MARKET RECIPE: Dijon Potato and Green Bean Salad

Dijon Potato Salad 1

By Brooke Marshall

Once things warm up outside, I’m always looking for light meals using market produce. With green beans and red potatoes now at market, I thought the combination of the two would make a great dinner-time salad. I served this with hard-boiled eggs to round it out with protein. It tastes as good cold as it does at room temperature, so it’s a great dish to make a day ahead for a BBQ or to have for leftovers. You could also make this with double the potatoes or double the green beans if you want a straight-up potato or green bean salad.

DIJON POTATO AND GREEN BEAN SALAD
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 Tbs olive oil + a couple teaspoons
  • 2 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 quart new red potatoes
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 quart green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley + extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper

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Recipe:

  1. Hard boil the eggs. Put the eggs at the bottom of a saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from heat and cover for 12 minutes. After removing the eggs from heat, prepare an ice water bath. Immediately transfer the eggs to the ice water bath when they’re done. This will prevent the yokes from having green edges.
  2. While the eggs are coming to a boil, make the dressing. Combine six tablespoons of olive oil, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Cook the potatoes and sauté the chopped shallots. Bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork, but not too tender that they’re mushy. While the potatoes cook, heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté them until they just start to brown. Then set the shallots aside. When the potatoes are almost done, prepare an ice water bath. Transfer the potatoes to the ice water bath when they’re done. Once the potatoes have cooled down a bit, peel the skins. They should peel off with your fingers. Chop the potatoes into half-inch pieces and put them in a mixing bowl. Add a third to half of the dressing to the potatoes and toss to coat. Then add the shallots to the bowl with the potatoes.
  4. Blanch the green beans. Bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender (4-5 minutes). While the green beans are cooking, prepare an ice water bath. Once the green beans are done cooking, drain off the water using a strainer and transfer them to the ice water bath too cool. Then add the green beans to the bowl with the potatoes and shallots. Add the parsley and as much dressing as you’d like to coat the vegetables. I didn’t use all of the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with a hard-boiled egg and garnish with extra parsley.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

MARKET RECIPE: Chopped Market Salad

Chopped Market Salad 11

By Brooke Marshall

It’s heating up outside, so this week I decided to cool things down with a chopped salad.  Produce is starting to pour into the market and I couldn’t resist the peas and broccoli we’re seeing for the first time this market season.  I also picked up some beets and cucumbers to round things out.  This salad required a little prep in terms of cooking some of the veggies first, but you can do this a day ahead or on the weekend and have everything ready for salads all week.

CHOPPED MARKET SALAD
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 2 quarts of hull peas
  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 2 cucumbers
  • chopped dill
  • salt and pepper
  • pepitas or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • ranch or blue cheese dressing

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Recipe:

  1. Roast the beets – Preheat the oven to 350° Remove beet stems and clean beets with a brush.  Make a packet out of aluminum foil and place clean beets in the packet.  Put the packet on a cookie sheet and roast for an hour or until the beets are tender.  Let the beets cool down a bit.  Then peel them.  The skin should come off very easily.  I used my fingers to peel the skin off after roasting.  Set aside or store the beets in the refrigerator if you’re cooking these ahead.
  2. Blanch the peas – Hull the peas and get set up for blanching.  Get a pot of water boiling, fill a bowl with ice and water, and line a large baking sheet with kitchen or paper towels.  Put half the hulled peas into a fine-mesh strainer.  Once the water is boiling, immerse the peas in the strainer into the pot of boiling water making sure the peas are covered completely.  Keep them in the water for 90 seconds.  Remove the peas and put them into the ice-water bath.  Once the peas are completely cooled, pour them out of the strainer onto the towels to dry.  Add more ice to the ice-water bath and repeat with second half of peas.  When the peas are dry-ish, set them aside or store them in the refrigerator until they’re ready to be used.
  3. Blanch the broccoli – Cut the broccoli into florets.  Blanch the florets in two batches using the same method as used for the peas.  You can use the same water you used to blanch the peas and the same ice-water bath, as long as you continue to add more ice.
  4. Chop the lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, beets, and dill. Combine all of the chopped ingredients in a salad bowl with the peas.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then top with pepitas or sunflower seeds if you’d like.  Dress with a creamy dressing, like ranch or blue cheese.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

MARKET RECIPE:  Market Dessert – Strawberry Ice Cream & Shortbread (Sandwiches)

Ice

By Brooke Marshall

It’s strawberry season, or at least it was.  It seems strawberry season has been cut a little short this year because these berries love water about as much as the Wicked Witch of the West.  All that spring rain had me worried, but we’ve been lucky to have lots of strawberries at the market the past two weekends.  So I wanted to do something with them I’ve never done before, and that something turned out to be ice cream.

