Pascale’s Blog July 2

frametemplatecherries

FROM FARM TO GRILL

If ever there was an official grilling week-end this would be it. If Memorial Day is the kick-off of the grilling season, the Fourth is the pinnacle.

If you are hosting, you may have to borrow an extra grill because the market will have so much to offer your Weber this weekend. Southtown Farms alone has 8 different varieties of sausage – from classic brats to maple – in addition to hot dogs made with local pork and grass-fed beef patties. They and Stone Barns will also be offering spatch-cock chicken. And Letterbox Collective has organic chicken as well as pork and rabbit.

And, then, of course, there’s fish: hake, tuna, swordfish – all great on the grill, especially when it’s from Pura Vida. Make it easy on yourself and prepare some kebabs in advance. Use the summer squash that is just turning up and the mushrooms at Madura (larger portobellos are the vegetarian answer to a burger btw.). Make potato salad sides, snap peas, cole slaw and grilled onions for all your meats.

Continue reading Pascale’s Blog July 2

Pascale’s Blog – June 25, 2015

frametemplatepeas

SUGAR SNAPS & SOCIALIZING AT THE MARKET

I was looking for an old email from farmer Matt Soldano of Southtown Farms late last night, and I stumbled across Matt’s blog from early June about why he (and other farmers) love farmer’s markets. It really touched a chord, particularly on the heels of last Saturday when I had the pleasure of spending the day at the Chappaqua Farmer’s Market and watching all the socializing going on there…not just among New Castle residents chatting each other up in the fish or pretzel line, but between vendors and shoppers. It seems everyone knows the epically-bearded-Brian, who sells for Taiim, by name. Just as they know the names and temperaments of Betsy Rich‘s two mammoth-sized Pyrenees (Mojo and Sam )at the brownie tent.

For me, the markets have always been an oasis of community in the sometimes alienating suburbs. Good bread, fresh produce – yes – but also healthy conversation, community spirit and a sense of daily life unraveling before your eyes.

I was so glad that Matt feels the same way:
“Farmers are not a very social group,” writes Soldano. “Not by choice, but because of our profession. When you’re up at 0500 and working in the sun all day, the last thing you want to do is head out to meet friends that evening. Come weekends the days get even longer as we get up even earlier to pack for market, and still get all our farm chores done. There’s no time for a social life in the summer. That’s where markets come in. They are our social place, our gathering point. Farmers markets are where like-minded individuals can all come together for a few hours learn and laugh about life. ”

Adds Soldano: “Anthropologists will tell you that human beings always belonged in tribes. I think this is very true. My tribe is made up of farmers and customers that I get to chat with each week. Every market day, I go home with a smile on my face. Not for the sales we make, but for the community we have built and the relationships we have forged.”

This week, the official kick-off of grilling season, Matt will be bringing plenty of grass-fed beef, his first batch of the season. Make sure to to pick some up at the Southtown Farms tent – and, maybe even linger a while.

In case you missed them last week – the cherries are in – a bit early this year. Snap some up early in the day. Oh – sugar snaps are here, too. Continue reading Pascale’s Blog – June 25, 2015

Pascale’s Blog – June 18, 2015

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GARLIC SNAKES!

Make that garlic scapes. Garlic snakes is what my kids used to call them whenever I brought them home from the market this time of year and dumped them on the butcher block. No surprise. These twisty, curly bright green spears that shoot straight up from the garlic bulb are sometimes referred to as “serpent garlic.”

When you think of garlic, your mind goes to the squat bulb with papery skin. But this garlic starts out as green or spring garlic. Then it matures: the bulb and roots grow under the soil while a stem with leaves and a twisty “scape” shoot up above. This scape (a botanical term that refers to a flower-bearing stem) is just as edible as the bulb.

For years, scapes were considered little more than a “byproduct.” They were trimmed off in early summer so that all of the plant’s energy went straight to the bulbs underground. But these days, scapes are harvested for their own culinary merits and have become quite trendy among gourmets and locavores trying to reduce any and all food waste.

Tender garlic scapes have a delicate garlic flavor,  and their fragrance hints at green grass and garlic. Scapes are vegetable, an herb, and an aromatic which makes them very versatile. Although the entire scape is edible, the pod and tip above it can be chewy and fibrous and are best discarded. Use garlic scapes as you would scallions or shallots, or in any dish that could use a garlicky note.

Continue reading Pascale’s Blog – June 18, 2015