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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Farmers Markets (5)

Tuesday
Jun142011

A Farmers Market Demo with Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote (gluten-free, cane sugar free, vegan options)


Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote

On Saturday, June 11, I gave a rhubarb-themed cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market during their weekly Market Talk segment. This was my third cooking demonstration at the market, and as usual, it was an absolute blast. Market Talk host (and local food blogger) Emily Noble and I walked the crowd through a brief history of rhubarb, shared suggestions for selecting and storing rhubarb, and gave advice on how to care for plants of your own. Then I demonstrated how to prepare Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote, recipes that I had developed for the event. Despite the rather chilly temperature and high gusts of wind that nearly took away our tent a few times, it was very sunny and the market was hopping. 

As usual, I had a wonderful kitchen setup to work with, complete with large stainless tables, utensils, a gas-powered double burner, and a snazzy microphone headset. Emily shopped the market that morning for the freshest, most beautiful rhubarb, apples, ginger, local honey and maple syrup, and a few other ingredients. I came armed with everything else I needed, including one of my favorite vintage aprons. 

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple CompoteStirring the Rhubarb-Apple CompoteExplaining the process for making Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Pickles

The crowd was highly engaged and interested, asking lots of questions and offering up their favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. They even laughed at my jokes! My assistant (yes, I had an assistant!) passed out samples, which were quickly eaten up by the crowd and received enthusiastic smiles and thumbs-ups all around. And the retention rate was excellent, even though the demonstration went well over an hour.  

Curious about the recipes? The pickles are a sweet and sour pickle, heavily flavored with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in an apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup) brine. They celebrate the natural sourness of rhubarb rather than trying to cover it with lots of sugar. It's like they say, "I'm sour, love me for it!"  The compote was the sweet counterpoint to the pickles, an aromatic and flavorful mix of apples, rhubarb, raisins, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, cooked together with apple juice. The high amount of pectin in apples allows the compote to thicken considerably, creating a luscious fruit mixture that is ideal eaten on its own, over ice cream or yogurt, or with pancakes or waffles. 

I passed out a recipe booklet of some of my favorite rhubarb recipes from my kitchen and my family's kitchen, which included both the pickles and the compote. The recipe booklet was a hit with the crowd and I will share it with you here on the blog. But first, I need to scan my hand-illustrated cover and attach it to the Word document, then set the whole thing up in Google docs so you can have access to it or figure out how to load a PDF into this post. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!  

In the meantime, I want to share the recipes for the two recipes that I demonstrated that day. I hope you enjoy them. Happy rhubarb season!

Previous Farmers Market demonstration recaps and recipes:


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Kim’s Sweet ‘n Sour Rhubarb Pickles 

By Kim Christensen

These pickles are inspired by cucumber bread and butter pickles. They are sour, sweet, and heavily spiced, and are a bold addition to a relish tray or served with Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African dishes. A fun and unexpected way to preserve the rhubarb harvest! I like this recipe because it celebrates the naturally tart, sour quality of rhubarb, rather than hiding it below lots of sugar. Rhubarb tends to be a bit fibrous and hard to bitd through, so you may opt to cut your stalks into shorter, bite-size pieces. 

Yield: 2 pints or 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I suggest using raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as those by Bragg's or Eden Organic)
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound rhubarb, thin stalks if possible (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 ½ inches peeled ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 dry chili peppers

Place vinegar, water, and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan over medium heat. While mixture heats, cut rhubarb stalks into lengths that fit inside the jar with approximately 1-inch headspace (about 4-inches long if using a pint jar). If your rhubarb stalks are much thicker, slice them in half or quarters so they are about 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch before cutting into 4-inch lengths. Set rhubarb aside.

Divide cloves, allspice, and fennel between the jars. Then place rhubarb stalks inside, tucking sliced ginger, chili peppers, and cinnamon sticks between the stalks.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over rhubarb until jars are full, leaving about ½-inch headspace and making sure rhubarb stalks are fully covered. If you have leftover brine, save to use for salad dressings or other pickling projects.  Screw on jar tops and let cool on kitchen counter until approximately room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator. For best flavor, let sit for 1-2 weeks before consuming. 

