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Archive for November, 2011

A More Perfect Reunion Market

SE Portland is home to PFM’s Buckman Market, right off Hawthorne at 20th & Salmon. The Market disappears in the late fall, only to reunite the week of Thanksgiving – it’s inevitable, cyclical and reassuring, like geese and north this time of year. Besides the seasonal beauty and seasonal harmony of the Market’s reappearance, it’s also the last chance to buy local goodies for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Question: Are you hosting or guesting, because both take skill? Being a good guests sometimes means deciphering your hosts inventions. If your host requested, “Don’t bring anything”, you can still bring a nice bouquet from C+K Flower Garden. Or if they vaguely implied you could maybe, possibly bring something to drink, you can pick a bottle/case/whatever up from Twist Wine or Arcane Cellars. There is something less hard from Pure Simple Nourishment.

incredible morels at the portland market

Mushrooms

If you are bringing a proscribed sidedish or hosting others, there is still a chance to pick up local ingredients without experiencing the madhouse that is a grocery store 48 hours before Thanksgiving. Winters Farms has mashable potatoes, Oak Villa Farm has eggs and never underestimate the power of good eggs, good cream and hearty stock. Tamiyasu Orchards, Eagle Organic Cranberries, apples and pears from Kiyokawa Orchards, a little of everything from Gathering Together Farm, Gee Creek Farm and mushrooms from Springwater Farm.

Olympic Provisions, Chop and Dee Creek are going to hook you up with meat and cheese. Tastebud, Petunia’s Pies and Pastries and Queen of Hearts Baking Company will load you up with your baked goods.

If you need to stretch the Thanksgiving budget, our Fresh Exchange match is available today for SNAP recipients.

The Market is 1-5pm, rain or shine (ha!). Rain or Rain and Wind. Make a list or be inspired, we’ll see you there.

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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Turkey

There are two Markets remaining before Thanksgiving – Saturday’s PSU Market between 9-2 and Tuesday’s Buckman Reunion Market on SE 20th & Salmon that runs between 1-5.

Both Markets are full of Thanksgiving goodness. We’ll post more on the reunion Market early next week, but this Saturday at PSU…

Cranberries from Vincent and Eagle Organics. Wild Rice at Freddy Guys, Cascadia Chestnuts has, wait for it, chestnuts. Chenin from Twist is recommending her Shy Chenin Syrah Rose to pair with turkey. Wandering Angus has cider, it’s like appley prosecco and  a great way to start the meal or sip with dessert.

Saturday, Pine Mt. has 2/3rds of a turduken for your meal – heritage Turkeys and Muscovy Ducks available – arrive early for best selection.

It’s Lisa Jacobs’ (Jacobs Creamery) birthday this week. Celebrate with some of her new aged cheeses (that’s new as in a new product and aged like cheddar and Jarlsburg; not new-agey as in woo-woo) or load up on eggs, butter worthy of holiday mashed potatoes or pick some of her fromage blanc with cranberries.

Herbs, bread, sausage, onions, potatoes, root vegetables, Springwater has wild mushrooms. Kiyokawa has apples and pears. Chop has pate, and if not Jacobs, there will be dozens of cheeses to choose from.

Lady Lane Farm will have fresh cream…

And speaking of pumpkin pie, I know this is antithetical to both Duct Tape/DIY ethos of Portland and to the fresh/local ascetic of our Markets, but I like my pumpkin out of a can. For holiday pie I could either go to New Seasons and plunk down a buck-fifty on a can of organic pumpkin or for 7 times the expense and 1,000 times the effort of opening a can, I could buy, transport, wash, roast, scrape, compost, food mill, and then and only then can I start to bake a pie – a pie that will ultimately be a little stringier than I want. However, if you disagree or just want to channel your inner Martha Stewart, there’ll be plenty of sugar pumpkins for pie and plenty of squashes – a vegetable that is mighty helpful in feeding your vegetarian/vegan guests.

If pumpkin from a can is too much; sweets from Lauretta Jean’s, Suzanne’s Chocolaterie, Two Tarts Bakery or Divine Pie are real good and will save oven space next Thursday.

Dave’s Killer Bread is bringing a toaster to toast Dave’s new Killer Bagels called Good Seed Halos. This week they will top the halos with Organic Valley Cream Cheese.

Dress warm, wear waterproof shoes and shop local. See you at 9.

