Pascale’s Blog

august 23, 2018

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Canning Ahead

There are few things that make me happier come a frigid grey day in February than to go to my downstairs freezer and pull out a Zip-Lock freezer bag filled with a vermilion sauce made of sweet late summer tomatoes. Plop in pan on a slow simmer while the pasta water is boiling and you can practically feel the sun on your skin and hear the sounds of kids jumping from a dock.

Yes, the end of summer is a busy time of year what with trying to squeeze out the last few days of unscheduled fun while also gearing up for the onslaught of September responsibilities. But do find time to make a vat of tomato sauce with the crazy amount of tomatoes at the market right now.

Talk to the farmers at the market about buying bruised tomatoes from them or ordering large quantities in advance. Then, put on some Aretha Franklin and commit an entire afternoon to making sauce. You’ll be so glad you did come winter and the kids come home from college looking for homespun cooking. Never done this before? Check out this tutorial from thekitchn.com

tomatosauce Continue reading august 23, 2018

august 9, 2018

HeaderWinter81118bEating close to the earth

I’ll never forget the first time Dominique Debroux, of Anna Maria’s Foods, came to see me at the Hastings Farmer’s Market to introduce me to her line of savory jams. She came prepared with some hard cheese and a spoon and plenty of family pride, and rightfully so. One taste of her heady radicchio marmalade and I was hooked.

And, convinced that her products are perfect for a farmer’s market as they are meant to pair so many of the foods we sell at the market from artisanal charcuterie and cheeses, to all the pastured meats. Her red bell pepper jam, for example, is just the thing to eat with McGrath Cheese Co.’s Rascal cheese. The jam holds a hint of cherry pepper heat and “leaves your mouth warm without assaulting it,” says Dominique. She likes it with hard cheeses but also as an inspired marinade for steak, lamb or chicken. She even mixes it with yogurt for breakfast.

Her bagna cauda dipping sauces are the perfect thing for all the peppers, sweet carrots and zucchini at the market right now.

cheese bagDominique named the company after her Piemontese mother, a devoted cook who taught her daughter to eat “as close to the earth as possible”. “Smell what the sun did,” my mom would say testing each piece of produce and herb the farmers offered, to see if the sun had done its job,” says Dominique. “Only rich scents assured the robust tastes that were worth eating and would inspire us to create. That is how I learned to cook in Torino, in the northwest Piemonte region of Italy.”

Dominique says she created the company to share the recipes of her childhood but also to honor the traditions of her mother and her great-grandfather, who was a chef for the Savoy family, the last royals of Italy.

I imagine that both her savory and sweet jams (strawberry rose, for example)  would be delectable on any biscuit from Brooklyn Biscuit Co. back this week and now here most Saturdays (except the first Saturday of the month). You know the drill if you want to score one of their breakfast sandwiches: Get. There. Early. And, if you can’t, there’s always a breakfast pie at the Dough Nation pizza truck. Did you know you can ask for a farm-fresh egg to be cracked atop any of their market pies? Ask Rob the pizza chef and he will accommodate.

pizzabiscuit2La Petite Occasion is back this week. Our knife sharpener is away with his son who just made the All American College Rugby team.He’ll be back next month, when it’ll be time to start pruning your garden again.

See you at the market!

august 2, 2018

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Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes

What is it about the tomatoes this year? They are so flavorful. It’s like they sucked up all the sunshine that’s been doled out so sparingly this summer. Do thunderstorms make them thrive? No matter the reason, buy lots and eat as many as you can while you can.

I’ve been slicing Sun Sprout Farm’s cherry tomatoes and layering them on a slice of Wave Hill’s sliced French country bread that’s been slathered with McGrath’s Cheese Co.’s queso fresco. Top with mint or arugula instead of basil for something different.

quesoLove a good BLT but don’t do bacon anymore? Try an “ELT” – replace the bacon with a sliced hard-boiled egg from Letterbox Farm. Make sure to use head lettuce from Black Creek Farm and make this sandwich on sliced pain de mie from Bien Cuit for extra deliciousness. Continue reading august 2, 2018

july 26, 2018

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Show up for Shishitos

It’s mid-summer and that means shishito peppers, fairy tale eggplant are finally at the market. Blistered Shishito peppers, (look for them at both the Sun Sprout and Letterbox farmstands) sprinkled with coarse salt, are the perfect accompaniment to grilled steak (from Stone and Thistle Farm), or, as a snack to nibble on before dinner on the deck. Like radishes, you hold by the stem and eat.

