Can-Do Real Food will be back in the McMinnville Downtown Farmers’ Market after a year’s hiatus to permit three joint surgeries to heal. I feel great; completely out of pain, so we are back to share shelf-safe local food with you!
We will be bringing the following canned items for your consideration:
Applesauce – Chunky texture, made with Gravenstein apples and a touch of cinnamon. No added sugar.
Berry Naughty Yumminess Sauce – Perfect for ice cream or an easy topping on a cake or pancakes or French toast or……it is naughty because it has orange liquor in it. OLCC requires us to tell you about that but even kids can eat this.
Hogan’s Hot Stuff – This is the last of the peach-jalapeno jam until new peaches in a couple of months. Grab it while the grabbing is good. (Message me if you want me to hold one for you.)
Quince Paste – I am sure this will move quickly. Perfect with cheese. If you have never tasted quince, stop by for a fun experience. It has a similar texture as pears but the taste is unique.
Odds and Ends – Just 2-3 jars left of a few favorites.
We have been dehydrating thinking of you as well as backpackers so there are some new items:
Mole Meal Mix– You can get supper on the table in less than 30 minutes following the simple recipe on the package. The recipe can feed 8 so way less expensive than fast food! This is a gentle- not hot- take on the Mexican dish……people who like heat will need to add more!
Huckleberry Dust – a powder to add to oatmeal or smoothies or yogurt that is high in anti-oxidants.
Plum Roll-ups – 3 different takes….”Plain”, “Yellow Plum with Hazelnuts,” and “Pom Plum” which has the tanginess of pomegranate balsamic vinegar added in.
Rhubarb Lace -Just enough sugar to take away the pucker, these will be easy to enjoy!
Apple a Day – cinnamon and “naked” versions for a healthy snack
Fruit Feast – a mixture of dried fruits for healthy snacking
Mushroom Quinoa – Developed for backpacking, this can be enjoyed at home as a side dish or stuffing. Rehydrates in about 20 minutes. We did all the cooking!
Our raw produce is predominantly sourced from local farms as well as backyard gardeners. No artificial anything added. Small batches, so grab when you see something!
The market starts at noon and runs until 6pm on Thursday. Located on Cowls and in the parking lot behind Town Hall. Plenty of parking within 2 blocks. Hope to see you there!!!
Do you love to eat? Whether you consider yourself a foodie or merely know what you like, whether you enjoy home cooking or prefer to have someone else do the work, Can-Do Real Food has something for you!
Great news! Can-Do Real Food is building inventory as fast as humanly possible as the harvest is happening. The only news that would be better would be that we are open for business but I want to hold back for another few weeks before we start offering items for sale. This will hopefully serve to whet your appetite and help you be patient.
Personally, one fun thing I experienced as part of the travel I was lucky to enjoy was the amazing foods and dishes I had never tasted growing up. Some of these international experiences show up in our easy to prepare meal kits. For example, our Mole Sauce provides all you need except for the protein to fix a delicious quick chicken mole dinner. We make it with a hint of heat, just enough to remind you that this is a Mexican recipe, but not enough to get the sinuses flowing. Even hot-pepper-phobes find it tasty. And if you like heat, you can add more with your own favorite pepper or hot sauce. Today we prepared a lot of these meal mixes for you and now we need to head to Creo Chocolate in Portland to buy more of their 73% for our recipes!
We offer other “international” flavors, including our Moroccan Tangine, which basically is a stew with wonderful spices and fruit. Not spicy hot but again with a small hint, because we want everyone to enjoy it. Again, we do not include the protein. (Why do we skip that? The government oversees food processing work in two categories. I am inspected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as a representative of the USDA. Food processors who provide meat in their products must also have a license issued by the FDA. The requirements for the inspector to have their own office and bathroom just makes this license unreachable in the commercial kitchen I use at the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries. So, no protein in our food products. )
This past winter in the test kitchen we explored how to present a dehydrated version of our popular Loaded Pasta Sauce. That sauce was originally developed to incorporate the surplus zucchini and carrots that the farmers had. The dehydrated version does the same. We first macerate the tomatoes in red wine and then roast them for several hours. Then they are dehydrated hard so we can powder them. The carrots also need a bit of pre-cooking before drying; we found in the test kitchen phase that merely using shredded carrots left them with a crunch that just is a bit unusual for pasta sauce. Precooking before drying takes care of that. The rest of the recipe is similar but the end product is a bit different than the canned version. You may be amused to learn that when the people around the Tasting Supper table blind taste tested four versions of the recipe, they preferred the wine version, even over the canned recipe! Right now we are dehydrating the tomatoes but it will be a while yet before we have the other local produce to assemble the recipe for you.
We will be drying slices from zucchinis that grew too large for the farmers to sell. Since we know many people spiralize zucchinis for use in the summer, this will allow a shelf-safe product for use during the winter when zucchinis are imported and a lot more expensive. It helps people who want to have pasta but avoid the carbs and is delicious with our dehydrated pasta sauce. Additionally, if you are a backpacker, rehydration of the zoodles takes only a few minutes.