IMG_2255.jpgRhubarb Apple Compote served over organic yogurt is a wonderful breakfast or light dessert.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote 

By Kim Christensen

Sweet and aromatic, this compote is excellent served warm or chilled. For a simple fruit dessert, it can be served alone, or spooned over yogurt (as in photos above) or ice cream. It is also very good served over pancakes or waffles. For a savory twist, serve alongside grilled or roasted pork or chicken. The flavors of this dish are perfect for autumn, so freeze some of your rhubarb to use later on this year when the seasons change!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound rhubarb) - use either fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3 apples, quartered, cored, and chopped in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound apples)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (or more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare rhubarb and apples as directed. Place in a saucepan with raisins/currants, apple juice, and spices. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Replace cover and let sit for 3-5 more minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools. This is also excellent served chilled. 

Friday
Jun102011

Gluten-Free Travel Adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area

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I recently returned from a trip to visit a friend in Berkeley, California. I spent 5 glorious days roaming the San Francisco Bay area, hitting up tourist destinations and wandering lesser visited areas too. The Bay Area is a wonderland of gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods places. Put simply: I did not suffer. Quite the opposite, really - I think I ate my way through Northern California!

I wanted to share some of my favorite food destinations with you, as well as some other sites from my trip. I hope you enjoy!

Cafe Gratitude

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I have heard about Cafe Gratitude for years. It is a mecca for anyone who loves whole food, gluten-free food, vegan food, organic food, or really good food.  From their website:

"Café Gratitude serves a menu of 100% organic, 100% vegan, local fare.  Our food is free of refined sugar, flour, and additives.  We have an extensive menu of raw foods and have recently expanded to serve cooked foods in many of our locations. We create all of our own food -from the produce bin to your plate - so we can avoid serving certain common allergens like wheat, soy, and peanuts. Over 45% of our produce comes from our Be Love Farm, and the compost from our Cafes is returned to the farm to nourish the next meal."

How awesome is that?!

My burning desire to go there was happily obliged by my friend and host, as we ended up going there three times in five days! Seriously. Two of the trips to Cafe Gratitude involved a meal. Due to the large number of items on the menu that include nuts or other allergens for me, my options were somewhat limited. Thankfully, the item on the menu that looked the best to me was also totally Kim-friendly. Named "I Am Whole", this bowl was a mixture of kale, carrots, quinoa or rice, homemade sauerkraut, sunflower sprouts, and sea vegetables, all doused with a garlicky lemon tahini sauce. I added sliced avocado (an extra charge), and asked for the tamari almond garnish to be left off. The portion was enormous, and it looked gorgeous. The flavor was fresh and clean, and the meal left me feeling satisfied and energized. My friend ordered handmade corn tortillas with beans, avocado, salsa and homemade cashew-almond "cheese". He adored it, and ordered the second time we went back!

The environment at Cafe Gratitude is really soothing and calm, and I very much enjoyed it. It is, in some ways, what you'd expect - unbleached cotton napkins, glass water carafes etched with inspirational words, dialogue cards on each table. And on Fridays a darling, purple-clad woman named Ari gives angel readings. She read my angels and was pleased to find out that they totally have my back and are supporting all kinds of things I want to do in life. 

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I also tried their housemade kombucha. I tend to prefer a bitier, more sour kombucha, and although theirs was a little more sweet, I still enjoyed it. It had a very gentle fizz that was present but not very aggressive.

In addition to a full menu, Cafe Gratitude has a bakery/dessert case, a cooler case of packaged edibles, and a wide variety of specialty ingredients, cookbooks, apparel, and home goods. So, the other trip to Cafe Gratitude was merely for treats. I purchased the "Be Love" ice cream bar, made of coconut milk, cashews, agave nectar, vanilla bean, and dunked in a raw cacao chocolate shell. Honestly, I wasn't totally wowed. The texture of the ice cream wasn't as creamy as I would have liked - it was hard and full of ice crystals - but the flavor was good. I loved the chocolate shell, a dark and bitter chocolate that wasn't too sweet at all. By the time I was almost done with it, it had softened up to a more desirable texture, so maybe the trick is to let it sit out a bit before eating. Either way, it satisfied my craving for something cold and sweet.

