Thursday, August 28, 2014

Slow Roasted Romas and Olive Oil Poached Tuna Salad


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
corn on the cob (make corn and tomato salsa for fish tacos)
cantaloupes, peaches, and Italian prune plums (for Zwetschgenkuchen)
Gravenstein apples from SLO farm (make some roasted apple sauce)
lots of tomatoes, including cherries and flats of roams (slow roast, below)
sweet and hot peppers of all kinds peppers (pick up some spicy ones for these lettuce wraps)
eggplants and broccoli (try this roasted eggplant and broccoli salad)
green and yellow beans and potatoes (make a Salade Nicoise, below)
tomatillos (try this slow cooker pork and beans
daikon radish, fennel, and cucumbers (make pickles)
baby beets, carrots, and kohlrabi (try grilled)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and zucchini (grill with falafel)
cabbage (green, red, savoy) (make this Chinese cabbage with vinegar)
radicchio, chard, kale, lettuce, including bagged mix 
garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass

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


Be sure to savor the end of summer this Labor Day weekend with a trip to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market for some pretty tomatoes and flowers, and perhaps a stop at Eugene City Bakery for coffee and treats. Labor Day weekend is also a good time to devote to preserving some of summer's bounty for the winter months ahead.


This past weekend I slow roasted about six pounds of Sweeter Farm roma tomatoes, a project that requires very little effort (halve the tomatoes) but lots of time (10 to 12 hours at 200 degrees C) and is best undertaken overnight, meaning that you awaken to intense tomato fumes and a craving for an English breakfast. These tomatoes can be frozen for addition to pasta sauces, bean or grain salads, pizza, and wintertime BLTs, but we already made major inroads into our stash before I could freeze any of them. They proved to be especially tasty as a bed on which to layer olive oil poached fresh Oregon albacore tuna for a fancy Salade Nicoise. You can't see the roasted tomatoes in the photo below, but they are doing their job infusing the fish with extra flavor from below. I'll be picking up another flat of roma tomatoes this weekend for additional Labor Day projects.


Slow Roasted Roma Tomatoes
about 6 pounds of tomatoes for two large baking sheets 
Wash the tomatoes and slice them in half. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet, spread out the oil over the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle on a generous pinch of salt. You could also scatter over some fresh herbs such as thyme or marjoram and a few whole cloves of garlic. Arrange the roma tomato halves snuggly on the sheet. I arranged them cut side down, which let them stew in the olive oil, but I've also seen recipes that put them cut side up, which would dry them out more and caramelize them a little. I fit about 3 lbs of tomatoes per large baking sheet. Slow roast them at 200 degrees for 10-12 hours. This works well if you do it overnight, although the delicious roasted tomato smells may wake you up early in the morning. Cool them and freeze them in freezer bags for use in salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, BLTs, etc.

Olive Oil Poached Tuna
fresh albacore tuna (about 4 ounces per person)
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 peeled garlic cloves
sprigs of fresh herbs such as thyme and marjoram

Slice the tuna into 1 1/2 inch cutlet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow the fish to warm up to room temperature. Arrange the tuna pieces into the smallest saucepan that will hold them in a single layer and then pour over enough olive oil to cover the fish. Add the garlic cloves and herbs, submerging them as well. Bring the oil to a gentle simmer over low heat. You can monitor the temperature of the oil with a kitchen thermometer, and it should not get above 150 degrees. Cook the tuna for about 10 minutes or until desired opacity, then turn off the heat and remove the tuna from the oil. Smash the garlic cloves into the oil and allow to cool. Strain the oil and reserve. This fragrant oil can be refrigerated for a week and used in salad dressing (see below) or in a sauce such as a quick puttanesca made with slow roasted roma tomatoes.

