Every year Nantucket Bay Scallop season starts in October and it’s like Christmas come early. I was first introduced to these delicious little mollusks (about 1/3 the size of sea scallops) back in 2004 when I was living on Nantucket. For $25, residents of the island can pick up a permit, throw on some waders and grab as many scallops as their floating baskets can carry (babies must be thrown back). It’s hard work but fun and very rewarding! It also can be economical- in stores they can go for well over $20 per lb.

bay_scallop

Now I’m in Boston and not getting as many scalloping opportunities as I’d like but I’m lucky enough to live right near Mercado del Mare, a local fish store that gets bays in stock. When I found out they were in last week I rushed down and bought a pound, half to eat and half to freeze (they do freeze extremely well). I went home and made this recipe which I found on Mercado’s website:

Scallops in a Snap

My favorite scallop recipes are like this one- only a few fresh, quality ingredients since their so sweet and flavorful on their own you don’t need anything overshadowing them. Just sauteed in butter, they are perfect. Some people even choose to eat them raw! I’m also a fan of wrapping one in bacon, sticking a toothpick in it and popping it in the toaster for a few minutes. Ahhh…heaven on a plate.

Condo renovations…ug. That has been my sad living situation for the past few months. We are doing a total gut job on our place and while I was told we’d be painting by August, we are now into September and still do not have walls (sigh).  One thing this means is that I have been living without a kitchen for quite some time. One question many people have is “how do you eat?” so I decided to do a post with some tips in case anyone else out there finds themselves in a similar circumstance:

1. Take out. Get to know your local takeout places very well! Yelp, Menu Pages and Dining In are here to help. Some places even have weekly specials, like our local Hot Tomatoes who does a different pasta dish every day or Artu with their assorted vegetable platter that changes daily. This helps maintain at least some variety.

2. We are lucky enough to live in New England and have access to Stop & Shop’s Peapod.  I recently stocked up on all kinds of good and somewhat healthy frozen dinners and snacks. We still have access to some of our appliances including our friedge, microwave and convection oven, thank goodness!

3. Sign up for local delis, butchers, etc. email lists. I am on several email lists of local shops who send me specials they are running including pre-cooked dinner options. Our local fish market, Mercado del Mare, sends one out three times a week which is how I found out about their new tuna burgers. Popped it in the convection oven, set to broil, done in less than 10 min. Nice!

(photo courtesy of the Mercado del Mare website)

(photo courtesy of the Mercado del Mare website)

It’s definitely been a challenge even though we’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with lots of dinner options. I can’t said we’ve eaten healthy every night (we did do Chinese this week) but we’re trying. And hopefully we will be cooking once again by… Christmas? New Years? Memorial Day?…

I just got an email asking to help spread the word about a new farmers market in Jamaica Plain. It’s right by the Stonybrook T stop and it sounds wonderful. Details from their website below!

Jamaica Plain’s newest Farmer’s Market is more than a place to buy local foods and produce.

This Sunday, July 12, from 10am to 2pm, and through Sunday, October 18, we’ll have local experts on hand to show you how to enjoy the summer’s bounty.

Community Servings will host the following farmers, food vendors and craftspeople:

  • Silverbrook Farm, Dartmouth, MA:  Family owned since 1953, Silverbrook Farm will sell organic fruits, vegetables and flowering plants.
  • Big Sky Breads, Newton, MA:  The bakery of choice for the area’s premier caterers and cafe owners, Big Sky primarily uses local organic ingredients for the breads and other goodies that will be available.
  • The Greenest Bean, Bedford, MA: Proprietor Tricia Cowell, who operates her business out of her garage, will sell her small batches of organic, free trade coffee beans — which fans herald as ”fab fuel.”

  • Helen Najarian, Cambridge, MA:  Helen Najarian will sell her handcrafted, fun and affordable jewelry and pottery.
  • Eat Local Honey, Jamaica Plain, MA:  Mike Graney will sell honey made by honey bees he keeps in sites around Boston.
On opening day, July 12, Peter Boune of Earthworks Boston will lead tours of free and organic fruit and nut trees, ripe for the picking, that are available throughout JP and the rest of the city.
On July 19, Community Day, we’ll launch the market with musicians, stilt walkers, face-painters, jugglers, cooking demonstrations and more. As the weeks progress, there will be more cooking demonstration by chefs from JP Seafood, Centre Street Cafe, The Alchemist, James’ Gate, JP Seafood and Bella Luna; an ”edible wild edible” tour of Jamaica Plain; and additional food vendors and farmers.

For more information about the Farmer’s Market, please contact Edith Murnane, Community Servings’ Social Enterprise Manager, at (617) 522-7777 x207 or emurnane@servings.org.

Fruit

The Someday Gourmet is officially back from hiatus and we have BIG culinary plans for this summer.  Since last we wrote, Lucie and I have had something of an eating epiphany.  For me, it began with a guest speaker who presented at one of my classes this semester.  She was from Waltham Fields Community Farms and was discussing socially responsible entrepreneurship which led to an explanation of a CSA.  In case you don’t know what that is (I didn’t until this class), it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it basically works like this:

In the winter (or sometime before summer anyway), farmers sell off a certain number of “shares” of their crops.  In the greater Boston area, most shares seem to go for between $550 and $650.  You pay this money up front, which allows farmers to buy all their supplies for the season without having to go into debt.  Then, starting in June and running usually through October, every week, you get a portion of the crops.  Weekly shares vary depending on the harvest schedule and what your particular farm grows.  For example, Miguel and I were able to sneak into a CSA at the last minute (many sell out by March) and our farm offers these vegetables:

Various lettuces, arugula, radish, spinach, peas, beans, chard, kale, garlic scapes, turnips, carrots, beets, summer squash/zucchini, potatoes, garlic, onions, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelons, canteloupe, broccoli, winter squash, brussels sprouts, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, leeks, and annual herbs such as cilantro, dill, basil, and parsley.

Some CSAs, like the one our friend Kara participates in, offer more fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, as well as eggs, cheese and even flowers.

We’ve been told our share should be somewhere between 12 and 20lbs of veggies- a lot for two people!  And, when you  break down the price by week, $600 (the cost of our share) amounts to $30/week (and since Miguel and I split it, it’s only $15 per person per week).  A small price to pay for that much fresh, local produce, in our opinion.

There is some risk involved in a CSA however.  There is no guaranteed amount of produce you’ll receive.  If there’s a hurricane or a drought and the crop is lost…well…no veggies for you.  But I think the benefits greatly out weigh the risks- we’re supporting local agriculture and therefore the local economy and we’re getting the freshest organic produce possible.

Miguel and I are really excited (we even catch ourselves daydreaming about veggies on occasion- “I can’t wait for eggplant!…Just think of all the spinach!…What are we going to do with a rutabaga??”).

We scheduled to start receiving our share in the next week or two so we’ll let you know how it goes (and what we end up doing with the rutabagas!)

Cocktail

Visit Paris without leaving the Boston area! Jackie’s favorite haunt, Gaslight Brasserie du Coin, is celebrating “Le Mois des Fous” (The Month of Fools) by offering a fantastic happy hour special for the month of March. From 5:30-6:30 and 10:30-12 Sunday through Thursday, Gaslight is offering festive $5.95 cocktails and *free* appetizers like steak tartar, devils on horseback and ravioli cheese puffs. If the free apps don’t fill you up, be sure to order the frites with garlic aoli. Ahhh, I wish I was eating them right now…

Gaslight Bar