Newsletters: 28 Sept. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 28 Sept. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
This seems like a good time to look at stress. Stress is, at heart, the feeling that things are out of control. It can be counteracted to a certain extent just by taking charge of your life — if not of the events themselves, then at least of your reactions to those events. This is at the heart of stress management. Nothing can really stress you out without your permission, but of course just not worrying about it isn’t that easy. There are all kinds of techniques out there for dealing with stress, and we all have our own methods as well — some healthy, some not so good. Some popular methods of stress management are over-eating, smoking, and excessive drinking; healthier options include meditation and relaxation in many forms, exercise, laughter, gratitude, altruism, various sorts of social activity, improved time management, counseling, journaling, and various sorts of “me-time” or self-care (I was going to say self-indulgence but that has negative connotations; that’s what we’re really talking about here, though). Stress has a bad reputation these days, but a certain amount of stress is actually good for you, and keeps life from being boring. Too little stress can lead to depression. The trick is finding the right balance.
Standard disclaimer: I’m a librarian, not a doctor. Make up your own mind and don’t believe anything just because I put it in this newsletter.

In the kitchen
A friend of mine just bought 30 lbs. of onions for the winter. I can’t imagine what she’s going to do with them all. She says she puts them in everything.

Cabbage with red onion and apple
1 large apple, cored but not peeled, shredded
2 med. carrots, scraped and shredded
10 oz shredded cabbage
6 oz shredded red onion
1 t cumin
3/4 t ground coriander
Place all ingredients in a pot over med-low heat. Stir, cover, cook 6-8 min. until soft.
From: 20-minute menus / Marian Burros. 1st Fireside ed. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Caramelized onion and parsnip soup
2 T butter
3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 T light brown sugar
1 c dry white wine
3 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
5 c vegetable stock
1/4 c cream
fresh thyme leaves, to garnish
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and sugar and cook over low heat for 10 min. Add the wine and parsnips and simmer, covered, for 20 min. or until the onions and parsnips are golden and tender. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 min. Cool slightly, then place in a blender or food processor and blend in batches until smooth. Season. Drizzle with a little cream and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
From: Bowl food / edited by Kay Scarlett.

Pickled onions
16 white boiling onions (about 1 lb.)
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 Tbsp. coarse salt
1 c white wine vinegar
1 c water
3 Tbsp. sugar
Bring all ingredients to a gentle simmer in a non-reactive saucepan; simmer, covered, 10 min. Remove from heat and let cool, still covered. Pour into a 1-quart jar and refrigerate at least 12 hours; keeps up to two weeks.
From: Vegetables / James Peterson. William Morrow and Co., c1998.

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Newsletters: 29 Sept. 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 29 Sept. 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
Your market manager, Connie, asked me about veggie burgers, which she was sure could be made at home at a considerable savings. I was surprised to find that neither of my good vegetable cookbooks had anything at all to say about vegetable patties, while my two favorite recipe sites had all kinds of variations. Here are the two most interesting, and I’ll put some of the others up on the Market recipe pages sometime in the next couple of weeks.

>Veggie Burgers
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 carrots, shredded
1 small summer squash, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in the carrots, squash, and zucchini; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in oats, cheese, and egg. Stir in soy sauce, transfer the mixture to a bowl, and refrigerate 1 hour. Form the vegetable mixture into eight 3-inch-round patties and dredge in flour to lightly coat both sides. Grill on an oiled grate 5 minutes on each side, or until heated through and nicely browned.

Indian Vegetable Patties
1.25 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium russet potato, peeled, grated
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach leaves
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 tablespoon (or more) vegetable oil
Mix corn, carrot, potato, onion, spinach, flour, peas, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, and cumin; season to taste and stir in egg. Form patties (3 tablespoons make a 3-inch-diameter patty) and place on large baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Cook in oil over medium heat in batches until golden, about 4 min. per side, adding more oil as necessary. Serve with yogurt and chutney if desired.

