5th Birthday for our Market!

We will be celebrating with a special birthday cake with fresh berries which we will share with everyone at 11AM. Please join us!

This Sunday, August 12, is the 5th anniversary of the Mercer Island Farmers Market. To help us celebrate, our longtime friend and supporter, Chef Nathan Zielski from Lilly’s at Aljoya, will show us how to make his sublime Pacific Rim Salmon with Green Tea Noodles. (I’ve eaten this dish at Lily’s, and it is SO good, you’ll want to stop by and learn his secrets!) 

Garrett & Wescott will be on hand to sing some blues, and at the kids’ table, Judy Witmer will demonstrate how to make very berry ink.

If you haven’t been to our market in a while, be sure to check out some of our newest vendors.  I love the salsa from the Seattle Salsa Guy.  I eat his salsa with a spoon, like gazpacho, or put it on scrambled eggs or grilled chicken.

Because I am currently on a gluten free kick, I’ve had to break my normal routine of starting my market day with a cranberry orange scone from Snohomish Bakery (it’s just temporary, Snohomish! I’ll be back, I promise) and check out alternatives. I used to be one of those uninformed haters who disparaged gluten free bread (“Why bother?”) until I tasted Manini’s. It looks good, it smells even better, but still, I was like a suspicious kid, afraid to even taste it. Silly me! Their gluten-free bread really is delicious, soft and pillowy yet firm enough to stand up to a tomato sandwich.

My friends and I rave about Abu Eden’s hummos. Seriously, everything they sell is delicious, and fresh.  I’m also avoiding caffeine for a while, and I found just the thing to pick me up and soothe my head at Theo Dorre’s Tea: an herbal tisane.  Each week she comes up with a new alchemy from the season’s harvest.  Check out what she has this week.

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5th Anniversary Fun at the Market

This Sunday, August 12, is the 5th anniversary of the Mercer Island Farmers Market. To help us celebrate, our longtime friend and supporter, Chef Nathan Zielski from Lilly’s at Aljoya, will show us how to make his sublime Pacific Rim Salmon with Green Tea Noodles. (I’ve eaten this dish at Lily’s, and it is SO good, you’ll want to stop by and learn his secrets!) 

Garrett & Wescott will be on hand to sing some blues, and at the kids’ table, Judy Witmer will demonstrate how to make very berry ink.

If you haven’t been to our market in a while, be sure to check out some of our newest vendors.  I love the salsa from the Seattle Salsa Guy.  I eat his salsa with a spoon, like gazpacho, or put it on scrambled eggs or grilled chicken.

Because I am currently on a gluten free kick, I’ve had to break my normal routine of starting my market day with a cranberry orange scone from Snohomish Bakery (it’s just temporary, Snohomish! I’ll be back, I promise) and check out alternatives. I used to be one of those uninformed haters who disparaged gluten free bread (“Why bother?”) until I tasted Manini’s. It looks good, it smells even better, but still, I was like a suspicious kid, afraid to even taste it. Silly me! Their gluten-free bread really is delicious, soft and pillowy yet firm enough to stand up to a tomato sandwich.

My friends and I rave about Abu Eden’s hummos. Seriously, everything they sell is delicious, and fresh.  I’m also avoiding caffeine for a while, and I found just the thing to pick me up and soothe my head at Theo Dorre’s Tea: an herbal tisane.  Each week she comes up with a new alchemy from the season’s harvest.  Check out what she has this week.

No market this week!

Enjoy the Blue Angels tomorrow, and join us next week as we celebrate our 5th anniversary with Chef Nathan Zielske from Lily’s Restaurant, who will share his recipe and demonstrate how he prepares Pacific Rim salmon with green tea noodle salad.  We have lots of fun in store for you, including berry shortcake for all, so stay tuned for more details.

Market Dinner Delicious Success

A Banquet to Behold:  Mercer Island Farmers Market Celebrates Successful Fundraising Dinner as It Readies for Fifth Season

It was a fundraiser. A celebration of the coming season.  A thank you to the volunteers and contributors who make the market possible.  And after dessert, when the last dinner guests had paid for their auction items and said their goodbyes, Julie Sarkissian could only smile, sit back and marvel at the success of the evening event.  Julie is the newly-elected Chair of the Mercer Island Farmers Market Board of Directors.  “Tonight I can sleep.  We all worked so hard to make this happen.  You worry about selling tickets, getting donations for the auction, making sure the chef and restaurant have everything they need from us.  And everything worked out wonderfully well.  The dinner and auction were a great success.”

One hundred supporters and guests attended the Market’s third Annual Celebration Dinner and Silent Auction at Lilly’s Restaurant at Aljoya Sunday, May 20.  Chef Nathan Zielske prepared a sumptuous feast, showcasing products donated from the Market vendors, Aljoya and the creative talents of his Lilly’s kitchen. Flower and herb-crusted salmon on green tea soba noodle salad; chicken breast baked with pistachio breadcrumb and Frangelico sauce, kale Caesar salad…yumm!

