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Posts Tagged ‘Farmer’s Market’

This crafter sure has been hungry! My poor computer is overflowing with photos of food, so I thought that I ought to just share some en masse. So, here goes: my summer, in food pictures:

First we have the ever delicious rice & chickpea salad from Sofra (available at the Siena Farms market stand). Must get more for lunch today as soon as I finish this post. Edit: only made it halfway through the post before running down to the farmer’s market to get some. The best part of this salad is that they play around with it a bit week to week. This week — no basil, yes broccoli!

Ah, memories… Fava bean season is long gone, of course, but at least I can reminisce about these beautiful beans sauteed in butter over toast with Ombra cheese on top. Sigh.

This here (Well, yes, it’s chocolate. Obviously.) is a base for a chocolate peanut butter ice cream I made for fourth of July. It turned out to be a disaster, actually, but tasted good nonetheless. It had the consistency of frozen fudge. Yes, I ate it anyway. With my fingers. Wouldn’t you?

On the far more successful side was this vanilla bean ice cream, midway through churning in the photo. Very very yummy. Recipe from David Lebovitz (the guru of all things ice cream). Topped it off with the salted caramel from Formaggio — amazing!

On another indulgent evening, I was craving some good old fashioned meat and potatoes, summer style. Enter steak tips, roasted red bliss potatoes with fresh herbs, and of course, some fresh corn on the cob.

And that’s just scratching the surface of my summer in food! My computer needs a break now, though. And so do I. Because I’m suddenly very hungry. Again.

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One of the many discoveries I had during my 6 weeks at Cambridge Culinary was that I like fennel. I had wrongly assumed that I didn’t like fennel because I didn’t like licorice, and therefore didn’t like anise, WHICH I mistakenly thought was the seed from a fennel plant. Live and learn — turns out that, while similar, anise and fennel seeds are NOT the same thing. Given my love for spicy Italian sausage, this doesn’t surprise me too much.

The recipe that turned me around was one that I originally scoffed at…until I tasted it.  WOW. The Fennel Corn Chowder from the soups class at Cambridge Culinary is to die for. (I also thought that I didn’t like corn chowder up until this particular recipe made its way into my sweaty palms.) To start off, it’s got bacon in it. Score 1. Second, it has fresh roasted corn in it. By roasting the corn first, then adding the kernels to the soup at the tail end of cooking, the corn stays firm and maintains a nice snap when you bite it. Also, the process of roasting the corn and then simmering the cobs in with the broth infuses the entire soup with a smoky corn flavor reminiscent of something pulled out of a lobster bake pit. Score another point. The recipe is more or less the same as this one from Big Oven, minus the cayenne sauce (dash of cayenne pepper never hurt anyone, though). Next time I make it, I’ll post pictures, I promise.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to use Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets cookbook as much as I can. Unfortunately, I haven’t found it to be overly helpful with the types of things I’ve been bringing home from my CSA. I’d like to try and find a cookbook that focuses on the specifics of New England crops and seasons instead (suggestions, anyone?)

Having warmed up to fennel, however, I did take it upon myself to try Deborah’s recipe for Pasta with Golden Fennel, making the fresh ricotta variation.

Blend fresh ricotta, garlic, sea salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest

Brown chopped fennel in oil, then braise in water and lemon juice until soft

Mix it all together, toss with pasta, then garnish with minced fennel greens and shaved parmesan

It was good — you got the hearty satisfaction of warm comfort food with the summery zip of lemon and delicate flavors of fresh ricotta. Next time around, though, I think I’d steer it more solidly into comfort food territory and reduce the lemon flavor, add some grilled chicken and perhaps mushrooms. Or bacon. Because everything’s better with bacon.

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A full plate

The farmer’s market is in full swing, as evidenced by my increasingly weighty weekly farm share. I’ve been up to my ears in corn, trying to get out of the weeds with all my greens, eating blueberries `til I’m…blue on the face…  OK, I’ll stop. I’ve been loving it.

Without any further ado, some pictures and recipes from the first half of the season:

Adolescent Carrots

Look at that gorgeous juicy red!

