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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Spaghetti Without the Carbs

I want to apologize for not blogging for a while. Lately, trips to the farmers market have been pushed to the wayside in favor of long work hours, and time with my significant other.

When people think of eating during the holiday season, they often think of heavy, fatty foods, that lead to a New Years resolution to get back on that treadmill. When I was a child we'd spend Christmas Eve at my aunts' place in Long Island City. My aunt, who's Sicilian, would always cook an amazing meal that would go until 3 or 4 in the morning. Courses would include stuffed artichokes, smoked salmon Christmas trees, and at least a half dozen desserts. It was always my favorite meal of the year, but I'd always be rolling myself out the door by the time I left. Today, I thought what better time to post a lighter recipe then on Christmas Eve, when people are stuffing themselves with ham, turkey, or 7 types of fish depending on your family traditions.

During the winter months, produce is limited in the North East to gourds and winter greens. One of my favorite gourds to work with is the spaghetti squash. The yellow football shaped vegetable can easily be substituted for pasta, acting as a delicious, but no-carb substitute to the Italian specialty. Today I snagged a 2 1/2 lb one for about $2. I also picked up a variety of herbs which are also in season during the winter.

Today I Purchased:

At the Farmers Market:
2 1/2lb spaghetti squash
Flat Leaf Parsley

Supplementary Ingredients I Had at Home:
Salted Butter
Grated Parmesan

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash in an Herb Butter Sauce

1 Spaghetti Squash
3 Tablespoons of Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons of Chopped Herbs (Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Flat Leaf Parsley, Chives, or any soft herb you'd like to use)
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Grated Parmesan to Taste

There are a couple of different ways to cook a spaghetti squash. You can slice it first and roast it in halves, or you can roast it whole. I decided to cook it whole, then cut it afterward. If you decide to follow this method, poke some holes into the squash with your fork so it won't explode while you're cooking it.

Roast in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, until the outside of the squash is soft to the touch.

Pull out of the oven and let the squash cool for about 10 - 15 minutes. Slice it in half, then scoop the seeds and fibrous strands out of the center.

Once you've done this, take a fork and scrape it against the sides of the squash to pull the strands away from the peel. Place the strands of squash in a bowl and gently mix up until it looks a little more like spaghetti.

Mince the garlic, then chop all of the herbs up into a pile.

Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the squash strands, herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix with tongs until the herbs and squash are blended and heated through.

Remove from the heat, and serve in a bowl with a sprig of parsley and Parmesan on top. It doesn't taste exactly like pasta, but it's a healthy and delicious substitute that will keep you on your New Year's diet.