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Archive for May, 2013

Rhubarbed

cakePhotos and recipes from Carrie Cowan.

The height of the spring market season brings some of the freshest and most delicious produce to the market. Walking along the market stalls I see row after row of fresh green lettuces and peas.  I can think of a thousand things to do with them.  When I come to the rhubarb I am less ambitious.  The only thing I can think of off the top of my head to do with rhubarb is to make a pie.  The more I think about it, the more intrigued I become.  I buy a bunch and set off home to do some research.

Rhubarb in Oregon is in season throughout the spring.  The stalks have this incredible green-tinted watermelon color that intensifies when you cook it.  The plant originally came from Asia and only began it’s American life in the mid 1800’s.  The roots have a laxative quality that has been used medicinally for the last 5,000 years.  The stalks are edible, but the leaves are poisonous if eaten in large quantities. Rhubarb stalks can be eaten raw, cooked, and pickled.

The first and most basic recipe for rhubarb is to make a sauce, similar to applesauce.  This can be eaten cold on it’s own for a tart and refreshing dessert.  You can also use the sauce as a topping for ice cream, or even as a condiment with meat, as in pork chops and rhubarb sauce.

Rhubarb Sauce img_1730

4-5 stalks of rhubarb, sliced

1 C. sugar

1 C. water

Stir together the sliced rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down and the liquid has evaporated.  It should be the consistency of chunky applesauce when it’s done.  Set aside and chill until cold.  This can be made ahead up to one week and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.  It can also be frozen and thawed when you want a little ruby-hued love in your life.

Mini Rhubarb Cheesecakes img_1740

If you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent, use the sauce to make these simple cheesecakes.

For the crust:

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs

2 T. sugar

1/2 C. melted butter

For the filling:

img_17462– 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened

1 C. sugar

2 t. lemon zest

1/2 C. sour cream

2 t. vanilla

4 egg yolks

1 1/2-2 C. rhubarb sauce (recipe above)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the crust.  Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 2 T. sugar in a bowl.  Line two muffin tins with 20 cupcake papers.  Distribute the crumbs equally among the papers.  Use your fingers to press the crumbs into the bottom of the cups.  Bake the cups for about 7-9 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.  Meanwhile make the filling.  Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, sour cream, and egg yolks until very smooth.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared cups.  Place a tablespoon of rhubarb sauce on top of each cheesecake and use a toothpick to swirl the sauce into the cheesecake batter.  This amount of filling filled twenty cups about 3/4 full.  It’s ok if the crusts are still hot, it’s all going right back into the oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake the cheesecakes for about 25-30 minutes, or until set.  If you gently touch your finger to the top and it’s no longer wet, then they are done.  When cool, remove from the pan and chill for at least an hour, until cold.  The cheesecakes will sink a bit and create a nice little cradle for the rhubarb topping.  Spoon a few tablespoons of rhubarb sauce onto each cooled cheesecake.  Chill and serve

Rhubarb Mojitoimg_1718

Warmer weather always brings out the bartender in me.  I made a rhubarb simple syrup and used it to create a fun and unusual Mojito.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup:

1 C. sugar

1 C. water

1 stalk rhubarb, sliced

Combine the sugar, water, and rhubarb in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for one minute and set aside to steep for twenty to thirty minutes.  Strain through a sieve, pressing on the solids.  Discard the solids or eat them (they are yummy).

For one Rhubarb Mojito

ice

2 oz. white rum

1 oz. rhubarb simple syrup

4-5 fresh mint leaves

2 oz. club soda

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Pour in the rum and simple syrup.  Place the mint leaves and a couple of ice cubes into a glass and muddle – or crush until the mint is bruised and broken down into small pieces.  Combine the muddled mint with the ice, rum, and rhubarb syrup and shake vigorously.  Strain into a glass and top with the club soda.  Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

Strawberry Cake with Rhubarb Creamimg_1722

This cake is perfect for a springtime birthday or Mother’s Day celebration.  I used a sweet little 6 inch cake pan for this.  I really recommend picking one up.  They are great for desserts for a small group and for ice cream cakes too!  For this recipe you need to make the above recipe for rhubarb simple syrup.  The cake batter recipe was adapted from Miette bakery. Serves 6

For the cake:

4 oz. flour, a scant 3/4 cup

1 t. baking powder

1 pinch salt

3 1/2 T. butter, room temperature

1/2 C. sugar

5 egg yolks, room temperature

1/3 C. buttermilk

1/2 t. vanilla

img_1720For the assembly:

1 C. Rhubarb Simple Syrup (recipe above)

2 C. heavy whipping cream

1 pint sliced, fresh strawberries

Butter and flour a 6 inch cake pan.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  Alternate adding some of the flour mixture and some buttermilk.  Continue alternating with the flour and buttermilk until it’s all incorporated.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes before you invert it onto a cooking rack.  When the cake is completely cooled, carefully split it into three layers with a serrated knife.

