Pickled and Roasted Beets

Alternate titles for this blog:

If You’re in a PICKLE, This Recipe Can’t Be BEET!
Don’t Let Your Neighbor BEET you to the Farm!
BEET the Heat With This Holiday Recipe
The Local BEET: Red, White, and… Chiogga…

So many to choose from…

But I can’t BEET around the bush any longer. This Pickled Roasted Beet Recipe is something you have to try! It is super easy, if a little time consuming (mostly because of the roasting time) and takes advantage of what is growing in our fields right now: three different varieties of beets–Purple, Chiogga, and White. All are absolutely beautiful and are showcased in this Pickled Roasted Beet Recipe.

Here’s what you do:

To roast your beets:

I used one bunch of each variety. That gave me about ten beets, which was just about perfect. IMG_0016Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. While it is warming, wash the beets well and remove the tops. Wrap each one in a separate piece of aluminum foil and put them on a cookie sheet. Roast them for about one hour, or until tender when you prick them with a fork. Take them out of the oven, unwrap them, and let them cool slightly.

Once they cool enough to handle, the skins will rub right off. Remove the skins, rinse them under water if you want, and slice or dice them, depending on your preference. I kept them in three separate bowls; I was afraid that the purple beet would sort of take over during the pickling process and wanted to showcase their unique colors. Still, color won’t affect the taste, so the separation step does not really matter.

After they are all sliced, prepare your pickling liquid. Wisk together (or toss in your blender, which is what I did):

¾ C. ReIMG_0017d Wine Vinegar
3 T. Olive Oil
3 T. Sugar
1 ½ t. Ground Mustard
Salt and pepper

Divide the liquid over the beets (or just combine everything if you’re not separating by color). Let them sit for at least ½ an hour in the fridge and then combine to serve. These Roasted and Pickled Beets are delicious by themselves, as part of a cheese tray, on a salad tossed with salty blue or feta cheese, or even on brats. They will look especially patriotic on your table this weekend!

See You at the Market! (And Happy 4th of July!)

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Crispy Onion Straws

Here we are, almost mid-July…  We can finally say that our market is well-stocked with all of the fresh and local staples of summer– field grown tomatoes, just-picked sweet corn, crisp cucumbers, and shiny, pungent onions.  Kitchens are well-stocked with vegetables too, so well-stocked that we sometimes skip the meat that makes the meals in cooler months.  Instead our dinners look like: sweet corn and this salsa, sweet corn and these refrigerator pickles, sweet corn and this barley salad.  These are pretty healthy meals, even if they are impromptu and snacky.  However, sometimes (this weekend), we go a little less healthy and roll boiled sweet corn in salted butter to eat with these Crispy Onion Straws.

Hot. Thin. Just a little spicy and salty. Better than any fair food you will ever eat.  I will not lie to you and tell you that there is anything healthy about this choice, but I will tell you that sometimes there is nothing tastier. Plus, Crispy Onion Straws are easy and fun to make.

Here’s what you need:

A small bunch of our sweet onions
1 pint buttermilk
3 C. flour
Seasonings to taste: I used 2 T. of kosher salt, ½ t. of cayenne pepper, and 5 or 6 cranks of freshly ground black pepper

Here’s what you do:

Slice the onion as thin as you can.  The sharper knife you can use for this, the better.  Remember, these onions are NOT chunky rings.  They are stringy Crispy Onion Straws.

Put the onions in a 9×11 glass dish and cover them in buttermilk.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, but maybe all day.  DO not skip this step.

When you are ready to make your straws, heat a quart of oil over medium high heat until it reaches a temperature of 375.  I always do this outside on the side burner of my gas grill. It keeps my kitchen from smelling like fried food and makes for easy clean up.

Take a handful of buttermilk-soaked onions and dredge in the flour mixture. Drop into the heated oil and deep-fry for a few minutes.  Pull them from the oil and drain of a tray covered with paper towels.  Repeat until all of your onions are done.  Adjust seasonings. These Crispy Onion Straws disappear as quickly as you make them, so be sure to sneak a few as you fry.

Have fun.

See You at the Market.

