Tag Archives: farmers’ market

Recipe: Shrimp cakes (Zucchini cakes)

Zucchinis and squash blossoms at the PSU farmers' market.

Zucchinis and squash blossoms at the PSU farmers' market.

We’ve been making all sorts of veggie cakes. Last night we modified my recipe to use up the bay shrimp I bought at the farmers’ market. Other than changing the vegetable or seafood, the recipe stays the same (well, mostly, I toss other things into it as my mood dictates). They have about the same texture as crab cakes, so if you’ve liked those, you’ll probably like one of these.

I mince some onion very finely. I do the same with a clove or two of garlic (heh, I’m kidding, I probably throw four or five in there, but you don’t have to do that, I’m just a garlic fiend). If I have a fresh herb, I mince it and toss it in. Grate about a cup or a cup and a half of cheese (last night we did cheddar and monterey jack and it was awesome). Toss in two cups of panko (or breadcrumbs if panko is not your thing). I always use paprika – maybe 2 teaspoons? Salt and pepper. Other spices as my mood changes. Often a dash or two of cayenne pepper, it doesn’t make the cakes hot, but gives them a nice sharpness.

Then I grate or mince the veggie I’m using. With last night’s bay shrimp, I ran a knife through the pile once or twice just to make the majority smaller. With zucchini, I grate a few of them, toss them into a towel, squeeze a good amount of the water out of them). Toss the veggie into the mix. Add two or three eggs for moisture and binding. Mix it all up. I use my hands because I’m going to use my hands to form the cakes anyhow.

Make them into patties, slightly smaller than a hamburger. Heat some oil in a skillet (we are trying to use less and less oil for this part). Fry each side until they are golden and have a slight crust. Put them on a plate with paper towel as you finish each of them.

We tossed some wheat germ into the ones we made last night and it did great things for the texture. I thought the ones we had last night would have been good with some cornmeal and lime tossed in because we put cilantro in the ones we made last night. We’ve been super low on protein and have been working on that, so I was happy to see that while each cake was about 220 calories, they had a whopping 26 grams of protein, making yesterday the first day that Brian and I had anywhere near what we should for protein (it’s bad – when I first started tracking protein, we would often only get 20 or grams of protein. We definitely don’t have the “eat too much protein” problem so many people in the U.S. have).

These are starting to be our favorite food, especially as the farmers’ market gives us more and more veggies over summer.

We make enough for dinner with a salad one night, and then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. mmmmm.

Longwinded rambles about the farmers’ market

The farmers’ market today was awesome. It is raining steadily, and the crowds were just as thick as they always are, which makes me happy. Brian was astonished that I would think fewer people would go – it’s Portland, he said. Very few people with umbrellas either, heh. Both of us had rain-proof jackets. I had my rain hat on (a cabbie hat) and he has had a headache for three days, so the rain felt wonderful on his skull (crew cut again).

The best thing we bought today was a bag of nettles. Katie, Brian and I were talking about nettles over dinner at Lucca one night.

To date, after surgeries, and injured ankles and back and neck pains, and pulled teeth, burns and cat attacks, nothing stands out as pain quite like an Oregonian nettle sting does. When I think about pain, that’s the pain I picture, and if I focus on what it felt like that day, the hair on my arm actually rises. I remember what my mouth felt like (dry) and my face felt like (tight – the first time that happened) and exactly how it burned and burned. I think I was 13, we were staying in a cabin in the mountains, no clue where. I remember that I was bored and went for a walk and came back just perfectly to brush by that plant.

Our farmshare in Madison (Harmony Valley) would include them in the early boxes, so I’ve cooked with them before, adding them to pasta dishes. Gingerly, suspiciously.

Tonight, I am making pizza dough and we are going to have a nettle, garlic and olive oil pizza. I will also probably make a cilantro pesto pizza as we have left over pesto from last night. Brian is thinking about stinging himself with a nettle before I boil them, just to see what the deal is. I’m recommending against that.

