Lovage Me Tender

Photos of unusual and heirloom vegetables and fruits, local farmers' markets and the sights along the daily path of being a produce buyer in Brooklyn.

We visited the spectacular Domaine du Bagnol in Cassis. The cliffs above the fields are just magnificent. The wine is pretty tasty too.

Artichokes at the Marche D’Aligre in Paris.
More photos from the markets on my Instagram.

Artichokes at the Marche D’Aligre in Paris.

More photos from the markets on my Instagram.

Love these rustic lemons. At the market in Cagnes Sur Mer, France.
More photos are on my Instagram.

Love these rustic lemons. At the market in Cagnes Sur Mer, France.

More photos are on my Instagram.

A Cheesemonger’s Tips on Burrata

We interviewed my friend Gizella about burrata. Her tips are below.

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(Photo: Frederique Voisin-Demery

Burrata, a kissing cousin of mozzarella, is one of our favorite simple luxuries. Met with bread and the summer produce of your choice (we’d vote for tomatoes or peaches), the creamy, salty cheese is all you need to make a fantastic no-cook meal.

To stretch our knowledge on the subject, we tapped Gizella Otterson, general manager at BKLYN Larder, which boasts one of our favorite cheese counters in the city. Read on for her tips:

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NOW INSTAGRAMMING AS QUINCIPLEKATE
When I founded Quinciple, I was too busy to take photos. A year and a half later I’m happy to say that I’m back at it. You can also follow me on instagram as @quinciplekate.
I’m currently in France, so you’ll get a taste of markets and food from there. These are berries in the market in Antibes.

NOW INSTAGRAMMING AS QUINCIPLEKATE

When I founded Quinciple, I was too busy to take photos. A year and a half later I’m happy to say that I’m back at it. You can also follow me on instagram as @quinciplekate.

I’m currently in France, so you’ll get a taste of markets and food from there. These are berries in the market in Antibes.

Entertaining Tips from The Yellow Table’s Anna Watson Carl

Quinciple is mostly great because of the farmers that we work with and our amazing customers, who role with the punches, cooking and eating whatever we send them. Anna Watson Carl is a particularly talented and we’re excited to feature her on our blog this week.

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(Photo left: Nate Poekert | Photo right: Jeanine Donofrio) 

We all have that friend who makes a casual Tuesday night dinner look like a spread out of Kinfolk. We’re sure that her days have a few extra hours than ours, allotted for trimming flowers to make a perfect casual centerpiece or making ice with mint or berries suspended in the cubes. These types of friends are cut from the same cloth as Quinciple subscriber Anna Watson Carl, a food writer and cook who combines thoughtfulness, taste and hospitality into a blog called The Yellow Table.

Anna’s been busy. She just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter campaign to publish her first cookbook, which focuses on recipes meant for gatherings with friends, and has spent the last few weeks on the road, hosting dinner parties in eight cities, including Austin, Seattle and Los Angeles. We caught up with her to get her tips on successful entertaining.

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Quinciple: The Yellow Table is an actual table, right?

Anna Watson Carl: Yes, it’s my dining table! It actually belonged to my mother first; she bought it in 1975 (which probably explains the bright yellow design). She bought it before she was married, and then brought it with her when she and my dad moved in together. I grew up eating every meal around that table. When I look back on it, that table not only changed my childhood but my whole life. My mother wasn’t a passionate cook, but mealtime was really sacred to her, and that was always very strongly ingrained in me. 

When I finished college, she gave me the table as a graduation present, because she knew how much I loved it.  It’s traveled with me from Pittsburgh to Nashville to New York. I live in a 6-floor walk-up, so my husband and I had to bribe a few friends with pizza to help us get it up the many flights of stairs.

Q: Who are your ultimate host/hostess icons?

AWC: Well, from a nonprofessional perspective, my mom. She is the epitome of Southern hospitality, and entertains with such grace, though she’s more passionate about design and decorating than food. From a cooking perspective, probably Ina Garten. When I first started to really get into cooking, one of the first books I ever bought was Barefoot Contessa Parties ($20; amazon.com). Her philosophy on how hosts should plan the evening so that they can enjoy the party rather than stressing during it has really stuck with me. For your guests to feel at ease, you have to feel at ease.

Q: Where do you like to shop for your dinner parties?

AWC: I’m always thinking about a few different factors when it comes to shopping, mostly weighing between quality and cost. I’ve loved being a subscriber to Quinciple because it allows me to try out so many different products that I otherwise might not have. And of course, the convenience is a huge draw. Trader Joe’s, on the flip side, is great from a cost perspective, so that’s where I go for most of my staples—things like olive oil, grains and coffee. I supplement with produce at Whole Foods and the greenmarket. For seafood, I love to shop at Eataly—I think they have the best seafood offerings in the city.

