Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.
Did you know that buckwheat isn't a "wheat" at all, nor even a grain? Did you know that you can eat buckwheat leaves? Did you know that buckwheat is a complete protein? Here: all you ever wanted to know about this ancient, delicious grain-that-is-not-a-grain - plus a recipe for Japanese soba noodles!
Like many seafood delicacies, the clam, at first glance, is not something that begs to be eaten. The first person to eat a clam had to be either very hungry or answering to some pre-historic round of truth or dare. Here: everything you've ever wanted to know about clams - plus a comforting classic clam recipe.
Estimates vary, but Americans put back at least several billion burgers each year. Veggie and other burger bases are out there, but the majority are still made from ground beef. After a bad couple of years in the press, will the ick factor kill Americans' burger fetish? Not likely.
Lettuce really represents the highs and the lows of urban gardening. Is anything more satisfying than seeing the bright neon green of Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce peeking up through the dirt? Or more soul-crushing than discovering that your perfect head of Speckled Bibb has been nibbled to the ground by a flock of rough-and-tumble Brooklyn sparrows?
You know pansies, roses, hibiscus... but do you know nasturtium, chervil, day lilies, crocuses, lilacs, geraniums? All of these flowers are beautiful, of course, but they also taste great! In this week's installation of Real Food Right Now, what to look for, what to look out for - and, as always, recipes.
Mother Nature doesn't wait for us to get organized, and nettles may be in the dappled limelight of a forest near you right now. But if you dally, poof (!), they'll be long gone. With nettles, you're not just cooking in the season. You're cooking in the moment.
Whether you love them or hate them, call them scallions or green onions, this popular vegetable is one of the first flavors of spring in many seasonal markets. Funky as it is, it's fresh, it's green and it's real food right now.
Beautiful fiddleheads are bright green, their tightly coiled heads delicately curled like the scroll of a violin. With a flavor slightly reminiscent of asparagus, but also nutty and pleasantly bitter, fiddleheads are a delicious reminder that the doldrums of winter are finally over.
If you have never had a cherimoya, it is hard to describe the spell this seductive fruit can cast over you. The fruit looks like some sort of reptilian egg, but the pulp of the cherimoya is creamy and custardy, with the flavor of bananas, pineapples, strawberries and kiwi. A true treasure of the farmers' market - for those of you lucky to live where it grows.
Just when the doldrums of long, gray winter days set in and our health is threatened by the sniffles, Nature gives us a cure! Tangy, bright, easy to peel mandarin oranges are a delight to have in the kitchen - their vibrant color and sunny fragrance are smile-worthy.
While you may agree with one of our staff, who said Valentine's Day (the holiday responsible for the sale of 58 million pounds of chocolate) is "mostly a lamentable shakedown perpetuated to promote superfluous consumption," we also know you probably care a lot about chocolate. So here are the details!
Everything is adorable about kumquats. From their diminutive size to their cheery color, and even their name - all as cute as a button, and a welcome sight in the dead of winter when there is little fun to be had at the market. Pick up a basket of these wee fruit and get cooking.
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 (and names) - all of which are delicious. Not everyone agrees, though! (Read on to find out about the passionate anti-frisée contingent.)
Did you know that pistachios have been eaten for over 7,000 years? With deep roots in the culinary history of many Middle Eastern and other cultures, and newer importance in US agriculture, pistachios are a seriously fascinating drupe (that's right - they're not even really a nut). From special occasion desserts to pistachio pesto (recipe included!), pistachios bring a lot to the table.