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succotash

 

Succotash is a very early American recipe combining our native beans and corn, but I only seem to make it in the summer when I can get fresh lima beans and corn locally.  I never think of making it in the winter with frozen vegetables, although I suppose it is probably still pretty good.  Fresh limas are not so easy to come by even in the farmers market.  I don’t know if this is because people don’t buy them or farmers don’t like to grow them.  But I do know that whenever I see them, I snap them up.  I got great ones the other day at the farmers market and although we haven’t had great luck with corn this summer, I bought some ears to make a Sunday supper of succotash topped with sliced grilled (on my stove top grill pan) chicken breast.  What a tasty meal – with a side of sliced heirloom tomatoes and a bowl of pickled beets.  Summer at its best!

¼ cup finely diced slab bacon
¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
2 to 3 cups fresh lima beans
Kernels from 4 large ears fresh corn
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the bacon and onion in a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and cook, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes or until the bacon has begun to color and the onions have softened.  Add the lima beans and corn, stirring to blend.  Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, cover,  and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or just until the beans are tender.

Mussels cooking

 

Fortunately, our Union Square Green Market isn’t just vegetables and fruits – we have cheeses, meats, poultry, fish, plants, and cut flowers to complete the outdoor shopping experience.  I was looking for some inspiration on Saturday and found some merguez sausage at the Flying Pigs Farm (www.flyingpigsfarm.com) stall.  That purchase led to a couple of pounds of mussels at Seatuck Fish Company (www.seatuckfish.com) and the two of them led to dinner pulled together in my beautiful Scanpan covered chef’s pan.
Here’s how it came about:  I sautéed some onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until just softened.  I sliced up the sausage and added it to the pan and cooked it until it had lost its color.  Then I added about 1 cup of dry white wine, brought the mix to a boil and then lowered the heat and simmered for about 4 or 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.  That was followed with ¾ cup of pureed fresh tomatoes, 1 cup of clam broth, and some basil and chile flakes.  I cooked the liquid for a bit to allow the flavors to blend.  Then I added the scrubbed mussels and covered the pan.  Since the lid is glass I could watch the mussels open so just as they began to open I added a big handful of yellow cherry tomatoes and another handful of sliced baby red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.  Again, I covered and watched the mussels finish popping open.  Voila! A one pot dinner came to the table, 1,2,3!

 

Mussels plated

Radishes_DSC_4652

There were so many radishes in the farmers market that I just had to buy a few bunches.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were irresistible and only $1 a bunch.  We ate some chilled, with sweet butter and sea salt, tossed some in salads, and then I did the classic French side dish, radishes braised in butter to accompany some grilled chicken breasts.  You never see cooked radishes on menus anymore, but this braise is a very traditional French summer dish.  If you use bright red radishes, they will lose quite a bit of their color when cooked.

2 bunches crisp radishes
3 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth or even water
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Trim the radishes, leaving just a bit of the stem.  Scrub them well as dirt can often cling around the stem and root end.  If they have stringy rootlets, pull these off and discard them.
Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the radishes in a single layer over medium heat.  Add the radishes, stock, and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, lower the heat, and braise for about 20 minutes or until easily pierced with the point of a small sharp knife.
Remove from the heat, stir in the zest, and serve.

 

