Pascale’s Blog

May 10, 2012

Dear Shoppers,

I’ve already told my two daughters, Mina, 9, and Sabine, 7, what I want for mother’s day this year: a farm-to-bed breakfast. That’s right.. a hearty breakfast in bed consisting of  farm-fresh eggs (maybe a mushroom and asparagus omelet), crusty baguette with some of Renee’s homespun jam and crisp bacon courtesy of Roaming Angus. Some Tierra Farms Honduran coffee in my French press with an utterly decadent cloud of Ronnybrook half and half.

I’m fairly certain I deserve it. And most likely so does your mother. So why not shop with her in mind this weekend?

If Mom happens to be on a gluten-free diet (and even if she isn’t) – she’s in luck. Little Croc Bakehouse is back with her signature lemon square, chocolate and sugar donuts, mud slide cupcakes and a new item: vegan and gluten-free berry scones. Baker (and mom) Suzanne Whitney is particularly proud of the scones which don’t taste like they are “missing” a thing!

Renee of Renee’s Jams, also a mom, is returning this week as well. If you haven’t tried her seasonal jams, make sure you stop by her table and sample a few. She’s a master at balancing sweet and fruit and at blending ingredients you might not necessarily put together (like jalapeno and apricot!).

This week I tried some of Flour City Pasta’s “emmer” (farro) pasta with Honey Locust’s nettle pesto – dynamite. I also made a ramp and spring garlic pizza and another pizza with some of Joe’s unctuous mozzarella and Newgate’s fiddleheads.

There should be rhubarb at the market this week. Since it’s in before the strawberries this year, why not prepare it outside of a pie? I still dream about a rosy red rhubarb compote that was served with some roasted grouper at a NYC restaurant a few years back. As pretty as it was delicious. Of course, pie is always an option…

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

may 5, 2012

This Saturday is our “official” opening day for the summer season.

Please do not head to the train station as we have spontaneously moved our market permanently to the great lawn in front of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin at 191 S. Greeley Avenue. We set up the market tents there a couple of weeks ago when we were in a pinch and couldn’t use the Church rectory due to a scheduling conflict. Within minutes of unfurling the tents, shoppers, vendors and market organizers all had the same epiphany:  the verdant lawn was the perfect place for a farmers market. As lovely as the train station was (and thank you to Town Hall for letting us use it!) grass underfoot trumps asphalt every time. “It feels like a market in Maine,” said one shopper, who was weighed down with bags of spring vegetables. Being visible from the street makes such a difference, too! I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said they didn’t know there was a market in Chappaqua. This, despite the banners, signs and placards posted everywhere.

Our new home feels right for other reasons: Many moons ago St. Mary’s parking lot was the site of the original Chappaqua farmers market — a single farmstand known as White Feather Farm. Those of you who’ve been here a while might remember it. Back then – about 20 years ago….ramps weren’t on anybody’s culinary radar. But they are all the rage right now and certainly will be the darling of this weekend’s market. These wild, mystical leeks can be eaten raw, but are best sautéed, roasted, grilled, pickled or “pulsed” into pesto. You can throw them on a pizza, or toss them in any Flour City Pasta and they make a divine spring risotto (with morel mushrooms and asparagus tips!). Their garlicky flavor goes great with scallops. My friend Linnea makes ramp butter this time each year. She stores it in the freezer to slather atop grilled steak year-round. Clever.

Our favorite personal chef, Maria Reina will be preparing a fantastic ramp recipe at the market. You can check out her ramp blog at bellacucinamaria.com. The season for ramps which are foraged not farmed, is short and sweet so get them while you can.

Looking forward to welcoming you to our new home!
See you at the market….

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

april 26, 2012

Fiddleheads are the unfurled fronds of a fern.
Try and say THAT ten times!

Better not. Their season is so fleeting you might miss them. Some shoppers were lucky enough to snap some up at the market last week. Newgate Farms will have more this week and probably next. These vegetables are gathered in the spring when they are still tightly curled and between 4 and 6 inches high. This period lasts for about 15 days – usually between mid-April and early July, depending on the region. Fiddleheads must be harvested just days after they emerge, as the plants become positively inedible once they uncoil.

Not only are they fun to say but they are delicious – a bit like asparagus only more wild. The easiest way to prepare them is to gently saute them with garlic and herbs and/or lemon until they are tender, flavorful, with just a bit of a crispness left to them. Or, you can toss them with angel hair pasta, throw them in a curry, or saute them in brown butter with prosciutto. They taste great with bacon!

