Archive for the ‘Seasonal Market Items’ Category

In my early days of cooking, Alice Waters’ triad of “fresh, local, & seasonal” was the answer to all my food questions. At the same time, there was an explosion of regional Italian cookery – even though this is certainly a platitude – French cooking is about the cook, Italian foods are about the ingredients, and I learned to love the ingredient. For most of my cooking life, these two forces have influenced my cooking decisions above all else. So I never really had any inclination to add cream (or butter or cheese) to veg – why neuter them with heavy sauces and long cooking times? Al dente or the highway, right?

Except food tends change and the pendulum has swung back to the other side. Ron Swanson, bacon, comfort foods and the centenary of Julia Child have helped usher in a neoclassical era to our kitchens. Take an item like meatballs, considered unserious; possibly pedestrian a decade ago, now they’re cause for some passionate debate and cravings.



It’s good to keep your perspective fresh, not only in the kitchen but it’s a good idea to periodically revisit thoughts, ideas and ideals every now and then to make sure you aren’t shaking your fist – either literally or figuratively – at what the kids are doing these days. So I did something I’ve never have done before, I creamed spinach.

That stuff, that came in cans when I was a kid, the side cigar smokers order at steak houses after they’ve obliterated their taste buds with a stogie. Creamed spinach isn’t cooking with reverence for the ingredient; it’s what a teevee chef on a competition show would do. But because I had nothing else in the fridge except a bag of spinach that wasn’t going to last through three; possibly four days of salad, I let down my guard and now I know – So easy, so good, so quick. Creamed spinach did everything right except photograph well.

8 oz. Spinach, cleaned and salad-spun.

1/3 cup heavy cream

A healthy amount of salt, some pepper and a little nutmeg



2 oz of grated cheese (optional)

Add cream to a pan, place on high heat with spices and seasoning. When cream reaches a boil, take spinach – tear/rip into thirds, add to pan, stir until cream nearly evaporates and spinach is 1/37th of original volume. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Adjust seasonings and don’t be mortified at the amount of salt your adding – sometimes you just have to have the heavy hand.


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Post and Photos by Barb Skinner


Greens galore

Late fall is a wonderful time in the NW growing season, and while my own urbanized inclination is to think that keeping locally grown nutritious veggies in my diet is more difficult, nothing could be farther from the truth! It’s more important now than ever to have delicious and healthy recipes up your sleeve.

Yes it’s cold, and yes Portland Farmers Market is down to one weekly market on Saturdays at PSU, but the opportunities that root vegetables and winter crops present are truly exciting IF you have some interesting recipes to try. Allow me to expound…

wintertoadA lack of fresh summer berries can seem like a major loss in the fruit category, but PFM currently has delicious pears, apples, and Winter Toad Melon… wait WHAT? If you have never heard of Winter Toad Melon (like me), you are missing out. This delicious winter melon, like rich honeydew, has allowed me move on from those succulent summer berries. Stop by the La Mancha Orchard booth to sample it yourself. Another wonderful market treat is Kiyokawa Orchard’s Mt. Rose Apples – with a beautiful pink interior and crisp flavor, these are perfect to munch on or to make a beautiful cobbler!

squashThe options for winter squash are endless and many of the vendors have them coming out the ears. Roasting almost any type of winter squash with potatoes, onion, rutabega, carrots, or whatever you have around the house with some simple herbs draws out its deep and delicious flavors, and it’s fun to get creative! Try this savory vegan Pumpkin and Sage Pasta as an alternative to a fattier mac’n’cheese.


Celery root a.k.a. celeriac is great raw or cooked

Late fall also yields some oddballs like celery root – this potato salad alternative is a light option, especially if you sub Greek yogurt for the mayo. But even if more unusual recipes like this are not your style,  the beauty of Portland in late fall is that greens are available all year long for traditional salads too.

Speaking of both squash and salads, PFM staff will be at Director Park this Saturday from 2-4pm cooking up two tasty dishes to simplify your holiday cooking: a raw kale and chickpea salad as well as sauteed delicata squash with chili.  Stop by to sample the goods and pick up the recipes!

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That would be berries. The glistening warm gems that make this state enviable. You’d have to be crazy to go on vacation during July or August and miss berry season.

