Blueberry Peach Sorbet

Okanogan peaches (and WA cantaloupe too!)

August is always exciting at the Co-op because that means that we start getting farmer direct peaches from the Okanogan Farmer’s Co-op.  Last week I used their donut (or Saturn) peaches in the Agua Fresca recipe, and this week I wanted to make a healthy treat with the more recognizable peaches that they supply us with.

It is the tail end of blueberry season at the Co-op, but you can probably still find them at the Farmer’s Market and at farm stands in the county for a bit longer.  We got what we think might be one of the last deliveries of organic blueberries from Hopewell Farm in Everson this weekend.  They have been so delicious this year and the sun was shining brightly, so another batch of sorbet was in order since the strawberry version was so popular!

Sorbet is ridiculously easy to make.  I couldn’t find a recipe that I liked, however, so I decided to just wing it.  I started by cooking the blueberries on the stove with a little water to soften them so they would be easy to juice in a strainer.  While those bubbled away, I prepared my peaches (3 really ripe ones and 2 firm ones) by peeling them and chopping them up haphazardly (the ripe ones were so juicy I could barely hold on to them!).  When the blueberries were soft, I strained them through a fine mesh strainer into a (stain-proof) bowl.  I mixed in a couple of tablespoons of organic agave syrup and popped the bowl in the freezer to cool while I puréed the peaches in the food processor.  You could also use a blender for this – just make sure it has a sharp blade.

Once the blueberries had cooled enough, I started by adding half of the sauce to the peaches.  After tasting it I added another 1/4 of the sauce and was very happy with the results – you tasted blueberry when it hit your tongue and then the peach flavor took over.  It was a good balance of sweet and tart, so into the freezer it went.  I had the benefit of using our -10° freezer here at the store so it only took a couple of hours (stirring every so often) to harden to a sorbet consistency – in your home freezer it will probably take more like 3-4 hours.

Stay cool!

Blueberry Peach Sorbet

makes about 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2-4T agave syrup
  • 5 large peaches (can do a mix of ripe and firm)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse blueberries.  Add them to a saucepan with the water.  Cook over medium heat until blueberries are soft, about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  2. While blueberries are cooking, prepare your peaches by peeling and cutting them into chunks into a medium bowl.
  3. Once blueberries have cooled slightly, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a stain-proof bowl, pushing down on blueberries with the back of a large spoon to get all the juice out.
  4. Taste the purée/sauce to see how sweet it is.  Add agave syrup 1 T at a time until it reaches the sweetness you desire.  Put your bowl of blueberry purée into the freezer.
  5. In a blender or food processor, purée peaches until they are smooth.
  6. Once your blueberry purée has cooled off, remove it from the freezer and pour half of it in with the peach purée and process until combined.  Taste the purée and add more until it reaches a good balance of peach to blueberry flavor (I used about 2/3 of the blueberry purée).  Reserve leftover blueberry purée for topping sorbet or to use as an ice cream topping.
  7. Spread purée evenly in a 9×13 glass baking dish.  Place in the freezer until frozen, stirring every half hour or so (it will take about 3-4 hours to freeze).  Be sure to scrape the sides well.  Stirring it will actually help it freeze faster, but you can also leave it overnight and then stir it well in the morning if that is your preference.
  8. Top with remaining blueberry sauce (if you have some left over) and serve!

You can also pour the mixture into popsicle molds.

For an adult treat, top with a shot of fruit flavored liqueur or tequila.

You can use an alternate sweetener, like honey or granulated sugar—add it in the same fashion as the agave—1 T at a time until it is as sweet as you would like it.

Blueberry Peach Sorbet PDF

Raw Caramel Dip – Yum!

Apple season is upon us, and it sure seems like they had a good growing season. All of the new crop apples I have tried have been crisp and delicious. For this week’s recipe demo, I wanted to be sure to include them for that reason. I check Ali Segersten’s blog (of Whole Life Nutrition cookbook fame, written with her sweetie Tom Malterre, which you can find at the Co-op) www.NourishingMeals.com from time to time, and came across her post for a raw “caramel” dip recipe and it sounded so good (and easy!!) that I had to try it.

