Philly Food Swap and Thanksgiving Turkeys
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Now that Halloween is behind us we can tactfully discuss that other holiday that comes before Christmas. If you haven’t ordered your turkey yet, there is still time. The Fair Food Farmstand, once again, is offering a range of choices: naturally raised broad-breasted whites from Howe Farms; Griggstown Farm’s heritage breed Red Bourbons; Bronze heirloom and certified-organic broad-breasted whites from Koch’s Turkey Farm; and organically fed pastured turkeys from Bendybrook Farm. The order form can be found here. Griggstown Farm turkeys can also be ordered directly from Griggstown but must be picked up at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market on Wednesday. Finally, Green Aisle Grocery is offering turkeys from Green Meadow. It’s also worth noting that all three also offer Thanksgiving sides in case cooking the turkey consumes your kitchen.
Prior to Thanksgiving, however, the Philly Swappers are holding another Food Swap. It’s been some time since the last Food Swap, so we are particularly eager this time. There are still a few spots open, so sign up quickly. As if you needed even more reason, the event will be held in the Free Library’s Culinary Literacy Center.
Posted by Kevin on 11/05 at 06:47 AM
Just Add Water
Sunday, November 01, 2015
Savoie Organic Farm is now growing these beautiful little Mexican black turtle beans, a wonderful addition to the variety of dried beans to be found at Headhouse Farmers’ Market this time of year. I love turtle beans both for their texture and versatility, so we bought plenty to last until the next harvest.
A Spanish Dish From the East Coast
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Even if I had made bacon-wrapped scallops, like, a hundred times, I don’t think I would have ever arrived at the combination of scallops and chorizo on my own. It makes perfect sense in retrospect. The spicy, paprika-flavored oil rendered from the chorizo, in turn, infuses the scallops. The soft and creamy texture of the scallops plays off the crispy and brittle chorizo. Then, everything is accented by the bright flavors of lemon juice and fresh parsley. It is a very nice study in contrasts, actually. As Nigella says, it comes together quite rapidly, so make sure that all of the ingredients are prepped and that anything else you are serving it with is ready before you start.
The scallops, as fresh as could be, came from Shore Catch, and the chorizo from La Divisa, a very welcome addition to the Headhouse Market this season. I’ve raved about both before, but this combination gives me a new reason to do so.
The Whole Hog
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
If you haven’t been to the Headhouse Farmers Market recently, then you may not know about La Divisa Meats. Chef Nick Macri, using sustainably raised meats, turns out some of the best charcuterie in the City. They’ve been a welcome addition to the Market, and have more than made up for the sorely missed PorcSalt.
Now, La Divisa is doing its own version of Philly Cow Share, offering a pig “share” (naturally), but with a twist: this share offers sausage, carnitas, head cheese, and a brining kit in addition to various cuts of pork. At $150, it is an outstanding value. See below for more information.
Posted by Kevin on 10/07 at 05:48 PM
Cheerful Weather for the Mash
Saturday, October 03, 2015
The chilly wind and rain of the last few days sent us straight to brand new British Pie and Mash shop Stargazy’s Facebook page in the hopes they hadn’t sold out yet for the day. They hadn’t, and in addition to shots of the daily menu and the pies themselves we also noticed something that’s always a good sign to us: a proud picture of their weekly farm delivery, this one from nearby Wuillermin Farms in Hammonton, NJ.
Crack Open A Book
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
With Sunday’s Headhouse Market closed due to the Papal Visit, we had stocked up the week before. Then the weekend came, and the blissfully car free streets full of happy residents and visitors made eating out seem so much more appealing than cooking that fridge full of food. I was feeling a little dispirited by the idea of getting through it all, until I decided to take a look at a cookbook or two for some motivation. A few minutes later, having flipped through 100 or so pages of Tender by Nigel Slater, I had three recipes we could easily make with everything we had on hand.
It seems so silly to say “and then I thought of my cookbooks!”, but this time of year I really do tend to forget them. So much of what’s available right now needs little in the way of a recipe to make a delicious dinner. Blogs, newspapers, and magazines all offer recipes perfect for the season. But a cookbook like Tender, as the subtitle “A Cook and His Vegetable Patch” suggests, is perfect for looking up individual vegetables and finding simple, seasonal dishes. I immediately made a broccoli and bacon soup for lunches, the recipe available here, then moved on to baked eggplant with tomato and parmesan for dinner.
