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Sightings of Summer

Summer came to Bellingham this weekend! We have waited a long time.

Climbing into bed on Saturday night I was  reminded of how great it is to feel tired from the sun and tired from walking around town all day. It was perfect. It felt right.

Sightings of Summer-

Three children playing with a little red wagon, each with a pixie hair cut and dresses, like an image from 1957.

Lawnmowers.

Sprinklers. (seriously? it is going to rain tomorrow, you know)

Playing Frisbee on our extended front yard.

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Finds: a big bunch of spinach and a beautiful bunch of beets from Rabbit Fields Farm.

Beets mean summer to me. They are beautiful and earthy and oh so tasty. I roasted the beets for a salad, but then I just ended up eating them plain because they were so good.

{Beets, ready to roast}

{Beets, roasted and steaming}

Roasted Beets (from Good to the Grain, Quinoa and Beet Pancakes, recipe below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Place the beets in a glass or metal baking dish with about 1/2 an inch of water in the bottom.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until very tender, about 1 hour.
From this point you can eat them warm, chopped over a salad, marinate them, or puree and freeze so that you can make Quinoa Beet Pancakes later. Also, just enjoy the beauty of the beet juice left in your dish for a bit after eating them!

{Quinoa and Beet Pancakes}

Quinoa and Beet Pancakes (from Good to the Grain)

Ingredients

  • Butter for the pan
  • Roasted Beets, 3 medium-small red beets
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 egg
Method
  1. Roast the beets (see above). Cool, peel, and puree the beets in a food processor or blender until smooth. You will need 1/2 cup of beet puree (freeze the rest for later).
  2. Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, melted butter, egg, and 1/2 cup of beet puree until smooth. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. The batter should be the consistency of lightly whipped cream and crimson in color.
  4. Heat a griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter. Dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter on to the pan. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth before the next batch. Rub the pan with butter and continue with the rest of the batter.
  5. Enjoy with maple syrup and plain yogurt on top.
Variations
  • I am sure that I used 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and omitted the all-purpose flour. When you are eating beets I don’t think that you are probably too worried about the flavor of the whole wheat flour shining through.
  • Use honey or another sweetener, or omit altogether as beets have a lovely amount of sugar present.
Storage
  • These freeze well for later – just pop them into the toaster straight from the freezer.

Farmer’s Market finds Saturday, May 21:

    • Kale flowers (which I thought was broccolini last week), Giant Spinach, Lettuce, and Garlic Greens from Rabbit Fields Farm
    • Bunny Box CSA from Rabbit Fields Farm – I paid for my main season share – I will get a box of fresh, local, organic produce every week from June 11th to October 22nd – one step closer to becoming a more fresh, local, organic eater!
    • Nettle Soup with Creme Fraiche from 22 Greens (I am going for a salad next time – check out their video below!)

22 Greens at the Bellingham Farmers Market from ENW with Deb Slater on Vimeo.

And here is what I made for dinner with all of my spring greens:

Spring Greens Pizza with an Egg on Top

Spring Greens Pizza with an Egg on Top

Ingredients

  • pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • sauce and/or cheese (white sauce, feta)
  • fresh greens (spinach, garlic greens, kale flowers)
  • fresh eggs
Method
  1. Prepare your pizza dough a few hours before you want to eat. I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
  2. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature with a pizza stone set on a top rack positioned in the middle of the oven.
  3. Prepare your sauce while the dough is resting. I made a white sauce from my Betty Crocker cookbook because I didn’t have any cheese or red sauce.
  4. Form the crust and bake it for a few minutes on the pizza stone while you chop your greens. I did this so that the sauce would not interfere with the crispiness of the crust.
  5. Mix greens with olive oil and feta (I tossed my greens in the bowl I made my dough in because it had a little oil in it already and I wanted to limit Tommy’s time at the sink washing dishes after dinner)
  6. Take the barely cooked dough out of the oven, spread the sauce evenly over the crust, dump and distribute the greens, and if you are brave and feeling European, crack an egg on top.
  7. Bake your pizza until it looks tasty to you. To me, that means no runny egg whites, a golden crust, and wilted greens.
Gorgonzola Apple Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Jessica and I had a fun-filled Saturday morning: After walking in the Human Race at Zuanich Park to benefit the Arc, we stopped by the Food Blogger’s Bake Sale in Fairhaven. Jessica decided to try the Bacon and Date Scone, while I went for the more tame Chocolate Chip Cookie with Fleur de Sel. Both tasty.

