Monday, May 5, 2008

Apple Rhubarb Compote

What I really wanted to make was a rhubarb crumble, but apparently I slept in too late to snag some of the spring's first rhubarb from the Headhouse Square Farmer's Market (2nd & Lombard).

So instead I headed home and visited Almanac Market, at 4th & Poplar. This lovely little market tries to get as much locally grown produce as possible, and I lucked out: 3 lonely little stalks of red rhubarb from Green Meadow Farm (Gap, PA) awaited me there.

Since 3 stalks wasn't going to get me far, I adjusted my plan from crumble to compote, and decided to throw in an apple (also purchased from Almanac, but can't remember the farm that grew it) that had been sitting in my fridge for a while.

Apple Rhubarb Compote
Make sure to cut the toxic leaves off the top of your rhubarb!
Slice 3 stalks into half-inch chunks.
Peel and cut up one or two apples into small pieces.
Throw all this into a pot.
Add a little bit of water or lemon juice, and about 1/4 C sugar (or to taste- I don't like overly sweet things!). Cook over low heat with the lid off, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has dissolved into a texture that you like.

I had some this morning for breakfast, spread onto toast (Metropolitan sourdough).

Variation: Use strawberries instead of apple. This will result in a runnier texture which is perfect atop vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spicy Thai Cabbage Salad

This is a good recipe for winter or spring, because all the ingredients are available and abundant right now.


In a bowl, mix:

Juice of one lime, preferably off the tree in your southern window. Otherwise, from Florida.
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp maple sugar, available at Fair Food Farmstand
1 tsp Maine sea salt, available at Fair Food Farmstand
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or a crushed dried red pepper, spicy as you like

To this mixture add:

1/3 to 1/2 head of cabbage, available at Fair Food Farmstand or your local farmer's market
(Fair Food has wonderful pale, sweet cabbage)
1 carrot, julienned fine
(delicious sweet carrots are available from the Rineer family, who will be at Rittenhouse Square starting Saturday, May 10th, 10 until 2.)
1 cup of daikon radish, julienned fine
(available at Fair Food Farmstand)
1 persian cucumber, julienned fine (available from Hillside Orchards, every Saturday from 10 to 2 at Fitler Square)
1 handful of red radishes, sliced across and then into sticks (available at Fair Foods and the Farmer's markets

Toss and allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour. Then add:

1 tbsp organic canola oil
a handful of shelled peanuts
chopped lettuce or salad mix (now available at Fair Foods and Farmer's markets)

Toss and enjoy

Savory Tart

Okay, I'll admit that my shopping was sporadic this week so a lot of the ingredients that COULD have been purchased from farmer's markets were instead purchased at Sue's. And I happened to have a leftover pie crust from making apple pie. This could also be the topping for a good pizza...and of course, feel free to use whatever vegetables that are around the house.

Local Ingredients
Red Peppers - not quite in season, so purchased at Sue's Produce
Assorted Mushrooms from the Fair Food Farmstand
Asparagus - available at Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Shallots - available at Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Parsley from Sue's Produce
Goat Cheese - available at Fitler Square, Sue's, Fair Food Farmstand
Herbed Jack Cheese from Fair Food Farmstand

Make any recipe for pie crust you like, press into a tart pan and baked for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned (preferably using Pennsylvania Pastry Flour). This can be made in a pie plate.

Roast red pepper by placing under the broiler or roasting over an open flame. Place in bag or airtight container for 5 minutes and gently pull away skin under cold water. Cut or pull apart into thin strips.

Heat butter in large skillet until bubbly. Cut mushrooms into strips and toss into butter. Cook until dry and liquid absorbed, add olive oil as necessary to prevent sticking. Add finely chopped shallots and parlsey and cook until shallots are browned. Deglaze with sherry or water and remove from pan. Pour more sherry into pan and pour this over the mushrooms. Sprinkle salt over top and let sit.

Break asparagus into bite size pieces and add to skillet with butter or oil. Saute for a few minutes until crisp-tender. Place asparagus pieces and roasted red pepper into a layer on top of partially baked pie crust. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Top with mushroom mixture. Top with grated parmesan. Optional - top with grated local jack or cheddar.

Place in oven on 350*-375* and bake 10-15 minutes until cheeses are bubbly and crust is browned.

Green Salad

Just posting this to extol the virtues of fresh lettuce in springtime!

Local Ingredients
Green and Red Leaf Lettuces from Rineer Farms

Local and/or regional vinegars and oils are tough to find. I settle for buying from local merchants (meaning that at least the money flows back into the region).

1 T Trianna Organic Olive Oil bought from Joe's Coffee Bar
1 t Martin Pouret Vin Rouge Vinaigre d'Orleans bought from Claudio's
pinch of sea salt

Wash lettuces by hand and dry in a cloth towel (spinners tend to bruise these delicate leaves). Mix together dressing ingredients and toss with lettuce. Top with fruit, roasted red pepper, steamed asparagus or toppings of choice.