Newsletters: 29 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 29 June, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Fresh strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin c (1 cup supplies 140% of the RDA), fiber, folate and potassium. They have been linked with lower blood pressure and may help against cancer, memory loss, diabetes, gout, constipation, and sluggish liver. They contain flavinoids that help cholestrol from damaging artery walls, and antioxidants that also have anti-inflamatory properties. They’re even good for the eyes. The Romans acknowledged the medicinal properties of strawberries, and Native Americans treated digestive complaints with strawberry leaf tea.

Although strawberries have been eaten in Europe since ancient times, the modern commercial strawberry is a mix of varieties from the Americas and Europe. Defining “berry” popularly, the strawberry is the world’s most popular berry (defined technically, the banana is the most popular, and strawberries aren’t really berries at all).

You can find more info at World’s Healthiest Foods and Organic

In the kitchen
As I promised (or threatened) last week, I checked Dalby and Grainger for pea recipes, but they only give one. However, I found two medieval recipes in good ol’ Pleyn Delit, so you still get historic pea recipes this week.

Vitellian peas
8 oz. marrowfat or other dried peas, or substitute 1 lb. fresh fava beans
3/4 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. chopped lovage or celery leaves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 egg yolks, cooked
3 Tbsp. honey (+ more to taste)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2/3 c white wine
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Soak peas overnight in cold water, strain, and cover again with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, 1 to 1.5 hours, adding more water if needed. Drain and beat (or puree in a food processer) until smooth. If using broad beans, boil 4-6 min., until tender, drain and puree. Pound ginger, lovage, and pepper in a mortar. Add egg yolks and pound until a smooth paste forms. Stir in honey and fish sauce until smooth. Flush out the mortar into a saucepan with the wine and vinegar; add oil and simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the peas and reheat. Add more honey if desired.
From: The classical cookbook / Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. J. Paul Getty Museum, c1996.

Grene pesen (Green peas)
3 lb fresh shelled peas, or 20 oz. frozen peas
1 c beef broth
2 sprigs parsley
a few leaves of fresh mint, or 1/2 tsp. dried
1-2 fresh sage leaves (1/8 to 1/4 tsp. dried)
sprig of savory (1/8 to 1/4 tsp. dried)
1 slice bread, crusts removed
Boil peas about 12 min until almost done (less for frozen). Blend herbs and bread with enough broth to moisten. Drain peas and add about 1/2 c to the herbs; blend into a smooth, fairly thick sauce, adding more broth as needed. Gently reheat remaining peas in this sauce

Pois en cosse (Peasecods)
2 lb. young peas in the pod, untrimmed
2 Tbsp butter
salt to taste
Boil peapods in salted water 10-15 min., until done. Stir in butter and serve.
From: Pleyn delit : medieval cookery for modern cooks / Constance B. Hieatt, Brenda Hosington, and Sharon Butler. University of Toronto Press, c1996.

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Newsletters: 30 June, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 23 June, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
This week’s recipe is from Sue Lundy of Daisy Chain, who will have scapes as well as her distinctive bouquets this week.

Garlic scape and almond pesto
Makes about 1 cup
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle). Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil. Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.

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Newsletters: 22 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 22 June, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Peas are a good source of vitamin K1 and folic acid, needed for bone mineralization, and B6, which is good for both bones and nerves. They also have lots of B1, 2, and 3, C, iron, protein, and fiber. Edible-pod peas (snow and snap peas) don’t have quite as much protein as shelling peas, but they’re quicker to prepare and you get more edible stuff per pound. I personally prefer shelling peas, but I also think that canned peas aren’t actually a food and sweet peas are a kind of flower, so my opinions are not necessarily mainstream.

Peas are native to a region from the near East to central Asia, and admirably suited to our cool Northwest summers. There is evidence that peas were eaten in Asia as early as 9750 BCE, in Iraq by 6000 BCE, and in Switzerland during the Bronze age. Apicius, I’m told, wrote about nine pea dishes… maybe I’ll look a few of those up for next week’s recipes.

In the kitchen
To coordinate with the whole steak/4th of July/barbecue thing, here are some barbecue recipes.

Homemade barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
large pinch of dried thyme
2 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, to taste
3 Tbsp. honey
1/3 c red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
Saute onion, garlic, basil, and thyme in oil 5-7 min., until onion is softened slightly. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, 20-30 min., until thickened. Adjust seasonings. Sauce will keep, refrigerated, several weeks.
From: From the farmers’ market : wonderful things to do with fresh-from-the-farm food with recipes and recollections from farm kitchens / Richard Sax with Sandra Gluck. Harper & Row, c1986.

Colvin’s favorite round steak recipe
For about 1 lb. round steak sliced into finger-sized strips:
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon basil
Combine all ingredients. Marinate 4-6 hours. Grill the steak strips at about 300F (not too hot) about 2 minutes to a side. With the oil on the steaks you may get some flare-up, which can be reduced by patting the meat dry with a paper towel before putting it on the grill.
From: the Colvin Ranch newsletter Cattle tales, Mon, Jun 6 2011.

