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 14, 2010

Stocking up for Winter

Since I'm still working on getting my new apartment where I want it to be, I spent a good portion of the day on home improvement projects: building a chair, putting up curtains, and waiting for my couch to come. I was so pre-occupied that when I headed out to the farmers market at 2:00, I still hadn't eaten.

I decided to treat myself to two of my favorite small take-out dishes in the East Village on my way to the Tompkins Square Park market. I made my first stop at Xi'an Famous Foods, the EV outpost of the Chinatown storefront. A co-worker turned me on to this place that makes rural Chinese noodle dishes, and I've been hooked ever since. As much as I love the noodles, I knew that if I wanted to make it to my second stop I'd have to go with the stewed pork burger. For $2.50, this warm Chinese-style bun with chopped pork is one of the best deals around.

Next, I headed to Luke's Lobster, which I think is the best lobster roll outside of Maine. I never ate the lobster roll as a kid, I figured, why waste good lobster on a bun, but as adult in NY I've come to appreciate the no-mayo roll. I decided on a crab roll instead for $10 which managed to fill me up.

Once I was fully sated I headed over a block to the farmers market. The Tompkins Square market is small, but I managed to find some decent produce there. I spotted some wonderful looking cauliflower that inspired me to make a soup. I love how rich and creamy it can be, creating the illusion of cream without the milk product. I picked up a head for $3.00, a potato for $1.00, and then grabbed a couple of leeks for $2.00. The soup I made today was pretty simple, so as soon as I grabbed these things I was off to cook.

Today I purchased:

At the farmers market:

1 head of cauliflower
1 medium potato
2 leeks

At a supermarket:

2 containers of chicken stock (you can make this dish vegan by using vegetable stock instead)

Supplemental ingredients I had at home:
Basil (I had some late season basil saved that still looked good)
Canola oil
Olive Oil
Unsalted butter (can be left out to make it vegan)

Recipe: Cauliflower Potato Leek Soup with Basil Oil

For the Basil Oil
1 1/2 cups of densely packed basil
1/2 cup of olive oil

For the Soup
1 tsp. of canola oil
1 tsp. of unsalted butter
1 head of cauliflower
1 medium potato
2 leeks, the white part only
6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, plus 1/2 cup
Flat leaf parsley for garnish

The basil oil can be made up to 3 days in advance so I'd suggest making this first. Blanch the basil leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and run cold water over the leaves. Pat the basil down with paper towels to remove the excess water, then put the olive oil and basil in the blender. Blend until emulsified. Pour into a bowl and add salt and pepper.

For the soup, start by preparing the vegetables. Clean the leeks and chop up the white parts. Peel the potato and chop into cubes. Peel the leaves off of the cauliflower and break the head up into florets.

Put the butter and oil in a large saucepan. I use my Le Cruset dutch oven, but any pan large enough to hold all the veggies and 6 cups of liquid will do. Turn the heat to medium-low and throw in the leeks. Saute constantly stirring for 10 minutes. If they look like they're beginning to brown turn the heat down to low. They should remain green, but soft when you're done.

Add the cauliflower and potato as well as the 6 cups of stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are very soft, almost mushy, remove from the heat and let sit 10-15 minutes while the mixture cools. Next puree the soup in a blender or food processor. I used a blender, which worked just fine, but I needed to do it in 3 batches. Each time I pureed a batch I poured the soup into a clean sauce pan.

Turn the soup up to medium and simmer for a minute while you adjust the seasoning to taste. I found the soup a little too thick at this point so I thinned it with a little of the chicken stock. Once it's at the thickness you want turn off the heat and serve.

I drizzled the basil oil on top and added a parsley leaf for garnish. This soup is perfect for cold winter days. It's very warm and comforting with a bold flavor, yet so simple to make. Enjoy the continually chilling days.

1 comment:

  1. Im not going to say what everyone else has already said.

    Best Regarding.
    Mutual Funds