Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter market shopping

We have it pretty good here in the Pacific Northwest during the winter. Sure, we've had our frosty mornings and threats of "wintry mixes" and "arctic blasts" as the tv forecasters dramatize. But by and large we are in a very temperate climate. We aren't digging ourselves out of 16 inches of snow as I recently did in a visit to family in the northeast for the holidays. Only a handful us truly need those studded tires I hear crackling their way down our rainy streets. In fact, many farmers (especially those with greenhouses and row covers for their crops) are still able to produce an astonishing amount of fresh vegetables.

As the market decided to plunge into the darkness of winter with once-a-month stock up markets, we did so with a little uncertainty. We wanted to challenge the notion that farmers markets are just for the warmer, sunnier months when we can linger with a scoop of ice cream to listen to a live band and let our kids dig red-stained fingers into a pint of strawberries. There's no denying that that's a wonderful way to spend a weekend morning chatting with our neighbors. But there's something authentic and satisfying about picking through piles of local produce when it's rainy and cold and you can't wait to get home to chop up your vegetable stash into a bubbling soup and pour yourself just one last cup of steaming coffee. We hoped that a lot of you would feel the same way and we weren't disappointed.

Last month at our first ever Winter Stock Up Market, I saw a steady stream of customers shopping for leeks, potatoes, kale and other dark leafy greens, apples, bread and cheese and tasty salumi. It was bitterly cold, and there was less chit chat than usual as people efficiently filled their baskets and headed for home. The selection was smaller, but still high-quality and seasonal. I would call the day an unqualified success, for the market and for the community. It showed that we value our local farmers, not just for the diversity of products that they can provide in August, but also for the hearty items that can still be harvested in the cold of winter. The more demand we can create by shopping at winter markets, the more incentive there will be for farmers to plant crops that thrive at this time of year, and thus the greater variety and quantity you will see in the future.

So if you are supportive of having the option of buying direct from your local growers year round, come on down to the Montavilla Farmers Market this upcoming Sunday, January 9th from 11 am - 1 pm.

If you need visual encouragement, here are some photos from Paul Kluvers, a friend and regular volunteer at the market. Just ignore the grey skies and focus on the good food:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Stock-up Market

The December stock-up market is almost here and with two weeks left before Christmas it’s the perfect time to pick up some goodies for your holiday meals. Winter can be a tough time for farmers so we’re extra excited that they’re sharing the last of their crops with us. Did you know that the drop in temperatures at this time of year really helps to bring out the flavor of hearty greens and root vegetables? The colder weather will convert starch to sugar, making the flavors in these veggies really shine.

Here is what you can expect at the market this week. Although you should keep in mind that it’s always hard to predict what the farmers will actually harvest that day.

Farms & Orchards:

If it’s fruits and veggies you’re looking for than you’ll want to hit up Phil and Dianne at Pd Farms who will most likely have garlic, onions, potatoes, amazing shallots and perhaps even beef jerky. Derek from Frog Meadow always has biodynamic staples and curiously delicious culinary surprises at a working class price. Paul at Little Gnome Farm is bound to have sneaky little heirloom surprises that will delight the eye and the palette, grown in small scale and close to the earth. The folks at Kiyokawa Family Orchard will likely have beautiful apples and pears. We’re also hoping there will be more winter squash this month.


Nancy at Alsea Acres Alpines will feature a selection of handmade fresh chevres and feta. Terry and Laurie at Fairview Farm will feature aged raw and pasteurized goat cheeses and pork.


When it comes to grass fed beef, you’ll want to check out our friends at PD Farms. If it’s a nice piece of pork you desire then Fairview Farm is the place for you. Olympic Provisions will feature artisanal salami and other dry cured, smoked and fresh pork products created with local organic pork.


The following farms should have eggs this Sunday so fill up while you can; Little Gnome Farm, Pd Farms and Val's Veggies.

Bakers & Sweets:

Decadent Creations is whispered to have sweet Buche de Noel cakes and Gluten Free cheesecake plus much more. Jewelie at Sina Baking will be bringing the Brazilian cheese bread that is naturally gluten-free - look for hot samples too! Amanda at Scoop PDX will certainly have pints, quarts and scoops available in flavors like the uber popular salted caramel plus seasonals of egg nog, peppermint stick and pumpkin - as always, organic, small batch and local.

