Tag Archives: farmer’s market

Spaghetti with Cauliflower Pesto

6 Sep

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She’s a beaut, right?

Obviously I could not resist lugging home a head each of orange and purple cauliflower on top of my already heavy farmer’s market haul of melon, tomatoes, summer squash, eggs, and my newest obsession, maple cream!

I am such a sucker for roasted cauliflower. I love how it gets those golden-brown roasted marks, and packs a salty, slightly oily bite. But, it is important to try new things, and there is SO much happening with cauliflower these days.

I thought about making a purple cauliflower soup or a cauliflower gratin, but, desperate to hang on to the summer, I was not yet ready to dive into those cozier, creamier fall foods. After tossing around ideas of the ever-trendy cauliflower rice/couscous, cauliflower pizza crust, and cauliflower pasta sauce, I turned to my trusty food maven, Deb Perelman, who has a recipe in her cookbook for…CAULIFLOWER PESTO.

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Cauliflower pesto is made with raw cauliflower pulsed in a food processor (I took the Italian grandmother way/the hard route and hand-chopped/used my blender) and combined with a separate pulsed mix of brine-y, pesto-y ingredients: capers, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs. Continue reading

Peas and Shells Alfredo

9 May

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Springtime comfort food at it’s finest. Whole wheat pasta shells with spring peas, soakin’ it up in a rich, creamy sauce.

I found the finest asparagus at the farmer’s market to pair with this saucy pasta. Thin asparagus is the name of the game; if you can get your hands on some, it’s a whole new experience than the regular fatties we are so used to seeing.

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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is packed with outstanding, fool-proof recipes that are actually quite simple and definitely doable in a small NYC kitchen. So far I’ve made her Cranberry Crumb Bars, Spatchcocked Flat-Roasted Chicken, Turkey Meatballs, and Deep-Dish Apple Pie…

This pasta is a one-pot recipe with just a few ingredients that come together quickly for a weeknight meal.

Did I mention this is HOMEMADE ALFREDO PASTA?! And heck is it better than than the Alfredo I remember as a kid (psst…for the vegans, check out this recipe for vegan fettuccine Alfredo made with a cashew cream).

While I omitted adding chopped herbs to the shells, I certainly wish I had some on hand. The one ingredient that I think is not to be skipped under any circumstances is the lemon zest. The citrus zing balances out the creamy, cheesy sauce and keeps everything nice and bright.

Peas and Shells Alfredo

recipe from Shutterbean, originally from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1/2 lb of dried small pasta shells (I used whole wheat)

1 cup organic sweet peas (I used frozen ones…no fresh ones at the market yet…)

1 cup heavy cream

2-3 tablespoons butter (depending on how rich you want the sauce to be)

zest from 1 medium size lemon

1 cup grated Parmesan

fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Add peas to cook during the last minute of pasta cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, set aside. Drain the pasta and the peas.

Dry out the pasta pot, and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with freshly ground black pepper, add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth; then toss in the drained pasta & peas. Cook the pasta in the sauce for 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen up the sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls. Garnish with remaining Parmesan, a touch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon.

Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Overwintered Spinach

4 May

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Grain-based salads are my norm, my go-to, my default. Paired with seasonal veggies and a little protein from cheese or nuts or an egg, grain-based salads are a great dinner-to-lunch-the-next-day meal.

I work at a bakery that also carries some miscellaneous knickknacks for purchase like NYC soil, cocoa nibs, kale chips, random books on bicycles, dog toys, kombucha, and…emmer Farro from Cayuga Pure Organics! After gawking at the farro for weeks and weeks, I finally brought some home to “sample” the product.

Farro is one of those nutty grains that when cooked should be soft with a slight bite to it. Farro is typically combined with Italian or Mediterranean flavors, but you could definitely experiment. Some people even like to make a risotto using farro, or to sweeten it and call it breakfast.

I recently listened to an episode of WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Food Fridays show about grains that I found very interesting…check it out here. In that same episode, he speaks to Melissa Clark from the NYTimes Dining section about packing lunch, and she has some good words to say about farro.

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One of my nutrition professors recommended buying the overwintered greens at the farmer’s market right now. From what I’ve read, overwintered greens are super sweet and only available for a short time…right NOW! These are greens that have been planted in the fall, their shoots and leaves die off in the winter frost, but the roots remain and lend new stems emerging from the sweet roots.

I never knew about this before, and after tasting this spinach, it really is a treat.

Very anxious for spring produce, which is just barely starting to show up in the markets now, I was excited to try this overwintered spinach in combination with the first asparagus of the season. Indeed this is a transition meal, as the weather is finally starting to be consistently “nice” here in NYC.

I added some Vermont Creamery goat cheese to the salad, which I imagine would be perfect with spring strawberries (which I hope to see at the market soon…we still just have apples here in NY…), drizzled with some aged balsamic.

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Farro Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Wintered Spinach

**NOTE: if you don’t have farro, you could always substitute with Israeli couscous, orzo, quinoa, millet, rice, wild rice, wheat berries…etc.

1 cup farro, soaked in water for at least 4 hours

1 bunch asparagus

1 clove garlic

3 handfuls overwintered spinach

1 scallion or spring onion or a 1/4 shallot, thinly sliced/diced/slivered

2 oz goat cheese

extra: salt, pepper, drizzle of balsamic, dash of pesto…

Drain the water from the soaked farro. Place farro in a pot and with water to cover the farro by about an inch. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on medium-low heat for about an hour or until soft but still has a slight chew, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roast the asparagus with a small drizzle of olive oil and salt for about 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, let cool slightly, and chop on the diagonal into bite-size pieces.

