Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 6/30/07

I woke up this morning not in the best of moods (too little sleep), and the glut of rude people at the markets today didn’t do much to help my mood (meaning, lines are made for waiting in, not cutting, and lady, I don’t care if your son has a potty emergency or not, if the traffic is bottlenecked and I can’t move forward or backward, all your bellowing in the world isn’t going to change that sad fact). Maybe the beautiful weather brought out the jerks today, I don’t know – but there was no shortage of people with no manners today. But my foul mood means not so many pics today, so less to choose from.

First things first – we headed to the North Market where I got a nice sized box (8 oz instead of 5 oz) of my requisite shiitakes and oysters, which are usually used the same day I get them in some kitchen sink carbonara to use up the rest of last weeks veggie supply. No pink ones today, hopefully the white ones are just as tasty. Across from Toby Run Mushrooms, Quiver Full Farms was back for the season, and I picked up some wheat flour and cornmeal, for inclusion in some local recipes this summer. He also had these blackberries, which are an early variety. They’ll go nicely with the raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries I’ve got in my fridge over a piece of pound cake.

063007blackberries

And of course, another big bag of spinach from Just This Farm – spinach is one thing I can never get enough of.

063007spinach

And while at the North Market, I picked up some of those kohlrabi microgreens at Wayward Seed Farms that Lisa rave d about last week, and admired these beautiful beets – I would have bought some, but I have no ideas how to make beets palatable after being scared off by canned beets as a child.

063007beets

Over at Elizabeth Telling Farms, I picked up a couple ounces of these “wild things”, which are lambs quarters and amaranth leaves and a couple of other things I forgot, to be used later this week.

063007wildthings

One last stop to get some green beans from Wish Well Farms and some pickling cucumbers and cilantro from Persinger Farms, and we were off to Worthington.

We bypassed Clintonville altogether this week, as 2Silos is the main reason we go there (is it just me, or has Clintonville not had much produce this year?), and I knew ahead of time they wouldn’t be there for 2 weeks in a row. We got to Worthington about 15 minutes after it opened, and picked up the requisite ground chuck from OMC Farms, along with some more feta cheese from Meadow Maid.

I’m not as familiar with the Worthington vendors, unfortunately, so I don’t know the name of the farm, but I picked up these purple majesty potatoes, which the kind lady told me doesn’t fade to an unattractive grey when cooked:

063007purplepotatoes

And in my effort to document the pretty flowers this summer (there were also zinnias and sunflowers out and about), I give you this lovely bunch of mixed flowers:

063007flowers

On the other side of the street, we stopped got some excellent (and I mean excellent, even the crust ruled!) Tollhouse Pie from Stevens Bakery & Orchard, some burgers from grilling from Up the Lane Cattle, and a nice big bunch of bing cherries from Gillogly Orchard (I would have got blueberries, but he said they flew off the table in like literally 5 minutes, so when I got there by 9:40ish, they were long gone).

After a couple requisite stops at Schumann’s and Thurn’s for meat, it was back home and back to sleep for a couple of hours. And how was your market trip this morning?

One Local Summer 2007 – Week 1

Yay, it’s that time of year again, and Liz of Pocket Farm has brought back One Local Summer for 2007, and I’m gung ho to get started! To focus on eating local (and I’m defining local as anything from Ohio, since we’re pretty much smack dab in the middle of the state and 100 miles to each border), we’re asked to make one meal per week with all local ingredients.

For the first week, I decided to make something I’ve blogged about before (Oma’s Layered Ground Beef & Cabbage, but this time with all local ingredients. And this time, it actually came out in layers like it was supposed to!

layered

The cabbage came from the North Market Farmers market (can’t remember the particular vendor’s name), the ground beef from OMC Farms at the Worthington Market, the milk was from an Ohio creamery (already tossed the container, but I got it at Whole Foods), the rolls were baked on premises at The Anderson’s in Dublin, the butter was Ohio Amish Roll butter that I also got at The Anderson’s, the eggs were from 2Silos at the Clintonville Farmers Market – the only things that weren’t local were the seasonings (caraway, salt, pepper, maggi).

It was so easy to turn this recipe into a local one, using ingredients that are in season. Since it’s still early in the season, I’m sure I’ll get a little more creative as different produce items come available.

Do any of you have old favorites that are easy to make with local ingredients?

Daring Baker? More Like Procrastinating Baker!

For those of you stopping by to see my Daring Baker self make a beautiful batch of bagels, I’m sorry to disappoint. I just plum forgot.

I didn’t occur to me until I saw Lisa’s DB post today that it was that time of the month! (Or that it was, in fact, this late in the month, LOL) – here I’ve been walking around the past week thinking that it was like June 21st right now, and that I’d have time this upcoming weekend to make the bagels.

