Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Photo Dump

I found a curly, curly relative of kale at the Queen Anne Farmers Market.
Then I ate it with onions, polenta and homemade spicy pork sausages!
 
The garden is flourishing! Peas, green beans, chard, arugula and speculation of a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers. Those little green guys on the left are young radish pods, they are pickling away in the fridge.
Big Food flatbread dinner: paneer, pineapple, red onion, and cilantro sauce. Some spicy, saucy snacking. 
There is a pie cherry tree in front of my house!
At an appreciation party for a fabulous lady, everything was wrapped in bacon. What a nice idea. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rhubarb Popsicles with Blueberries

I have been craving homemade popsicles since I read an article on boozy ice pops. Even I am shocked that my first popsicles of summer are booze free. But I had a surplus of rhubarb and some beautiful Washington blueberries and after hearing about bluebarb pie, I couldn't resist freezing them up together. The rhubarb was cooked down with sugar and orange zest, but I couldn't bring myself to puree the blueberries. I really hate to destroy the perfect shape and texture of my favorite berry. Plus the color contrast in these babies is quite nice. It has been a great week of enjoying a great popsicle in the sun after an afternoon of working in the garden, I just can't decide what flavor I should move onto next. 
Rhubarb Popsicles with Blueberries 
Inspired by People's Pops


Makes 6-10 popsicles


1 pound rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 cups of water
1 cup blueberries 


1. Chop rhubarb into 1-inch pieces.
2. Combine with sugar, orange zest and water in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb starts to break down, 5-10 minutes. 
3. Let cool. Blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. 
6. Drop a few blueberries into your ice-pop molds and then fill with rhubarb puree. Leave about a half-inch of head space to allow for expansion. 
7. Freeze overnight. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Caramelized Pork Banh Mi

Sandwiches are a great food. They make pretty much everybody happy. We made these caramelized pork banh mi sandwiches on our recent cabin vacation. They were a hit. This pork marinade is phenomenal. Tangy, salty, sweet and a touch spicy. It caramelizes when it hits the grill and chars beautifully. We totted our marinating pork in a less-than-classy ziploc bag, nestled in a cooler full of ice and after quickly searing the juicy pork slices lunch was on. Sandwiches are great meals because they come together in minutes and they are easily customize-able. We loaded up our toasty rolls with quick pickled radishes and carrots, sliced jalapenos, crispy lettuce, fresh cilantro and our succulent caramelized pork slices. 
Caramelized Pork Banh Mi adapted from Food52

Serves 6

1 1-1.5pound pork tenderloin
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sriracha 
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 slice ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 hoagie rolls or french sandwich rolls
Pickled carrots and radishes (see below)
Romaine lettuce
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro
Mayonnaise
Sriracha 


1. Cut tenderloin across the grain of the meat into 1/4-inch pieces. 
2. Mix ingredients from fish sauce to black pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add the meat and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight. 
3. Heat a grill pan on high. Sear the meat for one to two minutes on each side until it is no longer pink on the inside. Be careful not to over cook it. 
4. To assemble the sandwiches spread mayonnaise on the hoagies or sandwich rolls, add lettuce, meat, pickled carrots and radishes, cilantro and jalapeno pepper slices. 


  
Pickled Carrots and Radishes


makes about 1-pint of pickles


1 bunch of red radishes, sliced in to matchsticks
3 carrots peeled and shredded
2 cup rice vinegar


1. Combine all of the ingredients in a pint-sized jar. Let marinate at least overnight. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cabin

I spent the past week far away in a cabin, surrounded by trees in Eastern Washington, without cell phone service but surrounded by great friends. It was glorious. 
I read three books, finished three puzzles, went swimming everyday, lounged in a hammock for hours, ate pounds of local cherries and flipped through four cookbooks. 
There were pitchers of mojitos, chardonnay on ice (my grandmother's specialty) and endless cups of coffee to drink all morning long on the porch.
We grilled hotdogs with homemade caraway sauerkraut, ate mini doughnuts for breakfast, stirred up big bowls of polenta and ate lots and lots of sandwiches. 
And we found the cutest strawberries ever. You just can't beat vacation. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pickled Snap Peas

