Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coleman Jewett

On a sad note, a long time market vendor Coleman Jewett died last week. He was best known for his Adirondack style chairs which he sold from a booth near the entrance to the Kerrytown shops.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013

You know it has been a mild winter when Dennis Sparr is at the Market with flowers in mid-January.   This is my usual post to announce Spring has arrived.

In this mild winter the hoop houses have performed very well.  Multiple vendors had cold hardy leafy green vegetables, like the kale of the previous post for sale.  Tantre farms had a very nice display of root veggies and squash.  Garden Works was there with many sprouts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kale, Carrot, and Mushroom Soup

It is winter again.  I was feeling like some hot soup for lunch or dinner.  The vegetables that caught my attention at the Market were kale and carrots.  I decided to do a simple vegetable soup.

First let's consider a basic clear broth soup.  It just requires a liquid base and some solids.  Here is a ratio that I like for vegetable soups; 1 quart liquid, 2 to 4 cups assorted veggies. The liquid can be chicken broth, vegetable broth, or other base. Noodles or tofu can be substituted for some or all of the vegetables. 

In this particular soup I chose the kale and carrots because both are available at the Market, I like both, and the color contrast makes for a very nice presentation.  The approximate recipe for this particular batch was:
1 qt liquid stock
1 cup carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices (available at the market)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced (seasonally available at the Market)
1 cup kale, chopped and with the center stem removed (from Our Family Farm)
It is basically equal liquids and solids allowing for some boil off of the liquid.  The preparation is to heat the liquid to boiling, reduce to simmering and add the vegetables. Add the ones with the longest cooking times first and then the others.  Carrots take about 5 minutes, so I added them first, I added the mushrooms after about 3 minutes and then added the kale last and just left it long enough to turn a bright green.

For the soup in the picture, I used green tea, ginger and miso for the liquid.  I added the miso and a pinch of crushed dried chilies just before serving.   Those familiar with Japanese cooking will recognize the miso as a common Japanese soup base somewhat similar to bouillon cubes in western cooking.   For those that are not familiar with miso I will do a post on it soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Glazed Carrots and Parsnips

The Saturday Market is active in winter but there are fewer vendors.  Also the produce does not change as much since it is things that store well or are grown in greenhouses or hoop houses.  So rather than the usual photographs and comments on new items coming into season I am going to do a few posts on the preparation of items from the Market and the nearby shops.

In this series I am going to present the reasons for doing something in addition to the process of preparing the item.  Hopefully this will be helpful to others in deciding to prepare Market items.  For the first in this series let's discuss the glazed carrots and parsnips that I prepared for our Christmas dinner.

I selected the carrots and parsnips because I wanted vegetables from the Market for a traditional family dinner.  I wanted a dish that my parents or grandparents might have served.  Carrots and parsnips store well, even in a simple root cellar.  The dish had to be prepared on the stove top since the oven would be in use, first for the roast beef and then for the Yorkshire pudding.  Here is a vegetable dish and a method of preparation that meets those conditions.

First steam the carrots and parsnips.  I steamed the carrots for only about 4 minutes and the parsnips for about 2 min.  I chose to possibly error on the undercooked side because I prefer veggies that are still a little hard to those cooked to mush.  The steaming step is not required but serves several purposes.   It allows refrigeration of the vegetables after peeling and cutting without concern they might change color.  I did it the day before so that there was one less thing to do on the day of the dinner. Also, since carrots take longer to cook than parsnips it allows the final step of glazing two vegetables simultaneously that have different cooking times.  

So how do you do the final glazing?  You need some butter or oil, some form of sugar and a bit of acid for a sweet/sour balance.  Here is the approximate ratios I used:
2 cups carrots, sliced into small sticks
2 cups parsnips sliced into small sticks
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons honey (from the Market)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Just heat the butter, honey and lemon juice in a pan until hot.  Add the steamed carrots and parsnips and cook over medium heat with stiring until the sugar in the honey begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  Note the color change in the pan and on the parsnips in the photo.