Posts Tagged ‘westover farmers market’

Asparagus and Egg Pizzas

Friday, May 1st, 2015

An updated take on pizza for spring … fresh from the farmers market!

My kids, no surprise to anyone who knows my husband and I, are true night owls. The boy has suddenly become a voracious reader, thanks in great part to the Spirit Animal series he devoured over the past couple months. We’d just concluded our year in Hogwarts, reading the Harry Potter series aloud each night, and this was the first series he really got into reading on his own. Now, we have to pry the books out of his hand at least twice each night to get him to turn off the light and go to sleep. The upside of their pushing the limits on bedtime is that they tend to sleep in later, and we’ve reached that sweet spot of parenting where they don’t need our attention the second they wake up — at least on the weekends. On the downside, it means we were late getting to the market this past Sunday and my good mood at getting to sleep in was quickly turning sour at missing asparagus for the second week. After we made our other purchases and were walking out, I saw the vendor at the end had a huge cooler labeled “asparagus.” I leaned over to confirm it was, in fact, empty — only to have the vendor announce, “Oh, we still have some if you need it.” Hallelujah!

asparagus ramp and egg pizza | foodietots.com

I’ve written before about the fickleness with which the foodie tots approach asparagus each year, alternately loving and hating it. A few weeks ago, we’d gotten some (non-local) asparagus in a veggie delivery from our dairy farm and the boy declared it one of his top favorite vegetables. The girl, however, is on an off-year with it. Likely thanks to Instagram, I had pizza on the mind and decided to make asparagus and egg pizzas. Not wanting to go back out just for pizza dough, I had the revolutionary idea to make it from scratch. I followed Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough recipe and am now completely embarrassed that I’ve never made it before. It came out perfectly, after just an hour to rise, and handled beautifully — so much better than store bought. (If you’ve already mastered this simple bit of kitchen alchemy, indulge me.) The dough comes together quickly in a food processor, no kneading necessary. It can be frozen, so I plan to make another batch ASAP to keep on hand and ready to pull out the next time a pizza craving strikes.

homemade pizza dough | foodietots.com

Now about the eggs. We only buy cage-free eggs from free-range chickens from local farmers. I’ve done the side-by-side comparison of grocery store eggs and local eggs, and the yolks are visibly, shockingly bright orange next to the bland yellow of grocery store eggs. Pastured eggs have nutrition benefits too — “2 1/2 times more omega-3s and twice the vitamin E in the eggs of pasture-raised hens,” according to a Pennsylvania State University study. And I will never believe that confined chickens are happier than chickens with access to fresh air, no matter what the Big Chicken industry would have your believe.

But when it comes to eating eggs, the male half of our family doesn’t like runny yolks, only scrambled. Thankfully the girl is coming around to my side, although that often means she’s swiping the yolk off my plate if I’m not careful.

making asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

Most of the egg-topped pizzas you see have the whole egg with runny yolk, but I knew that wouldn’t go over well. I was afraid the scrambled eggs would dry out in the oven, so I cooked them on the stove only until just beginning to set. For the kids’ pizzas, I put the eggs on the pizza before cooking — they came out well done but not dry. (The brown crust is from the parmiggiano on top.) For my and the husband’s pizza, I cooked it half-dressed (oil, cheese, asparagus, ramps and radish) for 10 minutes, then added his scrambled eggs and my whole egg to the already hot crust. After another 6 minutes, his eggs were still soft and my white was set.

asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

And yes, the girl swiped a piece of my runny yolk pie.

asparagus egg and ramp pizza recipe | foodietots.com

For the recipe below, I’ve written it as prepared with scrambled eggs. If you want runny eggs, see the note at the end. I also added ramps, but I’ve omitted them from the recipe due to their fleeting availability. Thin slices of garlic or green onions will lend a similar flavor, if desired. (I plan to make this again with garlic scapes, when they’re available.) I also added a few thin slices of an early radish from our garden.

Recipe: Asparagus and Egg Pizza

Makes: 3 personal-sized pizzas, or 2 regular

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough (“Basic Pizza Dough” recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sea salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Prepare pizza crust as instructed. Divide dough into 2 or 3 balls and set aside to rest while preparing toppings.
2. Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if using) to 450 degrees.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Wash asparagus and trim ends. Cut into about 2-inch pieces. Prepare a separate bowl half full with ice and water. When water boils, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus and place into ice water for a minute, then drain and set aside.
4. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add eggs and half and half (or milk) and whisk together. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggs just begin to thicken. Turn off heat.
5. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or parchment paper. Brush each with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a base layer of parmigiano cheese. Spoon scrambled eggs around the pizza, then arrange asparagus over. Sprinkle with another generous dose of cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until crust is golden and eggs are thoroughly cooked (will be firm to the touch.)

Note: To make with whole, runny eggs, skip step 4. Prepare pizzas and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully crack eggs onto the pizza (it helps contain the whites if you push asparagus to make a border on two sides). Return to oven and bake another 5 to 6 minutes, until eggs are white and mostly firm.

At the Market This Week #MarketVine

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll find at the farmers markets this week, in the DC Metro area: asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, even some cherries coming in!

Westover Farmers Market ~ May from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

(Vine from the Westover Farmers Market in Arlington, Sundays, 8am-noon.)

Sunday Farmers Markets Open in Alexandria, Arlington

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May brings the opening of the seasonal markets to Washington, DC and the suburbs, including two of our favorite, family-friendly Sunday markets: the West End Farmers Market in Alexandria (8:30am-1:00pm) and the Westover Farmers Market in N. Arlington (now 8:00am-noon). Yes, Westover was open through the winter but the full slate of vendors is now back for summer, with quite a few additions since last year.

