Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.
Spring, finally upon us, means the opening of many farmers markets in the area–a great pit stop after work or destination for a Sunday morning stroll (or date!). The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and the summer harvest is just around the corner.
Farmers markets connect consumers to the food they eat and the people that grow it. They also bring neighbors together to admire and appreciate fresh produce and homemade products. Hint: It’s also the best spot in town for people-watching.
The few that seem to forget these romantic sentiments can really bring down the whole communal vibe. While tolerance is key for any sales position, acting like a conscientious customer helps everyone else enjoy themselves more, too. Here are some etiquette tips that go a long way with farmers, patrons and salespeople alike!
Tips for the Market
- DO try out the samples. That’s what they are there for. Ask questions–tell your salesperson flavors you like and they will probably let you try before you buy.
- DON’T sample the entire table as you pass by and then walk away. You can’t hide. Farmers are not in the business of making money and every apple used for samples is one less apple sold for profit.
- DO save change during the week and use your coins! Exact change makes the math easier and gets you out of the checkout line quicker.
- DON’T use a $100 bill for a purchase under $10. The cash register is not an ATM machine. Singles and tens can be hard to come by, so try to break your twenties before coming to the market if you can.
- DO bring your own bags. Reusable (cloth) bags cut down on the cost of plastic on our environment as well as costs to farmers who make and purchase bags. If you need a plastic bag, reuse it for bagging your produce the following weeks or to line a waste bin at home.
- DON’T hold up the line by talking on your cell phone during checkout–interact with the person behind the counter! Be considerate of those behind you–hang up the phone and organize your bags, money, tissues, receipts, change, gum wrappers, trash, etc. before you get in line.
The Dupont Freshfarm Market‘s spring hours begin Sunday, April 7: 8:30 am to 1 pm. The Penn Quarter Farmers Market runs every Thursday from 3 to 7 pm. Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market opens April 6 and the 14 and U Farmers’ Market opens May 5 (Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm).
From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.
Ramps have become the Holy Grail of spring produce, signaling the start of the lovely market season. Farmers market shoppers go into a frenzy when ramps are first spotted on vendor tables. Word spreads like wildfire through the foodie community, almost like Paul Revere announcing the coming of the British army. And before you know it, ramps are on every seasonal restaurant menu in the area.
Somehow the little buggers even sneak into our desserts! It’s almost like March Madness, but instead of brackets, we have wild leeks. I must admit when I first discovered ramps, I too obsessively stalked the markets for their arrival. I should probably apologize to every farmers market vendor for my constant nagging.
But I was transfixed by the marvelous symphony of garlic and onions composed in this simple little wild vegetable. Being able to combine some of my favorite flavors (garlic and onions) into one was almost too much for me to bear. Before I knew it, I was collecting ramp recipes like they were going out of style.
Over the years, I have found some ramp recipes I really love and treasure. So in the spirit of the Foodie March Madness (for ramps), I present my “bracket” of championship ramp recipes.
- Ramp pesto is almost a no brainer since you have both the garlic and the green component all in one lovely package. And since I tend to use walnuts in almost all of my pestos, this Wild Ramp Pesto recipe won a place in my ramp bracket last year. Try this pesto as the base for a grilled pizza if you are a big garlic lover (like me!)
- I’m a Southern girl at heart and in the South, we love our biscuits and our pork. So you can imagine my glee upon discovering The Garden Apartment’s Ramp and Ham Buttermilk Biscuits recipe. These biscuits don’t need much build up or explanation. It’s ham. Folded into a buttermilk biscuit. With ramps. Why you’re not at your counter making them now is beyond me.
- At least once during the ramp season, I bust out this Ramp Risotto recipe because it’s simply divine. Risotto is not as intimidating as it seems. It just takes a wee bit of patience and if I (the queen of the short attention span) can do it, anyone can do it.
- Remember that ramp pesto recipe a few bullet points up? Remember to save 1/4 cup of it for this Ramp Pesto Mac and Cheese. Being a cheese hound, this recipe immediately caught my eye a few years ago. Even though I am almost always trying to eat healthier by the time ramp season rolls around, I still make an exception for this recipe. Once you’ve tried it, you will too.
