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Archive for August, 2012

As Concise As I Can Be

This post will not keep you from making the most of Summer’s last weekend.

Grill, salt, eat, repeat

Big News – No Pioneer Square Market on Labor Day.

PSU, King, and Kenton (Friday, 3-7) are all queued up and ready to bring you the fresh, local foods you need to make your holiday weekend a little more special. Grill something. Pack fruit, melon, tomatoes as big as your head and as flavorful as any you’ve ever tasted and head to the beach.

With so much local foods, it’s hard to keep up, but our blog is trying: We recently posted this article from Kathryn Yeomans on how to make better school lunches. Nutritionist Debra Meadow wrote about beet salad, our own Trudy posted on how to cook for lunch for a week. Next week, we’ll have cake ideas from Elizabeth Miller (buy that zucchini with confidence that you’ll have a recipe for it next week). And if you are thinking, “maybe a nice dinner is in order once the wee ones are settled into school”, you can learn more about the feast that is Feast here.

BTW – Our PCS Market is taking Labor Day off. Enjoy the weekend.

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By Chef Kathryn Yeomans, The Farmer’s Feast

Once again, the season is upon us parents wherein we face the conundrum – what will go into the school lunch box?

School lunches can be fresh, healthy and fun! Photo by Amanda Frankel

Let’s start with the facts. It has to be healthy. It has to be filling. It has to be eaten (no point in going through all the trouble if it’s not accepted). And just as important, at least as far as kids are concerned, it has to be fun. Whew. That’s a lot to live up to, especially after a long day of work, football practice, ballet class, chess club, play dates, homework, and homemade dinner.

Believe me, I’m a big fan of tried & true lunchbox standbys – a pb&j fits all of the above criteria, plus it’s a no-brainer. Slap it together – done. But a few weeks into the school year, even peanut butter & jelly aficionados will tire of the same ol’ sandwich day after day.

Luckily, for Farmers Market shoppers there are plenty of options! Many market finds are ready-to-eat. Fresh fruits & vegetables gleam brightly from every nook & cranny of the market. Slices of red, yellow, purple, & green bell peppers are sweet & crisp, and perfect for little fingers to grasp and dip into humus, guacamole, or salad dressing. Fresh nectarines & pears can be accompanied by vanilla yogurt dip, lemon curd, or nut butter. Meat jerky, pepperoni sticks, and wedges of cheese travel nicely with a crusty roll or package of crackers.  Nuts & dried fruits are easy treats, and a honey stick or bit of honey comb makes for a fun dessert.

Let your kids help pick out items they like at the farmers market. Photo by Lisa Teso

Next time you take your tike to market, explore the options together. Go on a snack scavenger hunt. Many vendors have samples that you can try together. Let your child tell you what they like, and open up a discussion about healthy choices for lunches & snacks. Kids will appreciate being a part of the selection process, and you will have the comfort of knowing that they will want to eat what you’re tucking into their lunch boxes.

Need additional fresh, seasonal inspiration? Mealtime Makeover is a free cooking class held at the Buckman Farmers Market. Join us Thursday, September 6th from 4-6 p.m. for more ideas, recipes, demos and samples. We invite you to bring along the kids – there will be tasty snacks to sample & coloring sheets for them to work on while you watch the demo. The focus will be geared toward the wee ones, but the dishes will be adult-friendly as well (adults & kids all eat the same foods at our house). You’re bound to pick up an idea or two for your brown bag office lunch!

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5 Questions About Feast

Feast! We’ve seen the logo, heard talk of it and now that it’s less than a month away, it’s time to get serious about the festival. Between September 20-23, the whole world will be arriving in Portland to celebrate the bounty of Food City U.S.A. (That’s right Portland is to Food as Nashville is to music). Chefs, Authors and Cookbookers Duff Goldman, Mark Bittman, Gabrielle Hamilton, Amanda Freitag, Nancy Silverman and other foodarazzi will be joining locals chefs and food artisans, including PFM’s Sarah Hart from Alma Chocolates and Eric Finley of Chop along with PFM alumni Cheryl Wakerhauser (Pix) and Rodney Muirhead (Podnahs) for good food all the while talking about what to eat next.

