Friday, August 28, 2015

Sweet and Sour Zucchini

This week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

While summer squash are at their peek, I recommend you try Fuchsia Dunlop's sweet and sour zucchini from Every Grain of Rice. As Dunlop points out, zucchini are not a common vegetable in Chinese cuisine, but I was happy to find a different approach for preparing these abundant summer vegetables. The squash are pre-salted to drain away some of their water content and then stir-fried over high heat. The recipe couldn't be simpler: slivered garlic, a pinch of salt and sugar, and a kick of Chinkiang vinegar, making a delicious accompaniment for Ma Po Doufo.

Sweet and Sour Zucchini

from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice
2 zucchini
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut each half into about three sections. Thinly slice each section lengthwise and place in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes or so. When you are ready to cook, drain the slices and squeeze them to get rid of excess water.

Heat a wok over a high flame. Add the oil, then the garlic, and stir-fry for a few seconds until you smell its fragrance. Add the zucchini and stir-fry until they are hot and just cooked, but still a little crisp. Add the sugar and vinegar, with salt to taste, stir a couple of times, then tip on to a dish and serve.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Millet with Roasted Corn and Summer Squash

Tomorrow at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to plenty of summer corn, summer squash, peppers, and tomatoes from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

To use up the leftovers from our latest batch of grilled corn on the cob, I cooked up a pot of yellow millet and combined it with roasted summer squash wedges, yellow peppers, and onion, topped with a shower of torn basil. This cheerful yellow grain and vegetable side made a perfect accompaniment to several meals during a sunny summer vacation week.

Millet with Roasted Corn and Summer Squash
1 cup millet
2 cups water (or make a quick stock with the corn cobs)
4 corn cobs
2 summer squash
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
olive oil
1 handful of basil leaves

1. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup of millet, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. Alternatively, if you've grilled the corn ahead, cut the kernels from the cobs and boil the cobs in 3 cups of lightly salted water for 15 minutes to make a quick stock. Use 2 cups of this stock for cooking the millet. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the millet tastes cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 more minutes.

2. Remove most of the husks from the corn cobs, leaving a single layer of leaves, and grill on a hot grill, rotating, until the cobs have become quite charred. Remove from the heat, allow to cool enough to handle, and remove the remaining husks and silk. Use a large knife to cut the kernels from the cobs and reserve. 

3. Cut the summer squash into half or quarter moon slices. Core and chop the peppers into small wedges. Peel the onion and cut into small wedges. Toss the squash, peppers, and onions with a glug of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Grill on a vegetable rack over the grill or roast on a baking sheet in a 450 oven, flipping occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and have started to char.

4. Combine the millet, corn kernels, and other vegetables in a big serving bowl. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Garnish with torn fresh basil leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Beans and Baby Potatoes with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you can look forward to a bounty of summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

Sweetwater Farm has started harvesting their tomatillos, which, when juxtaposed last Sunday with spicy peppers and baby potatoes, seemed to dictate dinner.

I pan roasted halved tomatillos, along with some garlic cloves and peppers, for my favorite roasted tomatillo salsa from Rick Bayless. Then I drizzled the salsa over baby potatoes and tender yellow beans for a delicious vegetable side with broiled salmon. Summer simplicity packed with flavor.

Beans and Baby Potatoes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Salsa (adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday)
1 pint of tomatillos
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 spicy peppers such as jalapeños

To roast the tomatillos, you will want to use a cast iron or nonstick skillet, or to avoid a messy cleanup, you can line a regular skillet with foil. Heat the skillet over medium high heat, and place in the unpeeled garlic cloves and whole jalapeños. Meanwhile, remove the husks from the tomatillos, rinse them, and cut them in half. Turn the jalapeños and garlic and cook until they are charred on both sides. Remove from the pan to cool. Place the tomatillo halves into the hot pan, cut side down, and allow to cook until they start to soften and collapse, turn more yellow, and char on the bottom. Flip them over and cook them for a few minutes on the other side. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. While the tomatillos are cooking, peel the garlic and place in a blender jar. Remove the stems from the jalapeño and all or some of the seeds, according to your preference for spiciness, and add these to the blender jar. Once the tomatillos have cooled a bit, add them to the blender jar, including all the charred bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a generous pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Reserve. 