- I had no idea what a gnudi was until I stumbled upon this recipe for Gnudi with Ramps and Brown Butter Sauce. As Homesick Texan explained, gnudi is similar to gnocchi but with ricotta instead of potatoes. I don’t care what you call them, just make sure to give this recipe a try.
- Finally, I present to you Ramp Crêpes. I love savory crêpes, so adding ramps to the batter seemed only natural. I tend to stuff these ramp crepes with sautéed mushrooms and shredded Gruyère cheese for an amazing crêpe sandwich. Feel free to add your favorite ingredients to these divine crêpes.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled at Dupont Circle Farmers Market this Sunday for ramps. And get there early. People like me are cut throat when it comes to ramps.
From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.
It looks like Punxsutawney Phil was wrong on February 2. Winter has been given the bum’s rush around here and spring is in full swing. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are soaring and the steps at the Portrait Gallery are bursting with office workers eating lunch to enjoy it all.
Before you know it, asparagus, English peas and morel mushrooms will be sprouting up at farmers markets all over Borderstan. In celebration of the unusually warm weather in DC this week, I decided to share some of my favorite spring recipes for you. File them away for when you snag your first bunch of spring produce this year!
- After I got over my fear of cooking risotto, I discovered it’s a beautifully customizable dish. And since spring has such an abundance of vegetables to choose from, risotto seems a no brainer. One of my favorite spring risotto recipes is this Asparagus and Lemon Risotto with Arugula from Veggie Belly. It’s creamy with bursts of lemony sunshine — just like a perfect spring day.
- Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart recipe. Behind the easy directions and small ingredient list lies a beautifully composed symphony of spring flavors. Get the freshest cherry tomatoes you can and good basil because they are the star of this dish. And the tart dough is so easy to make, even a caveman can do it (sorry Geico).
- The first rhubarb of the season should — nay MUST be used for this Rhubarb Almond Coffee Cake from Not Derby Pie. If you think you’re not a fan of rhubarb, put aside your preconceived notions and give this cake a try. And if you still don’t like rhubarb after making it, email me. I’ll be more than happy to take it off your hands.
- I know this will sound odd and you will probably question my sanity when you read this, but trust me here. Strawberry.Leek.Quesadillas. You read that right. Strawberries. In a quesadilla. With leeks. This is a recipe that will open your eyes to using strawberries in savory dishes. And spring will never be the same.
- And to completely turn your head around, how about trying peas in dessert? This lovely Green Pea Ice Cream from the Frozen Fix tastes just like fresh peas… in the form of ice cream. It’s a deliciously decadent way to eat your veggies. Your mom would be proud. And probably a little confused.
- If you manage to get your hands on morel mushrooms this season, I strongly encourage you to make this Morel Mushroom and Brie Tart. Don’t like brie? Use fresh goat cheese from the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. I’ve made this tart with both brie and goat cheese and both versions are equally swoon worthy.
Speaking of the Dupont Circle Farmers Market, small signs of spring are showing up there now, too! One of my favorite vendors, Clear Spring Creamery, is back for the Spring and Summer season! I am obsessed with their rich and creamy milk — it’s unlike anything I have ever tasted before. And Dolcezza Gelato is also back at the market. Grab a pint of their seasonal gelato and sit out near the Dupont Circle fountain this Sunday. It’s gonna be a beautiful spring day.
From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.
I did not grow up liking kale. In fact, I didn’t know the first thing about kale when I was a wee one running around the playground. This is probably good, because I was a picky eater. Had I been forced to consume it as a youngster, I probably would have never given it a chance as an adult.
Now that would have been a sad omission in my culinary arsenal. Kale is a power packed green — both in its nutritional value and its versatility. Are you lactose intolerant, but need to satisfy your calcium intake? Kale is a great dairy-free source of calcium. Do you find yourself battling one cold after another? Boost your Vitamin C intake with kale! It really is a nutrient rich green and if you haven’t already, it’s time to make room for it in your diet.
