Archive for June, 2014

Cherry Clafoutis – Whole Cherry Custard Cake

I took the time to carefully pluck the rest of ProFarm‘s ripe, but not quite soft, Bing Cherries last week. How could I resist! They were on sale for 2.50/lb for anyone who took a minute to bag them themselves.

Market Tip: If you see Bing Cherries this weekend, pick out the ones that have their stems still attached and are bright and dark shiny red, almost black. They should feel firm to the touch, without soft or brown spots, cuts, wet or sticky clumps or shriveled stems.

photo 4I am always wary when buying cherries, since they are usually quite expensive for fruit – sometimes $6/lb – and since they can so easily stain surfaces. But when I first spot them at the market, I think to myself of all the tender care –  the irrigation, the labor, and delicate handpicking – that the farmers must undertake to bring these easily damaged delicacies to market. I think of their luxurious sweet, but tart taste. Their sheen of dark ruby or purple, the traditional color of royalty. And I remember they are more than worth the sticker-shock and stains. I can think of no more decadent looking fruit. It is no wonder they have been valued as a delicacy for centuries, cultivated since at least 300 BC by the Greek, the Romans and even Egyptians.

We live here in Cherry Country. Over half the U.S. sweet cherries are grown in Oregon or Washington. The ‘Royal Ann’ cherries were named by one of the first major Oregon cherry growers, who hauled his hundreds of trees through the Oregon Trail, finally settling in Milwaukie. This grower, Henderson Lewelling, and his brother, famously went on to breed the most popular cherry today, the Bing.

If you can manage to resist popping all your market cherries down as snacks, I highly suggest you put the rest in this simple cake recipe. You can leave the cherries whole and spit them out while eating it. The French would call this a “Cherry Clafoutis or Clafouti” (pronounced kla-foo-TEE). But if you want an easier time eating it, go ahead and pit and quarter the cherries. The Joy of Baking suggests that if you do not have a cherry pitter, then  

“Make a small slit in the cherry, with a small sharp knife, at the stem end of the cherry. Then, using the tip of the knife
or your thumbnail, remove the pit. This process is best done over a bowl so any dripping juice will fall into the bowl and not stain your countertop. Because the cut cherries immediately start to release their juices, it is important to use them right away. “

Either way, you’ll want to thank Lewelling for bringing his cherries over to Oregon, and our local farmers for bringing them to market. Enjoy!

Cherry Clafoutis or Whole Cherry Custard Cake

Adapted from Joy of Baking


Ingredients:

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My Clafoutis…I couldn’t wait take a bite before grabbing my camera.

Joy of Baking’s Clafoutis. Perhaps yours will look more like this one…until you cut into it.

    

1    cup all purpose flour (or 1/2 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated white sugar depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have

3/4 cup milk (whole, reduced fat or almond)

1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup melted butter or camelina oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 pound (or 1 1.2 cups) fresh sweet cherries, pitted or not

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.photo 1

Wash the cherries. Remove the stems and pits if you wish.

In your food processor or blender (or you can do it by hand with a wire whisk) place the flour, salt, eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla extract. Process for about 60 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the batter is completely smooth, pour it into the pan. Scatter the cherries on top, letting them sink into the batter.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed, set, and golden brown around the edges. Do not open the oven door until the end of the baking time or it may collapse. Serve immediately with a dusting of yogurt, creme fraiche or softly whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 people as a breakfast/brunch dish.

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Straight from the Market Manager – Mouthwatering Berries and Pluots

You’ve got to love this time of year.  With the anticipation of all good fruits and vegetables coming into the market it almost makes your mouth start to water.  There is a solution.  This week at the market we’ll have some mouth watering berries, tasty cherries, sweet treats that’ll give you more cavities than you care for and plenty of other good things to feast your eyes on.

Looking around the market last week I noticed quite a bit of new produce.  Early raspberries are in and if you’re anything like me, you can’t eat just one.  Buy a pint for yourself at the market and snack on them while you’re wandering around eyeing all the other good things, then, buy a few more pints to take home with you.  Stop at the various booths and sample some of the items.  I tried a Pluot last week, it’s a cross between a plum and an apricot.  I’m not a fan of apricots, so I had my doubts, but it was definitely delicious and only had a hint of apricot to it.  The texture, firmness and taste was much more like a plum.

Some of the produce that is in season now ranges from onions to beets and lots more.  Radishes, cilantro, spinach, zucchini, cabbage, green onions, chard, kale, and baby dill is just a sampling of what can be found.  Make a grocery list like you would when you do your normal grocery shopping, stop at our Farmers’ Market first and see what we have that is guaranteed fresh.  Then, when you’re done, you can finish your list at your favorite store.  Produce from the farmers at our markets lasts longer, tastes better and it helps our economy far more directly than it would a grocery store.  Buy local.

There are a thousand other items that you’ll want to see, taste, smell, and just generally enjoy while you’re at the market.  Take the time to stroll up and down the street.  Stop for a sweet cinnamon roll, maybe a cup of fresh coffee.  Enjoy the day with what our local vendors have to offer.  Take some home to enjoy later or share with the family.  Our markets are a great way to unwind from the stress of work and life in general.  You can’t go wrong.

Potato Spring Onion Soup (from Mamma Goat)

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Last weekend, we got onions with the stalks on.  They looked a lot like leeks, so we used them like leeks in our favorite ham and potato leek soup.  Went great with challah bread from the farmer’s market (Great Harvest Bread).

Recipe: (serves 4)

Make a roux – melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add 1 tablespoon of flour, whisk together and cook on low while chopping veggies.  (Roux is easy if you melt the butter first, sprinkle the flour around a little, and use a whisk to stir.)

Clean the onion, trim roots, then chop the whole thing finely.  Throw in the pot, stir into the roux.  Cook over low while chopping the other ingredients.

(Optional) Dice carrots into bite sized pieces.  Use 1 good handful of baby carrots or 2 big carrots.  Carrots add sweetness and veggie nutrition.  Throw in pot.

Chop 2 clean, medium potatoes into a bite-size dice.  Turn heat to medium.  Throw potatoes in the pot, stir just to cook the outside.

Add 2 cans of broth or about 30 oz. homemade stock.  Chicken’s good.  So is veggie broth.

Add 1 lb diced ham, or for vegetarian soup, a can of garbanzo or white beans.

Cover.  Simmer lightly ~20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring periodically.  Open lid to let cool for about 3 minutes while prepping bowls.  Stir in 1/4 cup of goat milk or whipping cream or 2 oz. goat cheese.  Cover and heat until it just starts to simmer again, then remove from heat (you don’t want to boil the cream.)

Serve with fresh bread, maybe a side salad.

 

Originally posted at http://mammagoat.com/blog/archives/257

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