So I haven’t written much this month, because I’ve been so busy cooking things to write about. Let’s not dwell on the irony.
Instead, let’s just jump into my first Seasonal Somethings, a new blurb series where I feature ingredients we’re cooking with here and now. The goal is to try new produce and items we haven’t worked with before and do new things will ingredients we’re already familiar with. It will be a tribute to what’s in season and an encouragement to always learn more about what we choose to eat.
First up are baby turnips and arugula. Jon and I snatched these up at the first Brooklyn Grange farm stand of the season. It started about a month ago and we haven’t missed a weekend yet. Brooklyn Grange is an urban farm on the rooftop of the Standard Motor Parts building on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens that also houses COFFEED, a lovely coffee shop and event space and our number one local haunt. The farm is open to visitors every Saturday of the season and harvests some of its produce to sell each week. They also have a CSA that we may sign up for next year.
Just a week before this, we were hanging out at COFFEED with our friend Seth and he was asking if we had any insight into how to prepare turnips, a mystery ingredient that had popped up in his own CSA haul that week. I confessed that I hadn’t so much as eaten turnips before, let alone cooked with them. When we encountered them at Brooklyn Grange, I decided I’d give them a first go.
There’s something to be said for enjoying things in their most natural raw state, but usually my response to “What do I do with this vegetable?” is “When in doubt, roast it.” Easy and delicious.
Prep was just a simple rinse and a trim of the stems. (We waited a couple of days too long so the leaves were too dried out to use, but I’m told they’re edible, too. Next time!) I left about an inch of stem on them and then threw these babies in the oven with some carrots, then tossed them with chopped parsley. They became soft and sweet like sunchokes but without the tough outer skin. A+.
Along with the turnips, we’d picked up some fresh arugula at the farm stand, which Jon tossed with some olive oil and lemon and a bit of onion and cherry tomatoes. That peppery taste you always hear people raving about with arugula on cooking shows? Turns out it’s much more present in freshly grown arugula. We buy it more than any other salad greens, but the difference here between fresh and store-bought was noticeable.
I have so much more to share about what we’ve played with since that day. Lots more Seasonal Somethings to come very soon. But for now, I’ve got a Saturday farm stand to get to!