Posts Tagged ‘asparagus’

Scenes from Mosaic Central Farm Market

Friday, May 16th, 2014

May, as you locals know, brings opening day to the rest of the DC region’s seasonal farmers markets. Brand new this year is the Mosaic Central Farm Market in Merrifield’s Mosaic District. If you follow us on Instagram (@foodietots), you know the Mosaic District is one of our family’s new favorite hang-outs. From fast, healthy lunch options at Cava Grill, Sweetgreen and Chipotle to Friday night outdoor movies on the big screen — last weekend I enjoyed a date night with the foodie boy to watch E.T. — it’s not hard for us to find an excuse to stop by. You’ll likely catch us there on sunny weekends, in particular, when the kids can be found splashing in the water fountains while mom and dad enjoy iced coffee from Dolcezza. (And yes, there’s also a big Target there for those less glamorous essentials and MOM’s Organic Market for our organic pantry staples. And an Angelika Theatre, where we escape for date nights without the kids.)

Mosaic Central Farm Market from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

Central Farm Markets, which currently operate locations in Bethesda and Rockville, is now operating a Sunday market along District Avenue each week from 9am to 2pm. The first week was bustling, and I was pleased to recognize a few favorites from other markets, like Toigo Orchards, Twin Springs Fruit Farm and Westmoreland Berry Farm (they’ve got asparagus & strawberries) and two new-to-me, certified organic farms, Bending Bridge Farm and The Farm at Our House. All-natural meat vendors include Cibola Farms and Springfield Farm. One of our favorite pickle stops, Number 1 Sons, is there too.

Mosaic Central Farm Market -- Opening Day -- FoodieTots

There are prepared foods, too — I brought home asparagus ravioli from Ovvio Osteria — and Nicecream, the made-to-order ice cream sensation that launched last year. Rumor has is it their new shop is now open in Clarendon, too. We enjoyed the strawberry ice cream at market and look forward to sampling many more flavors as the weather heats up.

Nicecream at Mosaic Central Farm Market | FoodieTots.com

Did you hit the market this weekend? We finally scored some strawberries! All our cold and rainy weather has put a damper on strawberry season, but local pick-your-own farms are opening very soon. Asparagus season lasts for a few more weeks, so stock up while you can.

Mostly Not Potato Salad

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

As a long-time fan of Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog, I was eager to get my hands on her newest cookbook, Simply Natural Every Day. This lovely book features the recipes Heidi makes often at home, and they are all straight-forward and approachable. While going through and trying to narrow down the recipes to make first, the “Mostly Not Potato Salad” jumped out at me. Unlike the usual bland, mayo-laden potato salads that are ubiquitous at summer picnics, this verdant salad uses potatoes as a background ingredient to crisp green vegetables. In Heidi’s version, celery and green beans star. As it is just asparagus season here (I told you I was hung up on asparagus), and green beans won’t be at market till later in the summer, I used it instead. I swapped the dill with parsley, as that’s what I had on hand. The original also calls for tofu, in which case you could even serve this as the entree on a summer Meatless Monday — I was serving it as a side to chicken, so I skipped the tofu.

The salad is dressed with caramelized leeks and a light vinaigrette. Let it stand for a while before serving, at room temperature. A warning to anyone who comes over, or invites us, for a cookout this summer: expect to see this on the menu. I can’t wait to try it with the yellow and purple beans from the market later in the season.

potato asparagus celery salad

Recipe: Mostly Not Potato Salad (with Asparagus & Celery)
slightly adapted from Simply Natural Every Day/via Whole Living, May 2011

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural cane sugar
  • sea salt
  • 1 leek, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 small stalks celery, trimmed and diced

Instructions:
1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 9 minutes. Just before potatoes are done, add asparagus to the pot for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
2. Whisk mustard, vinegar, 2 teaspoons oil, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
3. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden and slightly crispy, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Gently toss potatoes and asparagus, celery, parsley, and leeks with the mustard dressing in a bowl. Adjust salt if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

I’ve also made Heidi’s Oat Cakes from the book — my first time baking with coconut oil. Loved them. If you have the book, let me know what recipes you’ve enjoyed.

At Market: Two Minute Asparagus (and West End Market Opening Day)

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Yes, I’m still harping on asparagus. For a moment at the market this morning I hesitated, knowing we won’t be in town for the whole week and thinking I might not get to cooking it. And then I caved and bought just one little bunch of perfectly tender little stalks from Black Rock Orchard. What can I say, I’m addicted. And I made a critical discovery to convert the boy from his “I hate asparagus!” conviction one day to, “Actually, I *love* asparagus!” two days later. I recently came across an article suggesting that kids prefer their veggies closer to their natural state — i.e., still crisp. This is certainly true for my son with peas, who still prefers frozen peas over cooked. And we all know that over-cooked mush they call vegetables in school cafeterias are hardly appetizing.