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Squash-cation

Squash of Many Colors

Winter Squash are easily my most favorite produce this time of year, yet my affection is tinted with a bit of jealously: Squash are better traveled than I am. They don’t have little passports, but from their native home in Meso-America, the cucurbita have moved across the world and won over local populations wherever their seeds have sprouted. Although I much rather be boarding a plane for adventure (and sunny locales), I can, less excitingly, travel the world from the comfort of my kitchen with a few pounds of squash.

Our fellow contributor Elizabeth Miller went and got all Italian on a butternut with her gnocchi. I chose a different route, going with pasta. Every fall I make and freeze about 100 plump, crescent-shaped Agnolotti. There are about as many ways to make this ravioli as there are cooks, so I tend to worry less about keeping it “authentic” and focus on flavor. Filling the Agnolotti with baked pumpkin and/or acorn squash, ricotta, salt and pepper. If what goes in the ravioli is often disputed, how they are served is downright contentious: Brown butter, caramelized shallots and sage? Arugula and garlic cream sauce? Olive oil and breadcrumbs? Or simmered then topped with crumbled blue cheese – like Rogue’s Oregonzola or Jacobs Creamery’s brand new blue cheese. My answer is yes. The great thing about making so many agnolotti at once is I am always 10 minutes away from a fairly elegant dinner, no matter how I sauce them.

Squash lends itself so well to soups and stews, it shouldn’t be all that shocking that Winter Squash tastes so good in Thai Red Curry, yet it’s a pleasant surprise every time I make it – the heat of the peppers, the sweetness of coconut milk and texture of squash all play off each other offering a taste that is both immediate and lingering. There are moments a spoonful curry in front of me, happy flavors bouncing around in my mouth that makes me wonder if the Meso-American natives peppers and squash had to travel half way around the globe to be truly realized.

I might feel that way for a week until I combine dried pinto beans with dried peppers and cook slowly before adding baked squash and tomatoes at the end. One bite of this finished stew, especially when served with corn tortillas and tomatillo salsa and I am pretty certain Triple Alliance (Read Aztec) farmers were probably onto this combination seven centuries ago.

As you take your next trip around the Market, you’ll spot the recognizable pumpkin, and will notice the familiar acorn and butternut squashes along with dozens of lesser varieties like the orange and blue hued Kuri, the yellow spaghetti squash, the inviting delicata, the curiously shaped and tasty Turban – go ahead and take one home. The great thing about cooking is you can explore whole new worlds with a single ingredient.

A Hard Day's Work

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The enJoys of Roasted Chicken

Article by Leslie Gilman

 

Around this time last year, my son and I were enjoying our weekly sojourn to the Saturday market, feet shuffling in a sea of red fallen leaves and lost in our own reverie of roasting coffee and apple pyramids, when a voice called out to me. A man with a cap pulled low over his brow stood in a sea of blue coolers, each labeled with a different type of dead, frozen wild animal. He asked if I’d be interested in trying some. I looked up and smiled, “Oh, thanks anyhow – but I’m a vegetarian.” “Oh, well alright. And your son,” he asked, gesturing to the happily kicking toddler strapped to my back, “Is he a vegetarian too?” I stopped. Well, no – he wasn’t. Should he be? I had been conflicted about the issue since he was born. A self-educated food conspiracist with an entire bookshelf dedicated to unveiling the evils of modern food technology, for years I had grappled with Turkey versus Tofurky, finally siding with the veggies. But I always wondered if I were mistaken. First, the books were so contradictory in their claims – as soon as I got my head around the idea that any processed food was “bad”, the gals in Skinny Bitch were doing cartwheels over soy cheese (it melts!). And now, the venerable Michael Pollan was making me feel like eating locally and naturally raised meat was okay, even if I hadn’t taken the plunge myself. So while I was cautiously pouring my son little cups of organic whole Jersey milk (milked just this morning!), I couldn’t quite put away the volumes of literature I had read touting vegetarianism, veganism, even raw food-ism, wondering if I were doing the right thing.

The man I was speaking to introduced himself as Alan Rosseau of Pine Mountain Ranch. Meeting my skeptical eyes with confidence, he told me about how essential animal fats are to both a growing child and a breastfeeding mother. It wasn’t really a hard sell: even as a vegetarian, I had serious doubts that something as divine as bacon could really be bad. And I already poured heavy cream on most everything. Alan introduced me to the works of Nina Planck, the farmer’s market pioneer, mother of three children and author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why, who praised the wonders of butter with such fervor that I had to stop reading and lather some on bread before continuing. After Nina’s book, I introduced myself to a few others and decided that I had been a goon all of these years to eat anything but really fresh, local foods, smothered in delicious fat. And before I knew it, I was walking home with a whole chicken tucked under my arm.