To assemble the cake, combine the rhubarb simple syrup with the whipping cream and whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about three minutes.  Stiff is the operative word here, you need the cream to be able to hold up a layer of cake without oozing out the sides.  If the color isn’t pink enough for you, add a drop of food coloring. Place one layer of the cake on a cake plate and top it with sliced berries in a single layer. Place the rhubarb cream in a piping bag or Squeeze It Decorator and pipe in a spiral on top of the berries. You could spread the cream on top of the berries and skip the bag, but you might find that the berries shift under the spreading, or it might not be as even as you like.  If you don’t care too much about the final look, by all means just spread that stuff on there!  Place a layer of cake on top of the cream and repeat with berries and more cream.  Place the last layer of cake on top and top with cream.  Decorate with a few more berry slices.  Place the whole cake in the fridge until ready to slice.  This cake can be made up to four hours in advance fully assembled.  You can make the cake and cream the day before and chill, then assemble before your party.

Read more from Carrie Cowan at swellkid.wordpress.com/

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Community Supported Agriculture for the 21st century

By Nicki Passerella

Lovely lettuces at Grow Portland

These lovely lettuces from Grow Portland could be yours

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. What time you say? CSA sign-up time!

Several of Portland Farmers Market’s vendors offer CSAs with options to suit your needs. The following is a list of our farms who are still taking new members or who have on-going options throughout the 2013 growing season; some even offer pro-rated pricing.

Many farms invite members to get their hands dirty with some farm-work in exchange for CSA shares or if that’s not your style, most welcome farm visits. What better way is there to directly connect with the food you’re eating and the resources put into growing it?

It’s easy:

1. Download the following chart, which has all the information you need to get started:

2013 CSA list

.

2. Choose the CSA to fit your lifestyle and wallet today.

3. Enjoy the freshest local fruits and vegetables all season long, while showing support for our hard-working farmers!

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Playing with Fire

By Jaret Foster, Operations Director, Portland Farmers Market

May the first, May Day or the Gaelic, Beltane, is a day I like to celebrate with fire. It marks the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice traditionally dedicated with a sizable bonfire representing the return of the sun’s light. This year we lucked out in the PNW with some real summer like weather and for years I had wanted to commemorate the day, and the season, by hosting a Calçotada with friends. Beltane 2013, fine weather, Viridian Farms calçots (pronounced cal-so) and several bottles of Cava in hand I lit the fire I’d been kindling since I was introduced to Catalan cuisine while working at La Catalana restaurant in 2000.

SCENES FROM A CALÇOTADA

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A Calçotada is a messy hands-on dining celebration of the calçots; a type of green onion known as blanca gran tardana in parts of Spain. They are a mild sweet onion that is blanched and overwintered as one would grow leeks to lengthen and whiten them by mounding soil or mulch while the plants grow, thereby blocking the suns rays from activating their chlorophyll production. Intensive. The calçots are grilled till blackened and tender then peeled, dredged in salbitxada or romesco sauces and eaten with your fingers from above. Viridian Farms sought out the seeds for this lovely allium in their travels to Spain during the off season and have been growing calçots for 4 to 5 seasons. Much of the crop is pre-sold to chefs even before it is dug from the earth but I made special arrangements to have some delivered to the Wednesday Shemanski Market–thanks Manuel!

Other items on the menu were oysters with chili butter (since the coals were hot) and shortrib stuffed piquillo peppers. I’d made a batch of shortribs from Pono Farms beef and finished them with a classic sofrito, bitter orange and oil cured olives. For make pretty we doused them in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled them with parsley, chive flowers and Maldon sea salt. In a nod to more blanched foodstuffs, I made an all-white salad of white asparagus, shaved fennel and Belgian endive dressed with champagne vinaigrette and topped with crumbled cotija. Pale and delicious.

