Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quinoa with Garden String Beans and Shoots

All images © Valery Rizzo

It sure feels like summer today and believe it or not in this heat I was out in the garden planting a few new seedlings and collecting string beans and looking around for whatever else is starting to appear. I also grew a pot of pea shoots inside this week, since the birds were all lovin my shoots I had out in the garden. Shoots are so easy to grow and they have a lovely sweet peppery taste to them. So using what I could find in the garden and what I had in the kitchen I made a really light and super simple Quinoa with some Black Valentine string beans from the garden, topped with fresh pea shoots.

Quinoa with Garden String Beans and Shoots

String beans
pea shoots or tendrils
Extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt 
freshly ground black pepper

You can make as much or little of this as you want. 

Rinse your Quinoa before cooking. While your Quinoa is cooking wash the string beans with warm water and pluck off the stem ends. Take a bunch of string beans at a time and cut into small 1/4 pieces and steam all the cut beans in a separate pot.

When Quinoa and beans are ready combine together into a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, some sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix every thing together. Plate your Quinoa and top with as many pea shoots as you'd like.

I also wanted to tell you about my three page spreads, featuring some of the urban farms in Brooklyn, in the summer issue of Chickpea Magazine. This Vegan Quarterly is filled with stories, recipes, art, design and great photography.

View a free digital version online or purchase a beautiful printed issue or subscribe at

The Magazine is also available for purchase if your in Cincinnati at Park and Vine.

And finally I was very pleased to have my Sunset Park Shrimp Boil story featured this month on Kinfolk Magazine's Journal. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby Blue Fish with Charmoula

Photo © Valery Rizzo

So I got the first fish from my CSF (Community Supported Fishery) with Mark and Bianca of Mermaid's Garden. This week's fish was Baby Blues caught by fisherman Nat Miller from Montauk, Long Island, using pound netting, a very old and humane catch method. Mermaid's Garden sends you this great weekly info about the fish, how it was caught, by whom, and suggestions for storage, cooking and recipes.

Grilling was recommended for the Blue Fish and I have to admit I was a bit intimidated, did I need a special fish holder, do I cook it right on the grill, would it fall through the grating? But fish is meant to be scooped up out of the ocean and grilled outdoors! Bianca assured me it would be fine directly on the grill. So my husband and I set out to grill our baby blues for the very first time on our very tiny Weber grill out in the backyard. 

I decided to try Mark's Grilled fish with Charmoula. Charmoula is an herb and spice mixture used throughout South Africa. You use most of it as a marinade for the fish and reserve the rest to serve with the grilled fish. You can find Mark's version on Mermaid Garden's facebook page and all I can say is this was one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten!! There is a reason he is the chef from Palo Santo! I used the parsley and cilantro from my garden and substituted red pepper flakes for the jalepeno pepper and ground cumin in place of toasted cumin seeds. I also realized I used all of the reserved marinade on the finished fish rather than the tablespoon recommended for each fillet in the recipe...whoops sorry Mark. It was still amazingly delicious to me and I successfully grilled my first fish! I paired the fish with a simple salad of escarole, thinly sliced red onion and pumpkin seeds dressed with some grated Pecorino Romano, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Visit Mermaid's Garden's Facebook page more info about their CSF and beautiful photos of the local fisherman with their catch. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Brooklyn Photo of the Week: people's pops

Photo © Valery Rizzo

Co-founder Joel Horowitz and Rue Snider of people's pops serving up fresh fruit pops and shave ices to a constant line of people at the Brooklyn Flea.

I don't know why but I still prefer The Brookyln Flea in Clinton Hill to Smorgasburg in Billyburg. Maybe it's the flea market which I love together with the food vendors or because it's in the old neighborhood I grew up in or maybe because I find it more laid back with the Pratt crowd and surrounding trees. Supposedly there was an Anne Hathaway sighting there this past weekend. 

People's pops just opened a store front location in Park Slope on Union Street and hot off the presses, the founders just published a people's pop book (Ten Speed Press, June 2012) with recipes for 55 of their amazing pops, ice and some boozy variations and the photography by Jennifer May looks amazing as well. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hayseed's Big City Farm Supply

All images © Valery Rizzo

The May Photo Feature I shot for the James Beard nominated Nona Brooklyn was published this week. This month's story is about a seasonal pop-up farm shop, Hayseed's Big City Farm Supply, the first of it's kind in Brooklyn. The brainchild of Brooklyn Homesteader Meg Paska, Rooftop farmers Brooklyn Grange, and Design Duo Domestic Construction. It's goal is to aid and inspire city growers and dreamers. I know they have been a big inspiration for my vegetable garden that I have fun with in my backyard, which teaches me more about the food I'm eating and reconnects me with the earth. To see the full photo feature (48 photographs) on Nona click here.