Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A "how to" on Spaghetti Squash

This time of year, I eat a lot of squash.  I can't help it!  It's delicious and in season.  I like all types of squash, including butternut, acorn, winter, but I love spaghetti squash.  While at work, many people are leaning over to check out what I am eating and I often get questions on how to cook it.   Since I eat so much of it this time of year, I thought a step by step how to cook spaghetti squash would be helpful for everyone.

First of all, preheat your oven to 350.

So here is the spaghetti squash

Cut off the ends

And then cut in half length wise

Put about 1/4 inch of water into a baking dish, place the squash in the dish (cut side down), cover with foil and put in the oven for 45-50 minutes

Take the squash out of the oven and remove seeds/pulp.  Then run a fork through the strands of the squash.

Put everything into a bowl and your finished product will look like this

Then you may top the squash with whatever you like.  I made sauce and meatballs, so I used the squash in place of spaghetti.  I also like to drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

All things pumpkin...the Great Pumpkin Festival

With pumpkin season in full force, I was lucky enough to attend the Great Pumpkin Festival at Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC) in Kendall Square where you can eat and drink everything pumpkin!  It was a great event to have just before Halloween because everyone was dressed up and we got to see some great costumes.  I didn't dress up because we were headed to the Bruins game right after, but at least I got compliments on my Marchand jersey!

There were three bars at the brewery, the main bar, brewhouse bar, and the patio bar, all of which features different beers, some local, and some as far away as Alaska.  Of course, I wanted to start local and support our local companies, so I started at the main bar with CBC beers.  My first beer was Valley Ghoul, which was brewed with barley grown and malted from Valley Malt, which I blogged for during the Hyper Local Brewfest in April!  Next was the Coach and Four, made with Cinderella pumpkins out of Westport MA.  I love Westport for many reasons (school, engagement, beach, farms, etc.) so I like to try things from that area.  While we were drinking our local beers, we ordered from the awesome food menu, full of great pumpkin eats!  We started with roasted pumpkin bisque and roasted pumpkin hummus.   For dinner, I had the pumpkin ravioli.  Being the foodie that I am,  I had to try a bite of everyone's dish, a bite of short ribs, a bite of schnitzel, and a bite of fish and chips (all pumpkin by the way).  Everything was outstanding!  And to end our meal we ordered pumpkin bread pudding and frozen pumpkin pie.  We had some difficulty with the pumpkin pie because it was too frozen, but it was still good.  While we had dessert, I made it to the brewhouse bar to try the Calatrava a spicy beer from Elysian Brewing in Seattle, made with habanero chilies and vanilla beans.

After our delicious meal, we went out to the patio bar to try beers from very far away.  I went with the Pumpkin Porter all the way from Alaska.  I typically don't drink porters, but I just wanted to say that I tried beer from Alaska and it was actually pretty smooth.  Then I tried Purple Pumpkin Eater from Seattle (I think I am starting to like Seattle beers) with pumpkin and lavender and then Citrouille Pumpkin Ale from Quebec, which was your standard pumpkin beer flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.  I really wanted to try the Punkuccino from Seattle which is a coffee pumpkin beer, but they were out of it.  So I will have to look around the stores for this beer.

If you like pumpkin, this is a great fall event to check out.  Tons of beers and good food, so how can you go wrong!  This is an annual event, so be sure to go to the Great Pumpkin Festival at the CBC next year!    


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Boston Local Food Festival 2013

I wish the Boston Local Food Festival (BLFF) could happen every weekend!  Although it was a gloomy and rainy day, there was so much to see and lots of local food to be eaten.

I met my friends and their adorable baby at the festival to get some eats.  My first mission was coffee!   We found a delicious cup of joe at El Recreo Estate Coffee The coffee had a strong, rich flavor and really hit the spot on a chilly day.  There was so much to see so we walked around with our coffee to check everything out.  We came across Volante Farms because there was a sign for pumpkin hummus, which I had to try (and buy!).  There was also a slow cooked pork sandwich with pickled vegetables and a smoked apple mustard using hoponious union ale from Jack's Abby. Enough said there!  We had a nice little lunch for  ourselves.  Volante Farms is located in Needham, so I will be paying them a visit soon!  They also have a catering menu for Thanksgiving!

We continued around the festival and tried some pumpkin butter (yes, I am obsessed with pumpkin!) and low sugar raspberry jam from Lala's Harvest.  Since the baby tried the pumpkin butter and liked it, my friend went home with a jar.  Lala's Harvest is located in Sharon, MA and uses local and organic ingredients to make their products.  As we continued around the festival, I said hello to my friends at Locally, who I blogged for the BLFF blog.  We then stumbled upon The Fresh Truck, which I have been dying to find!  I love the idea of a mobile farmers market to make local healthy food available to everyone in Boston.  Here I am on the bus!

We found many, many vendors that I am familiar with from going to the farmers markets, cookie lady treats, Nashoba Brook Bakery, Q's Nuts, Valicenti Organico, just to name a few.  There were also farms selling produce, I picked up some peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce from Red Fire Farm.  If you were hungry there were restaurants and food trucks to eat at (everything $6 or less) and Do It Yourself Demos, Seafood Throwdown, Chef Demos, and Chowda Cook-off.  I enjoyed watching the Seafood throwdown and seeing the chef's wandering around the festival buying produce to cook with.  There was so much to do here, we just couldn't see everything.  We had a great time and left with very full bellies!  I can't wait to do this again next year!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cooking Class at Waltham Fields Community Farm

A couple weeks ago my friend and I went to Waltham Fields Community Farm on a gorgeous evening for a cooking class!

Shannon, from Whole Foods Fresh Pond, kindly came to the farm to show us how to make some delicious and healthy meals from their Health Starts Here program.  It was a great way to see how to use seasonal produce in some unique recipes.  The program focuses on four pillars of healthy eating to include healthy meals in your diet.  These include whole food, plant strong, healthy fats, and nutrient dense.  Look for the health starts here label when you are shopping at whole foods and check out their website for tips, recipes, and cooking methods.

Our first course was cabbage kohlrabi slaw with a lemon and avocado dressing and was my first time eating kohlrabi.  It looks like celery root, but smoother and is similar to cabbage, kale, and broccoli.  This is a refreshing slaw and all the ingredients would easily be found at the farmers market or in your CSA.


Our next course was Orzo Soup.  This was my favorite part of the meal (and of course I forgot to take a picture) and I could see myself making this frequently, plus I have been making a lot of soup these days with the cooler weather coming in.  It is super easy to make and has some nice leafy greens, such as escarole to keep it super healthy.  If you like spicy you can heat it up by adding some red pepper flakes.