The silent auction before dinner drew spirited bidding, particularly for a number of showcase items.  The celebrity item had to have been the week’s stay in an Oahu condo overlooking the ocean.  Other showcase items, lovingly donated by local residents and merchants, included a homemade quilt, dinners at Roanoke Inn, John Howie Steaks and Dahlia Lounge, catering by Stopsky’s, tickets for the Mariners and Seattle Philharmonic, product potpourri from All The Best and Trader Joe’s, services from Uyeta Landscaping, to name a few.

“So much bidding enthusiasm”, pronounced Carol Branom, Market Board Treasurer. “So many appealing items were donated.  We exceeded our fundraising goal!  This is a great start for the season!”

Dinner guests included: State Representative Marcie Maxwell, a dedicate Market patron; King County Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, and Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett, whose wife Nannette is a Farmers Market Board Member.

This was the first public event of the Mercer Island Farmers Market for Patty Spahr, the new Market Manager.  “I am very excited to be working with these people”, she said, referring to the Board.  “So much energy and enthusiasm.  Now we turn our attention full time to Opening Day of the Market itself.  We have been planning and preparing for seven months.  Now our energy levels kick into high gear.”

Twenty-three vendors are returning from last year’s market and are being joined by 20 new vendors.

“We think our patrons will be very pleased with our product mix and with the quality of our vendors”, says Kari Fisher, Vice Chair of the Market Board.  “We survey our patrons and track what works or doesn’t work.  We attend ‘Marketing the Market’ seminars.  We want this to be our best season yet.”

The fifth season of the Mercer Island Farmers Market begins Sunday, June 10.  Market hours are 10am–3pm.  The Market is located near Mercerdale Park on 77th Avenue South and SE 32nd Street.  It will be there every Sunday through October 14, with the exceptions of July 15 and August 5.  For more information, go to the Mercer Island Farmers Market web site:  http://www.mifarmersmarket.org.

September 18th Mercer Island Farmers Market Event Highlights: Chef Demo by Newport High School Students

Newport High School students rolling out pie crust for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Newport High School students rolling out pie crust for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Tracy Green, a teacher at the Newport High School Culinary Arts program, and four of her students came to the Mercer Island Farmers Market this past Sunday to show our community how to make a pear cream tart (see recipe below).

Before the students began the chef demo, Tracy provided an introduction to the NHS Culinary Arts curriculum. Tracy explained that it is actually a joint program of eight public school districts on the Eastside, including the Mercer Island public schools, not just that of the Bellevue School District. Most of the audience hadn’t realized that our community’s public schools and Mercer Islanders participated in the program.

Newport High School students preparing cream sauce for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Newport High School students preparing cream sauce for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

For the chef demo, the NHS Culinary Arts students each demonstrated a different aspect to the making of the pear cream tart. One rolled out the pie crust, another made the cream sauce, and yet another sliced the pears and carefully arranged them in the tart tin. Finally, two of the students working together poured the cooled cream sauce into the tart tin.

Each of the students taught those in the audience new skills specific to pear cream tarts—working with pastry, cooking cream sauce, slicing and arranging pears to create an attractive dessert…

Newport High School students carefully arranging sliced pears in a pastry-filled tart tin for a pear cream tart at the chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Newport High School students carefully arranging sliced pears in a pastry-filled tart tin for a pear cream tart at the chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

In addition to these skills, the students also taught the audience more general cooking skills and knowledge:

  • the importance of using a non-reactive sauce pan, such as stainless steel, when making cream sauces;
  • the meaning of the cooking term nappé (when a sauce in the process of being cooked becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon);
  • the name of a specialized type of strainer—a chinoise, its uses, and the importance using a rounded whisk inside of it, so as not to damage its mesh…
Newport High School students pouring cream sauce through a chinois into the tart tin for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Newport High School students pouring cream sauce through a chinois into the tart tin for a pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

At the end of the chef demo, the students handed out to audience members samples of pear cream tart that they had prepared earlier at the NHS kitchen. The audience quickly gobbled up the slices and went home with the skills and the strong desire to make a pear cream tart themselves.

The Mercer Island Farmers Market would like to thank Tracy Green, her students, and the Newport High School Culinary Arts program for taking the time on Sunday to come out to the Mercer Island Farmers Market to teach and feed us all.

We hope that you had as good of a time at the MI Farmers Market as we had watching you cook and eating your delicious pear cream tart.

Please come back next farmers market season.

A Newport High School student displaying a finished pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

A Newport High School student displaying a finished pear cream tart at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 18, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Recipe:

Biretaertel (Pear Cream Tart)

Preheat oven to 375°F

Pie dough for one pie crust

Three (3) pears, peeled, halved, de-stemmed, and cored, hold in salted cold water (1-quart cold water with 1 T salt) while preparing cream mixture and pie crust.

