Friday, July 30, 2010

Market Day: July 28
Highlights of this week's market: tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes...
and eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, summer squash, new potatoes, greens of all kinds (kale, chard, amaranth, salad greens), herbs, berries, plums, peaches.

This Week's News
This week I'm going to take shelter under the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words; there was so much summer bounty available at the market that I can only express it through photos. Although I will say that Kimball Fruit Farm alone had over fifteen different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, so make sure that you get to market to try at least a few of them.

Scroll down to find a recipe from Chef Robert for a fingerling potato salad; this is the perfect way to use the small new potatoes that you see at the market this time of year.

Recipe: Fresh Dug Roasted Fingerling Potato, Caramelized Onion, Confit Garlic, and Fresh Herb Salad


2 lbs Fingerling Potatoes

1 Large Vidialia Onion, thinly sliced

1 Cup of Peeled Garlic Cloves

½ Cup Basil

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Thyme

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Lemon


Submerge the garlic cloves in the olive oil in a small sauce pot and cook on very low heat for 30-45 minutes or until the garlic is very soft (but not falling apart) Strain and reserve the oil.

Cut the fingerling potatoes lengthwise and toss in a bowl with a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the potatoes flesh side down on aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until the flesh easily gives when poked.

Cook the onions over low heat in a well-oiled saucepan until they are soft and very browned; this will take about 45 minutes.

While the potatoes, onions, and garlic are still warm, toss in a bowl with the fresh herbs. Season to Taste, and squeeze the lemon over the top right before serving

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Market Day: July 21
Highlights of this week’s market: cucumbers, eggplants, squash of all kinds, peaches, plums, berries (raspberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries), corn, eggplants, hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, kale, chard, salad greens

This Week’s News
This week I lingered over Flats Mentor Farm’s stand. All sorts of greens and herbs were piled high there, from parsley and mint to the less-commonly-found amaranth, pea tendrils, and purslane. I was most curious about the pile of orange flowers labeled “pumpkin blossoms.” Surely, I thought, a mistake had been made: these had to be zucchini blossoms, not pumpkin blossoms. Zucchini blossoms—like these, cantaloupe colored, co
vered with a faint down, and ridged—are one of my favorite summer delicacies, stuffed with feta or ricotta and fried. I’d never seen pumpkin blossoms before. A few questions later though, I learned that I’d been wrong—these were pumpkin blossoms, and they are just as good to eat as zucchini blossoms; the farmers suggested coating them with tempura batter and frying them.

Clearly “coat in batter and fry” is a theme as far as flower-eating goes, so if you do decide to buy a few pumpkin blossoms and try your hand, you could also avail yourself of some of Flats Mentor Farm’s luscious-looking greens and make yourself a slightly more heart-healthy salad to complement your flower fry-up. Pea tendrils, which you don’t always see this late in the year, are a lovely addition to any salad; they add the delicate flavor of fresh peas with the texture of a salad green. Flats Mentor Farm also had purslane, another good addition to any salad. I heard the farmers selling it to a curious customer as a “edible wildflower” which I thought was a rather creative way of saying “an edible weed.” Purslane is a weed, but no less edible for that: crunchy and a little bit sour, it is good in both salads and stir-fries.

While I was distracted by the exotic greens at Flats Mentor Farm (and I haven’t even mentioned the amaranth!), our chefs are paying a little more attention to the wide array of vegetables at their—and your—disposal this time of year. Below, a recipe from Chef Paul for quick-pickled vegetables to enjoy with sandwiches or just on their own.

Paul’s Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Red Onions, Squash Blossoms and Peppers
We are always working on ways to extend the life of the amazing produce that we find at the market. Paul Trombly, our day sous chef has a great solution that’s simple, classic, and preserves vegetables for up to three weeks: the quick pickle. We love serving pickled farm fresh vegetables on sandwiches, in a salad or as a first course wake up call to your taste buds.

2 qts sliced pickling cucumbers
1 qt Sliced Red Onions
1 qt Medium Diced Red and Green Peppers
2 cups Squash Blossoms
1 cup of Salt

For the Pickle Brine:
3 cups organic white sugar
3 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 tbls whole cloves
2 tbls whole coriander
1 tbl spoon mustard seed

Toss the vegetables with the salt in a large bowl, then let sit in a large colander for 90 minutes. Rinse and drain vegetables.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place the rinsed vegetables in 2 gallon bucket (or pack in bell jars for a slightly prettier presentation) and pour the hot brine over the vegetables.

Place in the fridge and allow to cool overnight. Pickles must be kept refrigerated and will keep for up to three weeks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Here's the promised eggplant recipe, from Chef Tal:

Caponata is a Sicilian dish, a sort of sweet and sour cooked vegetable salad made of eggplant, tomatoes, celery, and olives and capers. It's best as an appetizer, with some good bread, or served alongside fish or chicken as a main course. While this recipe might seem a little complicated for a simple summer salad, cooking the celery and the eggplant separately helps them each preserve their flavor, and makes a big difference to the final dish.


pounds eggplants

½ pound green olives packed in brine, pitted

6 ounces salted capers, rinsed

1¼ pounds celery ribs

2/3 pound onions

2/3 pound tomatoes

1/3 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar


3/8 cup pine nuts

Olive oil



Begin by stripping the filaments from the celery sticks. Next, blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for five minutes. Drain the celery, cut it into bite-size pieces, sauté them in about a tablespoon of olive oil, and set them aside.

Wash the eggplants, dice them, put the pieces in a strainer, sprinkle them liberally with salt, and let them sit for several hours to draw out the bitter juices. While they're sitting, blanch, peel, seed and chop the tomatoes.

