Tag Archives: greenmarket

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

From the President’s Kitchen: For the Love of Vegetables?

Who says vegetables can’t be a main dish? Although we in the Culinary Society have always been strong proponents for the carnivorous way of life, Matt plays a different tune this week.

Let’s face it. I’ve been known to herald a certain type of cooking: plentiful amounts of butter, generous cups of cream, and (of course) tons of meat. A good steak is a God-send in college. Seafood and shellfish when cooked to perfection (or even better, raw) are divine. And I could not live without pork. I went a whole month last year, and when I looked back on my grocery lists, I realized that pork had been my main source of protein. For a month!

So it should come as a shock that I would buy a book on vegetables. Wandering through Barnes and Nobles last week, a thick book by Nigel Slater caught my eye: Tender. A cookbook full of vibrant food photos, it’s hard to resist. Vegetables have never looked so good. I sat in the bookstore, salivating and thinking about Saturday’s GreenMarket in Union Square.

The farmer’s market has always intimidated me. There’s so much to choose from, and I don’t want to feel like I’m pledging allegiance to one farm. With the book in hand as my guide, I approached some vegetables that I have never eaten, much less cooked. Radishes, turnips, and even Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes). Winter produce, in particular, is not my strong suit. I picked up a 1 1/2 lb. of little Jerusalem artichokes for a warm winter salad, and I headed home excited for a new taste.

Warming Salad of Jerusalem Artichokes Continue reading From the President’s Kitchen: For the Love of Vegetables?

The (green)Market Watch: Beets

Merritt returns this year resolving to cook EVEN MORE! This week, she brings us a simple recipe for beets.

President Obama s not fond of this purple vegetable.
I’m trying to cook more. I won’t call it a New Year’s resolution, because it’s really more a necessity after I found myself  saying “Where did all my money go? Oh, right, vacation,” and “I will not leave this apartment even if it means I will be uncomfortably cold.” So I became acquainted with Freshdirect and (knowing my propensity for ordering in or going out when I feel too tired to prepare something) cooking a lot of ingredients when I actually have the energy to do so.

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables because of their sweet, earthy taste and dense texture. They are so easy to roast that turning your hands pink when you peel them is worth it.

Beets sometimes have their greens still attached, which are nearly identical to Swiss chard. Beets can survive without their greens longer than greens can survive without their beets, so cook the greens right away if you plan on using them. Just remove the thick stems and wash thoroughly. Usually there are not enough greens for a full side-dish, but the tops of three beets gave me enough for a small frittata the next morning.

I roasted and dressed some beets in a simple lemon vinaigrette on a night of stock-up cooking, and then had beet salad available all week, with no excuses to order a sandwich. The salad can be eaten as-is for a side, or on top of greens (tossed in the lemon dressing) with a soft goat cheese and walnuts for something more substantial.

Roasted Beet Salad Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Beets

The (green)Market Watch: Wild Mushrooms

Merritt returns with one more GreenMarket adventure before the end of the semester, writing on mushrooms and her frustration with written recipes.

Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes!
It’s hard for me to follow a recipe. I can’t help but tweak the method, substituting one ingredient for another, double the addition of something or leave it out altogether. But when a chef I respect publishes a really delicious looking recipe, sometimes I will make an effort to follow his words exactly. So several weeks ago, when I saw David Tanis’s recipe for a wild mushroom soup I jumped at the chance to be a rule-abiding cook. Tanis worked at Chez Panisse for almost thirty years and recently decided to pursue his writing career full time. His column for the New York Times is well-worth devoting a few hours to reading (er, maybe wait until after finals before diving into the archives).

Unlike other times when I’m compelled to change ingredients or methods, the recipe fit exactly what I wanted for a nice weekend meal. When I have the time, methodically chopping up vegetables is enjoyable to me. Soup is also the perfect thing to have when you have company, and you are not quite sure when your dining companions will be ready to sit down and eat. Using wild mushrooms elevates this from just a usual vegetable puree to a lush flavorful soup.

Madura Farms is a mushroom farm located in Orange County, NJ that sells at our GreenMarket every Thursday and Sunday. Tanis recommends chanterelles for this soup, but any other wild mushroom will do. I used hen of the woods (also known as maitake) mushrooms from Madura Farm’s stand, and I would encourage you to speak to the vendor for a run-down of the mushroom varieties they have, as well as the care for the kind you do decide to buy.

