Pascale’s Blog

july 5, 2012

When it gets this hot, all I can think about is ingesting foods that make my body temperature plummet. Chopped salads, smoothies (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches and plums made with yogurt or ice cream or just ice cubes and juice) served in frosty parfait glasses and gazpachos. Our produce stalls are bursting with gazpacho goodness right now. There’s classic tomato, of course, though a yellow tomato gazpacho always makes an impression.

I found this recipe for a cucumber and spinach gazpacho that is as righteous as it is delicious and oh, soooo cooling! (cucumbers are packed with water to keep you hydrated!) I found it in Fit Pregnancy magazine – so you know it’s good for you. You should be able to find all of the ingredients at the market on Saturday – save for the pita bread and chicken stock.

Recipe ingredients
2 8-inch whole-wheat pita breads
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices French white bread, crusts removed
1 garlic clove
3 ⁄4 cup low-sodium chicken stock, plus additional stock to taste
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus more to taste
2 pounds Persian cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1⁄2 cup diced mild onion, such as Vidalia
kosher salt, to taste

Recipe directions
1. To make pita toasts, set a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Lightly brush both sides of one pita bread with 1⁄2 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast bread in skillet 3 to 4 minutes each side, until crisp. Break into pieces with your hands. Set aside.

2. To make the soup, soak French bread in water for 3 to 4 minutes. Squeeze water from bread and place the slices in a blender with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic. Add some of the chicken broth and buttermilk and blend to make a paste. add half of the cucumber, half the spinach, half the basil and half of the onion and blend again. Stop blender and using a wooden spoon, push ingredients down. Blend again. Continue adding the ingredients until all have been incorporated. add salt, additional broth or buttermilk to taste.

Chill for 1 hour and up to 24 hours before serving.

3. To serve, divide soup into 4 chilled bowls, garnish with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil and serve with rustic pita toasts alongside.

Coach Farms will be back NEXT WEEK. Sorry for the inconvenience but they’ve been having some staffing issues.

In the meanwhile, try Joe’s amazing mozarella – always made fresh day of market.


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

june 28, 2012

By the time I got home from the Irvington Farmers Market Wednesday night it was well past 9 p.m. My kids were away so I could have easily gotten away with a bowl of yogurt and Concklin blueberries for dinner. Or even skipped dinner at that point. A long afternoon in the blaring sun tends to dull my appetite. But the folks at Pura Vida had given me a tiny piece of blue fish because it was so fresh, they said, it might as well have swum up the Saw Mill Parkway. I couldn’t be bothered at that time of day to make a sauce. Besides, blue fish has so much character on its own, it needs no enhancement. In fact, if anything, it needs a little softening – a nice buffering mound of couscous or better yet, some orzo or lemon pasta from Flour City Pasta. I took my glistening piece of fish, put it in my tiny oval copper pan (a hand-me-down from my dad’s restaurant days) drizzled it with olive oil (from Kontoulis, naturally) and some brightening lemon, added some salt and pepper and fresh thyme. I was about to pop it in the oven when I saw those plump, inviting tomatoes from Newgate Farm and that zucchini and onion from Madura and Morgiewicz on my kitchen counter…and I was reminded of what my mother used to do with fish on a hot summer night. She’d slice some tomato, zucchini and onion (all in rounds of similar size and as thin as the knife would allow). Then she’d simply layer them onto the fish (works with a whole fish or any fillet). One row or column of tomatoes, alternating with one row of zucchini and one row of thin onion circles. I always helped her with this task because it felt a bit like an art project. It took five minutes longer to prepare but when the fish was cooked (about 25-30 minutes) it felt as though Provence had just blown through my front door. The flavorful buttery orzo from Flour City Pasta? Icing. Long days working in the blaring sun? Well worth it…

Don’t forget: the knife sharpener will be at the market tomorrow.

Hope you are all enjoying the goat cheese from Coach Farm!

And, in case you haven’t heard, Roaming Angus will now be coming every week.

Enjoy your weekend!


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

june 21, 2012

Celebrate summer with: fresh fish on the grill with your favorite homemade salsa (why not strawberry?) sweet and chubby blueberries atop your favorite ice cream, a goat cheese, cherry tomato and arugula salad sprinkled with caramelized pistachios, a panoply of vegetables oiled and scored for the grill (the zucchini is in!).

Spice master Linzi Fastiggi is on the Great Lawn this weekend always generous with her cooking tips and samples of housemade exotic chocolate barks.

