Category Archives: Markets

Mercato Notturno at Union Square Greenmarket

Bologna City of Food

Friday night, between the end of work and the start of going out with friends to see The Ivory Tower at Cooper Union (if you are curious about some of the real costs of higher education, I highly recommend seeing this movie), I swung by the Union Square Greenmarket for one of their two upcoming night markets.  This one called Mercato Notturno (night market in Italian), featured foods from Italy as well as a pasta-making demonstration.  There was also a table at the market that had information on it about Expo Milano 2015: “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life,” where the United States will have a pavilion.  For me, it was a little trip back to Bologna, the central focus of the market, where I lived for several years.  Here’s some pictures from the event:

Pizza al FornoPizza al Forno by Pizza Moto

Risotto with PestoRisotto alle herbe from Risotteria Melotti

Mortadella di Bologna on the slicerMortadella on the slicer

Info sign about chefsInformation about the participants

dolce non dolceDolce non Dolce by Agostino Jacobucci

Ricotta made with the leftovers from the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano along with a syrup made with Lambrusco and pistachio powder.

La SfoglinaLa Sfoglina – Stefania Civolani of Trattoria del Gallo

Rolling out pasta doughStarting to roll out the pasta

Rolling out Pasta SheetRolling out the sheet of pasta (la sfoglia)

Cutting the pasta into squaresCutting the pasta into squares

Adding tortellini fillingAdding filling to make tortellini

Forming tortelliniForming the tortellini

Cutting tagliatelleCutting pasta sheet into tagliatelle

Showing la tagliatelleShowing off le tagliatelle

Ribbons of tagliatelleRibbons of tagliatelle

Nests of Pasta“Nests” of pasta drying (i nidi)

MBA in Food & WineMBA in Food & Wine at the University of Bologna

For those who would like to find out more about Bologna and its cuisine, or just about the marketing of Italian food in general, you might consider looking into this new program put together by the University of Bologna’s Business School.  To learn about Bologna, in general, you can see my photos of the pasta class that I took at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese and read about a trip outside the city to drink wine and enjoy pasta in a vineyard nei colli (in the hills) and about my adventures traipsing around the city eating gelato.

NettunoStatue of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Buon appetito!

Roasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Roasted Radishes w Garlic Scape ButterRoasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Remember the Garlic Scape Butter you made so as to keep on hand the bright green, slightly garlicky fragrance of this late spring produce?  The arrival of piles of bunches of gorgeous, colorful radishes is a perfect excuse to break out some of it to liven up your vegetable platter.

Piles of RadishesBunches and bunches of radishes

I’d read about roasting radishes in several places over the years, but I’d never actually tried making them.  Radish are another one of those food items that I’ve learned to like as I got older.  I particularly like the combination of butter, salt and radishes, with the addition of a herb like chives or garlic to give them a bit of a zing, as in the crostini I’d added to the restaurant menu.  So, I thought, let’s give cooking the radishes a chance and toss them with a bit of the butter I’d made earlier.  They were wonderfully peppery with a hint of richness from the butter sauce.  I just wished I’d had some crusty bread to sop up all the extra sauce left behind!

Bunches of radishesRadishes

Roasted Radishes with Garlic Scape Butter

Prep time: 30 minutes or less

Serving size: 4-6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 bunches Radishes (any type)

1 tsp. Olive Oil

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 Tbsp. Garlic Scape Butter (click for recipe)

1 large pinch Sea Salt

Assembly:

Chopped Radishes in waterChopped radishes in water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Centigrade / Gas Mark 4).  Cut radishes into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces.  Place in a bowl of cold water until ready to cook so they stay crisp.

Radishes ready for the ovenRadishes ready for the oven

When the oven is heated up, drain the radishes and pat them dry with a towel.  Toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put them into a sauté pan that can go into the oven.

Radishes out of the ovenRadishes out of the oven

Cook for 15 minutes until the radishes are tender when a knife can easily pierce them.  They shouldn’t look withered or pick up lots of dark color.  Place the saucepan (remember to keep an oven mitt on the handle!) on the stovetop.

Garlic Scape butter added to radishesGarlic scape butter added to radishes

Add garlic scape butter to the roasted radishes in the pan.  There’s no need to turn on the heat underneath the pan, as the residual heat from cooking the radishes in the oven will melt the butter.  Swirl the butter and radishes around until the butter melts and coats all the vegetables.

