Tag Archives: Homer

Farmer’s Market – Homer, Alaska

Sure do love farmer’s markets, don’t you?  Well, when Susitna Cafe’ is on the road, we seem to find a farmer’s market  just about everywhere we travel.  Today we’re visiting one in Homer, Alaska USA.

Say hello everyone to Twitter Creek Gardens!  Tweet-tweet!

Look at all the beautiful and natural colors here today…sigh

Oh my, look at the produce!  Aren’t the colors and textures wonderful?  Big sigh

There is sooo much of nature’s wonderful bounty at farmer’s markets…it all just inspires me to make a simple and tasty salad with lots of color, texture and fresh farmer’s market taste.  Won’t you join me?

Susitna Cafe’ Golden Beet  and Tomato Salad

Serves 2 as a vegetarian meal or 4 as a side salad/vegetable dish

Salad Ingredients

1 cup organic baby spinach leaves

1 pound organic golden beets, peeled, boiled and sliced

2 or so assorted tomatoes, sliced (I use a variety of farmer’s market tomatoes including striped zebra tomatoes and chocolate cherry tomatoes)

2 ounces chevre cheese, sliced (I use chevre with  tomato and basil, although plain or herbed chevre is fine too)

1/2 cup whole pecans, toasted (I use Whichita Pecans which have a bold pecan flavour due to their extra oils)

Dressing

2 Tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon organic lemon juice, fresh squeezed

lemon peel, grated (peel from approximately 1/4 to 1/2 an organic lemon)

2 1/2 Tablespoons organic olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon Deli Mustard)

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all of your dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Whisk together and chill while you assemble the salad ingredients.

Begin assembling the salad first by placing a layer of baby spinach leaves atop a large platter.  Next, add a layer of sliced golden beets on top of the spinach leaves.  Next, add approximately 1/2 of your chevre slices atop the beet slices.  Now add a colorful array of tomatoes.  Add the remaining 1/2 of your chevre slices atop the tomatoes and smile a big smile!  Sprinkle some salt and fresh ground pepper on the tomatoes.  Note that the addition of a little salt on the tomatoes will bring out their wonderful flavour.

Next, spoon about 1/2 of your dressing atop the salad reserving the rest for serving on the side.  Chill.  Just prior to serving, sprinkle the top of of the salad with some tasty toasted pecans.  So fresh, so colorful, so delicious!

Traveler’s Note:  See http://www.homerfarmersmarket.org/ for more information on this delightful farmer’s market held throughout the summer in the “Land of the Midnight Sun”.

Cook’s Notes:  Striped Zebra tomatoes are more acidic than most tomatoes, and they add a lemony flavour to your salad…whereas Chocolate Cherry tomatoes are a rich and flavorful addition.  Red beets may be substituted in this recipe, however note that they will impart a stronger beet flavour.  How about being a little creative?  Just substitute the chevre with blue cheese or fresh shaved aged parmigiano reggiano…yummm!

2 Comments

Filed under July 2010

I’m So Excited!

I’m so excited! This is my first post.  All I can say is…uh…salmon! Salmon…molded into a delectable cream cheese and herb mixture and rolled in pecans…oh my…yes, salmon.

But, perhaps I should back-up before we dive into this together my Cafe’ friends.  Shouldn’t I say more about salmon?  Those ambitious and shiny wonders that spawn every year in Alaskan waters give us so many healthful benefits–how about all that healthy protein and omega 3?  How about the bragging rights when you catch one?  Oh joy!  I’m so grateful.

Every summer while Ron (“R”) and I visit my mother in Alaska, we do what every person in the Land of the Midnight Sun does.  We FISH.

Since the FISH in Alaska are big, we catch BIG FISH.  Oh…I should inform you that everything in Alaska tends to be BIG.  Yes, BIGGER than Texas. ..

In fact, there is a big brag sign to prove it.  The sign located upon entry to the Great State of Alaska from the Alaska “Alcan” Highway (via the Lower 48 states) is there to inform you that you are about to experience BIG everything.  BIG land, BIG waters,  BIG moose, BIG fish, BIG people with BIG feet and coat sizes, etc.  You get the picture.

Well…so, we fish.  Usually we catch BIG (and oh so beautiful) salmon and halibut.  Sometimes, we catch some rockfish or flounder too.  Here’s a brag picture for you:

BIG Salmon

This BIG King Salmon was caught while enjoying a cup of Joe in Homer, Alaska.  Well…OK, my nose seems to be getting larger as I’m writing this.  Sort of like Pinnochio, you know?  I guess this pic is just a bit of Alaskan humor.

The truth is that my mother (the petite woman on the left) and “R” are actually proudly displaying what we had hoped to catch on this nice day in Homer, Alaska after we had finished our Joe.

Truth be known, that we did not catch the BIG one in Sept. 2009 in Homer on that particular day.  However, upon getting back to Anchorage, our home, with little to show of our BIG fisherman skills, our friends came to the rescue.  Alaskans are like that.  They gave us lots of Kenai River Red and Silver Salmon to bring home to Texas.  So we, once again, came home with a cooler full of fish to grill, smoke, and bake into some kind of wonderful delight.

Hmm…How about a few Smoked Salmon Logs?  Good stuff on crackers or perhaps a bagel.  Let me get a cup of Joe and then we’ll get started here.

Ingredients

This is what you’ll need to make two (2) logs:

(2) 8 oz. pkgs. of cream cheese at room temp.  (you may use lite or neufchatel)

(3) Tablespoons of Alouette cheese (garlic and herbs or vegetable)

(1) 5 1/4 oz. can of smoked salmon (Red or King is best, but any will do)

1/4 – 1/3 cup of salmon jerky, chopped (not a requirement, but this adds a wonderful intense flavor)

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

(2) Tablespoons garlic or regular chives, chopped

(1) Tablespoon fresh or dried dill

1/3 cup italian parsley, finely chopped

And for later (after the logs have been mixed and rolled), you will need the following ingredients:

1/2 cup italian parsley, finely chopped

3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (chopped pistachios are a good choice too)

Now that we have the ingredients ready, you can mix the cheese, salmon, onion and herbs together using a mixer or your hand until thoroughly mixed.  It will look something like this:

Mixed Ingredients

How about spreading this on a bagel :o)

Next, on a clean surface, mix your additional chopped parsley and chopped toasted pecans together.  This will constitute your herb-nut mixture.

Toasted Texas Choctaw Pecans

Now spread-out the herb-nut mixture into a rectangle.  Let’s make the logs next:

Spoon-out 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture and begin forming a 3″x6″ log by rolling the mixture back and forth between your hands.  The cream cheese mixture will be sticky.  Once the log is formed, place it atop your herb-nut mixture as shown below:

Logroll

More tasty bits...

Now begin rolling the cream cheese log back and forth until it is completely covered by the herb-nut mixture.  You may wish to roll the log back and forth until it is longer and thinner, perhaps about 2″x7″.

Roll Log til Covered

Oh my, the anticipation...

Next, you may begin spooning-out the remaining cream cheese mixture and form your 2nd log following the steps above. Or, you may wish to save the rest as a bagel spread–how about a little Sunday brunch?

Oh my…looks like someone may have taken a bite while I wasn’t looking…

Finished Log

Smoked salmon spread on a rice cracker anyone?

Traveler’s Notes:  Take note my Cafe’ friends, you too can take your own photo with the Big Salmon in Homer, Alaska.  Hint:  the Big Salmon is not real…it’s actually sculpted and painted by an Alaskan with a good sense of humor.  You can visit it at the Homer Spit while you enjoy your cup of Joe.

6 Comments

Filed under January 2010