Lifestyle

A farm fresh list: Bellevue Farmers Market provides a country feel

It’s a straight run along Bellevue Way as I leave Mercer Island for my weekly trek to the Bellevue Farmers Market. I just can’t wait to pick up some fresh seasonal produce — the ones my husband, Dave, doesn’t grow. I also love to sample the artisan breads, check out the cheese samples, watch a cooking demo or buy the catch of the day.

The Bellevue Farmers Market is open from 3 to 7 p.m. each Thursday through Oct. 11 in the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way Northeast. Now in its third year, this local phenomenon has fans standing in line.

Pave Bakery from Everett, Wash., arrives every week at the market and I usually rush over to buy their yummy lemon-glazed tea bread. I have yet to make any lemon loaf as good as theirs, but I continue to test my recipes looking for it. I am not the only one who has discovered this great lemon loaf — others race in for it, too.

Each visit to the market is a joy. I spend time picking out flowers from Yang Garden from Carnation, Wash., seafood from Wilson Fish in Federal Way, Wash., cheese from Golden Glen Creamery in Bow and Black Sheep Creamery in Adna, Wash., and bread from Preston Hill Bakery in Preston, Wash. Vegetables come in weekly from Homestead Organic Produce in Quincy, Wash., River Farm in Ellensburg, Wash., Willie Green’s Organic Farm in Monroe, Wash., and Tiny’s Organic in east Wenatchee, Wash.

Walking up and down the rows of vendors, I often see other Eastside friends doing the same thing, buying the freshest of the season straight from the farmers. It doesn’t get much better — that is, until I get a whiff of freshly made Pizza from Veraci. They come to the market complete with their stone oven!

The mission of the Bellevue Farmers Market is to support small family farms by providing a viable place for them to sell their farm-fresh produce directly to the consumer and to provide a community event for Bellevue that is festive, educational and beneficial. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting our local rural economy, farmland preservation, small family farms and small businesses.

The Bellevue Farmers Market also supports Hopelink, a local nonprofit organization serving the needs of homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities across North and East King County. In 2006, Hopelink received more than $8,000 worth of donated fresh produce.

This year, sponsors include Wells Medina Nursery, Pryde + Johnson, Overlake Hospital Medial Center, D.P and Janice Van Blaricom, HomeInstead Senior Care, Rowley Properties, Inc., and The Bellevue Block Cherie Lang, Windermere Real Estate. Also, King County is providing $15,000 in funding and the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue provides their site for the market free of charge, including water, electricity and garbage disposal.

Another way to enjoy fresh farm produce is to sign up for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program where you can order a small, medium or large box of fruits, vegetables and herbs for yourself or to share with a friend. The medium box is best for a family of four. Call (425) 333-4677 or fill out a form online to sign up at www.fullcirclefarm.com/details.html. You can even pick it up on Mercer Island! In the meantime, try some of the recipes below with organically grown in Washington produce.

PUGET SOUND FRESH GARLIC ROASTED BABY POTATOES

Search out 2 or 3 lbs. of Puget Sound fresh potatoes. Try combining reds, blues, yellows and whites for a colorful and flavorful dish. This recipe came from Cindy Chonzena of The Tasteful Approach Catering in Everett.

2 to 3 lbs. potatoes

3 to 4 tablespoons butter

2 cloves of garlic, diced

garlic salt, to taste

Montreal seasoning (at Albertsons or QFC)

Wash and quarter potatoes. Place in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle diced garlic, butter (or margarine or olive oil) over potatoes. Add garlic salt and Montreal seasoning. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until potatoes are done, about 45 minutes.

GREEN BEAN AND ZUCCHINI FRITTATA

New Roots Organics in Seattle said, “A delicious variation for this frittata recipe is to substitute the zucchini for caramelized onion.” A lovely breakfast or brunch dish.

6 eggs

3 tablespoons. milk (approximately)

1/4 lb. green beans

1 zucchini, quartered, then sliced

1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tsp. fresh

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cheese and dill. Wash and steam the beans until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. The zucchini can be saut/ed first, and then added to the mixture. If you are short on time, then just add it in without saut/ing. Then add the beans to the egg mixture.

Pour into a medium-sized non-stick saut/ pan (one that is also oven proof) and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the bottom is cooked.

Put the pan in the broiler on the lowest rack for another 2 to 3 minutes, checking to make sure it does not burn. Transfer to a plate, garnish with more fresh dill and Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with roasted potatoes and toast!

HALIBUT WITH GARDEN MINT BLUEBERRY SALSA

This halibut dish serves 4 people. Worth making when blueberries are at the market.

Recipe came through Puget Sound Fresh Farms and Restaurants.

SALSA

1 cup blueberries

1 cup mixed red & yellow peppers, finely diced

2 small green onions, chopped fine

1 tablespoons poblano chile, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1 tablespoons red wine vinegar

juice of 2 limes

juice of 1 lemon

FISH

1 lb. halibut fillets, cut into 4 pieces

salt and pepper to taste

4 mint sprigs for garnish

Combine the salsa ingredients into a small bowl. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours to allow flavors to develop.

Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals (or pan sear in a hot pan on the stove) 4 to 5 minutes per side, turning once, until fish is opaque.

