Muffuletta on the Menu

muffuletta If you love a good ol’ muffuletta, you’d better get yourself to the GTF Farm Stand for lunch this week!  Featured on the menu is a muffuletta-inspired GTF porchetta sando, complete with mustard aioli, a caper-olive-mint spread, and our house pickled peppers.  This hefty sandwich is served with ceci (garbonzo bean) and carrot salad and is only $9.50.

rickypizzaandchowderPictured above clockwise: Chef Ricky slices the poached tarragon and garlic dressed pork shoulder to be placed in between two slices of our very own pugliese bread, baked fresh on the farm. Seafood chowder with rock fish, white shrimp, manila clams, and topped with farm fresh kale.  This chowder is creamy but not rich, with a hint of sweet tomato. And finally our lamb  sausage pizza with mozzarella and balsamic onions.

We love it here, and we hope you do too!

 

Rhubarb – A Market Crew Member Speaks

The best thing about rhubarb for me has always been that it is red. In the usual Pacific Northwest Spring through to “Junuary” (a common term used by market folk) the weather is usually cool. Spring feels “late,” and the dedicated GTF market crew will do all that we can to keep the donuts from getting rained on. At sunrise when you open a market tub full of rhubarb, you are excited to see the rich and vibrant red amongst the sea of green you will need to display before the crowds start rushing downtown.

Unlike many of the market shoppers, I don’t have great memories of strawberry rhubarb pie. I am not sure we ate much pie at all during my childhood. And to be honest, I always thought it strange for the combo; rhubarb and strawberries don’t have much overlap on the market shelves. I have since tasted strawberry rhubarb pie and it is a no-fail tasty treat, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t what drives me to pull rhubarb off the shelf.

For many years, I passed rhubarb up altogether, until I met and studied with Laura McCandlish, an incredible blogger, writer, and radio personality. She has a way for turning me on to almost anything. Several years ago in a Master Food Preserver class she demonstrated making rhubarb syrup with the same variety of rhubarb that we grow and sell at Gathering Together Farm. The color again was incredible – a hot magenta-pink.  She suggested using it in sodas and mixed drinks.  Two years ago, she used the same the syrup to make Italian ice with fresh mint. The flavor combo was perfect, and the frozen treat hit the spot for this eight-month preggo, at the time.

I started cleaning out my freezer early this year, because unlike the usual Oregon spring, this May feels more like July, and I want to make room for the blueberry harvest. I found two-quart bags of rhubarb and was inspired to make freeze pops to break this unusual heat. I boiled them down, added mint and honey to taste, strained, and voila: the taste of a cool sweet spring in a summery spell. Tonight I had the joy of watching three young boys gobble them down, and my 2-year-old son keeps dragging a chair to the freezer begging for more.

The Rhubarb Honey Mint Syrup Recipe

8-10 ribs of red-ribbed rhubarb, chopped
½ cup honey
3 Tbsp dried mint or double with fresh mint

In a large sauce pan, cook the rhubarb with some water on low heat. I used about 1 cup of water. Add mint. As the rhubarb starts cooking and more juice collects in the pain, raise heat to medium. When fully cooked, mash rhubarb and mint together. Strain juice into a bowl. Return to pot, add honey and warm until the honey is fully blended. Taste. This is the concentrated rhubarb syrup. Add more honey if you like it sweeter. It should be a nice blend of sweet and tart.

For ice pops, you can make a more concentrated pop, or a light and refreshing pop. It’s up to you. I added a little bit of water to the syrup. Pour into molds. If this is your first time using freezer pop molds, make sure that you warm the ice pop by running it under warm water to get it out of the mold. Don’t rush this, you will see the pop starting to release from the sides. Gently tug on the pop to remove. Enjoy!

JC’s Tarragon Pickled Carrots

A version of this recipe was first published here on Wayward Spark.

Much of what gets served in the Gathering Together Farm restaurant is the kind of thing that many home cooks wouldn’t want to bother putting together. It’s not exactly “fancy”, but a lot of it is fairly complicated. GTF’s head chef JC’s tarragon pickled carrots (often served with the pâte appetizer), however, are simple…and delicious.

This recipe starts with good, fresh carrots. (Y’all already know that you should never store carrots with the greens on because they get soft in a hurry that way, right?)

Tarragon is a strange and subtle herb, but it’s pleasant and does particularly well in this pickle brine.

This recipe is intentionally loose. The exact measurements are not important, but just to give you a little sense of the proportions, you can use about two farmers’ market bunches of carrots, one small bunch of tarragon, and 5 cloves of garlic. You’ll want to add salt to the brine first, and then balance out the saltiness with sugar to taste. 

JC’s Tarragon Pickled Carrots

equal parts white wine vinegar and water
salt to taste
sugar to taste
cloves of garlic, peeled
carrots, peeled and cut on a bias
tarragon
 

Bring the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and garlic to a boil. Pour enough of the hot brine over the carrots to completely cover them. Let cool and refrigerate. Pull out and discard the tarragon after 24 hours. Let the carrots sit in the brine for at least three days before serving.

These pickled carrots are not shelf stable. They should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten in a timely manner.

Ana Patty’s Cakes

A group of friends came out to the farm stand yesterday to celebrate a birthday. Here are a few tantalizing photos of this delightful strawberry cocoa cake created by Ana Patty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ana Patty’s Chocolate Guinness Cake

This week, both Ricky (#2 in the kitchen) and JC (head chef) celebrated birthdays, so on Tuesday, Ana Patty (GTF pastry chef) brought in a chocolate Guinness cake of her own creation to celebrate and share with the kitchen crew. This cake is moist, dark, and richly flavorful. The added Guinness isn’t an afterthought or a subtle “secret” ingredient but more like the star of the show. The crumb tastes like beer but in a delicious, chocolately way, and the light touch of Bailey’s Irish Cream in the whipped cream topping adds a little boozy complexity.

Chocolate Guinness Cake 

makes two 8″ cakes

very loosely adapted from a chocolate buttermilk cake recipe in Caprial’s Desserts

for the cake:

3 1/8 (1 lb) all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 good eggs
3 good egg yolks
2 1/2 cups Guinness beer
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons strong coffee
 

for the topping:

 1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream or other flavored syrup
dark chocolate (grated) or extra cocoa powder
 

*This recipe can be done with or without an electric mixer.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Mix dry ingredients together, and make sure no lumps remain. Add the oil and buttermilk and mix until thoroughly combined. Gradually add in the eggs and egg yolks a little at a time and mix until thoroughly combined. Add in the beer, vanilla extract, and coffee mix until smooth. The batter will be very runny (the consistency of chocolate syrup).

Grease two 8-inch pans and pour in the batter. Bake. Check the cakes after 20 minutes to make sure they’re not burning. Remove the cakes from the oven when an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 30 minutes total).

When the cakes are cool, whip the cream and then fold in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of each cake and then use a pastry brush to paint on the Bailey’s Irish Cream or flavored syrup. Sprinkle on grated dark chocolate or cocoa powder.

Ana Patty‘s cake was thoroughly enjoyed by the GTF staff. Though there were a few plates and forks involved, most folks unceremoniously picked up pieces of cake in their fingers and savored big bites of deliciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, we’d like to say a big Happy Birthday to both Ricky (May 2) and JC (May 3) and thanks to Ana Patty for sharing her cake and her recipe!