Category Archives: summer

New Potato Salad

Most people think of potatoes as a winter food, but I love them when they are young and thin skinned in the summer. We planted trench upon trench of potatoes in the spring and in the past few weeks have started harvesting new potatoes.  Most people think that new potatoes are just small, red potatoes, but genuine new potatoes are harvested in the summer and have such delicate skins that you can rub them off. These potatoes are the ones you want use in your summer cookout potato salad or throw in a crab or shrimp boil.

In general, I like all types of potato salad, but in the past few years have started to favor ones with a mustardy vinaigrette as the base, instead of mayo. My current incarnation uses large chunks of potatoes, lightly blanched snap beans, and fava beans. This salad bridges the early summer produce (favas) and high summer produce (beans) and uses up all of those bits of green herbs you have. Scallions, parsley, basil, and cilantro are all welcome additions here. If you do not have any favas, fresh (or frozen) lima beans or butter beans would be tasty.

New Potato Salad

2 pounds new potatoes, cubed in largish chunks
3/4 -1 pound fava beans (pre-shelling weight), shelled
1/2 pound snap beans, green or yellow or a mix of both
2 large scallions or 1/2 of a small sweet onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, grated on a microphone or mince very finely
1.5 tbsp whole grain mustard
4 tbsp (or to taste) red wine or white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
handful of parsley, basil. cilantro, or other fresh green herbs, chopped fine
salt/pepper

Place the cubed potatoes in cold water with a handful of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. When tender, scoop potatoes out from the pot, reserving the water. Bring the water back up to a boil and blanch the snap beans for maybe 30-60 seconds, scoop out from water and plunge into an ice bath or run under cold water. Drain and set aside. Bring the blanching water back up to a boil again and blanch the favas. Drain the favas when they are tender and pop then out of their skins.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes, beans, favas, and onion and stir to coat. Fold in the chopped herbs and serve warm or cold.

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Filed under salad, summer

Minimalist Pea Soup

Finally, real summer time weather! More and more crops are being harvested now, including blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, and peas! Sugar snap peas are the most popular pea by far, but I really like fresh shelling peas.

Earlier this summer, we went on a short trip to Chicago. One evening, I had the delight of eating a pea soup at Hot Chocolate. I was determined to recreate this soup when we were ready to harvest our shelling peas.

The most important thing about this soup is that you need to buy fresh shelling peas! Make sure that they are freshly picked to insure the highest sugar level. After you pick peas, the sugars gradually start to turn into starch. This summertime soup is sort of like “nose-to-tail” cookery for vegetables. After you shell the peas, reserve the pods to make a light green broth and then you cook the peas in their own broth! Simple, fast, and very tasty.

Minimalist Pea Soup 
2 pounds fresh shelling peas, shelled, reserving pods and peas separately

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic scapes, optional, or 1 small garlic clove

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp flour

salt, to taste

Place the pea pods in a large saucepan. Cover the pods with water and add the bay leaf and a large pinch of salt. Bring this up to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer the broth until the pea pods are soft, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Strain and transfer the broth to a bowl or another pot.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan and gentle saute the two garlic scapes or garlic clove. Add the peas and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Cover the peas with some of the pea broth. You will most likely not need all of the broth. Simmer the peas for about 5-8 minutes and remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. The soup should be quite thin.

In a small bowl, mash together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Bring the soup back up to a high simmer and whisk in the butter/flour mixture. Continue to cook until the soup thickens. Taste and season. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of cream, yogurt, or formage blanc. Enjoy!

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Filed under quick, summer

strawberry shortcake

A lot has happened since the last time I posted! Busy times on the farm!

These chicks

got turned into these broilers

A new calf was born on Saturday morning!

And local Vashon strawberries are back in season!

I bought a couple pints of strawberries at the market yesterday and some got turned into this year’s first shortcake. These shortcakes were the culmination of our mostly local meal over the weekend, including the roasting of one of the broilers! We roasted the chicken over some of our turnips and radishes, tossed together a simple salad with avocado and sunflower seeds, and made a gravy out of the giblets from our chicken. But my favorite part of the meal was the strawberry shortcake.

