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Archive for June, 2011

A Sweet and Savory Breakfast

Article by Elizabeth Miller

Always a fan of the multi-dish meal, I’ve long thought it most pleasing to eat sweets in the company of other, non-sweet foods, allowing the flavors and sensations of each dish to complement one another.  Since it is generally frowned upon to eat a slice of cake simultaneously with one’s dinner, I have found that it is best to reserve my sweet and savory combination meals for breakfast, a meal that has always seemed to almost inexplicably welcome pastry and cake consumption in the name of heralding the new day.

There is no shortage of places to find ingredients both savory and sweet at the farmers market.  In addition to the vendors selling absolutely gorgeous cookies, tarts, and pastries every week, right now there are tables and bins bursting with early summer strawberries, cherries, and blackberries.  Winter’s Farm was showcasing long beautiful stalks of rhubarb that were just calling out to be baked into something warm and tartly sweet.  While buying fresh eggs from Jacob’s Creamery and thinking about the options for the non-sweet component of my meal, I spotted a fellow farmers market shopper holding a massive bunch of spinach that was positively bursting out of its bag.  When I asked her where she got such a lovely bundle of greens, she practically clapped her hands in excitement as she directed me to the Thompson Farms stand, where there, to my delight, I found that I could purchase my very own oversized bag of spinach for a mere $1.

You don’t meet people that enthusiastic about their produce purchases as a grocery store, I tell you.  And at the grocery store, you rarely find the sort of inspiration that hits when perusing the wealth of options offered at the farmers market, which this week motivated me to create a breakfast that maintained a nice balance between healthy and indulgent, savory and sweet.  Bright and puckery rhubarb baked into a caramelized bread pudding is the perfect companion to a fresh and filling vegetable frittata, and, lucky for you, it’s breakfast time, so you can have your pudding can call it a good morning.

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Rhubarb Bread Pudding

1 baguette
1 pound rhubarb
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly butter a medium-sized baking dish and set aside.

Slice rhubarb into ½ inch chunks.  In a medium bowl, combine rhubarb, white sugar, and brown sugar.  Stir to combine, then set aside for 15 minutes to allow the rhubarb to macerate and release some of its juices.

Meantime, slice baguette into thick slices, then tear each slice into large bite-sized chunks.  You will need 5 cups total of bread chunks.  If you have any baguette remaining (as I did), set aside for another purpose.  Place bread chunks in pre-buttered baking dish.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine milk, eggs, vanilla, and pinch of salt.  Whisk vigorously until the eggs are entirely incorporated.  Pour milk mixture over bread chunks and allow to soak for 10 minutes, tipping the dish every few minutes and spooning excess liquid over the bread to make sure bread is completely soaked.

Evenly pour the rhubarb mixture over the soaked bread.  Being sure to include all the liquid released from the rhubarb.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until bread is puffed, the custard has been mostly absorbed, and the rhubarb has softened.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until a few edges of the exposed bread begin to turn golden and crisp.

Cool slightly before eating.  Serves 6-8 people.

Spinach and Potato Frittata

1 large bunch of spinach, washed and trimmed of any large stems
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced into thin chips
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large potato, roughly ¾ pound
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Boil the potato in its jacket until soft, about 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside to cool.

In a medium-sized pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat.  Add garlic chips and sauté, stirring constantly, until garlic has released its aroma and is just starting to look crisp around the edges, about 20-30 seconds.  Add spinach.  Toss to evenly coat spinach in garlic and oil, add salt, then cover.  The spinach will still be quite large at this point, so do not panic if you lid does not fit tightly over all the spinach at first.  As the spinach wilts, continue cooking for 5 minutes to release as much liquid as possible.  Then, uncover spinach and sauté for another 2 minutes to evaporate liquid.

Peel the potato and slice it into thin rounds.  Add the potato to the pan with the spinach, add pepper, and stir to combine.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat your oven’s broiler and set an oven rack at its second-highest level.

In a small bowl, beat eggs with milk.  In a medium-sized ovenproof pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat.  Add beaten eggs all at once.  Add spinach and potato mixture, placing the vegetables over the eggs as evenly as possible without stirring.  Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the edges of the eggs are dry and cooked, and the eggs have started to puff up a bit around the vegetables.

