Posts Tagged ‘dried spices’

Sunday, January 2nd: Happy New Year! 2011 – Can You Believe It?!?

January 2, 2011

Calf's head and organs from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Whether this image intrigues you or disturbs you, there is no questioning that it is real — authentic. This is our food, direct from the farmers who raised it, in its raw, natural, unadulterated state. This calf’s head and assorted organs in the refer case of Sea Breeze Farm is considered waste by most Americans, but for the people of the rest of the world who cannot imagine wasting perfectly good food, and to a goodly number of foodies and immigrants here in Ballard, these are delicacies. And let’s face it: can you really argue the validity of the argument some make that you should be able to look an animal in the eyes before you eat it? Hey, I like a nice hunk of flesh on my plate as much as the next guy, but in this country, we have so sanitized everything about our food that we no longer even recognize it… unless, that is, you shop at a farmers market.

Parsnips from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

A big thank you to those of you who shook off your holiday hangover and braved the sideways rain and violent winds last Sunday to shop at your Ballard Farmers Market. The vendors and management of your Market appreciate all of you for your hearty loyalty, especially those of you who assisted us in holding down canopies and rounding up flying merchandise. Today is forecast to be much nicer — sunny and calm winds, though a stitch on the chilly side, so layer up. Oh, and hey, all of the vendors who took a long holiday weekend last week are back today, like Colinwood Farms with some lovely parsnips. The holidaze are over, and the grind returns tomorrow. Enter the new year with good, local, safe and nutritious food!

Samish Bay Cheese makes a variety of delicious farmstead cheeses. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Samish Bay Cheese is here today with their award-winning cheeses. You know, they were the most award winning Washington cheese maker at the 2010 American Cheese Society competition held in Seattle this past August. And they also have yogurt, beef and pork, too!

Sunchokes, a.k.a., Jerusalem artichokes, from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Stoney Plains returns after its holiday hiatus to continue to mesmerize us with how much they seem to be able to harvest this time of year, in spite of the weather. Of course, they wisely balance out the greens they grow in greenhouses and hoop houses with a nice selection of dried beans, spuds, roots and these lovely red sunchokes.

Sauerkraut & Rötkruat from Firefly Kitchens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you gotten your sauerkraut on lately? We’re talking living food here, people, loaded with all kinds of goodness your body craves. Firefly Kitchens makes their Classic Sauerkraut & Rudy Red Sauerkraut from local cabbage — I think that’s Nash’s in those jars right now — and trust me, this is some of the best darned kraut you’ve ever tasted! And it’ll dress up you dogs and brats very well, too.

Smoked salmon & salmon lox from Cape Cleare Fishery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Hopefully, the good folks from Cape Cleare won’t freeze to death on their way to Market today. But really, if anyone is gonna be a hearty soul, it’s going to be a fisherman, right? So look for them and their bicycle trailers stocked with magnificent, frozen-at-sea salmon and smoked salmon. In fact, I had some of their salmon for lunch at TASTE Restaurant before seeing the Picasso exhibit at SAM on Friday. Seriously, that’s some good eatin’!

Apples & pears from Collins Family Orchards. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

This winter, I have been practicing the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And Collins Family Orchards has been doing an admirable job of keeping me well supplied with apples for the task. They’ve got Fujis, Pink Ladies, Braeburns and a few others right now, along with Asian pears and some other goodies.

Wild hedgehog mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I’ve gotta say, I just love checking out Foraged & Found Edibles each week to see what wild mushrooms and other foraged foods have been offered them by Mother Nature for our dining pleasure. Take these wild hedgehog mushrooms, for instance. I love these just sauteed with some butter, but you can use them lots of ways. They’ve got yellowfoot chanterelles and black truffles currently, too.

Dried herbs and spices from Pipitone Farms in Cashmere, Washington. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pipitone Farms was one of the first farms around these parts to do a really effective job of season extension through value-added products. “Huh?”, you ask? What I mean is, they take what they grow in the summer, and they dried it, jam it, pickle it, and so on, so they can continue to sell it in the winter, even when their farm in Cashmere is blanketed by snow. I love using their dried herbs and cayenne peppers, above, for all manner of cooking I do. This stuff is way fresher than the stuff at the Big Box Stores, and it’s organic, local and delicious. Oh, and did you know that many dried herbs and spices are irradiated these days? Well, these aren’t!

There is much more waiting for you at your Ballard Farmers Market today. Just check the What’s Fresh Now! listings in the upper right-hand corner of this page for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now. But please note that due to our recent cold weather, some crops may not be available as anticipated.

Sunday, January 17th: Herbs & Spices, Wild Mushrooms, Doggie Treats & Bacon

January 17, 2010

Beautiful bacon from the happy pigs of Skagit River Ranch. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I have recently encountered  some food writers who are profoundly proclaiming the end of the “bacon trend.” Huh? Have they ever heard of the Chicago Exchange? They’ve got an entire market there for trading in pork belly futures, and it’s been there, reliably, for decades. Let’s face it. Even many Jews consider bacon to be a condiment or spice in order to justify including this porkalicious product in their diets, in spite of thousands of years of Holy Law. So who are these food writers kidding? Bacon cannot be a fading trend, when it wasn’t a trend in the first place. It is simply one of the most spectacular foods on earth, such that it had brought many a vegetarian back to the dark side. And the good news is, you can find some of the best bacon around (above) from Skagit River Ranch, right here at your Ballard Farmers Market. So celebrate bacon, and don’t feel the need to rush to unload your pork belly futures that grandma gave you. It ain’t like they’re bank stocks, after all.

