Newsletters: 21 Sept. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 21 Sept. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
It’s pickling season, so I thought I’d do a little research on vinegar. I know vinegar as an old thirst-quencher; Roman legionaries added it to their water both to kill whatever might be in there and for its rehydrating properties. You can make your own old-fashioned sports drink by mixing 1 c sugar, 1 Tbsp. ginger, and 6 Tbsp. vinegar into 2 quarts of water, but I’ve heard it’s only drinkable if you really need it. It is also widely used as a mild antiseptic, deodorizer, and cleaner — adding a dollop of white vinegar to your laundry helps eliminate that winter mistiness; a dab on insect bites keeps them from itching. Dilute cider vinegar is said to be good for the skin and is sometimes used as a sunburn remedy. Whatever your health problem, you can probably find someone to tell you vinegar is the cure, and someone else to tell you that’s nonsense. Until a lot more research is done, all that can be said for sure is that, while it doesn’t offer any great nutritional surprises, its acetic acid helps with digestion and the absorption of important minerals.

In the kitchen
Here we are with corn in season again, but last year when I looked for corn recipes they mostly involved cutting it off the cob, which I think is a waste. I suppose you could go all ’50s and put it (cob and all) into a casserole, pour condensed cream-of-mushroom soup over it, and bake it, but that sounds like a waste as well. I’ll leave you to boil or roast it, and give you some interesting fruit recipes instead.

Fruit pizza
1 c. shortening/margarine
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 3/4 c. flour
2 eggs
2 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt (optional)
1 t. baking soda
Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs until fluffy. Add dry ingredients, mix well. Spread dough in 10-inch pizza pan (or larger; it’s pretty thick at 10″ dia.). Bake 10-15 min. at 350. Let cool.

16 oz. cream cheese
6 T. sugar
fruit (whatever you like, sliced in most cases, fresh is best but canned is OK too; I tend to use bananas, kiwis, peaches, strawberries (all sliced) and sometimes canned mandarin orange segments)
Cream cream cheese and sugar; spread on cooled crust. Top with fruit (you can make decorative designs if you want. You want to end up with a single layer of fruit, closely spaced but not overlapping).

2-3 c. fruit juice, sweetened if necessary
4 T corn starch
Cook, stirring, until thick (this step is very important; failure to cook the glaze will require sponging down the inside of the fridge). Spoon glaze over fruit, making sure air-sensitive fruit such as bananas and apples are covered entirely. Glaze should set on its own; if it seems reluctant, refrigerate.
From: Dorothy Huffman’s collection

Peach milk shake
3 sm. peaches, skinned, pitted, and roughly chopped
1.25 c milk
1 T superfine sugar
1 T apricot or peach brandy (optional)
grated chocolate for garnish
Place all ingredients except grated chocolate in a blender and process until smooth. Chill, garnish, and serve.
From: Fruit fandango / Moya Clarke. Chartwell Books, c1994.

Peach duff
1/4 c butter
1 c flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c sugar
2/3 c milk
1.5 lb peaches (4-6), peeled and thickly sliced
Melt butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar together; gradually add milk and stir just until moistened. Spoon batter evenly onto melted butter and arrange peach slices on top. Bake 35 min. at 375F. Serve warm.
From: Cooking with fruit : the complete guide to using fruit throughout the meal, the day, the year / Rolce Redard Payne and Dorrit Speyer Senior. Wings Books, 1995.

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Newsletters: 17 Feb, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 17 Feb, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Leaf buds are beginning to show on the trees and sunny days make us long for the summer to come, but the calendar says there’s still a month to go before spring officially begins. There is still time for winter to get in a few last licks, and that sunshine means it’s cold out there (at my house we say “Gaia has kicked off the blankets” on sunny winter days).

One of the earliest signs of spring is the arrival of seed catalogs. This is a traditional time for planning the garden to come. We’ve had about all the long winter rest we can stand and begin to look out there and ask “Is the ground workable yet?” and “Can I possibly get away with planting something — a few peas, even?” The WSU Master Gardeners say you can plant bare-root roses and fruit trees on warmer February days, and even start broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings indoors if you give them extra light.

However, there is still plenty of time for snuggling up with a good book and a hot drink, filling the house with the aromas of rich stews and soups simmering on the stove, and watching the wind and rain from the warm side of the window.

About that food…
In winter we dream of hot drinks by a warm fire, images in shades of red and glowing gold (in summer the dreams turn cool blue and white, and we want ice in our drinks; it is the nature of humans to be dissatisfied). Here are a few alternatives to the standard cocoa, with or without marshmallows and a shot of something. You’re on your own for the firewood and quilt.

2 c whole milk
2 c hot strong brewed coffee
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar, or to taste
1/4 t orange flower water, to taste (optional)
Bring milk just to a boil. Whisk coffee with chocolate and sugar until smooth, then whisk in hot milk and orange flower water. Adjust sugar.
From: The chocolate deck : 50 luscious indulgences / by Lori Longbotham. Chronicle Boks, c2005, which says this was a favorite drink of cafe society in Turin, Italy during the nineteenth century.