For our main course we had collard rolls with eggplant, adzuki bean, and spicy tahini sauce.  I love the idea of making rolls in a nice leafy green, so this was perfect for me.   I often make tacos with lettuce to cut out the processed tortillas, so I definitely support making a wrap of a leafy green loaded with vitamins.  However, I know my husband won't touch this, so this will have to be something I make for myself.

And for dessert, we had raw apple crisp.  Quick, easy, and healthy and was a great way to finish out meal.  Simply combine pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, ginger, and cinnamon in a food processor and cover over apples.

When the class was over we took a walk around the farm to check out their learning garden.  There are a lot of really great programs that the farm is putting on, including youth learning programs and workshops.  The Waltham Farm Day is this weekend on October 5 from 2-5pm.  There will be tractor climbing, face painting, PYO carrots, recipe tasting, and arts and crafts.  It's a free event so go check it out!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Timing is Everything - September

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Belmont Farmers Market to see what is in season now.  I love this time of year because the tomatoes are still coming, but we are getting some great fall flavors like butternut squash and pumpkin!  I also found some delicious honey crisp apples which are a great fall treat!  Apples are so crisp and tart this time of year, I can't help but to buy a few when I'm at the market.  
Another one of my favorites this time of year is spaghetti squash.  It is such a great substitute for pasta and tastes delicious.  I made some last week with sauce and meatballs, but I love to eat it with some butter and parmesan cheese.  Peppers are coming out in lots of colors, eggplant, green beans, corn, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage coming out soon with these cool temperatures.  And pumpkins, lots of pumpkins!

Now into the Belmont Farmers Market.  I used to frequent this market when I worked in Medford, so I really enjoyed going back for a visit.  Two great farms are there, Kimball and Dick's Market Garden, as well as Belmongo Farm, The Farm School, Flats Mentor Farm, Hutchins Farms, and Nicewicz Family Farm.  All with plenty of vegetables.  Nobscot Artisan Cheese and Foxboro Cheese are there for your cheese fix and also Sara Ran Away with the Spoon and Sfolia Bakery for your sweet tooth.  You can also find honey, maple syrup, wine, hummus, and knife sharpening as well.  All in all, a great market!  I definitely miss stopping at this market on my way home from work!  Belmont Farmers Market is located in the Belmont Center parking lot of Thursdays 2-6pm until October 31st!  Go check them out!

Enjoy all the fall flavors!!  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Livin' La Vida Local

Last weekend was my last weekend of freedom!  School started this week, so it's back to the grind.  I can no longer spend my days contemplating what market to go to or what food truck to hit up.  I decided that I wanted to spend the little free time I have left to do what I like best, livin' local!  On Friday, I switched up my Copley Square routine to check out the Charles Square Farmers Market.  I had a mission in mind with my switch, which was to go to Kimball Farm to buy one of their award winning tomatoes.  It was another beautiful Friday afternoon, perfect for a Peet's iced coffee and a walk around the market.  Vendors included Busa Farms, Flats Mentor, Stillman's, Valicenti Organico, Hi-Rise Bread Co. and Q's Nuts.  So nothing was lacking at this market.  Check out the tomatoes...

Kimball Farm

Busa Farm

The next part of my weekend involved a knife skills class at 51 Lincoln in Newton.  I learned so much from this class and I am hopeful that it will cut down preparation time with cooking.  This class took place in the kitchen, which I thought was so cool to be behind the scenes in a restaurant.  There were so many knifes and other neat tools in the kitchen.  I learned how to chop, dice, julienne, brunoise, and batonnet various vegetables such as celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and oranges.  I also learned about the two most common knives, chefs knife and pairing knife, as well has the importance of keeping these sharp.  I am getting mine sharpened tomorrow and maybe even going knife shopping.  At the end of the class, the teacher made us lunch, which was beef empanadas with a fresh heirloom tomato salad, which were delicious!  51 Lincoln is a restaurant in Newton that features local, organic ingredients when possible.  They have partnered with Allendale Farm and Ward Farm.  They even have a rooftop garden to grow herbs, Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, habanero, and banana peppers.  Go check them out!!

And lastly, I ended my weekend by going peach and apple picking with the family!  We went to Nashoba Winery in Bolton where there was also a locavores market.  The market was lacking in vegetables, but there were donuts, jewelry, tea, bread, and honey, but also some of my favorites Sweet Lydia's and Cookie Lady Treats.  We got a bottle of Cyser Wine, which is made with apple and honey and the guys got beer.  We sat out and had a picnic before we went picking.  Of course, we ended up getting another bottle of wine to take while we went picking.  This time we went with Marion, a blackberry wine.  I am more of a red wine drinker, but I enjoyed these fruity wines especially because it was a hot, sunny day.  We hit up the peaches first, I was on a mission to make boozy canned peaches out of my Food in Jars cookbook.  Taking a peach off the tree and eating it reminds me of my younger days when my grandfather would pick a peach and give it to me.  They were always super sweet, juicy, and messy.  I took some apples home as well, but no canning for those.  I have enjoyed a fresh, crisp apple everyday this week!

Peach Picking

Locavore Market

I hate to brag, but the hubs surprised me with a food dehydrator and I have a four day weekend!  So be ready for some pics of something dehydrating this weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Timing is Everything - August

There are many flavors that I love about summer.  That first bite of a juicy peach, the sweetness of a ripe tomato, or even a crisp, fresh bell pepper, all of which you can find now at your local market.  Other veggies that you will be able to find now include beets, broccoli, cabbage, onions, potatoes, eggplant, collards, kale, radishes, cucumber and various herbs.  Fruits that you will find include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, melons, peaches, nectarines, and plums.

I strongly feel the best part of summer is the tomato.  There is nothing like that taste of that garden tomato.  I am pretty simple with how I eat tomatoes.  I like to get a pint of grape tomatoes and eat them raw, slice up an hierloom and sprinkle a little salt, or top with mozarella and basil.  The more colors you can find the better!  It's great to find all different colors and make a colorful tomato salad with some fresh herbs and a little balsamic.  There's no need to get fancy, just appreciate that fresh summer taste.

Something I start doing this time of year is buying two pints of grape tomatoes when I go to the market, one to eat and one to roast.  The roasted tomatoes go into a ziplock freezer bag and in the freezer they go.  By the end of September, I have a nice stash of tomatoes to use in the winter.  Other ideas to preserve tomatoes include canning, making sauce, whole, or chopped, and dehydrating, which I have yet to try.  

