Tag Archives: farmer’s market

Walk in the Cold – Greenmarket at Union Square



With it being winter and all, this writer has been a lot more hesitant to go out and explore the street food of New York City. At times like these, it is much more likely you’ll find me hiding at home with a hot cup of coffee in hand, bingeing on Netflix. However, as I’ve learnt, you should never pass on going out on a sunny day, no matter how cold it is outside, and today was just that day.


I decided to go check out the Greenmarket at Union Square, which is supposed to be a large market with lots of farmers’ stalls selling their own products. I was looking forward to it, but I was a little disappointed to see a few stalls rather sparsely located across the Northwestern corner of the park. I was even more disappointed that there weren’t any stalls selling cooked food at the time I was there, which was around 1 in the afternoon. But I guess with it being winter, outdoor markets like these would be pared down. I did buy some apples and moved along quite disappointedly.





I thought I might walk down to Washington Square and check out if there was anything going on there. Unwittingly, I waded into NYU territory as I made my way from Union Square. I was of course jealous of the variety of shops and bars and restaurants that were in the area. One place that caught my eye was Gunz, which is sells “European fine food”. So I immediately walked in and they were selling Austrian coffee, which was a good strong brew and inexpensive. In fact, everything in that shop was quite inexpensive for what I assume was imported food from Europe. From Italy they stocked olive oils, pestos, pastas and antipasti, butter cookies from Denmark, shortbread from Britain and wafers from Poland and Belgium. I bought myself some Italian hazelnut cookies and some pasta.




After that I walked down University Place further, and I was feeling hungry because I didn’t find anything to eat at Union Square. I thought I might check out Space Market, which is a grocery store. What impressed me was the salad and hot food bar that they had. It was the kind where you’d just help yourself and they had your usual suspects: pasta, meatloaves and sushi but what got my attention was the “Chicken Gumbo” at the soup counter. Being a self-professed fan of anything closely related to New Orleans food, I went straight for the gumbo and walked a little ways down to Washington Square to try it.


What was weird was sitting on a park bench at below freezing. I was the only idiot in the park doing it. However, with the sunshine and hot soup it really wasn’t so bad. Washington Square Park was quiet, almost empty, with snow and ice covering the grounds. For people who do not like the taste and gooey texture of okra, gumbo is probably disgusting gunk, but I’m a fan. In fact, the gooier, the better. The strange thing about this gumbo was that it was very tomato-y, probably a Manhattan twist on the classic gumbo. It was a great thing to have on a cold day.




As a student of Columbia, I have been guilty of spending too much time in my Morningside bubble and not getting out enough to explore the rest of what this great city has to offer. Perhaps it is a case of the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side, but I always felt that students at NYU have a much better deal in terms of the neighborhood they’re in, with all the bars and restaurants and other shops around, not to mention two nice parks – Washington park and Union Square park.


What I did learn though, is that outdoor markets are going to be a lot less than spectacular during winter, naturally; that NYU has a much sweeter neighborhood and that it’s not a bad idea to venture out into the cold every now and then, especially when the sun is out.


Sampling Street Food in New York


One of the best ways to get to know a new city is to simply walk its streets. Wandering, without a particular destination in mind or direction to head to. Having just moved to New York not two months ago, I’ve been walking around the city, visiting different neighborhoods and getting oriented with this great city.

A couple of weeks ago, I had invited a friend from Brunei, who is studying in DC, up to New York City for the weekend, and that provided the perfect excuse to spend the entire weekend exploring the city and stumbling upon the great variety and quality of food on the streets of New York.

So on Saturday the plan was to take the (free) Staten Island Ferry from South Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We had to have lunch before going so we went first to the Tribeca Saturday Greenmarket, which was unfortunately a little bit smaller than expected. Nevertheless, we managed to procure a bag of homemade cookies just stave off our hunger until we reached Staten Island (not a very good plan).

On the Staten Island Ferry
On the Staten Island Ferry
The Tribeca Greenmarket
The Tribeca Greenmarket

South Ferry is a short walk from Tribeca, and there’s a scenic riverside path that you can just stroll along to get down to the southern tip of Manhattan. Unless of course, you walk in the completely opposite direction because of your non-existent sense of direction, which is compounded by a security guard who points you north instead of south. We found ourselves eventually at 18th Street-ish, in need of some iced coffee to cool off from a relatively long walk. The good thing about getting lost is that you occasionally stumble upon a street market that you completely did not know about, and that was exactly what we found. I have no idea what the market was called, but it was long, along 10th Avenue (I think), spread over four blocks.