Q: What are your top 3 tips for a successful dinner party?

AWC: The first one is obvious: plan ahead. I love having people over spontaneously but it’s so much less stressful when you’ve done some of it in advance. I have learned the hard way so many times where I’m shopping one hour before dinner and guests are arriving before I’ve had time to shower or get ready. It’s not fun.

Second, be realistic with your time. One of the biggest dinner party downfalls is biting off more than you can chew. Your friends come to see you, not to live in the pages of a magazine, so prioritize your time wisely.

Third, I’m a huge proponent of collaborative dinner parties, where every attendee has a role. Not necessarily a potluck, but more like playing to the skills of your guests: if one guest loves wine, let them pick up the bottles for the evening. Let your friend with great music taste put together a playlist, and task your friend with the awesome handwriting to make place cards. It’s not just a help to you, but a way to highlight the gifts and talents of your guests.

Let Quinciple inspire your next dinner party; click here to see what’s in next week’s box.

Blister Your Shishitos Like a Pro

Shishitos are one of my favorite things to eat in the summer. I’ll buy a pound and eat myself silly. This week at Quinciple we round up all the info you need for the perfect shishito experience.

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Shishito peppers are nature’s perfect finger food; they’re bite-size, full of flavor without being overly filling, and their stems act as a built-in handle to keep your hands from getting greasy. All they need is a little heat and salt.

Here are three methods for creating the ultimate snack, rated from easiest to most involved.

The Sauté

This is by far the simplest method, and the one on which we most frequently rely. The key is to give the peppers enough room to get plenty of skin-to-pan contact, which will yield blistered perfection.

Equipment needed: cast-iron skillet, olive oil, flaky salt

Pros: quick and easy

How to do it: Set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl, drizzle the shishitos with olive oil and toss to coat. When the skillet is hot, add the shishitos, spreading them out so that they don’t overlap; you may have to work in batches. Let the shishitos cook without stirring for about 1 minute (they may start to pop and sizzle). Shake the skillet every 15 to 20 seconds to agitate the peppers for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the peppers are turning brown and the skins are blistered and taut. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle generously with flaky salt.

The Fry

Full disclosure: deep-frying is a pain. But if you have the time, the results are worth it. By giving your peppers a dip in hot oil, they achieve the perfect contrast of taut, flavorful skin and silky flesh.

Pros: Amazing flavor

Cons: Messy

Equipment needed: large heavy-bottomed saucepan, deep-fry thermometer, vegetable oil, salt

How to do it: Fill a saucepan about 3 inches full of oil and set over medium heat. When the oil reaches 375° on a deep-fry thermometer, add the shishitos, taking care not to crowd the pan (you may have to work in batches). Fry the peppers for 3 to 4 minutes, then use a wire mesh sieve to remove the peppers and transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate. Drizzle with high-quality olive and oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.

The Char

This is a great method to use if you’re already planning to grill. The peppers are too small to set over grill grates, so a heavy-duty wire grilling basket like this one is the way to go.

Equipment needed: grill, charcoal, heavy-duty mesh basket, olive oil, salt

Pros: smoky flavor, intensely blistered skins

Cons: labor-intensive

How to do it: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. In a bowl, toss the peppers with olive oil, then transfer them to the wire basket. Hold the basket a few inches over the flames, shaking to agitate, for about 7 minutes, until the peppers are blistered and darkened in spots. Transfer to a platter and season generously with flaky salt.

With a Cherry on Top

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The phrase “farm to bar” hasn’t caught on as quickly as “farm to table,” but rest assured: the very best cocktails start with top-notch fresh ingredients. The juices, syrups and garnishes are just as important as the booze itself, so we’re constantly appraising our crisper drawers and fruit baskets for cocktail inspiration.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar genius behind Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, is an eloquent mouthpiece for this movement, and his new cocktail tome, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique ($21; amazon.com), is full of amazing practices for upping your cocktail game. Want to know whether lemons yield more juice when they’re cold versus at room temperature? Consult Morgenthaler. Should you use the same technique to make a rhubarb syrup that you use to make a raspberry syrup? This book has the answer (spoiler: no).

There’s no shortage of recipes that we’re anxious to try, but with a surplus of cherries from this week’s box, we decided to start with the book’s take on Brandied Cherries, perfect for garnishing an Aviation or a Manhattan.