This week is Massachusetts Farmers Market week, so be sure to stock up on all your favorites to support MA farms!!  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Needham Farmers Market

I made a visit to the Needham Farmers Market last Sunday.  This is a nice little market in the downtown of Needham.  The vendors seem to change frequently, so be sure to check their calendar before you make a trip.  Last Sunday they had MacAuthurs Farm, Neighborhood Farm, Lilac Hedge Farm, Big Sky Bakery, Foxboro Cheese Co, Nella Pasta, and Susies Bakery.  There was a great selection of vegetables at MacAuthurs Farm and Neighborhood Farm.  I picked up some lettuce, cauliflower, sun gold tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and I even found some strawberries!  I have been really into beets lately, so I bought some of those as well.  They taste great roasted and now that it's not so hot, it is not as painful to turn on the oven.  As I was leaving, a band began to play, so this is a nice place to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Needham Farmers Market is open on Sundays from 1-5, 23 Dedham Ave.   

I enjoyed National Farmers Market week by posting a picture of something I made using local ingredients each day.  I had some requests for the recipes I posted.  Since many people may be overwhelmed by the abundance of zucchini in their gardens, I recommend making zucchini pancakes, something I used to eat all the time when I was little.  My grandfather was one of those people overwhelmed by the zucchini in his garden and this was a delicious way to eat zucchini.  Zucchini also tastes great sauteed with a little olive oil, it can be roasted in the oven with other veggies, tossed into soups, made into breads, pickled, and it freezes well too!
How are you going to use up your zucchini?

Zucchini Pancakes:

I choose to make my zucchini pancakes paleo friendly, (minus the parmesan cheese) so I used almond meal instead of bread crumbs, but both are delicious.

1 medium Zucchini
1 egg
1-1 1/2 cup bread crumbs or almond meal
Lots of olive oil
sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Cut up the zucchini into thin slices.  In a bowl, whisk the egg and place bread crumbs on a plate.  Heat up about 3 tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat.  One at a time, dip the zucchini slices into the egg, then bread crumbs, and place into the hot pan.  When the bread crumbs begin to brown, flip to the other side.  When each side of the zucchini has browned, place on a plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Repeat this process until the zucchini is gone, continuing to add olive oil to the pan when it gets low.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Farmers Markets, Donuts, and The Salty Pig

On Saturday, I made a visit to the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville.  I have been dying to go to Kimballs to get a delicious box of raspberries (Kimballs is my favorite for this!).  And sure enough they had blueberries, raspberries, and even peaches!!  They also had various tomatoes of all colors and a description of each tomato.  I picked a large yellow tomato called persimmon, which Thomas Jefferson grew in 1871.  Kimballs also has fabulous greens.  I like the tuscan kale and their bags of mixed greens.  I will be able to have fresh salads all week!

Last time I went to the Union Square Farmers Market was in November and I feel I missed out because there was so much more available this time around.  Drumlin farm has a huge selection of vegetables and bouquets of flowers too!  There is also Hutchins Farm, Misty Brook Farm, Nicewitz Family Farm, and Parker Farm, all of which had beautiful vegetables.  There was also a good selection of meat including Hollis Hills and Stillmans.  I sampled a delicious soft garlic and dill cheese from Brookford Farm out of Caterbury, NH.  They also had cottage cheese, feta, and raw cheddar.  The market was not lacking in baked goods, such as Dan's Brick Oven Bread and Iggy's and you could also check out Taza Chocolate for your sweet tooth.

I had to walk down to Union Square donuts to get a maple bacon donut.  Union Square donuts has been coming to the Waltham Farmers Market, which I frequent, but I have yet to try the maple bacon.  There was a line out the door, but it was worth the wait.  I probably texted a picture of the donut to everyone I know, in addition to all the social media I posted to.  This is a delicious savory, sweet treat with the addition of the salty bacon.  I would recommend a visit to Somerville, even if you don't live in the area.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  And go early, I saw on twitter they were sold out by 12:30pm.

This maple bacon donut prompted a lot of conversations within my family.  I texted it to my father, who showed it to his wife, (they were both jealous!) and somehow they decided we should all go to the Salty Pig for dinner to get our bacon fix!  And so that's how we landed at the Salty Pig last night!

The Salty Pig is a unique restaurant on Dartmouth Street in Boston.  I went with my father a few months ago because he wanted to check out the craft beer selection, but we found great food and atmosphere as well.  This was my step-mothers first time at the Salty Pig and she said that there wasn't one thing she tasted that she didn't like.  I think we had a good night!

The menu is unique where you can mix and match your own appetizer by selecting meat, cheese, and extras, such as jams, olives, and nuts.  We selected pâté wrapped in bacon, prosciutto, and smoked chorizo for our meats.  It was my first time trying pate and it was delicious, plus it was wrapped in bacon, which is always a plus.  For cheeses, we had cheddar, pecorino, which went well with the prosciutto, and robiola, which is an Italian sheep and cow cheese.  The robiola was soft and I ate it on bread with some red wine jelly.  We also got some olives and the plate comes with bread and butter pickles and a spicy mustard.  Everything would definitely go well with wine, but we were there for the craft beer selection too!  I like my fruity beers, so I got a raspberry beer by Flounder Brewing Co. and also a strawberry harvest lager by Abita beer.  With my strawberry rhubarb obsession, we decided to keep going with the apps and get a burrata with local strawberries, rhubarb, watermelon radish, pistachio, and spicy sauce on the side.  This dish had so many different flavors to be experimented with.  If you wanted sweet you could stick with the strawberries, but if you wanted spicy, you could take a dip in the spicy sauce which had tons of flavor, but didn't burn your lips off.  And if you like some bitterness, you could put a little rhubarb on your fork as well.

For our meal we went with a prosciutto pizza with a fried egg on top along with tomato, mozzarella, basil, and sweet peppers.  I feel like that speaks for itself!  As we were getting ready to get the check, the kitchen kindly set over a delicious wine to sample along with an outstanding dessert!  The  Lambrusco was chilled and slightly sweet, which was a perfect way to end our dinner.  It also went well with our lemon dessert with blueberries and blueberry sauce with a ricotta cheese on the side (I think was ricotta).  Even though we were so full from our dinner, this dessert didn't have a chance to stay on the table.

