Shopping the Farmers Market: Why Blog

After years of frequenting the farmers markets in NYC, but only buying a few supplemental ingredients here or there, I decided to be experimental and work dishes around what is in season or looks particularly mouthwatering at the market that day. Green seems to be the buzz word these days from NYC to the White House, and the eat local movement is in full swing. My attempt here is to buy as many ingredients as possible from a the farmers market, and then occasionally supplement with locally produced ingredients from chain markets around the city. Most of the recipes I post (except for the baking recipes) are either things I created myself, or variations on recipes I've found elsewhere. I hope that you take the recipes and shopping tips here and they inspire you to do your own local cooking.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor-less Day Dessert

Alright, maybe this dessert isn't completely labor-less, but it's pretty easy to make, and would be great for your Labor Day BBQ. Sorry my posts have been a little less frequent lately, but I'm back working full time again, so my farmers market visits will mostly be on the weekends from now on.

I had a whole list of errands to attend to today, so I stayed close to home and went to the Grand Army Plaza market. Often I go to the market with an idea in mind, but today I wanted to see what was there, and make my mind up on the spot. I noticed right away that we're really starting to move into autumn produce. A variety of apples were all over the market. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to raw apples, so you won't see many apple recipes from me on here.

I thought about making a fish dish, but as you can see from the picture, the line at the fish vendor was longer than any line that I had ever seen at the farmers market before. Maybe the change in season was causing a mussel craving, (which were only $2.95/lb by the way if you want to wait on the line.)

In the end, I decided to go with a dessert. I spotted some mint that smelled wonderful for $1.50/bunch, and since I rarely mix mint into a savory dish (except with certain lamb dishes), I decided to pick up some fruit that would go well with the herb. I grabbed two packages of blackberries, which would have been about $8, but for some reason, the guy decided to take pity on my lack of cash, and charge me half price. I'll mention that you can get 5 containers of berries for just $10. It's a real deal, I just didn't have another $10 on me this morning. I thought blackberries weren't enough, so I decided to add some peaches. I was having a hard time deciding between the peaches and nectarines, but the peaches were a bit riper so I went with them.

At this point I decided to make a trifle. I could have made my own pound cake, but they had slices of buttered pound cake for just $1.50 which I thought would probably be better than anything I could make, so I bought two pieces.

On the way home I had a thought that I wanted to make whipped cream, so I picked up a pint of whipping cream at the supermarket, but often you can get that at the farmers market as well.

Today I purchased:

At the farmers market:
2 cups of blackberries
1 bunch of mint
2 peaches
2 slices of pound cake

At a supermarket:
1 pint of heavy whipping cream

Supplemental ingredients I had at home:
Superfine sugar
Confectioners sugar
Agave sweetener or honey (either will do)
Apricot brandy

Recipe: Grilled Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Ingredients (for 2 trifles)
2 peaches
1 piece of pound cake
2 cups of blackberries
1/4 cup of superfine sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of mint, chopped
1 pint of whipping cream
4 tablespoons of confectioners sugar
Apricot brandy
Agave sweetener or honey

First, before you start anything, put a metal bowl and the blades from an electric mixer in the freezer. This will make it easier to whip the cream into soft peaks later.

Cut the peaches in half, then each half into quarters. If the peaches are really ripe, you can add them to the trifle raw. Mine were a little under-ripe, so I decided to grill them. First, after I sliced the peaches I drizzled agave sweetener on them. You could use honey instead, but I used the agave because it's a little neater and easier to use. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill the peaches for about 2 or 3 minutes on each side.

Add the blackberries, superfine sugar, water, and chopped mint into the blender. Mix until smooth.

Slice the pound cake into cubes.

Now, to make the whipped cream. It's actually much easier than one would think. Take the bowl and blades out of the freezer. Pour the pint of cream into the bowl. Mix on low speed until the cream begins to thicken a bit and no longer splatters. This should take a couple of minutes. You can move it up to medium speed at this point. Continue to mix the cream until soft peaks just begin to form. I found this took me about 3-5 minutes from the time I started. Once it's thick enough, add 4 tablespoons of confectioners sugar to the cream and mix on low for another 15 seconds. The cream should be slightly sweet, but not too sweet.

Assembly time! I decided to use wine glasses, but you can really use any type of liquor glass (Margarita, Brandy, etc.). First, start with a layer of the pound cake. I put 4 or 5 little cubes in the bottom, but this will depend on what kind of glass you're using. Next, take the apricot brandy and pour just a little over the pound cake. Cut the peach slices in half and add a layer. Next, pour some of the blackberry mint sauce on top until you have a thin layer. Add a scoop of the whipped cream.

Repeat all steps one more time, and top with a mint sprig and maybe a blackberry or two. I'd suggest refrigerating this for about a half hour so that all the flavors meld together, but I couldn't wait, so I ate mine right away. This is the perfect end of summer dessert. It was very delicious and only took me about 20 minutes to make.

Tomorrow I'm off to Jersey to go hiking with a friend and make a Jersey farmers market meal. Maybe I'll blog about it later in the week. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

1 comment:

  1. YUM, this looks so good! I'm a little obsessed with peaches right now.

    I'm allergic to raw apples too - they make my mouth itch like nobody's business. So uncomfortable. Peaches make my mouth itch a little too, but not nearly as badly as apples do.