Farmers Market Kitchen

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Currant Whiskey Smash

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 4:39 PM

Currant whiskey smash - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Currant whiskey smash
Many drinkers stick to clear, clean liquors like gin or vodka when the weather is hot. But with ample ice and a shot of tart fruit, whiskey can make a cocktail as light and refreshing as any greyhound or gin fizz around. 

A few months ago, Stonecutter Sprits released its Heritage Cask Whiskey According to co-owner Sas Stewart, it's "distilled like bourbon, aged like Irish whiskey and finished like Scotch." Whatever the process, it's a smooth, woody  spirit with a vanilla nose and notes of dark fruit and clove, with an off-dry, spicy finish.

Since the bottle retails for about $60, I like to savor it as a sipping whiskey. But it also makes a fine cocktail.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Thai Basil-Coconut-Cashew Pesto

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Thai basil-coconut-cashew pesto - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Thai basil-coconut-cashew pesto
Making pesto is one of summer's most joyous pleasures. It's a snap to prepare — the recipe below takes 15 minutes — and eating it is always a special treat. 

I'm a fan of the classic Italian blend of basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan. But taking that recipe as a basic equation — green leaves + (garlic) + oil + nuts + (something creamy) + (a splash of citrus) + salt — opens up endless combinations of deliciousness. 

So ask yourself: What green leaves do I have on hand, and what would they combine well with? 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Italian Kale Salad

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:07 PM

Fixings for a summer kale salad - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Fixings for a summer kale salad
After spending the holiday weekend visiting family in New York, I returned to a garden overgrowing with kale and broccoli rabe and bushing basil that demanded picking. The thing about leafy greens that need picking is this: If you don't pick now, you'll have less to pick later. So I picked and picked and picked, half-wondering what I'd do with so much roughage.

Then I remembered a recent conversation with my cousin, who reminded me that kale can be tenderized with a bit of rough handling, so I ripped up a bunch, and twisted and squeezed it. With some chopped herbs and a splash of oil and vinegar, a hearty, summery salad was born. And, if you're one of the hundreds of Vermonters who receives piles and piles of kale in your CSA share, you can make it tonight in 10 minutes or less.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Tom Cat, Thyme and Tonic

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Tom Cat, Thyme and Tonic - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Tom Cat, Thyme and Tonic
If there's one thing my kitchen garden does really well, it's grow herbs. Like clockwork, thyme blooms around the summer solstice, sending up charming little columns of flowers that seem to last for weeks. To eat, these blooms are somewhat milder than the leaves, tender and sweet, with light tannic notes (thyme is, after all, a woody herb) and a hint of licorice. 

In April, Caledonia Spirits released a limited run of its Barr Hill Reserve  Tom Cat gin, which was aged in Vermont white oak barrels made by a cooper outside of Plattsburgh. On my way through Hardwick earlier this month, I stopped at the distillery and snapped up a bottle. It's a sipping gin — golden in color, smooth and honey-sweet with herbal, woody and nut-brown flavors that you can unpack for hours.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Radish Greens Frittata

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2016 at 2:17 PM

Radish greens! - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Radish greens!
Radishes are a book-end vegetable, one of the first freshies of spring, and one of the last veggies standing come fall.  I love the crunchy little roots served fresh or in salad, and they're fab on the grill or sautéed. And don't get me started on the greens, which make a fine pesto base or spinach substitute. 

I planted some in mid-April (remember how it snowed  just a few weeks ago?), and expected to harvest them this week and next. But following several 80-degree days and Sunday's rain, they bolted yesterday afternoon. I saved a few, but mostly I got a sink full of greens, since the plants had converted their bulbous roots into flower stalks in a single day.

This morning, I took a bunch of those greens and cooked them into a fluffy, frothy frittata with fresh herbs,  asparagus from 4 Corners Farm and a handful of cow's milk "feta" from Neighborly Farms, over in Randolph. 

And life was grand...

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Beer-Marinated Chicken of the Woods

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 3:22 PM

Oyster mushrooms and chicken of the woods - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Oyster mushrooms and chicken of the woods
After a cool spring, summer mushroom season is finally here. I've been too busy to hit the trail myself, but if my Instagram feed is any indication, it's been a bumper year for morels. Last weekend, a friend of mine stopped at his usual morel spot on his way home. It was devoid of morels, but he did find a huge cluster of chicken of the woods, and grabbed enough to share. Lucky me!

Last night, I bathed the fungi (along with some oyster mushrooms my mom brought over) in a slap-dash marinade for 15 minutes, then passed them off to the grill man, who charred them briefly for a sumptuous supper side. 

