It’s So Easy Eating Greens

All of my bitching and moaning about the long winter and lack of stellar produce at the grocery store during said winter has given way to glittery unicorns and happy dances as the Ringwood Farmers’ Market opened for its eighth season a couple of weekends ago. It’s still early in the year, so the full force of its awesomeness has yet to be released, but I have more than enough to keep me busy until that time. I loaded up on more greens than I probably can eat in a week, but I’ll be giving it my best shot, and started with this morning’s breakfast.

Green Garlic | Minimally Invasive

Last year around this time, I discovered the mind-blowing power of green garlic confit, then promptly forgot about it when the season moved on. But I can’t pass up fresh garlic in the market and it’s a big waste to throw away 90% of a usable plant, so I made another batch this weekend. The leaves from only one bulb yielded enough to fill two one-cup ramekins, which should keep me busy for a while. I still have several bulbs to go, so if you’re in the area and want to share my bounty, let me know!

Garlic Confit | Amy Roth Photo

 

I’ve been nibbling at the drained confit here and there, enjoying it with just a sprinkling of salt — don’t judge — but used it in a frittata this morning with great results. I added a little of the flavored oil to a pan along with a few chopped asparagus spears and ribbons of tender turnip greens and spinach and a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes, then sauteéd everything over medium heat until the greens had collapsed on themselves. Once they were at that manageable volume, I transferred them to a much smaller non-stick pan and added a couple of beaten eggs and some fresh goat’s milk ricotta, covered the pan, and let it cook until the eggs were set. Before digging in, I dressed the frittata with more of the drained garlic confit, cracked black pepper and a touch of Maldon sea salt for crunch and had a blissful morning.

Green never tasted so good.


I’ll be sending out my June newsletter later today, complete with another Spring-perfect recipe: Gluten-Free Strawberry Biscuits with Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Butter. You don’t want to miss out on that, do you? If you’d like to get on the list, just sign up at the end of this post!

Strawberry Biscuits | Minimally Invasive

 

Green Garlic Confit

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 45 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Fresh Spring garlic is usable from the tiny bulb all the way to the tips of the leaves, about two feet up — green garlic confit cannot be missed!

Ingredients

  • 1 stalk Fresh Spring garlic, including leaves (thoroughly washed and thinly sliced)
  • Olive Oil

Note

I'm not sure about how long this will last, so I try to use it up within a week. It usually isn't a problem to do so BECAUSE IT'S THAT GOOD, but you can always freeze the confit in its oil in ice cube trays if you want it to last longer.

Directions

Heat oven to 300°F.
Place sliced garlic stem and leaves in ramekin(s) to fit. You can pile it all the way to the top, as they'll reduce a bit in the oven.
Add olive oil to cover the sliced garlic and place ramekins in a cake pan to catch any spillover.
Bake at 300°F for 90 minutes, or until greens are tender. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate in a covered container for future use.

Asparagus and Fresh Garlic — It MUST be Spring

Gluten-Free Spring Dining

UPDATE: Congratulations to Sarah Cordes, winner of the cookbook Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan! 

It feels like an eternity since I’ve had fresh, local asparagus, so I didn’t waste much time this morning getting it from the refrigerator to my belly. Heaven to me is asparagus with a sunny-side up egg, so I riffed on that to come up with a breakfast I’ll enjoy until the season marches on.

Duck Egg Yolk with Buttered Miso Asparagus | Amy Roth Photo

This took me about 10 minutes to get on the table, including prep time, so you might want to give it a try on a busy weeknight when you’re tired but just can’t face ordering in again. The asparagus would make a nice side dish on its own, but as we all know, nearly everything tastes better with an egg on top. And if you have access to duck eggs (like I do, from Edgwick Farm), DEFINITELY sub that for the standard chicken egg. The rich, sunny yolk does beautiful things to the garlicky miso coating the asparagus. I’m so sad I didn’t pick up two bunches of asparagus last Saturday; now I’ll have to wait another week before making this again.

