By Michael Costa, Head Chef, Zaytinya

The Greek word "milopita" translates literally as apple cake or apple pie. This recipe is based on a traditional cake baked with lots of grated and caramelized apple. Chef Michael chose Red Winesap apples from Black Rock Orchard at the Penn Quarter market, because they have a good acidity and maintain their texture well when cooked. Milopita is the perfect use for late-season apples that might be a little on the softer side! 

makes 4 dozen mini loaves

INGREDIENTS

For the caramelized apples:
5 apples, peeled, cored, and diced ¼ inch
3 oz butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup cream

For the cake:
2 cups apple puree (see note)
2/3 cups apple juice
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ cup blended oil
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
½ cup pearl sugar (optional)

METHOD

For the caramelized apples:
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium high heat. When melted, add half the sugar. Stir occasionally until mixture foams and then forms large slow bubbles.

Toss apples in remaining sugar and add to mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are a medium caramel color.

Add cream and gently stir on heat until sauce is homogenous, and remove to a shallow pan to cool.

For the cake:
With a wooden spoon combine puree, juice, sugar, oil, eggs, and spices. In a separate bowl combine flour, powder, soda, and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture in three batches.

When the third batch of the dry mixture is halfway incorporated, add the caramelized apples, reserving 1 cup apples for garnish. Finish mixing the batter.

Pipe or spoon cake batter into mini loaf molds, filling halfway. Top each cake with ¼ tsp caramelized apple and 1/8 tsp pearl sugar.

Bake at 350 F with low fan for 14 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Note:
To prepare the apple puree, gently cook three peeled, cored, and diced apples in 1 ½ oz butter until tender, then blend in a blender.
 
 
By Lindsay Wallace, FRESHFARM Staff

Whether served as a side dish next to grilled salmon, roast chicken, or lamb, or topped with an egg for an easy weeknight dinner or simple Sunday brunch, this satisfying spring dish comes together in about 20 minutes.

serves 2 as main course or 4 as a side

INGREDIENTS

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz pancetta or bacon, diced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" lengths
1 can or 1 ½ cups cooked white beans (cannellini or great northern; chickpeas would also work), rinsed and drained
salt to taste
zest of 1 lemon
handful of mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, chives, mint), roughly chopped
2 eggs, optional

METHOD

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook 3-4 minutes, until it starts to brown.

Add spring onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and lower heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes.

Add asparagus to the pan, and bring the heat back up to medium. Sautee, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes, just until the asparagus is bright green and fork-tender. Stir in beans and cook until warmed through. Season to taste with salt.

Transfer to serving bowl/platter, and shower with lemon zest and herbs. If desired, top with fried, poached, or jammy soft-boiled eggs.


 

Ramp Pesto

04/07/2017

 
Adapted from Hank Shaw’s Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

For a spring spin on pesto, swap out the classic basil for ramps! You can also use the greens from spring onions or green garlic - all will impart a bright onion flavor. Try this pesto as a sauce for pasta, spread on a sandwich, or as a condiment for fish or poultry.

makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
3 tablespoons grated cheese, such as pecorino
2 cups ramp or other wild onion leaves, about 2 dozen
Salt to taste
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

If you want to prevent your pesto from browning in the fridge, blanch the greens before you begin assembling the pesto (this is an optional step). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of salt. Set a large bowl of ice water nearby. Plunge the ramp leaves into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and quickly cool them down in the ice water. Squeeze dry with a tea cloth or paper towels.

Chop the ramp leaves and set aside. Pesto is best made with a mortar and pestle, thus the name, which means "pound," but you can of course make it in a food processor. To start, add the toasted pine nuts and garlic and crush them.

Add the cheese and ramps and commence pounding. Mash everything together, stirring with the pestle and mashing well so it is all fairly uniform.

Start adding olive oil. The amount will depend on how you are using your pesto. If you are making a spread, use maybe 1/4 cup. If a pasta sauce, double that. Either way, add 1 tablespoon at a time, pounding and stirring to incorporate it. When it's a nice rough paste, taste it and add salt if you need to; sometimes the cheese makes the pesto salty enough by itself. Serve as a spread on bread, as a topping for minestrone, as a pasta sauce, or as a dollop on fish or poultry.

If you are using a food processor, add everything but the oil and pulse to combine. Then, turn the motor on and drizzle in the olive oil. Be careful not to let the mixture become a smooth paste!
 
 
Adapted from Cooking Classy

These cookies are the best of both worlds: not quite cake, not quite cookie, but somehow better than both. They're soft, moist, sweet, and spicy. Grab a bunch of carrots at market this weekend for this perfect almost-spring baking project!

