Sunday, April 18, 2010

Potato Frittata and Birch Syrup

A visit to the Newmarket farmers' market yesterday brought all kinds of new surprises: impeccably fresh, early-April lettuces from Bee Thankful Farm (complete with plump aphids hiding in their creases--a good sign that pesticides are not used, and nothing a salad spinner can't handle!); bundles of garlic greens from Wild Miller Gardens (think giant blades of grass, but garlicky); baskets of fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms and pots of baby herbs (parsley, dill, sage and others) from Healthy Home Harvest; wine jams (yum!) from Laurel Hill Jams & Jellies; and, last but not least, BIRCH syrup from David Moore and The Crooked Chimney!

Birch syrup made from the sap of Paper, Yellow and Sweet birches.  High in vitamin C, potassium, manganese and calcium, birch syrup is more complex in flavor than maple syrup and not as sweet.  I was told some people have made beer with it!  I made salad dressing.  Recipe can be found at end of post.
This syrup is awesome stuff.  It looks and pours just like blackstrap molasses, even tastes a bit like it, too, but also has a hint of aged balsamic vinegar hiding in its notes.  At $20 for an 8-ounce bottle (well worth it when you know how much more sap is needed for producing it!), it's sure to be used like a fine, aged balsamic vinegar, too.  So how did I experiment?  As an accent flavor to a Spanish frittata made with yesterday's shroomz and garlic greens, and a few other locally grown garden gems, and in a vinaigrette!

To make the frittata, have the following ready:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fresh Pressed Apple Juice!

The weekend before last I picked up two 1/2-pecks from Hackleboro Orchard while they were attending the Winter Farmers' Market (hosted by the one and only  Seacoast Eat Local, of course!) in Rollinsford, NH.  They have been storing the last of their fall crop in cold storage (32 degrees with a fine mist spray to keep them just from freezing).  I grabbed Cortlands and Northern Spy.  The Northern Spy has the most milk-white center, and is super sweet.  It's the variety I used for pressing my juice.  Yum!

So you see, look in the right places and you can find some of the most treasured foods at this time of year!  Fresh, local apple juice in April!  :~)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Littlenecks and Shrimp with Pasta

Came across some gorgeous local littlenecks this afternoon... just couldn't resist! (Nor could I resist a slab of triple cream brie, but that's another weakness I'll get into some other time.) The last of the Maine shrimp are still in local fish delis, so I grabbed a pound of those, too.  What to make?  Well, I intended on sauteeing them in wine and garlic and serving them with some crusty bread (a super fast and easy meal), but the bag of whole wheat pasta I spotted in my pantry sort of called out to me, so into pasta they went.  I wish I had used conventional linguini; I hate that damn healthy stuff.  But in the end, it was a tasty dish!

Scrub your clams well (I used 2lbs for this recipe), and I highly suggest you allow for some soaking/purging time in case they're sandy.  Unwind with a cold beer while you're waiting, or prep your aromatics (leeks, garlic, parsley...).  Either way, you'll not want to risk mouthfuls of sand and grit in a dish like this, so do the following:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reds, Purples and Browns, Oh My!

 First comes red...

Grassfed T-Bones from Twister-Allie Farm in Sanbornton, NH, accompanied by Wilderotter Vineyard's 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Then comes purple...

Peruvian potatoes and shallots from Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, NH, flavored with sage and thyme from my garden, tossed in extra virgin olive oil and roasted at 375 for ~35-40 minutes 

Then comes a luscious morel cream sauce...(click 'Read More')

Egg Salad Heaven!

Remember those eggs I posted a week or so ago?  Well, here's one lovely lunch they've provided!  Chopped up a little celery and white onion, added in dollops of farmhouse relish and mayo, a hint of country mustard, seasoned with salt & pepper and served over fresh greens and herbs and a slice of When Pig's Fly oat & honey bread.  Delish!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunny Sunday Afternoon Shortcake!

Yu-u-ummm!  Fresh sweet scones with rare (and by "rare" I mean "just barely into their California season") ripe April organic strawberries and freshly whipped and sweetened Organic Valley cream made our Sunday afternoon of celebrating the life and times of the Easter Bunny very enjoyable.  (Say that five times fast!)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

These ain't no Easter Beagle eggs!

These lovelies came from my cousin's farm in Sandbornton, NH (drove up there yesterday to fetch my order of grass-fed beef that she recently had butchered).  Gorgeous, self-sustaining farm with Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and other breeds of chicken scratching and dust-bathing all over the place.  The picture really doesn't do the greens justice, but those that look olive-y actually are.  Three shades of browns, 6 or 7 shades of greens, and whites as white as snow!  I wish you could have seen the size of the legs on some of her roosters.  Holy Mackerel, were they big birds!  Legs as thick as my big toe!  :~)  As for the eggs, well, I think a quiche or two will be in order this week!  More of that later.

Hope you're all getting to enjoy this incredible sunshine today!