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pretty onions

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the magic ingredient

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soaking

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dredging

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frying

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draining

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eating

 

Posted in Dip, Onion | Leave a comment

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake

We don’t pull the blinds on summer nights.  From bed, we watch the fireflies float out of the fields. Morning light wakes us up, more gently than any alarm clock but just as persuasively.  And full moons—they cast illuminating shadows long after the sunset.  This past Friday’s full moon was The Strawberry Moon, not named thus by any 21st century marketer but rather by every single Algonquin Indian tribe in the Eastern half of the United States.  They knew, way before European settlers even arrived, that strawberries define June.

And I will tell you the truth: the best way to eat June berries is just the same way that the Algonquins did–right from the stem.  On chilly mornings, the berries are cool bursts of sweetness; on sunny afternoons, the warm juiciness of them explodes on your tongue.  There is no better treat.  But there are treats that come close.

My mom’s show stopping Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake comes close.  This cake is easy. This cake is beautiful. (Did I say that this cake is easy?) It is a box-mix white cake layered with strawberries and an AMAZINGLY light, not-too-sweet whipped cream frosting.  I am not a frosting girl (gasp) because I do not like cloyingly sweet, but this frosting…  If the Algonquins had known about it, they would have named that sun and the stars after strawberries too.  The whole June solar system would have “strawberry” somehow attached to its name and there would be pictographs of strawberries and whipped cream and cake carved into sandstone ledges from the Atlantic to Lake Superior…  OK, maybe not.

But please make this cake.  Please. Please. Please. And please set a bowl of frosting and strawberries aside and invite your people into the kitchen for a little strawberry dipping.  Next to strawberries from the field, Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake might be the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten.

Here’s how:

Strawberries:

You will need fresh strawberries.  I think you could easily make this cake with 2 quarts.  I had four in front of me, but I also had helpers, who dipped a lot of strawberries in a bowl of frosting.  This dipping part really plays a very important role in the creation of this cake.  Do not skip it.

Make sure your strawberries are clean and dry.  Slice them thickly and evenly.

For the Cake:

Prepare a white box cake of your choice.  I baked mine in 9 inch round pans because I wanted to make a layer cake. There is much more of a wow factor.  However, you can make this cake as a single layer in a 9×13 cake pan. It’s much easier and works well for picnics.

Make sure the cake is cooled completely before frosting.  I actually made my cakes a few days ahead of time because I had a few minutes and then threw them in the freezer.  I defrosted them a bit before frosting, but not all the way.

For the Frosting:

6 oz cream cheese
2 T. milk
4 C. chilled whipping cream
1 1/3 C. powdered sugar

The trick: chill the bowl and the mixer attachments before making this frosting.  You can take your cream cheese out to soften, but make sure that the whipping cream itself is really, really cold.

Start by beating the cream cheese and milk on low speed until smooth.  Beat in the whipping cream and powdered sugar.  Beat on high speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble:

Put the first layer of cake on your cake plate and top with a generous layer of frosting.  Cover with sliced strawberries and top with the second layer of cake.

Frost the top, again generously.  Arrange strawberries on top, as decoratively as you wish.

Fill the extra spaces between the two layers with frosting before you frost the sides.  This will help your cake appear even and smooth.  I was making a fancy cake for Father’s Day, so I piped the frosting up the sides of the cake with an extra large star tip, but you do not have to do this.  You can just frost the sides with a regular old spatula. It will be just as good.

Note: You must refrigerate Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake.  It will come apart in the heat.  This is a light frosting and it is not super stable, so you have to be gentle with it, especially if you make it as a layer cake.  Take it out right before serving.

We really do have wonderful berries this year.  Our U-pick hours are based on availability, so make sure to check the website before you come out if you want to pick; we always have pre-picked berries available in the market.  Remember, berry season is relatively short.  You do not want to miss it!

See You at the Market!

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just picked berries

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frosting ingredients

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stiff peaks

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layer 1

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layer 2

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pretty

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all done

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dipping

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at the party

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yum

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everyone loves this cake

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leftovers?