I had friends in town, out from NY, and was trying to convince them that Portland is IT. Not a hard sell on a seventy-five degree spring day on the patio in Laurelhurst. We grilled calçots and oysters, toasted with cava, devoured wagyu stuffed peppers and dined well on braised pork. Fresh Stephens Farm strawberries drizzled in backyard honey (our host’s keep bees, of course) surrounded a freshly baked Basque almond cake for dessert. As the sun slipped beneath the horizon, we sipped eau de vie around the fireside and decided that the evening was perfect.

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King Sunday

There are two reasons for posting this video

  1. Because this is awesome.
  2. And also because you may be taking your young’n to King Market to try foods for the first time. Happy Mother’s Day.

Market runs 10-2, NE 7th & Wygant.

Thanks to i09.

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Šťastný Táborský*

Happy Campers Gluten Free Bread was conceived in business school, born at a farmers market.

Inside Camper's GF HQ

Inside Camper’s GF HQ

Now that’s an origin story.

Jan Taborsky, (that’s Yahn; not the diminutive for Janet) found his way to Oregon from the Czech Republic and eventually to Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Management. There he began research on what would become Happy Campers during his second year of Grad School. Along with his team, the nascent Happy Campers project would win the PACE New Venture Competition, judged in part by, Mercy Corps and the Portland Business Journal. In October 2009, they sold their first loaves at Salem Farmers Market, by the time graduation rolled around in May ’10, Jan and his partner-partner (co-entrepreneur and spouse,) Lacy Gilham became full-time bakers.

After moving to Portland and working in borrowed kitchen space, the Happy Campers (Taborsky means camper in Jan’s native Czech) are now ensconced in their own gluten free baking facility in Tigard, Oregon. From there they turn out bread that offers taste and nutrition for those with gluten allergies and even baking for those with a baguette-bias. Jan challenges the baguette lovers to go, “Shorter and chubbier.  Our bread brings amazing variety to anyone’s diet; it’s made with grass seed flours that are amazingly nutritious, super tasty and you get an array of nutrients that you don’t usually get like millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and teff.”

Teff is one of those alt-grains that have come to prominence in the last few years for it’s healthful properties and lack of gluten. About the size of a sesame seed, it’s an item our friends at Bob’s Red Mill promote it with their ‘Grains of Discovery’ label and offer it both whole and ground into flour, but adventurous eaters may be familiar with teff as the foundation of the spongy and rightly exalted Ethiopian flatbread, injera.

Since joining PFM last year, the Happy Campers have been able to connect with their audience first hand. Jan, who was manning the booth at Sunday’s King Market says, “We’re excited and grateful to be a part of both our community and local food system and we do our best to make both a little better.”  His inner MBA also understands the value of direct sales, “…farmers markets also provide the best avenue for our market research.  We get first-hand feedback on our recipes, flavors, speech and overall messaging.  We can experiment, tweak things and immediately see if people like them better. We love talking to people and finding out (besides other things) about what they like to eat and why, which allows us to come up with better products for them.”

GF Bread on  Stick

Paleo Toast

You can visit the Happy Campers at both PSU and King Markets this year. Ask about healthy eating, gluten free breads and where Jan and Lacy like to camp and hike.

*Thanks to Deborah Pleva of Weinstein PR for Czech translation services.

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Be Ruby Jeweled

From Leora Stein & Ruby Jewel

Some delicious news for you! Ruby Jewel will be debuting four new handcrafted ice cream sandwiches featuring ingredients sourced from local farms and Ruby_Jewel_LeelaCydRoss-39food producers on May 11 at the Portland State University Portland Farmers Market. Though you can find Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches in grocery stores from Alaska to Los Angeles, these new flavors will be available exclusively at the PSU Market in celebration of our 8th year as a vendor, where Ruby Jewel sold its first treats in 2005. Each ice cream sandwich is handcrafted daily in Ruby Jewel’s North Portland production kitchen using milk and cream from Lochmead Dairy in Junction City, Oregon and freshly baked cookies by pastry chef Leila Ellis of Marushka Chocolates.

Here’s what you can look forward to!

– Crunchy, molasses-y graham crackers and earthy candied multicolored carrot ice cream using carrots from Prairie Creek Farm in Joseph, Oregon.

–  Our cows milk ice cream base with a swirl of Portland Creamery Chevre and strawberry rhubarb jam (local strawberries from Viridian Farms and rhubarb from Sun Gold Farm) between two chewy brown sugar cookies.

