Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage Meatballs

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you'll find pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, cut flowers from Tiger Lily Art Company, and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including potatoes, snap peas, and heirloom tomatoes.

I love Camas Swale's torpedo onions, which are delicious roasted with other vegetables like cauliflower. I wanted to incorporate these into a pasta dinner, but lately we've been at a family pasta impasse between my pesto-loving daughter and my son and advocate for tomato sauce and meatballs. 

I decided to place peacemaker by roasting a sheet pan of meatballs along with the vegetables, using Fair Valley Farm pork sausage, and serving these on pesto pasta. Everyone was happy with dinner.

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Sausage Meatballs
roasted vegetables
1 head cauliflower
2 small onions
olive oil

meat balls
1 lb ground pork sausage meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup pesto sauce (such as this recipe)
1 lb pasta
cherry tomatoes for garnish
parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put in one sheet pan. 

2. Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Cut the onions into sixths. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with a pinch of salt and olive oil to coat.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground pork sausage meat, bread crumbs, egg, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Coat a second sheet pan with a thin coat of olive oil. Form small one inch meat balls and arrange on the sheet pan (you should have about 40 meatballs). 

4. Toss the vegetables onto the preheated sheet pan and put the sheet pan of meatballs into the oven. Bake both for about 35 minutes, turning over about halfway through, until vegetables are well caramelized and brown on the edges and the meatballs are cooked through. 

5. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta. Drain and toss the pasta with the pesto. Serve topped with vegetables and meatballs (or serve them on the side). Garnish with cherry tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Grilled Vegetable and Stale Bread Tuna Salad

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you'll find pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, cut flowers from Tiger Lily Art Company, and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including torpedo onions, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, and radicchio for grilling.

We grilled a large platter of vegetables for the 4th of July, to go along with our Fair Valley Farm beef burgers. My philosophy is that you can not have enough leftover grilled vegetables, which can be reincarnated in many guises such as on pizza or in grain salad.

When assessing the leftover situation for packing lunch this morning, I realized that we still had some grilled vegetables and a quarter of a stale baguette. In my family I am famous for my aversion to soggy sandwiches and I generally avoid packing any ladened bread that will have to sit from morning until noon. These ingredients, however, inspired me to throw together a lunch in which the intension was to hydrate the bread into an edible state by lunchtime. 

On top of cubed stale baguette I layer a can of tuna in olive oil and then the grilled vegetables with some balsamic vinegar and basil. By lunchtime the flavors had melded, the bread was softened but not soggy, and the whole mixture made a delicious meal mounded on top of fresh, crunchy lettuce leaves.

Grilled Vegetable and Stale Bread Tuna Salad
recipe for two servings
~8 slices stale baguette
~two cups of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, corn, mushrooms, and radicchio
1 can good tuna in olive oil
~1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
~8 basil leaves
~12 lettuce leaves, washed

1. Chop the baguette slices into bite size pieces and layer on the bottom of a serving bowl or transportable lunch container.

2. Flake the tuna and layer it over the bread pieces, drizzling over the olive oil.

3. Cut the grilled vegetables into bite size pieces and layer over the bread and tuna. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with some torn basil leaves.

4. Allow the salad to marinate for several hours at room temperature so that the bread absorbs the dressing and flavors. To serve, tear the lettuce leaves and distribute over two plates. Toss the bread salad to mix and distribute it over the lettuce on the two plates. Enjoy.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Chicken with Cardamom Rice and Blistered Purple Beans

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you'll find plenty of summer produce from Camas Swale Farm as well as pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm.

Fog Hollow offers chicken parts, which is convenient if you don't have the time to break down a whole bird. I was happy to pick up a pack of legs to try out a chicken and rice dish that I've long been eyeing from the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I had always stalled at the second ingredient of barberries, however, which seemed unattainable until I happened to run across them at Sunrise Market. The dish was well worth the wait, especially with Fog Hollow's fresh chicken legs. The rice is enhanced with plenty of caramelized onions, similar to a family favorite, mujaddara, and the barberries add tart bursts of flavor.

To accompany the chicken and rice, I'd picked up some beautiful purple beans. Because I wanted to preserve some of their deep color, with fades with cooking, I decided to blister them quickly in a hot griddle pan. And because I think beans go well with mustard, and mustard reminded me of other brassica family members, and I had a bunch of turnips with fresh leaves, I made a bright green garnish of blanched and chopped turnip greens in a mustard vinaigrette. It was another Farmers Market summer feast. 

