The old adage “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is nudging me.
This week I stopped by a neighborhood gem, Quince Fine Foods, located just two blocks north of my beloved Piazza Farmers Market. I spoke with the friendly co-owner, Nicole, about her 3-year-old store, farm-fresh strawberries, trading city life for land and space, and selling our beloved homes to people who channel good karma. Quince is quaint and organized with a mix of local, domestic and imported foods. Jams, cheeses, spreads, meats, breads and sweets dot the shelves, and a menu features made-to-order sandwiches and fresh soups. I opted for an iced coffee and a bag of dried papaya to snack on, plus a bag of wasabi peas for J. Before I left, Nicole informed me that Quince hosts a monthly beer and cheese tasting led by local food writer, Tenaya Darlington, who blogs at Madame Fromage. I knew I’d be back.
Admittedly, it was my first visit to Quince. A store less than a half a mile from my front condo step just hit my radar. I’m suddenly anxious as my days as a city dweller are numbered. While I’m certain I know the city well, with less than one month until the big move, I’m eager to get reacquainted. I’ve already made a handful of restaurant reservations and mentally committed J and I to Ride the Ducks, squeeze in at least two more Phillies games, and navigate the Reading Terminal Market on a weekend.
In the spirit of what’s old is new again, I reclaim tater tots thanks to this recipe from Epicurious. I used some adorable organic baby turnips from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, an early summer vegetable that is sweeter and more tender than its adult counterpart. As I prepared this recipe, I couldn’t help but think of the good ol’ deep-fried, school-lunch stand-by, the tater tot. Jamie Oliver and Michelle Obama would be proud, I thought — I had reconstructed the greasy school lunch “vegetable” into a healthier, tasty version with a golden-crust crunch and fun shape that kids would enjoy.
With a renewed sense of adventurism, I set out to (re)discover the city much like I’ve discovered local and seasonal foods over the past several months. While I’ll be a mere 30 miles from the City of Brotherly Love, a trip I’ll actually be making Monday through Friday, I love a good excuse to shine a fresh light on the city and hopefully take advantage of a few cheese and beer pairings while I have an easy walk home.
- 4 small baby turnips (about 3/4 pound), peeled
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons minced mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan of boiling water cook turnips 10 minutes and drain. When turnips are cool enough to handle, cut each into wedges.
- In a large skillet cook turnips in butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender and golden on the edges, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in Panko bread crumbs, mint, zest, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender, about 5 minutes. Plate and enjoy!
Recipe Notes: The original recipe calls for parsley. I only had fresh mint on hand so I improvised. The combination was refreshing! Experiment with your favorite fresh herbs — for an educational pictorial on herbs, check out this link from The Huffington Post.