Newsletters: 19 Oct., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 19 Oct., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
This being our designated planning-for-the-winter week, it seems only right to give you a run-down of what will be going on out there over the winter. Here’s a summary of what the WSU Master Gardeners tell us.
• Nov.: Mulch. Move container plants inside (if you haven’t already). Be careful not to over-prune your roses.
• Dec.: Pot up paperwhites for forcing. Fertilize for the winter.
• Jan.: Do a little winter weeding. Start planning next year’s garden, including crop rotation.
• Feb.: Don’t be fooled by good weather into exposing your roses or getting a start on your spring pruning. Instead, go slug hunting or start your brassica seedlings indoors.
• Mar.: NOW you can prune and feed those roses. Transplant your brassicas outside and start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants inside. Sow hardy vegetables such as beets and spinach.
• Apr.: Sow carrots. Start squash and cucumbers indoors. You should probably mow the lawn, too.
• May.: Plant dahlias, gladiolus and calla lilies; fill containers and deadhead bulbs. Sow corn and beans, and transplant tomato, pepper and squash starts, if and when it’s warm enough.

In the kitchen
The cold weather is here, so I guess it’s time to talk about nice hearty soups again.

Clove-scented onion soup with Madeira and paprika
0.25 c unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lb. onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 c beef broth
3 Tbsp. golden raisins
1.5 tsp. paprika
0.5 tsp. ground mace
8 whole cloves
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
0.25 c dry Madeira wine
Cook onions in the butter and olive oil, stirring occasionally, 20 min. or until the onions are wilted and golden. Add broth, raisins, paprika, mace, and cloves. Bring to a boil; partially cover, and simmer 30 min. Season. Stir 1/4 c of the soup into the egg yolks. Add the yolk mixture to the pot and cook, stirring, for about 4 min or until slightly thickened. Stir in Madeira.
From: Adriana’s spice caravan / Adriana & Rochelle Zabarkes.

Healthy Oatmeal Soup
10 cups chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cup quick cooking oats (more or less, according to desired thickness)
Salt to taste
Boil chicken breasts, tomato, cumin, and coriander in chicken stock until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken meat from the bones and cut or tear into small pieces. Return meat to broth and stir in oats. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally for about 2 minutes. Boil for about 15 minutes.
Source unknown.

Crock Pot Barley Soup
1 lb. stew beef in 1/2″ cubes
1 med. onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3/4 c. barley
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
6 c. beef stock
Slow-cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Source unknown.

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Newsletters: 14 Sept. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 14 Sept. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
The eggplant, also called an aubergine, belongs to the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Like tomatoes, it is really a fruit. When immature it contains toxins that can cause illness (but it grows out of it). People with arthritis and related issues should consider avoiding eggplant and its relatives, because the solanine they contain can be a problem for them. However, eggplant has also been used to reduce other kinds of swelling and bleeding, and to treat dysentery, so you’ll have to make up your own mind whether to eat it or not. Eggplant is full of bioflavinoids, and the skin of the purple varieties contains another kind of anti-oxidant, anthocyanins. It has some nice B-complex vitamins, but it is more known for its minerals, especially manganese, copper, iron and potassium. It is also a very low-calorie fruit and provides plenty of fiber.

Eggplants probably originated in India or Southeast Asia, and was cultivated in China as early as the 5th century. The Moors brought it to Spain in the 8th century, and the Italians were trading with the Arabs for it in the 13th century. In India it is called brinjal, Australians call it an eggfruit, and West Africans call it garden fruit. Some use it to treat scorpion bites or frostbite.

In the kitchen
I went looking for some nice leek recipes because they looked so pretty, and of course I immediately ran up against my collection of Welsh recipes. So here are two traditional Welsh soups and a fairly modern chicken, just for variety.

Swp cennin a thatws (leek and potato soup)
3 leeks
1 lb. potatoes
2 oz butter
1 oz flour
3 pints chicken stock
1 c milk
3 sprigs parsley
salt, pepper
Trim leeks, wash thoroughly and slice finely. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place leeks and potatoes with 1 oz butter in a large saucepan. Cover and heat gently 5 min. until the leeks are very lightly coloured. Shake the saucepan gently to prevent the vegetables burning. Pour on the stock and simmer 3/4 hour. Melt the rest of the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour using a wooden spoon. Stir in the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Simmer 2-3 min. on a gentle heat and add to soup. Stir well and bring back to a boil. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
From: The Welsh dresser : more recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, c1986.

Cawl Aberaeron (Aberayron broth)
1.5 lb. bacon
1 lb beef
1 white cabbage
1/2 lb. carrots
1/2 lb turnips
1/2 lb parsnips
1 lb potatoes
2 small leeks
oatmeal
salt, pepper
Wash and shred the cabbage. peel and cut up all the other vegetables. Dice the bacon and beef. Place the meat and all the vegetables except the leeks in a large saucepan; cover with water and season to taste. Simmer 2-2.5 hr. Add the leeks and continue heating for a further 10 min. Serve hot.
From: The Welsh kitchen : recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, 1972.