My Husband the Carnivore howled with glee when he opened the front door one day and walked into a house with a chicken roasting in the oven. And while that chicken was pretty amazing, it certainly had more to do with the quality of the bird than my culinary prowess. I was still a bit hesitant about preparing the bird and dealt with it like it was an alien that had just landed on my countertop. I’ve relaxed a bit since then and have come to see meat as a rare treat that I buy for my family on a special occasion or when cold weather tells me that our family needs a little more oomph in our bellies than our normal fare of soups, pastas and risottos can provide. I buy high quality meat and pay more for it, so I prepare it slowly, consciously, carefully, and I make every last morsel work for me. Since then, whenever I’m feeling particularly celebratory and want to prepare something special, I march myself down to Pine Mountain Ranch and buy me another bird. And while doing so, I have discovered some wonderful secrets about cooking them:

  1. When you get home from the market, take it out of the bag and into a baking dish, and salt and pepper it thoroughly (inside and out – yep, gotta get over that whole “cavity” concept), and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours or so before cooking it.
  2. Before you cook it, salt and pepper it again, tie its wingtips under, and bake at 400° for an hour-ish, turning the bird over every 20 minutes. (To test for doneness, stick a meat thermometer in a meaty area – it should reach 165°)
  3. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so when you take it out of the oven, before slicing into it.
  4. After you and your loved ones eat what you can the first night, pick off every last morsel and put it in the refrigerator. Now put the remaining bony carcass in a huge pot, cover with water, add celery, onions, carrots, peppercorn, parsley, salt and pepper, etc and cook until the broth is a rich golden color and strain. (A few hours)
  5. The next day – use that broth and the left over chicken to make the World’s BEST Chicken Soup. Saute onions and garlic, then add celery and carrots – potatoes if you wish – and then dump the broth in, along with your favorite herbs and spices. When everything is heated through and the flavors have melded together nicely, add the cooked chicken and some cooked noodles.

 

DISCLAIMER: I think that this two day feast of roasted chicken followed by homemade chicken noodle soup is the stuff dreams are made of – but then again, I’m a recovering vegetarian. Feel free to add your own knowledge of bird cookin’ in the comments area below.

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Mash/Mush

For all the talk about Thanksgiving turkey, everyone knows the day is all about the side dishes: Pies, cranberries, stuffing and mashed potatoes. That latter is the subject of the video below –  It’s 75 seconds and it will make you smile, so enjoy.

Three Markets left before Thanksgiving – Two at PSU and the Reunion Market at Buckman, Nov 22, 1-5pm.

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Say Yes to Gnocchi

Article and Photo by Elizabeth Miller

As a former vegetarian, I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for non-meat eaters during the holiday season. I remember what it was like to be told that, though the turkey may have been off limits to me, the gravy was just fine, only to then find out that the gravy, though not bursting with chunks of turkey meat, had most definitely been made with turkey drippings. The stuffing was flavored with chicken stock. The Brussels sprouts were sautéed with bacon. The chocolate pie was made with gelatin. It was enough to make a vegetarian sit down and cry into her solitary bowl of mashed potatoes.

But the lot I suffered was certainly not the saddest. My friends who were vegans were cut off from nearly every single Thanksgiving and Christmas dish you could imagine, what with the preponderance of butter, milk, and meat stretching as far as the eye could see. I had a friend who once ate a Thanksgiving dinner that consisted of nothing but salad and bread, a meal that I would never think to sneeze at on a regular day, but on Thanksgiving? I think everyone deserves more than that, no matter what your diet happens to shun.

It was with this thought in mind that I decided to focus my most current farmers market shopping in a different direction. Rather than adhere to my regular challenge of coming up with a delicious, wholesome, hearty meal for $10 or under, this time I would simplify things and instead use one single vegetable as an inspiration for a Thanksgiving dish that would be friendly to vegetarians and vegans alike.

