Farmers Market Favorite | Lemon Ginger Black Drum with Leeks & Green Garlic | Market Chef Maggie Perkins



One of the greatest benefits of shopping at a local farmers market is the opportunity to develop relationships with the vendors, farmers, producers, and foragers of the food you eat. 

Such has been my experience getting to know, and trust, fishmonger Scott Treaster of K&S Seafood.

Seafood is a vast, and sometimes overwhelming, member of my personal food chain, and probably this teacher's pet. There is no more favored meal for me than a delicious dish made with a fresh, full-flavored and wholesome serving of fish. I depend upon Scott to let me know what the freshest, best selection of the week is with which to create a recipe. He never disappoints and knows more about seafood than I could ever hope. 

With the proper selection, the success of a meal depends on just a few skills, and prime seasonings. It's almost foolproof. 

Unless, of course, the quality of your selection suffers by its purchase from a substandard, non-trusted source. The provenance perhaps unknown, as well as its possibly questionable journey from origin to your basket. That package of "Louisiana Crawfish"? Well turn it over and you'll find it's traveled from China. The U.S. imports fish and seafood from 136 countries and the top suppliers in 2014 were China with a 14.1% share, followed by Canada (13.7%), Indonesia (9.3%), Chile (8.4%) and Vietnam (7.9%).

This Black Drum? Well Scott brought this from the Gulf Coast, caught only days before I ate it. I mean I can even guess the highway it traversed on it's way to the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline. Because I know and trust Scott, my confidence in my selection is solid, and I feel secure in choosing a healthy and affordable meal that's quick and easy to prepare several times this week. 


I feel fortunate, in fact, to have mutually beneficial relationships with many of the vendors and growers at the market. I can always rely on pristine produce like the green garlic I used for this dish from Gray Gardens. The parsley, leeks, and broccoli raab I prepared from Johnson's Backyard Garden is certified organic. Byccombe Natural Solutions offers unique, healthy varieties of several vegetables like the carrots, above. The organic spicy mix I procured from Joe's Microgreens added both flavor and nutrition to the dish, and new vendor Hi-Fi Mycology offer unique and nutritiously beneficial mushrooms with new flavors and textures, and offer more trusted knowledge about mushrooms than I could ever collect.

Do yourself, and your diet, a big favor, and get to know the folks that provide the food that gives you sustenance. Those relationships will assure that the fuel your body uses is as clean and wholesome as promised. Food is life.
Would you like to learn more about Sustainable Seafood? Check out Fishwatch U.S. Seafood Facts


Another great reason to pick up fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood from Scott at K&S Seafood? With incredibly fresh selections like this weekend's Black Drum, simple preparations with only a few fresh ingredients actually showcases this fish better than any complicated, expensive meal could. Just ask the market shoppers of all ages who stopped by for a sample. It was a big hit with kids and adults, alike, and ushered in Spring flavors beautifully. I recommend serving it alongside your favorite spring greens, simply prepared, like the sauteed broccoli raab in season that I'll share later this week.

LEMON GINGER BLACK DRUM 
with Leeks & Green Garlic
Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (see optional substitute, below)
1 bunch green garlic, whites & tender greens sliced thinly
1 bunch young leeks, whites sliced and washed well
1 large lemon, halved & seeded
1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled & grated
2 boneless Black Drum fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring olive oil to a shimmering heat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add green garlic and leeks to pan. Stirring frequently, cook until limp. Squeeze one half lemon juice into pan. Add grated ginger to leeks and garlic and sauté, stirring, for one minute. With a spatula, gently slide leeks and garlic to the margin of the pan and lay fish fillet, skin side down, on cleared center surface of pan. Raise heat to medium high, browning skin until slightly crisped. Squeeze remaining lemon half over fish flesh. Carefully turn fish, flesh side down, and cook about 3 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Fold leeks and garlic over the top of fish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional slices of lemon and microgreens, if desired.



Optional substitute: Rendered Salt Pork is a tasty substitute for olive oil. Chop a slab of salt pork to yield about 1/4 cup. Over medium heat, brown salt pork until golden and crispy. Remove from pan, and adding oil if/as necessary to yield 1 tablespoon fat, continue with recipe, above.

Serving suggestion: Serve atop a bed of sautéed broccoli raab, seasoned with garlic, lemon & ginger. (Watch for the recipe this week on Notes from Maggie's Farm.)

If you're fortunate to live in our fair city, please stop by the markets! I'll be demonstrating how to utilize the Season's Best meat, seafood, vegetables and other products next on April 7, 2018 at the TFM Lakeline, and April 8, 2018 at TFM Mueller. Stop by the chef demo tent and let's get FRESH.

Disclosure required by law: I am employed by contract as market chef by the Texas Farmers' Markets. Most vendors provide products for sampling free of charge for chef demos. The selections, opinions, and endorsements for my own recipes are my own. 

