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.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Neighborhood Market

Today's post is going to be a little different than the usual post. Some of my family came into town this weekend leaving me very little time for a trip to the farmers market, yet plenty of time for playing horsey with my two-year old niece. Since I didn't make it out of the borough today, I thought I'd focus on something that I've been meaning to talk about since I moved to Queens - the local vegetable/fruit stand.

For those of you who never leave Manhattan, or didn't realize that the N/Q actually went into a third borough, Astoria is known for its fresh produce and old school mom and pop meat and fish shops. The food at the shops isn't necessarily local, but it is pretty high quality, and very cheap for what you get. I live near the 30th ave. strip which has a wide variety of markets. There are two great fruit and vegetable shops right by the subway.

I picked up some basic ingredients for an Asian noodle dish that I've made since I was a child: orange pepper, shallots, broccoli, zucchini, ginger and flat leaf parsley. I also grabbed some blackberries (my favorite), and a container of toasted pumpkin seeds (another favorite). In a lot of markets this amount of produce might run me $10 or $15, but here it was just over $7. Most things were just $.99/lb., with some things ringing in at $.29/lb.

They also have a wide variety of fruit if you're looking for something more unusual. I spotted carambola, otherwise known as star fruit, coconuts, and persimmons to name a few.

Another thing that Astoria has is a lot of fish shops. There are at least 3 on 30th Ave., but I usually frequent the one right off of the subway stop. I picked up a 1/2lb of uncooked small shrimp for $7.99/lb, but had the option to go with anything from squid, to octopus, or cod.

There's no real recipe today. The dish I made from the ingredients is just a basic stir fry with no exact measurements of anything. I minced some garlic, a shallot, and a little ginger. I also chopped up the broccoli, orange pepper, and zucchini.

You can use any type of noodle with this dish (udon, soba, etc.), but since I've been making this since I was a kid and lived in suburban Massachusetts, I make it with basic linguine. I love stir fries because they're so quick and easy and you can add any ingredient you want to them. Feel free to experiment with vegetables and proteins. You can easily tailor this dish to your own tastes.

While the pasta is cooking I saute the ginger, garlic, and shallot on medium heat in a wok with some oil.

Then I turn the heat up to medium high and throw in the vegetables. I add a little salt, pepper, and soy sauce and stir fry for a minute. Then I add a little bit of sesame oil and mirin and continue to cook until the veggies begin to soften but still have some crisp to them.

At this point I throw in the shrimp, add some oyster flavored sauce and a little fish sauce, and sriracha, and cook for a couple of minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.

Once the shrimp seem cooked (they're pink and just start to curl into a C shape), I add the pasta and mix it all together. Then I turn off the heat and add the flat leaf parsley, stirring to mix it in.

I love this dish. It may just be because it was the first dish I made for myself for dinner as a child, but I always find it very comforting.

Before I sign off for the week I'd like to call attention to the fact that I've added links to a couple of my friends' food blogs in the links list on the right. I know a few of you are vegan and are always looking for great meat/animal product free recipes. If so, or if you just want to try something different but still delicious, you should check out the newly launched Vegan Chronicles.

No comments:

Post a Comment