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
Crust:
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.

Topping:
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).

Glaze:
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: 7 Sept, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 7 Sept, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
The WSU Master Gardeners say that this is the time to plant winter cabbage, choi, and mustard, as well as all that harvesting. Water trees and shrubs less to harden them off, and keep your flowers picked (or at least dead-headed).

In the kitchen
Since we’re in full harvest season (i.e. somewhere between the end of apricots and the beginning of winter squash), how about another round of preserving recipes? There’s already some information in the Market recipe pages, including such classic recipes as dilly beans, kale chips, and two kinds of green tomato relish, but if a little’s good, more must be better, right?

Sweet onion and fennel relish (What can I say? I like fennel–ed.)
8 oz. sweet onion, sliced into thin half-circles
10 oz. fennel, sliced into thin half-circles
1 swet red pepper in thin strips
2.5 tsp. pickling salt, divided
1.5 c white wine vinegar
0.5 c water
0.25 c sugar
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
Place onion, fennel, and red pepper in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt. Toss and let stand 4 hours. Rinse well and drain thoroughly. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a large non-reactive saucepan; add vegetables and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Pack vegetables into hot jars and cover with cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Distribute bay leaves and peppercorns among jars. Process 10 min. for half pints, 15 min. for pints.

Peach mint salsa
2 c peaches, peeled and chopped (about 4)
0.25 c finely chopped red onion
0.25 c finely chopped sweet green pepper
1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeño pepper
2 Tbsp. honey
0.25 tsp. pickling salt
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
Combine all ingredients except mint in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently boil, uncovered, 5 min., stirring occasionally. Add mint and cook 1 min. more. Ladle into half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process 20 min.

Asian plum sauce
9 purple plums, washed, pitted, and finely chopped (about 1.5 lb./1.75 c)
1.5 c brown sugar
1 c cider vinegar
1.5 tsp. salt
1.5 c onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
0.25 c raisins
2 tsp. soy sauce
0.25 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
Bring plums, sugar, vinegar, and salt to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan; boil gently, uncovered, 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add onion, garlic, raisins, soy sauce, and spices; return to a boil. Boil gently 45 min, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened. Ladle into hot half-pint jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace; process 15 min.

All from: The complete book of small-batch preserving : over 300 delicious recipes to use year-round / Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. Firefly Books, c2007.

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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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Peaches

native to: northwest China
in season here: July-August
DSCF1929_700
Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family, related to cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines. While they come in colors from nearly white to deep orange, they’re not divided by color; they’re categorized as clingstone (“clings”) or freestone. The first peaches to ripen are usually clings, and everyone’s so happy to see them they don’t care about having to gnaw the flesh from the firmly-attached pit. Some apparently prefer clings for canning, but everyone I know waits for the easier freestone varieties.

Peaches are first mentioned in Chinese writings of the 10th century. Chinese culture regards the peach tree as the tree of life and peaches symbolize immortality and unity. China is still the largest peach producer in the world, followed by Italy, California, and Georgia.

Stone fruits such as peaches have anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce LDL cholesterol. They’re an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, and six kinds of B vitamin, as well as beta-carotene and fiber. They’re good for the skin and the digestion, and can even help your blood sugar levels. They also have a fair amount of potassium, which supports the heart and kidneys, and other minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. On top of that, fruits in general are good for the eyes.

Read more:
label-style nutrition information for raw peaches
label-style nutrition information for canned peaches in light syrup
Medical News Today
Medical Daily

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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.

Gingered pork and peaches

1 lb. pork tenderloin (or pork stir-fry meat)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. finely chopped ginger, or 1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. corn starch.
pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
3 medium peaches, pared and sliced, or 16 oz. frozen peaches, thawed & drained, or a can of sliced peaches, drained
6 green onions cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
cooked rice or noodles for serving

Trim fat from tenderloin and cut thinly across grain as for stir-fry. Cut any large slices in half. In a skillet or wok, mix soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch, pepper, and garlic. If not using a non-stick pan, you may want to add a little oil as well. Add pork and almonds and toss to coat. Turn on heat and stir-fry until pork is done, 6-8 minutes. It will probably look a little dry at this point. Add peaches and stir-fry for another few minutes until peaches are hot. Garnish with onions and serve over rice or wide egg noodles.

Makes two dinners and a lunch, or one dinner and three lunches (about 4 cups)

Source unknown.

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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.

Gingerbread Waffles with Peach Sauce

2 cups buttermilk baking mix, such as Bisquick
1 cup milk
1 egg (chicken or duck)
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

peach sauce (recipes below)

Combine all ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup of batter in preheated waffle iron and cook. Repeat with remaining batter. The finished waffles will be cake-like rather than crisp. Do not overcook, they will burn. Top with peach sauce. Makes about 6 waffles

Source unknown.

Peach sauces:

— Peach sauce from canned peaches
The original recipe used this recipe, which is a good version to use in the winter.

16 oz. can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Drain liquid from peaches into a saucepan. Stir in cornstarch mixed with lemon juice. Heat on medium until mixture thickens. Cut peach slices into pieces and add to sauce.

Source still unknown.

— Peach sauce from fresh peaches
‘Cause if you’ve got fresh peaches, you might as well use them.

4 fresh peaches, washed, pitted, and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)
3 cups sugar
1 cup boiling water

In a microwave:
Place peaches in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add lemon juice and sugar; do not stir. Cover very tightly with plastic wrap (wrap all the way around the bowl to seal in the steam). Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and remove plastic, being careful of the steam. Stir well. Re-cover and repeat until all sugar has dissolved. Whisk in boiling water and pour over waffles.

On the stove:
Place peaches, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan. Add sugar; do not stir. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes. Do not stir while cooking, as this will break up the peaches. Remove from heat and pour over waffles.

Adapted from The Peach Truck

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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.

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.