Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mason Jar Smoothies


This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken, lamb, and pork cuts from Fair Valley Farm, handcrafted vegan hazelnut cheese from Avellana Creamery, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Shiro plums from SLO farm and some blackberries (make mason jar smoothies)
lots of tomatoes (flats and half-flats this week for salsa and sauce making)
fennel (delicious pickled or in this pasta sauce with sardines)
eggplants (try them grilled in Asian salad or Middle Eastern spread)
sweet red and orange peppers, cayennes, jalapeños, anaheim and poblano peppers 
baby beets and new potatoes
carrots and kohlrabi  (try this carrot and kohlrabi salad with harissa)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and cucumbers 
chard and kale (try these kale and pepper stuffed pizzas)
garlic and fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass
lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix (try these beef lettuce wraps)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill


With the sweltering summer weather we've been experiencing this week, I wanted to share a nifty trick for the high throughput production of personalized smoothies with little cleanup: turn a mason jar into your one stop blender jar and serving vessel. 


It turns out that standard mason jars have the same sized mouth as the bottom opening of standard blenders, so you can screw on the blade and base of your blender and whirl away. I've been a bit giddy about this mini-food processor hack and have been blending up salad dressings and marinades galore. But it really comes in handy when everyone in the family wants a slightly different smoothie concoction. You can create a smoothie assembly line with chopped fruit, frozen berries, yogurt, and add-ins (I like dried figs and chia seeds) and everyone's a winner*. 

*Quote from a saccharine sandcastle contest judge, which has become part of our family lexicon, and in this context should be taken as a subtle hint not to make your smoothie too sweet.


Blueberry, Peach, and Fig Smoothie
serves one
1 handful frozen berries
1/2 peach or a couple plums
1/2 cup yogurt (I use Nancy's organic plain whole milk yogurt)
2 dried figs
1 ice cube (optional)
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a pint sized mason jar. Place the blender blade on top and screw on the blender base. Invert the jar and fit the base into your blender. Blend on high until smooth. Invert the jar, remove the base and blade, and drink.

Transfer the blade and base to a new mason jar with smoothie ingredients ready for blending, and you have yourself an assembly line.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marathon Closure and Magical Vegetables


This Sunday, July 27, there will be no Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market because the Eugene Marathon will be happening in the immediate vicinity. Come on down to the corner of 19th and Agate to cheer on the heroic runners, but you'll have to wait until next week for some of Sweetwater Farm's magical vegetables, including this Turkish heirloom eggplant that resembles a Quidditch golden snitch and carrots in the colors of the Gryffindor house of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Blueberry Crumb Bars

This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm, handcrafted vegan hazelnut cheese from Avellana Creamery, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Blueberries by the pint, half flat, and flat (make these crumb bars below)
Lots of tomatoes (Romas and red, yellow, and orange slicers, make gazpacho)
Eggplants, bell peppers, jalapeños, anaheim and poblano chile peppers
Baby beets, new potatoes, and broccoli
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers (make some Pad Thai)
Chard, collard greens, and kale
Garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix (make BLTs)
Cherries and Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill


This is the height of blueberry season, and the time to undertake baking projects with big quantities of blueberries. With our last batch of Sweetwater Farm berries, I tried out this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, recommended by my sister, for blueberry crumb bars


The great thing about this recipe is that you make a big pile of crumbled buttery flour (I used a food processor for this) which serves as both the crust and the crumb of your bars. Then you just toss your berries in a bit of sugar (I used less than the recipe because these berries are so sweet), some lemon juice, and some thickened (I used tapioca flour, which I have for these), layer everything together, and bake.


These bars make a delicious afternoon snack for a hot summer day, accompanied by a glass of ice coffee.



Blueberry Crumb Bars

from Smitten Kitchen, yield 36 smallish rectangles

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

4 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar
 (reduce to 1/3 cup for sweet berries)
4 teaspoons cornstarch (or substitute tapioca flour)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. This can also be done by pulsing in a food processor. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch or tapioca flour and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven.) Cool completely before cutting into squares. These are easiest to cut once chilled, and store even better in the fridge than they do at room temperature.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Roasted Poblano Romesco Sauce


This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm, handcrafted vegan hazelnut cheese from Avellana Creamery, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Blueberries (make a blueberry buckle)
Lots of tomatoes (Romas and red, yellow, and orange slicers) 
Eggplants (try grilled in Middle Eastern or Asian spreads)
Bell peppers, jalapeños, anaheim and poblano chile peppers (make this romesco sauce)
Artichokes, baby beets, new potatoes, and broccoli
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers
Chard, collard greens, and kale (try this quinoa, kale, and beet salad)
Garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix
Cherries and Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill



Sweetwater Farm's peppers are reaching their peak at this point in the summer. Poblanos are particularly delicious roasted, so I decided to use them in a twist on a traditional red pepper romesco sauce.