I also purchased a package of Lemon-Coconut Raw Cookies (no photo, sorry). These things were fantastic, made of shredded coconut, lemon juice, agave nectar, sea salt, and a few other ingredients and dehydrated into a sweet and chewy treat that is absolutely addictive. I don't remember how much they cost, but they were absolutely worth it. 

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I absolutely recommend Cafe Gratitude to anyone looking for a wholesome meal. Next time I visit the Bay Area, I'd like to visit Gracias Madre, the sister restaurant in the Cafe Gratitude chain. It specializes in organic vegan Mexican-inspired food, which sounds like a winning combination to me.

Cafe Gratitude

1730 Shattuck Ave (@ Virginia)
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone: (510) 725-4418

Other locations in California listed on their website: http://www.cafegratitude.com/

 

Philz Coffee

Voted the best coffee in San Francisco by SFWeekly, Philz Coffee was an absolute revelation. My friend and host proudly names this establishment as his favorite coffee indulgence, so we made sure to go the first morning I was in town (and also the last morning I was in town, actually). I walked in the cafe to find a wall of coffee beans, cheerful baristas, and a bakery case full of fresh baked goods (including vegan options) and two shelves of packaged, locally made gluten-free cookies and brownies. What makes Philz so special is that each order is brewed one cup at a time, to the patron's specifications. There were probably 20 different types of roasts and blends, both regular and decaf. It takes a little longer than your average cup of joe, but the results are breathtaking.

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I actually moaned a little bit when I took my first sip of Decaf French Roast. Their only non-dairy milk option is soy milk, so I opted for a splash of organic whole cow's milk in my order. It was the most divine cup of coffee ever; bold, dark, earthy, bitter, and almost a little smoky. I also indulged in a pre-made gluten-free Peppermint Chocolate Chip cookie. It was an absolutely indulgent way to start the day! Then we went to Cafe Gratitude and I ate my body weight in that I Am Whole bowl.

Oh, and just as a side note, there is an amazing shop full of beautiful jewelry next door...

Philz Coffee

1600 Shattuck Ave. at Cedar

Berkeley, CA 94709

There are other locations in the Bay area as well, they are all listed on their website:http://www.philzcoffee.com/

 

Ikaros Greek Restaurant

I arrived in California hungry and tired. I needed food immediately! My friend and I decided on a Greek dinner at Ikaros Greek Restaurant, which he had never been to but had heard good things about. In short: it was wonderful. The server was friendly and knowledgeable and very accomodating with my dietary needs. While the kitchen certainly is not gluten-free, they were allergy aware and I was able to get a very wonderful meal. We started the meal with dolmas (stuffed grapeleaves), which were freshly prepared and flavorful. For my main course, I had marinated lamb chops, sauteed vegetables, and herbed rice. My friend ordered a lemon roasted 1/2 chicken, which also came with rice and vegetables. We also got a simple salad of shredded cabbage, carrot, lemon juice, and olive oil. The meal was heavenly! My lamb chops were so tender and flavorful, perfectly done and just a little charred. My friend's roasted chicken was moist inside with a wonderfully crisp, flavorful skin. The rice pilaf was buttery and flavorful, each kernal of rice perfectly done. The vegetables were the low point, which were a little too oily and overcooked for my taste. On the flip side, the cabbage salad was very good, a welcome light and crisp addition to our heavier meal. 

I would definitely recommend this restaurant - the prices were reasonable and the quality was excellent.