Whether you are a beer or wine drinker, I recommend the Salty Pig.  The restaurant does a good job of pairing the beers and wine to match their awesome menu full of good eats!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest

Last month, I went to the Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville.  This event was put on by Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts.  I am currently a festival blogger for Boston Local Food and had the opportunity to write about two of the vendors, High and Mighty Beer Co. and Valley Malt.  This is a great event to try unique beers by local companies some of which use local ingredients. And I love their motto: Eat local. Drink local. Be local.

I am not a beer connoisseur by any means, I tend to gravitate to light, fruity beers.  In fact, my Dad, who I consider to be a beer connoisseur, will give me fruity beers that he gets in variety packs so he doesn't have to drink them.  With that being said,  here are some vendors that stood out to me.  The very first (and very best in my husbands opinion) was Mayflower Brewing Company.  I like my summer beers so I went with the Summer Rye Ale and my husband went with the Porter.  And he loved it!  He loved it so much that we stopped at the store and bought some on the way home!  I tried this rich tasting beer as my last beer of the night and was very impressed.  Another vendor that I enjoyed was Portico.  I tasted the Fuzzy Logic which was a refreshing beer with some fruity hints to it and was perfect for me!  You can find it at a few bars and restaurants in the Cambridge/Somerville and Allston area.  Another fun, fruity beer was the Pomegranate Wheat Ale by Peak Organic Brewery.  Made with local wheat, this beer is light, but not too sweet.  Of course I had to stop by Fisherman's and convince my husband to try the Sunrise Saison, which I love, but he wasn't into it.  I have found that not everyone likes the combination of strawberry and rhubarb as much as I do.  Since the Sunrise Saison has been my drink of choice lately, I choose to have something different which was the Great Wit Whale, a light beer with a citrusy taste, great on hot summer day.

One of the coolest parts of the event was the home brewers.  I tried a chocolate orange wheat wine, which was outstanding and my husband tried the special barrel age apple jack which was 48 proof.  I had a sip of it and that could be one dangerous drink!  These beers were brewed by Alastair Hewitt and after a google search, I now know he is working with Mystic Brewery.  His beer was great and he had the longest line, so it was no secret that he makes good beer.

I was pretty impressed with my first beer festival.  I enjoyed seeing the beer geeks with pretzel necklaces and trying beers that I normally wouldn't try.  This was a great way to raise awareness about eating and drinking local and have some fun trying beer and talking to vendors.  I'll be back next year!

The festival!!

The beers on tap from Alastair Hewitt

Mayflower Brewing Co.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Timing is Everything - June

Finally, the summer farmers markets are beginning to open!  This first fruit that you will be able to find at the markets now are strawberries.  On Saturday, I bought some strawberries at the Natick Farmers Market.   And be sure to buy lots of them because strawberry season always seems to go by so fast.  Strawberries are best eaten right out of hand!  Nothing beats a fresh strawberry!  You can also use strawberries in salads, jams, and desserts.  The best way to preserve strawberries is to freeze them.  Hull the strawberries and lay them on a baking sheet and put in the freezer overnight.  Then pop them into a freezer bag and freeze up to six months.  Its a great way to enjoy strawberries beyond the month of June.

The Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets  has the strawberry dessert festival going on now through July 7.  Local restaurants will be preparing a special strawberry dessert and part of the proceeds will go to support Massachusetts farmers markets.  Check out the website for participating restaurants.

Other in season fruits and veggies that you will find at the farmers market now include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, lettuce, and kale.  I have also seen radishes, lots of greens, and even some early tomatoes.  Things are starting to look up!

Farmers Market Update:

Allston/Harvard Farmers Market - opens Friday
Arlington Farmers Market - opens Wednesday
Belmont Farmers Market - opens Thursday
Brookline Farmers Market - opens Thursday
Waltham Farmers Market  - opens Saturday

Opening day at the Waltham Farmers Market

Finally, the opening day of the Waltham Farmers Market!  The Waltham Farmers Market was the first farmers market that I have ever been to and has definitely changed my eating habits.  I couldn't believe the difference in the quality of food I was eating on a poor grad students budget.  And you can't beat this place, the location is great and it's on a Saturday morning.  I quickly got into a habit of yoga, coffee, farmers market every Saturday. It is located right in the center of town and there are tons of restaurants and shops to check out.  Here I am six years later still going to this market almost every Saturday.  I check out other markets as well, but this one will always be special to me.

I made sure to clear my morning to get there early.  The market was busy and full of nice strawberries and veggies to buy.  I love Dicks Market Garden because they always have tons of good stuff.  I got some juicy strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, and a tomato.  And because I bought the cucumbers and lettuce, I got to choose another green for only a dollar.  I tried a nice leafy green called tot soi, which is similar to spinach.  It was really delicious and I have been sauteing it with some onion and putting it in my eggs each morning.  I also checked out a new vendor from Littleton MA called Spring Brook Farm.  They were a bit pricey for me, but I bought some garlic scapes and asparagus.    Another vendor that I love is Roma's Bakery.  They make these pies, not only with fruit, but veggies too.  They are 2/$10, so I bought spinach and mozzarella and roasted cauliflower and parmesan.  They freeze well too!  I stocked up before the winter to keep in my freezer for a quick bite.  While I was there I overheard a costumer saying that he still had some of his "stash" from the fall.  I guess I am not the only one that stocks up!

Another new vendor that I am super excited about is Soluna Garden Farm, which carries herbs and spices.  They will be coming every week starting June 22.  I have bought their rubs and spices and have been very happy with what I bought.  I have tried the rubs on steak, chicken, and salmon and it has given my meals a nice tang.  They have a one acre farm in Winchester MA and do not use any chemical, pesticides, or preservatives.

At lastly, there is a new food truck that I am looking forward to trying called Kefi's Kitchen.  They use local ingredients when possible and make items from scratch.  I can't wait to try to grilled cheese throw down!

Check out the Waltham Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9:30-2 on the corner of Main and Moody Street!  I hope you like it as much as I do!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Natick Farmers Market

Last spring, I made strawberry rhubarb jam and strawberry rhubarb pie (using Cindy Crawfords recipe).  Both came out delicious and I have been dying to make them again.  I was also going through some recipes in Animal Vegetable Miracle and found a recipe for strawberry rhubarb crisp.  Well this is going on my baking list.  I know the rhubarb is available at the farmers markets, but its still a bit early for strawberries.  So Saturday morning I was on a mission to get some strawberries.  I woke up early to go to the Natick Farmers Market on a beautiful morning.  The Natick Farmers Market is a large, busy market on the Natick Common.  There is everything from homemade soaps to baby clothes to an abundance of vegetables.  Although I didn't get my strawberries, I got asparagus, radishes, grapes tomatoes, cucumbers, and rhubarb.  Rhubarb freezes well so when I find the strawberries I will be ready to make strawberry rhubarb crisp and some jam.