The players are all here—blueberries, raspberries, marionberries. There’s always that dilemma when you come home with a batch of berries. To eat or not to eat right away, that is the question. ‘Tis nobler to make a dessert worthy of your friends and family, but it’s hard to resist popping a handful of succulent berries in your mouth every time you open the fridge.

Normally I make sorbets because they’re fast and easy and never fail to delight. Or I stuff berries in the freezer. But I turned to my red-stained copy of The Berry Bible, by local author Janie Hibler, required reading for Oregonians. When I spoke to Janie, she was elbow deep in, you guessed it, baking with berries, as any good berry cookbook author does on an Oregon July day.

The Berry Bible covers a mindboggling array of varieties and facts as well as how to choose, wash, freeze and cook with berries. You need no instructions for eating them. Among the many sweets, sauces and cocktails, there are savory dishes with heavenly titles such as Slow-Roasted Pacific Cod with Marionberry Sauce.

Everyone knows that berries are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants called phytochemicals. But let’s all admit that’s not why we eat berries. We eat them because there is such a thing as light and fluffy Marionberry Biscuits (below), a recipe in the book that hails from Sisters Bakery in southern Oregon. I used a combination of raspberries and marionberries but you could use any berry you like. These biscuits—the size of a train car—have a low effort-to-dazzle ratio.

The dough calls for buttermilk. I always have Bob’s Red Mill Buttermilk Powder on hand so I don’t have to buy liquid buttermilk every time a recipe calls for it. You can also put 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of milk as a substitute. The dough is divided in half. Cut each half in 8 sections (above).

Pile the berries on each little mattress of dough.

Using the second half of the dough, top with the other 8 cut pieces.

Finished biscuits with buttermilk glaze on top.

Recipe: Marionberry Biscuits

(If you don’t have either flour, substitute regular flour for the bread flour. For the cake flour, also use regular flour but subtract 2 tablespoons for each cup. It’s not a perfect substitute but it’s better than no biscuits!)

2 c bread flour

2 c cake flour

1/2 c  granulated flour, plus extra for the berrie

1/8 t coarse salt

2 T baking powder

4 T (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 pints (3 cups) fresh berries, rinsed and drained


1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 t vanilla extract

2 T buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- x 13-inch pan.

2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until crumbly.

3. Whisk together eggs, 1/4 cup water and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Pat each half out to a 6- x 8-inch rectangle, then cut each rectangle into 8 biscuits. Place half the biscuits in the prepared pan and top each with about 1/3 cup berries. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Place the remaining 8 biscuits on top and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

5. For the glaze: stir together the sugar, vanilla and buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle on slightly cool, but still a bit warm, biscuits. Serve warm. Best eaten the day they are made.

(I made half the batch of glaze and also served the biscuits with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.)

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Article, Pictures & General Yumminess from Friend of the Market, Katherine Deumling. This post originally appeared on Katherine’s blog. She won’t say it so I will; any meal with potatoes & aioli on the same plate is a #WINNER. In addition to inspiring you to get up and cook, Katherine can teach you old favorites and new tricks. Check out her website. Enjoy her summer meal.

This is what a winner looks like,
Charlie Sheen

Herbs, hardboiled eggs, salads, fresh fruit, bread, cheese. . . .zucchini and green beans starting to come out of my ears. . . .It’s a good time of year for cooking (or assembling) with what you have. And as much as I love to cook I don’t really want to be at the stove much (other than making jam and baking pies and tarts) these days. We’ve been having a lot of  dinners of late that I loosely refer to as Abendbrot–the German word for a light evening meal, meaning literally evening bread.

I use the term to refer to any meal that is cobbled together with a variety of cold or room temperature items. Last night it was cooked green beans with aioli, the last jar of tomato jam from last fall, some bread, a few hard-boiled eggs and a bunch of blueberries. It might be steamed artichokes, a green salad and bread, or roasted beets, some canned tuna (delicious Oregon Albacore) and a white bean salad.

We’ve been digging our first couple of hills of potatoes and they need nothing more than salt or a bit of aiolior some fresh parsley to be perfect. And speaking of  parsley I made a pesto with parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds last week that may well find itself into my Herbs in the Kitchen class in August. If you grow a few of your own herbs, they are really the cheapest and tastiest way to shape a meal.

Toasted bread topped with parsley and pumpkin seed pesto and a fried egg.

