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The Farmer's Market Guide

The Farmer's Market Guide
With Identification Guide and Recipes
by Jennifer Loustau

Schiffer Publishing, 2012

"This is a cookbook for people who are standing in the farmer's market wondering what to do with all this beautiful produce," writes Jennifer Loustau in the introduction to her collection of recipes and farm fresh ingredients.
The Farmer's Market Guide

The opening section of the book is an alphabetical guide to herbs and vegetables commonly available in North American farmers markets, from amaranth to zucchini, with brief descriptions and suggested preparation methods. An index to recipes for each plant follows its description. There are 140 recipes.

The recipes follow a short chapter on Cooking Methods, from carmelizing and braising to steaming and boiling. Each recipe is pretty basic, with few ingredients and simple instructions. Most are complemented with color photographs.

"I'm a gardener"

I sell herbs and herbal dressings at the Kennett Square Farmers Market in southeastern Pennsylvania. Every week I offer samples to taste.

People are curious to try an herb, rolling it between their fingers, sniffing it cautiously, nibbling on a leaf.

They are amazed that a leaf can taste sweet like sugar, rich like chocolate, bright like lemons, strong like celery, dainty like soap.

Product List: Garlic Scapes
adapted from The Farmer's Market Guide

Scapes are the flower stalk of the hardneck or "ophio" garlic. Growers cut off the stalks to increase growth in the garlic bulbs underground, but chefs know that for about three weeks every year there is a delicious vegetable that tastes like a cross between asparagus and garlic. Great for sautes, soups, and flower arrangements.

Recipe: Scape Soup

2 tbsp (30ml) butter or olive oil
2 dozen garlic scapes
3 large potatoes with peels
5 cups (1 1/8l) vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
Juice of  ½ fresh lemon
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives to garnish

Chop the buds off the scapes and cut the stems into bite-sized pieces. Cut the stems off the spinach and chop the leaves finely. Melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté scapes for 2 minutes minimum. If you like a "roasted" flavor, cook them until they are slightly blackened. Dice potatoes into ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) cubes. Add them and the stock  to the saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add spinach, and purée in a food processor (carefully, allowing steam to escape). Add cream and seasonings. Serve with chopped chives floating on top if you wish.


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