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Brandied Cherries

Recipe adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, Chronicle Books (2014)

Yield: Five 1-quart ball jars

5 pounds ripe, firm sweet cherries

½ cup whole juniper berries

½ cup whole allspice berries

6 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed

3 whole star anise

5 cups sugar

8 ounces fresh lemon juice, strained

3 cups water

20 ounces brandy

12 ounces white rum

8 ounces bourbon

 

Clear away anything that you don’t want to get splattered with cherry juice. It sprays and it stains, even when you’re careful, so wear an old T-shirt. Pull off the stems and punch out the pits with a cherry pitter. (A trick that some cooks use is to put their hands and the pitter inside a very large plastic bag as they pit. The bag will corral much of the juice.)

Heat the oven to 200°. Place five 1 quart canning jars right side up on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes; you can turn off the heat and leave them in the oven until ready to use. In a saucepan, simmer the lids in water to cover for 2 minutes and lay them out on paper towels to drain.

Dump the juniper berries, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and star anise in the center of a double layer of cheesecloth and tie into a secure bundle. Fill a large stockpot about one-third full of water and bring to a boil. This will be your water bath for canning the cherries.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and the 3 cups water in another large stockpot, at least 10 quarts. Bring to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the spice bundle, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cherries, stopping when the pot is about half full; you’ll be adding another 5 cups of liquid and you’ll need to be able to stir the cherries without them spilling out. (You might need to cook the cherries in two or three batches.)

Using the slotted spoon, stir and fold the cherries onto themselves so that they are all soaked in the syrup and are getting thoroughly warmed. You don’t want to actually cook the cherries, just let them absorb the syrup. Return the liquid to a simmer; pour in the brandy, rum and bourbon; and stir to mix. When the liquid is heated through, take the pot off the heat. (Be sure not to boil the liquid because you don’t want to cook off too much alcohol.)

Using a wide-mouth funnel or jar filler and a slotted spoon, pack each canning jar with cherries, filling it to the top. Give the jar a good tap on the counter to settle the fruit so there are minimal air gaps. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars up to about ½ inch from the rim. Place the flat part of the lid on the jar, and screw the band on lightly.

Add the next batch of cherries to the hot syrup remaining in the pot and heat the cherries through. Transfer to jars, top with syrup, and seal the jars.

When all the jars are filled and the lids are on, put the jars into the boiling water bath in batches, as many as will fit without crowding. The water should cover the jars by about 1 inch, so top off with more boiling water if necessary. Boil for 5 minutes, and then retrieve the jars. Set them on the counter to cool and let the seals form properly. You’ll hear a nice pop as the vacuum forms and the lid is sucked down. Tighten the rings of all the jars that have sealed properly. You can store these at room temperature, away from heat and light, for up to 1 year.

Last chance to sign up for next week’s box! Click here to see what’s inside.

Gooseberry Jam

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Kate’s Gooseberry Jam

I first encountered the spiny branches of a gooseberry bush in northern Germany. I was apprenticing on an organic potato farm for part of the summer, and one day, when there was no fieldwork to be done,  I was sent to the garden to pick gooseberries for jam.

Picking berries can be romantic, but not when they are gooseberries. The German word for gooseberry is stachelbeere, which means spikeberry. And spikes there are indeed. But the berries are a just reward for braving the nasty thorns; incredibly flavorful with a wonderful pronounced tartness, they’re perfect for jam. Gooseberry jam can be hard to find in stores, so it’s one of my favorites to make at home.

To start, put a small plate in the freezer (you’ll need this later to test if the jam has reached the proper consistency). To make one jar of jam, you’ll want two half-pints of gooseberries. Red or green will do. Wash the berries and trim off the tops and tails (stem and flower ends). Cut them half. You’ll have about 1 to 1¼ cups of berries, packed very tightly.

Put them in a small saucepan over medium-low heat with a couple of tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer and let them soften for about five minutes. Add ½ cup sugar. I like my jam a bit tart, so if you’re inclined towards a sweeter jam, add an extra 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar. Simmer the jam for about 20 to 25 minutes. To see if the jam is done, drizzle a small amount on the plate from the freezer. Tilt the plate; if the jam drips down quickly, it needs more time for the natural pectin to set. If it stays mostly in place, the jam is ready. Transfer to a clean, dry  mason jar and seal with a lid. Once cool, store in the fridge and use within two months.

Gooseberries are in season for the next few weeks. In New York, they are easy to find at the Union Square Greenmarket. Locust Grove Fruit Farm and Phillips Farms have green and red varieties.

-Kate Galassi, Quinciple Co-Founder

Corn, mushrooms, shishito peppers and more in next week’s box; order yours now!

White currants are my favorite. Mostly because they look like fish eggs. Fortunately they don’t taste like fish eggs. #quinciple @myersproduce

White currants are my favorite. Mostly because they look like fish eggs. Fortunately they don’t taste like fish eggs. #quinciple @myersproduce