Weekly Buy & Try
Explore new ingredients with me 🌞
Happy Saturday! I’m ending today’s shopping adventures with a new series I’m calling the Buy & Try where I show you three interesting things I bought during my weekly grocery trip with some ideas on what the heck to do with them.
We’re getting into my favorite time of year for farmer’s markets. Moving away from the hearty, comforting root vegetables of the fall and winter, you can expect to see lots of beautiful green ingredients. From ramps to garlic scapes to green garlic to an abundance of fresh herbs, it’s my favorite time of year to cook.
Without further ado, let’s talk about this week’s Buy & Try.
Green garlic, also called spring garlic, is simply young garlic. Farmers typically plant garlic in the fall and harvest it later in the spring and through mid-summer. Prior to harvesting, farmers will occasionally thin the crops which means pulling the garlic before it has fully matured. Green garlic, however, has grown so much in popularity in the spring that it has become a crop in its own right.
While you may not find it in many grocery stores, you will typically find it in most farmer’s markets from late March through May. It looks like a larger spring onion and has an aromatic, light, garlicky aroma. The taste is mild and sweet in comparison to fully matured garlic.
How to use green garlic:
Green garlic is extremely easy to use and versatile. Prepare it as you would a spring onion by removing any dead, tough, wilted, or browned layers and trimming off the bottom. After thorough rinsing, the green garlic is ready for any use imaginable.
Try it in my spring garlic tortellini soup or try your hand at a few of these ideas:
Green garlic pesto: Try adding a stalk of green garlic to your pesto for a bright and garlicky finish.
Green goddess dressing: Use it in addition to your favorite green goddess herbs.
Pickled: Try pickling it and enjoying it on sandwiches or salads throughout spring!
Aji Amarillo Paste
Aji amarillo is a type of yellow pepper that is grown all over Peru. ‘Aji’ meaning chili pepper and ‘amarillo’ meaning yellow. It is a staple in Peruvian cuisine and when paired with garlic and red onion, is considered a holy trinity of flavor.
Aji amarillo paste is considered a main ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. Of course, in Peru, chefs and home cooks prepare their own version of the paste to use. If you have access to Peruvian yellow peppers, you can follow this recipe to prepare your own version!
You can find the paste at some Hmarts or in South American or gourmet grocery stores. It can also be purchased online. Aji amarillo paste is typically quite spicy though heat levels will vary from brand to brand.
How to use aji amarillo paste:
Marinades: Add a kick to your steak, pork, chicken, or shrimp marinades.
Soups, stews, and chilis: Add a teaspoon or two to your favorite soup, stew or chili.
Risotto: Want to spice up risotto night? Aji amarillo will add a gorgeous golden hue to to your risotto with an aromatic punch of heat.
If you’ve been following my website for more than 17 seconds, you know I’m a serious mushroom fiend. I could eat them every day and with every meal if I could. My farmer’s market has a mushroom stand and they regularly have beautiful chestnut mushrooms.
These mushrooms are a newer species of gourmet mushrooms that grow in clusters and can typically be found on beech trees. They have a gorgeous orange-brown color with long white stems. Both the stem and the caps can be enjoyed, though you do need to cut and remove the woody base of the cluster to separate the mushrooms.
These mushrooms are available year-round and they have a woody, nutty flavor to them. When cooked, they retain their shape well and look beautiful plated on just about anything.
How to use chestnut mushrooms:
Keep it simple: Sautéed in lots of butter and tossed with freshly minced parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice makes for a divine side dish.
Risotto: This is what I’m making tonight! I can’t wait to show you how it turns out.
Pasta: Leave the mushrooms fully intact and then sauté them. Serve in a light cream sauce with your favorite pasta shape.
If you want to see how I use these ingredients over the next few days, be sure to follow me on Instagram but next Sunday’s newsletter will have some of the Buy & Try recipes included, so stock up in the ingredients in the meantime!