Monthly Archives: November 2014

Candied Hazelnut & Pear Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Hello all

This week we have a delicious and exotic salad with pears, candied walnuts and hazelnuts, and Humboldt Fog cheese. Give it a try and you won’t regret it!

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Ingredients

1 ripe Bartlett pear

2 heads red butter leaf lettuce

3 oz. Humboldt Fog cheese

Candied Hazelnuts

2 cups hazelnuts (or other nuts if desired)

¼ cup sugar

1 tbsp. water

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Vinaigrette

1 orange

1 tbsp. balsamic (plus more)

1 tbsp. olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 300. Prepare baking sheet with butter. In a small saucepan combine sugar, water, and cayenne over medium heat. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and stir in hazelnuts and immediately spread over baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5.

To make vinaigrette, juice orange and add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Toss desired amount with lettuce and divide onto 4 plates. Slice pear and lay a few slices along each salad. Sprinkle with Humboldt fog and candied hazelnuts. Drizzle with balsamic for serving. Enjoy!

 

Original Recipe and Photo by Kayla Waldorf

 

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Two Thanksgiving Myths Dispelled

Hello all!

This is the last blog post before Thanksgiving 2014. We hope you all have plans for a wonderful and safe holiday filled with joyful family reunions and friendship. Try not to let the stress of cooking for everyone get you down. We thought we would help you impress your guests this year by arming you with the facts to dispel two common Thanksgiving myths.

 

Public Domain Image via USDA

Public Domain Image via USDA

Turkey Does Not Make You Sleepy

 

It’s a oft-repeated trope of Thanksgiving that the amino acid tryptophan in the turkey makes everyone drowsy after the meal. Tryptophan is an important amino acid, and it is necessary for your body to manufacture serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters primarily responsible for mood and sleep. Low levels of serotonin cause depression, anxiety, and mood swings. However, turkey is no higher in tryptophan than other poultry meats, and actually contains less than chicken. The real reason you get sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal is that you’ve just stuffed yourself full of a massive portion of food. Blood is rushing to your stomach and your body is expending energy to digest all of that delicious food, so your body makes you feel tired so you don’t over-exert yourself while digesting. Imagine a boa constrictor that has just swallowed a large animal. It’s certainly not going to be doing much exercise after a meal like that.

 

You May Never Have Tasted a Yam

 

The word “yam” is colloquially used as a synonym for sweet potatoes. Most people refer to the long orange-skinned potatoes in the grocery store as “yams”. However, yams and sweet potatoes are not even distantly related. To complicate matters further, potatoes themselves are not related to either yams or sweet potatoes. Potatoes are in the Solanaceae family, yams are in the Dioscoreaceae family (say that one five times fast), and sweet potatoes are in the Convolvulaceae family. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are both dicots, meaning they have two embryonic seed leaves, while yams are monocots (they have only one embryonic seed leaf). This means that yams and sweet potatoes are as distantly related as two flowering plants can be.

 

By Llez (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Llez (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yams are common in Africa- the top 8 of the top 10 world producers are African countries, followed by Papua New Guinea and Colombia. They are popular ingredients in African and Carribbean cuisines, due to their flexibility in culinary applications. They can be baked, grilled, barbecued, smoked, boiled, fried, roasted, or made into pie. Unfortunately, true yams are not nearly as common in the US, where they have been overtaken by sweet potatoes as a more common substitute.

 

Have a wonderful and safe holiday, everyone!

 

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Delicious Stuffed Squash Entree

This week’s recipe from our good friend Kayla Waldorf brings together three of our favorite foods- caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and sweet winter squash. This is a hearty, filling entree for a winter meal with the family.

Chevre & Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sautéed Mushrooms

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Ingredients

2 acorn squash, halved

1 ½ cups brown rice

3 cups veggie broth

8 oz. Crimini mushrooms, cut into small cubes

1 large onion, diced

½ cup walnuts, chopped

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. butter

4 oz Chevre (3 for the stuffing, 1 for the top)

 

Method

Preheat oven to 375. Halve acorn squash and remove seeds. Place upside down in glass baking dish, fill with ¼ inch water, and loosely cover with tin foil. Bake for 40 minutes.

 

While squash is baking, cook rice. Rinse rice and place in pot, cover with 3 cups veggie broth and bring to a boil. Once rice is boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until rice is tender (do not stir).

 

While rice is cooking, preheat large pan on medium heat and melt butter. Once pan is preheated, add onions. Stir constantly until onions caramelize (they will turn a rich brown color and become very translucent). Once onions are caramelized, add 3 tablespoons balsamic and cook (stirring continuously) until mushrooms are soft and vinegar is thick. Feel free to add more vinegar if you like the flavor. Mix in chopped walnut, 3 oz. chevre and about salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

 

When squash is done, remove from oven and increase temperature to 400. Flip over so the bowl-shaped side is facing up (cut off the bottoms to create a flat surface). Distribute stuffing evenly between squash and top with the remainder of the chevre. Bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese on top begins to brown. Enjoy!