Ready to Eat:

Lisa at Thai Mama has the best eggrolls in town. Last week she surprised us with pumpkin curry, this week she should be bringing hot lemongrass tea. Yum!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck of Recipes

We each have our own cooking style that is as unique and personalized as our fingerprints. We have ingredients that we gravitate towards, others we shun and would never knowingly consume. Even the cookbooks, blogs and websites we frequent influence what we serve for dinner. Personally, I tend to prepare vegetarian, easy on the dairy, relatively uncomplicated recipes. So that's what ends up dominating my blogposts by default.

To celebrate the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be fun to create a virtual potluck of recipes from each of our board members and key volunteers to give you a better variety of dishes to inspire your shopping at the market this upcoming weekend. (November 21; 10 am - 2 pm - same place as always).

When I think of the things that I will give thanks for this year, one will definitely be an appreciation for the culinary tastes of my fellow MFM enthusiasts. Wow. You'd think we made people take a cooking test before allowing them to give their time to the market! There is not a single recipe on this list that I would not salivate over if it showed up at my dinner table.

So enjoy, fill your baskets, and give thanks that we have access to the food that we do each weekend at our lovely neighborhood market.

The MFM potluck lineup: (recipes below)
Curried Nuts
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
Vegan Rice Stuffing
Kale with Double Garlic
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Walnuts
Beet and Beet Green Risotto
Turnips Braised with Butter and Dates
Fried Marinated Winter Squash
Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom
Scalloped Celeriac and Potatoes
Brandied Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin-Orange Mascarpone Pie

Curried Nuts

offered by Luby Wind

1 pound whole nuts, (pecans, walnuts, peanuts or pumpkin seeds)

½ cup sweetener (Sugar, honey, maple syrup or a mix)

2 ½ tablespoons oil (corn or vegetable)

Seasoning Mix

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 325°.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add nuts and blanch to boiling water and bring back to a boil for 5 minutes. Drain blanched nuts. In a separate boil, mix together sugar, honey and oil.

While drained nuts are still hot, toss them in a large bowl with sugar/honey and oil mix. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Spread nuts on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 30 – 35 minutes turning every 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and toss with seasonings in a large, clean mixing bowl.

Spread on a single layer to cool, otherwise nuts will clump together.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook
offered by Nay Shayan

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
6 cups chicken broth, or slightly more as needed
salt and pepper to taste
6 to 8 teaspoons goat cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Add the sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup, in batches in a blender or food processor. Season to taste. The soup can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge. Reheat over a low flame. If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock.
Ladle into bowls and crumble goat cheese on top.

Vegan Rice Stuffing
offered by Kyle Curtis
Some years back I went to my first all-vegan Thanksgiving, and made the following vegan stuffing recipe. I liked it because it didn't rely on any pre-made stuffing mix.

A half loaf of bread
2 cups cooked rice
2 cups vegetable stock (for folks w/ no time, you can pick up packaged stock at any decent grocery store)
1/4 cup sage
1/4 cup poultry seasoning (which can be dropped or exchanged for other seasoning if you want to avoid any chicken flavor)
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 stalks celery, chopped fine, and celery leaves
1 cup button/field mushrooms, chopped
4 green onions, chopped

The night before your Thanksgiving feast, cook the rice and set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, tear the half loaf of bread into small chunks, about the size of croutons. I love to use whole grain bread, but you can use anything, even day-old leftover bread from dinner the night before.
Sprinkle the sage and poultry seasoning over the bread, and add the chopped celery, celery leaves (use them all!), and cooled rice. Mix well, and leave it to sit overnight.
On Thanksgiving day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, mix in the pine nuts, onions and mushrooms. Slowly mix 1 and 1/2 cups of vegetable stock into the stuffing, mixing well to evenly distribute the liquid.
Place the stuffing in an baking dish and drizzle the remaining vegetable stock over the top. Cover and bake for 2 hours.

