Saturday, June 27, 2009

Love your Farmers Market!

Today was the Saturday Farmers Market. The local farmers, including our Synergy crew, were out in full force, selling their produce and interacting with the community.

For those of you who love the San Juan Island market, consider showing your support by voting here to name our market the best in the country. And be sure to stop by next Saturday! We love to see your faces and hear about how you use local food products.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Japanese Cabbage Pancakes (Okonomiyaki) with Sweet & Tangy Sauce

This recipe is something from way back in March, when we were using up the last of the winter cabbages, and digging up the last of the leeks. No more leeks now until around September, but cabbage is just starting to come on, and we have tons of peas and garlic scapes. One of the exciting things about cooking on a farm is working with seasonal ingredients, so here's a favorite cabbage recipe, adapted for two different times of the year.

Pancake recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Makes 3 pancakes

1/2 cup white rice flour
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
oil to fry

veggies late winter/early spring:
1.5 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup leeks, halved and diced
1/4 cup carrots, grated

veggies early summer:
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup snow peas, cut into horizontal strips
1/4 cup garlic scapes, minced
1/4 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1 tbsp Mustard powder
Pepper to taste

To make the sauce, combine worchestershire sauce, ketchup, and soy sauce in a small saucepan until simmering. Add brown sugar and mustard powder and stir until dissolved. Cook for 5-10 minutes until reduced by 1/3 or until you get the yummy thick consistency of teriyaki or barbeque sauce. Resist the urge to take a spoonful and let your sauce cool while you start your pancakes.

Finely shred cabbage. If using carrots, peel, then grate on a large-size cheese grater. If using leeks, cut green tops and bottom roots of leeks and cut remaining white section down the center. Wash well to get rid of any grit that might be stuck way down in there. Slice the washed leeks into half-moons. If using scapes and peas, dice both into slices 1/4'' wide. Mix cabbage, carrots and other vegetables together in a bowl.

Add rice flour, salt and pepper and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and water together. Pour the egg over the veggies and stir well to coat. The mixture will not seem batter like -- it will be more like veggies coated in flour. This is okay.

Heat 1-2 tbsp of oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. When hot, scoop 1/3 of the mixture into the center of the pan. Use your spoon or fork to flatten out batter. It's best if the batter reaches all the way to the sides of the pan, this helps the pancake keep its shape as it's cooking. Fry for 2-3 minutes on one side; turn over by placing a large plate on top of the pan and flipping over. Return the pancake to the pan, other side up and fry another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and serve piping hot, drizzled with sauce.

Garlic scapes and snow peas substitute for leeks in the summer version of this crispy cabbage pancake

Using rice flour instead of wheat flour makes for a crispier, lighter pancake and a gluten-free dinner option

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

Broccoli is precious this season on San Juan. Across the island, the story seems to be the same: broccoli just isn't doing too well this summer; perhaps the plants didn't like those few blazing days in mid-May, but somehow yields aren't up to their usual levels.

So if you're lucky enough to get your hands on some delicious broccoli this season, you may just want to savor the flavor with a light steam or a quick saute in olive oil. But if you find yourself with some extra on your hands, this soup is a great way to celebrate.

1 lb broccoli, cut into 2'' pieces

3/4 lb potatoes, cut into 1'' cubes
1 medium sized onion, minced
2 cloves
garlic, minced
2 cups Synergy chicken stock

1.5 tbsp butter
2 cups water

2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp salt (depending on the saltiness of your stock)

optional: 1 tsp tarragon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Heat butter on medium-high in a 3-quart (medium sized) pot. When hot, add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent and your kitchen smells divine, about 5 minutes. Add in broccoli and potatoes and saute in the pot for another 3 minutes. Add in chicken stock and water; they should just about cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until your vegetables are tender.

Turn off your burner and remove the pot from the heat. Uncover your pot and let the vegetables 10 minutes. In a blender, process the soup in three batches to your desired consistency, pouring each batch into a new pot as it's finished. We generally like to leave some small bits and chunks to make the soup a little heartier.

Put your new pot back on the burner and heat on low. Add in your nutmeg or tarragon if desired. Pour in buttermilk slowly, stirring well. Bring soup just to a simmer, then turn off and serve.

Synergy Fresh Mayo

Looks just like the store-bought stuff, but tastes so much better!

1 Synergy Farm egg
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 cup olive oil (be sure it's the good-tasting stuff)

Combine the first four ingredients in a blender, or if you prefer manpower, whisk well by hand.

When well-combined, with the blender still running, begin to slowly drizzle in the oil. As the oil is added, and the mixture emulsifies, the consistency will begin to change to what you know as mayo!

Cover and refrigerate for up to one week.