West End Farmers Market 2013

New vendors at Westover include Cibola Farms (Virginia bison and free-range pork), Spring Valley Farm & Orchard of West Virginia, Shells Yes! with Eastern Shore crab, GrohNola, and Nourish Market from Falls Church selling prepared foods (and the best, naturally-sweetened strawberry lemonade right now).

We got some lovely organic greens from Over the Mountain Farm (MD) last week (pictured below). Fresh Joseph’s, the fresh-squeezed orange juice and mozzarella folks seen at West End, has also joined Westover this season.

20130513-115609.jpg

Follow these markets on Facebook (Westover or West End) for updates and special events throughout the season.
(And follow Foodie Tots to see what we’re buying and cooking each week.)

Hope to see you at the market!

Quick Stewed Summer Squash and Sweet Corn

Friday, August 24th, 2012

It’s the home stretch of summer, when markets are teeming with fresh sweet corn, peppers, peaches, squash, tomatoes and melons. I’m pretty sure my kids would happily live on corn and watermelon, but the other veggies are too tasty to pass up. On a recent market trip, the foodie boy was particularly smitten with this curly-q eggplant.

20120824-110948.jpg

To make use of as many veggies in one dish as possible, I recreated the Oyamel dish the foodie tot loved at Union Market’s summer picnic. Squash and tomatoes are diced nearly as small as corn kernels and the dish is quickly sautéed so that the tomatoes release their juices, creating a warm stew that is a perfect summer side — and the ultimate summer dish for finger-eating toddlers, too. Get the recipe below.

And speaking of market trips … our busy summer weekends have made us especially grateful to have two Sunday markets to choose from, the West End Alexandria Farmers Market (9am to 1pm) and the new Westover Farmers Market (8am to noon) in Arlington.

We paid a long overdue to our favorite Amish cheese/yogurt seller, Mr. Tom, at West End recently. Papa’s Orchard peaches were spectacular, and the kids’ eggplant/pepper/tomato binge took place under the F.J. Medina & Sons tent. We followed up our cheese snack with a Westmoreland berry and Vera’s pastries picnic in the park. (Then, turtle watching!)

20120824-111036.jpg

At Westover, Black Rock Orchard and Bigg Riggs are is the must-visits for stone fruit — and early season apples (yes, already!). Smith Family Farm offers grass-fed meats, Blue Ridge Dairy provides mozzarella, ricotta and more, and always-popular Atwater’s Bakery and Baguette Republic have your bread needs covered.

20120824-105504.jpg

Recipe: Quick Stewed Summer Squash and Corn

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 zucchini, diced
2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
2 large tomatoes, diced
handful fresh epazote or basil
Kosher salt
pepper
optional: crumbled goat cheese or feta or queso blanco

Instructions:
1. Prep and cut all vegetables before you begin cooking. Zucchini should be diced nearly as small as corn kernels.
2. Heat olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
3. Add zucchini to pan and cook until just beginning to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes to pan and cook until juices are released.
5. Add corn and simmer just until warmed, about 2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Optional: top with crumbled feta or goat cheese. Serve immediately.

At Market: How to Fry Squash Blossoms

Monday, June 11th, 2012

This past weekend, the husband and tot hit up the new Westover Farmers Market in Arlington. It was near the end of the market so I didn’t have high hopes for too many goodies, but was pleasantly surprised when they brought home a basket of squash blossoms and sour cherries. Edible flowers are always fun to share with kids, but flowers that you stuff with cheese and fry? Talk about hitting the jackpot. The foodie tot had a lot of fun “helping” me prep them for frying. Of course, she was booted from the kitchen for the actual cooking.

foodie tot loves squash blossoms

Squash blossoms are best eaten the day you buy them. After your toddler holds up each one for its photo opp (or maybe that’s just mine…), gently pry open the petals, check for intruders,* and reach inside and pinch the base of the stamen to remove it. (*I’m no fan of insects on my supper, but this is a good time to mention to the kids that we buy organic foods that aren’t sprayed with bug-killing chemicals. You can’t blame a bug for being drawn to the same pretty, fragrant flowers that we are!)

how to fry squash blossoms

I mixed fresh Blue Ridge Dairy ricotta with a little nutmeg, salt and black pepper. You can use some finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or oregano, if you have them but I like to keep it simple. The batter is simply flour, milk and another pinch of salt. After gently spooning the filling into each flower, give the end a gentle twist to hold in the good stuff.

Frying them takes just a few minutes — then let them cool a little on a paper-towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Be sure to eat while still warm!

fried ricotta squash blossoms

Recipe: Fried Squash Blossoms
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 12 squash blossoms
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

Instructions:

  1. Fill high-walled frying pan with 1/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat (to 350 degrees if you have a thermometer).
  2. Pick over and remove stamens from blossoms. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, nutmeg, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, milk and another pinch of salt until smooth.
  5. Holding blossom by the stem end, gently fill with a teaspoon full of ricotta mixture. Give the petal ends a gentle twist to hold in the filling. Repeat until all are filled.
  6. Quickly swirl the stuffed blossoms through the batter and gently transfer to pan. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown — about 3-5 minutes, total. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool slightly before serving.

~

What’d the kids think? The boy took a bite, then paused to ask, “Did this use to be a plant?” The tot ate the middle section of hers. Have you ever eaten squash blossoms with your kids?

Aside from frying, you can also use squash blossoms in soup or my squash blossom succotash, or bake them for a healthier take. And if you’re in the Northeast, check out Narrangasett Creamery ricottas, reviewed over on Cheese and Champagne today.