Fork & Glass is also back this week with her outrageous tacos. In Hastings last week, I swooned at her sweet potato, pickled onion and black bean taco in a blue corn tortilla and it had nothing to do with the heat!

Honey Locust Farm will be bringing their just-picked blackberries to the market this week. Can’t wait to taste these first-of-the-season jewels.

Also: please welcome nutritionists Amy Santo and Samantha Jacobs of Your Secret Ingredient who will be preparing a fantastic “spring-up” salad using only market ingredients that will all be readily available on Saturday (walnuts, Coach Farm goat cheese, radishes and spinach). Make sure you pick up their clever handout that features 5 seasonal recipes each requiring 5 ingredients from the farmers market! Got to love that!

Stay cool – and worry not – it will not be this hot on Saturday….


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

june 14, 2012

Cherries at the market! Already? I had to a double take last week when I saw them lined up at the Orchards of Concklin table. Honey Locust Farmhouse had some, too, spilling out of a bucket on its side, with a hand-scrawled sign inviting shoppers to scoop up a carton for $3. The calendar hasn’t quite made summer official yet, but the orchards and fields have a mind of their own this year. Take advantage of this early bumper crop to dig up some of your favorite cherry recipes.

My standby is cherry clafouti – so easy, so rustic, so French! My mother used to make this cake/pudding with suspended cherries all the time when I was growing up. And my father likes to tell the story of clambering over his neighbor’s stone wall in the south of France to pilfer low-lying cherries for his mother’s clafouti  — which he preferred to eat for breakfast.

Now, when my girls go to visit my parents in California every summer, my mother makes it for them. Sometimes with plums or apricots, but mostly with sweet, fleshy ruby-red cherries. My favorite picture is one of my daughters standing in their bikinis and on their tippy, tippy toes staring through the wall oven door to see if Mamie’s clafouti is ready!

Here’s a recipe, from Julia Child, naturellement!
Read more: http://tiny.cc/cxywfw

Of course, cherries are also fantastic in salads – especially salads made with goat cheese, pistachios, arugula and sliced chicken or duck breast. You’re in luck: COACH Farms – the famous goat cheese purveyors from Chatham, New York are coming to the market this week. They will be bringing fresh goat cheese discs, plain & dusted in herbes de provence and aged goat cheese logs as well as their award-winning triple cream tower with the textured rind. They will bring a small amount of goat yogurts and milk but are happy to bring more if there is a demand.

So – if you’re interested – don’t be afraid to ask!

And speaking of cheese…sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a cheese rut. For a long time, for example, I was hooked on the Chaource from Amazing Real Live Food Co. Then I tried the Tomme and wondered what took me so long. To lure you out of your rut, the folks at Amazing Real Live are discounting all of their cheeses by a $1 a pound this week. So splurge and try and few!What dad wouldn’t want a fantastic cheese tray on Father’s Day?

Don’t forget to stop at Gaia’s Breath for some great cuts of pork and veal to put on the grill – including some crazy delicious veal rosemary garlic sausage. Stone Barns also has an entire panoply of pork, chicken and lamb to put a smile on dad’s face this Sunday.

Between the two of them, Bombay Emerald Chutney and Spice Revolution should have some interesting condiments and rubs to jazz up your Father’s Day feast.

This Saturday  is the day Kontoulis Olive Oil comes to visit.  if you still have your bottle from last month bring it with you to market and save a little cash while you’re saving the planet.

Some housekeeping:
We want to remind you that when other farmers markets shut down or cut back during the winter, we are the market that stays open 52 weeks a year, always at the ready to provide you with fresh local greens, cheese, pastured meats and fresh fish and all this with a smile and a welcoming atmosphere.

Please continue to support your favorite vendors during the summer months, too. We can only be your year-round market if we get your year-round support!


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

june 7, 2012

When you go to the fish section of a grocery store, even the one at Whole Foods, you can pretty much expect to find the same fish whether you’re in Montana or Maine and whether it’s January or June: salmon, halibut, cod…

But when you buy your fish at the farmers market, the selection of the day all depends on your fisherman’s haul. This week, Capt. Rick of Pura Vida Fishery caught a ridiculous amount of porgy (also known as sea bream). They were practically jumping onto the boat. If you’ve never tried this fish, which local fishmongers call the ‘snapper of the Hamptons” you should pick some up this weekend. It’s one of those workhorse, full-flavored and flaky fish that shines when baked.