When I first learned about kale, a friend suggested I sauté it in good olive oil with garlic. I cannot tell you how much sautéed kale I consumed that first year with this simple recipe. And while I loved the extra energy I felt kale gave me (I call it the “Popeye Effect”), I quickly grew bored with simply sautéing it.
Through the years, I have collected a vast array of kale recipes that delight my inner finicky five-year old. Here are some fantastic ways to include kale in your diet. Pick up some fresh kale from Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sunday and get cooking!
- One of my favorite ways to eat kale has also been one of my biggest sources of frustration: kale chips. The first time I made them, they turned out soggy. The second time I made them, in an attempt to remedy the sogginess, I burned them. I have vague memories of an oven fire … don’t ask. Then I learned a few tricks for making kale chips crispy without having to brandish a fire extinguisher in the process. This step by step guide for kale chips by Steamy Kitchen will help you avoid my kitchen disasters as you pursue this healthy alternative to potato chips.
- A traditional Japanese beef roll gets a green update in this recipe for kale and scallion negimaki. Roll marinated strips of beef together with scallions and blanched kale, then grill. This is a fun way to get some greens into your system. For those leery of sushi, this recipe is also a great way to dip your toe in the pool of rolled foods. For those of you who love sushi (like me), let this recipe be the inspiration for twists on sushi rolls. Use the blanched kale in place of nori sheets or chop it up and add it to your favorite spicy tuna roll recipe.
- Kale is a great accompaniment to pasta and I often add it to my favorite carb packed dishes. I love this pasta with black kale, caramelized onion and parsnips recipe, because it includes another winter staple: parsnips, and is satisfies my undying love for caramelized onions. If you can’t find black kale, don’t worry. Any type of kale works beautifully in this dish.
- It may not feel like winter outside, but don’t let that stop you from making this Rustic Chickpea and Mushroom Soup with Farro from Domenica Cooks. Farro is a nutty grain that everyone should eat. Adding farro, mushrooms and chickpeas to this soup gives it a hearty depth that will please even the most ardent meat lover in your life. Vibrant strips of dark green kale float in the bowl, beautifully punching up the otherwise monochromatic look of this soup.
- I love a good savory tart, especially one that includes sausage. This sausage and kale tart has a very simple crust for those who fear the words “pie dough” (which, by the way, is nothing to fear). Get a good quality sausage from one of the many meat vendors at Dupont Circle Farmers Market and ricotta from Keswick Creamery or Blue Ridge Dairy to make this tart extra special. Add a side salad of fresh greens for a great lunch or light dinner.
- Savory hand pies are always a crowd pleaser (the delectable ones at the Whisked! stand at the 14th & U Farmers Market always sell out quickly), so this chicken and kale hand pies with cheddar crust recipe is sure to be a hit. Yes, you’re required to make a pie dough, but trust me when I say pie dough is nothing to fear. If you haven’t tried putting cheddar cheese in a pie crust, do it! Now. You will thank me later.
- When I was in college, I had a friend who drank a shake consisting of spinach, bananas and peanut butter… every day. It looked like it had been scraped off the bottom of an old row-boat and smelled just as unappetizing. She, however, was convinced it gave her a special punch of energy and always tried talking me into trying it. Being a visual eater, I could never bring myself to try one of these shakes. How wrong I was, to refuse! I now often make a smoothie using kale in the place of spinach, and I can never detect the kale in that mix. I use a variation of this recipe from Skinny Taste, using whole milk instead of almond milk and Greek yogurt from Blue Ridge Dairy. Play around with the combination of fruits and dairy in this recipe until you find the flavor you like and voila’, blend your way to health!
I hope I’ve convinced you that kale is a versatile ingredient, to be used in everything from drinks to pie. I humbly suggest you stop overlooking this green wonder and embrace its leafy goodness.
From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT]borderstan.com, follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.
Much to this snow lover’s chagrin, we have had a pretty mild Winter here in Borderstan. So much so, I didn’t get to use my cute new texting gloves. But I appear to be in the minority when it comes to my disappointment in Old Man Winter this year.
