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Come home with more good food than you know what to do with? Interested in trying something new and different with market produce? Check out our recipe index for some new ideas! Have a recipe you'd like to share? Email us at svgmarket@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

News from the SVGM - June 27th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 27th, 2008

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Meet Our Vendors
  • Products This Week
  • Market Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
We may be moving into hot and muggy days, with the light and sound of thunderstorms on the evening horizon, but the Growers' Market is going strong. The heat of summer may send most of us scurrying for shade and air conditioning, but remember that the changing seasons bring new and exciting things to market each week. This week marks the start of fresh blueberry season, so come and enjoy!

This week, we have a new vendor to feature: Clara's Meadow, bringing wonderful, unique flower arrangements and fresh herbs to the SVGM each week. Keep reading to learn a little more about Kerry Hoffman and the gardening passion she's turned into her business. She has also provided us with recipes for this week, both in the newsletter and on our website.

June 27th's market will also feature the music of Woody Wolfe, a talented local guitarist. With acoustic guitar in hand, Woody will be playing cover songs this week, from classic to alternative rock. Come enjoy the music while picking up flowers, produce and more to enjoy for the weekend and beyond.

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
Friday, June 27th, 2008
12pm - 5pm
Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
(between 5th and 6th Streets, just off of Market Street)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

* * * * *

Meet Our Vendors - Clara's Meadow
Kerry Hoffman of Clara's Meadow provides market shoppers with antique and heirloom flowers and herbs each week. Unlike at a typical florist's shop, the cut flowers and greenery she arranges each week are entirely seasonal, and sustainably raised on half an acre of farmland in the river valley south of Montgomery. What had once been her grandmother Clara's land now produces a wealth of lovely blooms throughout the growing season, including peonies, love-in-a-mist, Bells of Ireland, lilies, delphinium, and Sweet Annie, right down to the last dahlia in autumn. Kerry's bouquets often include uncommon elements, from perennial flowers and greenery to blossoming herbs.



Many of those herbs are also available both cut and in pots, ready to go home to the kitchen for seasoning the food from the market's other vendors. As a former restaurant cook, Kerry knows the value of fresh herbs, which can bring depth and flavor to even the simplest dishes. Her personal favorites include fresh bay laurel leaves, sweet marjoram, rosemary, and French tarragon. This week, in the newsletter and on the market website, we have several recipes from Kerry that turn those fragrant herbs into special dishes.



In addition to providing customers at the SVGM with handmade bouquets each week, Kerry also arranges flowers for special events, such as weddings and parties. As an expression of the season and its bounty, and knowing that Clara's Meadow uses all sustainable methods in raising and preparing fresh flower arrangements, it's a wonderfully "green" way to celebrate. Interested folks can reach Kerry Hoffman at the SVGM on Fridays, from noon to 5pm, or by telephone at (570) 547-1184 to set up an appointment.



* * * * *

Products This Week
Following is just a partial list of what you can expect to find at the market this week:
  • Blueberries
  • Mulberries
  • Fresh peas
  • Farm-fresh eggs
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic scapes
  • Lettuces and greens
  • Hothouse tomatoes
  • Whole-grain breads, rolls, and pitas
  • Pasture-raised poultry - including Cornish hens this week
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Farm-fresh pork
  • Salsas, hot sauces, and flavored salts
  • Barbecue sauces
  • Freshly cut flowers
  • Fresh herbs, both potted plants and freshly cut
  • Handmade soaps and bath accessories
  • Raw milk cheeses
  • Bedding plants and hanging baskets
  • Fresh sandwiches and other lunch items
  • Hot sausage sandwiches
  • Handmade chicken and veggie pies, quiches, and pierogies
  • Freshly baked muffins
* * * * *

Market Recipe
Rosemary Shortbread

Courtesy of Clara's Meadow
Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner, 2000)
Makes 24 to 50 cookies

Fresh herbs don't often come to mind for sweet foods; with the exception of mint ice cream, we tend to reserve the flavors of herbs for savory dishes. But to ignore the possibilities there is a mistake. Here's just one example of how rosemary, with its strong, piney aroma, can turn something as simple as shortbread into an intriguing treat. Feel free to substitute other herbs in here as well. Thyme, lavender, and others can make for unusual and irresistable summer desserts.