Synergy's Rhode Island Reds are fed a protein-rich diet and spend a lot of their time foraging for grubs outside in the pasture.

Thai-Style Lettuce Wraps

1 red pepper, diced finely
1 1/2 cups Napoli carrots, diced into 1/4'' cubes
6-8 brown crimini mushrooms, diced into 1/4'' cubes
1 cup Synergy snow peas, cut horizontally into 1/4'' strips
3 garlic scapes diced into circles 1/4'' thick
1 small Stuttgarter onion minced
1 large shallot minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 lb Island Grown ground pork, optional

2 tbsp oil for frying
2 tbsp fish sauce*
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or mint or basil

2 lettuce heads (preferably a butter lettuce variety or trouthead for perfect lettuce-wrapping cups)

*you can find fish sauce at Market Place or Kings Market, or at the Gourmet's Galley store at 21 Spring Street in downtown Friday Harbor.

Heat 2 tbsp oil on high heat in your pan or wok. Add in shallot and onion and fry for 10 seconds until fragrant, then add in garlic and fry another 20 seconds. Add ground pork, breaking it up with your spatula or wooden spoon. Fry for 2 minutes, or until browning, but not yet cooked.

Add in carrots and snow peas and scapes and fry another 2 minutes, stirring well. Add in mushrooms and bell pepper and fry another 2 minutes. The meat should be cooked, and everything should be well mixed.

Add in sauce and chilis, if using. Stir well to coat all ingredients. Add in chopped herbs (cilantro, mint or basil) and stir until wilted.

Serve at room temperature with washed lettuce leaves.

Ingredients all prepped to add to the pan

Stirring the meat into the sauteeing onions and shallots makes for a fragrant, well-flavored dish

Monday, June 22, 2009

Late June Russian Borscht

Everything in the borscht takes on the deep fuchsia of the beets.

This soup can amazingly use mostly farm ingredients when made at the right time of year! Cabbage, carrots, beets, and new potatoes are easy to come by late June. We used some frozen tomatoes from last year's crop, and if you stocked up and stored your onions carefully, you might just have one still lying around come June. (That might also be the case for potatoes if you stored them carefully, rather than using the more tender and precious new potatoes.)

This year's farmer's market offerings on June 20th included carrots and beets.

adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potato
1 cup thinly sliced beets

4 cups chicken stock or water

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 scant teaspoon caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

1 medium sized carrot, sliced
3 to 4 cups shredded cabbage

freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried dill
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons Bill's honey

1 cup crushed tomatoes

fresh dill and sour cream for garnish

Place potatoes, beets, and stock in a medium-sized pot. Cover and cook over medium heat till tender (20 to 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onion, caraway seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent (8 to 10 minutes).

Add carrots, cabbage, and 2 cups of the cooking liquid from the potatoes and beets. Cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender (another 8 to 10 minutes).

Add remaining ingredients, including all the potato and beet liquid, cover, and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Taste to correct seasonings, and serve hot, topped with sour cream and a pinch of fresh dill.

Peeling the beets.

Sliced beets and potatoes are cooked till tender in chicken stock.

The carrots, cabbage and onions are combined with 2 cups of liquid from the beets and potatoes.

Bowls of soup garnished with sour cream and dill and served with slices of Cafe Demeter walnut bread.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Candied Carrot Curls

2 medium or equivalent in small carrots, peeled
1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Peel layers from carrot lengthwise on one side with peeler so that you get long, continuous, even strips. If carrots are medium sized and longer, expect about 15 strips, if smaller, less wide and narrow, expect more.

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add carrot strips and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl (saving syrup for potential, yet to be determined future use!) Let stand 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 225°F with rack in middle.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then arrange candied carrot slices flat in 1 layer on sheet. Bake until dry but still flexible, about 20-30 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Working quickly so that they do not dry out, wind carrot strips, 1 at a time, around end of handle of a wooden spoon in a loose spiral, then slip off each curl and return, seam sides down, to lined baking sheet.

Return curls to oven to dry until crisp, 10-15 minutes more. Cool completely on baking sheet.

Carrot curls can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Recrisp in a 250°F oven 10 minutes.

Carrot strips in the sugar syrup.

Candied carrot strips after being wrapped around the end of a wooden spoon.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adorned carrot cupcakes. See the recipe for the carrot curls here.

Carrot Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from

2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup sunflower oil (or vegetable or canola)

3 large Synergy eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack positioned in the middle and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl.
Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, grated carrots, and vanilla in a large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them a 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top, and bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack, about 1 hour more before frosting.

Frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and decorate with a candied carrot curl.

Filled cupcake tin.

