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
 Salt
 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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chili Topped Spaghetti Squash


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 Oven, and fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company Camas Swale Farm will have plenty of fresh fall produce including lots of sweet peppers and winter squash.


Spaghetti squash is a always fun member of the winter pantheon. It can be cooked in the oven or steamed in a pressure cooker, and then brushed with a fork to release its spaghetti like strands. 


With the arrival of the chilly fall weather, I had a hankering for chili, which turned out to be delicious dolloped onto a bed of squash strands with a dusting of cheddar cheese and a side of seared padron peppers.


Chili Topped Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash (baked in the oven or in an Instant Pot)
Cut off the stem, halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Bake cut side up until soft for about an hour minutes in a 325 degree oven along with the chili, or steam in an Instant Pot pressure cooker for 6 minutes, followed by a quick release of pressure. Use a fork to release the squash spaghetti strands.

Chili (slow cooked in the oven or in an Instant Pot)
2 cups dried red beans, sorted, rinsed, and soaked for 8-10 hours
1 Tbsp bacon drippings or canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 sweet pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chipotle chilli
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp unsweetened chocolate
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
salt to taste

In a Dutch oven or the container of an Instant Pot set to saute on high, heat the bacon drippings or oil and then saute the onions until translucent. Add the diced peppers and keep cooking until they are soft and the onions have started to caramelize. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the beef and saute until cooked through. Add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and the soaked beans plus two cups of water, beer, or reserved bean broth from a pervious batch of cooked beans. Mix and cook in a 325 degree oven for about four hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft, or cook in an Instant Pot on high pressure for 25 minutes, allowing the pressure to release naturally. Taste and add salt as needed. If the chili is too liquid, you can thicken it in the stovetop or by using the saute function of the Instant Pot.

To serve, make a bed of warm spaghetti squash and top with chili and a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wildflour Oven Bread at the Market


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 Farmfresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and plenty of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm including lots of sweet peppers and collard greens (both so delicious roasted on toast or in tacos).

Also this Sunday we're happy to have a new addition to the Market of WildFlour Oven offering wild fermented breads with local whole grains.


If you are a bread enthusiast and were sad to see our local Eugene City Bakery close a couple years ago, now your Sunday market shopping can be completed with some home made loaves from Wildflour Oven. Last week we enjoyed a Sunday dinner of lamb burgers with Fair Valley Farm ground lamb on Wildfour Oven's challah topped with harissa, accompanied by Camas Swale Farm grilled eggplants and sweet peppers and fresh cucumbers and cherry tomatoes topped with lemon crème fraîche sauce. For the week we had delicious sandwiches of grilled vegetables and feta cheese on Wildflour Oven's whole wheat loaf bread. A source of fresh baked bread is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Tomato Braised Celery


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, fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company, and plenty of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm including sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, delicata squash, potatoes, leeks, and celery.



Celery is typically relegated to a supporting role in soups and stews, but apparently for Victorians it was a luxury ingredient displayed ostentatiously in special celery vases. For my beautiful Camas Swale celery bunch, I took inspiration from this tribute to long-cooked vegetables by Samit Nosrat in the New York Times, which reminded me of a Marcella Hazan recipe, deemed genius by food52. Hazan's recipe calls for pancetta to add some umami to the tomatoey braising liquid, but I opted for a few anchovy fillets because I love the flavors of celery and seafood.

If you, like me, happen to have momentarily succumb to the illusion that a kitchen appliance will solve all of your problems associated with anxieties about the impending school year, noxious smoke-filled air, and natural disasters related to climate change, and you recently invested in an Instant Pot, you could use it for this recipe. You could also cook this on the stove top. Either way, it is delicious and very soothing. 




Tomato Braised Celery
adapted from Marcella Hazan
1 bunch celery
2 large shallots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
4 anchovy fillets in oil
15 ounce can of peeled and diced plum tomatoes, with their juice
red pepper flakes to taste
salt to tatse

1. Cut off the celery's leafy tops, saving the leaves for another use, and detach all the stalks from their base. Use a peeler to pare away most of the strings, and cut the stalks into pieces about 3 inches long (cutting on a diagonal looks nice). Alternately, if you plan on cooking long past tender (an hour or more), you can skip peeling the strings. 