Everyone is buzzing about the hints of spring in the air. And I must admit, the mild weather has me thinking about trying my hand at gardening again this year. But starting a garden, even a small balcony one, requires a little bit of planning and research. Since spring is already making cameo appearances, why not head down to Dupont Circle Farmers Market for some inspiration?
There are several flower and plant vendors at the market who can help you decide how your garden will grow. Or, if you’re like me, help you pick a pretty arrangement that will get you in the mood for Spring. Without leading to the tragic death of innocent plants.
- Located in Brookeville, Maryland, Farmhouse Flowers and Plants boasts an expansive array of flowers, annuals, perennials and herbs for your home and garden. Even the most inexperienced gardeners can find something they won’t kill among their vast selection. On Sundays during the spring and summer, I love nothing more than picking up a beautiful bouquet of flowers for our table. And spring and summer brides take note: you can pick your own flowers straight from their farm for your bridal and bridal party bouquets!
- The bright yellow sunflowers at Four Seasons Nursery are like a siren call to me during the summer. Four Seasons Nursery is five acres of annuals, perennials, herbs and house plants in Charlestown, West Virginia. I love looking through their selection of house plants and cuttings but I fear my lack of experience will mean their demise. But don’t let inexperience scare you away from finding just the right plant for you. They are always happy to answer any questions you have about their plants and flowers.
- Bob Wollam is the force behind Wollam Gardens, 11 acres of beautiful bushes, perennials and annuals. Bob’s love of gardening is obvious to anyone who talks with him for more than five minutes. He is always delighted to talk about the best methods for growing a specific variety, even during the bustling market days of Summer. Although they primarily sell cut flowers at Dupont Circle Farmers Market, make sure to ask for some gardening advice while you pick out an arrangement.
- If you love orchids, Floradise Orchids is your paradise. Their Gordonsvillie, Virginia farm is home to a dizzying array of orchids, from the common to the exotic. Stopping by their booth at Dupont Circle is like stepping into a tropical dream. Their arrangements are sought out by businesses and prominent private citizens throughout the DC area. But we’re lucky enough to have them right at our own market! Pick up some tips for growing orchids while you pick out a beautiful display for your home.
- Anchor Nursery has a little bit of everything – seasonal vegetables, flowers and plants! Their farm in Galena, Maryland boasts 150 acres of vegetables, plants, trees, herbs and perennials. Talk about one stop farming! While you’re getting your umpteenth Winter squash this Sunday, find out more about the different variety of plants they offer.
Make sure to ask around at these vendors for advice about your spring garden this Sunday. A little bit of knowledge and a lot of finger crossing is the key to a successful garden. I hope.
February is always a hard time for me in the kitchen. As a person who prefers to eat seasonally, I find it hard to come up with fresh and interesting ways to make the staples of Winter produce. And as much as I love to braise a lovely cut of meat for a meal, I’d like a little bit of variety. Wouldn’t you?
With that in mind, I decided to scour the internet for unique takes on the produce currently at the farmers markets. I found some delicious and different ways to make Winter produce more exciting. Or at least a little more adventurous.
- The lovely mushrooms from the Mushroom Stand at Dupont Circle Farmers Market are perfect for this mushroom bread pudding. Mix and match your favorite mushrooms for a hearty take on a classic bread pudding. You can serve it as a side dish or up the portion size for a full meal (perhaps with a side salad).
- This beet and bean “burger” is one of my absolute favorite vegetarian recipes. Fresh beets are combined with brown rice, black beans and a host of spices for a burger even the strictest carnivore will love. It can get a little messy when you’re making the patties, but it’s worth the clean up.
- One of my favorite food bloggers decided to give butternut squash a Moroccan twist with this Moroccan butternut squash and chickpea tagine. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, cut back a bit on the harissa, a North African hot chili sauce.
- Speaking of harissa, this harissa spaghettini dish is a fantastic platform for kale to shine. When kale is in season, I make it often. As noted above, for the non-heat seekers, reduce the amount of harissa or you’ll be cursing my name later.
- But who needs pasta when you have sweet potatoes? This cannelloni recipe swaps out the carbs for thin slices of sweet potato. Grab some fresh sweet potatoes from Next Step Produce on Sunday and get out your handy mandoline!