Kale With Double Garlic
Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
offered by Laura Spidell

serves 4
1 pound kale (can also substitute collards, or broccoli raab), washed, and any thick stems cut away (save stems that are less than ¼ inch thick)
Olive oil (amount to your preference)
¼ cup thinly sliced garlic (about five or six cloves), plus 1 teaspoon or more minced garlic
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of broth (use any kind of broth or stock you have on hand, or water)

1. Chop up kale leaves and thin stems.
2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep saucepan (medium-high) and add
sliced garlic, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook for about a
3. Add the kale and the broth or water. Cover and cook over medium-
high for about three minutes, or until the greens are wilted and just
4. Uncover the kale and continue to cook, stirring, over medium-high
heat until the liquid has almost evaporated and the greens are quite
tender. Check seasonings and correct to your taste. Add the minced
garlic (substitute fresh grated ginger if you don’t want to add the
extra garlic) and cook for about a minute more. Serve topped with
toasted pine nuts or a squeeze of lemon juice

Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
From Art Smith’s Table Fifty-Two
offered by Nay Shayan

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for the pan
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted to top the biscuits
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup buttermilk

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat as well. You can also use a cake pan if you don’t have a cast iron skillet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With your fingers incorporate the butter and goat cheese until the flour resembles a coarse, pebbly mixture. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. With a fork, mix together the buttermilk and flour until all of the dry flour disappears.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan or in the microwave. Set aside.
Remove the cast iron from the oven and place one tablespoon of butter in it. Work the pat of butter around, greasing the entire pan, including the sides.
Spoon the batter, by the 1/4-cup into the hot skillet. The biscuits will touch when baked. Brush with melted butter.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until slightly golden in color. Remove from the oven. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Walnuts
offered by Beth Kluvers

serves 8
4 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into quarters lengthwise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sweet potatoes in a greased baking pan just large enough to hold potatoes in a single layer skin side up. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, remove from heat, and stir in salt, sugar, 1/4 cup water, and vanilla. Pour mixture over potatoes. Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour, or until very tender. Uncover, turn sweet potatoes skin side down, sprinkle with walnuts, and bake 5-7 more minutes, until caramel melts into potatoes and walnuts are toasted.

Beet and Beet Green Risotto
offered by Quinn Taylor

serves 4
1 small onion
1 pound red beets with greens (about 3 medium)
4 cups water
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio or long-grain rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish

Finely chop onion and trim stems close to tops of beets. Cut greens into 1/4-inch-wide slices and chop stems. Peel beets and cut into fine dice. In a small saucepan bring water to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook onion in butter over moderate heat until softened. Add beets and stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup simmering water and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue cooking at a strong simmer and adding water, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next. After 10 minutes, stir in greens and continue cooking and adding water, about 1/2 cup at a time, in same manner until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 8 minutes more. (There may be water left over.) Remove pan from heat and stir in Parmesan.
Serve risotto topped with horseradish.

Turnips Braised with Butter and Dates
offered by our market Resident Chef Kathryn Yeomans

The turnip is far from a poor, hapless vegetable provided you treat it with dignity. One unlikely but remarkable combination is common turnips and regal dates – opposites melding together each in an effort bring forth the others best qualities. The sugary candy-like fruit lures out the root’s pleasant flavor. Meanwhile, the earthy turnip grounds the rich sweetness of the date. The result is a luxurious serving of humble turnips…or is it an earthy dish of exalted dates? Either way, they are a wonderful accompaniment to roasts, such as turkey.

serves 4
1 bunch of small white turnips (alternatively, use 2 medium or 1 large white turnip
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1 Medjool date for each small turnip or 6-10 dates if using larger turnips
salt and freshly ground pepper

Trim the turnips, removing their leaves and roots. Save the leaves to use as a vegetable. If using the larger turnips or if the smaller turnips have thick skins, peel them. Slice the turnips into ½ inch thick rounds.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a skillet large enough to accommodate the turnips no more than 2 slices deep. Add the turnip rounds and toss in the butter to coat. Season with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Put a lid on the skillet, and cook, turning now and again, until the turnips are about halfway done.
Remove the lid and add the dates. Carefully turn the turnips and dates and check the amount of moisture in the skillet. The turnips should release a fair amount of liquid, but this will evaporate as the turnips cook. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if needed to keep the turnips from sticking.
Return the lid to the pan and cook the turnips and dates together until the turnips are done (when easily pierced with a fork - soft, but not mushy). Some of the dates will fall apart into the turnips, some will remain whole. Check the seasonings. Serve hot.