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups finely grated carrots

METHOD: 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in carrots. Cover bowl and chill dough 1 hour and 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 during last 10 minutes of chilling.
Drop dough 2 Tbsp at a time onto baking sheets, spacing cookies at least 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12- 13 minutes until centers no longer look doughy. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
 
 
Adapted from Just a Taste

This FoodPrints recipe is both homey and sophisticated and a fun project for a group (or family)! Serve with a tossed green salad  for a delicious (meatless!) dinner.

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course

INGREDIENTS 

For the gnocchi: 
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 2 medium) 
1 12-oz. container fresh ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting

For the brown butter sauce:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 handful of loosely packed fresh sage leaves 
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Scrub and dry the sweet potatoes, then prick them all over with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast until fork-tender (about 1 hour). Cool, then peel and mash potatoes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust it with flour. You'll want this near your work surface when you start making the gnocchi.

Transfer 3 cups of the mashed sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, stirring until thoroughly combined, then stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 tsp salt.

Start adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with your hands until a soft dough forms. Shape the dough into a large ball.

Lightly flour your work surface and divide the dough into six equal portions. Take one portion and gently roll and stretch it on your work surface or between your hands until it's about 20 inches in length (about the length of a standard cookie sheet).

Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces to form each gnocchi (each "rope" should yield about 20 gnocchi). Using the back of a fork, press each gnocchi into the tines to form indentations (which will soak up the delicious sauce you're about to make), then transfer them to the floured baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining five pieces of dough.

Prior to boiling the gnocchi, make the brown butter sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook the butter until the foam subsides and it begins to turn a golden brown color, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sage leaves, allowing them to cook for 1 minute. Remove the brown butter from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

When you're ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a portion of the gnocchi to the boiling water, stir, and then let the gnocchi cook until they float back up to the top, about 1 minute.

Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining gnocchi and toss your delicious little orange morsels with the prepared brown butter sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Note: uncooked gnocchi will keep in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months. If you can resist eating them all that first meal, that is.
 
 
By Chantal Tseng

Chantal Tseng created this delicious not-too-sweet punch (and accompanying haiku) for a FRESHFARM fundraiser at Petworth Citizen. The combination of Three Springs Fruit Farm tart cherry juice (which you can find at our Downtown Silver Spring Market) and beet juice gives it a beautiful scarlet hue!  You'll find Chantal Fridays and Saturdays at the Petworth Citizen's Reading Room, where she pours cocktails inspired by literature and authors (menu changes weekly). 

Stir blood, earth & wine
A heart that bleeds knows passion
In fruit lies desire


This makes one drink, but scales up easily. 

1.5 oz. Jean Paul Brun Beaujolais
.75 oz. Jensen's London Dry Gin
1.5 oz. Three Springs Tart Cherry Juice
.75 oz. Biotta beet juice
garnish: dried blood orange slices 

Combine ingredients, serve in punch cup with two ice cubes, and garnish with dried blood orange slice.
 

Tatanka Cocktail

01/20/2017

 
By Republic Restoratives

Try this tasty cocktail with Republic Restorative's CIVIC Vodka and farmers market apple cider. 

INGREDIENTS:
2oz fresh apple cider
1/2oz lemon juice
2oz CIVIC Vodka 

Shake with ice for 10 seconds and serve in a chilled old fashioned glass over ice. Grate a bit of cinnamon and garnish with a slice of apple. 
 

Classic Apple Pie

01/13/2017

 
By FRESHFARM Staff 

Homemade apple pie is always a treat and a great winter cooking project. Apples, a storage crop, are abundant right now. Baking warms up the kitchen and filled your home with delicious cozy aromas. 

This is our go-to recipe for pie crust. The key is to make the crust ahead of time and let it "rest" in the refrigerator for at least four hours before rolling it out. For the filling, use your favorite market apple, or a mix (we like Gold Rush and Honey Crisp).

A lattice crust is easier than it looks - check out this Fine Cooking step-by-step illustration on how to do it! 

Makes one double -crusted pie

INGREDIENTS

For the flaky crust: 
1 lb (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons) All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 
2/3 cup very cold water 

For apple filling:
6 to 7 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced 
1/2 cup white sugar, plus more for dusting crust
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold butter 
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream 

METHOD

For the crust:
Place water in the freezer. Meanwhile combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to break the butter down into small pieces. The finished product should be irregular, with some pieces flat and thin, some larger and chunkier, and some extremely fine. Sprinkle about half of the water onto flour/butter mixture, combine with a fork, and see if the dough starts to come together easily (do not overwork). Add remaining water if needed and form the mixture into a ball. Divide in half and place each half onto a piece of tin foil. Form into a ball and flatten into a disc, wrap in foil and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours (a day is good) before rolling out. You can keep the disc in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for up to 3 months. 

