farmers market finds

gherkinsuntil this summer, i had never seen these before – don’t they look like teey tiny watermelons? during the last couple weeks of august, i kept seeing them out at Balsam Farms in Amagansett. the farm stand had them labeled as “gherkins… or mini sour cucumbers from mexico”.

well, when i see the word gherkin, i think of pickles which i hate so i totally ignored these the first time around. the following weekend they were still there and my curiosity got the better of me. as it turns out, they taste just like a super-crunchy cucumber… delicious. i’ve been throwing them in tomato & mozzarella salads and eating them plain.

some very quick internet research yielded this: they grow on a vine called melothria scabra, and are sometimes also called mouse melon. isn’t that cute?

 

happy 4th…!

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i took these during last year’s fourth of july celebration. the highlight, aside from good friends around the chimenea, was lighting the sprinklers and watching them go!

coming up next week: some bits from my trip to france. enjoy the long weekend!

(photos by laura kinsey for bklyn prairie)

make it: mint basil pesto & kumquat spaghetti… with peas!

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another pesto, you say?

well, yes. they’re super summery (just ask the june cover of BA mag), and i love pasta with pesto and fresh english peas. all the stars aligned for this dish, which i made earlier this month.

how did all the stars align for this? well, i got to practice with the kitchenaid pasta making attachment at work, and it was so fun i ran out to get my own. soon after, i had roasted kumquats over burrata at roman’s in fort greene that blew me away, and realized i wanted to eat kumquats with everything. and now i had all this fresh pasta in the freezer, just waiting for me to do something with it, so here it is: a little recipe for fresh spaghetti with mint basil pesto, roasted kumquats, and peas!

first work on the kumquats and peas. (figure on about 1/4 cup of each per serving). preheat the oven to 375F, and while that’s happening, shell some peas. then slice the kumquats in half, remove any big seeds, and put on a foil-lined baking tray. douse them with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and red chili flake. roast for about 12-15 minutes. set aside.

mint-basil pesto:

1 cup each mint leaves and basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

3/4 cup grated parmesan

2 scallions

zest of 1 lemon + juice from half

1/4 cup + 2T olive oil

1t sea salt + 1/2t pepper

pulse till saucy in a vitamix or food processor and set aside. the yield is enough for several servings of pasta, but you can also add some into a viniagrette, or mix some in with ricotta cheese and slather it on a bageutte… endless uses, really. also, i know garlic is included in virtually every pesto recipe, and without it, it’s not really pesto. but. i think it’s too strong for this dish. plus it makes my tummy hurt. if you want to add a clove, go for it.

while the spaghetti is cooking, put the peas in the steamer basket over the boiling water for a couple minutes and then straight into an ice bath. (a little cheat so you don’t have to wash two pots!) drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. toss with several spoonfuls of the pesto and as many peas and kumquats as you want per serving. you can add some pasta water if it needs loosening up. i do this part all off the heat, as cooking the pesto turns the lovely green color kind of brown and not as appetizing looking. add a little extra grated parmesan cheese, some fresh chopped mint, and eat. it is light, zingy, and delicious.

i used the fresh egg pasta recipe from the cookbook The Glorious Pasta of Italy, by Domenica Marchetti. it was divine, but obviously boxed or store-bought fresh would be as well.

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(photos by laura kinsey for bklynprairie.com)

nature days…

i love this duck. he was so chill…

pretty little mushrooms…

spur-of-the-moment, i decided to take my camera with me on a morning coffee run a couple weeks ago in east hampton. not really knowing if i’d see anything to take a picture of, but it was a gorgeous morning…. i took a different road home (past all the big ol’ mansions… i was being a total sunday driver) and drove by a duck pond i had never noticed before.

so i had to stop. it was just so…nature-y! i like nature… i forget about it sometimes, since i live in a city. but i grew up in it and i have nice memories of it. as long as there are no bees near me, nature and i get along really nicely.

(photos by laurakinsey)

summah foods!

these photos just scream “summer food”, don’t they? limeade with fresh mint. corn on the cob. b.l.t. sandwiches with in-season tomatoes. those frosty-looking delicious stone fruits. i love all of this stuff…. but the last few weeks have been super busy and as a result, sort of dry as far as cooking is concerned. i already have that dreaded feeling that summer is over, it’s all over! i have to remind myself there’s still plenty of time left to the season. we still have tomatoes to look forward to, after all.

these images help.

the photo of the b.l.t. reminds me of something else. i need to get my hands on some vegenaise. no idea why that stuff is so good… but it is. my friend tammy, (who actually is a vegan), force-fed me some when i went to cleveland a couple weeks ago, and now i’m hooked.

