Archives for posts with tag: hollywood farmers market

i’ve only made risotto once before, but i have been reminded many times by tom colicchio in a few top chef episodes that it can be quite tricky. in fact, once again a chef was just recently eliminated by making one not to the judges liking. i’ve had a wild mushroom risotto at past top chef winner ilan hall’s restaurant the gorbals, and mr. colicchio’s vegetable risotto at craftsteak in las vegas, so i have an idea of what the consistency and taste should be. what is so damn difficult?

karl, my mushroom guy, at the hollywood farmers market had a wide array of mushrooms sunday, so i thought i’d try my hand at a wild mushroom risotto. i chose black trumpets, chanterelles, and shiitakes. i compiled the list of ingredients and amounts after the fact, so some are approximations, and others are optional or interchangeable. for instance, i grabbed what i thought was frozen vegetable stock from my freezer and as it melted i realized i had in fact taken out a container of lobster stock. i happened to have tarragon and savory on hand, but sage and thyme could also work, and white wine can be used instead of red.

ingredients:

  • 4 cups lobster stock
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, big ones cut up, leave small ones whole
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh savory, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • s+p
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

directions:

heat the stock so it is warmish-hot.

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sauté about 1/3 of the garlic and onion in some olive oil for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent. add the mushrooms, butter, tarragon and savory and continue cooking for a few minutes until the mushrooms have just browned. add some s+p to taste. set aside and keep warm.

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coat the bottom of and heavy bottom pan, such as a dutch oven, with olive oil and sauté the remaining onion and garlic until translucent as well. add the rice and stir quickly allowing the rice to be coated with the oil and opaque, about a minute. apparently this cooks the starchy coating and keeps the rice from sticking. add the wine and stir until it is almost evaporated.

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add the stock, a ladle at a time, and stir until just absorbed. then add the next ladle of stock and repeat each time allowing the stock to be incorporated until your stock is gone. stirring continuously should help cook the rice evenly and not stick to the bottom of the pan. i noticed a couple ladles near the end of adding the stock the rice still seemed to be a bit al dente, and also the rice and stock seemed to be making a creamy saucy consistency. by the time the final ladle had been incorporated the rice was perfectly cooked and not mushy. the risotto shouldn’t be too thick, but also not runny. it should almost ooze.

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stir in the mushrooms, parmesan and parsley. add s+p to taste.

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serve immediately.

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makes 2-3 servings.

i must say even though i was a bit skeptical the lobster stock might not be the right choice when i was defrosting it, it turned out to be a really nice compliment to the earthy mushrooms. granted i know i only made a small batch, i’m not working in the confines of a kitchen foreign to me, and i was able to use my own equipment and tools, but this just wasn’t that hard, and it turned out really tasty. i certainly doubt i would get eliminated on an episode of top chef for this dish, and who knows perhaps i would win?

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this morning not only did i find myself without coffee in my cupboard (oh the horror!), but also not much was in my fridge either. thankfully, made, the cafe and gift shop next door at the downtown women’s center has delicious coffee from groundwork, and helped me out with my daily caffeine fix. now i could think about food. i am working the next couple of days and only need a few things to tide me over until i am able to make it to one of the bigger markets this weekend. i just wasn’t going to make the trip all the way to the wednesday market in santa monica. while perusing twitter, sipping on my dirty chai latte, the downtown news tweeted that the pershing square market would be open today between 1130-2p. having never been, i thought this might hold me over for a couple of days, or at the very least, get me out on my trusty steed for a quick ride.

albeit small, it had a decent variety of produce stands, and the gama farms stand even had eggs. often these smaller markets have zero options as far as meat, dairy and eggs, so i was thrilled. in addition to a half dozen eggs, i picked up an onion and garlic. they also had potatoes, citrus, and honey.

the stand next to them had many different greens and herbs, potatoes, daikon radish, some squash, green beans, and even sugar cane.

i was also happy to see arnett farms, which i often hit at the hollywood farmers market, and has some of my favorite citrus fruit. i chose a couple satsuma mandarins, a blood orange and a cara cara orange. why not? it is cold and flu season.

total cost $12.50:

  • 1 head of garlic, 1 red onion, 6 eggs: $3
  • 1 bag of green beans, 1 bag of mixed salad greens: $4
  • 1 bunch of carrots: $2
  • 4 pieces of citrus fruit: $3.50
  • 1 gallon of gas saved by biking: – $4
  • total price for my bounty: $8.50
  • getting out for some much needed fresh air and exercise: priceless.

