Farmers Market delivers the natural goods
Opening day at Lake Oswego Farmers' Market felt more like a July market day than the unseasonably warm May day it was. Attendees didn't let the 90-degree weather deter them: Business seemed brisk for all the vendors, the line in front of the doughnut booth was long - really long. In short, the market was the happening place to be in Lake Oswego that day.
One of the new vendors this year is Highland Oak Farm selling its grass-fed, all-natural Angus beef. Located in Scio, Highland Oak Farm is owned by Jonathan Ehmig and his family, who have dedicated themselves to sustainable farming practices. The family works hard to keep in balance with nature and believes abundantly healthy pastures translate into a deliciously healthy product.
Jonathan's mother-in-law Debbie Brokaw was representing the farm on opening day and brought a variety of meats for purchase, including ground beef and ground sirloin, tenderloin and New York strips steaks. She also had smoked products like jerky and pepper steaks for sale. Stop by and introduce yourself to Debbie and learn more about the meats of Highland Oaks Farm.
Norma Cravens of Springwater Farm is a vendor I buy from frequently. She sells one of my favorite foods, mushrooms. The farm specializes in cultivated shiitake and maitake mushrooms, but also gathers other varieties. Currently Norma's husband is leading their crews on hunts for fire morels in Eastern Oregon.
'After the forest fires the previous year, you'll have lots of morels in the spring,' Norma said.
Another mushroom that Norma expects to be able to offer for about a month is the spring white truffle. Grown underground in Douglas fir forests, these elusive mushrooms are a true taste treat. Norma sells her truffles for $10 an ounce or $30 a quarter pound. Friends, the fragrance alone was worth the price. My $4 truffle was an elegant enhancement to a whole-wheat pasta dish, and I still had enough to plunk into olive oil to use later.
The market was full of lush, colorful herbs, lettuces, asparagus, new onions and even some Oregon strawberries. There were potatoes, radishes and many more vegetables, as well as pork, oysters, crab and cheeses. You can also find great breads, soups, nuts, pies and pastries, flowers, plants and flowers. Table after table was filled with beautiful offerings from the land.
If something catches your eye at the farmers' market, buy it. Many hands toiled to pick it at its peak and bring it from the field for your table. You will be hard pressed to find a better tasting, nutritious food than at the farmers' market.
As the produce you love comes into season, eat it fresh and then buy more to freeze, can or dry for eating when it is no longer in season. You will be glad you did.
Today's recipe can be made from products purchased at the Farmers' Market. It would be perfect served as a light meal with a special cheese and loaf of bread or even as an accompaniment to grilled salmon or lamb chops.
Bon Appetit! Shop at your farmers' market!
Pea Shoot and Spinach Salad with Bacon and Shiitakes
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 (1/4 pound) piece double-smoked bacon
3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¾ pound shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon coarse grain mustard
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces (about 4 cups) fresh pea shoots
4 ounces (about 4 cups) baby spinach leaves
1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1 inch lengths
6 radishes, cut into matchsticks
Cut bacon into ¾-inch thick matchsticks and cook in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp but still chewy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Pour off fat from skillet and add 1 ½ tablespoons oil and mushrooms. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.
Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large salad bowl until blended.
Add pea shoots and spinach to dressing and toss to coat. Add bacon, mushrooms, chives and radishes and toss again.
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2001.
A five-ingredient entrée ready in 30 minutes or less.
Savory Beef Pepper Steak
1 pound top sirloin steak or stir-fry beef strips, thinly sliced
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon beef boullion granules or 3 beef flavored boullion cubes
½ cup water
Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, stir fry meat until tender and brown. Add pepper, onion, boullion and water, cook and stir until vegetables are tender crisp. Serve with rice, if desired.
Bonus Five:30 A Unique Cake recipe. This is a sleeper of a recipe! It only takes 2 ingredients to make this cake - pour the batter into your favorite cake pans or make cupcakes. Top with fresh fruit and ice cream for a simple and satisfying dessert.
A Unique Cake
Serves about 12
You will need:
1 boxed cake mix, your choice of flavor
1 can diet soda, your choice of flavor
Prepare cake pans or cupcake pans as you would ordinarily. Preheat oven to temperature specified on cake mix box.
Pour the cake mix into a large bowl and stir in the diet soda. Stir with a spoon or hand held mixer, do not use a powerful stand mixer.
Pour batter into cake pans and bake as directed on the box.
Courtesy of Katie Schallberger