- I first had carrot marmalade at a bed and breakfast in Virginia and have been obsessed with it ever since. Fresh carrots shine in this jam, bringing out the vegetable’s natural sweetness. This recipe makes a good amount of marmalade, but trust me, it won’t last long.
- I had to laugh when I saw the name for this dish: squashducken! A vegetarian hat tip to the turducken, it’s a cornucopia of Winter squash stuffed in…well, a winter squash. Even though the recipe says the maple syrup is “optional”, I highly encourage you to use it.
Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to get out of your winter rut and back into the kitchen!
See Lebodome’s Super Bowl XLVI Primer (and the Giants Will Win) on tips for how to enjoy Sunday’s Super Bowl game. Hint: Location, location, location (and food and dudes).
I can try to pretend I love football and have a big party planned for Sunday. But truthfully, my co-worker just told me the Super Bowl XLVI is Sunday and I have no idea who is playing. Or where.
Yet somehow I know Madonna is the halftime performer and Matthew Broderick is reprising his Ferris Bueller role in an ad. Clearly I have different priorities than sports fans. Even though I won’t be watching on Sunday, I want all of you to be Super Prepared for the festivities (see what I did there?).
So I found some great party friendly foods that use produce, meat and other divine things you can pick up at the farmers market on Sunday. Right before the big game starts… at noon, right?
- Collard greens get a bit of a party make-over in these grits-stuffed collard rolls. If you’re expecting a large crowd on Sunday, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled for your party trays.
- One of Keswick Creamery’s extra sharp cheeses would be perfect for these cheese straws. I often substitute cayenne pepper for the crushed red pepper flakes for an added kick. Make a big batch and pile them in bowls around your house for guests. Or, if you’re like me, eat most of them before the first guest even arrives.
- Believe it or not, you can also pick up the blue cheese dressing for this buffalo chicken dip at Keswick Creamery this Sunday. And for a change of pace, pair the dip with kale chips.
- Get fresh mushrooms at the Mushroom Stand and bacon at Red Apron Butchery for this mushroom and bacon dip. Sure you can serve store bought chips with it, but why not use fresh carrots from the market? Or even better, these beet chips!
- Swap out frozen spinach for fresh in this spinach and artichoke dip. Simply saute the spinach for a minute or two to wilt it and let it cool. You can also pick up fresh garlic for this dip at the market. I’ve been tempted to substitute Keswick’s quark cheese for the cream cheese, but have yet to try it. If you do, tell us how it works.
- If you want to serve up something besides Lay’s, these sweet potato chips are (in my opinion, at least) better than their regular potato cousin. I especially love the rosemary salt you sprinkle over the hot chips.
- Grab some fresh pork from Smith Meadows for this slow cooker pulled pork dish. It’s mind numbingly easy to make and absolutely delicious. Plus it makes a LOT of pulled pork, which I assume one needs to cheer on their favorite team.
- Finally, no Super Bowl party would be complete without buffalo wings! Fresh garlic from the market will help make these wings a little more local. I have yet to find chicken wings at the farmers market, but it doesn’t hurt to ask around on Sunday. And you can skip the recipe for blue cheese sauce and just serve the wings with Keswick Creamery’s blue cheese dressing!
Hope everyone has a Super weekend (too much?) and go [insert name of your favorite team here]!
After months of holiday treats, office party indulgences and family dinner gluttony, I think we are all a little wary of stepping on the scale. The holiday season can leave us feeling sluggish and a bit snug in our clothing, which invariably leads to January resolutions to exercise and eat right. There are several options for working out in the Borderstan area, but what about making better eating choices? It’s easier than you think and the first place to start is at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market.
The market is open all winter and there are an abundance of healthy fruits and vegetables for you to choose from. Eating better doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste either. You can make better food choices and still indulge your foodie palate. Here are some great recipes to help get your (healthy) culinary juices flowing.
- This roasted winter squash salad makes great use of the different varieties of winter squash available at the market. Pick a winter squash you don’t normally use to flex your culinary muscle.