I pint baby potatoes
2 handfuls yellow or green beans

Set a medium pot of salted water with the baby potatoes over medium high heat and cooked until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, slice in half, and arrange on a platter.

Set another medium pot of salted water to boil. Trim the beans. When the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Arrange the beans over the potatoes. Drizzle with the salsa and serve water or at room temperature.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Zucchini Flatbreads with Gazpacho

Summer's bounty is reaching its peak right now, so come to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market tomorrow for ripe summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company.

At the height of our last heat wave, I made a delicious summer meal of zucchini flatbreads with chilled gazpacho. For the soup, I used Sweetwater Farm tomatoes, cucumbers  and lipstick peppers, following this New York Times recipe, which uses plenty of olive oil added slowly to the blender so that it emulsifies into a smooth juice (I was lazy and didn't strain the soup at the end, and it was still delicious).  

The zucchini flatbreads were inspired by a recipe for Turkish Kablaki Lahmacun that my sister shared from Rebecca Seal's Istanbul: Recipes from the Heart of Turkey. Zucchinis are slice thin with a vegetable peeler and tossed with olive oil, green onions, and aleppo pepper, and then piled on flatbread dough with crumbled feta cheese. Again, I was lazy and rather than making the flatbread dough, I used some flour tortillas. And to avoid turning on the oven, I cooked the onions and zucchini on the stovetop and then finished the tortillas under the broiler of our toaster oven. It was a delicious meal that will become a summer standard.

Zucchini Flatbreads
makes four tortillas
2 small zucchini
4 green onions or 1 small onion or shallot
2 tsp aleppo pepper (or use a combination of sweet paprika and cayenne)
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese
4 flour tortillas

1. Trim the tips off the zucchini and then use a vegetable peeler to cut them into long slices lengthwise. Mix the zucchini in a bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the aleppo pepper. Trim the green onions and slice (or peel and dice the onion or shallot). 

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the onions and cook until they become glassy. Add the zucchini and continue cooking until the zucchini is just cooked through. Remove from the heat.

3. Pile a quarter of the zucchini mixture on each of the tortillas and top with a quarter of the cheese. Cook the tortillas under the broiler of a toaster oven or regular oven until the cheese is melted and the tortillas toasted, being careful not to burn them (in the toaster oven they were each done after about four minutes). Serve at once.

Best Gazpacho
Adapted from the New York Times
About 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
1 small mild onion (white or red), peeled and roughly cut into chunks (optional)
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste, plus more for drizzling

1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

2. With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.

3. Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. (The straining is optional). Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Limite Market Hours August 2

The Fairmount Farmers Market will have limited hours tomorrow, from 11 Am - 1 PM, with pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, but Sweetwater Farm will not be in attendance because Eric and Tom will be celebrating their daughter's wedding. We wish them all the best.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Swiss Chard Fritters and Grilled Swiss Chard Stems

This promises to be a beautiful summer weekend, so plan in a trip to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market to pick up your week's groceries from a wide selection of summer produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farmpastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. Be sure to grab a bunch of greens to work into your week's meals.

Last Sunday I picked up this lovely rainbow chard, along with onions, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and some ground lamb. Sunday evening we had grilled lamb burgers and I caramelized onions for a pot of mujaddaraTo accompany the lamb burgers, I made a tomato and cucumber salad and we grilled the chard stems for a simplified version of these recipe with anchovy vinaigrette. The stems are first quickly blanched, then marinated, charred on the grill, and tossed back into the marinate bowl. They were tender and pungent and made one regret ever having relegated a chard stem to the compost heap.

After blanching the stems, I also blanched the chard leaves for the following evening's dinner, and, while the grill was going, roasted extra zucchini, peppers and a whole eggplant wrapped in aluminum foil and nestled directly into the coals. 

Monday night's dinner was these Swiss chard fritters from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's "Jerusalem: A Cookbook." They are delicate pancakes, held together with tangy feta cheese, and bursting with green flavors (I used chard, parsley  cilantro, and mint). They made a perfect meatless Monday meal, along with more mujaddara, grilled vegetables, and a roasted eggplant salad. Two delicious meals from a couple bunches of chard.