When I’m really pressed for time dessert has been fresh fruit, as is, and thus my five-year-old has become an expert cherry eater and cherry pit spitter. But I have also been staying up late or baking in the afternoon and then working late at night to make this fantastic cherry slab pie from SmittenkitchenDavid Lebovitz’s blackberry sorbet , the Tutti Frutti Crumble from Super Natural Everyday and jam after jam after jam.

Cherry slab pie from smittenkitchen.com–you get a bit more crust per cherry, it feeds an army and is most of all perfectly delicious.

This time of year is a conundrum for me. I get greedy. I want to pack that freezer with berries, make all my favorite jams and keep up with the green beans and parsley and squash in my garden. I have this slightly frenzied feeling in my body that is hard to control that makes me pit cherries and apricots faster and carry more canning jars up from the basement at once than is wise. I’m racing with myself and some deep-seeded need to preserve and not waste and take advantage of our ridiculous bounty right now. I feel so blessed to have all this amazing produce and fruit at my finger tips. So it’s one part greed and one part responsibility to use it and make the most of it and be frugal, frankly, so that for several months out of the year I wont buy much fruit at all. It’s a privileged position to be in–to have a flexible enough schedule to do this kind of thing–and a choice I’ve made deliberately. And I’m very grateful for that. And at the same time I want to let myself relax a bit and enjoy these fleeting weeks of warmth, neighbors on the porch sharing in that cherry pie, the sticky jam jars and even the fruit flies.

Happy eating, cooking and preserving!

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Pictures, Recipe & Article by Carrie Cowan
When you read about the care and effort that goes in to growing and harvesting Rainier cherries you will gladly pay $4-5 dollars per pound for these little gems.  Rainiers are the sweetest, most delicious cherries out there.  Originally developed at Washington State University in the 1950’s, (Go Cougs) Rainiers are the pale yellow, blushing cherries that are so bountifully offered at the farmer’s markets right now.  Though Rainiers are lovely, they are very delicate and difficult to grow.  In eastern Washington, where the cultivar

Bake Me!

was first developed, cherry farmers watch over their orchards like new mothers.  Too much wind and the cherries will bruise.  Too much rain and they’ll split.  Farmers even hire helicopters to “air dry” the cherries after a sudden rain storm.  Rainiers must be hand-picked and hand-sorted.  All this effort over cherries?  Yes, these cherries are worth every ounce of the attention they receive.  Here is a sweet little dessert that’s just right for highlighting Rainiers.

Mini Cherry Streusel Pies
·         1 prepared pie crust
·         1 ¼ lb. Rainier cherries, pitted and halved (about three cups)
·         1 t. lemon zest
·         1 t. lemon juice
·         2 T. sugar
·         2 T. flour
For the streusel topping
·         3/4 C. sugar
·         3/4 C. flour
·         pinch salt
·         1-2 T. water
·         1/8 t. cinnamon
·         1/4 C. softened butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the pie crust into 9 rounds with a drinking glass and press the dough into a muffin tin.  The rounds should reach about half way up the sides of the muffin tin.  In a bowl, combine the cherries, lemon zest and juice, 2 T. of sugar and the flour.  Toss gently and spoon the filling into the 9 pastry-lined cups.  In another bowl combine the streusel ingredients with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.  Add the water very slowly at this stage – if the mixture is too dry add a few more drops of water.  Spoon the streusel over the mini-pies.  Place the muffin tin on a rimmed baking sheet to

Feed Me!

catch any drips.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and the cherry juices are bubbling with slow-bursting bubbles.  Let the pan cool for about ten or fifteen minutes.  Use a thin, flexible spatula to release the pies from the pan and place on a cooling rack.  It’s important to remove the pies while they are warm to prevent sticking.  Serve warm or room temperature.
Carrie Cowan

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The fava bean (vicia faba), also known as a broad bean, gave a boost of energy to the pyramid builders of Egypt, which means this bean has been around a long time, some 6000 years.

The fava is a spring wonder. But it’s July, you say! Well, July is spring in the Northwest, as anyone dying to wear sandals and a sundress for at least three days running knows. Men included.

Favas love cold weather and are typically grown in the fall for a spring harvest. They’re also a favorite cover crop because they put good stuff back into the soil. Nearly the whole plant is edible—the flowers, the tender leaves, the whole young pod and the bean itself (the most likely way you’ll experience favas). The plant is also unmatched in the garden for its silvery-leaved tall stature.

I once received a call from my brother. It went something like this: “Dude, I bought fava beans. What the [redacted]!”