I was not disappointed. The recipe calls for fresh Medjool dates, raw cashews, and a little bit of maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. You soak the dates and cashews (separately) for 2-3 hours and then throw everything into a blender or Vita-Mix and presto – a delicious vegan, gluten-free dip that smells like cookies and tastes like caramel!

I sampled the dip with locally grown Bellewood Acres Jonagold apples – they are slightly tart and very crisp – a perfect complement to a locally created recipe! FYI – they give farm tours at Bellewood September 1st – December 31st between 10am-6pm. I spoke with a customer who just went out there with her kids and she said that they had a lot of fun, and so did she!

photo honeycrisp apples raw caramel dip

Raw Caramel Dip © 2010 Sassy Sampler

RAW CARAMEL DIP

http://www.nourishingmeals.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c raw cashews *
  • 1 c medjool dates, pitted (about 8-10 dates)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 t vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Date soaking water as needed

* cashews are technically not raw because they are heated to remove the shell.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cashews into a small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Place the pitted dates into a separate small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place them into a blender or a Vita-Mix, along with the drained dates (save the date soaking water).
  4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Add about 6—8 T of the date water and blend all ingredients until ultra smooth, scraping down the sides if needed.
  6. Scoop into small bowls and serve with sliced, fresh apples.

Raw Caramel Dip PDF

Tom Malterre and Ali Segersten wrote the Whole Life Nutrition cookbook.  Tom is the Co-op’s nutritionist — you can find him twice a month at the Co-op. Check the most recent Co-op newsletter for dates/times.  He will be here to answer your questions about healthy eating, nutrition, and diets.  We are lucky to have them so accessible – a customer told me today that she learned about Tom and Ali while she was living in Arizona and followed her blog, and was so excited when she moved here and found out they were local!

Alissa Segersten received her Bachelor’s of Science from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She is the previous owner of a Personal Chef business in Seattle, Washington that successfully addressed the health and lifestyle needs of many families with her delicious, healthy cooking. She is currently a cooking instructor and author of the food blog http://www.nourishingmeals.com, empowering people with cooking skills and knowledge of whole foods so that they may reconnect with the pleasure in eating delicious, nourishing food.

Tom Malterre received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and is licensed by the state of Washington as a Certified Nutritionist. Tom travels throughout the United States and Canada lecturing at conferences on topics such as Vitamin D, Gluten Intolerance, and Digestive Health. He empowers people through classes, seminars, and private counseling with his insight and depth of knowledge on the biochemical interactions within our body and their relationship to our diet .

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce

Mmmmm…roasted veggies. Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Even though we haven’t had the sunniest summer (compared to the beauty that was last summer, at least), there has been a great tomato crop this year from the Growing Garden (among other things!).  I wanted to feature one last recipe with these beautiful fruits that masquerade as veggies.

I read a few other blogs on a sporadic basis, and while looking for a recipe for this week I looked back into the August archive on Meals by Sheri (another WordPress blogger from MI) and found what I was looking for – an easy recipe that could feature a bounty of local produce.

Sheri’s Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce recipe called for Roma tomatoes, but I wanted to use the slicers from the Growing Garden.  I looked online to see if I should seed them or not – little did I know that this is apparently an age-old debate!  Half said to seed, the other half said not – I decided that since the tomatoes were truly vine-ripened and in season, I would risk not seeding them before preparing the sauce.  It was a fine decision – the seeds were so little and tender that they were not noticeable.   If you use Romas, you also don’t need to seed your tomatoes, but if you are preparing this recipe in the off-season and/or with “vine-ripe” tomatoes (which aren’t always ripened on the plant – sure, the vine is attached, but the vine’s not attached to the plant so it’s not exactly the same thing) you will want to seed them.

I was able to use all local, organic ingredients (with the exception of the green and red bell peppers – even in a good year we don’t see those grown locally for retail).  I stuck with Sheri’s original recommendations for the recipe, so I chopped up the tomatoes, (fresh) red onion, peppers, garlic, and carrots and threw them in my baking dish.  A drizzle of olive oil and dashes of Himalayan pink sea salt (in bulk at the co-op) and black pepper and I was done.