Ikaros Greek Restaurant

3268 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 899-4400

webiste: http://www.ikarosgr.com/

 

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The Turkish Kitchen

I don't have any food photos to share, but this place was very good. The only Turkish restaurant in Berkeley, The Turkish Kitchen serves a wide variety of authentically prepared Turkish foods. While it wasn't extremely safe for gluten-free folks (no dedicated fryer, wheat everywhere in the kitchen, and a limited understanding of allergy needs), I was able to find a good and safe meal after a little trial and error. The falafel was fantastic (with no wheat in the mix), but is fried in a fryer that is shared with gluten. I also had hummus and a very nice salad. Beware, however - the rice is actually a rice pilaf, and contains orzo, a fact that wasn't made clear to me until it arrived at my table. If you have a wheat allergy, please don't eat the rice. In addition to a wide variety of delicious meat dishes, The Turkish Kitchen also had lots of options for vegans and vegetarians. The food was delicious and affordable, and it worked for me, as I can share equipment/fryers/etc with wheat from time to time and be okay. But if you are extremely reactive, I wouldn't recommend it. 

The Turkish Kitchen

1986 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704

website: http://turkishkitchenberkeley.com/

 

Grand Lake - Oakland Farmers Market

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is find the local farmers market. In the case of the Bay Area, my friend presented me with four different markets we could attend that were near to his home. We chose to attend the market he frequents most often, the Grand Lake Farmers Market. 

Located near Lake Merritt, this market is in a very urban, busy location in the city, just off the highway. But once you enter the tent community, you feel transported into an agricultural wonderland. This market had it all: fresh fruit and vegetables, locally raised cuts of meat and locally produced charcuterie, freshly prepared tacos and tamales, honey, breads and other baked goods, locally grown dry beans, mushrooms, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and more. I was impressed at the wide variety of unique this as well - Easter egg radishes, unusual wild greens, foraged mushrooms, flavored honeys. Also, it was so amazing - alarming, really - to see so much fresh fruit at the market. It's cherry season, so there were cherries everywhere, and fresh locally grown avocados. 

The notion of being able to get fresh, locally grown avocado is somewhat of a miracle to this northerner. 

Beyond the wide variety, I was truly wowed at the presentation. Most vendors went out of their way to produce a beautiful display for their foods, and I found myself charmed on a constant basis. Since we were on the move that day and not cooking, I had to limit my purchases. Nonetheless, I left with Duck Rillettes, a Smoked Cured Duck Breast, fresh pea pods, and dry gigante beans. I don't know what I was thinking not getting a big bag of cherries for snacking!  

Grand Lake - Oakland Farmers Market

At the Splash Pad Park on the corner of Grand Ave and Lake Park Ave.

Saturday 9 am-2 pm, year round

Click here for website

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Thursday
Oct282010

The Ravishing Rutabaga - or - It's Not a Turnip, People: four recipes for using a misunderstood root vegetable

Beautiful rutabaga, ready for eating. Image from "The Kitchn"

A couple weekends ago, I did a cooking demo at the Minneapolis Farmers Market called "The Ravishing Rutabaga - or - It's Not a Turnip, People".  The goal was to share recipes that celebrate a vegetable that I love deeply, but I feel is often misunderstood and underused!  It was a gorgeous day for the demo, becoming warm and sunny as the morning went on, and it was very well attended by fellow bloggers, cooks, friends, and passing shoppers interested in learning more about our earthbound vegetal friend. 

I wish I could give cooking demos everyday. I shared three recipes with the crowd - a crunchy raw rutabaga salad, mashed rutabaga and sweet potato, and a rutabaga cake. It was awesome!  So, I wanted to share the recipes with you too, plus another bonus recipe that I love. I only have photos of the rutabaga salad, so use your imagination!

The rutabaga is a delicious, nutritious, and versatile vegetable that is perfect for fall and winter cuisine. Wonderful raw or cooked, it is high in vitamins, is a good source of complex carbohydrates, and contains naturally anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. Don’t know what to do with it? No worries! Here's a bunch of information, flavor combinations and four easy recipes featuring rutabaga that will surely make you a fan.

As a side note, I might be a bit absent the next few weeks. I'm having a flare-up of Lyme symptoms, my internet access at home is gone, and I'm moving to a new place in a few weeks. I'm busy and not feeling well. So, I'll be posting round up and kick-offs for the next SOS Kitchen Challenge, but might not be post much else the next few weeks until I get settled in in my new place and am hopefully feeling a little more sprightly. 