Many romesco recipes incorporate stale bread as a thickener, but Freshwater's dainty cauliflower clusters inspired me to use these as a bread substitute, roasted alongside the poblanos in cast iron skillets under the broiler.


The roasting brought out the peppers' sweetness, toasted almonds and olive oil gave the sauce richness, and lemon juice and a splash of sherry vinegar made it sharp and bright.




This sauce is as versatile as pesto and could be used on pasta (I might combine it with grilled vegetables and feta cheese), on grilled meat, or in sandwiches. We enjoyed it slathered on my latest attempt at the Bread 101 class' final exam (this Chad Robertson recipe), which proved to be the perfect nourishing fare for summer travels. 



Roasted Poblano Romesco Sauce

1/2 cup whole almonds
2 large or 3 medium poblano peppers
1 small cauliflower head
3 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 tsp sherry vinegar
salt to taste

1. Turn on your broiler, and as it's warming up, quickly toast the almonds in a dry cast iron skillet, being careful not to scorch them (or to be safe, toast them in the skillet on the stove top). Transfer them to a food processor or blender. 

2. Rinse the poblanos and place them into the hot skillet. Roast them under the broiler, turning every couple of minutes until the skin is brown and blistered on all sides. Transfer them to a bowl and cover with a plate to steam. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the blistered skin, core and seed them, and transfer them to the food processor.

3. Rinse the cauliflower and cut into small florets. Toss the florets with a Tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a hot skillet (either the one used for the poblanos once they are done, or a second one). Roast under the broiler, shaking every couple of minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through and browned around the edges. Transfer to the food processor.

4. To the food processor, add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, lemon zest and juice, sherry vinegar, and a generous pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Taste and add more olive oil, lemon, vinegar, or salt as needed. Use as a spread on bread, a sauce for grilled meats, or mix into pasta. Can be kept refrigerated for several days.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Soba Noodles with Lemon Grass Tofu and Roasted Broccoli


This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Blueberries (world's perfect pancake topping)
Lots of tomatoes (Romas and red, yellow, and orange slicers) 
Eggplants (try these grilled eggplant with tomatoes and mint)
Bell peppers, jalapeños, anaheim and poblano chile peppers
Artichokes, baby beets, new potatoes, and broccoli (try roasted, below)
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers
Chard, collard greens, and kale (try this chard and bacon tart with rye crust)
Garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix
Cherries and Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill



The farmers of Sweetwater Farm are always experimenting with new produce, and this season they lovingly raised their very own lemongrass for us. I used these tender stalks to infuse fragrant flavor into slabs of tofu (prefrozen to remove liquid). These were baked until firm and layered onto buckwheat soba noodles tossed with a lime vinaigrette.


For vegetables, I prepared these highly addictive roasted broccoli spears from America's test kitchen (similar in flavor to kale chips) and some seared cabbage with black Chinese vinegar. A satisfying summer meal that could be eaten warm or at room temperature if you are planning on picnicking over the 4th of July weekend.




Soba Noodles with Lemon Grass Tofu and Roasted Broccoli
serves four
marinated tofu
1 block firm tofu (sliced into 8 slabs, preferable frozen and then thawed to remove liquid)
2 to 3 stalks lemon grass
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
zest of one lime

Remove excess liquid from the tofu either by freezing and thawing or by pressing between two cutting boards weighed down with cans and propped at a slant to let the liquid drain. Slice the bulbs of the lemon grass stalks into half lengthwise and slice thinly. Combine the lemon grass with the remaining ingredients. Place the tofu slabs into a single layer in a small baking dish and pour over the marinade. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 15 minutes, flip the slabs and bake for another 15 minutes. Scrape off most of the lemongrass slices, cut the slabs into bite sized cubes, and reserve.

roasted broccoli (from America's Test Kitchen)
1/2 lb broccoli florets
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Cut broccoli at juncture of florets and stems; remove outer peel from stalk. Cut stalk into 2- to 3-inch lengths and each length into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Cut crowns into 4 wedges if 3-4 inches in diameter or 6 wedges if 4-5 inches in diameter. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with oil and toss well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper to taste and toss to combine.