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions:
  1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, put the butter and sugar. Beat on low speed until smooth and there are no detectable lumps of butter when you roll a teaspoon of the mixture between your fingers. Do not beat it until fluffy. Add the flour all at once, continue to mix on low speed just until it forms a cohesive dough.

    (Alternatively, with the butter at room temperature, mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until smooth, than add the flour and stir until a dough is formed. The logs will have to chill longer to firm up.)

  2. Divide the dough into four parts, and quickly but gently roll each piece into a log about 1-½ inches to 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper and chill the logs about an hour until firm enough to slice.

  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice each log into slices ¼ inch thick and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies until they are colored lightly like sand, not browned, 22 to 25 minutes. Lift one with a small spatula to check the underside; it should be just a shade darker than the top. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan (they are soft while hot). Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.
* * * * *

On The Website
On our website this week, we have some pictures of some of lovely bouquets handmade by Kerry Hoffman of Clara's Meadow. Also, be sure to stop by for more recipes featuring the fresh herbs available at the market: Green Bean and Nasturtium Salad with Savory; Roasted Shrimp with Marjoram; and even Bay Leaf Vanilla Bean Ice Cream!

Check it out at: http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

Bonus Recipe, June 27th: Green Bean and Nasturtium Salad with Savory

Market Recipe
Green Bean and Nasturtium Salad with Savory

Courtesy of Clara's Meadow
Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner, 2000)
Serves 4

When good, fresh green beans are in season, they're quite delicious on their own, but their distinct flavor holds its own as the backdrop for this boldly flavored salad. keep an eye out for multicolored beans - not just yellow wax beans, but purple ones, too - and mix them for a visually arresting side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium shallot, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh savory leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 pound fresh young green beans
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 24 nasturtium flowers
  • ½ cup walnut halves
Directions:
  1. Toss the shallot, vinegar, savory, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a bowl. Let sit uncovered for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

  2. Bring water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Snap the ends off of the beans, if they're very large, cut them into 2-inch pieces. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Drop the beans into the boiling water and boil until cooked through but still bright green and crunchy, 1 to 2 minutes for small beans, up to 4 minutes for larger beans. Drain and plunge the beans into the ice water. When the beans are thouroughly cooled, drain again and dry them on a dish towel or paper towels. This can be done up to 1 day ahead; store the blanched beans in a tight container in the refrigerator.

  3. Stir the olive oil into the shallot mixture. Add the beans and toss. Season with pepper and additional salt as needed. Gently toss the nasturtium flowers and walnuts with the beans. Serve immediately.

Bonus Recipe, June 27th: Roasted Shrimp with Marjoram

Market Recipe
Roasted Shrimp with Marjoram

Courtesy of Clara's Meadow
Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner, 2000)
Serve 3 to 4

A quick and easy recipe for hot summer days, this is a delicious way to prepare shrimp. Putting all of this together takes less time than preheating the oven or the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1-½ pounds large shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh marjoram
  • ½ teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Using scissors & beginning at the head end, split the shrimp along their backs, through the shells, and 2/3 of the way through the flesh; the shrimp should still hold its shape. Remove the black vein, using the tip of a paring knife.

  2. Put the shrimp in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat evenly. Lay shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet. (At this point, the shrimp may be covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours.) Roast until the shells are pink and the flesh is no longer translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the shrimp warm in their shells.

    The shrimp can also be grilled in a basket on on a foil-lined rack over a hot grill.

Bonus Recipe, June 27th: Bay Leaf Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Market Recipe
Bay Leaf Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Courtesy of Clara's Meadow
Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner, 2000)
Makes 1-½ quarts

For those with an ice cream maker at home, this is a variation on vanilla ice cream. Rich and aromatic, this is an ice cream to be enjoyed on its own, or with whatever fruit happens to be in season.

Ingredients:

  • 2-½ cups whole milk, plus additional 2 tablespoons if needed
  • 1-½ cups heavy cream
  • 18 fresh bay laurel leaves, cracked but not torn
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Directions:
  1. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over med-high heat. Add the bay and vanilla bean (but not the vanilla extract), push under the surface of the liquid with a spoon, and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Cover and steep in the pan for 30-40 minutes.