Natick has some good vendors too!  Tangerini's Farm, Flats Mentor Farm, Natick Community Farm, Samira's homemade, Cookie Lady Treats, Everything Jalapeño and Not, Bagel Alley, Q's Nuts and many more.  You can also find wine, coffee, cheese, and fish.  There are many crafts as well. One vendor that I frequent is called Kaleidscope and she has great homemade soaps made out of goats milk. She comes to the market one time per month and I try to stock up on my favorites when she is there.

Natick Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 9-1 on the Natick Common. I love to have a good cup of coffee in the morning, so you can stop by Bakery on the Common after you buy some great stuff!

It's still asparagus season, so I have another recipe :) I brought these to a friends graduation party over the weekend and they were gone quickly so they must have been good!

Recipe of the Week: asparagus wrapped in prosciutto 

1 bunch asparagus
1/3 pound prosciutto sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Chop the rough ends off the asparagus and wash.  Put asparagus in a baking dish and drizzle olive oil over asparagus coating well.  Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper.  Roast asparagus in the oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Wrap 1/2 slice prosciutto around asparagus spear.  Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Copley Square Farmers Market

Well, I am glad that I choose to go to Copley Square last Friday instead of yesterday.  It was the most beautiful day to hang out in Copley Square.  I went to this market last season and it quickly came to be one of my favorite markets, not only because of the Andrew Ference sighting, but great vendors and view!

This season, the setup of the market is a little different due the Boston Marathon Memorial.  Most of the  vendors are lined up along St. James and wraps around Dartmouth St.  Dick's market garden wasn't there on the day that I was there, but it looks like their booth may be along Boylston St.  When I first got to the market, I have to say that I was anxious to see the memorial.  So that was my first stop.  It is really beautiful, but it is a lot to take in at once.  So I had to take a break and walk around the market for a bit.  

My first stop was to Sienna farm, where everything always looks gorgeous and you just want to take pictures of everything.  They had plenty of asparagus, greens, arugula, radishes, beans, eggs, and cheese.  I picked up a bag of mesclun salad greens for $5.  My next stop was to Silverbrook farm as the scallions caught my eye.  I picked up a bunch of asparagus for $4, radishes, and scallions.  Now it looks like I can finally make a local spring salad that I have been waiting to eat for so long!  Another vendor that I love, and recently read an article about in Edible Magazine, is Seta Mediterranean Foods.  I highly recommend the hummus and kale salad.  Both are absolutely delicious!  So I had to pick those up as well.  I took another walk around the market to see what else is there.  Mostly the same vendors as last year, including Atlas Farm, Crystal Brook Farm, Iggy's Bread, Sofra Bakery and Cafe, Stillman's and many more.  I am posting the prices of what I bought because I am trying to compare farmers market prices to my local grocery store, which is Hannaford.  Both the greens and asparagus are at grocery store prices!

Okay, then back to the Memorial.  I walked around taking pictures and reading the messages that people wrote.  There is an overwhelming amount of shoes and hats with messages and also thank you messages to the first responders.  I saw many flags from other cities sending their thoughts and prayers to Boston. There were also large message boards that people wrote on.  There is chalk and markers so everyone can write their own messages on the boards.  Looking closely at it you can see the faint messages that have been washed away and more messages written over it.  Because there was so little space to write on, I made a small heart with my initials to show my support for the victims and first responders and love to my city.  For some reason, a Stanley Cup Champions hat with Martin written on it got to me and the water works starting coming.  I thought that would be a good time to head down to Roxy's Grilled Cheese.  Although it is very emotional, this is a beautiful memorial and is worth a visit.  It really shows how many people care.

I managed to calm down on the short walk to the Boston Public Library to get myself a green muenster.  Yep, its a grilled cheese with bacon, avocado, and muenster cheese.  A don't forget a basil, coriander lemonade to go with it.  I made a nice picnic for myself at the park and enjoyed this beautiful day at Copley Square!  I just love this city!

Many farmers markets are opening this week!  Happy farmers marketing!!

Recipe of the Week: Lemony Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
1 lemon for juice and zest
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut the tough ends off the asparagus and wash.  Put olive oil and lemon juice into a large baking pan.  Add asparagus and top with lemon zest and some salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus).  Take out and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for another five minutes until melted.  I enjoyed this with some sweet and spicy salmon and black beans, but this would go great along chicken or white fish as well. 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Timing is Everything - May

The month of May, such a great time of year!  The weather is getting warmer and the summer farmers markets are just beginning to open, where the asparagus should be plentiful!  I happened to take a trip to the Copley Square Farmers Market on Friday and I was able to find some rhubarb, radishes, scallions, leafy greens, such arugula and spinach. Something else that I found which I have bought in the past are garlic scapes, which are the tops of the garlic plant and edible just like the bulbs.  Now that I am writing about these, I wish I bought some on Friday.  You can use garlic scapes in place of garlic in any dish that you make.  They taste great chopped and tossed into a salad, add to a pasta dish, or even in a salad dressing.  I guess I will have to go back to get some!

Rhubarb is a great in-season fruit that should be available in the farmers markets.  Rhubarb is a very tart fruit which is often paired with sweeter fruits, such as strawberries, or paired with a sugary dessert like a pie or crisp.  Last spring, I made Cindy Crawford's strawberry rhubarb pie, which I found in a magazine, and strawberry rhubarb jam.  I hope to make both again this year because I was very happy with the results.  Other things to know about stores well in the crisper and be sure to cut off and discard the leaves because they are toxic.  Rhubarb is also good for you and has tons of calcium, vitamins, and antioxidants.

And lastly, make yourself a great salad with the greens, radishes, and scallions that are available now.  Maybe make a fresh salad dressing with garlic scapes.  Gotta love the month of May!

