Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When Anthony cut this unique sweet heirloom pumpkin into thick slices, I couldn't resist. At home I roasted and pureed it. I used part to make a rich-tasting soup, flavored with Holmquist hazelnut butter, Mama Lil's Peppers, garlic, and roasted tomato sea salt.
I also picked up some celeriac. I'd looked at it at the U-District and the price was high and the bulbs were small. "It was a hard year for celeriac," Carol Boutard told me. That damp cool spring again. . . What crop didn't it affect? She also mentioned that both celery and celeriac were heavy feeders, meaning they require lots of nutrients. It give me more appreciation for this homely bulb. I love to mash it with potatoes and add it to soups. Some people prefer grating it raw into salads. It has a mild celery like flavor and is simply heavenly.
Once I got home, my Cooking Assistant was ready to snap some photos. Clearly he's not overwhelmed with chickpeas, posole, black Basque beans, two varieties of polenta and Red Currant fruit spread. Not much of a scent with storables for the pantry, so I got out the fresh stuff for the boy.
Cooking Assistant quickly pointed out his favorite, and of course, there was one with his name on it. Check out the horseradish, sweet potatoes, and the giant sweet red cabbage. All these things made my trip a huge success. I brought home a goldmine of awesome vegetables.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
- Saves and grows his own seed, and uses less inputs because he grows only what his land supports--hay, vegetables, whole grains, beans and wine grapes. These are wheat berries set out on black plastic in the sun to dry. The wheat is then cleaned and sold as berries or ground into flour.
- Uses dry-land farm techniques to conserve water. Never used a pesticide or chemical fertilizer and is closing the loop using only on-farm generated inputs.
- Crop diversification is such that pests "can't generate enough steam to become a problem. In fact his crops are so diverse, David hopes to be a full service farm to a limited number of people instead of growing random crops for thousands of nameless customers. He'll have storables of plant-based proteins (beans) and carbohydrates (grains), as well as spring through fall vegetables and wine grapes. He has also added chickens (eggs) and goats (milk). Meat is also on the schedule for the future.
- Saves seed--Mostue has been reseeding grains and beans on larger scales and he'll eventually have enough to sell in his own community.
- Has plans to teach what he knows to gardeners and other farmers and also plans to offer his vintage Alli Chalmers combine as a farm service to other farms. Mostue spends hundreds of hours restoring vintage farm equipment for his farm and says there is lots of farm equipment rusting away in fields that can be restored by farmers. He uses draft horses for farm labor.
- Participates in the Rogue Valley farm to school program and also has a farm camp where urban children learn to grow, harvest, and cook food. He also participates in Farm to Fork dinners where community members attend dinners featuring all the food from his farm. Pasta made with durham wheat was on the menu last fall.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This vintage Chinese box, rescued from a garage sale, is a great collectors's item that could be passed along. If you have an antique collectible box, include a brief story about where the box came from and how you got it, so the next person can add to the story.
I found this gift basket from last year still filled with red and green tinsel--a perfect container in need of gifts. Here's an idea for the baker on your list: local flour from this farm and two cookbooks-- The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook, Discover Cooking with Lavender. (Shameless product placement or coincidence?) Toss in a few cookie cutters and maybe a pot holder or dish towel--check your local craft markets for these items.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I've had tamales at the Austin and Medford farmers' markets, and I ended up buying a case of tamale sauce in Austin, but the tamales I like best are from the Patty Pan Grill at the Ballard Market. You can get these tamales steamed but I like easy dinners and now almost always buy them by the bag to take home. If you want something to satisfy your hunger right now, those seasonal veggie quessadillas are to die for. Roasted beets in the winter, peppers and zucchini in summer--the thing I love about these quesadillas is they shift veggies with the seasons.
On my way out of the cafe, I noticed this granola that looked so inviting, all freshly made with primo ingredients. I can't take that stale stuff that passes for granola in the big bins in natural food stores. I took this picture, but wished I could have taken the granola to go instead.
When I returned home, I had little to show my eager Cooking Assistant, except the usual carrots and apples I'm always bringing home these days. Here's the HoneyCrisp apples I got from Jerzy Boys and an amazing-sweet tart Newton Pippin from Grouse Mountain Farm that I took from my "root celler" experiment. The apple scent was so overpowering I'm sure my Assistant completly forgot about my market excursion.
