Monday, August 27, 2007

Farmer's Market, Hell's Kitchen

On Saturday Crystal, Mabel, and I went to the farmer's market in Hell's Kitchen.

This was the first time any of us had tried to find the market. Various websites said it was at 43rd St and 10th Ave, and when we got at that corner I was worried that I had sent us on a wild goose chase. We didn't see anything. I tried looking things up on my phone's web browser to no avail, so we decided to walk towards 9th Ave on our way home. We came upon a single stand in the middle of the block.

It turned out to be the farmer's market. We met Leonard, a farmer at Upper Meadows Farm. Mabel had been in touch with Leonard by email because we considered joining their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program earlier in the year. This was the first time any of us met him in person. We spent a while talking about their CSA program and the current season's growing problems. We ended up buying amaranth, corn, garlic chives, basil, and some beautiful, especially furry peaches.

On our way home, we came upon another farmer with stuff on a pickup truck near the corner of 43rd and 9th Ave.

The sellers here were a bit gruff, but they had some great stuff. We bought some amazing heirloom tomatoes and Japanese eggplants. The tomatoes were the most fragile tomatoes I'd ever encountered. I honestly would not have been surprised if one spontaneously exploded.

When we got back to the apartment, I looked up how to cook the amaranth (which I'd never heard of) and the Japanese eggplants (which I'd never dealt with) in Fuchsia Dunlop's recent book, Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. I was looking for the simplest possible treatment. She gave perfect guidance on both vegetables.

I stir-fried the amaranth in a wok. High heat, peanut oil, minced garlic and ginger, amaranth, cook for less than 1 minute, turn off heat, salt, and add a touch of toasted sesame oil. It was delicious.

As for the eggplant, I steamed it until it was even more tender. Then I added rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil and tossed in a bowl. Mabel tells me that it was amazing and it was her favorite thing that night. I tasted it to make sure it was seasoned right, but I'm not the biggest fan of eggplant, so I'll take her word for it. It is in situations like this where two is better than one.

In addition to me, Mabel, and Crystal, Susie and Jen Sawaya showed up for dinner. I also made broiled fresh sardines and seared sea scallops with beurre blanc made with garlic chives in place of shallots. And I boiled ears of corn. Mabel cooked up some rice because she rarely feels full without at least a little bit of rice.

Crystal and I made a plate of tomato, basil, and mozzarella. I couldn't help myself and put out a dish of sweet coppa from Salumeria Biellese where we also got the fresh mozzarella. Mabel put out a wedge of Delice de Bourgogne.

More people showed up later in the evening, and I made up a few batches of Mojitos. Soes brought a bottle of cachaça and made some seriously awesome Caipirinhas all night.

Hell's Kitchen Farmer's Market
43rd St between 9th and 10th Ave
On Saturdays during the growing season until about 3:30 PM

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