Full disclosure: I'm not a vegan. But any recipe book that is built around seasonal produce from the farmer's market has already won my heart over. Terry Walters' book Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source, does just that. "Just going to the farmer's market was inspiration for the recipes for the book," she told me in a phone interview. "You're getting to know the farmer, you bring things home, and taste them in new ways. Clean to me is minimally processed and close to the source. As with all clean foods, when you eat foods around you that are in season, you're in tune with the environment. You have taste that is just amazing, you have nutritional value. It all goes hand-in-hand with supporting wellness." Terry likes to go to an urban farm/farmer's market near her in New Britain, CT called Urban Oaks Organic Farm. It's in a low income area and designated food desert. But when she walks in she always finds new foods to incorporate in her cooking, plus tips on farmers for how to use those new foods. "When you pick something fresh and you taste it right there, you've never tasted something like that before," she told me. Terry's book makes it easy to incorporate more fresh, healthy ingredients like leafy greens and vegetables in into your diet everyday. "My goal was to make [the recipes] quick and easy and delicious, so we can benefit from their nutritional value every day, not just on the weekend. They are vegan, gluten-free, and I feature as much in-season produce as I can. When you're looking in one season for a recipe, you know that those foods will be what's available around you at that time." So can a Connecticut mom's cookbook apply to busy single people in NYC? Sure, she says. "I don't think it matters if you live in the city or the suburbs or a rural area, nobody likes to slave over dinner, but we all like to sit at the table and eat good food. I take probably 10-15 minutes to get dinner on the table every night." And, she points out, New Yorkers have a bounty of fresh food around them, depending on the neighborhood. "The farmers markets in the city are mind-boggling." Terry comes to the city often, and when she does she eats at ABC Kitchen, Illili, Spring Street Natural Restaurant and Candle Kitchen, where she cribbed her caesar salad dressing recipe. She lent me three recipes from the book to try out and after looking up what's in season, I chose the fingerling potato salad to make. On a Monday, when the Union Square Farmer's market shrinks significantly, I was still able to find every fresh ingredient except for the sage and a red onion. I also had trouble finding grapeseed oil mayonnaise at Whole Foods (though it sounds intriguing) so I picked up hemp seed oil mayonnaise instead. And ... it turned out delicious! Take a peek:
Fingerling Potato Salad
with Fresh Herbs
This recipe satisfies those in my family who crave traditional potato salad, and the fresh herbs make me feel like I’ve added my own special touch and a little extra love. The first time I made it was with the most beautiful purple carrots from the farmers market. When I sliced them into rounds, I discovered that their insides were orange. What a gorgeous potato salad that was!SERVES 4 1 pound French fingerling potatoes (or small potato variety of choice) 3 carrots (vary color if possible), peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices 2 large garlic cloves, minced 1⁄4 cup minced red onion 3 tablespoons chopped chives 2 tablespoon minced sage 2 tablespoon thyme leaves (or lemon thyme leaves) 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil mayonnaise Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Extra virgin olive oil Fill Dutch oven or medium pot half way with water. Wash potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces and place immediately in pot of water (to prevent browning). Place pot on stove over high heat, cover partially and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add carrots and simmer 5 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender (time will vary according to size of potatoes). Drain potatoes and carrots in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop vegetables from cooking further. Set aside to cool slightly. In large bowl, combine garlic, onion, chives, sage and thyme. Add cooled potato mixture and mayonnaise and fold to combine all ingredients. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil as desired. Toss one more time and serve at room temperature or chilled slightly.