Unfortunately, I feel really crappy right now (I have good days and bad days, and I overworked myself this past weekend and am paying for it now), so the earliest I’m going to be able to try this recipe is on Sunday (because I can’t do the kneading on my own, between the arthritis and the carpal tunnel syndrome I’d be in misery by the end of the day), once I’ve sufficiently recovered from last weekend and the first day my darling husband will be off of work and able to help (technically, he’s not working Saturday either, but you all know I spend nearly all day going to the farmers market and running errands).

So consider this a placeholder - I’m not shirking my Daring Baker duties, just gonna be a little bit late, that’s all…

Shortcut Greek Spinach and Feta Pie

When we made pastitsio the other night, I also wanted to make spanakopita as well – in part because the dishes go well together, but also because I had some spinach and feta cheese I had picked up at the weekend farmer’s market that I really wanted to use.

But as those of you who have made spanakopita before know, it can be rather time consuming because of having to deal with the phyllo dough. Unfortunately, time was one thing that wasn’t on my side that evening.

So instead of making out and out spanakopita, I wanted to make a dish that had the “vibe” of spanakopita, without all the work. I think this recipe is a good compromise. The flavors of the feta and the spinach definitely shine, with the bisquick mix acting as a delivery system much in the way as the phyllo would. This one is definitely a keeper.

spinachfetapie

Shortcut Greek Spinach and Feta Pie
slightly modified from this recipe

1 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed and rinsed
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
4 green onions, sliced (about 1/4 cup total)
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup biscuit baking mix (such as Bisquick)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 10-inch pie plate with non-stick spray, and set aside.

Wilt spinach in a non-stick skillet for 3-5 minutes, adding 1 tablespoon water to keep it from sticking to pan (we needed to use a touch more, just add water when it needs it, but make sure the spinach stays fairly dry), or blanch spinach in boiling water 1-2 minutes, until just cooked. Drain well in colander and squeeze out excess water.

Arrange spinach evenly in prepared pie plate. Arrange cheese and chopped onions over spinach. Stir together milk and eggs, and then stir in parsley, dill, salt and black pepper. Stir in baking mix, until combined. Pour over ingredients in pie plate.

Bake 30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

Presto Pasta Night #18: Pastitsio

For this week’s Presto Pasta Night, I asked my husband to prepare one of his specialties, a pastitsio that has both a thin and thick bechamel sauce. Although it’s more work than our normal pastitsio recipe (which just uses thick bechamel), the additional time needed to make this particular recipe is worth it, as it adds a solidity and extra creaminess to the final product that we don’t get otherwise.

We’ve used this particular recipe for years, so although I’ve found many incarnations of it on the internet (and I’m not sure which one to credit, as so many sites have the same recipe listed), the original origin of the recipe is unknown. If anyone does know, please let me know so that I may credit it properly.

pastitsio

Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines, and I haven’t quite decided yet which I like more – pastitsio or moussaka. Both are similar, but different in quite a few ways. I paired this with a spinach-feta pie, which I will blog about later.

Pastitsio

Thin Cream Sauce:
4 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. all purpose flour
2 c. hot milk
2 egg yolks

Thick Cream Sauce:
4 c. milk
4 eggs
1/2 c. all purpose flour

Filling:
1 1/2 c. chopped onions 
2 lbs. ground beef
4 tbsp. butter 
2 c. Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
1 c. tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried or 1 tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
Dash of ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 1/4 lbs. tubular pasta (I used long ziti)
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 c. fresh grated kefalatiri
Parmesan cheese

Prepare Thin Sauce: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and cook until mixture turns golden. Gradually stir in hot milk and cook, stirring until sauce is smooth and hot. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, then briskly stir 1 cup of hot milk mixture. Pour egg milk mixture into remaining sauce. Stir and remove from heat without cooking the eggs.

Prepare Thick Sauce: Heat milk to a simmer, and set aside. In a bowl, beat eggs with flour. Gradually stir hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is quite thick. Do not boil after the eggs have been added.

Main Recipe: Brown chopped onions and meat in butter. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Sprinkle bread crumbs into a buttered 11x14x2 inch baking pan. Place a layer of pasta in the baking pan; then add half the thin cream sauce. Add meat. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated cheese. Cover with remaining thin cream sauce. Spread thick cream sauce over the top and sprinke it with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden. Let stand for 15 minutes to cool, and cut into squares (Note that you cannot cut the Pastitsio easily unless you cool it for 15 minutes.) When ready to serve, reheat in hot oven

Note: This dish can be prepared a day in advance, adding the thick cream sauce just before baking the dish.