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Newsletters: 23 June, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 23 June, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
For this week’s recipes I have a couple of interesting things to do with honey from a little Bermudian cookbook in my collection: What’s cooking in Bermuda, by Betsy Ross, published by Mrs. Douglas Hunter starting in 1957, mine being the 1974 revision. Starry Lane Apiary has jars of lovely honey for sale at the market and I think the first onions will show up as soon as we get a little warm weather, but you’ll probably have to go into an actual store for the rum.

Honey onions
1 lb onions
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp butter
Boil onions in salted water until tender-crisp; drain. Place in a large frying pan over low heat with remaining ingredients. Cook, turning often and spooning liquid over the onions, until onions are well glazed.

Honey Spice Cake
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup salad oil
juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup very strong coffee, cooled
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup coarsely broken walnuts
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with foil. Beat egg yolks until thick; add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add honey and beat some more. Mix in oil. Stir in juice and rind. Sift flour with the other dry ingredients and use some of this mixture to flour the raisins. Add flour mixture and coffee alternately to honey mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add nuts and raisins with the last of the flour. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter. Pour into pan and bake 65 minutes or until done (when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Partially cool in the pan, then turn out on a cake rack and peel of the foil. If desired, frost with lemon-flavored butter icing when completely cooled.

Hmm, I wonder if us non-coffee drinkers could use rum instead.

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native to: the most popular varieties are native to China, although other areas also have native varieties
in season here: Novemberish

The persimmons you find in stores are most likely to be one of the Japanese varieties. There is a persimmon native to the U.S. but it’s mostly grown as an ornamental. The most common varieties are Fuyu, which is shaped like a flat tomato and is the best choice for peeling and eating raw, and Hachiya, which is more suited to baking and has a pointier shape. Other general types include the Indian Persimmon, Black Persimmon, and Date-Plum Tree. Technically, persimmons are berries. They’re all in the Diospyros genus, members of the Ebenaceae family and related to ebony. Persimmon wood is in fact sometimes used to make things like longbows, wooden flutes, and eating utensils, but it can be brittle and difficult to work with.

Persimmons are rather rare, commercially speaking, mostly because they’re best when very ripe. Some varieties are sweeter and reach edibility before becoming completely squishy, others are more astringent and should be cooked or eaten with a spoon.

Persimmons are rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and fiber. They also provide lots of phytonutrients, flavonoids, and antioxidants. They’re good for the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes, protect against mouth, lung, and breast cancers, boost the immune system, and generally help regulate the whole body. They even fight lipid uptake, which helps with weight loss.

Persimmons can lower blood pressure, which is great news if yours is high, but can be dangerous for those with low blood pressure. They’re also pretty high in fructose, which is turning out to be not as healthy as we’ve been told once you get into the higher dosages. Very high consumption of persimmons can lead to the formation of woody lumps in the stomach called bezoars, but we’re not likely to eat that many around here.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw Japanese persimmons
label-style nutrition information for raw native persimmons
Organic Facts
Web MD

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Newsletters: 16 Dec, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 16 Dec, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

About that food…
I’ve been playing with an idea I had awhile ago when I first tried celeriac — I think it would be nice cooked like scalloped potatoes. So I’ve did a little research and discovered that scalloped potatoes — or, more properly, gratin dauphinous (which my limited French and Shakespeare combine to interpret as potatoes topped with crumbles made out of either dolphins or princes… Where was I?) Anyway, the recipes I’ve found all seem to be just potatoes sliced and baked in cream or milk. My sister-in-law made a similar dish over Thanksgiving, Jansson’s frestelse (only it wasn’t really, because she left out the anchovies in deference to my squeemishness), with a mix of potatoes and celeriac and it was pretty good. I can’t get away from the idea that it should have something more… saucelike on it, though — no doubt because I’ve only ever had scalloped potatoes out of a box and if there’s nothing but dried milk in the sauce packet what’s the point of a mix? So the next time my guinea pig… I mean, when my very good friend visits again, I think I’ll try using a basic cream sauce instead.

In the meantime, since it’s December we have to talk about fruitcake (I’m sure I saw that in the rules somewhere).

Fruitcake has become more joke than a treat in these days of pretty mail-order bricks in sugar mortar, but a nice homemade fruitcake, still fresh and soft, kept properly wrapped and cool, is worth the effort. I don’t really associate it with Christmas, though, because my mother always kept some on hand to put in my father’s lunchbox when she ran out of other dessert items. I won’t put the whole recipe in the newsletter because it’s a little long, but you can find it here in the Market recipe pages.*

For actual recipes-in-the-newsletter I have a couple of interesting things I came across while researching the gratin idea.

Leek gratin
6-8 medium leeks, dark green and all but 2 inches of light green removed
1 c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Cut leeks in half lengthwise and rinse out any grit. Arrange them cut side down in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer; some can be turned on their sides if necessary to fit. Top with cream and season to taste. ake at 375F until the cream has thickened and mostly been absorbed by the leeks, about 35 min., basting leeks with the cream a couple of times and pressing them down to prevent exposed parts from browning and getting tough.
From: Vegetables / James Peterson. William Morrow and Co., c1998.