My marinade was simple — a splash of olive oil, a bigger splash of beer (I was drinking an IPA from Harpoon Brewery, but anything with some flavor —  white wine, rosé or cider — would work), and a little salt and garlic. Also, this would work with other types of mushrooms, so you could use a portobello or even some big button mushrooms, if you're not into or can't get the wild stuff.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Dandelion Pesto

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Dandelions: Eat 'em if you got 'em. - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Dandelions: Eat 'em if you got 'em.
After high school, I took a year off before heading to college. I spent most of that time screwing around in the Northeast Kingdom and working for the Appalachian Mountain Club, deep in the White Mountains. But in spring 2002, I flew to Europe. I traveled and worked  on farms, mostly in Italy.

There, life on the road —  and, of course, the old Italian farmers and WWOOF-er weirdos I lived with — taught 18-year-old me a few things about eating and cooking. 

First: The best meals often consist of sturdy bread, handmade cheese and charcuterie or fresh pesto. Second: When cooking, most dishes require just a couple quality ingredients — and a bit of salt. Combine them with care and don't fuss about it too much! 

In the spirit of all that, here's an ultra-simple, eat-the-weeds dandelion pesto, made with a little Bayley-Hazen blue cheese from Jasper Hill Farm, which I grabbed at Hand Crafters Hub on my way home from Hill Farmstead Brewery last week. 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Rhubarb Spritz

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 2:48 PM

What could be springier than a rhubarb cocktail, sipped in the grass? - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • What could be springier than a rhubarb cocktail, sipped in the grass?
I don't often feature recipes that require special equipment, but I recently acquired a juicer. I'd given it to my mom for Christmas, but she gave it back — she's perfectly happy with her smoothie bullet, thank you very much.  

And last weekend, I picked up some beautiful rhubarb and greenhouse cucumbers at 4 Corners Farm in Newbury. I had grand plans of making tiny rhubarb galettes, which I'd eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of the week. Tart rhubarb pie is one of my most highly anticipated spring joys.

But the motivation to make pie crust eluded me. Plus, this shiny new machine was staring me down from inside its box on the kitchen floor.

So I juiced the rhubarb with a cucumber, which made enough juice for two or three cocktails. A pour of Honeycrisp ice cider from Champlain Orchards sweetened the deal, while a shot of barrel-aged gin from Stonecutter Spirits (which nabbed a double-gold medal at the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition in April)  gave it a boozy kick.

The gin's herby botanicals add an extra layer of fab to this drink, but really, any well-made gin (perhaps Caledonia Spirits'  just-released Tom Cat gin, aged in Vermont-oak barrels) or whatever you've got in your cabinet will do.

And, please, take this drink outside — it's basically spring in a glass.


5-6 stalks rhubarb
1 small cucumber
2 ounces ice cider
2 ounces gin
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
Splash club soda
Splash Bonal Gentiane Quina
1-2 drops Citrus bitters

Juice the produce first and allow to settle. Pour ice cider, gin and maple syrup into a large glass and stir thoroughly. Fill glass with ice, stir again, and add juice until the liquid is about 1 inch from the top. Agitate with a spoon to mix the juice and booze slightly, then top off with club soda. Float Bonal on top and spritz with bitters. Garnish with fresh flowers or herbs or orange peel.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Shoots 'n' Ranch

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Solomon's seal shoots - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Solomon's seal shoots
Did you know you can eat Solomon's seal? I didn't, until last weekend, when I was thumbing through a book on wild edibles. In early spring, it read, the plant's tender young shoots can be collected just before the leaves unfurl and prepared in much the same way as  asparagus. In fact, this woodland plant — and common garden perennial — is part of the asparagus family. 

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Farmers Market Kitchen: Roasted Dilly Potatoes

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 1:48 PM

Winter potatoes, spring herbs - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Winter potatoes, spring herbs
I rather enjoy early spring cooking. Lacking the gorgeous garden-market proliferation of midsummer through fall, May isn't a time for sexy, glamour-bomb food. But, after a winter of tubers, meats and cheeses, warmer days provide welcome variety as soon as the first herbs are ready to harvest. Which, in a greenhouse-driven market, is right about now. And there are plenty of cold-weather roots still kicking around. 

I love eating golden-crisp potatoes, roasted in a hot oven with plenty of space around each one, year-round. Today, I tossed some with a touch of Karim Farm & Creamery's hard Vertalia cheese, fresh dill and a few ramps I picked a couple weeks ago. I also threw in the last bit of my first-ever guanciale, now more than a year old...

Also, these little pommes are easily flexitarian. Vegetarian? Vegan? Hold the meat and cheese and swap olive oil for butter — it's a fine dish even without the animal fats. And it makes fab leftovers. Just pop it in a warm oven to reheat, and you're halfway to a proper dinner.

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