Monday, July 18, 2011

Farm to Plate Dinner at Kruger's Farm

Go down the dusty road, just past the market.
Park in the field in the back and then walk over to the immense old oak tree.
*Grand, isn't it**Looking out over the raspberry bushes which are
producing a bumper crop this season*
Command central
{Culinary creation station}
Just as we arrive, the lamb gets laid on the grill.
The aroma is Amazing!
Farmer Don is answering some questions.

Lori Emch of Tasteful Catering
produced an impressive menu.


Sandra's Pickled Vegetables

Olympic Provisions Cured Meats

Farm fresh eggs, poached with mussels, cream,

and a hint of curry-served on Ken's Artisan Bakery toast.

*It tastes even better than it looks, trust me*

*I was going to take pictures of everything but...

I was too busy enjoying all of the good food and the excellent conversations*

Fresh greens from the garden, with Rogue River Blue,fresh blueberries, local walnuts, and a raspberry honey mustard vinaigrette.


Grilled Leg of Lamb from Sudan's Farm marinated in a rosemary, lavender, garlic, stone ground mustard,

pinot noir, and blackberry confit.

Cedar Planked Salmon with brown sugar, orange, and Walla Walla onions.

Topped with sugar snap peas and pea tendrils.

Served over Zursun Idaho Heirloom Black Beluga Lentils,

apple wood smoked bacon, and date puree.

Kruger's slow roasted beets with local goat cheese & horseradish

Roasted baby carrots.


Italian Almond cake from the Dessert Tray (that's us!)

with Kruger's blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

and a Goat's Milk Tres Leches sauce.

Here's Lori coming around with more lamb.
There's blue sky! Look quick ;)
Miss "I don't like beets" is willing to give them a try... albeit reluctantly.*She discovered to her surprise that she liked them.*

It's clouds.
It's Sun!
It's clouds.
It's Sun!
The cake, like everything else, disappeared too quickly for me to
get a beauty shot of it so here's one from a previous dinner.
Just change out the strawberries for some blackberries & raspberries,
and replace the whipped cream with the goat's milk tres leches reduction.
(I need to ask Lori for the recipe for that, it paired nicely with the cake.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Currently I am on a serious Crepe bender. I haven't made them for years, then a couple of weekends ago I made a batch for breakfast and... have made four more batches since.
Note-They freeze really well.

Mostly I have been eating them with fresh Tazberries, which kind of look like a red blackberry, and some chocolate spread. Mind you, I thought I was buying a different brand of chocolate hazelnut paste from the usual variety because I know it exists. Trader Joe's had an excellent version because it wasn't as sweet and had more of a cocoa flavor but the last time I went to pick some up, it was no longer available.
The one thing that drives me crazy about Trader Joe's is how
they carry some items for a long time and then one day...
"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
And like that...he's gone."Roger Kint.

Anyhooo, I've found many recipes out there for the sweet style of crepe, road tested a few, then came up with my own hybrid version.

Crepes are essentially really thin pancakes and almost every country has some version, whatever name is it goes by.

So, here's mine with a few in process pictures to give you an idea of how simple and fast they are to make. It can be a little tricky getting the timing right while cooking but the results are well worth the effort.
*Mmmmmmmm, crepe.*

Steampunk Baker's Crepe recipe
(no gears added)

1 cup AP flour or white whole wheat pastry flour.
1 tsp Sugar, I use evaporate cane sugar because I like it.
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup 1% or 2% milk. *
3 Eggs, large. **
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter, melted & cooled. ***

*You can also use whole milk or replace part or all of it with something like hemp milk which is what I did in the last batch I made. You can use water too but other stuff has more flavour.
**I have seen recipes using one and others using four which gets too eggy in taste for me.
***A friend's recipe uses olive oil which works nicely as well.

So, first step.
Gather up your Mise en Place...means stuff you need: ingredients, bowls, spatulas, stove, etc.
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Then slowly whisk in butter until fully incorporated.
Then pour in the milk and whisk until combined.
I know a lot of recipes such as pancakes say to blend in the butter
after you combine the eggs and milk.
I've done that...You know what happens almost every time?
The butter solidifies!!!
Then there are little mini butter lumps floating in the liquid and batter.
Drives me bonkers.
However, if you mix the butter in before adding other liquids,
the butter will meld with the eggs because eggs have the nifty trick of being able to
incorporate a large amount of fat into them IF DONE SLOWLY!!!
The main reason that Hollandaise can be so hard to make sometimes i
because people pour the fat into the eggs way too quickly
and it breaks the suspension effect.
(Still fixable if you are careful though.)

*Now back to the recipe*

Pour half of the liquid mixture into the flour mix and whisk until fully incorporated.

Add the rest of the liquid mixture and whisk until completely blended.
*It should pour like a thin soup*
You don't need to worry about over mixing crepe batter. There is so much liquid that gluten can't develop enough bonds to make the batter tough and dense like it can with pancakes.
I haven't tried this with other flours yet but many should work because Buckwheat flour is often used when making savory crepes and it's gluten free.

This process can also be done in a blender or with a hand mixer but let the batter rest, refrigerated, for about an hour after to let the air bubbles dissipate. The batter is so easy to mix with a whisk that I never bother with the machines.

Looking ready to go.
I recommend having a very slick non stick skillet-makes life sooooo much easier.
*Let me just say, Non Stick equals easy.*
I actually picked up a non stick crepe pan years ago but even a well seasoned cast iron skillet can work just fine.
It also means that you may not need to put any oil or butter in the pan before cooking. If the first test crepe sticks, then you will need to add some oil or butter to the pan.

Pour a very small amount of batter into the pan to test if the pan is ready. Swirl the pan around very quickly to spread out the batter.
*Takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze.*

The crepe should get a hint of color on one side fairly quickly, then flip and let the other side cook for a little less. As for how much colour, that is up to you, I prefer it on the lighter side of golden.

You are ready for some serious crepe action now.
The crepes will cook off fairly quickly so be ready to swirl the pan once you pour the batter in so it spreads evenly over the whole pan.

As for how much batter to use, it depends on the size of pan. I usually use a little over 1/4 cup but I'm using a large ladle so I just kind of eyeball it as I sometimes the crepes are a little thicker than other times. C'est la vie.

Crepe in situ.

Hmmm, I believe it is time to partake of another crepe.
[Fork in hand]

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crazy cat lady moment

It's hot...
Well, for here it's hot...which must mean Summer has officially arrived to the Northwest.
I'm a moderate Summer kind of person which means mid 70's with a few clouds amiably floating along.

Warmer than that and my brain turns to goo, which it, rather than listen to me blather on mindlessly
(see goo reference and I am so glad I don't live where 100+ temps are the norm)
I will post pictures of my felines in all of their cuteness...which mostly means napping.

I do actually have a few posts in mid writing (crepes are featured in one) but I am waiting to take a couple of pictures for some and some extra free time to finish writing the others (another thing about Official Summer in the Northwest-lots of weddings).

Now on to the furry ones!

I call this one 
"Tawny in repose" 
or "Clean Sheets that I must immediately lay claim to"

 This one would be Scarlett
"I'm trying to NAP up here!"

"Why yes, I am extremely photogenic. Why do you ask?"
 "Zoom! Even while I sleep."

That is all of the crazy cat lady action I will thrust upon you today. 
Just consider this to be a cute interlude.