Wednesday, March 3, 2010

at the farmers market: winter

Welcome to the first post of our quarterly "At the Farmers Market" series. Once every season, we’ll explore our local farmers markets to see what we can find and what deliciousness we can make of it. Our Winter farmers market adventures begin below.

(Photos above l to r: Madura Farms mushrooms in Brooklyn; A basket full of treats in Beacon)

kate (brooklyn)

I love the idea of going to the grocery store and seeing what inspires me (without a recipe in mind.) So I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into by planning a meal around our local farmers market availability towards the end of February.

I headed over to the Greenpoint/McCarren Park Greenmarket and was surprised to see many things that I didn’t expect: apples, seafood, sausage, and mushrooms! I headed over to the Madura Farms (Goshen, NY) table and looked at all of the odd shapes and sizes of mushrooms – objects that looked like little ocean creatures. I decided to go with the portobellos and grabbed three. Keep it simple. I collected some challah rolls from the Baker’s Bounty, (Linden, New Jersey) and purple Peruvian potatoes (what a surprise to see such a beautiful color when they're sliced!) and an onion from Healthway Farms (Ulster County, NY). My menu was almost complete.

Later that evening, I stopped at
Urban Rustic, a small grocery store (across from the farmers market) that sells mostly local and organic produce and has a great selection of local craft beer. The guy behind the counter let me have a taste of a new beer on tap from Brooklyn that I’d never heard of and it immediately warmed me up. I chose Kelso’s Recessionator beer and carried home my liter-sized growler, hungry and ready to get to work.

I made portobello mushroom sandwiches and purple potato fries. It was the perfect meal for a cold, windy night. There's also not a lot of prep involved and it doesn't take too long to cook.

portobello mushroom sandwiches

Portobello mushrooms (1 for each sandwich)
Buns or bread
Olive oil
Extras: (I added
cheese, arugula, sauteed red peppers, and spicy mustard)

Rinse and dry portobello mushrooms.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan (size depending on how many mushrooms you plan to make at once) and turn on medium heat.

Place mushrooms in pan and cover with a lid. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. You don't want the mushroom to get too mushy.

You can also toast the buns in the oven for a minute if you're making the fries at the same time.

Add toppings to the buns and place the mushrooms on last. Enjoy!

peruvian potato fries

Peruvian purple potatoes
Olive oil
Seat salt
Herbs or spice of your choosing (optional)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Wash and thinly slice the potatoes (1/4 inch wide) and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle some olive oil and sea salt on top.

Pop in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them). They are also delicious with curry or other another spice or herb of your choosing.

(Above photos l to r: Madura Farms table at the Greenpoint/McCarren Park Greenmarket; Portobello mushroom sandwiches, ready to eat)

kristen (beacon)

Whoever said you can’t eat fresh local food in the dead of Winter was very, very wrong.

I was one of those people, until I visited the Beacon Farmers Market in February. I didn’t go shopping with a plan, because I had no idea what I would find, if anything. What could possibly be fresh in the gloomiest part of Winter? Wasn’t the farmers market only awesome in Spring, Summer and Fall? I was skeptical. But amidst the happy, humming crowds on that clear Sunday afternoon inside the Beacon Sloop Club, gorgeous food awaited me.

As soon as I walked in, Petra from Honey Locust Farm House welcomed me with a smile. A jar of their sweet, thick unfiltered honey practically jumped into my basket, and I knew I had found my first ingredient for dinner. Fishkill Farms brought bushels of their beautiful Red Delicious apples and I couldn’t resist taking a few of those home with me, as well.

Have you ever heard of pea shoots? I certainly hadn’t, until Jim from Winter Sun Farms (a local Winter CSA) offered a bite of freshly-picked ones from Little Seed Gardens. They were crisp, earthy, slightly sweet, and tasted and looked just like Spring. Those pretty little shoots, I decided, would have to be part of dinner, too.

I also left with a wedge of velvety Ouray cheese from Sprout Creek Farm, a loaf of aromatic seeded rye bread from Rock & Roll Artisan Bakery, and a carton of sweet cream butter from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy. I also ran into about a half a dozen people I hadn’t seen in months and everyone seemed so happy to be out of their houses for a little respite from cabin fever. Seeing them all in one small room, laughing and chatting and supporting the local farmers and artisans reminded me how much I love this town.

Dinner was simple and fresh, perfect for an early Sunday evening: pea shoot salad with apple, honey and shallot vinaigrette; sliced rye bread with Ouray cheese, honey, and sweet cream butter; apple pudding from Christopher Kimball’s The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook.

I am skeptical no more.

apple pudding
adapted from
The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook's Master Recipe for Fruit Pudding
Makes: 6 to 8 servings

3 cups mixed apples (washed, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla zest

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a shallow casserole or oval baking dish (the sides should be short and the pan should be wide – an 8 X 12-inch pa is about the right size). Toss the fruit with the lemon juice and zest and pour into the baking dish.

Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour to the milk mixture and stir very gently with a whisk just until smooth. Do no overbeat. Pour over fruit.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until custard sets. The center 2 inches should still be wet and custardy. It will finish baking out of the oven. Remove from oven and serve warm, not hot, but no longer than 1 hour after baking.

(Above photos l to r: Pea shoot salad; Apples and lemon zest)

View more of our farmers market photos on Flickr.

1 comment:

Maggie Dickinson said...

This is post makes me want togo to our Farmer's Market. I always think that I am not going to be able to find anything in winter, but you really can be pleasantly surprised. All of the recipes so far sound delicious.