Archive for May, 2012

At Market: What to Make with Garlic Scapes

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

It warms my heart around this time each year when my old garlic scape recipes suddenly see a spike in traffic — because it means people are hitting the farmers markets and trying something new. Garlic scapes, or curls, as our CSA farm calls them, are one of those things you won’t find in the grocery store.

garlic scapes

The early shoots of the garlic plant, they pack a potent punch and crisp bite. I like to thinly slice them and toss ’em in salads or scrambled eggs. Garlic scape pesto is a classic and easy way to jazz up pasta or chicken salad. My garlic scape chimichurri makes a great topping for grilled bison steaks. You can throw the whole scape on the grill, too. I’ve even quickly blanched them, cut into 1-inch pieces, and frozen them for stir-fry use later in the year. And I keep meaning to make garlic scape vinegar (perfect for salad dressings) — maybe this year I’ll finally get to it.

How do you like your scapes? Do you grow your own garlic?

kohlrabi broccoli and greens

I made a quick stop at the Falls Church Farmers Market this past weekend for Memorial Day grilling supplies, where I spotted the scapes pictured above. There were a couple other new arrivals at market this week, including kohlrabi nearly as large as bowling balls, broccoli and sugar snap peas a plenty. Coming soon: English peas and sour cherries.

At the H Street NE FreshFarm Market

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The younger foodie tot and I stopped by the H Street NE FreshFarm Market last weekend to finally scope out one of the few markets on the east side of town. At a new location this season (on 13th at H St., NE) , it’s a great little neighborhood market with some well-known vendors (Atwater’s Bakery, Quaker Valley Orchard and Keswick Creamery) as well as ones I’d yet to shop with. And, the fabulous new Gordy’s Pickle Jar was there as well. Made in the District, their Sweet Chips have already won an award at the International Pickle Festival (yes, there really is such a thing) — and, won over a new fan in the foodie tot as well. (I loved their Thai Basil JalapeƱos and will be back for a jar of them next.)

h street ne freshfarm market

The balloon artist was there as part of the Food Revolution Day festivities (we unfortunately missed the cooking demo) — while our ladybug was adorable, the little girl ahead of us took home a ballerina in a pink tutu modeled after herself. So cute!

foodie tot shops H Street farmers market

I don’t think I have to tell you that asparagus and strawberries are the stars of the season at market right now. We also found beautiful red rhubarb as tall as the toddler and delicious Red Russian Kale. And for all your upcoming pie needs, Cedarbrook Farm sells lard. If you live on the Hill, or are just looking for a more mellow (and kid-friendly) market experience than Dupont Circle in the summer, give H Street a try.

at SOVA dc

(And after, stop by SOVA for an Intelligentsia coffee treat for mom and dad. The front window seat is perfect for toddler people watching.)

H Street NE FreshFarm Market
at 13th St. & H St., NE
Saturdays, April 21 – November 17
9am – 12noon

Kids Cook: Baked Snapper in Parchment

Monday, May 21st, 2012

We had a fabulously delicious weekend, including our Food Revolution picnic at the Washington Monument — before participating in Yoga on the Mall.

Taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather, we had another picnic with friends on Sunday, for which I made my favorite summer salad — my asparagus version of Heidi Swanson’s “Mostly Not Potato Salad.” Sunday morning I had the rare shopping trip with only my five-year-old in tow. Having recently caught (and released) his first fish with his grandpop, he was especially interested in the fish on display at the grocery. After chatting with the fishmonger for a bit, he asked if we could bring home a yellow tail snapper for dinner. We nearly always eat salmon at home, so I was happy to branch out. He then noticed the June issue of Bon Appetit nearby, with a picture of fish on the cover, and added that to our cart — “So I can learn how to cook our fish.”

We flipped through the magazine later in the day and came across halibut and cherry tomatoes baked “en papillote” — or, in paper. He was intrigued so we decided to try the technique on our snapper. We used thin lemon slices, olive oil and a pinch of salt to flavor our fish. Neatly wrapped packages go into the oven for just 10 minutes, and are then placed on a serving plate to be unwrapped at the table. Fun, so easy, and a successful technique to get the kids to try something new. Even if he ate one bite and declared, “I’ve had enough fishiness for one day.” It’s a start, right?