Grilled Swiss Chard Stems

Stems from 2 bunches Swiss chard (save greens for another use)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Splash sherry vinegar

1. Wash the chard stems, cut off any dark edges, and cut into 5 to 6-inch lengths.

2. Blanch stems in salted boiling water in batches till just tender, about 2 minutes per batch, then transfer to an ice bath. It is very important to follow all the rules of blanching and not overcrowd the pot. Any shortcuts here results in the color turning black.

3. Dry the blanched stems. In a pretty bowl large enough to hold the stems, combine the olive oil, garlic, and anchovy fillets and use the back of a fork to mash them into a paste. Toss the stems in the paste to coat.

4. Place the stems on the grill in a single layer. Grill long and slow until they become quite dark and charred but not burned. When they are done, transfer them back to the bowl with the anchovy paste, add a splash of sherry vinegar, some freshly ground pepper, and salt to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Swiss Chard Fritters

14 ounces (2 bunches) Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
½ cup Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large eggs
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (1/2 cup)
 Olive oil
 Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add chard and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from pot and drain well, patting leaves dry with a paper or kitchen towel.

2. Place chard in food processor with herbs, sugar, flour, garlic and eggs. Pulse until well blended. Fold in feta by hand.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, spoon in 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture for each fritter (you should be able to fit three fritters per batch). Press down gently on fritter to flatten. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Add another tablespoon oil to pan and repeat. Serve warm, with lemon wedges (optional).

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Roasted Fennel and Anchovy Pizza

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can look forward to pastured meets from Fair Valley Farm and fresh produce from Sweetwater Farm. For the past several weeks, Sweetwater Farm has had delicate fennel bulbs, which are wonderful paired with strong flavored seafood, as in this fennel and sardine pasta.

I'd picked up a fennel bulb at the market with plans for a quick Monday night pasta dinner, but under pressure from a powerful pizza lobby in the household, I mixed up a batch of Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough on Sunday evening instead. The next evening, when looking around for interesting toppings, I came across the bulb and realized it would be a perfect addition to an anchovy pizza. I slid our cast iron griddle into the preheating oven, sliced the fennel bulb, tossed it with olive oil and salt, and then spread it onto the hot griddle to sear. 

A few minutes in the preheating oven produced caramelized and soften fennel that melded beautifully with pungent anchovies and fresh basil on my new favorite pizza.

Roasted Fennel and Anchovy Pizza
1 recipe of Jim Lahey's no-knead pizza dough (makes four small pizzas)
tomato sauce (preferably made with fresh romas)
I small fennel bulb per pizza
olive oil and salt
6 to 8 anchovy fillets per pizza
fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
red pepper flakes
handful of basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and insert a cast iron griddle or baking sheet to preheat. On another shelf, place a pizza stone if you are using one. Trim the fronds from the fennel bulb and slice the bulb into thin wedges. Toss the fennel pieces in a drizzle of olive oil to coat and sprinkle with sea salt. When the pan is hot, spread the fennel pieces over it in a single layer. Roast the fennel pieces for about 8 minutes, until nicely browned, then flip and roast for another 3 to 5 minutes on the second side until they are soft through.

Divide the dough into four balls, flour them lightly, and shape them according to Lahey's instructions (or use a rolling pin to roll them out on a silicone mat). Sprinkle polenta on a baking sheet or pizza peel and place the pizza dough on top. If you like a crisper crust, pre-bake the crust for about 5 minutes. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, distribute over the roasted fennel, anchovies, and basil leaves. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and distribute over the sliced mozzarella. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until the crust in browned and the cheese is bubbling. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Roasted Eggplant and Basil Spread

At the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market this Sunday, you can look forward to these beautiful little orb eggplants from Sweetwater FarmWonderful things happen when you roast eggplants, as in these Middle Eastern and Chinese roasted eggplant dishes.

In Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem, they present a version of Baba Ganoush that is light and refreshing and lacks the traditional sesame paste. The eggplants are infused with smokiness by roasting them directly over the flames of a gas range. Rather than take the eggplants to the point when they were dripping messy juices over the range, I followed David Lebovitz's strategy of roasting followed by baking.

