Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fruits from the Harvest--Using September's Wonderful Bounty

I love the bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits in September!! The Portland Farmer's Market is thriving and bouncing with energy and produce. For the past several years, our family has been visiting the farmer's market in downtown Portland every Saturday we are in town. The Portland metro area has multiple farmer's markets, and there's even one now in our beloved neighborhood Multnomah Village, but we are faithful to the grandmother of them all, the original Portland Farmer's Market.

I love the urban vibe of the market. The people and kid watching is spectacular, and each Saturday they have a great chef demonstration from a top Portland restaurant (with great samples of the dishes) and often fantastic music. This last Saturday it was an awesome marimba group called Fools in Paradise. I also really appreciate the wide variety of organic produce at the downtown market.

Here are some photos of our family attending the market over the past few years...


2005 (must have not taken any market photos in 2004!):

(Kieran and his buddy Ezra)




The stalls are full of a wonderful variety of produce...

Love those wild mushrooms!

Yellow and red peppers are two of my favorite veggies!

Food just doesn't look like this in the supermarket...

On Saturday we had the most amazing fresh corn on the cob for dinner--it was perfect. I also made one of my favorite comfort foods, Chicken Monterey, from the Silver Palate Cookbook we received as a wedding present. I hadn't made it for years; who knows why? It has the most delicious combination of flavors, and it also smells fantastic while it's cooking. Vegetarians could easily substitute vegetable broth and tofu for the chicken; it's the combination of flavors with orange, rosemary, and peppers that make it so wonderful. I served it with brown rice pasta, which we try to eat instead of wheat pasta because of our wheat sensitivities.
I also made a cucumber salad of cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, with fresh basil and a splash of olive oil and raspberry wine vinegar. The other mound on the plate below is some spicy coleslaw, leftover from the week before.

Here is the recipe for Chicken Monterey--let me know what you think!:
5 T. best quality olive oil
1 chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, quartered (I used a combination of breast and thigh meat)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 c. chopped yellow onions
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. canned crushed tomatoes (I used fresh chopped tomatoes)
1 T. dried rosemary (I used fresh rosemary)
1 med. sized sweet red pepper, stemmed, and cored, cut into julienne
1/2 large zucchini and 1/2 large yellow summer squash, cleaned and sliced diagonally
1/3 c. chopped Italian parsley (garnish)
grated zest of 1 orange (garnish)

Heat 3 T. of the oil in a large skillet. Pat the chicken pieces dry, season them with salt and pepper, and cook gently in the oil for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, season again, then cook for another 5 minutes. Do not attempt to brown chicken or you will over cook it; it should be pale gold. Remove chicken from skillet and reserve.
Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the oil remaining in the skillet and cook, covered, over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
Uncover skillet and the add the stock, orange juice, tomatoes, and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Return chicken pieces to the pan and simmer further, 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly done. Baste the pieces with the sauce and turn them once at the 15-minute mark (if you wish, you may complete the recipe to this point the day before serving. Refrigerate chicken in the sauce and reheat gently before proceeding.)
Heat remaining 2 T. of olive oil in another skillet and saute the pepper julienne for 5 minutes. Add sliced zucchini and yellow squash and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat and toss the vegetables in the oil until they are tender but still firm, another 5 minutes or so.
With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to the skillet with the chicken and simmer together for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and orange zest and serve immediately.

Makes 2 to 4 (large) portions--we ate it two nights in a row, still with some leftovers...

Nicholas with his Chicken Monterey

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