The events range from seeing Mark Bittman (NY Times/Cooking Channel) speak about the Future of Food at the Schnitz (Tickets start at $15; Thanks Literary Arts!) to full-on dinner series that will leave participants talking about these meals for years to come, all featuring the bounty and talent of Portland. The full schedule can be seen here and you can check for the availability of tickets here.

Feast founders Carrie Welch and Mike Thelin took a few minutes from organizing the first annual Feast (they’ll be back next year) to talk about what makes Portland special, where they developed their taste buds and which small part of Portland’s food scene they would show to our out of town guests.

Question 1

With people coming in from all over the country to cook with local talent and local ingredients, is our secret as N. America’s premiere food destination out of the bag?

Mike: I wouldn’t say the secret is out as much as the reputation for Portland and great food is growing and continues to grow—and the timing is great. Right now the entire nation happens to be obsessed with food, and that’s the thing that Portland does best—both by virtue of its natural bounty, and the fact that there are many talented people here growing and making food and drink. Food is a conversation between nature and culture, and Feast Portland aims to celebrate that. It’s our opportunity to play host.

Carrie: The secret is out of the bag, but in a great way. The world is discovering how amazing the food, drink, ingredients, and creativity around all of the above is in Portland and our city is on the map. Feast Portland aims to make Portland the center of the food universe for one weekend each year and bring in chef collaborators to elevate and expand it all for a few days and have fun around food.

Question 2

Where are you from, how is the Portland Food different from where you grew up?

Mike: I grew up in rural Oregon picking berries and fishing. We had a next door neighbor from Korea who taught my mother to make kim chi, and a family friend from Syria who shared her recipes for stuffed grape leaves, tabouli, and lamb. Nature provided the goods, the social circle the know-how. Portland, like all great food cities, are the same on a bigger level. We have amazing products, and lots of talented people with different ideas about how to prepare them. Our food is a reflection of us.

Carrie: I’m from Connecticut, an East Coast girl at heart. I grew up with parents who owned their own business, worked out of our house and a mom who put a full dinner on the family table almost every night. There was only one farmers market and you had to seek it out, but my mom always did and as kids we ate our wheat germ on our cereal in the morning but were allowed Entemann’s chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon. It’s all about balance! Food in Portland is much closer to the farms it came from than where I grew up which is still amazing to me. The farmers markets here are unlike anything I’ve seen before, and the care everyone takes with food is.

Question 3
What event are you most looking forward to?

Mike Thelin talking about Feast

Mike: There are many great events, but the most unique is probably the Whole Foods Market Speakers Series at the Gerding Theatre on Saturday the 22nd. There will be a great line-up of thinkers examining America’s food culture—from Lucky Peach founder Chris Ying to Gabrielle Hamilton to Sean Brock to Randy Gragg. For food geeks, this is not be missed.

Carrie: I am looking forward to Feast Portland, in its entirety, happening. This is something we’ve worked on with an incredible team of people for over a year and it’s go time.

Question 4. Lightning Round

Beer or Wine; bread or cheese; chopsticks or fork; espresso or pour over?

Mike: I love both beer and wine, Definitely cheese over bread, usually a fork, and always an espresso.

Carrie: Wine, preferably white. Cheese, preferably stinky. Fork, although I love chopsticks. Pour over, discovered them when I moved here and they are the best cups of coffee I have ever had.

Question 5

With all the notables coming from out of town, if you could show one person, one Portland food, who would you take and where would you take them?

Mike: I’d love to take Sean Brock for fried chicken at Country Cat.

Carrie: I’d like to take Duff Goldman to Bunk Sandwiches or Bunk Bar and reunite him with his rightful Portland family.

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Beet and Orange Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Much like the current political climate, beets breed polarization.  You either love ‘em or you don’t.  Neutral feelings about beets are about as rare as real food at a Seven Eleven, and I am convinced, after a small and highly unscientific poll of a few of my closest friends and co-workers, that those who hate on beets were damaged by them in childhood.

I asked a few folks if they were served beets as a child and how they felt about it.  Most who found the oft-dreaded red menace on their plates reported they came from a can, either plain or pickled.  Most of those who suffered the canned version grew up to dislike them, but those whose palates were able to recover from the abuse, some with extensive culinary therapy, went on to have a healthy relationship with beets.  Which is good, because beets are exceedingly healthy for you.

