Vegetable Hunting in Early Spring

I spent a solid 3 weeks consuming bread, cheese, meat, sugar, and dairy. Less of a craving, and more situational testing out recipes (scotch eggs, mac & cheese with bacon, shepard's pie, mushroom pot pie, rolls, crackers, and more obscene baked goods I'll show you later) and cooking for a big dinner party. This week I decided to veg out at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market in Brooklyn. It's been a cold and wet spring in the New York City area, but you can still make a week's meal from the goods at the market. Cheese, meat, yogurt, flours, grains, legumes, pickles, jam, bread, cookies, and doughnuts are popular 52 weeks a year at the market. Hard vegetables and and hardy leafy greens are out too. Here is some of the veggie porn for your viewing:

Mushrooms, as expensive as meat but hardy and full of minerals and fiber. Don't chop the character of these unique shrooms as an ingredient in other dishes. Saute them in butter or oil and let them stand on their own feet as a beautiful entree or side dish.

Spinach, cool weather's great irony, green gift for salads, layered in lasagna and pastas, soups, frittata, or simply steamed and tossed with sauteed garlic.

Potatoes are everywhere, parsnips are fewer found, but sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) are harder to find. Sunchokes with a smooth, nutty tuber taste can be lightly steamed and then sauteed in butter (really all farm fresh veggies are excellent this way), sliced and fried into chips, pickled, or roasted with other root vegetables like parsnips or carrot.

Apples are around most of the year too. It's a New York's specialty. Winesaps are my favorite orchard apple; crispy, tart with just a little sweetness. Perfect for eating raw. These winesaps reminded me of the kind I used to pick growing up in Ohio.

Radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, and daikon of all shapes, sizes with varying spicy flavors. These groundlings make awesome pickles, are great shredded or chopped into salads and slaws, sliced into discs for dip, or try a savory Asian daikon cake.

I also saw an abundance of carrots, squash, cabbage, leeks, onions, herbs, and ornamental flowers. Just a few stands had pea shoots. More of those plus ramps will be on their way soon. And oh I can't wait for my CSA to start up too.


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