Tag Archives: oregon food blog

Fava Bean and Ham Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFava Bean and Ham Soup

I can’t even believe it.  It’s starting to feel like autumn.  The mornings are cool and the days are getting noticeably shorter.  As I look out my kitchen window, I see that the leaves on many of the trees are starting to turn yellow and some are even beginning the fall drop.  My garden is starting to wind down and the tomatoes are slower to ripen.  With the official start of fall in a few days, the first fall frost is likely to happen later this month or early October.  Once the frost hits, my summer garden is pretty much done for the season.  After that, no more fresh picked organic tomatoes, basil, beans, cucumbers or summer squash.  Bummer…  I will have to wait until next year for the convenience of fresh picked veggies or spend big bucks at the local co-op to get my organic fresh  vegetable fix.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bucketful of some of the last of the cherry tomato crop…  If you never have had home grown cherry tomatoes you are missing out big time.  Home grown cherry tomatoes taste so different than the ones you may find at your local store.  They are thinner skinned, juicier, sweeter and pack some hard core flavor.  One of my favorite things to do while watering my garden in the evening is to stand next to one of the cherry tomato plants and pop handfuls of these little red gems in my mouth.  They are so delicious!

While looking for some dried Lima beans at the grocery store yesterday, I ran across a bag of Bob’s Red Mill fava beans.  I’ve never cooked with fava beans before.  Fava beans looked like large Lima beans so I thought that I would give them a try.  Fortunately, the fava beans were shelled so I did not have to deal with the tedious task of shelling them myself.  All I did was to rinse them well and to pick through them to make sure that there was no debris mixed in with the beans.  I then soaked the fava beans in cold water for about 4 – 5 hours to soften them up.

My Fava Bean and Ham Soup is made with roasted tomatoes, bell pepper, celery, carrot and onion and then simmered in a good quality chicken stock with herbs and spices.  It’s a wonderfully hearty and flavorful soup that’s perfect for a cool fall day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried fava beans (shelled, picked over and soaked at least 4 hours)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound ham (chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Place a large sized heavy bottomed pot or a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid on the stove.  Turn heat to medium high and add canola oil, onions, bell pepper, celery and roasted tomatoes.  Cook, stirring constantly until onions are translucent.  Add remaining ingredients, cover, and turn stove down to simmer.  Cook for 2 – 3 hours until the fava beans are tender or to your liking, stirring occasionally.  Remove bay leaf.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Makes about 4 – 6 servings.

Golden Gazpacho Shooters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGolden Gazpacho Shooters

Every summer there comes a time when I have “almost” too many tomatoes growing in my garden.  Don’t get me wrong, I will eat fresh picked tomatoes with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s just that by mid summer they seem to ripen all at once.  I have limited freezer space at our home so that’s when I share the bounty with family and friends.  I could not imagine a single summer without home grown tomatoes in my garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeirloom tomatoes and nasturtiums

A few of my tomato plants.  I plant them in sturdy metal tomato cages to keep them growing upright and from falling over.  I also trim the leaves at the base of the tomato plants so all the energy in the plants gets redirected from growing leaves to tomato production.  Did you notice that I cram my plants in a really small space?  No patch of precious real estate ever gets wasted in my garden.  What you see here are early girls, lemon boys and my all time favorite, pineapple tomatoes.  I also planted nasturtiums at the base of the tomato plants.  The nasturtium flowers are edible and have a wonderful peppery flavor.  The bright colored petals are great for garnish or in salads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGromit

Whenever I head out the side yard to my little garden, my buddy Gromit is sure to follow.  He’s such a comical creature.  While out, he goes on what I call “cat patrol”.  First, he runs straight to the front gate to make sure that there are no uninvited guests in the area and then he follows the perimeter of the fence to ensure that the yard is cat free.  He thinks he’s such a tough guy.  It must be that spike collar of his…  I feel sorry for any unsuspecting cat that happens to be in our yard when he flies out the back door.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bucket full of fresh picked garden goodies.  The lemon cucumbers, yellow peppers and tomatoes will be going into my Golden Gazpacho soup.  The remaining heirloom tomatoes and peppers will be oven roasted and tossed in the freezer to be used at a later date when the tomatoes and peppers are no longer in season.  If you happen to have a bunch of heirloom tomatoes that are yellow or orange in color, be sure to set some aside to make some golden gazpacho.  If you love tomatoes and never had gazpacho before, you are in for a real treat.  Gazpacho is an easy to prepare chilled tomato soup that is Spanish in origin.  It’s wonderfully light, refreshing and delicious.  It’s like sunshine in a shot glass!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds vine ripened yellow or orange tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2- 3 lemon cucumbers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • big pinch of cumin (or to taste)
  • Garnish with tomatoes and basil

Rinse and remove skin and seeds from the tomatoes.  Cut into quarters.  Peel and chop the onion.  Slice lengthwise and remove the stem and all the seeds from the yellow pepper.  Wash, lightly peel and quarter the lemon cucumbers.  Peel garlic clove.  Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Chill well before serving.  Pour into bowls or into shot glasses for elegant mini appetizers.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and/or basil.  Makes about 6 cups gazpacho.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oregon Elk Stew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOregon Elk Stew

A few months ago I was invited to do a guest post for one of the best food bloggers that I know.  His name is Raymund and his blog is named Ang Sarap.  He’s a Filipino food blogger who is passionate about food.  What I love about Ang Sarap is that you never know what Raymund is going to dish up.  One day, it may be a traditional Filipino recipe and the next day he might serve up a platter of spicy Buffalo wings.  His food photography, versatility, and ability to cook is simply amazing!

