Friday, September 30, 2011

Last of the Summer's BLTs

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can expect to find:

  • apples:  Liberty, Melrose, Honey Crisp
  • prune plums: Brooks and Stanley
  • pie pumpkins!
  • tomatoes: heirlooms, cherries, and San Marzano romas
  • cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, string beans
  • peppers including bell peppers, poblano, and mariachi (mild red peppers) 
  • root vegetables including beets, turnips, potatoes, and kohlrabi
  • curly kale, chard, basil 
  • onions, leeks, garlic
  • eggs, honey
This will be the last Sunday for the Salmon People, so be sure to stock up on frozen fresh salmon. The Southern Willamette Bean and Grain stand has finished sales for the season, but you can plan to purchase their local beans and grains at the Holiday Market starting November 19 (these make great gifts).

With the autumn arriving in full force, it's time to start thinking about stocking your winter larder. Make up a couple batches of pesto and tomato sauce to freeze, cook up some plum preserves or apple chutney, and set aside some heads of garlic in your cellar.

But don't let the summer slip away without enjoying one last taste of ripe, fresh tomatoes. Make yourself a BLT with these golden beauties from Songbird Farm, lettuce leaves (and a few leaves of basil for good measure), crisp bacon, and slices of Eugene City Bakery bread spread with mayonnaise. And enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pad Thai with Arrowhead Cabbage

The past couple of Sundays, Sweetwater Farm at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market has had a bounty of cabbages, including that charming arrowhead cabbage in front, a character straight out of The Point

I used this fellow, along with Sweetwater's fresh peppers, Songbird Farm's carrots and leeks, and SLO Farm's garlic, to whip up Mark Bittman's pad Thai recipe (I highly recommend the accompanying video that is truly empowering for anyone with linger reservations about cooking this dish).

As Bittman advises, you want to get all your components prepped before you start stir frying. Here I shredded the carrots for quick cooking, using a great little peeler that my mother-in-law brought me back from Thailand. This combination of vegetables -- the mild and tender arrowhead, the sweet leeks, and the colorful carrots and peppers -- created an especially delicious version of this dish. We had neither cilantro nor lime in the house, but torn basil and a squeeze of lemon did the trick. 

Pad Thai with Arrowhead Cabbage
adapted from Mark Bittman

7 ounces wide rice stick noodles
I small head cabbage, such as arrowhead
2 small sweet peppers or 1 bell pepper
1 carrot
1 leek
1 clove garlic
2 eggs
1/3 lb shrimp or 1/2 lb cubed extra firm tofu (or omit and use another egg)
neutral oil such as grape seed

for the sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp tamarind paste
3 Tbsp honey
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

for garnish
roasted peanuts
chopped cilantro or basil leaves
lime (or lemon in a pinch)
hot sauce such as Sriracha

1. Soak the rice stick noodles in a bowl with boiling water for about 20 minutes until soft but not mushy. Drain and toss with a little oil to prevent the noodles from sticking.

2. Remove any torn outer leaves of the cabbage and chop fairly finely. Slit the white part of the leek lengthwise and wash very well to remove dirt between the layers. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Shred or julienne the carrot and cut the peppers into match sticks.

3. Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside. Mince the garlic.

4. Heat a large skillet that will be able to hold all of the ingredients. When hot, add approximately 3 Tbsp oil. If using tofu, add it now and let it brown without stirring it too much. When most cubes are seared on several sides, remove to a plate and add more oil if necessary. Then add the garlic and cook it for a minute. Crack the eggs into the pan and mix around to make some loose scrambled eggs. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, for a few minutes over high heat. Add the leeks and cook for a couple minutes, stirring. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Add back the tofu and the shrimp, if using, and once they are pink, add the noodles and the sauce. Toss together and cook for a minute until the noodles are hot. Remove from heat.