Then to the Bellingham Farmer’s Market for some more nutritious food. We gawked at the beautiful flowers, chatted with friends, and made our way to the Rabbit Fields Farm booth. Roslyn has such beautiful produce and lovely presentation. We both ended up making frittatas with our veges:

  • Jessica made a Spinach Potato Pepper Frittata {spinach from Rabbit Fields}
  • I made a 4 Cheese Broccolini Potato Frittata {eggs from Tom Kat Farms, broccolini from Rabbit Fields}

4 Cheese Broccolini Potato Frittata

and I made a salad:

  • Gorgonzola Apple Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette {lettuce from Rabbit Fields, raspberry vinegar from Aunt Ellen}

His and Hers Salad (Gorgonzola for Her, Feta for Him)

Today I participated in the Whatcom Food Network Forum.  The point of the Forum was to “build common understanding and facilitate collaboration efforts toward a healthy and equitable food system for all.”

It was so interesting and energizing. I met some of my secret ‘heroes’ of Whatcom County: the people who grow our food, market and sell and distribute our food, and educate about food.

I was hesitant to register at first because why would they want a teacher there? But I soon realized that the schools are an integral part of the Food System, and we need to collaborate more so that everybody knows about where our food comes from in order to make healthy choices. People were seeking me out!

It is going to take me a few days to distill and crystallize everything I learned today, but I just wanted to share what a wonderful day I had with like-minded food people.

The closing question of the day: How do we work as a combined force to come into right relationship with food and diffuse that into the broader community?

Every other week, we get together with our friends for couple’s dinner. This started more than 3 years ago when J&A invited us over for curry after they got back from their honeymoon in Thailand.  We have continued ever since, each trading off hosting for the week. I love it.

What I especially love is planning the meal when it is our turn to host. Since returning from our trip around the world, I have tried to create menus inspired by the places we visited. I pull out the little trinkets and memories, scroll through the photos, and generally wish I was back in that far-off country.

The only thing I wish was different about couple’s dinner is the size of my table. It fits four comfortably. Six is tight. And, it would be fun to invite VIPs to join us.

Last week we hosted a Siwa Oasis themed meal for our friends.

Siwa Oasis is in Egypt. We visited in December 2009, with our dear friends Kathy-Ann and Max. To get to Siwa, we took an overnight bus from Cairo, travelling through the Egyptian Desert. Very flat. Very dry.

P1040470

Bathroom in the Desert, Egypt

Then, you are in the oasis. Surrounded by date palms and water.

P1040441

Tommy near Fatnas Spring, Siwa Oasis

P1040459

Rotisserie Chicken, Siwa Oasis

Both nights, Tommy ordered shish tawook for dinner. I ordered shakshuka the first night, and then shish tawook. It was so yummy. Probably because the chicken was fresh and well cared for.

P1040429

Shish Tawook, Siwa Oasis

The Menu, Siwa Oasis Couple’s Dinner

  • Shish Tawook (grilled chicken kebabs, from here)
  • Shakshuka (poached eggs in tomato-pepper goodness, from here)
  • Couscous Salad (not very authentic to Siwa, but it seemed to fit)
  • Pita Bread
  • Pistachio Cardamom Cake (two versions, from The Moosewood Cookbook and here)

Pistachio Cardamom Cake

During the week, we don’t often eat dinner at home.

Sunday nights we have dinner at church, some Mondays I have meetings that include dinner, every other Tuesday is couple’s dinner, Wednesday is small group and Thursday is Survivor night at the Lingbloom’s.

It’s great because we get to eat a variety of food and share a meal  in community. But, all those lovely dinners made by others mean that we don’t have leftovers to take for lunch. I can get by with a salad, apple and cheese for lunch, but Tommy needs a meal. So I try to cook large meals over the weekend that will be good for lunch. Luckily, Tommy can also eat the same thing every day if I set it out on the counter for him in the morning. (Ask him about my social experiments).

This weekend I combined the meal prep with cleaning out the pantry and didn’t have to buy anything special to prepare these freezer friendly items:

  • Buttermilk Waffles  – I used up the buttermilk I made a couple of weeks ago that I had stored in the freezer. I didn’t have quite enough buttermilk, so I “made” some by including whole milk with a little lemon juice.
Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk Waffles

  • Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach – I was cleaning out my tuber box and remembered that I bought a sweet potato a few weeks ago. It was definitely time to use that up, as well as a bag of lentils that has been in my pantry for ages. I have so many lentils and beans in my pantry that I am not allowing myself to buy any pasta products until they are all gone. We all know that pasta is way easier and yummier sometimes. The soup also took care of the celery and carrots that have been in the produce drawer for way too long as well as some home-canned tomatoes from last summer.
Tower of Lentil Soup

Tower of Lentil Soup

  • Zucchini Bread with Applesauce and ChocoChips – Tommy would eat the whole loaf if I let him! I used up 3 containers of frozen, shredded zucchini and only 1/2 cup of applesauce. We have a lot of applesauce.
We also got to play outside this weekend. Thank you, sunshine!

Wish I was…

Here:

P1030530

Cappadocia, Turkey

Eating this:

P1030673

Fruit Salad in Goreme, Turkey