Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dinner In A Bag...alongside my friends at the Hingham Farmers Market

I truly wish that images, like this one that I find online
could be traced back to the original authors. This picture
really captured flavor in my book and I want to give
as much credit as possible!!
It has been a truly amazing summer! That's not to say it hasn't been without it's share of hard work and even a disappointment or two. As I am sitting down typing on a cool Thursday night, reflecting back on these days that are behind me...a thought has crept into my head to make me smile. As I stated right at the beginning, it has been a truly amazing summer.

That thought by the way? It was me wondering how big my grandmothers smile would be if she could see me now and seeing the steps I have taken to make my dreams come true.

So what is it that has made this summer so special? The answer is pretty simple!! See I finally figured out after years and years of searching, what I wanted to do with all my talents as a Chef and Teacher. My dream has always been to give something memorable and lasting back to the world around me, by teaching people to cook I have been able to give and share my love of all things food related. Now I have the chance to write a unique and well thought out cookbook, full of recipes and stories of REAL Food and REAL People. I have traveled all over the place here in MA, visited countless Farmers Markets and really learned about what food should be. I have had my eyes opened and appreciate all the time that people have given me.

That's me...after I saw how my Kickstarter Project
was failing to gain any traction
After my Kickstarter Project failed to gain any traction and I didn't achieve my funding goal, it seemed almost as if my dream would be going by way of the dinosaurs. I decided to push forward and to not just quit, this is my dream and giving up wasn't an option.

 Now I have been told by several people that when you ask loud enough the universe will answer. I guess that maybe my voice was loud enough because the day after my project fizzled out like a bad firework I got an email from Dr. Marge Schiller. It was unexpected, came out of the blue and was just the sort of kick in the pants that I needed!

Dr. Schiller, along with several others make up the Friends of The Hingham Farmers Market. They are responsible for the celebration of everything that the market stands for and are aggressive in their approach of making wonderful things happen. I spoke with Marge one morning, my kids running around the house while she was dealing with a possible sinking ship. I liked her right away and she had one powerful word and message for me...Synergy. Her feeling was that my ideas and skills could be of great help to the market and that I would benefit from the exposure and experience that she and others brought to the table for making my dream a reality.

Synergy, by definition is  the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements. That someone would use such a word to describe Kitchen Time and what I do, was to me, one of the biggest compliments I have been paid. I went to the market and sat down with Marge, we spoke about many things and I couldn't help smiling at the volume of positive energy that surrounded the whole place. We made plans to work together
producing a pair of "live demonstrations" during the month of September and we also decided to work on a Dinner In A Bag. This great idea involves creating a full meal menu featuring products from the Farmers Market. Hingham has an unbelievable market that consists of several different kinds of vendors. You can find fresh wholesome produce, true grass fed beef, local fresh seafood, beautiful farm raised poultry and a whole host of ready to eat products that are made from scratch using fresh ingredients and even fresher ideas! Below is the full menu that I came up with for the market along with all the recipes for producing it. While not every ingredient is found at the market, a vast majority are and it makes shopping quick, easy and affordable.

So before we get into the menu, I have a few quick notes!! The first is that you can locate the Hingham Farmers Market by clicking here. The Facebook page is located here. Please stop by and visit them sometime soon! The second note of the day, please visit the Kitchen Time Facebook page and say hello. I love what I do and truly appreciate all of the support, comments and 'likes'. Lastly, I will be doing 2-3 food demos at the Market this September and into October along with hopefully another full menu or two. I will be announcing the dates soon and hope to see everyone out, cheering me on...because lets be honest here, I am going to be plenty nervous!

Hingham Farmers Market, Dinner In A Bag Menu- 

Seafood Chowder

Golden Beet

Whole Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Sweet Potato Hash

Sauteed  Garlic Green Beans

Lemon Bread With Brandied Blueberries or Blueberry Cobbler Ice Cream


Seafood Chowder-
1 ½ Cups Clams, rinsed and chopped
1 ½ Cups Haddock, chopped
1 ½ Cups Scallops, chopped
1 ½ Cups Shrimp, cleaned and chopped
3 Cups Clam Broth
1 Cup Bacon, thick cut and chopped
3 Cups Onion, white or yellow, peeled and chopped
3 Potatoes, white medium sized, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, medium sized peeled and chopped
2 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
2 Tbs Butter
¼ Cup Flour
4 Cups Half and Half
2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Pepper 

In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the bacon until it begins to brown and then add in the butter and onions. Allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes and then add the flour and combine well. Add the clam juice in next. Keep the heat to medium and add in the potatoes, thyme, salt & pepper. Potatoes should cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, just until they begin to get soft. Add in the seafood, then the half and half. Reduce the heat so that it does not boil. You want a slow simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes which is long enough to heat it through, cooking the seafood. Serve hot and garnish with some fresh parsley. You can add or reduce the salt/pepper as needed.

