Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Update!

Although our food producing garden is not what we wanted this year, there's something about an overworked husband and a pregnant wife that prevents things from getting planted, we do have a few plants that have the promise of bounty.

Our raspberries have finished blooming for the spring season and there are little green raspberries forming!!

We now have a rhubarb forest growing along the garage, although it's not really red yet...does anyone know how long it takes to get red? Does it even need to be red (I've heard of green varieties)? Is it too late for rhubarb?

And our plum tree, although looking a little sickly, has green plums getting bigger for now and purple later in the summer. Does anyone know about plum trees? Ours seems to have fewer leaves this year. Does it need pruning? Fertilizer? Love?

I hope to keep this blog going now that the quarter is over...but we all know my track record...Daniel has vowed to make me keep writing ("for practice", he says).

Happy gardening!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chick Peas and Salad Greens

It was the last week for plants from some vendors at the farmer's market! Even though I can't plant them in the garden I got these two tiny starts:

Now I will, hopefully, have my own red russian kale by summer's end and a pile of delicious and hopefully spicy salad greens.

I was also able to get pea shoots (so good fresh in salads), red mustard greens (a little bug eaten around the edges but still delicious), strawberries (those didn't last long), and my usual suspect... So delicious!!

I soaked up some garbanzo beans last week and have them stockpiled in the refrigerator in hopes that I can do minimal dinner prep this week, there's something about finals that makes me not want to do any extra work.

So, it's green salad with garbanzo beans and a simple vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little mustard and salt and pepper) for dinner. Yes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Spiciest Chili on the Block

This quarter I took Whole Foods Production a great class that focused on utilizing whole foods to make balanced, nutrient dense, meals in about 2 hours. For a final project we had to design and execute a meal using a meat or bean and grain drawn from a hat. My group got lentils and corn. I immediately thought of a recipe I found on for a vegetarian lentil chili that I had made once before for my family. It was a hit, so I suggested it to the group. The rest of the menu was built upon this recipe.
We added Firecracker cornbread also from 101cookbooks, rhubarb crisp, and a leafy green salad with a delicious avocado based dressing.


I think the meal was genius. Although the chili was a little too spicy. I ran out of store bought chili powder and used the same amount from some Ghanaian chili powder I have that packs more of a punch.

I still think the meal was perfect for late spring in the NW when some days feel like fall but there is an abundance of fresh spring greens filling the markets.

I didn't take photos of the actual meal but here's one of a reheat at home:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ice Cream!!

I'd like to think that Ice Cream is a whole food...but sadly with so much sugar added I don't think I can go that far. I do love ice cream and I would love to really learn how to make it.
My sister makes ice cream, of course, and the flavors she comes up with are delicious. I think my favorite of last summer was the raspberry...yum! I am a sucker for berry ice creams, maybe it's the idea that I'm getting some phytochemicals with my sugar.
So, my goal this summer is to have my sister teach me how to make ice cream...what should the first flavor be? Cocoa cherry? Strawberry? Irish Car Bomb (would that even be possible)?

Ahh well, to tide me over I always have my trusty Sunday Market vendor the Whidbey Island Creamery cart, or Bluebird, or our most famous shop, Molly Moon's.

Here in Seattle we have this phenomenal ice cream shop, Molly Moons. This week I found out that this summer, Molly Moon's is taking their ice cream on the road with an ice cream truck! How amazing is that?! I have yet to lay eyes on this mythical creature but I have signed up for e-mail updates and hope to hunt it down soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The farmer's markets this week were a fresh veggie lover's paradise! I managed to get to two, Bellevue on Thursday and Ballard on Sunday.

At the Bellevue market I bought the most beautiful bouquet of lettuce. It was deep green and ruddy purple with two varieties mixed together. My extended family benefited from this lovely show with a tossed green salad and there was still some left over!

On Sunday I went a little wild at the Ballard Farmer's market. I bought red russian kale, a personal favorite because it's sweet enough to put on a sandwich raw but hearty enough to stand up to cooking. Then, because the Full Circle Farms booth was still running their 4 bunches for $10 deal I also bought purple radishes, white turnips, and baby bok choy. All that and I still had room, and cash, to buy some grass fed beef burgers from Skagit River Ranch and some pastured eggs from another local farm.

