Monday, June 23, 2008

Sweet treats and expanding horizons

What a wonderful greenmarket morning I had Saturday! I made it to Union Square by 8:30, and the crowd was manageable. I bought lots of fruit to make desserts for Katherine's birthday/housewarming party, as well as the season's first cherries.

Getting up early is worth it:
2 qts. strawberries
1 1/2 lbs. cherries
3/4 lb. rhubarb
1/2 lb. asparagus
1 lb. fava beans
1 lb. petit pois
1 bunch red Russian kale
1 bunch carrots
3/4 lb. shiitake mushrooms
Total spent: $47

For Katherine's party, I made rhubarb oatmeal bars, using a version of this recipe, but I cut the sugar in the rhubarb filling by about 1/4 cup, and added 1 tbsp. lemon juice to brighten the flavor. I also omitted "1/2 cup chopped" from the crust since I didn't know what to chop and add 1/2 cup of, and left out the vanilla as well. They turned out really delicious, but they didn't quite "bar up" to become independent desserts - you couldn't eat one out of your hand. I can't tell if I should have cooked them longer, or if the streusel just isn't substantial enough to be a bottom crust. Or maybe that 1/2 cup chopped would have firmed things up. (I'm thinking that shortbread would be insanely good, and just as buttery.)

I also made strawberry shortcake; I used the cream scone recipe from Baking Illustrated as the base (adding 1 tsp. vanilla), sliced and partially macerated the (quite wonderful on their own) berries with sugar and letting them sit for a few hours, and whipped 1 cup of Ronnybrook Dairy heavy cream with a few tablespoons of sugar to top. It was all lovely until I ate lots at the party (along with Allison's yummy pie), then had a severe sugar crash all of a sudden, got overwhelmed and cranky, then had to hurry home.

Tonight's dinner was shiitake mushroom risotto with buttered peas (excuse me, petit pois), which I had to have solo because my photo assistant is in transit and has been stuck at airports for the past six hours. He can have leftovers though. The peas were great - just a bit sweeter than regular English shell peas. Tomorrow night I have class, but I'm planning something exciting for a late-night Wednesday dinner involving those lovely favas.

And cherries!!! I have been talking about cherries for months, and now they're here! Of course the 1 1/2 lbs. I bought Saturday are already almost gone. I love them so much!!

(No photos this week due to extreme laziness.)


Ann said...

Nice haul! next year you REALLY must join one of the Brooklyn CSAs... same amount of produce for less than half the price! Plus then we could commiserate together over having to figure out what to do with it all!

anna said...

You know, I often think about joining a CSA. I know it's much better for the farmers, for sure. But I really do like having the option to choose what I want, and to be able to buy the best from each vendor - e.g. garlic from Keith's Farm, cherries and asparagus from Terhune Orchards, eggs from Knoll Crest, etc.

Also what happens when the eggplants arrive? I can't even stand the sight of the damned things.

Though your post did make me realize I did my math wrong when calculating the cost of my purchases - it's actually $10 less, which I'll change now. (CSA is still way cheaper of course!)