Pascale’s Blog

sept. 27, 2012

I’m always looking for something to do with the bounty of mushrooms we have at the market. Yesterday, I was thumbing through one of my favorite, tried and true farm to table cookbooks, Waldy Malouf’s “The Hudson Valley River Cookbook” and stumbled on this recipe that seems just about perfect for this time of year. Serve it with  an Italian roasting chicken from Stone Barns or, for a lighter meal, with a salad of Morgiewicz  arugula, Coach goat cheese, roasted beets from Newgate and candied walnuts from Tierra.*

Mushroom and Onion Gratin
Serves 6

3 very large onions, peeled and cut in half cross-wise
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound mushrooms, chopped coarse
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs (from Bread Alone)

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
• Scoop out as much of the center of each onion half as you can and still leave a firm shell.
• Chop the centers coarse.
• In a saute pan, melt half the butter and saute the chopped onions and mushrooms with the the thyme until the vegetables are limp and lightly browned.
• Season the insides of the onion shells with salt and pepper and fill each half with the mushroom mixture.  
• Melt the remaining butter and combine it with the bread crumbs.
• Pat 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture over each onion half.
• Put the onions in a small baking pan and roast for about 1 hour, or until they are tender and the tops are well-browned.

Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I wouldn’t be opposed to a dollop of creme fraiche, or some crumbled goat cheese as a finishing touch.

Don’t forget to pick up some chutney from Bombay Emerald this week.
They missed their visit last month so your supply must be running low. Their plum chutney is fantastic on sandwiches, I use mint chutney in my rice, or on lamb burgers. They also sell their ready-made samosas and saag paneer for a fun, but no fuss meal.

* to candy walnuts or pistachios for salads, simply toss them with a half cup of sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves into a light brown liquid and coats the nuts. Then spread them out on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool. Or. to achieve that same nutty crunch, without the sugar calories, you can simply toast nuts on a baking sheet at about 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes…don’t wander off. I’m famous for forgetting about my nuts in the broiler – usually right before a dinner party.


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

sept 20, 2012

The Brussels sprouts have arrived and that makes me very, very happy. I can’t understand how these tasty, teensy cabbage heads are they so maligned. The trick, I think, is not to let them sit too long in the fridge. After three days they tend to develop a stronger flavor.

The other secret is to ROAST them…until they are crisp on the outside yet tender on the inside. (Here’s how:Trim them, then toss them in a bowl with quality olive oil, salt and cracked pepper then spread them on a on a sheet pan and roast for about 40 minutes. Give the pan a good shake every once in a while so that they brown evenly. You can drizzle with olive oil, or a deep balsamic vinegar for extra flavor. Or sprinkle with some Parmaggiano.)

They are the perfect companion to a confit’d duck leg…or a whole roasted duck. I’m thrilled to let you know that Hudson Valley Duck will be visiting this week after a hiatus that has been far too long. Please let them know how happy we are to have them back for a visit. (And congratulate them on their new son Merle who was born last spring). In case you’ve forgotten their repertoire: smoked duck breast (delicious on a mizuna salad), duck salami, duck rillettes (great on toast points with cornichons or tossed in pasta).

Other gems not to miss at the market this week are Honey Locust Farmhouse’s new jam/chutney made with her own tomatillos, poblano chili, lime and chipotle. Insane. I tried it on a piece of grilled swordfish from Pura Vida…and I can’t wait to try it on a piece of aged Coach goat cheese or Manchego.

Also, Spice Revolution is back. If you are a serious cook, then you know you have to freshen up your spices pretty regularly. Linzi’s small-size spice sacks makes it so easy and so affordable to do that. I love how she plays with her spices to create a new chocolate bark or other chocolate concoction every week. Stop by and try her almonds covered in spiced chocolate this week.

Clean Ridge Soap Co. will be here. They were at my Hastings market last Saturday and I found myself hanging around their tent whenever possible just to soak in those amazing smells of lavender, eucalyptus, lilac and lemongrass.

Fred Gillen Jr. will be serenading you while you shop.

Enjoy!


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

september 13, 2012

It takes a village…
to make a farmers market successful.

On this Community Day in Chappaqua we’d like to thank all of you who come and support your local farmers week after week.

