Newsletters: 19 Oct., 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 19 Oct., 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the garden
This being our designated planning-for-the-winter week, it seems only right to give you a run-down of what will be going on out there over the winter. Here’s a summary of what the WSU Master Gardeners tell us.
• Nov.: Mulch. Move container plants inside (if you haven’t already). Be careful not to over-prune your roses.
• Dec.: Pot up paperwhites for forcing. Fertilize for the winter.
• Jan.: Do a little winter weeding. Start planning next year’s garden, including crop rotation.
• Feb.: Don’t be fooled by good weather into exposing your roses or getting a start on your spring pruning. Instead, go slug hunting or start your brassica seedlings indoors.
• Mar.: NOW you can prune and feed those roses. Transplant your brassicas outside and start tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants inside. Sow hardy vegetables such as beets and spinach.
• Apr.: Sow carrots. Start squash and cucumbers indoors. You should probably mow the lawn, too.
• May.: Plant dahlias, gladiolus and calla lilies; fill containers and deadhead bulbs. Sow corn and beans, and transplant tomato, pepper and squash starts, if and when it’s warm enough.

In the kitchen
The cold weather is here, so I guess it’s time to talk about nice hearty soups again.

Clove-scented onion soup with Madeira and paprika
0.25 c unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lb. onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 c beef broth
3 Tbsp. golden raisins
1.5 tsp. paprika
0.5 tsp. ground mace
8 whole cloves
salt and pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
0.25 c dry Madeira wine
Cook onions in the butter and olive oil, stirring occasionally, 20 min. or until the onions are wilted and golden. Add broth, raisins, paprika, mace, and cloves. Bring to a boil; partially cover, and simmer 30 min. Season. Stir 1/4 c of the soup into the egg yolks. Add the yolk mixture to the pot and cook, stirring, for about 4 min or until slightly thickened. Stir in Madeira.
From: Adriana’s spice caravan / Adriana & Rochelle Zabarkes.

Healthy Oatmeal Soup
10 cups chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cup quick cooking oats (more or less, according to desired thickness)
Salt to taste
Boil chicken breasts, tomato, cumin, and coriander in chicken stock until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken meat from the bones and cut or tear into small pieces. Return meat to broth and stir in oats. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally for about 2 minutes. Boil for about 15 minutes.
Source unknown.

Crock Pot Barley Soup
1 lb. stew beef in 1/2″ cubes
1 med. onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3/4 c. barley
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
6 c. beef stock
Slow-cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
Source unknown.

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Newsletters: 6 Oct, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 6 Oct, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
There are two things I associate with October: the return of stew weather and, of course, Halloween. It’s a bit early for the latter but it just so happens that my favorite stew recipe was written with spookiness in mind. I’m going to share it with you anyway because it’s a perfectly good dish and you don’t have to tell people that’s supposed to be maggots in there. You can even leave them out if you want.

Maggot Stew
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
1 lb. stew beef in 1-inch chunks
2 cans (14.5 oz.) plain or Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1 can (10.5 oz.) beef broth
1 tsp. thyme (optional)
1 tsp. oregano
3-4 medium carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
3/4 cup orzo pasta
(optional ingredients: onions, potatoes, canned garbanzos)
Pour oil into stewpot on medium-low. Measure flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder into a plastic bag (Ziploc-type is easiest); drop in stew meat, close bag and shake until meat is well coated. Dump bag into stew pot and turn heat to medium. Brown meat, turning frequently, until it begins to look crusty. Add tomatoes, broth, thyme, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for an hour. Peel the carrots and cut into small “coins”; add carrots and beans to the pot and simmer another 45 minutes or until carrots are tender. Cook the orzo according to package directions. When just tender, drain in a colander and add to the stew pot. Do not stir in too much. Serve.
Adapted from: Gross grub / Cheryl Porter.