If you’ve been here before, you may notice that I’m trying a new recipe feature from GetMeCooking. Starting with this post, recipes will be printable and uniformly formatted with information about ingredients that may trigger common food-related allergies. Someday, I’ll have the entire site updated and indexed all the way back to 2006, but I think this is a good start. Any thoughts or suggestions for making it even more user-friendly?

Also, just a reminder that I’m giving away a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, an essential cookbook filled with stellar recipes written in her easygoing, encouraging voice. You have until this Friday at 11:59pm ET to register using the entry form at the end of this post. Good luck to you!

And happy asparagus season, if it’s springtime in your neck of the woods!

Buttered Asparagus with Miso and Fried Egg

Serves 1
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Enjoy Spring's first and finest (IMO) dish — buttered miso asparagus with a fried duck egg.

Ingredients

Asparagus

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 teaspoons yellow miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (chopped)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (woody ends snapped off)

Sunny-Side Up Egg

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg (duck, if you have it)

Note

This recipe works with fat, woody asparagus. I haven't tried it yet with delicate, slim stalks, but when I do, I probably won't cover the pan because they won't have to cook for quite as long. 

Directions

FOR THE ASPARAGUS
In a pan large enough to hold the asparagus in one layer, combine water, butter, miso and garlic. Stir over high heat until miso and butter have melted into the water.
Add asparagus, bring to a boil, and cover. Lower heat to medium and steam for two minutes, then remove lid and cook until liquid has evaporated. Keep an eye on the asparagus at this point, because miso will burn if you're not careful. Asparagus is ready when it's crisp-tender; test it by inserting the tip of a knife into the fattest part of the stalk. It should slide in easily, but the asparagus should still be firm. Serve immediately with fried egg.
FOR THE SUNNY-SIDE UP EGG
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. When butter stops bubbling, crack the egg into the pan. Add 1 tablespoon water and cover. Cook until whites are set, but yolk is still runny. Serve over buttered miso asparagus.

Field to Feast: Green Garlic & Radishes

Instead of the Farmers’ Market Feast I’ve run for the past few summers, I’ll be doing things a little differently around here this year, partnering with my friend Kasha Bialas of The FarmGirl Cooks. In fact, I’ll just let her introduce you to our new endeavor:

Once upon a time there was a food photographer in New Jersey who loved to shop at farmers’ markets. This photographer was an avid cook and blogger who took advantage of the local bounty, cooking for herself, her husband and her two loving pups.  It just so happened that the farmer from whom she purchased vegetables, a single mom born and raised on a veggie farm in New York, was also an avid cook and blogger. What started out as a very businesslike transaction over radishes and onions has blossomed into a friendship based upon food, its preparations and the photographing of the results.

Join Amy of Minimally Invasive and Kasha of The FarmGirl Cooks, as they take you on a culinary journey documenting their challenge to create unique dishes using the same in-season ingredients. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than an artfully arranged plate of simply-prepared ingredients at the peak of freshness, the primary ingredients in each pair of dishes will be chosen based upon what looks best growing in the fields and purchased at local farmers markets. Amy’s and Kasha’s goal is to show readers that incorporating seasonal foods into daily cooking is quite effortless and can have stunning results. Please follow along as our chefs bring you the season’s best foods prepared in creative and delicious ways!

Combining the first and second weeks of the summer market into one mega-post, we’re kicking things off with green garlic…

Green Garlic @ Minimally Invasive

and radishes.

Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

In my excitement over finally (FINALLY!) having fresh garlic, I used it in all of the old standards — sautéeing it for asparagus pizza, or serving it with bacon and asparagus topped with a farm-fresh duck egg for breakfast.

Asparagus, Garlic and Eggs @ Minimally Invasive

But after a week of gorging on asparagus, I was ready to try something new. A few years ago, I made garlic confit for a triple-garlic pizza and thought it might be an interesting way to use this green garlic. So I chopped up everything but the roots of the garlic, threw in some black peppercorns, added olive oil to cover, and let the dish bathe in a 300-degree oven for two hours. (I made A LOT, so it took a while to cook down to a soft, slumpy mess.) The house smelled nothing short of amazing as the garlic was cooking, by the way. Check out the link above to make garlic confit of your own.