5. Serve the pad Thai topped with peanuts and fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime juice. Serves four.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad with Harissa

The Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market will be held rain or shine this Sunday. You can expect to find:

  • apples: Gravenstein, Sansa, Akane
  • tomatoes: heirlooms and San Marzano romas
  • cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, string beans
  • root vegetables including beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, and kohlrabi
  • butter crunch leaf lettuce, curly kale, basil 
  • onions, leeks, scallions, garlic
  • eggs, honey, pickles
  • fresh and smoked salmon
  • locally grown dried beans and grains

If you haven't tried it before, raw kohlrabi is a treat. Once you get over the thrill of owning a pet Martian and bring yourself to peel away its knobby exterior, you'll uncover a crunchy white root with a distinctive, subtle flavor. Here I paired kohlrabi with its carrot cousin in a simplified version of this spicy carrot salad, streamlined by the fact that it is now possible to find harissa in town (at Market of Choice).

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad with Harissa

1 medium sized kohlrabi
2 carrots
juice from 1 large lemon
~10 mint leaves
2 ounces feta cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa, or to taste

1. With a paring knife, generously peel away the rough skin of the kohlrabi, cutting away any woody bits. Slice the remaining white root into thin slices and cut into matchsticks (or use a mandolin to julienne). Toss in the lemon juice to prevent the kohlrabi from discoloring. Scrub or peel the carrots and cut into similarly sized matchsticks. 

2. Toss the kohlrabi and carrots with olive oil and harissa. Sliver the mint leaves, dice up the feta, and stirs into the salad. Taste and add more harissa or salt as desired. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fish Tacos with Fresh Corn and Tomato Salsa

This week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, Sweetwater Farm had fresh corn and sacks of "salsa tomatoes", a bit bigger than cherry tomatoes but just as sweet. The diced tomatoes, along with kernels of quickly steamed corn, minced jalapeno pepper, and lime juice, made a delicious quick salsa to accompany fish tacos.

Fish tacos are another quick weeknight meal to keep in mind now that the school year has started up. To cook the fish, I followed a tip from food52 for panfrying with Wondra, which I spiked with a sprinkle of chipotle pepper. This worked wonderfully to give crisp fish fillets to tuck into warm tortillas with a pile of salsa and sprinkle of cilantro. 

Fish Tacos with Fresh Corn and Tomato Salsa
serves 2-3

for the salsa
1 ear corn
~2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 lime
salt to taste

for the fish tacos
1/2 pound fillets of a sustainable fish such as Pacific black rockfish
Wondra or other fine flour
~1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbsp neutral oil such as canola
6 tortillas
chopped cilantro

1. To prepare the salsa, shuck the ear of corn and steam it or boil it breifly until the kernels are just cooked but still have some crunch. I recommend sprinkling it with a few drips of water and microwaving for 2 minutes in a soup plate with a second one inverted on top. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Seed and finely chop the jalapeno. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the corn cob. Combine these in a bowl with juice from one lime and salt to taste.

2. To prepare the fish fillets, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle the filets on both sides with salt, chipotle chili powder, and Wondra to coat. Add the oil to the skillet, and when hot, add the filets. Cook the filets, flipping once, until they are browned a bit on the outside and springy, rather than squishy when you press them with your finger. Remove to a plate.

3. Assemble the tacos. Warm the tortillas on a dry skillet until they are slightly toasted on each side. Distribute the fish filets onto the tortillas. Top with salsa and sprinkle over some fresh cilantro if desired. Eat at once.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teff Grain and Ricotta Pancakes with Apple Topping

Suddenly fall is in the air. And the produce offerings at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market this Sunday, from SLO Farm, Sweetwater Farm, and Songbird Farm, will be abundant:
  • apples: Gravenstein, Sansa, Akane
  • tomatoes: heirlooms, cherries, and San Marzano romas!
  • cucumbers, zucchini, beets, eggplants, peppers, string beans
  • greens, parsley, basil, garlic
  • eggs, honey, pickles
You can also expect fresh and smoked salmon from The Salmon People and locally grown grains and beans from the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.

With the morning chill in the air, I decided to experiment with pancakes made with this teff grain from Camas Country MillTeff is a fine, protein-rich grain that can be cooked like polentaI combined two Mark Bittman recipes for polenta pancakes and ricotta pancakes

To accompany them, I cooked up our last remaining sansa apple with butter and cinnamon.