Chicken with Caramelized Onion and Cardamom Rice
from Jerusalem A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

3  tablespoons sugar (40 grams)
2 ½  tablespoons barberries, or use currants (25 grams)
4  tablespoons olive oil
2  medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups, or 250 grams)
2 ¼  pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (1 kilogram), or 1 whole chicken, quartered
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10  cardamom pods
 Rounded 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2  long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
1 ⅔  cups basmati rice (300 grams)
2 ¼  cups boiling water (550 milliliters)
1 ½  tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (5 grams), chopped
½  cup dill leaves (5 grams), chopped
¼  cup cilantro leaves (5 grams), chopped

⅓  cup Greek yogurt (100 grams), mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

1. Put the sugar and scant 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the barberries, and set aside to soak. If using currants, you do not need to soak them in this way.

2. Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and wipe the pan clean.

3. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1½ teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well. Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan, but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken. Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a thin film at the bottom. Add the rice, caramelized onion, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Drain the barberries and add them as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.

4. Pour the boiling water over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, and seal again with the lid. Leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm with yogurt mixture if you like.

Blistered Purple Beans with Mustardy Turnip Greens
blistered purple beans
4 handfuls of purple beans
1 Tbsp olive oil

Wash and trim the beans. Toss the beans in a bowl with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Heat a grill pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is very hot, put on the beans. Allow them to blister, flipping occasionally, for about 4 minutes until they start to lose some of their purple color but are still quite crunch. Remove to a serving plate.

turnip greens with mustard vinaigrette
1 bunch turnip greens
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar

Set a medium pot of well salted water to boil. Wash the turnip greens and trim off the bare stems. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, and sherry vinegar. When the water is boiling, throw in the turnip greens and blanch for 45 seconds. Drain and run under cold water to stop them from cooking. Squeeze out the water and chop the leaves into 1/2 inch slices. Toss in the vinaigrette. Taste and add more salt, honey, or vinegar as needed.  Serve along side the blistered beans.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella and Breadcrumbs

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market stock up on pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm.

Now that summer is in full swing, we've been having a lot of salads for dinner, inspired by our farmers market finds. For this meal, I made a quick pan of baked zucchini topped with mozzarella and a sprinkle of scallion-spiked bread crumbs. We ate this gratin alongside butter lettuce, snap peas, roasted broccoli, buttery radishes, lentils, and hard boiled eggs. Not only are dinner salads a great way to enjoy fresh farm produce, but they lend themselves to relaxed summer meals when everyone can compose a personalized dinner plate masterpiece.

Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella and Breadcrumbs
4 small zucchini
1 punch green onions
1 ball mozzarella
1/2 cup breadcrumbs from stale bread
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place in a baking pan. Trim the zucchini ends and then slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and let sweat in a colander for a few minutes. Trim the roots of the green onions. Cut the white parts of the onions into 1/4 inch rounds and reserve. Cut the green parts of the onions into 1 inch lengths and reserve. Slice the mozzarella.

2. When the oven is hot, remove the baking pan, drizzle in some olive oil and spread with a brush to coat the bottom. Pat the zucchini strips dry and spread them over the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle on the onion whites and a generous grinding of fresh pepper. Bake for about 7 minutes until the bottoms of the zucchinis start to brown. 

3. In the meantime, heat a skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sear the green onions, stirring occasionally until they start to char. Add the breadcrumbs and a little more olive oil if needed and cook another minute until the breads smell toasted. 

4. Remove the zucchini from the oven and turn on the broiler. Flip the zucchini strips. Layer on the mozzarella and sprinkle over the green onion breadcrumbs. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Radish Leaf Chimichurri Sauce

Make this Sunday a special Fathers Day with a trip to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market. You'll find all the fixings for a Fathers Day feast including pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, cut flowers from Tiger Lily Art Company, and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm.

With Camas Swale's produce fresh from the fields, you can use all parts of the vegetables. Last week I used this gorgeous rosy radishes for some quick pickles as a side for white bean and carnitas tacos (here's a carnitas recipe for slow cooking in the oven and a faster one for a pressure cooker).

The greens from the radish bunch were so fresh that I decided to make them into a quick chimichurri sauce, incorporating some seared Camas Swale green onions. The sharp radish greens, charred onions, and kick of red wine vinegar were a perfect pairing for the mild white beans and crispy pork. Try some out on a dad tomorrow.

Radish Leaf Chimichurri
greens from 1 bunch radishes
6 green onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pinch salt
red pepper flakes to taste
1 Tbsp vinegar

1. Rinse leaves from 1 bunch radish and reserve. Rinse the green onions, trim off the root ends, and cut the whites from the greens. Cut the whites into 1/4 inch rings. Separately cut the greens into 1/2 inch rings. 

2. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is very hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, swirl to coat, and then add the white onion pieces, a pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes to taste, and let them sear for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. When some of the onions are charred, add the green onion pieces and sear for one more minute. 

3. Transfer the seared green onions to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon of red wine vinegar. Chop the radish leaves finely and stir into bowl. Taste and add more salt, pepper or vinegar as desired. Serve with meat such as carnitas. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Around the Corner

Come down to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market this Sunday June 10. The stand is around the corner along Agate today. Don't miss out on lots of greens, radishes, summer squash, strawberries, and the first pickling cucumbers of the season. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Hazelnut Biscotti

This Sunday at the Fairmount Farmers Market, you'll find pastured meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm including:
berries (serve with biscotti, recipe below)
radishes (make some smashed radishes in chili oil)
snap peas (try some springtime spaghetti carbonara)

The first of the spring strawberries are such a treat, that I prefer to savor them plain rather than hiding them in pillows of sweet toppings. A refined hazelnut biscotti makes the perfect accompaniment to naturally sweet berries. My daughter made biscotti for my husband's birthday and we've been nibbling them with fresh strawberries all week.

Hazelnut Biscotti
2 cups (265 g) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (135 g) vanilla sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (125 g) hazelnuts, toasted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl.

3. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, slowly add the liquids, and mix well with you hands or a dough whisk. If necessary, add additional flour to form a firm and workable dough. Add the hazelnuts and work them evenly into the dough.

4. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Flour your hands and carefully roll each piece into and oval cylinder about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Carefully transfer each cylinder to the parchment-lined baking sheet. 

5. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake until the dough is slightly risen and an even golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and transfer the cylinders to a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

6. Transfer each cylinder to a cutting board and slice the biscotti on a sharp diagonal (45-degree angle) at 1/2 inch intervals. Stand the biscotti upright on the baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Return the baking sheet to the center of the oven and bake until the biscotti are a deep golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool thoroughly. The cookies should be dry and crisp. Once cooled they can be store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Market Start May 27

This Sunday will be the start of the ninth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market. Be sure to visit the corner of Agate Street and 19th Avenue between 10 AM and 2 PM. Camas Swale Farm will be there with the first of their strawberries, lots of vibrant leafy greens, spring onions, cabbage, radishes, and more to inspire all sorts of cooking spring dishes from roasted vegetables to delicate desserts. Thank you for supporting our local market.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Apple Sourdough Skillet Pancake

I've been culturing a sourdough starter again, and the pets know that they have competition. This mason jar of microbes can command a lot of my attention.

One of my biggest concerns is how to use up all the discarded starter from replenishing the jar with fresh flour and water. 

A New York Times recipe from Tejal Rao for Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes caught my eye. It is essentially a Dutch baby with a tart tartine apple layer. 

I tweaked the recipe based on a number of readers' suggestions, and added maple syrup to the batter rather than drowning it in syrup at the end. It proved to be a big hit and I was glad to have more batter for a second pancake. This is a perfect Mothers Day breakfast dish for anyone who is nurturing a sourdough starter.

Apple Sourdough Skillet Pancake
adapted from NYTimes Cooking Tejal Rao's Cast-Iron Sourdough Pancakes
makes two skillet pancakes

approximately 1  cup (225 g) sourdough starter, unfed
1 1/2  cups (180 g) all-purpose flour (or include some buckwheat or corn flour)
1 1/2 cups (368 g) buttermilk or a combination of milk and whey)
2  eggs
2  Tbsp (39 g) maple syrup 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2  tsp baking soda
2  apples, cut into slices
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

4  Tbsp butter, divided

1. The night before, in a large blow whisk together the unfed starter with the flour and buttermilk. Cover and leave to ferment overnight.

2. The next morning, put a 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat at 450 degrees. Core and slice the apples. Transfer the pan from the oven to a medium high stovetop burner. Melt 2 Tbsp butter and put in half the apple slices, sprinkling them with a pinch of cinnamon if desired. Cook for a couple of minutes and then flip.

3. Meanwhile, finish the batter by whisking in the eggs, maple syrup, salt, and baking soda. Remove the skillet from the heat. Pour half batter over the apples and melted butter and transfer the skillet to the oven.

4. Bake for 15 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Remove the skillet from the oven. Place a large plate over it and invert the pancake onto the plate, apples side up. Return the skillet to the stovetop and make a second pancake. Slice the pancakes into wedges and serve warm.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanks for the Season

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I want to take a moment to give thanks to all of the local growers, providers, and neighborhood customers who made the eighth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market a success. Having such wonderful offerings in our neighborhood all summer long -- vibrant produce from Camas Swale Farm, fresh meats and eggs from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, hand crafted breads from Wildflour Oven, and beautiful flowers from Tiger Lily Art Company -- has been a gift to our community.  

