May 26, 2008

My trip to Greensland

On my recent trip to Greensland I have become acquainted with many interesting characters. Most are friendly, tasty creatures, but others are more sinister.

Atop a pizza I met oregano, arugula, and crinkly wrinkly cress. The oregano gave the parsley pesto a great aroma, the arugula was peppery, and the crinkly wrinkly cress was crazy. It tasted like radishes and a little bit was enough to sprinkle all over our pizza and salad.

Fritattas are always a good place to meet a friendly green or two: in this case kale and chard mingled with pecorino cheese to make a salty, wonderful wedge. We also found that something strange had snuck into the roasted vegetables. This is what happens when bok choy crawls off to die. It tasted like a cross between celery and a slug. Somehow it managed to be crunchy, limp, stringy, watery, and bitter all at once. I spit it out in the trash. Seriously.

To get the taste out of our mouths, we went to he Beaverton Farmers Market on Saturday. We brought some variety to Greensland by purchasing asparagus, strawberries, onions, garlic, rhubarb, potatoes, cheese, and mushrooms. Andie the dog got to come to the park and enjoyed rolling around in the grass.

There might have been some other things at the market that we slept too late to get. I did see a lot of empty baskets. There were only a few pints of strawberries left by the time we got there. It's pretty early for berries, but people were very excited to see them.

Wrapping up our trip to Greensland was this coconut curry with greens that Max made to put over the potatoes from the market. The greens all behaved themselves, even a little finely chopped bok choy that snuck in. Did I mention salad? Yeah, we ate that with every meal too. Goes great with breakfast cereal. More is coming in two days.

May 21, 2008

Salad anyone?

Seriously, does anyone have a good recipe for salad dressing?

Today was the very first day of our Abundant Harvest CSA. I was looking forward to it all day, and had to try hard to not run down there at 3:00 when it opened. Max and I drove a few miles north to the farm and met our new farmer friends, Steve and Mish. They had warned us that the farm was starting up slowly due to the crazy cold weather that we'd had, but now I think they were sandbagging.

We got a huge pile of everything green. Here's the breakdown:
2 big bags (really big) of lettuce mix
1 bag of mixed greens like kale and chard and little flowery things
3 bok choys
crinkly wrinkly cress ( I didn't make that up)
chocolate mint

It was fun to pick it all out and weigh it and see the place that it came from and met the people who grew it. I can't wait to go back every week and see what's new.

Confronted with a huge pile of green stuff, Max and I made burritos with pinto beans, kale, chard and Tillamook sharp cheddar with a big salad with oregano and shallot dressing. We will be eating salads aplenty for the next week, and I feel like summer might actually come.

Later this week we'll make pizza with arugula, a frittata with greens, asian stir-fry, and probably more salads.

Max has his own take on the farm here.

May 14, 2008

Opening day at Orenco

Sunday the long-awaited opening of the Orenco farmers market finally arrived. It was chilly, but we enjoyed breakfast burritos from Ochoa's. Due to the chilly spring weather, there were just a few kinds of veggies, and lots of garden starts. We bought asparagus, mustard greens and pears, as well as a few plants for mothers' day and one more tomato start for the garden.

I'd been excited for awhile to make a spring minestrone soup with aparagus, peas, and brown rice from Heidi Swanson's Supernatural Cooking. Turns out that those little asparagi can hold a lot of sand. Note to self: swish them around more. Despite the grit, the soup was awesome. The veggies had some crunch to them and we drizzled some sesame oil on top to make it extra tasty.

I'd been reading Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food, and it seemed like a meal that he would have approved of: lots of whole grains and veggies. I really recommend the book, I love his critique of "nutritionism". He talks all about how looking at food as only a collection of nutrients has led to all kinds of bad ideas about what to and not to eat.

With the leftover asparagus and some of the mustard greens we made a great improvised pasta dish. I stole some ideas from a few different recipes and made a shallot and asparagus puree and sauteed up some greens and chili flakes. We sprinkled some pecorino cheese on top and called it good.

By the way, the countdown to CSA is 7 days!!

May 5, 2008

Not-so-instant Pudding

We finally made it back to a farmer's market this week. Saturday we did an all-day Birdathon for Audubon, so Sunday was our day to get everything else done. We hit the Hillsdale market for some fresh veggies and ingredients for a bread pudding recipe that Max had been yearning for all winter. It was a warm sunny day and Andie the dog enjoyed finding and eating random dropped pieces of food. There was a huge line for strawberries, but we'll wait until the you-pick ones are ready.

We bought a few vegetable starts and planted them afterward in my grandfather's garden. I won't spend too much time blogging about all those tiny plants until we start eating them. Andie enjoyed the gardening, especially the part where she broke into the bag of chicken manure and ate a bunch of it.

But back to the bread pudding. The recipe is from Debbie Madison and was brought to our attention by Barbara Kingsolver in her great book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It was about as local as we get:
Bread-New Seasons, Milk-Alpenrose, Eggs-co-worker's neighbor, Onions and asparagus and cheese and mushrooms-farmers market, Butter-Tillamook.

It took a long time and many different pans and bowls and cutting boards, but between the two of us, we finally got the pudding cooked. It got all puffy and golden, just like it was supposed to, and then we served it with a simple (local lettuce) salad. The flavors blended really well together and the texture was moist but not squishy. This local eating thing gets easier and easier as the spring goes on.

May 1, 2008

Deja Pesto

Tonight we had a ravioli dish inspired by a great one that I had on Orcas Island on our honeymoon. We took Rising Moon chanterelle ravioli and served it in a mix of our homemade stock and our leftover homemade pesto. Then we dipped Marsee Bakery sourdough bread in the liquid and it was so tasty. I think the original had heirloom tomatoes too, but our tomato plant is about 6 inches tall right now, so I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.

I am continuing to use up random berry mash in the freezer. Tonight it is more rhubarb-strawberry crisp, though "crisp" does not describe it as well as "crusty soup" might. Luckily strawberry+sugar+butter=happiness anyway.