Newsletters: 27 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 27 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Chard is not actually Swiss; it comes from Sicily, but a Swiss botanist “discovered” it. Technically its season is June-September, but I’ve seen it much earlier and later than that. Chard is a chenopod, a member of the goosefoot family, and related to spinach and beets. It provides vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus lots of different minerals, which are not only good for you but prevent muscle spasms and cramps. It’s also got lots of carotenoids, which are good for the eyes. The only hitch is that it also has a fair amount of oxalic acid, which should be avoided by anyone at risk for kidney stones. Boiling chard for 3 minutes will reduce the oxalic acid content but if that’s a worry for you, you should still be careful. If you have blood sugar concerns, however, this is a good vegetable for you; it’s said to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates.

In the kitchen
Most of the blueberry fans I know just eat them, but there are a few other things you can do with them. For instance, here’s a very fancy recipe that’s really too long for this newsletter, but I’d love to try it someday when I have a personal cook: Tea-smoked duck breast with pears and blueberry jus.

Moby’s Vegan Blueberry Pancakes
1.5 cups whole-grain spelt flour
0.5 cup oat bran
0.5 cup wheat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups plain full-fat soy milk
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 cup fresh blueberries
Combine flour, brans, baking soda, and salt. Stir in soy milk until thoroughly combined. Oil and heat griddle (or skillet) and pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Press 12-15 blueberries into each pancake and cook 3-4 min., until bubbles appear and pop on surface and undersides are golden brown. Flip pancakes, then turn off heat and let pancakes continue to cook in pan another 3 min., until undersides are firm and light golden brown. Transfer to plate, berry side up, and keep warm while repeating with remaining batter. Pancakes may be served with additional berries and maple syrup.

Royal Blueberry Ice Pops
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
8 oz. blueberry yogurt
0.25 cup water
0.25 cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
Puree all ingredients until smooth. Divide mixture among 8 ice pop molds (each about 1/4 to 1/3 cup capacity). Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.

Blueberries in Gin Syrup
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
15 juniper berries, crushed
1 (4-inch) rosemary sprig
salt to taste
2 pints blueberries (1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup dry gin
mint sprigs, to garnish
Boil water, sugar, juniper berries, rosemary, and salt, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and syrup is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain over blueberries and stir in gin. Macerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.

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