From: Epicurious

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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: 22 Sept, 2010

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

Cooking, and reading about cooking
I was browsing along in my little stack of canning and preserving books — mine and the library’s, anyway — when it occurred to me that most of the recipes I was looking at made some pretty broad assumptions about the reader’s level of expertise. I can’t really include all the basic information a beginner needs here in the newsletter (well, I could, but I’d run out of little photos to fill up the sidebar), so I found you a website instead. The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a pretty comprehensive overview — I’m sending you to the canning section, but there’s a little list at the lower left with links to freezing, pickling, fermenting, all kinds of fun stuff (the fermenting section includes how to make your own yogurt, for instance).

We now continue with your regularly scheduled recipes…

Sweet and sour pepper jam
12 large red peppers, stemmed. seeded, and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. salt
1.5 lb. sugar
2 c vinegar
Sprinkle pepers with salt and let stand 3-4 hours; rinse in cold water. Bring peppers, sugar, and vinegar to a boil and simmer until thick, stirring frequently. Pour into jars and seal.

Spiced peach jam
2 lb. peaches, peeled and with pits removed
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp crushed cinnamon bark
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 c peach juice or water
1 lb. sugar
Crush peaches, cook until soft, and press through a fine sieve or food mill. Tie spices into a cheesecloth bag and add to peaches, juice, and sugar. Boil until thick, or until it registers 222F on a candy thermometer. Remove spice bag. Fill jars and seal.

Both from: The home canning and preserving book / by Ann Seranne. Barnes & Noble, 1975.

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Newsletters: 20 Mar, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 20 Mar, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners recommend fertilizing this month. You can also divide late-blooming perennials, plant out those cabbage-family seedlings you started last month, and sow seeds for beets, chard, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips directly outdoors.

In the kitchen
Did you expect a recipe for green punch or corned beef this month? Nah, you can get those anywhere. Did you know that the 16th of March is St. Urho’s Day? St. Urho’s Day was invented by Finnish-Americans in reply to all the uproar over St. Patrick, and is celebrated by wearing royal purple and Nile green and eating a traditional Finnish soup called mojakka. So this month you get mojakka recipes! OK, yeah, they’re a little late, but think of all the planning time you have for next year.

Ancient Finnish Secret Mojakka
2 lbs. cod fillets
1 c. (or to taste) stout beer, such as Guinness
ca. 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 lbs. diced red potatoes
3 ribs celery, diced
ca. 12 green onions, diced
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
1 pt. heavy cream
1 lb. butter
1 pt. skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. oregano
Dissolve brown sugar in beer in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cod fillets and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and flake into bite-sized pieces. Boil potatoes until nearly tender. Combine cream, butter and skim milk and heat thoroughly. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Layer potatoes, celery, green onions, spinach and cod in a slow cooker. Stir in cream mixture. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Yield: About 3 quarts.

Mumu’s Mojakka
1 lb. beef stew meat
3 qt. water
4 med. Yukon Gold potatoes, partially peeled, in bite-sized chunks
6 carrots, thickly sliced
1 med. rutabaga in bite-sized chunks
4-6 ribs celery, thickly diced
4 small turnips in bite-sized chunks
2-3 tsps. whole black peppercorns
1-2 tsps. whole allspice
Salt to taste
4 to 5 bay leaves
Combine beef and water and boil for 20 minutes; skim to clear broth. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; simmer about 20 min. until meat and vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings. Continue to simmer to blend flavors.
Yield: 6-8 hearty servings.

Both from:

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Newsletters: 17 Nov. 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 17 Nov. 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

About that food…
My family was always very traditional about our Thanksgiving dinner — right down to the jokes about the Candied Yam. Mom only cooked one yam, you see, because it had to be there — marshmallows and all — for the meal to be complete, but Dad was the only one who would actually eat any. I grew up thinking I didn’t like sweet potatoes and yams, then a few years ago someone served me mashed sweet potatoes. I had a spoonful to be polite and discovered they’re actually quite good without the marshmallows. Of course, doing them that way means there’s no bag of slightly stale marshmallows to roast in the fireplace on a cold January evening….

There is a lot of information about roasting turkeys around this time of year so I’ll just give you a couple of links and get on to a less thoroughly discussed facet, one that is becoming increasingly important as families grow smaller: what to do with the leftovers. The first thing I think of for using up leftovers is soup.

