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Salty!

September 5, 2013

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Marsha has been busy lately in the kitchen mixing up flavored salts.  These are incredibly easy to make, are wonderful on a number of dishes, and smell oh-so-good!

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Yuzus are a favorite of Nobuo Fukuda, from Nobuo’s at Teeter House.  He is the reason we planted yuzu trees and whenever I smell a freshly cut yuzu I immediately think of his Shiromi Carpaccio.  They have a distinct smell that is a mild mix of grapefruit and pine.   This time of year yuzus are green and perfect for zesting.  In another month they will turn yellow on the outside and be used for juicing.  The zest will still work for this recipe, but it won’t be as dark of a green.  This salt would be perfect on any type of fish or vegetable.

Yuzu Salt

3 Tablespoons of Yuzu zest (about seven golf ball size Yuzus)
1 cup coarse Kosher salt

Mix the zest and salt together by hand and then spread across a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Allow to air dry for 8-10 hours then mix again.  Keep in a sealed jar.

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Basil salt is the other one she has been making.  I love the smell of fresh cut basil.  I keep a large bouquet of it in my kitchen at all times when it is in season, since I use it in almost everything.  This is a nice way of enjoying the flavor throughout the year.

Basil Salt

1 cup basil leaves
1 cup kosher salt

Mix the basil leaves and salt together in a food processor until the leaves are finely cut.  Spread across a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 225-degrees for half an hour.  Then mix again in the food processor until finely ground.  Keep in a sealed jar.

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We enjoyed it immediately…

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Planning ahead…

August 23, 2013
by

Summer on the farm is when we catch up on projects, toy with new ideas, and prepare for the coming market season.  Sean has been busy on both the Peoria farm and Hope Springs farm at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America ripping, tilling, bed-forming and planting.  Or rather, making the ground go from this….

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to this…

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We have a number of fun things that are in the ground, getting ready for the fall markets.  Like rows of different types of squash, Yellow Crookneck, Jasper, Costata Romanesco, and Gold in rows in the south field…

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and baby arugula that is starting to pop up…

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and Marsha has about seventy large sunflowers drying that we will use for seed.  We hope to bring a number of these to the markets at the end of October to sell for seed so you can plant your own flowers or use in bird feeders or just hang up to decorate for the season…

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We have also been busy with some new ideas that we hope to bring to market later next year.  Bob recently visited an organic farm in California with these amazing heirloom tomatoes.  They are even more beautiful in person, and the flavors are incredible.  We are ordering seed so we can do the same and hope to be planting them next spring.

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We also have been experimenting with popcorn.  Not the kind you buy at store or from a movie theater, but popcorn that pops right from the cob.  We grew a few varieties of it this summer to see how it would work.  After it was picked, shucked and then dried for about 3-4 weeks, you can then pop it and serve.    Marsha gave the cobs a light coating of oil and then put them in a paper bag and microwaved it for about 30 seconds to a minute,  until they were done popping.  They went from this…

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to this…

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(Click on images to see view full size)

There would have been more popcorn, but Aidan was eating it so fast I could hardly get the photo.  We also hope to be able to offer this new popcorn at the market sometime next year.  With all that going on we are excited as all of you for the markets to begin again.

McClendon’s Select will be back at Town & Country Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays starting October 2nd and at the Old Town Farmers’ Market in Scottsdale on Saturdays starting October 26th.

See you then!

Northern star…

July 2, 2013

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(Double click on the images to see them full size.)

In Flagstaff there is a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss it pizza restaurant that is creating huge buzz.  Pizzicletta is on a quiet corner just a few blocks south of Flagstaff’s downtown, but this is anything but your neighborhood pizza place.  Already they snagged both the cover of Arizona Highways for the “Best New Restaurants of 2013″ and a glowing mention in this month’s Sunset magazine.  It is by no accident that this little place with just a few seats indoors and out is becoming a big deal. The magic that is cooking up in their pizza oven will likely win accolades and devoted fans for a long time to come.  (And happy news, they are also a new customer of ours.)