in a pinch, your smaller local farmers market can be just what you need…get your vittles and save on fossil fuels to boot.

if you live in los angeles county, here is a list of california certified farmers markets in the area. in the greater united states, the usda has this farmers market search available.

ever have a huge lobster dinner party with so many leftover shells it seems silly to just throw them away? probably not…or at least not very often. i was fortunate enough to be invited to such a party at my friend’s house this past fall. her husband caught the crustaceans himself, along with more uni (sea urchin) than i’d ever seen at any sushi bar. after gorging ourselves on so many of these california spinys we were bursting at the seams, there were a few leftover, and piles of shells. they sent me home with a bag of shells and a whole lobster! i had bisque on the brain…but first, the stock:

i had never made a lobster stock before, so i started with the fish stock recipe from the weston a. price foundation article ‘broth is beautiful’ and added in a few things of my own.

ingredients-

  • 4-6 lobster shells
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 7 celery stalks
  • 1 cup fennel tops, chopped rough
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 7 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme, several sprigs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp coarse hannapepe salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

note: if your lobsters were grilled, clean the shells of any excessively charred parts.

melt the butter in a large stock pot with the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel. cook until softened a bit. add the tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, bay, garlic and lobster shells. toss with softened veggies. add sherry and wine and let cook for about 5 minutes.

cover with cold filtered water, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a simmer for 2-3 hours.

using a slotted spoon discard the largest pieces of shell.

then pour the rest through some cheese cloth lining a colander or mesh strainer. press down on the bits to exude any remaining juices.

chill overnight in the fridge. skim any fat off the top.

divide broth into different sized plastic containers in order to freeze and use in the future.

some ideas on how to use your hearty and flavorful lobster stock:

i did end up making lobster bisque, and it turned out fine…

…but since then i had the pleasure of having tom colicchio‘s version at craftsteak in las vegas, and i am now on a mission to recreate his. so, until then i’m not going to waste your time with my recipe when i know there is a better one out there…and by better, i mean absolute perfection and fantastic. i would be ashamed and embarrassed to post my meager recipe.

i did make a thai-style soup recently, inspired by my fellow food blogging friend spencer h. gray’s post on his blog omnivorous, using lobster stock, baby bok choy and shrimp, plus many of the ingredients he has listed.

considering i have never made a risotto, why not try a bivalve risotto made with lobster stock? i’m thinking mussels and clams from the oyster boys at the hollywood farmers market are in my near future.

note: since posting this i did make a wild mushroom risotto with lobster stock and it was lovely.

i love the sweetness of summer tomatoes paired with the earthiness of beets, topped with tangy but creamy chèvre, floral thyme, and drizzled with adams’ olive ranch balsamic vinegar + their lemon infused olive oil.

absolutely fresh and scrumptious! summer you will be missed, and your tomatoes even more so.

adams’ olive ranch products are sold at the santa monica and hollywood farmers markets, fairs, festivals and gourmet shops.

i have been getting my clams from a stand at the hollywood farmers market since i can remember. i just know them at the cute oyster boys. (seriously, what is it about fisherman? they must have the same genes as fire fighters and soccer players.) i found them on facebook, and you can follow them on twitter, but are fairly new to both. well, every sunday morning at their stand, they offer to shuck any oysters you want to eat on the half shell, but normally it just doesn’t occur to me to have oysters for breakfast. this past sunday it did. yummo! along with some mussels, i picked up a half dozen of their oysters. i went to ross cutlery today and got an oyster shucking knife, and pulled out a thick rubber glove and towel to prepare for my first shucking experience.

then i watched the oyster boys video on how to shuck an oyster…a few times.

it was really a lot easier than i thought it would be.

i put them on ice, and brought them down to the courtyard of my building to share with my neighbors. i served them with lemon wedges, a tamari sauce and ponzu mix, horseradish, and yuzu pepper on the side. good stuff!

i received a lovely card from my friend dana recently that had a recipe for roasted beets and peaches. not only did i think it was a wonderful gesture, the recipe intrigued me.

i decided to take it one step further and add goat cheese and nuts. i chose pecans for this attempt, because it was what i had on hand, but i think walnuts might be a better option in the future. also, it called for golden beets, which i couldn’t find at the hollywood farmers market this past weekend, so i decided to do a mix of red and purple. the red one’s actually turned out to be more golden on the inside anyway, and the purple ones complemented the deep red flesh near the pit of the peach.

ingredients:

