Hayton Farms

Strawberries, Asparagus, and Garlic Scapes

Of course you saw the strawberries last week, right? I bought two pints just to eat out of hand, and they lasted precisely two hours, with one child responsible for polishing off one pint all by herself. This week I clearly need more: three pints to eat out of hand, another couple to be there the following day, and still another couple to be frozen or made into a dessert.

My oldest has to prepare a fruit dessert as part of her Home Ec class (or whatever they call it now) in high school. I suggested an apple crisp a week ago, but now that the berries are here, I think I'll put this recipe under her nose:

Lemon Shortcakes with Strawberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (or scant cup whole milk w/1 Tbsp lemon juice)
1/2 stick melted butter, cooled

3 12-oz baskets strawberries, hulled
1/4 c torn fresh mint leaves, optional
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

FOR BISCUITS: Preheat oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a second bowl. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moist dough forms. Drop in 8 dough mounds on a cooking sheet and, with floured hands, pat into a biscuit shape. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

FOR TOPPING: Slice 2 baskets strawberries and transfer to a large bowl. Puree remaining basket of strawberries in the food processor to make a "sauce." Mix with sliced strawberries, sugar, mint, and lemon juice.

Halve warm biscuits and put lots of topping on. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

[This recipe was torn from a magazine years ago. Bon Appétit?]

That's dessert. And for dinner she's planned Two If By Seafoods baked salmon alongside asparagus.

Alvarez Organic Farms was plugging its garlic scapes and onions last week, and I saw a friend with an armful that she planned to sauté. Epicurious suggests this Garlic Scape Pesto recipe. 

In fact, how about the salmon, roasted asparagus, crostini with garlic scape pesto, and a spinach salad? Beautiful colors, all rounded off with the shortcakes. Mmmm. Hooray for Market season!

The Omnivore's Bonanza

"I've really been reading a lot lately on nutrition," said a friend to me at the pool, as she pulled a Terra chip out of the bag and popped it in her mouth, "and I'm getting serious about getting rid of the junk food. Have you read Wheat Belly?"

I have not read Wheat Belly--only read about it, and its claims that modern American GMO wheat is the root of all evils. (Having not read the book, I wouldn't swear to that thesis in a court of law!)

Whether or not you believe that--I don't happen to, but I've dutifully put the book on hold at the library--I'm finding plenty to eat, wheat and otherwise, at this season's Bellevue Farmers Market. And speaking of the Market, Opening Day for the Saturday Market is here!

Ye Olde Compass Plaza

You remember Compass Plaza from last year, right? Across from CPK, and right in front of Rock Bottom Brewery? Barnes & Noble (of the blue check mark) has graciously offered to supply us with Market parking again, so think about adding a book to your picnic basket this weekend. Saturday Opening Day means, starting this week, we have two places to pick up all that wonderful food.

Which brings me back to my original point. If you have managed to freak yourself out about GMO wheat, the Market can help you with that. I mentioned our new vendor Wildflour last week:

Owner and baker Dr. Rebecca Johnson has traveled her own road of gluten-intolerance and suffering through awful-tasting, wheat-free alternative foods, with delicious results for us. Wildflour offers just about every kind of bready product, from loaves to muffins to cookies to scones, all gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, and baked in a peanut-free environment. Johnson also avoids bean, corn, and soy flours, for those of us who do freak out about GMO soy (hand raised).

Buy. Unwrap. Stuff in mouth.

In place of baked products, it seems Wheat Belly recommends Atkins-y diets of the carbless food groups, and the Market can help with that, too.

Cheese, glorious cheese and meat!
Eggs galore
Wild-caught salmon
And of course, vegetables a-plenty

Two or three more weeks of asparagus, folks! We had some on the grill the other day, brushed with olive oil. Perfection.

And the first strawberries of the season? They're called "Honeyeye." As in, Honey-I-am-never-eating-those-giant-tasteless-red-golfballs-called-California-strawberries-again. Even though we all know the berries get sweeter, the farther we go into summer-variety territory, these Honeyeyes from Hayton Farms were good enough to rinse and serve plain at a book launch party, as I did:

One last note--my ten-year-old Sherpa and I had to grab a quick dinner before said book launch party last week, so we took a friend's recommendation and hit up the Contigo food truck.

We both went for the "bowls," she for the carnitas (pork), and I for the beef. My mouth waters, even typing about it almost a week later. I highly recommend. If we hadn't been planning to put it aside for later, we would have tried the tacos. Thankfully, there are many more weeks to come, in which we hope to try every prepared food at the Market at least once!