2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Put in the oil and the anchovies and cook, breaking up the anchovies, until they dissolve into the oil. Add the red pepper flakes and stir, and then add the diced shallots. Cook until the shallots are cooked through and golden. 

3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the celery, and salt, and toss thoroughly to coat well. Adjust heat to cook at a steady simmer, and put a cover on the pan. After 15 minutes check the celery, cooking it until it feels tender when prodded with a fork. The longer you cook them, the softer and sweeter they will become. If while the celery is cooking, the pan juices become insufficient, replenish with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water as needed. If on the contrary, when the celery is done, the pan juices are watery, uncover, raise the heat to high, and boil the juices away rapidly.

To make in an Instant Pot:
Perform step 2 using the Saute function. Press cancel, add the remaining ingredients for step 3, then cook with the pressure cooker function on low pressure for 15 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Seared Corn and Pepper Salad with Ahi Tuna


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, as well as fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. 

Camas Swale Farm will have plenty of summer produce including:
peppers and sweet corn (sear in a warm salad, below) 
celery (for these celery beef lettuce wraps)
leeks and tomatoes (try this leek and cherry tomato clafouti
delicata squash (make what my son calls "squash candy")


My husband and I got to celebrated our anniversary this year viewing the spectacular corona of the total solar eclipse. I even made some eclipse cookies for the event. A week later the stars aligned and we found ourselves kid-free with the chance to whip up a belated anniversary dinner. We seared ahi tuna, corn, and peppers, and served these with sauteed zucchini, cherry tomatoes, black lentils, and a lemon crème fraîche sauce. It was a lovely dinner and then the kids came rushing back into the house to remind us of a couple of the major accomplishments of our marriage. 


Seared Corn and Pepper Salad with Ahi Tuna
serves two
corn and pepper salad
1 ear corn
1 mildly hot pepper
salt to taste

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Shuck the corn. Place the corn and whole pepper on the skillet and sear. Rotate and sear on all sides until the corn and pepper are partially charred but still a bit crisp. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, seed the pepper and cut it into small pieces and cut the corn kernels from the cob. Combine and season with salt to taste. Serve warm.

ahi tuna
1/2 pound ahi tuna steak, cut into in inch wide strips
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan and when hot, add the ahi strips. Let sear for about 30 seconds per side, turning with tongs. Remove from heat when the interior looks more raw than you like because it will continue to cook. Serve with lemon crème fraîche sauce.

lemon creme fraiche sauce
2 Tbsp crème fraîche
zest of 1 small lemon
juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Whisk together the crème fraîche, lemon, and honey. While continuing to whisk, add the olive oil slowly to emulsify. Taste and add salt, and more lemon or honey as needed.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Roasted Eggplant and Beans with Marinated Feta


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, as well as fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. 

Camas Swale Farm will have plenty of summer produce including melons and watermelons, cucumbers, garlic, salad greens, green beans, carrots, a variety of peppers, and tomatoes. 


For the last few weeks, Camas Swale has had pretty purple mottled dragon tongue beans. To preserve their vibrant colors, I served them raw in a composed salad of farmers market produce, along with a mustardy vinaigrette. 


Another week I paired them with a kindred spirit eggplant, roasted both and served with marinated feta cheese. The colors weren't quite as pretty, but the roasted vegetables were delicious coated with the creamy cheese for a summery alternative to a cheesy gratin.


Roasted Eggplant and Beans with Marinated Feta
roasted vegetables
2 handfuls dragon tongue or regular green beans, stems trimmed
1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place in two baking sheets. 

2. Toss the trimmed beans with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread them on one of the hot baking sheets. Roast for about 3 minutes, toss and roast for another 2 minutes until they are slightly charred but still retain some crunch.

3. Toss the cubed eggplant with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread them on the other hot baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until well charred on the outside and soft on the inside. 

