Saturday, September 18, 2010

Field Trip: Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market

My husband hated flea markets with a passion.  And to tell the truth, I am not a big fan myself.  We both used to get drug around one by friends who believed there was a some nugget of treasure buried in each table.  I remind myself why I don't care for them about every 5 years.  Today was the day; I visited the Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market.

I hadn't been in probably longer than five years, because I am pretty sure this was the first time I had been to the new location, which is across the street from the old location, and monsterously larger.  I parked on the north side of the sprawling building, and went through the inside which contains a dizzying array of booths featuring all kinds of things ranging from watches, clothing, an Apple Vacation rep, some food booths, and a lot of Amish food - jams, cheeses, etc.

Then I headed outside to one of the two covered pavillions and was pleasantly surprised to see the variety of fresh produce for sale.   It's really starting to look like fall with the apples, pumpkins, and squash coming in full force.

Outside pavillion
Fall Apples

Fall Squashes
This display of peppers was particularly pretty:

Display of Peppers
I guess these are hot....
I scored some brussels sprouts and portobello mushrooms.

Big Portobellos
Brussels Sprouts

I also got a beautiful giangantic mum basket with a lime green (of course!) sweet potato vine, and two pumpkins for the porch, one with some wonderful warts for a total of $17

I wandered through the outside stalls and other than a few old blue canning jars with zinc lids (first photo), nothing really qualified as a treasure that needed to come home with me. 

Flea markets are where old Tupperware and Beanie Babies go to die.  Flea markets are where you can find just about any size tarp or bungee cord ever made, or buy the largest package of tube socks you've ever seen.

Ever wondered where the detritus you dropped at the curb that went missing when you went back for a second load went?  It went to the flea market.  (I even had curb shoppers go through my garbage bags once looking for 'treasure' and I gave the gleaners stuff I was getting rid of when I saw them combing the neighborhood on trash day).

There is a combination of aromas you won't find anywhere else.  I was alternately greeted with a whiff of eau de grandma's musty basement, followed by Kettle Korn, followed by about every other person smoking a cigarette. 

I arrived fairly early, probably around 9:30 or so, and it wasn't too crowded, but there was a big line of cars, busses, and motorhomes headed in when I left.

I know the saying is 'one man's trash is another man's treasure', but I couldn't help thinking "Holy Craptastic-ness" for the most part.  I'm good for another five years or so.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gadget Love: Potato & Garlic Storage Bags

Potato & Garlic Storage Sacks

It's probably happened to you.  You enter your kitchen and are assaulted by the foulest odor imaginable.  You follow your nose and discover that in some hidden spot, an ancient potato has gone very, very, very bad.   If I lived the rest of my life without smelling a rotten potato again,  it would make me pretty happy. 

The potatoes have been plentiful in my CSA this season.  Last year, I managed to winter over some of them - I was still enjoying those potatoes in February.  So I was pretty excited when I found these Potato and Garlic Storage Sacks at Crate and Barrel. 

The potato version holds up to 8 pounds, and the smaller one, which will probably house shallots, holds two pounds.  Hmmm, should have gotten two of the smaller ones so I'd have one for garlic and one for shallots.

The sacks will keep them in the dark so they are less likely to sprout, and linen allows them to breathe.  There is a sturdy hanging hook, and drawstrings at the top for loading, and the bottom for unloading.  It's a built in first in, first out system, which should prevent the stinky potato surprise.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lenore's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin w/Chevre, Shallots & Walnuts

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed w/ Chevre, Shallots and Walnuts

I created this recipe for one of my favorite personal chef clients.

Lenore's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Chevre, Shallots & Walnuts 

1/2 c. walnut halves
2 one pound pork tenderloins
1 3 oz package of herb flavored chevre
2 medium shallots, peeled and rough chopped
Seasonello Herbal & Aromatic Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Penzey's Mural of Flavor Seasoning 
1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spread walnut halves on a sheet pan and toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Remove and cool slightly.

Trim and remove silverskin from pork tenderloins.  Lay flat and use a sharp knife to butterfly each tenderloin.  Use a meat mallet to even out the pork and make room for the filling.  Sprinkle with Seasonello and pepper. 

Put toasted walnuts and chop shallots in mini-food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Divide chevre among pork and spread down the center, then pat to adhere.  Sprinkle walnut and shallots evenly over the chevre.  Roll pork tightly lengthwise and tuck the ends under.

Take about 20" of kitchen twine and tie each tenderloin at about 2" intervals. Sprinkle outside with Mural of Flavor and salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Brown tenderloins on each side.  Put skillet into the oven to finish cooking - approximately 25-35 minutes, until internal temp reaches 155 degrees.

Allow to rest before slicing on the diagonal.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Five Spice Quinoa, Yam, Black Bean, Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Five Spice Quinoa Lettuce Wrap

I've spent the last few days working on my recipe submission for the Aetna Healthy Food Fight contest.  The rules are pretty strict, starting with a $12 maximum ingredient cost for a meal that feeds five, with 500-600 calories per serving.

Add to that stringent rules on protein sources, including nuts and legumes, maximum 120 grams per serving, use of unprocessed and minimally processed foods, healthy carbs, little or no  added sugars, and limited salt content, while using healthy plant based oils, all in all, not a simple task.

