Archive for August, 2010

Say Cheese

Dairy goodness from Jacobs Creamery, photo by Amy Nieto

This weekend brought one of the cheesiest events of the year: the American Cheese Society Competition Awards and Festival of Cheese, aka, Cheese-a-topia.  This annual event is a turophile’s dream which includes tastings, cheese making classes, guest speakers and a judging competition that is like the Oscars of Cheese for American cheesemakers. This year, the cheeses were judged on both technical and aesthetic merits by 30 distinguished judges, including Portland’s own Steve Jones of Cheese Bar.

Cheese-a-topia 2010 was held in Seattle, a fitting location given that the Pacific Northwest has become a hotbed for artisan cheesemakers over this past decade. Out of the 1,462 cheeses and cultured dairy products presented by 225 producers from 34 states, our Northwestern dairy queens and kings took home a whopping 42 awards for lactic excellence.

A big, cheesy congratulations to the three PFM vendors who represented in the winners’ circle! Lisa Jacobs of Jacob’s Creamery placed for her luscious creme fraiche. Nabbing three awards, including first place for their cheddar flavored with Morimoto Soba Ale, was the venerable Rogue Creamery. And taking home an impressive five awards was Willamette Valley Cheese Co., who wowed in several categories, including “original recipe sheep’s milk,” for which their Perrydale took home first prize.

Even if you don’t know your cheddar from your camembert from your castelmagno, please stop by the market to sample some of these award-winning cheeses–not to mention the dozens of other excellent cheeses available from our local artisans. Whether on a cracker, sprinkled over a salad, melted between two slices of bread or bubbling atop a pizza, these cheeses are simply delicious.  And you don’t need a panel of judges to tell you that.

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August 28, 2010 Chef in the Market Demonstration by:

Diana Stobo, Author, Get Naked Fast: A Guide to Stripping Away the Foods that Weigh you Down


Popeyes Passion 

Serves 1

This is an all-time favorite power-packed smoothie.  A muscle building plant protein, spinach also has high levels of calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, & E as well as antioxidants.


2 C fresh pressed apple juice

2 C fresh organic spinach

1 frozen banana



Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high for 30-40 seconds or until creamy.  Or until creamy.  Enjoy immediately!

Raspberry Applesauce


1 apple cored, peeled and chopped

1 pint raspberries

2 medjool dates


Process until smooth

Almond Milk

Serves 3-4

You’ll want this one in your fridge at all times; it’s perfect to enjoy as is or to use as a base for your smoothies. Almonds have the most protein of all the nuts.

Prepare a fresh batch every 3-4 days.


• 1 C almonds, soaked 12 hours

• 4 C purified water


  • Rinse and drain soaked almonds.
  • Place almonds and water in a high-speed blender and process on high until completely broken down.
  • Place nut milk bag into large pitcher or bowl, positioning so that the bag stays open.
  • Pour nut milk mixture into bag, allowing liquid to drain through to container.
  • Gently squeeze bag with hand to press all liquid through the mesh of the bag.

Note: The pulp may be discarded or frozen in an airtight container for later use in many inventive recipes.

Avo Gazpacho Mexicana


1 avocado

½ C fresh cilantro

½ C purified water

1 scallion, chopped

10-20 cherry tomatoes

½ C red pepper, diced (approx. ½ of pepper)

1 t jalapeno pepper (optional)

1 t cumin

1 T lemon juice, (or juice or 1 lemon)

½ t salt

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Last year my colleague, Mona Johnson, wrote an article explaining why eggs at Farmers Markets cost more than they do in the grocery store and explained that in some cases they cost more to produce and distribute them than the farmer gets for them. It was a sound piece of reasoning, delivered with direct, intelligent prose – just the type of thing we expect from Mona. As an added bonus, someone got all tricky with the Excel and gave us a pie chart so readers who like visual information could absorb facts too.

Mmmmmm Pie Chart

Actual Costs of a Carton of $7 Eggs

This isn’t one of those occasions where someone immutably explains how $1.99 is actually more expensive than $7.

7 bucks is 7 bucks and a dozen eggs from any of our Markets are going to cost you more than the store. Even in the wake of the massive recall call of 500 million eggs, there are other good reasons to get a dozen from the Farmers Market.

My confession, most eggs I buy come from the grocery store. Occasionally, I score a dozen  from a coworker whose father raises chickens. These  ‘below the radar eggs’, $3 a dozen, bypass Federal and State regulations and licenses, an option vendors at PFM don’t have. Mostly my premium eggs come from a farmers market, costing 2-4x more than grocery store brands, these eggs are worth the price.