 

Posted in Dessert, Fruit, Strawberries | Leave a comment

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Our delicate purple irises bloomed this weekend and the fat peonies are just beginning to pop. I wait for them every year, anticipating their beauty, watching buds travel up long green stems and swell, a calendar of warming days. Suddenly, I am in tour guide mode, dragging my people through the yard: Look at this deep velvety purple. Look at these pink petals, how the ants are pushing them wide. They won’t last, now that they are open.  Look.  LOOK.

How is it that I haven’t seen these flowers in a year, when it feels like they were just blooming, like we were just here, in these last few days before summer?  Like I was just here— when the kiddos were toddlers, when I was graduating from high school, when I was a little girl myself.  As school winds down, I want days to go slowly. The whole summer is spread out before us now, but I know that, before long, it will be August and then it will be June again.  Everything and everyone grows so quickly—including our lettuce, which is the inspiration behind this Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe.

Because we are already eating like it is summer: grilling late at night after baseball games, throwing together salads, slurping on popsicles and ice cream cones, eating outside with messy fingers. This Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap is half salad, half grill, all finger food and self-assembly.  It’s sort of like tacos, if you ask one kid, and sort of like burritos, if you ask another—but, you know, with lettuce.  I use our butter crunch variety because the leaves make neat little bright green cups that hold their shape for easy rolling. As for the chicken, I cheat a little on the marinade, which is 100% Trader Joe’s, but the peanut sauce is homemade—spicy, peanut, and vinegary all at the same time. It is a recipe that ends with sticky fingers and facilitates an easy next day salad.

To make Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

First, marinate boneless chicken thighs in Trader Joe’s Soyaki (or a teriyaki sauce of your choice) overnight. Or don’t.  You can always grill and baste. The chicken will be nearly as delicious.

Next, make the Peanut Sauce:

¾ C. natural peanut butter—you must use natural, but you can choose either chunky or smooth
¼ C. (or 2 oz.) of red curry paste
a can of coconut milk—I use lite…
½ t. salt
¾ C. sugar
2 T. white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
½ C. water

Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan. You might feel like curry paste and coconut milk are exotic ingredients, but they are easy to find at any grocery. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, wisking the whole time.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes and remove from heat.  Cool to room temperature. Leftovers store well in the refrigerator, although it will thicken up.

Then, cook the chicken:

Grill and chop.  Or, if you want to cook inside, you could have chopped and marinated and now will sauté.  (We are sort of in love with sautéing in coconut oil here, which I also get from Trader Joe’s. It makes the kitchen smell a little tropical and works really well for this recipe.)

And finally, the accoutrements:
(that’s sort of a fun word to use…)

Wash and dry lettuce leaves and lay them out on a platter. Chunk cucumbers and cut carrots into matchsticks as possible toppings, along with actual peanuts.  Put the chicken and the peanut sauce into separate bowls and let everyone build their Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps as they see fit.

We have a ton of lettuce at our Farmer’s Markets now, and will open our home market (on 252) for strawberries and produce beginning June 14th. Come see us, and let us help you to welcome summertime with the fresh produce that you’ve come to expect.

See you at the Market.

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showcase lettuce

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peanut sauce ingredients

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in the pot

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light boil

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on the grill

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on display

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ready to roll

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my taco kid

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my burrito kid

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baseball salad

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Did you want to see the irises?

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or the peonies? I thought so…

Posted in Cucumbers, Healthy Living, Lettuce, Salad | Leave a comment

Stacked Tomato Salads

Last week, the weather was as hot as it has been all summer.  We opened windows, turned on fans, and slept in a cloud of humidity under thin July sheets.  We ate cold Tomato Stacker Salad because we couldn’t even think about heating up the kitchen.  After a little wind and rain on Thursday, out came sweatshirts and jeans.  We slept better under fleece blankets, still with windows open but breathing deep fall air. This time, we made an opposite kind of salad, rich and warm Hot Tomato Stacks.

Our hours, whatever the weather, are full of tomatoes—big crates of romas and canners that we see even in our sleep.  But the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and we are sensing the end of something.  As a result, we are eating as many fresh-from-the-field tomatoes as we can.  A tomato is a veggie (fruit?) that still can’t be replicated on grocery store or in the off season and these two salads make the most of them; in both, you rebuild the tomato shape, stacking tomato slices with fresh mozzarella.  However, Tomato Stacker Salad is cold and spiked with basil and balsamic. The other, Hot Tomato Stacks, is similar to something they once served at The West End Tavern in Lakewood: a hot combination of tomato slices, sautéed sweet onions, and cheese that gets all melted in the oven before making it to the plate.