(from the top: 1/2/3/4/)

happy weekend

what are you up to this weekend?  mk and i are heading east for a few days to spend time at the rental house in east hampton. i’m hoping for great beach weather… beach juice… and maybe a visit here, here, and here. have a great weekend!

(image credit

what’s in your beach bag?

i just ordered a new bag to use at the beach this summer. it’s hasn’t quite arrived, but when it does, it’s getting stocked with these goodies for sure…

1. tote from Lotta Jansdotter’s collection

2. 100% cotton honeycomb weave towels (or shawls) pack light and are great for when it’s really hot

3. gotta have shades at the beach

4. reusable glass bottles are perfect for water… or my special “beach juice”

5. i like to keep my phone, lip balm, and wallet in cute waterproof cases, like this one

6. love this necklace from calypso. i can throw it on with a cute beach cover up over my swimsuit and be ready for a cocktail

7. another must have…. a hat to hide my crazy beach hair

okay, there will be some snacks in there, too. and a book, but i have yet to find my summer beach books… stay tuned.

hester street fair

last summer i became a huge fan of the hester street fair, which is held every saturday on the lower east side in manhattan. well, every saturday from mid-spring to mid-fall, that is, and when they closed up shop last october, it gave me mild anxiety. which is why i was so excited when i heard saturday was opening day. i contemplated going at 10 on the dot but waited until the more respectable hour of 2pm to stuff myself. and i ate enough calories to cover me for about 3 days…but it was totally worth it.

favorites? the korean bulgogi from we rub you. grilled, thin-sliced marinated beef with sesame apple slaw, plus shredded carrots and cilantro on a challah roll. i mean, come on! i could have eaten two. or six, but i wanted to save room for other things.

i scarfed a couple of pork tacos from brooklyn taco. enjoyed a to-die-for cup of salted caramel crack ice-cream from ample hills creamery. downed a mini mojito flavored cupcake from prohibition bakery and a little s’more from s’amore! (which i love – see this old post). the sugar was starting to hit and my friend betty jo and i were super full. she got coffee from the amazing cafe grumpy and we walked around some more, looking at prints and jewelry and old books… but thoughts quickly returned to food. should we get a lobster roll from luke’s? a ricotta cheesecake pie from pie corps, or maybe a popsicle from la newyorkina? i did buy the fruit & nut granola from spatzi’s and thought about buying some pickled cauliflower from sour puss pickles. but i was too full and suddenly my bag felt to heavy. i know what the solution is.  i will have to go back next week.

(the hester street fair runs saturdays 10-6 from april 28th – oct 27th. more info here)

escape to: ellicottville, new york

tucked away in the hills of western new york is a little gem of a ski town that i simply adore called ellicottville, home to holiday valley and holimont ski resorts. in addition to skiing, snowboarding, or thrill-seeking on their new mountain coaster, you can also après-ski in style at the yodeler lodge, the tamarack club, or in town at dina’s. the walkable downtown boasts all sorts of fun shops to poke around in, and there is a nearby sculpture garden and alpaca farm to investigate in case you’re not a skier.

(photo via flickr)

summers in EVL are also pretty great. over at the mountain, you can golf, zip line, or test your tree climbing skills. (take a look here.) the roads leading in and out of town are perfect for long (and hilly!) bike rides. my personal favorite summer event is the fourth of july pet parade. pet owners lead their animals through main street – often in costume. i have seen dogs, a guinea pig in a cage perched on a wheelbarrow, a trio of baby goats, alpacas, horses, and something called a Zee-Donk (hybrid zebra and donkey!) march down main street. the animals all gather near the gazebo at the end so people can pet them. it’s totally fantastic, as are the fireworks and evening concert at the base of the mountain performed by the buffalo philharmonic.

these places are also on my “must-do” list:

– a massage at falling waters spa

-a trip to the salamanca antiques mall

-going to Dom’s Butcher Block in town if we’re cooking something meaty. amazing.

-a walk up Greer Hill Drive to see some pretty houses

(bottom photos by laura kinsey)