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Filtering by Tag: Crescent City Farmers Market

Farm to Table on the Rise in New Orleans

Beth Ribblett

From Covey Rise Farms in Husser
There are a few things we can actually thank Katrina for. We were forced to move forward and embrace change faster than our usual snail's pace.  People came from around the world with new ideas and fervent energy, bringing their forward thinking global consciousness to the city that care forgot.  Combined with the strong will and survival instincts of New Orleanians, a city known for it's decadence and overindulgence is now focused on green building practices, sustainable energy and, most exciting to me, a fast growing farm to table movement.

Lucky for us, we've always had a strong and unique local food culture primarily based on our seafood industry.  Chefs like John Besh, Emeril Lagasse and John Folse and culinary activist Poppy Tooker helped put New Orleans on the map as a unique destination for local food and flavors.  Their longtime support of our fishermen and local farmers markets put meaning to farm to table well before the term was coined. 

Mike Fabianski, HGMF
Now we have even stronger support and more access to our local growers through the Crescent City Farmers Market and the Hollygrove Market and Farm as well as the many community gardens that are popping up all over the city. Young entrepreneurs and chefs are embracing our culinary roots like never before and we are reaping the benefits.  In the last few weeks we've visited three farm to table restaurants and were thrilled with the options we now have for well priced restaurants that support our local food economy.


Maurepas Foods in the Marigny - Chef Michael Doyle, formerly of Dante's Kitchen, has been a Swirl supporter for years.  It's been great to hear about the progress of the project and his dreams brought to life in this renovated corner store on Burgundy Street.  We've visited a few times now and have had great experiences.  From the carefully selected wine list, artfully crafted and affordable cocktails and fresh, creative twists on local food favorites presented in an energetic, comfortable atmosphere, Maurepas Foods should be high on your list of places to try. Maurepas Food, 3200 Burgundy St., at Louisa, 504.267.0072, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Satsuma Cafe
Satsuma in the Marigny has been a favorite of ours for a while now, but we've been hearing rave reviews about their newly renovated kitchen and added dinner options.  The quiet, intimate atmosphere was perfect for us and the fact that you could bring your own wine for a $5 corkage?  Priceless...Anyway the food was delicious from start to finish, the best ceviche I've ever had, a lamb bolognese that was out of this world, truly everything was delightful!  We will soon be considered regulars...  Satsuma Cafe,  3218 Dauphine St. | 504.304.5962

Sweet Olive in the Saint Hotel - We were looking for a new spot to celebrate a few birthdays with friends and Mike Fabianski (of swirl and HGMF fame) recommended we try Sweet Olive. Beautiful presentations, a wine list that offers 3 or 6oz pours which makes it perfect for pairing with different dishes, and a list of local farmers and ingredients are shown on the menu.  Nice atmosphere for hotel dining with a great combination of hip yet elegant and comfortable decor, we will definitely return!  Sweet Olive, 931 Canal Street • New Orleans, LA 70112 • Tel: 504.522.5400

Eat Fresh! Support Local Fishermen and Farmers

Beth Ribblett


Our trips to the local Crescent City Farmers Market, K-Jeans seafood and our own garden the past few weekends have netted in some really memorable meals. Nothing fancy, but it is amazing how good, simply prepared, ultra fresh ingredients can make for a really flavorful meal.

For example, yesterday we picked up those beautiful baby zucchini, lots of ripe red tomatoes, butter beans, freshly made cheese and milk at the CCFM, and then some gorgeous tilapia fillets at K-Jeans. We've got more cucumbers and basil coming from our garden that you can imagine, so we had lots of options for dinner!

I started with the zucchini: sliced them in half and salt and peppered them; heated a good amount of oil in a large skillet with some peperoncino and fried until lightly browned. The baby ones pack a ton of flavor, so I didn't need to add anything else!


I couldn't wait to eat those tomatoes so I chopped them and a few of our cucumbers in chunks, added a small amount of sliced onion, with a little fresh basil and oregano from the garden. Dressed simply in 1 part balsamic vinegar to 3 parts evoo, the tomatoes were deliciously sweet and the crunchy fresh cucumbers added the perfect texture.


Next I made the pesto. Kerry planted tons of basil this year and fresh pesto is a staple that we just love in the summer. I took 2 packed cups of basil, a clove of garlic, a pinch of sea salt, 3/4 cup of mainly freshly grated Parmesan cheese with a little Pecorino and 3 T. of pine nuts and threw it in the cuisinart. Pulsed until finely chopped and then slowly added in 1 cup of evoo and pulsed until oil and herb mixture are well blended. This made about 2 cups of pesto. Added freshly cooked pasta and topped with a little more cheese.