You want to make both salads NOW, while the tomatoes are at their tomato-y best.

If the weather is warm: the cold Tomato Stacker Salad:

You’ll need:

A round tomato for each salad
A handful of basil leaves, cut into strips, with a couple left intact for garnish
Fresh mozzarella, cut into thin round slices. (This is NOT pizza cheese.  This is the milky soft mozzarella cheese that comes either packed in water or sealed in plastic.)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
GOOD Balsamic vinegar, like this one that we pick up when we go to the markets.

Build the salad by first removing the stem from the tomato with a paring knife.  Cut the tomato into slices.  Put the bottom slice on a plate.  Top it with a slice of cheese, a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and basil, and a drizzle of vinegar.  Continue to rebuild your tomato in this fashion until you have used up all of the slices.  Dress with a final drizzle of vinegar and garnish with a basil leaf.  I call this a salad, but it is enough for dinner!

If the weather is cold: Hot Tomato Stacks

A round tomato for each salad
Onions, figure ½ an onion for each Tomato Stack
Fresh mozzarella, cut into thin round slices
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good balsamic
Olive oil
Wooden skewers, like for shish kabobs

While you are preparing the dish, soak the skewers in water so you don’t have to worry about them catching fire in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375.

Slice the onions thin and sauté them in a drizzle of olive oil until they are soft and translucent.  Remove from heat.

As above, use a paring knife to remove the stem from the tomato.  Slice the tomato thickly.

Build the Hot Tomato Stacks in an oven proof baking dish—I used a stoneware pie plate.  Put the bottom slice down, top with sautéed onions, a slice of mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper.  Continue building the tomato stacker in this fashion but end with a piece of cheese.  Put a skewer into the stacker to hold it together. Make as many as you want and then stick them in the oven.  10 minutes is probably enough.  You are not trying to cook anything; you just want the cheese to melt. (Watching carefully, I turned my broiler on for the last 3 minutes or so to bubble the cheese on the top.)

Serve these dressed with a good balsamic drizzle.  One is enough for two people, even when served as a main dish.

Enjoy these Stacked Tomato Salads as a reminder of warmer days.  A change of seasons is just around the corner

See You at the Market.

Posted in Healthy Living, Onion, Produce, Salad, Side Dish, Tomato, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peach Salsa and Chocolate Covered Jalapeños

Back to school is a little bit of an experiment.  We’re busy, but we’re trying to make it work and there is a lot of trial and error.  Turns out little girls who pick out their own clothes look like Cirque du Soleil performers, that paper lunch bags, although cheap, are ineffective (“epic fail,” according to my boys), and that 10:00 is too late of a bedtime for a football-playing seventh grader.  Still, we have had great success with sweet-hot experiments in the kitchen, such as with this Peach Salsa recipe and these Chocolate Covered Jalapeños. Such things remind us that trying new approaches to the tried-and-true can be fun.

First, the Chocolate Covered Jalapeños experiment… These babies were the 7th grader’s idea and he found a how-to video on you-tube.  I was skeptical at first, but I have to say that I am a convert.  They are a little spicy, a little smoky, and very chocolaty.  Biting into a Chocolate Covered Jalapeño feels a little like biting into a chocolate covered cherry, although I can’t tell you exactly why. The directions are simple:

Take a handful of jalapeños, core them, seed them, and cut out the ribs.  Consider wearing gloves for this.  Cut them into long skinny strips.

Melt about 2 cups of dark chocolate in the microwave–I used wafers specifically made for candy making.  If you use regular chocolate, you will have to add shortening. (Add 2 T. of shortening for every 2 cups of chocolate.) Heat the chocolate at medium power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in one teaspoon of cinnamon until it disappears into the chocolate.

Dip the Jalapeño strips into the melted chocolate, leaving just a tip of green. Place them on wax paper and stick them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so until the chocolate hardens. These Chocolate Covered Jalapeños are very Halloween-ish looking, and people may be doubtful, but leave them on a plate in the fridge and they will disappear before long.