- Kale, in my humble opinion, doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It’s very high in beta carotene and vitamin c, as well as an excellent source of calcium. You’ll find an abundance of kale at the market this winter, so try out this recipe for tuscan kale and chickpea pasta or this one for Portuguese kale soup
- A simple, earthy carrot soup is perfect for cold winter nights and easy to make. Carrots are rich in antioxidants, vitamin a and a fantastic source of fiber. Fresh carrots from the market will shine in this spicy carrot soup.
- Another great cold weather recipe that utilizes produce straight from the farmers market is this carrot and winter squash soup. For vegetarians, the pancetta croutons can be omitted without sacrificing any flavor.
- Pick up a bunch of fresh spinach from the market, ricotta from Keswick Creamery and mozzarella from Blue Ridge Dairy to make these spinach lasagna rolls. Although the recipe calls for fat free ricotta and part skim mozzarella, I have made it using fresh ricotta and mozzarella from the market and it’s still a healthy, lower calorie alternative to traditional lasagna.
- Finally, this mushroom barley soup is the quintessential detox from all the holiday merriment we’ve indulged in. Pick up some fresh mushrooms from the Mushroom Stand to make it really shine.
The best way to stick to a healthy eating resolution is to plan out your meals. So take some of the recipes above, hit up the market on Sunday and get your new year started off right. And don’t forget, the Dupont Circle Farmers Market opens at 10 am during the winter season.
Borderstan welcomes a new contributor this week in the Food & Drink section. Stephanie Willis’ love of cooking and insistence on quality ingredients led her to become a passionate supporter of the local food movement and sustainable agriculture.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to the endless stream of Christmas songs playing all around us. I admit I love the holidays and I especially love hitting up the farmers’ market right now. The Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market is bursting with holiday cheer to help give your home (or office if you’re like me) a festive makeover.
Little Scrub Ridge Farm has a fantastic selection of fresh Christmas trees, including Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Fraser Fir, Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce and Scotch Pine. Available in a variety of sizes, there is sure to be one that is perfect for you. If you want a tree more than 8-feet tall, give Lee a call at 717-485-5456 to pre-order one for pickup at Dupont Circle.
Looking for something to adorn your door or balcony? The market has you covered there too! Four Seasons Nursery has gorgeously designed wreaths, dotted with red winter berries, and some with holiday ribbon. The nursery also has a variety of seasonal centerpieces to make your holiday table more festive. This is their last week at Dupont Circle, so make sure to stop by their booth to pick up a bit of holiday greenery. If you can’t make it to Dupont Circle this weekend, fear not! Anchor Nursery also has an assortment of wreaths and centerpieces that would make Martha Stewart proud.
If you’re looking to do a bit of holiday shopping while you’re buying your fruits and vegetables, the market has several options for you. Have someone in your life who is a knitter? Solitude Wool sells artisan yarns spun from their small flock of sheep raised on their farm in Loudoun County, Virginia. They also sell already-made bags, hats and other fashionable wears for those less than artistically inclined people on your shopping list.
Farmhouse Flowers & Plants proudly displayed a sign stating, “Plants make great gifts!” If your list includes someone with a green thumb, check out the wide range of plants in Farmhouse Flowers & Plants makeshift nursery at Dupont Circle. And finally, the perfect stocking stuffer: Kelley’s Lip Balm at Keswick Creamery! The cute little tubes of lip balm are made of local beeswax and honey, with a hint of organic coconut oil. Give the gift of non-chapped lips this Winter!
Don’t head out to those big box stores to deck your halls this year. Instead, make your holiday a local one and pick up all your decorating essentials this weekend at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market!
Fall, the season for root vegetables and squash. It’s not pretty stuff to look at sometimes. All… root-y and dirt coated. Or in the case of squash, all bulbous and, I don’t even know. Even for all their aesthetic flaws, root vegetables and squash are some of my favorite underdog farmers market buys.
When everyone starts lamenting the end of tomato season I just set my sights on the likes of spaghetti squash and parsnips. So let’s take a look at some of what you’ll be finding out there this weekend and what’s worth a shot.
There are only two weekends left of the 14th & U St. farmers market! Make your visits count!