Food has 2 major variables – the ability or the cook and the quality of the ingredient – the latter always trumps the former, good ingredients not only make good food; good ingredients make even a novice cook look like Alice Waters. For special occasion food, like a poached egg over sautéed chard and polenta or a vanilla embedded pastry cream that nests between blueberries and a tart, a good egg is hard to beat (not technically, they whisk fine, but you know, for flavor).

For these meals, I spring for eggs from Jacobs Dairy, whose hens feed on whey and possess a built-in creamy texture, or enjoy the Van Gogh golden yolks from Reister Farms, or buy a ½ dozen duck eggs from SuDan or closer to my home, I pop for a dozen of Wes Coulter’s Wag eggs from King Market….

You can pick up eggs from growers like Wag’s Wes Coulter at the King and PSU Markets (See Video in the below), Dancing Chicken sells eggs at 23rd and Shemanski. Reister and Raymond Kuenzi at Buckman. Greenville Farm sells eggs at 23rd. Jacobs is at every local Market in the Portland area, Persephone, Raynblest and others sell their eggs at various Markets. Treat yourself to something good.

In other exciting market news, Buckman Market’s Reister Farms has their wildly popular  lamb sausages again!  Fry them up with some sweet peppers from Denison Farms, sprinkle over some creamy chevre from Dee Creek Farm and you will eat quickly, and well.

Real Good Food will be making their monthly appearance at the NW 23rd Market. Real Good Food sells wonderful extra virgin olive oil that is just begging to be drizzled over fat, juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil from Groundwork Organics or Spring Hill Farm—dollop with creamy ricotta from Jacobs Creamery, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy!  For the main course, put some fresh albacore tuna from Stonewall Banks Seafood on the grill along with sweet corn from Winters Farm.

Also at NW 23rd, season sponsor COUNTRY Financial will be bringing a prize wheel. Stop by their booth and Spin to Win fun prizes.

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Wag v. Goliath

1000x smaller is 1000x better.

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If you found a big brown bag of garden zucchini on your doorstep, I didn’t do it.

Truth is, I’ve been hording all of my zucchini like Halloween candy, squirreling it away into the corners of my tiny, yellow kitchen. I didn’t even give any away to the friends who took care of my cats while I was on vacation. It’s horrible of me, I know.

I’ve been selfish. And it’s shameful. And since I’m on the honesty wagon I may as well tell you that if left to my own devices, I’d do it again. Because this time of year, I turn into a big, green, zucchini monster, shredding, grilling, and baking it away until the next batch rolls in.

And I love it.

If you haven’t yet read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you’re missing out. The book is a nonfiction narrative detailing what she calls, “a year of food life”, where she and her family make a promise to eat locally for one year. Kingsolver tells her story chronologically, from seed catalogues, to weeding, and ultimately to harvest. It’s somewhere around July when we first start to hear about the bounty of zucchini she has grown, and her family’s new habit of locking their front door to prevent “friendly” neighbors from stuffing their house with this prolific summer squash. If you’re a regular farmers market patron, I suspect you just might enjoy it.

Zucchini’s reputation for overabundance seems like an understatement when staring at squashes the size of a wine bottle. Where slugs got the better of many of my seedlings and starts this year, the zucchini persevered, growing huge green leaves and beautiful yellow trumpet flowers. When I picked my first one off the plant this year, and held it in my muddy hands I felt like a champion. Slugs: 99, Me:1. It didn’t matter, I grew this giant beast and by-golly I was going to eat it, all of it. And no better way to celebrate a victory than with cake: chocolate zucchini cake.

If you’re not sure what to do with all of that extra zucchini, here are some ideas for you. And if you’re feeling desperate and overwhelmed, before you leave that giant bag of zucchini on an unsuspecting neighbor’s doorstep, turn it into zucchini bread first. Maybe you can even share it together and celebrate late summer’s abundance. That’s what this is all about anyway, right?

5 Things To Do With Extra Zucchini, or, 5 Ways To Be a Good Neighbor

1. Chocolate Cake– Make this delicious chocolate zucchini cake from Epicurious. Chocolate, zucchini, and walnuts, you can’t really go wrong. This is the cake I made with the first zucchini from my garden this year. It was a delicious celebration.

2. Grilled Sandwiches and Kabobs– Marinate it and grill it up kabob style or in flat lengths for sandwiches. If you’re making grilled veggie sandwiches, use a fresh baguette, a bit of local goat cheese, and aged balsamic for decadence.

3. Soup- You can thank my aunt Joy for this, but she once told me that an old Italian trick to thicken up minestrone soup is the addition of diced zucchini. She says to dice it up and add it to cold water, then add the rest of the vegetables for your soup. The zucchini will break down and thicken that soup right up. I haven’t yet tried this myself, but one meal at her house and you won’t doubt any kitchen advice she deals out. No Ma’am.