And then the more conventional Peach Salsa experiment, also disappearing in nature…

In regular salsa, tomatoes are the (sort-of) sweet and peppers and onions are the spicy.  This recipe subs peaches for the sweet.  They are not acidic like tomatoes, but they are juicy and delicious, especially right now.  This salsa tastes great on chips, but it also makes a great topper for grilled chicken or fish.  I even like to put Peach Salsa on fish tacos, along with avocados and lettuce.

Here’s what you do:

Combine:

4 peaches, chopped, not peeled
1 red pepper, chopped and seeded
¼ C. of red onion or sweet onion, chopped.  Do not use too much onion, because you do not want to overpower the peachiness
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
2 T. cilantro (fresh), chopped
¼ t. ancho chili powder
1 T. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
The juice and zest of one lime (or lemon juice, if that’s all you have)

Put everything in a bowl and chill.  Serve with chips or dinner. Say “peachy-keen” a lot and you will enjoy yourself even more.

I usually share the tried and true with you, but I am happy to branch out a little.  I hope that this time before Labor Day is not too busy for you and that you are able to experiment with all of the delicious produce we have on our shelves.

See You at the Market.

 

Posted in Dip, Fruit, Healthy Living, Peaches, Peppers, Produce, Recipes, Side Dish | Leave a comment

Barley Salad

In the summer, it’s easy to notice growth.  Fruits and vegetables compress a whole life cycle into a season, and change is constant.  Today, I noticed that the apple tree on my morning run just right now actually smells like fresh apples.  Yesterday, it held only small green fruit and before that it scented the air with blossoms.  Next month it might smell heady and rotten.  But just right now, fresh.  And so Barley Salad…

We make this Barley Salad to showcase veggies that are coming into their own just right now too—Summer Squash, Juliette Tomatoes, Sweet Red and Yellow Peppers, and Onions.  It has lots of parsley and feta cheese and is dressed with lemony vinaigrette.  Barley is in the title, but you can use any sort of grain.  I actually found a grain mix at Costco called Whole Grain Fusion that has brown rice, red rice, barley, and rye berries.  It has a great texture and flavor and honestly, I was too lazy to run to the grocery store for barley.

Note: this Barley Salad seems to fill up whatever bowl you put it in.  Take it to a party, or be prepared to eat Barley Salad for a few days.

Here’s what you need:

1 C. uncooked barley or other whole grain
¼ C. onions, chopped
¼ C. fresh parsley, chopped
1 pint Juliette tomatoes, halved
1 sweet red pepper and 1 sweet yellow pepper, both chopped
1 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thin
½ C. feta cheese

Juice of 1 lemon
¼ C. good olive oil
2 T. vinegar
½ t. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

Put the barley in a pot with 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the grain is tender.  Cool completely. (You may have to adjust this a little bit for other grains.  Check out the directions on the package, but be prepared to use about a cup of the dried stuff.)

Combine the grain, the chopped veggies, and the feta in a big bowl.  Wisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Stir the dressing into the Barley Salad and chill.  Serve and enjoy.

Hope that you are enjoying these last few weeks of August.

See You at the Market.

Posted in Onion, Peppers, Produce, Recipes, Salad, Tomato | Leave a comment

BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Two bits of news worth CELEBRATING:

  • Our own Red Wagon Farm 10U Softball team brought home the OGSO State Title! Way to go ladies! We are super proud of you and all that you have accomplished this year.  And…
  • Tomato Season is officially here and in full swing!  As you know, there is NOTHING quite like a fresh homegrown tomato.  Romas, canners, and slicers and red and yellow cherries fill our market shelves and can find a place in almost every meal at your table.

So… a Softball-Tomato-Celebration-Meal:

There are lots of fancy things to do with tomatoes but nothing makes them stand out quite like a salad—especially this BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing. It has bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?), roasted sweet corn, crunchy and cool cucumbers, eggs, avocados and all different kinds of tomatoes.  The confetti at this parade is a Buttermilk Dressing which supermarket folks call Ranch.  Homemade Buttermilk Dressing is so much better than the bottled variety and it contains no preservatives.  It doesn’t last long, so you need to use it up quickly, but, should you forgo the salad, you can simply slice tomatoes and cucumbers and dip them in.