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Pizzicletta is named for the owner Caleb Schiff’s sojourn around Italy on a bicycle learning his craft.  As a cyclist and a foodie, he journeyed across Italy more than once to learn about food and wine, but specifically to study the art of pizza.  Pizzicletta specializes in pizzas created in a true Neapolitan tradition with fresh, carefully chosen ingredients, a thin wood-fired crust, and a little old world patience.  You can taste the influence from his journeys in every bite.  The dishes seem simple, but to do something this beautifully takes much consideration of every detail.  Everything on the menu is impeccable in its authenticity.

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The night Sean and I stopped in we had decided to go light in our ordering.  After a long, hot drive north from Phoenix, we wanted to just share a salad and a pizza.  But then we saw the cheese plate and then the gelato, and all self-control went out the window.  The cheese plate with their house made foccacia came with three beautiful cheeses that change regularly.  It was an elegant presentation and pairing and just enough to enjoy without overshadowing the meal.

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The menu offers five pizzas made as either a Pizza Rossa and a Pizza Bianca, each with just a few accompaniments.  As purists, we went for the margherita, which is I think the hardest to perfect and the truest measure of a masterpiece.  There is no margin for error with a margherita.  With just the bare basics of dough, sauce, mozzarella and olive oil, this is the tell that makes it achingly clear the quality of ingredients used and the skillfulness of the hands and pizza oven used in its creation.  And with this, it is fair to say that Pizzicletta’s pizza is truly a work of art.

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After experiencing such culinary delight, it would have been unthinkable to leave without trying the handmade gelato.  And so we did, ordering one of each of the three offerings for the evening, the vanilla bean, a chocolate chip and the roasted almond.  Phenomenal!  Caleb’s gelato is the best I have had outside of Italy.  The flavors change regularly and I will be heartbroken if I go again and the roasted almond is not available.  Sean and I finished it off within seconds and next time we won’t be sharing.

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It was truly a joy to get to meet Caleb and experience Pizzicletta.  The whole restaurant is charming and you can feel his love for his craft.  The pizza oven itself is one of the prettiest I have seen.  I would suggest you get there early, as seating is limited, but know that your patience will be rewarded.  This is not just pizza, it is a destination.

Pizzicletta
203 W. Phoenix Avenue
Flagstaff, AZ
928.774.3242
www.pizzicletta.com

Last market of the season…

June 25, 2013

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Tomorrow, Wednesday June 26th, is the last market for the season for McClendon’s Select.  To make sure that you are stocked up for the summer we will have a large quantity of dates, bee pollen and honey at the Town and Country Farmers’ Market.  We are also busy today harvesting as much sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, summer squash and peppers as our trucks will carry.  Be sure to get there early as the last market of the season is usually a busy one.

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We want to thank all of our customers for their continued support of our family farm.  It is truly our honor to work with all of our market and restaurant customers.  We hope to see you tomorrow at the markets and again in the fall and we wish you all a wonderful summer!

Just two more…

June 18, 2013

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McClendon’s Select has just two more markets for the season.  Our last market will be next week on Wednesday, June 26th, so make sure to stop by this week, since we will have the bins full with so much summer goodness!

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The sweet corn has been a huge hit and there will be plenty at the market this week, along with the heirloom tomatoes in all shapes, colors and varieties.

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Not to mention all of the bins filled with summer squashes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and squash blossoms.

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We want to thank all of our wonderful customers for your continued support of our family farm.  We love your enthusiasm and loyalty and it is only because of your dedication that we are able to bring organic, locally grown produce to the markets.  We have seen the understanding and commitment to organic eating and its benefits to both personal health and the environment grow over the years.  It is an honor to be a part of this and to serve our market customers and restaurants.