Bowl of Roasted RadishesBowl of roasted radishes with garlic scape butter

Pour the radishes and the garlic scape butter into a bowl and serve them while still warm.  Make sure to have some crusty bread on hand to soak up all the delicious garlicky-salty-butter sauce at the end!

Buon appetito!

Garlic Scape Butter

A bunch of garlic scapesA bunch of garlic scapes

Along with ramps, there’s a brief few weeks when garlic scapes (which grow on the same plant as garlic bulbs) are in season.  It’s now probably just getting close to the end, then we’ll have bulbs of locally-grown garlic available in the markets.  That is the time to stock up.  For now, however, a good way to continue having this delicately-flavored produce on hand is to use it in a compound butter and to freeze that.  I like to add it to eggs, pasta, and other dishes that need just a little lift and a bit of a savory punch.

IngredientsIngredients

Ramp Butter

Serving size: 1/2 cup (one stick)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 oz.) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

2 Tbsp. Garlic Scapes (bulb and greens), finely chopped

Assembly:

Butter with ingredientsButter with seasonings and ramps

Place butter in bowl.  Add salt and pepper.  Add green and bulb parts of garlic scapes.  Make sure not to use any of the green part that has gotten to woody or stringy.

Combined garlic scape butterButter mixed together

Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula or fork.  This is best to do without a food processor or hand blender, as the butter will get too soft and will start to melt if you use that equipment.

Finished garlic scape butterButter on plastic wrap

Spread out a piece of plastic wrap that is about 10-12 inches in length on a board or the kitchen counter.  Put the butter mixture in the center of the plastic wrap.  This will keep your hands from getting greasy and will make it easier to shape the butter mixture.  Take the piece of the plastic wrap closest to you and fold it over the butter mixture.  With the plastic wrap, shape the mixture into a long, rectangular block.

Garlic Scape buttter wrapped upShaped butter

Working quickly, so as not to allow the butter mixture to melt, work with it until the block of butter is more or less uniform.  When the butter mixture has been shaped into a rectangular-ish block, finish it by wrapping the entire form in plastic wrap and in twisting the ends. I think this is one of my better attempts at doing this.  Place in the freezer to harden and keep it there until ready to use.  You can cut off slices of the butter mixture as you need to use it, keeping the rest frozen.  Don’t forget to label it so you don’t get it confused with the Ramp Butter you made earlier!

Buon appetito!

New Amsterdam Market Closing?

DSCN2379Welcome to the market!

Photo from July 2011 market visit post

On Monday, amid all the Bastille Day revelry, you might have heard a wailing “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” coming from the throats of food lovers in the city.  That morning, an email heard ’round the neighborhoods hit our in boxes.  The founder of the New Amsterdam Market, Robert LaValva, had sent a message to subscribers with the sad, sad news that the market would be closing down, effective immediately.  The final market was to be the one that had been held in June of this year.

New Amsterdam Market overviewScene from market season opening day 2o12

Here is the information from their website:

Founded in 2005, New Amsterdam Market was first held at the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan on December 16, 2007. Over the ensuing seven years, the market grew in frequency and scope while nurturing an evolving community of small businesses dedicated to sustainable food production, regional economies, and fair trade.

Through our steadfast presence under every adversity, we also championed the preservation of New York City’s oldest commons, where public trade has been conducted since 1642. But in 2013 the community was betrayed by elected officials who had professed their support but were ultimately swayed by the demands of the suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes. As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost one acre of irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming.

Our last market at this location was held on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

We thank all who participated in this endeavor.

New Amsterdam Market ice cream socialIce Cream Sunday – one of my favorite events at the market!

(see recaps from 2010, 2011, 2012)

The market was held on the site of the former Fulton Fish Market, which has been a battle scene for the past few years between preservationists and those who would like more commercial redevelopment of the South Street Seaport area.  I attended a few town meetings and a City Hall session where there were passionate discussions about this topic.  Vendors, regular market-goers, neighborhood residents, and local food suppliers were all in support of the market having some kind of presence in whatever plans were being draw up to revamp and revitalize this piece of waterfront property.

Hard Cider Revival at New Amsterdam MarketHard Cider Revival – just one of the many locally-themed food events at the market

A food market, which would draw foot traffic to this part of the city, as well as bring in tourists, and highlight the culinary bounty and diversity of this region has been a topic I’ve heard discussed pretty much since I moved here almost fifteen years ago.  The Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco, Pike Place Market in Seattle, and others have been mentioned in the same conversation that asks, “Why doesn’t a city like New York have a major destination food market?”