The nettles were my last $2 in the farmers’ market budget. We got them from the mushroom people who are right up there with Groundwork Organics as my favorite vendors at the PSU farmers’ market. The mushroom people sold us the awesomely good dried shiitakes last year that we are still working on using up (a 5 pound bag, awesome to have), and the wild huckleberries that I gorged on and froze and make huckleberry pancakes with, and last week’s seabeans.

The mushroom people are great, because they are happy to sit and talk about how to prepare any of the unusual things they carry. They are going to have seabeans again next week, and she said I really have to get some for sushi since we didn’t use them that way last week. Cool, I can do that.

The person I liked the most today was an elderly woman — I’m guessing mid 80s. She was tiny, and dressed for the rain, but properly, very elegant. She had a good sized traditional black umbrella and she was talking to the oyster fisherman about which was the best type of oyster at this time of year. She was trying to decide which to get for her meal that night. I don’t know why that pleased me so much. She was clearly there on her own, in the rain with the rest of us, connected with the world and happy. That’s probably it, that’s my goal, that’s what I’m trying to achieve and maintain. Neat.

Last weekend

Bagdad sign at night

The Bagdad sign at night.

I’m quiet because I’ve not been doing very much that I felt like writing on here. Quick notes of interest –

Katie bought a house in Milwaukie! The one with the “ie” rather than the “ee.” She doesn’t like the cold anymore than I do. Heh. Congrats Katie, I’ve started lifting weights again in preparation for slogging boxes. hehe

The Bagdad

The Bagdad on Hawthorne

Thursday night, Brian and I went to the Bagdad theater for the first time. We had dinner and watched everyone on Hawthorne totally loving spring.

The Bagdad is a McMenamins like Kennedy School. The Bagdad is where the premiere of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “My Own Private Idaho” was held. Neat. We were there to see “The Black Hole” which I’ve not seen since I was a little kid, and holy cow, I’m surprised that ending didn’t stay with me. We also got to try a McMenamins beer that we hadn’t had yet – Bagdad Ale.

Here’s a mural from next to the table.


Detail of mural at the Bagdad


Farmers’ Market at PSU – first of the year
In other news, the Farmers’ market at PSU opened for the season – so exciting. I may have gone a little overboard with my joy. I got three types of mushrooms, freshly caught salmon (which reminds me that I need to finish it today), carrots, garlic, garlic greens, pastries, oh, and a lot of other things.

My strange vegetable to try was sea beans, also known as samphire or sea asparagus. The farmer told me I could just eat them, which I have been, or grill fish with a layer of them on top, which I also did. The other farmer sad they are awesome in sushi, but since that’s not on the list for this week, I’ll probably need another bag of them before I can use them. They taste like the ocean (makes sense, they are harvested from the tides of Oregon) and a little like cucumbers. I really like them, and will be adding them to our repertoire.

Nothing else much going on – I miss the arrow keys on my laptop but am learning to live without them, so I think I will wait to replace the keyboard. I’m hoping to get some hikes in this week, and if so, should have some pretty pictures to post to flickr.

Shrimp Quiche

Shrimp Quiche
Shrimp Quiche

I had picked up some bay shrimp at the farmers’ market last week, and was thinking that 1 pound was waaaay too much for eggrolls, so I decided to make a quiche with about a half pound of ’em.

I used guyere, the leeks from the box, shallots, and a bit of fresh parm. As a change of pace, I made substituted a half cup of cornmeal for the flour for the crust. I think the crust turned out a bit crispier than I’d like, but I’m going to try playing around with it because it gave the crust a nice texture otherwise. This is the first “meat” quiche I ever remember making, and we make quiche every month or so.

CSA items used: just the leeks. They really added to the flavor though.

Today’s CSA box

CSA  box for October 18, 2008
CSA box from Groundwork Organics for October 18

Already I am soooo much happier with this CSA.