©StephenKolyer_Radish

pickled-eggs

pickled-beets

My mom loved nothing better than a social gathering and was always prepared for a houseful of  guests.  One of her favorite cocktail snacks was pickled hard boiled eggs, so throughout the summer there was always a jar of them in the fridge.  Recently we were at a dinner party where the first course was a meze platter consisting of hummus and pita chips, prosciutto, olives, pistachios, and pickled eggs.  Our hosts had purchased the eggs at a local delicatessen and although they weren’t pickled in beet juice, they immediately reminded me of my mom’s.  So, when making pickled beets (with yellow and red beets from the farmers market) the other day I had to replicate her favorite eggs.  I think I left the eggs in the pickling juice a little too long but they were certainly a glorious color and tasted pretty darn good too.  One bit of warning – the longer you pickle them the tougher the white becomes, but it will never become inedible.  Here’s my pickled beet recipe, but you can also purchase jarred pickled beets and use that juice or make your own pickling liquid with any type of vinegar; just remember, whatever color the vinegar that will be the color of your eggs.  All you do is hard boil some eggs, let them cool, peel, and submerge them in pickling liquid.  If you like a little heat, add some fresh chiles to the liquid.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the egg white time to absorb the pickle.
A word about pickled beets.  When I was a girl, all kinds of pickles were on the table for every meal, even breakfast.  Home-canned jars of pickled vegetables of all kinds along with at least 4 or 5 different kinds of pickled cucumbers , sweet, spiced, and dilled set center stage.  Although there has been a recent resurgence in pickling (both in cookbooks and in the artisanal food movement), I think the only place that you might still find an array of pickles on the table is in an Amish farmhouse.

Pickled Beets
2 bunches fresh beets, washed, trimmed of the greens (remember to save the greens for a quick
    sauté in a little olive oil and garlic), and cooked
1 large red or sweet onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut, crosswise, into thin slices, then pulled into rings
1½ to 2 cups white (or other) vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoons caraway seeds, optional
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Peel and trim the beets; then, cut, crosswise, into slices about ¼ thick.  Place in a bowl.
Add the onion rings, tossing to combine.  Add the vinegar, sugar, and, if using, the caraway seeds.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to blend completely.
Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive container – I like a glass refrigerator storage container or large glass jar – taking care that the pickling liquid covers the beets and onions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.  When covered and refrigerated the beets will last for up to 10 days.

20140808_dahlias

Sorry to have been away from posting for so long, but when summer arrived our family was unexpectedly hit with a few medical emergencies that kept us away from our love of cooking, hitting the farmers markets, and generally enjoying life with our friends, including YOU.  We’re back with some of the emergencies solved and some being worked on.  We send you flowers as so many friends sent us to brighten your day and to let you know we didn’t forget those of you who visit my kitchen.

tiger-prawn

 

Shopping at the Chelsea Market I stopped to check out the selection at The Lobster Place, my favorite fish market. I saw these huge shrimp called tiger prawns and just had to buy them for Steve, my lovely husband, who could dine on shrimp every night. I googled them when I got home and found that they are native to Southeast Asia, but are farmed all over the world. Apparently during one of our recent hurricanes, some of these big guys escaped from the farm and ended up procreating in the Gulf of Mexico where they are thriving – much to the dismay of local shrimpers who fear that they will over-take the native species because they are so big and aggressive.  Now the quandary, do we buy them wild or only buy those that are farmed. Being environmentally correct sure does take work. Got any ideas?

Since I had bought them, I had to cook them and this is what I did.

2 pounds tiger prawns

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

½ cup olive oil

1 hot red or green chile, stemmed and cut, crosswise, into thin slices

1 shallot, peeled and minced

1 small bunch broccolini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

 

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Combine the prawns with the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, chile, and shallot in a roasting pan.   Cover with plastic film and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Uncover, toss in the broccolini, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to the preheated oven and roast, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the prawns are bright pink and the broccolini is barely cooked.

Remove from the oven and stir in the butter and parsley.  Serve immediately with some warm crusty bread to sop up the juices.

Radish_DSC_4312

 

Sunday morning at our local green market I saw a bunch of teeny, tiny French breakfast radishes coated in dirt.  Since the dirt told me that they had not been long out of the earth I had to bring them home even though I had no plan to have a second breakfast.  So later in the day I washed them, dipped one at a time into some sea salt, and popped them into my mouth as I made dinner.  I have no idea why they are called French breakfast radishes as I have never known a French breakfast to consist of much more than coffee and a baguette, but there must be a reason.  If you know, would you clue me in?

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