After a few hours, rinse the eggplant to wash away the salt and pat the pieces dry. Finely slice the onions and sauté them in olive oil; once they have turned translucent, add the capers, pine nuts, olives, and tomatoes. Continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the tomatoes are done, about 15 minutes, and then remove the pot from the fire.

Next, heat a second pot of oil and fry the diced eggplant (do this in several batches to keep the oil from getting chilled.) When the last batch is done, return the tomato pot to the fire and stir in the eggplant together with the previously sautéed celery. Cook for several minutes over a low flame, stirring gently, then stir in the vinegar and the sugar; when the vinegar has almost completely evaporated remove the pot from the fire and let it cool.

Serve the caponata cold with a garnish of fresh basil. There will be a lot, but don't worry, because it keeps for several days in the fridge.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Market Day: July 14
Highlights of this week’s market: zucchini, summer squash, beets (including the beautiful and mild-tasting Chiogga), corn, peaches, blueberries, beans, eggplant, tomatoes

This Week’s News:
This week’s market day was rainy and grey, but locally grown sunflowers provided a burst of color. They got me musing on flower-growing, an aspect of agriculture that even locavores don’t always consider. The vast majority of cut flowers available in the US are grown in Colombia, where the flower industry is known for its heavy use of pesticides. Shipping the flowers up to the northeast makes the process even more energy-intensive. During this time of year when the Northeast is in bloom, forgoing industrially-raised flowers for locally grown ones is another way to support local agriculture.

Flowers aside, the big news of the week was that the eggplants have appeared. Hanson Farm has a range of varieties, from the plump white Clara to the dark, slim Orient express. These are a different thing altogether from the giant purple bombs you’ll find in the grocery store all year round. Their skins are thinner, their flesh is more flavorful, and they’re light and almost bouncy. Grill or roast them whole, then scrape out the flesh and mix it with olive oil and herbs and spread it on bread. Or use them in caponata, or ratatouille, or any of the other dishes that demand the best vegetables of the summer.

Our chefs will weigh in later this week with a recipe for eggplants: in the meantime, make sure to eat a peach from Kimball’s Fruit Farm or put a few ears of corn on the grill.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Market Day: July 7
Highlights of this week's market: Corn, peaches, tomatoes, multiple varieties of summer squash (including the delicious lime-green "cousa"), raspberries, blueberries, greens of all sorts, beets, carrots, and cucumbers.

We’re seeing the end of the snap peas, so make sure to eat a handful before they’re gone.

This Week's News:

This week heralded a few new things here at the Davis Square Farmers’ Market Journal: a new chronicler of the Davis Square Farmers’ Market and the year’s first corn and peaches.

The “new chronicler” bit first, just to get it out of the way and move on to the really earthshaking things (Corn! Peaches!): I’m Anastatia, and I’ll be your new guide to the Davis Square Farmers’ Market. I’m a fairly new transplant to Cambridge, having moved 10 months ago from New Haven, Connecticut, where I oversaw the communications at the Yale Sustainable Food Project. I’m excited to join the team at Season to Taste and shift from teaching people about the social, political, and cultural ramifications of sustainable food to actually feeding people sustainable food. Since old habits die hard, though, I’ll still be writing about food here, sharing stories about local farmers, information about what they’re growing, and recipes from our chefs to help you make the most of it.

Now on to the corn and the peaches: I hadn’t expected to see corn this early in the season (isn’t it just supposed to be “knee high by the fourth of July”?), but there it was. Ever vigilant, Robert queried Marie Hills, one half of the husband and wife team who run Kimball Fruit Farm, at whose stand the corn was being sold. She confirmed that it was, in fact, local corn, grown about an hour away on their land in Pepperell, MA. They grow many different corn varieties, and this one is called “quickie” because it comes up so early. The ears are smaller than those of late-summer corn, but the kernels are just as sweet. Marie told us that, even for an early variety, this corn is early: everything, she says, is two weeks early because of the heat wave that’s been cooking Massachusetts for the past weeks. If you’ve been suffering from the heat, I recommend using Marie’s early corn to make Robert’s tomato, corn, and basil relish from the recipe below. It’s a small reminder that every cloud—well, in this case every heat wave—has a silver lining.

The peaches were another surprise: they looked a little small and tough, but their fragrance was intoxicating. Their taste didn’t disappoint: they were floral and juicy. These are early too; Marie says they’re not usually ready until the 15th of July. Another dividend of the heat. At Kimball, Marie and her husband grow twelve different varieties of peaches; each tree lasts about five years in commercial production. Now that the trees have started to produce, we’ll see different varieties over the course of the summer.

This Week's Recipe: Sweet Corn, Baby Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Basil Relish

This a very simple recipe that goes well on slow roasted chicken, any crisp-skinned fish, or a cumin-rubbed grilled pork tenderloin. Since it is a simple recipe, it requires the freshest farmers’ market ingredients to make it shine.

1 Vidalia Onion, diced very small
3 tbsp Canola oil
4 ears fresh picked Corn
1 pint Kimball Fruit Farm Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
1/2 cup lightly chopped Basil
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper (season to taste ;)

1. Shuck and wash the corn. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the kernels off the ears of corn. Take the back of the knife and run it along each side of the ear of corn to squeeze any corn milk into the bowl of kernels (save the cobs for stock and use for another purpose).

2. In a medium sauce pan cook the onions with the oil and a pinch of slat until soft. Add the kernels and cook for 2- 5 minutes. Cool on a cookie sheet to room temperature.

3. Gently quarter the tomatoes with a serrated knife. Add to the corn mixture along with the rough chopped basil and extra virgin olive oil. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit at room temperature for an hour to allow the flavors to marry. Although you can refrigerate the relish, it is much better if served at room temperature.