This is the fourth Saturday of the month which means Lasagna Preziosa will be joining us. This week chef Riccardo Befi has been fiddling with a moussaka recipe – which, he insists is just a puddle-jump from his popular eggplant parmigiana. Speaking of Greece, Demetra of Kontoulis Olive Oil will also be here this week. Did you know that the last time she was here a regular shopper bought a $400 cistern of her oil? I always love it when Riccardo and Demetra are in the house at the same time. It makes our little market feel plucked out of a small European village.

Kings Roaming Angus is also here this week…so stock up on chicken for the grilling season! He will also have plenty of farm fresh eggs.

Since the weather looks good for the weekend, we will be out on the lawn again, directly in front of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. We got such positive feedback from shoppers about that location last week. Is there a better feeling than lush grass underfoot in early spring?

And don’t forget to bring your knives for the knife sharpeners.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

april 19, 2012

Nothing says spring quite like a thick, textured asparagus spear. In France, April belongs to asparagus – white asparagus. Did you know that farmers and home gardeners cut their asparagus at the crack of dawn each morning before the asparagus tips get a chance to emerge from the soil and take on any hue?

We tend to eat our asparagus green here. If you’ve never roasted green asparagus – you’re in for a treat. Roasting asparagus draws out the stalk’s nutty flavor, sweetens its scent and deepens its green color.

This recipe, adapted from Elizabeth Schneider’s “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” (my vegetable bible) couldn’t be easier and is the perfect way to showcase those gorgeous stalks Newgate and Madura Farms have been bringing to market. Plus, it calls for some crunchy Fleur de Sel salt which Spice Revolution (back again this week) carries.

1 pound medium green asparagus
(16 to 20 spears)
1 tbs olive oil
Fleur de sel or crisp sea salt
lemon and orange wedges

Preheat the oven to 500 F.
Bend base of each asparagus spear to snap off the fibrous section.
Lightly peel stalks.
Choose a roasting pan that holds asparagus closely – they need to be snug in the pan.
Drizzle olive oil over them, then shake pan briskly to coat all stalks in oil.
Roast in center oven for 5 minutes.
Shake pan vigorously to shake stalks.
Roast about five minutes more, until tender.
Serve at once with salt and citrus.

For some Asian flair, substitute a touch of oyster, fish or soy sauce for the salt. Serves 2.

French chef Roger Verge likes to pierce a bamboo skewer through five spear tips at a time; he drizzles them with a nice finishing olive oil (Kontoulis Olive Oil will be here next week!) sprinkles them with salt and broils or grills them for about three minutes. Meanwhile, he warms up some olive oil in a skillet with some savory herb sprigs (Honey Locust Farmhouse and Madura have been bringing gorgeous herbs lately). When asparagus is cooked, dip both sides in the aromatic oil. Here’s a tip: don’t throw away the stalk remnants….save them for soup!

Of course, sautéed asparagus tips will add spring sunshine to any pasta dish – especially one bathed in grass-green Buddhapesto sauce.

The knife sharpener is BACK this week.

So is Gaia’s Breath with their crazy delicious and healthy sausages and lean cuts of veal.

Stone Barns has ground lamb, and pork chops for grilling.

See you at the market!


Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

april 12, 2012

If you shop the farmers market then you already know what the culinary benefits are of eating local. Fruits and vegetables simply taste better when you eat them within 12-24 hours of being picked or harvested. Traveling along the highway for three days in a hot truck doesn’t do much for tomatoes and asparagus. Never mind baby spinach and mesclun. How “local” are we? At the Chappaqua Farmers Market, we insist that all of the food sold be grown, raised or prepared within a 200-mile radius of the Chappaqua Train Station, our summer home. Technically, we are a Hudson Valley market though we do make an exception for that glorious fish which comes to us from the Hampton Bays. Under the “10 percent” rule, vendors are allowed to bring a small amount (no more than 10 percent of their display) from a nearby farm (or fishery). That explains why we occasionally sell tuna and swordfish and Nantucket scallops that don’t come from the Hampton Bays.

Eating local is a great start to leading a greener life, but there is so much more we can do. After you shop the market on Saturday why don’t you swing by the Bell School Auditorium for their extremely ambitious Green Fair. You (and your children) are guaranteed to learn something that will help protect our planet – and our farmers in the process.

Farmers like Roaming Angus  who is back this week with a new item: ground chicken for healthy lean burgers now that grilling season is here.

Our favorite “vegetable” baker, Flourish is also back this week. And, great news: they will be joining us every other week once we move outdoors (May 5th!).

Clean Ridge Soap Co. has been away for five weeks. Time to restock on that Eucalyptus lotion. I keep one bottle in my car, one by my bed and one by my kitchen sink.

