Thursday, July 08, 2004

Fourth of July Feast – Part II

Bob and I started preparing for our feast Saturday morning with trips to the farmers market, Jefferson Market, and Murray’s Cheese Shop.

I love the Union Square Greenmarket! The produce is varied and abundant and the quality is amazing. In addition to the requisite fruits and vegetables, there are vendors selling meats, cheeses, baked goods, jams, plants, and lots and lots of gorgeous flowers. Bob had made an earlier trip, but we still needed a few things. We had to get a beet for the infamous beet paste, radishes for our salad, and of course – flowers. We managed to come home with much more, including a huge bunch of basil (for $2.00!) and red carrots.

Echinacea from the farmers market

Jefferson Market is Bob’s favorite grocery store. While Jefferson Market has beautiful produce, it is the meat counter that is the real star. Actually, when they were in the smaller space a few years ago, I thought of the place as a meat store with a few other things. They now have most everything you might need and, according to my brother, the service is great. We were here for the basics – eggs, sugar, flour, etc. We also got some wonderful breakfast sausage for Sunday morning.

Murray’s Cheese Shop was new for both of us. It is listed as a source in the Babbo Cookbook and since we needed some Pecorino cheese for the salad, we had a good excuse to make the trip. We didn’t spend much time there, but they appeared to have a huge variety of cheeses – plenty of which I’d never heard of before! We left with a young Pecorino for the salad and a chunk of Parmesan for grating.

Our shopping completed, it was time to get to work. We did some prep work for the salad and made the sour cherry jam that would top our vanilla ice cream. Sour cherries are hard to come by because they are so fragile. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in the grocery store. Fortunately, they do have them at the Union Square Greenmarket. Bob had bought a quart which turned out to be just slightly more than the one pound that we needed. Pitting the cherries was easy with Bob’s new cherry pitter (Williams Sonoma sells these in their stores, but apparently not on-line) and the recipe for the jam (from the Babbo Cookbook) couldn’t have been simpler. Combine a pound of pitted sour cherries with one and a quarter cups of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the juices are released and then continue to cook until the jam is reduced to the desired consistency. We showed great restraint and didn’t dig into the jam until the following day, but it was incredible!

Sour cherries

Sour cherries and sugar - that's all!

Juices released

Sour cherry jam

With our sour cherry jam cooling in the fridge and Chuck home from work, we were ready to let someone else cook dinner for us that evening. Lucky us – we had reservations at Lupa!

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