After the eggplants were soft and collapsed, I scooped out the flesh and whipped up an even simpler version of a roasted eggplant spread, seasoned with basil, lemon, sea salt, and olive oil. This is delicious served on toasted bread or as a vegetable side dish for a post-farmers market feast. 

Roasted Eggpant and Basil Spread
4 small globe eggplants
zest and juice from one lemon
1 handful basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees  Place the eggplants directly over the flames of a gas range and roast, turning occasionally, until they are charred all over, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for an additional 15 minutes or so until they are soft when pierced through. Allow the eggplants to cool a little, then halve and scoop out the flesh from the charred skin. Chop the flesh coarsely and combine in a bowl with the lemon zest and juice, basil, olive oil, and salt. Taste and add more lemon, olive oil, or salt if needed. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Miso Tofu Salad with an Egg on Top

If you get to the Fairmount Farmers Market early this Sunday, you might be lucky enough to pick up some of Fair Valley Farm's pasture raised eggs. 

If you also pick up an bunch of greens, some basil, a cucumber, some baby potatoes, and a handful of these Japanese eggplants from Sweetwater Farm, then you'll have the fixings for a satisfying dinner salad, perfect for these hot days.

I baked sliced eggplant and tofu in a miso marinade in my toaster oven, to avoid heating the kitchen. Over a bed of chopped kale and basil leaves, I layered on the eggplant and tofu with baby potatoes, cucumber spears, and a six-minute egg, and drizzled it all with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce left over from last week's chicken recipe. A delicious farm to table dinner, without generating much heat.

Miso Tofu Salad with an Egg on Top
makes four dinner salads
Miso marinate
1 tablespoon white miso
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 Japanese eggplants, sliced on the diagonal into 1 inch slices
1 block firm tofu, sliced into 8 slabs and pre-frozen or pressed to remove liquid
1 bunch kale or lettuce
~16 basil leaves
1 large or 2 small cucumbers
16 baby potatoes
4 eggs

For the sweet and hot dipping sauce (1/2 recipe):
1/4 cup rice or cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1. Prepare the miso marinade by whisking together all of the ingredients directly in a toaster oven pan or small baking dish. Dip both sides of the eggplant slices and tofu slabs into the marinate and let soak for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or for a day in the refrigerator. Bake at 350 degrees in a toaster oven or stove for 30 to 40 minutes until the eggplants are sift and have started to char and the tofu is dry and firm. Slice the tofu into strips and reserve.

2. Prepare the dipping sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar to a boil. Add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves, then lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, pound or mash the garlic and salt into a paste in a mortar or on a cutting board with the side of your knife. Stir the red pepper flakes into the sauce. When the vinegar and sugar mixture is done simmering, stir in the garlic paste and fish sauce and let the sauce cool to room temperature. 

3. Prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Boil the baby potatoes until cooked, about 15 minutes, then drain and reserve. For the eggs, set a small pot of water to boil and the carefully lower in each egg with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat and cook for 6 minutes for eggs with yokes that are still a little runny, or up to 10 minutes for firm yokes. Transfer to a bowl with ice water to cool and peel gently. Peel the cucumber if desired and cut into spears. Rinse the kale leaves, remove the stems with your hands or a knife, and chop into small pieces. Rinse the basil leaves, tear into pieces and mix with the kale leaves.

4. Assemble the salads. On four plates, distribute the kale and basil leaves. Layer on eggplant slices, tofu strips, baby potatoes, cucumber spears, and an egg. Drizzle with a little of the dipping sauce and serve with more sauce on the side. Enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will be able to find a wide selection of pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and a bounty of produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm.

If you are planning on grilling for the 4th of July, you couldn't do better than to pick up a pasture raised chicken from Fair Valley Farm, break it down into parts, and grilling it with this Thai pepper paste from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet.

The recipe calls for cilantro roots, which sounded pretty exotic, but cilantro stems produced a wonderful paste, combined with garlic and pepper corns, that infused the chicken with flavor and produced a wonderfully crisp coating during grilling. 

An essential ingredient for the dish is the sweet and spicy dipping sauce, which you should drizzle on generously at the table. It keeps in the refrigerator and makes a great addition to grilled vegetables or rice noodle salads. So celebrate the birthday of our great, inclusive country with a dish from afar.

Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce
from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's Hot Sour Salty Sweet

For the peppercorn-cilantro root paste:
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro roots, chopped
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce

In a mortar and pestle, or a small blender or food processor, pound or blend the peppercorns and garlic into a paste. Add the cilantro roots and salt and pound everything into a paste again. Stir in the fish sauce.

For the grilled chicken with sweet and hot dipping sauce:
1/2 cup rice or cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 pounds chicken parts, cut into 10 to 12 pieces total

For the dipping sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar to a boil. Add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves, then lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime, pound or mash the garlic and salt into a paste in a mortar or on a cutting board with the side of your knife. Stir the red pepper flakes into the sauce. When the vinegar and sugar mixture is done simmering, stir in the garlic paste and fish sauce and let the sauce cool to room temperature. 

For the grilled chicken: After you've stirred the fish sauce into the peppercorn-cilantro root paste, toss the chicken parts in the mixture and marinate at room temperature for at least an hour or up to three hours in the fridge. 

Prepare your grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until it is a beautifully golden brown and its juices run clear. Serve alongside the dipping sauce.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chard and Chipotle Tacos

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will be able to find a wide selection of pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm, beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and a bounty of spring produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm.

I recommend picking up a at least one bunch of greens, even if you have no immediate culinary plans, because you will thank yourself later when you find you have the fixings for a quick weeknight dinner. For this lovely bunch of Sweetwater Farm rainbow chard, I turned to Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen for inspiration. One recipe that sounded delicious was his Tacos de Acelgas Guisadas con Crema (Tacos of Creamy Braised Chard, Potatoes and Poblanos), which starts with a base of roasted poblano chiles mixed into browned onions, then combined with braised potatoes and chard and finished with creme fraiche. 

For a quicker version of this, I replaced the roasted poblano chiles with a chipotle chile in adobo sauce (which I always have in the freezer, because I never use up a whole can), and omitted the potatoes. This creamy, smokey, spicy chard cooked up in the same time it took to warm up tortillas and some Lonesome Whistle beans I had cooked over the weekend, turning mundane bean tacos into an inspired meal.

Chard and Chipotle Tacos
(serves four)
chard topping
1 bunch chard
1 large onion
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, diced (freeze the remaining chiles from the can on a saran wrap covered baking sheet and transfer to a ziplock bag for long term freezer storage)
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
salt to taste

for the tacos
corn tortillas
cooked pinto beans
rice (optional)
avocado slices

1. Set some rice to cook and start heating up the cooked beans. Peel and chop the onion. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and when it starts to shimmer, add the onions. Cook the onions with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until they are soft and have started to brown.

2. While the onions are browning, rinse the chard leaves, trim off the tips of the stems, and then cut the remaining stems from the leaves. Slice the stems into 1/4 inch slices and reserve. Slice the leaves into 1/4 inch slices and reserve. When the onions have started to brown, add the chard stems and a pinch of salt and continue cooking. Meanwhile, slice the avocado and start warming the tortillas. After about 5 minutes, when the chard stems are soft, add the chard leaves and another pinch of salt. Cook for a minute, then add in the chipotle chile. Cook for another minute or so until the chard leaves are soft, then add in the creme fraiche. Cook for another minute to warm and incorporate the creme fraiche, then remove from the heat.

3. Serve the warmed tortillas topped with beans, (and rice if you like) and the chard mixture, with avocado slices on the side. Enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Roasted Garlic Whistles and Zucchini

The sixth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market kicked off last weekend with a bounty of spring produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm and a wide selection of pastured meats from Fair Valley Farm.

One spring treat to pick up this Sunday is a bunch of garlic whistles or scapes. Last year I discovered that these are delicious grilled in salsa, but last Sunday, since I had the oven on for baking bread, I decided to toss my newly acquired garlic whistles in olive oil and salt on a sheet pan like kale chips. I added some baby zucchini slices to the pan for the last few minutes. The final dish was a delicious contrast in textures, with the garlic whistles adding the perfect, subtle punch of flavor to the delicate zucchini.

We had our roasted vegetable with these favorite sausages made with Fair Valley lamb, crunchy, farm fresh carrots and cucumbers, and mujaddara and spiced yogurt. It was a feast fit for celebrating the beginning of summer and the local farmers who feed us.