Hot spiced orange juice
1 can orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour all ingredients into 5 cups of water. Bring to a slow boil. Serve hot.
From: 1st Traveler’s Choice Internet Cookbook.

Hot vanilla
1 c milk
1 tsp. honey
1 drop vanilla extract
pinch ground cinnamon
Heat milk without boiling; mix in remaining ingredients thoroughly. Serve immediately.
Source unknown.

Winter reading, winter dreaming
Seed catalogues / by the Smithsonian Institution. Zebra Pub., 2010.

The way we ate : Pacific Northwest cooking, 1843-1900 / by Jacqueline Williams. Washington State University, 1996.

Thanks for your interest in our community and its market.

Your Market correspondent,

One kind word can warm three winter months.
— Japanese proverb —

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
— Anne Bradstreet —

Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”
— Robert Byrne —

There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed for example that we all get about the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.
— Bat Masterson —

The problem with winter sports is that – follow me closely here – they generally take place in winter.
— Dave Barry —

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Newsletters: 11 Aug. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 11 Aug. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
Let’s do something a little different for this week’s recipes. I think we all deserve a little time to sit back with a tall glass of lemonade and a good book (see below). See how short the newsletter is this week? That’s to help you get to the resting part of your day just that little bit faster (it’s nothing at all to do with writer’s block, whatever gave you that idea?).

Ginger-honey lemonade
3 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
Boil 1 cup water, honey, sugar, and ginger over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool and strain into a pitcher. Mix in lemon juice and remaining 2 cups water. Fill pitcher with ice and let stand 5 minutes.
From: Bon Appetit, Aug. 2001

Chocolate lemonade
12-ounce can lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
Mix concentrate with water according to directions. Mix lemonade with syrup and serve chilled.
From: 1st Traveler’s Choice Internet Cookbook.

Here are a couple of nice cookbooks from the farmers’ market/locovore culture. You don’t have to read these, though. Go ahead and sneak in some Terry Pratchett, I won’t tell (if you haven’t discovered Pratchett yet, you’ll want to start [with The Colour of Magic]).

Simply Organic : a cookbook for sustainable, seasonal, and local ingredients / Jesse Ziff Cool. Chronicle Books, 2008. — Recommended by the Tumwater Timberland Regional Library

How to pick a peach : the search for flavor from farm to table / Russ Parsons. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. — Also recommended by the Tumwater Timberland Regional Library

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Newsletters: 13 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 13 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners say July is a good time to start planning for fall and winter crops. Start broccoli, cabbage, and kale for transplanting; plant carrots, peas, and rutabagas directly. Normally beans, cucumbers, and summer squash come on in July but they may be a little late this year. Keep an eye on the zucchini, though, so they don’t sneak up on you and get too big for anything but zucchini bread before you pick them. There’s always Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch night (8 Aug.) but the more you catch at the 6-inch stage, the quicker you’ll be able to get rid of the ones you missed.

This also a good time to stop watering your lawn and let it go dormant. It’ll get rather brown but I promise it’ll spring right back when the fall rains begin (whether you want it to or not), and you won’t have to mow it for most of August. That’ll give you more time for wandering the night with overgrown zucchini.

In the kitchen
I’m told July is Nectarine and Garlic Month — I hope that doesn’t mean we should eat them together! As tempted as I am to go hunting for recipes that use both (come to think of it, I may have one), I think it’s time for some more exotic (or at least unusual) summer drinks.

Bee sting
1 Tbsp honey, warmed if possible
1 Tbsp balsamic or raspberry vinegar
1.5 cup seltzer or sparkling water, chilled
ice cubes
Combine honey and vinegar; add water and stir once. Serve over ice.
Source unknown

Salty puppy
coarse salt
crushed ice
1 cup grapefruit juice
club soda, chilled
fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
Moisten rims of 2 glasses and dip in salt. Fill with ice and divide juice between them. Fill with club soda.
Source unknown

Lotus blossom
1 ripe banana, peeled and chunked
1 ripe peach, peeled, pitted, and chunked
1 ripe nectarine, ”
dash almond extract
24 oz. chilled ginger ale
Puree all ingredients except ginger ale until smooth. Pour ca. 1 c each into 5 tall glasses and fill with ginger ale. Stir gently.
Source unknown

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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.

White Peach Raspberry Smoothie

2 cups chopped white peaches
1/2 cup chopped banana
1/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup sweetened vanilla almond milk, or your preferred substitute
3-4 ice cubes
honey to taste

Place all ingredients except honey in a blender and process until smooth. Add honey to sweeten if necessary.

Adapted from The Clever Carrot

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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.

Soft mead

4 cups water
1 cup honey, or to taste
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced

Bring water, 1/2 cup honey, and spices to a boil; for best results use a non-metallic saucepan. Taste and continue adding honey until desired sweetness is reached; 1 cup makes a pretty sweet drink. Stir until honey dissolves, skimming surface until it is clear. Add lemon and orange slices, squeezing. Cool completely and strain. Keep refrigerated.

Adapted from A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook / Patricia Telesco. Llewellyn Publications, 1996. ISBN: 1567187072.

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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.