Saturday, August 29, 2009

Truck Harvest, Car Preserve

Farming and food preservation aren't just for country folk. This Brooklyn truck farm and Seattle dashboard dehydration prove it.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Exercise your right to choose: Don't rely on Key Food for your health and happiness this winter!


I know that the rain is making a little corner of your brain consider skipping the farmer's market this weekend. But then you'd be missing pickled chipotle coriander corn rounds!

The corn is finally super sweet, and these niblets are terribly delicious. They dress up any old meal in a flash: from creamy black bean soup to whipped yam.

The veggie burgers this week contain NY state Cayuga beans, lots of kale, shitakes, and other good things.

Like postal delivery, we'll be there with corn rounds, no matter the weather!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I'm such a geek these days, that I talk over the subtleties of bran with my friends. Well really, just nuka bran. (That's pronounced "nukaaah," not "nuka.")

The same customer/friend who brought me hiyayakko the other day brought me a present of pickles this week: shallow nuka pickled cucumber, picked from his garden that morning, and buried in nuka for only a few hours. I love that I'm not the only person in this little town with a nuka bed, and that there are people to trade tips with. Since "daughter may take some of her mother's nukatoko when she marries" doesn't really fit in my life, it's nice to have someone to discuss challenges and successes with. And if "housewife [is] going to be away for more than a day or two, she entrust[s] her pickle pot to a neighbor" isn't exactly the scenario, either, maybe we could take care of each others nuka beds when traveling—like a good cat sitter! There is interesting history to this method, and ritual, and is one of those foods that really makes you believe that patience and waiting and getting-to-know make a difference.

If the daily maintenance of keeping a nuka bed sounds intimidating to you, you can salt the top and put in the refrigerator for periods of time. Or, you can head to my friend Youko's restaurant in New Paltz, Gomen Kudasai, and taste some nuka pickles there.

Thanks to Okonomiyaki for the images.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When I think of squash blossoms, my first association is with Navajo necklaces. Everyone else thinks of stuffed and fried yellow flowers. Here I give you stuffed and fried. Wear good jewelry while you eat!

Monday, August 17, 2009

This Means It's Time to Join

Labor Day is almost here...

Sunday, August 16, 2009


The argument rages on about whether nut cheese is "really" cheese. I couldn't care less about what makes cheese official....this is amazing stuff.

Our own Dr. Cow (a.k.a. Veronica and Pablo) are profiled on G Living about their non-dairy tree nut cheese making process. Come to market on Saturday and try raw aged cashew nut cheese for yourself (the eating, not the making).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spoiled with Food

I am lucky to have this job. One reason that's true is the great people I get to meet. One couple who are wintergreens regulars at the market are passionate about tofu, saying that the tofu we sell is the best they've had in the U.S. (though still not comparable to Japanese tofu quality). One of them came by after the market was closed today to tell me about hiyayakko preparations for tofu, and to make me an on-the-spot cool lunch on a really hot day. How sweet is that?

Then I had the pleasure of going to a guacamole competition/party, thrown by another market-goer who takes her guacamole VERY seriously. I'd gotten the date confused and didn't have traditional ingredients, so made Korean guacamole, with a lot of kimchee chopped finely and mixed in to mashed avocado (what I did have available). I didn't take home the big sahuaro prize, but people were intrigued. (I must reveal my inspiration: a west coast friend had just told me that Korean tacos are all the rage there.) It was a lovely gathering, and everyone wins when there's guacamole to be had and sangria flowing.

It's great getting to know you all—and your food!Korean Guacamole
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup kim chee, diced
  • 4 tsp kim chee brine
  • 1Tbsp diced jalapeno
  • Dash of sea salt
Chop avocado then mash with a fork. Gently stir in other ingredients.

Friday, August 14, 2009


If you live in Beacon, you know all about Zora Dora's. Chef of all things frozen, Steve makes wonderful popsicles out of fresh ingredients, often local. Among my most loved, and there have been many, are salted pineapple, cucumber mint, and guanĂ¡bana. Also not shabby were the pecan rice milk one that tasted like horchata, and the avocado, of which I only had a quick lick of someone else's, because it had dairy in it. (I'll have to take that one up with him....I'm dying for a non-dairy avocado pop!)

If you're lucky, when you go they'll have some of the 50 cent minis, made only when they make too big a batch for the Brazilian popsicle machine. J'adore all things tiny, and sweets are no exception. That way, you can have more than one flavor, too.

I'm fresh out of the swimming pool, and nothing is more inspiring to me right now than a paleta. Steve has been a big part of my getting to know and trust the freezer again as a source of great flavor.

Today, that flavor will be coconut lime.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hot Tip

Just because a jalapeño happens to be gigantic, don't assume that it'll be mild. And certainly don't rub your nose after you've chopped it into your lunch.

My whole face is on fire!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Real" Pickles

There are some people who've enjoyed tasting citrus turnips and curried cauliflower, but who just don't believe a pickle is a pickle unless it once was a cucumber.

For those of you needing a pickled cuke to chomp on, traditional garlic pickles have arrived in the 'hood. Madura Farm has provided us with stacks of lovely kirbys, and they've made for crunchy, REAL, crowd-pleasers. Visit wintergreens at the Cold Spring Farmer's Market and taste for yourself.

