Adrienne's Cakes and Pies

Sweets to the Sweet

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photo (13) My mom was in town visiting, which means, for all of us, a nonstop eating extravaganza. Food is our love language. And luckily she rolled into Bellevue on Market day, making a visit a top priority. Over the years we've tasted plenty of goodies at the Market, but I thought I'd highlight a few.

In addition to an entire Veraci pepperoni pizza, we got a few almond croissants from Aura Bakery.

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My mom kept marveling about how enormous they were for $3.75, and I must say, after our trip to Maui, suddenly farmers market prices seem quite reasonable! Take, for example, the little pies at Adrienne's Cakes & Pies. On Maui, the equivalent would set you back an additional $1.75-3 per pie!

In addition to the almond croissants, my daughter picked out a pain au chocolat for a right-then snack from the dazzling array.

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Then we happened by Island Treats and made the "mistake" of sampling the "Pretzel Things." Mm...pretzels and caramel robed in milk chocolate. Yep, we bought a bag.

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My kids wolfed theirs down to prevent the chocolate from melting, but I managed to savor mine by putting it down between bites. With age comes wisdom.

Of course we bought two pints of strawberries. I love how the farmers grow several varieties, including these new earlier ones. It used to be we had to wait until June for strawberries, but not any more!

And, finally, I have to include this rhubarb:

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Almost five years ago I posted a recipe for rhubarb cake. Even non-rhubarb-lovers love this Aunt Hazel's Rhubarb Cake, which I recently made again for a brunch. Since people ask for the recipe, I decided to link back to the original post. You need about five stalks to make the 13x9 cake. And it calls for 1/3 cup of nuts, but I would definitely up it to 1/2 cup next time I make it. Enjoy.

4 Sides for the 4th

Elevenscore and nineteen years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

That's right, folks, it's time to celebrate our freedoms once again, and the government has added a new one this year, if you didn't notice: the freedom not to limit your fat intake. Well--not to limit total fat intake. They're still jittery about saturated fat (i.e., the best-tasting fats from butter, cheese, whole milk, and beef). But since we live in America, we experience another freedom: that of ignoring government recommendations. Which means, in our house, we eat all those saturated fats mentioned above and plan to keep eating them. Cause for celebration.

How we feel about eating fat, and how we feel when the Mariners win [pic: RedTricom]

So say you've been invited to a 4th of July celebration this year, and told to "bring a side dish or dessert." As you might have heard, our Market is closed this Saturday, so you need to plan ahead and make purchases this Thursday. Market-available items are marked with an asterisk (*).

I'm bringing my homemade baked beans.

Slow-Cooker Baked Beans
3 cups dried navy beans*
1 medium onion, chopped*
1 lg can tomato sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar, scant
1 cup water
2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp dark molasses
1 tsp salt
1/4 lb diced bacon*

Soak beans overnight or follow "quick soak" instructions on package. (You could also ask Alvarez Farms which of their beans they would substitute for navy beans, and that would reduce cooking time!) Drain.

Put all ingredients in the crock-pot and mix well.

Cover. Cook on High 6-8 hours. After the low end of the range, taste a bean for tenderness. (If it looks like it's getting dry, feel free to add 1/2 to 1 cup preheated water.)

But maybe you prefer a salad? We've been having this one a lot:



Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Feta
1 bunch or bag of spinach*
2-3 sliced scallions*
handful sliced strawberries (very ripe)*
crumbled feta or other cheese, amount to taste*
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

This is a pretty free-form salad. For the dressing, mix the oil and vinegar in a 3:1 ratio (e.g., 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp vinegar). Dress and toss right before serving.

I also have this potato salad marked as "Tasty!" in my New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, with one emendation:

Chunky Potato Salad
4 lbs medium-sized potatoes*
4 eggs*
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp - 1/4 c relish (my own personal addition!)
1-1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c milk
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan, with enough water to cover, boil/simmer potatoes until soft (25-30 minutes). Cool and cut in chunks (I don't bother peeling, although it does make a prettier salad). Hard-cook eggs and dice.

In a large bowl, toss potatoes and eggs with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.

And finally, for dessert, you can't go wrong with pie. Pick one up at the Market if it sounds like too much effort. Adrienne's Cakes & Pies has a lovely selection. The thought of apple or berry or strawberry rhubarb pie makes my mouth water.

The selection, from Adrienne's perspective!

If you insist on homemade (and don't mind heating up the kitchen in 90F weather), Good Housekeeping comes through again. Blueberry pie is the hands-down easiest, especially since freestone peaches are not yet available.

Blueberry Pie
double pie crust of your choice
2 pts blueberries*
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp salt

Prepare pie crust and line pan. Mix filling ingredients and pour into prepared crust. Top with remaining crust. Cut slits in top and bake 40-50 minutes at 425F. Cool on wire rack.

