Tip of the Month: May 2017

Better late than never, right? I had the tips for this post prepared long ago however I never got around to posting it correctly. My studies are my top priority and I have been  taking exams for my IB diploma since the first week of May. I’m so happy to be done with them all and to have more time on my hands for IP!

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Goat Hill Farm: Braised Lettuce

IMG_8095When you get lettuce, you plan on using it for a salad. When you get a lot of lettuce, you plan on making a lot of salads. You can only have so many salads before you get tired and want something different. I’ve struggled with this over the past couple of weeks. IMG_8096

Each week, my farm share gives me 2-3 huge heads of lettuce. Some weeks we get more but it’s already a lot of lettuce. I’ve had many salads over the past couple of weeks but one evening, I didn’t want just another salad to accompany my dinner. That’s when my mom decided that we should try braised lettuce.

IMG_8099Lettuce is made up of a lot of water. You can cook down an entire head and only be able to serve 2-3 people…as a side, talk about eating a lot of lettuce. The peculiar taste of braised lettuce gives you different view on lettuce. Maybe lettuce was meant to be cooked all along but people just eat it in its raw state instead?

IMG_8100So as the summer scurries in and the grill is fired up, try braised lettuce. It is the perfect side to any outdoor barbecue.

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Braised Lettuce

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons avocado oil (vegetable oil or canola oil work just as well)
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into rounds
  • 1 head of green lettuce (Any hardy lettuce will work), remove root
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano leaves, lightly packed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions:

In a heated skillet, sauté the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil, 5 minutes

In the meantime, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil with lettuce, oregano, salt and pepper. Add to the onions and cook down until tender 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and just before serving, add the apple cider vinegar.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

 


Bon Appétit,

-Stephanie

 

Goat Hill Farm: Lambs Quarter

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The past couple weeks have gone by so quickly but I also have been very busy. As the school year comes to an end, I spend most of my time studying for finals and doing homework among other things I do outside of school. Despite all this, I’ve found that keeping up with this blog has always been a priority. Soon, it will be one year since I started International Palate and to think that I’ve actually been able to keep up with it is kind of shocking to me, but in a good way.

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Within the past year, I’ve been able to meet many new people and had more opportunities than I initially expected. My most favorite might have been creating “Farmers Market Friday ” for my local Farmers Market because it’s had me trying new recipes based on ingredients that are seasonal and fresh. As the weather warmed up, I’ve been able to experiment with more ingredients too.

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But I don’t only get my veggies at the Farmers Market. I also get my veggies at a CSA. With the Goat Hill Farm CSA, I get a box of veggies that seems to be getting bigger and bigger as the season goes on. And this week I had quite a surprise when I got home. Not only where there gorgeous peonies and plenty of veggies, including Tat Soi, Lettuce, Spring Onions, Kale (and much, much more), I also got a jumbo crate of Lambs Quarter to play around with. Now that’s what I call a surprise!

IMG_7697My next challenge though was to find a way to use all the Lambs Quarter….and to find out what it was because THIS was new to me. My first instinct was a pesto, which might just be my favorite thing to make of all times. My mom’s idea was to use it in a soup. So we tried both and here is what we came up.IMG_7714


Lambs Quarter Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oil

1 shallot, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 large russet potato, peeled

4 cup Lamb Quarter leaves

1/2 cup walnuts

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy bottom medium pot, heat up the oil. Add the shallots and garlic until softened.
Add broth and potato. Let simmer until the potato is almost cooked, 10-15 minutes.
Add lambs quarter and cook until softened, 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Place in a high speed blender and liquify it until smooth. Add the walnuts and blend until smooth.

Place back in the pot and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve warm. You may add a dollop of yogurt or crème fraîche to serve.


 

Lambs Quarter Pesto 

Ingredients:

1 cup steamed Lambs Quarter, removed from stem and cooled

1/2 cup walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove, peeled

Directions:

In a high speed food processor, pulse the lambs quarter until chopped.

Add the walnuts and olive oil until finely mixed.

Add the cheese and garlic until mixture is smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve however desired. I enjoy mine on a warm baguette with a thin layer of ricotta cheese and topped with tomatoes.