Cured by Oil

I believe that Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation is the best pickling book in the English language. The encouragement to experiment and play works for me. That said, I like to look to traditional Japanese pickling books for specifics on methods and flavor combinations. But a little book called Quick Pickles, by some guys who run a restaurant in Massachusetts, has proven to be my favorite of the moment because of tricks like flavoring turnips with gin. Yum!

Two oil-pickle recipes in this book impressed me greatly this week. I was excited reading them, and much more worked up after tasting them: Pickled Peaches in the Style of India, which the authors have promised will get even better with age, and Pickled Eggplant with Mint and Honey, a Greek recipe.

Because you've already used all your peaches making tarts, I'll give you the delish eggplant recipe here.
Pickled Eggplant with Mint and Honey*
  • 1 pound small eggplants, blossom ends trimmed, cut into rounds about 3/8 inch thick
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp agave syrup (better than honey!)
  • 1/2 c or more cold pressed olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 c coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 or 3 small fresh chilies of your choice, diced. (I used cayennes to get the color as well as the spice.)
Salt eggplant slices and let stand for 30 to 45 minutes. Wipe "sweat" off slices with a towel. Preheat broiler or prepare grill.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, vinegar, and agave, combining well. Brush the mixture onto the eggplant slices, then brush on about 1/4 c of the oil. The eggplant will act like a sponge, and you want it to absorb the flavors before sealing their surfaces with oil. Place the eggplant on the grill or under the broiler until it has softened a bit, but is not fully cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove from heat, and sprinkle with the garlic, mint, zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Layer tightly into a jar with chilies and enough oil to coat everything. Cover and refrigerate, turning the jar every couple of days to distribute the oil.

These pickles are most delicious served at room temperature, and will keep for at least a month.

*Thanks to Ms. Adventures in Italy for the pickled eggplant picture.

The Basics: Greens in Winter

Many preserved treats make winter survivable for summer fiends like me, but the single most important thing for me is fresh frozen greens.

The second the growing season is over, leafy greens in the store look a little faded, have come from far away, cost too much, and don't taste inspiring. I was a skeptic about putting beautiful fresh veggies into the void world of the freezer, but learned that done right, quick braising and freezing keeps produce colorful and tasty. I not only use frozen packets of kale, choy, mustard greens, vitamin greens, and chard in recipes all winter, I eat them on their own, with a touch of lemon or oil or shoyu. They taste that good, and even retain good texture.

The quick and dirty is that you steam greens just until they're wilted, then submerge them in cold water for the same amount of time they steamed. Drain, separate into usable portions, and freeze. For the Virgos among us, here's a thorough guide.

Spending a few hours in the summer preparing greens is, I believe, what keeps me from turning green in winter. Is this the secret winter lovers have known all along?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Honor the Melon

There's a little discussion-slash-argument around these parts about how best to eat watermelon, nature's perfect food. It's wonderful cold, and beyond refreshing blended into a juice. But everyone agrees that there's not much you can do to improve watermelon.

Except, that is, to enhance a beautiful watermelon slice with a dash of salt. Many purists are horrified by this, but I admit, I'm a fan.

How do you prefer your watermelon? Straight up, or slightly salty?

Either way, enjoy a steamy August filled with sweet fruit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blight Fright

Oh, summer tomatoes! Goodbye marinara. Goodbye bruschetta. Goodbye fresh tomato sandwiches.

(Hello fruit salsas.)

The Hudson Valley's tomato crop is suffering from severe blight. Read the whole (terribly sad) story in the NYTimes and on Civil Eats.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Super crime-fighter flu-fighter elderberry coming soon to a C.S.A. near you! (Harvesting today...)

Bruised Peach Tart

The gorgeous tart pictured here was not made by me, but by C'est La Vegan. My version is super fast, super simple, and tastes amazing. Sadly, it's not quite this pretty.

Late summer tarts are one of my favorite ways of using the plethora of fruit that seems to ripen all at once. Of course, freezing some of this fruit is a great solution, too, since then you can wait until the weather's cold before you turn on the hot oven.

Either way, I find that peaches bruise easily. When I'm eating a peach, I want it to be the perfect experience of story books: juice running down my chin, with cool bright flesh of the perfect consistency. No soft, brown spots. Those peaches, still wonderfully sweet, go into tarts.

3 Minute Bruised Peach Tart

Preheat oven to 350.
  • 1 prepared pie crust
    I buy mine frozen and I'm not ashamed to admit it. If you've got the oomph, click here for a good crust recipe.
  • 2 small, imperfect peaches, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp margarine (non-hydrogenated), chopped into 8 chunks
  • 1 Tbsp unprocessed sugar
  • 1 Tbsp plain soy milk
  • 1 delicate spiral blackstrap molasses
Arrange peach slices on crust, sprinkle sugar and soy milk, and place tiny pats of margarine on top of the slices. Swirl the blackstrap molasses (magic ingredient!) on top, and fold the edges of the crust over the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling bubbling.

Cool and enjoy. Impress your loved ones with this quick treat!

Wild Blue Vacation

Thank you for the warm welcome home after vacation! A confession must be made: we spent our time away on an island covered in wild blueberries. Perhaps we should have been picking those tiny blueberries to put up for you for winter, but we were on vacation, after all, so ate to our hearts content, saved none, and left plenty for the many skunks who live there. We hope you understand!

(Our well rested heads are now working hard on making pesto from all the glorious fresh basil, and testing to see if sun dried tomatoes can happen without sun.)