Contents of the box are:

  • Salad mix
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Copra Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Butterball Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Butternut Squash
  • Raspberries!

My dinner ideas so far are broccoli cashew tofu, linguine with roasted sweet pepper sauce, chevre and leek tart, and I’m going to try the gingery carrot soup they included in the newsletter. Raspberries will get eaten today, plain, and I’m not sure what I want to do with the squash yet (mostly because we made black bean and butternut squash empenadas last night, so I’m not feeling squash-creative).

Beets, alas, will find a new home. We’ve tried tons of recipes, and made ourselves try to like them for five years, so I’ve given up. Neither Brian or I like beets. That’s the way it is.

It’s great, this CSA commits us to go to the Farmers’ Market at PSU for the rest of the year, and as I’ve said, I sometimes need prodding to get moving on a Saturday morning. And on top of that, the first box was completely glorious.

Inspired by A Good Appetite, I’ve decided to try to post pictures of our boxes, and what I do with them. I’ll see how far I get, but maybe I’ll build up some more recipes on here.

Wandering the farmers’ market

Squash blossoms at the PSU farmers\' market
Squash blossoms at the PSU farmers’ market

Great morning at the PSU farmers’ market, even though my walnut lady wasn’t there, and the eggs had sold out by the time we got there (late).

We didn’t have to pay for parking because someone had attached an unexpired parking ticket to the parking ticket machine, so we used that. When we left, there was still an hour and a half left on the ticket so I reattached it for the next person to use.

We bought Dave’s Killer bread (rye this time), green shallots, green onions, jalepenos, portabella mushrooms and carrots.

I was delighted to find a huge bag of local dried shitake mushrooms, which I use a lot. I’ve been mailing them back from Madison because the grocery stores around here have non-local ones (some of them are even from China, bleah). I got a huge $20 bag that should last me for a year or so, and I won’t have to be careful about how many times I make miso soup.

After we finished shopping, we got lunch in the middle of the market – Brian got Pinestate biscuits and gravy (he went for the mushroom gravy) and I got a lovely almond croissant from Gabriel’s bakery. We got a seat next to the balloon guy and watched all the tiny kids come up to him and ask for wings and elephants. Very entertaining lunch.

Brian ended up being envious of the croissant so we circled back to grab another one for him on our way out. I was still hopeful for eggs, so we walked through the middle aisle one last time, and I spotted a vendor selling veggie spring rolls for $1.

I said when I woke up that I was really in the mood for greasy American-Chinese food, so it was perfect. While it was frying, we were entertained by this great bluegrass duo who had a mandolin and a banjo. They were great to listen to (their voices harmonized perfectly with their instruments) and there was a little two year old kid dancing enthusiastically in front of them. The mandolin player started dancing with the little boy, which was completely great. After a while, the kid lost interest, and Brian hypothesized that the kid ran back to his father and said “Dad, these bearded bluegrass twenty-somethings are trying to dance with me!” as if it was the most terrifying thing in the world. Hee.

The top three farmers’ markets in the U.S. are Madison, San Francisco and Portland, and when we first moved here, I desperately missed the Madison one. The PSU market is smaller, but it is in many ways more charming, and as I get to know my farmers here, it has definitely tied the Madison market.

We signed up for a fall CSA that we have to pick up on Saturdays at the PSU farmers’ market, so I’m committed to going to it for the rest of the year, something that pleases me to no end. I’m glad I’ll have the motivation to head downtown to the market each week, and we’re already planning our next lunch there next week.

What a great way to start a weekend. And yeah, I know I tend to go on about farmers and farmers’ markets way too much, I just deeply appreciate having that in my life.

Lime Rodeo

We got up early to go to the PSU farmers’ market. We wanted to have some good fruit and veggies on hand for when Carrrie arrives tonight.

Dave from Dave’s Killer Bread was there and sold me a loaf of Powerseed. I had promised Dean to get a picture of Dave but it was pretty busy at that point and I got too oddly shy to ask him if he’d pose for a picture, so the above blurry shot was all that I got.

