The Farmer's Market Cookbook: Seasonal Dishes Made from Nature's Freshest Ingredients, by Richard Ruben (Lyons Press, 2000)

2004_10_food_farmersmarket.JPGGothamist loves the Greenmarket, that is, during the three seasons it has produce other than apples and potatoes. It appears that Richard Ruben might feel the same way: his Farmer's Market Cookbook only covers spring, summer, and fall. Ruben teaches Green Market classes at the Institute for Culinary Education, where you can take his class, Cooking in the Moment: Greenmarket Cuisine. Or, during the coming winter chill, read his book in preparation for next year's Greenmarket season! The book is full of recipes for food we want to eat, like Wild Mushroom Strudel, Bocconcini Salad, Strawberry Compote & Ricotta Cheese, Rhubarb and Almond Crisp, and Lavender Ricotta Cake (we kind of like desssert...). If you like to make homemade liqueurs, vinegars and oils, for yourself or as gifts, he provides a ton of recipes for those as well--it looks like there is still time to put some Clementine Cello up for the holidays, but the Apple Shochu will take a full year!

So, last weekend we bundled up against the early fall chill and walked to Union Square, book in hand, hoping that we hadn't missed the last of the good stuff. We surveyed the goodies (while dodging the double-decker strollers) and were we pleased! There was stil a huge selection: a ton of heirloom tomatoes, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, all kinds of greens, red and green kale, and of course, all kinds of squash. Overwhelmed, we found ourselves a seat and flipped through the book until we decided on the perfect fall meal: Ginger Butternut Soup and Kale with Caramelized Onions and Portobello Mushrooms. We were able to get all our ingredients at the Greenmarket, and got a perfectly-matched bottle of Finger Lakes Riesling from the winemakers at Anthony Road.

The Recipes

Ginger Butternut Soup
This recipe gives you the chance to use that Braun Magic Wand you never use.

1T canola oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 leeks-whites only, chopped
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
2-inch long piece of ginger root-peeled & chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
3C. vegetable/chicken stock
3 lbs butternut squash (about 2), peeled, seeded, and diced into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
salt & pepper to taste--the salt really makes the ginger pop!

In a 2-quart pot over medium flame, cook the onion, leeks and fennel with the oil until they're less raw looking, 4-5 mins. Add the garlic, ginger, & coriander, & cook for 3 minutes, Add everything else, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork-tender. Once it is, either go into the pot with the magic wand or carefully puree in small batches in your blender/food processor. If not serving immediately, return to pot, correct seasoning, & keep warm.

Kale with Caramelized Onions and Portobello Mushrooms
1 lb. kale (about 1 bunch)
4 qts. water
1/4 c. olive oil
1 L onion, sliced in 1/4 in. slices
2 portobello mushrooms-sliced in 1/4 in. strips
salt & pepper

2004_10_food_Kale.JPGPull the leaves of the kale from the stem & blanch in the boiling water for 2 minutes. While it blanches & drains, over medium heat, saute the onions in a 10-inch pan until golden (about 5 min). Add the mushrooms & cook until soft (5-7 min.). Add the kale, cook for 5 minutes, add S&P and serve hot.

P.S. Gothamist cut our thumb on our mandoline while making this meal. (Is "badly" redundant?) Special thanks to our taster/photographer, who stepped in to help finish making this week's recipes. Gothamist is willing to go through a lot for our readers, but really! We'd like to warn you against using the mandoline and watching things with peppy music. So dangerous!!