I get up in the morning, take a look at what's growing on the farm, collect rhubarb and celery, dig up some horseradish and potatoes, carry my loot to the kitchen, and create a meal around it. C'est la vie, hein? And as the summer is getting late, the days growing shorter, the temperature cooler my cravings are turning to comfort fare.
Thursday, Pescadero Farmer's Market day, is our Echo Valley Farm lunch. Where the team gets a chance to gather around the table to refuel, rehydrate, and share a few stories before packing up the day's bounty and carting it into town.
I like feeding farmers. Mostly because they are starving from working all morning and will happily try anything and also because they appreciate seeing their hard labor utilized and transformed.
Here's a beautiful recipe for rhubarb. It goes great with grilled pork chops slathered in mustard & rosemary served alongside yukon-gold mashed potatoes with freshly grated horseradish.
Be cautious with rhubarb, the leaves are poisonous and should be thrown away and the stalks cook fast. Rhubarb can go from tender-crisp to mush in ten seconds. Despite it's murderess rap, I love rhubarb's tartliness and the way it pairs with savory and sweet ingredients so unexpectedly.
Celery, often misunderstood as a vegetable put on earth to simply escort peanut butter to mouth, is actually quite tasty when braised. At Le Bernardin we braised celery with pata negra for one of the signature black bass dishes. So it can be braised and eaten in long stalks like this – just in case there was any doubt?
I like this side dish warm, but it can be served cold too. Continue reading for recipe...
Rhubarb & Celery Quick Chutney serves 8
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar, plus more if too tart
1/2 cup flame California raisins
2 red onion, sliced 1/4-inch rounds
2 teaspoons mustard seed, toasted
1/2 teaspoon celery seed, toasted
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian Hot smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 orange zested, plus 2 tablespoon juice
2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 4 to 6-inch lengths and 1/2-inch widths
1 1/2 pound celery stalk, cut the same as rhubarb
Sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
In a non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat combine first 10 ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add celery and rhubarb. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. With a slotted spoon, remove rhubarb when it is just tender, about 3 minutes. Continue to simmer remaining ingredients until celery is just past al dente, with a slight bite but not mushy.
Remove solid ingredients to a serving dish along with rhubarb. Reduce liquid until it has the consistency of olive oil or coats the back of a spoon,check for seasoning and adjust with brown sugar, salt, and black pepper to your taste. Pour syrup over rhubarb & celery and serve.