Archive for July, 2008

Chimichurri Flank Steak

Monday, July 21st, 2008

chimichurri flank steak

Part of our local Saturday Supper, this grilled flank steak is simple, quick and perfect for entertaining. Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce commonly served with steak. With parsley and peppers, it’s a spicier take on the traditional pesto. It also makes a great marinade to add even more flavor to your steak. Cut the grilled steak into thin slices and serve along or on top of a simple salad, or on rice or grains for a heartier meal.

Recipe: Chimichurri Flank Steak

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch parsley, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, quartered (seeds included)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 t each of salt and pepper
  • 1 flank steak (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs.)

Process first five ingredients in food processor until finely chopped. You may need to add additional olive oil to get the right consistency, but it should be fairly thick. Rub several tablespoons over flank steak and marinate for at least an hour. (Optional, pour 1 bottle dark Mexican beer, e.g. Negra Modelo, over steak as well.) Bring steak to room temperature while preheating grill or grill pan. Sear over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare, 5 for medium. Allow to stand for several minutes after removing from the grill before slicing. Serve with the remaining chimichurri sauce on the side. Serves 4-6. Enjoy!

At Market: Patriotic Potato Salad

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Despite the intense heat, the Alexandria markets were mobbed this weekend. I’m actually starting to prefer the West End Market over Del Ray, because DR is just too crowded this summer. And West End has more and cheaper fruit and berries. (Blueberries at Del Ray were $3.50/pt, while Papa’s at WE had them for $3/pt, $5.75/qt. or 2 qts./$11 – a savings of 75cents per pint!) You also get a wider variety by market hopping, as each farm has a slightly different growing schedule. Last week, I picked up Papa’s last two pints of blueberries and asked if that was the last of the season, but he said he’d have them for another week or two. His cherries then were labeled “last week,” so I was surprised that Toigo had them this week. One of the benefits of having farms from all around DC is that we get a longer range for most items — Virginia farms usually have things first, while Pennsylvania farmers keep bringing them for a few weeks longer.

In other Alexandria market news, Tom the Cheese Guy is headed to the Annapolis Great Grapes festival next weekend; his wife will be at the markets with only pre-cut portions of his aged cheeses. The honey stand is only coming once a month now due to winter losses this year, so if you missed them at Del Ray you’re out of luck until the 3rd weekend in August. But, Buzz Bakery keeps Virginia honey in stock in the meantime.

At Del Ray, I picked up white nectarines, peaches, tomatoes and jalapenos (D&S), sweet cherries (Toigo), blueberries, honey mushrooms, mozzarella.

At West End: apricots (last week) and blueberries (Papa’s Orchard, 2 qts./$11), cantaloupe, peppers, orange romas, sweet plums and ramp mustard (Bigg Riggs), waterlemon jelly (Crackpot Gourmet, watermelon & lemongrass).

On the menu – One Local Summer Supper: Saturday night, my in-laws were in town so I cooked a fairly simple, all-local dinner of chimichurri flank steak, buttermilk & herb marinated chicken breast, tomato mozzarella salad and potato salad. I used my patriotic potatoes from Bigg Riggs Farm (WV, 117mi.) in a German-style salad. I picked up Bigg Rigg’s ramp mustard, at Tiffany‘s recommendation (check out her story of visiting Bigg Rigg’s last week!), and will definitely try this again using that mustard. Since I made this Saturday, I had to make do with non-local Guldens. Incidentally, red and blue potatoes are more pink and purple when cooked, so this would make a great summer bridal or baby shower dish as well…

Recipe: Patriotic Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups new potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 sm sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c brown mustard
  • 1/2 c cider vinegar
  • 1 t corn starch*
  • 1 t plus 1/4 c water
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives or parsley
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and reduce heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are just tender when pricked with fork. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pour olive oil in pan and saute onion over medium heat until translucent. Add mustard and vinegar. Stir cornstarch into 1 teaspoon water, then add to pot, along with additional 1/4 c water. Simmer for a minute until sauce thickens. Return potatoes to pan, stir to coat and add herbs, salt and pepper. Best served warm or at room temperature. Makes 6-8 servings.

*I recently discovered tapioca starch at my local natural foods store, which I used in place of the cornstarch.

For brunch on Sunday, we had the juiciest fruit salad of market-fresh cantaloupe, peaches and blueberries — plus bread with Waterlemon jelly, (deli) chicken salad, and leftover salads from the night before. Followed by … homemade cherry pie. Yum!

Farm Fresh DC, July

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

When last we surveyed the DC-area farmers market cooks, strawberries were center stage. Now that summer is heating up, we’ve been finishing off cherry and lettuce season, and tomatoes, squash, peaches and corn are on the horizon. It’s no surprise given DC’s steamy summers that the common theme this month seems to be refreshing salads. Here’s a look at what’s locally fresh right now:

  • The Food Scribe shares a summery Sugar Plum, Salad and Sorrel Salad, with Licking Bend Creek Farms’ produce from the Historic Brookland Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 4-7pm).
  • The Garden Apartment dishes up a fresh and colorful Summer Salad with Herb Vinaigrette, featuring beans, potatoes and tomatoes from the Foggy Bottom FreshFarm Market (Wednesdays, 2.30-7pm).
  • Knitting 40 Shades of Green scored some early blackberries for her Salad with Fennel and Blackberries, with fennel from her Food Matters CSA (VA).
  • Delicious served hot or cold, don’t miss the hot pink Summer Borscht by The Houndstooth Gourmet, featuring beets from the Kingstowne Market (Fridays, 4-7pm).
  • With lots of fresh eggplant at market lately, ratatouille is also popping up on the local blogs. The Arugula Files tops this one with a pesto vinaigrette and local favorite FireFly Farms chevre.
  • For those wondering how to cook okra at home (like me), The Slow Cook shares a Smothered Okra recipe with okra from the Chevy Chase Market (Saturdays 9am-1pm).
  • There’s so much more than just cherries out there. Check out the Wineberry Tart by FoodRockz, with berries from the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market (Sundays, 9am-1pm).
  • And my recent Peachy Pork Quinoa Salad featured D&S Farm’s first peaches from the Del Ray Farmers Market (Saturdays, 8am-noon).

You’ll be amazed at the things these cooks have been doing with cherries and berries, so go check them out! (P.S. Some of you might want to check out the Sugar High Friday Berries round-up over at FoodBlogga; enter by Aug. 3 to be included.)

Join in for August! I’ve decided to make this a monthly feature. If you’re in the DC area and want to share what you’re cooking, leave a comment or email me at foodietots AT gmail DOT com. (Blog not necessary, but photos are encouraged!) Deadline for the August round-up will be Wednesday, August 13.

Looking for a farmers market near you? Check LocalHarvest.org. And to see what’s on the table in your area, check out the One Local Summer regional round-ups at FarmtoPhilly.

Like food? Help farmers! – Last week to comment and enter to win a free cookbook!

One Local Chesapeake Summer

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

A trip to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market this past weekend allowed us to pick up some treats not offered at our neighborhood markets — including Cibola Farm’s buffalo hot dogs and Chesapeake Bay blue crab (soft shells and lump meat). Paired with fresh produce from the market and our CSA, we had three simple, local dinners this week (and a fourth mostly-local CSA quinoa salad).

Dinner #1: The hot dogs were served on Firehook Bakery torpedo rolls, the closest approximation to hot dog buns we could find, and caramelized sweet onions from our CSA. (Plus a dab of non-local mustard. I actually tried to order local mustard from our dairy, but the ordering system has been having problems.)

Dinner #2: Soft-shell crab sandwiches. The husband, unimpressed by the improvised hot dog buns, went to the grocery store and found that their only HFCS-free buns were also locally-made, Martin’s potato rolls of PA (104 mi.). So he won that round… Quick cornmeal-coated, pan-fried soft shells need little accompaniment other than the first field-ripened tomatoes of summer and some CSA lettuce on the bun.

Dinner #3: Pan-fried crab cakes, and quick ciabatta pizzas. Ciabatta from our neighborhood bakery (Caboose), topped with baby yellow zucchini, basil, sweet onions, and fresh ricotta.

For dessert, local eggs, gooseberries and cherries starred in a yummy clafoutis. And an added treat, our local Buzz bakery was giving away free mini honey cupcakes (with local VA honey) for “Don’t Step on a Bee Day.”

Farms/Producers:

  • Buffalo – Cibola Farms, VA (73 mi.)
  • Crab – Buster’s Seafood, VA (138 mi.)
  • Ricotta – Keswick Creamery, PA (121 mi.)
  • Onions, basil, lettuce – Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA, VA (23 mi.)
  • Baby zucchini – Spring Valley Farm & Orchards, WV (113 mi.

Like food? Help farmers! – Last week to comment and enter to win a free cookbook!

Summer Sweets: Clafoutis!

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

I’ve never been a huge cherry fan, but after getting reacquainted with fresh Rainier cherries I thought maybe I’d give some other varieties another try. This past weekend at the market, I picked up a quart of yellow-tinged Queen Anne cherries, slightly tart like the Rainiers. Another stand had signs saying last week for gooseberries. I’d never had gooseberries, so I snatched them up. Fortunately I read a well-timed post from The District Domestic warning about the tartness of green gooseberries before biting into one too eagerly. I decided to combine them with the cherries for yet another new-to-me experience, a cherry clafoutis. This French baked custard recipe has numerous intrepretations to choose from. I decided to start with The Garden Apartment’s fusion of Julia Child‘s and Foodbeam‘s recipes… I used buttermilk and more eggs, so it turned out something like this:

Recipe: Cherry-Gooseberry Clafoutis
Adapted from The Garden Apartment and others.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups berries (1/2 ea. gooseberries and Queen Anne cherries, halved and pitted)
  • 1/4 and 1/3 cup sugar
  • powdered sugar

Instructions: Toss berries with 1/4 sugar and let stand (adjust to taste; I’d use less with sweeter cherries). Preheat oven to 350*. In mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk butter, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, almond extract, sugar, salt and flour. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the batter into buttered baking dish and bake 4 minutes or until batter begins to set. Remove from oven and spread berries over batter, then pour on rest of batter. Bake for another 50 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and enjoy! (Makes 6-8 servings.)

Notes: Next time I will probably use less or omit the butter, as it turned out a little oily. Also, I would use a tart pan next time as the pan I used was much too deep. (Didn’t affect taste, but not as photogenic as it could have been!) This not-too-sweet clafoutis would be a great base for other fruits or berries too – I might try it with blackberries later this summer.

Farms/Producers: Ingredients from Dupont Circle Farmers Market, including cherries from Toigo (PA) and eggs from Smith Meadow (VA).