Slow Roasted Romas and Olive Oil Poached Tuna Salad
slow roasted roma tomatoes (recipe above)
olive oil poached tuna (recipe above)
green and yellow beans, trimmed and boiled until just tender (about 4 minutes)
small potatoes boiled until cooked through
lettuce leaves, washed
cherry tomatoes
hard boiled eggs (add to cold water, turn off heat when water boils, let sit 6 minutes, drain)
salt and pepper
1/3 cup strained olive oil from the tuna poaching
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar

On a large platter, arrange a layer of slow roasted roma tomatoes. As soon as the tuna is poached, place it on the layer of roma tomatoes to infuse the flavors. Around the edges of the platter, arrange lettuce leaves, potatoes, beans, and halved hard boiled eggs. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over the tuna. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. When you are ready to serve, whisk together the oil and vinegar and pour most over the perimeter lettuce, beans, and potatoes and a little over the central fish. Enjoy with fresh bread.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Zucchini Gratin


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
lots of tomatoes, including cherries and flats of romas (roasted and sprinkle with basil)
sweet and hot peppers of all kinds peppers and eggplants (make ratatouille)
Gravenstein apples from SLO farm (delicious in salad with scallions and bacon)
NW peaches and blackberries
green and yellow beans (make a school color salmon salad)
tomatillos and daikon radish (try tofu banh mi
fennel and cucumbers (make pickles)
baby beets and new potatoes
carrots and kohlrabi (try roasted with cumin)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and zucchini (try this gratin)
cabbage (green, red, savoy) (make kimchi)
radicchio, chard, kale, lettuce, including bagged mix 
garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass

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


On a recent trip to my sister's, I rediscovered a couple of childhood cookbooks that my mother had purchased for us in France. The two volumes from Pomme D'Api feature simple recipes accompanied by pictures of charming French five year olds in the process of executing each dish. I remember pouring over these photos with fascination, marveling at these strange contemporaries preparing sardine toasts and ham rolls in aspic. American children's cookbooks are typically devoted to sweet, baked goods, and even the better ones (like Mollie Katzen's Pretend Soup, source of great popovers), don't stray from a limit repertoire of perceived "kid friendly" fare. The idea that children will only eat a few bland, vegetable-free dishes, epitomized by the uninspired children's menus in US restaurants, doesn't exist in France, where children are raised to eat four course meals in nursery school. For my sister and I, these fascinating volumes showed small children not only consuming "grow up" food, but preparing it with great confidence. And they inspired us to try to do the same. The greatest revelation was that many of these new dishes were easy and delicious.




One of our favorites was "un gratin de courgette," which transformed zucchini, an under-loved and over-abundant summertime product of our garden, into a decadent, pillowy soufflé infused with the strong flavor of gruyère and the richness of crème fraîche. Of course, upon rediscovering these volumes, my sister and I had to recreate this gratin. When we baked it in our childhood, we'd had to make all sorts of guesses about the ingredients list (volume of "un petit pot de crème fraîche" or "un verre de lait"?) but now with internet searching, we could  track down these numbers. The final dish was just as wonderful as I remembered, the perfect centerpiece for a weekend brunch with roasted plum tomatoes and fresh green beans, but unfortunately our American children would have nothing to do with it. I'm hopeful that after pouring over these books, their attitudes will change.



Un Gratin de Courgette
1 kg (2.2 lb or 4 to 5 medium sized) zucchini
3 eggs
100 g (scan 1/2 cup) crème fraîche (which you can make yourself, or use sour cream)
120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
100 g (3.5 ounces) grated gruyère cheese
salt and pepper

1. Gather your ingredients. The recipe calls for "courgette déjà cuites et bien égouttées" (zucchini already cooked and well drained). We decided to slice, steam, and drain them in a colander, which worked well to remove excess liquid that would leach into the gratin. One could also shred, salt, and strain the zucchini and use directly or sauté first.

2. Beat the eggs.

3. Mix in the crème fraîche, milk, grated gruyère, salt and pepper.

4. Mix in the cooked and well-drained zucchini.

5. Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish.

6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

HLTs


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 and handcrafted vegan hazelnut cheese from Avellana CreameryGood Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Fresh
lots of tomatoes, including cherries and flats of roams (try roasted tomato fish soup)
sweet and hot peppers of all kinds  peppers and tomatillos (delicious pan seared in salsa)
Shiro plums and Gravenstein apples from SLO farm (make apple-topped teff pancakes
NW peaches and blackberries
fennel and eggplants (make fennel and sardine pasta)
baby beets and new potatoes
carrots and kohlrabi  (try this kohlrabi salad with lemon and capers)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and cucumbers
radicchio, chard, kale, and lettuce, including bagged mix (try corn and chard pudding)
garlic and fresh herbs (basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass

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 past few months, I've been experimenting with bread making, culminating with a trip last month to the Bread Lab, where my co-instructors and I got to see the multitude of different wheat strains being bred by wheat geneticist Steven Jones,



a lab full of amazing devices for studying the physical properties of bread dough, like this bubble blowing machine,



and we were tutored by baker Jonathan McDowell, 



producing the most delicious loaves of bread I've ever tasted.



