Canvas & Cuisine is largely made up of true stories – about trips with my friend and co-author, Sue Fazio. I will never forget our adventures in Russia – the tastiest among them, sampling foie gras and caviar. Two decadent gals on vacay, we had caviar at every meal, and even hit up a caviar tasting bar where vodka was on tap. We did it up!
I learned a lot about caviar on that trip with Sue. The tiny black pearls found in a fingertip of caviar are actually the salt-cured eggs of wild sturgeon found in the Caspian Sea. There are different types of Russian caviar, all of which are considered a delicacy. The top three varieties are Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga, each of which come from a specific type of sturgeon.
Why, you ask, am I going on and on about Russian caviar? Well, pin my tail and call me a donkey, but I just found out that real Russian caviar is available at my local farmers market! And, it is delish!!
It turns out that Marshallberg Farm offers sustainable, high quality, pure Osetra caviar. They raise U.S. farmed sturgeon and caviar. I spoke to Sabine Mader from Marshallberg Farms. She told me the whole process has taken over nine years – from the import of the first fish, to the production of the delicious stuff.
I know my subscribers come from all over the place, and may never visit the Watauga Farmer’s market where the Marshallbergs have their stand, but they are a great reminder to expect anything at the weekend markets popping up across America this summer. If you lay your hands on some caviar, here are my tips on what to do with it:
A savory (Parmesan, sausage and chive) waffle dish, topped with a sprinkle of caviar.
Baked potatoes with caviar
An everything bagel and lox w/a dollop of caviar
Salted caramel ice cream with a touch of caviar
Sautéed chicken breast made the Jorj way (see below!)
The Millionaires Chicken recipe above is crying out for caviar and white wine cream sauce!? So I whipped up Millionaire Chicken after hitting the Marshallbergs’ stand. I served it alongside a clump of sautéed Swiss chard and a few roasted baby potatoes. The oohhs and aahhs were well worth a million bucks!
30 minute cuisine
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
Place the chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken to about ½-inch of thickness. Season both sides with some of the salt and pepper. Brush both sides with mustard. Dredge in breadcrumbs. Place the chicken onto a platter, cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge. (You can do this several hours in advance.) Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the chicken breasts until golden on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook on the other side until golden, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, tent with aluminum foil.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and cook until just soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, removing all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When most of the wine has disappeared, pour in the chicken stock and cream. Stir in the mustard. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the sauce until it begins to thicken. Add the chicken back into the sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 4 to 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce and garnish with a bit of caviar on the top.
My friends, the farmers, are all over social media promising the fruits of their spring labors – I start drooling and reaching for my tote bags every time I go online. I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite place in the mountains, Watauga Farmers Market, which opened for the season on May 4th. Over the last few weekends, I’ve gotten my hands on those lovely purple spring onions and the coils of garlic scapes, painted and cooked a lot within the pages of CANVAS & CUISINE: the art of the fresh market.
Watauga will have early (greenhouse) tomatoes this year and the tender leaves of baby greens. Here I come, and will continue to come through October!
After my first visit this year, I created a dish that pulls together some of my favorite farmer’s market finds: tender collard greens and rich pork belly. It makes for a lovely first course or a wonderful side dish…once you’ve chopped up the belly and stir it into the greens. Either way, it’s sure to delight and perhaps motivate you to find a fresh farmer’s market opening near you. If you find a new one in your neighborhood, please share the experience with us! I love posting scrumptious possibilities to my social media @jorjmorgancooking.
Now, please excuse me while I simmer my greens…
Collard Greens with Slow Roasted Pork Belly
serves 6 or more
30 minute cuisine plus slow cooking
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 (1 ½ pound) piece pork belly
3 bunches collard greens, stemmed, rolled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Mix together the onion, garlic and chili powder with salt and pepper. Season both sides of the pork belly with some of the seasoning. Reserve about a tablespoon for the collards. Heat your slow cooker (or Dutch oven) over medium high heat. Place the pork belly into the cooker and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the pork and brown on the second side, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pork belly to a baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook on low heat (about 275 to 300°) for several hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.
Place the onion into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook until soft. Add the chopped collard greens and stir. Season with the remaining spices. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Set your slow cooker on high and place the lid on to top. If you are using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top and move it into the oven with the pork belly. Continue cooking adding more liquid as needed to produce soft, syrupy greens. Before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Serve the collard greens on a plate with pieces of tender pork belly on the top. Drizzle the juices from the pork belly pan over the top.
I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the summer time, where the farmers markets brighten up the road sides with in season produce, fresh flower bouquets, and vending stations offering all kinds of goodies. As a cookbook author, it’s a chance to run wilder than the azaleas in bloom– and my favorite place to do it is the Watauga Farmers Market in Boone, NC.
I always load up on beets, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, collards, green peas, lettuces of all kinds, and loads of delicious strawberries this time of year.
My Kale Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese takes advantage of the freshest kale, sweetest strawberries and creamy artisanal cheese found in the market. There’s a cheese maker at the Watauga Farmer’s Market in the mountains of North Carolina that makes so many variations of goat cheese that it’s hard to choose. You can taste them all, if you are patient enough to wait your turn.
I also like to create super granola with the seeds and nuts I find at the market. Look for the super granola recipe at the bottom of this recipe. All kinds of possibilities lay in wait under those farmer’s market tents! See you around…
Kale Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese & a Nutty Topper
Serves 4 to 6 as a side salad
30 Minute Cuisine
For Nutty Topper:
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios
¼ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
¼ cup roasted, and salted Pepitas
½ large lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped, about 3 to 4 cups
1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced, about 2 cups
4 to 5 medium radishes, sliced thin, about 1 cup
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, about ½ cup
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a medium skillet pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the pistachios, sunflower seeds and pepitas. Cook until the nuts are just beginning to toast, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the nuts and seeds onto a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet to cool.
Place the lemon juice, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Place the kale into a salad bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Let the salad sit on the counter at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the leaves to soften.
Add the strawberries, radishes and goat cheese to the salad bowl. Toss with the kale and dressing and sprinkle the nutty topper over the top.
To make super granola: Just place nuts and/or seeds into a bowl with 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup dried fruit (like cranberries or blueberries), and a tablespoon of honey. Toss with a beaten egg white, a tablespoon of honey and a pinch of salt. Pour the granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°until the oats are golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container. Spoon granola over yogurt and berries for a fast and yummy breakfast starter!