Fried Marinated Winter Squash
offered by our market Resident Chef Kathryn Yeomans

This preparation seems to accentuate the meatiness of winter squash. It is a wonderful and unique side vegetable, and a welcome addition to a vegetarian menu. Fried marinated squash makes a fine antipasto – try it dotted with creamy goat cheese, or add freshly shelled walnut meats to the onions as they cook.
The onions alone are a recipe worth mentioning. I use these sweet and sour onions to marinate a number of vegetables - fried zucchini or eggplant rounds, cooked, still warm beans and steamed broccoli (pitted black olives are a nice addition to the broccoli and onions).

2 ½ pound winter squash, such as butternut, or pumpkin, peeled, halved and seeded
kosher salt for salting squash
olive oil for frying
¾ Tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 ¼ Tsp. granulated sugar
5 Tbsp. mild white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
6 sprigs fresh, aromatic mint plus additional mint leaves for garnish

Cut the squash into ¼ inch thick slices. The slices must be small enough so that you can fry and turn them easily, but not so small that they don’t stand up to the frying. A guide to the size would be 2 inch by 3 inch by ¼ inch thick. If using a butternut squash, do not halve the long neck, rather slice it into rounds.
Place the sliced squash in a large bowl and sprinkle with coarse salt. Toss the squash to coat it with salt and let the slices stand several minutes. Blot the moisture that forms on the surface of the slices with paper towels, but don’t press down on the squash. When you are finished frying the squash, season it with the ¾ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the squash in batches (in a single layer – do not crowd) and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain the fried squash on paper towels.
Reduce the heat to medium. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions to the skillet. Sprinkle with sugar and cook until the onions are soft and golden brown, stirring frequently (about 15 minutes). Add the vinegar and 1/3 cup of water. Increase the heat to high and cook the mixture, stirring up any browned bits, until the liquid is reduced by half.
Arrange the fried, seasoned squash on a platter. Pour the onions over the top. Sprinkle with torn mint leaves. Cover and refrigerate. This recipe can be prepared to this point up to 1 day in advance. Let the squash come up to room temperature before serving. Garnish with additional fresh mint and serve.

Roasted Turnips with Maple and Cardamom
offered by Luby Wind

Serves 8
3-1/2 lb. purple-top turnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice (10 cups)
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro (or a mix of parsley and mint)

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F. Line two large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets with foil. In a mixing bowl, combine the turnips, oil, and 11/2 tsp. salt. Toss to coat well. Divide the turnips between the two pans and spread evenly in one layer. Roast for 20 minutes. With a large spatula, flip the turnips. Swap the pans’ positions and roast until tender and nicely browned on a few sides, 15 to 20 minutes. (The turnips on the lower rack may be done sooner than those on the upper rack.)
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and red pepper flakes, and then the coriander and cardamom, until the sauce is heated, 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the turnips to a large mixing bowl. Gently reheat the sauce, if necessary, and stir in the lemon juice. With a heatproof spatula, toss the sauce with the turnips. Add half of the cilantro and salt to taste and toss again. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

make ahead tips:
This dish can be made a day ahead. To reheat, put the dressed turnips (without the cilantro) in a large nonstick skillet and cover with a lid. Heat gently over medium-low heat until warmed through,stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt just before serving.

Scalloped Celeriac and Potatoes
offered by Rowan Steele

Serves 6
butter for greasing the baking dish
1 pound celeriac, peeled, halved, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere or domestic Swiss cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter.
2) Place the celeriac and potatoes in alternating layers in the baking dish, seasoning every few layers with salt and pepper. At about the halfway point, add 1/3 cup cheese in an even layer; sprinkle with the thyme. Continue with the celeriac and potatoes until you have used all of your slices (don't go all the way to the top edge; leave a little room to allow the liquid to boil).
3) Pour the stock over the celeriac and potatoes. Dot with butter. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 cup cheese over the top layer, add several grindings of fresh pepper, and bake until the cheese turns golden (about 15 minutes).
4) Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
5) Optional: what we always do is press about a bulb or two of garlic (preferably a porcelain variety, like Music or Zemo) on top to melt into the cheese. But, we do that with about everything.

