Posts Tagged ‘pancetta’

Sunday, November 8th: Brussels Sprouts, Cool Mushrooms, Lovely Pasta & Some Fine Meat

November 8, 2009

Fresh Brussels sprouts from Sidhu Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When it comes to Brussels sprouts, I’m with Ciscoe Morris. I love ’em! Just look at these beauties from Sidhu Farms. Boistfort Valley and Nash’s have them now, too. My favorite way to prepare them is to sauté them with some Sea Breeze pancetta and some shallots from any number of Ballard Farmers Market vendors until they get bright green and begin to soften. Then I hit the pan with some white wine to deglaze all the yummy porkaliciousness, and to give the sprouts a quick steam and a lot of extra flavor.

So add that to your Eat Local For Thanksgiving recipe list, eh? And if you have a recipe to share, just use the comment form to send it our way, and we’ll post it, credited to you, in our recipe section.

Lomo (left), pancetta and shoulder bacon from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of pancetta, how about all this magnificent pigrificness from Sea Breeze. The aforementioned pancetta is in the middle, flanked by some lomo and a bit of shoulder bacon that we Irish would simply call rashers. Do you realize that there are still people who shop at, gasp, grocery stores? Poor saps.

Gorgeous shallots from Children's Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And here are some of those aforementioned shallots — these from Children’s Garden. Shallots are as pretty to look at as they are delicious to cook with, don’t you think?

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Viking purple potatoes from Olsen Farms are spuds fit for our Ballardite ancestors’ fiercest warriors. These beauties steam up perfectly, then mash delicately. Their flesh is snow white, providing the perfect canvas for some of that naturally yellow butter from Golden Glen. (Sorry. I just noticed I was drooling on the keyboard.)

Saffron milkcap mushrooms from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Under the heading of wicked-cool looking ‘shrooms are these wild saffron milkcap mushrooms, brought to us by the fine folks at Foraged & Found Edibles. Don’t know how long they’ll have them, but I must get a recipe for them. Christina?

Some serious daikon radishes from Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

When many other farms are winding down their harvests, Nash’s Organic Produce is usually just hitting its stride. Check out these daikon radishes they just began to harvest. They’re huge and, well, perfect.

Handmade pasta from Ballard's own Pasteria Lucchese. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Have you tried some of the pasta from Pasteria Lucchese? I love this stuff. It is handmade and frozen fresh. Straight from freezer to boiling water, it takes just a couple of minutes to cook. Then toss it with whatever moves you. It is toothsome and delicious with magical elasticity. I love tossing the squid ink tagliatelle (lower right, above) with shrimp, maybe some peas, garlic and red pepper flakes, and a little olive oil and freshly grated parm. Yeah, baby.

Live geoduck from Taylor Shellfish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I heart geoduck from Taylor Shellfish. Plus, it makes people blush.

Herbal pet goodies from Moosedreams Lavender Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As you begin the process of scouring the Market for great gift ideas for the holidays, don’t forget your furry friends. Moosedreams Lavender Farm has all sorts of herbal pet goodness for that special Felix or Fido in your life.

Handcrafted wreathes from Essence From My Garden. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Linda Bones of Essence From My Garden, from Edgewood, handcrafts these beautiful wreathes from what grows in her back 40. Just imagine how one of these will brighten up your home with some old world charm for the holidays.

Four Seasons Gourmet. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally, welcome Four Seasons Gourmet, with its raspberry-infused vinegar, to Ballard Farmers Market. Rest assured: the raspberries are local.

Don’t forget, we have cooking demonstrations coming up on Nov. 15th and 22nd. Check the schedule in the upper right-hand corner for details. And you’ll also find the “What’s Fresh Now!” menu there, which will give you a full accounting of what’s at the Ballard Farmers Market today.

August 30th: Yes We Can!

August 30, 2009
Jars packed with vegetables, ready for pickling. Photo copyright 2005 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Jars packed with vegetables, ready for pickling. Photo copyright 2005 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Yes, I can. Well, pickle, actually. Above is an image of my pickling prep from 2005. Every year, I pickle between 70-100 jars of vegetables, from cukes to cherry peppers to okra, and more. I trade them, I gift them, I am always ready for potlucks, and I just plain eat them. I share this with you to remind you that right now, during the most abundant season of the year at Ballard Farmers Market, is the best time for you to be thinking about January. I know you don’t want to, but when January comes, and you realize you no longer have access to summer’s bounty, you will wish you had been thinking about January in summer.

This weekend – August 29 & 30 — marks an inaugural nationwide event called Can Across America. The idea is to encourage Americans to preserve food for their families now, with ingredients they know and trust, so they can enjoy them all winter. The event will have local activities, including workshops to teach the public the science and technique behind safe and easy canning. Check their blog for more information.

Fresh okra from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fresh okra from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love pickled okra, though it’s great fried, in gumbo, stir-fried with shrimp and in stews. Okra is becoming more and more available here these days. At Ballard Farmers Market, you can find it from Ayala Farms and Alvarez Organic Farms (pictured above).

