Archive for June 2009
Ivy Manning‘s fabulous farmers-market friendly recipes keep tempting me! This French stew adapted from Chef Pascal Sauton of Portland’s Carafe (which I have yet to try) also called for several ingredients we needed to get rid of: frozen lamb stew meat, beef broth, and we already had the tomato paste, the white wine and the herbs on hand.
Granted it’s not spring anymore, but baby carrots and cute little baby turnips (I used both white and pink ones) are still in season at the market. Had to go non-local with the white pearl onions –something I’ve never purchased before — but they were sweet when caramelized in brown butter. And of course, this tangy stew tasted even better the second day.
Thankfully cherries have come full into season just before we quit town. We’re having our fill. Instead of a lemonade stand, a little boy down the street sells Bing cherries, $1 a pint, from the family’s backyard trees. What a steal. I’ve bought six pints worth.
What a sweet yet firm flesh the Bing’s have.
I’ve also had delicious first-to-ripen French Burlats here, which taste like Bings but have much more fragile flesh.
So what to make for dessert with such luscious, fleeting fruit? Luckily, my review copy of Rustic Fruit Desserts arrived just in time. If you, like me, always order fruit over chocolate at the end of a meal, this book is for you. Better yet, it’s written by Portlanders Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. Looking forward to having them on the radio show to discuss the book.
Immediately, their Rhubarb and Bing Cherry Brown Betty appealed to me for its simplicity. Spring rhubarb and summer cherries to bridge the seasons. I took a shortcut by using store-bought Lorna Doone Shortbread for the topping but feel free to make your own. And Grand Marinier was a fine substitute for kirsch or brandy. Nor did I butter my pan, but since it was silicone nothing stuck.
Here’s the recipe (from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, June 2009):
Baking Time: 45 minutes/ Serves 8 to 12
2 tableslespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan
1 pound vanilla bean shortbread, crushed (approximately 18 cookies, or 4 cups crushed)
1 cup (7 ounches) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 6 cups or 1 1/2 pounds prepped)
2 cups (12 ounces) Bing cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted (can substitute any other sweet cherry variety)
2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 3-quart bakign dish.
Rub the sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, then add the rhubarb and cherries and toss to combine. Stir in the liquor, then let sit for 15 minutes t draw some of the juices from the rhubarb and cherries.
Evenly spread half of the crushed cookies in the prepared pan, then add the rhubarb mixture and all of its juices and gently spread it over the crumbs. Top with the remaining crushed cookies.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and, using the back of a large offset spatula or something similar, gently press down on the betty to ensure the rhubarb mixture is submerged in its juices. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Test the rhubarb with a paring knife to ensure that it is soft. Cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with a dollop or Chantilly, whipped or ice cream.
Storage: This betty is best served the day it is made, but any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature 2 to 3 days.
There’s nothing like fresh, early summer beets. Choose beets with vibrant green tops that sweeten when sauteed with garlic and olive oil. And when beets are fresh, a simple presentation as best. I recommend roasting them.
Make a aluminum foil packet for your beets and some whole cloves of garlic, enclose it and roast them at 400 degrees for 45-90 minutes, depending on the beet size. The red stalks between the root and greens are also sweet when roasted (but careful they burn and char easily). Meanwhile, clean and sautee your vivid beet greens. When the beets can be easily pierced with a fork, they’re done. Run them under cold water and slip off their skins. Mash the roasted garlic and whisk it with balsamic vinegar and honey to taste. Pour that dressing over your sliced beets and seve them on top of the greens. Top the beets with a sharp, soft cheese: chevre, a creamy blue cheese or feta work best. Garnish with dill or a bit of mint. Improvise, as I did, adding minced ginger the other day.
The mild, almost cottage cheese-like Israeli feta we tried on beets the other day was a winning accent. Have you tried it?
So dig into your beets. And once you do, just remember: no, that isn’t blood in your stool.
