Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

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It's grilling season, and we're breaking out the grill for the upcoming weekend.  However, this season I've been excited to try on a few less typical barbecue flavors on.  With the recent addition in my life of naan and pitas, Indian foods and flavors, traditionally baked in extremely hot tandoor ovens are a natural first step. 

A slew of strong spices come together and are mixed with yogurt to produce a strong spice and keep this skinless grilled chicken dish moist and full of flavor.  We serve ours on a bed of grilled fresh green beans, straight from the garden and alongside steamed rice or homemade naan.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

1 whole fryer chicken cut into pieces or 4-6 pieces bone-in chicken with the skin removed
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 dry red chili, crushed

1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken pieces in a shallow bowl or dish and prick the flesh with a fork on both sides. In a separate bowl mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and all of the dry spices into a thick marinade. Pour marinade over chicken and spread to coat both sides. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Brush with olive oil before flipping. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, flipping one more time before pulling off the grill. Juices should run clear.

Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with grilled or steamed vegetables and naan.

Makes 4 - 6 servings. 

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Panko Asparagus Fries

I'm reveling in the warm weather, soaking my toes in it as long as possible and loving every single minute of it. Just two days ago, I was driving to meet a friend and was blown away by how quickly the weather can change. What was cold and gray with no signs of life a few weeks ago has changed to a forest of green: the grass, the leaves, the plants popping up from the ground.

At our farmers market, one of the first things to show up on vendor stands (besides plants for the garden, which I stocked up on last week) is the asparagus, so crisp and fresh you can snap into it raw and eat the tender spears like carrots. Nothing can beat fresh-from-the-market asparagus.

We baked our asparagus in a crunchy breading and served them up in place of traditional fries alongside grilled fare. They were bright and easy and the perfect springtime substitute. 

Panko Asparagus Fries

1 bunch thin fresh asparagus spears

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

Black pepper

1½ cups panko bread crumbs

½ cup shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Rinse and pat dry asparagus spears. Snap asparagus ends off. (Ends can be saved to make a wonderful vegetable broth!)

In a shallow dish, beat together eggs, Dijon, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine panko and Parmesan. One at a time, dip asparagus spears into the egg mixture and then roll in the panko, lining them up on the baking sheet about ½" apart until full.

Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Remove from oven and serve with aioli for dipping.

My children love artichokes. I realize this seems a bit of an odd thing to proclaim, but it is decidedly true in our house. My four-year-old daughter will bat her eyelashes and flash the puppy dog eyes at us next to the stand. "Please can we buy the ar-jokes today, please?" 

It's gotten to the point where they have turned to begging for them even when they're not in season. (I cannot complain, as artichokes are a naturally fat and cholesterol free food, a good source of vitamin C and high in fiber.) My kids are somewhat distracted by the marinated varieties that grace our pastas and become creamy dips during the holidays, but only once spring rolls in and fresh artichokes are basted on the grill or roasted in the oven are they truly satisfied.

My favorite way to eat artichokes is with a dipping sauce, either aioli or hollandaise. Aioli is gorgeous made from scratch, but you can cheat by adding lemon juice and garlic to mayonnaise, too. Do you have a favorite way that you serve artichokes?

 

Roasted Artichokes with Hollandaise

Artichokes:

4 artichokes (3-4″ in diameter)
1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375° F. Rinse the artichokes and peel off the outer petals of the globe. Cut the stem to a short nub. Fill a large bowl with water and squeeze the lemon into the water, saving the halves. Cut 1" off the tip of the artichoke. Rub the cut pieces with the lemon halves and then submerge the entire artichoke in the lemon water.

When all the artichokes are prepped, drain and place stem side down in a baking dish. Pour ¼ cup water into the bottom and drizzle artichokes with olive oil. Roast uncovered for 50-55 minutes. Serve with hollandaise sauce.

Hollandaise:

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Start a small amount of water simmering for a double boiler. Using electric beaters or a whisk, beat together egg yolks and lemon juice in a double boiler off heat until thick and the volume doubles. Place the double boiler over the simmering water and whisk rapidly. Slowly drizzle in melted butter while whisking until all the butter is added and the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat and add in cayenne and salt. Serve with roasted artichokes.

Editor’s Note: Artichokes are a wonderful spring vegetable that can be grown in nearly every climate of the United States. For another idea of how to cook with artichokes, check out Shaina’s Grilled Lemon, Asparagus and Artichoke Spring Pasta recipe.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Sources Cited: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, VegetableGardener.com

Something about the greening of the grass in my backyard spurs the urge to make brunch. Where cold and gray winter mornings have me reaching for a bowl of warm oatmeal, I'm now craving crêpes or a spinach omelet eaten in the morning sun with the day still ahead, just as the summer is yet to come.