  2. Strain the liquid into a bowl or large measuring cup through a sieve, pressing on the herbs to extract all the liquid. Add fresh milk or cream if needed to measure 4 cups. Return to saucepan.

  3. Whisk the egg yolks lightly in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar to the infused cream and bring it back to a boil. The instant the cream comes to a rolling boil, lift it off the heat. Pour the boiling liquid into the egg yolks slowly while you whisk constantly but gently. Don't whisk rapidly; use more of a "whisking stir." Continue to stir the combined custard with the whisk for 1 minute. An instant-read thermometer should read 170- 180°F. (If for some reason it does not, place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and stir with a rubber spatula until it reaches 170°F.) Whisk the custard rapidly for 30 seconds to cool it, then pour through a fine sieve. If using vanilla extract, add it now. Refrigerate the custard until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

News from the SVGM - June 20th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 20th, 2008

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Products This Week
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
Ah, summer. With the solstice just around the corner, and the long stretches of daylight that means, that means we're just about out of spring weather. Though the season is drawing to a close for the fruits and vegetables of spring, Friday's market still gives us one of the last chances to find good, local asparagus and strawberries. Now is also the time to take advantage of the bounty of sugar snaps and snow peas, of the tender spring lettuces and greens, before the inevitable heat of July and August take them off the menu.

See below for a recipe for some of those delicious peas, Tirabeques a la Coruñesa, and do stop by our website for more using the good things available at the SVGM each Friday. This week, we also have a recipe from Haole Boy Salsas on the website, just perfect for outdoor summer cooking.

This Friday's market will also feature live music from Christina Haverovich. A talented local musician, and recent college graduate, she will be performing a range of traditional and classical music on flute and violin. Come out and enjoy the weather, the food, and the music Friday afternoon!

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
Friday, June 20th, 2008
12pm - 5pm
Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
(between 5th and 6th Streets, just off of Market Street)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

* * * * *

Products This Week
Following is just a partial list of what you can expect to find at the market this week:
  • Strawberries
  • Snap peas - snow peas and sugar snaps
  • Farm-fresh eggs
  • Maple syrup
  • Spring onions and green garlic
  • Garlic scapes
  • Tender spring lettuces and greens
  • Asparagus
  • Hothouse tomatoes
  • Whole-grain breads, rolls, and pitas
  • Pasture-raised poultry
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Farm-fresh pork
  • Salsas, hot sauces, and flavored salts
  • Barbecue sauces
  • Freshly cut flowers
  • Fresh herbs, both potted plants and freshly cut
  • Handmade soaps and bath accessories
  • Raw milk cheeses
  • Bedding plants and hanging baskets, from flowers to tomatoes to herbs and other vegetable seedlings
  • Fresh sandwiches and other lunch items
  • Hot sausage sandwiches
  • Handmade chicken and veggie pies, quiches, and pierogies
  • Freshly baked muffins
* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Tirabeques a la Coruñesa (Snap peas in the style of A Coruña)

Adapted from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book by Jane Grigson (University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
Serves 4 to 6

Snap peas: no matter what you may call them, they're a delicious, seasonal treat. The "snap" pea name refers to the good, crisp bite of a fresh shell between your teeth; mange-tout, as the British call them, comes from the French name meaning "eat-them-all." In the sense of eating shell and all, of course, though a bowl of fresh peas is certainly a tough snack to resist. In Spanish, the name tirabeques is a reference to the way you bite into the pod and pull the string back out of your mouth.

This recipe comes from the Spanish province of A Coruña, part of Galicia, located on the Atlantic Ocean in the northwestern part of that country. Though the region is best known for its seafood, given its long coastline, pork and fresh vegetables have their place at the table, too. If you can find some new potatoes, or cachelos, by all means, use them, though any potatoes will do.

