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Posts Tagged ‘Larchmont Farmers Market’

Sunday Morning Pancakes

In Food on March 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm

A couple weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Tiny G, we tore the roof off our house and demo-ed the kitchen. We lived without a kitchen during all but the final month of my pregnancy, and all the while we fantasized what life would be like on the other side—of the remodel, of becoming a family. We talked a lot about pancakes, and how we wanted to wake up on Sunday mornings and make them and then walk into town to the farmer’s market. That year, for my husband’s 35th birthday, I splurged on a gorgeous orange terry cloth robe from Hermès with these Sunday mornings in mind. When it came to picking out our range, we went back and forth on whether to get the griddle option or additional burners; in the end the burners won out and we got this awesome Lodge reversible griddle to put on top of the burners.

And then we woke up to reality. With a newborn, the idea of even showering on a Sunday was pure luxury let alone leisurely pancakes and leafing through the New York Times, or god forbid what kind of a havoc a newborn might bestow on a Belgian cotton robe. But I never let go of the fantasy and knew which recipe would become our family’s favorite.

Fast forward two years. Today we woke up to the most gorgeous sunny Los Angeles day imaginable. We walked to farmer’s market and ran into neighbors and friends…Anna, Hugh, Carolynn, Debra, Jon, Marc, Selena, Andrew, Ariana. Tiny G stopped to listen to some reggae with his favorite friends from music class, Fifi and Desmond.

We got three small bunches of bright orange tulips for $2 a bouquet.

And then we came home and made Poppy Seed Pancakes from one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks. They get their nutty crunch from toasted sesame seeds and poppy seeds, and wholesome deliciousness from whole wheat flour. One bite and we could taste the future. And let me say, it was worth the wait.

Breakfast Sandwich of Champions

In Food on August 3, 2009 at 10:19 pm

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What you see is one of the most fantastic uses of leftovers in recent memory. On Saturday night we grilled Heritage bone-in ribeyes, corn on the cob and red onions, and we roasted pasilla chiles to toss with the onions. We had leftovers of all the veggies, so Sunday morning we walked to Larchmont Farmers Market, grabbed a week’s worth of fruit and veggies (can’t wait for beans, summer squash, and peaches this week), some farm fresh eggs and then swung by Sam’s Bagels for some chewy rye bagels. Back at home I scrambled some of the eggs, the leftover veggies from the previous night and a little bit of cheddar cheese in an iron skillet.

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The pasillas we had were unusually spicy, while the grilled corn was sweet and caramelized—ditto on the leftover grilled onions. So satisfying. Even better, the strong cup of El Salvadoran coffee brewed from beans I picked up at Ristretto Roasters in Portland last weekend. More on my loot from Ristretto tomorrow…

Playoff Pizza

In Food on May 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

broccolipizza

We just got back from Larchmont Farmer’s Market, where we ran into our friend Hugh. We picked up some overpriced, but super-fresh ling cod, as well as asparagus to throw on the grill tonight, and Hugh was debating vine-ripened tomatoes to put on a pizza. He also had a 2-lb octopus in tow—he got the last one—so we’ve put our name on one for next weekend. But back to the pizza, I’m guessing a lot of us will be leaning that way today what with the Lakers and Celtics games (please, PLEASE, a rematch in finals????). A reminder about that awesome fresh pizza dough from Whole Foods! Here’s our current favorite combo—long-cooked broccoli, fresh ricotta and cracked black pepper. The long-cooked broccoli is dripping in olive oil, so no sauce needed. 

Note: The broccoli takes a couple hours to slow cook, so start this early and be sure to make double—it’s great with scrambled eggs and feta on toast or alongside a pork chop.

Also, be sure to let the dough sit out at room temp for a few hours to double (or triple) in size. It results in crispy, flavorful thin crust.

Vaquero Beans

In Food on April 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

vaquero

Sorry for the delay – got home from work on the late side last night, so here I am a day late with my bean odyssey. At a crazy good dinner party on Saturday night, my friend Katie gave me a bag of  these heirloom Vaquero Beans from Rancho Gordo. Actually Katie was pretty clear that they were “on loan,” so I’ll be hitting up my sister to bring a few replacement bags from Napa Valley next time she comes down to visit. First off, can we agree that they are stunningly gorgeous? Like an Appaloosa horse. Love! So to get going, first I rinsed them in super cold water. Then I put them in a pot and covered with an inch of water and soaked for six hours. Yes, that’s right. Six hours.

