Saturday, May 31, 2014

Market Start and Grilled Fava Beans

The Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market starts this Sunday June 1! You can look forward to whole pastured chickens and a selection of grass-fed lamb cuts from Fair Valley Farm, and Good Food Easy at Sweetwater Farm will have the following offerings: 

Baby Beets 
Cabbage (Green, Red, Napa, & Savoy!)
Collard Greens
Fava Beans (large and baby)
Fresh Herbs (cilantro, dill, oregano, sage, thyme) plus our own home-grown lemon grass!!
Garlic (baby stalks)
New Potatoes
Spring Onions
Summer Squash
Fresh Strawberries!

From Sweet Creek Foods:
Dill Pickles
Chili Dill Pickles
Bread 'N Butter Pickles
Pickle Relish
Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, & Raspberry Fruit Spreads
Enchilada Sauce
From SLO Farm: Applesauce

Bean & Grains
Our own Polenta & Cornmeal!
Assorted from Camas Country Mill

With those baby fava beans, I can highly recommend trying them grilled whole, which we had last week for my husband's birthday dinner, along with crispy salmon and sorrel sauce. See you at the market!

Grilled Fava Beans
from Ignacio Mattos, published by food52

1 pound fresh fava beans in their pods, the younger the better
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon ground chile pepper
1 teaspoon picked rosemary
3 to 4 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
2 tablespoons water
1 lemon
7 or 8 canned anchovies in oil, chopped finely
1 handful toasted bread crumbs (optional)

1. Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss to coat the fava pods, then place them on the grill over medium-high heat.

2. Grill favas for several minutes, until charred, then flip them over and char the other side, cooking until the pods seem about to open. You can use a grill pan for this.

3. Remove pods from grill, return them to the mixing bowl, and squeeze the lemon over them. Toss the pods to coat. Check the seasoning, and add salt if necessary.

4. Add the anchovies to the bowl, mixing well.

5. Place the pods on a serving platter, drizzle to taste with olive oil, and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Market Start June 1: Spread the Word

The fifth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market will start Sunday, June 1 and will be held every Sunday from 10 AM - 2 PM at the Sun Automotive lot on the corner of Agate St. and 19th Ave., as you can clearly see from this beautiful poster, designed by Raghuveer Parthasarathy. Please download the poster here and spread the word.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roasted Cumin Carrots and Red Lentil Salad

A meeting in Boston last weekend afforded many serendipitous treats: beautiful spring weather in place of the predicted rain, a lovely stroll through neighborhood streets of my childhood bursting with blooming dogwoods, a chance encounter with my favorite high school French teacher, and some precious time with my parents as just parents, rather than grandparents or parents-in-law. Also, I whipped up a delicious lunch for us with some roasted carrots and a packet of red lentils that had been lingering in the pantry since my last visit.

With the lentils I made approximately this pilaf and layered it on some lettuce leaves with mango slices on the side and the roasted carrots on top, finally drizzled everything with approximately this spiced yogurt sauce. Like the rest of the weekend, it was an unanticipated treat, well worth savoring.

Roasted Cumin Carrots and Red Lentil Salad
serves  four for lunch 
Roasted cumin carrots
6 carrots
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
good drizzle of olive oil

Lettuce for four
1 mango

1. Rinse 1 cup of red lentils and soak for an hour or two. 

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Trim and scrub the carrots and cut them along the diagonal into 1 inch long chunks. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss together the carrot chunks, spices, and olive oil such that the carrots are well coated. Spread out the carrots in a single layer and roast in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, shaking every ten minutes or so, until they are soft and have started to brown and caramelize on the edges. 

3. While the carrots are roasting, assemble the spices for the lentil pilaf and prepare the yogurt sauce.

4. Cook the lentils, according to the pilaf directions, which will take about five minutes.

5. Assemble the lettuce on plates and arrange mango slices around the edges. Scoop on a pile of the red lentils in the center and top with a generous serving of roasted carrots. Drizzle over yogurt sauce and serve with more yogurt sauce at the table. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bread Starter Crumpets

Bakers refer to their bread starters as their "mother", but I must admit to harboring maternal feelings towards mine. For the past few weeks, I've fed it when it's hungry, kept it warm, and celebrated its accomplishments. One of the greatest challenges has been to deal with its excessive productively, just like the endless onslaught of artwork that returns in my children's backpacks each day. Sourdough waffles could help, but I needed the moral equivalent of a magical 12 quart minestrone recipe made from macaroni and dried bean collages. 