After some iced coffee, it only made sense to get some donuts, which was exactly what we found. I got the Salted Chocolate flavor because I firmly believe that that any sweet-salty-bitter combination could never be bad. The donut did not disappoint. It was huge, and absolutely doused with a sticky, gooey salted chocolate glaze that will inevitably get your fingers dirty. It was finger-licking goodness, literally.

Good Street Music
Good Street Music

The next day, we headed out to the famous Brooklyn Smogarsburg on Sunday. The first thing to note is that it’s not so easy to get to. The market is usually located at Pier 5 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, but on that weekend it was at Pier 2, which, if you look at the map, looks deceptively easy to access. After a treacherous hike down Furman Street to get to river-level, I was getting impatient for the market. After getting slightly lost (again), we found the clutch of stalls tucked away just off the track on the left (we went right) and it was a welcome sight after the walk.

The great difficulty with such markets is that there is so much good-looking food and so little time, and even less money. Paying $9-10 for a gourmet sandwich and no service may seem fair enough, but to fork out another $10 for another one, and $4 for a cup of bubble tea may be slightly taxing on the wallet. I succumbed, though, obtaining an excellent beef brisket sandwich, with slices of succulent beef that had cooked for 16 hours, which you can drown in deliciously smoky homemade BBQ sauce and top liberally with as many pickles, onions and jalapeños you like, all tucked in a delicately soft, golden bun. It was the perfect way to enjoy the fantastic view of downtown Manhattan from across the East River, bathed in glorious September sunshine. My friend got himself a bowl of Nasi Lemak, a coconut rice dish from a Malaysian stall (run by a reticent Thai lady).

The Brooklyn Smogasburg
The Brooklyn Smogasburg
Beef brisket sandwich
Beef brisket sandwich

It was a great weekend, getting lost in the city, and getting acquainted with the different markets and street food stalls that dot this huge metropolis. The immense diversity of food, served up by many people, both old-timers of, and newcomers to New York provides a seductive and alluring, confusing and chaotic scene that will take time to uncover. Amid the chaos, the order of the day is, walk, and eat, and enjoy it while it lasts.

Over the next year, I’ll try as best as I can to get out of my apartment, to pound the streets of New York, and indulge in the great buffet served up on New York streets. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge:

Goodbye for now
Goodbye for now

Smoked Duck Breast Crostini with Apple Confit

Credit: Scout MacEachron

Another entertaining post by Pippa, this one focuses on making duck crostini.  Pippa keeps it real and direct, so go ahead and try it!

Ducks. They look cute and, if I must be blunt, taste delicious. The meat is flavorful and has a huge cushion of fat that, when crisped up right creates enormous amounts of flavor. Duck is one of those meats that is hard to find in a normal supermarket unless it is D’Artangnan. Personally, I am not impressed by D’Artangnan. It is over priced and the portions they sell are so small that it is almost comical. However, there is a solution to this problem! Hudson Valley Duck Farm, which is located in Ferndale, NY rocks my world and is a vendor at the Columbia Greenmarket. See below for more info but for now the most important thing is that an applewood smoked duck breast is only $8.00. The best part about buying smoked meat it that it is already cooked so all you have to do is crisp the fat and slice.

 An easy appetizer that my family uses throughout the fall for everything from thanksgiving to an after school snack is thinly sliced duck breast on a garlic crostini with an apple and onion confit. By easy I mean that it takes maybe 20 minutes to make 25+ of these. When you bite into it you get the smoothness of the apples, the smokiness of the duck and the crunch of the bread. Finally the raw garlic hits you and you’re in heaven. Please, just try to resist. Continue reading Smoked Duck Breast Crostini with Apple Confit

In Season – Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Ravioli

This Tuesday marks the introduction of IN-SEASON, a new series by experienced blogger Pippa!  The eye candy above is just the beginning of a series of recipes and anecdotes that give you a great way to use the freshest ingredients featuring photographs by fellow foodie Scout MacEachron.

It’s starting to feel like fall! For my first post on the Columbia Culinary Society Blog I want to usher in fall in a fancy fashion. Every two weeks I will be highlighting the freshest and yummiest ingredients available to us on the island of Manhattan. On Sunday I strolled down to the farmer’s market and perused the options. The piles of squash immediately caught my eye. There’s acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, zucchini, etc. There are even those odd-looking ornamental squash that your great-aunt buys and tries to cook every year never realizing that although not poisonous they really are only good for dressing up a mantle piece.

After grabbing a small but hefty butternut squash for $3.00 I decided to pick up some fresh goat cheese. Goat cheese is always going to be a bit pricey. So, with that in mind, you might as well get the best. A little tub of cheese from Ardith Mae set me back $8.00 but is so worth it. How do you combine butternut squash and goat cheese into a dish? You make pasta of course! I am very lucky to have my mom’s pasta roller stashed in my suite’s kitchen. For those of you who don’t have random cooking implements you can still make this dish. Look to the bottom of the post for instructions (complete with photographs to help with the instructions!). Continue reading In Season – Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Ravioli

The (green)Market Watch: Brussels Sprouts

Photo courtesy of www.thedailygreen.com

Ready to help the hesitant cook tackle an unpopular breed of wild cabbage into a savory main dish.