Warm the salsa in saucepan on very low heat. Place each fillet on a plate. Top with warm salsa and garnish with mint.

GOLDA SIMON’S COLORFUL COLE SLAW WITH GARLIC AND HERBS

“The delightful thing about this Puget Sound Fresh salad is its versatility. By varying the types of cabbage, peppers, onions and herbs, you can have a different coleslaw each time you make it,” said Simon. Yield, about 2 quarts.

8 cups assorted Puget Sound fresh cabbages, finely shredded (green, purple, Napa or Savoy)

1 cup assorted peppers, very thinly slivered (any color bell, Anaheim or Gypsy peppers, or a bit of jalapeno for a spicy bite if you wish)

1 cup assorted onions, thinly slivered or sliced (red, yellow, or scallions, which are also called green or spring onions)

1 cup Puget Sound fresh herbs, finely chopped (flat leaf parsley, dill, cilantro, thyme)

DRESSING

1/4 cup mayonnaise or silken tofu

2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar (white wine, rice or tarragon vinegar)

1/2 -1 teaspoon garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

(If you like a coleslaw that is more moist, just double the dressing)

Place all the vegetables and herbs into a large bowl. Mix all the dressing ingredients until very smooth. If you use tofu, mix in food processor, blender or with an egg beater. Taste and adjust seasonings. Combine all the ingredients well and chill. Best eaten within two days.

PRIMO GRILL’S GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

This tasty salad serves 4.

FOR THE GRILLED VEGETABLES

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 sweet onion

1 ripe tomato

1 small eggplant

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves

salt and pepper

SALAD

8 oz. mixed greens

1.5 oz. balsamic vinegar

4.5 oz. olive oil

salt and pepper

1/4 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Fire up the outdoor grill and let the charcoal burn until it is gray and covered with a layer of ash. Slice the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Cut the onion and eggplant into3/8-inch rounds and quarter the tomato. Brush all the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of thyme. Place all the vegetables (except the tomato) on the grill and cook until they are nicely marked and slightly wilted. Add the tomato, skin-side down and cook to warm through. Remove all the vegetables from the grill and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Whisk the oil and vinegar together and season with salt and pepper. Toss greens in the balsamic vinaigrette and divide onto four serving plates. Arrange the vegetables on top of the greens and garnish with basil and parmesan. Serve immediately.

JEANNE JUDD’S GRILLED SUMMER VEGETABLE SOUP

Judd has Sweet Basil’s Cooking School in Edmonds, Wash. I had heard that this was a fabulous summer soup recipe from one of her admiring students.

Serves 6.

3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 46 oz. can tomato juice

3 tablespoons. fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 small clove garlic

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 yellow summer squash (about 6 ounces), cut in half lengthwise

1 zucchini (about 6 ounces), cut in half lengthwise

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 medium onion, peeled and cut into1/2 inch rounds

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips

Combine celery, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and thyme in a food processor. Process until smooth and pass through a fine sieve. Pour 1 cup of the tomato mixture into a bowl and set the remaining mixture aside.

Heat grill to medium hot. Dip squash and zucchini halves in tomato mixture to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill until they are just charred and tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside.

Repeat, dipping and seasoning the onion rings and pepper strips. Grill until lightly charred and tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side for onions and 2 minutes per side for the peppers. Cut in half the zucchini and squash into 2-inch lengths and place in a food processor. Add half of the onions and peppers and reserved tomato mixture; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Cut remaining half of the vegetables into 1/4-inch dice and add to the puree. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled.

CAULIFLOWER WITH GARLIC CRUMBS

Author Joanna Farrow of the “Four Ingredient Cookbook” suggests serving this dish as they do in Italy, with pasta. Note, when buying cauliflower look for the creamy white colored florets with the inner green leaves curled round the flower. Don’t select cauliflower with discolored patches or yellow leaves. You can substitute broccoli florets for cauliflower in this recipe. Serves 4 to 6.

1 large cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

6 to 8 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

21/4 cups dry white or whole wheat bread crumbs

3 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or chopped

Steam or boil the cauliflower in salted water until just tender. Drain and leave to cool. Heat 4 to 5 tablespoons of the olive oil or vegetable oil in a pan, add the breadcrumbs and cook over medium heat, tossing and turning until browned and crisp. Add the garlic, turn once or twice then remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and then add the cauliflower, mashing and breaking it up a little as it lightly browns in the oil. (Cook just until lightly brown; do not overcook.)

Add the garlic breadcrumbs to the pan and cook, stirring until well combined, with some of the cauliflower still holding its shape. Season and serve hot or warm.

PICNIC POTATO SALAD

This simple and fresh salad is from Pioneer Organics in Seattle. It serves 4 easily and can travel well as this salad doesn’t contain any mayonnaise.

11/2 lbs. red potatoes cut into large cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1/4 cup red onion, very finely diced

1/4 cup basil, chiffonaded (cut into thin horizontal strips)

salt

freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan, cover potatoes with water. Salt water generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain cooking water. While potatoes are still warm, gently stir in olive oil, champagne vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. When potatoes are cool, stir in onion and basil. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Eileen Mintz has been a culinary consultant for the past 17 years. She can be reached at 232-1984 or by e-mail at eileenmintz@comcast.net.

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