A Greenmarket Dinner

Credit for tonight’s dinner goes to Homer of Homer’s World. Homer doesn’t know it but when I started regular foodblogging in 2008, I decided to really become attuned to what I was eating. I started to pay attention to, not only what ingredients I was cooking with, but also where they were coming from. Were the vegetables grown in an environmentally-responsible manner? Was the meat organic or raised via sustainable methods?

It was then that I experienced an epiphany. You see, I never really thought of vegetables the way I cook them now. They were always an afterthought to a meal, not something that I’d ever consider building a meal around, if that makes any sense. Reading Homer’s blog opened my eyes to a world that I never knew existed. It was then that I decided to treat vegetables with the respect that they deserve.

I should mention that Homer is a vegetarian. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m not. Although I’m an omnivore, I’m someone who is seriously committed to cooking seasonally and who is sensitive to the progression of produce at our local farmers’ markets. I really believe that when you think of food in this way, not from the point of view of immediacy and convenience, but through the prism of being attuned to the seasons, that it changes your whole outlook to cooking and eating. It forces you to become more creative and opens many doors to possibilities that you might not have thought of before.

Too many people out there think that vegetarian food is boring, that a meal with no meat can’t be delicious. While I draw the line at tofu and seitan, I truly believe that anyone can create exciting, tasteful and visually impressive meals without meat that are also enjoyable.

Tonight’s dinner is dedicated to the one who brought me joy and gave me life.

Note: With the exception of certain ingredients such as the olive oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper and capers, almost all of the ingredients in tonight’s meal came from Union Square Greenmarket, in New York City.

Radish greens, Campari tomato and radish salad, with hard-cooked wild turkey eggs and herb vinaigrette
Radish greens, Campari tomato and radish salad, with hard-cooked wild turkey eggs and herb vinaigrette

Click here to view a high-resolution version of this picture.

1/2 bunch French breakfast radishes, trimmed and sliced on a bias
radish greens
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Campari cherry tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1 wild turkey egg

Bring a small pot of water to a roiling boil. Add radishes and cook until radishes are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, then immediately shock in ice water. This step will halt the cooking and preserve the radishes’ texture and color. Drain and set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the turkey egg and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and peel under running cold water. Set aside.

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic takes on a little color. It’ll be at the right stage when it goes from pale-white to pale-gold. Do not let the garlic burn. At this point, add the radish greens along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the greens until they wilt and are cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and add the radishes, olive oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper and mint. Mix well.

To assemble: Spoon radish greens and garlic into the center of a salad plate. Slice eggs into quarters and arrange in the center. Spoon tomato-radish salad around the eggs. Spoon dressing over and around the greens. Serve at once.

Note: You can substitute a regular chicken egg for the turkey egg, if unavailable.

Time: 30 minutes, including prep.

Whole wheat spaghetti with Jersey tomatoes, Campari tomato confit and mint
Whole wheat spaghetti with Jersey tomatoes, Campari tomato confit and mint

Click here to view a high-resolution version of this picture.

8 Campari cherry tomatoes, halved
extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 scant teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest, julienned
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1 Jersey tomato, diced
cooked whole wheat spaghetti
salt and pepper, to taste

For the quick tomato confit: Arrange Campari cherry tomato halves in a roasting pan. Combine salt, pepper and sugar in a small ramekin. Sprinkle each cherry tomato half with a small pinch of the salt-sugar-pepper mixture. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Scatter thyme leaves atop tomatoes. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Tomatoes should look like this when done:

Campari tomato confit

Cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water.

For the sauce: Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently or until it takes on a little color. Same as above, it’ll be the right stage when it goes from pale-white to pale-gold. Add lemon zest, parsley, mint, thyme and capers. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add Jersey tomato to the skillet. Let the tomatoes partially break down. Taste for salt and pepper.

Add pasta directly to the pan. Add tomato confit to the skillet. Mix well, then taste for salt and pepper. If the pasta sauce seems too thin, sprinkle with reserved pasta cooking water until the desired consistency is reached. Spoon into individual pasta bowls, scatter some chopped mint on top and serve at once.

Time: 90 minutes, including prep. Campari tomato confit can be made a 1-2 hours ahead.

MMMM-60x100

The radish and tomato salad will be my submission to Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays 37 and also to Just Another Meatless Monday #64.

The spaghetti dish will be my second submission for Presto Pasta Nights #218, a weekly foodblog event currently hosted by Juli of Pictures of All My Princesses and organized by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

4 thoughts

  1. Love the post. Photos are gorgeous, and the food delicious, but that’s not all. Like you, I’ve become more aware of what I eat. Especially since moving to Halifax Nova Scotia…. much smaller than Toronto Ontario and much closer to the farmers and artisan bakers, cheesemakers, jam & jelly makers…. It is a wonderful thing to be able to connect with those providers. And thanks for sharing yet another delicious pasta with Presto Pasta Nights. Keep ’em coming!

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