Summer all-stars…

June 11, 2013

sweet corn

Sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes are the highlights of summer produce.  We apologize to anyone who did not get sweet corn at the Town & Country Farmers’ Market last week. We brought 90 dozen (yes… 1080 ears!), but they sold out quickly.  Not to fear, we are bringing much, much more tomorrow.  But given how good this corn is, I would still advise that you get there early.  There will be some heirloom tomatoes, but in limited supply, so again, set that alarm clock!

If you are considering making cream corn, here is a new recipe from Chef Payton Curry that looks delicious and takes only one ingredient.  (Well, two if you get fancy!)

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Shuck corn and then cut the raw kernels off of the cob with a bread knife into a bowl.

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Save the cob and place into a stock pot and cover with one inch of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain the liquid and reserve.

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Place half of the kernels in a blender with one cup of the corn stock and puree.  This is your corn juice.

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Now heat the corn juice on the stove on high and stir continuously until the mixture thickens.

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Add the remaining raw corn and cook for two minutes and garnish with parsley (if you are fancy!)

Doesn’t that look good??!  And if you are craving some more delicious vegetarian dishes from Chef Curry, there are still a few spots left for tomorrow night’s Vegetarian Beer dinner at the Brat Haus (details here).   And yes, sweet corn is on the menu along with a nice variety of beers from Odell Brewing Company.  

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And if it is heirloom tomatoes that are on your mind there are a few heirloom tomato dinners around town that you may want to try.  Beckett’s Table is having Heirloom Tomato week all this week.  In previous years he has done a crab BLT and a red wine marinated flank steak with corn and heirloom tomato caponata, (click here) so I can’t wait to see what he does this year.  And Kevin Binkley is holding an heirloom tomato dinner at Binkley’s on June 19th.  If you haven’t been before, it is quite an evening, take a look at last year’s dinner (click here), it was a feast!

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Brat Haus
3622 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ
480.947.4006
www.brathausaz.com

Beckett’s Table
3717 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
602.954.1700
www.beckettstable.com

Binkley’s Restaurant
6920 East Cave Creek Road
Cave Creek, AZ  85331-8604
480.437.1072
www.binkleysrestaurant.com

The art of swine dining…

June 7, 2013

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The Brat Haus and Odell Brewing Company are putting together a fantastic evening next week with a vegetarian beer dinner, pairing farm fresh vegetarian courses and different Odell beers.  The menu is five courses of amazing dishes that highlight the best of summer vegetables paired with the perfect beer from Odell Brewing Co.  Chef Payton Curry’s Brat Haus has taken the German beer garden concept with its jovial spirit of communal celebration and infused his commitment to farm-to-table freshness and purity of ingredients.  If you have talked to him at the market, then you know that his guy worships veggies, and even better, he knows how to make them standout on a dinner plate.  We love going to the Brat Haus (read more about that here), and even though the temperatures outside are creeping up their outdoor patio and fun vibe keeps it cool.  If you haven’t been to the Brat Haus, this is the perfect opportunity to go and see what you have been missing.  Check out the menu…

Brat Haus with Odell Brewing Company
Vegetarian Beer Dinner

Wednesday, June 12th
Reception at 6:00pm
First Course at 7:00pm

Course One
Cucumber Salad
Sour Orange
Field Sprouts
Goat Quark
Odell Beer:  CELASTRINA

Course Two
Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Sesame Sweet Corn Pudding
Odell Beer:  MYRCENARY

Course Three
Potato with Minted Spring Peas
Heirloom Tomato
Smoked Babaganoush
Odell Beer:  90 SHILLING

Course Four
Cauliflower Curry
Forbidden Rice
Pomegranate
Odell Beer:  IPA

Course Five
Cherry Shortcake
White Chocolate
Creme Anglaise
Odell Beer:  LUGENE REDUCTION

Dinner is $55/person (includes gratuity), for reservations call 480-947-4006.  This is going to be quite an event, make sure to get your spot before it sells out.  Here’s to summer!!

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Brat Haus
3622 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, Arizona
480-947-4006
www.brathausaz.com

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