Pommes Anna
12 Tbsp. (1.5 sticks) butter, clarified
2.5-3 lb potatoes, peeldd and sliced 1/8 inch thick
salt and pepepr to taste
melted butter (optional)
Pour the clarified butter into an 8-inch cast iron skillet (unless you have the special pan designed for this dish) to a depth of 1/4 inch. Set over low heat and arrange potato slices in layers. Build the bottom layer especially carefully so the slices overlap and look nice. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper, and more butter as desired. When complete, butter or oil a pot lid slightly smaller than the pan and press in firmly on top of the potatoes. Cover the pan and place in a 425F oven on a baking sheet in case of drips. Bake 20 min, remove from oven and press the potatoes again. Bake uncovered until the sides are brown and crisp, 20-25 min. Pour off any excess butter, holdign the potatoes in the pan with the lid. Invert onto a plate and serve in wedges.
From: Joy of cooking / by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. Scribner, c1997.

And one more, for those who are already thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve. Here’s something I came across in a book a friend of mine is getting for Christmas (what, don’t you read your gift books before wrapping them? How else can you make sure there’s nothing obscene or offensive in them, like deep-fried Mars bars or cheese sauce on broccoli?):

Chocolate martini
3 oz. plain or vanilla vodka
1.5 oz. clear creme de cacao
2 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
Place vodka and creme de cacao in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir togther until cold. Strain into two martini glasses and garnish each with a Kiss. You can also add half a teaspoon of Cointreau or other clear liqueur of your choice to influence the flavor.
From: The chocolate deck : 50 luscious indulgences / by Lori Longbotham. Chronicle Books, c2005.

Winter reading, winter dreaming
Kristen Suzanne’s easy raw vegan holidays : delicious & easy raw food recipes for parties & fun at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the holiday season / by Kristen Suzanne. Green Butterfly Press, c2008.

Gourmet game night : bite-sized, mess-free eating for board-game parties, bridge clubs, poker nights, book groups, and more / by Cynthia Nims. Ten Speed Press, 2010.

In giving is the true enlightenment.
-Santideva (Sikshasammuccaya : Ratnamegha)-

If you don’t tell me what you want, you will get socks.
-source unknown-

Gifts allow us to demonstrate exactly how little we know about a person. And nothing pisses a person off more than being shoved into the wrong pigeonhole.
-Pam Davis, House M.D., It’s A Wonderful Lie-

A tule fog
fills the sky–
Yuletide. ”
-Michael P. Garofalo, Cuttings-

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.
-Lenore Hershey-

“Great bore, Christmas, isn’t it? All the people ones hates most gathered together in the name of goodwill and all that.”
-Dorothy Sayers (Strong Poison)-

*The recipe pages were lost with the old website; I’ll try to dig up the recipe and post it in the blog when I get a chance. dh.

Newsletters: 15 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 15 June, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Bok choi, pak choi, snow cabbage, or Chinese cabbage is a relative of cabbage and turnips. It’s a zero calorie or negative calorie food, and facilitates weight loss. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K, along with various minerals. Bok choy contains sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are responsible for it’s spicy-bitter taste and are being studied as possible cancer-preventers. It’s a natural for stir-frying and steaming. Those with thyroid issues may wish to take advice before eating large amounts of bok choy, however, as it can encourage the formation of goiters.

In the kitchen
Bok choi is in plentiful supply just now, so I thought I’d look for something new to do with it. By far the most common thing to do with Bok choi is to stir-fry it, but here are a couple of other options.

Chicken broth and noodles
1.5 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 bunch sliced scallions, divided
4 cloves minced garlic, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
4 c chicken broth
3/4 cup water
3 c thinly sliced bok choy
8 oz whole wheat or buckwheat noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 cucumber sliced into matchsticks
Cook ground turkey, all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions, garlic, and ginger in 1 Tbsp oil over med. heat, stirring often and breaking up the turkey, 4 to 6 minutes until no longer pink. Remove to a plate. Combine broth, water, bok choy, noodles, soy sauce, vinegar and the remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in the pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, about 4 min., until the noodles are tender. Return turkey mixture to the pan and stir to blend. Top with the reserved 2 Tbsp scallions and cucumber.

Cilantro Fish Stew
1 lime
8 oz. peeled deveined shrimp (20- to 24-count)
8 oz. skinless cod fillet in 2-inch chunks
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 t sugar
2 Tbsp + 1 t fish sauce
6 oz thinly sliced bok choy
3 thinly sliced scallions
2 c packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 t vegetable oil
2 c water
1 c frozen peas
1 c brown rice (measured raw), cooked, to serve
Grate 1 t lime zest into large resealable plastic bag. Cut lime into wedges and set aside for serving. Add shrimp, cod, shallots, sugar, 2 Tbsp fish sauce, pinch salt, and 1/2 t pepper to bag. Seal bag and shake to coat. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Cook shrimp mixture in oil 5 min or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and bring to a boil; simmer 4 minutes. Stir in peas and heat 1 to 2 min. Stir in bok choy, scallions, and cilantro. Cook 2 minute, until bok choy is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining fish sauce. Serve over rice with lime wedges.

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