Place entire frittata, in pan, in the oven.  Cook under broiler for 1 minute, until eggs have puffed up quite a bit and the middle of the frittata is firm and does not jiggle when moved.

To serve frittata, loosen the edges of the frittata with a heat proof spatula.  Place a large plate over the top of the pan, then, wearing oven mitts, firmly grasp the plate over the pan, then turn the pan upside down and allow the frittata to release onto the plate.

Serves 4-6 people.

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Fresh Exchange matches the first $5 SNAP users spend at our King and Buckman Markets. This program provides access to fresh, local, healthy foods to Portland families. Not only to participants extend their food budgets but that money goes directly to PFM farmers. It would be a win-win, except I hate that phrase, so let’s call it a victory-triumph.

This Sunday, July 3 is the Build-a-Burger Fundraiser at King Market. 100% of proceeds go to Fresh Exchange thanks to generous donations from the Deck Family & Pine Mt. Ranch, Groundworks Organics, Grand Central Bakery, Unbound Pickling and Tim’s Cascade Chips.

If you don’t believe in altruism – $5 for a pastured beef burger is a better deal than you are going to enjoy anywhere, so go be selfish at King Market July 3rd. The Market is at NE 7th & Wygant and runs 10-2 – the burger portion goes 11-1.


PS – I’m actually a better cook than this, fire just gives me trouble.

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“Paper or Reusable”

Alder Gustafson & Winning Bag Design

Last week, snuck in with the food, the celebration, the dignitaries and all the rain, Friends of the Market, COUNTRY awarded $2000 in scholarships to local High School students who participated in COUNTRY’s bag design.

Wilson High Senior Alder Gustafson won first prize and hundreds of Market goers took home a reuseable Market tote with Alder’s design on it.

COUNTRY’s Carrie Corson added, “Even the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits. Take a look at all the fun we had at the inaugural bag design contest!”  Congrats to Alder Gustafson, a senior at Wilson High School who took home first place honors.  COUNTRY is giving away thousands of bags this summer with this awesome design.”

Congratulations to Alder and to everyone enjoying his bag.

 

 

 

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Anticipating Strawberries

Article by Leslie Gilman
After college, I decided to join the Peace Corps and was whisked away with twenty-some-odd other young idealists to a magical land called Georgia. (No, not the state.) This is the famed land of Jason and the Argonauts, a place known to locals as “God’s land” that is as abundant in fruits and vegetables as it is to towering mountains, sunflowered fields and roaring rivers. It’s part Hawaii and part Montana, and its lovely beyond words.Georgia on Her Mind
As I settled into my new home there and began to make friends, curious townspeople would invariably ask me questions about my hobbies and interests, and I always proudly announced that I liked to cook. So, of course they wanted me to cook them up something “American”. But I had a problem. First of all, what was “American” food? I couldn’t make Italian dishes because canned tomato sauce – or even tomato paste – wasn’t available. I couldn’t make Mexican dishes because they didn’t have that little yellow spice packet for which to make taco meat. They didn’t have cream of mushroom soup for my mom’s famous chicken dish, and they didn’t have the cans of pinto and black beans I needed for my favorite tortilla soup. They didn’t even have hamburger buns – or ketchup – for a good old fashioned barbeque. All they had was a market, in the center of town, open every day of the year, that sold seasonal, local, organic produce at ridiculously low prices. And I had no idea how to use it. 

Apparently, the American food that I knew how to “cook” required someone else (in a factory, far away) to do all the heavy lifting for me. They put the Alfredo sauce in the jar, and my job as the “cook” was to open that jar, heat it up, and dump it on some noodles – also premade. So, I wasn’t so much a cook as a jar opener. But now, being faced with the raw ingredients alone, I had to learn an ancient art that the people of most non-western societies had learned from childhood: how to cook good, healthful, simple food using time tested techniques. Hands were used for measuring, pinching, pulling, testing, knocking and kneading, and they held a vast amount of wisdom in them. There were no cookbooks – just a visceral knowledge of how to cook good – really, really good – food with what was available at the market on that particular day. The two years I spent there were a lesson not only in culture and fortitude, but also in fruits and vegetables, nuts and cheeses, flours and herbs. I had to learn how to use them by making daily use of the beloved market that was the heartbeat of our town, and I had to use what was available during each passing season.