Brandied Cranberries
published in Sunset Nov 2008
offered by Gretchan Jackson

12 oz. cranberries, fresh or thawed frozen
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 - 1/2 c. brandy, to taste
2 T finely shredded orange zest

Preheat oven to 325.
Mix ingredients in an 8-9" square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 - 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasinally.
Make ahead up to one week.
The cranberries shine like beautiful jewels, look amazing on the plate and won't be passed up by anyone at your feast!

Pumpkin-Orange Mascarpone Pie
from Sunset Magazine
offered by Kyle Curtis

2 cups finely crushed gingersnap crumbs (about 32 gingersnaps)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin purée (15 oz.) - or make your own from fresh market pumpkins
2 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crème fraîche

1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a 10-in. pie pan, stir together gingersnap crumbs with melted butter and press into a crust. Bake until set, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
2. Increase heat to 350°. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Add pumpkin, 1 tsp. orange liqueur, citrus zests, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth.
3. Pour filling into crust and bake until edges are firm but center still jiggles a bit, 45 to 50 minutes (bake any extra filling in ramekins). Cool to room temperature, then chill at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
4. When ready to serve, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. orange liqueur in a large bowl until soft peaks form. (Optional: Serve pie with orange whipped cream.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Broccoli with Couscous and Walnuts

I made this dish last night for dinner with the intention of it being a side dish for something else. What that something else was going to be was a little hazy. But this recipe, adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian ended up being my main dish. I figured it was pretty well balanced - pasta, vegetable, protein in the form of nuts and a sprinkle of cheese. It's one of those dishes that do well hot and fresh out of the pan, but also the next day as a chilled side dish with lunch. And since I don't know how I would make do without leftovers to get me through the week, that is an important selling point for me. The original recipe (also equally tasty) calls for cauliflower and almonds and a dusting of smoked paprika or pimenton.

Couscous with Broccoli and Walnuts
Makes 4 servings
Time: About 20 minutes

1/2 cup almonds 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot or small red onion, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped (about 3 cups or more if you like lots of veggies)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole wheat or regular couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, water, or a combination
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Freshly grated parmesan (optional)
1. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium high heat. Or use a toaster oven on a low setting. The nuts will begin to smell fragrant, but not burned. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.
2. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to color, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is coated with the oil and starts to soften and turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the couscous and keep stirring until it too is coated with oil and begins to toast, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat off. Let rest, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Chop the almonds as finely as you can. Add them along with the parsley and fluff gently with a fork. Return the lid and again let the couscous rest for another minute or two, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with grated cheese if you like, or let cool and serve at room temperature, up to an hour or so later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower with Currants and Parsley

I had all the best intentions in the world while making tonight's dinner. I realized I hadn't posted a recipe in a week and a half. I had some cauliflower in the refrigerator. Some fresh parsley still thriving in the garden with the bursts of moist warm air we've had in the past few weeks. I was going to get out the camera and take some pictures of artfully piled stacks of florets speckled with bright flecks of green and a few wise little currants peeking out from beneath. It was going to be a wonderful photograph.

I roasted the cauliflower in olive oil at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, added some salt and pepper and a splash of a vinaigrette of equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stuck it back in the oven for another 15 minutes, then pulled it out of the oven. Threw in a handful of currants and another handful of parsley. Mixed it up. Tasted a floret to make sure it was seasoned well. And then just keep eating. There was something oddly wonderful about the warm oil mixed with the tangy vinegar that was ridiculous. And then it was gone, without evidence to show you how good it looked.