2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes.

roasted cabbage
1/2 head napa cabbage or a young green cabbage
2 Tbsp black Chinese vinegar or balsamic vinegar

While the oven is heating to 500 degrees for the broccoli, place a cast iron skillet on the middle rack of the oven. Cut the cabbage into 1 to 2 inch wide wedges and remove a triangle of the core at the base, but leave enough so that the wedges stay intact. Drizzle the wedges with a little vinegar. When the pan is hot, place the wedge into the pan to sear on one cut side for about 3 minutes, then flip and sear them on the second cut side for about 3 minutes, until the both sides are nicely chard and the interior cabbage is just cooked but still has some crunch. 

soba noodles
4 bundles soba noodles (360 g)
juice of one lime
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce

In a pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to the directions. Meanwhile, mix together the dressing. When the noodles are cooked, drain and toss with the dressing in the bowl or platter you will use for serving. Garnish the sides with the roasted cabbage wedges, then the roasted broccoli, and then top with the tofu cubes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Grilled Garlic Whistle Salsa


This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Leeks, scallions, baby stalks of garlic and garlic whistles, also called scapes (try in salsa)
Anaheim and poblano chile peppers and some early tomatoes
Artichokes, baby beets, and kohlrabi (try grilled kohlrabi)
New potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers (try these tsukemono pickles from Ume Grill)
Chard, collard greens, and kale
Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass!!
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix (make some lettuce wraps)
Cherries and Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves, Beans, and Grains
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill


Before their season is over, be sure to try some of these crazy spiraling garlic whistles (also called scapes). One way to soften their stalks and temper their garlic punch is to  grilled or seared them on a hot skillet.



Once charred and diced into rounds, these make a delicious garnish for tacos and add a smoky punch to your favorite tomato salsa.



Grilled Garlic Whistle Salsa
1 bunch garlic whistles (also called scapes)
1 jalapeño pepper
1 15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes (or fresh or frozen tomatoes)
1 bunch cilantro
salt to taste

1. Heat a grill or a large cast iron skillet and throw on the garlic whistles and the jalapeño. Cook, turning occasionally, until they are charred and fragrant. Trim off the garlic scape blossom tips and cut the stalks into small rounds. Stem and seed the jalapeño and dice.

2. In a blender or food processor, blend together the tomatoes and cilantro. Add salt to taste. Stir in the chopped charred garlic scales and jalapeño in batches and taste until it's to your liking (save any unused scapes and jalapeño for taco garnish). Enjoy.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Strawberries and Chocolate Fondue with Homemade Creme Fraiche


This Sunday at at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art CompanyGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Strawberries, available by the flat for $32 (dip in chocolate fondue)
Leeks, scallions, baby stalks of garlic and garlic whistles, also called scapes (try in pesto)
Anaheim and poblano chile peppers and some early tomatoes (try this fresh pasta dish)
Artichokes, baby beets, and kohlrabi (try this carrot and kohlrabi salad with harissa)
New potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli (roasted cauliflower is delicious)
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers
Chard, collard greens, and kale (use those stems for pickles)
Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) plus home-grown lemon grass!!
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix
Cherries & Blenheim apricots (from Washington)

Preserves
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, & Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce

Bean and Grains
Sweetwater Farm's polenta and cornmeal!
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill


This will likely be the last week of a spectacular strawberry season. Do not let the opportunity pass to indulge in some chocolate dipped strawberries. For a recent birthday celebration I wanted to make this ultimate chocolate fondue recipe, but it required creme fraiche, and rather than making yet another trip to the store, I tried my hand at making my own



The amazing activities of microbes never cease to inspire me, and now that I have witnessed how easily a spoonful of buttermilk bacteria can transform a jar of liquid cream into a lovely, tangy custard, I'm kicking myself for not having made creme fraiche every week of my adult life.


The tanginess of the creme fraiche made for the best chocolate fondue I've ever had. And just as the lactobacilli devoured the carbohydrates in the cream, so the pack of eleven year old girls devoured the strawberries and fondue with gusto.



