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Last market of the season…

June 23, 2015
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Tomorrow is the last farmers’ market of the season for McClendon’s Select.  We will be at the Uptown Wednesday tomorrow from 8:00am to noon with all sorts of beautiful heirloom tomatoes.  The beauty above was picked yesterday and weighed in a three pounds.  (And was… delicious!)  We will also have fresh organic corn that is being harvested as I type, and organic mini watermelons called “Solitaire” that are a beautiful bright red inside and so sweet and refreshing.

During the rest of the summer John’s Amish Country will be selling McClendon’s Select produce at the Uptown Saturday farmers’ market.  For our Scottsdale customers who are unfamiliar, the market is located at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, on the southeast corner off of Central and Bethany Home Roads.  The Saturday market is open from 8:00am to noon and will be moved indoors this summer so you may enjoy the air conditioning while you shop.  John’s Amish Country will have a selection of fresh produce from our farm throughout the rest of the summer.

McClendon’s Select will be back at the Uptown Wednesday market the first Wednesday of October.  We want to thank all of our customers for your continued support of our farm.  We are truly grateful to get to do what we do and we have the best customers who help make that possible!  We hope that you have a wonderful summer.  Stay cool… we will see you in the fall!

Two more left….

June 16, 2015

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Next Wednesday, June 24th, is the last Uptown Farmers’ Market for McClendon’s Select and for the rest of the Wednesday vendors for the season. The market will continue to run thru the summer indoors (with air conditioning!) on Saturdays. And, for the first time during the summer, you will be able to find McClendon’s Select produce at the Saturday Uptown market from John’s Amish Country.

So, with just two markets left in the season, come out early tomorrow for the wonderful sweet corn and the first of the field grown heirloom tomatoes that are coming off of the vine.  These are two of my summer favorites and their flavors are incredible.  We will be open from 8:00am to noon.  If you have insulated bags or an ice chest in your car you may want to bring them, they will keep your produce fresher.  See you at Uptown!IMG_4828

It’s that time of year…

May 15, 2015

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This Saturday, May 16th will be the last market for McClendon’s Select at the Old Town Farmers’ Market location for the season.  We want to thank all of our wonderful Saturday market customers in Scottsdale for your continued support.

We will continue to be at the Uptown Wednesday location at the North Phoenix Baptist Church located on Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road on Wednesdays through June 24th.  As well, John’s Amish Country will be selling produce from our farm at the Uptown market on Saturdays at the same location all summer long.  The Saturday Uptown market will be moving indoors, stay tuned and we will let you know when that happens.  But for the first time our produce will be available throughout the summer at a market thanks to John’s Amish Country.  Please go support him and the other Uptown Market vendors this summer.

McClendon’s Select will return to the Old Town market in Scottsdale again this fall and will post the dates in advance on this blog and our Facebook page.  We wish you all a wonderful summer and hope you stay cool!

Chef Beckett’s Pimento Cheese Recipe…

April 10, 2015

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Chef Justin Beckett sampled his Southern-inspired bruschetta with Pimento cheese yesterday at the Uptown market and received rave reviews.  In fact, he was all sampled out by the time I got there, but judging from the many compliments about it that I heard, I will need to make this so I can try it for myself.  Here is the recipe…

Pimento Cheese  (makes 1 1/2 quarts)

Chef Justin Beckett wishes he had found pimento cheese earlier in life. This recipe is fantastic as a spread or dip. Serve pimento cheese with chips, crackers, toast points, or even as little tea sandwiches. Pimento cheese can be made days in advance and kept in your fridge. Chef Beckett often makes a big batch and places it into mason jars as a gift for neighbors and friends, as you can imagine he is a pretty popular guy after that.

1 pound cream cheese
¾ cups mayonnaise
4 cups shredded yellow cheese
3 jalapeños
5 large red bell peppers
2 bunches of green onions
3 Tablespoons powdered garlic
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cajun spice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons Crystal’s Hot Sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions:

Roast or grill the red peppers until they are charred on all sides but not burnt.  Place them in an airtight container to “sweat” and cool so they become easier to peel.  Peel and de-seed the peppers (you can purchase pre-roasted bell peppers at your favorite grocery).  Medium dice the peppers and place them in a strainer to let the excess juice drain off.

(Note:  Adding in too much bell pepper juice will cause the cheese to turn a funky pink color.)