Green Garlic Chopped @ Minimally Invasive

The confit wasn’t falling apart or jammy the way whole garlic cloves get with the same treatment, but it was divine in its own right; in fact, I’m embarrassed to tell you how much of it I ate straight from a spoon, sprinkled with a little salt, my brain working on how to incorporate it in recipes.

The first dish that presented itself was, again, asparagus, which I blanched in very salty boiling water, then marinated at room temperature with a copious amount of garlic confit and its oil. Just before serving, I sprinkled the dish with finishing salt and added a big grind of fresh black pepper. Anything more would’ve been gilding the lily.

And after two days in the refrigerator, it’s even better than when I first made it:

Asparagus with Green Garlic Confit @ Minimally Invasive

Then I used some confit to mellow out the radish green pesto I’d prepared as a topping for marinated, grilled purple potatoes. On its own, the radish pesto was quite bitter, as you’d expect from such spicy greens and the handful of walnuts I used, but with about 1/3 cup of garlic confit whirred into the mixture, it became something entirely different — mellow, silky, and completely satisfying.

Confit and Pesto @ Minimally Invasive

After the pesto was made, I was left with a bunch of juicy radishes. While my favorite way to eat them is raw with a little anchovy butter, this is a cooking blog, so I got to work on a recipe. I began by halving and tossing them with a little olive oil:

Sliced Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

Then roasting and tossing them with a brown-butter miso glaze, all the while liberally sampling and adjusting here and there until it tasted juuuuust right.

Miso Glazed Radishes @ Minimally Invasive

It’s so simple to make delicious meals this time of year with farm-fresh ingredients. Attempting any overly involved recipe is almost a shame at the start of the season, when our winter-deprived taste buds are crying out for something new; it’s all so delicious when treated with respect and a light touch. I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to that philosophy with every dish, but it’s a great place to start.

Be sure to check out Kasha’s post on green garlic and asparagus and drool over her gorgeous risotto!

Brown Butter and Miso-Glazed Radishes

1 bunch radishes, cleaned and trimmed with 1/2-inch of greens still attached
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons white miso

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Halve radishes vertically, then toss them with the olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Pour onto a greased baking sheet and turn radishes cut side down. Roast for 20 minutes, or until a knife slips easily into a radish.

While the radishes are roasting, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until the milk solids turn golden brown and develop a nutty smell. Remove from heat and add maple syrup and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the miso until the mixture becomes a smooth paste.

Toss the radishes with the miso mixture in a big bowl and serve immediately. They’re also great at room temperature, if you want to serve them in a buffet setting.

From the Market: Memorial Day Edition

Gluten-free recipe from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges
Asparagus from Orchards of Concklin

Well, hello! It’s good to be back from my extended self-imposed exile. It’s a long, tedious story that involves dealing with a vexatious situation for the past two months with no end in sight. Also? Mid-life crisis and the eternal question of what do I really want to do with the rest of my life all tied up in a nice, black bow. My heart’s telling me food photography is the way to go: I love it and already have made some money at it without self-promoting too crazily, but is it something I can really do as my almost-sole source of income? Maybe it’s time for a leap of faith.

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Last weekend marked the start of our weekly farmers’ market in Ringwood, which also means the start of my 2012 Farmers’ Market Feast series. Above, you see my first local (delicious, amazing, worth-waiting-all-winter-for) asparagus of the season treated very simply using an idea from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges, one of my new favorite cookbooks: toss blanched asparagus with a tiny bit of butter instead of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with parmesan shavings and lemon zest. I added a little truffle salt and turned it into breakfast with the addition of a sunny side-up egg, and it really lightened my mood.

gluten-free
Spinach & radishes from Bialas Farms, strawberries from Orchards of Concklin, salad greens from Nina’s Red Barn Farm

Then I got a little creative for lunch Sunday afternoon. I was far too sweatystanky to bother cooking with any form of heat because our air conditioner is not only merely dead, it’s really most sincerely dead. The panting and lethargy going on in our house was ridiculous, and it wasn’t just the dogs this time. So I made a fresh version of a summer salad roll with spinach & salad greens, fresh mint, peppery radishes, green onions, and the sweetest strawberries you can imagine rolled up in a softened rice paper wrapper. I went with a spicy fish sauce-based dipping sauce that provided a perfect salty accent to the rolls. Sure it would’ve been a lot easier just to have a salad, but where’s the fun in that? This could be a nice treat to serve at the start of a dinner party or to bring to a cookout, provided you keep the rolls covered with a damp paper towel.