But don’t just drop them in your mouth: one out of ten of these thumb-size grass-green peppers is alarmingly hot. No way to tell which pepper is hotter than the rest, so best to nibble first. It’s all part of the fun of eating shishitos.

shishitoeggplantsSun Sprout Farm will have fairy-tale eggplant this week. These are the Thumbelina-sized eggplant with the gorgeous purple and white striping. As with zucchini, the more “petite” the eggplant the more they deliver on flavor. This recipe from thekitchn.com is perfect for these summer market darlings. Continue reading july 26, 2018

july 19, 2018

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Pretty Pretty Plums

Tart and sweet, juicy colorful plums are truly a summer treasure. Few fruits taste as delicious out of hand as they do out of the oven as the plum. Plums are just as perfect in a cocktail, as they are roasted on flatbread with burrata cheese. Or simply roasted whole to eat with yogurt or ice cream.

Here’s an “oldie but goodie” collection of plum recipes from the now-defunct Saveur Magazine. I can tell you that the Plum-Basil Gin Fizz is a favorite at our house on July nights on the patio as is this ridiculously easy plum tart plucked from the Joy of Cooking circa 1963.

PLUMSBrooklyn Biscuit is back this week with their crazy assortment of sweet and savory biscuits and that decadent egg and bacon sandwich called the Riley, named for the gregarious farmer from Stone & Thistle who provides the eggs and bacon. Continue reading july 19, 2018

july 13, 2018

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Sugar snaps & apricots – it’s mid-summer at the market!

Sugar snaps are the stars of the edible pod peas. They are sweeter, crunchier and have more actual “pea flavor” than their peers, namely snow peas.
The “invention” of the snap pea was, in fact, the result of a happy accident. In 1969, a young breeder named Calvin Lamborn was asked to develop a snow pea with a straighter and smoother pod. After doing some cross-breeding, he spotted a rogue offshoot with a thicker pod than regular peas and immediately singled it out as a possible candidate. Years later, instead of an improved snow pea he had something much better: the sugar snap. Here’s a recipe that really showcases this summer treat – and this refreshing snap pea salad is inspired by one served at Restaurant Maialino in the Gramercy Hotel.

snap peasIt’s such a beautiful convergence when the apricots and peaches turn up at the market together. I can’t think of a better way to honor the pitch-perfect pairing than with this Food52 recipe. Have you ever seen anything so pretty? Continue reading july 13, 2018

july 5, 2018

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Packed to the Gills

If you think scheduling your family vacation is tough, just imagine what it’s like juggling the schedules of a hundred different vendors between five farmer’s markets. Of course, you have your weekly vendors, your tried and true favorites who provide the market staples like bread, coffee, cheese, produce, fish and, yes, flowers and pie – two weekly musts in my book.

Then you have your rotating vendors. They’re the ones who add the “spice” to the market, as it were, the more unusual items that you wouldn’t necessarily buy every week. There are weeks when, as the schedule falls, we have more than most. This is one of those weeks. You DO NOT want to miss the market this week.

piebugchoc Continue reading july 5, 2018

june 28, 2018

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Slender carrots, meaty mushrooms and clever sausage

I love the way they stack their carrots at Sun Sprout Farm. The color block of bright orange provides such a pop of color against their wall of forest greens. Each carrot is like a stalk of art. And the taste? Sweet, clean and crunchy when eaten raw. Sweet smooth and silky when cooked on the grill or in a pan. Lately, I’ve enjoyed tossing them on the grill with their stems. They are particularly delicious if they get a nice char and theirs are the perfect size to eat from the stem.

This is when the carrots really shine at the market so you should give them their due in the kitchen. These recipes should do just that.carrotsbunch Continue reading june 28, 2018

june 22, 2018

Header62118Now we’re talkin…

Ok. So we’ve leapfrogged right into summer. The proof is in the bins at Caradonna Farms where you can find lots of zucchini this weekend as well as sweet cherries.

Yes. Sweet. Cherries.

Let me count the ways. You could go savory, by tossing pitted sweet cherries in a bright summer salad as in this NY Times recipe. Or, by roasting your balsamic-drenched cherries for about twenty minutes, and then working them into your next summer grilled cheese sandwich.

And of course, there’s always cherry clafoutis. A sentimental favorite I never tire of championing. The French often rarely pit the cherries for this recipe because, they claim, the pits actually impart a slight almond flavor to this flan-style dessert. Up to you which way you want to go.

cherryrecipes Continue reading june 22, 2018