It's such cravings that lead to the production of 80 cinnamon rolls as I search for the one I am dreaming of. Of course, now armed with the recipe, it's only right that we should tinker a bit, and what came next was the spreading of blueberry preserves, tucked into an ever-so-lightly lemon-dusted dough and baked into fist-sized puffs of breakfast heaven.

These lemon blueberry rolls take a traditional cinnamon roll dough and introduce it to the brightness of lemon zest and a filling of blueberry preserves. They are a fun and unexpected twist on the classic.

 

Lemon Blueberry Rolls

1 ¼ cups whole milk

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour

 

 

 

For the filling:

10 oz Cascadian Farm Blueberry Fruit Spread

 

Before baking:

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

 

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 teaspoons milk

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

 

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Turn the burner off and add  butter, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Stir to combine, then continue stirring until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to sit until it reaches between 110º and 120º F. Add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes, until it turns frothy. 

Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and start adding the flour a ½ cup at a time. Once all the flour is incorporated, cover and let it rise in the bowl for one full hour. Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Spread the blueberry preserves over the entire surface and roll into a long tube. Cut 1 1/2" sections from the tube for the rolls. Place 2” apart on a parchment-lined sheet or in a baking dish. Allow to rise for 45-60 minutes. The dough will continue to rise after you put it in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 425º. Beat together egg and water and brush over the tops of the rolls. Bake for 8-12 minutes, remove from oven.

Mix together all glaze ingredients. Drizzle lightly over warm rolls. Serve warm or up to 24 hours later if stored in an airtight container.

 

Makes 20 cinnamon rolls.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

When the air starts warming and the grass starts greening, we all start planning and prepping for summer nights with dinner eaten outside in the middle of our backyard gardens. I have been devising ways to make the process easier, and to refrain from balancing plates on knees and trying to cut food with dull knives. The solution? Put everything on a skewer.

Yakitori is a marinated meat that's grilled at fairly high temperatures on the grill. The skewers make it a perfect outdoor dining food with no utensils needed. We serve ours alongside skewered and grilled pineapple and vegetables.

Note: I opt for free-range chicken breast and all organic ingredients, and encourage you to do the same.

Yakitori

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons molasses or buckwheat honey

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2-3 lbs free-range chicken breasts, cut into strips (or chicken tenders)

Bamboo skewers

 

Mix together soy sauce, molasses/honey, mirin, ginger, garlic and white pepper in a shallow dish or zip-top bag. Add chicken breast pieces and marinate for at least four hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

When you're ready to grill the chicken, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes. Heat the grill to 400 º F (medium-high setting). Remove the chicken from the marinade and slide the chicken pieces onto the bamboo skewers. Place the skewered chicken on the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the skewer and baste with leftover marinade, grilling for an additional 1-2 minutes. Flip again and continue until chicken is cooked through and no pink remains when you cut into a piece. Total cooking time should be around 7-8 minutes, but will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces. 

Remove chicken skewers from the grill and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

The sun has finally been showing its face in my neighborhood, and slowly but surely, the snow is starting to melt. While the temperatures are nowhere near the shoulder-baring variety, they are warm enough to allow us to spend a few hours outside, even if it is only to pick up the debris from a long winter and get started cleaning out long dormant gardens.

With spring underway and summer around the corner, it's time to start thinking about picnics and summertime entertaining, and what better way to do it than with a few finger food dessert options, like mini cheesecakes with a hint of honey and the burst of summer blueberries

 

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 egg

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup Cascadian Farm Frozen Blueberries

2 teaspoons honey

24 mini phyllo shells

1 cup heavy cream

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add in ¼ cup honey, lemon rind and egg and beat. Stir in sour cream. Set aside. Over medium heat, warm blueberries and 2 teaspoons of honey in a saucepan until soft and juicy. Using an immersion blender, blend into a lumpy syrup. Add in ½ cup of the mixture to the cheesecake batter and stir to combine. Reserve remaining blueberry sauce.

Fill phyllo shells with cheesecake batter, just slightly below the top. Bake at 350º F for 15- 0 minutes until centers are set. Remove from oven and cool.

Just before serving, beat together 2 tablespoons blueberry sauce with the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Pipe onto the mini cheesecakes and garnish with a single blueberry and grated lemon rind.