These golden cakes pass the toothpick test.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese
2 oz unsalted butter

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before beginning.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter till creamy. Add powdered sugar and lemon juice and beat till completely combined, smooth and fluffier.

Frost completely cooled cupcakes with room temperature frosting.

Frosting tips:

  • Work with room temperature, easy to spread frosting and cupcakes, NEVER warm cupcakes since the warmth will cause the frosting to melt.
  • Use a knife without a serrated edge so that when you spread the frosting, it is smooth.
  • Dollop on more frosting than you think you will need into the center of the cupcake and then begin spreading frosting out to the edges in small circular motions.

Frosted cupcakes.

Cream and Parmesan Broccoli

Creamy, but hard to photograph, broccoli with parmesan and nutmeg.

Adapted from

1 lb broccoli
cup heavy cream
garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 cup
grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Coarsely chop broccoli florets and stem pieces. If stem is thicker, peel then chop. Cook broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Simmer cream, garlic, nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a medium saucepan, uncovered, until thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup.

Add broccoli and simmer, mashing with a potato masher, until coarsely mashed and heated through, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and lemon juice. Grate more nutmeg on top for a garnish when serving.

Odessa Beets

Odessa Beets. I was unable to find information on the origin of this recipe's name, but I do love the name very much.

adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

1/2 lb beets (weighed with leaves removed)
2 tbs lemon juice

9 prunes

2 medium cloves garlic

1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap all the beets up in a big sheet of foil and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

While the beets are roasting, chop and toast the walnuts, mince the garlic, and very thinly slice the pitted prunes.

When the beet are done, let cool a bit and trim the ends. Then under running cold water, rub off the skins. Coarsely grate the beets into a medium mixing bowl.

Add all other ingredients into the bowl with the beets, mix to combine, and chill until serving time.

Serving suggestions:
  • Sprinkled with blue cheese.
  • In a sandwich with roast beef and mustard on rye.

Mise en place of julienned prunes, minced garlic, toasted chopped walnuts, lemon juice, and grated beets.

Share your own recipes

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Coddled Eggs and Something Green

Chard and Kale and Coddled Eggs make a generous lunch for one.

1/2 lb of leaf greens (chard, kale, spinach, etc.) cut into ribbons
2 eggs
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. When hot, add the greens and stir to coat and season with salt and pepper. Let cook until just beginning to wilt, stirring occasionally. At this point, crack two eggs on the top of the layer of greens and cover with a large lid. Turn the heat to low and let the greens continue to cook and the eggs steam, or coddle, about three to four minutes till the whites are firm. Slide out of the pan onto a plate, give the eggs a shake of pepper and salt and dig in!

One bunch of rainbow chard cut into ribbons.

Crack a couple eggs on top of just beginning to wilt chard.

Cover and walk away for a few minutes.

Ta-Da! The chard is cooked, the egg whites are firm, and inside the yolks are still gooey.

This also works with broccoli cut into bite size pieces. I used about 1/3 pound of broccoli, and a tbsp of butter instead of olive oil, though I had to toss in about a quarter of a cup of water into the pan in order to steam the broccoli before it started to brown too much.

Broccoli and Coddled Eggs.

Crushed New Potatoes

Crushing the boiled new potatoes.

2 lb. new potatoes, washed
1/2 cup shallots, minced

Lemon juice of one large lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fleur de sel to taste, be generous

Pepper to taste, be generous

In a large pot, cook potatoes with skins on in heavily salted boiling water until tender, approximately 15-18 minutes. While still warm, using a fork, gently smash potatoes, maintaining a fairly chunky consistency. Careful while crushing the potatoes that they don't pop out from under your fork and slide across the counter. Slice larger potatoes in half before crushing and hold them in place with one hand while crushing with the other. Fold in minced shallots, lemon juice, olive oil, fleur de sel, and pepper.

Serve warm or cold.
Add fresh parsley or dill as a garnish.
Top it with slices of hard-boiled egg.

A sign of new potatoes underground.

Harvesting new potatoes.

Simplest New Potatoes with Dill

New potatoes are just as they sound: the little new potatoes that form first on potato plants. They don't store too well because their skins haven't toughened up, so you don't generally find them in supermarkets, but their thin skins and buttery soft texture makes them absolutely delicious and perfect for potato salads and all kinds of yummy dishes that call for minimal prep and potatoes at their most potatoey.

1 pound new potatoes, washed well
1 tbsp dill
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste

Cut bigger potatoes into manageable chunks (or not, if you don't mind cooking a little longer). Steam potatoes in a steaming basket for 15-20 minutes, or until done (you can check by poking one gently with a fork).

Throw into a bowl, and toss with butter and dill while still hot. Add salt to taste (more if you're using unsalted butter)

The simple bowl of potatoes goes quickly in a crowd.

