Gazpacho (made with all local ingredients!)

For this week’s recipe, I wanted to try to make something that used as many local products as possible. Another major part of my criteria was to make something that required little (or no) time to cook because it is decidedly summer in the Northwest right now (better late than never!).

There is so much local produce available right now – I toured the Produce department and found no less than 35 different items that were grown (and brought to us farmer direct) from Whatcom County farms.; I settled on creating a recipe for Gazpacho – a chilled vegetable soup that originates in Spain. There is no cooking involved and it is quick and easy. I’ve never made it before, but that didn’t stop me!

I started with gorgeous organic tomatoes, an organic English cucumber, and organic basil from the Growing Garden in Bellingham (grown by our own long-time Board member Brent Harrison).; Organic red garlic came from Rabbit Fields Farm in Everson.; I rounded it out with some extra virgin olive oil (pesticide-free) from Bija that is bottled in Lynden and Bellewood Acres apple cider vinegar, also made in Lynden from local apples. A little Himalayan pink sea salt from Salt Works in Woodenville (the farthest away of my ingredients – they process the salt in-state). I did put some ground black pepper in the soup as well, which isn’t local, but I won’t tell if you don’t!

Tomatoes are in season right now, so while I did peel them, I didn’t bother de-seeding them – the seeds in fresh in-season tomatoes are generally soft and not as bitter as off-season tomatoes.; Other than that, you basically chop your ingredients up, throw them in the food processor, and let them chill in the fridge until you are ready to eat. The longer you can let it chill, the more complex the flavor becomes.  Fumar con fruición!

Gazpacho in a cucumber cup © Sassy Sampler 2011

Gazpacho

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large tomatoes, peeled and rough cut
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 large leaves of basil, chopped
  • 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar (Bellewood Acres)
  • 1-2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (BIJA)
  • 1/2 t sea salt (SaltWorks)
  • Black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add your cucumber to food processor and process until only a few small pieces remain.Pour cucumber purée into a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the food processor and process until only a few chunks remain. Add to cucumber purée and stir to combine.
  3. Add the minced garlic and about 4 leaves of chopped basil to the purée. Add sea salt.
  4. Add olive oil and cider vinegar. Add pepper to taste and mix well.
  5. Cover bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. The longer it sits in the fridge, the better the flavors will have combined.
  6. Serve ice-cold with a sliced and toasted baguette (Against the Grain Gourmet makes a great GF baguette). Garnish with more chopped basil before serving.

If the tomatoes you are using are out of season, you may want to remove the seeds either before you purée the tomatoes, or strain the tomato purée after processing. If they are in season, chances are you won’t have to take this step.

All ingredients in this recipe were either grown or processed locally (in Whatcom County or WA State, in-season), with the exception of the black pepper.

Gazpacho PDF

Plum Crisp

September is here…already!  More delicious local produce has arrived, and this time of year there is so much that can be had from backyard gardens and local farms.  September also marks the launch of Sustainable Connections new Eat Local First campaign – a year-round way to connect local farmers with local market support, and in turn raise awareness to consumers.  The Co-op has supported local products and farmers for over 40 years, and we were excited to partner with Sustainable Connections and become a sponsor of the campaign.

After talking this week with Wynne, the Produce Manager at Cordata, I decided that a recipe with plums as the focus was in order.  Not only does the Okanogan Farmer’s Co-op grow delicious peaches, but we also get all kinds of plums from them.  This week we have some beautiful and tasty Santa Rosa plums and a variety of pluots (a cross between a plum and apricot) that were also grown in Washington.  Fruit crisp is simple and delicious, and since I had never had any made with plums I thought it would be fun to try.

I used 8 Santa Rosa plums and 8 yellow pluots, and also decided that the locally grown roasted hazelnuts from Holmquist Orchards in Lynden would be a great substitution for the walnuts called for in the original recipe.  Because I wanted to be able to eat some myself, I also used Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats and our own Co-op Bakery gluten-free flour (made using Bob’s certified gluten-free flours) because it would be an unnoticeable substitution for wheat flour.  If you can tolerate wheat, then by all means use the locally milled Fairhaven Flour Mill flour.  We also have locally made butter from Breckenridge Farm in Everson at the Co-op.  The crisp came together quickly (the longest part was cutting 16 plums into small slices!) and smelled divine – it was a delicious mix of tart and sweet that customers really loved, across the board!

If you are looking for resources on eating locally grown and produced food, a good place to start  for Whatcom County residents (besides the Co-op!) is at www.eatlocalfirst.org – you will find links to the Whatcom Food and Farm Finder (also available at both co-op locations), a link to the Whatcom Locavore blog (which features recipes utilizing as many local ingredients as possible), and a list of local restaurants that are participating in the Eat Local First campaign.  If you live outside Whatcom County (and in the US), you can check out www.localharvest.org to find food that is locally grown in your community.

Plum Crisp

Adapted from www.food.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 3# plums (about 16), pitted and cut into 1/4” slices
  • 1/4—1/2 c sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
  • 1 1/2 T flour (GF or wheat)
  • 3/4 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t cinnamon

Crumb Topping Ingredients

  • 1 c oats (GF or regular)
  • 2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour (GF or wheat)
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 7 T unsalted butter (or margarine)
  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts, chopped coarsely

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 casserole dish by spraying it with cooking oil or butter.
  3. Combine the sliced plums, sugar, 1 1/2 T flour, vanilla and 1/4 t cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.
  4. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the plums are sitting, prepare your topping.  Combine the oats, brown sugar, 1/2 c flour, 1/2 t cinnamon and the sea salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  6. Add butter/margarine by the tablespoon through the feeder tube and pulse to combine after each addition.  The mixture should be crumbly and resemble coarse meal when you are done.
  7. Add hazelnuts to the crumb topping and pulse until combined.
  8. Spoon the plum mixture into your baking dish.  Sprinkle the crumb topping by the handful until the plums are completely covered with an even layer.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with locally made vanilla ice cream from Lopez Island Creamery or from Whidbey Island Ice Cream Co. – available at the Co-op.

Plum Crisp PDF