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.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trip to Jersey

As reported in my last post I took a trip to Jersey to visit a friend on Sunday. I took the 9:10am NJ transit train so that I could get out there early enough to make the farmers market. A good portion of the fruits and vegetables that we get in NYC come from the farms in New Jersey, so I thought why not hit them right at the source. Almost every community in the state seems to have its own market. My friend lives in Milburn, but their's is mid-week, so we drove twenty minutes to the Morristown market.

Located in a parking lot behind a Dunkin Donuts, the Morristown market was small compared to the Union Square market, but I thought it still had plenty of variety. They also had a couple of stands that I haven't seen in NY like the Pirogi and sausage stand. I should mention up front that this isn't going to be a normal post. My friend did most of the cooking and I didn't get a chance to take photos of the dish, but I'll post the recipe anyway. We had decided to make a linguine in clam sauce as well as a salad. Right away I notice these wonderful purple peppers for the salad. Peppers come in so many different varieties. These were basic, but they came in a variety of colors. That, plus some lettuce, a jersey field tomato, and some fresh lettuce created a basic salad with some oil and balsamic dressing that hit the spot.

While still at the vegetable stand we purchased some of the largest jalapeno peppers I've ever seen! I'm always buying the small ones that could fit in your hand, and I find they have better flavor, but these couldn't be beat if you wanted to have some impressive looking peppers with a little kick in your dish.

I'll admit to you that we didn't end up getting our clams at the market. For some reason they were very expensive there. A bag of little necks was $20. We ended up getting a dozen for about $5.00 at Whole Foods, but I have seen them for close to the Whole Foods price at the farmers markets in NYC. Maybe the inland location was affecting the cost. But if you are willing to buy the $20 bag, they do have them at this particular market.

I rounded out the market by getting a container of new pickles that I am terribly sad I forgot at my friend's apartment at the end of the day, and a great crusty baguette. That concluded our trip, but I must admit it was nice getting out of the city for a change.
Today I bought:
At the farmers market:
1 head of lettuce
1 Jersey field tomato
1 basket of cherry tomatoes
1 purple pepper
1 large jalapeno pepper
1 pint of new pickles
1 baguette

At Whole Foods:
1 dozen little neck clams

Supplementary ingredients my friend had:
White cooking wine
Olive oil
3 large mushrooms

Recipe: Linguine in Clam Sauce
1 lb of linguine
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 dozen little neck clams
1-2 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, minced
3 mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup of white wine
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme

Start the water for the pasta, cook as directed on the box. Heat the oil on medium heat in a large saute pan that has a cover. Add the garlic and shallot and saute for a minute until the shallots begin to sweat, but before the garlic browns. Add in the pepper and saute a minute more. My friend sliced the pepper into large chunks, but I don't like my spicy peppers to be that big so I would dice it. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the clams in the pan and add the white wine. Throw in the tomatoes and the thyme. Cover and let simmer until the clams open up. If it doesn't look like there's enough liquid you can add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water. Once the clams are open toss the pasta into the sauce. Turn off the heat and serve. Sometimes I add a little lemon juice to this dish and garnish it with a little flat leaf parsley. You can also add differnt types of seafood such as shrimp or baby octopus.

1 comment:

  1. John's recipie was simpler. If I recall correctly there were just two ingredients: stove-top ramen and Hienz ketchup (or as they call it over there, "tomato sauce"). Of course, nothing beat Steve's and Owen's universal 1 ingredient/ step recipie for any dish imaginable: 1) "Phuc it, let go to the pub and for a Guiness!" So, simple it is pure genius.