 

Original recipe and photo for Pacific Coast Harvest by Kayla Waldorf

 

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Parsnips: the Most Delicious Root Veggie Since Carrots

We’re coming back around to parsnip season here in the northwest, and we are super excited! Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are a delicious root vegetable with a tender, fibrous texture and a sweet flavor. It’s a close relative of parsley and carrots (to which they bear many similarities in taste and shape). Parsnips are delicious in a big mixed veggie roast with salt and pepper, or roasted alone with some curry powder. They also make excellent addition to stews- their rich, sweet flavor adds depth and complexity to the base. Parsnip fries are delicious twist on sweet-potato or carrot fries.

Check out some of Martha Stewart’s recipes for parsnips.

During the height of the Roman Empire, parsnips were prized as a source of sugar and dietary staple high in starch. Emperor Tiberius is reported to have accepted some of Germany’s tribute payment to Rome in parsnips, illustrating the high status the vegetable held. At the time, carrots were still usually white, so there was some trouble distinguishing between carrots and parsnips.

By Zyance (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zyance (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

What’s the difference between a root veggie and a tuber?

In America, the parsnip has not been quite so highly valued, having been replaced by sugar cane and beets as a source of sugar and by potatoes as a source of starch. However, roasted parsnip is still a central part of many folks’ Christmas dinners, and they remain ubiquitous in grocery stores and farmers markets across the country.

What are your favorite parsnip recipes?

 

 

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Sweet Harvest Cornbread for Breakfast or Dessert

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe is for a delicious bread that you can make with your winter squash and pumpkin pie spices.

Sweet Harvest Cornbread with Pecan Streusel

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Ingredients

Batter

1.5 cups flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup pureed squash

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon cane sugar

1 cup buttermilk

¼ melted coconut oil + 1 tablespoon for pan

2 apples peeled and chopped

 

Streusel

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

¼ brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ flour

 

Method:

 

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and chop at least 1 cup winter squash into 1 inch pieces (most anything will do, but I would avoid spaghetti squash). Place in pan and cover with ½ inch water. Bring to boil and cook until very soft (about 10 minutes). Puree* and set aside.

 

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl (including sugar). In a smaller bowl, combine buttermilk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry, then fold in squash puree and chopped apples.

 

Coat skillet with melted coconut oil and pour in batter. Combine all streusel ingredients in small bowl then sprinkle over batter. Bake for 40-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (remember the apples will keep it moist, so it might take longer than expected).

 

*if you have a lot of extra squash making a puree and keeping it frozen for baking/soup/etc. is a great way to preserve it

 

Enjoy!

 

Original recipe and photo for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

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Pear Galette with Rosemary Crust and Maple Whipped Cream

This week’s recipe is for a tasty rustic dessert with the delicious pears that have are coming in to season. You can use any type of pear, but we recommend Red D’Anjou or Star Krimson for taste and aesthetics.

 

Ingredients

Filling:

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Pear Galette with Rosemary Crust and Maple Whipped Cream

4 almost ripe D’Anjou pears (other varieties will work too)

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (combo of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crust:

Choose your favorite piecrust recipe (it’s more about the method than the recipe). I like to use Seattle local Robin Wehl’s award-winning recipe that can be found here: http://www.crossroadsbellevue.com/Content/Downloads/2012%20Berry%20Pie%20Winners%20Recipes.pdf

2 teaspoons finely diced fresh rosemary

1 egg (for brushing)

Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pie dough by mixing dry ingredients and rosemary in Cuisinart (or by hand). Dice butter/shortening and place in freezer until frozen. Add butter/shortening to dry ingredients and mix until grainy. Prepare cold water by adding ice and add to dough until dough just comes together (be careful not to pour the ice into the mixture but the colder the water is the better). Knead dough a few times until dough comes together, but if there are butter chunks or floury parts, that is okay. Never over-mix! Wrap dough in saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Prepare filling by coring pears and cutting into ½ inch slices. Mix in a large bowl with spices, lemon juice, and sugar.

When pie dough is cool, roll out by unwrapping saran wrap and placing another piece over the top. Roll between the two pieces of saran wrap until dough reaches desired thickness (this will help you to handle the dough as little as possible). Remove saran wrap and place on cookie sheet. Pile filling into center of dough and pinch and fold dough up around the sides (you want the dough up about 2 inches over the filling so it doesn’t spill out). Pinch any holes together and brush with egg. Bake for 30-45 minutes until crust is golden brown (check the bottom to make sure it’s done through). Don’t worry about making it pretty, it’s meant to have a rustic aesthetic.

Whip the cream until peaks form and fold in maple syrup.

Enjoy!

 

Original recipe and photo for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

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Spaghetti Squash and a New Farm Partner!

