Posts Tagged ‘sea beans’

Sunday, May 27th: Sea Beans, Cardoon, Olympia Oysters, “Baby” Bok Choy, Pea Vines & Other Stuff That’ll Make You Go, “Hmm?”

May 27, 2012

See Beans from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea beans are not beans at all, but instead are a type of succulent that grows in saltwater marshes. They are also brinilicious. Foraged & Found Edibles gathers these for us from the wilds this time of year. And rumor has it that, finally, they will have a bunch of morel mushrooms today, too, as well as watercress and a few porcinis, while they last.

Cardoon from Oxbow Farm. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Cardoon is from the artichoke family, and these are the leaf stalks. They are good stewed or in soup and impart an artichoke-like flavor. Needless to say, the Italians, who are obsessed with artichokes, have many fine recipes for them. This was the perfect winter for growing them, and Oxbow Farm has them right now.

Pea vines from Gaia’s Natural Goods. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Pea vines may not be all that unusual, especially if you’ve ever eaten the “seasonal vegetable” in a Chinese restaurant around here. But truth be told, many people are intimidated by them. Baffling, really. Few vegetables could be simpler to prepare. Slice up some green garlic, which is abundant now, and start it sauteing in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, toss in the pea vines and sauté until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You’ll want to cut off and discard any woody ends, of course, and cut the vines into 4-6″ strands to make them easier to eat. See, now you can order something else at the Chinese restaurant. Get your pea vines today from Gaia’s Natural Goods.

“Baby” bok choy from Alvarez Organic Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nothing particularly unusual about bok choy, either, except that this is baby bok choy. No, not baby bok choy, which is a separate plant unto itself. This is simply young bok choy. Confusing, isn’t it? But while the two plants look similar, they taste quite different. And baby bok choy usually has a light green stalk, while bok choy has these white stalks. This is bok choy, from Alvarez Organic Farms. Its sturdy stalk hold up well to stir-frying. Cook it up with some marinated tofu and some chili sauce. Yeah, baby!

Gluten-free brownies from Dolce Lou. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sure, these look like any ordinarily delicious fudge brownies, right? And frankly, they taste like them, too. But these brownies are gluten-free!!! Seriously! Dolce Lou makes all manner of gluten-free spectabulousness that will delight anyone on a gluten-free diet who has been suffering with, well, crap that tastes like sawdust. And people who aren’t on a gluten-free diet will love Dolce Lou’s goodies because, well, they’re good!

Stunning succulents from Phocas Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, so succulents aren’t so unusual around here. (Heck, this is the second time this post I am writing about them!) But the guy who raises them at Phocas Farms is. In a Market full of characters, Jim stands out nevertheless! And let’s face it, they look pretty cool this time of year, especially in this particular photo. Fun with depth of field. woooOOOO! WOOOooo!

Bunch carrots from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Carrots? What’s unusual about carrots? Well, I’m glad you asked! What’s unusual about carrots is that we haven’t had any at the Market much lately. That is, until now. These beautiful bunch carrots are from Colinwood Farms. And they are absofrigginlutely fantabulous. (Okay, WordPress spellcheck… you actually think “fantabulous” is a word? Fascinating.)

Tiny Olympia oysters from Hama Hama Oyster Company. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

These tiny oysters are called Olympia oysters, and they are Washington state’s only native oyster. And that is not an optical illusion. They really are as small as that penny. But their flavor is enormous. Hama Hama Oyster Company has one of the few remaining commercial Olympia oyster beds. Give ’em a try, if Dan has some today.

Fresh spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I admit it. There is nothing at all unusual about spinach. Although this spinach from Nash’s Organic Produce is unusually delicious! So get your Popeye on, get some of this spinach, munch it down, and then go pick up a Volkswagen, or better yet, a Buick! That oughta impress Olive Oil.

Hey, there is plenty of local deliciousness waiting for you today at your Ballard Farmers Market. Just check What’s Fresh Now! for a more complete accounting of what is in season right now.

Sunday, May 23rd: Head Cheese, Strawberries, Sea Beans & Maybe A Duck.

May 23, 2010

Head cheese from Sea Breeze Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I often rave about porkolicious, lambrific, beeftastic meat from Sea Breeze Farm, those crazy kids over on Vashon Island who drag their refer cases to Ballard every Sunday with all sorts of tasty animal parts in it. But these guys also rock the charcuterie, too. Each week, you will find any number of terrines, pates and other offal concoctions ready to slather on a nice slice of Tall Grass baguette with some mustard. Last week, Sea Breeze offered up this particularly lovely head cheese experiment from their kitchen. I ask you, why would anyone waste the perfectly good head of a pig when you can make some spectabulous dish like this out of it. In fact, while most Americans are turning their little puritanical noses up at the pig’s head, the guys working in the kitchen can’t wait to get their hands, and forks, on it. Oh, how much we entitled gringos with our steakhouse cuts of meat miss out on in this country.