For Small Things…

Beets are a superb anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory food, like many vegetables, but even more so because of unique phytonutrients called betalains.  That means they’re good for your brain, heart and just about all your other tissues.

But one of my favorite benefits of beets is the lift they give your liver, and we could all use a little liver lift.  The liver is a hard-working and sometimes underappreciated organ that acts as a janitor and cleans up after our nutritional and environmental indiscretions.  Those same betalains I just mentioned facilitate the detoxification process.  As a nutritionist, I can tell you that a happy liver is not an option on the road to good health!

Many of those, including myself, who now count beets among their favorites, came to appreciate them when they tried them roasted.  At their simplest, roasted beets can be made by tossing trimmed and peeled or unpeeled beets, cut in quarters or eighths, with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some sea salt and pepper.  Roasting at 400 degrees, just until tender, and then drizzling with a little balsamic vinegar, is all that is necessary.

Another bit of beet baggage I had to overcome was the cloying sweetness of the overcooked version.  I’ve learned beets pair perfectly with an acid to counteract their natural sweetness.  Think the aforementioned balsamic vinegar, a fruit vinegar like raspberry or apple cider, or orange or lemon juice.

Another way to enjoy beets is raw, either grated (no need to peel) or sliced paper thin with a mandoline and added to salads or dressed with a vinaigrette as a salad in their own right.

This recipe perfectly offsets the sweetness of lightly roasted beets with both a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and the juice and flesh of an orange.  It’s simple to make, improves with a day in the fridge, and it is tasty either warm or at room temperature, so it’s a great make-ahead dish.

Ready

Beet and Orange Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

  • 3 medium beets, scrubbed and cut into eighths
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 seedless orange
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T chopped basil, plus a few leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the beets in a roasting pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the beets.  Season with salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated with the oil.  Bake for 30 minutes or until beets are just tender and easily pierced with a fork.  Allow beets to cool for 10-15 minutes.

While beets are cooling, grate the rind from the orange, and with a paring knife, peel and section the orange.  (Here’s a simple video tutorial on how to zest, peel and section an orange.)  In a medium bowl, combine the orange rind, any juice that accumulated when sectioning oranges, the orange juice squeezed from the membranes left behind after sectioning, the balsamic vinegar, basil and remaining olive oil.  Whisk well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add beets and stir to coat.

At this point you can refrigerate the beets for several hours or overnight if you have time.  The long marinating time only improves this salad.  If you don’t have time, mix in the orange slices and serve, spooning some extra dressing over each serving. Garnish with a sprig of basil.   If you do refrigerate the beets, bring them to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.

Serves 3-4.

Debra Meadow, NTP, is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Blue Raven Wellness (blueravenwellness.com).  She helps people eat their way to health with real food that satisfies the senses and supports good health and ideal weight.  Contact her at debra@blueravenwellness.com.

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The Days Dwindle Down

How is it late August already? This would be frustrating if it were not for the beautiful days, the abundance of produce and the fact there are a few more weeks of summer to wring out of the calendar.

Portland State Market, tomorrow, 8:30-2. The Market is back in place after rearranging its footprint to accommodate the University’s summer graduation. We have so much going on – kids will be cooking making veg sushi. The Underscore Orkestra will be at the Market – they’ve just returned from a seven country European tour and this will be one of the few Portland appearances before they leave for Australia to play their Klezmer-Swing-Roma-inspired jazz.  They hit the stage at PSU at 11 on Saturday and will also entertain lunch time shoppers at Pioneer Square on Monday.

Allison Jones, resident Foodist at Portland Monthly will be on hand working with Chef in the Market, Matt Christianson, of Urban Farmer. Free copies of Portland Monthly will be available at the event and at the market.

