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Archive for the ‘Farmers Markets’ Category

Apple-Coffeecake

I haven’t made it out to pick apples this fall, but I did recently endeavor to do the next best thing: picking apples from among the mounds of varieties in wooden crates that line the tents just outside the Eastern Market on weekends. The apples — Gala, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, and Fuji — are trucked in directly from the orchards of West Virginia and rural Maryland.

Returning home with a bag full of the fall fruit is then the perfect reason to break out the recipe book and cook up all but a handful to be saved for lunchtime eating. This iced apple coffee cake is great for putting your fresh-peck of tart apples to good use and makes an awesome breakfast sweet to accompany your coffee or tea. It’s moist and semi-tart on the inside with a light, vanilla sugar glaze on top. Vanilla yogurt and cinnamon add a dimension of flavor.

ChoppedApple

Iced Apple Coffee Cake

For the Cake:
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tart cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons orange juice
1⁄3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the vanilla glaze:
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

(1)Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan.

(2) Toss the apples with the juice. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Add to the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.

(3)  Combine the butter, yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

(4) In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions to the creamed mix. Beat well until smooth before gently folding in the apples until evenly distributed.

(5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

(6) Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, the  milk and the vanilla until smooth and pourable. While the cake is warm, drizzle with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature.

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Brick1

If you’re a breakfast fan, the Market Lunch at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill is the place to be on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The food counter, on the north end of the South Hall, is a huge draw; but don’t be intimidated by the long line that snakes around the kitchen’s single long table.  It moves quickly and the pay off is well worth it: the food is fresh, cooked to order, and a real bargain.  And don’t panic that you won’t have a place to sit and enjoy your meal — there’s always space to sit at the counter since workers help facilitate the turnover.  At the top of the menu is one of the most unbelievable breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had (!!):  “The Brick” — egg, cheese, potato and meat on a toasted portuguese roll.

Brick2The thick-cut smoked bacon is crispy and meaty, earning two thumbs up. But the ham, sausage, turkey sausage and scrapple all appeared to be equally compelling choices.  The grilled new potatoes have slightly crunchy skin and warm, pillowy insides – all topped with melted cheddar cheese. Add a fried egg in between – with a little hot sauce – and you’ve got a killer sandwich. I was very impressed with the raw ingredients here and the freshness: despite it’s name, it was not dripping in grease and didn’t deliver a punch to the gut.  If you have appetite to spare, definitely get a side order of yellow North Carolina grits and/or the “Blue Bucks” — blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

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EasternMarket1

Every great American city has a grand, central marketplace that reflects its unique history:  In New York, it’s Fulton Fish Market; in Chicago, it’s Walter Street Market; and in New Orleans, it’s the historic French Market.   And since 1873 in the nation’s capitol, Eastern Market is where District natives have been coming for fresh regional produce from the fields of rural Virginia and Pennsylvania and seafood (crab!) from the Maryland coast.

EasternMarket3

On weekends outside the recently-restored South Hall, regional farmers and local artisans set up tents to sell their goods.  In the summer, expect to find awesome West Virginia peaches and northern Pennsylvania blueberries. Fall is apple and squash season with great varieties from area orchards.  Inside South Hall, which is open daily, browse the cases of homemade deli meats and sausages and fresh cuts of poultry, pork and beef. I also high recommend stopping by the “Market Lunch” – renowned for its crab cakes and blueberry pancakes.

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RhubarbBakedPan

“Kuchen is just a fancy way of saying coffeecake,” says a dismissive Lawrence Karol in this month’s edition of Gourmet. I beg to disagree. This delicious, ultra-moist, tangy-sweet cake lives up to the origins of its German heritage.  It’s no average breakfast bread. The spongy cake is riddled with jammy Pennsylvania rhubarb and strawberries; a crunchy brown sugar cinnamon crumble adds a sweet edge on top.

Strawberries

This is an old family recipe that my mother, her sister and my grandmother have been making for years. In rural Minnesota, rhubarb plants thrive and are found in most gardens and grocers, and summertime desserts and breakfast breads (and jams!) invariably include rhubarb. But I’ve been surprised to learn that in D.C. in the summer months, rhubarb is hard to find. The produce guy at my local Whole Foods tells me rhubarb is “out of season.”  It may be out of season this far south, but thankfully rhubarb still grows in the cool northern lands of Pennsylvania during the summer.  One farmer from the state had a cooler full of fresh rhubarb bunches for sale at the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill.  It was fantastic.

RhubarbRaw

Strawberry Rhubarb Kuchen

4 cups rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pint strawberries sliced

2 eggs beaten

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

(Topping: 3 teaspoons brown sugar / 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

(1) Put rhubarb and strawberries in large bowl. Stir in beaten eggs and add sugar, cinnamon, oil and nuts. Mix well.

(2) Mix flour, salt and soda together and stir in with fruit mixture all at once. Pour batter into oiled 9″ x 13″ pan.

(3) Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over kuchen before baking.

(4) Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

RhubarbBatter

RhubarbCakeSlice

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As a newcomer to New York City, one of the things I’ve enjoyed about living here is the prevalence of fruit stands and street markets. They are everywhere, and the produce is wonderfully displayed and very fresh (most of the time!).  The Greenmarket once a week near the Columbia University campus is particularly impressive, with produce trucked in from the upstate NY countryside. Really excellent fruit and vegetables and fresh baked goods.

Here’s a photo series of the market on Broadway and 114th.

Workers unload produce for Thursday's Greenmarket.

Workers unload produce for Thursday

Carole Foster unpacks fresh upstate tomatoes.

Carole Foster unpacks fresh upstate tomatoes.

Kalsang Tsering prepares the potatoes and onions for display.

Kalsang Tsering prepares the potatoes and onions for display.

Kalsang Tsering takes a breather among upstate apples.

Kalsang Tsering takes a breather among upstate apples.

New York apples

New York apples

Margaret Hoffman, Greenmarket coordinator, enjoys an apple.

Margaret Hoffman, Greenmarket coordinator, enjoys an apple.

Check out the Council on the Environment in NYC for more information on Greenmarket. There are 44 locations around town.

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I have mentioned before that I have a bit of an obsession with crepes, and I believe I even posted about the time when I got on my crepe kick — making crepes for breakfast in the morning and dessert in the evening for several days in a row. It was a problem! And yet it did not lessen my love for crepes in the least.

Which is why, when I moved to Charleston, I was thrilled when sister-in-law Maggie told me we MUST visit the Charleston Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings downtown to experience the best crepes she’s ever had. We finally got around to it and BOY was it worth it! The Charleston Crepe Company‘s tent was actually two tents full of busy, friendly crepe-making experts. We were also presented with an excellent menu showing me just exactly how many ways a crepe can be had. Sweet, savory and exotic — Charleston Crepe Company has them all!

Charleston Crepe Company at downtown Charleston Farmer's Market

Charleston Crepe Company at downtown Charleston Farmer's Market (Click any photos for larger view)

The line is well worth whatever wait it may be, but let me tell you, it stacked up longer and longer as the morning rolled on, so I recommend enjoying your crepes earlier in the morning.

The Inner Workings of Crepe Genius

The Inner Workings of Crepe Genius

I knowwwwwwww you’re anxious to see the treats we snatched up, so I won’t blab much longer. We settled on a nice assortment of crepes so that we could properly get acquainted with Charleston Crepe Company. I got a bacon egg and cheese crepe and Devin got Nutella, bananas and nuts. We also got a slice of their famous Crepe Cake — as described on their website, “25 layers of delicate, buttery crepes filled with your choice of amazingly light vanilla or chocolate cream.” I know, I know . . . HEAVEN!!!!

Let’s see . . . a quick rundown. CLEARLY, no issues with taste on any of our yummy treats. The bacon egg and cheese made as delightful a Southern breakfast as you could possibly dream, salty and gooey and eggy, oh my! (I’m a freak for anything bacon egg and cheese, so throw a crepe in there and I’m sold) The Nutella/banana combination was an expert rendition of a classic crepe favorite, perfect to the end. And the Crepe Cake, oh myyyyyy, I had heard of such things but never experienced. It was delightful, of course, rich and fluffy without being too sweet or heavy. Amazing. Hopefully the following pictures will spur you to visit the Charleston Crepe Company yourself!

Bacon Egg and Cheese

Bacon Egg and Cheese

Wickedly good.

Wickedly good.

Nutella Chocolate, Bananas and Nuts

Nutella Chocolate, Bananas and Nuts

More of the chocolate delight.

More of the chocolate delight.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, the Crepe Cake.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, the Crepe Cake.

Clearly, we had no issue finishing off any of our food . . .

Yum.

Yum.

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