by guest bloggers Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, The Beekman Boys
One warm summer day, a family with a 4-year-old came to visit us at Beekman Farm.
As we walked around the heirloom vegetable garden--52 raised beds on a half-acre plot at the heart of the farm--the child became fascinated with pulling carrots out of the ground, biting into a sugary pea pod, and plucking nasturtium blossoms and popping them into his mouth.
The boy's father commented, "I can't believe this! We can never get him to eat vegetables at home." Overhearing, the child looked up with his two fists full of salad greens and said, "These are vegetables?"
Vegetables haven't quite won a place in the hearts of kids (or even some adults), and often required the hard-sell approach. This is the problem we set out to fix with our newest book, the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.
In creating this vegetable cookbook, we were influenced by the gardening catalogs that fill our mailbox in January and February--well-timed for when winter has left the landscape of the farm its bleakest. (You can see this influence in the design elements of the book.)
For hundreds of years, America's seed houses have utilized nearly every marketing tool ever created to inspire a love affair with their little illustrated packets of hope. Their saturated images create fantasies of voluptuous produce and exceptional harvests. But they also promise that all of us can become farmers of something and that self-sufficiency can be both beautiful and delicious.
The recipes in the new cookbook, while not all vegetarian, are meant to show off the flavors of each vegetable to its fullest and to tempt the tastebuds of even those most stubborn in their "I don't like vegetables" stance.
We also wanted the book to be a "guide to your local farmer's market." Whatever surprise bounty is discovered at the market (most plentiful and thus most economical), how do you make the most of it?
Beyond encouraging people to frequent their local farmers this harvest season, we've worked out a way that the farmer's markets and CSAs in your own hometown can use the book as a fundraising opportunity. You can learn more information about that here: http://beekman1802.com/a-local-harvest.
And when tomatoes hit their peak in your part of the country, try out this recipe:
Serves 6 to 8
The tomato was not widely accepted as a food until the 19th century; now 93 percent of American gardening households grow tomatoes. This tart recipe will help you make up for any lost time. Tomatoes and creamy ricotta: good in pasta, great on pizza, but perfect in a tart.
- All-purpose flour, enough for rolling out the pastry
- 1 sheet (7 to 8 ounces) frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, drained
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄3 cup chopped fresh basil
- ¾ teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ pound tomatoes, cored, halved, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to a 10" x 15" rectangle and transfer it to the baking sheet.
3. With a paring knife, score a border 1 inch in from the edge all around the rectangle, cutting into but not through the dough. With a fork, prick the dough inside the border all over (this is so the border will rise higher than the center that's been pricked). Brush the center with 1 tablespoon of the oil.
4. In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Spread the mixture over the center of the puff pastry sheet. Top with the tomatoes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.
When Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge bought the Beekman Farm in upstate New York in 2008, they didn't just start a farm, they started a movement. A mere five years later they have a hit TV show, bestselling books, product lines, a massive social following, and a James Beard nominated lifestyle website. They've been featured in most major media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, Vanity Fair, The Martha Stewart Show, Rolling Stone, Dr. Oz, Vogue, and more. Known best as "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" from their hit television reality show airing on Cooking Channel, the duo has put their stylish stamp on seasonal living.
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com