Farming is a dangerous occupation, often one that isn’t profitable enough that farmers can affird health insurance. Our friends at Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, sent us an email letting us know that Jeff Broadie of Lonesome Whistle Farm had an accident involving a combine. That sentence is gruesome enough that more details aren’t needed. Jeff is recovering and will be fine. Although Lonesome Whistle isn’t a PFM farm, we want to help Jeff out. Readers can do so in two ways. First is money – You can help defray the medical costs by sending checks to and mail to: WFFC, PO Box 41672, Eugene, OR 97404, be sure to mention Jeff or Lonesome Whistle. Second, they’re also organizing volunteers for a few harvest work parties. The first one will be this Sunday from 10am – 2pm.  Helpers will be hand pulling bean plants and laying them on tarps to dry. Please bring sun hat, water bottle, and a pair of work gloves. Directions and RSVP to Isabelle@lanefood.org  or call Isabelle at (541) 345-0265.

I get the plant part,
where does the egg come in

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed that the last 3 photos we’ve posted are summer squash, tomatoes and eggplant, the trinity of ratatouille. In case you are wondering about what to cook now that it’s safe to turn on the oven again, PFM’s Director Trudy Toliver shared her recipe of the veg laden dish here. Like Trudy, you cook one big thing and enjoy it for lunch during the week or have a meal for friends and family, goes well with Twist wines. There are other things to make too in an oven, onion tart with goat’s cheese, roasted veg, pie – oh so much stuff for pie, peach pie, cherry pie, berry pie, it really is endless. The great thing about 80 degree days, you can still grill, salad it up or turn the oven on, so many options.

Kenton is again tonight Friday. Special message to our friends in Vancouver and we know you read this –  Kenton is right off I-5, it runs 3-7, you can drive north, pick up just the right amount of vegetables and finish your commute after the traffic dies down. Love to have you stop by.

Monday is Pioneer Courthouse Square Market. Only a handful left before the market shutters for the year at the end of September. Enjoy lunch, eat berries, take home dinner. It is a little jewel nestled in the heart of downtown between 10-2.

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Northwest Market. Photo by Amy Nieto.

Portland Farmers Market has long had a market in Northwest Portland, but circumstances caused us to play musical chairs with the location a few times.  Now enjoying its second season in a tree-lined lot across from Trinity Cathedral, our Northwest Market has truly found a home and is becoming the community focal point we always envisioned it would be.

As with all other Portland Farmers Market locations, Northwest Market shoppers eligible for SNAP benefits are able to receive $1 tokens using their Oregon Trail Card to purchase fresh local food. Additionally, SNAP recipients can receive a dollar-for-dollar match (up to $7) through Fresh Exchange, a program of Farmers Market Fund.

Our Northwest Market is located at the corner of NW 19th and Everett and runs through September on Thursday afternoons from 3-7pm.  Farmers and food artisans are waiting to fill your market basket with produce, meat, eggs, cheese, wine, baked goods, flowers and more.  You can read more about our vendors in these NW Examiner articles profiling Serious Business Pastries (pg. 27), La Terra Vita and Ravenhill Farms (pg. 24), and Winters Farms (pg. 18).

If you still have yet to swing by this bustling market, here are several reasons why you shouldn’t wait a moment longer:

The lovely Anna Curtin always draws a crowd on Senior Bingo days

Senior Bingo!

When: Third Thursday of each month

What: Seniors are invited to stop by and learn more about the market, then join our very own Anna Curtin for a rousing game of fruit & veggie bingo (6 rounds, running from 3-6pm), complete with prizes from market vendors.  Recent prizes have included peaches, eggs, berries, corn, squash, potatoes, cheese and tomatoes.  Come early to snag a coveted seat and vote on what market prizes you’d like to win!

You could win this! Photo by Amy Nieto

Portlandivore Program

When: Drawing takes place the last market of each month

What: This frequent shopper promotion gives shoppers who visit the market three times a month the chance to enter to win a basket of $30 worth of market goodies. Stop by the Information Booth to pick up your card, have it initialed each time you come to the market and turn it in to market staff on or before the last Thursday of the month.

Coffee + ice = nice. Thank you World Cup.

Taste the Place

When: Second Thursday of each month

What: Nearby restaurants and cafes visit the market to meet their neighbors and sample their wares. In September, stop by to see what tempting treat Touché Restaurant will bring to market.  Past visitors have included Elephants Deli, who offered strawberry shortcakes made with sweet market berries and World Cup Coffee & Tea, who refreshed shoppers with samples of iced coffee.  Our star NW volunteer Barb Skinner writes about World Cup’s visit below.