Turkey and sweet-potato soup
2 Tb butter
1 onion, in thin slices
1.5 tsp dried sage
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in cubes
1.5 qt chicken broth
2 tsp salt
1/4 lb green beans, in 1/4-in. pieces
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb turkey cutlets, cut into ca. 1.5 x .5-in strips
Melt butter in large pot over med-low. Add onion and sage; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, ca. 5 min. Add sweet potatoes, broth, 1 t salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, ca. 10 min. Transfer half the soup to a food processor or blender and puree. Return to the pot and add beans, remaining salt, pepper. Simmer until beans are just tender, ca. 8 min. Stir in turkey; cook until turkey is done, ca. 1.5 min.
From: Quick from scratch : one-dish meals. Food & Wine Books, American Express Pub., c2004.

Turkey, carrot, and apple stew
olive-oil nonstick spray
1.25 lb boneless skinless turkey breast slices, in strips
2 onions in wedges
14 oz chicken broth
1 rib celery in 1/4-in slices
1/2 c raisins
6 carrots in 1/4-in slices
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1.5 c chopped apples
2 Tb cornstarch
3 Tb cold water
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce, or to taste
Coat a nonstick skillet with the spray and heat over med. Add turkey and onions and cook, stirring, until browned, 4-6 min. Combine turkey mixture, broth, celery, raisins, carrots, brown sugar, curry powder, and turmeric in a med. crock pot. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hr, until turkey is cooked through. Stir in apples. Cook another 1-2 min. to soften the apples. In a small cup, whisk together cold water and cornstarch and add; cook another 1-5 min. until sauce is thickened.
From: Essential slow cooker recipes / Carol Heding Munson. Main Street ; Sterling, c2002.

Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.
— Lao-tzu —

It is better to die of indigestion than of starvation.
— Cicero —

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native to: Northern China
in season here: winter, but they store well and can be found in supermarkets year-round

Kiwifruit, or Chinese gooseberries, are most commonly either green or golden, the green Hayward Kiwi being the most commonly found in US stores. Their fuzzy skins are edible, although most people prefer not to eat them. Kiwis contain a protein, actinidain, that will tenderize meat and liquefy whipped cream and gelatin. The easiest way to eat a kiwi (other than whole, skin and all) is to cut it in half end scoop the flesh out of the peel like a tiny melon. To peel it, cut off both ends and slip a spoon between the skin and flesh.

The kiwifruit arrived in New Zealand from China at the turn of the 20th century, where they were renamed after the kiwi bird they resemble to avoid an export tax on berries. Kiwi trees, climbing shrubs that can reach 30 feet, can be difficult to establish, but the small-fruited hardy variety can be grown in the Olympia area.

Kiwis provide a huge amount of vitamin C — more than oranges — as well as potassium, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K, omega-3s, magnesium, copper, and various phytonutrients. They’re particularly good for the upper respiratory and digestive systems, and contain polyphenols that stimulate the immune system. Their polysaccharides boost collagen synthesis, making them good for skin, muscles, and tendons; they also contain lutein, which protects the skin against UV light and prevents eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. Their potassium is good against high blood pressure, while their vitamin K prevents calcium buildup in the arteries, moving it into the bones where it belongs. There’s also plenty of serotonin in there, which is good against insomnia and may boost memory and reduce depression. Kiwis, and especially their seeds, also have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Kiwis retain their nutrients in storage better than many fruits. Kiwis and kiwi roots appear in traditional Chinese medicine in treatments for joint pain, bladder stones, and several cancers.

Kiwis are higher in sugar than oranges, but they have a moderate glycemic index so it’s not that big a problem. The biggest concern is allergies: kiwis are a common allergy, especially among those with latex-fruit syndrome (an allergy to latex and fruit with similar proteins such as avocados and bananas) or allergies to hazelnuts, wheat, figs, or poppy seeds. They can slow blood clotting (good or bad, depending on whether you need to keep your blood thin for your heart or are facing surgery in a week or two). Also, those taking beta-blockers or with other potassium-related concerns should keep kiwis’ high potassium content in mind and save them for a special treat.

They’re not at our market, but Burnt Ridge is a knowledgeable local source for kiwi vines.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw kiwi fruit
Medical News Today
World’s Healthiest Foods

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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.