Newsletters: 16 Apr., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 16 Apr., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners say this is the time to plant dahlias, gladiolus, calla lilies, corn and beans, and harden off your vegetable starts. They also suggest planting out your tomato, squash, pepper, and cucumber starts, but some local tomato growers tell me it’s better to wait until really warm June weather to plant out tomatoes, basil, and other heat-lovers.

In the kitchen
At this time of year, lettuce is the one thing we can be sure of finding at the market.

Wilted lettuce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
ca. 3 slices bacon, chopped (or cut up with kitchen shears)
1 head leaf lettuce
Mix sugar, vinegar, and water; these measurements will probably give you enough for more than one head of lettuce but it can be kept in the fridge longer than I’ve ever needed to use it up – months, at least. Wash and tear up lettuce and place in a large bowl that won’t object to a little hot grease. Fry the bacon until crisp. Drain off some of the grease if there’s a lot, but reserve 1-2 Tbsp. of it. Add bacon to the lettuce, then the sugar/vinegar/water mixture in about the amount you would any dressing (not enough to leave the lettuce swimming, though). Toss, then add the reserved bacon grease and toss again.
From: Kelly Iverson

Fried lettuce
1 large head of lettuce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch salt
1 tsp. Vesop, Bragg’s, or soy sauce
Wash and trim lettuce and shake off excess moisture. Cut into four sections. Heat the oil and fry lettuce for 1 min. Add crushed garlic, salt, Vesop; mix well and cook another minute.
From: The Left Foot Organics cookbook : recipes for great food and a healthy community. Gateway, [2008].

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Newsletters: 14 July, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 14 July, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
After all that heat last week I started looking for some recipes that didn’t require any cooking (there’s only so much you can do with pre-cooked, frozen hamburger patties and a microwave, and it gets monotonous). Here’s a couple of no-heat salads from a pretty little book the Market Manager lent me. We’ll probably be seeing more from this book as the season progresses.

Traditional Greek salad
7 oz Greek feta cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lettuce such as romaine or escarole, shredded or sliced
4 tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cucumber, sliced
12 black Greek olives, pitted
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley, mint, or basil
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Put lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber into a large salad bowl; add the cheese cubes and toss together. Whisk the dressing again, pour it over the salad and toss. Serve garnished with the olives and chopped herbs.

Spring clean salad
2 dessert apples, cored and diced
juice of 1 lemon
large chunk of watermelon, seeded and cubed
1 head Belgian endive, sliced into rounds
4 ribs celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. walnut oil
Mix apple cubes and lemon juice so apples will not go brown. Add remaining ingredients except oil and mix gently. Stir in the walnut oil.

Both of these recipes are from…

Salads : creative salads to delight and inspire. Love Food, 2009. — Recommended by your Market Manager, Connie.

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Newsletters: 1 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 1 June, 2011 (there were earlier ones, but this is the first to include non-market information and recipes). View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the flesh
Raw rhubarb is a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, mandanese, and vitamins c and K. It is a traditional remedy for indigestion, and has been linked to lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. Some claim that regular doses of rhubarb extract will diminish hot flashes.

Rhubarb is related to buckwheat, thrives in cold climates, and is native to western China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Siberia. Look for deep red stalks, which will be sweeter and richer, that have been pulled rather than cut; but whatever you do, don’t eat the leaves!

In the kitchen
There’s something about spring and beginnings that makes me want to play with historic recipes. Here are some comparatively recent ones I found in the historic cookbooks at the State Library (yes, they’re still open to the general public, at least for now…).

Rhubarb Conserve
1 lb. rhubarb, washed and sliced
2 c sugar
1/2 c raisins
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon or 1/2 orange
Sprinkle rhubrab with sugar. Mix with remaining ingredients and let stand a half hour to draw the juice. Bring slowly to boiling and simmer until thick, about 1/2 hour. Let cool and seal.
From: 28 delicious ways to serve Sumner hot-house rhubarb. Sumner Rhubarb Growers Association, [1930]

Chili butter
1 Tbsp. chili sauce
2 Tbsp. butter
toast round
thin slice liver sausage
Mix chili sauce and butter. Spread on toast round, top with liver sausage, and sprinkle with paprika.
From: Yum-yum recipes. Compiled and pub. by the Tonasket Civic League, 1938.

Lettuce cocktail
1 crisp head lettuce, cut fine with scissors
4 Tbsp catsup
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 hard boiled eggs, shredded
4 Tbsp. vinegar
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 small onions, shredded
salt to taste
Mix lettuce, eggs, and onions. Melt butter and allow to cool; add catsup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt. To serve, pour sauce mixture over lettuce mixture and chill in cocktail glasses.
From: Yum-yum recipes. Compiled and pub. by the Tonasket Civic League, 1938.

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Salad burritos

If you want to eat healthier but the salad-and-toast thing just doesn’t feel like a real meal, try this instead. It’s pretty much exactly the same thing, possibly even a little lower in the carb department, but you get to call it a burrito, which sounds like junk food, and it chews like a sandwich, which is lunch. Added bonus: no cooking, so it’s great for hot weather when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

2 tortillas, 8-12-inch in diameter
1 chef’s salad (your favorite combo, or see below for my simple version)
salad dressing to taste

The tortillas will wrap better if warmed about 10 seconds in the microwave or left in a hot car in the sun for about 5 minutes (yes, you can experiment with solar cooking in the Pacific Northwest). Divide the salad between the tortillas and drizzle with salad dressing. Roll up burrito style and eat.

It’s easiest to leave each tortilla just sort of flopped over until you’re ready to eat it, because it won’t stay closed easily. This also allows you to fill the tortilla a little fuller because you only have to fold in one end.

Minimalist chef’s salad

about 10 leaves red leaf lettuce, washed and torn
1 large slice cheese, cut in strips or cubes — Cheddar, Swiss, or farmer’s are good, or that last bit of grated taco or pizza blend if it’s not moldy yet
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded chicken, or two sandwich-sized slices ham cut in strips
sunflower seeds or sliced almonds to taste
those last few leftover sliced olives or cold peas, if any
whatever else is lurking in the fridge and won’t clash too badly with the other ingredients

Place in bowl. Eat. Serves 1. There’s lettuce left, go make your own.

Variation: Use plenty of lettuce. Put on a good movie, place bowl on stomache, and eat with your fingers like popcorn.

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.