Friday, November 18, 2011

Another trip to the Farmers' Market

One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is perusing the daily offerings at my local farmers' market.  Farmers' markets were just beginning to grow in popularity as I was moving from Virginia to North Carolina, about 5 years ago. Growing up, I always took for granted the fresh potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash I would enjoy from my dad's garden and grandfather's farm.  It wasn't really anything special, until  I realized it actually was.  I noticed more and more markets popping up in town, and surrounding towns offering fresh produce, grown by local farmers.  Fruits and Veggies, directly from the the soil, some with dirt still attached was now in high demand.
Living in Cary, there are at least 6 farmers' markets within 30 minutes from my home.  One of those being the state farmers' market.
This past weekend, I visited one of my favorite locations, The Western Wake Market.  If you get a chance to go, stop by and visit the folks from Coon Rock Farm.  I LOVE them!  They offer heirloom variety vegetables, raised without any chemicals; as well as pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free chickens, eggs, pigs, lamb, and goat.
I came home with a fresh stalk of ginger root, and 2 bunches of Hakurei turnips, and a chicken (which comes in a little later).  The turnips are small, sweet, and delicious.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  All of this really put me in the mood for fall so I decided to make sauteed turnips and greens, carrot ginger soup, and pumpkin-cranberry bread.
I got the soup recipe from this blog.  I used homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, and
added a spoonful of greek yogurt to each bowl.  mmmmm.

1 tablespoon olive oil (or up to ¼ cup if calories are not a concern)
3 pounds carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ pound celery, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of ½ lemon, finely chopped
3 inches ginger, peeled and finely chopped
freshly cracked black pepper
6 cups chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon
½ pound baby arugula

In a large stockpot combine the olive oil, carrots, celery, onion, and salt. Sauté over high heat, stirring frequently until the carrots begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest, ginger, and black pepper. Continue to stir and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes.
Using an emersion or traditional blender puree until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a little more black pepper and taste. It will probably need a bit more lemon juice and salt, adjust to your liking.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  I love the smell of freshly baked bread, but who has time to make it?  That is until NOW!  The method behind this magic is that you whip up a batch of dough and keep it in the fridge until you want fresh bread.  Then you pull a piece off, let it raise, bake it, and voila you have fresh, delicious, homemade bread!  I used the recipe for Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread, and used the alteration for cranberry pumpkin seed.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread
1 cup fresh or canned "pie" pumpkin puree
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 tbsp Kosher salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (I substituted vegetable oil here)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour ( I whirred 3/4 cups oats in the food processor and used that here instead)
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 3 cups unbleached, and did another cup of whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, shelled and toasted
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

**This recipe makes enough for about 3 loaves.  I would say you could reduce it as needed.  But remember, the unused dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to nine days.**

Prepare the dough:

Combine yeast, water, salt, melted butter and honey in 5 quart mixing bowl.

Mix in oatmeal, pumpkin and flours, do not knead. Be sure to incorporate all of the flour.

Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, approximately 2 hours.

Refrigerate in a lidded, but not airtight, container.

Baking Day:

Grease 9x5x3 nonstick loaf pan.

Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound piece.

Dust the piece with more flour and shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.

**Optional.  If you choose not to use cranberries and pumpkin seeds, just put the dough ball in the loaf pan and let it rise.**

Roll out the dough to a 12 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle the dough evenly with cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Carefully roll the dough, like a jelly roll.  Fold the log shape in half and shape into a loaf.

Place the dough in loaf pan and let rise for 2 hours.  (If you are using unrefrigerated dough here, it will only need a 45 minute rise).

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 F and place a broiler pan, or other metal pan in the oven, where it won't be in the way of the bread.
If you are using the cranberries and pumpkin seeds, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.  Brush this on top of the loaf before putting it into the oven.

pour 1 cup of hot tap water in the broiler pan (to create a steam oven), and immediately close the oven door.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Allow loaf to cool on wire rack before eating or slicing.

Lastly, I tried my hand at a recipe from Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.  Well.  I will just tell you it's a challenging one. I was so excited because I had gotten a 4 pound chicken from Coon Rock, and wanted to really do something special.  Ms. Greenspan prefers that her recipes not be posted so I will honor that.  But I do recommend checking out her book.  I do need to tell you that this recipe had 4 HEADS...thats not the little cloves you are used to peeling and using...THAT'S THE WHOLE DARN BULB, of garlic.  Not a first date food.

The broth created by this dish is unlike anything I have ever had.  It is an explosion of flavor in your mouth.  For that reason alone I would make this again.

 The cool thing about this recipe is that you make a quick dough of flour and water to put around the lip of the dutch oven. It creates an airtight chamber of flavor that could be mistaken for a little piece of heaven.

**DISCLAIMER**  The appearance of my finished product isn't exactly how Ms. Greenspan promised it would look.  Yes, it left something to be desired.  But don't worry, that didn't affect the flavor.  I included my finished, and the-what-it-should-really-look-like photo.

I also made a quick salad with the hakurei turnips.  The greens have a strong, but delicious, but delicious flavor, and are a little tougher than lettuce.  Some people just prefer to cook the greens, but I enjoyed them raw.  The salad consists of the turnips, their greens, toasted walnuts, and a vinaigrette made of olive oil, balsamic, honey, and salt and pepper.

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing! I should've eaten breakfast before reading this. My mouth is watering!