Straight away, I found inspiration in the half dozen vendors who were showcasing pile after pile of that glorious autumn favorite, butternut squash. My mind immediately began to buzz with several different ideas for the squash, but by the time I got home, I knew

From Small Things, big things come

what I was going to do. At first I was picturing a huge pile of bright, saffron-colored gnocchi made with the flesh of butternut squash, rather than the standard method of making gnocchi using mashed up potatoes. As I began to prepare the ingredients for the gnocchi, I came up with the idea to drench it in a heavenly and nutty-tasting sauce of brown butter and sage. But then, realizing that a brown butter sauce would not be vegan, I changed my mind and began to contemplate a topping of caramelized shallots and thyme. Quite on a roll at this point, I then wondered if I should instead showcase more vegetables with the dish, and again changed my mind about what should go on top of the gnocchi. It was then, locked deep inside a trance of Thanksgiving anticipation, that I made what might be the greatest decision of my adult life: I would make all three sauces, and I would eat them all.

And I did. But not before changing my mind one last time about one final thing. Though the standard method of preparing gnocchi calls for boiling the tiny little dumplings until they become lightly puffed and floaty, I thought it would be worth a taste to instead brown some of the gnocchi in olive oil and see how they turned out. Now, my gnocchi samples demolished, my tummy as round and firm as a ripe summer melon, I am here to tell you that, boiled or browned, vegetarian or vegan, there is no bad way to eat this gnocchi. Delightfully hearty and deliciously filling, you can prepare this gnocchi one way or three ways, and the only thing you’ll miss out on is the desire to satiate yourself with your Thanksgiving tablemates’ turkey.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

1 medium butternut squash

½ teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper

large pinch of nutmeg

3 ½ to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Poke deep holes in squash in several places. Microwave squash on high for 12-15 minutes, until the squash’s skin is soft and gives easily when poked gently with a fork. Cool squash slightly before cutting in half and scooping out and discarding seeds. If you cut open your squash and find that it is still very hard in places, scrape out the seeds, scrape out the soft parts and reserve, then place the squash, cut-side-down, on a plate and continue to microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the flesh is soft.

Scrape out enough flesh to amass 2 cups. If you have any remaining squash, refrigerate and save for another use. In a large bowl, place squash and mash thoroughly with a fork or a potato masher. To the mashed squash, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 3 ½ cups of flour. Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, mix the dough together until it is uniformly incorporated and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be soft and somewhat sticky. If your dough is unreasonable sticky, add another tablespoon of flour and continue to mix, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough reaches a workable consistency.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Using well-floured hands, knead the dough a dozen times until it begins to become smooth and pliable. Divide dough in half, keeping one half on the work surface and placing the other half back in the bowl. Knead the dough on your work surface a few more times, then cut it in half and reserve one piece to the side.

Using your hands, roll the divided dough piece into a long rope about ¾ inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Gently roll the tines of a well-floured fork over each piece of gnocchi, lightly imprinting each one with tiny little ridges. Set formed gnocchi aside on a well-floured baking sheet or large platter. Continue shaping the remainder of the gnocchi in this manner, generously re-flouring your work surface as necessary.

Makes roughly 1 ¾ pounds of gnocchi.

The following recipes will utilize the entirely of the completed gnocchi, with the batch being divided roughly into thirds.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

Burre, it's Cold

9 ounces butternut squash gnocchi

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves cut into thin slices

salt and pepper

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add gnocchi, stirring at first to make sure the gnocchi do not stick together. Gently boil gnocchi for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to rise to the surface of the water. When the gnocchi have risen, boil another minute, then drain and set aside.

In a small pan or skillet, melt butter over medium low heat. The butter will melt, then foam, then sizzle and begin to form tiny little brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook butter, stirring frequently and moving the brown bits around the pan, until it is dark golden brown and nutty-smelling, about 4 minutes for a batch of butter this small. Immediately remove butter from the pan. Turn the heat down to low and, in the same pan, add the sliced sage. Saute sage, stirring frequently, until it releases its aroma, about 30 seconds. Add sage to browned butter and stir.

In a large bowl, combine cooked gnocchi and sage brown butter sauce. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Caramelized Shallots and Thyme

9 ounces butternut squash gnocchi

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

No Caption Necessary

4 medium shallots, sliced into thin ribs

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat. Add shallots and, stirring frequently, cook until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat if the shallots start to brown too fast and turn crispy. When the shallots have caramelized, add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove shallot and thy mixture from pan and set aside.

Wipe out pan with a paper towel. Over medium heat, heat olive oil until almost shimmering. Add gnocchi to pan and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Toss and turn gnocchi in pan so it can brown on a second side, which should take another 2-3 minutes.