Since moving our market to the grassy “meadow” you have made the weekly trek in greater numbers to see what gorgeous greens and other interesting edibles our vendors have put on display. So many of you have become “regulars” and our vendors now know you by name and even know whether you prefer your beets with the greens still attached (for wilting of course) or whether you take your Cherry Rose White tea sweetened or not.

I hope to be at the market’s Community Day tent this Saturday to thank many of you in person but just wanted to put in writing how grateful we at the Chappaqua Farmers Market all are for your commitment to and enthusiasm for our growing market.

This week we bring you purple string beans, purple basil pesto and purple-ish heirloom tomatoes!

We also bring you a new savory “blondie” from Rich Brownies: one made with rosemary from Newgate Farms and olive oil from Kontoulis. Ask Betsy to give you a sample. She’s been playing with the recipe all week and this time she thinks she’s nailed it. (Hard to go wrong with those ingredients, right?).

Renee’s Jams is also paying us a visit. I’ill be curious to see how the emerging fall’s bounty translates into jam jars.

Start thinking soups…carrot ginger, carrot cumin, parsnip and apple….
For something heartier, try some white bean soup with some sausage from Roaming Angus or Stone Barns.

Grammy’s Gardens has left us for the summer, but Stone Barns has lovely bouquets from their greenhouses….

See you at the market!


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

september 6, 2012

Was the first week of school a little stressful on the little ones?
Bring them to the farmers market tomorrow for some much-needed “down” time on the mat. BREATHE Pilates & Yoga Studio will be sponsoring kids drop-in  yoga classes (free) from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

And while your kids are doing some downward dogs, you can do a little unwinding yourself by strolling through the market and admiring the best of what the late summer harvest has to offer: eggplant, peppers, squash and beans.

Start your school year right by sitting down for dinner with your kids. It helps to plan your menu ahead of time. Get a whole chicken to roast from Stone Barns or Roaming Angus. Stuff it with forty cloves of garlic or rub a thyme butter paste between the skin and flesh before popping it in the oven.

Grill some steaks and serve with a carrot- or cauliflower- potato mash and wilted chard or spinach. Designate one night as “meatless” and make a mushroom or kale risotto. Or an omelet packed with with fresh herbs like chives, basil and thyme.

Eggs are no longer public enemy number one. In fact, more and more studies show that eggs – farm-fresh eggs – are the perfect source of protein to build lean muscle and they are packed with heart-healthy Omega 3 fats. The nutritionists at The Secret Ingredient agree. In fact, they will be doing a cooking demo at the market this week showcasing the incredible egg in a pesto egg sandwich. They will also have lots of other enticing egg recipes so make sure to stop by their tent.

Stock up on items from Flourish Baked Goods this Saturday…they are going to be doing a food festival in the city for the next few weeks and so will not be able to come to market for a while.

Have you tried Spice Revolution’s fermented black garlic? Surprisingly sweet it tastes (and spreads) great on toast.

And don’t forget to bring your knives and pruning shears….the knife sharpeners will be here.


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

august 30

This week’s blog comes to you from Stonington, Maine, where I’m visiting a different sweet farmer’s market every day (so far, Brooksville is my fave) and eating SO local that I’m afraid I’m going to sprout pincer claws.

Today, we’re going “mussel-ing” and tonight, to take a break from lobster, we are having Moules a la Mariniere (the bistro classic: mussels steamed in white wine).

Fortunately, you don’t have to come all the way to Maine to eat great mussels or clams:

Pura Vida usually has pecks of them, culled from the Hampton Bays, inside their coolers at the market.

Should you decide to get some this weekend, or next, here is an easy recipe – guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Moules a la Mariniere
Serves 4

3-4 pounds of mussels
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
2 cups of dry white wine like a muscadet
100g butter (7 tbs) cubed
A medium bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1. Rinse the mussels in cold running water, and then give them a good scrub and scrape to remove any barnacles or dirt. Discard any with broken shells, and give any open ones a sharp tap: if they don’t close, then throw them away too, because they’re dead. Pull out the beards – the fibrous little appendages which the mussels use to attach themselves to ropes or rocks, by pulling them sharply towards the hinge end of the mussel, then leave them to sit in cold water for a couple of hours until ready to use.

