the gathering

At 7am on a terribly rainy Saturday, I made my way up Broadway through the ultra quiet streets of Soho to The Union Square Greenmarket to meet my friend and fellow gastrophile, Nancy Jo. After much indecision about what to do for Easter this year, I decided to stay in the city and cook with friends.

Nancy and I decided to set some parameters for the meal. We would be inspired by our shared Southern Italian roots and the bounty of Spring. At the market we bought pink oyster mushrooms, ramps, Arucauna and pheasant eggs, dinosaur kale, french radishes,  spicy spring greens, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, rhubarb, cippolini onions, escarole, baby artichokes, artisan bread, mint and other herbs. Then, over a soft boiled egg at  Le Pan Quotidian, escaping the rain...we plotted our menu.

 

crostini with ramp

crostini with poached rhubarb, thyme and fresh ricotta

crostini with sauteed pink oyster mushrooms

hard boiled arucauna  and pheasant eggs with sale di cervia and crushed black pepper

 french radishes with sea salt and butter

assorted meat and cheeses, fennel salami and Prosciutto di Parma

homemade ricotta with miele di castagno

frittata de menta

raw kale salad

escarole pie

onion pie with anchovies and black olives

bucatini with ramp pesto

fried baby artichokes with lemon and sea salt inspired by the artichokes at Maiolino

 

maple cheesecake

and a beautiful cake from Fortunato Brothers 

guests brought Lambrusco and various other wines and drinks!

 

recipes to come.

 

gastrophile/ noun.

One who loves good eating and plenty of it.

the organic market of san antonio, mira flores, lima, peru

ORGANIC PERU 

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In the tiny neighborhood of San Antonio, located in Miraflores, in Lima Peru, there is a small organic market on Saturday mornings. The market rotates around Lima so if you don't catch it in Miraflores, look for it in other locations.

The market is an organic local Peruvian food market. A market of this kind is still something of a rare thing in a country totally obsessed with food. I imagine as the Slow Food movement takes hold and people start to see the value of local and organic, these kinds of markets will become easier to find. Our Peruvian chef, friend and Slow Food member, Gonzalo Angosto took us to the market in his neighborhood of San Antonio. The market is only 3/4 of a block long but is jam packed with fruits and vegetables, organic eggs, Peruvian coffee, local honey and Peruvian street food. Oh, and I can't forget the most delicious little sweet caramels individually wrapped by nuns! I think Peruvians are obsessed with these salty, nutty little caramel treats as I saw them in many incarnations across Peru.

I bought some brilliant yellow canary beans (frijol canario) and a mixed bag of organic beans ( (frijol pusacc punuy) as well as some red (quinua roja) and black (quinua negra) quinoa and a couple dried peppers (aji and aji amarillo) and some pink sea salt.

The dried goods are beautiful, easy to pack, make great gifts and travel well.

We had to buy some pecans with caramel covered in chocolate, and wrapped in individual little blue and white papers. These had to be consumed immediately as it was too hot for them to travel... but there were no complaints. Go to the market early, if you can, and have a local peruvian coffe and some street food. There are many kinds of Peruvian pork breakfast sandwiches and they are absolutely not to be missed! (more on this later)

Wander a bit and pick up some things to take home, once you are back you will be happy to have them and I guarantee it will make the trip that much sweeter.

 

A note.

I always bring honey and sea salt back for my own pantry and for friends because it is a unique gift and you can virtually find it anywhere. The Peruvian sea salt is a soft pink and very strong in flavor, so if you get it use just a tiny amount at a time!

link to Gonzalo's hostel