SHF: Black Forest Cherry Cake

This month for Sugar High Friday, we were challenged to make our favorite dessert – I find it difficult to pick just one favorite, as my choice would change with the season. My favorite is seasonal, made with the fantastic cherries I picked up at the farmers market this past weekend.

I present to you Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, more commonly known as Black Forest Cherry Cake – a multilayered cake with layers of chocolate and kirsch-flavored white layers, with a kirsch buttercream and cherries in between layers. Finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream and more cherries.

I had some setbacks, so the recipe needs tweaking, thus the delay in posting. Expect this entry to be updated tomorrow with the modified recipe and some pictures of the innards.

ETA: my experience, the recipe, a pic, and my modifications

Well, I’ve got one thing to say – it tastes awesome. Especially the kirsch buttercream. It doesn’t cut too cleanly, but really, who cares? As long as the piece comes out intact who cares if it’s pretty or not? I’m sure someone who has far superior baking skills than I do could probably decorate it better than I did. I gave it my best shot. :)

When I first checked out this recipe yesterday, I misunderstood it. Big time. I looked at the recipe, and it really looked wrong. It didn’t call for any leavening agents, at all. Childhood baking experiments showed me what no leavening does to a cake. So I went to look at other kirschtorte recipes, to see if I could get an accurate amount of leavening to use. None of the other recipes had leavening either. So I basically just said “to hell with it” and proceeded anyway. I should have really sat down and thought through what they meant about “beat until fluffy” – if I had any sense about me, I would have thought merengue – but of course, I had no sense yesterday. I’m guessing that if done right, the texture comes out like an angel food cake. Needless to say, mine didn’t come out that way. Let’s just say that I ended up with 3 pucks. Three pucks that when stacked one on top of each other, probably ended up being the height of a single layer of cake. The flavor was good – the kirsch one was very crepelike, and was really tasty with cherries and whipped cream rolled in it. But a failure nonetheless. So I took the easy route – I used the alternate instructions in the recipe that called for cake mix, adding the amount of milk and kirsch it recommends. The layers came out nicely the second time around, and if I ever make this cake again, I’ll probably use the same shortcut. So, I’ll present the recipe in its original form, but just make sure to not make the same mistake I did if you decide to try making the cake from scratch. Note, the asterisks were in the original recipe, the only one I followed was using the cake mixes – plus I doubled the amount of filling and topping as well.

Bavarian Kirschtorte
origins unknown

Cake:*
6 eggs, large
1 cup flour, sifted
2 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Kirsch liqueur

Topping:**
2 cups sour cherries, drained; pat or air dry***
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate bar (shaved pieces)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cake: Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla together until fluffy. Fold flour into mixture. Divide mixture in 3 parts. Fold baking chocolate into 2 parts. Into the other 1/3 batter fold in the Kirsch. Pour batter into 3-8″ prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes; turn out onto racks to finish cooling.

*Being very short on time, I used two cake mixes: one chocolate and one white. I substituted milk for the water in both mixes. I added Kirsch to the white cake mix. Since only one white cake layer was needed for this recipe, I froze the unused layer to be served at another time.

Filling: Beat sugar and butter together until blended. Add egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Fold in Kirsch.

Assembly: Place 1 chocolate layer on dish. cover top with 1/2 of the cream filling. Spread 3/4 cups cherries evenly over filling. Place white layer on top. Repeat filling/cherry procedure. Place last chocolate layer on top. Fold powdered sugar into whipped cream. Cover sides and top with most of the whipped cream. Press most of the chocolate shavings on top and sides of cake. Place remaining 1/2 cup cherries on top of cake. Finish decorating with remaining shavings/curls and whipped cream. Chill until ready to serve.

**I used twice as much whipped cream and half as much chocolate shavings.

***It was not cherry season when I made this dessert, so I used canned sour cherries.  

Farm Fresh and Local Produce – 6/23/07

It’s absolutely amazing how something as simple as the changing of spring into summer makes so much of a difference in what produce is available.

We were up with the birds this morning (and what a beautiful morning it was – if the weather was like this every day of the year, I’d be a happy camper) and managed to make it to four (yes, four!) markets before noon.

Knowing that this weekend was both ComFest and Pride Weekend in the Short North/Victorian Village area, we wanted to get in and out of the North Market (we didn’t even go inside!) before traffic started to get nightmarish around 9am. So much to be had a the North Market today – I, of course, picked up some more mushrooms (shiitake and oyster combo, yum!) from Toby Run, and some spinach from Just This Farm which will make a lovely spanakopita tomorrow with the feta I got at the Worthington Market.

spinach062307

Wayward Seed Farm had lovely squash blossoms – however, due to last weeks nightmarish outcome, I decided to pass these up this week.

blossoms062307

And in the first of my many berry purchases of the day, I picked up both red and black raspberries from Rhoads.

raspberries062307

A few more items (cabbage, garlic scapes, grape tomatoes, onions) later, and we were out of the North Market within 20 minutes of arriving.