About 1 hour before rolling out the crust, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a little on the counter. Put some flour on the counter and on your rolling pin and place disc (with foil removed) on the floured surface. Starting from the center of the disc, roll out the dough, rotating the disc a few times. If it starts to crack, it is too cold, so give it a rest on the counter and let it warm up a little more. You are done when the crust is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with second crust. Reserve the rolled out crusts in the refrigerator while you assemble the filling. 

For the filling and baking the pie:
Pre-heat oven to 375 and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven.  Place the cut apples, sugar, maple syrup, salt, and spices in a large bowl and combine. Add the flour and lemon juice and combine. Place one of the rolled out crusts in a nine inch metal pie tin. Add filling, distributing it evenly in the tin, dot top with cubed butter, and top with the second crust (as a lattice or as a single crust; if single crust, don't forget to cut a few vents for steam to escape). Crimp along the edges, brush top crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. 

We strongly advise that you let the pie rest in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. This will help the butter firm up and will result in a flakier, prettier pie. However, you must use a metal pie tin, since a glass one might crack when placed in a hot oven.  If you only have a glass pie plate, let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes instead. 

To bake, place in oven on hot baking sheet for 55 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow to cool for a few hours before serving. 

Apple pie is good on its own or with a piece of cheddar, scoop of ice cream, or dollop of whipped cream. 
 
 
Adapted from Fine Cooking

We took this super easy one-pot brownie recipe and enhanced it with duck eggs (prized for their richness) and cultured market butter. Regular chicken eggs work well too, just use five instead of four. Twin Post Farm has duck eggs (Dupont); Clear Spring Creamery (Downtown Silver Spring and Dupont) and Blue Ridge Dairy (Dupont) both have amazing butter. 

Makes 24 brownies

INGREDIENTS 
  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted best quality butter, cut into 9 pieces; more softened to grease the pan
  • 1-1/4 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 4 duck eggs or 5 large chicken eggs 
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) roughly chopped high quality chocolate, milk or dark

METHOD

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch straight-sided metal baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on the short sides. Lightly butter the foil.

Put the butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat and stir occasionally until melted, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth, 1 minute. Switching to a wooden spoon, add the sugar and salt, and stir until blended. Test check the temperature of the batter—it should be warm, not hot. If it’s hot, wait a few minutes before proceeding. 

Stir in the eggs, two at a time, until just blended. Stir in the vanilla until the batter is well blended. Sprinkle the flour over the batter and stir until just blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scatter the chocolate on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with small bits of brownie sticking to it, about 35 minutes, perhaps a few minutes longer. The key to fudgy brownies is to under-cook them ever so slightly. Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a rack, about 3 hours.

When the brownies are cool, use the foil overhang to lift them from the pan. Invert onto a cutting board and carefully peel away the foil. Flip again and cut into 24 squares. Wiping your knife frequently with a damp cloth helps with slicing. 
 
 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

We played around with swapping out the baking potato with different tubers to great success.  If using grated sweet potato, rutabaga, or parsnips instead, cook on medium low flame and keep an eye on the pan, since these root vegetables have more sugars and can easily burn.  You can find rendered chicken fat at specialty stores, but if you make chicken stock, just skim off the fat and keep it in your freezer until you need it! 

Makes 6 to 8 pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 large baking potato (approximately 1 lb), peeled. You can substitute 1 lb of another tuber instead. 
1 small onion, peeled
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Peanut oil
Rendered chicken fat (optional)

Condiments: apple sauce and sour cream.  If you are feeling fancy, skip the apple sauce and serve with a fried egg, sour scream, and a little smoked salmon. 

METHOD:

Using the side of a box grater with large holes, shred the peeled potato and onion. Wrap the shredded mass in a clean dish towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Let the potato/onion mixture stand for a few minutes and repeat. 

In a large bowl, whisk egg with salt and pepper. Add potato/onion mixture and flour and mix until combined. 

Pre-heat oven to 325° F.  Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with peanut oil, add a few tablespoons of chicken fat if using. Heat oil over medium flame until very hot. Drop a few large tablespoons of potato/onion mixture into oil, flatten with the back of the spoon, and cook over medium heat until the edges are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden, a minute or two. Drain on paper towel and hold in the warm oven on a cookie sheet. Add more oil and chicken fat as needed and repeat until all the mixture is fried. 

Serve hot with suggested condiments. 

Make ahead: You can cook all latkes and keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 400° F oven until crisp.