Shortcakes are really just slightly sweet biscuits and are quite forgiving. This recipe is easy to multiple and are decidedly rustic. Recently, I have been including almond flour in a lot of my baking. It tends to give baked goods a denser, fine crumb, but is not gummy. Almond flour is also great to have on hand for gluten free baking!

These would be even better with fresh, barely sweetened whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, but we used some half and half to add some moisture and richness to the shortcakes. Over the season, fill with whatever fruit you have on hand; peaches and nectarines would be lovely, as would any other berry.

Strawberry Shortcake

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling

4 tbsp cold butter, cubed

1/3-1/2 cup of buttermilk or milk

1 egg, whisked

Strawberries or other fruit, as much as you want

Whipped cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a baking sheet. Trim and hull your strawberries. If they need a bit of a flavor boost, toss them in a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. Another option is to toss them in sugar and balsamic vinegar for an interesting twist.

Combine flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles damp sand. Whisk together the milk and egg. Gradually stream in the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Fold until just combined. You may or may not need the entire amount of the milk mixture. Turn the dough out on a floured board and shape into a 12″x6″ rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 shortcakes and transfer to the sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until done.

Cool shortcakes on baking sheet. When ready to serve, split each shortcake and fill generously with berries and whipped cream or a drizzle of half and half. Enjoy!

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Filed under summer, sweets

garlic dill pickles

As I continue my foray into the world of food preservation, I knew that I wanted to make pickles. Previously, I have made quick pickles like pickled red onions for sandwiches or lightly pickled radish slices, but this year was the year that I would put up enough cucumber pickles, dilly beans, and other vegetables to snack on all year until next summer.

We are still growing a lot of cucumbers here in Seattle and will continue until the first frost. While there are lots of variants on cucumber pickles, I wanted to can some classic garlic dills first. Once you commit to the idea of canning, everything for this recipe/technique is super simple. For cucumbers, you can cut them into spears (shown here) or chips. Chips are easier to fit into pint jars and absorb the brine faster. To streamline thins even more, you can purchase a pickling spice mix instead of purchasing lots of spices separately. However, most of these spices I usually have on hand anyways. Feel free to play around with the spices or add some herbs or red pepper flakes for some heat.

My favorite canning blog Food in Jars has been enormously helpful as I learned to can. She shows you that you don’t need a huge amount of space or produce to start preserving and i can definitely vouch for that.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Adapted from Food In Jars

Note: If you don’t want to process any jars, you can just turn these into refrigerator pickles. If so, you can use regular sea salt or kosher salt instead of pickle salt, let them cure in the refrigerator for at least a day and eat within a month.

Makes 8 pints

2 generous quarts of pickling cucumbers, washed, trimmed, and sliced into shape of your choice.

4 cups vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and white vinegar)

4 cups water

4-5 tbsp pickling salt

about 16 cloves of garlic, peeled maybe halved if large

dill seed, black peppercorns, pickling spice mix, red pepper flakes, or herbs or spices.

Sterilize your jars. Since I do not have a dishwasher, I usually bring them to a boil in my canning pot. When the water is boiling, I add the rings and lids and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer in a saucepot. Taste to see if you need more salt or not.

Pull out the jars and place two garlic cloves in each jar. Sprinkle in 1 tsp of dill seed, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp of peppercorns, or about 1.5-2 tsp of pickling spice per jar. Sometimes I add a sprig of thyme or rosemary, maybe a bay leaf, or a few slices of green onion to the bottom. Fill the jars up with the cucumbers. Pack them in tightly! Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and place them back into the water bath. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Start the timer AFTER the water comes to a boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and cool on the counter. Listen for the pings! and check for seals when jars are cool.

If making refrigerator pickles, just skip the water bath and store in fridge once the jars are cool.