Ingredients:
  • 1-½ lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ lb. new potatoes, scrubbed clean, or boiling potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-½ lb. snap peas, strings removed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, or to taste
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil or lard
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Put the saffron into the hot water to infuse, and set aside while preparing the rest of the recipe. Season the pork with salt and pepper.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a large, deep, lidded skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion in the oil or lard, stirring occasionally, until it begins to turn golden brown. Add the pork and parsley and cook for another ten minutes, stirring from time to time to cook the pork evenly. Pour in the wine, and simmer for five or six minutes, scraping up the bottom of the ban to deglaze any brown bits.

  3. Add the potatoes and the saffron water to the pan; if necessary, add more water to the pan. The potatoes do not need to be fully covered. Bring to a boil and simmer an additional five minutes before adding the peas, piling them on top of the other ingredients. Cover the pan, and, without disturbing it, allow it to cook for ten minutes.

  4. Remove the lid and continue simmering for another ten or so minutes, or until the pork, potatoes, and peas are all tender. Adjust for seasoning, and serve immediately.
* * * * *

On The Website
Salsas partner up well with tortilla chips, as everyone well knows, but they can also become simple, tasty sauces for meats and vegetables. Haole Boy Salsas brings a selection of salsas from sweet to spicy each week, but also has a range of other barbecue and hot sauces to accent the rest of the seasonal foods available at the SVGM. For an sample recipe from the salsa man himself, try the one for Key Lime & Mango Tuna on our website. Very simple. Very quick. Very tasty.

Should that not be spicy enough for your palate, you can always add a little hot sauce. The newest choice at the market, "The Fat Lady Sings," is fire in a bottle. It's so hot, in fact, that farmers in India use the same Bhut Jolokia chillis to keep some of their most destructive pests at bay: wild elephants. Want to know more? Check it out at: http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

Bonus Recipe, June 20th: Key Lime & Mango Tuna

Market Recipe
Key Lime & Mango Tuna

Courtesy of Haole Boy Salsas
Serves 4 to 6

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Haole Boy Salsas, and is a simple and flavorful preparation for good tuna steaks. The same method would also go well with chicken or pork on the grill, and there's no reason you couldn't substitute your favorite seasonings. Beware, though, that barbecue sauces have a tendency to burn if they sit too long over a hot flame; keep an eye out for flare-ups.

For those who like a little more heat, consider adding a few dashes of hot sauce. The newest sauce from Haole Boy is called "The Fat Lady Sings," and features the fire from the world's hottest pepper, the Bhut Jolokia. From the Assam province of India, its name roughly translates as "ghost chilli pepper.' Other names for this small red chilli include Bih Jolokia ("poison chilli pepper") and Naga Jolokia ("king cobra chilli pepper"). These peppers are so hot, in fact, that conservationists in Assam have started to use the Bhut Jolokia as a means to repel the wild elephants that have damaged farmers' crops and trampled houses. See the National Geographic article on methods being used to fight elephants with little red chilli peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 1-½ to 2 lbs. fresh tuna steaks, approx. 1 inch thick
  • Key Lime & Chile Salt from Haole Boy Salsas
  • Mango BBQ Sauce from Haole Boy Salsas
Directions:
  1. Sprinkle the tuna steaks with the Key Lime & Chile Salt. Place the steaks in a large bowl or other container, and coat thoroughly with the Mango BBQ Sauce, making sure that all sides are in contact with the sauce. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat the grill. Since tuna steaks will cook fairly quickly, be ready to cook when the fire is hot to medium-hot. Shake off any excess marinade before placing the fish over the fire. Grill on the first side for approximately 3-4 minutes; flip and cook the second side for an additional 3 minutes. To check for doneness, peek between the layers of flesh with a thin-bladed knife; tuna is best when it is still red or pink in the center. Slice thinly and serve immediately with extra Mango BBQ Sauce, hot sauce, and lime wedges on the side.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

News from the SVGM - June 13th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 13th, 2008

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Products This Week
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • Bonus: Market Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
Can anyone resist the allure of a fresh, local strawberry? Plump and red, fresh from the field, they're a treat that only comes once a year. It's the peak of strawberry season at the SVGM, and this week we're focusing on recipes to make use of this all-too-fleeting bounty. Read further down for a recipe for Strawberries with Swedish Cream, or stop by our website for a little on the history of the strawberry and a bonus recipe.