Small dice the jalapeños (remove the seed and stem) and set aside.  Whip the cream cheese in a kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment till smooth.  Add in the mayonnaise and mix until combined, make sure to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in the garlic powder, green onion, vinegar, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and salt. Mix again to fully incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and add in the shredded cheese, bell peppers, and jalapeños. Mix by hand just until combined.  Do not over mix!

Store in airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Tip: Removing the vein and the seeds from the jalapeño will reduce the spice level significantly. Chef Justin Beckett always wear gloves when working with jalapeños and washes the cutting board very well with hot soapy water when done.

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As well, I talked with Chef Beckett and heard that there are still seats available for the Chef Dan Barber book signing for his new book The Third Plate and Southern Rail dinner on Tuesday, April 14th, but it is starting to fill up.  The dinner will be a three-course Arizona-focused menu with the meet and greet and book signing to follow at Changing Hands.  For more information on the event, you can visit my prior post about it here, and to make reservations, please visit Chef Barber’s website at www.danbarber.bpt.me.

Chef Dan Barber Book Signing for The Third Plate and Southern Rail Dinner
300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013

Tuesday, April 14th
6:00pm – Arizona-inspired three course dinner at Southern Rail
8:00pm – Meet & Greet and book talk with Dan Barber at Changing Hands Bookstore

$79 + tax/person, Arizona wine pairings are extra

At tomorrow’s market & a don’t miss event…

April 7, 2015


The Third Plate Cover

At tomorrow’s Uptown Wednesday market McClendon’s Select is happy to welcome Chef Justin Beckett to be our market chef for the day.  Chef Beckett’s two Phoenix restaurants, Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail, are among my very favorites.  He has been a long-time proponent of using local, organic produce in his cooking and has brought that level of thoughtfulness to all parts of his business.  Both of his restaurants were built in restored spaces that paid careful attention to reusing and repurposing many parts of each building to incorporate the old with the new.  I have always appreciated his consciousness about both the dishes and spaces he has created, plus I just really, really love Southern Rail’s fried chicken.

In addition to his being at the market tomorrow, Chef Beckett is also hosting a dinner and book talk, in conjunction with Changing Hands Bookstore, in celebration of Chef Dan Barber’s book The Third Plate.  On Tuesday, April 14th an exclusively-Arizona, three-course dinner will be held at Southern Rail, along with a meet-and-greet at Changing Hands, to hear the James Beard Award-winning Chef Barber.  The Third Plate is an in-depth look at our current national food systems, with a history as to how kitchens and fields have changed over the past two centuries, and Barber’s proposal for creating an integrated system of good farming practices and good food, or “the third plate”.  It promises to be an entertaining and engaging evening, with a locally-focused menu from Chef Beckett.

Reservations are required and can be made at www.danbarber.bpt.me for $79 + tax/per person, which includes a signed paperback copy of The Third Plate.  Arizona-based beverage pairings may be included to your meal for an additional charge.

I would recommend that you make reservations soon, as I am sure this event will fill quickly.  You may also come by and talk with Chef Beckett tomorrow at the Uptown Market, where he will be taking your questions and serving samples of a Southern-style bruschetta.

Chef Dan Barber Book Signing and Southern Rail Dinner
300 West Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ  85013

Tuesday, April 14th
6:00pm – Dinner at Southern Rail
8:00pm – Meet & Greet and book talk with Dan Barber at Changing Hands Bookstore

Holy Mackerel Uptown!

March 31, 2015

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David Antonelli has been in the restaurant business for over thirty years, so you could say that he knows food pretty well. Coming from a family of restauranteurs, this New York native has a true appreciation for difference of high quality, fresh ingredient can make to a meal, specifically true quality seafood. But living in the Arizona, he also knows all too well how hard it is to come by truly fresh fish here in the desert.

Having just sold his restaurant in Scottsdale, David wanted to stay true to his roots in working with food and kept in close touch with the vendors that he has worked with and grown to know over the years. McClendon’s Select is one that he kept in touch with, visiting our markets regularly and seeing what was being sold by us and other vendors. David also kept in close touch with many of the fish vendors that he has known over the years all along the East Coast who would tell him what was coming off of their fishing boats everyday, namely varieties of freshly caught, wild-harvested fish that you just can not find fresh in Arizona. Seeing a real need here, David started Holy Mackerel, his new venture to bring in the absolute freshest fish you can find, and available right now only at the Uptown Wednesday and Saturday markets.