This probably doesn’t seem like much cooking for three days, but I’m doing another cookbook shoot on weekends. It’s a lot of work, but a good time doing what I love — cooking and taking pictures. I’m not sure of the release date yet, but I’ll certainly keep you posted.

And on the cookbook front, I can’t let the unofficial start of summer go by without telling you about Grilling Vegan Style by John Schlimm. I spent a bit of last summer shooting it and just got to see the fruits of my labors a few weeks ago, just in time for grilling season. So exciting. If you’ve spent any time here at all, you know I’m pretty far from vegan, but these recipes were delightful. It’s a lot of fun to be able to eat your work at the end of a long day.


Grilled Corn on the Cob with Piquant Sauce (left) and Shiny Happy Poppers (right)

A great thing about John’s recipes is that little twist he adds that elevates them beyond normal everyday fare.


Two-Faced Avocado Sandwiches (left) and Mojito Mojo (right)

I also love the creative names and funny introductions he gives to each recipe.


Romaine Holiday (left) and Tattooed Watermelon Salad (right)

I’d never HEARD of grilled watermelon till I shot this book. Now it’s all I want to eat, and I never really liked watermelon at all.


Presto Pesto Lasagna

No need to turn on the oven and heat up the house when you’re making a vegan lasagna. It’s the perfect summer recipe!


S’More is Always Better!

How is it possible that I never had s’mores until I shot this book?! They might just be the perfect dessert and there really isn’t a meal that isn’t made better by a s’more finish. I speak from experience. (Vegan marshmallows and graham crackers can be a little tough to find, but many Whole Foods carry the Sweet & Sara brand, which are virtually indistinguishable from the animal-based thing. In fact, I might give the nod to the vegan grahams, so you definitely should give this a try.)

Who Doesn’t Love a Parfait?

Parfait of dairy-free coconut ice cream and rhubarb-strawberry topping with slivered almonds

Not me, that’s for sure. Especially during a heatwave. Especially when that heatwave comes on the heels of a winter that lasted a record-breaking two years and four months. (Well, that’s what it felt like, but I’ll be honest and say I’ll take summer and all of its stankiness over winter’s misery any day and twice on Sunday.)

But we were discussing parfait, right? When a dessert’s based on a premise of perfection, it’s tough to mess up. You can get pretty creative with it — just do a quick Google search to see what I mean — but there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple, either. For these, I just layered dairy-free coconut ice cream with a rhubarb and strawberry topping I threw together in about 10 minutes, then topped it with toasted slivered almonds. And you know what? It really was perfect.

Dessert parfait

I don’t keep anything like a dairy-free diet, but there was no milk or cream in the house and I wanted needed to make ice cream. Since I usually have coconut milk in the pantry, I gave that a go with this recipe and loved the outcome — very coconutty/custardy with a rich, creamy texture. The fruit topping recipe came from here, and it’s very bare bones, but when you’ve got stunning strawberries and juicy rhubarb from the farmers’ market to work with, why gild the lily?

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Who Doesn’t Love a Parfait?”

All ’choked up

Baby artichokes inspire a fervor almost unrivaled by other springtime produce. Sure, ramps have their devotees and noses are wrinkling in bathrooms across the nation right now over love of asparagus, but cooks go pretty nuts for baby artichokes, too. If you’re not so impassioned, it might be hard to imagine what causes such devotion, apart from the general cuteness of miniaturization. Me? I like ’em for the purest reason of all: laziness. They’re about a squazillion times easier to deal with than their full-grown brethren.

