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the 4th of july
My CSA pickup this week fell on July 4th. I expected that the Farmers Market would be packed because of the holiday, which means that parking would be even more difficult to find than usual. So, I took public transportation from my home in Hillsboro to Portland, a trip of approximately 20 – 25 miles.
Portland has won awards – deservedly so – for its outstanding public transportation system. From my home, I take the MAX light rail to Portland. From there, I can either walk the ten blocks to the Farmers Market or take a streetcar that stops at the market. Typically, I walk to the market and take the streetcar back to the MAX since I have packages.
When I arrived at the market, I saw that my predication was correct. It is packed! It didn’t hurt that the day was incredibly beautiful, hot and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. There was a great band playing and I could smell delicious food cooking.
The harvest basket contained rhubarb (again!), edible pod peas, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, a large zucchini, carrots (some orange and some purple) and a mint plant.
Since I was going to a July 4 party later, I planned to make my Mom’s Cole Slaw (recipe follows). I’m sure my mother never saw, let alone used, a purple carrot. But I have one and it added some color to the slaw.
One does not live on slaw alone so I also made pasta. Lately, I’ve been enthralled with toasted pasta. So, I did a take-off on Pasta Primavera with roasted (or grilled) vegetables and toasted pasta. I call it Roasted and Toasted Pasta Primavera (recipe follows).
Mom’s Cole Slaw
This is the Cole Slaw that I measure all slaws against. Maybe it’s because I grew up with this particular slaw. You may have to play around a bit with the sugar, vinegar and mayonnaise to get the taste you want.
1 head of cabbage
1-2 carrots (depends on size)
1 large green pepper
¼ cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably Best Foods/Hellman’s)
Grate first three ingredients. Mix rest of ingredients into the grated ingredients. Refrigerate.
If too much vinegar, add a little milk.
Roasted and Toasted Pasta Primavera
This is my twist on pasta primavera. Because you don’t have to boil each vegetable separately, this recipe is much easier to prepare. You can either roast the vegetables in the oven or grill them on the BBQ. You’re certainly not limited to the vegetables I’ve listed here. Try your own favorites. If you can’t find fresh pasta, use dried multi-grain pasta. This dish is also great at room temperature.
Serves 6 as a main course.
1 bunch broccolini (baby broccoli), or broccoli, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup edible pea pods
2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, sliced into 1-inch strips
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 pound fresh lasagna sheets
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 basil leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Mix olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. On a baking sheet, toss the broccoli, zucchini, squash, pea pods, peppers, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil mixture. Roast until tender, about 20 -25 minutes. (You can do this earlier in the day.) Add parsley. Set aside.
Reduce heat to 300 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Place pasta on baking sheets and coat pasta with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toast until golden, about 10 – 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, break the sheets into irregular pieces, about 1 – 2 inches . Transfer the pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente.
Melt butter in a large sauté pot; add chicken broth, the cream and cheese. Cook until smooth. Add the pasta and ½ the vegetables. Toss. Add rest of the vegetables and pine nuts. Toss again. Serve in heated bowls. Sprinkle basil over the pasta and serve immediately.