Back home, my next attempt at high hydration, naturally fermented, whole wheat dough was pretty much a disaster, and I had to resort to a loaf pan to bake it, but it was still delicious. This sour, complex whole grain bread I've been baking goes nicely with the smooth, mild creaminess of Avellana Creamery's vegan hazelnut cheese. Continuing in the spirit of experimentation, for my latest loaf I invented a new version of the BLT, which is a true classic but infinitely malleable. The HLT consists of whole wheat bread spread with hazelnut cheese, dotted with sweet cherry tomatoes, and topped with a tender leaf of lettuce.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Roasted Tomato and Fish Tacos with Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw


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
lots of tomatoes, including cherries and flats of romas (try roasting for tacos)
sweet and hot peppers of all kinds  peppers (use your grilled vegetables on pizza)
Shiro plums from SLO farm, NW peaches, and blackberries (try a plum and berry galette)
fennel and eggplants
baby beets and new potatoes (Salade Nicoise is nice on a hot summer day)
carrots and kohlrabi  (try the slaw below)
crookneck squash, summer squash, and cucumbers (make Ume Grill's Tsukemono)
radicchio, chard, kale, and lettuce, including ready-to-eat bagged mix
garlic and fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, sage, thyme) and home-grown lemon grass

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 summer harvest is reaching its peak. Their abundance of tomatoes and peppers are the perfect ingredients for fish tacos for a crowd, made simply with a couple of baking sheets as we did last weekend with a family crowd on the coast. First roast some halved tomatoes and peppers, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt in a 350 degree oven. When these are nicely caramelized, put your fish on a baking sheet, topped again with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. If you have them, you could add a dusting of ground cumin and chipotle pepper, but in our sparse rental house kitchen, we made due with just salt and pepper and the intense flavors of the roasted vegetables, and the tacos were delicious. The fish will cook quickly, just in time to heat up some tortillas on the lower rack of the oven. With a bevy of cooks in the kitchen, we had all sorts of tasty toppings and sides. A favorite was a light lime slaw of kohlrabi and purple carrots, with the kohlrabi leaves reserved for taco toppings. The best part of this bountiful summer spread was that everyone could taylor their tacos to their personal taste.



Roasted Tomato and Fish Tacos for a Crowd

firm tomatoes such as romas (about 2 per person)
peppers of colors and spiciness that will suit your guests (about 1 per person)
white fish such as cod or sole (about 1/4 lb per person, check for best types to buy)
olive oil
fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
ground cumin (optional)
ground chipotle chile (optional)
small tortillas, corn or flour (2 or 3 per person)

Other taco fixings
sliced fresh or pickled radishes
shredded cabbage or kohlrabi leaves
cilantro
avocado
lime wedges
black beans
diced cotija cheese
sour cream or creme Mexicana
hot sauce, like Cholula

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Halve the peppers and remove their stems and seeds. Arrange them next to the tomatoes or on a second baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, until they are very soft and begin to caramelize. Remove and reserve.

2. Arrange the fish on a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and other spices if using. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lime juice. Roast until the fish is just opaque throughout, which will depend on the thickness of the fish but will go quickly.

3. Meanwhile, arrange tortillas on a clean baking sheet or directly on the oven rack and bake briefly on each side, about a minute per side, until they just start to show a few brown spots. Store under a kitchen towel to keep from drying out.

4. Everyone can assemble their own tacos, including fish, a roasted tomato half, roasted peppers, and any other toppings they like. Enjoy.


Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw
1 medium kohlrabi
3 colorful carrots
juice from 1 lime
2 Tbsp olive oil
generous pinch of salt
tiny pinch of sugar

Generously trim the kohlrabi bulb of its tough skin and cut into julienne strips. Scrub, top, and tail the carrots and cut into julienne strips. Combine the kohlrabi and carrots in a bowl, toss with the lime juice, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Taste and adjust seasonings. It's fine to let this sit and pickle for a few hours if you want to make it ahead.

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.