One of my favorite summertime desserts is an ice cream sandwich.  Typically, I cheat and buy my favorite store-bought cookies and ice cream.  Then seconds after I get home, I smush the ice cream between the cookies, wrap them in plastic wrap, and throw them in the freezer.  These are simple, delicious, and ready to eat in no time, but I thought it might be time for me to make ice cream sandwiches from scratch.  I have to confess, I still cheated.  I did make strawberry ice cream sandwiches from scratch, but I didn’t come up with my own recipes this time.  I relied on the expertise of the Serious Eats writers for the strawberry ice cream and shortbread recipes.  They both turned out to be great recipes.  The ice cream and shortbread pair together nicely, whether you decide to put them in sandwich-form or not.

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STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM & SHORTBREAD (SANDWICHES)
Serves 8

Recipe Links:

Note:  For the shortbread recipe, instead of using a tart pan, I used a 13”x9” inch baking pan so I could make rectangular cookies for ice cream sandwiches.  This size pan was perfect to get 16 cookies for 8 sandwiches.

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Assembling the Sandwiches:

Notes:

  1. The ice cream needs to be very frozen to easily make sandwiches. After making the ice cream, it should be frozen overnight before attempting to assemble the sandwiches.
  2. Once you take the ice cream out of the freezer, you’ll notice that your first sandwiches are easy to make, but as the ice cream begins to soften, it will become more difficult. Therefore, it’s best to work as quickly as possible.  To make things move more quickly, I lay out the plastic wrap that I use to wrap each sandwich on the counter before I take the ice cream out of the freezer.  I also lay out the cookies so I can work through them like an assembly line.
  3. After you make a sandwich, put it directly in the freezer. If you wait to put them all in when you’re done, you’ll likely end up with very messy sandwiches that look like they melted and refroze.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

MARKET RECIPE: An American Gyro – Merguez Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce & Roasted Potatoes

Burger

By Brooke Marshall

For many of us, Memorial Day marks the beginning of backyard barbecues and pool parties.  I’m not much of a griller, but I wanted to celebrate this past Memorial Day with some traditional all-American fare.  I knew my bases were covered at the Ambler Farmers’ Market. Freeland Market had scrumptious-looking hamburger patties and frankfurters, but my thoughts shifted when I realized they also had Merguez sausage burgers.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Merguez sausage is a lamb sausage flavored with harissa and cumin.  I also remembered that Taproot Farm has had cucumbers, the first of the season, and thought tzatziki sauce would balance the spicy harissa nicely.  So I settled on the lamb burgers topped with tzatziki sauce, an American gyro.

At first I planned to grill these burgers, but since I don’t have a grill, I was at the mercy of my friends and our conflicting schedules over the holiday weekend.  In the end, I decided I would pan-fry the burgers in a cast-iron skillet.  This was a great way to prepare them, giving the burgers a very crispy crust.  If you don’t want the smell of fried burgers lingering in your house though, you may want to try the grill.  Either way, my only other recommendation is to make sure you toast those hamburger buns on the grill or in the oven before constructing these burgers.  Nothing makes a burger fall flat faster than a cold roll.

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MERGUEZ BURGERS WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE & ROASTED POTATOES
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 2 cucumbers, approximately 1 lb. (Taproot Farm)
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (Pennypack Farm)
  • Juice from 1 lemon

 Roasted Potatoes

  • 4 potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (Clay Brick Farm)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley, chopped

Merguez Burgers

  • 4 Merguez burger patties (Freeland Market)
  • 4 hamburger buns, preferably brioche
  • Lettuce (Taproot Farm)
  • Sliced onion (Clay Brick Farms)

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Recipe:

