Saturday, July 27, 2019

Pesto Pasta with Seared Corn and Padrón Peppers

Visit the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market this Sunday between 10 am - 2 pm, on the corner of Agate and 19th Ave., for beautiful summer produce from Camas Swale Farmincluding fresh tomatoes, corm, and padrón peppers, and pastured meat and poultry from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm.

We are delirious with excitement when the padróns are available, and want to sear them and eat them on everything. This pasta dish was especially delicious and packed with summer flavors. Starting with pesto pasta, I layered on seared corn, seared padróns, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Pesto Pasta with Seared Corn and Padrón Peppers
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 ounces pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste

1 pint padrón peppers
2 ears corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese
olive oil
1 lb pasta

1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Make the pesto. In a dry skillet, heat the unpeeled garlic clove until it is soft and blackened in spots. Transfer to a cutting board to cool before peeling. Put the whole almonds in the hot skillet and toast until they are fragrant, but don't let them burn. You can also toast the garlic and nuts in a toaster oven. Combine the almonds, peeled garlic cloves, cheese, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and chop coarsely. Wash the basil leaves and add to the food processor. Blend while pouring in the olive oil until it is a fairly smooth paste. Taste and add salt or more olive oil to taste.

3. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Peel the corn and when the pan is hot, place in the ears. Rotate to sear the kernels on multiple sides. When they have some nice char in places, transfer them to a plate. When the ears are cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut the kernels off the corn and reserve.

4. Adjust the heat to medium high. Add about 1 Tbsp olive oil, swirl to coat, and then add in the rinsed padrón peppers. Spread into a single layer and allow them to char a bit. Then start turning them to char on multiple sides. When they are nicely seared, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.

5. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions. Reserve a small amount of starchy pasta water, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the pesto, using a little pasta water to thin if necessary. Toss in the corn, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese (or keep on the side and let people help themselves to their preferred toppings). Enjoy.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Marinated Seared Zucchini

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market between 10 am - 2 pm, on the corner of Agate and 19th Ave., you'll find a plethora of summer produce from Camas Swale Farmincluding fresh tomatoes, and you can stock up on pastured meat and poultry from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm.

Next to the eye popping tomatoes, summer squash may not seem so glamorous, but be sure to pick up a few zukes for their infinite versatility when throwing together a dinner on a hot summer night. My new favorite preparation comes from this simple food52 genius recipe that sears slabs of zucchini on a hot skillet until nicely browned and then finishes them with basil and vinaigrette.

Once you've prepared a platter of these zucchini you are halfway to dinner. I served them with other Camas Swale produce -- boil potatoes, sweet cucumbers, and tender lettuce leaves -- along with some hard boil eggs and tinned smoked trout for an impromptu self-assemble salad spread that everyone enjoyed.

Canal House's Marinated Zucchini
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 pound very small zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
A small handful fresh basil leaves, sliced

1. Working in batches as needed, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the zucchini cut side down in one layer in the hot skillet and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Use a fork or tongs to turn the zucchini over, then cook them until tender, about 2 minutes, reducing the heat if the zucchini get too dark. Transfer the zucchini to a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt.

2. Whisk together the garlic, vinegar, and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the zucchini and add the basil. Gently toss everything together and adjust the seasonings. Let the zucchini marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving. Alternately, let marinate longer in the refrigerator. Tightly covered, marinated zucchini will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Yogurt Basted Roast Chicken with Turnips and Onions

This Sunday come to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market between 10 am - 2 pm at the corner of Agate and 19th Ave for all your summer produce from Camas Swale Farm and pastured meat and poultry from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm.

Last weekend I made an Indian-inspired feast with our farmers market bounty. I marinated four Fog Hollow Farm chicken legs in a spiced yogurt baste and then roasted them above a layer of magenta and white baby turnips and green onions.  

The turnips and onions were extra rich and flavorful from their long dousing in chicken juices and yogurt sauce. We devoured them along with saffron rice, this Instant Pot lentil dal, cucumber raita, and homemade naan

Yogurt Basted Roast Chicken with Turnips and Onions
4 chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) on 1 whole chicken cut into pieces
1 bunch green onions, root ends trimmed
~18 baby turnips, stem and root ends trimmed

6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 inch nob ginger root, peeled and minced
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala

1. Mix together all of the ingredients of the marinade. In a large bowl, coat the chicken pieces in the marinade and allow to sit for at least two hours or overnight, refrigerated.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of a large baking pan with the green onions and baby turnips. Place a baking rack over the vegetables and place the chicken pieces on top. Bake for about 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (with an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Baste the chicken pieces with some of the remaining marinade in the bowl halfway through the cooking.

3. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Set the chicken and the roasting rack off to the side and remove the roasted vegetables to a serving bowl. Return the roasting rack and chicken to the pan and baste the chicken with the remaining yogurt marinade. Transfer under the broiler and cook for a few minutes until the skin becomes nicely charred. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve with the roasted vegetables.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Eton Mess

This Sunday come to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market between 10 am - 2 pm at the corner of Agate and 19th Ave for all your summer produce from Camas Swale Farmpastured meat and poultry from Fair Valley Farm and Fog Hollow Farm, and wine from Summerfield Vineyards. 

Camas Swale Farm has lovely strawberries, which we used in our family's traditional Fourth of July dessert, Eton mess. I will admit that it is a bit incongruous to celebrate our country's independence from England with a thoroughly British pudding, first served at a cricket match in 1893, but this tradition dates back to a very patriotic Fourth of July we celebrated with ex-pat friends in Oxford. And it certainly looks patriotic.

It's also dead easy to make, consisting of just meringues, whipped cream, and berries. You can preassemble the parts in parfait glasses, but we like to serve the components separately so that everyone can create their ideal dessert with desired ratios and messiness.

Eton mess (deconstructed)
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or a mixture
Whipped cream, very lightly sweetened
meringues (recipe below)

Assembly as desired. For soggier meringues, crumble them and mix them into the whipped cream, or alternatively leave them whole on top.

Meringues (adapted from
4 large egg whites room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 225F (105C) and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large, completely clean, completely grease-free bowl.

3. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer (with either the whisk), stir on low speed until mixture becomes foamy. Increase speed to high.

4. With mixer on high, gradually add sugar, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until sugar is dissolved (about 15-20 seconds between each addition).

5. Beat until mixture is thick, shiny, and has increased in volume. Mixture should have stiff peaks and sugar should be completely dissolved (you can test this by rubbing a small bit of the mixture between your fingers, if it feels gritty, the sugar isn't dissolved).

6. Stir in vanilla extract and any other extract you may like to use.  If using food coloring, add the food coloring at this stage, too.

7. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a large tip and transfer meringue to prepared piping bag and pipe onto prepared cookie sheet. The meringue cookies can be pretty close to each other as they won’t spread, and you will want to bake all of the cookies at the same time, so make sure you make enough space.

8. Bake on 225F (105C) for 1 hour. Turn off the oven once the baking time has passed, and do not open the oven. Leave the oven door closed and allow cookies to cool completely in the oven (1-2 hours) before removing. Meringue cookies should be crisp and can be stored in an airtight container. Keep away from heat and moisture as it can soften your meringues.