He was only really satisfied when I cut the small apple into thirds for him and his friends who are always waiting for something good to drop in front of them.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
1. Roasted winter squash is one of my favorite foods this time of year. But when making a special meal, I want something more than a simple vegetable. One CSA newsletter from The Fry Family Farm in Talent, Oregon, had this fabulous, easy roasted kohlorabi and squash recipe. But if you're looking for something a little more quirky, try this Thai Squash recipe with ginger and coconut milk from Winter Green Farm in Noti, Oregon.
My assistant says just roast and eat, but Thanksgiving calls for a little more thought.
10. Apples--no self-respecting Northwest table will be without them this year. My assistant likes them raw and quickly disposed of all unused cores but for a fancy dinner try this easy spinach and apple salad from The New York Times. Or if you're like me, you have fond memories of Waldorf Salads of the past. I found one recipe I kind of liked, but must admit, I'd wing it with this one and just get out my old Joy of Cooking cookbook and go from there. Here is another apple recipe that intrigued me with cooked red cabbage and apples, and of course they always go well with cranberries.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Though it was the usual grey Northwest day with rain on and off, the library event was so festive, I didn't even think about the soggy weather outside. And as soon as I set up my table, I couldn't help perusing the old and new Nancy Drew titles just a few feet away. Just seeing these books made me recall all the different libraries from the many towns I lived in as a child.
The coffee was hot and strong, just the way I like it, and Gail made a gourmet breakfast composed of pear slices with walnuts (not pictured), a tiny souffle, a winter squash round topped with cheese and an old-fashioned oat muffin. As soon as I bit into the muffin, I started talking about Nash's flour--one of my favorite baking ingredients these days and I feel compelled to share this secret with everyone.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I found whole-wheat pastry flour from Dunbar Farms in Southern Oregon where I visited last summer and learned about grains, beans and wine in that region. It's food with a story, I know, but I love that I know exactly where the ingredients come from, and it's even better when I know the farmer who produced it. I also had a partially filled bag of Nash's Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour. I've mentioned in previous blog entires that Nash's flour is so sweet and tasty.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Anyway, back to soup and stocks. I have to admit, I often cheat and add the vegetables, herbs, and spices to the water for soup instead of layering with stock. But I wanted this recipe to turn out, so I made the stock first. And when I was finished, I remembered that stock doesn't really take much time at all, even for a lazy cook like me.
Here's the recipe:
Curried Soup Stock
(6 cups stock)
2 carrots with tops, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks with leaves, roughly chopped
1 small onion, skin removed, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small potato, chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 or 3inch stick of cinnamon
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups cold water
Place carrots, celery, and onion in a heavy frying pan on medium heat. Add olive oil, stir and cook until onion is wilted and celery and carrots begin to soften—about 10 minutes.
Place remaining ingredients in a soup pot. Add the cooked vegetables, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Strain stock to use in curried soups and stews. This is also a great stock for cooking grains.
Spiced Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 small cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped (or 1 cup chopped shallots)
1 red pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 to 3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 to 2 teaspoons tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped Mama Lil’s peppers or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups curried vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
1 cup plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh parsley
Place potato, cauliflower, onion, and red pepper into a large pot over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and stir to coat. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover pot until bubbling, then reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, ginger, spices, sugar and Mama Lil’s, if desired. Cook for about 2 minutes, then pour in stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I've loved walnuts since I was a child. Now I buy them from Grouse Mountain Farm. The sweetest walnuts I've ever tasted, you can just roll them under your palm and they crack open. Then you gently pick the whole halves of the nut from the shell. I bought an entire box of them this past weekend at the market, that's how much I like walnuts.
Apple Pie Oatmeal
This recipe is adapted from The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook. I’m sure if I’d tried apple cider, blueberries and walnuts then, this would have been the version in the book.
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1 cups apple cider
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Water to thin
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1. Bring the apples, dried blueberries and water to a boil in a small to medium saucepan over high heat.
3. Serve topped with chopped walnuts.
Monday, November 1, 2010
ARGENTINE PARSLEY SAUCE (CHIMICHURRI)
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Generous pinch of cayenne
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
While the chimichurri was refrigerated, I cooked some tepary beans I got from Rancho Gordo in San Francisco. I chopped, then sauted some peppers I'd gotten from Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm. Then I steamed some quinoa and corn.
My Cooking Assistant likes the looks of the quinoa and beans but parsley--it's one food he won't touch.