Here’s a recipe from one of my favorite Brit chefs – dame Delia Smith:
Ingredients
1 whole sea bream, weighing 1¼-1½ lbs, (scaled and cleaned – just like the Captain sells them)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced into 2-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato purée
½ oz pitted black olives
1 heaped tablespoon capers
1 rounded tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (or basil would work, too)
2 oz (50 g) cherry tomatoes, left whole and unpeeled salt and freshly milled black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375F,

Method
First of all wipe the fish with some kitchen paper, then make three diagonal cuts across it (on both sides) and brush lightly with a little oil. Season well with salt and freshly-milled black pepper, then place it in a shallow roasting tin and transfer it to the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a medium-sized frying-pan, then add the shallots and pepper and soften then over a medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the garlic and cooking for another couple of minutes. Next add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, olives and capers, and sprinkle in the oregano and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or so – giving it all a stir now and then – and after that add the whole cherry tomatoes, and continue cooking until the cherry tomatoes have softened but not lost their shape.

After 20 minutes check to see if the fish is cooked – the flesh should be opaque and firm – or give it a further five minutes if necessary. To serve, divide the fish slices, the top fillet for one person, then remove the backbone and serve the bottom fillet for the other.

Spoon the sauce over and serve with new potatoes.

 

 

 

We are well into June, so please look for beets, carrots and sugar snap peas coming to market.

Also: Stone Barns is now bringing some gorgeous field flower bouquets should have you any special graduations or parties to go to this weekend. They are also bringing a small selection of herbal teas.

Renee’s Jams will be bringing some new jams like white chocolate and raspberry and blueberry cinnamon jam.

Oh, and Linzi Fastiggi from Spice Revolution will be here, too. No doubt she’ll be brimming with ideas on how to “spice up” your sea bream.

See you at the market!


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

May 31, 2012

Sophie Morgiewicz, the white-haired matriarch of Morgiewicz Produce, called me bright and early Thursday morning before my second cup of coffee.
“Don’t you want to know what we’ll have on the truck this week?”
I love it that even after 60 years of farming, the sight of spring spinach and chard still makes Sophie giddy as a schoolgirl. Garlic scapes make me giddy, and Sophie says she’ll have plenty of those, as will other farmers at market.
I took a walk through my cookbook collection and trolled the internet to look for scape recipes. Is there life beyond scape pesto? I came across a website seriouseats.com where a guest blogger named Umami Girl had lots to say about these curly heads of spring garlic plants. Check our her recipe for scape hummus, or scapes on the grill. There’s even mention of including garlic scapes in your wedding bouquet (wish I’d thought of that).

In addition to scapes, there will be lots of rosy strawberries and long-legged rhubarb and lettuces of all shades at market this week. The bins should also be brimming with radishes (delicious with buttered rustic loaf bread and salt).

Big Girl Bakery is here with her signature lemon tart (which got raves in the NYT), granola, biscotti and flourless chocolate torts.

Gaia’s Breath is bringing their veal pastrami and veal sausage. If they have their veal meatballs make sure you grab some!

The market will also be brimming with community spirit.

Air Force veteran Bob Coulombe, who is doing his part to improve the life of sick and wounded veterans, will be collecting your discarded musical instruments, art supplies, exercise mats and electronic games to distribute to the Physical Therapy Units of several area Veterans Hospitals including the Bronx, Fort Hamilton, Montrose and Castle Point. Please clean out your garages and attics for this noble cause and drop off your donations at the market’s Chamber of Commerce tent.

Folks from Energize New Castle will also be here to tell you how to cut down on your energy costs (so you can spend more at the market).

Also this is the week that free yoga returns to the market. Every Saturday at 9 a.m. Breath Pilates & Yoga will be offering a complimentary class to anyone who want to hit the mat before buying local.

Namaste! and see you at the market!


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

May 24, 2012

Dear Shoppers,

It may say Memorial Day on your calendar but everyone knows what it really means is Grilling Season Begins NOW.

Hopefully, you’ve all scraped the remnants of your last fall bbq off your grill, filled your propane tank and are ready to go. Your next step is coming to the farmers market where you will find everything you need to kick off the backyard cooking season. Roaming Angus and Stone Barns should have you covered in terms of pastured meats from lamb burgers to pork loin. Why not skewer some of those insanely delicious Pura Vida scallops wedged between a slice of lemon and a piece of fennel and put them on the grill? Serve with some grilled spring onions and some aromatic rice and, voila! you’ve got the perfect, healthy and light al fresco dinner.