All of the fish Holy Mackerel brings to the market is brought in by East Coast domestic fishermen who go out on day boats or short trip boats to bring in their catch and ship overnight to David to be sold at the markets the next day. The fish is never frozen and is kept packed in ice and held at temperature from the minute it leaves the boat until it is brought to the Uptown market. He even has arrangements with the church at the market to use their refrigerators to keep the fish properly cooled. All of his seafood is packaged in individual portions, anywhere from 6-10 oz., depending on the type of fish. David only orders enough to be sold at the markets, and he finds out what the fishermen have brought in that day he places his order, so that he is only getting the absolute freshest from their catch. This is the quickest turnaround you will find in getting fish from the sea to your table. Bob is a true lover of seafood and swears that he has never had anything as wonderful as what David is bringing in.

Tomorrow at the Uptown Wednesday Farmers’ Market, Holy Mackerel will be bringing in skate from Long Island, pollock and day boat sea scallops from Massachusetts, and fresh North Carolina shrimp. The offering will change from market to market, depending on what is coming in from the boats, but the quality will not. David is focused on making sure that the fish from Holy Mackerel is the freshest you will find. It is truly historic that the Health Department has granted a permit for fresh fish to be sold at a farmer’s market and a testament to David’s hard work and dedication that he is the only person with permission to do so. Make sure that you stop by early to make your purchase, because the word is spreading about Holy Mackerel and he already has quite a dedicated following of customers.

David was also nice enough to share a recipe of his, using both his seafood and our produce…

Fresh North Carolina Shrimp and New England Scallops with McClendon’s Select garlic, basil, tomatoes and asparagus

1 portion of H.M.F.S shrimp peeled and deveined [8 oz.]
1 portion of H.M.F.S scallops side muscle removed [8 oz.]
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 pound of basil
1/4 pound diced tomatoes
1/2 pound asparugus
oil for cooking
salt to taste

Cook asparagus in boiling salted water, when almost done put in ice water to stop it from cooking.
Over medium heat saute scallops for 2 minutes then turn over and cook for 2 more. Add shrimp and cook untill almost done.
Usually when the shrimp turn pink they are done. Remove from pan add garlic cook until lightly browned then add wine and reduce in half, add tomatoes, chopped basil and asparagus when heated add to seafood and serve. Can be served over pasta or rice.

Creamy Parsnip Soup from the Onion Enterprise…

March 10, 2015

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Chef Nancy Matsui was also kind enough to share the recipe for her Creamy ParsnipSoup with Nutty Pear Salsa that she had sampled at our Wednesday market awhile back.  I apologize for not getting this on the blog sooner, but here it is…

CREAMY PARSNIP SOUP WITH NUTTY PEAR SALSA   Serves 8 – 10

For the soup…
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 1/2 pounds parsnips*, peeled & chopped, 1/2”-3/4”
3 garlic cloves*, minced
4 teaspoons garam masala**
2 teaspoons smoked paprika**
1 teaspoon cardamom**
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups water
2 cubes Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon, No Salt Added***
3/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2 cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon*

For the salsa…
1 D’Anjou pear*, 1/4” diced
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon* juice
1 tablespoon chopped Italian Parsley*
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
Pinch of kosher salt

For the soup…
In large saucepan heat oil over medium high heat and add parsnips and garlic and saute until lightly golden. Add next four dry ingredients and cook 2 – 3 minutes until fragrant. Add water, bouillon, & both creams. Bring to a simmer and cook until parsnips are soft.

Puree soup in blender (or immersion blender, not as creamy) until very smooth. Return soup to pot and add lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon additional salt, as needed.

For the salsa…
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

To serve: Ladle soup in heated bowl and top with Salsa

Nancy’s Twist…
1) For a lighter version: use all 1/2 & 1/2 cream and omit heavy cream; for a vegan option: use coconut, almond or other nondairy milk; 2) For a different flavor, substitute carrots for the parsnips, (won’t be as creamy); 3) For the spices, substitute others already in your cabinet. i.e. cinnamon, nutmeg, and keep the smoked paprika. 4) For the Salsa, use a green apple and keep the pomegranate for the burst of color and the crunch. 5) Use walnuts or pecans instead, for that additional crunch and flavor.

For more information on Chef Nancy Matsui and her cooking classes, you may contact her at Onion Enterprise@cox.net.

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