Who doesn’t love having the full spread? A salad, meat with something starchy and some vegetables on the side, followed with dessert. But for me, this sort of tried and true arrangement is now usually reserved for special occasions. A girl can only do so many dishes.

As a kid, I was never the type to keep my foods separated on the plate by a wide margin of clean porcelain. On the contrary, it always seemed like a great idea to mix everything together. Mashed potatoes, broccoli and chicken all tasted great on their own, but whenever I tried to combine, they seemed to lose their individual power. I think my mixing skills have grown up since then, and I often combine all or most of the elements of a balanced meal to make life easier for myself (okay, I never combine dessert with anything).

Since I often replace meat with vegetables instead, I’ve found that what would be a paltry (but perhaps delicious) side dish on its own becomes a hearty full meal when served over pasta (or quinoa or rice or whatever grain you can get in the bulk foods aisle of Whole Foods). In fact, the recipe for the Kale and Cannellini Pasta was created with just that idea in mind. If I saw a lonely bag of brussels sprouts in my near empty fridge as only having potential for a side dish, I would certainly need to run to the store to buy some pork chops. But through the power of penne, every vegetable can get its moment in the sun. Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Brussels Sprouts

Pic of the Day: Meredith’s Bread – Mini Pies!


Confession:  I am obsessed with these pumpkin tarts.  This particular one is made by Meredith’s Bread, a vendor at the farmer’s market.  They’re always at the one on Broadway, and additionally, they have a booth at the Lincoln Center market.  For $2.50, these tarts (whose flavors range from a warm apple to a sweet pecan) are a perfect snack to eat with your morning latte or to save for after dinner.

[Photo and quick post by Amanda.]

The (green)Market Watch: Kale

Bringing us the latest on our farmer’s market, Merritt tells us how to make even a hearty green like kale delicious.

We often think of winter as being a season devoid of green. Bare trees, white (or gray, or yellow) snow, and sensible black scarves. But winter vegetables aren’t all just starchy potatoes and squash. Hardy winter greens cannot only survive the winter frost, they actually become better through it. The frost ushers the plant into maturity, and the flavor then becomes sweeter. Anyone who has choked down some extra bitter greens can attest that the winter weather is worth embracing, at least for this reason.

Kale is my favorite of the greens available in winter. Kale is noted for it’s health benefits: vitamins C and K and cancer-fighting compounds are abundant. It can be eaten raw, as in this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, or even baked into healthy kale chips that won’t cost you $9.00 at Westside Market (thanks Dan Barber!).  Even when braised until it shrinks to a quarter of its raw state, the kale maintains a chewy texture and full flavor that makes you think, “I’m healthy, goddamnit!” Be sure to remove the thick stems of kale and wash it well before using it. I usually fold the kale leaves downward with one hand and rip the stem out with the other, then tear up any larger leaves. The kale will wilt down considerably, so neat, even cuts aren’t needed. Discard any yellowing leaves as well. Then wash the leaves thoroughly in a colander or salad spinner.

Kale and cannellini beans are a classic combination. To make it into a full meal, I add pasta. And to make it extra tasty, I sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top. This recipe is a standard for me. It manages to be filling and reheatable, tasty and virtuous, almost one-pot, different and yet simple to prepare.  This article from the New York Times about different ways we could cook pasta confirmed what my impatience had already taught me. I hated waiting for a larger pot of water to boil, and since I generally only cook half a pound or less of pasta, I started using a smaller 3 quart pot and only filling it about halfway. While I must stir a little more often (compulsive “pan shaker” that I am, this is not a bother), the water turns practically opaque with starch. Right before draining the pasta, I usually use a measuring cup to steal about a half a cup of this water. It comes in handy in recipes like these, where you don’t make a sauce to pour on at the end. The water binds the flavors and ingredients together, giving some body to the dish without any distracting tomatoes or cream.

I’ve made this recipe all sorts of ways, and it takes well to any other vegetable you would like to add. For example, while picking up a bunch of kale from Stannard Farms on Thursday, I saw some bulbs that looked like overgrown shallots with the sign that labelled them as “Tropea Onions – a cross between onion and garlic.” Since I usually use onion and garlic to flavor the base of my pasta anyway, I decided to pick some up and added them to the mix. Also, if you’re feeling flush or want to impress, hot Italian sausage can be sauteed at the beginning. Remove it from the pan and continue as described below, then reincorporate the sausage at the end.

