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Tag: Farmers’ Market Challenge (page 2 of 2)

FMC Mushrooms: Saute Simply for a Scintillating Supper

mushroomsLSo, after the cardoon challenge (*FAIL*), and the sunchoke challenge (*toot*), I was so relieved to open Joe’s bag to see an array of mushrooms. And not, you know, tree bark or bee larvae or clods of dirt or something. These were lovely specimens too… cremini, oyster, chanterelle, and a few others I couldn’t identify. Trusting Joe and his vendor, I proceeded to think about what to do with my little pile of treasure. Since they were so lovely, I really wanted to keep the mushrooms themselves front and center. It was also a weeknight, so I didn’t want to spend forever messing around with them either.

Rummaging through the cupboards, I came across some stone ground cornmeal that got me in the mind to do a soft, creamy polenta topped with simply sauteed mushrooms. Easy, quick, and delicious. Sold. I only added a few things to the mushrooms to keep the spotlight on them; the shallot, wine, and parsley are all very much supporting players. Technique is important here, if not at all difficult. Start with a big pan that will hold your shrooms with plenty of breathing room so they actually saute and don’t steam defeatedly in their own juices. Preheat the pan and use high heat; the mushrooms can take it. They should squeak when you toss them, and pick up some good golden brown color. Then, drop the heat and carry on with the shallot and everything else at a more relaxed temperature. And, because, I’ve never met a lily that couldn’t be gilded just a little, hit ’em at the end with a drizzle of truffle oil to tie everything together. A restrained dusting of parmesan could also be a nice finish. Mr. T gave this little supper an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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Farmers’ Market Challenge: ‘Yeah, man… Shrooms’

mushroomTime for another installment of our Farmers’ Market Challenge. The pickings continue to be slim at the market, though I did appropriate some beautiful rockfish which I’ll detail in a post next week. As both Challenge Cardoon and Challenge Sunchoke were both a little hard to swallow–or at least digest–I was desperate to find something neither excessively weird nor utterly gut-shattering. That means no turnips!

For this challenge, then, I am pleased to present an assortment of meaty mushrooms from the always consistent, reliable, and lovely Ferial Welsh (Sundays at the Dupont Farmers’ Market) are on the menu. I picked up a variety of specimens: oyster, cremini, enoki, and perhaps a few others. Far more exciting than your average supermarket buttons, and these are only a tiny percentage of the wild and wonderful world of fungus.

Luke, I promise to bring you your share tonight!

I’m thinking something I’ll be doing something vegan with my mycological bounty as ‘that friend’ will be over again tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mr. Perfect comes up with. What are your go-to mushroom preparations–at least, the ones that don’t involve sweat lodges, peyote, and vision quests?

FMC: Choke on This!

ChokeOnThis

Hi, we’re back with a new Farmer’s Market Challenge for 2010. First up: The sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. I recognize that, so far, I’ve selected some rather bizarre produce for these challenges but, hey, it’s challenging finding a variety of goods at the market during these winter months.

Intimidating looking (resembling knobs of ginger), the tubers have the consistency of a potato but the taste of an artichoke.

Interesting factoid from WiseGeek.com:  ”Thinking they tasted like artichokes, the Italian named the tuber ‘girasole articicco,’ meaning, ‘sunflower artichoke.’ Americans corrupted the pronunciation, which they thought sounded more like ‘Jerusalem,’ but the name stuck.”

Fun for all. Let the challenge begin!

Cardoon Challenge: A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Cardoon2Hoisted by ones own petard, party of one? Excuse me, but my table is ready. After looking askance at Joe’s first Farmers’ Market Challenge selection, a slightly quotidian bunch of carrots, I was excited to see what more challenging bit of produce he’d produce for our next challenge. Cardoons? Ok, fine. BRING IT, Mr. Fresh.

After doing some not inconsiderable research, I learned that the cardoon is the thistle-y love child of celery and artichoke (figuratively speaking) and that they had a sweetish flavor most reminiscent of the latter. Given that I also learned that they’re generally a bit tough and need to be aggressively trimmed to remove fibrous strings and errant thorns, then braised or par-cooked, I elected to do something fairly simple with them. I thought a thorough braise with garlic, bay, lemon, and wine–all traditional compliments for artichoke–would be a good start. I then planned on cutting the cardoons into 3″ batons and tossing them with a broken vinaigrette flavored with lemon, parsley, and anchovy, providing some tang and needed umami to the dish. Add  maybe a caper or two and I’d have a lovely warm salad or side fit for a simple grilled meat. It was, however, not to be…

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