Farmers Market Update:

Lots of summer farmers markets are starting to open!  Here is a list I have so far that are currently open:

Copley Square - T/F 11-6
Natick - Saturdays 9-1
Charles Square - Fridays 12-6 and Sundays 10-3
SoWa - Sundays 11-4
Central Square - M 12-6
City Hall Plaza - M /W 11-6
Dewey Square - T/F 11:30-6:30 (opens this Friday)

And the list should continue growing!!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SoWa Open Market

I was so excited to hear that Tempo Bistro in Waltham is doing a rhubarb tasting menu for the month of May.  So I suggested to my husband and my brother-in-law it would be a great place to go on Saturday night!  Tempo is an American style restaurant where the food is local and the menu changes frequently to accommodate the seasonal changes.  It is one of my favorite restaurants in Waltham.  Tempo often features food from Waltham Community Farm, which they did for the rhubarb tasting!  You can't get much more local than that!  Of course, I had to get the featured strawberry rhubarb cocktail.  For an app, we got the tuna tartare, which was not part of the rhubarb tasting, but had fresh micro basil from Waltham Community Farm.  It was so fresh and delicious and went well with the tuna.  For dinner, I had organic salmon served with a potato hash, which included the local rhubarb, cabbage, and bacon.  We were so stuffed from our dinner that we didn't have room for dessert, but I am sure that I can talk someone into going back with me before the end of the month.  Any takers?

The next morning, I woke up early to head out to SoWa Open Market!  This is a great Sunday morning/afternoon event to check out.  There are four parts to the market including the food trucks, farmers market, vintage market, and the arts market.  This is a great market to get some food and walk around to check out everything it has to offer.  There was also tons of dogs too, so feel free to bring your dog and walk around.

My main focus was the food trucks and the farmers market, although we did browse around the vintage market.  I am not going to get into vendors for this post because I urge you to go check it out for yourself!  However, I can tell you about my experience.  My friend was super excited about this bakery out of Hyannis and she tried a salami butter sandwich and raved about it.  I, however, was holding out for the food trucks.  I continued my mission for some asparagus.  It may be a bit too early for some of the farm because I was unsuccessful in my hunt for asparagus, but I am hopeful that I will find some this coming weekend.  I did go home with a purple basil plant!  After the farmers market, we headed over to the food trucks.  I was hoping to try bon me, but the line was too long.  Another food truck that I have been following is Area Four.  The line was shorter and the menu looked great!  I ordered a classic flat bread with asparagus (found the asparagus!) and a pistachio cookie.  This was made with prosciutto, cheese, arugula with a lemon vinaigrette.  Everything was delicious!  The prosciutto was sliced super thin and the vinaigrette paired well with the arugula.  And one last thing about the market, parking is tight, so take public transportation if you can or go early to get a spot.  My husband was upset when we were driving around for 20 minutes looking for parking.

SoWa Open Market is open on Sundays from 11-4 and is located at 460 Harrison Ave in Boston.  It is a great way to spend your Sunday!

Recipe of the week:  Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
I made this recipe last summer.  I didn't have my canning equipment ready in the spring, so I froze the rhubarb and strawberries and the consistency of the jam came out great!  I found this recipe on and made some changes to it.  I hope to make it again this spring before the weather gets hot!

2 Cups chopped rhubarb
4 cups chopped strawberries
3 cups sugar
1 lemon zested plus juice
1 packet liquid pectin

Add rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add lemon zest and juice and cook for about 15-20 minutes (the temp should be around 220F).  Add pectin and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  This jam can be put into jars and processed in a water bath, if you want to preserve it, or you can store it in the fridge.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cambridge Winter Farmers Market

When I went to the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market, I couldn't buy too much because I was going to New York City for a few days, but I still wanted some local snacks to bring along.  My new obsession, Q's nuts is at this market so I picked up some cayenne mango cashews, which I love, and also sweet and salty and chocolate almonds for my husband.  I stopped by red fire farm because they had frozen green, red, and yellow peppers, which I am fresh out of in my winter freezer stash.  They were also selling popcorn kernels, which I have yet to see at a farmers market, so I picked those up as well.  Another great find is Soluna Garden, which sells spices, rubs, and tea.  I bought some spices from them at the Wayland Winter Farmers Market and was very happy with their spices, so I bought a sweet chili pork rub and garlic pepper.  I haven't tried the pork rub yet, but the garlic pepper is great to use on scrambled eggs, chicken, or salad.  Other great vendors you can find include coffee trike (I love the heart in my latte!), Jordan Bros Seafood, Follow the Honey, Lillac farm, Silverbrook farm, and many others.

Cambridge Winter Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 10-2 at the Cambridge Community Center.  There is a garden on the outside of the building, which I thought was fantastic! Unfortunately this markets last day was yesterday, but that means that we have the summer markets to look forward too!  Cambridge has quite a few summer markets that will be opening shortly.  Two markets that I know of are the Central Square Farmers Market and Charles Square Farmers Market.  Central Square is open on Mondays starting May 21 and Charles Square is open on Fridays and Sundays starting May 20.  And June 19 starts Harvard University's farmers market.  Many good things to come!

And now let's talk about my trip to NYC!  This was a surprise trip to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary and my husband surprised me with tickets to see The Chew!  It was a Hollywood themed show, so we had to wear our best clothes, plus with Clinton Kelly there we would have had to dress nice anyway.  We got to see Brooke Shields (yes, she is gorgeous in person) help Mario Batali make short ribs and then Michael Symon made Halibut with chips made out of root vegetables, a possible project for me in the fall.  Another great part of out trip was celebrating our anniversary at BLT Steakhouse.  We had some fabulous tuna tar tar with avocado and soy sauce and smoked bacon on a popover.  If that wasn't enough we had delicious fillets with asparagus and truffle mashed potatoes.  My next project will be replicating the truffle mashed potatoes because they were out of this world.  And finally dessert, we ordered apple crisp, but also got the "legendary" chocolate peanut butter mousse as a surprise for our anniversary, which we started devouring before I got to snap a picture.   



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Timing is Everything - April

Now that I have been to tons of farmers markets, I thought it would be helpful to start a monthly post of  fruits and vegetables that you can currently find at your local farmers market.  I feel that Timing is Everything would be an appropriate title.  I hope this provides readers with some delicious ways to prepare fruits and veggies as well as how to preserve these to eat throughout the year.  I look forward to certain times of the year when I know certain fruits and vegetables are in season and try to eat them the most when I know I can get them fresh at the farmers market.  I have been doing my best to eat local this past winter.  But this means no fresh fruit, tomatoes, peppers, greens beans etc.  I have dipped into my freezer stash and I am running low on tomatoes, and I am fresh out of green peppers and zucchini.  I recently just used the last of plums to make some spiced plum jam.  

