Got Soup

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!

Last Thursday Market of the Season!

Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth begin! Not only are the mornings dark and the evenings dark, and not only have we started to consider an overcast day "good weather," and not only have we sighed to see summer's soft-fruit bounty giving way to the apples and pears of fall, but the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market is in its last week.

This is the time to take a look at the "Thursday-only" farmers and vendors on the website, so you can either stock up or sign up or cut special deals with them when you visit the Market for their curtain call. Are you signed up for Skagit River Ranch's Buyers Club? Do you have enough Soulever Chocolates and Melt mac and cheese and House of the Sun kale chips to hold you? How's your salmon supply? Your hazelnuts? Your toffee? Your hum bao reserves? Got Soup?

Some folks might make the move to Saturday, but it's best to ask. And we have until the Saturday before Thanksgiving to get our fill of fresh and local before it's all gone gone gone. (See picture at top of post.)

As a Thursday swan song, I have two awesomely delicious recipes to help you capitalize on what you'll find this week (fingers crossed): End-of-the-Season Kitchen-Sink Sauté and Yu Choi with Oyster Sauce.



End-of-the-Season Kitchen-Sink Sauté

2 ears of corn*, boiled for two minutes
2 medium tomatoes*, cut in eighths
couple handfuls of spinach or chard, de-stemmed, rinsed and cut in big pieces
2 slices bacon*

Cut corn off cobs and set aside.

Fry bacon on low or med-low heat until to desired doneness. Remove and drain on paper towels, than crumble. Leaving the bacon fat in the pan, turn the heat to medium. When the pan is hot, throw in the greens (as much as you like, really), and stir-fry till almost wilted. Throw in the tomato slices and cook until the greens are dark and soft. Remove from heat.

Stir in corn, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

***********************
This second recipe came to mind because, at my favorite dim sum place in the Bay Area, we always order these greens alongside the other goodies, as a sop to the nutrition gods. When I found yu choy at Blia's stand, I immediate drooled to think of recreating this at home. Usually the greens and stems are stir-fried, and then drizzled with oyster sauce, but Blia's helper guy remarked that his mom usually just boiled them. Done.

[Pic from seasonednoob.com because I forgot to take one!]



Boiled Yu Choy with Oyster Sauce

1 bunch yu choi*, rinsed and cut in 4-inch sections
some bottled oyster sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and put in ALL the yu choy. There's a lot, so you probably have to keep at it for a while. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the stalks are tender.

Drain and drizzle with oyster sauce.

Kids who like broccoli usually like this dish, and doesn't broccoli get old after a while?

So come one and all and see you this Thursday. I'll be the one weeping silently into her reusable canvas shopping bags...

Heat-Wave-Proof Food

It's time for the annual heat wave, folks! Which means it's time to think about food that doesn't heat up the house. The Market can help.

And I don't just mean ready-made food, though there's that:

Beef Picadillo was a-w-e-s-o-m-e

A cool soup, paired with salad?

And then there's the pizza, the falafel, the hum baos, and other food trucks, of course.

But supposing you wanted to have guests over? We recently had a surprise guest roll into town, and I wanted to share our Market-Fresh dinner menu with you, with all Market-available items marked with an asterisk (*).

hors d'oeuvres
carrot* and celery sticks
cubed Ladysmith with Chives cheese*
cubed Cheddar (although a second Market cheese would've been great)
raw or roasted almonds or hazelnuts*
sliced pepperoni*
main courses
Grilled Two if by Seafood salmon brushed with Seven Red Tagine's Elemental Basil Sauce
Strawberry*-Spinach* salad
Steamed sugar snap peas*
Brown rice pilaf
dessert
Blueberry Pie* with vanilla ice cream
A couple notes: strawberries are ending soon! Grab them and cherries while you can. Spinach can be hard to find, but you can substitute another favorite green. I did cook the pilaf on the stovetop, but since it only takes about five minutes of active attention, I don't count that as "slaving away." Finally, we made our own blueberry pie out of Market blueberries and the pie-crust recipe featured in the Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook, but pie-baking definitely counts as heating up the kitchen...
They're promising another shipment...

I'll leave you with the salad dressing I adapted from an Allrecipes version. It's delicious for summer salads because it pairs well with fruit/greens combinations.

Summer Salad Dressing
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted, if you like)
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 cup honey*
1/2 cup olive oil or hazelnut oil*
1/4 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced fresh onion*

For Spinach-Strawberry Salad, blend and serve over 
 
10 ozs fresh spinach or greens of your choice*
1 cup sliced strawberries*
1/4 cup sliced almonds or hazelnuts* 
1/2 avocado, cut in chunks
2 green onions, chopped*

Have a great week and keep cool! As a P.S., I did get around to reading Wheat Belly and will give my report at a later date. In the meantime, suffice to say we will continue to eat wheat products in the UrbanFarmJunkie household...