Here’s how you make the Buttermilk Dressing. (Do this first and let the flavors come together in the fridge while you put your salad together.):

Borrow herbs from your neighbor’s patio garden with promises of buttermilk goodness to be shared. I used about a tablespoon each of parsley, dill, chives, and basil, but you can use anything.  Personally, I find the dill and chives pretty indispensable. (I guess if you don’t have the generous herb-growing neighbor, you might have to visit the grocery store.)

Wisk together the herbs with:

½ c. mayo (I used the low fat olive oil kind)
½ c. Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 C. buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. salad vinegar (or white or cider or red wine)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
¾ t. salt
½ t. sugar
Pepper to taste

If you like the dressing a little thicker, you can cut down on the buttermilk.

Put the dressing into a container and stick it in the fridge. Get ready to put the salad together.

For the BLT Salad:

…I feel a little silly telling you how to make a salad. Good salads follow more of a formula than a hard and fast recipe and whatever you like (especially if you use fresh ingredients) will be delicious.  What started here as just bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes ended with the addition of cucumbers, eggs, avocados, and roasted sweet corn.  And presentation is important. Lately, instead of putting salads in a bowl, I layer them on a big tray.  I can’t toss them, but they look beautiful and beauty adds a little to the revelry.

So, specifically, to make this BLT Salad, I first cooked the bacon until crispy, roasted 2 ears of corn on the grill, and hard-boiled 2 eggs.  You can find the specifics for roasting corn here, but really all you have to do is butter corn with salt and pepper, wrap it in foil, and throw it on the grill or even in the coals of a campfire.  Once it’s done, cool it briefly and cut it off the cob.

While the corn and bacon cool, spread washed lettuce on a platter.  Slice a couple of roma tomatoes and maybe a round canner.  Halve a couple handfuls of red and yellow grape tomatoes and Juliette’s. (If you’ve never had a yellow tomato they are sweet and low acid.  Juliette’s are meaty mini-romas.  All are delicious and beautiful. ) Spread the tomatoes on the lettuce and top with a chopped cucumber.  No need to peel or seed.

Chop the bacon, hardboiled eggs, and avocado.  Layer onto the salad. Top with roasted corn cut from the cobs.  The corn gives the salad a sweet element and brings the flavors of summer together.

I served this salad with blue cheese on the side, because, frankly, I am the only person here who likes blue cheese.  I also grilled some salmon and flat bread to add another element to the meal.  Everyone drizzled their own Homemade Buttermilk Dressing on the salads that they plated themselves.

BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing turned out to be a great celebration meal.  Here’s to having things to celebrate.

See You at the Market.

 

 

Posted in Cucumbers, Garlic, Local Sweet Corn, Produce, Recipes, Salad, Tomato | Leave a comment

Fruited Lemonade

 I was lucky enough, this past week, to camp with one of my best friends.  She lives across the country and we talk only a few times a year, but when I do see her we slip into each others’ lives easily, regardless of miles and milestones.  These past few days, I snuck into her visit home with a little vacation on the side.  We roasted corn and grilled hamburgers over campfires, tried to be brave (like our children) on roller coasters, and talked and talked and didn’t talk.  Also, we made Fruited Lemonade in Nalgene bottles, a quick and easy drink recipe I want to share with you this week, as juicy and sweet local peaches and melons arrive on our shelves. It is easy and memorable, can be dressed up with vodka or rum for adults, and is actually fun to make for all involved, because it involved choosing and shaking—always a big hit.

Here’s what you need:

Some sort of container with a tight fitting top.
The juice of one lemon for a single drink, or two if you are making a Nalgene bottle sized drink.
All different kinds of fruit and berries. I used cherries, peaches, and blueberries.  I was going to use delicious yellow watermelon too, but someone dropped it in the parking lot.
Sugar
Ice
Water
Rum or vodka, if you want, as we call it at home, an “adult drink”

Here’s what you do:

Take whatever berries you are going to be using and add about a ½ cup sugar.  Let them sit for about 30 minutes.  The sugar will draw liquid out of the berries and make delicious syrup, which adds sweetness to this Fruited Lemonade.  (Since we were camping, I put the cherries and berries into a Ziploc bag and added sugar before we left.  I just kept them in the cooler until we were ready.)

