We invite you to come along on this food journey. Great food, fine wines and excellent beers. Let us know your favorites and please comment on our recipes. BON, BON APPETITE!


Search This Blog

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lehigh Valley Farmers' Markets

FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE can now be ours once again as many Lehigh Valley Farmers' Markets are now open. How wonderful to purchase tender young asparagus, bright, versatile rhubarb, and bright green early peas from a local farmer.

Most produce in the U.S. is picked four to seven days before it appears on supermarket shelves. It's astonishing to learn that it's shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold! This is taking into account only U.S. grown products -- when you consider produce is also shipped from Mexico, South America and Asia -- those distances increase by leaps and bounds! We need to stop and consider the very high energy costs we are paying for!
Local food is also more nutritious. Once harvested, produce quickly loses its vitamins and minerals. In addition to the energy conservation and health benefits, buying local produce also helps preserve open space. By spending our money on locally grown food, we're increasing the value of the land to the farmer and making development less likely.
Two excellent websites where you may read more about the benefits of buying local food are:

The Emmaus, Saucon Valley and Easton Farmers' Markets are all open and the Allentown and Bethlehem Markets will be open in early June.
Did you know that the Easton Market is America's LONGEST RUNNING open-air market and is celebrating its 257th year in operation? This year, the market has added wine and cheeses to its vast array of produce, dairy products, meats, bakery items and flowers.
HERE are some good recipes made that can be made with fresh local produce now in season.

We'll need to wait just a few more weeks for the strawberries!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
3 cups rhubarb, finely cut

4 T flour

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 T butter

1-1/4 cups sugar

Dash cinnamon
Combine ingredients and pour into a 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Bake in 400 degrees F oven for 35-40 minutes. Top with fresh whipped cream.

Chilled Strawberry Soup
A favorite recipe from Homestead Farm, Poolsville, MD.

2 pints strawberries (1 quart)

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 cups plain yogurt

Wash and hull strawberries. Puree strawberries with the water in container of blender. Pour mixture into large bowl; stir in orange juice, sugar and cardamom until sugar is dissolved. Blend in yogurt; chill.Serve in chilled bowls garnished with additional sliced strawberries and sprigs of mint, if you wish.

Grilled Asparagus Salad
Servings: 6
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
12 fresh asparagus spears
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon seasoned slivered almonds

Preheat a grill for low heat. Combine the lemon juice and olive oil on a plate. Place asparagus on the plate, and roll around to coat.
Grill asparagus for about 5 minutes, turning at least once, and brushing with the olive oil mixture. Remove from the grill, and place back onto the plate with the oil.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and slivered almonds. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces, and add to the salad along with the lemon juice and oil from the plate. Toss to blend, then serve.

Here is a version of a Vegetable Paella to use those fresh green peas!
Vegetable Paella

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1green sweet pepper, cored and diced
1 sweet red pepper, cored and diced
1 cupfresh peas (may use frozen)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch saffron thread (not absolutely necessary but so nice)
28 fluid ounces vegetable stock
ground black pepper
10 ounceslong grained rice
1/2 cup fresh parlsey, chopped (optional)
1Dissolve the saffron in the vegetable stock.
2Prepare all the ingredients and have them lined up in front of you in the order listed above.
3Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the onions and garlic, cover and cook for about 3 minutes until soft.
4Then add the peppers and peas, stir in, cover again and cook for a few more minutes.
5Make a well in the center, put the tomatoes in the well and the paprika on top.
6Then add the stock (with the saffron if you have it), but make sure it doesn't overflow: If it gets more then half a cm close to the rim of the pan, stop adding stock and just use less rice.
7Season with pepper and stir.
8Scatter as much of the rice as you think will fit over the stock, stir it in gently, then allow it to simmer gently until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is cooked. This should take about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9Test a bit of the rice to see if it's cooked, add a bit of stock or hot water if it is not done.
10Stir in the parsley a few minutes before it has finished cooking, if you want to use it, then serve hot.
11Also nice cold eaten as leftovers.

No comments:

Post a Comment