Chicken braised with leeks and figs
1 T butter
3 c coarsely chopped leek (ca. 4-5)
2 T flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
4 chicken drumsticks, skinned (4 oz ea.)
4 chicken thighs, skinned (4 oz ea.)
2 c dry white wine
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
6 parsley sprigs
1 sprig thyme
16 medium light-skinned fresh figs, halved (ca. 1.5 lb)
1 T chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
thmye sprigs, for garnish
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high. Add leeks; saute 5 min or until tender. Remove leeks from pan and set aside. Combine flour, salt, pepper, chicken in a plastic bag and shake to coat. Place chicken in the skillet and brown on all sides, ca. 10 min. Return leeks to pan and add wine, vinegar, honey, parsley, thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 min. Add figs and simmer another 10 min. or until chickien is done. Remove parsley and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme garnish if desired.
From: Cooking light, Aug. 2004.

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Two recipes for two

Cauliflower Bisque with Brown Butter Croutons

1 c. whole milk
1 1/4 c. vegetable stock
approx. 1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/3 lb. (or a little over) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

garnish:
1 recipe Brown Butter Croutons (see below)
about 3 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds
chopped chives to taste

Combine milk, stock, cauliflower, potato, onion, garlic, and thyme in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, partly covered, 18-20 min., until vegetables are very tender. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Add cream and pulse to combine. Adjust seasonings; serve topped with croutons, pomegranate seeds, and chives.

Brown Butter Croutons

1 1/2 tbsp. butter (preferably unsalted)
1 1/2 c. ciabatta bread, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until golden brown, 2-4 minutes. Add bread and cook, stirring often, until toasted, 10-12 minutes. Season.

Adapted from Country Living

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Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

2 filet mignon steaks, about 4 oz each
black pepper to taste
salt to taste, optional
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

Generously pepper both sides of each steak; salt to taste. Place in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low; add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until done, basting with sauce when turning. Remove to warmed plates and top each steak with a tablespoon of glaze; serve immediately.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

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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: 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
pepper
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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Maggot stew

This is a great dish for Halloween dinners, but it’s also a very good small-batch stew for all winter. If the orzo “maggots” bother you, substitute something less white and worm-shaped, such as wide whole-wheat noodles or fiori.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
1 lb. stew beef in 1-inch chunks
small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz.) plain or Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1 can (10.5 oz.) beef broth
1 tsp. thyme (optional)
1 tsp. oregano
3-4 medium carrots, peeled if desired and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
3/4 cup orzo pasta

Heat oil in stewpot over medium-low. Measure flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder into a plastic bag, drop in stew meat, close bag and shake until meat is well coated. Dump bag into stew pot, add onion, and turn heat to up to medium. Brown meat, turning frequently, until it begins to look crusty. Add tomatoes, broth, thyme, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for an hour. Add carrots and beans to the pot and simmer another 45 minutes or until carrots are tender. For best effect, cook the orzo according to package directions, drain in a colander and add to the stew pot. Do not stir in too much. It also works to add dry pasta directly to stew about 5-10 minutes before stew is done, as long as there is enough liquid, and let it cook that way but you won’t get the abundant shining white “maggots” on the surface when you serve it.

Optional ingredients: potatoes, canned garbanzos.

Adapted from: Gross grub / Cheryl Porter.

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.

Beef and greens soup

1/4-1/3 lb. stew beef, in small cubes (if purchased cut for stew, cut each cube in half)
about 1/2 small onion, diced
drizzle olive oil
plenty of garlic powder or 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed; or to taste
pepper to taste
dash ground ginger (optional)
about 2 cups beef broth
greens from 2-3 beets,* washed, picked over, and larger stems removed; boiled until just wilted and drained, if desired**
generous handful of spinach leaves,* washed and picked over
small handful pasta, rice, or barley, uncooked (optional)

Brown stew meat and onions in just enough oil to keep them from sticking; season with garlic, pepper, and ginger while cooking. When beef is mostly cooked through and aswim in its own drippings, add broth and adjust seasonings if needed. Bring to a boil and simmer until beef is tender, half an hour to an hour in most cases. Add beet greens, spinach, and rice or barley if using, return to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes or so, until greens are mostly cooked. Add pasta if using and continue cooking until all ingredients are done. Serves one hearty appetite as an unaccompanied main meal or two with a side salad and toast.

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*The amounts are not critical; use whatever suits your taste and feel free to include other greens such as kale in the mix. You may need to adjust cooking time for tougher greens.

**If you find beet greens to be unpleasantly bitter, try pre-cooking them like this to draw off most of the bitterness.

From: Dana Huffman.

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.