Guest blogger: Lisa Fulmer, an artist, crafter, teacher and writer, as well as a marketing consultant and president of the Concord Art Association in the San Francisco Bay Area tells us: “I love to cook, but I’m not so thrilled with my kitchen. It’s small with very little counter space and no dishwasher. So more…
Farmers harvest, taste is first.
Have pictures of your favorite CSA or farmer’s market harvest? Share them with us.
I have to admit, I agonized considerably about whether or not to write this post. After a glorious root vegetable winter, I have been craving greens. The greenhouse pea tendrils have provided a welcome offset to the rich browns and oranges of the parsnips, potatoes, turnips, and carrots that have dominated my menus for months. But just as the scattered balmy March day makes us New Englanders greedy for consistent warmth, my anticipation for lettuces, asparagus, and other early spring greens has heightened to a bit of spring fever.
The beautiful bounty of rainbow chard in Barbara’s Easter post elevated my cravings further. But this is a blog about seasonal eating, I thought to myself. And I know that the local chard is still safely tucked inside greenhouses, sheltered from the vagaries of Boston spring, like the snow showers that arrived this morning.
In the end, my desire for the chard outweighed my hesitations. After all, I rationalized, part of writing about seasonal eating surely includes noting when you fall off the bandwagon. So I brought out a recipe, inspired by this Martha Rose Shulman one in the New York Times, that’s been a standby all winter: soba noodles with veggies and double cheese. Cooking my way through the winter CSA share, I’ve used kale and butternut squash (late fall), diced roasted turnips (all winter), and now sauteed swiss chard. The result was delicious – hearty (and healthy) from the buckwheat noodles and chard, fragrant with sauteed garlic, and just the right bite from melty cubes of gruyere cheese. If I’m going to dive early into spring, this was a great transition dish!
Let me know your favorite versatile recipes – and what foods take you off the seasonal path.
Happy Easter! Patrick is 15 and no longer eats candy (what??) so the best thing for me to do was to go to the Farmer’s Market and get FOOD!
This morning Jim texted on the way back from a rustic school trip with Patrick, bemoaning the fact that he has been without wine and red meat for five days. I knew how to fix that! My first stop was at the Stemple Creek Ranch booth at the Marin Farmer’s Market. Loren and Lisa Poncia have grass fed lambs and cows on a beautiful ranch in Tomales that has been in their family for over 100 years. I need to trust where the meat I feed my family comes from, so I always feel good when I get to buy from our friends at Stemple Creek.
Jim and I have gone semi-paleo, so I have been cooking a lot of sweet potatoes. You would think they have more sugar in them, but in fact, they have less of a glycemic load than regular potatoes. To accompany our Stemple Creek filets tonight, I plan on roasting some cubed sweet potatoes in coconut oil with some salt, cinnamon and cumin, then when they are almost done, I will throw in some chopped Swiss Chard. It’s so yummy.
I think I found some:
Whether you are enjoying an Easter egg hunt with your children, digging in the garden or just taking a walk in your neighborhood, I hope you are out enjoying yourself in this glorious weather.
Happy Sunday and I hope you find some wonderful fresh food to enjoy today!
Last week marked the end of our winter CSA. For the past 12 weeks, our box has been packed with turnips, cabbage, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and squash, all lovingly preserved in Siena Farm’s root cellar. Nestled alongside these root and storage crops has been a weekly shot of bright green, from the pea tendrils carefully cultivated inside the greenhouse. Daikon radishes (amazing in stews and fritters) made periodic appearances, and I fell in love with kohlrabi and celeriac, two vegetables whose hairy, bumpy, unfamiliar exteriors had previously kept them from my grocery cart. One week even brought a surprise crop of kalettes, discovered flourishing in the field in this weirdly warm winter.
I’ve always been insistent (despite Jonathan’s sometimes protest) that pots of chili have no place in our summer rotation, and despite the occasional appearance of peaches and plums in our grocery store in February, stone fruits should not be purchased in New England winter. However, this is the first time our family has been truly challenged to live within our seasonal means. We’ve had access to the bounty grown and harvested at a farm much larger than we could manage ourselves. Yet our weekly culinary fate was still dictated by the productivity of those nearby fields and the farmer’s ability to plan, coax, preserve, and extend their Yankee yield.
Through winter meals dominated by soups, stews, and fritters in endless variety of root vegetables, I’ve felt deeply connected to how people used to sustain and nourish themselves and their families. I’ve stretched my creativity, scouring old favorites and discovering new cookbooks and online resources to guide me as I prepared turnips, potatoes, and carrots a dozen different ways. Parsnips have been part of hearty vegetable stews, paired with potatoes as oven fries (very popular with my kids), and the base of several delicious desserts – my favorite, a parsnip cake we ate at Thanksgiving. My willingness to dive into (and often riff off of) any recipe has resulted in some spectacular culinary flops, for which my family has been very forgiving. We’ve also had some incredible meals and developed some new favorites.
What may be perceived as a more “limited” pantry actually resulted in a far more diverse menu. For sure there have been weeks when I was jealous of the cauliflower and asparagus Barbara was finding at the Marin farmer’s market. We haven’t eaten tomatoes (other than canned) in months, and I miss them. And we’ve certainly allowed a few non-seasonal items into the house, most notably strawberries and bananas, as their absence might incite riot. Yet on balance, eating with the seasons, even in winter, has been an incredible, fulfilling, grounding experience. Yes, my anticipation of spring, with its promise of early lettuces, radishes, and garlic scapes, is heightened. But as my box slowly fills with more of the light green that signals seasonal rebirth, I just might find myself missing those turnips. And that shows true growth.
As you cook on through the seasons, let us know what brings deliciousness and connection to your plates.
Despite the cool weather rain, the Farmer’s Market was abuzz with news of fresh asparagus. I quickly added a bunch to my bounty from today’s shopping spree.
I like to chop them in bite sizes, stir fry in olive oil, then add salt, tarragon, and lemon juice or lemon rind.
What’s your favorite way to cook asparagus? Tell us in the comments!
I went to the Marin County Farmer’s Market this past Sunday. A beautiful sunny day in early February with fresh vegetables galore. How can it have been freezing and raining the week before and yet tomatoes and avocados were for sale?
Recalling it IS still winter, I loaded up on Romanesco cauliflower, carrots and potatoes.
I found an amazing fish booth with salmon caught just outside the Golden Gate. Speaking with the fisherman himself was an exciting experience.
Nothing tastes better than local fresh ingredients cooked in your kitchen!
One of the great treats of my winter CSA box has been the regular bags full of pea shoots. While I am becoming quite proficient and resourceful in utilizing root vegetables in a wide variety of recipes, the brightness of the pea shoots offers an easier route. This pea shoot soup, adapted from the Australian blog delicious, is not only just that, but was made start to finish in under a half hour.
Pea tendrils also make a wonderful, delicate salad, tossed with a light vinagreatte; a perfect replacement for less available winter greens in a sandwich (I had them with turkey & brie this weekend); and perhaps my new favorite – as a topping for pasta. Jeanine at Love & Lemons has a delicious pea tendril and pistachio pesto recipe, which was very popular with the young residents of my household (who don’t yet quite understand why their mom won’t make traditional basil pesto year-round). Another welcome version for all my eaters, big and little alike, was based on a suggestion from Susan Turner, the ever-resourceful Siena Farms CSA coordinator: