Pascale’s Blog

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

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