Kerry took care of the fish. She made a little lemon butter sauce with 1/2 stick melted butter whisked with 4 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch each of cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. She salt and peppered the fillets and dredged them in a little flour. Reheating the oil left from the zucchini fried them over med-high heat until just lightly browned. Sorry, I got to hungry to take any more pictures...

We packed our plates with veggies and pasta, added the fish with the lemon butter sauce spooned on top, and settled down to watch the first day of the Tour de France, our absolute favorite sporting event of the year! We drank a great little Italian white wine, the Vinosia Malvasia, cheered Lance on as we cleaned our plates and commented on how lucky we are to eat such great food. Everything was simple, fresh, local and delicious and we finished it all off with one of my freshly baked Biscotti Amaretti.


A great performance by Lance, and superb meal, what a perfect Saturday night!

Savory Bites

Beth Ribblett



Those Fleetingly Fresh Fava Beans - April is always exciting month at our Crescent City Farmers Market. The warm days and cool nights of spring in the south encourage lots of new growth at our local farms and the market has plenty to show for it. It also marks the entry of one of my most favorite spring time vegetables, fava beans. I was so excited to see those heaping baskets of beans that I quickly began to come up with a recipe based on the favas that I could cook that night using ingredients available at the market (click here for Orchietti with Fresh Fava Beans and Gulf Shrimp).

The pale green beans in the big floppy pods have been a beloved early spring food on much of the planet for centuries. Usually available here from April to early June, they have a buttery texture, slight bitterness and lovely, nutty flavor they are well worth the time it takes to remove them from their pods and outer shells.


These ancient beans, whose most common alternate name is the Broad bean, were the primary legume grown in Europe before the introduction of the of the great diversity of New World bean varieties. Because of this history, Fava recipes are primarily based on European cooking traditions. Fava beans have been found in some of the earliest-known Old World human settlements. It is currently believed that they became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet at about 6000 BC and possibly even earlier. Favas are particularly used as a staple in Italian cuisine though they are generally associated with all Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cooking traditions. Favas also have an equally ancient association with Chinese cuisine. The most frequently heard alternate names for Fava beans are Broad beans, Windsor beans, Horse beans, and Pigeon beans.

So don't wait, get out and buy some fresh Favas! There are plenty of recipes online or you can check out mine from Saturday night, Orrechiette with Fresh Fava Beans and Gulf Shrimp. And here are the directions for prepping them so you can use them in recipes:

Before you begin to shell the beans, bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Snap the stem of each pod and use it to pull off the string that runs the length of the pod along the seam. Open the pod along this seam and brush the beans into a bowl.

Add the beans to the boiling water and cook them just until you can see a dark spot in the center of the bean's skin, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans and refresh them with cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Drain them well. With a pairing knife, pull off the dark, crescent shaped marking at the end of each bean. Squeeze the bean out through this opening. Discard the shell. The favas are now ready to eat or use in a recipe.

Savory Bites

Beth Ribblett

...offering tidbits of information on interesting discoveries in the food and wine scene of New Orleans.
The Farm to Table Movement Picks up Steam in New Orleans!

It is hard sometimes to think of the positive things that have resulted from hurricane Katrina and the failure of our levee system. But they are there, if you open your mind to the fact that having to rebuild has allowed us to make many things better than they were before, in fact better than I ever dreamed they could be. Two very prominent issues for me in my daily life are the amazing things happening at City Park and the increasing awareness of the importance of the farm to table movement. While the Crescent City Farmers Market has lead the way in introducing local farmers and their wares to us city dwellers, Katrina has somehow shown us the importance of supporting each other economically as well as how eating local not only tastes better but is better for you nutritionally!

In addition to our wonderful CC Farmers Market, we have many prominent community vegetable and fruit gardens, Hollygrove and Mid City to name a few, an active Slow Food chapter, an increase in backyard, urban gardening, many local chefs who are seeking out farm fresh meats, poultry and produce and a population of socially aware foodies who want the best on their tables without the big box price tags.

Also, edible community magazine, a national publishing and information services company that creates editorially rich, community-based, local-foods publications in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, has started "edible new orleans". An absolutely beautiful local magazine, they connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds through their publications, supporting websites, and events. The current issue has a lot of information on local gardens so pick one up at the shop on your next visit!

