Sunday, August 29, 2010

Favorite Sunday Lunch: Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwich

As the Fairmount Neighborhood Market has become a integral part of our Sundays, we've developed a favorite Sunday lunch: smoked salmon from the Salmon People on fresh Eugene City Bakery Bread (Multigrain or Pane Antico with pumpkin seeds are delicious).  This Sunday, The Lonesome Whistle Farm had some gorgeous golden cucumbers (a variety from India) and sweet cherry tomatoes.  These made the perfect accoutrements for our Sunday sandwiches.  

Linda Castleman from the Salmon People shared with me a bit about how she and her husband got into the salmon fishing business.  For my family, tricycling down the steep part 19th Street constitutes an adventure, so I am truly impressed to hear about her family's summers in Alaska.

From Linda Castleman:
My husband Mel and I lived and raised our children in Alaska for almost 20 years. We got involved in the fishing industry in the early 80's and purchased our own commercial salmon set net permits in 1989.  Every summer we would pack up the kids and and head to the Kenai peninsula live in our rustic fish camp on the edge of the Cook Inlet in our plywood shacks. we carried our water, and used propane for cooking. Our children grew up exploring the beach and spending evenings around the campfire.  Not a lot has changed. I feel our experience in Alaska and the fish site has been a wonderful and unique experience for our family and taught our children a strong work ethic, and life skills, and a love of adventure. Our son  and his wife continue to fish with us today. The Farmers Market on 19th and Agate is a new endeavor for us.  We wanted to offer our premium product locally at a price people could afford.  Since we are a small operation we can ice and bleed our fish, which makes for a fresher tasting product.  It then goes to the processor, is flash frozen into portioned fillets that are convenient to store in a freezer  or prepare.  We are offering it for $11.99 a pound and smoked at $13.99.  The response and feed back has been really great.  If folks want to place an order they can call 541-747-2748. Our season up north has just finish, I'll be at the market until we sell out. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fresh Tomatoes and Fresh Pasta

The juxtaposition of plump red tomatoes and shiny green pasilla peppers at the SLO Farm stand last Sunday was the inspiration for a simple sauce to go with homemade pasta.  I love fresh, uncooked tomatoes on pasta, but they need a little something else, and it occurred to me that roasted pasillas and garlic would be just the thing to give the sauce some complexity.

I recently gave my husband a pasta machine (more a present for myself, I must admit), but the real present to both of us was that our 7 year old daughter quickly became an accomplished pasta chef.  All I have to do is whip up the dough in the food processor (eggs and flour and a small drizzle of water until the dough just starts to come together).

Then she rolls it out

and cuts it, and presto: fresh pasta.

For the sauce, I broiled halved pasilla peppers and whole garlic cloves in the toaster oven, then peeled off the blistered skins from the peppers, chopped them together with the soft insides of the garlic cloves, and soaked them in olive oil.

While the peppers were roasting, I diced up tomatoes, and added chopped parsley and salt.

When the pasta was done, I tossed it with the tomatoes and poured over the garlicy, roasted pepper oil.  The dish had just the right balance of freshness and spicy smokiness.

Fresh Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Roasted Pasillas

For the pasta
2 eggs
2 cups flour
<1/4 cup water

1. Combine the eggs and flour in food processor and while it's running drizzle in just enough water for the dough to come together.

2. Roll out the dough with a pasta machine, cut, and cook in boiling water for 2 minutes.

For the sauce
4 tomatoes
2 pasilla peppers
generous handful of flat leaf parsley
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil

1. Roast the pasilla peppers and garlic.  You can do this under the broiler of a toasting oven if you don't feel like turning on your oven.  Remove the blistered skin of the peppers and dice finely.  Peel the garlic cloves and mash in with the peppers.  Cover with olive and let stand.

2.  Core and dice the tomatoes and put in your serving bowl.  Add chopped parsley and salt to taste.  Toss in the cooked pasta and pour over the roasted garlic and pepper oil.
Serves 2 adults and 2 small eaters

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baking with Blueberries: Blueberry Cobbler

With blueberries at the height of their season and a 7 year old eager for more baking projects, I decided to try out the blueberry cobbler from Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson Rustic Fruit DessertsThe cobbler called for 6 1/2 cups of blueberries that were tossed in sugar. cornstarch, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

For the biscuit, I used a cuisanart to pulse cubes of butter with flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder.  Then I mixed in a cup of buttermilk (the recipe calls for cream, but I had buttermilk in the house from the buckle baking).  We divided the dough into 9 biscuits that we arranged over the fruit and sprinkled with a generous 1/4 tsp of raw sugar.   

The crumbled came out of the over after 45 minutes golden brown and bubbling, and was delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit
Adapted from "Rustic Fruit Desserts " by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

Fruit filling
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 pints (6 1/2 cups or 2 pounds) blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Biscuit dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup cold heavy cream or buttermilk
turbinado (raw) sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

2. To make the fruit filling, rub the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a large bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to combine, then gently stir in the lemon juice. Spoon the fruit mixture into the prepared pan, being sure to scrape the bowl well.

3. To make the biscuit dough, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the size of peas. Pour in the cream and stir just until mixture comes together.

4. Divide the dough into 9 pieces and pat each piece into a 3-inch biscuit. Evenly distribute the biscuits atop the fruit filling, then sprinkle ~1/4 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar on each biscuit.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling in the middle. Serve warm. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cabbage Comforts

SLO Farm has had some lovely cabbages for sale over the past few weeks.  Being partly of German heritage, their cabbage displays always make my mouth water for braised cabbage with pork.  But who wants to braise cabbage on a hot summer day?  Then I remembered that I'd made some delicious braised red cabbage (Rotkohl auf Deutsch) in my slow cooker, which is a convenient way to make slowly simmered comfort food without over-heating your kitchen.