Next up was Worthington, which we arrived at just at the stroke of nine as the market was opening, and believe it or not, it was already fairly crowded. The items of the day here were berries and more berries. We picked up some lovely sour cherries at $3/pint, and also got some more plus some more raspberries and blueberries across the way at Gillogly Orchard. Also to be had was some ground chuck at Oink Moo Cluck. Too much other stuff to remember (by the time all was said and done, we had an overflowing bag), but here are some of the highlights:

Like these beautiful flowers (I suck at naming flowers, people – anyone have a clue what these are? – I want to say zinnias, but I’m probably wrong) that I passed and admired.

flowers062307

Or this kohlrabi that I completely cleaned the farmer out of (yes, I do love the stuff, thankyouverymuch).

kohlrabi062307

Or this lovely zephyr (my favorite variety, next to eight ball) squash:

zephyr062307

Again, a few more items (namely cheese) to round things out, and we were on our way again.

We hit Clintonville for a super-quick stop, where I got some locally milled flour, one of Carletta’s yummy sweet potato pies, and some red velvet cake at Holiday Baking.

Knowing that 2Silos would be at Whole Foods today (and since I needed to make a quick Whole Foods stop anyway), we headed up there as well, and I was surprised by what a vibrant farmers market they had going on there. Lots of other local food producers I had never seen before, including Buckeye Grove Farm Cheese, a local cheesemaker that had varieties that I haven’t seen before locally – an Emmenthaler style (Jersey Emment) and a pungent French Munster. I think they will be at all of the Whole Foods Buckeye Bounty open air markets (the next one is on July 14th), but otherwise you can get their cheeses at both Whole Foods and Katzingers, according to their website.

Well, off to process some of this produce. I’ll probably be making some mixed berry jam, and also a Black Forest Cherry Cake with some of those many sour cherries. :)

Meet Sweetie

Remember I told you guys about how I signed up for the 2Silos (the web site is down temporarily) “Adopt a Hen” program, where for a set amount (I believe it’s $159 now, don’t quote me on that), you’d get to “adopt” a hen (with naming and visitation rights), get 40 dozen eggs, and a 5 lb. bucket of compost?

sweetie062307

Well, I’d like to introduce Sweetie, an Americauna hen who follows Denise (2Silos owner) around all day, who I had the pleasure of meeting today in the parking lot of Whole Foods during their open air market. Isn’t she cute? I think Sweetie is a fitting name.

If I didn’t have all the deed restrictions I do (and if I lived in a more remote part of town rather than in a subdivision), I’d SO be buying one of her city chicken kits to raise my own birds – I never realized chickens were so endearing. Not to mention all the yummy eggs.

Stay tuned for future installments in the continuing adventures of Sweetie.

Who Needs a Grill to Barbecue?

One of my guilty TV pleasures is watching the chef competition shows every week – between Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Next Food Network Star, I get my fill of watching other people cook. I watch partially to get ideas, and partially out of a sense of schadenfreude (better than them me!). But mostly for ideas.

One of the dishes featured on TNFNS was Rory’s Ribs, which were featured in this month’s copy of Bon Appetit. I didn’t go through the whole mess of making the sides and the BBQ sauce, but I used her method for cooking ribs and let me tell you, these are the most tender juicy fall off the bone ribs I’ve ever had. I think I’m going to make them this way from now on. I served them with potato salad and corn on the cob – barbecue flavor without having to fire up the grill at all!

ribs

To make the ribs, get 4 racks of baby back ribs (about 2 1/2 lbs each), and season each side with salt, pepper, and chili powder (I used Penzey’s Chili Con Carne seasoning, which worked spectacularly). Preheat the oven to 450, and make sure one shelf is on the top third of the oven, and one is one the bottom third. Put 2 racks of ribs on each cookie sheet, pour a mixture of 1/2 cup of chicken broth plus 2 tbsp. soy sauce in each cooie sheet, and cover tightly with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, and then switch the positions of the cookie sheets (the one that was at the bottom will go to the top shelf, and vice versa). After you switch, let it cook another 45 minutes or until tender (and believe me, they WILL be tender). Cut between each bone, and then brush them with your choice of BBQ sauce and serve.

Triple Berry Shortcake

Another (badly lighted) mostly local dessert – berry shortcake. Strawberries and raspberries from the farmer’s market, along with some blueberries and a little sugar, over top of a couple of chocolate shortcakes that we picked up at Clintonville Farmer’s Market, all topped with some whipped light cream. I can’t get enough berries this year! How much longer do we have before blackberries are in season?

berryshortcake