P n H Soda - Candy Cap Mushroom & Toasted Almond Egg CreamP&H Soda Co. – Candy Cap Mushroom & Toasted Almond Egg Cream

(photo from June 2013 market post)

Smorgasburg, Hester Street Fair, and other venues are all seasonal alternatives, but the combination of farmer, artisan, and special regional-focused culinary events that the New Amsterdam Market held each year, made it a special place to go.  As I wrote in June of 2013, after the first market of that season, that I ran in to so many friends that it really did feel as though the Big Apple was just a small, intimate town.  Stopping by to see the vendors whom I had gotten to know over the years and swapping stories and the most recent gossip was just a plus, as I loaded up my shopping bag with jams, meats, bread, cheese, sweets, and other goodies, often while sipping a drink from P&H Soda Co., looping back around the market for a snack from Lonestar Taco, and saving room for a treat from Liddabit Sweets or La Newyorkina.

Fulton Fish Market - NAMFor more posts, and plenty of pictures of market days, please visit the New Amsterdam Market tag on this website or visit The Experimental Gourmand Flickr photostream.

So, I’m dedicating this #TBT post to the New Amsterdam Market.  I’m hoping that, even as I type these words, the news that I saw last night that the board members are working to save the market and to figure out a solution for its future are true.  Here’s my offer to them, if you need any assistance getting a petition together or rallying support for the market to survive and to be considered an integral part of the redevelopment process of the South Street Seaport area, just reach out and ask.  This market has so many fans and supporters and has been a huge contributor to what makes NYC a special place to live, even in the short time that it has been in operation.

Buon appetito!

“New Amsterdam Market is Finished on South Street” from Grub Street (07/14/14)

“New Amsterdam Market’s Board May Try to Resume Operations” from Grub Street (07/16/14)

Brooklyn Eats!

Brooklyn Eats entryBrooklyn Eats! at the Pfizer Building

Last week, The Summer Fancy Food Show, the major industry food expo was held in New York City at the Javits Center. I’ve covered this event for several years, talking about some of my edible finds and scoping out potential trends that I saw (as well as just noshing my way around the display of culinary treats for a few days). This year, I decided to focus my attentions a bit more locally.

Brooklyn Eats check-in tableCheck-in table

Brooklyn Eats! was held the Friday prior to the main conference, sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, focusing on food artisans and entrepreneurs that are making NYC such a hotbed of gastronomic creativity.  The first one of these expos was held last year.  I think it flew under the radar of folks a bit, from what I heard.  This year, it seemed better promoted, bringing out a steady pack of food industry people, buyers, writers, and retailers.  The BCC also assisted those exhibitors who wanted to take part in the SFFS, too, helping them to register and set up their booths, so this project helps entrepreneurs not just in their community but also in the larger, more competitive specialty food market.

Bacchanal Sauce - displayBacchanal Sauce – check out this fiery condiment!

Brooklyn Delhi - displayBrooklyn Delhi – spruce up your meals with these tangy-spicy relishes

There was no shortage of great food products to sample at this event, either.  As I ate (and drank) my way around the tables set up at historic Pfizer Building (the event venue as well as the site of production kitchens for some of these companies), I was struck by a few interesting aspects.  Yes, there were plenty of new, intriguing products to try.  At the same time, what made me the happiest to see was that many of the folks whose foods I’ve tasted over the years are still in business.

The Jam Stand - no-sugar jamsThe Jam Stand – look at their new lo-sugar line

City Saucery - saucesCity Saucery – check out their expanded product line and new, larger jars of their sauces

Not only that, many of them have grown and are thriving, adding new items to their product lines and venturing into other areas.  Quite a few have gone from the markets like the New Amsterdam Market, Hester Street Fair and Smorgasburg to brick-and-mortar locations.  They now employ full-time staff and also mentor other budding culinary start-ups.  Many of the founders of these businesses also participate in panel discussions and at other events to discuss in the ins and outs of creating your own food items and brands, offering tips, advice, and resources to those who are thinking of breaking into the industry.

Liddabit Sweets - displayLiddabit Sweets – follow them to see where they’ll be opening up their new store

Robicelli's - displayRobicelli’s – drop by their shop in Bay Ridge

While I don’t have any idea of the dollar amounts that these activities contribute to the NYC economy, I do know that they add invaluable services and grow the resources of the city.   It’s exciting to see the continued success of these hard-working folks.  Of course, getting to eat delicious things is a bonus for the rest of us, too!  I definitely think that our foodscene has improved and grown due to their efforts.  Check out the slideshow below to see what other great treats I found at this event.

