do you have a favorite farmstand?

Mine happens to be the one that we pass each time we drive into Hudson: Eger Bros. Farms.

Eger Bros. starts the season by putting out self-service spinach as we are thawing out from winter.  For me it’s always a sign of hope – the first sign that there will be fresh veggies again.

So what am I cooking right now?

I started with a cucumber gimlet.   I like to make my own gin (no, I don’t have a still in my shack – it’s kitchen gin) but we rarely get beyond G & Ts.  Because they’re easy and tasty.  And easy.  Finding cucumbers reminded me of a post that I’d seen on cucumber gimlet.  Why how light and refreshing!  Recipe for cucumber gimlet here.

Beets make me want roasted beet salad.  There’s nothing simpler or yummier to eat on hot days.  The only challenge is when to roast the beets in the summer.  I have to be judicious in when I turn on the oven this time of year.  I find it works best to roast the beets first thing in the morning, with the fan on to suck the heat out of the house as much as possible.  Once they are roasted they are easy-peasy to work with – just slip off the skin and cut into wedges.  You could fake it of course, but the following is my favorite recipe, from the Gourmet Cookbook.

Roasted Beet Salad

  • 1 bunch beets (1 1/4 pounds with greens or 3/4 pound without), trimmed
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 T minced shallot
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 large Asian pear (to be honest, I always skip the pear)
  • 3 oz baby arugula (you want greens with an edge, not just leaf lettuce)

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Tightly wrap beets in double layers of foil, making two packages.  Roast on a baking sheet until tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  Cool until warm in foil packages (the steam makes beets easier to peel), about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook almonds in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden. (Do NOT multitask during this step). Cool almonds in oil (nuts will darken as they cool). With a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a small bowl, and season with salt.

Stir together shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 t salt, and oil from almonds in a large bowl.

Slip skins from beets and halve large beets. Cut beets into 1/4 inch thick slices. Add to dressing, tossing to coat.

If using: Quarter and core pear.  Cut crosswise into matchsticks.

Arrange beets on a platter and drizzle with any dressing remaining in bowl.  Top with arugula (and pear if using), then sprinkle with almonds.

Yum!

***

We had cherries, inhaling the first half straight out of the container then using the other half for one of my favorite easy dessert dishes in the summer: clafouti. If you haven’t made a clafouti before, try it this second if you can still find sour cherries. Or use regular cherries.  And I don’t bother to pit the cherries – just make sure to remind people!  No one needs an emergency trip to the dentist.

up close & personal with a clafouti

Cherry Clafouti (from The Gourmet Cookbook)

  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh (sour) cherries
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk (I use whatever milk I  have in the house)
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 T kirsch (I never managed to have this so cassis has been interesting)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/8 t almond extract

Put rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a shallow 2 quart baking dish.

Toss cherries with 1 tablespoon sugar and spread evenly in baking dish.

Combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, butter, kirsch, extracts and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a blender and blend until smooth (or whisk furiously). Pour batter over cherries.

Bake clafouti until puffed and golden, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool slightly on a rack (clafouti will sink as it cools) and serve warm, dusted with confectioner’s sugar if  you like.

Bon Appetit!

***

So we had red currants left.  Boy, those things are so sour!

I dug around for a recipe but there aren’t a lot for fresh currants – I obviously do not have enough UK cookbooks.  I was going to try a clafouti, but then had an inspiration when I read someone’s comment that  cooked currants are like candy.  I made a currant crisp.

Red currents are still sour once cooked, but less so.  I hacked together a simple crisp – rolled oats, brown sugar, wheat flour, salt and butter.  Use a favorite recipe for a crisp, although I recommend adding oats AND nuts if the recipe doesn’t call for them.  Great for dessert, but also very nice with yogurt in the morning.  Yummy!

What do you create from your favorite farmstand?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. We love The Berry Patch in Stephentown, NY. Just made some gazpacho yesterday from their tomatoes, peppers, red onion and garlic – and one of our cukes. It was delicious.

    Reply

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