To wit: prep time for 10 baby artichokes, including rubbing the cut sides with lemon juice, was somewhere in the neighborhood of five minutes. Try trimming that many full-grown artichokes in the same amount of time. OK, maybe you’re a champion artichoke-trimmer for all I know, but I’d still be in the kitchen, weeping and cursing my bright idea for a meal.

Unfortunately, the weekend weather didn’t cooperate enough to allow me to grill these, so I used the broiler instead. I’d like to get that smokey flavor next time, but as a quick substitute, I was more than happy with these. Once they came out of the oven cooked through and a little charred, I drizzled them with bagna cauda and lemon juice and promptly died of pleasure.

I’m one of those people who LOVES salty, pungent foods, so bagna cauda’s one-two wallop of anchovies and garlic is right up my alley. But then there’s just something about it with artichokes, the way it accents the vegetal flavor.

I devoured as much as I could and grudgingly made an offering of the toughest outer leaves for the artichoke god. It’s the least I could do for such bounty.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “All ’choked up”

From the Market: Week 4

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies from the Ringwood Farmers’ Market … and I actually didn’t include everything in the picture above. Of everything I picked up, I was most excited to get my hands on some golden beets from Bialas Farms, as it’s been almost a year since I last had them.

Instead of torturing the beets in an over-the-top recipe (as I’ve been known to do), I treated them simply, roasting in a medium oven until cooked through, tossing with freshly shelled peas, and lovely lettuce and dill from Nina’s Red Barn Farm, then lightly dressing it all with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. When food is this abundant and delicious, it makes sense to savor the flavors as nature intended.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Another dish I’ve been looking forward to since this time last year was this light and tasty chilled soup, which gets its fresh color from an unlikely source — pea pods:

What a great way to recycle. Because if you’re going to go to all the trouble of shelling a bunch of peas, why throw away the pods until you’ve wrung every last bit of usefulness from them? I got the idea/recipe from the innovative Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini, making only one change to the recipe by deleting the nutmeg because I simply don’t care for it. The peas were shelled in two batches with the pods from last week spending some time in the freezer until I could make up the difference with this week’s haul. This soup is the very essence of a warm spring day and the most refreshing lunch you can imagine. Do give it a try the next time you’re up to your elbows in peas; you won’t regret it.

UNCLE!

OK, I give! Consider my arm twisted.

With all of the great blog posts on strawberry-rhubarb cobbler lately, there was no way I was going to be able to hold off making my own much longer; I gave in over the weekend and assembled one with some purchases from our very first local farmers’ market of the season. (For Gil’s pictures of Rufus’s day at the market, click here.)

Cobblers haven’t been featured here at all, due to a tragic tale of love and loss. When I was a teenager and thought in my teenagerly way that things last forever, I made a peach-strawberry cobbler of such great beauty that my grandmother raved about it. So what did I do? Continue to make cobblers with the rest of the summer’s bounty, thereby committing the recipe to memory? Share the recipe with someone who would’ve written it down for safe-keeping? No, I planned to make it again someday, but promptly lost the recipe (in my teenagerly way). While mourning that loss over the years, I fell hard for apple crisp and gave my heart to any number of bread puddings, which (mostly) pushed all thoughts of other fruit desserts out of my mind. Oh sure, the faint whiff of a peach could send me back, wishing I’d been more careful, pining ever so slightly for that magical soft-yet-crunchy biscuity topping. But mostly, I was happy to have the other options.

But as luck would have it, cobbler recipes are all pretty simple and similar, so I decided to take the plunge this weekend. The base is a mixture of fruit, sugar, and some kind of thickener, depending on the juiciness of the fruit.


Crispy, tart rhubarb


Juicy, sweet strawberries

Instead of using citrus zest in the fruit, I added balsamic vinegar to bring out the flavor of the strawberries and add a little complexity to the dessert.


Macerate, macerate, macerate


I made a couple of individual desserts, too. Cute, and the small portions kept us from devouring the whole dessert in one sitting.

The real difference between cobbler recipes seems to be in the topping. Both of the ones I referenced this weekend praised their cobbler toppings as crispy and just sweet enough, so I knew I was on the right path to finding my lost love.

At least this time, I’ve saved the recipe. And you’re welcome to it.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “UNCLE!”