4. Zucchini Pasta with Basil– Dice up fresh zucchini and sauté it in olive oil over medium heat.  Add a bit of salt, garlic, fresh herbs, and a squeeze of lemon. Cook until it breaks down a bit, and becomes caramel in color, about 15-20 minutes. Toss this mixture with your favorite pasta, fresh Parmesan, and torn basil leaves.

5. Zucchini Frittata- Shred zucchini and place it in a colander over the sink for about 10 minutes, letting the juices drain out the bottom. Using a clean kitchen towel, scoop up the shredded zucchini and give it a good squeeze to get out the remaining juices. Add this mix to a late summer frittata with rosemary, cippolini onions, and local goat cheese.

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August 21, 2010 Chef in the Market demonstration by: David Padberg, Park Kitchen

Two Ways with Watermelon Salad

A simple slice of watermelon is a refreshing part of many a summer dinner party or barbeque. Here are two simple ways to bring your watermelon into the meal instead of just having a wedge for dessert after a night of grilling.  To add another dimension, make pickles out of the watermelon rind!!

Watermelon, Feta Cheese and Olive Salad

A classic combination, the briny richness of feta and black olives with large cubes of watermelon is simple and delicious. You can add your favorite herb, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, and it is ready to eat!

Watermelon and Tomatoes

A salad of watermelon, heirloom tomatoes and flowers can be elegant and refreshing. You can make a quick and simple vinaigrette from fresh tomatoes in the blender. Put a tomato in the blender with ¼ cup of vinegar, 1 tbsp salt, then drizzle in ¾ cup vegetable oil.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Pickling the rind is best accomplished in several stages. The first stage is to brine the rind. Then you can make a syrup that will start to add depth of flavor. The final stage requires a gentle simmer in the syrup that will gently soften the cellulose of the rind without losing that firm texture. If you leave traces of the red flesh on the pickle, it will ferment, so trim it well. A complete recipe is on the second sheet.

Pickled Watermelon Rind

Watermelon rind                                   1        @

Sliced Lemon                                          1        @

Cinnamon                                                2       Sticks

Cardamom                                              4       Pods

Cloves                                                       2       Tsp

Allspice                                                     4       Berries

Ginger                                                       2″     Root

White Wine Vinegar                              2       C

Water                                                        2       C

Sugar                                                        4       C

Cut the watermelon rind into large squares and soak overnight in a brine of 2 qt water dissolved with 2 c salt.

Drain, cover the rinds with fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes to tenderize. Boil the spices, vinegar, and sugar with 2 cups water. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the rinds and macerate for 24 hours.

On the third day, simmer the rinds in the brine for 5 minutes, until translucent. allow to cool and cut into desired shapes.

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Last week was crazy with the heat – I’d love to tell you the high temperatures broke the internets and left me unable to publish a report but I just didn’t budget my time accordingly. Right now, there isn’t enough time to write about everything available at our 6 Markets.

Tomatoes, a subject we covered on the blog in an interview with Ripe author Arthur Allen. Tomatoes, are in fact ripe and ready, but that doesn’t do the subject justice – heirlooms, Early Girls, beefsteak, cherry, romas – yellow, red, pink, green on purpose cultivars: there is a color size and flavor profile for every tomato enthusiast alive. And then there are other 100s of other vegetables that are in the prime of their season.

I Should Look So Good

And Speaking of tomatoes, Friend of the Market, Katherine Deumling will be leading a tour of the Buckman Market Thursday the 26th before returning to her home a block away to make pizza. You can learn more about how you can cook with Katherine, the Human iphone App, by visiting her website.

Across the river at our 23 Market, there will be tomatoes, bread and fresh basil for tonight’s Panzanella. Or the same ingredients in a different configuration plus cheese is a grilled cheese good enough to make you weep. That and salad is a fine dinner. Or pesto, pesto that lives outside the box, or fruit, or wine, or 100s of other items you can grab on your way home from work between 3-7 on the corner of 23rd and Savier.

PSU hosted their summer graduation last week, the week before was the Iranian Festival and all season has been a constant juggle contending with construction issues. This week though, Portland State is at 100%, the fence is down and there are some slight changes. Added to the weekly roster – Lady Lane Farm and her/their fresh Jersey milk will be at PSU for the remainder of the season.

King is King. Sure it is the closest Market to my home and I get to sing ‘who are the people in my neighborhood’ every time I attend, but that isn’t why I go: Neighbors be damned, I go for the blueberries, peaches and Wag Eggs.

Pioneer Courthouse Square Market is 10-2 on Mondays. This week our other Friend of the Market, Country Financial will be handing out recipes at their booth – French Toast and blueberry compote, yeah when that is on the menu breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

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