In the squash set you have spaghetti squash, acorn squash, the ever popular butternut squash, which is not to be confused with buttercup squash, autumn squash and of course pumpkins. It should be noted that not all pumpkins are created equal so check with your farmer before you buy one for that soup or pie you want to make.
Some pumpkins are decorative in nature only, their flesh far too firm, flavorless or even bitter for the likes of cooking. But in the case of all these other squashes, don’t let them stump you.
Easy Baked Squash
The easiest prep for a squash is:
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Cut the squash in half.
- Lather down each side with olive oil, ample amounts of salt and pepper. Or for a sweeter treatment a dash of salt, white sugar and maybe even some brown sugar if you have it on hand.
- Place each squash half cut side down on the parchment paper.
- Bake the squash for anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on how big and dense it is. Check on it every five minutes or so starting at 30 minutes and poke it with a fork to see how tender it is.
- Take it out of the oven once it’s done, flip it over so it’s cut side up, let cool for a few minutes. Dig right in with a fork if you’re feeling lazy or slice and serve on a plate if you’re feeling fancy!
I should note that this weekend is the last weekend to order a happy, gobbling farm turkey from Eco-Friendly foods at the Dupont Farmers market and you’ll want to get on that order from Truck Patch at 14th & U St.
Root vegetables at the markets include sunchokes, beets, parsnips, turnips, celery roots (also called celeriac), carrots, sweet potatos, radishes and more. The name of the game for these bad boys is roasting, braising, pureeing and mashing. If you’re tired of traditional mashed potatoes or want to mix up the mash on your table, try this mashed root vegetables recipe. I get it, these aren’t attractive items, but man are they tasty!
What will you guys be getting at the markets this weekend? Anyone starting to worry about Thanksgiving? Don’t worry, we have a week of great food coverage coming up so stay tuned!
I like to think of the weeks before Thanksgiving as “practice.” If your family is like mine, expectations run high to make something that can become a new Turkey Day tradition. Get to the farmers’ market this week to do some testing of your own with delicious winter greens and cold weather fruit.
Last year I shook up tradition by making curried cranberry sauce for the family, but with greens looking so good at the market this week, perhaps I’ll “practice” these creamed collard greens from Bon Appetit on myself.
The Dupont Circle Market will feature Asian long beans, collards, cranberry shelling beans, turnips, arugula, fennel, cauliflower and apples. You can also pick up a variety of pears including Asian, Bartlett, Comice, Seckel and Bosc.
Also look for sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots, lettuces and beets, as well as broccoli, potatoes, onions, kale, Swiss chard, mushrooms and spaghetti squash.
14th and U
Whisked! has Scalloped Potato Tarts with Asiago cheese, onions and fresh herbs, and homemade Chicken Pot Pies. Pre-order a white, broad-breasted turkey from Truck Patch at the market or pick up fall firewood from the Garner stand. In addition to pears and apples at the market, check out the Kuhn stand for sales on bags of red onions and half price on heirloom pumpkins during the last hour of the market.
Don’t forget, only three weeks remain for the 14 and U Streets NW Farmers’ Market season, so stock up on favorites soon.
From Alejandra Owens of One Bite At A Timewhere she writes about food, cooking and even offers up some great recipes. You can also find her on Twitter at @frijolita.
Folks, it’s that time of year again. Spring produce is reemerging, flowers are blooming and I have a serious hankering for strawberries. All this can only mean one things: our city’s farmers markets are back.
14th & U Farmers’ Market
This Saturday marks the inaugural market of the 14th & U Farmers’ Market for the season. Market hours are 9 am to 1 pm, Saturdays only!
Robin at 14th & U tells me there will be lots of new producers including North Mountain Pastures (eggs, prosciutto, lonzino, Sweet Italian Sausage, Hot Italian Sausage, breakfast sausage, bacon, and an assortment of fermented veggies like kimchi and sauerkraut), Plantmasters (flowering hanging baskets,potted herbs,annuals in pots, lily of the valley,viburnum and more) and Mountain View Farms (naturally grown bok choi, arugula, kale, mustards, nettles and hakurei).