This crumpet recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, adapted from King Arthur Flour, is essentially straight fried bread starter. The first time I tried it, my starter was a bit too thick and the baking soda didn't get mixed in well. For my next batch, in a small stroke of frugal kitchen genius, I added some yogurt whey that I had strained out to make a thickened yogurt sauce, which gave it the right consistency and added to the tangy flavor.

Why would someone happen to own crumpet rings, you might ask. Mine were a birthday gift that I received from my future husband shortly after we started dating. Special occasions can be awkward early in a relationship, but he handled the situation charmingly, preparing me a lovely dinner followed by a scavenger hunt for my gift, complete with rhyming clues. At the last clue, I realized with a sudden shock that the gift was going to be a ring, and just as quickly I realized what my answer would be if it were an engagement ring. When I opened the gift, I was overcome with happy relief at knowing I'd met the man I wanted to marry, mischievous scavenger hunts and all, and also knowing that we were only at the crumpet ring stage. Now sixteen years later, we have two children who can help make crumpets for Mother's Day tea.

Bread Starter Crumpets
Yields eight 9-cm (3 1/2-inch) crumpets.*

270 grams (1 cup) bread starter (can use older starter that has been kept in the fridge for a few weeks
a little yogurt whey or buttermilk for thinning, if necessary
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
butter or vegetable oil for greasing

1. Place the starter in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt, and whisk to combine. The batter should be the consistency of a very thick pancake batter and pourable. If necessary, thin the batter a little with some yogurt whey or buttermilk.

2. Heat a skillet over medium low heat. Grease the crumpet rings well. When the griddle is hot, melt a pad of butter  or pour on a little vegetable oil and spread it around with a spatula. 

3. Just before you are ready to cook the batter, whisk in the baking soda. As the baking soda reacts with the acid in the starter, the batter will foam and rise. Using a measuring cup or a small ladle, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into each crumpet ring.

4. Cook for a few minutes, until the top is set and the bottoms are lightly browned when you peek underneath by lifting with a spatula. As they cook, the crumpets will gradually shrink back from the rings. Use pliers or tongs to lift the crumpet rings off the crumpets (you may need to run a knife around the edge to help them loose), and flip the crumpets to brown lightly on the other side.

5. Eat the crumpets warm off the griddle or cool them for toasting later. They can also be frozen once cooled. Wipe down the crumpet rings if necessary, re-grease, and place them on the skillet to preheat again before repeating with the remaining batter.

*Note: Clotilde Dusoulier recommends that if you have multiple cups of starter to use up, you should mix the batter in batches with 1 cup of starter at a time, so that the crumpets are cooked shortly after the addition of the baking soda.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bread Experimentation

For our Bread 101 class, the five instructors conducted a grand experiment in bread making, with decidedly mixed, but edifying results

Each of us has also been experimenting on our own, with more success. Two weekends ago I tried a natural starter bread from Clotilde Dusoulier, author of the blog Chocolate and ZucchiniDusoulier follows a 1:2:3 ratio of starter: water: flour, which produces a very moist, but manageable dough. For baking, the shaped loaf is placed into a cold Dutch oven, where it finishes proofing as the oven heats. Following this recipe, and using a 50/50 mixture of Red Fife and white flour, I produced a lovely round loaf with a crisp crust. However, in a flu-addled fever, I omitted the salt, which produced a rather tasteless bread (lesson learned: don't bake when under the influence of viruses).