Red and green Kalle pears from ACMA. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Red and green Kalle pears from ACMA. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Food preservation is not all about canning, though. Sure, you can can these pears from ACMA, but you can also dry them, sauce them, and some pear varieties also store well, if you do it right. Learn about pear varieties from the farmers at the Ballard Farmers Market, or look up info online. Find out which store well, dry well, sauce well, etc., and learn the best methods for doing these. Me, I get Macintosh apples from a farmer friend each fall and make apple sauce which I freeze, though you can always can it for shelf storage, and I dry pears and Italian prunes.

Shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Remember that while Ballard Farmers Market runs year round, peak season does not, so we encourage you to preserve foods now. Stocking up on storage crops, and preserving foods now will help you enjoy the Market’s peak season goodness well through the dark, wet months. For instance, these shelling beans from Alm Hill Gardens, above, are great fresh right now, but you can also shell them, wash them and freeze them for use in the winter. While I have been told to blanch them before freezing, I didn’t last year, and they kept just fine. I froze them in one-pint freezer bags, and then put several pint bags inside a gallon freezer bag for extra protection. A pint of beans is a standard portion you’d find in a grocery store in a can or bag. Then, when I am ready to use them, I drop them in boiling water, let them return to boiling, and then turn the heat down to let them simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until desired tenderness.

Sweet corn from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn from Stoney Plains. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sweet corn, like this corn from Stoney Plains, can also be preserved easily through freezing. As soon as you get it home, husk and de-hair the corn, and then cut the kernels from the cob over a large, preferably rimmed, cutting board, holding the cob point-end down, and put the kernels into one-pint freezer bags. Usually two ears will fill one pint bag. Then place several pints into a one gallon bag. Later, cook like you would any frozen sweet corn, only this will taste better, will save you money, and you will know where it came from.

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Many crops store well, like these Desiree potatoes from Olsen Farms. However, if you plan to store a lot of them, you may wish to place a special order with the farm, and ask them to deliver them “dirty”. Leaving some dirt on the potatoes can help to preserve them better. Of course, you can store crops like potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, etc., in a cool, dark, dry place for months. However, it is important again to be sure you are picking long-storage varieties. Many fingerling potato varieties, and all sweet onions, have short storage lives, and hard-neck garlic tends to store for two months, while soft-neck varieties can last four or five months. Again, ask your farmer, or the interweb. Become a knowledgeable eater.

Detroit and chiogga beets from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Detroit and chiogga beets from Boistfort Valley Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Root crops, like carrotsturnipsrutabagas, and these beets from Boistfort Valley Farm, store very well, too. Sure, you can can and pickle them, and they keep well in the fridge, but you can also store them in a root cellar or similar very cool, dark, mostly, but not completely dry place for months.

Farmer George from Skagit River Ranch talks through his cuts of meat. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Farmer George from Skagit River Ranch talks through his cuts of meat. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Don’t forget the animal protein. Meat from Skagit River Ranch comes to Market frozen, meaning you can simply take it home and pop it back in the freezer for use days, weeks or months from now, whenever you are in the mood for it. Skagit River Ranch freezes its meat immediately after butchering, to preserve its freshness, so you know you won’t get better quality elsewhere. And while you may not think it stew or roast season now, it will be in short order. Other farms with frozen meats include Quilceda, Olsen, Stokesberry, and Samish Bay.

Freshly harvested and flash-frozen chickens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Freshly harvested and flash-frozen chickens from Growing Things Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Growing Things has frozen fresh chickens, too. These are incredible tasting birds that will make you wonder why you ever bought a grocery store chicken in the first place, and will keep you from doing so again. Buy a few now, so you have them for winter.

I do recommend that, with any frozen meat, seafood or poultry, you put another freezer bag around them to maximize protection in the freezer, and make sure your freezer is working properly. If you have a sick, old freezer, maybe now is the time to retire it and avail yourself of the President’s new “cash for clunkers” appliance campaign. A new, energy efficient fridge or freezer will not only save you a pant-load of money on electricity and reduce greenhouse gasses, it will also preserve your food much better, saving you even more money by preventing premature spoilage. When I got my new fridge, it was amazing to watch my City Light bill go down dramatically. If your fridge or freezer was built before 2001, get a new one. You will thank me.

Pancetta from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pancetta from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

You can always leave the preservation to the farmers themselves, like with this pancetta from Sea Breeze Farm. This beautiful, dry-aged and salt-cured pancetta will keep for weeks, and will make many dishes that much more delicious.

Freshly-smoked Alaskan king salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Freshly-smoked Alaskan king salmon from Loki Fish. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Or how about some smoked salmon from Loki Fish (pictured above) or Wilson Fish. Vacuum-packed, it will keep in the fridge from a several weeks if unopened, or you can toss it in the freezer, and it will keep even longer.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Slinging veggie quesadillas at Patty Pan Grill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

But it you just have to have it now, might I suggest you grab a snack from Dev at Patty Pan Grill. She uses ingredients mostly from Market farmers, you know. And she even has a couple of books she wrote for sale.