Farmers Market Favorite | Fresh Pork Sausage & Smothered Greens 2 Ways | Market Chef Maggie Perkins


We celebrated St Patrick's Day at the markets this weekend and found it so easy to do since everything is SO SPRING GREEN right now in farmers' stalls. Whether or not the weather gets the memo, Mother Nature has let us know with no lack of certainty that spring has sprung in the farms and fields of Central Texas.

If it's still a bit blustery in your neck of the woods, let us be encouragers down south, and see what promises to show up at your seasonal markets within weeks.

Below, find the farmers and vendors of the Texas Farmers' Markets produce and products, however if you're not lucky enough to live in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, no worries. Let this serve as a guideline to find producers in your area, or perhaps follow the links to find mail order options.

If you do live close, stop by the markets' chef demos next weekend, March 24 and 25, and let's dish about the best, most delicious way to prepare the seasonal ingredients you'll find gracing your market basket.

At the Lakeline market on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day informed my choices, and I was instantly inspired by a beautiful head of cabbage from Flintrock Hill Farm. I stopped by Smith & Smith Farms who were serving 2 lines of loyal customers 5 people deep, and eagerly accepted the fresh pork sausage with cabbage they suggested, just after I stopped to chat with the charming Gray Gardens' farmer, gathering the prettiest purple-bulbed scallions and fresh, sweet bagged spinach. I petted pups, smelled flowers, hugged farmers, admired eggs and jewelry and tried on natural lip gloss on the way back to the Sample the Market tent, where I borrowed Pogue Mahone's stone ground mustard and Round Rock Honey's bourbon reserve honey right off of the table. Just as I pondered how I'd season my bounty, the youngest Hill Country Salts salesman stopped by to issue an invitation. "Mom says come pick out a salt," an offer I'd never refuse! Chefs and cooks everywhere need to know about these spice and wine-infused salts, and I chose the Bavarian flavors of their Gerwurzsalz for the day's dish.

Morning was a'wasting so it was time to get down to business......


(Pork &) Cabbage on Cabbage
Serves 4

1 package Smith & Smith Farms fresh Pork & Cabbage sausage
2 tablespoons water, or beer if desired
1 bunch Gray Gardens scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon Pogue Mahone stone ground Dill Pickle mustard
1 tablespoon Round Rock Honey, Reserve Bourbon Barrel honey
2 tablespoons water, or beer if desired
1 head Flintrock Hill Farm cabbage, shredded
1 bag Gray Gardens fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Hill Country Salt Gerwurzsalz seasoning salt, to taste


In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Add water as necessary to avoid sticking. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Add scallions to pan, sauteing until limp. Stir in mustard and honey, mixing well. Add cabbage and spinach, folding to coat with dressing. Add water, or beer if using. Cook down, covering greens are wilted below surface of the skillet. Steam until fully limp.

Nestle sausages into greens. Cover and steam until sausages have warmed. Serve.

The following market day at TFM Mueller, I adjusted the recipe to reflect the vendor product and farmer produce available on Sunday.


Fresh Pork Links & Smothered Collard Greens
Serves 4

The following market day at TFM Mueller, I adjusted the recipe to reflect the vendor product and farmer produce available on Sunday.

1 package Smith & Smith Farms fresh Pork & Cabbage sausage
2 tablespoons SoCo Ginger Beer, original
1 bunch Gray Gardens scallions, sliced
1 bunch Gray Gardens young garlic, greens minced (whites reserved for another use)
2 bunches JBG Organic young collard greens, sliced
1 bag Gray Gardens baby spinach
1/8 cup SoCo Ginger Beer, original
Hill Country Salt Midori Fi seasoning salt, to taste
Byccombe Farm arugula lettuce flowers, to garnish

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Add ginger beer as necessary to avoid sticking. Remove from skillet and reserve.

Add scallions and young garlic greens to pan. Saute in sausage drippings until limp. Add collard greens, spinach and ginger beer to pan. Stirring occasionally, allow greens to become tender and limp. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Return sausage and nestle into greens, reduce heat to low and cover. Heat until warmed through. Garnish with arugula flowers.


Not just for St. Patrick's Day, my healthy eating goal is to keep it green every day of the week. While some greens like kale and chard are available year-round in most temperate climates, be certain to take advantage of the cooler temps of Spring, before it gets too blazing hot (!), to eat collard greens, mustard greens, cabbages and lettuces while they are crisp and sweet and their herbal-ly best. As soon as temps start climbing, you'll find field grown greens become bitter, and bolt, going to seed to start the cycle a'new.


To learn more about the vegetables in season and the best way to prepare them, check out my monthly guide, The Seasonal Plate | March, and come on out to the Texas Farmers' Markets next weekend, March 24 & 25, for a taste of the best the month has to offer.