See you this week, Marketgoers, for more food and fun in the sun.

Feed Your Cravings for Fresh

SugarTime, and the living's easy

Whew. Now that we got that 4th of July holiday out of the way, we can get back to our Thursday/Saturday Bellevue Farmers Market pattern, and everything's just peachy. Speaking of which, with the holiday last week and Collins not being able to take credit cards on Saturday, I've had to go peach-free. It has been a true first-world problem, and one I plan to remedy this week. I'd be interested if anyone has ever tried those recipes you see every summer for grilled peaches? We haven't yet, but I bet it'd be good with this:

Yes, sir--raspberry syrup, for which the only ingredients on the label are "raspberry puree" and "sugar." Just try finding that in the store! I had to get some while I was picking up my half-flat of strawberries because, a few summers ago, in the cafe of the Orsay Museum in Paris, I had a "raspberry juice" that was basically sweetened puree. Oh my goodness. It rivaled anything hanging on the walls of the museum for pure wonderfulness. I have high, high hopes that this syrup will take me back. So if you see me sucking it down straight from the bottle, you'll understand.

The strawberries weren't bad either. Forgive me if I can't remember if I bought Hayton or Youngquist on Saturday--I've bought from both before, and I want to announce that SUGAR BOMB SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY OPENED. You know what I mean. The season of tiny strawberries that just explode in your mouth with sweetness and flavor. Get 'em while they last.

After you've had your fill of fruits, it's time to hit the vegetables. I've spotted snow peas now--perfect for stir fries:

You can even throw in some bamboo shoots from Rockridge (ask Wade how to prepare them):

Feed your inner panda

Those cucumbers on the right would make a great Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad to go on the side on a hot day. My mom slices them thin and drizzles them with a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sugar. Delicious.

Summer is the season of fresh, so put down the can of cream of mushroom soup or Trader Joe's curry sauce. Get out of the drive-thru line and treat your family to some real, fresh food.

Summer is Here--No, Seriously

The Chelans!

Yes, indeedy. Clouds and gloom notwithstanding, we know summer is nearly upon us by the fruits beginning to roll in. Last week I picked up this tasty, earliest cherry variety from Robbie at Collins Family Orchard of Selah, Washington. He expects the first Rainiers this week and his personal favorites, Titans, in early July. For those not quite ready to let go of the fall-winter feeling, Robbie has plenty of Pink Lady apples which still crunch satisfyingly.

The man himself

Strawberries appeared in greater number, provided by Youngquist Farms, Hayton Farms, and Alm Hill. My pint container lasted exactly five minutes once I got home, so it looks like a half-flat will be in order this week.

In the vegetable department, the perfect sugar snap peas continue. We eat these raw with our Homemade Ranch Dressing, steamed with sesame oil, or added to stir-fries.
And Kai at Hedlin Farms was selling little bags of baby artichokes last week! If they're still there this week I plan to get some, having run home to consult my favorite vegetarian cookbook, Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. She suggests a simple Baby-Artichoke-and-Scallion Saute, a recipe this blogger did a post on.

Get a napkin, 'cause you're gonna drool reading this

For those of you who eat your way through the Market, I made my first visit of the season to Crepes and sampled their seasonal savory bestseller, the Copper River Salmon Crepe with Caramelized Onions and Creme Fraiche. Uh huh. (Only around for another week or two!) And washed it all down with their "mojito-style sweet tea," a minty-citrusy, refreshing concoction that Marketgoers swig rain or shine. If sweets are more your thing, Crepes' bestselling sweet offering is the Salted Caramel with Bananas, Almonds & Whipped Cream.

Not that the crepe stopped me from swinging by The Box again. I wanted to try the Mini Bagel Burger that I couldn't get my kids to order last week. De-li-cious. And at its modest slider size and price, you still have plenty of stomach and wallet to head over to the next stand.

With all the wonders of the new Market season, I haven't been able to keep you up to date on the latest food-horror books I've been reading, but I'll have a doozy for you soon. It's Barry Estabrook's Tomatoland, and, suffice to say, when my family is on the East Coast this fall for a little vacation, I'm not letting anyone eat the Florida-grown tomatoes. Be thankful we're on the West Coast, and we have lovely tomato options.

Speaking of lovely tomato options, Tina at Big Spoon Jam recommended her Golden Tomato & Citrus Marmalade when I asked what would be great on cheese and crackers to serve at book club. She was right. Piquant and very tasty. Tina says it's also her most local current offering, having been torturously and lovingly made with all those teeny, fiddly, local golden tomatoes.

So get thee to the Market this week! Pick up some old favorites and try something new.