  1. Make the tzatziki sauce. This can be made the day before and refrigerated.  If you make it ahead, make sure to take it out of the refrigerator so that it comes back up to temperature before constructing the burgers.  For the sauce, first, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon.  Cut the cucumber halves in half again lengthwise.  Then slice the cucumbers and spread them out on paper towels.  Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and let them sit for 30 minutes.  Then press with more paper towels.  This will remove excess moisture.  Combine the cucumbers, yogurt, garlic, dill, and lemon juice and mix to combine.  Put the sauce aside to let the flavors meld.  You can also strain the yogurt before combining the ingredients to make sure this sauce is as thick as possible.  A very thick tzatziki sauce works well as a burger topping, but you probably wouldn’t want it this thick if you were just making a sauce to scoop up with pita bread.  I strained mine in a yogurt strainer, but you could also use layers of cheese cloth or a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare the potatoes. Put the cut potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Then drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Roast in the oven until golden brown, removing the tray from the oven once while roasting to toss the potatoes so that they roast evenly.
  3. While the potatoes are roasting, cook the Merguez burger patties. If you’re pan-frying them, pour Canola oil into a skillet until the bottom is completely covered with oil and heat on medium-high.  Once the oil is heated, cook the patties in the oil, flipping occasionally, until you begin to see juices flowing out from inside the patties.  Then remove the patties from the skillet and put them on a plate covered with a paper towel.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the oven and toss them with the butter and parsley. Then construct the burgers.  I put my burgers together in the following order, bottom bun, a thin layer of tzatziki sauce, lettuce, onion, burger, thick layer of tzatziki sauce, top bun.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

MARKET RECIPE: Sunday Dinner – Baked Apricot Chicken with Market Veggie Couscous & Greens

Chicken

By Brooke Marshall

I can only remember eating apricot chicken twice before.  The first time was at a family friend’s house.  I remember liking it so much that I asked for the recipe.  She just replied, “Oh, it’s so simple, just mix up apricot preserves, Russian dressing, and an onion soup packet.  Then pour it over the chicken and bake it.”  Over ten years later, my parents were visiting me in Ambler and we’d decided to eat in the following night.  I had a chicken from a local farm in the freezer and remembered the mouth-watering apricot chicken dish.  So the next day we went out for the three ingredients to make apricot chicken.  Then that night we also made a greens salad and tabbouleh, substituting couscous for bulgur as I usually do, and using a pile of fresh parsley from my Pennypack Farm crop share.  It might seem silly that I remember this meal so vividly, but I’m so glad I do because it was the last meal I made with my Mom before she passed away less than two months later.

So when chicken thighs and legs were on sale at Clay Brick Farms at the Ambler Farmers’ Market, I felt compelled to make a similar meal again to share with my market family.  This time, something magical happened.  I can only guess that I somehow haphazardly bought the perfect combination of ingredients, but the result was so amazing I wanted to eat every last piece of chicken as soon as I took my first bite.  I did stop myself in case you’re wondering and was rewarded by having leftovers for lunch during the week.  I was also delighted that the couscous made the perfect vehicle to sop up the apricot sauce left on my plate from the chicken.  So I probably won’t do this often, but I’m going to share the brands of ingredients I used to make this meal in hopes that you’ll have the same miraculous experience I did if you decide to try the recipe.

BAKED APRICOT CHICKEN DINNER
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Baked Apricot Chicken

  • 3-4 packages of bone-in chicken thighs/legs, skin removed (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 13 oz jar apricot preserves (Bonne Maman)
  • 1 8 oz bottle French salad dressing (Annie’s Naturals)
  • 1 packet French onion dip mix (Simply Organic)

Market Veggie Couscous –

  • 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped into one-inch pieces (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 1 small box Cremini mushrooms, sliced (Davidson’s Mushrooms)
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 10 oz box couscous (Near East)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Greens Salad –

  • 4 small or 2 large heads of lettuce, washed and torn (Pennypack Farm and Taproot Farm)
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (Homemade or Newman’s Own)

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Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° While oven is preheating, remove the skin from the chicken and place in a greased or nonstick-sprayed baking dish.  In a bowl, mix the apricot preserves, French dressing, and onion dip mix.  Once combined, pour the apricot mixture over the chicken and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.  Baste the chicken in the apricot mixture at 20 and 40 minutes.
  2. While the chicken bakes, chop the veggies for the market veggie couscous. Heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for about 10-12 minutes until they begin to brown.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms and asparagus sautéing for another 3 minutes until the asparagus are bright green and crisp-tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. Prepare the couscous based on the package directions replacing water with chicken broth and cutting the amount of salt in half. (In a saucepan, add the chicken broth, butter, and salt.  Then bring to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from heat.  Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.)  Mix the sautéed veggies with the couscous, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover again to keep the couscous warm.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the salad. Tear the lettuce and toss with balsamic vinaigrette.