My life has become consumed with preserving as much as possible in as many ways as possible. I know I have mention my latest class adventure before but it had not only filled my Saturdays with learning but provided inspiration beyond inspiration. Not only are the Seattle Tilth Master Food Preserver curriculum and teachers amazing but my fellow classmates are some seriously creative, dedicated, inspiring people. There is Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes, Stacy from Seattle Seedling, Beth from Goodness & Flavor, Gill from 21 Acres, Hal who has dehydrated just about everything, Justin who 'accidentally' comes  home with truck beds full of produce and many, many more. It is going to be a canning, drying, fermenting and pickling heavy summer people. I can't stop writing down ideas! and recipes! This recipe I amended to preserve the snap peas coming out of my garden right now. One of the challenges with preserving from your home (most likely small) garden, is that not everything is ripe at the same time. There is no way my pea trellis will have a quarts worth of peas at one time, but a pint is easy, easy pickings. So I made my quart of brine and I kept it in the fridge, packing pint sized jars as my peas were ready. Snap peas made an interesting pickle, the are super crisp and fresh but they do loose a lot of their pea flavor. If you don't have enough time to eat them and you need to get them off the vine, this recipe is perfect. These are refrigerator pickles, they are not shelf stable. If you processed them the peas would have to be cooked and they would loose most their pleasant crisp. We pretty much eat these guys straight out of the jar, but they add great flavor to fresh spring salads and I bet would be superb in chicken salad.  
Pickled Snap Peas adapted from The Joy of Pickling


Makes 1 quart


1 1/4 cups white wine or distilled vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound snap peas, stemmed and strung
4 garlic cloves
2-4 small dried hot peppers, slit lengthwise
2 tarragon sprigs


1. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, salt and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let the liquid cool. 
2. Pack the peas into a quart jar (or a few smaller jars) along with the garlic, hot peppers and tarragon. Pour the cool liquid over the peas and close the jar with a nonreactive cap. 
3. Store the jar in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before eating the peas. Refrigerated, they will keep for several months. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Photo Dump

These fuzzy baby chicks are not mine, but I get to watch them grow up! Austin and his brother built their mom an excellent homemade coop for Mother's Day and these little guys will move into it soon. Hopefully we will see eggs towards the end of the summer. 
Stone fruit is one of my favorite things to grill. People always give me sideways looks but it is Delicious. I sprinkled brown sugar over these apricots and roasted them up over hot coals. They pick up a faint smokiness while the sugar caramelize and the fruit softens. 
Summer is the season for picnics! The Other Coast Cafe sandwiches delicious and huge (I might have had my second half for dinner). Giant pickles are already quartered for sharing and there are catchy names. The Hammer, featured here has applewood smoked ham, cucumber and a spicy jalapeno and carrot giardiniera.
The cupboards in my house are full of surprises. While these twenty vanilla beans might have expired a few years ago, they are still twenty vanilla beans. I have them soaking in vodka and in two mere months there should be a quart of vanilla extract hidden in the back of another cupboard. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chickpea and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Mint



It has been a month of power food. My accidental overextending of myself led to many 14 hour days of exciting and yet draining adventures. I have tried surviving days like these by powering up on coffee but that just leaves me jittery and anxious for 14 hours, not so great. Instead I eat. It is the 7 snacks a day diet that keeps me full of energy and gusto. I have been toting this chickpea salad around with me everywhere. If there is time I dump it on top of salad greens, but if I just need food as quickly as possible, I eat it straight. I love the combination of the hearty chickpeas, cool cucumbers and fresh mint. It is a really simple mix but it has kept me going for days. 
Chickpea and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Mint adapted from Martha Stewart


2 cans chickpeas
1 english cucumber
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons minced shallots (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve salad at room temperature.