The dish I chose to share with Raymund at Ang Sarap is my Oregon Elk Stew.  Elk meat is very low fat and high in protein.  It’s similar in flavor to beef and tastes milder than venison.  My Oregon Elk Stew is prepared with bright orange carrots, onions, celery, and zucchini and then slow cooked on the stove top with red wine and fresh picked herbs from my garden.  It’s best served with a scoop of mashed potatoes on the side and with a slice of your favorite crusty bread. 

Many thanks to Raymund for allowing me to be do a guest post on his site!  Those who have not met Raymund, please stop by, say hello, and most of all, subscribe to Ang Sarap.  You’ll be glad that you did!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 ½ pounds elk stew meat (beef may be substituted)
  •  2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 zucchini (chopped)
  • ½ quart beef stock or as needed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 Tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 – 2 Tbs canola oil
  • Dash of Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by cutting the elk meat into uniform sized cubes.  In a medium sized bowl, coat the elk meat with flour, salt and pepper.  Place a thick bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid (I used a Dutch oven) on the stove and heat to medium high heat.  Add canola oil and the elk meat.  Brown the elk on all sides, be careful not to burn.  Add beef stock and red wine to the pot and use a spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and oregano.  Turn heat down to low and cover.  Cook for an hour and a half or until the meat is fork tender.  Add carrots and celery and cook covered for an additional 30 minutes. If needed, thicken stew with a flour and water mixture. About 15 minutes before serving add zucchini.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Add a dash of Kitchen Bouquet for a richer colored stew (optional). Remove bay leaf and serve with mashed potatoes.  Makes 4 servings.

Beet, Chevre and Radish Crostini

Beet, Chevre and Radish Crostini

As a child, I despised beets.  Hated, hated, freaking hated them…  From what I understood is that beets came out of a can and no amount of money, begging or bribing could get me to eat them.  No way, never, nope, nuh uh, not happening…  Ever.

And then I grew up…

It was only a few years ago when I rediscovered beets.  In my opinion, beets now taste delicious.  Beets are beautifully colored, richly flavored and earthy.  I can’t believe I just said this out loud.  I like beets. I like them roasted, baked or sliced on a green salad.  Red or golden beets.  Either is fine with me.  Even better is that my beets that I prepare for my family are freshly picked and don’t come out of a can.  I just wash and scrub them well, cut off the tops and toss them in the oven.  After they are cooked, I peel them, slice and serve.  All I do is give them a hit of fresh cream butter or olive oil, cracked black pepper and salt.

I got the idea of blending beets and chevre from a recipe for a Roasted Beet and Chevre Spread in a cookbook called “Dishing up Oregon” by Ashley Gartland.  What a lovely cookbook!  Great photos and fabulous recipes from some of Oregon’s finest cooks.

For those who do not know what chevre is, chevre is a delightfully creamy and complex flavored cheese made from the milk of goats.  I loved the mixture of beets and chevre and decided to adapt the recipe for a delicious Beet, Chevre and Radish Crostini.

Locally grown red beets ready to be baked…

Chevre from the Mama Terra Micro Creamery in Williams, Oregon.  The absolute best chevre I have ever tasted in my life.  The cheese is made from the milk of a small herd of Nubian goats.  If you see this cheese in the store, do not hesitate.  Buy it.  It’s outstanding.

Fresh picked local organic radishes. Bright, crisp and peppery.  Simply delicious!

Beet, Chevre, and Radish Crostini garnished with chopped chives from my herb garden.  The beet and chevre mixture is a vibrant pink and the thinly sliced radishes adds a wonderful crunch and a peppery flavor to the little toasts.  I sprinkled the chopped chives on the top of the toasts for a flavorful garnish.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound beets (I used 2 medium sized red) washed, scrubbed and tops removed.
  • 8 ounces fresh creamy chevre cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil (or more if needed)
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 3 or 4 thinly sliced radishes (I used a mandolin and then sliced again with a sharp knife to achieve the shredded effect)
  • fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 loaf baguette bread

Begin by washing and scrubbing your beets.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the beet tops and put the beets in an oven proof pan.  Add a little bit of water (about 1/3 of a cup) and cover tightly with foil.   Bake for one hour or until beets are fork tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.

When beets are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, quarter them and toss in a food processor.  Blend well, scraping the sides.  Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and chevre cheese.  Pulse until well incorporated.  Add salt and pepper.  Add additional olive oil if the mixture is too thick for your liking.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from food processor and set aside.  Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Slice baguette bread into 1/2 inch slices and toast on a grill pan or barbecue.  Spread beet and chevre mixture on top, add radishes and garnish with chives. Makes about 2 cups of beet and chevre mixture and a couple dozen toasts.