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From there, I consulted Rancho Gordo founder Steve Sando’s instructions for cooking beans. (Note: Sando has an awesome new Heirloom Beans cookbook, click HERE to order.) Per Sando’s advice, I made a makeshift mirepoix with onions, carrots and garlic I picked up at farmers market sautéed in olive oil – makeshift because I realized too late I had no celery. C’est la guerre. But basically all you need is water or broth and some sort of fat (I used olive oil, but freshly rendered lard or bacon fat would be mighty nice). I added my pseudo-mirepoix to the beans and their liquid, brought to a boil for five minutes, and then slow cooked on super-low heat for several more hours. Check out that amazing, rich liquid they give off. So flavorful!

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Meanwhile my husband grilled red, yellow and orange bell peppers along with Maui sweet onions, and we tossed with the beans, fresh thyme and some crumbled French feta, which we picked up from Laurent Bonjour—the “French cowboy ” with the cheese truck at the Larchmont Farmers Market (which conveniently works with the whole vaquero angle). The dish was as delicious as it was beautiful. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Mr. Foodinista knows his way around a grill!

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And I know my way around a corkscrew, which I pressed into action to open a cold bottle of crisp, minerally 2007 Domaine Leflaive Mâcon Verzé—a Chardonnay from the Puligny-Montrachet region of Burgundy and a great value at $27. It was made by one of my very favorite winemakers in Burgundy, Pierre Morey (a true pioneer in biodynamics, not to mention one of the most gracious winemakers I’ve ever met) before he stepped down last year as Leflaive winemaker to concentrate on his own label. Here’s to you, Pierre!

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NOTE: We were in the mood for white wine (the White Burgundy was lovely; a Sancerre or Vouvray from the Loire would have been even better with the tangy feta). If you prefer a red, a nice cru Beaujolais would kill with this combo!

Long-Cooked Broccoli

In Food, Recipes on April 19, 2009 at 11:11 am

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A couple months ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party with beautiful slow-cooked vegetables and beautiful people. The birthday girl, Carolynn, is an amazing cook and has a way with vegetables. Among the many platters of gorgeous produce offerings procured from Chino Farm was an INSANELY good dish of long-cooked broccoli. I’d never had anything like it—sweet, earthy, nutty and decadent all at the same time. It’s a dish Carolynn learned from Nancy Silverton, who features the method in a recipe for Soft-Scrambled Eggs, Long-Cooked Broccoli, and Feta Cheese in her eponymous sandwich book.

Last night, I decided to try it out with two heads of broccoli. I figured with that kind of time commitment, we should get at least a couple meals out of it. All in all, it takes about 2 hours to stew the broccoli with onions and garlic. Once it was finished, we grilled up some heritage pork chops and enjoyed with half of the long-cooked broccoli. 

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Then this morning we walked over to Larchmont Farmers Market to get some whole grain bread from La Boulangerie, and some farm-fresh eggs and chives to make the best breakfast sandwich I’ve tasted. EVER.

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For the sandwich, we grilled two pieces of bread doused with olive oil in a panini press, soft scrambled 6 eggs, and then assembled with broccoli, topped with scrambled eggs, topped with crumbled feta, chopped chives and cracked black pepper. We had plenty of leftover broccoli for three sandwiches (Mr. Foodinista polished off a second). We are already planning our next rendezvous with the long-cooked broccoli.

LONG-COOKED BROCCOLI

Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book

2 heads broccoli

1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, kosher salt, divided

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 whole dried red chile

Cut the head of broccoli off the stalk, leaving about 1 inch of the stalk still attached. Slice outer layer of fibrous peel off main stalk, and cut it vertically into long, flat slices, about 1/4-inch thick and 1-inch wide. Slice all the way through broccoli florets, cutting it vertically into 1-inch-thick pieces. You should have a bunch of long pieces of broccoli. 

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and 1/4 cup salt to boil. Cook all of cut-up broccoli in water for 2 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green. Drain broccoli and place in large bowl of ice water to chill. Drain well, and pat dry with kitchen towel.

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In a large, heavy skillet, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, chile, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. (We didn’t have any large dried chiles on hand, so I threw in a couple of chiles de arbol instead.) Over very low heat, cook broccoli, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s very soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Farm Fresh Eggs

In Food on April 5, 2009 at 12:34 pm

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Last weekend I picked up a dozen farm fresh eggs at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market. They’re from Gama Farms in Arvin, California (population 12,956), which is in Kern County about 100 miles from L.A. It’s amazing what a difference an egg makes. These are particularly flavorful, with bright yolks, and are huge. I love the speckled shells. We’ve been enjoying them all week, folded in an omelet with grilled spring onions (also from farmer’s market), hard-boiled for a snack with a sprinkle of sea salt, and this morning scrambled with leftover grilled salmon, grilled spring onions (we eat a lot of those around here), rosemary from the garden and cream cheese. Even Tiny G got in on the act and had a mashed up bright yellow, hard-boiled yolk, his favorite food to date. As we speak, Mr. Foodinista is at the farmer’s market grabbing a dozen more.

