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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Drinks

I realized recently that all of my posts have been food related. That despite my love of cocktails, there wasn't a drink in sight. So this week, when I went to the farmers market, I thought I'd pick up a couple of ingredients to make a refreshing summer quencher. This drink can be make with our without alcohol.

Today I purchased:

At the farmers market:
1 ripe peach
Pint of raspberries
Lemon thyme

At a supermarket:
Club soda

Supplementary ingredients I had at home:
Vodka (optional)

Recipe: Peach Melba Cooler

1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
1 medium, ripe peach
6 oz. of raspberries
1 bunch of lemon thyme
1 liter of club soda
1 shot of vodka per glass

I got this recipe from a magazine, and decided to take some liberties with the addition of the vodka.

Bring the sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the syrup to a small container with a tight fitting lid.

Halve, pit, and cut the peach into 1/8th inch thick slices. Add the peach slices to the syrup and stir to combine. Seal the container and refrigerate until the peach flavor infuses the syrup, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. I did it for 24 hours, which I thought was adequate.

When ready to serve, pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, discard the peach slices. Add half of the raspberries and half of the thyme sprigs to the bowl. (Set the other half aside for garnish). Using a potato masher, briefly smash the raspberries until they release their juices.

Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large pitcher and pour in the raspberry mixture. Lightly press on the solids with a rubber spatula, then discard the contents of the strainer. Add the club soda and some ice to the pitcher and stir gently with a long wooden spoon.

Gently bruise the remaining half of the thyme by crushing it in your hands (but don't completely mangle it) and set it aside. Fill a collins glass (or any type of medium/short glass)with ice. Add the vodka, then pour the Peach Melba mixture on top. Stir to combine and garnish with a few berries and a few sprigs of thyme.

Although definitely refreshing, I found this drink to be a little too sweet for me. Though I have to admit that I like things a little on the tarter side. If I were to make these again, I'd probably cut the sugar mixture in half (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water). I might also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to enhance the flavor of the lemon thyme.

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