Leslie with a Couple of Babuskas

And so slowly, my friends and colleagues began to teach me, as though I were a child, the very basics. “Bread dough feels like this – but dumpling dough feels like that.” I stuck my hand in and tried to come up with words to describe the difference, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t a cerebral exercise. When I got out my tattered notebook to write out the steps to their recipes, they would give me instructions like this: “Add enough water to the beans.” But how much was “enough?” I finally got out my ruler and determined that two inches above the beans was “enough,” which has been my rule of thumb since. To try to learn what they just felt and knew intrinsically – was a challenge that I’m still trying to overcome by figuring out how to cook with my eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hands instead of tuning out and dutifully following package instructions. Try it sometime. Listen to how a mushroom sounds when it’s sautéed over high heat, compared to an onion. They are vastly different.

In America, we have become so accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it. Which, at first glance, sounds amazing. But there is a great loss in not having to wait for something – like strawberries, for instance. Strawberries, all over the world, are a huge reason to celebrate. They are the first fruit of the summer season (no, rhubarb, you don’t count), the harbingers of all of the bounty that is to come. When they first show their cheery faces on a spring day, amidst all of the potatoes and onions and cabbage, its enough to make a girl cry. Eating seasonal produce grown at a local market brings an unexpected joy – the joy of anticipating the turn of each season and the food that comes with it. Each season is ushered in with a specific fruit or vegetable at its side, appearing in every recipe in one great big flurry, and then vanishing again until the following year.  Strawberries are eaten in juicy handfuls for dinner after a long, meat-laden winter. Figs, sitting with a friend behind a fence, juice dripping from your chin in the heat of August. A shiny gold persimmon is for the first day of school. And mandarins, sitting around a fire and throwing the peels in as you read a book. To eat watermelon in February, just because you can, is missing the point.

Each daily or weekly visit to your local farmers market is showing up to witness this miracle.

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All in the Name

Purely Delicious

By Laura Harrison

It seems that no matter how many times I go to the farmers market, I continue to be amazed by the diversity of vendors. The local company Pure Simple Juice, a new addition to the Northwest Market, is no exception as they offer a product different from anything I’ve seen this season. After visiting with the owners of the company last week, and trying their creations, I was pleasantly surprised by just how good a natural, nutrient-dense juice could taste. The experience has definitely motivated me to consider juicing myself, though I don’t know that I could replicate their perfectly concocted and delicious flavor combinations.

It was not only the tasty drinks that make me want to try juicing though. After speaking with one of the owners, registered dietician Dulcinea Ward, I learned about the health benefits of juicing raw products. She explained to me that there are 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one 16-ounce bottle of Pure Simple Juice, making the juices a great way to quickly consume lots of nutrients. After sampling the juice, I found it refreshing (and guilt reducing) to hear that something that tasted that delicious was also extremely good for me.

What I also realized about Pure Simple Juice was that the name makes for the best descriptor of the concept. The juices really are pure and simple. Dulcinea and her partner Daniel Childs utilize the best products straight from farmers, mix them in just the right quantities to create delicious flavors, and add very little else. The names of the juices are also pure and simple, since they are literally the names of the ingredients. When you pick up apple/strawberry/beet, there are no questions to be asked about what is in the juice.

Simply Adorable

Dulcinea explained to me the importance of being present at the market. As a new company, she finds it helpful to explain the concept to customers, and to talk to farmers about their products and find inspiration from seasonal produce. It’s only fitting that Pure Simple Juice is a market vendor, as the juices are a good way to showcase the best of the season. Duclinea and Daniel also mentioned that they are working on new methods of utilizing their produce scraps. I look forward to seeing what these two come up with (I heard something about fruit leathers and apple cider vinegar), because if the juices are any indication of their ideas, everything else will be equally as tasty.

Another unique aspect of Pure Simple Juice is that the company offers classes about juice cleanses as well as a service that provides everything necessary for a healthy and detoxifying cleanse. Even though I always knew the health benefits of juice cleanses, my love for solid food previously prevented me from trying one. Now with Pure Simple Juice around, it seems like it could be a much easier time.