As for my discovery, I was making a potato salad and decided to add asparagus. I didn’t want to use it raw, so I blanched it quickly. The bright green stalks had barely hit my cutting board when the boy snatched one. “Yum!” he exclaimed. I wound up blanching a second batch and serving it straight up for him — and he ate half the plate.

The recipe is below, but first a few highlights from opening weekend at the Alexandria West End Farmers Market:

foodie tots family at the market

Click here to view photos — West End Farmers Market, May ’11

Recipe: Kid-Approved Two-Minute Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • water
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions: Fill a medium-sized pot about 2/3 full of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, add a pinch of salt and then drop in the asparagus. Cook thicker stalks for just 2 minutes, skinny stalks need just 1 minute. Drain and quickly plunge into a bowl of ice water to ensure stalks stay crisp-tender. Drain again, and serve as is, with an extra pinch of salt and pepper — or refrigerate to add to salads.

Preserving Asparagus

Blanching is also the method I use to hoard, er, save asparagus for later in the year. I blanch it for just one minute, then chop into 1-inch pieces. Let them dry, then freeze in a ziploc freezer bag or other freezer container. They won’t be quite the same as fresh asparagus, but work just fine for soup or stir-fry.

Cathy, aka Mrs. Wheelbarrow, recently shared a recipe for pickled asparagus. I may have to make a batch of these for the fridge, too.

Just call me Mrs. Asparagus.

This week I shared some of my favorite family-friendly Washington, DC-area farmers markets on the Washington Post‘s new On Parenting blog. What do your kids like about your local market?

Opening Weekend at DC/VA/MD Farmers Markets

Friday, April 29th, 2011

I’ve been spoiled to live by year-round markets, but my heart still skips a beat at the first spotting of bright green stalks of asparagus after a long, cold winter. This past weekend I lucked out and found the season’s first Northern Neck strawberries, too — much to the Foodie Tot’s joy. (Yes, he did a dance after peering into my market bag.)

black rock orchard asparagus

But May brings the opening of many of the area’s seasonal markets — including Fairfax County markets, the Alexandria West End market (Sundays, 9am-1pm — **note, opening has been delayed until next Sunday, May 8), the FreshFarm Crystal City market (Tuesdays, 3-7m), and others. happy strawberry danceThe FreshFarm Market by the White House opens next Thursday (3-7pm), and one of my favorites, West Virginia’s Bigg Riggs Farm, is joining the market this year. (You can also find them at Crystal City and Alexandria’s Old Town and Upper King Street Markets — and they’ve had ramps the past couple weeks.)

If you’re headed out in search of asparagus this weekend, Northern Virginia magazine offers some pointers on how to choose and prepare them. Me, I roast them in olive oil and sea salt for about 8-10 minutes (400 degrees), until just tender enough for the baby to gnaw on.

That’s right, the Foodie Bebe has already savored her first asparagus. The boy’s fancy for it comes and goes. (Though I did discover he likes it better if I pan roast it in the cast iron skillet with butter instead of olive oil, and a little parmesan cheese never hurts.) Do your kids like it?

At Market: Chilled Asparagus Pea Soup

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

What comes after asparagus and strawberries? Fresh peas! I bought both English peas (for shelling) and sugar snap peas this past weekend at the Falls Church Farmers Market. The English peas joined some Black Rock Orchard asparagus in a cold soup for a hot and steamy evening.

While the boy’s favorite vegetable is actually peas, he generally prefers them frozen. And though I couldn’t coax him into helping me shell, he did snatch a handful of fresh shelled peas out of my bowl. (He even tried a sugar snap pea with its pod last night, rather than slurping out the peas as though it was edamame in his usual manner.)

Recipe: Chilled Asparagus Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas (or frozen if that’s all you have)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 leaves fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or cream)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Warm olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus, a pinch of salt and pepper, and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Add peas and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Asparagus should be just tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Add mint (torn into small pieces).  Process in small batches in a blender until smooth. Stir in half and half.  Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. (You can also accelerate the cooling by setting the bowl into a larger bowl with ice and water.) Garnish with additional mint leaves. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Note: Make this with vegetable broth for Meatless Monday.