Creamy Wild Mushroom and Parsnip Soup Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Wild Mushrooms

The (green)Market Watch: Carrots

Merritt returns this week for another look at our lovely GreenMarket, this time featuring a fairly common ingredient in a rather delicious way.

I really loved this article about salads by Nancy Silverton. I thought of it on Thursday as I was browsing the Columbia GreenMarket on a beautiful fall day. Salads don’t have to be light, summery fare, and I was inspired by a bunch of deeply orange carrots.

Carrots are available in the summer and fall and come in hues other than orange such as purple, red, and bright yellow. I didn’t spot any of these unusual colors this week, but it would have made for a festive dish. I wanted to keep it simple. As Silverton states, each ingredient in your salad needs to be treated with care and be at its prime.

I’ve been making a version of a this salad since I was inspired long ago at California Pizza Kitchen (don’t judge). There, they topped romaine with summer vegetables like grilled zucchini, summer squash, and avocado. Depending on what is in season, sauteeing (or grilling if you’re able) your vegetables before adding them to a salad creates a great contrast between hot and cold that I adore. I already had plenty of ingredients at my house to complete the salad– romaine for my base (a sturdier green works best), pistachios for crunch, and some creamy goat cheese.

Salads do not have to be demure diet-food. In fact, some of the best ingredients are hot and spicy, like watercress or radishes. I wanted my salad to be assertive, so I seasoned the carrots heavily with pepper– both freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. With a mess of delicious contrasts, this salad ended up outshining the main course.

Salad with Peppery Carrots, Goat Cheese and Pistachios Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Carrots

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

Weekend Getaways: It’s Springtime!

This weekend has a ton in store for us! A much-awaited pop-up restaurant and springtime celebrations–there’s simply too much to do!

First off, we have the arrival of JBF LTD–the pop-up restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. (Get it? JBF for a Limited time!) The pop-up is only open for a couple weeks, closing on May 14th (which is our first official day of summer!). Located in Chelsea Market, the establishment has been inundated with reservation requests and several dinner times are already filled. However, for us budget-savvy students, lunchtime is the way to go. Plus, the pop-up has several daytime programs with celebrity chefs and collaborations with the Food Network! (This weekend’s events are hosted by Certified Angus Beef (yay cows!). For more info, follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter or visit their website at http://popup.jamesbeard.org

This Monday from 6-9 pm at Alias (76 Clinton Street), there will be an egg-themed benefit for schools in the Lower East Side. The event will include an egg-coloring contest, a bunny costume competition, and several foods featuring that key ingredient. The requested donation is $10.

Ready to celebrate the advent of warm weather? This Saturday (May 15th) at 9 am – 12 pm, a bike tour of three NYC Greenmarkets will be led by the crew from Eat Well. The ride is a total of 6 miles, featuring the Union Square Market, Fort Greene, and Grand Army Plaza. The best part? It’s free! Just show up with your bike, helmet, and some cash for some delicious foods from the farmer’s market! The tour will start at 9 am at the Northwest corner of the Union Square greenmarket. For more info, visit their blog at http://blog.eatwellguide.org.

The Solution to Apple Confusion


No matter what happens, whenever I arrive at the GreenMarket I am immediately taken aback by the countless amount of apples that appear in the stands. There are so many varieties and colors, and ALL of them look delicious! How am I supposed to choose? Yes, I know that there are little signs with short descriptions for each apple, but these signs only confuse me more. I end up leaving the Farmer’s Market, buying an acorn squash instead… it’s something I’m more accustomed to.

But it shouldn’t be this way! We shouldn’t be confused whenever we’re met with something other than a Granny Smith, a Red Delicious, a Fuji, or a Honeycrisp. Luckily, a friend, Vivian, sent me this helpful link. It’s a guide to all of the GreenMarket varieties of apples on the NY Mag website. http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/68987/.

Now, we can face the world of apples with confidence! We will know the difference between an Elstar and a NY 428, or an Eve’s Delight and a Winter Banana.  No longer will the apples bully us around by their sheer numbers! We can return to the top of the food chain and enjoy our apples: Granny Smith, Fuji, and maybe even an occasional Hidden Rose.