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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

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I grab whatever vegetables I have on hand and my trusty 8-inch Global chef’s knife and I chop away until I have a big pile of mixed vegetables (usually red bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, celery, mushrooms) of somewhat equal size to throw in the soup pot for a massive amount of vegetable soup to warm up the kitchen on the first snowy day.  I’ve already placed a can or two of diced tomatoes, a can or two of cannellini or kidney beans, and some frozen lima beans, corn, and okra to the pot.  When I’ve added all the chopped vegetables I add enough water to bring the pot to the brim, season with salt and pepper, and cover just until it all comes to a simmer.  Then, I uncover and let the soup simmer away until the house is filled with sweet vegetal smells, the vegetables are tender, and the broth perfectly seasoned.  It doesn’t take too long and I have enough soup to fill us for days……

 

©Stephen Kolyer_Carrots

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©StephenKolyer_dragontonguebeans

            Last summer I picked up some dragon tongue beans at the farmers market after the farmer told me that they were the best beans he had ever tasted.  I bought a pound or so and you know what, they were also the most flavorful beans I had ever experienced.  But, I also forgot about them until I saw them last week at the Barryville Farmers Market.  I immediately bought a couple of pounds.  The first round was simply steamed to garnish a Niçoise salad on a hot summer night, but then the last few handfuls were sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with ½ cup of diced pancetta and a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  They were so delicious and meaty they would have satisfied me as my main course.

 

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I bought a bagful of itty-bitty purple okra at the farmer’s market the other day and then just sat them in the middle of the table for décor so we could enjoy their slightly weird look.  Eventually I decided to cook them knowing full well that purple okra would become perfectly ordinary green okra once the heat hit.  That’s why you’ll get no photo of the finished dish – okra just ain’t real purdy when it has been cooked.  But, it is delicious – or it is to me.  Here’s what I normally do –
Heat a couple of spoons of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add one chopped onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes.  Then, I add a basket of cherry tomatoes along with the okra (stems removed and left whole if tiny, sliced, crosswise, if large), a few leaves of basil and a hint of fresh oregano.  I don’t cook it very long – just long enough to get the tomatoes to pop and the okra to soften slightly.  Too long and you get a kinda slimy mix – still delicious, but not the greatest texture on the palate.

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Oyster mushroom_9884

 

A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered the Chelsea Market – a spot called by its founders “an urban food court.”  Oh, I knew it was there, but just too out-of-the-way for everyday food shopping.  Located on 9th Avenue about 16th Street in the old National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory, many of the artifacts of its previous life remain which makes a visit there a little bit other-worldly.  Running along the center courtyard-like hall are wonderful food shops offering prime and sometimes unique products.  Since everything is so inviting, it is yet another place that tends to make me spend more than I have in my pocket.

Manhattan Fruit Exchange is one of my favorite shops in the Market.  They have been around forever supplying restaurants, but are most welcoming to everyday shoppers.  You can always find an array of exotic fruits and vegetables, the first products of the every season, and a wide variety of fresh and dried mushrooms and herbs.  It was the mushrooms that caught my eye the other day – especially a beautiful stack of floral oyster mushrooms.  I couldn’t resist buying a big lump of fresh-looking “petals.”  Along with the mushrooms I got some of the best spring asparagus and a few spring onions and I knew exactly what I’d do when I got home.

Here’s my plan:  I trimmed the asparagus, split the onions in half, lengthwise, and laid them out on a baking pan along with my bouquet of mushrooms.  I seasoned with sea salt and pepper, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and added some fresh orange and lemon juice to the pan.  Roasted them all together in a hot oven to serve as an appetizer (with a spritzing of aged balsamic) for a little quiet welcome spring dinner.  Yum, yum, yum!

 

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