Here’s a simple, less… adventurous stew for the slow-cooker:

Apple Cider Stew
1-2 lbs. beef or venison stew meat
8 carrots, sliced thin
6 potatoes, sliced thin
2 apples, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tbsp. minced onion
2 c. apple cider
Place carrots, potatoes, and apples in crock pot. Add meat and sprinkle with salt, thyme, and onion. Pour cider over meat and cover. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Thicken gravy.
Source unknown.

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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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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
oatmeal
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: 31 Aug 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 31 Aug 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Carrots come in many colors: orange, yellow, red, purple, white, and black. Known scientifically as Daucus carota, they belong to the belong to the apiaceae or umbelliferous family, along with parsnips, parsley, dill, and cumin. The carrot is a biennial, and will flower in the second year if it doesn’t get eaten first.

Carrots are rich in copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus, vitamins B,C,D,E, and of course beta-carotene, which gives them that familiar orange color. The skin has the most nutrients, and a quick boil can make the nutrients, wherever they are, more available to the body. These are details, however — the best way to prepare any vegetable is, when it comes right down to it, the way you’re most likely to eat it. Carrots are good against cancer, eye trouble, heart disease, stroke, fat and age in general, and good for skin and teeth. Did you know the greens are edible? I think I’ve mentioned that before, but didn’t know that carrot greens are a good source of vitamin K, which the carrot root doesn’t provide.

It is actually posible to eat too many carrots, although most people can only accomplish it by drinking carrot juice. Carotenemia is the medical term for increased blood levels of the pigment carotene, and it can be recognized when the skin turns yellow or orange — it usually clears up in a few days if you lay off the carrots (do not confuse carotenemia with lycopenemia, which is caused by too many tomatoes and turns the skin red). Too much carotene can cause jaundice, a more serious problem, and too much vitamin A can damage the liver (note: polar bear liver is extremely high in vitamin A and can cause vitamin A poisoning, so arctic explorers are advised to avoid it).

In the kitchen
I love the smell of fennel, the beautiful delicate fronds… but once you get it home, then what? Here are some ideas from one of my old standby reference cookbooks, James Peterson’s Vegetables.

Grilled fennel
fennel bulbs, stalks removed
olive oil
Peel off any thick fibers from the outside of the bulb. If bulbs are thicker than 1.5 inches, split them down the middle; cut largest bulbs into 3-6 wedges. Toss with oil and grill 10-15 min. per side, until light brown.

Fennel mashed potatoes
1 bulb fennel
1.5 lb. potatoes, peeled and quartered
water
1/4 to 1/2 c milk (may use cooking liquid for some of this)
4-6 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Remove stalks from the fennel and cut the bulb in half; thinly slice. Bring potatoes and fennel to a boil in enough water to cover halfway; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 min. (well, check at 15 for local ones — ed.). Drain and mash the potatoes and fennel. Heat milk and melt the butter into it; add to potatoes and stir in. Season to taste and, if necessary, rewarm in the cooking pot.
Variation: if you have trouble with fennel lumps, cook it separately until very soft, puree in a blender and strain into the potatoes.

Italian-style cardoon and bean soup with garlic and fennel
1 small bulb fennel, stalks removed, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 c dried great northern, cannellini, or cranberry beans, soaked 3-5 hr. in warm water and drained
6 c broth or water, plus more as needed
1 bunch cardoons
4 med. tomatoes (or 24 oz. drained canned tomatoes) peeled, seeded, and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley or basil
grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat fennel, garlic, and onion in the oil. stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 10 min. Add beans and broth; simmer, partially covered, until beans are soft and not mealy when bitten, 1.5 hr. Remove and discard outer stalks of the cardoon; cut smaller stalks in half lengthwise and peel, then cut into 4-inch pieces. Gently simmer in 3 qt. water and a little lemon juice 15-20 min.; drain and slice into 1/4-inch pieces and freeze all but 2 c for later use. When the beans are cooked, add cardoons and tomatoes and simmer 5 min.; add water or broth to thin the soup if desired. Season; stir in parsley or basil and serve with Parmesan.