– Toasted banana and Northwest honey ice cream with nutty butterscotch pecan cookies.

– Rich malted chocolate cookies and milk chocolate ice cream sprinkled with chunks of Bees & Beans milk chocolate malt candy bar.

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A Thing I Do on Vacation

Ferry Building Market

Ferry Building Market

So when I’m out of town, alone, I’ll hook up with other Farmers Markets.

It’s so not cheating, it’s exploring.

The first farmers market I ever went to in my life was the ring-around-the-state-capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. I was spoiled from my first market trip: A growers market that sets up in the snow and miserable midwestern springs; a midwestern market with more than corn, soy and cheese.

Since then I always make an effort to visit all growers markets, both domestic and foreign when I’m away from home. I’ve become a little obsessive to the point of nagging friends to take pictures when they travel and pester them with questions when they are dumb/kind enough to oblige me.

DSC_0265Most of the time, I think, “Nice market, keep working on it.” I know, I’m rude.  NYC’s Green Markets are pretty cool, rising from the subway to an oasis of produce, but have you ever tried to tell a New Yorker what they have isn’t the best? PSU is like nothing else, visiting other markets reminds me of how good we have it.

There have been markets of note in my travels: The Davis (CA) Farmers Market is pretty awesome in the same way King and Shemanski rock; small footprint, yet everything one wants. The abundance found in Santa Monica’s market is undeniable.  I love the market in Oaxaca, while not a growers market, it’s still awesome plus fried crickets (chapulines) and a menudo stand that will counteract any unwise tequila related decisions made the night before.

Also giving credit where credit is due, the Ferry Market Building’s Saturday Market is one of the better markets I’ve ever shopped at. This is of course due a DSC_0287climate that can grow everything from citrus to kale. And in an area where land is prohibitively expensive, small growers have developed, environmentally-friendly techniques that produce high yields. Direct sales opportunities, like the one afforded by the Ferry Building community, helps keep farming a viable career and life for people who have neither the capital nor the inclination to become a megacrop producer.

DSC_0288

The Ferry Building itself is a temple to the foodist cult. Well, cult is a loaded term, besides I like to think of it as a family, my family. Here is a link to the history of the building, today the building is home to food and food practitioners (I’ll use the word cult, but artisan gives me pause.)  The picture of cheese was taken because the overwhelming scent of cheese caused me to stop in my tracks. Since we enjoy/employ refrigeration to such an extent, the only other place I’ve ever experienced this enticing of a smell was a beautiful 400 foot cheese shop in Dublin, which does have electricity and refrigeration, they just don’t use it on cheese.

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I love kale! I’m generally inclined towards fresh, local, seasonal ideal advocated by the Ferry Building’s east bay kindred spirit, Alice Waters. But I also love almonds, olives, citrus and other non-cascadia crops.

DSC_0263

Also, if Oregon’s autumns linger, our springs are fickle creatures indeed, sauntering in on its own pace. California’s monotony of non-stop summer develops DSC_0262crops to market about six to eight weeks before we get them up here. Cherries and tomatoes are ready now. Cherries my favorite fruit ever, unless there is a perfectly ripe peach in front of me, so I’ll admit this hurt a little; plus pomegranate juice, come on California your killing me. Tomatoes aren’t quite the touchstone of summer days that cherries are, well that and occasionally raw tomatoes cause me to break out in hives, so I wasn’t as spectacularly overwhelmed with emotion, but I know people can get weepy about tomatoes, so here.
DSC_0232DSC_0258

DSC_0282Even with my love of all things local, I have it pretty bad for Vietnamese food. Really all Asian foods, and it rotates, Pho displayed Thai curries, which caused me to forsake Indian curries. Dim Sum day is exciting. Kimchi is a recent addition to my diet – Thanks Chois – but the Ferry Building Market represented all my favorite foods and reflected the diversity of the bay area.

Including, one of the rarest of all populations, this despite what Chef Boyardee tells you;

a Franco-American. This is exceptional yogurt: Saint Benoît. Winner of best in category and best in show.

Just like our market, prepared foods are there to feed hungry masses. This isn’t a great picture, because of the combination of tiny lens and big line, but this is the Roti truck. This tricked out van that has about 10 rotisseries but what makes this contraption more awesome than the food it serves, Chickens and porchetta, both awesome . Plus the whole contraption is on wheels! Imagine getting married on a sunny vineyard and having this truck roll in to serve your guests. Ah, the dream of California.

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