Wednesday, August 27, 2008

farmers market and CSA foraging - this week's finds!




So I have been loving working with NYC greenmarkets. Its so much fun to just walk the market, see what's fresh and make up a recipe. Sometimes this can be frustrating for people who I meet at the market who want recipes right then and there. This is artist's work I tell them. The recipe didn't exist before the morning. I'm happy to take their name and email and add them to my mailing list. Each of my monthly newsletter feature one of the recipes I have created from a day of cooking at the greenmarket.

Lately I have been enthralled by two things at the market: eggplant and garlic. Its funny, eggplant just seems so ordinary. It has been around forever and its a staple of Italian, Japanese and Eastern European cuisines (especially in Jewish households hailing from Brooklyn like my Grandmother and Aunt who would put eggplant in everything). The funny thing though is I thought I didn't particularly like eggplant. At least I never liked the eggplant I had in Italian restaurants or that my Aunt prepared, and the eggplant I had in Japan was ok, but this past week I got two deliveries of eggplant with my CSA and I made stir fries and a version of ratatouille with them and boy were they delicious! I made the ratatouille with delicata squash, the eggplant and a peach that was just a bit too ripe to eat raw. Wonderful! I'll post the recipe as soon as I write it up and the first picture I've posted with this blog is the finished product.

As for the garlic. I've never seen garlic in its natural state before with stalks called scapes that are perfectly edible and taste like a scallion. They are wonderful too. I've used the scapes in stir fries and soups. I've not seen the scapes around lately and I am guessing they are now out of season. I see most garlic with hard brown stalks which I'm not adding to anything I am cooking! But the garlic at the markets lately is still so wonderful and soft. It smashes immediately into a wonderful oily pulpy almost syrupy mash and its just great to work with. I made some marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes using the garlic and it just was divine. Marinara sauce is probably the world's easiest food to make. Just tomatoes, garlic, oil and a bit of garlic. Boil, wait. mmmmm. I served quinoa pasta with it, which was also delicious and gluten free.

Salivating? Excited? You should be, I am! I advise you get out there to the market and buy some eggplant and fresh garlic. Cut both up (smash the garlic with a chef's knife) and roast it with a little olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for 30 min or wait just a bit until I post the recipe to see how to invent something a little different with your eggplant.

I work alternating Saturdays on the greenmarket on 106th and Central Park West, I hope to see you there around 11am and you can watch me make some interesting recipes with whatever is fresh that day. Bring your writing pad to take notes on how to develop the recipes or sign up for my newsletter and I'll send them to you.

See you at the markets!

1 comment:

vzlauter said...

Hey Merdith - great stuff on your blog. I am not a cook but am luck enough to have a spouse that loves to so I get the benefits! We love to buy locally in Atlanta; several farm stands that we purchase directly from the farmers.
Thanks for the info and keep up the good work
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vicki