Chocolate Fondue
adapted from Scharffen Berger
makes 2 cups, serves 8 to 12
6 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% or more cacao)
1/2 cup creme fraiche (recipe below)
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberries and other fruits, small pieces of cake and butter cookies (for dipping)

In a small fondue pot, combine the chocolate, crème frâiche, butter and extract. Place over the fondue burner using either a votive candle or low sterno heat and allow the chocolate to melt. Stir until fondue is smooth.

To serve, keep warm while guests dip fruit, cookies, or pieces of cake in the fondue.

Your chocolate fondue keeps up to a week in the refrigerator. Reheat over very low heat before serving.


Homemade Creme Fraiche (from food52)
makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons buttermilk

Seek out a good quality heavy cream that is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. If you can only find ultra-pasteurzed, it will work, but will take longer to thicken. To start, pour 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a non-reactionary container such as a glass Mason jar. Next, add one tablespoon of buttermilk to the heavy cream. Cover the jar with a lid and shake until everything is thoroughly combined. Loosely cover the heavy cream mixture with a tea towel or moist paper towel and allow it to sit out on your kitchen counter for 12-24 hours. Ideally the temperature in your kitchen will be from 72 to 78 degrees. Mine took a full 24 hours to thicken. After it's at the preferred consistency, transfer it to your fridge. The creme fraiche will be good for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Spicy Lamb Sausages


This Fathers Day at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of pastured chicken and grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm.
Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Leeks, scallions, baby stalks of garlic and garlic whistles, also called scapes (try in pesto)
Strawberries, available by the flat for $32 (make some retro tapioca flamingo pudding)
Artichokes and fava beans (large and baby)
Baby beets, turnips, and kohlrabi (try these brown butter turnips)
New potatoes (make potato salad with yogurt and horse radish)
Cauliflower and broccoli
Carrots, summer squash, and cucumbers (try Vietnamese spring rolls)
Chard, collard greens, and kale (make chips)
Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) plus home-grown lemon grass!!
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix

Preserves
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles, Chili Dill Pickles, Bread 'N Butter Pickles, Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, & Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce and Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce

Bean and Grains
Sweetwater Farm's polenta and cornmeal!
Assorted beans and grains from Camas Country Mill


For a Fathers Day or graduation celebration, I can highly recommend these spicy lamb sausages made with ground lamb from Fair Valley Farm. We had them last week with bread starter naan and grilled fava beans with sliced garlic whistles in place of the regular garlic.


These sausages also go wonderfully with mujaddara and spiced yogurt, shown below with an early attempt at no knead bread made with bread starter. This Sunday the whole family will be attending graduation in full academic regalia (or Harry Potter robes), and after teaching Bread 101, I think that I should wear an extra tassel of a head of wheat.


Spicy Lamb Sausages
adapted from David Tanis, makes 8 sausages

1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cardamom seeds (from the inside of the green pods)
pinch cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
several grindings of freshly ground black pepper
plenty of salt

1. Spice the ground lamb at least 2 hours before cooking or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to blend. Use a spice mill or mortar and pestle to grind cumin, coriander,and cardamom seeds. In a mixing bowl combine the ground spices with the lamb, salt, cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne. Mix well with hands to incorporate. If you like, fry a little piece of the mixture in a small skillet, taste for seasoning and adjust salt. Refrigerate the spiced lab until you are ready to cook. Then form into 8 patties.

2. Light a charcoal grill or use a grill pan. The heat should be moderate. Grill sausages, in batches if necessary until just cooked through. Serve warm.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bread Starter Naan


The Bread 101 class I have been co-teaching all term finished up today with a plethora of home baked breads (this Chad Robertson recipe) from the starters that the students have nurtured all term. It was impressive to see the quality of bread produced and to hear about the students' resourcefulness in creating these loaves. A common theme was the challenge of fitting the demands of bread baking into a busy weekend preparing for final exams. Over the weekend, I experimented with using my starter to make naan, which proved to be a successful vehicle for sour, fermented flavors and a speedy enough bread to be able to mix the night before and serve for lunch the next day.


I started with a naan recipe from Neelam Batra and incorporated a portion of my sourdough starter, as well as a small amount of commercial yeast. The dough already contains yogurt (I used Nancy's with live cultures), which gives it a fermented sourness, so the grain-fermenting wild yeast and bacteria of my starter seemed right at home in the mix.  


