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.