A grain rolling mill in action at Nash's Organic Produce. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Nash’s has been doing a little equipment testing at your Ballard Farmers Market lately — grain rolling mills. These gadgets, like the one above, will roll out whatever whole grain you’ve got into flat, round pieces, like the rolled oats you get as oatmeal, or at least that’s the plan. Stop by and see what you think, though honestly, the one that Sequim Prairie Star let me play with when I visited their farm, just down the road a piece from Nash’s, worked much better than either of the two Nash’s tested last week. So if you must have one, ask the folks at Sequim Prairie today what kind theirs is. Then grab some grain from Nash’s or Bluebird and have some fun with it.

Dozens of empty milk bottles behind Golden Glen's table. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

I love the fact that Golden Glen Creamery packages its milk and cream in reusable glass bottles. Besides the obvious environmental benefit, packing milk in glass protects its flavor as well. See, plastic milk bottles impart a slight plastic flavor into your milk. So if you haven’t tried milk out of glass, give it a shot this week. Once you go glass, you’ll never go back to plastic.

This first strawberries of 2010, from Tiny's. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I’ve made you wait long enough. Yep, there are strawberries in the Market! Tiny’s is growing them in East Wenatchee, and lucky for them, they didn’t all get frozen out recently. Well, lucky for us, too. I did some quality control work on your behalf in a steady downpour on Wednesday at the Wallingford Farmers Market, and I can assure you, these are some sweet, delicious berries. But there aren’t many of them, and no one else has them yet, so they will go fast. Get ’em first thing. The eggs can wait! Oh, and grab a pint of cream from Golden Glen to drizzle over them.

Duck eggs from Quilceda Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Speaking of eggs, have you ever tried duck eggs? They are just a little richer than chicken eggs — and a little bigger with a deeply yellow, almost orange yolk that stands up firmly in your skillet. I love duck eggs. And you can get yourself some of them from Quilceda Farm, along with some goat sausage, for one yummy breakfast.

Fresh ducks from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

And speaking of ducks, Stokesberry had these magnificent, whole, fresh ducks last week at your Ballard Farmers Market. And if we’re lucky, they will have a few more today. But if you miss out, they will have more in a month or so. Stop by and reserve one, and pick up some chicken while you’re there. Oh, and Stokesberry will be featured at Ray’s Boat House on Thursday, June 3rd, from 6-8 p.m., as part of Ray’s Year of Sustainable Stories dinner series. Check Ray’s or Stokesberry’s websites for more details.

Fresh mint from Mee Gardens. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

It’s horse racing season, and you will be needing plenty of mint for your juleps. Lucky for you, Mee Gardens has it. This stuff is beautiful and fragrant, and waiting to be muddled. Enjoy!

Actually, I believe it is some of Children’s Garden’s mint that Tom uses in his mint-chocolate chip ice cream at Empire Ice Cream, and Theo chocolate. I know what you’re thinking. How come I don’t have a photo of some delicious choc-mint, as the Brits would call it? Simple. I ate it all. I mean, honestly, I hate mint-chocolate chip ice cream most of the time, because they all use mint oil. All, except Empire Ice Cream, that is. They use fresh mint leaves, and that makes all the difference in the world. But I am not gonna stand around taking pictures of it while it melts in front of me.

Sea beans from Foraged & Found Edibles. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Sea bean season has begun. Sea beans grow, well, in the sea, ergo the name “sea bean.” These salty little rascals lend a wonderful flavor to many dishes, from salads to fish and meat, and more. Stop by Foraged & Found Edibles and pick some up, along with some preparation suggestions.

Clockwise, from left, is red king salmon, rockfish, marbled king salmon and halibut, from Wilson Fish. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

At Wilson Fish, they say that if their fish was any fresher, it would be from the future. In fact, most Sundays, the fish they are selling at Ballard Farmers Market was still swimming on Saturday. That means the freshest, truly local — as in from Washington — king salmon, halibut, rockfish, ling cod and true cod you are likely ever to taste, and because they handle it so carefully, it is always in beautiful condition. It also means these guys don’t sleep a lot from May through September, which may explain why they surround themselves with bad humor-covered fluorescent signs.

Original and chocolate Josephines from Hot Cakes. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Autumn Martin’s Josephines at Hot Cakes are about as rich and decadent as any hedonist could hope for. Loaded with plenty of eggs and butter and Bluebird Grain Farms flour, these little cakes are amazing, but they’re not diet food. And amen to that! Now, Hot Cakes offers a chocolate version of its Josephine to accompany its original. These things are to die for, as long as they don’t kill you. But if you need the number for my cardiologist, just inquire at the Market Info Desk.

Beautiful bok choy from Colinwood Farms. Photo copyright 2010 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Okay, I thought I’d better finish off with some ruffage. Some gosh-darned delicious ruffage, that is. And gorgeous, too. Just check out this bok choy from Colinwood Farms. I had some of this alongside an incredible piece of Wilson’s king salmon last week, and boy-howdy, was that good. A little garlic, a little oyster sauce. Oh, yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby.

And remember, your Ballard Farmers Market is chock full of all sorts of goodness for  your kitchen, from meat, seafood, poultry, cheese, to all sorts of fruits and veggies, baked goods, sauces, confections, fresh-cut flowers and fresh milled flours, plants for the garden, wild mushrooms, and on and on. 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.