Archive for June, 2010

Local Potluck Tuesday June 29

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

It’s not unusual for “spring” in the DC area to go from frosty cool to hot and steamy within days. But this year’s extremely hot temperatures started early and haven’t let up, resulting in summer produce flying through the markets. It’s not yet July and I’m hearing this may be the last week for cherries. We’ve already gotten blackberries and apricots, and I hear peaches, corn and tomatoes are here this week. It makes me wonder if we’ll have anything left to eat in August?!

What are the highlights at your local markets this week? Are you doing anything to preserve summer’s fleeting fruits? I’m freezing berries as fast as I can. I made a yummy whole grain cherry crumb cake that I’ll share with you later this week. And I still have a (last?) pint of gooseberries awaiting its fate.

What local eats are you cooking up?

Please join in and share what local foods you’ve enjoyed this past week!

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”
2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in a future post.)
3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

Of course if you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to share in the comments.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up that’s fresh & local to you!

Local Potluck Tuesday June 22 (and Swiss Chard with Tomatoes)

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Swiss chard is pretty much a weekly constant in our summer CSA share. I enjoy it just fine sauteed on its own — but the boy doesn’t (yet) eat leafy greens and the husband has merely grown to tolerate it over the years. Attempts to boost flavor with dried cranberries and/or bacon didn’t impress, but a recent variation with garlic and cherry tomatoes actually had the husband voluntarily eating a second helping. (No, this was still no help with my tomato-averse son, but that just leaves more for us.)

Recipe: Swiss Chard and Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed well
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & pepper

Instructions: Trim the ends of the Swiss chard stems. Cut the stems into 1-inch pieces, and cut or tear chard leaves into 1-inch strips. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook garlic for 1 minute, then add the chard stems and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start soften. Add cherry tomatoes, cut side down, and cook another minute. Add chard leaves to the pan, add vinegar, cover and cook until leaves wilt, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid and season with salt and pepper. Makes 2-4 servings. Enjoy!

Your turn: Please join in and share what local foods you’ve enjoyed this past week!

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”
2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in a future post.)
3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up that’s fresh & local to you!

Gooseberries and other Lesser Known Berries (and 5 links for Friday)

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Gooseberries are one of those things I don’t think to seek out at the market, but am always pleasantly surprised to find on the table when they arrive in early summer. What’s a gooseberry? I didn’t know myself until I spotted them at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market a few years ago. They are small round berries, related to the currant, that resemble a grape with stripes. They start off tart and green and and turn reddish purple and slightly sweet. They add a great tart balance with combined with sweeter berries in any of your favorite summer desserts. (I made a delish gooseberry-cherry clafoutis the summer before last.) This batch came from Black Rock Orchard in Pennsylvania, and I’ve heard reports of gooseberries across the northeast US. A local Twitter friend reports having them in her backyard growing up, which has me pondering adding them to our planned berry patch for next year.

While we’re on the subject of lesser known berries — those you may have grown up with but never see in a supermarket — we recently discovered that the mysterious berry-laden tree between our neighbor’s house and ours was a mulberry tree. I never realized we had mulberries around here, or that they grew on such tall trees. But a well-timed Washington Post article clarified the matter. I was spoiled growing up on a mountain in Oregon, where we routinely snacked on tiny tart red huckleberries, sweet thimbleberries and wild blackberries every summer. One regional berry you may hear a lot about if you torture yourself by following California food blogs, as I do, is the olallieberry. It was actually cultivated in Oregon (a relative of our beloved Marionberries), but I’ve yet to come across it.

Berries like these are one of the reasons we frequent farmers markets in the summer — aside from exposing our kids to unique berries they might never see otherwise, they also learn to appreciate seasonality and to savor the berries and fruits in their seasons. That’s not to say we never buy grapes in the winter, but they just taste so much better when they’re fresh and local.

Do you have a favorite regional berry from your childhood?

And now, five berry-themed links for your weekend enjoyment:

1. Gooseberry Ginger Jam from Doris and Jilly Cook

2. Mulberry Pie from Herban Lifestyle

3. Olallieberry Tart from Chez Pim

4. Vanilla Bean Marionberry Caramel Swirl Ice Cream (wow!) from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

5. Maple Huckleberry Coffee Cake from 101 Cookbooks

Shared with Fight Back Friday at the Food Renegade.

