Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last weekend, I drove over the (Saw Mill) River (Road) and through the (sparse) woods to Scarsdale, NY on a quest to find the indoor farmers market. Scarsdale has a reputation for being a rather tony place (in fact, the village's Wikipedia entry list dedicates quite a bit of space to the famous and infamous who live(d) there).
Which is probably why everyone was flocking to the downtown area on Saturday afternoon. By the time I navigated the quaint and cramped streets lined with Tudor-revival-style architecture and Land Rovers, I was ready to make this my one and only visit to the market. But as I pulled into the municipal parking garage, I realized the indoor market was really incongruous compared to the other parts of the village.
Because the market is literally set up in a parking garage. No frills, but it works. With a mix of vendors selling everything from cheese to honey to woolen scarves, you can pretty much find anything you want (except takeout Indian. Chutney Masala was not there, as I had hoped).
In fact, the lone produce vendor had quite the assortement -- including purple cauliflower and a variety of mushrooms. He even had greenhouse tomatoes (which, if not as tasty as summer tomatoes from the field, were at least locally grown).
I picked up some apples and shallots, plus a head of purple cauliflower (still looking for inspiration on how to use it!) and drove back home, passing a Hastings farmers market sign on the way. Yes, I could have avoid the trip (and probably scored some samosas) as my local market is open one Saturday a month during the winter season. Oh well, I would have missed counting Land Rovers.
The Scarsdale market is located in the garage at 1 Christie Place every Saturday.
Future dates for the Hastings on Hudson market are January 9, February 13 and March 13 at the Community Center on Main St.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Do a Google search and it seems like everyone and their brother has a pumpkin trifle recipe. Last weekend, I made this as written but am thinking about using artificial helpers (e.g., the old instant pudding and whipped topping route) next time to get a lighter and fluffier mousse with fewer calories. Will let you know how it goes!
1 8x8 pan of Gingerbread cake (prepared from scratch or from a mix like the one from Trader Joe's)
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
With a little Googling, I found a great table listing produce and ideal storage conditions (from Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers by way of the University of Wisconsin). Just like our ancestors did, you can actually store much of the late fall produce (and you don't even need a root cellar). *Apples: According to the guide, late season apples store the best at cool temperatures and high humidity (to help retain moisture). The chart indicates you could get two-to-six months under the perfect conditions, but I was not quite ready to buy a bushel and test it out. Instead, I bought some to use in apple sauce, some to eat and a few to save in the crisper. *Cabbage: I don't eat a lot of cabbage, but the guide claims a head should last three-to-six weeks in the fridge. I got some brussel sprouts to roast this week (as I don't think they will last quite as long as a big head of cabbage!). *Garlic: Farmers market garlic tastes a lot better than the kind you get a conventional grocery store, and has a shelf life of six-to-nine months. *Kale: I am new convert to kale, particularly Tuscan kale, and throw it in everything from stir fries to soups. While I still have not figured out how to make a good kale chip (they say they taste like potato chips) or how to enjoy eating kale raw in a salad, I picked up two bunches, which should last two-to-three weeks. *Onion: I heart small red onions. I like to make a salad and use up one small onion versus hack off part of a big one (and then have the remnants stinking up the fridge). Onions are fickle, though, and can last anywhere from a few weeks (especially if they seem moist) to eight months, according to the chart.
*Potato: Under ideal conditions, tubers will last a while. Cool, dark and dry places are best to avoid rotting, sprouting and greening. *Winter Squash: Most sources claim that squash will last about one month, cool, dark place. I bought two butternuts, so check back in and I will let you know!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The program, which I received once I arrived, was pretty extensive, with music and demos and hayrides and a street-fair like farmers market. The place was also packed -- but more with families than foodies. Let's just say the stroller brigade was out in full force (one of the reasons I did not take the hayride).