4. Arrange on a platter and serve with marinated feta cheese (below).

marinated feta cheese
8 ounce block of feta cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper corns
zest of 1 small lemon
about 1/4 cup of olive oil

Place the feta cheese cubes in a snug fitting bowl. Sprinkle with spices and lemon zest and drizzle over olive oil to submerge. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator. Give the cheese a gentle stir and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Pasta with Chickpeas and Cherry Tomatoes


At the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market this Sunday you will find fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, as well as fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. 

Camas Swale Farm will have plenty of summer produce including melons and watermelons, cucumbers, garlic, salad greens, pardon peppers, carrots, and tomatoes.  



This week I used a pint of Camas Swale's pretty heirloom cherry tomatoes to add bursts of color and sweetness to a pot of pasta with chickpeas, employing a cooking method that's become my personal obsession these days. Rather than bothering with boiling a pot of water to cook your pasta, you can simmer it right in the sauce with flavorful bean broth. The end result is the rich flavors of a minestrone soup, but with the texture of al dente pasta. My approach is to cook a pot of beans over the weekend for tacos, salads, or spreads, and then reserve a pint of beans and a quart of bean broth for a quick pasta dinner later in the week. This is the kind of dish that your future self with thank you for teeing up over the weekend.



Pasta with Chickpeas and Cherry Tomatoes
serves four
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 anchovy filets 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Aleppo or red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups cooked chickpeas (instructions below)
3 to 4 cups chickpea broth, plus more boiled water as needed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed
8 ounces small pasta such as ditalini
chopped parsley for garnish
grated parmesan cheese for serving

Heat a large skillet or shallow pot (for which you have a lid) over medium heat. Also boil a kettle with a couple of cups of water. Add the olive oil and anchovies and break up the anchovies with your cooking spoon as you allow them to melt into the hot oil. Add the minced garlic and and red pepper and allow to cook until the garlic starts to brown and is very pungent. Stir the tomato paste into the flavored oil and allow caramelize for a couple of minutes. Then add the chickpeas and chickpea broth, the cherry tomatoes, and the pasta. Allow the pan to come up to a simmer, lower the heat medium low, and cover the pan. Cook the pasta, stirring frequently to dislodge the pasta pieces that will stick to the bottom of the pan. Keep an eye on the liquid level of the pan to make sure it is slightly soup and add splashes of boiled water as needed, or if it seems too watery then uncover the pan and raise the heat to allow the liquid to boil off. Start checking the pasta after about 8 minutes, but it will likely take a couple more minutes to reach a point where it is just cooked through but still very firm. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow it to sit for a couple more minutes. Uncover, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Cooked chickpeas
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
~8 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp kosher salt

Sort and rinse the chickpeas. Place them in a pot with the water, baking soda, and bay leaf. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cook until tender, about 90 minutes depending on the age of the beans. I like to cook beans in a slow cooker, which takes about 3 hours. When the beans are tender, turn off the heat and add 2 Tbsp of kosher salt. Allow to cool. Strain the beans over a large bowl to collect the bean broth. Use the broth and some of the beans for this recipe. Remaining beans or broth can be frozen for later use.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Soba Noodles with Seared Scallions and Shishito Peppers


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, as well as fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company. 

Camas Swale Farm will have lots of fresh produce: melons and watermelons, strawberries, garlic, salad greens, pardon peppers, carrots, and tomatoes, including heirloom, cherry, and paste (time to start stockpiling sauce for the winter).  


There are certain items one should pick up at the market regardless of your shopping list or menu plans. Our policy is to purchase padron peppers whenever available because they are always a special treat. Similar logic applies to Camas Swale's perfect melons, which don't require a recipe, beyond "eat." Less intuitive might be a bunch of scallions, although pretty purple ones like these are hard to resist.