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.

Magical Day at Market for the Kiddies this Saturday

12814681_10208636837462629_2757435708309138336_nBesides the delicious produce, artisanal goods and farm fresh breakfast, the Ambler Farmers’ Market has yet another component this coming Saturday that will have you looking for magic words to describe. Jay Howard Gross of J’s GourAmaze Fine Foods and Baked Goods will take his magical baking hands and use them for actual magic with his Wonders Never Cease Magical Memories Show. Jay becomes Quasar-Magic’s Brightest Star at 11:30 so make sure you are at market to enjoy the festivities…there will be mystery, music, mirth, merriment, and more! And……ITS FREE!

Also this Saturday, Miss Michelle from the Wissahickon Valley Public Library will be on hand at 10:30 am to sing and entertain the kiddies! It’s always a good time singing along with Miss Michelle!

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MARKET RECIPE: Market Toast – From San Francisco to Ambler with Love

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By Brooke Marshall

There’s nothing mind-blowing or extraordinary about toast, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a major culinary trend in recent years.  The toast craze started in San Francisco when Giulietta Carrelli opened Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club and served … yes … Toast!  Her toast was merely slathered with butter and topped with cinnamon and sugar, but it started a gourmet toast trend that spread through San Francisco, then hit the east coast, and finally headed overseas. Carrelli’s background and how she came to open Trouble are interesting stories in their own right.  She was interviewed on Fresh Air by Terry Gross a couple of years ago and I was fortunate to tune in that day.  If you can find the interview in the Fresh Air archive, it’s worth a listen, but a quick Google search will give countless articles on Carrelli and the artisanal toast trend.

Gourmet toast has made it to Philly as well. I was at Vernick Food & Drink, a restaurant in Rittenhouse, over the winter and was surprised to find one of their specialties is gourmet toast.  There’s also a cafe on Spruce St. called Toast.  While their offerings are a little less fancy than Vernick’s, they have a couple toast options on their menu.  So we might be a little late to the party, but I thought we should bring gourmet toast to the Ambler Farmers’ Market.  Better late than never!

For my first market toast, I wanted to top a fat toasted slice of Alice Bakery’s simple-yet-delicious white bread with a cheese and chutney or jam.  This is not a particularly difficult task and can be accomplished with a few purchases from the market.  Pick up some wonderful chevre from Apple Tree Goat Dairy Farm and chutney from Saucy Sue’s Sauces or jam from Clay Brick Farms and Voila, you have the makings of gourmet toast.  I highly recommend these options and even purchased a few items to try…

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I couldn’t leave well enough alone though, and wanted to make my own cheese and chutney from market ingredients.  So I made the leap into cheese making, which has been a long time coming.  I decided ricotta would be perfect for toast and an easy place to start since I could make it from whole milk sold at Clay Brick Farms.  While I like coming up with my own creations in the kitchen, cheese seemed like something I should leave to the experts. So I followed a recipe by Ricki Carroll, known as “The Cheese Queen”, to the letter. Her recipe for whole-milk ricotta is pretty easy to follow since she provides a lot of pictures and detailed descriptions of each step.  Two items you might not have for this recipe are a candy thermometer and citric acid, but these aren’t expensive items and are worth picking up to experience the fresh taste of homemade ricotta.

blog 4With the cheese made, I moved on to the chutney.  Since rhubarb is in season, I picked up several bunches from Clay Brick Farms and set out to make rhubarb chutney.  There are a gazillion recipes for rhubarb chutney out there. I came up with the one below after pouring over about ten of them and checking what I had in my pantry.  I have to admit, this chutney is pretty tart – so if you like tart, go for it. If sweet is more your thing, you may want to stick with jam or cut back on the vinegar and add more sugar or honey to my recipe. Feel free to adjust other ingredients to your preferences as well.

RHUBARB CHUTNEY
Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients:

From the Ambler Farmers’ Market –

  • 2.5 lbs (about 18 stalks) rhubarb, chopped (Clay Brick Farms)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (Clay Brick Farms)

From the Pantry –

  • 1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

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Recipe:

  1. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add garlic and onions to the dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the dutch oven, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chutney thickens and sticks to the back of a spoon (1-1.5 hours).

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Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.