I hope you all had a happy and celebratory Thanksgiving holiday. Our feast included lots of local produce from our Camas Swale Harvest CSA and the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition Fill Your Pantry event. My daughter made her first pie, an apple beauty. The kids have decided that pie is an acceptable breakfast food, while I've been enjoying reheated mushroom and celery stuffing with a fried egg. And leftover green beans and roasted delicata squash made a delicious salad for lunch. We have much to be grateful for, and no small part of that is the beautiful, bountiful valley in which we live.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sausage Ragu

This Sunday will likely be the last Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market of the season. Last week's rain disrupted the planned market, but this Sunday should be sunny, so you can be sure to find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, baked goods made with local whole grains from WildFlour Oven, and plenty of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm

Since it is the last market of the season, besides indulging in baked goods and delicious food for the week, you should plan to stock up on winter squash, onions, root vegetables, and frozen meats for the winter. 

I would suggest picking up the fixings for this sausage ragu from the New York Times. I make a version with double the vegetables, producing enough sauce to freeze away for two additional meals. Made with Fair Valley Farm's sausage and Camas Swale's carrots, celery and giant shallots, the vibrant flavors will brighten a future rainy winter day.

Sausage Ragu
makes enough for three meals of one pound of pasta; freezes well
1 pound sweet Italian sausage or bulk sausage
 Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 carrot, minced
4 celery stalk, minced
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with its juice
2 large sprig fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons tomato paste
 Ground black pepper
1 pound tubular dried pasta such as mezzi rigatoni, paccheri or penne
 Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional

1. Crumble the sausage meat into a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. If the meat is not rendering enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan as it begins to cook, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the meat is frying gently, not steaming. Sauté, breaking up any large chunks, until all the meat has turned opaque (do not let it brown), about 5 minutes.

2. Add onion, carrot, celery and parsley and stir. Drizzle in more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook over very low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables have melted in the fat and are beginning to caramelize, and the meat is toasty brown. This may take as long as 40 minutes, but be patient: It is essential to the final flavors.

3. Add tomatoes and their juice, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands or with the side of a spoon. Bring to a simmer, then add thyme and rosemary and let simmer, uncovered, until thickened and pan is almost dry, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Mix tomato paste with 1 cup hot water. Add to pan, reduce heat to very low, and continue cooking until the ragù is velvety and dark red, and the top glistens with oil, about 10 minutes more. Remove herb sprigs. Sprinkle black pepper over, stir and taste.

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta until just tender. Scoop out 2 cups cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Quickly add a ladleful of ragù, a splash of cooking water, stir well and let cook 1 minute. Taste for doneness. Repeat, adding more cooking water or ragù, or both, until pasta is cooked through and seasoned to your liking.

6. Pour hot pasta water into a large serving bowl to heat it. Pour out the water and pour in the pasta. Top with additional ragù, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Pass grated cheese at the table, if desired. Freeze the remaining ragu for future meals.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Root

This Sunday will be the penultimate Farmers Market of the season, so come out despite the rain. You will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm and an abundance of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including a large selection of winter squash, leafy greens, onions, shallots, and leeks, and root vegetables such as beets, carrots, fennel, and celery root.

With my selection of root vegetables from last weekend's market, I decided to try a version of this recipe for creamy pasta topped with caramelized onions. This is the kind of recipe that is ridiculously easy (just coat pasta in Greek yogurt, of which I had just made a big batch in my new instant pot) and amenable to many variations, as long as you have enough sweet caramelized flavors to balance the tang of the yogurt sauce. We loved the notes of fennel and celery along with the caramelized leeks.

Pasta with Yogurt and Caramelized Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Root
adapted from Diane Kochilas' recipeserves 4 to 6
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small leeks
1 small fennel bulb
1 small celery root
Sea salt
1 1/2 cups (350 g) thick, strained Greek-style yogurt (see note)
1 pound pasta
1 cup coarsely grated Pecorino Romano 

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and start preheating it to 375 degrees F. Prepare the vegetables. Trim the roots and green parts from the leek, halve lengthwise, rinse well, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Trim the fennel bulb and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel and trim the celery root and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt to coat. Spread the oiled vegetables onto the preheated sheet pan. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the vegetables become nicely brown and caramelized around the edges.

2. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. As the water heats, add enough salt so that you can taste it. Add the pasta and cook until soft, not al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. 

3. Combine the yogurt with 1/4 cup cooking water and mix well. Add more of the reserved pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your thickness. Drain the pasta and toss with the yogurt mixture and 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese. 

