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!