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Fish & Chips

In Food on March 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

tunafish

Last Sunday we had tuna sandwiches along with kale chips, inspired by a recipe from Chef Dan Barber that ran in Bon Appétit. My husband declared this the best tuna sandwich he’d ever tasted, and I hope so. Because I have a confession to make about the ingredients. Namely, the list doesn’t include Bumble Bee. Let’s start with the bread. I got a sliced loaf of whole grain from La Boulangerie at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market. (Their French boule is incredible, too.)

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On to the tuna fish. And here’s where I’m likely to get in trouble. I used Ortiz Bonito del Norte (white tuna in olive oil), that I got either at Surfas or Whole Foods, I don’t remember, but I do remember that we’re looking at $13 worth of tuna for two sandwiches. The tuna is caught by line and rod, which is environmentally friendly! It’s from Spain, is aged in olive oil, and it’s dolphin safe! And it’s $13 for 8 oz??? Okay. Moving right along, I mixed this heavenly tuna with just a dollop of mayo—you don’t need much if any—and some homemade celery salt (simply celery seed, below, + sea salt). Crack a little fresh pepper in there, too.

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Then I slathered one slice of the toasted bread with mayo (wish I’d had some Kewpie mayo left, which would have been amazing, but we’re out), and Mendocino Suds & Seeds Mustard on the other. I spooned the tuna onto one of the slices, topped with thick shavings of parm and some Bubbies Bread and Butter Chips. Et voila, pure nostalgia at its grown-up best. I’ll post later about the super yummy kale chips, because they knocked this combo out of the park.

Winter Vegetables

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 10, 2009 at 8:31 am

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Although it was raining on Sunday morning, it was crazy busy at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market but with all the incredible winter vegetables on offer, you can see why. I’ll share a few photos of my haul. I stocked up on carrots, celery root, purple broccoli, onions and red potatoes.

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Can we pause for a moment to talk about how gorgeous and gnarled celery root is?

celery root I remembered seeing a recipe for a savory Winter Vegetable Cobbler from a book called The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever on the Chronicle Books website, and so inspired, I cobbled together (did I really just pun? I hate that) a makeshift version with some of my farmer’s market finds. I thinly sliced up celery root, potatoes, carrots and chopped some onions, and then simmered them in chicken stock for 10 minutes. 

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Then I made a half recipe of the cobbler dough from the original recipe, adding in some cracked black pepper. The vegetables went into an 8 x 10 cast iron roasting dish, and I poured some chicken stock mixed with a little cornstarch and a few pats of butter. [Note on butter pats, I scaled waaaay back on the stick of butter the recipe called for, but I’m sure it is all the better as originally written.] Then I placed the dough over the veggies, and baked at 375 for about 45 minutes. It tasted honest, hearty and healthy—see above note on butter. Which is probably why I caught my husband scarfing minis of Nestlé Crunch in the kitchen later.

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Bread Salad

In Food on January 26, 2009 at 8:31 am

bread salad

Last night we roasted a chicken, Zuni style, and made a sinful bread salad with the drippings from the roasted chicken. For those of you familiar with Judy Rodgers’ Zuni Café in San Francisco, you’ve no doubt put this recipe into heavy rotation at home. Yesterday morning I picked up a boule of French bread from La Boulangerie at the Larchmont Farmers Market, which is now ranks as the best bread I’ve used for this salad. Then got the spicy mesclun blend of frisée, arugula, mustard greens and radicchio from the lettuce guy, zuniand some green onions and garlic to round out the mix. (We had some leftover pine nuts and dried currants in the pantry from the last time I made the dish.) You can click here for the recipe, but it’s worth it to buy the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

One note: the recipe for the bread salad if followed to the letter of the law is a bit labor intensive, especially since everything comes together at the end when you’re pulling the chicken out. I skip a few steps, namely I don’t separate and reduce the drippings in a pan. Instead, I take our lives in my hands by simply pouring a modest dribble of the drippings (fat and all) over the salad as soon as the chicken comes out of the oven. I also skip the salted water or chicken stock because this salad is plenty salty without, and instead just up the amount of Champagne vinaigrette ever so slightly to compensate.