Friday, August 26, 2011

Romanesco, Slow Roots and Upcoming Events

Romanesco from Whispering Winds Farm was on my menu this past week as I perused recipes and outlined ingredients I'd need for the Slow Roots Festival in Stanwood this weekend.

The Romanesco had nothing to do with the event, but the way I cooked it, was made in the same way that I'm cooking this weekend at the event.

I'm bringing one written recipe to share, and the other recipe will be more intuitive based on what's at the market that day.

First let me say thanks to farmer Char Byde from Whispering Winds who introduced me to Tom Bird of Snowbird Books in Stanwood. He asked me to participate in the festival and right away I suggested my friend Kathy Gehrt because her book, Discover Cooking with Lavender has been selling as fast as trendy cupcakes.

(And if you don't have a copy of her book, it's about time, you checked it out. Really, lavender is quite delicious and Kathy has tons of tips for using it.)

Also attending this event is Graham Kerr (the former Galloping Gourmet) who will be talking about his first garden and his newest book. Can you believe it's number 29? I'm so excited about this because it was the early Galloping Gourmet TV shows inspired my love of cooking.

Anyway back to the Romanesco. If you aren't familiar with this vegetable, it's actually a cauliflower relative. And, we were supposed to have enjoy it at this farm-to-fork dinner in July, but the weather was so damp and cold, the vegetables were all late and this one was nearly a month late.

Check out how beautiful this vegetable is, tucked into the green leaves, looking like a queen.

I was thrilled when Char harvested this one for me.

Even my Cooking Assistant is impressed, and check out the Costata Romanesco zucchini (also from Whispering Winds Farm. This ridged zucchini has a better texture than smooth zucchini and I love the sweet flavor.

FYI: plunge the head of romanesco in a sink filled with salt water to dislodge any interloper insects that may have taken up residence before cutting it up and cooking it.

I had some big sweet onions and fresh salsa from Gathering Together Farm that I'd purchased at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market.

I had about a half an hour to make dinner, so I blanched the romanesco and sauteed the onions. When the onions were soft, I added a good helping of salsa and then stirred in the romanesco. I grated a bit of Parmesan cheese over each serving and tucked a slice of toasted artisan bread into each bowl.

You could add some sauteed tofu, toasted pecans or even some white beans for more protein if you want.

Okay it's minimalist, but when you cook with the best ingredients, fresh from the farm, you don't have to tweak flavors much.

If you have time, stop by the Slow Roots Festival on Sunday afternoon and say hello The Garlicky Greens always get rave reviews, and my hazelnut seasonal fruit smoothies go fast.

Upcoming events on my calender include:

September 10th, 12:00 pm the The Food Summer at Tumwater Library where I'll share stories about local farmers like the late Bob Meyer of Stoney Plains Farm who was one of the original organic farmers at the Olympia farmers market and was among the first farmers to be certified organic in this state.

September 24-25 at The North Cascades Institute where I'll share stories and information about Skagit Valley farms like Blue Heron Farm and Gibbs' Organic Produce and talk about trends in farming. I can't wait to taste the dinner form locally grown produce at this event!

Each event brings different rewards. My Assistant hopes I'll find more cool dog biscuits like these cool dog cookies I found at a shop on Whidbey Island.

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