Two books by Patty's Pan's Devra Gartenstein. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Two books by Patty's Pan's Devra Gartenstein. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

For a full accounting of what you will find at your Ballard Farmers Market today, to preserve or eat tonight, check the “What’s Fresh Now!” listings in the upper right-hand corner.

August 23rd: Fish Eggs, Shelling Beans, Native Potatoes & Wild Berries

August 23, 2009
Loki Keta Ikura. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Loki Keta Ikura. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Ballard Farmers Market offers many delicacies unique to the Pacific Northwest this time of year. Beautiful keta ikura — salmon roe — from Loki Fish can add a little pop of briny deliciousness to many dishes, or just enjoy it atop a cracker on its own.

Washington's only native potato -- the Ozette -- from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Washington's only native potato -- the Ozette -- from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Washington may be the #1 potato producing state, but did you know that only one potato is considered native to Washington? Yep. It seems almost all potatoes, which are ultimately indigenous to South America, made their way to North America via Europe. But a handful of potato varieties travelled with the Spanish directly to North America up the West Coast in the late 1700s. One of these is the Ozette potato, named for the Makah Nation that has called them a staple of their diet for over 200 years — since the Spanish hastily abandoned their Neah Bay outpost after only one year in 1792 because the great conquerers couldn’t handle our Northwest winter. (Sissies. I mean, could you imagine Mayor Nickels doing that? Uh. Whoops.) Anywho, the result is we have our very own native potato now that is even recognized by Slow Food for its importance, and you can get some from Oxbow Farm today.

Wild blue huckleberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Wild blue huckleberries from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s wild huckleberry season, and Foraged & Found Edibles has plenty of them. In fact, this is the time of year these folks really get cranking with all sorts of goodies they find just growing out there in the mighty forests and wildlands of Washington. For instance, with the help of our recent week of rain, they’ve now also got chanterelle and lobster mushrooms, too, with more fun stuff arriving over the coming weeks as our days grow shorter.

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cranberry shelling beans from Alm Hill. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, maybe they aren’t so much unique or wild, but some fine researchers at Washington State University have been carefully testing shelling bean varieties over the last decade to see which ones grow best here. After all, different crops will succeed or fail based on a region’s climate, soil conditions, etc. The result is that many of our market farmers now offer all sorts of shelling beans to us at the Market. This was not the case just five years ago. Above is an example of cranberry beans from Alm Hill. And below are black turtle beans from Growing Things. And, of course, you can usually get many of these beans dried from Stoney Plains or Alvarez.

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Black turtle shelling beans from Growing Things. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Fine research, or perhaps mad science, has led to an extraordinary proliferation of incredible stone fruits in recent years, and with farms like Tiny’s, Collins and ACMA diversifying their orchards, we get to enjoy many of them. In fact, while it is not so much the case, as some would have you think, that crops like tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes change every week, when it comes to tree fruit, succession is the name of the game. Every fruit has is day, literally, so market farmers diversify not just to wow us, but more importantly to extend their season. If they just grew two kinds of cherries, one apricot and a couple of peaches, their Market presence would be very short lived indeed. Instead, they plant all different kinds of fruit that is constantly coming into and going out of season. The result is that you must, in fact, come to the Market every week to see what’s new. From plums and pluots to apricots and apriums; from apples and pears to nectarines and peaches, there are literally dozens os varieties, with Market displays changing constantly. For instance, these Sun Plums, below, from Tiny’s will be in season just a few weeks at most, and then they will be replaced by something else.

Brilliant sun plums from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Brilliant sun plums from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Another family of crops being championed by WSU researchers are melons, and in particular, the small melons categorically referred to as “ice box melons.”  Again, the result is that we are seeing many more melons in the Market than we used to, because local farmers have many more reliable seeds to work with, courtesy of WSU. Take these French Mush melons from Full Circle Farm, for instance. They are so small, they fit in the palm of your hand.

French Musk melons from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

French Musk melons from Full Circle Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Finally today, this has nothing to do with WSU research, wild, native or unique crops, or even fruits and vegetables, but it does have to do with embracing old-world meat-curing techniques to produce superb products for our kitchen and table. I speak of Sea Breeze Farm and their latest example of animaliciousness: pancetta. Ah, the sweet, dry-aged ripeness of pork bellies salted, seasoned and preserved as they have been for centuries in Italy. Thankfully, the boys from Vashon are making it closer to home, and bringing it to us at the Market. Enjoy!

Pancetta from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pancetta from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

So spread the word far and wide. It is time to descend upon Ballard Farmers Market for another glorious week to revel in the bounty of Washington, one of the truly great food regions on earth. Of course, you might want to get a head start on your family and friends before you tweet, just in case.