A dough I started in the evening with an active culture (fed that morning) doubled in bulk overnight. A half hour before noon, I preheated my oven to 500 degrees with a cast iron griddle positioned below the heating element. Rolled out flats of dough placed on this hot griddle puffed up in a matter of minutes, and were eaten hot out of the oven, slathered with melted butter. In the meantime, my students were still busy building the gluten networks of their country loaves. The final results were well worth all the hours of work, but this naan is a good alternative when time is short.



Bread Starter Naan
makes 8 to 10 naan
1/3 cup active starter (90 g)
1/8 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water (or yogurt whey)
1/2 cup yogurt (125 g)
2 cups flour (250 g) (I used 1 cup unbleached white and 1 cup red fife)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 tsp salt or to taste (I used ~3/8 tsp)
more flour for dusting
melted butter or ghee for brushing on the cooked naan

1. Start with an actively growing culture that you've fed no more than 12 hours earlier. Mix together the starter, yeast, sugar, water, yogurt, oil, and flour until just incorporated. Allow to sit for half an hour (autolysis period). Then add the salt and kneed the dough until it is soft and elastic. Cover the dough in a clean bowl and let it rise for at least 6 hours to overnight, until it has doubled in size. 

2. Heat the oven to 500 degrees and place a cast iron skillet directly under the heating element. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 portions and roll into flat ovals about 6 inches in length. Place the dough flats onto the skillet and bake for about two minutes until they puff up. Flip and bake for another minute on the second side, until they are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter as the next batch bakes. Eat warm.

Notes: there are a lot of ways to modulate the sourness of the final bread. For less sour naan, do one or more of the following: use a more recently fed culture, double the amount of commercial yeast, double the amount of sugar, use water instead of whey for the liquid, decrease the dough fermentation time.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar


This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a selection of grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm, including ground, stew meat, kabob, chops, roasts and chorizo, and Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
Strawberries, available by the flat for $32 (make some retro tapioca flamingo pudding)
Fava Beans (large and baby) and French sorrel (try these grilled favas and sorrel sauce)
Artichokes
Baby Beets 
Broccoli (delicious roasted in a salad)
Cabbage (Green, Red, Napa, & Savoy!)
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chard
Collard Greens (great wrappers for these rice parcels)
Cucumbers
Fresh Herbs (cilantro, dill, oregano, sage, thyme) plus our own home-grown lemon grass!!
Garlic (baby stalks)
Kohlrabi (try in a dry curry)
New Potatoes
Spring Onions
Summer Squash
Lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix

Preserves
From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles
Chili Dill Pickles
Bread 'N Butter Pickles
Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, & Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce
Salsa
From SLO Farm: Applesauce

Bean and Grains
Our own Polenta and Cornmeal!
Assorted from Camas Country Mill



Sweetwater Farm had a lovely selection of cabbage last week. Fermented cabbage may be all the rage these days, but this stir fried cabbage with black Chinkiang vinegar that I made from Fuchsia Dunlap's Every Grain of Rice is a great instant gratification dish. It has tangy, sour notes from the vinegar that highlight the caramelized char from the high heat cooking. 



I was initially incredulous about this recipe. The ingredient list is a mere four items -- cabbage, sugar, salt, vinegar -- and Dunlap has you blanch the cabbage, which seemed like a lot of work. But I'm glad I didn't skip this. The blanching is well worth doing so that you can stir fry the cabbage quickly and synchronously, rather than having half of your cabbage start to braise to mush while the other half is still hard, and when nicely seared, the cabbage really doesn't need more than the light sweet and salty seasoning and the splash of flavorful vinegar. Any cabbage will work with this preparation, but Dunlap's recipe calls specifically for Chinese or napa cabbage, which will be available at the market on Sunday.




Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar
adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice

1 small head of cabbage (~1.5 lb)
4 Tbsp cooking oil (such as canola)
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
4 tsp Chinkiang vinegar 

1. Cut the cabbage into quarters and cut out the hard core. Slice each quarter into 1/2 inch slices. Bring a pot of water to boil and blanch the cabbage for a minute of two to soften the thicker parts of the leaves (will need a minute or two more for a thicker leaved cabbage than napa). Strain in a colander and shake dry.

2. Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl around, then add the drained cabbage and stir fry for a couple of minutes until some of the leaves are softened and seared in spots, but still have some crunch. Add the sugar and salt to taste for seasoning and texture, adding more salt or cooking a little longer if necessary. Pour in the vinegar, stir, and cook for just a few seconds to allow the vinegar to be incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and serve.