Don’t get me wrong, he was excited. Who wouldn’t be what with the unzipping of the pod, freeing the tender bean and then undressing it of its silken sheath? But he was unprepared for the small pod-to-bean-yield ratio.

Let’s face it, certain joys require a little effort. Besides, people used to sit on front porches shelling peas and  sharing gossip, all without the aid of smart phones. If you think of shelling favas in this way, rather than as drudgery, you’ll be fine. A little jazz and a glass of chilled pinot gris while you work never hurts.

How to shell fava beans:

• Tear open the pod, revealing the embryo-like bean inside (The photo at left is an immature pod, which isn’t showing the white sheath that eventually forms.)

• Pop the beans into boiling water for 30 seconds then plunge into cold water. Slit the whitish sheath with a fingernail and slip the bright green bean from it.

• Roughly 2-3 lbs. of beans yields about 1 cup of beans.


Recipe: Fava Bean Pesto

This has such a grassy, fresh taste that it’s a nice change from typical basil pesto. Don’t worry so much about amounts for this recipe—make it to taste. Feel free to experiment with different herbs—basil, thyme, mint or maybe a combination. You can add cheese or not.

• 1 cup fava beans (approx. 2 lbs. unshelled pods)
• 1–3 garlic cloves
• salt to taste
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1–2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2–3 tablespoons grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
• fresh ground pepper

1. Shell fava beans according to steps above.

2. Heat half the oil in a small saucepan. Add the beans and about 1/4 cup of the water and a good pinch of salt. Simmer till beans are tender, about 10–15 minutes. Add more water as necessary.

3. Smash beans a bit and then add garlic and fresh herbs. Cook a couple minutes more till the garlic and herbs release their aroma.

4. Transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool a bit and then stir in lemon juice, grated cheese and fresh ground pepper. Serve on your favorite toasted bread.

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Eggplant: from Ew to Mmmm. Photo by Allison Jones

By Chris Anderson, COUNTRY Financial

Ewww, what’s that?

It’s eggplant, and you’re going to like it!

But I didn’t. Grandma’s fresh-out-of-the-garden, sliced and sautéed in butter version tasted bitter. The grayish color and all those little seeds certainly did nothing to enhance the experience.

Perhaps Grandma’s cooking method failed to bring out the wonder of the vegetable that resembles an over-sized grape. But who eats a plant whose close cousin is named deadly nightshade – a weed we cut out of our fields every summer?

Let’s face it. Everyone can name at least one fruit or vegetable that causes them to wrinkle their nose in disgust. As a kid and into adulthood, eggplant elicited that response from me.

No more! Thanks to the magic of farmers markets, eggplant has gone from “ewww” to “mmmm” on my veggie list.

All it took was a persistent vendor, who convinced me to buy an eggplant, mix it with some of my favorites like green peppers and tomatoes, and add some flour, nutmeg and fresh bread cubes.

The result? A delectable taste sensation called Eggplant Creole. My family fought for the last bite and begged for more.

Then Jason French sealed the eggplant deal. The chef/owner of Portland’s Ned Ludd turned to the purple vegetable for his award-winning Bruschetta of Market Vegetables and Farmers’ Cheese. The dish earned him the COUNTRY Chef Challenge 2011 Master of the Market sponsored by COUNTRY Financial.

This open-faced sandwich represents pure genius with a blend of flavors drawn from garlic, Romano beans, tomatoes, farmer’s cheese and yes, a Japanese eggplant. And what’s more – it’s a quick meal!

So, here’s your tip of the day! Head to your nearest farmers market and venture beyond your fruit and vegetable comfort zone. Buy produce you’ve never given more than a passing glance. Ask the vendor for recipes or check out the Portland Farmers Market website for tantalizing ideas.

Even better yet, mark July 16 on your calendar. Head to the market at Pioneer Courthouse Square from 11:30am to 1:00pm and watch as Portland chefs Gregory Gourdet of Departure, David Padberg of Park Kitchen and Sarah Schafer of Irving Street Kitchen chop, sauté and simmer their way to become the COUNTRY Chef Challenge 2012 Master of the Market.

You’ll see familiar produce teamed with the exotic and blended in unique ways to invigorate your taste buds. The experience is guaranteed to take you from “ewww” to “mmmm.” Sweet and sour eggplant, anyone?

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