Originally I did the quinoa with the yam, black beans and spinach in a roasted portobello cap.  Even with the pepita garnish, the texture was too soft overall to work.

That's when I decided to switch it over to a lettuce wrap.  About the only thing iceberg lettuce is good for is a wrap, and it's a cool, crunchy, perfect foil for the filling here.  I also added golden raisins which provided a nice sweet bite that is delicious with the Chinese Five Spice.

It was delicious to me without any animal protein, but I was way low on the calorie count, so at first I considered chopped, cooked chicken breast (because I had some in the fridge), and then I changed it to ground turkey.  I originally used only a teaspoon of olive oil, but upped it to a tablespoon to get the calorie count up (!).

Unfortunately, I had to lose the baby spinach in the final recipe to meet the $12 total.  And I really couldn't afford to add parsley or cilantro as a garnish either.

So here is the final recipe I submitted:

Five-Spice Quinoa, Yam & Turkey Lettuce Wraps

5 Servings

1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 T. Olive Oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium yam (about 3/4 pound), peeled and small diced
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 clove garlic, minced
1 t. Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/2 c. golden raisins
Salt and Pepper
1 head of iceberg lettuce, washed, dried and leaves separated
1/4 c. roasted, salted Pepitas

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then add quinoa, reduce heat to medium, and cook about 12 minutes until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, fluff, and cover while proceeding with recipe.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in 10” - 12” skillet over medium high heat.  Crumble ground turkey into pan and cook until browned and almost cooked through. Add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Drain any excess fat. Add diced sweet potatoes, chinese five spice powder, raisins, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, reduce heat to medium,  and cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 6-8 minutes. 

Add cooked quinoa to turkey mixture and toss to combine.  Taste and check seasonings.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling into each lettuce leaf, 2 leaves per serving.  Sprinkle with pepitas and serve immediately.  Drizzle with Ponzu sauce, if desired.

So wish me luck.  There are regional first round cook-offs throughout the country.  Cleveland's will be held at the RIPE Festival at the Cleveland Botanical Garden September 24th - 26th. 

First round winners will participate in a final cook-off in LA with Bobby Flay.  Grand prize is $10,000 in Kitchen-Aid appliances.  (I don't need the range or microwave hood, so I will donate those to a local agency who can use it).

Updated: I won the Cleveland round!!! Finals are in November in LA.

At the Judge's Table
My Presentation Platter

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Doug Katz of Fire Food & Drink Farmers Market Demo

Doug Katz of Fire prepping veggies for ratatouille
Cuyahoga Valley Conservancy farmers market customers at Howe meadow this morning got a chance to visit with Doug Katz, of Fire Food and Drink (on Shaker Square), and sample his ratatouille with pesto and Lucky Penny Creamery Goat Cheese.

Fresh Market Finds

After quickly learning the first rule of food demos - don't put things that look like they are edible samples out before you're ready (he prepared toasts to hold his samples, and people started snacking away), he carefully prepped each ingredient.  He feels that individually cooking each ingredient, yields a better end result than cooking them all together.

He was cursed with the first windy day, with a hint of fall in the air, which made keeping the propane burners lit a challenge.

Eggplant, Peppers, and Shallots
The eggplant and peppers, and I think some shallots, were done first.  Then the tomatoes and squash went on the stove in separate pans.

Tomatoes and Squash on the stove
Missed Doug's demo?  You can always sample his cuisine at Fire Food and Drink, which is awesome, by the way.  In addition, he will be doing more demos, and a Harvest Moon local food dinner at the Cleveland Botanical Garden Sept 24th - 26th.

The harvest dinner will feature all local foods served at one long, 200 seat table.

The admission prices to the daily events (details here), is very reasonable, at $7 for non garden members, $5 for members.

I am looking forward to this event, hope to see you there!

Ratatouille Recipe, courtesy of Doug Katz of fire, food & drink
As prepared at the Countryside Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow cooking demonstration on 9/4/2010

1     small     eggplant     small dice
to taste     kosher slat
to taste     cracked black pepper
1     cup     canola oil
1     small     zuchinni     small dice
1     small     yellow squash     small dice
2     ea     shallots     small dice
4     ea     garlic     minced
1     ea     yellow onions     small dice
1     ea     bell peppers, red     small dice
1     ea     bell peppers, yellow     small dice
4     ea     tomatoes, romas     small dice
12     ea     yellow cherry tomatoes     halved
2     tbs     basil     chopped
1/4-1/2      cup     extra virgin oilve oil
goat cheese
crusty bread     sliced

In a large bowl, combine the eggplant with a liberal amount of kosher salt and pepper and toss well
set aside for 15 minutes.

Drain eggplant of any liquid and pat dry with a towel or napkin.

Pour 2 ounces of canola oil into a medium skillet and allow to heat until it shimmers when swirled
add the eggplant and saute until golden brown,  avoid stirring too much as this causes sticking.

When browned, remove and allow to drain on paper bags or an absorpent towel
next, saute the zucchini and yellow squash in the same method, using 1-2 ounces of canola oil
season with salt and pepper.

Continue with the shallots, garlic and onions, then the peppers and then the tomatoes.

Make sure to clean the pan if necessary or the vegetables will start to taste burned.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with fresh basil and olive oil
serve on crusty bread with goat cheese.