Golden Beet Salad-

4 Golden Beets
1 Medium Red Onion, peeled and chopped
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
¼ Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Tbs Grand Marnier, substitute any orange liqueur
1 Tbs Honey
1 Tbs Grated Orange Peel
Salt & Pepper, as needed
4 Cups Fresh Spinach or Red Leaf Lettuce
1/4 Cups Feta Cheese, crumbled
Start with the beets, you can either roast or boil them. I prefer to roast, simply for the taste that seems to come from the roasting. I was once told it was all in my head, however you can decide for yourself. If you roast them, wrap with foil and cook them at 375 degrees for about an hour. For boiling, drop into the water for about 45 minutes. Let them cool, peel and then chop. 

In a large skillet, combine the onion, vinegar, broth, liqueur, honey and orange peel. Allow this to come to a boil and allow the liquid to reduce down for about 3 to 5 minutes. Let the mix cool and season with salt & pepper as needed. Pour this over the beets and allow the whole mix to chill, afterwards place over your choice of greens. Before serving sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the top. You can also add in other ingredients such as walnuts, which provide a great flavor balance as well as a crunch.

Sweet Potato Hash-

2 Sweet Potatoes, medium sized, peeled and chopped/shredded
1 Onion, small sized, peeled and chopped small
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 Tbs Maple Syrup
1 Tbs Butter 

When you begin this recipe, choose between shredding or chopping the sweet potato. Heat a pan using a medium heat. Place butter in the pan and allow to melt. Add in the onion and sauté until it begins to brown. Add in the potatoes and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the other ingredients. Allow to sit for an additional 2-3 minutes. If potatoes begin to stick in the pan pour in a small amount of water. Turn down heat and allow to brown slightly. Check for taste and doneness...serve hot and enjoy!

Garlic Green Beans-

3 Cups Fresh Green Beans, trim the ends
2 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Garlic, fresh chopped
Salt as needed
Pepper as needed
3 Tbs Water

One of the easiest of recipes and a quick summertime classic! In a sauté pan over medium/medium-high heat, melt the butter and add in the garlic. Next add in the green beans, salt and pepper. Allow the beans to sauté over the higher heat for a few minutes then reduce heat to low and add in the water. Beans should cook for a total of about 10 minutes. Use more water if needed to prevent burning.

Whole Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken-

4-5 Pound Whole Chicken, remove any pieces in the cavity
6 Lemons
8 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, leave whole
2 Tbs Garlic, fresh chopped
2 Tbs Sage, fresh and chopped fine
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take 4 of the lemons and cut them into quarters. Stuff them into the cavity of the chicken along with several of the rosemary sprigs. Close the cavity of the chicken using a skewer or toothpicks. Thread this through the sides of the skin horizontally. This way when the skin tries to pull back towards the left or right…it has nowhere to go!!

Now in a small bowl, mix together the juice of one lemon along with the olive oil, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Set this aside for the moment. Slice the remaining lemon and stuff the slices along with the rosemary under the skin wherever you can pull it up. Take the seasoning mixture and rub it all over the chicken. Wrap the whole thing in foil and place it into the oven. Allow it to cook for an hour, remove the chicken from the foil and continue to cook until the temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Brandied Blueberries-

6 Cups Fresh Blueberries
1 Cup Brandy or Cognac, Hennessy is good quality product with a good price
½ Cup Cranberry Juice
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Tbs Corn Starch 

In a saucepot combine the cranberry juice, sugar and corn starch. Blend over medium heat until smooth. Don’t boil, just a rapid simmer is fine for this recipe. Add in the brandy or cognac followed by the blueberries. Cook this over a low heat for about 3 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Serve over the Lemon Bread with whipped cream or even vanilla ice cream alongside.


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