Posts Tagged ‘greens’

Opening Day at Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Spring doesn’t truly arrive until the seasonal farmers markets open, and today the first to open in the DC area was FreshFarm’s Penn Quarter Market. There was a steady stream of people arriving even as the market opened, and the customary eager lines at Quail Creek Breads. Of course, a gorgeous 70+ degree day in Washington doesn’t hurt.

And, while asparagus (and ramps?) are still a few weeks away, morels were here!

Springfield Farms was selling lamb for Easter, while Cibola Farms and Red Apron were back to round out the meat options. I picked up my Easter ricotta from Blue Ridge Dairy. Copper Pot was there with his handmade pastas, sauces and jams. And Black Rock and Toigo Orchards still have some apples and preserved products from last fall.

Also this year, a new collaboration between FreshFarm and Zola Chef Bryan Moscatello: Farmers in Residence Program. Once a month, Bryan will host a farmer from the Penn Quarter market at Zola Wine and Food Kitchen for a 3pm chat, then lead participants back to a personalized market tour. Up first is Mary Ellen Taylor of Endless Summer Harvest (producer of the famed Loudoun Lettuce mix and the DC area’s finest arugula), next Thursday, April 8. View the FreshFarm event calendar for future dates.

Penn Quarter Farmers Market
Thursdays, 3-7.00pm
Chef Demos weekly at 4.00pm
8th Street NW btwn D & E, near Archives Metro

One Local Supper, BLT Fettuccine

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

one local summer 2009We were out of town again over the weekend, so our local foods eating was partly an effort to use up market and CSA produce before we left. This colorful pasta creation used a rainbow of locally-sourced ingredients, starting with a favorite staple at our house, fresh pasta by Nancy of Smith Meadows. Nancy uses their wildly popular free-range eggs and herbs and vegetables grown at neighboring farms to make these delicious pastas. The flavors range from oat and wheat to herbed fettuccine and mixed greens or blue cheese pecan ravioli. Nancy has also expanded her offerings to include sauces, for an even more effortless “fast food” meal you can feel good about, too.

This week, I used bacon, cherry tomatoes and chard for a “BLT” (subbing chard for the lettuce) pasta dish, a flavorful and quick weeknight dinner, with a side of green and yellow string beans for good measure.

BLT fettucine

Recipe: “BLT” Fettuccine

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh sun dried tomato fettuccine
  • 4 slices nitrate-free bacon
  • 1 bunch chard, rinsed and cut into thick slices
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound string beans, ends trimmed
  • several basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat and cook bacon until crisp and brown, 6-7 minutes. Remove to drain on paper towel lined plated. Drain excess grease, leaving a light coating in the bottom of the pan. Add chard and season with a pinch of salt and pepper; reduce heat to medium low and cook until chard just begins to wilt. Remove from pan. Add cherry tomatoes to pan, increase heat back to medium high and cook until tomatoes begin to blister, 6-8 minutes.

While the tomatoes cook, blanch string beans in salted boiling water just 1-2 minutes, then use slotted spoon or pasta skimmer to remove beans and rinse with cold water in a colander. Set aside and boil pasta for 2 minutes (or according to package instructions if using boxed pasta). Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water.

In a large pasta serving bowl, gently stir together cooked pasta, tomatoes, chard, bacon, and basil. Press gently on tomatoes to release their juices. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and reserved pasta water until moist. (Optional: grate parmesan cheese over top.) Arrange string beans around the side of the pasta, and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Farms of Origin: Cibola Farms (bacon), Potomac Vegetable Farms (chard, basil), Three Way Farm (beans, tomatoes), Smith Meadow Farm (pasta) — all in Virginia.

One Local Summer is an annual challenge in which people around the world join together for 13 weeks of seasonal eating, supporting local farmers and exploring their local foodsheds. Visit FarmtoPhilly on Tuesdays for the weekly round-up; here’s what my neighbors in the Southern region cooked up this week.

One Local Buffalo Steak and Garlic Scapes

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

one local summer 2009This past week we got our first garlic scapes in our CSA bag. Garlic scapes are the curly bright green shoots of a young garlic plant, not to be confused with the “green garlic” stalks that soon follow. Last summer at a New York farmers market, I watched a farmer practically plead with a skeptical customer to give them a try. If you love garlic, you can’t go wrong — but if you’re expecting something mild like a chive, you’ll be in for a pungent surprise.

garlic scapes

Garlic scapes are commonly used in pesto — a great way to store them for later use as the scape season is fairly brief. And I like to throw them whole on the grill for a little mellower flavor and perfect accompaniment to a grilled steak. grilled steak garlic scapeThis week we again had Cibola Farm’s buffalo meat, the steaks rubbed with olive oil, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and pepper before grilling. We also had home-baked brioche, which is not exactly local as I don’t have local flour, but I’m taking partial credit here because the rich brioche dough got a boost of flavor from our local, cage-free farmers market eggs and butter. I haven’t had much time to bake lately but am looking forward to cooking up some cherry treats now that the first cherries have arrived at our local markets. We snacked on Emperor Francis cherries from Long Meadow Ecological Farm found at DC’s Eastern Market on Saturday.

