Posts Tagged ‘veggies’


            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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When we stopped by for a quick visit with our friend Aris (owner of Aris Mixon & Co. in Cherry Valley, New York) he had to show us his “running onions.”  I had seen them growing at the Black Cat Café in Sharon Springs (New York) a few years ago where Tony, the proprietor, called them Egyptian Walking Onions.  I’ve since heard them called tree onions.  I assume that they are edible, but Aris, the ultimate flower arranger, uses them in interesting floral combinations for indoor arrangements.  Steve just like taking photos of them.  I’m sure you can find lots of information about them online, ‘cause this is about all I know about them.

©stephen kolyer_onions

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Fresh off the grill – the taste we’ve been waiting for all winter!  If this first batch tells the story, it’s going to be a great summer for corn.

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Is there anything more spring-like than a bowl of fresh from the garden English peas?  I don’t think so.  Growing up, my most favorite springtime dish was my mom’s version of fresh peas and tiny new potatoes in cream sauce.  I don’t think I’ve seen this combination on a menu since childhood, though.  The French steam their spring peas with lettuce or make a light cold pea soup flavored with mint, Italians combine them with rice and prosciutto for risi e bisi, and Indians add them to vegetarian samosas.  I, on the other hand, enjoy them most straight out of the pod popped right into my mouth.  This only works when they are not only picture perfect, but absolutely totally and completely fresh.  Just like candy, they are!  And I have a sweet tooth!



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The green market is beginning to heat up as more and more veggies make their appearance after winter’s doldrums.  Although leeks usually shine in the fall, I got this beautiful array of baby leeks just the other day – fresh from the ground.  I roasted them to go along with some skate wing – one of the few fish that Steve, my fish-allergy prone husband can eat.  Roasting or braising are the two cooking methods that seem to bring out their inherent sweetness and mellow out any acrid flavor.  This is particularly true for mature, fall-harvested leeks.  For the more mature leeks, you want to slice them, crosswise, before cooking otherwise they can be fibrous.  The baby leeks are not quite so.  All I did was wash them, trim off the dark green part, and toss them with some extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting them at 375ºF for about 20 minutes.  They were a little brown and crisp around the edges and soft and mellow on the tongue.

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I was cleaning out the fridge the other day and came upon a couple of bunches of scallions.  They really are the unsung heroes of the kitchen.  Whole scallions laid out in the hot grill pan and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, citrus zest, and sea salt make a tasty side dish for grilled meats and poultry.  Chopped scallions can be the lovely garnish for any number of things and add just the gentlest hint of freshness when mixed into potato or rice dishes.  I always try to keep them on hand but, sometimes I forget about them and find them shriveled and dying it the back of the bin.  Then, I have to apologize to the kitchen Gods for wasting food.  Often, I will just put them in a little glass vase on the table to enjoy their greenery which Steve has captured in this photo.

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Our wonderful friend Stuart popped in this afternoon with a bag of fresh-from-the-earth ramps he’d picked up at the local ramp festival near his weekend house in Milford, Pennsylvania.  Dinner plans were thrown out the door and ramps went right on the menu – made a great pasta dish featuring the entire plant.  Here’s what I did.

Sauteed about ½ cup of diced pancetta in extra virgin olive oil.  When it started to brown, I added the sliced white bulb of the ramps.  Sautéed until just soft, then I added the sliced ramp greens and a couple of handfuls of fresh garden peas.  Tossed the mix into thin spaghetti which I moistened with just a touch of heavy cream.  When blended, I added about ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese and a good dose of pepper.  Dusted each serving with some toasted bread crumbs and served extra cheese on the side.  Spring had arrived!

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We eat a lot of chicken and I always have some leftover.  Even a single chicken breast will leave me with a few scraps, so I am always looking for ways to use the odds and ends that are stored in the fridge.  One of my frequent go-tos is fried rice – I always dread taking the time to make all the mise en place (those little bowls of prepared ingredients that decorate a chef’s work table) – precooking the rice, shredding the chicken, julienne carrots, bias cut scallions, diced peppers, tiny broccoli flowers, fresh peas, whatever I can find laying around that will extend the rice mix to a single dish dinner.  But, once I’ve done all the work, the rice comes together in a flash.
Here’s what I do:  Add a bit of grapeseed oil and sesame oil to my treasured wok (from The Wok Shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown, (www.wokshop.com) that is burning hot.  I quick scramble up a couple of eggs with some grated ginger and garlic, throw in the rice, add a mix of soy sauce and chili sauce, followed by the veggies – the toughest ones first down through the list ‘til at last the scallions get a quick turn into the mix.  Pile it high on each of our plates and then we chopstick our way to fried rice heaven.
I have to admit that I once made chicken fried rice for friends and forgot to add the chicken so forevermore my chicken fried rice is known as chicken fried rice without chicken!  It was still delicious no matter what my buddies say.

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Here I go again – When I was little you only saw Brussels sprouts for a very short period in the fall – just through Thanksgiving.  I loved them then and I love them now.  The difference being that then they were cooked to near sogginess and now we eat them raw, roasted, grilled, steamed, pulled apart, sliced, halved, or whole.  It’s a whole new Brussels sprouts ball game!
Here is one of my favorite methods for cooking them.  A little tedious to prepare, but quick to finish.  First, pull the leaves from a couple of good handfuls of Brussels sprouts.  This will take a little time, but you can do it while having an aperitif.    Then fry up about 1/3 of a pound of diced slab bacon, pancetta, guanciale, or any other smoky pork product.  When crispy, toss in the leaves and, using tongs, toss and turn until just slightly wilted.  Add a good dose of cracked black pepper and the zest of 1 orange.  Sprinkle with a bit of moscato vinegar and serve as a side dish with grilled chops or toss the whole mess with some pasta.  If you didn’t like Brussels sprouts before, you will now.

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