See you Thursday, and have a great 4th!

A Few Things to Be Thankful for at 2014's Last Bellevue Farmers Market

The original teacup squash, grown by the hub

Alas, we have come to the end.

And there's not even any time to mourn properly because Thanksgiving and Decembermageddon will shortly be upon us. At least my 11YO daughter reminded me to put out the Thanksgiving decorations, for their brief stint before the Christmas bomb goes off in the house. (Exhibit A: my favorite tablecloth [right], all but buried under three computers and truckloads of papers, homework, and other crud.)

If your mind is desperately trying to get a head start on the season, let me help you out. Whether you have to put the whole meal together, or someone just assigned you one dish, the Market has what you need.

Your holiday Market shopping list:

  • Cranberries for sauce. It's fine to make it now--all that sugar keeps it indefinitely.
  • Salad greens. Chard, kale, spinach, mixed greens. Thanksgiving meals can be so starch-heavy that you want your salad to perk up the palate. The flavorful greens go well with Holmquist Hazelnuts and Tieton Farm and Creamery Cheese. Toss in some thin apple or pear slices!
  • Soup. Make your own with some butternut squash or pick up some quarts to go from Got Soup? Everyone just needs a teensy cup of flavorful soup, to prepare them for the heavy-duty eating ahead.
  • Bread and rolls.
  • Cider and wine.

 Martin Orchards has mouth-watering apple and pear flavors. Drink them straight, heated with mulling spices, or splashed in with sparkling water for your own "sparkling cider." We bought a half-gallon of the pear, but my children have been complaining because we've had to ration it. This visit I'll grab the gallon.

  • Potatoes for roasting and mashing. Lots and lots of potatoes. In a range of colors and without any nasty pesticides.
  • Carrots and brussels sprouts. Roast 'em. You won't be sorry.
  • Now, I know you already got your heritage turkey. But don't forget sausage and herbs for the stuffing!
  • And round off with a couple pies. Buy on the spot, or place an order with Adrienne's, with pick-up at Bellevue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday!

Just look at those puppies!
Ye all-important Order Form

And, supposing you weren't asked (or trusted) to bring anything. Well, every hostess likes a thoughtful gift. May I suggest...

Yup. Chocolates or toffee or a bottle of wine or a jar of honey or some beeswax candles or a jar of pickles! If they're avoiding carbs and you don't want to unfriend them (yet), maybe some flavored hazelnuts..? All I know is, if someone showed up at my house with Market food offerings, he or she would be my New Best Friend. It's that simple.

Sigh. So while I have much to be thankful for, I'll still be counting the days for baseball season and Market season to resume. In the meantime, continue to check back here for your weekly food news and foodie book reviews!

Consider the Pastries

The Stash--before I got there

Last week was my son's 13th birthday, which means he's reached the age of wanting nothing, or nothing but expensive things (a trip to Hawaii) that I don't intend to buy at this point. One grandma aimed younger and got him Legos. The other gave up and sent cash. We ended up making him a photo book with here's-what-people-remember-about-you testimonies interspersed, which also was not something he wanted at this stage in the game.

But one gift was a hit: at the Market I bought him a truckload of Snohomish Bakery's pain au chocolat, and I put them in the freezer so that he could pull one out whenever the urge struck him. Because, was there ever a person who didn't love flaky, melting puff pastry at their convenience?

Then there was the birthday party the ten-year-old was invited to. The birthday gal was gluten-intolerant or -allergic, so the pastry trick wasn't going to work on her. Or was it?

Remember these beauties, from last week's quiz? (The quiz still doesn't have a winner, so feel free to take notes on your visit this week and win a free jar of Sunny Honey!) Well, these happen to be gluten-free sugar cookies from--spoiler alert!--Sod House Bakery.

We bought two of the cookies, but only one made it to the destination because the other got broken and, yes, we had to eat it. De-li-cious.

And Sod House is not our only source of gluten-free baked goods this year. You've probably also noticed

Wildflour's well-stocked booth. Haven't sampled yet, but I saw quick breads, foccaccia, yeast breads, and treats.

If you were invited to a Memorial Day Barbecue or face barbecues ahead this summer, you don't always have to bring the salad. Offer one of our awesome Market breads, pies, or other treats. Speaking of pie, here's another clue to last week's quiz. That awesome pie?

It's called Three-Berry Pie, and you can find it at Adrienne's Cakes and Pies.

Now that's two answers I've given you!

And, of course, Tall Grass Bakery has returned, with its sourdough rye and soft pretzels and breadsticks and loaves.

Thanks heavens we have months ahead of us to make the rounds and find our new favorites...

