Megan Saynisch is cook, gardener, culinary anthropologist and writer living in Brooklyn with her husband and young son. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she is the creator of the blog Brooklynfarmhouse.com.
Heirloom varieties of this week's real food trend toward the exotic and include Rat's Tail, Plum Purple, Easter Egg, White Hailstone, Chinese Red Meat, Helios and China Rose. Spicy and crunchy, radishes are great pickled but perhaps best served with a dab of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Favas are a fleeting spring vegetable - like ramps and sorrel and morels -that show up at the market and quickly disappear. Enjoyed in cuisines worldwide, favas are much lauded subjects of folklore and even show up in one of the most notorious lines in American cinema. Mull over more fascinating fava facts and pro tips in this week's Real Food Right Now!
This week's Real Food Right Now is among the earliest spring crops; so remarkably versatile, the various varieties of our friend the pea, including garden peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas and dried peas, each work their own little bit of magic in the kitchen. And to top it off, they combine the nutritional goodness of veggies and legumes, packing a vitamin wallop that's just what the doctor ordered.
In Brooklyn, the sorrel patch is already up, green and beautiful, despite the super slow start to spring we've had here in NYC. Native to Europe and Northern Asia, where it still grows wild, sorrel was once pretty fashionable - eaten and cultivated by the ancients in quantity, and particularly loved by the French, British and Italians in the Middle Ages, when improved varieties began to be bred in earnest.
Few vegetables are as beautiful as fiddleheads, the shoots of various species of fern. The type of fiddlehead most commonly seen here on the East Coast are bright green, with tightly coiled heads delicately curled like the scroll of a violin. With a flavor slightly reminiscent of asparagus, but somehow also nutty and pleasantly bitter, fiddleheads are a delicious reminder that the doldrums of winter are finally over.
Legend has it that St. David told his Welsh brethren to wear leeks on their helmets to distinguish themselves from their Saxon foes during combat. Read on for more strange-but-true facts about this week's Real Food, and a tempting creamed leek recipe.
What is it with bitter greens and confusing naming conventions? This week's Real Food, chicories and endives, are bitter, leafy veggies that come in a rainbow of colors - all of which are delicious. Not everyone agrees, though - read on to find out about the passionate anti-frisée contingent.
Rapini's roots extend to Central Asia, but its biggest fans, by far, are Italians, and this week's Real Food recipe is a delicious testament to that. Stateside, the familiar name "broccoli rabe" is actually a registered trademark, and the primary US grower is at the center of a major labor dispute. Are you tough enough for this brassica's bitter bite?
Did your first experience with these sweet, earthy roots come in the form of the dreaded pickled beet? Megan's did, but she's long since learned to love "the gateway root" and its nutritious greens, and she's passed her affinity for them on to her two-year-old son.
Cabbage - quite literally, the mother of all Brassicas - is hearty, healthy and delicious, and it keeps in your fridge for weeks. What better vegetable for mid-January?
"The Feast of the Seven Fishes." The very name conjures up images of medieval ladies and gents dressed in their finest, sitting at a comically long table laid out with ornate seafood dishes on gilded serving platters. Or at least that's what I thought of when I first heard about "the Feast."
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently announced its first-ever guidelines on organic foods for babies and children, published in the journal Pediatrics. The article, Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages, hit the mark in some cases, but in others, fell way, way short.
Some biblical historians speculate that the pomegranate may have been the "forbidden fruit" in the Garden of Eden. What other Biblical -- and otherwise -- associations surround this beautiful fruit? Read on and find out.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes reach their seasonal peak -- how fitting! And while we have plenty of delicious recipes and tasty trivia to offer, we know why some of you are really here: to find out about where the marshmallows fit in. (Or do they?)
Americans waste a scandalous amount of food, and even more during the holidays. Here, Megan Saynisch on how to make the most of your Thanksgiving bounty.
Sunchokes, the vegetable formerly known as "Jerusalem artichokes," are the tuberous roots of a native North American plant in the sunflower family -- neither from Jerusalem nor related to artichokes -- originally cultivated by Native Americans. And they are delicious.