Bountiful Basil

And last but not least, behold, the terrifying STRAWBERRIES GONE BAD (aka The ‘Roided Ruby):

Strawberries on Steroids

One of the joys of the farmer’s market for me this year has been trying out fresh cheeses as well. A special favorite has been fresh ricotta, which has been making appearances in several places. The first time I brought some home, I was feeling a little cheeky in the kitchen and put together the following dish of strawberries, ricotta, basil, sea salt, pepper and a store-bought balsamic glaze called “Blaze.” I should mention that I LOVE this stuff and use it all the time. Highly recommended. Unfortunately for me, the dish itself was prettier than it tasted.

Fresh, fresh, fresh!

Then, of course, you can’t have fresh basil and ricotta in the house without making pizza!

Ricotta-basil pizza

I make the dough in my bread machine, then do a miserably amateur job of tossing, stretching and hanging the dough before ultimately beating it into a large jelly roll pan (more like a focaccia). Cover with sauce, shredded mozzarella, fresh ricotta, basil (I do a chiffonade), and a Spanish cured black olive to top off each mound of ricotta.

This pizza was amazing, albeit primarily because I finally nailed my crust recipe. It came out with just the right balance of crunchy/chewy golden perfection. Let’s hope I can repeat the experience. Like to try yourself? Here you go:

Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t salt
  • 4 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 t sugar
  • 2 t yeast

Add to bread machine in order listed, making a well in dry ingredients to pour in the yeast; run dough cycle.  Make pizza in large (18×24) jelly roll pan, and cook for 20 minutes at 425.

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Oh, happy days:  the Copley Sq. Farmer’s Market is open once again! I love the farmer’s market. Being early in the season, the produce is still somewhat light, BUT…guess what I found over at the Siena Farms stand?  No, not fava beans…but fava bean greens.

Needless to say, being a somewhat new convert to the fava bean, greens were a new concept to me.  They were piled up in a basket with a little sign that instructed you to try wilting them in olive oil and serving with lemon juice and sea salt.

Did I try it?  Well, of course…  How could I not?

And how did it go?  Let’s take a peek:

Ta dah!  Success.  And how did it taste?  Well, yummy, yes, but I don’t suppose that tells you much.  Supposedly they were to taste like fava beans themselves, but really, well, they tasted like fava bean greens.  Not like spinach, as I might have suspected, but closer to perhaps fiddleheads or maybe dandelion greens, with a subtle nutty/buttery infusion of fava. I would make them again.

Back at the farmer’s market, I made my way over to the Fiore di Nonno stand.  I actually discovered their handmade mozzarella cheese over a year ago.  Based in Somerville, MA, it’s about as fresh a cheese as you can find in these parts.  Today, however, it was time for something special:  their fig burrata!  Burrata, if you are unfamiliar with it, is basically a mozzarella cheese ball with a soft, creamy filled center.  This particular one was filled with mascarpone and fig jam, making a very sweet burrata.

And of course, you have to see the inside!

The mozzarella was wonderful, as you would expect: fresh, creamy, nicely textured. The burrata overall was a bit too sweet for my liking, however.  It actually reminded me quite a bit of the inside of a good cannoli. I should mention that, while truthfully I’m a good old-fashioned American mutt when it comes to ethnicity, there are Italians on both sides of my family. Add a childhood filled with homemade pasta, tomato sauce, sausages and pizzelles, and I generally consider myself Italian, particularly when I’m speaking about food (which I often do, clearly). That being said, I have a confession to make, which I will say very quietly: I don’t like cannolis. Now, I’m not saying I won’t eat them — there’s a big difference between not liking something and not eating something.  Unless you are my boyfriend.  But I digress. Bottom line, if you’re not crazy about the filling of cannolis, pass on the fig burrata and save it for someone who will appreciate it. They’re rare enough that they deserve to be savored appropriately. Should I happen upon the Fiore di Nonna stand again when they’ve got their roasted garlic and onion burrata, though, all bets are off.

It’s going to be a good summer. Have I mentioned I love the farmer’s market?

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