Taste the Place: World Cup Coffee & Tea

By Barb Skinner

The iced Brazilian roast with floral accents drew thirsty and un-caffeinated market shoppers to the World Cup Coffee booth at the NW Market in July. Thankful smiles and many comments on the “delicious coffee” that “wasn’t too acidic” followed the free samples.

World Cup Coffee is a Portland gem – offering so much more than a delightful staff and quintessential Portland coffee shop environment to our neighborhood for over 20 years. They also have a roasting operation which provides complete coffee services to local businesses – espresso machine rental and repair, coffee beans, etc – as well as roasting for espresso and whole bean sales in their NW and Powell’s City of Books locations.

The differences in local roasting and conventional roasting are most notable for the length of time the coffee sits on the shelf before purchase (days or weeks vs. multiple months).  Small batch, local roasting offers fresh beans with optimal retention of moisture and flavor.

A big thanks to World Cup for their support of Portland Farmers Market and local, sustainable business practices!

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By Trudy Toliver, Executive Director, Portland Farmers Market

I went home for lunch today.  That almost never happens. After the 12 minute drive I was scratching the chin of my wriggling pet while my husband stepped up grinning with curiosity.  He was probably thinking, oh, how sweet, she’s come home to see me.  No sense in squashing that notion.  I smiled back and said, have you had lunch?

Earlier, in the office at my computer, I started to get hungry, the happy-it’s-almost-lunchtime kind of hunger.  I knew what I was craving. Then I remembered what I had forgotten.  Oh, crud, last night’s ratatouille was still in the fridge at home.  I’d forgotten to pack my treasured meal.

Eggplant, pre-ratatouille. Photo by Allison Jones.

Always better the second and third days, I make a big batch of ratatouille so it lasts the week. Harbingers of the richest harvest and the coming of autumn, ratatouille ingredients are each my favorite of the year. I know, don’t rush summer, but it takes hot days to ripen peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini.

Annually, when my best girlfriends and I gather we make the stew.  One year on a trip to Idaho we bought the riches from a Sun Valley organic farmer.  Another time they were found at the farm stand in Sisters, Oregon.  This year, as most often for me, every stitch of it came from vendors at Portland Farmers Market or my own garden.

You’ll find dozens of recipes for ratatouille, a classic dish of the Provence region of France.  Some suggest cooking each of the vegetables separately then stirring them together in the end.  That’s too much work for me.  Although, cooking the eggplant separately is worthwhile.  Try sautéing it dusted with flour, it browns beautifully, holds its body and doesn’t hog all of the olive oil.  I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found 11 years ago in Yoga Journal.

Ratatouille  
(serves 4-6)

1 eggplant, about 1 pound
2-4 tablespoons flour, optional
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large sweet red, yellow or orange pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme or a few fresh sprigs
1 teaspoon dried oregano or a few fresh sprigs
black pepper and/or 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I love this addition)
½ cup red wine or dry white wine or stock
1 pound or about 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped, skins removed optional
sea salt
¼ cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated asiago or parmesan cheese, strong gouda works too

  1. Cut the eggplant into rectangular cubes about ½ x 2 inches. Toss with a couple tablespoons of flour and a dash of sea salt.
  2. Preheat a large skillet; add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Make sure it’s hot so the eggplant sizzles when added. Sauté for 6-8 minutes until browned and softened.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the hot skillet and sauté onions and peppers until they are soft, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, garlic, tomatoes and sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika.  Mix and cook another 4 minutes. Add the thyme, oregano and your guess of black pepper.
  5. Keep scraping the edges and bottom of the pan to incorporate the flavors. Add the wine or stock turn down the heat.  Cook a little longer if you want softer veggies.
  6. Add the eggplant, mix all together and check the seasoning. Remove the herb sprigs or leave it to your eaters. Serve topped with fresh basil and cheese.

Leftovers are better with a little more wine or stock added to the pan.  After my warm stewy lunch, I grabbed a handful of blueberries and an apricot for dessert.

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