We'll also have more music to enjoy this week, as Alf Bashore comes to the market. A talented musician on the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, among other instruments, Alf brings his own take on traditional and world music sounds to the SVGM.

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
Friday, June 13th, 2008
12pm - 5pm
Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
(between 5th and 6th Streets, just off of Market Street)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

* * * * *

Products This Week
Following is just a partial list of what you can expect to find at the market this week:
  • Strawberries
  • Snap peas - snow peas and sugar snaps
  • Farm-fresh eggs
  • Spring onions and green garlic
  • Tender spring lettuces and greens
  • Asparagus
  • Hothouse tomatoes
  • Whole-grain breads, rolls, and pitas
  • Pasture-raised poultry
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Farm-fresh pork
  • Salsas, hot sauces, and flavored salts
  • Barbecue sauces
  • Freshly cut flowers
  • Fresh herbs, both potted plants and freshly cut
  • Handmade soaps and bath accessories
  • Raw milk cheeses
  • Bedding plants and hanging baskets, from flowers to tomatoes to herbs and other vegetable seedlings
  • Fresh sandwiches and other lunch items
  • Hot sausage sandwiches
* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Strawberries with Swedish Cream

Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (Wiley, 1997)
Serves 4 to 6

As food writer Jane Grigson said, "Everyone knows about strawberries and cream." It's a lovely combination, hard to resist, and about as easy as can be. This version is a touch more elegant, and can be used with a variety of other fruits in season. The Swedish cream is similar to crème fraîche, but can be whipped together at the last minute for unexpected guests.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Sugar or honey, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier), or other liqueur (optional)
  • 1 quart strawberries, rinsed and hulled
Directions:
  1. With a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream until it reaches the soft peaks stage. Mix the liqueur into the sour cream, and fold in the whipped cream. Sweeten to taste.

  2. Place the berries in bowls or stemmed glasses - martini glasses show off the berries well - and top each with a hefty dollop of cream. Serve immediately.
* * * * *

Bonus: Market Recipe
Key Lime & Artichoke Dip

Courtesy of Haole Boy Salsas and Emma's Food For Life

This recipe comes to us from two of our vendors, Haole Boy Salsas and Emma's Food For Life, who've had something of a "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" enlightenment. Separately, the two ingredients are quite good, but together they make a rich, tangy dip that, paired with, say, some good bread and a selection of market vegetables, can be a meal in itself. This is the mild version, but those with a taste for a little spice can substitute another fine salsa to ratchet up the heat.

Ingredients:
  • 1 container Artichoke-Spinach Dip from Emma's Food For Life
  • 1 jar Key Lime & Garlic Salsa from Haole Boy Salsas
Directions:
  1. In a bowl, mix together the dip and salsa in equal parts. Serve with fresh pitas, as a sandwich spread, or with some good chips; just try to avoid eating it all yourself.
* * * * *

On The Website
The strawberry has been a popular treat for many centuries, as far back as ancient Rome, but the variety we know today has only existed for about 300 years. Throughout the world, there are approximately 20 species of strawberries, of the genus Fragaria. Most of these are much like the "wild" or "woodland" strawberries, which often have a wonderful aroma and flavor, though the fruits are small, and the plants not particularly productive. It was only the careful crossing of native American species - two separated by thousands of miles - that finally produced a plant much like the ones we know today.

To learn a bit about how that came to be, stop by our website, where you'll also find a recipe for a classic French Strawberry Tart, a delicious way to turn strawberries into an elegant dessert.

Check it out at: http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

Bonus Recipe, June 13th: Strawberry Tart

The strawberry has been a popular treat for many centuries, as far back as ancient Rome, but the variety we know today has only existed for about 300 years. Throughout the world, there are approximately 20 species of strawberries, of the genus Fragaria. Europeans began cultivating their native strawberries in the 14th century, according to Alan Davidson in The Oxford Companion to Food, and though these “wild” or “woodland” strawberries often have a wonderful aroma and flavor, the fruits are small, and the plants not particularly productive.