Last of the Summer Wine
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
As the Summer of 2015 is officially coming to a close, I wanted to include one last word. We drank several local wines throughout the summer (especially Hawk Haven‘s Pinot Grigio), but the standout was unquestionably Turdo’s Sauvignon Blanc. Like Gruner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc can come off a bit austere. Bracingly acidic and bright, but with little in the way of nose or finish. Not Turdo’s. First, the color has a slight blush - perhaps from some contact with the skin. Second, the nose contains citrus fruit, but there is also something, in my opinion, herbal to it. The acidity is nicely balanced, and the finish surprisingly long. Rather than suggest a perfect pairing for this wine - because it is so versatile, I would find it impossible to recommend only one - I suggest a perfect setting: a blanket on the beach, some cheese and salumi to snack on, and a late summer sunset.
Posted by Kevin on 09/22 at 05:11 PM
Local Food Access During Papal Visit
Sunday, September 20, 2015
We stocked up at the Headhouse Farmers’ Market today, as it will be closed next Sunday for the Papal Visit. While I can’t find anything specific on The Food Trust’s site, which runs Headhouse, Farm To City does list which of their city markets will be closing this week: Dilworth Park on Wednesday, Jefferson Market on Thursday, Gorgas Park on Friday, and Rittenhouse, High Street and East Falls on Saturday. That leaves the following open: Rittenhouse on Tuesday, University Square and The Fountain at Passyunk on Wednesday and Chestnut Hill on Saturday. Suburban markets seem unaffected.
As for local food purveyors, Green Aisle Grocery plans to be open regular hours at all their locations, with some curtailed deliveries later in the week. The Fair Food Farmstand is extending their hours to 7 PM on Friday and Saturday and opening early at 8 AM on Sunday. Their last delivery is expected on Thursday, to resume Tuesday. Greensgrow will have no farmstand or CSA pickup on Saturday or at Greensgrow West on Thursday or Friday. Weaver’s Way is not indicating any closures on their site.
Posted by Donna on 09/20 at 05:50 PM
A New Cheese In Town
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
So I suppose this doesn’t look like much, unless you know you’re looking at fresh feta, and even then may not convey the utter deliciousness that this soft, creamy, salty cheese from Valley Milkhouse is. Called Foxtail sharp and creamy feta, it’s a far cry from the chalky crumbliness of a more traditional feta. Don’t waste it in a complex dish - the flavor ended up being overwhelmed in the cous cous salad we put it in, but it was fantastic eaten by itself straight out of the milky liquid it comes in. We got it at Greensgrow, but their website lists all the typical local food purveyors, various farm shares and the Clark Park Farmers’ market. Go find it soon, as it seems to be seasonal.
Posted by Donna on 09/15 at 03:18 PM
So Good You’ll Forget It’s Raining
Saturday, August 22, 2015
We’d already walked a distance in light rain, and now we were sitting down to dinner on the Marine Parade Grounds of the Navy Yard as it rained harder. As soon as we tasted the pork pate, none of that mattered. Made by La Divisa, the pate was creamy and flavorful, but with none of the excessive richness or slight funk of more traditional pates. We ate it as our first course at Diner En Blanc with equally excellent Oldwick Shepherd cheese and cured olives from Valley Shepherd Creamery. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the pate cleared the sky, but it did stop raining shortly afterward, music and dancing started, and yet another beautiful spot in our city provided a luminous backdrop for the evening.
For those of you who missed it or didn’t get enough of the Navy Yard, tickets are now on sale for Pheast, the PHS sponsored fundraiser for the wonderful City Harvest program. Come celebrate the urban farmers and community gardens who supply the program and the night with local produce.
Posted by Donna on 08/22 at 10:43 AM
Drink Up In The Garden
Thursday, August 20, 2015
We’ve talked before about how seeking out local food on vacation has enriched our travel experiences, and a recent trip to London was no exception. We attended the Midnight Apothecary, hosted every Saturday night in the beautiful rooftop herb garden of the Brunel Museum in southeast London. Just across the street from the Thames, the Brunel Museum sits atop the very first tunnel under the river. We preferred to stay above ground, and had delicious cocktails made from herbs grown right in the garden.
