-wheat flour, and brown-sugar caramel say it all; the Grand Central Cinnamon Roll was born in the '70s. 1972 to be exact, in Grand Central's predecessor, The Bakery. My mother and her original partners Marion and Marian opened a café in the newly renovated Maynard Building (former home to the Grand Central Railroad offices) in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood. For breakfast, the idea was they would offer a different fresh-baked breakfast pastry each morning, along with a selection of simple egg preparations and healthy hot cereal. My mother whipped out batches of fresh buttermilk biscuits (p. 96) and offered up trays of streusel-topped coffee cake (p.30); but when she served her cinnamon rolls (p. 42-45), people lined up the next day asking, "where do I buy those cinnamon rolls?" That day, the cinnamon roll became a fixture in the Grand Central repertoire.

I'm 44 and our cinnamon roll is 38 — that means basically my entire conscious life I have been eating some version of this roll. Now that I think about it, some of my most delicious memories are


Fresh-Dried Shell Beans

David and I have the best visits with my brother Sam and his family, when we just drop in on them. They live and farm in Underwood, Washington. Sam spreads a vibe of pleasant productivity and there is a pattern of work, chatter, and eating that feels nourishing to be around. Last weekend when we dropped by, Sam was busy shelling beans from his garden. His patio was covered with wire racks full of different kinds of fresh dried shell beans. They all looked alike from the outside but once the brittle shell was shed, their distinctive, vibrant insides appeared. Sam ordered these heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa, California. They sport colorful names like cranberry beans, yellow-eye beans, Christmas limas, and yellow Indian woman beans (I said colorful, not politically correct). The wire racks were stacked up and separated by variety; it was clear Sam was working on an efficient system but had tired of the project. He told me we could take home whatever I shelled. We set right to work.

Cream Cheese Apple Cake

Has anybody else noticed just how delicious everything has been this summer? I don't know if mind-bogglingly sweet berries, melons, apricots, plums, and tomatoes are the upside of global warming or if I'm just paying closer attention, but I've...

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