Prepare pastry by rolling it out so that it is a ¼-inch thick and one inch larger than tart tin. Trim off crust overage with scissors leaving ½ inch of dough above the sides of the tart tin. Fold the overage inside the tart tin.

Cream Sauce

Heat ingredients together in a non-reactive sauce pan

½ c sugar
½ t salt
2 c heavy cream
2 T pear liqueur
½ t vanilla

Once the mixture is hot and bubbling through the center, whisk in 2 T flour.

Cook until it coats the back of a spoon or is nappé. Remove from heat

Rinse pears and slice horizontally into ¼-inch slices, keeping the slices together to keep the pear shape. Arrange pears in tart tin in a spoke formation.

Pass the cream sauce through a fine mesh sieve (chinoise), hold spoon underneath cream to diffuse it and pour over pears. Do not over fill tart pan with cream mixture (approximately 2/3 of the way from the top of the crust).

Place a drip pan in the bottom of the oven in case of overflow. Bake on bottom rack at 375°F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F, raise to top rack and bake another 20-25 minutes or until gold brown.

Refrigerate to allow tart to set.

Serves six to eight.

Source: Newport High School Culinary Arts

September 11th Mercer Island Farmers Market Event Highlights: Chef Demo by Kurt Daimmeier

Kurt Daimmeier demonstrating the proper technique for cutting corn kernels from the cob at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Kurt Daimmeier demonstrating the proper technique for cutting corn kernels from the cob at a chef demo at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

This past Sunday, Kurt Daimmeier, chef, owner of Bennett’s Pure Food Bistro, and Mercer Islander, came to the Mercer Island Farmers Market to do a chef demo. Last year, his chef demo was one of our most popular. This year was no different with such a large crowd gathering that there was standing room only.

Kurt chose a recipe that features sweet corn and peppers, which are both now showing up in abundance at the MI Farmers Market.

On Sunday, Crown S Ranch, Winthrop, WA featured boxes and boxes of freshly harvested organic sweet corn.

And Billy’s Organic Garden, Tonasket, WA, Hedlin Family Farms, La Conner, WA, and Tonnemaker Family Orchards, Royal City, WA all featured an enormous variety of fresh peppers ranging from mild bell peppers to hot jalapeño peppers.

In addition to sweet corn and peppers, the dish, Aztec Trinity Salad (the recipe is below at the end of the post), features two other key ingredients: yams and black beans. Another ingredient in the salad’s dressing, honey, can be purchased at the Mercer Island Farmers Market from Island Apiaries, Freeland, WA.

Kurt Daimmeier discussing how to roast peppers and remove their skins at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Kurt Daimmeier discussing how to roast peppers and remove their skins at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Kurt is a natural teacher and so the crowd learned a wide range of things from him, from basic cooking techniques—the importance of chopping vegetables into similar-sized pieces to ensure even roasting and how to roast a pepper and remove the skin easily—to more complicated cooking questions—the substituting of ingredients and what kinds of oils to use in different dishes—to basic botany—the differences between the varieties of peppers: bell, poblano, jalapeño, Fresno…

The chef demo was a big success with our community excited to try a new recipe armed with new knowledge and cooking techniques.

An appreciative audience gathers to try samples of Kurt Daimmeier's Aztec Trinity Salad at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

An appreciative audience gathers to try samples of Kurt Daimmeier's Aztec Trinity Salad at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

We want to give Kurt our thanks for coming out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (perhaps the last one this year) to do the chef demo. We hope that Kurt enjoyed himself as much as we all did and will come back to the MI Farmers Market next season for another one.

Kurt Daimmeier displaying the finished Aztec Trinity salad at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Kurt Daimmeier displaying the finished Aztec Trinity salad at the Mercer Island Farmers Market on September 11, 2011. (Photo by Joel Wachs)

Aztec Trinity

  • 1 ½ lbs. approx. of yams, peeled, cut in 3/4″ dice
  • 1 T of lime juice
  • 1 T of neutral-flavored cooking oil
  • 1 T of chili powder
  • 1 t of cumin
  • 2 t of Kosher salt

Combine the lime juice, canola oil, chili powder, cumin, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Mix well to coat the yams. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and roast at 400°F with the fan on high. Check after 12 minutes. Rotate the pans and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, until the yams are easily pierced with a knife. Do not overcook. Cool in the refrigerator.

  • 1 green bell pepper (2 poblano if you desire more heat), roasted, skinned, seeded, cut in ¾” dice
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, cut kernels from cob

Dressing

  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 t of Kosher salt
  • 1 T of honey
  • 1 Fresno peppers (red jalapeño, can be omitted), sliced 1/8″ strips
  • 1 T of chopped cilantro

Add salt and black pepper to taste after mixing salad

Salad assembly: combine roasted yams, dressing, peppers, black beans, corn, cilantro, and salt. Mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Source: Kurt Dammeier