Now enter Jack and Jakes, something Kerry and I have wanted for years, an alternative to Whole Foods that offers truly fresh products – typically available at the Market within 3 days of harvest. Their mission, from the Jack and Jakes website: "Our food is truly local and is harvested within ~65 miles of the heart of the city. Our farmers and food artisans cultivate local varieties and use organic products that produce food that tastes better, retains more nutrients, and meets special dietary needs. We are proud to tell you that our fresh produce comes with seeds because we do not support or promote the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Our farmers use open pollinated and heirloom varieties that don’t ship well but taste great! We are working to save and promote our local food heritage through sustainable food practices that utilize locally adapted plants and animals."

A much needed service, Jack and Jakes will be opening this spring at 8300 Earhart Blvd., near the Carrollton intersection. Their model will reduce your food miles by bringing you fresh, local, and organic foods under the roof of a full service 7 day a week grocery store. Dry goods, dairy, pastured meats, local seafood, and seasonal local produce is their mission. Local first, everything else is second! I'll keep you posted on their progress or got to their site to check them out: Jack and Jakes

Farm Fresh Southern Collard Greens

Beth Ribblett

The beautiful weather on Saturday made for the perfect day to visit the Crescent City Farmers Market. As we were walking in I ran into our friend Bob who had a gigantic bag of greens in his hands and told me that the collards were amazing and that I needed to get some. I do love me some big leafy greens so we made a beeline to the back of the market and bought our own gigantic bag. If you are a vitamin K junkie like me, this is a great time to be shopping at the market. Loads of varieties of lettuce, kale, mustard and collard greens as well as broccoli and broccoli rape can be found from your local farmers.

We decided to have them that night, accompanied by a big, juicy, Justin Pitts burger. And since they were collards, the quintessential southern sauteed vegetable, I decided they needed a southern twist instead of my usual method. Well they were absolutely divine, so much so that the two of us ate ALL of them in one sitting! I'm not sure on the amount that we bought, but I'm guessing that 1-1/2 lbs. isn't far off...


ingredients
  • 1 gigantic bunch of fresh collard greens from your local farmer
  • 3 slices of smoked bacon, cut into 1" pieces
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 small shallot, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper to taste
directions
Put a big pot of water (about 1/3 full) with a teaspoon or so of salt, on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, trim the greens by cutting out most of the big stem and then slice across in 1-2" wide cuts. Prep your bacon, garlic and shallots while waiting on the water to boil.

Add the cut greens to the boiling water at cook for 10 minutes. Strain into a colander, rinse with cold water and then press out as much of the water as you can.

Put a large skillet on the stove at med-high heat and brown the bacon. You don't want it crispy, just brown on the edges with moist fat in the middle. Remove the bacon unto a paper towel and add a few tablespoons of olive oil, turning down the heat just a bit to medium. Throw in the garlic and shallots and quickly stir them around with a spatula so they don't burn. They will cook very quickly. Add the greens a little at a time and stir into the onion/shallots until coated with oil.

Once you've added all of the greens, throw in the bacon and mix in evenly. Season with salt and pepper, but remember the bacon is salty, so taste before you do so. Enjoy!

related recipes: juicy justin pitts burgers, sauteed kale
related posts: justin pitts, farming with a purpose

Savory Bites

Beth Ribblett

...offering tidbits of information on interesting discoveries in the food and wine scene of New Orleans.


Farm Fresh Duck Eggs - We are fortunate to have access to farm fresh eggs brought into the Saturday Crescent City Farmers market by Mr. Justin Pitts. He has both heritage duck and chicken eggs right now and having never had them, we decided to give the ducks a try this weekend.

Besides the usual benefits of freshly picked eggs like the deep orange yokes and the more complex flavor, the duck eggs were delicious! With a slightly rubbery shell, not the quick crack you get from a chicken egg, big rich yokes that really "sit up" in the pan and a bit thicker egg white, there isn't much difference in taste. But definitely an overall richer texture. Give them a try!

Book Signing with Poppy Tooker at Swirl!

Beth Ribblett

Date: July 31
Where: Swirl Wines, 3143 Ponce de Leon Street
Time: 6 to 8pm
Cost: Free

Slow Food New Orleans Founder, published author, culinary activist and chef Poppy Tooker will be at Swirl Wines this evening for a book signing of The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook where she tells the story of the Crescent City Farmers Market through recipes, anecdotes, and profiles of key market vendors. Local culinary talent Chef Daniel Esses will join Poppy with tapas plates for sale created from the recipes in the book using ingredients from the Crescent City Farmers Market. And as is there is each and every Friday at Swirl, there will be free wine to taste and enjoy as Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist from Republic National, will be pouring 4 free wines from his native Italy.

