Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms

Hello fall! We’ve missed you and glad you’re back.

Fall brings so many wonderful things: pumpkins, squash and apples… but it’s also the time of year that I always seem to crave mushrooms. It’s great weather for storing and drying them and they tend to pair well with fall produce. I decided to bring back one of my favorite recipes from the beta issue of the magazine, Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms. These stuffed mushrooms are great to have out at a Halloween party or Thanksgiving dinner because they are easy to prepare and eat while standing around with a cocktail, or dressed as a monster. The recipe happens to call for tomatoes which due to the warm fall we’ve been having are still around! I got some today in my CSA share and the farmer of Garden of Eve Organic Farm said that he thinks this might be one of the best years for tomatoes he’s ever seen.

Joe Brancaccio of Brancaccio’s Food Shop in Brooklyn (Kensington/Windsor Terrace) shared this delicious, yet simple, recipe with me for the mushroom issue of the magazine last spring. It’s his Grandmother’s recipe. While Grandma Jo was originally from Messina, Sicily, stuffed mushrooms are popular throughout Italy (and Brooklyn). Grandma Jo used button mushrooms because that was what was available to her and affordable, but you can also use criminis, which have a deeper flavor. This special dish, which works wonderfully as an appetizer, is something she would make for birthdays and family celebrations.

Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb large button or crimini mushrooms

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 slices bacon or prosciutto chopped

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp. grated cheese (parmesan or locatelli romano)

1 tbsp. parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup plum tomatoes or tomato sauce

1.   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Clean mushrooms and remove stems.
3.   Chop stems into small pieces.
4.   Sauté the onion, bacon and mushroom stems in the olive oil to a golden brown.
5.   Add bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer a few minutes longer.
6.   Remove from fire, add beaten egg and tomatoes and mix together.
7.    Fill caps with stuffing. Drizzle with additional olive oil and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

You can visit Joe at:
Brancaccio’s Food Shop
3011 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11218


post by Carli Heggen


French Breakfast Radishes

Not all radishes are created equal. Some are round, some are long, some are pink, some are white. When I used to think of radishes, I would envision little round slices at the salad bar which were always quite spicy. I was first introduced to the French Breakfast Radish or les radis petit déjeuner when I visited St. Rafael in the South of France. They are a small and oblong and have the classic radish-pink hue, but with white ends. They are in season in late spring and early summer.

In France, the radishes would always serve as a refreshing appetizer before we gorged ourselves for the following 2 hours. I learned the proper way to eat them from a proper Femme Provençale. First, cut off the green tops of course and the long stringy root at the end. Next, cut the white end into quarters, leaving the top half in tact. Lastly, fill the quartered end with soft, creamy butter and sprinkle with coarse salt — Kosher or Fleur de Sel is best. Butter is the perfect complement to a radish because it calms the bite, and the salt highlights the flavor of the radish and the butter. Parfait!


post by Tiare Packard

Fast Company Loves spoonful Too!

We’re so excited because Fast company featured spoonful in a recent article! Read what they had to say.

Fresh and Local CSA

spoonful focuses on our home town, New York, but I’m happy to introduce you to some new cities and what their local food has to offer. Our newest contributor Tiare Packard is a proud new member of her local CSA in Bend, Oregon. Tiare will be sharing the adventures and surprises that CSA brings for all of us to enjoy and experiment along with. Today she talks about taking a risk with Dinosaur Kale… yes it’s really called Dinosaur Kale.

Summer CSA Box

Summer has almost arrived and today I picked up my first ever CSA box filled with the season’s crops of fresh fruits and vegetables. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture which is a direct connection from the farm to the table. It allows you to purchase “shares” from a farm which are usually picked up on a weekly basis. The share is a box which contains a wonderful variety of very fresh seasonal produce all throughout the farming season.  It allows the customer to buy local and support farms in their area. A CSA is also very community oriented — I pick mine up at a local restaurant where families walk together to receive their box and you can chat with the farmer who grew your salad. Today there was even a local baker giving free samples of delicious bread to get the word out.

The best part about the CSA box is that each week has different items and you will always be surprised by the produce you receive. It challenges you to be creative with the produce and branch out from your normal recipes. You will almost always be greeted by at least one unusual vegetable each week — Kohlrabi, Kale, Chard, Romanesque Cauliflower, Fennel and on and on. At first it can be a bit intimidating, but just jump in and try a new technique or recipe and I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

This week in my CSA box, I received so many wonderful things including Red Leaf Lettuce, Radishes, Green Onions, Chard, Broccoli, Red and White Potatoes, Kale and best of all — a carton of organic Strawberries! All are in their freshest state and full of color and flavor. Everything is also organic, so you may encounter a little friend nestled between your lettuce leaves. Today I found a tiny slug! Be sure to do a few good rinses before you begin cooking.

In the spirit of being adventurous, I went straight for the oddest item in the box — Dinosaur Kale or Lacinato Kale (thank god for Google). I haven’t had a lot of luck cooking leafy greens in the past, so tonight I was determined to make them delicious. I chose a zesty combination to really give the greens a blast of flavor — Garlic, Chili Flakes and Lemon Juice. They turned out absolutely mouth-watering and I cannot wait to make them again. Note that this recipe can be used with just about any greens including chard, mustard greens, beet greens or collards. You may just need to adjust the cooking time to get the desired texture.

Fresh Kale

Garlic Chili Kale with Lemon

The greens will shrink considerably when cooked, but will still serve around 4 people as a side dish.