Hello Harvesters

This week we will carry spaghetti squash from Island Meadow Farm on Vashon Island. Island Meadow is a new farm partner for us at PCH, and we are excited to work with them!

Learn more about Island Meadow Farm here

Island Meadow Farm. Photo used by permission of the owner.

Island Meadow Farm. Photo used by permission of the owner.

Spaghetti squash is an awesome vegetable. It tastes great, it’s nutritious, and it is hugely variable in its cooking applications. It’s a variant of the same species as most types of edible squash, Cucurbita pepo, but it has a unique twist- when cooked, the flesh comes apart in ribbons that look like spaghetti noodles. Because of this twist, you can serve spaghetti squash as a replacement for the wheat-based noodles in pasta. This is obviously quite helpful for our gluten-intolerant and celiac friends, but it also fun and delicious even if you also love a good semolina pasta.

By DC (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By DC (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 Spaghetti squash contains relatively high amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and beta carotene. The folic acid makes it a good choice for pregnant women It’s also low in calories, making it a good choice for a weight loss regimen if you are looking to reduce your caloric intake while maintaining good nutrition.

To cook a spaghetti squash, simply cut in half the long way, drizzle it with some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the flesh. Put the halves face up on a baking sheet and bake it at around 375 degrees for about an hour. The flesh should be tender, but not mushy. Here’s a more detailed guide to cooking a spaghetti squash.

What’s your favorite spaghetti squash recipe? Let us know!

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone.

 

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Apples and more Apples

It’s almost the height of apple season again, and the variety of apples available in Washington can be staggering. Worldwide, about 7500 varieties of apples are known to humans, with a crop of 75 million tons in 2011. The United States grows about 5.65% of the global total, and of that amount, 58% are grown in Washington. In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s 3.3% of global production, or about 2,495,964 tons in Washington alone in 2011. It goes without saying- that’s a mind-boggling amount of apples.

Public Domain, USDA

Public Domain, USDA

Here at PCH, we like to offer a nice variety of apples from the sweetest to the tartest, to give you a nice range of different tastes and styles. The fruit company Sage Washington has a great chart of a few popular varieties of apples from sweet to tart, as well as references for their different uses as a fresh fruit, in pies, and in cooked meals.

Image from Sage Washington

Image from Sage Washington

This upcoming week (the last week of October), we have Liberty apples and Braeburn apples. Braeburn are some the tarter apples on the market, while Liberty apples have a sweeter (but still tart) flavor. Other apples we commonly carry are Gold Delicious (very sweet), Cameo (balanced with both sweet and tart), Fuji (mostly sweet with a hint of tart), and Gala (also very sweet).

What are the best apples for pie?

Some apples can’t be eaten raw. Apples that are grown for cider production are far too tart and bitter to be eaten this way, but when processed into cider they will give the beverage that crisp, mouth-watering flavor that cider lovers enjoy. Once such cider cultivar, the Hewe’s Virginia Crab, was grown by Thomas Jefferson in the late 18th century in Virginia.

 

What’s your favorite type of apple?

Let us know and we’ll be sure to stock it!

 

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El Niño and the Pacific Northwest

Hello Harvesters

 

You may have heard that climate scientists and forecasters are predicting that this winter will see a fairly significant El Niño event. We want to take a moment to think about what this might mean for the Pacific Northwest this winter.

 

What is El Niño

 

In a normal year, the trade winds blowing from east to west over the Pacific blow warm surface water away from the eastern Pacific, near the Americas, towards the western Pacific, near Indonesia and China. This aids upwelling of cold water in near the Americas, leading to a much lower average ocean temperature on our side of the Pacific. This is hugely beneficial for us, because colder water and more upwelling means more nutrients in our seas, helping spur the development of major fisheries. The temperature of the oceans also affects weather circulation patterns across the globe, which is part of the reason our winters tend to be so wet here in the Northwest.

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Public domain images via NOAA

Public domain images via NOAA

During an El Niño event, the warmer waters of South America shift global weather patterns, leading to wetter winters in the southern part of the United States, and drier, warmer winters up here in the Northwest. While at first you might think “drier, warmer winter? Sign me up!”, El Niño events can have significant negative consequences for Northwest recreation, agriculture, and water supplies. A warmer and drier winter means less snowpack accumulated over the season. This means fewer powder days for our skiing friends and, consequently, lower profits for ski resorts. It also means we will have a problem in the spring when snowmelt feeds water reservoirs and irrigation systems. Farmers who rely on spring snowmelt for irrigation will find water prices increasing as supply becomes scarce, while government water district managers will have trouble keeping their reservoirs full. This may lead to higher prices for agricultural commodities such as palm oil, sugar, cocoa and wheat (according to Bloomberg).

For more information on El Niño, see NOAA’s El Niño portal.

Are you a skier? A farmer? Let us know what El Niño means to you!

 

 

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