Monday, August 29, 2011

more Dan Tower Farm love

 Lush, fluffy white dahlia blooms. 

This weekend Dahlias were the big star at the Dan Tower Farm stand at the Elmwood Bidwell market. They played the leading role in the small bouquets sold every weekend, and there were also single stems of gigantic white dahlia blooms for sale. 

Along with a small bouquet, which has become a bit of a tradition in my Saturday morning farmers market shopping, I bought 3 stems, with big fluffy white blooms and closed buds on each. I put them together with the remaining survivors from last weekend's bouquet.

 This week's bouquet. 

I am always so impressed with the little bouquets they put together the day before the market. I'd like to contact Iris Tower who runs the cut flower program at the farm (her name is too perfect, right?) to see if the farm ever holds flower arranging workshops, and also learn more about options for visiting the farm.

Photo of Iris Tower (Left) and helpers at the Bidwell Market, taken from 

What I would give to wander the flower fields one morning, and pick Iris's brain about planting a cutting garden next spring.

Photo of Dan Towers Farm flower field, taken by Buffalo/Western New York photographer Sandra Kammererwho also happens to be the lady in the white sweater in the photo above. Taken from Dan Tower Farms Facebook page. 

And while we are singing the praises of dahlias, please check out this gorgeous post by Lily Stockman, artist and author of the blog bigBANG studio, who also shares my love of Maine and tomato sandwiches

Friday, August 26, 2011

nectarine, gorgonzola & walnut flatbread pizza

Today I reluctantly broke from my steady August regiment of tomato and cucumber sandwiches to try out an idea that's been brewing in my head and taste buds for a flatbread pizza involving nectarines and gorgonzola.

I took inspiration from the ingredient list from this recipe, and came up with this quick, delicious, sweet & savory lunch (very adaptable to what you have on hand):
  • flatbread, naan, etc
  • nectarine
  • cheddar, fontina, or mozzarella cheese
  • gorgonzola cheese
  • honey
  • basil
  • walnuts, pinenuts etc

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well. 

Heat some olive oil in a pan (1 T is enough). Throw in a handful of walnuts, pine nuts, or any other nut of choice (or even sunflower seeds). Slice up a nectarine (mine was very small - about the size of a plum, and was the perfect amount. If you are working with a large nectarine, you might only need 1/4 or 1/2) - and add it to the pan. Cook over medium high heat until nuts and nectarine slices are nicely browned and the nectarines are softened.

While that's cooking, slice up some fontina cheese (or any other hearty but kind of mild cheese - something that will be a nice backdrop to the gorgonzola) and add evenly to a flatbread, naan, etc. You don't need to cover the whole thing. 

Add the nectarine and nut mixture, spread around evenly. Sprinkle gorgonzola crumbles on top to taste. Drizzle the top with honey, and bake for about 12 minutes or until cheese is melted, slightly browned and bubbly and the bottom is starting to get crisp. 

Let cool slightly. Sprinkle with thinly sliced basil. Slice up and enjoy!

 (Man, I am going to miss the luxury of lunchtime creativity when I get back to work.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

farmers market haul

Last weekend I went a little crazy at the Elmwood Bidwell Market. To the point where, as I was about half way through the vendors, the Pasta Peddler suggested I make a run to the car and come back. 

I guess it was pretty impressive that I was able to balance all of the following, plus an iced coffee: (below, clockwise from top) butter beets, a posy arrangement, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, thyme, grape tomatoes, six ears of corn on the cob, golden beets and nectarines, in addition to (not pictured) two strip steaks,  smoked Polish sausage and lemon pepper linguini.

I've held off on tomatoes so far this year, until they looked good. These grape tomatoes were as sweet as candy - so worth the wait! I've been enjoying the others (not sure what variety they were) all week in open faced tomato and cucumber sandwiches on toasted sourdough, with mayo, salt and pepper. 

I look forward those sandwiches all summer! They remind me so much of my mom. 

I had a baby shower to attend that evening and decided I would see what looked good at the market before deciding on what dish to bring. The two varieties of beets called out to me, so I grabbed a bushel of each. When I got home, I found a recipe from Food & Wine (old reliable) for spinach salad with citrus and roasted beets. Wish I had taken some pictures - it was a very pretty salad!

Golden beets.

 Butter beets, peeled.

I am totally in love with the little posy arrangements offered - I believe - by Dan Tower Farms, for something like $3.50. They are all a little different, and its hard to pick just one. I was drawn to the eucalyptus sprigs in this one, and the warm colors. 

I am loving the enduring color and form of these strawflowers in the bouquet, one week later. I don't think I have ever really appreciated them before, probably because I have never seen them in a live (not dried) flower arrangement. 

 I can't wait to go back to the market tomorrow morning to see what calls out to me.

Happy Friday, everyone.