Kale and Cannellini Pasta
Serves four Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Kale

The (green)Market Watch: Potatoes

Bringing the perfect cure for those cold and dreary (and unexpected) October snow days, Merritt teaches us how to make our market potatoes into a traditional and delicious dish.

For a second, imagine that you were me this morning. Watching your hometeam win the World Series on Friday necessitated a “beer-for-dinner” night, and you’ve woken up both cold and hungry. You need food! Preferably the sort of sopping-with-grease mess you’d get at a diner. But a quick look out your window and you realize that the world has turned into a slushball and… there’s just no way you can handle that right now.

And yet eggs and starch and grease continue to call for you. What to do?

Perhaps you have a couple potatoes sitting around. Potatoes are a staple of the winter months because they can linger in a root cellar for weeks at a time (crazily, commercial warehouses can store potatoes for almost a year). Even if you don’t have a root cellar, a brown paper bag is a happy home for potatoes for a couple weeks. So grab some starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, next time you see them at the Greenmarket. Even if you don’t have a use for them immediately, they might come in handy some dreary October morning.

Sliced thinly and mixed with eggs, onions and garlic, potatoes become a traditional Spanish tapas dish known as tortilla de patatas. It is a simple one-pan masterpiece that covers all your breakfast basics and it doesn’t take very long. Double or triple as needed! This recipe is enough for two or three people, but the tortilla reheats nicely. Enjoy.

Tortilla de Patatas Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Potatoes

The (green)Market Watch: Cauliflower

The Columbia Greenmarket is a place filled with possibility and potential, but there always seems to be a lingering problem: Where do you start? Enter Merritt, our Farmer’s Market correspondent and a former chef. Each week, Merritt will update us about the seasonal produce–just in time for Sunday morning’s market.

Yes, this is cauliflower. No photoshop, no lie.
The Greenmarkets of New York City were my gastro-dream that I looked forward to before moving to the big city. While Union Square is a dazzling mecca that is well worth the visit, we are lucky to have our own market right on Broadway between 114th and 116th every Thursday and Sunday. Cooking local, in-season produce is a great way to learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques.Autumn is harvest season and there are loads of great produce to choose from. In October, we are not just limited to root vegetables and hardy winter squash. The last of summer’s tomatoes and lettuces are available alongside those hearty vegetables, creating an ample variety of produce.
Today, I’m going to try and convince you to pick up some seemingly boring cauliflower and turn it into something delicious.Cauliflower is, as we all know, a cousin (sister? brother from another mother?) of broccoli. For me, however, the greener of these vegetables seemed to grace our family’s table far more frequently. As a child, I thought that cauliflower looked like it would be bland (and maybe my parents shared this sentiment). The same color as what I though gruel might be, cauliflower was a vegetable for those humans who were so old that they no longer cared about taste and quality. But cauliflower actually comes in a variety of bright hues–from a cheddary orange to a vivid purple. To find these varieties, farmer’s markets are your best bet.

White cauliflower will do for the recipe below. Made with only a few ingredients, this recipe teaches you the importance of the measure and quality of those parts. If there is one thing I learned while cooking in a restaurant, it’s that everything will taste better with more salt, more fat, more acid. It’s just a fact. So don’t skimp! For this recipe, don’t be afraid to crank your stovetop up as well. We want our cauliflower to get blistery-burnt (and therefore, tasty) on the stove before transferring it to the oven to finish cooking. Two things I love about this recipe: Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Cauliflower

Baked Apples: To Nuke or Not to Nuke?

Sorry, folks! This one has been a long time in coming. Remember that apple class we had back in September? Well, here are the recipes! P.S. It turns out that apples don’t explode in the microwave. Rejoice lovers of modern cooking methods!

Photo courtesy of http://taamiberry.com

It’s apple season! Embrace fall and the farmer’s market with these quick and easy baked apple recipes.  On Tuesday, September 20 the Culinary Society hosted a baked apple cooking class.  If you missed the event, here is all the information to turn an apple into a sweet or savory meal in the comfort of your dorm.

Utensils + Kitchen Supplies

Knife and spoon (a melon baller works the best)

Microwaveable dish

Wax paper or something to cover the apple while it cooks

Sweet Baked Apple

1 Apple

Raisins (you may soak the raisins in warm water to soften and plump them)

1-teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon roughly chopped walnuts

1/4-teaspoon cinnamon

1/8-teaspoon nutmeg

Savory Baked Apple

1 Apple

1-tablespoon shredded/ sliced cheddar cheese

1 thinly sliced, cut up piece of prosciutto or crumbled cooked bacon

Salt/ pepper / cayenne pepper to taste Continue reading Baked Apples: To Nuke or Not to Nuke?