Monday, May 12, 2008

Farmer's Market Feast

Well, I have been inspired by my weekends volunteering at the Portland Farmer's Market and my reading of The Omnivore's Dilemma, so I am embarking on a week of eating MOSTLY organic, local food. This weekend at the Farmer's Market I stocked up on local and organic chicken, beef, asparagus, stinging nettle, eggs, radishes, mesclun salad, apples, walnuts, pears, butter, and pear juice. I was so excited, I could not bear to be parted from my bounty, so I kept everything company in the trunk on the way home. (Just kidding, actually, Jen shoved me in the trunk. So I stuffed a bunch of stinging nettles under her pillow in retaliation.) 

For my first local feast I decided to make whole roasted chicken, nettle, and asparagus.

The chicken vendor (I feel awful, I forgot his name)  informed me that Fred's cousin (see Fred is Dead), Laurence, was just killed last week and was as fresh as you can get. Laurence was also allowed to roam the pasture (I actually got to see a picture of where he roamed) and eat a vegetarian diet, so with that I handed over my $12 and purchased Fred's cousin Laurence. When I unwrapped Laurence, I was amazed at how healthy he looked for a dead chicken and knew that he had lived a happy life! I decided that I wanted to make sure that I prepared him in a way that celebrated his existence, fresh and natural. I used the following simple ingredients:

One whole natural fresh free range HAPPY chicken

A little olive oil
1/2 cup of white wine
8 stalks of green garlic (4 chopped and 4 cleaned and whole)
2 handfuls of fresh lemon thyme

Preheat oven at 375. Rinse bird and then proceeded to rub him with olive oil. Chop 4 of the stalks of garlic and the lemon thyme finely and proceed to rub the HAPPY chicken with the thyme, garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Pour the 1/2 cup of white wine into the cavity of the bird and put the remaining green garlic inside. Place the bird on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and create a foil tent, pour 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Cook for 45 minutes and then remove the foil tent and cook another 40 minutes (you can baste the bird if you like, but I typically don't and it turns out fine). If the bottom of the pan is dry then add more water.

While the bird was happily being cooked, I moved on to make the nettle using the Nettle recipe that Jen and I prepared for Portland Farmers Market last Saturday. The only difference from that recipe, is this time I decided to blanch the nettle- boil water and throw them in for two minutes before sauteing. I didn't want a repeat of my swollen tongue! They tasted just as good. Just a side note: I bought the nettle from a cute couple at the market that had a neighborhood garden (I can't remember the name) and it was already trimmed and the whole bag was only $4.

I then went on to prepare the beautiful asparagus that I got at the market -- 3 bunches for $10. I told the men running the booth at Canby Asparagus Farms that the other day I paid $10 for 2 bunches at Zupan's Market and the stalks were way too thick. They didn't seemed surprised. I prepared the asparagus utilizing the following recipe:

1 lb. of fresh organic asparagus
1/4 cup of olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and chop off 1 inch of the ends of the asparagus. Place asparagus into a roasting pan in a scattered manner. Pour olive oil into a small bowl and take a pastry brush and lightly brush the asparagus. If you don't have a pastry brush, then just pour a little into your hands and rub it all over the asparagus. Sprinkle the asparagus with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired tenderness. I prefer this way over steaming, because it keeps the asparagus a little crispy on the outside but  moist and tender on the inside.

The dinner turned out delightful! I feel like the food tasted better and fresher because it was straight from Farmer's Market, and I was grateful to have met all the people who farmed and raised my main ingredients.

1 comment:

  1. Great posting Sis! I am reading it as I sit home today with a massive rash from those stupid stinging nettles you put in my sheets. I think you are mean. You wanted to get in the trunk. I just helped you. That is what sisters are for.

    Oy, what is up with Laurence the Dead But Happy Chicken with Extreme Rigor Mortis? You need to truss Laurence II, because that just doesn't look right. It's downright unnerving. And if you aren't going to truss him, you should at least put little booties on his alarmingly erect legs. It might help the visual effect.