Monday, January 31, 2011

The Growing Season

It may be a shock to some of you to know that our growing season is actually coming to its peak. Despite some freezing temperatures earlier this month, we have had fairly mild weather that has allowed for crops to grow and flourish. Our farmers market is full of tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

"Would you want some of our candy beets? They are ready to be harvested", emailed my friend Lena on Friday night. "Sure!".

I was excited to show my mom the beautiful little garden that Lena's boys have put together this year. It was full of beets, peas, greens and squash. The tomatoes were still a bit green, but I brought home a bag full of candy beets and pea shoots.

These kids really blow me away with how they are dedicated to looking after this garden and so knowledgeable at such a young age. Impressive. It reminds me of how lucky I feel to have grown up surrounded by nature and agriculture the way I did. It has showed me so much.

Speaking of where I grew up, El sent me a link to a recent show about the Basque Country. You could take a look if you would like to know more about where I come from.

Sunday morning, my mom, M. and I headed to the farmers market where we found beautiful local ingredients that will go into recipes for the cookbook.

We arrived home hungry and anxious to eat some of the gorgeous tomatoes. I roasted them with some olive oil, thyme, chili flakes and sea salt. Made a quick pesto, toasted breadcrumbs with olive oil and garlic and tossed it all with quinoa pasta. So fresh and ready under 20 minutes. My kind of meal.

For dessert, chocolate and raspberry financiers. A good Sunday lunch indeed.

Chocolate and Raspberry Financiers

Makes 12 financiers

1/2 cup (110 grams) unsalted butter
4 egg whites
1/2 cup (105 grams) coconut palm sugar
1 cup (100 grams) almond meal
2 Tbs (15 grams) cocoa powder
4 oz (110 grams) raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a small saucepan, heat the butter until foamy and the milk solids start to brown on the bottom of the pan. It will smell like roasting nuts; about 5 minutes. Strain the brown butter into a clean bowl and cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder. Add the cooled brown butter and whisk until all is incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Line a muffin pan with baking papers, place the batter in a piping bag with a round tip and pipe it into cups. Fill a little bit less than half way. Press raspberries into the batter. Bake at 350F for about 18-20 minutes.

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