Things began to look up once Europeans discovered F. virginiana growing along the eastern seaboard of North America, and, a century later, F. chiloensis on the west coast of North and South America. These American species quickly became popular throughout Europe, in no small part because the plants produced more and larger fruits than their native species. French and English plant breeders managed to create hybrids – aided by a natural mutation in F. chiloensis that produced a large, pink fruit that smelled a little like pineapple – that are the ancestors of today’s modern berries, F. x ananassa. Since that time, continued selection for various traits has produced plants of many sorts, all of which taste best when ripe, soft, and fresh.

Good strawberries, as most aficionados will claim, need few frills and little accompaniment. In northern Europe, the tradition calls for strawberries and cream. As the British food writer Jane Grigson noted, “Everyone knows about strawberries and cream. Many people know about strawberries in wine, and strawberries sprinkled Italian style with a little wine or lemon or orange juice.” Whether with shortcake biscuits, a dollop of ice cream, or, as is popular in central Europe, a bit of sour cream, the ways we all like to enjoy our strawberries strive to put the fruit foremost. And why not? When we can find them fresh, ripe, and local, there’s nothing better than making a virtue of the season’s bounty. After all, as good as a California-grown strawberry may look in the depths of a Pennsylvania winter, the flavor of a good, ripe berry is enough to make you hold off until June rolls around.

Seasonal Recipe
Strawberry Tart

Serves 8
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child (Knopf, 2004)

This is a classic French fruit tart, with fresh fruit artfully arrayed over a layer of custard in a tart shell, then painted with a fruit glaze to make it shine. The glaze over the crust will give about an hour's respite from sogginess, and it will certainly taste quite good the next day, but, like good strawberries, this tart is best eaten as soon as possible. When you have a quart of beautiful strawberries and guests to impress, you could hardly do better than this.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tart shell, baked blind (see recipe below)
  • 1 recipe crème pâtissière, chilled (see recipe below)
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberry jelly
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons liqueur, such as kirsch, Grand Marnier, or brandy
Directions:
  1. Rinse (if necessary) and hull the strawberries. Allow them to dry on a rack while you prepare the rest of the tart.

  2. In a small saucepan, boil together the jelly, sugar, and liqueur until the mixture reaches the pearl stage, 228°F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, dip in a metal spoon; when the mixture runs off the edge of the spoon in drops, it is ready. (Note: if you have raspberry jam, instead of jelly, you can warm it with the liqueur over low heat, and pour through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to get rid of the seeds.) Brush the interior of the pastry shell with the glaze. Allow at least 5 minutes for it to set; this will help provide a measure of waterproofing for the tart crust.

  3. Spread a layer of the crème pâtissière in the bottom of the pastry shell, about ½-inch thick. Arrange the strawberries on top of the custard, stem end down; traditionally, the largest berry sits in the center, with the surrounding rings comprised of smaller and smaller berries. Spoon or paint over the berries with the glaze, warming briefly if it has begun to harden, and serve immediately. The glaze over the crust will give about an hour's respite from sogginess, and it will certainly taste quite good the next day, but, like good strawberries, this tart is best eaten as soon as possible.

Bonus Recipe, June 13th: Short Tart Crust

Seasonal Recipe
Short Tart Crust

Makes 1 10-inch tart shell
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child (Knopf, 2004)

Though you can certainly use any tart or pie crust you like for a tart, this slightly sweetened version is excellent for tarts layered with custard and fruit. Ideally, you would bake this in a 10-inch tart pan, one where the outer ring can be removed, but baked and served in a pie plate it still looks and tastes wonderful.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 11 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup cold water, plus more as needed
Directions:
  1. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it reaches the size of oatmeal flakes. Add the water, blending the dough with one hand until it just barely comes together. Press into a ball; it should be pliable, but not sticky.

  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured board. With the heel of your hand, quickly press the dough down to the board and away from you. Scrape back together, kneading briefly back into a ball. This technique, called fraisage will help develop a truly flaky crust. Dust the ball lightly with flour, wrap tightly in plastic or waxed paper, and store in the refrigerator for about an hour.

  3. Before rolling out the dough, preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough into a circle approximately 12 inches across (or 2 inches larger than your pan, if using a different size). Roll the crust over the rolling pin and unroll into the tart pan, and press lightly into the corners. You may create a decorative edge at the rim if desired.