We’ve also been snacking on some local goat cheeses from Firefly Farms and Spriggs Delight in Maryland. You can read more about them over on the cheese blog.

Recipe: Grilled Garlic Scapes

  • 4 garlic scapes, rinsed
  • 1 drizzle olive oil
  • course salt and pepper

Instructions: Toss the scapes in olive oil till lightly coated. Place on hot grill over high heat and sear several minutes, until soft and grill marks appear. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve along side your favorite grilled meat or fish. Enjoy!

One Local Summer is an annual challenge in which people around the world join together for 13 weeks of seasonal eating, supporting local farmers and exploring their local foodsheds. Visit FarmtoPhilly on Tuesdays for the weekly round-up; here’s what my neighbors in the Southern region cooked up this week.

At Market: Chive Blossoms and Spring Greens

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

This week’s Market Watch features the hunt for local rhubarb, and read on for a recipe for jazzing up greens to appeal to picky kids (or grown ups).

At the Alexandria & District Markets: While strawberries are in abundance at the Del Ray Farmers Market, the first spring peas from Three Way Farm were snatched up within the first hour. I had hoped for rhubarb from the Riva farmers, but they were missing this week, sending the boy and I into the District Sunday for rhubarb and some of my favorite and more exotic fresh herbs available at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market. I was also thrilled to find pesticide-free (Spring Valley) and organic (Next Step) strawberries at Dupont. Spring Valley had the final ramps of the season, too, and their colorful salad green mix studded with edible flowers which inspired the recipe below.

erba stella chive blossoms spring herbs

Next Step Produce, a certified-organic farm in Charles County, MD, is always the source of some interesting new ingredient. This time, I picked up Erba Stella, an Italian herb with a fresh grassy flavor that is full of vitamins A & C. Armed with pretty lavender chive blossoms and crisp Swiss chard from the Farm at Sunnyside (also organic, and my reliable source for rhubarb), I set about to make greens that would appeal to my anti-leafy green toddler. Sometimes, it’s truly amazing the subtle changes that cause a kid to switch from disgust or indifference to devouring a dish — a lesson learned most recently when I sauteed asparagus in butter rather then my usual method of roasting them with olive oil. Suddenly, the boy was devouring the stalks off my plate and demanding seconds! (Nevermind that he called them “string beans,” sometimes taste is more important than terminology.)

For this attempt at jazzing up some colorful Swiss chard, I added a touch of butter to the cooked chard to help counter any bitterness, and let the boy help me sprinkle the “special edible flowers” into the pan. I can’t say this preparation has moved Swiss chard onto his list of favorites, but he did eat two bites before declaring that he needed to save the rest to “share with Daddy.” I’ll call that a success.

Recipe: Swiss Chard with Chive Blossoms

swiss chard chive blossoms

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 handful Erba Stella (optional, could add baby spinach or stick to just chard)
  • 5 chives with blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • sea salt

Instructions: Warm olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Rinse chard and shake to remove excess water. (Even if you’ve pre-washed your chard, rinse it again as the water is needed to wilt the greens.) Tear into 1-inch strips. Tear Erba Stella and chive stems into smaller pieces, and pinch the base of the chive blossoms to release the buds. Add all ingredients to the pan, cover, and cook for 2 minutes or until chard has just wilted. Add the butter and salt to taste, tossing gently to combine. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Need more ideas for chive blossoms?
Try Asparagus Chive Quiche or Chive Blossom Baked Eggs

Roasted Tomato, Salami and Saffron Pasta

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Now that the weather has turned colder I am getting back into our Tuesday pasta night routine. And one of my favorite weeknight pasta tricks is to stop off at my cheese shop to pick up some fresh cheese, meats and even fresh pasta. Cooking with flavored pastas eliminates the need for sauce, and you can instead focus on pairing a few favorite ingredients to make your pasta de jour.

Of course you don’t have to visit a cheese shop to make a gourmet pasta dish; at the grocery, just pick out a few high quality items from the deli counter. Because you only need a few slices of meat, you can splurge on a good prosciutto or salami.

With a quarter pound of spicy salami, a small container of creme fraiche, the roasted tomatoes and pasta, this made four servings of pasta for under $20. That’s cheaper than Olive Garden, and ready in less time the average Friday night wait for a table!

Recipe: Roasted Tomato, Salami & Saffron Pasta (aka Cheesetique Pasta)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound saffron angel hair pasta
  • 1 bunch curly kale (or other greens), sliced into ribbons
  • 6 oz. roasted tomatoes, in olive oil (can use sundried tomatoes)
  • 1/4 pound salami, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 4 ounces creme fraiche
  • salt & pepper

Instructions: Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding kale for the final minute of cooking time. Drain pasta and kale, reserving some of the cooking liquid. In a large serving bowl, layer the tomatoes (reserving oil), salami and creme fraiche. Pour pasta and kale over top and use tongs to toss and combine. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato oil and a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid, as needed to moisten the pasta. Season with a little salt and pepper (try red pepper flakes for an added kick), and enjoy! Makes 4 servings.

Shared with Presto Pasta Nights, created by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by Venielje Kitchen.