Posts Tagged ‘at market’

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.

Asparagus with Eggs (Meatless Monday)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I don’t know how much of it can be attributed to the fact that asparagus is the first fresh new vegetable of the spring, but my love affair with these crisp stalks grows each year. This is my favorite way to enjoy them, and works as the ultimate market-fresh, fast-food meal whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Getting my son to embrace asparagus with the same enthusiasm has been more difficult. One day last spring, after I’d all but given up, he snatched one off my plate declaring, “Ooh, a giant string bean!” — and then proceeded to devour the rest of my serving! Since then it’s still been hit or miss, and I’ll switch between calling them asparagus or “super string beans” just in case the terminology makes a difference. I keep making them the same way I made them that time, though — pan-roasted with butter rather than oven-roasted with olive oil. I think the butter gives a sweeter carmelization, and I prefer it even if he doesn’t always appreciate them.

While I prefer them with poached eggs, the runny yolks serving double-duty as dressing, you can certainly try it with your kid’s favorite style of eggs. Mine is obsessed with hard boiled, lately.

Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, poached
  • grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • fresh chives, finely sliced (optional)

Instructions: Heat a large skillet (I prefer my cast iron) over medium high heat. Melt the butter, then add asparagus and cook, turning just once or twice, until stalks begin to brown in spots, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm while you poach the eggs. Divide asparagus and arrange on dinner plates. Gently place one poached egg on each plate, on top of the asparagus, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with French bread or whole wheat toast. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Toddler-friendly tip: You can trim the asparagus into shorter pieces and encourage your little one to dip them into the yolk.

From the White House to DC School Cafeterias: Local Flavor Week

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama opened the new FreshFarms Market by the White House. Next week, the fresh, local food movement will march not on the marble steps of the Capitol, but down hallways of the District’s public, charter and private schools. As part of this week’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” roll-out by the US Department of Agriculture, additional tools and $50 million in funds were announced to help bring healthy, local foods into schools, now, without waiting for Congress to take up school lunch re-authorization. (Which isn’t going to happen until next year.)

dc farm to school

Also not waiting for Congress to act is the new DC Farm to School Network, which is launching “Local Flavor Week” September 21-25 as the opening foray into bringing the regions farmers into local schools. Together with the Capital Area Food Bank, Whole Foods and other community partners, DC Farm to School is coordinating a full week of taste tests, cooking demonstrations, farmer visits and nutritional education activities. The festivities kick-off Tuesday at the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School cafeteria in Southeast DC, where local chefs Peter Smith of PS7 and Oliver Friendly of Eat and Smile Foods will compete Top Chef-style using ingredients grown in the school’s garden.

Andrea Northup, coordinator of the DC Farm to School Network, notes that the District has one of highest child obesity rates in the nation. “School-aged children consume most of their daily calories in school meals, so it makes sense that we should connect school with nearby sources of fruits and vegetables to serve in their cafeterias. The only way the District’s schoolchildren will thrive is if they are well nourished and armed with the skills they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

If you’re in the area, find out more about participating schools and activities — and volunteer opportunities — at dcfarmtoschool.org/localflavorweek. And to find a Farm-to-School organization in your state, take a look at the National Farm-to-School map.

PS If you didn’t catch my live tweets from the White House market opening, here’s a slideshow recap (click picture to view):

white house farmers market whrrl

You can read more about the market opening, and see pics of the First Lady and Chef Kass (whom I missed waiting in the security line), on Cookography, Obama Foodorama and the twitter stream from @FreshFarmMktsDC.

Don’t forget it’s Fight Back Friday — visit the Food Renegade to join in!

At Market: Simple Tomato Gazpacho

Monday, September 14th, 2009

grapes at marketAt the Alexandria Markets: We’ve returned to our Alexandria farmers markets after our recent travels, and witnessed that unequivocal sign of seasons changing from summer to fall in the peaches and tomatoes being nudged out by apples, pears, and early winter squash. Now I don’t know if there’s some sort of zucchini shortage in Northern Virginia, but we’ve received none from our CSA this year and I only spotted a few giant ones at the West End market. Has there been some sort of run on zucchini by crazed zucchini bread addicts? (By the way, if you haven’t been to West End lately, you’re missing out on some wonderful authentic Mexican tamales from Alma at Westmoreland Berry Farm.)

At any rate, we received word from our CSA that their tomatoes have begun to show signs of early blight (not the late blight you’ve heard so much about), so I set about to make sure we enjoyed the ones we got to the fullest. After our tomato jam experience (kudos to Jennifer for winning the food52 best preserves contest with her recipe!), the boy comes running to get his knife whenever he sees me dicing tomatoes. He even overcame his fear of the blender to help me make this super simple gazpacho. With all due to respect to José Andrés, who makes the best restaurant gazpacho in town, this recipe is even simpler with just six ingredients, tasting pretty much like, well, a pulverized tomato. Ironically the boy liked it even though he refuses to eat fresh tomatoes. Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil — preferably from Spain, of course.

tomato gazpacho

Recipe: Simple Tomato Gazpacho (kid-friendly instructions)

Ingredients:

  • About 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 slices white/Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Using a kid-safe knife, assist child in cutting tomato and bread into pieces.

2. Place tomatoes, bread, garlic, vinegar, salt and 1/4 cup oil in blender. Cover and blend for 1 minute.

3. Add additional olive oil as needed, blending after each addition, to reach a smooth consistency. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then serve with an extra drizzle of oil to garnish. (Use basil oil for extra oomph.)

Bonus Foodie Tot Video! This was a totally unscripted, impromptu video shot by the husband so please disregard the messy counter and, uh, my lack of make-up. (And no, Seventh Generation did not provide compensation for the product placement, but clearly we should buy stock or something. ;-) ) Anyway, enjoy!

Foodie Tot cooks gazpacho from Colleen Levine on Vimeo.

Announcing Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets Contest Winners!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

First, a huge thank you to all who helped spread the word about the the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Market contest! As you recall, the contest was launched in correlation with National Farmers Market Week, and our contest participants demonstrated through their photos the many lessons that kids can learn from visiting farmers markets, whether it’s trying a food once loathed, learning to spell, or finding creative uses for all those farm-fresh veggies. I so loved the entries that I couldn’t pick just one, so please join me in congratulating both our winners…

1st Prize goes to Cheryl of Backseat Gourmet for this precious photo of a toddler suddenly discovering a deep love for raspberries:

foodie tot discovers raspberries

This foodie tot’s mama writes,

“I’d just finished telling my sister-in-law that Smilosaurus wouldn’t eat raspberries when she lost her mind in an an effort to prove me wrong. Signs of things to come? Part of our farmers’ market tours, taken at City Centre Market, Edmonton.”

… and our Runner-Up is “Glitzy Purse Girl” of Steeped Insanity with this shot of her son fiercely guarding his prized produce:

foodie tot guarding bags

Congrats to you both and I hope you enjoy your goodie bags! And a final note, the Flickr group will stay open so please continue to share pictures of your kids at your local farmers markets.