Edible Lingerie Found at the Farmers' Market

Hi, sorry it is has been a while. Working on a book proposal with every free second, but I feel I am doing an injustice by keeping dragon's lingerie, (or dragon's langerie or dragon's tongue), to myself. While there seems to be some confusion over its actual name, I like the first name best.

(As in a dragon's knicker's?, I asked. Yep, the farmer's rep laughed.)

Yes, you can eat it. And no, I am not trying to be kinky. It is a long bean with thin pastel stripes of purple and pink. Unfortunately this ‘lingerie lace’ disappeared with heating, so I am working on a raw recipe. But I was pleased with a recent simple sauté in butter. (Is there a veggie that doesn’t work in butter?) They tasted of a very delicate yellow wax bean — while the name conjured funny fantasies of Puff lounging seductively in his cave. For a picture of the actual bean, click here.
photo by Marek Paju via Dreamstime
cartoon by Sofia Santos


Totally Tomato

They are beautiful globes, decorating the farmers’ market like ornaments come six months early. They are red, green, yellow, orange, even purple and dark brown. Some are striped, warped, twisted or just generally playful. No matter their particular quirks, they are delicious and will be in their prime starting this Saturday.

Starring names from Beefsteak to Brandywine, Plum to Purple Prince, these tomatoes bear no resemblance to their mealy-mouthed pale-faced supermarket cousins. The food demo-ists in the market are sure to be promoting simple techniques for a tomato salad and fresh tomato sauce this summer. But what to do when, like myself, you get so carried away with the variety, colors and personalities that you end up with a full fridge of nothing but tomatoes?

In lieu of eating so many you turn a soft tomato hue, try making a concentrated tomato paste to use in recipes the rest of the year. It’s real easy; the majority of the cooking time can be spent in your garden or on the sofa watching the Food Network.

First, grab as many tomatoes as you can manage to carry home from the market. (You’ve got about a 3-week window, starting now, for the best selection.) Classically, tomato paste is made from plum tomatoes, but I like a mix of heritage tomatoes because they are so much fun to work with (all those fairy tale names!)

Then follow the recipe below.

Local Tomato Paste



-- That’s it! Ain’t it lovely.

1) Fill a large pot about half way with water. Heat it to a rolling boil.

2) Add tomato, in batches if necessary. Cook until skin splits.

3) Remove tomatoes. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and stems. (Skins should peel right off with your hands.)

4) Cut open and remove seeds. (No need to be a stickler here; some seeds are fine.)

5) Puree tomatoes.

6) Add puree to large pot.

7) Simmer, stirring occasionally, until puree reduces to paste – about 4 to 5 hours depending on the amount of tomatoes and their relative juiciness.

8) Freeze spoonfuls in ice cube trays or muffin tins for easy use in future recipes, such as marinara sauce, lasagna, tomato soup or beef stew.

picture by Diana Lundin via Dreamstime


"Wwoofing" Around

I met a young man at the Brooklyn Food Coalition kick-off meeting (an outgrowth of the Brooklyn Food Conference) who told me he was "woofing."

When I came to understand he did not spend his working hours practicing canine tricks, I realized he was verb-izing an acronym. WWOOF has stood for at least three names since its inception in 1971: Working Weekends On Organic Farms was first; when people started staying longer than weekends, it became Willing Workers on Organic Farms; and now that the word “work” can cause brouhaha, WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

In all cases, it involves volunteers getting paid in knowledge, room and board as they help organic, or transitioning to organic, farms.

Apparently you can just wonder from farm to farm, and work for your dinner and sleeping quarters. (Although calling ahead first is recommended.) And it is not just here in the United States. While it started outside of London, it now has organizations in 43 countries, including Ghana, Belize and Finland.

The young man I met (whom I would like to encourage to contact me) said he had left an industry job to become a full-time WWOOF-er several months ago. While his hair was a muss, he glowed with health. He also seemed in the midst of having his eyes opened wide. He said, what has most surprised him since starting out on this path – one his friends and family thought was crazy – is finding how very many people are already doing it.

picture credit