Local Potluck Tuesday June 15 (and Strawberry Shortcake)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I couldn’t let strawberry season pass us by without the obligatory sink-full-of-berry photo, er, recipes, right?

After being told one local farm was out of strawberries, I rushed to our neighborhood farmers market first thing last Saturday to grab half a flat from Black Rock Orchard. I made a small batch of freezer jam and a pint of strawberries in vanilla syrup, a la Simple Bites, to stash in the freezer for next winter. And the remainder were set aside for Sunday evening strawberry shortcakes.

Growing up, I spent just about every Father’s Day weekend at the local grange strawberry festival — consuming and later serving massive amounts of fresh strawberry shortcake. While I’ve yet to find a berry here that rivals those from Oregon, with a little sugar, vanilla and cream a homemade shortcake is just about as satisfying. I macerate the berries with a touch of balsamic vinegar to help round out the flavor.

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Berries:

  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Instructions: Combine berries, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Biscuits adapted from Alice Waters via Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flours, salt, sugar and baking powder in medium mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes, and use pastry blender or hands to work butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Add cream and mix until just combined. Shape dough into a disc and roll out on lightly floured surface to about 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out 2-inch circles and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until just slightly golden. (Makes 6 biscuits.)

To make shortcakes: Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract until soft peaks form. Split biscuits in half and place bottom half on serving plate. Top with 1/2 cup of strawberries, including a good sized drizzle of the syrup that has formed in the bowl. Place top half of biscuit on top, add a generous spoonful of whipped cream and a few more berries on top for good measure. Enjoy!

Thanks so much to our first Local Potluck Tuesday participants last week — . Please join in and share what local foods you’ve enjoyed this past week!

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”
2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in the following week’s post.)
3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up to celebrate our local farms and the wonderful food they provide to nourish our families.

Local Potluck Tuesday, June 8

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

local potluck tuesday badge Welcome to the first Local Potluck Tuesday! With farmers market season officially underway across the U.S., I hope you’ll stop in each week to share what you’re cooking from your local food sources — the farmers market, a CSA, or your own backyard.

This week at the FoodieTots household, we had a spring pea and asparagus soup, pork chops and grassfed burgers on the grill, sugar snap peas atop green salads, and this fun farmers market discovery: lemon cucumbers.

These little yellow cukes somewhat resemble a lemon on the outside, and have a slightly sweet, mild flavor. When shopping the Mt. Olympus Farm booth at the McLean Farmers Market last Friday, a mom was feeding samples of these cucumbers to her toddler, who was first skeptical and then quickly requested more. For kids who resist green vegetables on principle, this is a great way to introduce cucumbers. While the boy enjoyed these last summer, he decided this weekend he was “allergic” to cucumbers. Oh well. Hopefully this is a more temporary situation than his “allergy” to tomatoes. Or maybe we’ll just have to add lemon cucumbers to our garden next year!

Recipe: Lemon Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 lemon cucumbers, diced
  • 4 leaves fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions: Sprinkle cucumbers with salt and mint. Toss with the vinegar and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

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Your turn! Please share links to a local dish you’ve enjoyed recently, or share in the comments.

Local Potluck Tuesdaya few guidelines:
1. Share a relevant post — a recipe, menu or pictures of a meal featuring local foods, from the farmers market, CSA, farm stand or your own garden — using the MckLinky widget below. In the link title field, enter both your post title and your name &/or blog name, e.g., “Lemon Cucumber Salad — Colleen @ FoodieTots.”
2. Bonus points if you included your kids in picking, growing, purchasing or cooking the ingredients for the meal! (And by bonus points, I mean increased likelihood of seeing your post featured in the following week’s post.)
3. In your post, please link back to this post here at FoodieTots, so your readers can find the potluck and be encouraged to join in as well.

That’s it! I hope you’ll join in and share what you’re cooking up to celebrate our local farms and the wonderful food they provide to nourish our families.