Buon appetito!

Farmers Market Dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43 with Chef Annette Tomei

Chef Annette shopping at Union SquareChef Annette Tomei picking out vegetables

More than a few times folks have told me that they get a bit stumped when trying to figure out what to make with the produce that is on display at the local farmers market.  They ask me for helpful hints as to how to navigate the stands, advice on what to buy when, and how I come up with things to make using what I purchase.  On Wednesday of this past week, a handful of guests assembled for a dinner at Jimmy’s No. 43 featuring Chef Annette Tomei where she which did just that: pulled together a 3-course dinner based upon ingredients gathered from the Union Square Greenmarket, complete with beverage pairings.  We did the shopping for the meal the morning of the event, schlepped the bags of food back to the restaurant, and then got to work fixing the dishes, with me as her sous chef for the evening.  Chef Tomei made several menu adjustments along the way and even tweaked plans for what we were going to make while we were at the market, having looked around at what everyone was selling that day.

Bowl of ramp butter popcornRamp Butter Popcorn

The evening started out with a platter crostini of farmers cheese from Ronnybrook Farm topped with a ragout of local oyster and cremini mushrooms and topped with sautéed fiddlehead ferns.  I also whipped up a batch of the Ramp Butter Popcorn I mentioned that I’d been making at the restaurant to serve as well.  To go along with this, the guests were served a glass of Foggy Ridge sparkling cider.  The high acidity of the cider was a great balance to the butteriness of the popcorn and the richness of the crostini.

Salad - Asparagus with Sorrel SauceSalad of Asparagus with Sorrel “Pesto” and Shungiku

For the second course, some of those asparagus that Chef Tomei is holding in the first photo were sliced thinly and turned into a light, crispy salad.  The asparagus were trimmed and served raw, no cooking involved.  They were super fresh and crunchy, needing just a drizzle of a fruity extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  On top of them are shungiku, edible micro chrysanthemum greens from Windfall Farms.  To go along with the asparagus, we had made a sorrel “pesto,” giving the salad a lemony lift.  To drink with it, we poured Barrier Saisoff Saison, which played well with the greenness of the vegetables as well as the citrus notes in the herb. 

Main - Duck Breast with Ramp Greens, RhubarbSeared Hudson Valley Duck Breast with Rhubarb Gastrique and Candied Rhubarb on a bed of 5-Spice Braised Red Cabbage with Roasted Parsnip garnished with Ramp Greens

The centerpiece of the main course was the gorgeous, seared duck breast from the folks at Hudson Valley Duck Farm, who also supply the duck that is on the regular menu for the restaurant.  To showcase this high-quality protein, Chef Tomei created a sweet-tart rhubarb gastric and then candied small cubes of the rhubarb that we had picked up at the market.  Thinly-sliced cabbage and chunks of roasted parsnip, which was also still available at the market, were seasoned with a mock Chinese 5-spice mixture to lend an additional layer of flavor to the dish.  A deep caramel-colored Proletariat Other Half Stillwater Collaboration Dark Amber was our choice to go along with the duck and this complex combination of tastes.  

Dessert - Maple Pain Perdu with Maple FluffSourdough Pain Perdue with Grade B Maple Syrup, Grated Maple Sugar,Maple Candy Floss, and Nasturtiums

While perusing the stands at the market, we’d had a few ideas about what to fix for dessert.  Apples still seem to be plentiful right now.  No berries or other early summer fruit has yet to appear.  Passing by Roxbury Mountain Maple‘s stand and seeing a bunch of people trying their maple cream spread and their maple cotton candy gave Chef Tomei an idea for a sweet finish to the evening.  We picked up some of that same cotton candy, a bottle of maple syrup, and a block of maple sugar.  At another nearby stand, we added a loaf of sourdough bread to our purchases in order to make a batch of Pain Perdue, or fancy French toast, for the final course.  Aside from the appetizer course, this was probably my favorite of the parings that we did that evening.  Carton Brewing Company’s “BDG” Brunch. Dinner. Grub. was the ideal match for the sweet, buttery, toffee layers in the dish and the perfect note on which to wrap up this Farmers Market Dinner.

Buon appetito!