The pancakes turned out to be rich and fluffy with an appealing texture and were gobbled up by my initially skeptical daughter, who was not a fan of the results of an earlier experiment with wheatberry pancakes. We can't wait for tomorrow's market to replenish our apple supply.

Teff Grain and Ricotta Pancakes with Apple Topping
makes about 24 pancakes

pancake batter
1/4 cup teff grain
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1/2 cup ricotta
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup flour (I used white, but one could use teff flour to makes these gluten-free)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp brown sugar

apple topping
2 apples, cored and chopped into ~1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turbinado sugar

1. Cook 1/4 cup teff grain in 1 cup of water with a pinch of salt, simmering for about 20 minutes and stirring occasionally until the water is all absorbed. You could do this the evening before and mix it with the ricotta and buttermilk to prevent it from hardening.

2. Prepare the apple topping. Warm a small skillet over medium low heat. Melt the butter, and stir in the chopped apples and cinnamon. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and fragrant. Stir in the sugar and cook for a minute longer. Reserve.

3. Mix together the ricotta, egg yokes, buttermilk, and cooked teff.

4. Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar.

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff.

6. Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are just incorporated. Then gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

7. Heat a griddle and when it is warm, grease with a little butter. Use a soup spoon to spoon the batter into pancakes. When permanent bubbles form around the edge and the color of the batter lightens on top, flip the pancakes and cooked them for a couple of minutes on the second side. 

8. Serve the pancakes hot off the griddle with the apple topping and a scant dribble of maple syrup.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Green and Yellow Poached Salmon Salad

Last weekend's summery weather called for an easy and light dinner. And the produce selection at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market offered inspiration for a school color salad to celebrate the first football win of the season.

Poaching is a delicious way to prepare salmon on a hot day, to enjoy cold at the center of a salad. For this fresh fillet from the Salmon People, I prepared a bath of simmering salted water flavored with lemon and fennel fronds. Julia Child says the water should just be "shivering" but not bubbling. Then slip the fillet in the bath so that it is submerged and cook until it just becomes opaque and springy to the touch.

I nestled the cooled poached filet alongside yellow and green beans in a mustardy fennel seed vinaigrette and yellow tomatoes with plenty of fresh basil. A delicious summer supper with a crusty loaf of Eugene City Bakery bread.

Green and Yellow Poached Salmon Salad

1 salmon fillet (about 1/2 lb)
1 lemon, sliced
1 handful fennel fronds

1 large handful yellow beans
1 large handful green beans
2 large yellow tomatoes
1 sprig basil
1 handful lettuce leaves

1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely crushed with a pestle
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Fill a large shallow pan with 3 inches of water. Add the lemon slices and fennel fronds and salt generously. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to flavor the poaching liquid. Turn the heat down so that the liquid is just shivering and then gently slide in the salmon fillet such that it is submerged. Cook at this very gentle simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the salmon turns opaque and springy, rather than squishy, to the touch. Remove from the liquid and cool. If desired, chill before serving.

2. Prepare the bean salad. Boil a pot of salted water. Trim the bean. Cook until the beans until just tender, about 4 minutes, and run under cold water to halt the cooking process. Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the mustard, fennel seeds, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Dress the beans with the vinaigrette.

3. Cut the tomatoes into eighths. Toss with a little salt, olive oil, and torn basil leaves. 

4. Arrange washed and torn lettuce leaves around the edges of a platter. Place the poached salmon in the center. Arrange the beans and tomatoes around the edges. Grind on some fresh pepper. Serve with fresh bread. Serves two.

