At the Farmers’ Market with Claudia Pearson
We’re thrilled to have artist Claudia Pearson guest blogging today! She’s even created three gorgeous illustrations specifically for this post. Claudia recently collaborated with Chronicle Books to create Perpetual Harvest, a sweetly illustrated set of 12 prints that feature what to plant and enjoy month by month.
About 10 years ago, right before our first son was born, we started buying our vegetables and fruits exclusively from the farmers’ market. I don’t recall deliberately deciding to only eat seasonally but the shift was a natural one perhaps reinforced by the relationships that flourished between the farmers, my husband, and me.
Once our second son came along it seemed crucial to educate them on the origins of their food and explain how the seasons change what we eat. We’re seeing the benefits of this now, especially with our 9 year old who is very aware of what he eats. Our weekly trips to the local farmers’ market have become a family ritual, especially when you throw in some apple cider donuts, and asking the kids to select vegetables they’d love to eat during the week helps our meal planning a great deal.
The market has also become a huge inspiration for my illustrations and I see how my work resonates with others who are also choosing to eat in this way.
When I shop, it’s partly by ingredients for recipes but also by color and texture. I’m drawn to the delicate pattern of a plum or the vibrancy of a capsicum pepper. My favorite seasons have to be spring and fall. Spring brings the promise of longer, warmer days and reintroduces our palettes to fresh, leafy green vegetables. It breaks the monotony of root vegetables—which I love, but honestly for how many months can one eat carrots and potatoes?
There’s the inevitability of at least 6 months of variety and with that comes fall and its broad spectrum of colors and tastes. You still get to eat heirloom tomatoes, grapes, and radishes, but the introduction of winter squash is a comfort when the nights draw in and the days get chillier. Kale is certainly top of the list in our household. The kids loves it roasted in the oven. Just lightly toss it in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast it for about 20 minutes at 300.
We have a favorite kale salad from Epicurious that’s great for dinner parties, as it goes a long way and the longer you let the kale marinate the yummier it becomes.
2 tablespoons dried currants
7 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
Parmesan cheese shavings
Place currants in small bowl; add 5 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Let soak overnight. Drain currants.
Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil, and salt in large bowl. Add kale, currants, and pine nuts; toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve.
Pairing this with a soup is a meal in itself and the creaminess of a butternut squash is a delicious contrast to the slightly tart flavors of the salad. This particular recipe is written by good friend and local Brooklyn chef Sung Uni Lee as part of a 12-month series of recipes that we collaborated on.
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, medium dice
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
Pinches of nutmeg, salt, and pepper
Possible garnishes: roasted pumpkin seeds, ricotta cheese, gorgonzola cheese, sliced apples, herbed croutons.
Cook butter, onion, celery, and carrot in large saucepan for 5 minutes.
Add squash, apple, and broth. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is soft.
Let cool for at least 1/2 hour. Use blender to puree.
Add spices to taste.
Garnish as desired.
What are your farmers’ market favorites? Let us know! We’ll randomly select one commenter to win a copy of Perpetual Harvest (closes 10/17).
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