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Spring Menu

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

You guys and gals have anything fun coming up for Springtime? I'm in the NE so we are just now starting to see real springtime weather. I walked through the first farmers market of the season yesterday, still pretty sparse. 

 

I'm finishing up vacation this week, just wondering what you guys have going on your menus. 

 

Looking forward to the usual suspects--ramps, asparagus, morels, peas, etc. I don't really like fiddleheads but I'm sure I'll use them somehow. 

 

Thoughts? 

post #2 of 6

I am in New England and it is just starting to warm up as of yesterday, we had snow about 9 days ago. I envy your farmers market even being open this time of year, literally nothing short of cold storage vegetables are available locally. Greenhouse products may start popping up soon, weeks ahead of conventionally grown produce as they typically do.

 

As far as planning our menu, Spring produce simply must be purchased from our regular vendors who are sourcing them wherever they do this time of year (mostly California and far South of New England). For us there's nothing inherently wrong with this because we have no other choice. Spring simply is not in full swing until mid May around where I live. Our customers want to see peas, radishes, asparagus, favas and the like but local options aren't a reality til further into the season. It's a balancing act and trusting your produce vendors to deliver a quality product even if shipped from one coast to the other is key.

 

I'm looking forward to the usual Spring suspects but for us using and processing these ingredients differently than we typically do is one of our goals for the season. Instead of our typical rhubarb compote we're thinking of different textures and preparations on a single dessert. A rhubrab agar fluid gel, poached batons, a vibrant sorbet  and a shaved and candied garnish.

 

Anyone else looking to experiment more this season?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by linecook854 View Post
 

I am in New England and it is just starting to warm up as of yesterday, we had snow about 9 days ago. I envy your farmers market even being open this time of year, literally nothing short of cold storage vegetables are available locally. Greenhouse products may start popping up soon, weeks ahead of conventionally grown produce as they typically do.

 

As far as planning our menu, Spring produce simply must be purchased from our regular vendors who are sourcing them wherever they do this time of year (mostly California and far South of New England). For us there's nothing inherently wrong with this because we have no other choice. Spring simply is not in full swing until mid May around where I live. Our customers want to see peas, radishes, asparagus, favas and the like but local options aren't a reality til further into the season. It's a balancing act and trusting your produce vendors to deliver a quality product even if shipped from one coast to the other is key.

 

I'm looking forward to the usual Spring suspects but for us using and processing these ingredients differently than we typically do is one of our goals for the season. Instead of our typical rhubarb compote we're thinking of different textures and preparations on a single dessert. A rhubrab agar fluid gel, poached batons, a vibrant sorbet  and a shaved and candied garnish.

 

Anyone else looking to experiment more this season?

 

Hah, I'm in New England too. The farmers market was literally what you described...cold storage stuff. There was 1 farm that had some greens, I'm assuming greenhouse for that. There seemed to be some sprouts too, again I'm assuming greenhouse. But yeah, I'm in the same boat--having to buy non-local produce for a few weeks until the farmers and climate cooperate. 

 

One of my favorite things to do is to present one ingredient several ways on a plate (not unique to me I know) so I dig your rhubarb idea. I think I'm using a rhubarb chutney on a chicken liver mousse dish this year. I'll seal the potted jars with rhubarb gelee, then do a sweet/sour compote on the side, with radish and herb salad.

 

Do you add something to your rhubarb to help the color, especially early in the season when it isn't very red? A lot of my rhubarb stuff turns out a really nasty green/grey color. I've even seen and heard of some chefs using food coloring...

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Someday View Post

 

Do you add something to your rhubarb to help the color, especially early in the season when it isn't very red? A lot of my rhubarb stuff turns out a really nasty green/grey color. I've even seen and heard of some chefs using food coloring...

 

It depends. My regular produce vendor usually gets rhubarb that is pretty red, making a jam or compote from it results in a dark pink color. Locally, my rhubarb will have a good amount of green throughout. Green isn't necessarily a bad thing, it doesn't mean it's 'under-ripe' in the sense a strawberry would be. In fact some varieties of rhubarb are nearly uniformly green and have similar sugar levels to their red counter parts. That being said the red coloration that many familiarize rhubarb with is important in most applications. The obvious of incorporating red fruits or berries such as strawberries, raspberries or even cherries into a rhubarb recipe will increase the sugar content as well as improve coloration. This though, of course alters the rhubarb taste which can be a good or bad thing depending on it's application. Also, if you're making a sorbet or similar item there are a few brands of frozen rhubarb puree (Boiron comes to mind) which could be added to a batch of fresh rhubarb puree. These purees are the color you're looking for but usually lack any food coloring or the like.

post #5 of 6

New England here as well! We're rather simple breakfast/lunch but try to make use of as many local and fresh ingredients where possible. I'll do a fiddlehead and goat cheese omelet probably starting in a week or so when I can source local fiddleheads. The winter was so mild, we're already picking chive, flat and curly parsley, rosemary and oregano out of the herb garden where much of it lasted the winter.

 

 

SO, New Englanders, who are you favored purveyors? We now source most produce and several specialty items through Sid Wainer. Paul W Marks is a great dairy and spice vendor. We do a small bit with Accardi on Italian specialties. US Foods is my broad line. Love their mobile apps for ordering and inventory control.  Love to hear of others.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapeCodChef View Post
 

New England here as well! We're rather simple breakfast/lunch but try to make use of as many local and fresh ingredients where possible. I'll do a fiddlehead and goat cheese omelet probably starting in a week or so when I can source local fiddleheads. The winter was so mild, we're already picking chive, flat and curly parsley, rosemary and oregano out of the herb garden where much of it lasted the winter.

 

 

SO, New Englanders, who are you favored purveyors? We now source most produce and several specialty items through Sid Wainer. Paul W Marks is a great dairy and spice vendor. We do a small bit with Accardi on Italian specialties. US Foods is my broad line. Love their mobile apps for ordering and inventory control.  Love to hear of others.

Where in NE are you? Haha, just kidding. 

 

We use Sid too. They are pretty good, I'm happy with them. I try to use local farmers as much as possible, meat and produce. I also use sea2table for most seafood. Some Browne Trading as well. We use Provisions Intl too for specialty goods. They don't do produce, its mostly grains, oils, vinegar, cheese, some cured meats, etc.  They are outstanding...though I don't know if they make it out to the cape. Boston, yes, but not sure about the cape. 

 

But yeah, I'll be sourcing a lot of Spring stuff from Sid for the time being--green garlic, peas, favas, morels, etc. At least until we are up and running. 

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