What We’re Shopping For This Weekend, Part 2
Our editors’ weekly market haul
Every Friday in April, the Kitchen Stories editorial team will share what’s on the weekend’s shopping list and what we’ll make with it. We’ve decided to challenge ourselves by shopping hyper seasonal and diving into all the spring produce this month.
Will you join the challenge? Take part by letting us know what’s on your shopping list in the comments!
On Julie’s shopping list: New potatoes
Potatoes are probably not what comes to mind when you think of a farmer’s market haul. Stubby and dirt-flecked, they’re utterly unsexy when compared to other spring offerings: snappy red radishes, flamboyant rhubarb, the enigmatic artichoke. And yet, here I am, as in love with potatoes as ever, ready to defend them against the lot of their more photogenic peers.
The thing is, I love potatoes in any form, and unconditionally—deep-fried, pan-fried, oven-baked. I like to joke that even a bad French fry is a good French fry. There’s just something so deeply comforting about potatoes, from their starchy middles and crisp skins, to their role as vehicle for a variety of condiments and toppings so vast it honestly makes my heart skip a beat.
My husband is less convinced by potatoes. And it’s unfortunate for him since, for my first market challenge, I’m picking new potatoes—the smaller, creamier, sweeter versions of their year-round brethren. I’ll cook them in a variety of ways, with a variety of toppings, and by the end of the week, I’m confident we’ll sit squarely as a potato household.
Julie’s recipe picks
If there’s anything to make the lowly potato sound elevated, it’s the word gribiche—a mustardy, pickle-y sauce made with boiled eggs and plenty of chopped herbs. It sounds fancier than it is to make (ideal), and is an unexpected and perfect companion to the bitter endive and creamy potatoes.
The technique for these hasselback potatoes creates the perfect balance of crisp potato skins and creamy centers, not to mention plenty of nooks and crannies for the aioli to sneak in to.
Did I mention I love all potatoes? Even wrinkly ones. This recipe hails from the Canary Islands, and between the pork’s spice-packed marinade and the vibrant mojo verde, it’s not one to be missed.
There are few dishes more leftovers-friendly than a frittata. Throw in some new potatoes, smoky chorizo, and whatever vegetables you have lying around, and you’ve made yourself a winning Sunday brunch.
On Devan’s Shopping list: Cucumber
Cucumbers are one of my favorite crunchy fruits—or vegetables, depending on who you ask. To me, a cold cucumber is the epitome of freshness: crisp but not dry, slightly melon-y in taste but mild, with a little bitter edge that creeps in about half the time.
Devan's recipe picks:
I often slice or smash them and eat the irregular spears with some flaky salt as a snack. They’re also great as a crunchy add-in for various salads or dips and are a perfect foil to anything spicy—like these recipes show.
But, now that spring is here and cucumbers are at the height of their season, they taste so good and I for one want to savor that flavor. So, this weekend, I’m going to run down to the store and get a bunch of the freshest ones I can find to make myself a big batch of homemade pickles—which are not as hard as one might think. I have all the makings already at home except for the fresh dill and cucumbers, so my shopping list is rather short this weekend. I personally like small seedless cucumbers better than bigger ones, so my answer to anyone’s “What are you doing this weekend?” will definitely be: picking through the cukes at the market!
On Xueci’s Shopping list: Bok Choy
Just like Ruby wrote in last week’s market haul, for me, picking Bok Choy for this challenge feels like cheating. To be honest, I’ve been shopping for bok choy almost every week. Fun fact: although bok choy or pak choi has (almost) the same name throughout the rest of the world, which stems from its Cantonese pronunciation, its Chinese name varies in different regions of China. Where I’m from, it’s called “baby white cabbage” (xiao bai cai). I never realised it until a heated discussion about the correct name erupted at my college canteen.
Disputes aside, we share the same love for this green gem. It is versatile, nutritious and easy to cook with. A delightful discovery during my routine grocery shopping is that bok choy, usually baby bok choy, is now more and more available in German supermarkets. As this cabbage variety is increasingly grown in Europe and North America, we are spoiled with fresh seasonal bok choy for a good part of the year. So if you want to include more Asian ingredients in your cooking, give it a try!
Xueci’s recipe picks:
This bok choy salad was as eye-opening as much it was, er, appetite-opening for me when we tested it one month ago, with its contrasting of flavors and textures. Before that, bok choy had never been something fancy for me. So this week I’m learning new ways with bok choy—I can already imagine serving up this show-stopper when I have friends over. The key to the visual appeal is to serve it on a dark, matte plate and most importantly: the sesame crunch!
I will undoubtedly carry on with my usual ways to prepare bok choy, like stir fry-ing them, or to poaching them. But instead of dried shiitake mushrooms, I’ll try some fresh ones. I bought some last week, and the results were amazingly successful: they are tender yet chewy and really aromatic. I can recommend a twist of this dish: Quarter the bok choy and mushrooms, then stir-fry them together with the same dressing.
Taiwanese pork belly over rice (lu rou fan) is such a nostalgic dish for me. It was very popular back in the time when I was in high school. Although bok choy is not the main star here, it really balances the rich taste of the pork belly and lends a fresh touch and crunchy texture. With the same philosophy, bok choy is a brilliant side dish for hearty meat mains.
Published on April 12, 2019