Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spotlight on shishito peppers

Sweet shishito peppers are here! Find them from Happy Boy Farms 
for a few short weeks. Shishito peppers are often sold green, alongside 
padrons in the summer. Both padrons and shishitos, when green, can be 
sauteed in olive oil with a touch of salt for a snack or appetizer. 

Once matured, both peppers will turn red, but beware of the padrons! 
They pick up a good amount of heat as they grow. While the red shishitos 
look almost identical, they are sugary like a young bell pepper. Try them raw 
in salads, sauteed like their green counterparts, or whole as a snack.

You can find Happy Boy Farms at the following markets:

Castro (Wednesday)
Mission Community Market (Thursday)
North Berkeley (Thursday)
College of San Mateo (Saturday)
Temescal (Sunday)
Ft. Mason (Sunday)
Jack London Square (Sunday)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spotlight on Apple Picking

Many of you are from or have been to the East coast, and have experienced the wonderful New England autumn. The leaves are bright red and orange as you head north out of the city, and the air smells dry and cool and sweet.

Every year, my family picked apples for a day, and had apples through the winter. We kept bushels of them (literally) in our unheated back porch room, where they stayed crisp and fresh. We'd make pies, butters and applesauce, apple cakes and apple tarts, raw apples on toast and dried apples in oatmeal.

While I haven't had a chance to pick apples out here, I have been kept well-stocked by Devoto Gardens and Rainbow Orchards at the farmers market. Head to Devoto ($3/lb.) if you're jonesing for a tart, obscenely crunchy apple, the kind that was picked a few hours before market. Head to Rainbow for your baking apples ($1-2/lb), and gallons of fresh, unpasteurized cider ($10/gal). 

And if you're headed north, look for a hand-painted, side-of-the-road sign: fresh apples, or u-pick here. Stop. You won't regret it.

Try some apple cider muffins (the donut alternative) this week, featuring Rainbow Orchards cider. Order yours here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spotlight on early girl tomatoes

A happy, warm October 1st to you all! I hope you got to spend some time outdoors yesterday, now that it is finally summer. 

To me, nothing tastes more like summer than dry-farmed early girl tomatoes. Dry farming is a tried and true technique, used often for growing olives and grapes. Once a plant is established but before it starts to fruit, the farmer will cut off all irrigation (including sheltering it from the rains). The lack of water stresses the plant, and causes it to focus on bearing fruit. 

The resulting fruit is smaller and more concentrated than normal. In the case of tomatoes, this means a tiny, crunchy, and incredibly sweet treat. Dry farmed early girls are great raw as a snack, served slice with sea salt, made into a gazpacho, or roasted. We tried them on a pizza! (recipe below) You can also try them in this week's herbed tomato sourdough.

You can find organic dry-farmed early girls at most markets and some grocery stores from the following farms: Happy Boy Farm, Blue House Farm, Tomatero Farm, Fifth Crow Farm.

This recipe is what we used during our demo at the Eat Real Festival's community bread oven. Please substitute liberally, and feel free to send questions, or photos of your successes!

Early Girl Pizza

The dough:

1 c sorghum flour
3/4 c millet flour
1/2 c arrowroot starch
1/4 c white rice flour
2 t xanthan gum
1 1/2 t salt
3/4 t active dry yeast

Mix all dry ingredients except yeast. Add yeast to a cup of water in a separate bowl, and wait until it is dissolved. Add that mixture to the dry, and mix. The dough should resemble a very wet but still "kneadable" bread dough. Add more water if needed. Once the dough is mixed, let it rise for as long as you can stand. (this means at least 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours. If you make it more than 4 hours in advance, store it in the fridge).

The toppings:

6-8 dry farmed early girl tomatoes, sliced
fresh mozzarella or ricotta, if desired
fresh garlic, minced
olive oil
herbs if desired

Preheat your oven to 500 if it goes that high. Spread some cornmeal or other coarse flour on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Scrape out your dough onto the sheet and spread it to your desired size. You may need to wet your hands and the dough to avoid sticking. Rub some olive oil over the dough and bake for 5-10 minutes.

Pull out the dough, which should feel bread-like now, and top with olive oil, garlic, salt, tomatoes, and cheese and herbs if using. Pop it back in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned (easier to see if using cheese). Enjoy hot, preferably outdoors with friends.

If you have any questions about the recipe, or would like to share photos of your pizzas, send them my way! You can reach me at sadie at breadsrsly dot com.