By the Way Bakery is also here this week, proving, once again, that gluten-free can be synonymous with delicious.

Personal Chef Maria Reina is back with a kitchen demo. This Saturday, Maria, who is now blogging for The Journal News about her farmers market-inspired recipes, will be preparing a very spring-friendly Vietnamese asparagus and mushroom soup (crab optional).
Yum!

See you at the market!


Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

april 12, 2012

If you shop the farmers market then you already know what the culinary benefits are of eating local. Fruits and vegetables simply taste better when you eat them within 12-24 hours of being picked or harvested. Traveling along the highway for three days in a hot truck doesn’t do much for tomatoes and asparagus. Never mind baby spinach and mesclun. How “local” are we? At the Chappaqua Farmers Market, we insist that all of the food sold be grown, raised or prepared within a 200-mile radius of the Chappaqua Train Station, our summer home. Technically, we are a Hudson Valley market though we do make an exception for that glorious fish which comes to us from the Hampton Bays. Under the “10 percent” rule, vendors are allowed to bring a small amount (no more than 10 percent of their display) from a nearby farm (or fishery). That explains why we occasionally sell tuna and swordfish and Nantucket scallops that don’t come from the Hampton Bays.

Eating local is a great start to leading a greener life, but there is so much more we can do.
After you shop the market on Saturday why don’t you swing by the Bell School Auditorium for their extremely ambitious Green Fair. You (and your children) are guaranteed to learn something that will help protect our planet – and our farmers in the process.

Farmers like Roaming Angus  who is back this week with a new item: ground chicken for healthy lean burgers now that grilling season is here.

Our favorite “vegetable” baker, Flourish is also back this week. And, great news: they will be joining us every other week once we move outdoors (May 5th!).

Clean Ridge Soap Co. has been away for five weeks. Time to restock on that Eucalyptus lotion. I keep one bottle in my car, one by my bed and one by my kitchen sink.

By the Way Bakery is also here this week, proving, once again, that gluten-free can be synonymous with delicious.

Personal Chef Maria Reina is back with a kitchen demo. This Saturday, Maria, who is now blogging for The Journal News about her farmers market-inspired recipes, will be preparing a very spring-friendly Vietnamese asparagus and mushroom soup (crab optional).
Yum!

See you at the market!


Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

April 5, 2012

Some of you will be passing on yeast this weekend, others will be embracing lamb. Either way, this holiday-convergence weekend is a reminder of how important and powerful it can be to gather around the table with the people we love.

Easter is often referred to as “a moveable feast” because of its fluidity on the calendar. That’s often what I call the farmers markets I run. It’s hard to believe that the Church of St. Mary is a place of worship one minute, and a food mecca the next. As many years as I’ve been doing this it always catches me by surprise to see a parking lot or a church hall be transformed so dramatically in this way.

Good smells help! And, you’ll have plenty of those this weekend starting with True Food and Fork & Glass offering healthy breakfast tacos and burritos filled with all things organic and/or local. Did anyone try those beet burgers from Fork & Glass last week? I couldn’t get over how delicious they were and so healthy too. Just grated beets bound with some oats and sauteed shallots. Top that with a dollop of sour cream, or better yet, some chutney from Bombay Emerald who is visiting us this week and you’ve got a winner. I am going to make them again this weekend, using Portobello mushrooms from Madura in lieu of a bun. How’s that for righteous!

Linzi Fastiggi of Spice Revolution is back this week. I had such a good time eavesdropping on her last week as she talked so passionately to customers about her exotic array of spices, spice rubs and gourmet salts. And her chocolate bark? Amazing.

Big Girl Bakery also has a fantastic chocolate bark this week. She’s featuring several flourless dessert options (her chocolate torte, her cheesecake) for the holiday. Why not buy her mini chocolate whoopie pies to fill the Easter basket of someone special?

And, Little Croc Bakery will be there with all of their gluten-free and vegan desserts which are all Passover friendly.

Honey Locust Farmhouse and Newgate Farms will have lots of gorgeous greens.

Buddhapesto is back this week after skipping a week. No doubt many of you are jonesing for that basil nectar….

Happy Holidays and see you at the market!


Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

march 29, 2012

Our Norway niche…

In case you haven’t heard, in the culinary world, all things Norwegian are hot, hot, hot right now. The restaurant Maaemo in Oslo has just picked up two Michelin stars, right out of the gate, and lots of New York City chefs are experimenting with this particular brand of Scandinavian cuisine.