I’ll take a moment here to talk about salt – salt gets a bad rap, and I feel it does matter what kind of salt you choose to consume.  Regular table salt is depleted of its natural nutrients and isn’t a benefit to your diet.  Sea salt is much better because it isn’t as processed and is rich in minerals and nutrients, depending on what kind you get (Himalayan pink sea salt has over 80 nutrients in it and is very minimally processed).  That doesn’t give you license to dump piles of salt on your food, but it does mean that in moderation, salt (which your body needs to survive) can be beneficial.  One other salt note – it is far better to add salt to your dishes while you are cooking than to salt the food at the table (no matter what kind of salt you use).  When you cook with salt, your body treats it differently than in its raw form, and you probably won’t use as much either!

Anyway, I put my prepared veggies in the oven and roasted them for about an hour and 20 minutes.  Once they were done, I let them cool for about 20 minutes, since the next step entailed pureeing the veggies.  You never want to put piping hot food in a blender or food processor because you’ll get a shower of boiling hot veggies in the face!  Once I felt it was cool enough, I dumped it in the food processor and puréed it until it was slightly chunky (I added fresh basil at this point).  Once that was good, I poured it into a medium saucepan (I had about 4 cups) and added some dried oregano and a little more sea salt.  Once it was heated through, I took it off and let it sit overnight in the fridge  – I don’t know why, but tomato sauces tend to be better the next day.

Demo day dawned and I cut a fresh Avenue Bakery baguette to serve with the sauce (no GF bread option, but the sauce was good enough to sample without bread anyway!).  Customers absolutely LOVED the recipe and many people said that they would be promptly preparing the recipe themselves!  I’m pretty sure that it was my husband’s favorite recipe demo I have done because he came back to “try” some more many times and hinted that if I had any leftovers to be sure to bring them home to him!

So here is the fantastically easy and deliciously delicious pasta sauce recipe from Sheri!

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 or 6 large tomatoes, halved *
  • 1 medium-large red onion, peeled and cut into large, even chunks
  • 2 green peppers (or one red and one green), seeded and cut into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 3/4” chunks (cut in half lengthwise if they are thick carrots)
  • 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 –2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  2. Place all your prepared veggies and garlic into a large jelly roll pan.
  3. Pour olive oil over veggies and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss to coat (with your hands, your best kitchen tool!).  Turn tomatoes cut side up.
  5. Roast in oven  for about an hour, until veggies are soft , lightly browned, and the edges on the tomatoes have shrunken slightly in.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes.
  7. Add veggies and fresh basil to food processor and pulse until you have a chunky sauce.  Add a bit more olive oil if desired.  The sauce should be thick, not watery.
  8. Add sauce to a medium saucepan.  Simmer on low.  Add basil and oregano, and more salt and pepper if desired.  Heat sauce until warmed.
  9. Serve over your favorite pasta, or refrigerate and re-heat the next day.

Additions:  mushrooms, hot peppers, cheese, zucchini, etc.  Sauté veggies on the stove while your other veggies are roasting.  Add them to the saucepan after pureeing the sauce.

Serve with subtle garlic bread—Slice bread and brush with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and toast in a 350° oven for about 5-8 minutes.  Turn bread slices over and finish toasting (another 5-8 minutes).  Just out of the oven, rub surface of bread with a peeled garlic clove.

You can freeze any excess sauce—make it easy for next time and pre-portion it before freezing!

* If you are using in-season tomatoes, there is no need to seed and peel them.  If you are using tomatoes in the off-season, you may want to seed them before roasting.   If you use Romas, there is no need to de-seed.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Pasta Sauce PDF

Local flavor is in full bloom! (and a GF product list is now available!)