In other news, berry season has officially begun, with the arrival of the earliest variety of Washington strawberries from the Skagit Valley. I'll be snatching up some of these for my book party that night, so, judging by how I cleaned out the chocolate croissants at Snohomish Bakery, you may want to hit the Market early!

Shopping List for Opening Day

At long last, Opening Day of the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market is upon us!

The nitty-gritty:

WHEN: Thursday, May 15, 3-7 p.m.

WHERE: Parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Follow the sounds of laughter and music and the delicious smells!

In case you haven't looked out the window, spring has sprung, and our farmers and vendors have loads of fresh, local, beautiful food for us. Consider the following for your shopping list!

1. Fresh asparagus. Yes, you can buy it in the store, but have you actually ever tasted super fresh farm asparagus? A little olive oil and throw it in the oven or on the grill. We had some last year that we actually groaned over, it was that good. Nutty and flavorful. Look for it at Alvarez, Growing Washington, and Crawford Farm.

2. Dark, leafy greens. Recently I've been hooked on kale and chard. I've discovered slivered chard makes a great substitute for shredded lettuce in tacos, or for the greens in your salad. Since I've disavowed bagged salad, I've gotten more creative with the kinds of salads that grace our table. May I suggest this one?

Kale-Lentil-Scallion-Almond Salad with Luscious Dressing 
Not exactly what your salad will look like because Gina of soletshangout.com used some different ingredients

1 bunch dinosaur kale, slivered, with the stems stripped out
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cooked lentils (leftover from my fridge. Canned beans would also work.)
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Luscious Dressing (which I found at Soletshangout.com):
3 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
smidge of ginger powder
two cloves garlic
1/8 to 1/4 cup lemon juice

Blend dressing ingredients in food processor or blender and toss with salad ingredients.

3. Canned Tuna!!!! Can I tell you how excited I am that Fishing Vessel St. Jude will be at the Market on Thursday? If you like tuna salad or Salade Nicoise, you will taste them on a whole new level if you grab this tuna. Talk to Joyce Malley about how she catches her tuna and what makes it way awesomer than garden-variety grocery store kinds.

4. Eggs. The Market is here, and I am so over eggs with pale yolks and runny whites. Bring on those happy eggs from happy chickens on the loose! Bring on those richer yolks and firmer egg whites, which must come of eating bugs or other things chickens find on the loose. If you can't bring yourself to eat bugs, eat things that eat bugs. Gray Sky Farms joins our other egg vendors this year, so this should mean plenty of eggs for all.

5. Meat. Got my yearly bloodwork done, and I'm still anemic, dang it. Rather than take iron pills, I'm trying to up my consumption of red meat, so let's hear it for our farmers and their steaks and roasts and hamburger patties and sausages. We've got Skagit River Ranch and Olsen Farms. Pure, pastured goodness. And it's not just beef. You'll also find pork and lamb and cured meats!

6. Honey and Jam? Peach or apricot or nectarine jam, to be precise. Not sure if we'll have honey or jam folks this Opening Day, but I can hope...I've been nursing one jar of Camp Robber Nectarine Jam all winter, and I'd like to use it with abandon, thank you very much.

7. Apples and some frozen fruit. Don't know if you've noticed, but we're reaching the bottom of the barrel at the grocery store. It'll be nice to ask our farmers, "What's the crunchiest variety you have?" And if anyone has frozen peaches or berries, those sure would be nice in a smoothie about now.

8. Potatoes. Ask your farmers to recommend specific varieties for potato salad (boiling), baking, or frying. And just ignore the part in recipes where it tells you to peel them!

Sneak peek of a Snohomish Bakery danish. You want the full pic? You can't handle the full pic!

9. Baked goods. The problem will be choosing. Will it be the pretzel from Tall Grass Bakery? The three-berry pie from Adrienne's Cakes and Pies? Close-Your-Eyes-and-Pick-Anything--You-Can't-Go-Wrong from Snohomish Bakery? I might have to bring more than one kid along, so I'm forced to buy more than one goodie and to "tax" them all.

10. Dinner. Say, just for argument's sake, you get so hungry just walking around the Market, buying items off your grocery list, that you decide just to pick up dinner there. Will it be gourmet mac & cheese from the new vendor Melt? Hard to resist varieties with names like "Cozy Pajamas" (three cheese) and "Game Night" (Buffalo chicken mac). Or maybe you should just pick up some soup or the tried-and-true favorite, pizza. Best yet, perhaps, would be just to meet your family or friends at the Market, that way everyone can choose his own adventure.

Lots and lots of good stuff ahead! Meanwhile, I'll see you all Thursday. I'll be the lady with the camera and the begging children hanging off her.