Posts Tagged ‘union square greenmarket’


These days “greens” can mean any green leafy vegetable and the green market is filled with all kinds – some I grew up and some totally new to me. The other Sunday we picked up a beautiful bouquet of mixed greens that the farmer had put together which, once home, I placed in the living room as our floral arrangement of the day. I often do this for the dining room table as I prefer vegetables to flowers as the scent is more conducive to the aromas coming from the kitchen. I have no idea what was in the mix – some things I immediately recognized and others seem totally new. But, once cooked, they came together in a most delicious way.

You can, if you like, cook them with bacon, ham or smoked turkey bones, pancetta, onion, or garlic, but I usually just toss the chopped wet greens in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, mashed garlic, and chili flakes. I don’t cook them for too long – just enough time to wilt and flavor, season with some sea salt, and you have the perfect side dish for almost any meat or fish.


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We came upon these beautiful tiny watermelon-looking things called sanditas at the Union Square Greenmarket.  I had never seen them before, but my culinarian son, Mickey, said “oh, yes, I’ve had them at Gramercy Tavern”.  Who knew???  Turns out sanditas are also known as sour Mexican gherkins, cucamelon, or, less-appetizingly, mouse melon and are a favorite Mexican vegetable.  When I bought mine, the vendor said “don’t pickle them, eat them”, so, of course, I had to pickle them.  Once I tasted the little guys I was sure that they would work best pickled to serve with patés or on meze platters.  I did leave a few to slice in salad, but the remainder went into the following recipe.  This recipe can also be used with any baby vegetable or pearl onions.

4 cups sanditas
¼ cup salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 green hot chile, cut, crosswise, into rounds

Place sanditas in a glass or ceramic bowl. Sprinkle in salt and add cold water to cover. Let stand in a cool place for 12 hours. Drain off salt water and rinse in colander under cold running water. Drain and dry.
Bring the vinegar, orange juice, and sugar to a boil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the vinegar mixture is cooking, pack the sanditas, ginger, and chile into hot sterilized jars. Pour the hot pickling syrup over the top, leaving ¼-inch head­space.
If you are going to refrigerate the pickles, cap the jars and turn upside-down on a wire rack and let stand until cool before refrigerating.  Or, to preserve for a long period of time, place the filled jars into a canning pot fitted with a rack with cold water to cover and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from the boiling water and cool as directed for refrigerated pickles.



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This past weekend found us celebrating our eldest son’s 50th birthday.  He is the ultimate foodie so his celebration was based around all the foods and people he loves.  Our small family spent 2 days together – shopping in the Union Square Greenmarket on Friday morning (for Saturday’s feast) followed by a lovely lunch at Gramercy Tavern (www.gramercytavern.com) (you can read about the restaurant in a post of mine on March 17, 2011).  We then all reconvened in Mickey’s kitchen on Saturday to cook and cook and cook and eat and eat and eat and drink and drink and drink.  The late morning started the festivities with champagne (Mickey’s favorite, Billecart-Salmon and Chris’ (his brother) favorite Henriot) and oysters and went on throughout the day to complete 11 courses.  Each of us had assignments – mine was pizza dough and sauce (you can check those out at various pizza on the grill posts) which my beautiful daughters-in-law finished on the grill – supposedly for the teenagers, but we all had some, an apricot tart, and a tribute to Chef Michel Bras (in case you don’t know him – a much esteemed French chef who owns Restaurant Bras in Laguiole, France) which we called “homage à Bras” as it was based on his famous vegetable dish “la gargouillou.”  I forgot my lovely large white ceramic tray so prepared it on Mickey’s wooden bread tray.  I had gone to the Greenmarket with $200 in my pocket and was left with only a 10 spot after buying all of the pristine veggies and flowers I needed for my composition.  There is no recipe – you can, if you like poach or steam some of the vegetables – I left all of mine raw as they seemed to be able to stand on their own.  Made a little sauce of puréed parsley, orange zest, a bit of orange juice, and extra virgin olive oil to add just a streak or two to the tray and to dip the delicate veggies in.  It was almost too beautiful to eat.



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