Makes 24 mini cheesecake bites.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

I have a system of grocery shopping where I've figured out the products and brands I trust, and which stores to shop at in order to purchase them. So when I walk into my store of choice, go to the aisle to purchase the extra-soft, pliable pitas for gyros and hummus-dipping and find them sold out, well, a mini-crisis occurs in my head.

After a few weeks of hunting around in different stores, I was still pita-less and my need to whip together a bowl of hummus was steadily increasing. The desire to make my own pitas, born out of my love for hummus and gyros, was realized on the back steps of my house.

The problem I found in making my own pitas was that I wanted the bendable kind like you wrap your falafel or your gyros in, as opposed to the bubble-pocket pitas that you cut in half and fill. Most recipes lean towards the latter. Still, I persevered and my persistence paid off in soft, warm pita rounds that were perfect for dipping in hummus or filling with grilled vegetables and tzatziki sauce.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

1½ cups warm water, 110 degrees

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups whole-wheat flour

1-3 tablespoons olive oil

Pour warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and sugar and allow to stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Mix flours together. Add flour to the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all the flour is added, turn the mixture out onto an oiled surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover. Let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. 

When the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350º F. Punch down the dough and knead lightly to form a ball. Split into 6-8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball of dough into a ¼"-thick circle. Place dough on baking sheets covered in parchment or silicone baking mats and poke lightly with a fork.

Bake at 350º F on the lowest rack in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 4-5 minutes.  Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely and store until ready to use. Just before serving, lightly oil both sides of each pita round and heat on a grill, flat griddle, or in a frying pan over medium heat for 30-60 seconds per side, just until warm and easily pliable. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 pita rounds.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

As winter wears on, I tire of the root cellar vegetables like potatoes and squash and yearn for sprouts of green in the soil. The seeds are purchased, the garden sketched. Plans are in place to have a prolific summer.

Alas, it will be a few months before I can reap the goodness of my humble potager. Yet buried under all that snow, a few plants have made it through the winter. If I dig around my white-covered kitchen garden, I can find my rosemary plant, weathering the cold in style. It is here that the first fresh herbs will appear this spring.

A blue cheese and rosemary compound butter is easy to execute with a large flavor payoff in the end. It turns an everyday steak into something grand and dresses up even the root vegetables of winter, turning them into a feast. A bit of butter to top off the last spaghetti squash, to grace a pile of roasted baby reds or even the first spring asparagus will have you looking towards spring's sunshine in no time.

 

Blue Cheese and Rosemary Butter

½ cup butter, softened

¼ cup blue cheese crumbles

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

 

Mix together butter, blue cheese and rosemary until incorporated. Pack into a small, airtight container and store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Serve on vegetables, grilled meat and fish or over cooked grains for an added boost of flavor.

Makes ¾ cup compound butter.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Maple-Baked Fruit Parfaits

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 cinnamon stick

Pinch of salt

2 apples, pears, quince, peaches or other similar fruit

1/4 cup nuts

1 cup Greek yogurt or gelato/custard

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

In a small casserole pan or baking dish, add the butter. Place the dish into the oven for the butter to melt as the oven preheats. Slice your fruit in half. If using a stone fruit like peaches, remove the pit. Seeded fruits can have the seeds removed now or after baking.

If using a vanilla bean, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the melted butter. If using a cinnamon stick, break in half and add that to the pan. Stir in maple syrup. Place fruit halves cut side down in the pan and return the pan to the oven.

Bake the fruit at 400º until soft, about 25-30 minutes for pears and apples and slightly less time for peaches. Remove from oven and immediately remove the fruit, placing on serving dishes. Tilt the pan up to combine maple syrup with fruit juices that were baked out. Add nuts to the mixture and stir to coat. Scoop yogurt or ice cream into the fruit halves and then add the nut mixture to the top while still warm. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 fruit halves.


Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Chocolate O's S'mores Bars

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups organic marshmallows**

4 ½ cups Cascadian Farm Chocolate O's cereal

1/3 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chunks

Grease an 8"-square pan. In a large saucepan melt the butter together with the marshmallow. When it is completely melted and hot, stir in the Chocolate O's with a greased spatula. Stir in chocolate chunks and pour out into the prepared pan. Press down with greased hands or waxed paper.

Allow to set. Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 25 bars when cut 5x5.

**Organic marshmallow crème (7 ounces) can also be used in this recipe in place of marshmallows. Since they differ a bit from brand to brand, try a small test batch first to ensure butter to crème ratio.

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

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