The potatoes are the perfect topping on a bed of greens. We also added some blackened pink salmon chunks, roasted pumpkin seeds, and black olives for our own Northwest version of salad nicoise.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cumin Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Onions

2 1/2 - 3 lbs total of carrots, potatoes, onions
4 cloves garlic
2 tsps salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp cumin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Thoroughly scrub the potatoes and carrots, but leave the skin on. Slice the potatoes, carrots, and onions into bite-sized chunks and combine in a large bowl with the peeled and crushed garlic cloves. Add the salt, pepper, cumin seeds, and olive oil and toss the coat. Spread in a flat layer in a large baking dish and place in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, using a spatula at 25 minutes to flip the roasting vegetables. Depending on how thickly your sliced your vegetables and thinly they are spread out on the pan, they might cook faster or slower, so begin checking for desired browning, caramelization, and crispiness at 35 minutes. It could take as long as an hour.

All the ingredients tossed in a large bowl.

Lentil Beet Salad

Adapted from: Emily's Purloined Beet and Lentil Salad

3 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
5 cups chicken stock (best from Synergy chickens!)

6 medium beets, washed thoroughly, but not peeled!
8 Napoli carrots, chopped into 1/2'' cubes
1 medium onion, julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
20 basil leaves, torn

For mustard vinaigrette:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
8 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp reserved roasting juice
salt and pepper to taste

Wash lentils well in cold water, removing stones and skins and discarding. Bring stock to a boil -- don't add salt of your lentils can become tough. Add in your lentils, boil for 2-3 minutes and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for approximately 45 minutes -- be sure to check after 30 minutes since you don't want these to become overdone and mushy!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place beets (sans greens, with skins), carrots, onion slices, and garlic into a baking dish. Top with olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper and mix well to coat. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake for about an hour without uncovering.

To make the mustard vinaigrette, put ingredients together in a jar and shake until emulsified, or whisk in a bowl.

Remove from oven and let cool. Pour off juice, reserving at least 3 tbsp of the bright red roasting juice. Peel and chop beets into 1/2'' cubes. Mix beets, carrots, lentils and onions together, then add vinaigrette, to taste.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve at room temperature, or chill and serve cold for a refreshing side dish.

Basil starts keeping warm in the Synergy flathouse

Newly harvested Napoli carrots at the washing station

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arugula, Walnut, Feta Pesto

3 garlic cloves
1/3 lb Synergy arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup feta
1/2 cup walnuts
salt to taste (~ 1/2 tsp, but depends on how salty the feta is)


Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Feel free to add more olive oil to suit your texture preference. Season with salt and pepper.

As with other pestos, be sure to store in a container with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, or add a layer of olive oil to the pesto to keep it from turning brown.

Enjoy on a piece of local bread, as a pizza topping, or as a light accompaniment to pasta.

Arugula's pepperiness pairs nicely with creamy feta and walnuts for a different take on traditional pesto

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Parmesan Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

In a jar with a tight fitting screw top lid, place minced garlic, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, basil, parmesan, and pepper. Screw on top of jar tightly, then shake till completely combined. Open lid, add the oil and shake again, vigorously, till dressing is emulsified.

Use to dress lettuces or other salad greens. This dressing goes especially well with spinach and arugula.

Create a salad that is a combination of half spinach, half arugula, toasted walnuts, and some crumbled feta.

Creamy Basil Dressing

Synergy chicken tossed in Creamy Basil Dressing, served on a bed of lettuce leaves and sprinkled with toasted almonds.

On the farm, we first seed our basil in redwood flats before transplanting to a bed.

Based on a recipe from Gourmet Magazine

1 cup packed fresh Synergy basil
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons safflower mayonnaise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Use as a dressing for salad of summer lettuces or sliced tomatoes or cold summer chicken salad.

Pure Cream of Tomato Soup

Based on a recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped Synergy Stuttgarter onion
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk (or any combination of lowfat, whole, and cream)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups fresh, or canned Synergy tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste

Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is softened but not browned.

Sprinkle the flour over the butter mixture and continue to stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, bay leaf, sugar, and salt and continue to cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir the baking soda into the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the milk, and bring just to a simmer.

Remove from the heat and put in a blender. Puree until smooth then put back in the soup pot and over medium-low heat.

Bring to a very gentle simmer and taste and correct seasonings. Let simmer till soup has reached desired thickness and intensity of flavor.

Serve hot or cold with a generous sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper.

Though the farms tomato plants are only about two feet tall with tiny green tomatoes at the beginning of June, we are able to enjoy a pure cream of tomato soup since we froze some of the prior years harvest in mason jars!