Recipe: Baked Snapper in Parchment Paper
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce snapper filets
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear off four 12-inch lengths of parchment paper. Fold each in half, then trim corners into a (half) heart shape. Open and lay flat on baking sheet.

2. Drizzle one-half tablespoon olive oil on one side of each parchment sheet. Lay 2-3 lemon slices on each and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place fish fillet on top and sprinkle with another pinch of salt.

3. Fold the empty half over the fish. Beginning at the top, fold and crimp edges a little bit at a time, continuing all the way around to make a tight seal. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove packets to a serving platter. Carefully cut a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape, then unwrap to serve.

baked snapper in parchment

Food Revolution Day

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Y’all know about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, right? His television shows brought viewers into the front lines of the childhood obesity battle, and a battle it is when faced with a food industry that will spend millions in marketing rather than admit that chocolate milk is not, in fact, a health food. (Neither is Nutella, by the way.) Even if you enjoy a little chocolate milk once in a while, I think we can all agree that our children are being short changed. Jamie Oliver’s foundation has declared Saturday, May 19, the first global Food Revolution Day — a day “to get the world to focus on food issues and rally our efforts to bring food education back into schools.”

So take your kids — and your neighbor’s kids — to the farmers market, go berry picking or have a local food barbeque with friends and spread the word. You can find organized activities in your neighborhood via the official website (along with other ideas and tools for getting involved). Here in DC, FreshFarm’s H Street NE market will feature food educator Melissa Jones doing a kid and family-friendly cooking demo at 10am.

yoga tots

(Tomorrow is also Yoga on the Mall, the culmination of DC Yoga Week. A kids’ class, free of charge, will be held at 1:30pm with instructors from yoga studios around town — including our favorite studio, Lil Omm. What better way to work off all those fresh, local strawberries from the morning?)

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Hope all you mamas out there had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend!

I’m not sure if he heard about it somewhere or came up with it on his own, but around the start of the school year the boy declared that Tuesdays were for tacos, and so our Taco Tuesday tradition was born. Now we’re fortunate to have a great taco place in the neighborhood (District Taco for you locals), but I try to do it at home most weeks. The kids are really into bean and cheese “tacos” (they’re really more of a quesadilla or burrito, but no need to get technical) which makes it even easier as I can make a pot of beans ahead of time, and then quickly cook some chicken breasts or fish when we want a little more protein. For meatless nights, we just use a generous scoop of beans, fresh avocado and tomato and some queso fresco. Having recently conquered my fear of the slow cooker, it was high time to try beans in the crock pot.

I’ve read conflicting things about soaking dried beans and Rancho Gordo recommends cooking the beans in the soaking water to retain nutrients, so I took their advice. You can drain and fill with fresh water if you prefer. Rancho Gordo makes gorgeous heritage bean varieties unlike any beans you’ll find in the supermarket, so they’re worth seeking out if you can. Or, just use your favorite brand of dried beans. The Rio Zape beans I used here are like pinto beans, but bigger and very flavorful. I just added a few things to season the cooking water and let them go all day. They were perfect by dinner time.

slow cooker rio zape (pinto) beans

Recipe: Slow Cooker Pinto Beans (or Rio Zape)
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Rio Zape or pinto beans
  • water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 4-ounce can mild Hatch green chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt

Instructions:

1. The night before: Rinse and pick over beans. Place in slow cooker bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight.

2. In the morning, add garlic, chilies and bay leaf. Add additional water to cover beans by one inch. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours, until desired tenderness.

3. Season with salt to taste and serve. Can freeze leftover beans; be sure to include some of the liquid to keep them from drying out when reheated.

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Do you have a themed dinner night at your house? If not, try it! It’s a fun way to get kids involved in planning the meal. Getting to have chips and salsa at dinner, just like at our favorite Mexican restaurant, makes our Taco Tuesday extra special.