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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Feta and Apricots

I think cabbage gets a bum wrap. Perhaps because it's often overcooked to a smelly, shapeless heap. Maybe because of ridiculous, misbegotten diets that tell you to eat nothing but flavorless cabbage soup three times a day. Or because it is an over-goopy, mayonnaise-y mess on the side of fast food fried chicken places.

I would like to be an advocate for cabbage. It keeps nearly forever in the refrigerator. It's great as a crunchy addition to tacos, tuna salad or lightly dressed with a vinaigrette cole slaw. Or it can be cooked in something like this adaptable salad that combines sweet, salt and sour in a perfect blend. Try playing around with the ingredients - switch the golden raisins for currants or apricots like I did. And any soft, salty cheese would pair well - feta or goat cheese were recommended, but I could also see a queso fresco working just as well. Perfect for the end of the week when the supplies are getting low and it's time to start assembling shopping lists for the market this weekend.

Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Feta and Apricots
adapted from The Complete Tassajara Cookbook

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (pine nuts would also be good)
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced (I used a regular yellow onion)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 pound head of red cabbage or radicchio, quartered and cut into thin ribbons
2 ounces golden raisins (or other plump, chopped dried fruit - I used apricots)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 ounces feta, crumbled (goat cheese also recommended as an alternative)
Roast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle on the sugar, and a couple pinches of salt. Stir until the sugar melts and coats the seeds. Transfer the seeds immediately to a plate so they don't stick to the pan. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion for a minutes or two with a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the garlic, and the cabbage, and a few more pinches of salt. Stir and cook for just a minute or so, or until the cabbage softens up just a touch. Then stir in most of the raisins and the vinegar. The cabbage will continue to get more and more tender even after you remove it from the heat, so keep that in mind, and do your best to avoid overcooking it - where it collapses entirely.

Fold in half of the feta, most of the sunflower seeds, then taste. Season with more salt if needed. Serve garnished with the remaining raisins, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds

Serves 4 to 6.

Guest post: Gulten Free Crepes

From the Gluten Free Neighborhood, our guest chef demo this upcoming weekend at the market, where folks meet at the corner of good health and appetizing cuisine.

Crepes 3 ways
and they are gluten free

Kathy Dee Zasloff, founder of the Gluten Free Neighborhood, will demonstrate how to make savory crepes that are scrumptious and happen to be gluten free.
She will demonstrate the use of 3 different batters: all purpose gluten free flour as well as garbanzo and buckwheat flours. Crepes can be frozen and reheated, made fresh and eaten warm, and take just a few minutes to prepare. Serve as main course or dessert, crepes are a versatile culinary staple for gluten free and gluten eaters alike. Recipes provided at the demo.
Where: Montivilla Farmers Market – Portland, OR
When: Sunday, October 17th, 2010 – 10:30 to 11:30am

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Everybody Eats" at Thanksgiving at the MFM

As the economy continues to suffer, 1 in 5 Oregonians are now receiving food stamps. The Montavilla Farmers Market believes that everybody has the right to eat fresh, healthy, local produce and is turning to its devoted customer base to see that more low income neighbors can shop at the market this holiday season.

During the month of October, the Montavilla Farmers Market will begin accepting donations to their new “Everybody Eats” program to ensure that families experiencing food insecurity have access to the best quality, locally grown food. Customers using their debit cards at the market to pay for tokens for their regular weekly shopping can easily add five, ten or fifty dollars (or more!) to their purchase to help other families that might not otherwise be able to shop at the farmers market. Those tokens will go directly to families in need who can then use them to shop for fresh produce, cheese and meat from market vendors for their holiday meal. The first weekend alone with only word of mouth publicity, $155 has been raised.

The market will match the first $500 of donations and will work with St. Vincent de Paul to identify families within the community to receive the market tokens. St Vincent de Paul manages special works programs including a prepared and perishable food recovery program, a food bank and providing emergency food.

Donations will be accepted by cash, check or credit/debit card at the market, or by mail to: Montavilla Farmers Market
P. O. BOX 16238
Portland, OR 97292
Please note “For: Everybody Eats”

The Montavilla Farmers Market’s mission is to create a vital, high quality market that promotes our local farms, producers and artisans in a community-centered gathering place. The market takes place 10 am – 2 pm every Sunday from June through October, plus the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the 7600 block of SE Stark. For the first time ever, the market will also be holding Winter Stock-Up Markets the second Sundays of the month in December-February from 11am - 1 pm at the same location.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chanterelles - a beautiful thing indeed

It's official. I am hooked on mushroom foraging. Today I went out into the woods somewhere west of Portland (a good forager never reveals the exact location of their cache) with a couple of friends for my first ever chanterelle hunt. I've wanted to do this for years but didn't know where to go and didn't know what signs to look for to unearth the fungal treasure. The forest as a lot of surface area to cover and without some success throughout the afternoon, it can quickly become discouraging. But when you do find's like being 5 years old opening presents at Christmas.

The benefits to an afternoon spent mushroom foraging - 1 pound, 2 ounces of fresh chanterelle mushrooms for dinner. The drawback - I could tell you very little about the beauty of the forest we walked through or how far we walked. Head down, eyes scanning left and right, looking for a gleam of orangey-yellow pushing up through the pine needles and moss. Time passes. Just one more rise of the hill to search, maybe there will be the motherlode.

Chanterelles must be foraged from the forest because they do not take to cultivation and are very particular about where they grow. Chanterelles reappear in the same spot of the forest from year to year so it is important when harvesting to bring a knife to cut the mushroom off at the base, leaving the ground undisturbed where the mycelium grow. The underside of the mushroom is what makes the chanterelle particularly distinctive and easy to identify. Delicately ruffled gills running down the entire length of the stem.

Chanterelles have a meaty flavor and every resource I've sought out recommends starting with a simple preparation to fully enjoy and isolate the mushroom flavor. Sauteed in butter or olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and maybe a splash of cream at the end.