4. Serve the pasta immediately, sprinkled generously with cheese and topped with the caramelized vegetables. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower Larb

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm and an abundance of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including: 

incredible pearly white cauliflower (try the larb recipe below)
brussels sprouts (great stir fried)
leafy greens (delicious roasted)
winter squash pumpkins (try a pumpkin gruyere soup

I love cauliflower, but I always cook it the same way, roasted, possibly with onions. I haven't yet succumb to the cauliflower rice craze that caused Draconian rationing measures at Trader Joe's. While I could keep eating roasted cauliflower every evening, I sensed some ennui on the rest of the family. This recipe from Bon Appetit caught my attention as a way to turn roasted cauliflower into something entirely new: toss it with fish sauce and fresh herbs as filling for lettuce cups

This is an unconventional version of the Laotian meat salad called larb or laab. The recipe has quite a few ingredients that require a trip to an Asian market (lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves), but a pared down version with just the fish sauce and fresh herbs is delicious. The one ingredient that makes it larb, rather than roasted cauliflower filling, is the toasted rice powder. You could skip this too, but it's easy to make while the cauliflower is roasting, and after browning and grinding up a 1/4 cup of rice, you'll have enough for multiple batches, which is a good thing because in our family lettuce wraps are always a big hit. 

Roasted Cauliflower Larb 
lightly adapted from Bon Appetit, serves six

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 green Thai chiles, finely chopped (or keep on the side for people to add separately)
1 3-inch piece lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped, or use lime zest
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup glutinous (sticky) rice
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped mint
Kosher salt
Sliced Persian cucumber and Bibb lettuce leaves (for serving)

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and well browned, 35–45 minutes. Let cool slightly; chop into pea-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Add chiles (if using), lemongrass, lime leaves or zest, fish sauce, and lime juice; toss well.

Meanwhile, place rice in a medium skillet and set over medium heat. Toast, shaking pan constantly to keep rice moving, until evenly browned, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool. Grind in spice mill or with a mortar and pestle to a semi-fine powder.

Toss scallions, cilantro, mint, and 2 tsp. toasted rice powder into cauliflower mixture; season with salt. Serve with lettuce, cucumber, reserved chiles, and remaining rice powder to make lettuce cups.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Caramelized Carrot Soup

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, baked goods made with local whole grains from WildFlour Ovenfresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and plenty of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including root vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and carrots. 

My recent infatuation with pressure cooking, now that I am a proud owner of an Instant Pot, led me to this recipe for a caramelized carrot soup from modernist cuisine. The idea is that in a pressure cooker, vegetables can reach high temperatures while remaining moist, achieving the cooking reactions of roasting without drying them out. A pinch of baking soda creates an alkaline environment, which encourages the Maillard reaction of browning. The full recipe calls for a stick of butter, which I halved, and freshly extracted carrot juice, which I substituted with a ginger and lemon grass broth I had in the freezer. The soup was intensely flavorful and made a delicious accompaniment to a sandwich of baked tofu, bacon, and pickled daikon.

Caramelized Carrot Soup
Adapted from modernist cuisine
500 g carrot (about 10 medium)
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups carrot juice or broth, or more to desired consistency
squeeze of lemon or lime juice

In a pressure cooker use the saute setting to melt the butter. Stir in the carrots to coat with butter. Add in the water, baking soda, and salt. Cook the contents at high pressure for 20 minutes. Release the pressure naturally or after a few minutes. Puree the caramelized carrots with carrot juice or broth to desired consistency. Taste and add salt as needed. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Collard Greens with Emmer and Parsley Pesto

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, baked goods made with local whole grains from WildFlour Ovenfresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and plenty of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm, including collard greens and cabbage. 

For a fresh but hearty salad, I combined a tangle of sauted collard greens with cooked emmer dressed up with a lemony parsley pesto. This made a nice side for an end of September barbecue

Collard Greens with Emmer and Parsley Pesto

1 bunch collard greens
1 shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the collard greens and cut out the thick stem from each leaf. Cut the leaves into 1 inch wide strips. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, and when hot, add the shallots. Saute until soft. Add the collard greens and a generous amount of salt and pepper, stir to coat in oil, and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the leaves have soften.

1 bunch parsley
1/3 cup almonds
zest from one lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
Lightly toast the almonds in a dry skillet on the stove top or in a oven or toaster oven. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a coarse pesto. Taste and adjust seasonings.

1/2 cup emmer or other sturdy grain
Cook with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes until al dente, tasting frequently. Drain through a fine mesh strainer.

Mix the pesto into the emmer to coat. Then in a pretty serving bowl, gently mix the emmer with the collard greens and serve.