1 bunch of kale (about 20 leaves)

1 tbsp of kosher salt (to salt the water and also to season before serving)

2 tbsp of olive oil for sautéing

3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin or minced

1 tsp of red chili flakes

lemon juice

1. Boil a large pot of water and salt well.

2. Wash the greens to remove all dirt and trim the tough stems off. Chop roughly.

3. Add the greens to the boiling water and cook until tender. For kale, no more than 2 minutes.

4. Drain immediately and add to a bath of ice water. This will stop the cooking right away and also help the leaves retain a nice green color even after cooking. Squeeze out as much water as possible.

5. Sauté the garlic and chili flakes in olive oil in a large skillet for about 30 seconds, until the flavors come out.

6. Add the greens, stir with garlic and chili, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir occasionally. Serve in a bowl and toss with salt to flavor and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also add a little lemon zest for even more flavor.

To find a CSA near you, visit Local Harvest.


post by Tiare Packard


It’s spring and ramps are all the rage. At the market farmers are putting their ramps front and center and you can smell them a block away.

Ramps (aka wild leeks) taste and smell like onions and garlic, and just putting one of their long green leaves under your nose will wake you up. You can treat them like onions or leeks and add to a soup, or scramble with eggs, or use them to add a little kick to steak or burgers. Be advised: ramps are not a good date food, ramp breath will kill even the steamiest evening.

Ramps have a white bulb and long green leaves — you can cook with both parts which makes them a great buy.

Ramps are only in season for a short period near the month of April, after that their flavor gets too intense so get them while you can. Consider stocking up on ramps and freezing or pickling them.

Look for ramps at the Mountain Sweet Berry Farm stand in the Union Square greenmarket, they have a great board on display filled with ramp recipes from local restaurants that buy ramps from them. Plus their ramps are $3 a bunch which is a pretty good deal.

You can also buy ramps from:

Max Creek Hatchery at Union Square on Wednesdays.

Wilklow Orchards at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Fort Green Park Greenmarket on Saturdays, Grand Army Plaza on Saturdays, and Staten Island Ferry/Whitehall Terminal on Tuesdays and Fridays.

To pickle ramps try this adaptation of Tom Collichio’s recipe published in the Gothamist:

3 bunches of ramps, white parts only
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup bottled water
½ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon coriander seed, mustard seed, black peppercorns, fennel seed
1 dried hot chile pepper – de arbol, cayenne or other

1. Clean Ramps and separate white from green.  Keep greens for another use or freeze.

2. Prepare brine bringing vinegar, water, sugar and wine to a boil for 1 minute.

3. Add dried spices and remove from heat after 1 minute

4. Blanch Ramp bottoms in water with lots of salt (so it tastes like sea water) for 1-2 minutes.

5. Quickly drain and cool quickly using ice and running cold water.

6. Pour the brine over ramps and let sit for 3-5 days. Eat them right away or store for later use by using a vacuum seal.

How to Dry Mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms are delicious but sometimes it’s hard to eat them fast enough throughout the week. I talked with Dan Madura of Mycomedicinals Madura Farms in Goshen, NY to find out how to preserve your fresh fungi — the best part is that it’s really easy!

1. Buy mushrooms

2. Gently clean them off with a damp towel, mushroom brush (you can buy these online or at specialty stores), or a tooth brush (Dan’s preferred method.) You just want to wipe off any excess dirt — soaking them in water will ruin their flavor.

3. With your hands, break up the mushrooms that you want to dry (I like to set aside a few fresh ones to enjoy). Place the pieces in a brown paper bag, or wrap in a paper towel, and set aside in a dry cool place. In the dry cool months you can even put them out on your windowsill to speed up the process. I suggest using a rock as a weight or tie a string to the bag and run it through your window so the mushrooms don’t blow away.

4. In a few days your mushrooms should be dry, then you can transfer the mushrooms to a more solid container like a glass jar (which looks pretty nice sitting on your shelf).

Why Dry? Dried mushrooms are great in everything from salads, to pizza, to tea. Dan likes to use dried oyster mushrooms in his omelet for breakfast. I have been trying this and it’s such a fast and easy way to have a mushroom omelet in the morning because you skip the step of chopping and having all those dishes to clean.

Drying is a way to really stretch your mushroom purchases. Dried mushrooms have a stronger flavor than fresh so a little will go a long way and they keep for years.

You can find Mycomedicinals Madura Farms mushrooms at their booth on:

Saturdays at the Abingdon Square, Greenpoint / McCarren Park and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets.

Sundays at the Columbia and  Cortelyou Greenmarkets.

Thursdays at  the Columbia Greenmarket.

Dan Madura (right) and his assistant Andre at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket.

How to Make Butternut Squash Soup for Under $10

We talked to Elly Hushour of Patches of Star Dairy at her booth in the Union Square Greenmarket to find out how to make a butternut squash soup with little time and money. Their hard to resist line of goat cheeses includes several flavors of spreadable chevre, creamy feta and a firm ricotta-type Queso Blanc. But it’s their drinkable goat yogurt (at just $2/bottle) that’s the secret to a quick and delicious butternut squash soup.

Serves: 4


4 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 large butternut squash
(see post below for how to select, store and chop butternut squash)

½ cup water

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bottle of Patches of Star Dairy drinkable goat yogurt

  1. Peel and chop butternut squash into ½ inch cubes
  2. In a large pot heat the butter and garlic until light golden (3-5 minutes)
  3. Add water and chopped butternut squash to pot
  4. Season evenly with red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper
  5. Cover and cook on medium heat until soft (20-30 minutes)
  6. Remove pot from heat when squash is soft enough to squish with a spoon
  7. Blend the cooked squash in a food processor or blender until creamy
  8. Add the drinkable yogurt and stir until well mixed

Patches of Star Dairy is an all-natural goat dairy farm in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. You can find them at the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  For more on their products and holistic approach to farming visit their site.

July 2018
« Oct    

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5 other followers