Lately I've been making a habit of buying a big bunch of scallions and immediately cooking them down in oil into a couple of tablespoons of crisp, sweet, intense flavor. We first tasted these in Shanghai and then recaptured them with the help of Fuchsia Dunlop. It doesn't matter if you have a plan for these at the time, you will simply thank yourself later for having made them. This week we gobbled them up right away as a topping for some soba noodles along with some seared padron peppers, which are essentially the same as shishito peppers so I'm calling them by their Asian name for this dish


Soba Noodles with Seared Scallions and Shishito Peppers
serves four

seared scallions
1 large or 2 small bunched of scallions
1/4 cup neutral oil such as canola
Trim the roots off the scallions. Wack the whites with the side of a large chef's knife to split. Cut into 1 inch lengths. Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring frequently. Keep cooking the scallions until they are quite browned, but avoid burning them. This will take patience and some nerve, but you will be rewarded with intense flavor. Transfer the scallions and oil to a small bowl.

seared peppers
1 pint padron or shishito peppers
2 Tbsp neutral oil such as canola
sea salt
In the same skillet or wok you used for the scallions, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the peppers and allow to sear until well browned and blistered on one side. Use tongs to flip and brown the second side. Remove to a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

noodles
300 g (3 circular packets) of soba noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Cook the noodles in salted boiling water until barely cooked through (about 5 minutes). In the meantime, mix the soy sauce and sesame oil in a serving bowl. When the noodles are done, immediately rinse them under cold water and then toss them in the serving bowl. Serve the noodles and top with the seared scallions and scallion oil and the seared peppers. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pork Chops with Deviled Chard Stems and Chard Gratin


This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market there will be fresh eggs and pastured chicken, beef, pork, and lamb from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm. Also you'll find fresh cut flower bouquets from Tiger Lily Art Company and fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm including melons and watermelons, tomatoes, tomatillos (try this roasted salsa), padron peppers, summer squash, sweet onions, and fresh herbs.

Our family let out a collective squeal of delight last week when we saw the first of Camas Swale's harvest of padron pepper, or what my son refers to as "lucky, unlucky peppers." My husband and I love their intense flavor when seared and salted, and our kids love to watch us eat them, since their variable spiciness level makes each new specimen a gamble.



Along with our padron peppers, we purchased colorful chard, sumptuous heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and sweet cucumbers from Camas Swale, and some thick boneless pork chops from Fair Valley Farm. 



I love the combination of pork with mustard, so I decided to make a mustardy garnish for our seared pork chops of roasted deviled chard stems. With the chard leaves, I made a variation on this zucchini gratin, but with the addition of a cheesy breadcrumb topping. It all made for another delicious midsummer Sunday evening farmers market feast.



Pork Chops with Deviled Chard Stems
roasted deviled chard stems
Swiss chard stems sliced from 1 bunch of chard and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small lemon
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper

seared and roasted pork chops
2 thick boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler and cut into thin strips. Juice the lemon into a medium bowl. Whisk in the mustard, olive oil, and honey. Stir in the chard pieces and lemon peel. Season with a little salt (depending on the saltiness of your mustard) and plenty of black pepper. Transfer to a small baking dish or oven safe skillet. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stems are fragrant and nicely browned on the edges.

3. Generously season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to coat the pan. Sear the pork chops at high temperature until nicely browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue cooking for about five minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. 

4. Allow the cooked pork chops to rest for about ten minutes. Serve topped with the deviled chard stems.


Zucchini and Chard Gratin
1 bunch chard leaves, cut into 1 inch strips
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 eggs
100 g (scan 1/2 cup) crème fraîche (which you can make yourself, or use sour cream)
120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
1 cup bread crumbs
100 g (3.5 ounces) grated gruyère or aged cheddar cheese 
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On the stovetop, heat a pan over medium heat. Saute the diced onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil. When the onion is glassy, add the chard leaves. Cook the chard leaves for a couple of minutes until brightly colored but not yet wilted. Season with salt to taste and transfer to a 9x9 inch baking dish. Add the grated zucchini and mix.  

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the crème fraîche, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chard and zucchini in the baking dish. Cover with bread crumbs and then with the grated cheese.

6. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the gratin is nicely browned.