The burgers were cooked up right away and didn't last long enough to get a photo and none of the salads and sandwiches I made with the greens are recipe or photo worthy, but I'll work on that for next week!

The most exciting find this week were the strawberries!! I didn't get any because these were water damaged and being sold by the bucket (and I have no time for jam making right now) but it does signal that strawberry season is here!!! Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comfort and Joy

Well, it's been a rather long week, already, and I'm just plain out of ideas for seasonal dishes. This week's take at the farmer's market, baby bok choy, purple radishes, and mini turnips have only gone to serve as salad fixings. I did discover that a baby bok choy salad is rather refreshing and delicious.

In the interest of not sharing a salad recipe...mostly because I think if you read the last sentence you have it, I will share with you a family staple and a recipe that many people have been asking for. The Livermore Family Spicy Tofu recipe. This is my edition and this recipe exists in many forms, my mother and uncle also love to make it although each of them has a slightly different version.


Spicy Tofu

The cooking time of this recipe depends on the type of tofu you choose, the more water it is packed in the longer the sauté step will take. Coriander and cumin give this dish a distinct flavor, the other spices in the recipe are my personal favorites; amounts and types should be changed to suit your personal needs. I like it best served with rice or pasta with a generous douse of Jamaican made Pickapeppa sauce to give it extra spice.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves sliced into think rounds
2 12-ounce packages of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
2/3 cup large flake nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup tamari

Heat oil, in a well-seasoned medium to large cast iron pan or other skillet, over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and sauté, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the tofu and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is browned on all sides.
While the tofu is browning mix together the nutritional yeast, coriander, cumin, dill, turmeric, and chili powder. Set aside.
Add the tamari and stir to coat the tofu. Turn off the heat and allow to steep for a minute while stirring. Shake the spice mix over the tofu and stir to coat. Scoop over rice or pasta and serve.

Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
Makes 6 – 4-ounce servings

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mothering Sunday

This past weekend the market was all about mother's day flowers, leeks, and garden starts. It seemed like these were the only things for sale. Even the usually well stocked Nash's and Full Circle Farms were looking pretty sparse.

It is definitely the time to purchase garden starts and there were tomato, lettuce, and herb plants for sale at most of the booths.

I wish gardening wasn't forbidden this year because every time I see those flats of starts I want to put in a great big vegetable garden. There is nothing more local than the food you grow yourself. Even if you only have a balcony you can plant herbs and lettuces in large pots and have half a salad at your finger tips.

I can't plant anything new this year but my efforts from years past are starting to pay off. The raspberry canes we planted last year are bushy and healthy and have started putting out buds so we will have berries later this summer!! Hurrah!

I am still hoping to get a pot of basil going in my kitchen for later this summer and I would love to get some of those juicy tomato plants...maybe I can convince Daniel to get his hands a little dirty.

It's planting get out there and grow your own food.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Potato Bread

I just remembered that on my last trip to the farmer's market I spied with my little eye some sweet potatoes. Since you can still find them I thought I might share my recipe for Sweet Potato Bread even though it's not exactly a quick process it is something that is good to do while studying...yummm.

Sweet Potato Bread

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber. Delicious orangey tubers give rise to yummy bread.

1 cup warm water (about 115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast (7g)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 medium sized yam or sweet potato, baked, peeled, and mashed (3/4-1 cup equivalent)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cup all purpose flour plus more for kneading
A little oil for greasing pans

Measure the water into a glass, measuring cup and add the yeast. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in salt, honey, and butter.
Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour, stir with a spoon until incorporated. Add the sweet potato and stir again.
Add the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix with your hands to form a soft ball of dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough becomes elastic and less sticky, about 5 minutes. More flour should be added as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise. Allow the dough to rise to double (1-1 ½ hours).
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead again until smooth and shape into an elongated oval. Place the dough into an oiled bread pan, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise. The dough should double in size once again.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425F. Once the dough has doubled put the pan into the oven and bake for 25-45 minutes (this will depend greatly on your oven) or until browned. Cool and slice, serve with butter and jam or peanut butter.

