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: 14 Sept. 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 14 Sept. 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
The eggplant, also called an aubergine, belongs to the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Like tomatoes, it is really a fruit. When immature it contains toxins that can cause illness (but it grows out of it). People with arthritis and related issues should consider avoiding eggplant and its relatives, because the solanine they contain can be a problem for them. However, eggplant has also been used to reduce other kinds of swelling and bleeding, and to treat dysentery, so you’ll have to make up your own mind whether to eat it or not. Eggplant is full of bioflavinoids, and the skin of the purple varieties contains another kind of anti-oxidant, anthocyanins. It has some nice B-complex vitamins, but it is more known for its minerals, especially manganese, copper, iron and potassium. It is also a very low-calorie fruit and provides plenty of fiber.

Eggplants probably originated in India or Southeast Asia, and was cultivated in China as early as the 5th century. The Moors brought it to Spain in the 8th century, and the Italians were trading with the Arabs for it in the 13th century. In India it is called brinjal, Australians call it an eggfruit, and West Africans call it garden fruit. Some use it to treat scorpion bites or frostbite.

In the kitchen
I went looking for some nice leek recipes because they looked so pretty, and of course I immediately ran up against my collection of Welsh recipes. So here are two traditional Welsh soups and a fairly modern chicken, just for variety.

Swp cennin a thatws (leek and potato soup)
3 leeks
1 lb. potatoes
2 oz butter
1 oz flour
3 pints chicken stock
1 c milk
3 sprigs parsley
salt, pepper
Trim leeks, wash thoroughly and slice finely. Peel and dice the potatoes. Place leeks and potatoes with 1 oz butter in a large saucepan. Cover and heat gently 5 min. until the leeks are very lightly coloured. Shake the saucepan gently to prevent the vegetables burning. Pour on the stock and simmer 3/4 hour. Melt the rest of the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour using a wooden spoon. Stir in the milk, making sure there are no lumps. Simmer 2-3 min. on a gentle heat and add to soup. Stir well and bring back to a boil. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
From: The Welsh dresser : more recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, c1986.

Cawl Aberaeron (Aberayron broth)
1.5 lb. bacon
1 lb beef
1 white cabbage
1/2 lb. carrots
1/2 lb turnips
1/2 lb parsnips
1 lb potatoes
2 small leeks
salt, pepper
Wash and shred the cabbage. peel and cut up all the other vegetables. Dice the bacon and beef. Place the meat and all the vegetables except the leeks in a large saucepan; cover with water and season to taste. Simmer 2-2.5 hr. Add the leeks and continue heating for a further 10 min. Serve hot.
From: The Welsh kitchen : recipes from Wales / by Sian Llewellyn. Cardiff : Emeralda, 1972.

Chicken braised with leeks and figs
1 T butter
3 c coarsely chopped leek (ca. 4-5)
2 T flour
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
4 chicken drumsticks, skinned (4 oz ea.)
4 chicken thighs, skinned (4 oz ea.)
2 c dry white wine
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
6 parsley sprigs
1 sprig thyme
16 medium light-skinned fresh figs, halved (ca. 1.5 lb)
1 T chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
thmye sprigs, for garnish
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high. Add leeks; saute 5 min or until tender. Remove leeks from pan and set aside. Combine flour, salt, pepper, chicken in a plastic bag and shake to coat. Place chicken in the skillet and brown on all sides, ca. 10 min. Return leeks to pan and add wine, vinegar, honey, parsley, thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 min. Add figs and simmer another 10 min. or until chickien is done. Remove parsley and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme garnish if desired.
From: Cooking light, Aug. 2004.

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Newsletters: 15 Sept, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 15 Sept, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
As our thoughts turn more and more to the cold weather to come, many start to think about saving the wonderful summer flavors. Poking around in my old canning and preserving books, I came across these interesting-sounding recipes (well, actually, I came across a lot of interesting-sounding recipes, so we may be seeing more from this little collection in the coming weeks).

Yellow Tomato Preserves
2 qt. yellow cherry tomatoes (about 3 lb)
3 c sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
1/4 c thinly sliced candied ginger
After washing and drying tomatoes, cut a thin slice from the blossom end and press out the seeds, keeping tomatoes otherwise whole. Combine tomatoes, sugar, and salt; simmer slowly until sugar dissolves. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring. Boil gently 40 min. until it thickens, then add lemon and ginger. Boil another 10 min, stirring often. Fill about 4 hot, sterilized jars (8 oz. each) and seal immediately.

October butter
8 med. cooking apples, chopped
2 large firm Anjou pears, chopped
3 c orange juice
2 sticks cinnamon
2 c mashed ripe banana (3-4 bananas)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
half as much sugar as fruit pulp (see below)
Chop apples and pears into small pieces without peeling or coring. Cook, covered, with orange juice and cinnamon over med. heat until very soft, 45 min.-1 hr. Put through a food mill, discarding skins and seeds. Combine with banana and lemon juice and boil gently, stirring frequently, until thick enough to mound slightly on a spoon. Measure and return to pan; add half as much sugar (e.g. 3 c sugar to 6 c fruit). Continue boiling and stirring another 20-25 min. until thickened. Fill about 5 hot, sterilized jars (8 oz. each) and seal immediately.

Both from: The how-to book : canning, freezing, drying / written and compiled by Anne Borella ; Barbara Bloch, ed. Benjamin Co., 1976.

One more book on preserving, and a fun one I came across while looking up something else entirely.

Canning & preserving your own harvest : an encyclopedia of country living / Carla Emery & Lorene Edwards Forkner. Sasquatch Books, c2009.

The hungry scientist handbook : electric birthday cakes, edible origami, and Other DIY projects for techies, tinkerers, and foodies / by Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns. Harper, 2008.

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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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