Read my lips: spring veggies taste great on the grill. If you like kale chips, then throw those giant kale leaves on the grill after spraying them with a bit of olive oil. Ditto with bok choy and even spring carrots (helps to parboil them first).

Fortunately, when it comes to vegetables, the Chappaqua Farmers Market also has your back. Morgiewicz returned to the market last week. They don’t have the greenhouse infrastructure that some vendors have. What they do have is the first of the spring vegetables, from radishes to lettuces, picked at their peak by farmers that go back five generations.

Newgate Farms, also a family-run farm, has some lovely hanging flower baskets to add some flourish to your deck. Did I say flourish? Flourish Bakery is back next week with their amazing array of “vegetable baked goods.”

This week, Renee’s Jams is here, ready to add some serious zip to your humdrum Sunday morning toast. And Fork & Glass will have Norwegian “Gourmet” Hot Dogs made with Stone Barns All Natural Hot Dogs topped with Shrimp Salad and Crispy Onions as well as Scandinavian Potato Salad, Nordic Beet Burgers and chicken and pulled pork tacos to eat on the spot.

See you at the market!


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

May 17, 2012

Dear Shoppers,

Strawberries and rhubarb?
Been there. Done that.

How about strawberries and balsamic vinegar? On a warm spring day, it makes for a much lighter and more intriguing dessert than pie or strawberry shortcake. Not just any balsamic vinegar, of course. Preferably one that’s been aged 12 years and brought to you by Demetra Kontoulis, our resident olive oil queen. It just so happens Demetra Kontoulis will be here this Saturday with her elegant glass bottles of olive oil (and jars of tapenade) and balsamic vinegar, too. If you’ve never tried this happy combination, it’s easy.

Here is Mark Bittman’s method, adapted from the New York Times.
Strawberries With Balsamic Vinegar
Yield 4 to 6 servings
Time 15 minutes

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar will not hold for any length of time. You can sugar the berries an hour or two before serving them, but no longer. Sprinkle on the vinegar and pepper, very judiciously, just before serving. Feel free to mix in some blackberries or blueberries for color; their addition is a striking one. The berries, of course, can be served solo, but for an even more elegant presentation, add a few crisp cookies or a slice of pound, sponge or angel food cake.

Ingredients

1 quart strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint blackberries or blueberries, optional
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh mint leaves for garnish, optional

Method

1. Toss strawberries and other berries, if using, with the 1/4 cup sugar, and let sit for 10 minutes or longer. Do not refrigerate.
2. Sprinkle with the vinegar; toss gently, then taste and add more sugar or vinegar if necessary. Sprinkle with the pepper, toss again, and serve, garnished with the mint, if you like. Spoon into a glass or bowl, and serve next to cookies or a piece of cake.

There will also be plenty of rhubarb at the market this week. Rhubarb doesn’t need berries to be at home in a tart, crumble or pie. It, does, however need sugar and lots of it to balance out its sour and acidic tendencies.Back in 2000 BC, the Chinese used rhubarb (which is actually an herb in the sorrel family) as medicine.But, these days, we appreciate rhubarb for its piercing red flavor.

Here’s what one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver, has to say about rhubarb:
“Rhubarb has an amazing flavour spectrum – one that floats, skips, jumps and crashes right over your tongue, from the front to the sides and back again! It’s incredibly refreshing, so eating rhubarb is a great way to finish your meal. As rhubarb goes so well with sweet, rich flavours, it is a favourite ingredient for British desserts. Sponges, puddings, pastries and tarts all go hand in hand with rhubarb, but its classic friendship is with vanilla custard. A genius combination, whether the two flavours are rippled together in ice cream, or are served simply as a bowl of hot stewed rhubarb and custard.” It only takes five minutes to stew up some rhubarb, adds Oliver, “so it’s a beautiful thing  to serve for breakfast, either stirred into cold Greek yogurt, with lovely toasted oats sprinkled over the top, or spooned over the top of pancakes. Stewed rhubarb compote is great alongside meat, in the same way a Chinese plum sauce works with duck.”

Why not pick some up to serve with some Gaia’s Breath or Stone Barns’ pastured meats?

By the way, By the Way Bakery is back for their monthly summer visit this week.

The weather should be lovely. Enjoy the market this weekend….


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

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