The Farmers' Markets were good to us last weekend. We visited two different markets, one that used to be our regular — Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket — and is the largest in Brooklyn, only open on Saturdays, and our new regular — Carroll Gardens Greenmarket — which is a bit smaller and open on Sundays. Both had seasonal products we took well advantage of.
On Saturday we picked up rhubarb and broccoli rabe. At Sunday's market, lo and behold, strawberries! Red, juicy and beautiful. Of course, we also picked up more asparagus for breakfast. Other goodies included eggs, cheeses, tomatoes and fish.
Prem has made rhubarb jam, but I had never cooked with this plant before. What timing, as earlier in the week I read a cocktail recipe on Reading My Tea Leaves that incorporated both rhubarb and strawberries. We made a simple syrup using just the rhubarb stalks, water, and stevia instead of sugar. The next night this, along with said strawberries and fresh peppermint, also from the market, turned into "Strawberry Rhubarb Smash Cocktail", with bourbon. Sweet and tart at the same time, it went down easily, but needed a little something to loosen it up. A few nights later we made it again, but this time added about a quarter cup (adjustable depending on your preference) of seltzer. This made the drink much lighter and refreshing, while still maintaining a bit of sweet and tart, perfect for a summer evening.
We weren't quite sure what to do with our big bunch of broccoli rabe that had blooming yellow flowers. We believe you can't go wrong with lemon zest and a sharp cheese, especially in the spring, so this was where our minds headed. Pulling inspiration from a couple of different sources, turnip noodles with broccoli rabe, garlic, lemon zest and cheese was born (recipe below). Inspiralized helped with the turnip noodles, and Smitten Kitchen's pasta recipe encouraged extra use of garlic and olive oil.
The tomatoes made their way into guacamole and coconut dal. Curry leaves are listed as optional in the dal, but Prem's mom traveled all the way from India with fresh leaves in tow, so in this batch they became essential. The fish from the market turned into fish curry, which Prem's mom made for some of our friends, along with other traditional Indian dishes, including gajar halwa, a sweet carrot dessert, using carrots from the market.
One of the exciting parts about trying to eat seasonally is discovering new items at the market and experimenting in the kitchen. As we post this, we're getting ready to head out to the market, as it's already Sunday again. I wonder what we'll find this week.
RECIPE: Turnip Noodles with Broccoli Rabe & Garlic
Adapted from this recipe on Inspiralized.com
- 3 large turnips or 4 average size, peeled
- olive oil
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 big bunch broccoli rabe
- 1/2 large lemon, zested
- plenty of grated parmesan or other sharp cheese*
- salt & pepper to taste
- If you have a spiralizer, use it** to turn your turnips to noodles. Otherwise, you can use a Julienne or vegetable peeler. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium and add noodles, coating in the oil, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, tossing halfway. Our turnips were huge, so this had to be done in two batches.
- Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli rabe by removing and washing the stems. If your bunch has yellow flowers, wash those as well, and then separate a few for a pretty garnish. Heat another pan with plenty of oil and add the red pepper flakes and garlic until fragrant, then pour some of this pan's contents over the noodles. In what remains, add the leaves and some flowers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until leaves are wilted.
- Add the broccoli rabe mixture to the turnip noodles. Toss in half the lemon zest and a bunch of cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more cheese if you want.
- Plate and garnish with yellow flowers and lemon zest.
*We used aged Bloomsday from Cato Corner Farm at the Farmers' Market, which went well with this dish, but was decidedly not hard enough to grate easily.
**You can follow directions here.
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