I make my braised red cabbage with some sweet red onion and a tart granny smith apple. I add some mustard seed for some punch, and then  braise in red wine and vinegar.

My slow cooker is convenient in that it can go from the stove top to the heating element. First I sauteed the onions and apple with the mustard seed. Then I added the chopped red cabbage and cooked it a few minutes.

Then I added the red wine and vinegar and left it to cook overnight. Waking up to the smell of cooked cabbage may not be for everyone, but I was almost tempted to have some for breakfast.  I held off until the evening and served it with delicious SLO Farm fingerling potatoes, tender green beans, and boneless breaded pork chops (my version of weiner schnitzle).

Braised red cabbage

1 head red cabbage, core removed and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup cider vinegar
salt to taste

1. Saute onion, apple, and mustard seeds until soft.

2. Add brown sugar and cabbage, stir, and cook for a few minutes.

3. Add wine and vinegar and cook at a medium setting on a slow cooker for around 6 hours or simmer on the stove top for about an hour until the cabbage is very soft and the flavors have melded.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Music at the Market

This past week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market there was a special treat of a musical performance by Zambuko Marimba, who perform high-energy marimba music from Zimbabwe. The group generously donated their time and effort to help support the neighborhood market.
Customers could enjoy the music at the corner of 19th and Agate, while selecting from delicious produce from SLO Farm,
and beautiful flowers from a new vender at the market, Lonesome Whistle Farm, who specialize in heirloom and rare varieties of flowers, vegetables, and dried beans.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Smoked Salmon Smorgasbord

This week the Fairmount Neighborhood had a new vender, the Salmon People, who offer fresh-frozen and smoked Alaskan salmon.  The smoked salmon, a loaf of Eugene City Bakery multigrain bread, and a couple of salads made with fresh produce from SLO Farms, came together in a delicious Smorgasbord.  My husband's heritage is Swedish, and from him I've acquired a taste for smoke fish paired with pickled salads.  The SO Farm this week offered majestic beans in shades from burgundy to deep purple.  They looked magnificent next to the dark red of the cherry plums.  

I had recently been thinking about pickled plums used in Japanese cuisine, which inspired me to try pairing the beans and plums with a hot vinegar dressing, then layering them on to a bed of SLO Farm lettuce.  


The beans lost some of their purple color during cooking, but the plums flavored and colored the vinegar dressing, adding an interesting layer of sweetness to the sour, lightly pickled beans.

I also used some delicate SLO Farm fingerling potatoes to prepare my new favorite potato salad made with yogurt and horseradish, inspired by the food blog, the Wednesday chef.  This salad is creamy and rich, without an overwhelming dose of mayonnaise, and a faintly indulgent taste resemblance to baked potato with sour cream.

The sweet and sour beans and plums with the creamy and spicy potatoes were the perfect pairing for salty and smoky salmon on hearty multigrain bread.

Pickled Bean and Plum Salad

For the vinaigrette
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 lb green or purple beans, cooked until just tender
About 10 small plums, halved or quartered, with pits removed
Lettuce leaves

Heat the vinaigrette ingredients in a small sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour hot vinaigrette over cooked beans, then mix in plums, and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Layer over lettuce and serve. 

Potato Salad with Yogurt and Horseradish

For the dressing
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp horseradish (or more if you like it very spicy)
chopped chives

1/2 lb fingerling potatoes

Boil potatoes until just cooked.  Drain and cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over hot potatoes and stir to coat.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baking with Blueberries: Blueberry Buckle

The SLO farm stand at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market offers succulent, plump blueberries. We eat blueberries by the bushel in our household, sprinkled on pancakes or cereal for breakfast, submerged in yogurt for snacks, and on vanilla ice cream with a sprinkle of chocolate shakings for dessert. Recently I've been inspired by the cookbook Rustic Fruit Desserts to try baking with blueberries. This cookbook by the Portland chef Cory Schreiber and Portland baker Julie Richardson, is full of recipes for all sorts of baked delights that I'd never head of such as buckles, betties, pandowdies, and grunts. Here is a recipe for a blueberry buckle, which is apparently a cake looking for an excuse to be a fruit crisp.

The lemon-flavored cake batter for the buckle was quite simple to prepare, with half the blueberries mixed in and half layered on top.

The crumble involved mixing together butter, sugar and flour, which I did with a pastry knife.

This got layered on top and baked for 50 minutes.

The final step was to drizzle a lemon syrup over the baked buckle when it came out of the oven.  The final cake was delicious with a nice balance of tart blueberries in a lemon scented cake with a crunchy, sugary crust on top.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Adapted from "Rustic Fruit Desserts" by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

Crumb topping
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cubed, at room temperature

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Lemon syrup
Juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
1/3 cup sugar
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch baking pan.

2. To make the crumb topping, ix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter, using a fork, pastry knife, or your fingers to cut in the butter until it is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.

3. For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or cuisanart, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, three-fourths cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

5. Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until both the flour mixture and buttermilk are evenly incorporated into the batter. Gently fold 1 cup of the blueberries into the batter.

6. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries.

7. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.

8. While the cake is baking, make a lemon syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the remaining one-third cup sugar with the lemon juice and whisk until blended. Heat the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. (The glaze will bubble while cooking and may need to be removed from the heat to check that it is the proper consistency.) Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

9. Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the warm glaze over. Cool to room temperature.