For more information on Pure Simple Juice visit their booth at the  Northwest Market located at NW 19th Ave and NW Everett Street, Thursdays from 3pm – 7pm or visit www.puresimplejuice.com.

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What is Fresh Exchange?
Fresh Exchange matches food stamp dollars spent by SNAP participants—up to $5 per market per week—at our Buckman and King Markets.  The program allows these shoppers to double their power to buy healthy, fresh food for their families. In turn, those customers are using their purchases to support the local food system.  It’s a win-win.

The program is in partnership with Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and SE Uplift and is made possible through a tireless team of volunteers who seek and secure donations from local businesses and individuals.  Through their dedication and hard work, the Fresh Exchange team has helped to distribute more than $30,000 to neighbors in need.

How can I help?
You may click here to learn how to contribute directly to the Fresh Exchange program.  You can also use your forks to support Fresh Exchange through the upcoming fundraisers listed below.

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Lincoln Restaurant
Thursday June 30 from 5:30-9:00pm
3808 N Williams  |  503.288.6200
lincolnpdx.com

The delicious-and-community-minded Lincoln Restaurant will donate 10% of food sales to benefit Fresh Exchange. Stop by for the happy hour menu filled with special drinks and savory snacks or enjoy a dinner of fresh, seasonal fare. Lincoln Chef/Co-Owner Jenn Louis has been nominated each of the last two years for the James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Northwest, so great food is guaranteed!

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Burgerville on Hawthorne
Thursday July 7, August 4 and September 1 from 5:00-8:00pm
1122 SE Hawthorne Blvd  |  503.230.0479
burgerville.com

On the first Thursday of each month from July through September, Burgerville on SE Hawthorne will donate 10% of all sales generated from 5:00-8:00pm to Fresh Exchange. Order a burger and fries and a side of satisfaction from helping a family in need comes free.

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Build a Burger
Sunday July 3 from 11:00am-1:00pm
King Portland Farmers Market |  NE 7th & Wygant
portlandfarmersmarket.org

The Second Annual Build a Burger Fundraiser at our King Market feeds Portlanders in two ways: the suggested $5 donation for each quarter pound burger sold hot-off-the grill and piled high with market-fresh toppings will help feed a family in need. All burgers, buns and fixings are generously donated from market vendors and community partners, and all proceeds benefit the Fresh Exchange Northeast program.


Farm to Fork Dinner @ Wealth Underground Farm
Saturday July 16th from 4:00pm-sunset
Reserve tickets at farmtoforkevents.com

Fresh Exchange will be a beneficiary of this Farm to Fork dinner, which is designed to reconnect you to the source of your food, and to celebrate the talented farmers, food artisans, winemakers, and chefs who contribute to our vibrant local food scene. The menu, created by Chef David Padberg of Park Kitchen, features produce from Wealth Underground Farm, protein from Rainshadow El Rancho Rabbit and wines from Teutonic Wine Company.

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Franks a Lot
Thursday August 11 from 4-6pm
Buckman Portland Farmers Market |  SE Salmon & SE 20th
portlandfarmersmarket.org

Join us for the Franks a Lot Fundraiser at our Buckman Market, where you can load up a hot dog, sausage or veggie dog with condiments and your favorite market veggie toppings, while helping support families in need. All franks, buns and fixings are generously donated by market vendors and community partners, so each $5 donation will go directly to Fresh Exchange Southeast.

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Farm to Fork Dinner @ Square Peg Farm
Saturday August 20th from 4:00pm-sunset
Reserve tickets at farmtoforkevents.com

Fresh Exchange will be a beneficiary of this Farm to Fork dinner, which is designed to reconnect you to the source of your food, and to celebrate the talented farmers, food artisans, winemakers, and chefs who contribute to our vibrant local food scene. The menu, created by Chef David Padberg of Park Kitchen, features produce and protein from PFM vendor Square Peg Farm and wines from Big Table Farm.

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Scenes from a Farm to Fork dinner

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June is Market Month

Saturday’s weather did not match the festive mood at the Market’s 20th. Mayor Sam Adams braved the elements to proclaim June to be Farmers Market Month.

 

Farmers Market Month – June 2011

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