  • 10 small beets, about 2 inches in diameter
  • 2-4 peaches, the one’s i got were huge, so i only used 2
  • 1 + 1/4 cup bubbly, you can use champagne, but i chose a cheap prosecco i picked up at buzz wine + beer shop since i’d be cooking with part of it
  • olive oil, enough to coat the beets
  • 2 tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
  • s+p
  • 3 oz chevré cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

serves 4-6

prepare the beets by trimming all but 1-2 inches of the greens, clean the beets throughly with a vegetable brush if needed. dry them and coat them with olive oil. place them in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. pour in 1 cup of bubbly.

cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast at 375º for about 1 hour. you can check for doneness with a knife. let cool enough to remove the remaining stems, and tails of the beets.

while the beets are roasting, cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. rub the flesh with 1/4 cup of the bubbly, place in another roasting dish, and drizzle with honey. season with some salt, and roast uncovered for 20-30 minutes.

once both pans are out of the oven, turn on the broiler. slice the beets and peaches into large chunks and combine into one of the roasting dishes.

toss in the nuts, crumble the cheese over the mixture, and drizzle a little more honey over the top.

put it under the broiler until the cheese is melted slightly and a little golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on them so as not to burn.

serve warm.

this would go well as a side dish for pork or beef.

i prefer to make my own salad dressings. i toss some oil, acid and herbs in a mini blender and purée. today i decided to use a lemon infused olive oil from adams’ olive ranch that i had picked up at the santa monica farmers market several weeks ago when i was following the farmers market fairy around for the day. i added some fresh lime juice, a little bit of avocado for creaminess, fresh cilantro leaves, and a touch of s+p.

it was really tasty tossed with all the fresh greens and colorful vegetables that i picked up yesterday at the hollywood farmers market.

i just couldn’t get over the array of colors this morning at the hollywood farmers market. being that it is pepper, tomato, and flower season i shouldn’t have been surprised, but wow. just wow.

i saw, and bought, my first chocolate brown bell pepper. i want it to taste like chocolate, but the vendor tells me it is more like a red bell pepper, which sounds equally delicious.

even the clams were especially pretty this morning. normally i don’t notice their beauty, because i am drooling over the hot fishermen who sell the bivalves. they even suggested a quick recipe: simmer them in coconut milk, fresh ginger, lemongrass, and cilantro until they open. add a little sriracha for some spice. i mean, who doesn’t love a man who can fish and cook? you can find them on facebook. here is their recipe come to fruition:

there was a lot of other color there today too:

black eyed peas.

tomatoes + hot peppers.

strawberries, raspberries + tomatoes.

sunflowers.

yes. these are indeed tomatoes.

flowers at finley’s.

more sunflowers.

tropical fruit.

peppers + eggplant.

camomile. oh my, it smelled floral and sweet. period.

i can’t remember a more colorful market.

spring has come and summer is close. i could tell just by seeing all the new colors this morning at the hollywood farmers market. cherries were everywhere! there is something about that bright red color that just pops surrounded by all the green. they haven’t quite reached their peak, but i don’t give them long. i may go back later this week and get a bunch more. since they’re still a bit on the tart side, i find them good for a pie, and who doesn’t like homemade cherry pie?

it was nice to see fava beans and fresh peas still around, and the first of the summer sweet corn was being shucked. i can’t wait to make grilled mexican corn!

here is some of the loot i brought home today:

also, an update to a post i wrote this past week about the south central farmers who were displaced from their original home at 41st and alameda. some of the families moved to bakersfield to continue the cooperative, and as it turns out i got artichokes and squash blossoms from them this morning:

the other really exciting thing to see was tomatoes. i think they are the produce i look forward to the most in the summer. i’m not sure what is my favorite way to eat fresh tomatoes: caprese salad, gazpacho soup, or perhaps just a simple blt?

in sad news, i actually overheard someone say in passing, “i think i am going to get my tomatoes at trader joe’s,” and i thought to myself (wtf!) ‘clearly she did not pass the stand with the rainbow of heirloom tomatoes that i just saw!’

on my way out, i ran into my friend the farmers market fairy, which reminded me that not everyone has the time, energy, or even the knowledge of how to shop for what is good at the market. lucky for those of you who live in the los angeles area, here is a shameless plug: you can have her do it for you (for a fee of course). she really knows her stuff, and will also go to other specialty shops as well if needed, such as mccall’s meat + fishthe cheesestore of silverlake and the like.

so that was my morning at the market. i will be doing occasional updates from time to time, and if you didn’t pick up on it, there were a few hints to what is to come here on wild, fresh + tasty this summer.

cheers!

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