On a large plate or in a large bowl, combine shallot mixture and gnocchi and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Garlic Chips and Sauteed Spinach

9 ounces butternut squash gnocchi

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 large cloves of garlic, sliced into thin chips

3 cups fresh spinach leaves

salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add garlic chips. Cook garlic chips stirring frequently, until they just begin to turn golden. Add spinach and stir to combine. Saute spinach until wilted, but still bright, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove garlic and spinach mixture from pan and set aside.

Wipe out pan with a paper towel. Over medium heat, heat olive oil until almost shimmering. Add gnocchi to pan and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Toss and turn gnocchi in pan so it can brown on a second side, which should take another 2-3 minutes.

On a large plate or in a large bowl, combine garlic and spinach mixture with gnocchi and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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The Soup that Keeps On Giving

Article and Photo by Jane Pellicciotto

My mother, a self-proclaimed non-cook, proudly tells me on the phone almost every Thanksgiving that she’s making my pumpkin soup—a recipe that’s been passed up rather than down. We don’t get together at holidays as often as we used to. My small nuclear family prefers thousands of miles between us and we’ve matured to the point where we realize it isn’t a crisis—indeed it can be boon to one’s sanity—if we don’t congregate at every holiday. This way, I can also avoid a gravy crisis when my brother, in his manic efforts to clean as he cooks, discards my turkey pan juices, thereby robbing me of using my fat separator.

I’ve tried to get my mother to graduate from canned pumpkin, imposing on her my desire to fully embrace the pumpkin in its original form, or at least a cousin like butternut or delicata. But she lives in Peoria. The last I checked, they only grow GMO corn, which you also cannot embrace in original form.

Sometimes we make the soup in tandem, each from our own kitchens. Other times, she’s on her own as I’ve set my sights on a dish that adds a splash of much-needed color next to otherwise predominantly off-white dishes.

Once, when I was traveling to Peoria, my mother said, “If I host the dinner here (rather than at my aunt’s), you have to help me cook. And I want you to make the pumpkin soup.” Which really means me cooking, not us cooking.

I liked nothing better, of course. But I’d be arriving too late to help shop. So I gave her a list, on which was leeks, which are sautéed in butter till soft before adding the pumpkin. But when I arrived, there were no leeks. “Why did you buy fennel?” I asked.

“Aren’t those leeks?” shrieked my mother, who was more worried than I was, imagining the soup was a no-go if we

Awww

lacked one ingredient.

There must have been a misplaced fennel bulb in the leek section at the grocery store. My mother didn’t know better and neither did the cashier who asked my mother what it was. “Leeks,” said my mother. I told her she made out like a bandit, fennel being more the expensive vegetable.

“No problem, we’ll use it as a palate cleanser after the meal.” She looked confused so I reminded her that my grandmother (on the Italian side) used to put out a dish of chopped fennel bulb, common in southern Italy instead of dessert, along with other vegetables like carrots or celery. Still, she insisted on going out again to get leeks. (Hint: onions will do.) I am only adamant that she not skip the lime-sour cream drizzle on top.

Now, the soup has become more hers than mine. But the first time I made it, it was bland. I added curry powder and everyone loved it. Now I start with carrot, celery and onion instead of just leeks, which boosts the flavor.

The second time, I was standing in my teeny kitchen in Maryland. Cutting boards and bowls teetered on the radiator and on top of the trashcan. As I peeled the butternut squash, NPR was doing a delightful show with famous chefs pretending to ring a doorbell, enter a house and announce their favorite Thanksgiving recipe. Jacques Pepin arrived with, you guessed it, pumpkin soup. Synchronicity! His soup contained crabmeat however.

So I shut off the stove, ran downstairs, hopped over the back fence and grabbed a container of Maryland blue crab meat from the Safeway behind my apartment. Unfortunately, everyone loved it. This modification set a bad standard, as crabmeat was terribly expensive.

Modifications have included the occasional parsnip. I also add a potato or two—a tip from a chef for a creamier soup. I’ve created an Asian-inspired version with fresh ginger, cumin and coconut milk.

And you’re not stuck with pumpkin. There are all sorts of squashes (squash?) to choose from. Some are blue, some are pink, some have big warts, some are blue and have big warts, some are green and white striped. Ask a vendor to suggest the best squash for your recipe.

So this year, make soup. Even with all that food on the holiday table, a touch of soup ignites the palate. And don’t forget to pass the recipe down, up or sideways, especially to your mother.

……………

Jane Pellicciotto is an occasional contributor to this blog, a cabbage worm wrangler and avid cook. She helps positive-change businesses thrive at Allegro Design and writes about the intersection of business, transformation and well-being at EnoughGood.

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