The beer served was Hiver,, brewed with honey from urban London apiaries.
Posted by Donna on 08/20 at 01:11 PM
A Summer Picnic
Saturday, August 01, 2015
As soon as I tasted our naturally fermented pickles made a few weeks ago, I knew we had to put a picnic together.
Headhouse Market newcomber La Divisa meats made it easy, with a wonderful thinly sliced ham we slathered with Green Aisle Grocery’s horseradish on Ric’s Bread. And of course there had to be a tomato sandwich.
For dessert, I cooked down a bunch of rhubarb from our garden and made a rhubarb fool. This was one of those too pretty desserts I had never gotten around to trying. Definitely worth the minimal effort in the summer - it was cool, slightly tart, and did I mention pretty?
Sauteed String Beans in Tomato Sauce
Saturday, July 25, 2015
While I thought it was fitting to use my grandmother’s bowl to serve this old fashioned dish, the result didn’t taste much like the stewed green beans I remember from childhood. For one, I briefly blanched the beans while the simple tomato sauce was cooking so they could be thrown in at the end to just cook through. I also used a combination of wax beans and two varieties of pole beans for a mix of flavors. Our lovely San Marzano plum tomatoes on the plants we got at Savoie Organic Farm aren’t quite ripe yet, so we used several beautiful Persimmons. They were definitely more juicy than a plum, but that worked well for this quickly cooked sauce. We did add some chunks of fresh mozzarella from Hillacres Pride just before eating - purely for the protein, of course.
Sauteed String Beans in Tomato Sauce
1 pound string beans
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium tomatoes
12 basil leaves
Trim beans, blanch in salted water and set aside. Using the same boiling water, blanch tomatoes just long enough for their skins to crack. Rinse briefly to cool, remove skins and chop in 1 inch chunks.
Mince garlic and saute a minute in olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and a few pinches of salt and leave simmering until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce thickens. Add beans and cook until beans are desired consistency.
Serves 2 for lunch or 4-6 as a side dish.
A Garlic Harvest
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Last October, we popped a couple of bulbs’ worth of garlic cloves in the ground pointy side up and about 6 inches apart. Two weeks ago, we pulled about 15 beautiful heads of garlic out of the ground. There really was nothing else to it, save cutting the garlic scapes (long, sometimes curly stems with tiny buds on the end which appear in late spring) to help the plants concentrate on bulb growth. We waited for the leaves to start to brown - and a little push from our neighboring gardener - to pull them. As you can see above, most had developed the papery skin necessary for curing. Don’t let the sound of the word curing scare you off, as with garlic this simply means hanging them in a well ventilated pantry or shaded spot for a few months, at which point they should be usable for several more. We did have to cut most of our leaves away due to our cats’ obsession with anything they can chew on, but ideally leaving the leaves and much of the roots on aids drying. The garlic is good for immediate use as well, which means you can easily set yourself up with your entire year’s garlic with one harvest so long as you don’t mind braids of bulbs hanging atmospherically around your porch or pantry.
Posted by Donna on 07/22 at 06:08 PM
Another Way with Zucchini
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Aside from grilling, my favorite summertime meals are pastas lightly sauced and loaded with vegetables. So, I was particularly happy with this offering from the New York Times’ David Tanis. We used ricotta from Hillacres Pride, available at the Headhouse Market, and the small and piquant leaves of minette basil growing in our window boxes.
My take on this involved three alterations. First, I cut the zucchini into half-rounds that were considerably thinner than Tanis’s. It may just be a matter of preference, but I like the zucchini to nearly fall apart, becoming a creamy sauce in their own right. Second, I cooked the zucchini for considerably longer - and covered - than Tanis instructs. Third, I used more reserved pasta cooking water as well. Adapting Tanis’s wine recommendation, we paired this with a sauvignon blanc from Turdo Vineyards. One final note for future experiments with this recipe: I suspect that a mint pesto, rather than a basil one, might work as well.