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Filed under pickle, summer, vegetables

watermelon gazpacho

Summer melons are finally starting to come into season here in the PNW, after a cold spring and late summer. On the three days of the year where it gets somewhat uncomfortable in your third floor apartment, cold blended soups come to the rescue! I usually make a greener, veggie packed gazpacho, but last week I had a quarter of a small watermelon left and a huge, fat heirloom tomato sitting on my kitchen table. This combination of watermelon and tomato seems to be popping up in salads everywhere these days, and is justifiably delicious. Whenever I come across sun ripened tomatoes, I usually eat them simply on toast with a slathering mayonnaise and basil leaf. But! now, at this time of year, there is quite an abundance of heirloom tomatoes and I can afford to blend some farmers market seconds up into gazpacho.

This version of gazpacho is sweeter than the traditional soup and does not use stale bread to thicken. I usually use a cup of cooked white beans to thicken the soup and add some protein. In this case, I did not have any cooked beans on hand and just used some xanthan gum. This is a powder that is used a lot in both molecular gastronomy and in gluten free baking. Just be sure not to use too much or your soup will become really, really thick and gummy. Avocado can be blended into the soup or simply diced and scattered on top and provides both something creamy and something to chew to the soup.

Watermelon and tomato gazpacho

adapted from herbivoracious

2 cups cubed red, seedless watermelon

2-3  cups cubed, very ripe (and most likely, expensive) heirloom tomato

1 small sweet white onion, roughly chopped. (I used a fresh walla walla onion)

1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup of cooked white beans (optional) OR

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

small handful of basil or cilantro

juice of one lime

1-2 tbsp good olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

garnishes: diced avocado, tossed in lime juice, or plain yogurt, more herbs to garnish

 

In a blender, combine watermelon, tomato. pepper, onion, beans or xanthan gum, herbs, lime juice, olive oil, and seasoning. If you are using the gum, let the gum hydrate for a bit and reblend. Taste and adjust seasoning; I usually have to add more salt and acid. Chill and let the flavors meld. Serve in small bowls or cups and garnish with avocado or plain yogurt and scatter some herbs on top.

 

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Filed under drink, fruit, quick, soups, summer, tomato

shredded zucchini salad

Hmmm… Doesn’t this look familiar? I was hesitant about posting this because this salad is quite similar to the one that I made last summer. However! This zucchini salad is tossed in a tangy Greek yogurt based dressing and diced avocado, two of my favorite things. Summer was slow to start here in the Pacific Northwest, but this week looks awesome. When the sun is shining and you can leave the house without a rain jacket, everyone in Seattle seems to stand taller and smile a whole lot more.

This (very) easy salad is easy to adapt to whatever you have in your pantry. Add some shaved cheese, change out the herbs and nuts, use different types of squash, etc. One note: the dressing and salt do break down the squash a bit and release some liquid. If serving fancy people, drain it off before eating. Serve with tomato sandwiches for a complete summer experience.

Oh, and those bay leaves in the background are from a garden that I have been volunteering at. A garden with blackberries, marionberries, raspberries, and strawberries that I have been studiously consuming while I am suppose to be weeded. And! yesterday I was given 8 perfect basil starts of all types! Wish I had a p-patch here to plant them.

Shredded Zucchini Salad, part two

2-3 small or medium zucchinis, julienned on the mandoline

1/4-1/2 cup finely mined fresh green herbs (parsley, basil, dill are all good options)

1 large avocado, diced and tossed with a bit of lemon/lime juice

1/3 cup Greek Yogurt

2 tbsp(ish) sherry vinegar or red/white wine vinegar or lemon/lime juice

2 tbsp olive oil, good quality preferred in this application

salt/pepper

handful of almonds, toasted and chopped

Whisk the dressing together in the bottom of your serving bowl. Combine yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil. and salt and pepper until smooth. Toss with the shredded zucchini, herbs, and avocado. Taste and season well. Right before serving, top with the chopped, toasted almonds. Enjoy!

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Filed under gluten free, quick, summer, vegetables