2. Put the chopped shallots, thyme leaves, bay leaf and wine into a large pan, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down, and cook gently for 10 minutes, then turn up the heat to medium-high.

3. Drain the mussels and tip into the pan. Cover and cook until most of them have opened: about 3 minutes.

4. Add the butter and put the lid back on for 30 seconds to allow it to melt. Add the parsley and shake the pan well to distribute, then season gently and serve immediately, discarding any mussels which remain closed.

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

august 23, 2012

Farmer’s markets and farmstands are brimming with summer’s bounty right now – and Chappaqua is no exception.

Crates are overflowing with tomatoes, cherry, Mexican, heirloom, orange, plum and otherwise…there are ridiculous amounts of basil, cucumbers, squash and eggplant.

Try to think beyond this weekend’s dinner menu – and buy extra so you can enjoy LOCAL summer fruits and vegetables this winter.

This is the time of year to buckle down and make sauces to freeze or can. Buy some ground lamb from Stone Barns to make a mean ragu that’ll warm your bones come January.

Make sure to pick up some spices from Spice Revolution for pickling! Turn workaday cucumbers into bread and butter pickles…or make your own dilly beans!

Make your own tomato or peach salsa guaranteed to put a warm summer smile on your face in dreary February.

You’ve got access to great ingredients…all you need is a little time – and isn’t that what the last days of summer are for?

Need some hand-holding to walk you through it? Check out these very useful cookbooks:
“Preserving: The Canning and Freezing Guide for All Seasons” (William Morrow) by Pat Crocker
“Stocking Up: America’s Classic Preserving Guide” (Rodale) , by Carole Hupping, now in its third edition!

And after being so industrious, treat yourself to a relaxing al fresco market dinner: just about everything at the market can be thrown on the grill, from plums and scallops to corn and pork chops! Bon appetit!

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

august 16, 2012

Sending your offspring off to college in the next couple of weeks? Why not pack a little goodie bag from the market as a reminder of home…Clean Ridge Soap Co. will be here this weekend…they make unforgettable soaps and lotions made with local herbs and flowers (like lemon verbena and lilac and more “manly” scents like cedar, too). They also make room diffusers –  which every dorm room could use, right?

Also – what college kid wouldn’t be thrilled with an assortment of Betsy’s Brownies. Or an eclectic medley of protein-packed nuts. nut butters  and locally-roasted coffee from Tierra Farm? Or herbal teas from Stone Barns & jams and honey from Honey Locust Farmhouse to sweeten up those first mornings away from home.

And, we’ve got just the thing to carry all these homegrown goodies in – our new grasshopper-green Chappaqua Farmers Market tote bags which we are selling at the market tent for only $5. Be among the first to sport one of these bags around town….

Madura has some interesting “snake” squash this week. They are pretty enough to be ornamental – to wear as a headdress or grace your mantle. But they also are perfect for cold summer squash soup – though you do have to peel their thick skins!

Lots of heirloom TOMATOES at the market this week. Make SURE you buy some mozzarella and basil to go with them. Don’t forget – tomatoes are also great for gazpacho, canning and great little vessels for stuffing, too!

The Morgiewicz Produce tent is brimming with their late-summer harvest: eggplant, zucchini, fingerlings (great roasted with fish!) and more. Newgate Farms has gorgeous beets and heirlooms, too.

I know many of you have been missing Buddhapesto’s pesto sauce. But have you tried the PURPLE BASIL PESTO from Honey Locust Farmhouse? Swing by the tent for a taste…I’ll let you be the judge.

See you at the market!


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

August 10, 2012

Consider the oyster…

Have you ever seen anything so inherently ugly that tastes so delicious? The same goes for sea urchin, artichokes and kohlrabi. Sometimes you just have to look – far – beyond the physical appearance of certain foods to experience something truly sublime.

