2 sisters 2 cities

June 12, 2010

Cooking from the Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of msandman via the flickr creative commons license

Last Friday afternoon, we decided to invite some friends over for dinner that evening.  I had no meal plan for the night for even Husband M and I, so I had to quickly figure out what I was going to serve our group.  Fortunately, the Copley Square Farmer’s Market was open so I decided to hit it up to see what I could think of.

For appetizers, I visited the Crystal Brooks goat cheese stand and picked up a tub of their mediterranean goat cheese.  For dinner, I thought out best option would be BLTs.  I picked up a pack of smoked bacon from Stillman’s Turkey Farm, some first-of-the-season tomatoes from the Stillman’s farm stand, and two types of bread from Breadsong Bakery (Rustic Italian and Sourdough).  I already had lettuce at home from our Boston Organics delivery.  As an alternative to mayo, I like to use step 1 of this recipe for Cooking Light for the spread (I used the sage from my herb garden…my first harvest of the year!):

Mayo/Mustard Shallot & Sage Spread

I cut up the tomatoes and washed the lettuce and put them all out on one plate.  I cooked the bacon in the oven on a baking sheet at 400 degrees (approx 15-2o minutes depending on your oven).  I then used the broiler to toast the bread on baking sheets right before we sat down to dinner.  It was a great meal to serve to guests as I could get the majority of things taken care of ahead of time (washing the lettuce, washing and cutting the tomatoes, cooking the bacon, slicing the bread, and making the spread).  I was able to enjoy the time on our roof deck watching the sunset.  (Pictures of our revitalized deck coming soon…I just need a sunny weekend day to take the pics and for Husband M to make a few planter moves).

For dessert, I decided to go with my all-time favorite- strawberry shortcake.  I picked up 4 pints of local strawberries from the market (I can’t remember which stand I ended up going to, but there are 4-5 stands which carry them this time of year).  I had some leftover buttermilk from another dinner, so I used the recipe on the side of the carton to make buttermilk biscuits.  Husband M picked up some heavy cream from the grocery store on his walk home from the bus stop (as well as a can of ReddiWip for himself…nasty!)  Before our guests got here I made the biscuits and washed & cut up the strawberries. I then mixed the strawberries with a half of cup of sugar…it looks like a lot, but it tastes so good and they become really juicy after they sit in it for about an hour (or longer if possible).  Right before I served the dessert, I mixed the heavy cream up with the KitchenAid to make whipped cream.  The process goes a little bit faster if you put the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to get them nice and cold.

I really love the idea of skipping the grocery store and doing all my shopping at the farmers’ market.  Not only does everything taste better, but I like to support local farmers and their awesome products.  I have been going to the same market for a few years now (and grew up going to farmers markets in the upstate NY area), but it seems like it is more popular than ever.  It would definitely be an interesting stat to see if farmers’ market volume have picked up at all within the past few years due to the green/local/organic movements.  Granted, I did have to use some items that I had previously purchased at the grocery store and had to pick up one item that day, but I would really like to purchase as many things as possible going to the farmers market this summer.

What meals have you prepared using solely the market?  Have farmers markets in your area become more popular recently?

-m

February 22, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cake

Filed under: M's Desserts, M's recipes — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:20 am

Following my belated Valentine’s Day dinner, I made Molten Chocolate Cake for dessert.  Although it sounds intimidating to make (and isn’t this the dessert you have to pre-order before your meal at most restaurants?!), it was actually pretty easy to make.  I got this recipe from the blog Closet Cooking:

Molten Chocolate Cake

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites

Directions:
1. Lightly grease 4 ramekins with butter.
2. Melt the chocolate into the butter in a double boiler and let cool a bit.
3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar and mix into the chocolate.
4. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks.
5. Fold the chocolate into the egg whites.
6. Pour the batter into the ramekins, no more than 2/3rds full.
7. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 7-10 minutes. The outside will be set and possibly crack and the inside will still be liquid.
8. Let cool for a few minutes and then run a knife around the edges and tip onto a plate. (Optional; Feel free to eat it right out of the ramekin with a spoon.)

I sifted a little powdered sugar on top and ate it straight from the ramekin (I think this was the first time I have actually even used my ramekins!)  Husband M recommends adding a couple raspberries to the top as well.

-Sister M

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