So what's in season in April?  I am always surprised that not many people know that asparagus season begins in April and goes until May or June depending on the year.  In my research to write this blog, I found that due to the warm weather last winter, asparagus began as early as March last year.  If you don't know this, then you must get to your local market and get some asparagus.  If you don't like asparagus, I still urge you to try it, because fruits and vegetables taste so much better when they are in season.  At most grocery stores, all that can be found is asparagus shipped in from Peru or Mexico, which is a long ways away, and I can almost guarantee that has an effect on the taste.

Asparagus can be cooked in many ways.  The simplest and fastest way is to sauté over high heat in some butter or olive oil.  Steaming also provides similar taste.  If the weather is warm and grilling is possible, it is a delicious way to enjoy asparagus.  And then there is my favorite way of cooking asparagus by roasting in the oven in some olive oil.  Asparagus is great to use in an omelet or frittata and I have also seen recipes for asparagus soup, something that I have not tried yet.  

To preserve asparagus, it can be frozen for 8-12 months in the freezer.  Asparagus does need to be blanched, which means it must be boiled in water for 2-3 minutes and then put into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.  Another way to preserve asparagus is to pickle asparagus, which says fresh for up to a year.  I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to this season.

Other in season fruits and vegetables that will be available shortly are rhubarb, herbs such as cilantro and oregano, baby greens, early broccoli, peas, and onions. I was hoping to come across asparagus at the farmers market over the weekend, but it may still be a bit early, so there will be some recipes and pictures to come!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Somerville Winter Farmers Market

Last Saturday, I bribed my husband into going to the Somerville Winter Farmers Market.  My bribe was that if he comes to the market with me, I would take him out to breakfast after.  Conveniently enough, this breakfast place, Ball Square Cafe, that I have been eying was less than a mile from the market.  So it worked out for both of us!

Somerville has a larger winter market compared to other markets that I have been to.  Some goodies that you can find there include Taza, chocolate, Great Cape baking co, Q's nuts, and Hi rise bread co.  I really wanted to try Q's nuts after reading their article in Edible Boston magazine.  So we had a little taste testing of various nuts and we decided on the sweet roasted nuts for the hubs and cayenne mango for me.  There is a great selection of flavors, lots of spicy, which I like, but also great flavors like garlic and rosemary.  We also had some good Bruins chat too!

I have really been liking the hummus from Seta's Mediterranean foods, so that was my next stop.  Then I checked out the seedlings from Enterprise Greenhouse.  I don't have much of a green thumb, so I passed on those, but I did get some red leaf lettuce and broccoli.  And my final purchase was some carrots from Winter Moon Roots.

Other vendors that were there include Dan's Brick Over Bread, Lilac Hedge Farm, Stillman's, Nobscot Artisan Cheese, Apex Orchards and more.  I guess I have a reason to go back!

Somerville Winter Farmers Market is located at Arts at the Amory in Somerville, MA from 9:30-2:00pm on Saturdays.  The last day of the market is April 13th, so get there while you can!  And check out Ball Square Cafe too! It was delicious!

Recipe of the Week:  Tomato, scallion frittata
These are all ingredients I purchased at Pawtucket Winter Farmers Market

8 eggs
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  In a oven proof skillet, I used a cast iron skillet, add the olive oil, tomatoes and scallions.  While that is cooking, lightly beat the 8 eggs.  Pour the eggs into the skillet and add the cheese.  Cook for about 2 minutes until set and then transfer to the oven for about 15 minutes or until brown on top.  Let cool and enjoy!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pawtucket Winter Farmers Market

For St. Patrick's Day, my father and his wife had a party full of beer, green wine, and a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.  There wasn't too much that was local about this party accept the Harpoon Celtic Red and the Sam Irish Red that was being served, which sometimes have local ingredients.  Although I am not much of a baker, since I got my kitchen aid mixer last year I have been able to tolerate some baking in moderation.  I was also trying to find an excuse to bake with beer and I saw this great recipe on twitter.  So I made Boozy Irish Whoopie Pies to bring to the party.  And I have to say that these were pretty good and would even consider making them on a non-Irish occasion.  And therefore, these whoopie pies are recipe of the week!  And I won't go into the details of the party because let's just say that after Irish Bingo, things got a little crazy!

This morning I took a road trip to Pawtucket, Rhode Island to go to the Pawtucket Winter Farmers Market.  This was a great find and worth the trip because this is one of the biggest winter farmers market that I have been to with tons of vegetables to my liking.  There weren't any vendors that I am familiar with because most were from Rhode Island, but there were a few from Dartmouth and Westport, which I always appreciate because that is my old stomping ground from my college days.  There are really too many vendors to name, but just know that you can get everything at this market.  Meat, whole chickens, fish, jams, cheese, granola, eggs, veggies - including lots of fresh greens, apples, applesauce, pastries, dog treats, soap, herbs, plants, eggs, and I am sure I am missing something.  And the food trucks...I wish it wasn't 10am while I was there because I would have loved to try the mac and cheese with Vermont cheddar. 

The Pawtucket Winter Farmers Market is located on 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket RI.  It is open on Saturdays 9-1 until May 11th.  It is really worth the trip down and go hungry!!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Medford Winter Farmers Market

For all the prosciutto fans out there, I went to the Salty Pig with my father for dinner last week.  The restaurant has a great selection for craft beer and wine plus we had a prosciutto feast!  For the appetizer, you can select what you want for meat, cheese, and, jellies and marmalades.  We picked two different types of prosciutto, one aged and one smoked, with cabot cheese (because I had to have something somewhat local!) and a gouda style goat cheese.  Then we chose to add marinated olives and jalapeno jelly, which I love!  But we didn't want to stop there.  So we got a pizza with prosciutto, roasted red pepper, tomato, and mozzarella.  There is also an option to add a fried egg to our pizza.  We had a discussion about this trend that we have seen pop up.  I have heard of adding a fried egg to a burger and my father had it on a crostini, but I have never had it on pizza.  Since we both like to keep up with the times, when the waiter asked if we wanted to add an egg to our pizza, we did!

Of course, before I went to the Salty Pig, I went to the Medford Winter Farmers Market.  Bring your jacket because this market is located in the parking garage at the Hyatt in Medford.  There were some good vendors that I knew I would see here, Romas Bakery, which has great giant cookies (good for bribing my husband to come to the market with me) and delicious pies.  There are sweet pies such as blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, and apple.  They also have pie like italian cold cut, thanksgiving dinner, and spinach and mozzarella, which I may even have in my freezer!  Another vendor that I am very fond of this winter is Silverbrook Farm out of Dartmouth, MA.  They have a variety of root vegetables as well as greens.  You can also buy honey, jams, and eggs too!  At this market there were lots of treats, which I don't typically buy, but I figured that I would splurge and try the Cookie Lady.  Thanks to Sweet Lydia's, I have been a s'more junkie lately, so I bought a package of petit s'mores.  It was a nice treat to cozy up with a hot chocolate and a s'more when it was snowing out on Saturday.  Other vendors include Stillman's, Big Sky Breads, C and C lobsters and fish, Coastal Vineyards, Q Nuts, and VESTA pizza.