Friday, September 9, 2011

San Marzano Roma Tomato Sauce

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can look forward to the following products from SLO FarmSweetwater Farm, and Songbird Farm:

  • apples: Gravenstein, Akane, Sansa
  • tomatoes: slicers, heirlooms, cherries, and saucers (San Marzano romas)!
  • cucumbers, zucchini, beets, eggplants, peppers
  • greens, parsley, basil, garlic
  • eggs, honey, sauerkraut, kimchi

I know I've been writing a lot of posts about tomatoes lately, but I feel compelled, as a public service, to urge you to grab up some of SLO Farm's San Marzano romas while you can get them because they make the absolutely tastiest sauce you can imagine. They seem sort of dry when you chop them up, but you must restrain yourself from dousing them with wine or other liquids. Instead have faith and add them to a pan with olive oil, chopped garlic and a sprinkle of red pepper, and before you know it, they will have melted into an intensely flavorful sauce, perfect for pasta or pizza.

San Marzano Tomato Sauce

A dozen San Marzano roma tomatoes
1 or 2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
a sprig of fresh marjoram or a few leaves of basil
salt to taste

Chop the tomatoes into eights. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the garlic is glassy but not browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a pinch of salt and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes have cooked down into a thick sauce. Adjust seasonings. Serve over pasta or use for pizza, or as the base for more elaborate sauces.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kimchi Fried Rice

With the school year starting up, I've been feeling in need of inspiration for more quick weeknight dinners. A while ago I'd bookmarked a recipe for kimchi fried rice from the food blog Orangette, but hadn't had any kimchi on hand. Luckily the newest addition to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, Sweetwater Farm, sells an assortment of homemade fermented cabbages, including sauerkraut and kimchi. I picked up a pint of kimchi, along with some fresh eggs, hefty scallions, and Swiss chard from Songbird Farm. To accompany the fried rice, I sauteed the Swiss chard with fresh ginger and Chinese black bean and chili paste. 

The fried rice recipe started with chopped bacon into which the kimchi is fried, along with cooked rice, which is then topped with fried eggs, toasted sesame seeds, and scallions. The final dish was a delicious mixture of salty pork and spicy pickled cabbage, a sort of Asian choucroute garnie, and it was also easily modified for kimchi-averse family members because who doesn't like eggs and bacon for dinner? It met all the criteria for a weeknight meal: quick, satisfying, and easy to pull together now that we have a good local source of fresh kimchi from Sweetwater Farm.

Kimchi Fried Rice
serves two

1 half pint kimchi
2 cups cooked rice
2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large or 2 regular scallions, sliced into 1/4 inch disks
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2-4 eggs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
salt to taste

1. Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon has started to crisp.  

2. Add the white parts of the scallions and saute for a minute.  Then add the kimchi and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has softened and most of the liquid has reduced. Add the rice, stir well, and cook until the rice starts to brown.

3. Meanwhile heat a small skillet. Toast the sesame seeds for a minute and remove to a bowl. Add the canola and sesame oil and when hot, crack in the desired number of eggs. Cook until the whites are set but the yoke is still runny. 

4. Scoop the kimchi rice onto two plates. Top with the fried eggs and sprinkle with toasted sesame seed and the green parts of the scallions. 

Ginger Chard Stir Fry

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems chopped finely and leaves sliced
1 inch ginger root, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 heaping tsp Chinese black bean and chili paste
1 glug (~3 Tbsp) rice wine

Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the chard stems and ginger and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the black bean and chili paste and cook another minute. Add the chard leaves and saute until they start to cook down. Add the rice wine and cook for a couple more minutes until the rice wine boils off. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Smoked Salmon Tartine

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market you can look forward to the following products from SLO FarmSweetwater Farm, and Songbird Farm:

  • fruit including plums, apples, and berries
  • cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, assorted peppers, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers
  • eggplants, zucchini, green beans, red & chiogga Italian beets with tops
  • curly kale, rainbow Swiss chard, and other greens
  • leeks, parsley, basil, garlic
  • eggs, honey, sauerkraut, kimchi

You will also find local grains and beans from the Southern Willamette Bean and Grain Project and the Salmon People will back back with their fresh and smoked salmon.

A delicious post-market lunch is smoke salmon and goat cheese tartines.

On a slice of fresh bread, such as Eugene City Bakery polenta bread, spread a layer of mild goat cheese, add a layer of smoked salmon, and top with cucumber and tomato slices.