Last weekend I followed the instructions from Bread Lab baker Jonathan McDowell. This time I used all whole grain flour (80% Red Fife and 20% mixture of soft white wheat and buckwheat), and I remembered the salt. This dough is much wetter (87% hydration versus Dusoulier's 67%), which makes it challenging to handle. The hardest step for me was inverting the shaped loaf from my proofing "basket" into a piping hot Dutch oven without deflating it. The final bread had a delicious flavor and lovely crumb, but was decidedly flat. For a beginning bread baker like myself, I would recommend starting with Dusoulier's recipe, but McDowell's offers a great next challenge. Both will produce bread that is well worth the effort of nurturing a bread starter for days on end.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Market Start Date and Radish Ideas

Mark your calendars! June 1st, four Sundays from today, will be the start of the fifth season of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market. Sweet Water Farm will be back with their wide selection of fruits, vegetables, and preserves, Fair Valley Farm will have their pastured chickens, as well as pork and lamb cuts, and Tiger Lily Art Company will be offering gorgeous fresh cut flowers. The market will be open 10 AM-2 PM on Sundays in the Sun Automotive lot on the corner of Agate Street and 19th Avenue. In anticipation of the spring vegetables you can look forward to at the market, here are some ideas for the often overlooked and under appreciated radish. When young and fresh, these are delicious crunchy treats dipped in butter and sprinkled with fancy sea salt.

They are also wonderful sautéed in butter and tossed with fresh mint.

And they make a pretty pink pickle, a perfect garnish for Cinco de Mayo tacos. See you at the market in a month!

Quick Pickled Radishes
makes 1 pint
1 bunch radishes
1/2 cup cider or white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Combine the brine ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Allow to cool. Trim the tops and tails from the radishes and wash them well. Slice them into 1/4 inch slices and then cut these disks into strips. Pack the radish pieces into a clean pint jar. Once the brine has cooled, pour over the radishes so that they are all submerged. Seal and refrigerate. You can serve within 30 minutes, and they will last for a week or two refrigerated.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seeded Emmer Pan Loaf

While the rest of the world may be striving to recreate Chad Robertson's cult status country bread, the breads that caught my attention when I first read through his Tartine Book No. 3 were his dense pan loaves, resembling my favorite German Volkornbrot. I adapted his toasted barley loaf recipe to my pantry supplies from Lonesome Whistle Farm and Camas Country Mill, using cooked emmer (instead of barley), flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and Red Fife wheat flour instead of spelt and einkorn.  

Packed full with all this particulate matter, the dough felt like wet concrete, as the recipe describes. And although never destined to rise above the rims of the baking pan, it achieved the lofty goal of living up to my German bread memories. My starter and I will be moving on to attempt some airier levain breads, inspired by a recent visit from wheat breeder Stephen Jones, who runs what the New York Times describes as "a Wonka-esque wonderland for crusty, airy-crumbed experimentation," but I know I'll be returning to this seeded pan loaf recipe again for its dense delivery of flavor.

Seeded Emmer Pan Loaf
adapted from the Toasted Barley Loaf from Tartine Book No. 3

200 g emmer berries cooked in 400 g cold water
250 g Red Fife or other high protein whole grain flour
157 g buttermilk
10 g dark malt syrup
238 g water
155 g leaven (well fed bread starter, described here)
8 g fine sea salt
102 g flax seeds
52 g sesame seeds
45 g sunflower seeds

1. Two days before you will bake the bread, give your stater an extra feeding halfway through its 24 hour cycle to make it extra active. Also go ahead and cook your emmer berries, simmering and covered, for about 40 minutes, until they have absorbed all the liquid. If you like, you could toast the emmer berries on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes before cooking. Cool completely before using.

2. Start the dough the morning of the day before you will bake the bread. In a large bowl, combine the leaven with the buttermilk, malt syrup, and water, and mix by hand to incorporate.  Add the flour and mix by hand until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, in the bowl for 30 minutes (this is the autolysis step). Add the salt, cooked emmer, and seeds and continue mixing by hand until incorporated. The dough should have the feel of wet concrete. 

3. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen fowl and let rise at warm room temperature for about 3 hours (this is the first proofing). Every 45 minutes or so, fold the dough to strengthen the gluten network, either with your hands as shown here, or if you are less ambitious, with a scraper as shown here.

4. Butter a loaf pan very well. Scoop the dough into the pan and smooth the top with wet hands. Let the dough rise in the pan, uncovered, at a warm room temperature. Cover the pan with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator (this is the second proofing). 

5. The next day, preheat the oven to 425 degrees C. Use a pair of scissors to make shallow cuts in the top of the loaf to score and brush with water. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 210 degrees F. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for at least half a day before cutting. The bread keeps well for up to one week properly wrapped.