Plus local artist Rudy Rowell will be hanging 10 new canvases for tonight,s event. And if you know his work, you know how quickly it sells, so stop by to see what Rudy's up to now!

For more information call Swirl Wines at 504.304.0635.

Pesto Trapanese

Beth Ribblett

It all started with a beautiful bowl of heirloom cherry tomatoes....

Our friend Cynthia from New York (Farmhouse Table and our partner in crime for the Divine Sicily tour), was coming in to town with 3 incredible wines that she brought back from Sicily made by this unconventional and somewhat controversial producer that we will be visiting on our trip, Frank Cornelissen. I wanted to keep things simple to allow the wine to be the star of the show, and also wanted something that was utterly Sicilian.

Off to the Tuesday Crescent City Farmer's Market I went, in search of local ingredients I could use for this meal. I am a tomato fanatic so I went a little crazy at the heirloom tomato lady's stand and then again at the cute guy's stand and came home with bags of heirloom tomatoes in all different sizes, shapes and colors, plus a big bag of fresh basil.

So, I started digging through all of my cookbooks and found this classic Sicilian pesto made with fresh cherry tomatoes. I decided to use Lidia Bastianich's version as I have found all of her recipes to be tried and true. And she did not disappoint on this one! Delicious, light, fresh and very unique, this is the perfect summer pesto. Just add some of Chef Daniel Esses' homemade fettuccine, good friends and a few bottles of wine for an amazing meal!

Pesto Trapanese
From Lidia's Italy

Serves 4 to 6


¾ pound (about 2-1/2 cups) cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
12 large fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup of whole almonds, lightly toasted
1 plump garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon peperoncino or to taste
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for the pasta
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

Recommended equipment:
A blender (my preference) or a food processor
A pot for cooking the spaghetti

Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.

Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl followed by the garlic clove, the almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino and ½ tsp salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine purée; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.

With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you’re going dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate if for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.

To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt, to the boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.

Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

Fava Bean and Shrimp Salad Paired with Donnafugata Anthilia

Beth Ribblett

This week's recipe for Fava Beans and Shrimp is one of many contributed by market shoppers for the new Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook. In its dried form, the fava bean is blessed on St. Joseph’s Day and kept in the wallets of New Orleanians all year round to help “keep the money” there. Here, fresh fava beans are served with shrimp for a distinctly Sicilian-style New Orleans dish. I'm serving it with one of our favorite Sicilian whites, the Donnafugata Anthilia. See information on the wine below.

For more recipes using fresh local ingredients go to crescentcityfarmersmarket.org. You can also order the wonderful Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook there as well.

Ingredients

* 1 pound fresh fava beans
* 1/2 pound small green beans
* 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled
* 2 heads fennel
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1/2 lemon
* 1 large tomato, finely diced (for garnish)
* Fennel fronds (for garnish)

Sauce

* 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon capers
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Shell fava beans and discard the pods. Cook beans in boiling water until tender, then drain and place in an ice-water bath.

String the green beans if needed and cook in the same manner.

Poach shrimp in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Remove tops and any brown outside pieces from the fennel. Cut fennel into thin slices lengthwise. Place in a large pan with broth, wine, lemon, and enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

To prepare sauce: In blender container, combine basil, oil, vinegar, capers, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

To serve, divide fennel equally among four plates. Arrange shrimp and beans on top of fennel. Scatter diced tomato around the plates and then drizzle some of the dressing over each plate. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Serves 4 as salad, 2 as entreé

Serve with 2007 Donnafugata Anthilia

This cool Sicilian white is a store favorite made with indigenous varietals of composed of 50% Ansonica (Insolia) and 50% Catarratto, and has summer written all over it.

The nose is full of crisp peach and a hint of lemon. Sit on your porch and a few tasty sips will bring out really nice peach-apricot flavors with a crisp and tart finish that reminiscent a of a Granny Smith apple - a perfect accompaniment to this Sicilian inspired salad!

Anthilia is the name, given in the Roman period, to the city of Entella on the crest of the Rocca. Anthilia is also the name of a wine that is identified with the ancient territory where it originates. It is the first wine to have been conceived at Donnafugata and it remains today a special favorite with many fans, including me!