Preparation Time: 4 hours
Makes 1 large loaf

Copyright 2010, E. Lagerquist, Original recipe

Veggies and Kids

Family business took me away from Seattle this past weekend and kept me from getting to a farmer's market, even though it's a little early in this blog's life to deviate from my plan I am going to write this week about and experience I had volunteering.

I am currently volunteering helping to teach a kids cooking and nutrition class. The kids are great and range in age from 4 to 12 years old. They definitely, as a whole, haven't had a lot of exposure to the kinds of foods I hold dear but it is fun to help introduce them to a wider range of foods.

This week's topic was vegetables and we made pizza for a snack. The first task was pizza prep and the kids all helped roll out the dough and grate carrot and beets to put into the sauce. The best part of the experience was watching as these kids put handful upon handful of grated carrot and beet into the pizza sauce. Later, when we were all sitting around eating pizza and discussing the day some of the kids, who arrived after the pizza had been made, were shocked to find out there were more than just tomatoes in the sauce, one girl even tried to tell me she could taste the additions. I gave her a look and said, "you can't taste them", and she admitted that, no, she couldn't and the pizza was good.

During our veggie taste test another kid amazed me with her willingness to taste and her positive reaction to every vegetable offered. We gave them carrots, red peppers, jicama, fennel, and raw beets. She even asked if she could take some extra beets home and proceeded to eat on like an apple while she was walking out the door. I love adventurous eaters!

Working with kids can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience but every now and again they do something that makes you believe in the work you are doing. It was a good week.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

This past Sunday was the perfect day for a trip to the farmer's market. It was warm and sunny so by the time we made it there the street was packed with pooches and strollers. I like to begin my forays with an initial loop to check out the selection and prices. Then I go in for the kill.

I was glad I chose to go to the Ballard Farmer's market since my friend went to the one in the University District and stood in line at 9am for asparagus, 9am!! And by the time she bought hers they were almost out! I however, managed to get a bunch without incident, or long line, at 11:30 from Ayala Farms. We then wandered over to one of my favorite's, Nash's for the rest of our produce (green garlic, red cabbage, red russian kale, and chioggia beets), and Tall Grass Bakery for some fresh bread.

Thinking of the nice pastured eggs I already had in my refrigerator I decided to make a cabbage hash with asparagus, soft boiled egg and toast on the side.

Asparagus, Cabbage Hash
I made this up on the spur of the moment, inspired by all the fresh spring veggies we found at the market. You can choose different spices depending on your personal taste. Serve with a soft boiled egg and toast.

2 tablespoon olive oil
3 stems green garlic (chopped into fine rounds)
1 pinch chili powder
1 dash of paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage (or 1/2 of a baseball sized cabbage chopped)
1/2 bunch asparagus - washed and trimmed
1/4 cup Water

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over med heat until hot, add green garlic. Saute, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until the rounds of green garlic soften.
Add spices and mix to combine.
Add cabbage and allow to sweat, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes until cabbage is coated in oil and begins to soften.
Add asparagus and 1/4 water.
Cover and let steep for 2-3 minutes. The asparagus should be bright green and tender.

Makes 3 servings

Soft Boiled Eggs (Eliza style)

When I cook eggs for eating plain I like to use local, pastured eggs, it makes me feel good knowing I'm getting a little extra omega-3 fat in my diet.

3 eggs
Water to cover

Place eggs (medium to large, not extra large) into a pot with water to cover by a couple of inches. While covered, bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and set a timer for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, drain the hot water and wash the eggs with cool water and drain. The eggs can sit until you are ready to serve them.
Peel the eggs and cut into sections. The yolk should be firm but still translucent.

Makes 3 eggs.

Here is a photo of the final feast which even my husband enjoyed once he figured out that soft boiled eggs aren't at all like hard boiled eggs. Local tastes so good.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hello World!

Welcome to the Sleep-deprived blog, kitchen edition.

In honor of the beginning of spring and the return of delicious veggies to my local farmer's market I am going to use this blog to showcase fast meals that can be made from the local, seasonal foods we, in Seattle, can find in our local farmer's markets.

I also plan to incorporate what I am learning in my master's of nutrition program to bring fun facts about the nutritional value of the foods that are available.

I hope you can all join me for the ride starting next Sunday.