Classes & Events | Hands On Workshop : Learn to Make Empanadas | Maggie Perkins with Kitchen Underground


Perfect for a breakfast on the fly, a brown bag lunch, parties, picnics... the delicious possibilities are endless! I love to make batches of empanadas and freeze them-- ready to surprise a neighbor or thank the handyman, or perhaps even impress a suitor? I mean if you need to do that sort of thing, of course.

Food is love. Preparing home baked treats to show your affection and appreciation to others creates cherished gifts, warming tummies and hearts, alike.

Feeding yourself with wholesome homemade meals that are more than a slapdash sandwich or bag of chips offers the kind of self care that nurtures yourself. It's important to feed your body and soul, too!

Learn to make the popular baked and/or fried Latin American hand-held savory pies using 2 well-seasoned fillings, and a traditional chimichurri dipping sauce. Enjoy snacking in class, and take home your remaining handiwork to bake, fry, or freeze for later.

Most importantly, connect with your community and fellow food lovers, and leave with both the food, the friendships, and the sweet memories you've made. We're going to have a great time, friends!

Mar. 8 | 6:30-8:30 BYOB
Grab your spot at kitchenunderground.com

Class will be held at a private kitchen in the Bouldin Creek area of South Austin. Address will be provided 24 hours prior to class. No refunds are given, but you may transfer your spot with notice.


The Seasonal Plate | March 2018

NEW: This seasonal eating guide for the month of March has been updated to include new links to information and recipes for each vegetable, fruit, nut, meat, poultry, and seafood listed. Need a little inspiration for that farmers' market haul? Just follow each link!


Eating in season saves money, provides optimal nutrition, and supports local farmers. In North America, find many of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood, below, in season, and in markets, for the month of March.

Vegetables
Fruit and Nuts
avocado + cherimoya + citrus fruits (grapefruitkumquatlemonlimeorangecitronpomelo) + guava + strawberries 

Meat & Poultry
chicken + duck + eggs + beef (end of season) +   

Seafood
black drum + blue crab + clams + cod + crawfish + dungeness crab + flounder + halibut + oysters + prawns + redfish + red snapper + rockfish + salmon + scallop + shrimp + sole + squid

Primarily year-round species include ahi tuna + cod + catfish + flounder + grouper + mahi mahi rainbow trout + sole + (atlantic) salmon + swordfish



And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:

In the Garden | March 2018

This month's In the Garden graphics are in honor of my late mother, Margaret Ann, or Peggy as she was called, who loved quilts, and window boxes, and blooming bulbs. She admired pretty as much as she was pretty. I miss her all year long, but I hear her voice strongest right around her birthday, March 6. If she's watching, she'll be happy to see that I'm planning my flower boxes. This year, I'm planting jonquils in a public garden in her memory. 

Find, below, an addendum to the annual monthly In the Garden | March gardening guide. The annual guide outlines all of the gardening to-do's, maintenance, tasks and more for most USDA gardening zones for the month of March, in general. You'll definitely want to check it out to keep your yard and garden going, and growing strong.

Here, you'll find weather forecasts, full moon schedule, and best planting practices for Zone 1 weather (Texas, Oklahoma, some surrounding areas in west Louisiana and east New Mexico), primarily, and March 2018, specifically.



IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TIME IN TEXAS, MY FRIENDS!

Photo: Texas Highways
Be sure to get out on the backroads and get to know the beauty of this state anew starting in March. Find the best places for the lushest, most riotous displays of color according to Texas Highways magazine; Everything You Need to Know About Texas Wildflower Season.


Check out the state's most commonly found wildflowers courtesy of Texas Highways, Wildflowers of Texas. 


And learn more about Texas wildflowers and ecosystems with a stop and a stroll at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

Classes & Events | March 2018 | Maggie Perkins


So, honestly, every month is chockful of classes, demos, private parties and special events with From Maggie's Farm, but not every month gets its proper due on this blog. Sometimes, I get so busy doing all of those neat things, I don't have time for the marketing end of said neat things. (In fact, I'm looking for an intern to help with it all, if you know someone who is well-versed in social media marketing and curious about food entrepreneurship.) But I'm working on it. And I've got a lot of irons in the fire that I look forward to sharing in upcoming months.

For now, check out what's going on in March! with a nod to St. Patrick's Day, we have a lot of classes on the calendar to prepare for your celebratory luck o' the Irish noshing, along with Learn to Cook classes, bread making, cheese making, fermentation, pasta making, date nights, an Asian Dumpling party, A Mediterranean style Mezze feast, and more, more, more. Check it out below!

You can also find this information at the Classes & Events link in the navigation bar, above. And even when I fall behind on the fancy listings (because the cooking comes before the blogging part, a LOT), you can always see what I'm up to on the Google calendar below, which can also be found on the Classes & Events page. 

Tickets to this month's classes can be found on kitchenunderground.com.


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