Stuffed [Sweet] Dumpling Squash
As with delicata, you can eat the skin/rind of dumpling squash.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
My first stop on Saturday was the Noordermarkt. I love this organic farmers market, meets clothing market, meets bric-a-brac market. In addition to picking up some cool souvenirs, you could cobble together a meal out of the prepared food items offered -- from pizza to sushi to Vietnamese food. Or, if you have access to a kitchen like I do, you could pick up bread, cheese, vegetables, and even pate and actually cook. But this time, I just chose to wander versus buy (although I did pick up a cute Miffy toy for my niece).
Just beyond the market is a small shop I stumbled upon during my last visit to Amsterdam (circa 2004) -- Delicious Food. And the name says it all. Picture a gourmet food shop lined with bulk dry good containers filled with unusual treats, a variety of olive oils available by weight and even an extensive raw food section. I restrained myself and got a few grams of mixed nuts, another small bag of museli and a container of salad sprinkle to take home (looks like a combination of dried cranberry, dried apple, seeds and nuts to toss with a green salad). From the market area, I meandered down the Prinsengracht and found Pancakes!, a tiny restaurant that got high marks on chowhound.com and on nytimes.com for its many varieties of pancakes. But it was packed, so I continued all the way down to Wagmama. I know, overpriced ramen seems like a cop-out, but I love the chilli chicken and so rarely get to Wagamama, so I went for it. Stuffed, I continued to follow the canal ring to scout out De Waaghals, another highly rated vegetarian restaurant. It is only open for dinner, so I just looked at the menu and made a mental note to go back someday. One block east, I passed the cutest tea shop -- Taart van Mijn Tante. With elaborately decorated styrofoam cakes lining the windows, and mismatched tables and chairs, the shop has a lot of character. But after over 20 minutes of sitting an outdoor table without being waited on, I bailed (this was after I went in and asked if I could sit outside). Tsk, tsk, but to be fair, they were busy. Sad, but still seeking a sweet, I found another patisserie. During my long walk, I noticed several people carying bags from Holtkamp, and figured it must be a local favorite. It was clear the shop was closing by the time I entered, but I did get a slice of the apple tart and another slice of an electric green and pink cake (which ended up being a delicious sponge with strawberry cream. Wish I had gotten two slices of that and passed on the apple). The shop had really nice looking chocolates, which I noticed after I paid. But in the time I entered the shop and paid, no less than five other people had crowded in, so chocolates would have to wait for next time. Despite the sweet treats in my bag, it would be a while before I would sample them. I got the bright idea to drop by the VVV (Tourist Information office) to ask a few questions, and ended up waiting 45 minutes to speak with someone (the VVV staff also help with hotel bookings, and apparently, this is one of the busiest times of the year due to a huge conference going on. Most hotels were fully booked, so I was very lucky to find the accomodations I did, and felt very sorry for those looking for a room last minute). By the time I left, I was exhausted, and in no mood to dine out. The one bright spot during my 45 minutes at the VVV was that I had time to read the September issue of Time Out Amsterdam cover to cover, and noted that Small World Catering, a catering outfit with a small deli storefront, was right around the corner from my flat. So I swung by and picked up a sandwich and salad to go. The store is very small, and in fact the name does not even appear on the awning outside, so it's easy to miss. There are about four seats inside and four outside, so it's more of a grab-and-go kind of place. The sandwiches (I got a tuna melt on cibatta) were huge and at 6.75 euros, enough for two (or two meals). I know the Dutch love their sandwiches, and I have sampled a few broodjies during my visits, and I can definitely say this one was the best. So I set out for home, carrying a huge tuna sandwich, a small container of couscous salad, a container of Greek vegetable salad and two pieces of cake, when I virtually ran into two people coming out of a small shop carying ice cream cones. Despite my load, I could not resist stopping at Jordino for a gelato. For 2 euros, I enjoyed a small scoop of yogurt and a small scoop of a champagne citron flavor. Some people come to Amsterdam to drink. I think I prefer to eat champage flavored gelato. Lest you think I am a complete glutton, no, I did not eat everything in one sitting, or even two for that matter. That's the benefit of staying in a flat with fridge -- I have lots of leftovers to take on the plane home with me. Bet the other passengers will be jealous that I am bringing a taste of Amsterdam home.