Dried herbs and spices from Pipitone Farms in Cashmere, Washington. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I do hope you are not still spending ridiculous amounts of your hard-earned cash on those little jars of herbs and spices at the big box stores. I mean, who knows when those jars were packed, how their contents were grown, what they are preserved with, or even what country they are from, right? Instead, get your dried herbs and spices directly from a Washington farm — Pipitone Farms from Cashmere. They’ve got a great selection of herbs and spices, from oregano to crushed cayenne peppers to sage and more.

Wild Washington hedgehog mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild hedgehog mushrooms are another mushroom that is still available in the hills of Western Washington this time of year, and with snow levels as high as they have been, they are much easier for our friends at Foraged & Found Edibles to find this year, as compared to last year this time. Of course, mushrooms are a fickle lot, so I suggest you get to the Market early if you want some, and be prepared to be flexible and work with what they’ve got this week.

Baby turnips with greens from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Many crops knocked down by our early December freeze continue to recover, like these lovely baby white turnips from Full Circle Farm. If you miss radishes badly about now like me, try slicing they puppies up and tossing them on your salad, if you don’t just devour them all first. They are mildly spicy with a sweet, earthy turnipness, and the greens make for a slightly bitter and spicy salad or are delicious sauteed with a little garlic.

Delicata squash from Anselmo Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

There is still plenty of gorgeous winter squash to be had at your Ballard Farmers Market, including these lovely, and delicious, delicata squash from Anselmo Farms. Delicata is one of my favorite squashes, and though I know there are many, many ways to prepare it, I still love just cutting in half, length-wise, slathering it thoroughly with olive oil, and placing it face-down in a glass baking dish in a 375-400 degree oven until it is tender. No water needed. Heck, water just dilutes its spectacular flavor. And don’t you dare toss out those little seeds. Clean the pulp from them, put them in a pie tin mixed with olive oil and sprinkled with some good salt, and roast them while your squash is baking. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn, and mix them up a bit midway through. They will come out tender and crunchy — a salty little pre-dinner snack.

Oat & honey bread from Tall Grass Bakery. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Tall Grass Bakery is back at your Ballard Farmers Market, after a couple of weeks hiatus while they remodeled their bakery over the holidaze. Oh, how so many of us missed their bread so. I think we were all suffering such withdrawal that they sold out of everything last Sunday long before the end of the Market. All I ask is that you don’t trample any children, little old ladies or pets on your mad scramble to get your loaf this week.

Lard from Samish Bay. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I want to be the first writer to pronounce the end of the “lard trend.” Just kidding. Lard is still a staple, too. And remember, when it comes from happy, pasture-raised pigs like those of Samish Bay, it tends to be lower in bad cholesterol and higher in good. Ain’t it funny how when we treat our farm animals better, they end up treating us better, too?

Cripps Pink apples from Jerzey Boys. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Did you know that many of the names given to various tree fruit are protected as intellectual property, and that the farmers who grow those varieties of fruit have to pay royalties on the name? That’s why Jerzey Boyz sells Cripps Pink apples instead of Pink Lady apples, as the latter is a registered trademark. Ah, corporate agribusiness. Of course, what I am wondering is if Jerzey Boys is going to show up next with Bloods Red apples instead of Red Delicious apples? (If my joke eludes you, ask someone who lived in Seattle in the late 1980s to explain it to you.)

Rutabagas from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love rutabagas, both as a vegetable and as a name for a vegetable. In my head, I hear myself saying, “ruta-(say it)-baga.” And you remember Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop saying, “It is not a tumor”? Well, when it comes to rutabagas, it is not a tuber. You know what they call rutabagas in Ireland? They call them turnips. Some people call them Swedes, or Swedish turnips. They are a proud Viking vegetable that the Vikings left behind in Ireland. I like them simply steamed and mashed with butter, or tossed in the pot with spuds and cabbage and corned beef. In any case, the adorable little rutabagas above are from Nash’s Organic Produce. Try some, and see if they make you a giddy as they seem to make me.

Aurelia's Peanut Butter & Carrot Kisses from Methow Dog. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the pooch, especially when you have access to the delicious doggie treats of one of our newest vendors, Methow Dog, all the way from Winthrop. Methow Dog treats are made with only human-grade ingredients, many of which come from Methow Valley and other Northwestern farmers, and all are from the U.S. Their treats don’t have any fillers, additives or preservatives, either. Stop by with your canine cohort today and have your buddy do a little “quality control” on a sample treat or two.

Taylor Shellfish's Oyster Bill enjoys Buddha's Basket at Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome to our newest neighbor, Jhanjay Vegetarian Thai Cuisine. We know them well from being neighbors of our Wallingford Farmers Market, and we are happy to have this marvelous restaurant join the family here on Ballard Avenue. They open at noon on Sundays, so stop by for some delicious Thai food before or after you do your Market shopping.

The beautiful new Jhanjay restaurant opened at the beginning of January. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for your kitchen and beyond. For a fuller accounting of what you’ll find at the Market today, go to “What’s Fresh Now!” in the upper right-hand corner.