So take my word for it and try it yourself. If you don't care for cauliflower, I can see this method being equally good on slices of delicata squash or beets or other root vegetables that roast well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vinegared Beets w/ Greens

I don't think I really cared for beets when I was growing up. I attribute this to the food packaging industry and the fact that they came canned more often than fresh. Lined up next to the rows of mushy grey-green peas and creamed corn that looked more like baby food than an honest to goodness vegetable. And lets not even venture into frozen lima beans and brussel sprouts. Talk about giving vegetables a dreary reputation.
But in my adulthood, I have come to love, love, love them and the way they stain my hands red like food coloring. I have a friend that uses the beet juice to stain natural linen into gorgeous rusty reds that look like pinot noir.
Beets freshly steamed - I can't get enough of them. They have an earthy sweetness that needs very little assistance. I rarely do anything more with them than add olive oil and salt and pepper and eat them diced as a snack. If I can restrain myself I'll save them for a salad with goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Recently, I tried this recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - a preparation that doesn't really even need a recipe it's so simple. I made it last week, and then went back to the market to buy another enormous bunch to do the same again. Four large beets is enough for me to stretch into to four side dish sized helpings.

1. Trim the greens from the top of the beets, leaving a stubble of stems on the beet root. Trim the root "tail". Through the whole beet in a steamer basket over simmering water. Steam for 30 minutes or until you can slip a knife into the beet easily.
2. Let the beets cool until you can handle them. Slip the skins off the beets. They come off easily with the edge of a butter knife lightly scraped across the surface.
3. Chop up the beets, toss with olive oil or butter, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
4. If you like the beet greens too, steam those separately, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.
5. Eat warm or chilled as you prefer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gluten Free Crepe Recipes

If you had a chance to watch the chef demo at this past weekend's market, you probably wanted to rush right home and whip up a batch. Crepes are so versatile there is a version for any time of day - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Savory or sweet. Fruit, chocolate, ham and cheese, butternut squash puree with nutmeg and a dollop of creme fraiche on top - I can go on and on. Thanks to the kind folk at Gluten Free Neighborhood, even those who have had to strike all things all purpose flour based from their diets can enjoy these tasty treats. So give it a go and let me know how it turns out and what flavor combinations you make. Bon Appetit.

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 cup All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (apgff). I suggest Bob's Red Mill.
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter, melted, plus 2 or 3 tsps butter for coating the pan.

Flour suggestion: Sift the flour and then get the measurement and do not pack the flour down into a cup.

Blender Method:
Blend eggs, milk, water, flour, salt and 2 tbs melted butter until smooth.

By Hand:
Separately, sift the flour and add salt. Whisk eggs until blended. Mix the milk and water into the eggs and whisk this mixture into the flour and salt; stir in the 2 Tbs melted butter.

For Both:
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two, preferably 24 hours.
Gently stir batter if it has separated. The consistency should be like heavy cream.
Heat a seasoned crêpe pan over medium-high heat until hot. 6"-7" pan or 9"-10" pan.
Coat pan lightly with butter, lift the pan from the heat and pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons batter for the 6"-7" and ¼ cup for 9"-10", tilting and rotating the pan with the batter to coat the surface of the pan. Cook until almost dry on top and lightly browned on the edges (usually about 1 minute).

Loosen the edges with a spatula or bamboo skewer and/or your fingers. Flip the crêpe over and cook the other side for about 15 seconds or until lightly browned.
Turn crêpe onto towel or plate to cool.
Repeat with the remaining batter, wiping the pan with butter as needed. You can stack the crêpes using waxed paper after they are cooled.

Variations 1: These recipes REPLACE the 1 cup flour with:
Buckwheat Galettes (Galette is the French term for buckwheat Crêpes)
2/3 cup apgff and 2/3 cup buckwheat flour.

Corn Flour Crêpes
2/3 c apgff and 2/3 corn flour.

Cornstarch Crêpes
1 cup cornstarch and add ½ tsp baking soda.

Garbanzo Flour Crêpes
2/3 cup apgff and 2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour

Chestnut-Garbanzo Flour Crêpes
2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour and ½ cup chestnut flour

Chestnut Flour Crêpes
2/3 cup apgff and ½ cup chestnut flour

Variations 2: These recipes ADD additional ingredients.

Herb Crêpes
Add ½ cup minced fresh chives, basil or flat leaf parsley to the batter while blending
For pale green mixed herbed Crêpes, add ½ cup minced fresh chives,
green onion tops, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, marjoram and basil.

Sun-Dried Tomato Crêpes
Add ¼ cup minced, oil packed sun-dried tomatoes to the batter while blending.