Last fall we obtained 150 pounds of pumpkins and butternut squash and have prepared a lot of single serving packages as well as 2-4 serving packages of our award winning Winter Squash Coconut Curry instant soup. All you need to do to enjoy this soup is boil the right amount of water , mix in the power and 3 minutes later the soup is ready!
Then we have a lot of fruit products include fruit leathers, chunks of fruit, and even a fruit dust. That one needs an explanation I think. Late each year, after the first frost, Ranee Solmonsson of Sunshower Hill Farm harvests her garden huckleberries. These differ a bit from wild huckleberries because they are actually a different genus. The berry is large and not sweet at all. But when sugar is added, the flavor is that deep rich blueberry flavor we love. Can-Do Real Food prepares a culinary syrup for Ranee to be used on pancakes but especially wonderful in a beverage. Well, when we prepare it, we put the berries through a mill that separates the solids from the juice. The juice of course goes into the preparation of the syrup. The solids are “waste”. But this past December I tried to dry it as a fruit leather. It was too lumpy to roll up, so I ended up grinding it finely and it is absolutely amazing added to oatmeal or yogurt!
Another item we make that I would guess you might never see anywhere else is membrillo buttons. I first learned about membrillo when I moved to Oregon but apparently quince trees grow in many places around the world. In Spain, membrillo is made by preparing quince paste and then air drying it in deep containers. Before I became a commercial food processor I used a cookie sheet with sides and left the membrillo to air dry for a couple of months. Well, food safety regulations will not permit me to prepare it that way for you, so I put small dollops of the quince paste on a dryer sheet and voila! buttons. They are sweet and tangy and are shelf-safe, something you can carry in your bag or car and have for a easy snack.
I try to make other unusual things. For example, it is now July and I can see we are going to have a bumper crop of apples from my Gravenstein tree. Besides dried apples, I plan on making a mixture that is a recipe we use for the Passover Seder in the spring. Charoset is a sweet mix that symbolizes the mortar used by the slaves in Egypt. The recipe I grew up with included grated apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine. I will be making a dehydrated version that can be used as a simple snack or rehydrated with a little water to have a soft condiment that would be superb with chicken any time of the year.
We will have herb mixes as we did before and also another batch of umami dust that can be used to enhance your stews and soups and other savory dishes.
It is our pleasure to play with food and present delicious items from local farms with no artificial anything.
And, since we are in the middle of harvest, if there is something you would like us to consider making, now is a great time to share the concept!
Okay, I admit it. You don’t even need to twist my arm or apply any pressure. I am a chocoholic. If there were membership cards to a group that does not want self-help, I would carry one for this.
So, Can-Do Real Food works with local farmers but I managed to soothe my chocolate need by making chocolate ice cream sauces with fruit. Last year I made small batches of ice cream sauce with raspberries, strawberries and cherries. This coming season I will be making, upon request from my Farm Partner Beach Family Farm, a blueberry chocolate ice cream sauce.
Last year’s challenge was to find a quality chocolatier in the area. The Willamette Valley is pretty spectacular with its vast array of crops, but chocolate is not grown here. The best I can do is to find a local producer. Last year I found Creo Chocolate. in Portland. They have a direct Free Trade relationship with cacao growers in Ecuador. Creo roasts the beans and prepares chocolate in a variety of flavors. We like to use the 73% chocolate in our recipes because it is dark but has a bit of sugar added, which means we don’t add any other sugar to those recipes.
When the Straub family at Creo challenged us to develop a mole sauce we were intrigued. Mole, which means sauce, is used throughout Mexico and it seems like every grandmother has her own recipe. I had my first taste of chicken mole on a visit to Texas about 21 years ago. While I was disappointed a bit that it does not scream “CHOCOLATE!!” I think it might have been weird to eat a chocolately piece of chicken. The chocolate, however, does an amazing job mixing with the peppers and tomatoes and other ingredients and making my taste buds very happy.
When we got this request we of course had to do some field work and ordered a lot of chicken mole over the next few weeks at a number of Mexican restaurants in the area. Every single one was different! They all were yummy, with variations of sugar and heat. We made our first batch in the Test Kitchen with 100% chocolate but decided the little bit of sugar in the 73% seemed to offer more enjoyment. For the heat we aimed for something on the light side of medium; people who like more heat can always add it.
The new challenge was to prepare a mole sauce that would be food safe. Our commercial kitchen is set up for small batch processing and does not have the kind of canning equipment that would provide a safe canned product. (We’ve also tasted the large national brand for mole sauce and prefer a fresher taste.) While it would be easy to open a jar and pour it all out, if someone is going to prepare chicken mole, they are planning to cook, so we realized a dehydrated mix would work fine!
So, Can-Do Real Food is pleased to announce the first of several new dehydrated recipes that will tempt your palate this season. Mole Sauce!
The mix will prepare enough to feed 4 people. You will need to have 2 pounds of boneless chicken (breasts and/or thighs) and 1.5 cups of chicken broth. We provide a simple recipe on the package. It is also feasible to use other proteins besides chicken. The mix can be hydrated with vegetable broth also. Have fun and let us know how you enjoy it!
And watch for other new dehydrated mixes this season as the harvest progresses. We have some amazing things we cooked up in the Test Kitchen that our Partner Farms tasted this past January and approved. Now we just need to wait for the main ingredients to grow!