Roasted Garlic Whistles and Zucchini
1 bunch garlic whistles (scapes)
4-6 small zucchini
drizzle of olive oil
generous sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place in a sheet pan. Rinse the garlic whistles, trim off their ends, and slice into 1 1/2 inch lengths. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt. Rinse the zucchini, trim off their ends, cut in half lengthwise and cut widthwise into 1/2 inch half moons. When the oven is hot, spread the oiled garlic whistles on the hot sheet pan and return to the oven. Toss the zucchini slices in the oily bowl, adding a sprinkle of salt and a bit more oil if needed to coat them. Roast the garlic whistles for about 7 minutes until they have started to char. Toss them in the pan and add the zucchini slices. Roast for another 3 minutes. Toss to flip the zucchini and roast them another minute or more if needed, until they have acquired some nice brown spots. Remove from the pan and serve. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Salmon with Sorrel Sauce

The start of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market is just a week away, starting Sunday June 7, 10 AM-2 PM on the corner of Agate St. and 19th Ave., with fresh produce from Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm, pastured meat from Fair Valley Farm, and beautiful fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. We've been enjoying our weekly Good Food Easy CSA throughout the year, and I especially appreciate how it brings new ingredients into our kitchen, like this lovely bunch of sorrel. 

With a new member of the family keeping us very busy, I was happy to discover a rapid and tasty salmon with sorrel sauce recipe on food52 from Mrs. Wheelbarrow. 

The original recipe prepares salmon medallions, but we kept it simple and broiled a whole filet. The creamy sauce was incredibly decadent, but the lemony freshness of the sorrel kept it bright. We feasted on our fish along with baby potatoes and salad, also from our CSA. You can look forward to all of this produce and more at the Farmer Market next weekend.

Salmon with Sorrel Sauce
adapted from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's recipe on food52serves 4
1 pound wild caught salmon filet
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, chopped rough
1/2 cup chives
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to be at the very top of the oven. Preheat the broiler. 

2. Prepare all ingredients and stage. This dish comes together quickly and you don't want to be scrambling. 

3. Place the salmon on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish.

4. When the oven is ready, put the salmon under the broiler. It will take about 3-5 minutes. You can make a small incision with a paring knife to check if it is cooked to your taste.

5. While the salmon is broiling, prepare the sauce. In a large, wide skillet, melt the butter until it starts to toast. It should be golden brown. Add the sorrel, chervil and chives to the butter and coat quickly. Allow them to wilt a little, and then pour in the cream. Bring to a boil and reduce just until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve with the salmon.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Radishes in Chili Oil

Mark your calendars for Sunday June 7th, which will be the first day of the sixth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, 10 AM - 2 PM on the corner of Agate St. and 19th Ave. Last year I marked the announcement of the market start date with a number of radish recipe ideas, and here's an addition to that list from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice: radishes in chili oil.

In the same spirit of the French dish of radishes and salted butter, this recipe uses soy sauce and oil to both brighten and temper the radishes' bite, but in this case their mild spiciness is enhanced with fiery chiles. First, to release some of the radishes' liquid, you need to pummel them a bit (I tapped them with a meat tenderizer) and give them a coating of salt. While they sweat, mix up sugar, soy sauce, sesame and chili oils, then drain and toss them in this rich coating. For a root to shoot approach to our radishes, I blanched the greens and tossed them with a sesame sauce Dunlop uses for spinach, similar to this gomae recipe. These made delicious vegetable sides for Eric's famous Ma Po Doufo and our child labor-enabled cabbage and pork dumplings. You can look forward to lots more delicious spring vegetables at the start of the Fairmount Market June 7th.

Radishes in Chili Oil
from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice
2 bunches small red radishes, trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons chilli oil with its sediments
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Lightly smack the radishes with the side of a cleaver, a rolling pin, or a meat tenderizer; the idea is to crack them open, not to smash them to smithereens.

2. Pile the cracked radishes in a bowl, add the salt, and toss well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

3. Combine the sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chili and sesame oils.

4. When you’re ready to eat, drain the radishes—they will have released a fair amount of water—and shake them dry. Pour the chile oil mixture over the radishes and toss to mix well and serve.