Unfortunately, today is the last day of the Medford Winter Farmers Market, but they do have a summer market on Thursdays from 3-7.  I'll keep you posted when I hear the details.

Recipe of the week:
Healthy Shepherds Pie

I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it is worth sharing.  It uses a lot of root vegetables so it would be easy to find these local this time of year.  I used local kale, onion, and carrots, omitted the peas, and used butter instead of greek yogurt.  Next time I will try to use more local ingredients, but it still came out great!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Egleston Farmers Market

Is anyone else feeling the winter blues?  It feels like it has been the longest week and I have wanted to sleep through most of it.  I find myself looking through the summer farmers market pictures on my phone and wanting some of those great summer flavors.  Actually, correction, I looked at the pictures on my phone until it broke.  I never thought that I would be one of those people that would flip out if my phone broke, but I guess I was wrong.  It was not a huge deal, I was able to upload all of my information to my computer.  While my husband was doing this, he said, "why are there so many pictures of vegetables on your phone!"  So now I have my husbands old phone with little to no pictures of vegetables on it.  That all changed when I went to the Egleston Farmers Market!

Egleston Farmers Market was a great find! And I wouldn't have found this market if they hadn't started following me on twitter.  There are some great vendors at this indoor market.  They had two guest vendors, Neighborhood Farm and Brookwood Farm.  I bought some onions, watermelon radish, and dried hot peppers!  I am so excited to try the hot peppers in some chili.  All you have to do is drop it in the chili to get some great flavor.  Also, I have never had watermelon radishes before so this will be a new treat!  If you are looking for some meat, there is Stillman's Farm and John Crow Farm.  I am stocked up on meat this week, so no need to buy anything this week.  For treats, there was the Cupcakory and I also saw a place that sold fudge too.  Foxboro cheese co is there and right next to them was Valicenti Organico to by sauce and pasta.  And this was also the first time that I tried hummus at Seta's Mediterranean foods.  I have to say that it was delicious!  Instead of buying hummus, I bought some kale and chick pea salad.  I can't get enough of my leafy greens lately, so I knew that would be a great meal this week.  And while you are shopping or just hanging out you can get a cup of coffee and listen to music. 

Egleston Farmers Market is located in Egleston Square in Jamaica Plain on Saturdays from 11-2.  It's a great market and go hungry because you can stop by the food truck and get something delicious for lunch.  This week Mei Mei food truck was there and I got some oolong tea and cheese and leek bread pudding.  And their food is made with all local ingredients!!

Recipe of the week:  Roasted Cauliflower

I got this idea while I was watching the Chew this week (it is my latest obsession).  Daphne Oz was making a roasted cauliflower recipe.  I decided that I wanted to try a simple recipe to really taste the flavor and then maybe next time I will play around with some spices.  But Daphne gave me this idea of getting that nice carmelization around the edges of the cauliflower.  This recipe is delicious and super easy.  I though that this was close to tasting like french fries, however, my husband disagreed.  He said that if they tasted like french fries, he would want to eat these with ketchup, which he did not.  Then, later on in the evening, my dad said there is no way that cauliflower would ever taste like french fries.  Regardless, these are delicious and I recommend trying this recipe.

1 head of cauliflower chopped into same size pieces (so they cook evenly)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Wash and cut the cauliflower into same size pieces.  Liberally coat with olive oil so all the pieces are covered.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put in a roasting pan and cover with foil.  Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes and uncover.  Continue to roast stirring every 10 minutes until the cauliflower has that nice brown color.  It took me about 30 minutes total.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Natick Winter Farmers Market

Before the big Christmas feast, I got the chance to stop by the Natick Winter Farmers Market.  I remember going to this farmers market last winter, but I like it even more this winter.  There were two produce vendors and I got so excited to see the tomatoes that I forgot to get the name of the vendors.  One vendor has my favorite juliet tomatoes, which is a tiny tomato similar to a grape tomato.  I sampled one and it tasted just like summer.  There were also plenty of collard greens, scallions, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  The other tomatoes that I bought were a little bit bigger than the juliet and came in red and yellow, another favorite summer time treat.  I put those tomatoes in my winter local salad that I served on Christmas eve.  I was excited to see boxes of nice mixed greens and bags of baby spinach that also went into the local salad.

Other vendors at the market include The Cookie Lady, Fior D'italia, Naragansett Cheese, Nobscot Cheese, and several vendors with goodies such as jam, fudge, breads, pickles, and soda.  I also saw some coffee as well, but I had already had my morning cup at that point.  

I was very happy with this visit because I was able to get everything I needed for my winter local salad.  I like to eat a lot of salad and I now know where to get everything this winter to continue eating local.  The Natick Winter Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 9am-1pm and located on Union Street at the Leonard Morse Hospital.  Parking is easy and there are signs to get you to the market.  In the parking lot, there is a vendor, Chestnut farms, which sells beef, pork, and chicken.  Go check it out!

Recipe of the week:  Tomato Jam

The first time I tried tomato jam was last summer.  It has a very unique flavor of the sweetness of tomatoes, but a little flavor with the basil.  This is a recipe I found from the food network and made over the summer.  I brought this to a New Year's Eve Party and it was a big hit.  Serve with some crackers and goat cheese.  If you find some winter tomatoes, try it out.  If I can find some good tomatoes and may make more for some gifts ;)

2 1/2 lbs. fully ripe tomatoes (about 5 large)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons snipped fresh basil (I saw basil at the Wayland Market today!!)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
2 3/4 cups sugar

Peel, core, and de-seed tomatoes, then chop.  Place tomatoes in a large pot (at least 6 quarts) and heat until boiling, reduce and simmer about 10 minutes.  Add lemon and basil and combine 1/4 cup sugar with the pectin and stir into tomatoes, heat to a boil.  Then stir in remaining sugar and return to boil.  Remove from heat and skim foam with a spoon.  Ladle into sterile mason jars, leave 1/4 inch head space and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Home canning does come with risks, so be sure you do your research before trying this out.  You can always make the jam and serve the same day or put it in the fridge.  Check out for some great canning tips.