  4. Lay a sheet of lightly buttered foil over the bottom of the crust, and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 9 minutes, then remove the foil and weights. Prick the bottom all over with a fork to prevent it from rising, and continue to bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until it begins to brown lightly. Remove and allow to cool on a rack; if using a tart pan, unmold the shell to allow the air to circulate around it.

Bonus Recipe, June 13th: Crème Pâtissière

Seasonal Recipe
Crème Pâtissière

Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child (Knopf, 2004)

This is the traditional custard base for French fruit tarts, a thick, spreadable eggy custard that can be adjusted to include a wide variety of flavors, depending on what it is to accompany. If making a tart feels like too much work, this can simply be paired with fresh fruits and served in bowls, or folded in with whipped egg whites for a twist on fruit with whipped cream.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1-½ cups plus 2 tablespoons boiling milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-½ tablespoons vanilla extract (or a liqueur or other flavoring of your choice)
Directions:
  1. With a wire whisk, whip together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture becomes pale yellow and forms ribbons. Beat in the flour until thoroughly combined.

  2. Gradually, in a thin stream, add the boiling milk, whisking continuously. Once the milk has been incorporated, transfer the mixture to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and set over medium-high heat. Continue whisking. The custard may become lumpy as it nears the boil, but it will smooth out as you work it. When it reaches the boil, reduce the heat to low and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, which will eliminate the raw flour taste.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, then the vanilla (or other flavorings). If not using the custard immediately, dot the top surface with softened butter, or press plastic wrap tightly against it, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerated, the crème pâtissière will keep for a week, or it can be frozen for longer storage.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

News from the SVGM - June 6th

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
June 6th, 2008

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Meet Our Vendors
  • Products This Week
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
* * * * *

News From The Market
We're rolling into June, and it really feels like summer's at our doorstep. You can expect to find plenty of good food this week at the Growers' Market, as usual. This week, we're also highlighting one of our vendors, a feature we'll include in the newsletter and on the website from time to time. For a little more about Sweet Sally's Soaps, you can read below or stop by the market's website.

This Friday will also feature music by Total Hip Replacement. A quartet of talented local musicians, they specialize in traditional Celtic, Appalachian and New England music, including reels, hornpipes and waltzes. With instruments ranging from guitar to dulcimer, from mandolin to bagpipe, it's enough to make anyone kick up their heels and dance a jig!

Pass the newsletter along! If you've received a copy from a friend, and would like to get one each week during the market season, send an email to: svgmarket@gmail.com

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
Friday, June 6th, 2008
12pm - 5pm
Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
(between 5th and 6th Streets, just off of Market Street)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

* * * * *

Meet Our Vendors - Sweet Sally's Soaps
Sweet Sally sells soaps at the Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market. Say that six times fast; even without the seashore, it's a tongue-twister. In addition to the wide variety of food available at the SVGM every Friday, shoppers can find a selection of handmade soaps and bath accessories from Sweet Sally's Soaps, this week's featured vendor. Artisan soapmaker Sarah Ranes uses the traditional cold process method, a means no longer used by major commercial operations, to create a range of elegant, aromatic soaps.



Born out of an interest in herbs and their medicinal qualities, as well as the possibilities of aromatherapy, Sweet Sally's Soaps has built upon Sarah's creativity and attention to detail from her work as a fine art photographer. Though extensive research into the traditional methods of making soap has given her a suite of traditional scents, including Lavender, Patchouli and Rose, her independent spirit continues to experiment, developing unique soaps such as Carrot, Basil & Lime, and the as-good-as-it-sounds I Love Coffee. Sarah values the feedback from her customers, including suggestions for the next new aroma.



A pleasant aroma isn't all, however. Sweet Sally's uses high-quality natural ingredients and all vegetable-based oils, such as olive and coconut oils, and cocoa and shea butters, among others. The cold process method combines these oils with sodium hydroxide in a process called saponification. When done in small batches, under the careful hand of a skilled artisan, these soaps retain their natural glycerin, which acts as an emollient and conserves the skin's natural moisture. You can learn more about Sweet Sally's Soaps via their website (http://stores.sweetsallyssoaps.com/), or by stopping by the market stand.