Michael M showing off the new GF product guide. Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

First off, I want to let everyone know that we have a fully updated list of all the gluten-free products that the Co-op carries at both stores!  You can find it here, on the recipes/resources page on the blog and on our Resources page on our website.  It has been a long time coming, but we’ve got it worked out so it is good for both locations.  It lists all grocery products that state on their labels that they are gluten-free, so it doesn’t include bulk items, produce, spices, juice, etc. – things that are either naturally gluten-free, or things that we can’t guarantee are gluten-free.  I’ll note that both stores have items that are not on the list because they are only carried at one location, and I did notice that the Cordata store has a few more gluten-free items than the Downtown store while I was compiling the list.  Anywho…

Local herbs, carrots, green onions and more! Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Have you been in our Produce departments lately?  Look around, and you’ll notice that the majority of the produce we have right now is either locally grown in Whatcom County or from Washington state!  We are so lucky to live in a community that experiences such variety from so many local farmers who are dedicated to growing high-quality (and oftentimes) organic produce.

Local tomatoes, garlic and shallots. Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Look at the bounty available to our shoppers:

Whatcom County Produce

  • OG Carrots
  • OG Green onions
  • OG Basil
  • OG Arugula
  • OG Radishes
  • OG Fennel
  • OG Napa cabbage
  • OG Green, red and black kale
  • OG Beets
  • OG Red chard
  • OG Tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes (we also have conventional tomatoes grown in Lynden)
  • OG Garlic
  • OG French gray shallots (delicious!)
  • Blueberries
  • Mushrooms – variety
  • OG Broccoli
  • OG Cauliflower
  • OG Yellow and green zucchini
  • OG Summer squash
  • OG Sunflower sprouts
  • OG Cucumbers  – Mediterranean (yum!), English and regular
  • OG Fresh red and Walla Walla sweet onions
  • OG Hot peppers
  • OG Corn
  • Salad mix (OG and conventional), baby spinach and OG arugula in bulk
  • Local flower bunches
  • Assorted OG herb bunches

What? Local Walla Wallas are where it's at...all this for $1.98?!? Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

From Washington

  • Peaches – a variety (OG and conventional)
  • OG Melons – including watermelon
  • OG Apricots
  • OG Nectarines – white and yellow
  • OG Leeks
  • OG Lettuce
  • OG Cabbage
  • OG Sansa and Zestar apples (new crop)
  • OG Plums
  • OG Starkrimson pears
  • Potatoes

100% local flower bunches, hand tied at the Cordata Co-op. Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

And the best part is, there is still more to come!

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad

I have been sampling a lot of sweet things this month, so I wanted to sample something today that would be a little lighter (and a little more healthy!).  It was an easy decision to sample a salad, since we have so much beautiful local produce in stock right now!

I found a tasty sounding recipe in the August edition of Redbook Magazine that fit the bill, and I was off.  I used local, organic zucchini (both green and yellow) from Broad Leaf Farm, organic carrots from Hopewell Farm (always a popular item at the Co-op), and beautiful gigantic bunches of organic basil from The Growing Garden (owned and operated by one of our very own Board members).  I got out the vegetable peeler and went to work!

The salad is tossed with an anise seed balsamic vinaigrette, and with the basil, the anise added a subtle, refreshing spice to the salad. This was extremely easy to make, and looks like you spent hours creating a gourmet dish worthy of any restaurant.  Customers loved how refreshing and light it was, and it would go great with about anything you would throw on the grill!

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad (all local!) Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 small zucchini

2 small yellow summer squash

2 large carrots

24 basil leaves, slivered

3 T balsamic vinegar

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 t anise seeds

1/2 t sea salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Trim ends of zucchini and squash.  Using vegetable peeler, shave each squash into long, wide, very thin strips.  When you reach the center of the squash (where the seeds are), give the squash a quarter turn and continue slicing.  Repeat on all four sides until you only have the center column left.

2. Shave the carrots in the same fashion.

3. Toss zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons with the basil in a large serving bowl.

4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, anise seeds, salt, and pepper.

5. Drizzle over vegetable ribbons and toss.

6. Serve immediately.

This salad is not only pretty, but a snap to make utilizing local vegetables!

Serve it with almost anything that you BBQ for a refreshing side.

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad PDF