Friday, June 24, 2016

Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes with Bacon

At this Sunday's Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, be sure to snatch up some of the spring's fleeting treats, including Tiger Lily Art Company's springtime blossoms and Camas Swale Farm's garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes or whistles are the garlic plant stalks that are harvested to direct the plants' growth into the bulbs. They have a very mild garlic flavor and are delicious roasted on a sheet pan with zucchini or grilled and incorporated into salsa. For inspiration for last week's bunch, I turned to 
Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice, which had a recipe for stir-fried garlic stems with bacon (she also has a vegetarian version with mushrooms). I had fewer garlic stems than needed, so I added edamame beans, and I adjusted the recipe for fattier American-style bacon. The pairing of smoky bacon with sweet garlic scapes was a delicious addition to a post-market feast. 

Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes with Bacon
adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice
250 g garlic scapes (about 3 bunches), or substitute in some edamame beans
3 thin slices of bacon
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. Trim off the blossom tips and any fibers bases of the garlic scapes and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths. Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips. If using frozen edamame beans, cook them in salted boiling water for about 4 minutes and drain.

2. Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the bacon slices and cook until they are crisped and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon to a bowl and pour off all but 2 Tbsp of the rendered bacon fat. 

3. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the garlic scapes. Stir-fry until they are just tender and started to wrinkle. Add the edamame beans if using, soy sauce, and reserved bacon and stir to mix. Taste and add salt if desired. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Baby Turnip Pennies

Last week at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, my son picked out the cutest bunch of baby turnips from Camas Swale Farm. When trying to think of a pleasing turnip preparation for the eight and under crowd, I turned to Mollie Kaizen's children's cookbook classic Pretend Soup, source of our family's favorite popover recipe 

I remembered that Katzen had a recipe for carrot pennies, which I thought might work for baby turnips. On closer inspection, I realized this was a version of the Japanese cooking style of kinpira or sauté and simmer, as in this kinpira gobo, which  produces an addictive sweet and salty syrup coating for the vegetables. This preparation proved to be just the thing to make turnips fun to eat for all ages.

Baby Turnip Pennies
adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Pretend Soup

1 bunch baby turnips
2 Tbsp butter
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp brown sugar
generous pinch of salt
1/4 cup water

Trim the tops and tails from rinsed baby turnips and slice them into thin rounds. Place a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the turnips and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Add the lemon juice, sesame seeds, and brown sugar and saute until the turnips start to soften and brown. Add the water and allow to cook down to a syrup. Serve warm.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fava Bean and Summer Squash Chickpea Flour Crepes

At last week's Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, Camas Swale Farm brought a bounty of spring vegetables, including delicate summer squash and fat fave beans.

Fava beans are best when shelled from their pods

and then released from their slightly bitter and tough skins. Peeling fave beans  is a true labor of love, and after all that investment of work they should be treated with reverence.

I decided to pair them with lightly sautéed summer squash and fresh herbs as topping for chickpea flour crepes as a stovetop version of farinata

The batter is simply chickpea flour and water with a bit of salt and olive oil. I found that I needed to keep my crepe pan quite hot and use plenty of olive oil to prevent the crepes from sticking, but once I mastered this, the crepes proved to be the perfect canvas for the fava beans, and a delicious post-market treat.

Chickpea Flour Crepes with Fava Beans and Summer Squash
makes about 4 crepes
Crepe batter
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil for batter and more for cooking

Crepe toppings
handful of fave beans
1 or 3 small summer squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
chopped fresh herbs such as chives and thyme

1. Whisk together the batter ingredients into smooth. Let rest for at least half an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Prepare the fave beans. Boil a small pot of salted water. Remove the fave beans from the pods. Blanche the beans in the boiling water for 1 minute and then strain and run under cold water. For each blanched bean, use a paring knife to make a small incision in the outer skin and pop out the bean from the casing with your fingers.

3. Cut the summer squash into 1/4 inch thick half moons or other pieces. Heat a crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium hight heat. Add one Tbsp olive oil, the summer squash, salt and aleppo or red pepper flakes to taste. Sauté until the summer squash has a bit of brown blistering on its surface but is not yet mushy. Transfer the squash to a bowl.

4. Return the crepe pan to medium high heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, pour in about 1/2 cup crepe batter and tip the pan in a circular motion to spend out the batter. Allow the batter to cook until it darkens in color slightly. Then use a spatula to flit the crepe  and cook briefly on the second side. Cook the remaining crepes. 

5. Top the crepes with the sauteed summer squash and fave beans sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Beet and Spinach Hash

Come one, come all to the opening of the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market Sunday June 5th from 10 AM - 2 PM on the corner of Agate St. and 19th Ave. While you are there, you can treat yourself to a pastry at Sweet Life Petite, or an iced tea latte at Oolong Bar, or brunch at Studio One Cafe or Agate Alley.

Alternatively, you could take your market treasures home and cook yourself a delicious spring hash with some root vegetables, onions, and greens from Camas Swale Farm and some fresh eggs from Fair Valley Farm. Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!

Beet and Spinach Hash
serves four
a dozen baby beets and 4 large beets
4 baby onions or 1 large onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 large handfuls spinach
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
Sriracha for serving

1. Rinse the beet and trim off their stems and tails (for baby ones, there is no need to peel them). Cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the onions and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat, add the olive oil and the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until they are glassy. Add the beets, salt and pepper, and stir to coat in the oil. Turn the temperature to low, cover the pan, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beets are soft and the onions have caramelized. 

3.When the beets are close to done cooking, cook 4 fried eggs to order (runny, hard, over easy etc.).

4. Once the vegetables are nicely cooked, add the spinach and a pinch more salt and toss so that the spinach just starts to wilt. Remove from heat and distribute across four plates. Top with fried eggs and serve with a hot sauce like Sriracha.