* * * * *

Products This Week
Following is just a partial list of what you can expect to find at the market this week:
  • Farm-fresh eggs
  • Spring onions and green garlic
  • Tender spring lettuces and greens
  • Asparagus
  • Hothouse tomatoes
  • Whole-grain breads, rolls, and pitas
  • Pasture-raised poultry
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Farm-fresh pork
  • Salsas, hot sauces, and flavored salts
  • Barbecue sauces
  • Freshly cut flowers
  • Fresh herbs, both potted plants and freshly cut
  • Handmade soaps and bath accessories
  • Raw milk cheeses
  • Bedding plants and hanging baskets, from flowers to tomatoes to herbs and other vegetable seedlings
  • Fresh sandwiches and other lunch items
  • Hot sausage sandwiches
  • Handmade chicken and veggie pies, quiches, and pierogies
  • Freshly baked muffins
* * * * *

Seasonal Recipe
Baked Eggs with Cheese

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child (Knopf, 2004)
Serves 1

A properly cooked egg - whatever one's personal interpretation may be - is a wonderful thing, even if there are a thousand and one ways to do it. For a variation on the more usual fried/poached/scrambled fare, try this classic method for Ouefs en Cocotte. One significant benefit, should you possess enough ramekins, is that a large quantity of eggs takes hardly any more effort than a single serving; when serving a crowd for brunch, this recipe can be both elegant and easy.

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon grated cheese, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional)
  • Butter as needed
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a ramekin (or oven-proof custard cup) lightly all around. Pour in the cream, if using, and break in the eggs. Top with the grated cheese.

  2. Slide the ramekin into the middle of the oven and bake until just set, about 10 minutes. Check a minute or two before they should be finished, tapping the ramekin slightly; a cooked egg will tremble slightly. As the ramekins will continue to cook the eggs a bit after leaving the oven, slightly underdone in the oven means perfectly cooked at the table. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
* * * * *

On The Website
This week, look for some pictures from Sweet Sally's Soaps on the website. Plus, there's a recipe forGrilled Butterflied Chicken with Honey and Mustard, a delicious way to cook up a whole chicken without heating up the entire house. And, if you've never butterflied a bird before, we'll have some information to show you just how easy it can be.

Check it out at: http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

Bonus Recipe, June 6th: Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Honey and Mustard

Seasonal Recipe
Grilled Butterflied Chicken with Honey and Mustard

Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (Wiley, 1998)

Chicken tastes great when grilled, and butterflying the bird first is a great time-saver. It's faster than cutting a whole bird into pieces - and cheaper - and cooks more evenly throughout in less time. You can use this same technique with your favorite flavorings, too; a spicy dry rub followed up with some barbecue sauce from Haole Boy Salsas, for example. This version is a crowd-pleaser, and tastes great hot off the grill, or cooled to room temperature, picnic-style. It's best with a good Dijon or stoneground mustard, if you have one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), butterflied
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme or tarragon, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
Directions:
  1. Mix together the herbs, garlic, honey, mustard, and salt into a paste. Rub the chicken all over with it, and allow to rest while you heat the grill, or up to several hours in the refrigerator.

  2. Place the chicken over a medium-hot fire, skin-side down first. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. (The honey makes it more susceptible to this over hot spots.) Turn the chicken and grill an additional 12 to 15 minutes, then turn again. After another 10 minutes, the bird should be done, or nearly so; if an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, the bird is done. Serve hot or at room temperature.

How to Butterfly a Bird

For those who've never tried to butterfly (or spatchcock, an old British term) a chicken before, it might come as a surprise that it's both quick and easy. In addition, it cuts down on the cooking time, meaning that you can often cook a whole bird in less than an hour.

Thanks to the wealth of homemade videos on YouTube, we can provide several quick "how-to" videos to teach you how to butterfly a bird yourself. There are a few variations on the method, so go with what makes you comfortable. The easiest, perhaps, is to use a set of kitchen shears:



For another take on the same method, you can try this video. And for those who feel more comfortable with a kitchen knife, here's another way that's just as simple:



There you have it: how to butterfly a chicken. Quick, easy, and definitely less expensive than buying individual chicken parts. Tastier, too.