Bon Appétit,

-Stephanie

 

Farmers Market Friday: Pickled Radishes

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You would think that walking down to the market would be easy and you would grab what you would want, right? Wrong. What I’ve found recently is that every time I go to the market, I walk down with no plan and buy what ever intrigues me. With spring blooming,  every last vegetable at every last stand grabs my attention. Since the warmer days are coming, markets may be changing slightly. My market has changed it’s hours to the summer hours,  making it open earlier and grow in size. Within one week, the amount of stands seemed to have doubled as well as the size of the crowd. It’s interesting what warm weather can do.

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But with warmer weather, people don’t only go outside more but they also tend to cook more with fresh vegetables and cook outside. So for this FMF, I decided to carry that idea into my kitchen, but in a versatile way. Pickling!! Pickling is a way to preserve certain foods, give them a different flavor and give them a different use. I pickled Radishes and was able to use them on fish tacos and on little tartines (toast).

IMG_7570With this recipe that I use for pickling, you can pickle practically anything and a lot of the market produce may be pickled. I was jumping with joy to see that there was a stand that was selling baby cucumbers. Pickle those and you get a fresh jar of homemade pickles. You can also try pickling beets, turnips and carrots. Your possibilities are endless.

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Next time you go to the market, try to see how many other things you can pickle. Trust me, you will be amazed by how many things can be pickled. But here is one tip: you want the vegetable to be sturdy enough to withstand the pickling process. Also, when you are preparing your batch of pickles, don’t be shy on adding herbs, such as dill,thyme or rosemary. Top them on what ever fancies you.
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Pickled Radishes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch radishes, removed from stems
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, quartered
  • 1/2-2 teaspoon sugar (or honey from your market) , depending on how sweet or sour you like it

Directions:

Using a mandoline, slice the radishes thinly. Place in a jar that can be used for canning.

Add  vinegar, peppercorn, garlic cloves and sugar/honey to the radish jar. Close the jar tightly and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Place in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving. They can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Top them on any dish you want to top them on.


Happy Marketing,

-Stephanie

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Farmers Market Friday: Ramp Frittata

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Every Sunday, a handful of farmers make the trek to Westover for the weekly market. Crowds begin to fill the area as people swarm the vendors to see what fresh produce they all bring. But on a chilly Sunday morning, the farmers at Bigg Riggs brought out their Wild Ramp, a vegetable that’s similar to spring onions but has its own little tang. One week later, many other vendors brought out their Ramp. This calls for a Ramp recipe in need.

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Ramps are becoming very popular this season because of its uniqueness. People can’t tell whether they taste more like leeks, garlic or spring onions but if you ask me, I find it’s easier to say that they are like spring onions. Anyway, if you are just as excited to see Ramps at your market as I was when I saw this new-to-me vegetable, you’ll be excited to see what I’ve got cooking for you.

IMG_7264While traveling in Costa Rica, I indulged in a frittata that had flowers in it. When I think of frittatas, I usually think of one with tomatoes and onions, maybe a bit of spinach, but nothing more than ordinary. After trying the flower frittata, I rekindled my relationship with frittatas by realizing that there are endless possibilities for dressing up a simple dish and make it dinner worthy.

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At the Westover Farmers Market last week, I was looking for something special to put in my own dish and within a couple of minutes, my eyes were lingering on a bunch of ramp at the Bigg Riggs Farm stand. The next evening, a warm, golden Ramp Frittata came out of the oven and was ready to be served.

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Ramp Frittata

Farmers Market List (depending on your location, ingredients may vary): Ramp, Eggs, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Feta Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Ramp
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 4-5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, can use oil or butter
  • 1/4 cup Sun-dried tomatoes,
  • 1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

On a lined baking sheet, toss the ramp with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake your ramp for 3-5 minutes, until just wilted and crunchy. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a cutting board. Chop up the ramp.

  • Note: Leave the oven on 350F.

In a small bowl, crack the eggs and whisk them.

Heat up a skillet over medium high. Grease with ghee. Add the whisked eggs to the skillet. TIrn down heat to medium low and let sit for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is set but the top is still liquidy.

Garnish the eggs with the sun dried tomatoes, feta and ramp. Remove from heat and place in the oven. Let it bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is firm.

Remove from the oven and serve warm.


Bon Appétit

-Stephanie