And so it goes with heirloom tomatoes which are notoriously hideous: bulbous, cracked, misshapen and occasionally off-color. While they may not look as pretty as your standard supermarket tomato, their flavor is exceptional. Some of them are firm and sweet enough to bite into like an apple. They are a fruit, after all. All that is required is a smattering of salt. And because heirlooms (Newgate Farms and Honey Locust Farmhouse) are tomato royalty, only the finest salt will do. Fortunately, Linzi Fastiggi from Spice Revolution will be at the market this week with her Fleur de Sel, the gourmet French sea salt she reserves for heirlooms

Madura Farms will have some small artichokes – though only a few. Steam them stem end up until tender – about 35- 45 minutes. Why not throw some lemon grass or ginger or garlic cloves, rosemary or thyme into the boiling water to give the globs an aromatic twist? You can also top trimmed baby artichokes with herbs, bread crumbs and olive oil. wrap them (generously) in foil paper and bake them for 35 – 60 minutes. Serve with a classic vinaigrette…or a tangy garlic aioli.  Whatever dressing you choose, the fun is in the un-dressing.

Hope to see you at the market in between rain drops and thunder claps. If the heirlooms can make it to the market…so can you!

 

august 2, 2012

…fritters
…bread
…salad (with shrimp!)
…souffle
…chowder

Raw or cooked, corn is a great source of vitamins A & C and it’s packed with anti-oxidants and amino acids. It’s also just plain fun to eat. Did you know that each ear of corn averages about 800 kernels in 16 rows?

There will be piles of corn at the market this Saturday.
Although there’s nothing wrong with corn on the cob (cooked still in the husk, of course) try and think outside the box!

Here is  our resident chef Maria Reina’s recipe for chilled corn soup with basil oil (yum):
Chef Maria’s Cold Corn Soup w/Basil Oil
Makes about 1½ quarts
SOUP
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, plus more
¼ teaspoon finely ground White Pepper
1 cup White Onion, ¼”dice
5 ears of Corn, shucked and cut in half

BASIL OIL
1 bunch Basil, leaves removed
Zest ½ Lemon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Soup: Over medium heat sauté the onion with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper for 5 minutes, until translucent and soft. Meanwhile grate 4 ears of corn with a box grater in a large bowl (to catch all the juice), reserving the cobs. Cut the corn of the last cob and set that corn aside in a bowl. Once the onions are soft add the grated corn, (scraping all the lovely juice with a spatula) into the pot, along with 4 cups of water and the cobs. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. After the soup has simmered for 10 minutes take it off the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cobs with tongs gently tapping them against the pot remove any corn still clinging on, before discarding them. Using an emulsion (stick) or regular blender process the soup until it’s smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add the reserved corn to the pot and let it cool completely. Place in refrigerator until completely cold.

Basil Oil: Blanche the herb leaves for 10 seconds in boiling salted water, cool immediately, and drain well. This step will keep your oil a nice bright green. Add all the ingredients to a mini food processor and puree until its blended well and the leaves are finely chopped.

Serve the soup ice cold. Just before serving drizzle the oil over the soup and top with a few finely sliced (chiffonade) basil leaves for garnish.


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

July 26, 2012

I’ve had the same thing for lunch every day this week: a slice of Bread Alone’s peasant bread toasted, and topped with two or three thick slices of tomatoes. I drizzle the tomatoes with a small amount of Kontoulis ollve oil and then add a sprinking of crunchy Celtic sea salt (from Spice Revolution). Some days, I tear a few fragrant basil leaves right on top of the tomatoes, but the sandwich is delicious enough to stand on its own. I serve it open faced because it would be a shame  to cover up this beautiful portrait of summer on a plate. I know that Harriet the Spy discovered the tomato sandwich long before I. But I think it’s safe to say that mine is vastly improved. Consider the ingredients I’m working with here – not the least of which are freshly picked tomatoes. They taste nothing like the ones that have traveled from California or even further away that you find in most stores.

This is the time of year when it’s nice to keep things simple in the kitchen. The farmers market – with its bounty of fresh, quality ingredients, from just-caught lemon sole fillets to fresh mozzarella made just hours before we open, makes it so easy to do that. Pick up some basil pesto from Honey Locust Farmhouse’s, prepared exclusively for our market with basil cut from her gardens. Toss it with some pasta for a quick meal, or add it to that tomato sandwich. Or just buy her basil and she will tell you how to make your own pesto.

And, make sure you grace your summer table with a bouquet from Grammy’s Gardens – just to complete the picture.

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