Some people are awed when they see a rock star; I’m apparently awed when I see my farmer (Richard from Harmony Valley), my cheesemaker (Farmer John!) or my baker (Dave’s Killer Bread). Yeah, I’m a little dorky, I guess. I’d rather be happy about stuff like that than not notice anything so there.

If you haven’t read Dave and his family’s story, you should, it’s pretty cool. If you haven’t tried the bread yet, poor soul, you should, it’s awesome. And if you don’t live in Portland, Oregon, maybe you should come visit me so that you can try some.

We also swung by the grocery store to grab some non-IPA beer for Carrie – we went with Bridgeport’s Stumptown Tart which is a Belgium that is brewed with Marionberries and fermented in Pinot Noir casks. O lord. Super yumminess. Also some limes so we can make mojitos (our mint plant is already tall enough for many drinks) and gin and tonic.

Hopefully I will get a few good shots while Carrie is here; I’ll post them on my flickr account!

Just call me uber-healthy girl


Just got back from the farmers’ market where the strawberries are out in full force. If you’ve never had an Oregonian strawberry before, you are missing out, just like with the peaches.

When I was 10 or so, I got my first job picking Oregon strawberries at some ungodly hour in the morning. Mom would walk me to the school bus stop, where a bus would come pick me up. It was kinda scary at first, going to work without my mom. Who would tell me what to do?

Mostly no one, you had to talk to the people around you to find out how it worked. O sure, the farmer would give a nice speech, but the real information came from the older (like 13 or 14 year olds) people around you. You found out that this was a good farm because they paid out 7 cents a pound. The one across the way only paid 5 cents. You found out it was fine to eat the strawberries as you picked, but that they got really mad when the kids would do strawberry washes (grab a handful of strawberries and mash them wildly on someone else’s head. Getting a strawberry wash meant you were liked. Of course, it meant that you had flies around your head for the rest of the day, and everything was sticky, and holy hell was the farmer pissed, but you were liked).

I ate so many strawberries that summer that we found out that I have a fruit allergy. It’s mild enough that I have to eat a good amount of fruit to trigger it, but once it’s triggered, I can do enough damage to myself to scar my face. Or so the doctor told my mom. The fruit allergy went away thankfully when I hit my early teens, only to resurface after a particularly fun margarita party with the neighbors when I was 26. Sob. It’s gone again, and I have to say I don’t want it back. I love fresh organic fruit more than chocolate, cake and ice cream.

I picked enough strawberries that I was the richest kid I knew. And since I was a bookworm, that meant only one thing. I could buy any book I wanted. I bought first edition Oz books because they were all out of print by that point (except for Wizard of Oz and one or two others). I still have them too – pride and joy of my library, mostly earned from picking strawberries (my sister helped me supplement it eight years ago with a beautiful set found on the East coast).

We bought many veggies today at the PSU farmers’ market, and I am starting to get giddy with what is in season. We will be having a fennel and radish salad on the side of fennel steamed fish (what ever is fresh and good when I go pick it up). I’m really dangerously close to eating 3 pints of strawberries well before they make it into the pie I promised Brian (I don’t eat pie, and I dislike warm mushy fruit). I’m starting to learn who the farmers are, who I like and I am glad that I went with the CSA we did. We bought a mint plant from them last week (yes, you will hear a resurgence of “Gotta kill the mint”) and three basil plants this week. Our farmer told us how to water them (I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time) and how to pick the leaves so the plant still grows (that’s what I’ve also been doing wrong).

I’m trying to talk Brian into a hike today, and I think he wants to work so we probably won’t. I’ll have to start finding hikes I’m comfortable doing on my own – he’s been surprisingly reluctant due to being over-worked and generally too busy. I’ve got approximately 4000 hikes I want to do this summer, so I’m worse than a dog who hears the word “walk.”

YAY summer, YAY farmers’ markets, YAY OREGON the best place ever.