In the meantime, just so you don't miss me too much (har, har), how about buying a copy of A Year to Eat Freely: 2011 Allergy-Friendly Recipe Calendar, the recipe collection I have for sale, and trying out some of those new recipes?  ;)

Okay, on to the rutabaga...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep242010

vegetable poetry and snippets of autumn

fall vegetables make me smile

Autumn is an inspiring time for me; I adore the color palette, the vegetables, the crisp air, the way the light behaves, and the multi-layered style of transitional dressing. Here's a handful of images from the last week; lovely local vegetables ready to cut up for dinner, adventures with friends at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, and sites from my walk home after work today. I like the phrase vegetable poetry and think I'm going to post photos like the one above more often, because they just make me happy.  I'd like to think those vegetables above weave a phrase of their own, the highlights and the shadow creating a unique and natural meter.

Speaking of vegetables, mark your calendars!  On October 17th at 10:30 am at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, I'll be doing a demo entitled "The Ravishing Rutabaga", featuring delicious recipes using the often overlooked and oh-so-delicious root vegetable.  Come for recipes, samples, and to meet me. And, all things willing, I'll have copies of my upcoming recipe collection for sale.  More info on that soon, promise.  I'll remind you as the date approaches.

Okay, ta ta for now. I'm feeling a bit quiet today, so I'm going to let these images speak for themselves.   

IMG_2102_E IMG_2094_E hubbard squashes!fall bouquets at the Minneapolis Farmers Market fall flowers at the Minneapolis Farmers MarketIMG_2099_EIMG_2100_Ered hot habañeros  

 

 

 

Friday
Jul162010

New York, New York: Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Travel Adventures, Part II

Vox Pop cafe, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

I just got back from a long weekend in New York City. I was traveling to see my Lyme doctor, do a bit of siteseeing, and catch up with a handful of friends who live in the city. I had the pleasure of staying with Kim of Wallet-Friendly Wellness and her sister Steph. We had a wonderful time together talking about food, health, and catching up on general girl talk.  Staying with Kim and Steph was such a blessing, and I felt lucky to be be welcomed into their wonderful home with open arms.  

Most of my time in New York was spent in Brooklyn, and it truly stole my heart. Oh Brooklyn, how you charmed me with your beautiful restaurants, quirky boutiques, socially conscious coffee shops, awesome co-ops, beautiful parks, and wide assortment of hip young urban people.  It is much more calm and feels much more authentic than Manhattan - it was a relief to only go downtown on one day, and hang out in the slower-paced environs of Brooklyn most of the time.  I only ventured into downtown for my doctors appointment, which went very well. My doctor is pleased with my progress - hooray! - and things are looking good thus far. I am so thankful. Between spending time with such amazing women, having a great appointment, catching up with other New York-dwelling friends, and having lots of time to explore the city by myself on foot (my favorite thing about traveling).  And thankfully, I felt well enough to explore, which made me very, very happy.

New York is such a vibrant, amazing city. It is beautiful, ugly, energizing, exhausting, frustrating, and inspiring all at once. The diversity of people is incredible; I could ride the tubway all day long and never tire of just observing the people around me (I'm a recreational anthropologist).  Although I have now been to New York twice, I haven't yet set foot in a theater, museum, tourist attraction, landmark, or very many shops. Yes, I those things are great and I will go eventually.  But right now I am finding endless satisfaction in the richness of the neighborhoods and people that make New York New York. I love walking the streets and taking in the sites, sounds, and smells of wherever I am traveling, and New York is perfect for this kind of thing.  Where else can you walk down a single street and encounter a Jamaican restaurant serving ital food next to an Italian trattoria across the street from a Columbian cafe, a Caribbean market, and a Chinese take-out place, while hip hop blares from a boom box on the shoulder of a young African American man standing on the corner? And let's not forget two schoolbuses of Hassidic Jewish children playing in the park, followed shortly thereafter by a spontaneous discussion and photo exchange with a friendly Brazilian tourist named André and an amazing meal at a raw, vegan restaurant. 

New York, I love you.

I wanted to share a few images from my trip, as well as my experiences navigating the gluten-free and allergy-friendly food world of New York. I hope you enjoy!

Sisters

Carousel at Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

Park Slope neighborhood, Brooklyn

razor wire along Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn

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