Juice your lemon.  Pour the juice and scrape the pulp into the container.  Add a few spoonfuls of berries and syrup. Cut up your peach into small chunks and add that too. Toss in a few cubes of watermelon as well, seeds removed.  If you are making this with kids, they can choose which fruits they want to incorporate. 

Fill the container with ice. Add water and as much vodka or rum as you wish, so that the container is full.

Shake vigorously.  The ice will help to break up the fruit a bit and will make the drink super cold. Little ones love to help with this part.

Taste the concoction for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.  Another tablespoon is usually necessary for the people in my crowd.  Shake some more.

Pour everything into a glass and serve with a straw. Many lemonade recipes tell you to strain the fruit from the drink, but we like picking unassuming pieces out with our sticky camping fingers. If you are serving Fruited Lemonade at a cookout, you might want to pour it into mason jars, where it will look especially beautiful.  If you are camping, you will use maybe a Styrofoam cup or drink it directly from a Nalgene bottle.

Serve with sweet corn. Share with friends.

See You at the Market.

Posted in Beverages, Blackberries, Cherries, Fruit, Peaches, Punch, Strawberries | Leave a comment

Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler

This is kind of an unplanned blog, like Saturday was kind of an unplanned day.  The boys won their baseball game, ignoring the heat with a win or go home mentality that reminds me really how old they are getting.  When we got home, the kids blew up rafts for the pond while we froze enough tart cherries, which came in from Michigan only Friday, for fourteen pies. Then, after pizza over charcoal and maybe the most delicious sweet corn ever, we made Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler.

Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler is a camping desert that we’ve devoured since I was tiny.  A Dutch oven is a heavy cast iron cooking pot with little legs and a tight fitting lid concave lid.  It is indispensable if you are car camping, because you can use if for everything from stew to cornbread to, oh yeah, Dutch Oven Cherry Cobbler.

Now, if you want super quick and ridiculously easy, you might make this with 4 cans of Thank You Pie Filling, any flavor. But, if you have a little time and are celebrating a baseball win, you should make this with Farm Fresh Fruit, serve it with vanilla ice cream, and finish it off for breakfast.

Here’s what you need (and I apologize for all the parentheticals, but really, this is super easy and very flexible.  You can’t mess it up):

For the filling:

4 cups tart cherries (or any fruit, peeled and prepared, as if for a pie)
3 T. cornstarch
2/3 C. sugar (more or less to taste, depending on the fruit)
¾ C. cherry juice (or any fruit juice, or water)
T. lemon juice (if you are working with a fruit that might brown)

For the topping: (I doubled this part because we wanted a lot of topping…)

2 ½ C. Bisquick
½ C. milk
2 T. melted butter

Equipment:

Dutch oven
Charcoal, hot and ready

Here’s what you do:

Prepare the charcoal.  For me, this consists of yelling out the window, “Hey!  Somebody start the charcoal!”

In a saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and liquid.  Add a cup or so of the fruit and cook over medium heat, until the cornstarch thickens and clears.  Stir in the rest of the fruit and the sugar. Remove from heat.  (You’ve just made better-than-canned pie filling!  Good job.)

Mix together your bisquick, milk, and melted butter.  You might have to add a tiny bit more milk to get the dough to the right consistency.

Grease the inside of the Dutch oven with butter.  Pour in the pie filling.  Drop spoonfuls of the biscuits on top. Put on the lid.

Find a spot away from small children.  Put maybe 10-12 bricks of hot charcoal under the Dutch oven and 10-12 bricks on top.

Let it bake for 20 minutes.  If you doubled the topping like I did, you may have to add another ten.

Serve with ice cream or whip cream or milk and Enjoy.

By the way, if you really want to try this particular recipe but you are lacking in the tart cherry department, we still have some available.  To order a bucket (fresh from Michigan… no preservatives), call us or stop in by Thursday. We’ll be happy to help!

See you at the Market

Posted in Cake, Cherries, Dessert, Fruit | Leave a comment