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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Cranberry Season!

I hope everybody enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I'm sure there were lots of turkeys, enough stuffing to tide everyone over till Christmas, and pumpkin pies galore. I had made cranberry sauce from scratch for my company Thanksgiving party, but wanted to do something different when I was home in Massachusetts.

After all, Massachusetts is the home of the cranberry bog. The cranberry, along with the blueberry and the Concord grape is one of the three fruits indigenous to North America, and it grows in abundance in New England.

I was looking forward to making something with the berry when I was home, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I'm a big fan of fruit muffins. You've seen me make them once or twice on this blog, but since I was a kid, it was my breakfast (or really anytime) sweet of choice. Cranberry muffins are some of my favorite, but whenever I buy them at a bakery I feel like the fruit to muffin ratio is always off, and I'm longing for more berry. So when I make my own, I pack them with as many berries as possible. If you're the opposite and prefer the cakey part, feel free to add a few less berries to the recipe.

The recipe I'm going to make below is similar to the one I blogged about this summer titled Morning Muffins.

Today I purchased:

At the farmers market:
2 cups of cranberries

At a supermarket:
1 orange

Supplemental ingredients I had at home:
Vanilla Extract
Sweet cream butter
Baking powder

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Muffins

1 cup of superfine sugar
1 TBSP grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 TBSP of baking powder
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup of milk
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of cranberries
1/2 cup of orange juice

You can start this recipe by preparing the fruit. Put 1/2 cup of the sugar and the 1/2 cup of orange juice in a small pot. Turn to high and mix until the sugar has dissolved in the juice. Add the two cups of cranberries.

I like tarter cranberries, in fact the tarter the better, so I cooked the cranberries until they started to burst open, then I removed them from the heat. If you like sweeter berries, leave them simmering in the liquid on medium-low for about 8 minutes. If you've gone for the tarter variety, drain the liquid before adding the berries to the muffin batter. If you've opted for the sweeter berries and the mixture has boiled down to more of a compote, use 2 cups of the compote when adding the berries to the batter.

Now on to the batter. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, orange zest, and baking powder.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer for a minute on medium. Pour in the dry ingredients. Mix until all the flour is almost mixed in, but not quite.

Fold in the cranberries, or cranberry compote until it is just incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 400 and spray the muffin tin with non-stick spray. Spoon the batter into cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes until a tester inserted comes out clean. Let sit for 5 minutes after pulling them out of the oven, then move them to a cooling rack.

I found these to be a quick and easy way to utilize the cranberry, and a crowd pleaser in the morning...even when that morning is part of your first day back to work after a 4 day vacation. Enjoy!

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