Be sure to spring for some fresh shelled peas before it is too late! I grabbed some from Gathering Together Farm last week to make my favorite tangy “Chilled Fresh Pea Soup.” It’s a great recipe that says goodbye to spring. For a lighter touch, I substituted yogurt for the heavy cream. And I topped the soup with those purple pansies growing like weeds up through the cracks in the patio and throughout the garden.
I tried my hand at growing peas this year but got them in the ground a tad too late. Mid-to-late February seems ideal here. I also mixed up snow pea and shelling pea varieties. They must have cross-pollinated, or something, because I got some strange hybrid looking pods. But they still taste good. I folded a few of the peas into fresh wonton wrappers I needed to get rid up tonight. I also love them raw. And I feel like there’s a recipe from James Beard’s Delights and Prejudices — maybe creamed peas and potatoes? –that I wanted to try. Speaking of Beard, check out the great, albeit brief, OPB documentary of his life: A Cuisine of Our Own. It’s also a larger culinary history of Oregon. What riches there are here.
I finally found a savory rhubarb recipe I like. It’s a sweet and sour chutney adapted from Gathering Together Farm here in Philomath. It was the perfect accompaniment for the local Carleton Farms boneless pork chops I had in the freezer. Or use it in place of mango chutney.
Here’s the receipe developed by GTF’s acclaimed chef, JC Mersmann, a charcuterie enthusiast who worked at Chez Panisse. In place of the orange zest, I used fresh kumquats snagged at Trader Joe’s and substituted dried apricots for currants. I wonder how this chutney would do canned?
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 1/2 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb (from 1 3/4 lbs. rhubarb)
3/4 cup dried currants
4 green onions, chopped
Stir first six ingredients in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Add rhubarb, currants and green onions; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, about 4 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate chutney until cold, at least 1 hour. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Bring to room temperature before serving.
My latest KBOO food show is up. Click here to stream. My co-host Miriam Widman and I attended a special screening of Food, Inc. the night before the show to prepare. I really recommend it, though the documentary tries to cover a dizzying array of topics in 90-some minutes. Now I’m brain dead from that and my last day of food preservation class today. Here’s the press release we sent out for the show:
The season of bounty (ripe strawberries, shelling peas, cherries) is upon us. But you may lose your appetite after seeing Food, Inc., the new documentary that exposes how industrial agriculture has tainted our food supply. You’ll never care to eat Smithfield pork, Tyson chicken or transgenic high-fructose corn syrup again! All the more reason to grow and preserve your own food. And with the Pacific Northwest’s abundance of berries, now is the time to jam.
- An interview with Elise Pearlstein, producer of the new documentary Food, Inc.
- The “Jamming for the Hungry” program, where Corvallis and Philomath volunteers turn gleaned fruit into low-sugar jams and jellies for local food banks.
- An interview with local cookbook author Linda Ziedrich, on tips and recipes from her newly published The Joys of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves.
- Canning jams and fruits with the Oregon State University Extension Service’s master food preserver program.
Just the kind of meal my boy likes: fall-off-the-bone meat and smokey sausage, stewed in a tomatoey, peppery, oniony broth and plated on top of creamy risotto. You too should make this down-home “Chicken Bog with Middlins Risotto.” Sure, this slow-roasted dish heats up the kitchen and its stick-to-your-ribs consistency feels more wintery. But if you make it with local ingredients, it will feel springy and seasonal. I used a small local chicken purchased from Julia’s My Pharm stand at the Corvallis Farmers Market. For the fresh tomatoes, I substituted ones recently canned in my master food preserver class. But I had no luck finding rice grits at my food co-op, so arborio, heaven forbid, had to do. This is a lazy Sunday, read a book while you stand and stir the pot kind of recipe. But the resulting smokey, tangy stew will enchant you. Here’s a video on how to cook the risotto for the recipe. And read the accompanying article about career changer farmers near Atlanta forging a path blazed by Virginia’s own Joel Salatin.