Of course the Chappaqua Farmers Market is right on top of this trend with Sunny and Mark Gandara, of Fork & Glass Catering, who come to the market each week and  fill that church space with the intoxicating smells of Norwegian and Mexican street food – she’s from Norway, he’s of Mexican descent. Sunny is ramping up her Norwegian offerings this week: her Nordic-style breakfast crepe will be made with buckwheat and filled with gruyere cheese, apples and onions. She is also bringing some Scandinavian potato salad and Nordic beet burgers (that’s right, BEET)  to add some hip to any vegetarian meal. Of course, for their die-hard regulars, they will also be preparing those succulent pulled-pork tacos and hearty breakfast tacos, too.

This week, please welcome Spice Revolution. Talk about niche. This little Dobbs Ferry store, barely bigger than a nutmeg, sells carefully selected salts, spices and chocolates from around the globe. Owner, Linzi Fastiggi, who also conducts chocolate tours in NYC,  will be bringing 40 spices including: hot and sweet smoked paprika from Spain, grains of paradise, Mexican oregano, a variety of curry powders and middle eastern spices, dried chili peppers and powders, dehydrated vegatables and vegetable powders as well as salts and peppers. She will also be bringing a selection of exotic chocolate bars including a few that are gluten free, dairy free and soy free.

Gaia’s Breath organic farm has a lovely new soft and creamy sheep’s milk cheese. If you haven’t tried their gorgeous and heart-healthy veal — roasts, meatballs, chops and osso bucco….you need to treat yourself this weekend. Their pate is divine.

If you haven’t tried the basil hummus at Taiim, give it a whirl this weekend.

Honey Locust Farmhouse has organic chickweed, baby spinach and mesclun…all organic, natch. Grab some of her nettle pesto before it sells out. It’s ridiculously good on a chunk of Bread Alone sourdough.

See you at the market!
 
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

march 23, 2012

Dear Shoppers,

The other day market co-founder Priscilla Sorensen answered her front door to find a dear friend looking, well, slightly desperate. The friend clutched an empty container of lentil soup that had been virtually licked clean and she held it out for Priscilla to see.

“More,” she said, channeling Oliver Twist.

Fortunately for this friend, and for the many of you who have clamored for the Scarsdale bakery’s return, Flourish is back this week with their original line of “vegetable baked goods” and extraordinary soups, foccacias & crostatas. Get there early!

For some Italian fare made with flourish, it’s hard to beat Riccardo Befi’s handmade ravioli packed with spinach and ricotta. Riccardo, who is an esteemed gemologist, only has time to cook in volume for our market once a month so make sure you stock up on his frozen lasagnas, bolognese sauce and ravioli. They are surprisingly light and delicate and you can taste the passion Riccardo puts into every batch. And don’t be thrown if if his eye lingers a little too long on your ring:  it’s a professional tic.

Andrew King from Roaming Angus is back with lots of eggs and chicken and smoked hams for Easter. Having just slaughtered four pigs, he will have lots of pork cuts from roasts to Kielbasa. Don’t forget to congratulate Andrew for the new addition to the King family: their first calf was born on Sunday. The calf wasn’t due until next week but  “when we came home from church, there she was!” says Andrew. The calf was born to one of their pure-bred cows which they exhibit at local fairs. “That means this one will not make it to your dinner plate,” warns Andrew. For pictures of the baby calf with a pedigree,  go to:www.kingsroamingangus.com

See you at the market!

AND DON’T BE CAUGHT WITH A DULL KNIFE ON THE HOLIDAY – bring your knifes to the knife sharpener this week!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068

march 15, 2012

Come spend St. Patrick’s Day at the Chappaqua Farmers Market where It’s always easy being GREEN

Honey Locust Farmhouse will have the first vibrant GREEN arugula and mesclun of the season.

Kontoulis Olive Oil is unveiling her latest olive oil vintage (pressed in December 2011) which is a gorgeous luminous GREEN.

Madura Farms will have grass GREEN spring garlic stalks (great for sauteeing with King Oyster mushroooms).

Picklelicious’ new pickles are emerald GREEN!

Visiting vendor Yona’s Gourmet Delights will have healthy cupcake-size quiches packed with dark GREEN spinach and broccoli.

Stone Barns will have lots of spring lamb, and Gaia’s Breath lots of beef, veal and pork all raised in bountiful GREEN pastures.

Gaia’s Breath has a new line of cheese including a Morbier style cheese with blue-GREEN veining.

True Food of Nyack will have their crunchy GREEN kale & chickpea salad (my personal fave – esp. with an extra squeeze of lemon)

Newgate Farms will have jade GREEN (and white) baby bok choy.

Buddhapesto will have electrifyingly GREEN pesto sauce.

and..of course, Bread Alone will have their traditional Irish Soda Bread. Not green — but delicious nonetheless.

See you at the market!

Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director
914.478.8068