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Thursday, August 20, 2009

News from the SVGM - August 21st

Susquehanna Valley Growers' Market
August 21st, 2009

In this week's email:

  • News From The Market
  • Products This Week
  • Seasonal Recipe
  • On The Website
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News From The Market
For those who have been anxiously awaiting their return, we're expecting to see Wild For Salmon at the Growers' Market this week, with the start of this year's catch from Bristol Bay, Alaska. They won't have everything - the fillet portions won't arrive until next week - but now's the time to get thinking about it. And, if you've never tasted the difference between farmed salmon and wild-caught, then you're in for a very special treat.

Haven't felt inundated in tomatoes this year? Un-tomato-y weather has something to do with it, but it seems that the arrival of the late blight in Pennsylvania may be curtailing a great tomato harvest. You can read a little more about it via the New York Times, or in an essay from Dan Barber, a chef and vocal supporter of seasonal, local, and organic foods.

Our recipes this week include Dong'an Chicken, a Hunanese recipe for a sour, spicy, and delicious way to cook an entire chicken. Or, if you're looking for something unbelievably simple and tasty, then why not try Boiled Edamame, that regular standby of Japanese restaurants. Salty, rich, and great with a cold beer or glass of wine, they're the sort of snack that only takes minutes to prepare.

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
August 21st, 2009
12pm - 6pm
Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg
(between 5th and 6th Streets, just off of Market Street)
Visit our website at http://growersmarket.blogspot.com/

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Products This Week
Following is just a partial list of what you can expect to find at the market this week:
  • Wild-caught Alaskan salmon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Edamame
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Wheat berries
  • Sweet corn
  • Bell peppers
  • Banana peppers
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic and elephant garlic
  • Carrots
  • Green, yellow, and purple beans
  • Potatoes
  • Red, golden, and striped beets
  • Farm-fresh eggs
  • Swiss chard
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Freshly baked breads and baked goods
  • Locally-made prepared foods
  • Fresh goat's milk ricotta
  • Pasture-raised poultry
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Pasture-raised veal
  • Farm-fresh pork
  • Freshly cut flowers
  • Fresh herbs
  • Dried herbs, blends, and teas
  • Handmade soaps and bath accessories
  • Raw milk cheeses
  • Salsas, barbecue sauces, and hot sauces
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Seasonal Recipe
Dong'an Chicken

Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuschia Dunlop (W.W. Norton, 2006)

It's always preferable to have a refrigerator full of a variety of food when trying to plan dinner, but there are those days when that's hardly the case. In fact, there are all sorts of classic foods whose origins are due to desperation and a near-empty pantry. Caesar salad, Buffalo wings, and Dong'an chicken are among them. The story for this recipe goes like this: three old sisters ran a small restaurant in Dong'an county in the eighth century, during the Tang dynasty. Late one night, after they had sold out of almost everything, a group of traveling merchants arrived and demanded dinner. Without much in the kitchen, the sisters slaughtered a few chickens and threw this dish together; it was so delicious that the merchants spread the word everywhere they went. To this day, over a thousand years later, it's still considered a classic dish of Hunanese cuisine.

  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs.
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, washed but unpeeled
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 fresh red chilli pepper
  • 3 dried chillis (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon potato flour or cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons lard or peanut oil
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the chicken to the pot and return to the boil, skimming any foam from the surface. Crush half of the ginger and one scallion with the side of a knife, and add them to the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid, and allow it to cool; reserve the cooking liquid. The chicken should be only partially cooked at this point.

  2. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the meat and cut into bite-size strips, along the grain of the meat. If you like, return the bones and meat scraps to the cooking liquid, and continue to cook it into chicken stock for another purpose.

  3. Cut the fresh chilli in half, remove the seeds, and cut into fine slivers about and inch and a half long. Peel the remaining ginger, then cut into slices and then slivers, like the chilli. Likewise, cut the scallions into slivers of the same size.

  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the lard or peanut oil. Before the oil begins to smoke, add the slivered chilli, ginger, dried chillis, and Sichuan pepper, and stir-fry until fragrant but not beginning to color or burn.

  5. Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry. Add the Shaoxing wine, vinegar, and salt to taste. Add up to half a cup of the poaching liquid, and bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat, simmering briefly to allow the flavors to mix and for the chicken to finish cooking through.

  6. Add the potato flour mixture to the liquid, and stir as it thickens. Add the scallion slivers, then remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil, and serve immediately.
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On The Website
Feeling a little lazy? Looking for something salty and easy to enjoy with a cold beer one August evening? Try some Boiled Edamame while they're in season. They're refreshing, with a buttery richness, and only available for a few weeks at the height of summer.