Heat a skillet with a little olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 4-5 minutes.

To assemble: Combine the cooked farro, the asparagus bites, and the garlicky spinach. Toss with crumbled goat cheese, salt, pepper, balsamic, and a dash of pesto. Enjoy!

**You could also make a runny egg and top the farro with it!

Spatchcocked Flat-Roasted Chicken

5 Apr

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Buying a whole chicken is a great way stretch your dollar, as it is significantly cheaper than buying the chicken parts separately. The other day, I had 2 breasts in my hands 😉 ready to go and ended up switching them out for a whole chicken because it would save me a few bucks. I bought my chicken directly from my farmer’s market vendor, so I felt reassured that the chicken lived a relatively happy life. As Deb from the Smitten Kitchen says in her cookbook, the smaller, cleaner chickens from the greenmarket really do taste incredible, and there is no need to add anything extra.

With a whole chicken at my side, it was time to start SPATCHCOCKING. I only recently heard the term while listening to Tracy talk about it on the Joy the Baker Podcast. Basically, you cut the backbone out of the chicken with your kitchen shears and lay the chicken flat in a roasting pan (check out the Adam’s spatchcocked chicken while you’re at it, and Tracy’s great pictures. Hopefully they won’t gross you out too much). Doing this allows the chicken to cook evenly in a relatively short time, and the breasts won’t overcook before the legs are ready. A great idea for holiday entertaining.

As Deb points out in the head note for this recipe, from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, she learned to have faith that chicken skin will crisp itself in a high-heat oven, and not to load it with oils and rubs. The only oil in this recipe is used for the potatoes. The chicken skin provides all of the lubrication that the chicken needs.

From Thomas Keller, Deb learned to rain the salt down on the outside of the bird and to trust that it won’t leave the chicken too salty, just perfect. Salt is key. While it gets a bad rep. these days, salt makes a huge difference in flavoring dishes cooked from scratch.

This chicken was simple and juicy. After I few days, I shredded some of the meat and ate it with brown rice, black beans, and sautéed peppers and onions. A nice way to repurpose the leftovers.

I see a lot more spatchcocking in my future…!

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Spatchcocked Flat Roasted Chicken

recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

One chicken, about 3 pounds

salt and pepper

Two handfuls of tiny yellow potatoes, washed and sliced in half

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil, for the potatoes

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, remove the backbone of the chicken and discard it (or freeze and save it for making stock). Season the cavity generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan (I used my cast-iron skillet), and gently pat the breast skin dry with a paper towel. Generously season the top of the bird with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Nestle the potatoes and garlic cloves around and under the chicken, and drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken for 30-45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees. Toss the potatoes after about 20 minutes, so that they cook evenly. When the chicken has finished cooking, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a serving platter. Remove the legs, thighs, wings, and breasts from the spatchcocked chicken, and arrange them with the potatoes. Enjoy with another vegetable side dish for a balanced meal.

Update 9/25/14: new photo of the spatchcocked chicken baked in a pyrex. Delish!

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Pumpkin Ravioli with a Creamy Sauce

5 Dec

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I keep bumping into an acquaintance of mine at the Sunday farmer’s market. We happen to shop there at the same time, and we give each other recommendations—which vendor are you buying your eggs from this week, check out that heaping mound of Brussels sprouts, those mushrooms look amazing, have you tried the fresh pumpkin ravioli from Knoll Krest Farms?!

Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant, says that chefs (I will extend this to the greater population of home cooks/eaters) are “curators of what’s truly delicious; we’re driven by pleasure. The sustainable food movement is about hedonism…be greedy for great food when you know that it was grown in the right way” (“Dan Barber’s Culinary Crusade,” The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2012). I get such a thrill exchanging recipe ideas and seeing what people buy at the market. This may sound silly, but even making small-talk with other shoppers and vendors makes my day brighter.

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I gave into my craving for pumpkin ravioli a la my friend’s recommendation, and tossed it with an almost vegan “cream” sauce and some spinach. Next to a pile of roasted parsnips and delicata squash, this was tonight’s idea of a perfect meal.

**Note that the ravioli is not vegan. You could substitute with another pasta type to make this dish vegan. Also, I used cow’s milk to make my creamy sauce. To make the sauce vegan, use a non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice).

Pumpkin Ravioli With A Creamy Sauce

serves 4

sauce adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen (the sauce for the “straw and hay” pasta)

2-dozen (24 pieces) fresh ravioli (I used pumpkin ravioli)

a few handfuls of spinach

1 cup milk (I used low-fat milk)

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot

1 tablespoon tahini

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste

optional: roasted squash seeds

Boil water, add salt, and cook the ravioli. Add the spinach to the water after the ravioli has been cooking for about a minute. Note that fresh ravioli should only take 3-5 minutes to cook. Drain and toss with the sauce. Top with roasted seeds.

To make the sauce: Combine the milk, water, cornstarch, tahini, soy sauce, garlic, onion powder, and salt in the blender and puree until smooth. Transfer the mix to a medium saucepan and let it cook over medium heat, whisking or stirring with a rubber spatula. Stir frequently, until the sauce thickens (about 5 to 10 minutes).