Home » recipe » Page 2

Tag: recipe

Year of Produce: November

Getting November’s produce log done proved to be a bit of a struggle. And I can’t blame it on having to draw romanesco, the amazing whorled cousin of cauliflower (My rendition at left is proof that an accurate drawing was not the hold up.). A vendor at the farmers market was selling darling palm-sized ones and I couldn’t resist. Then I got home and remembered I had to draw it. Romanesco has a mild taste partway between broccoli and cauliflower.

My brother was the source of two tips this month. He said he once jazzed up a Christmas party crudité platter using romanesco. If you pull one apart, you’ll know why it was the perfect vegetable to use. Each spiraled cone-shaped floret looks like a miniature Christmas tree! Throw something red in there and you’ve got a festive display.

Read more

A Year of Produce: July

July’s produce log has proved a little challenging to get finished. I could blame it on the fact that I’m too busy eating but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Though I confess to stuffing my face with berries as you can see by my bucket ‘o blues. When people think of Oregon’s adventure sports, they think of kiteboarding in Hood River. But it’s not until you’ve been elbow deep in marionberry vines that you’ve truly experienced extreme sport. This is not an activity for wimps. This is full-metal jacket sport. But boy, is it worth it. The floral, bubble-gummy marionberry, a type of blackberry, is indeed one of the great wonders of the northwest.

If this is your first visit, you’re seeing a month-by-month log of fresh produce, with a tally to see how my local versus non-local dollars compare. See April Produce Log for an introduction to the project. Here are May and June. You can download each one as a PDF. Here is July. Each month includes recipe ideas, links and PDFs to download.

Read more

A Year of Produce: May

In April, I posted my first month tracking fresh produce expenditures—comparing local versus non-local produce. See May below or download a high-res PDF of May. To paraphrase a saying, eat the colors of the rainbow and you’ll be fine. May is already looking more colorful.

Two things I’m struggling with:

Defining local: If I were to use the 100-mile radius rule, then I would have to find out if the Washington apple I buy at grocery store is from a farm within 100 miles. My very loose definition of local is Oregon and Washington. Given that a big percentage of my local produce costs are from the farmers market, I’m fine with my definition.

Including garden costs: This project isn’t about tracking garden costs. Here is an example of a couple who tracked all input costs, labor and output from their garden. This is far too ambitious for me. An excellent read is Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Her family existed for a year on what they grew or could buy within a 50-mile radius. I am only tracking what I harvest (visually) and the cost of seeds or starts, but not compost or fertilizer. However, I haven’t devised a strategy for tracking every sprig of thyme! I’m a big proponent of having an herb garden. Given the cost of fresh herbs and the flavor boost your cooking, herb gardening is where I would put my effort if I had very little space. See this culinary herb primer on Culinate.com.

Maybe you’re wondering what I do with all this. Here are a few links or suggestions:

Radishes and Fennel went into a Radish, Fennel, Orange Salad. The watermelon radish, if you can find it, is a visual delight—white on the outside, hot pink on the inside. Radishes make my stomach burn but my mother loves them. It was Mother’s Day. What can you do? The sweetness of the fennel and orange balance the peppery radishes. Plus the salad looks kick ass.

• In an earlier post, I wrote about Rabes (Raabs), and offer up a quick way to cook broccoli rabe. You can also download a recipe for Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa, a signature dish of the Puglia region in Italy.

• May continues to give us rhubarb. If you missed April, here’s another chance to download a recipe for a Rosemary Rhubarb Galette. Top with goat cheese and serve with a salad for a lovely spring lunch.

• Chef in the Market, Jeremy Eckel of Bar Avignon in Portland, OR, made a wonderful farro (This has become my favorite grain. Stay tuned for another post.) salad with grilled asparagus and spring sweet onions. Add some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, and chopped hazelnuts for a great Spring BBQ salad.

New Seasons market has a nice kale and carrot salad that I’ve recreated at home. It uses an Asian-inspired dressing of cumin, canola oil, fresh ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesami oil. No need to cook the kale first; the vinegar breaks it down so make it a little ahead. I also use the Italian kale in minestrone soup. Sadly, it is still soup season in Portland!

If you have any questions and comments, let me know! Share some of your favorite seasonal recipe ideas. Cheers!

<< Go to April or go to June >>

When Life Gives You Rhubarb…

…you better do something with it. Like asparagus, rhubarb does not have long enough a season for one to ponder buying it another day—unlike potatoes, greens or onions, for example. But ask your market vendors. They usually know how much longer something will be available.

One look at these ruby stalks and you think “Making a pie sounds like a lovely idea, doesn’t it?” And then the poor things go limp because your culinary intentions were just that, intentions. But I’ll say this about not only rhubarb: Just cook it while it’s available. Don’t wait for a special occasion or more time or the right mood. The doing of it inspires more of the same. This is true of just about anything.

I say, forget the pie! You can download my Rosemary Rhubarb Galette recipe, which is like pie, only more wabi sabi, and therefore, more fun to make. Not to mention easier.

Former host of Splendid Table , Lynne Rossetto Kasper, offers a Rhubarbarita recipe for when a regular margarita just won’t do. Now I’ve got a quart of this syrupy garnet goodness in my freezer, ready for the next party.

The easiest thing to do is chop it up and cook it with a little water and sugar (like you would for cranberry sauce), till the rhubarb is tender. Eat it with a pork chop or for breakfast with granola and yogurt. Couldn’t be easier. It freezes well, too. Just chop it up and put it in a freezer bag. It’ll keep for a year.

Getting Raabed

If you’re lucky enough to have a good farmers market nearby, as we are in Portland, you might see all sorts of raabs (or rabe)—kale raab, collard raab, even Brussels sprout raab. But what are they?

They are, simply, the flowering stems of the plants that fall into the very large family called brassicaceae—the cabbage or mustard family. In this family are vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, turnips, mustards, kholrabi and radishes.

Many are familiar with broccoli rabe (also known as rapini, cime di rapa, broccoli raab, broccoli di rape, among others). But while broccoli raab has been bred as its own distinct plant (and in the same cultivar group as turnips), these other raabs are the flowering stems of the plants—the kales, collards and Brussels sprouts, for example.

Just as herbs bolt, flower and then go to seed, so, too do these plants. For example, Brussels sprout raab are the flowering stems in spring from the fall crop of the vegetable. Once upon a time, these rabes were considered “farmer food” and were among the few greens still growing in late winter. They weren’t considered good for market mainly because they’re not available long enough for grocery stores to bother.

But times have changed. People are willing to try new things. And farmers are willing to bring rabes to market.

The varying textures of the stems, leaves and flowers are appealing, as are their color variations. Each tastes slightly different and most are more mild than broccoli rabe, which can be quite bitter. All are very nutritious—and include vitamins like C, A or K and potassium, calcium and iron. And many have anti-cancer properties and are high in antioxidants.

One of the best ways to cook raab is to boil just til the stems are tender and then drain. Heat some olive oil in a skillet, add some crushed garlic and a pinch of red pepper flake. Add the rabe, tossing with tongs till coated with oil and seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon.

In Southern Italy, broccoli raab is eaten in abundance, and one of the most popular dishes of the region is Orecchiette con cime di rapa. Give the anchovies a try even if you think you won’t like them. Like fish sauce in Vietnamese and Thai cooking, they’re meant to add depth, not impart a fishy taste. Follow this loosely—varying the amount of pepper, anchovies and greens. Rapini cooks down much like spinach because it’s mostly leaves. You can also download the recipe.

Recipe: Orecchiette con cime di rapa
serves 4

1 lb. orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta)
1 or 2 bunches broccoli rabe (rapini), washed, roughly cut in 2-inch chunks
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 to 6 anchovy fillets
Good pinch red pepper flake
2 T olive oil
Optional: fine bread crumbs
Salt to taste

1. Put a big pot of water on boil with plenty of salt.
2. Lay the whole bunch of rapini on a cutting board and roughly chop into 2-inch (or so) sections—using the greens, stems and buds. It will seem like a lot but it cooks down. Rinse and drain the greens, leaving a bit of water on the leaves (for steaming during saute).
3. In a big skillet, heat the oil and saute the garlic, anchovies and red pepper. Don’t let the garlic burn. Using a wooden spoon, smash up the anchovies till they melt. At the same time, add the pasta to the rapidly boiling water (both the pasta and the rapini take about 10 minutes, so you can do them at the same time).
4. Add the rapini to the skillet and saute over medium heat. You may need to allow some to wilt before adding the rest. Add a little salt (not so much because the anchovies have salt, as does the pasta water). Cook the rapini till the stems are just tender, but not overcooked.
5. Halfway through the pasta cooking, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Cook till just tender, or al dente, and drain.
6. Add the pasta to the skillet with the rapini, stirring to combine well. Add some of the reserved pasta water, the starch of which combines with the olive oil to create a sauce. Add salt if necessary.
7. Serve sprinkled with some fine breadcrumbs. This dish is excellent with a Primativo or Salice Salentino (both hearty reds from Puglia).

Note: You can try boiling rapini first and then sauteing, but I find that sauteing alone is sufficient and the rapini is less soggy (the stems of rapini are less woody than some of the other rabes). Some recipes call for sausage, and some call for parmigiano (a little odd since Italians don’t normally mix cheese with fish). In other words, look for other recipes and experiment. It might seem strange to serve with a hearty red but the dish is hearty, and Puglia is not known for its white wines. An inexpensive Salice Salentino is available at Trader Joes.