Cardoons, by the way, are related to the artichoke and thistle and can be a little hard to find. They grow well here but don’t usually show up in markets much (possibly because they can be a little aggressive. OK, invasive). I planted one in my front yard once, but my neighbor thought it was a giant thistle and very kindly cut it down for me. Sigh. I get the impression that celery might be a good substitute, perhaps with some adjustment of cooking times.

Thanks for your interest in our community and its market.

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Two recipes for two

Cauliflower Bisque with Brown Butter Croutons

1 c. whole milk
1 1/4 c. vegetable stock
approx. 1/2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/3 lb. (or a little over) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

garnish:
1 recipe Brown Butter Croutons (see below)
about 3 Tbsp. pomegranate seeds
chopped chives to taste

Combine milk, stock, cauliflower, potato, onion, garlic, and thyme in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer, partly covered, 18-20 min., until vegetables are very tender. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Add cream and pulse to combine. Adjust seasonings; serve topped with croutons, pomegranate seeds, and chives.

Brown Butter Croutons

1 1/2 tbsp. butter (preferably unsalted)
1 1/2 c. ciabatta bread, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until golden brown, 2-4 minutes. Add bread and cook, stirring often, until toasted, 10-12 minutes. Season.

Adapted from Country Living

————————————————————–

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

2 filet mignon steaks, about 4 oz each
black pepper to taste
salt to taste, optional
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

Generously pepper both sides of each steak; salt to taste. Place in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low; add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until done, basting with sauce when turning. Remove to warmed plates and top each steak with a tablespoon of glaze; serve immediately.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

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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.

Newsletters: 6 July, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 6 July, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Having had the great good fortune to break a toe (instead of ending up a horrible mess for someone to clean up), I’ve been researching some of the nutritional aspects of bone healing this week. Obligatory disclaimer: I’m a librarian, not a doctor, so use this information at your own discretion (personally, I approach doctors’ advice the same way, but I’m known to be a bit odd).

So, obviously it’s important to get plenty of calcium, and vitamin C isn’t too hard to guess, but I would have said protein was more for muscular healing. Seems it’s good for bones, too. Zinc is important, and up to six weeks of a tiny amount of copper is also recommended by some sources. Copper is a pro-oxidant, so it should only be taken carefully and when needed. Glucosamine is also a good idea, because where a bone has broken there’s likely to be some cartilage damage as well.

In the kitchen
While we’ve been watching anxiously for the more finicky vegetables to ripen, good ol’ broccoli has quietly come into season. Here are some quick and easy things to do with it.

Broccoli with sesame oil
8 oz whole broccoli, cut into florets, or 4 oz florets
2 t Oriental sesame oil
Steam broccoli ca. 7 min. Drain and sprinkle with sesame oil.
From: 20-minute menus / Marian Burros. 1st Fireside ed. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Pasta, broccoli, and pine nuts
3 qt water
1 c small shells or other small pasta (2 oz)
8 oz broccoli florets
4 T raisins or currants
3 T pine nuts
1 c plain low-fat yogurt
1 T rice vinegar
pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil and cook; 5 min. before it is done add broccoli. Combine raisins, pine nuts, yogurt, vinegar, pepper. When pasta and broccoli are done, drain and add to yogurt.
Also from: 20-minute menus / Marian Burros. 1st Fireside ed. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Broccoli soup
2 T vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
ca. 2 c broccoli stalks and leaves, peeled if tough and diced
13.75 oz chicken broth
pepper
1/4 t thyme, crumbled
Heat oil and saute the onion and garlic until tender, ca. 3 min. Add broccoli stalks and leaves and cook, stirring, 3 min. more. Add broth, pepper, thyme and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 25 min. Puree in batches in a blender and reheat.
From: Cooking for two today / Jean Hewitt, Marjorie Page Blanchard. Little, Brown, c1985.

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