Hello Big Apple… We’re Back! by L

My little ones and I made the 9 hour journey back to my hometown, The Big Apple, aka New York City! I should be a little more specific and mention that my roots lay in the borough of Queens. It isn’t famous for its’ farmers markets, but nonetheless, it is full of various markets/shops that sell ingredients from all corners of the world.

Farmer’s Market at Atlas Center in Middle Village, Queens

Queens does have a few farmers markets. Fortunately, there just happens to be one that’s not too far away from my neighborhood. The major difference between visiting the markets when I’m back in NYC vs. Prague, is that I have to travel a bit further. The distances usually require a car trip or a few transfers on the subway. In Prague, MY markets are just a few footsteps away, *sigh.* The day I visited our local Queens market, it was sadly, the last day of the season. What do you think I saw plenty of?


Apples! I especially liked how each crate described the variety of apples for sale. Furthermore, I found comfort and pleasure in the opportunity and ability to be able to decode the signs and talk freely with the vendors. This is definitely something I struggle with as an ex-pat living in Prague. Learning the local language, Czech, is a major challenge even for the polyglot that I am.

One of the most exciting and familiar things I picked up at the market was a bag of Apple Cider donuts. These sweet treats marked my autumn homecoming and I couldn’t wait to get back home, change into my cozy fleece pants, warm up a cup of tea, snuggle up on the couch and indulge in my moist, cinnamon, calorie-rich, old-fashioned type of donut. Hello NYC! It’s great to be home!

Sweetness in the bag!

I am feeling especially thankful for this year’s visit. The last time I celebrated an American Thanksgiving here in the States, was well over 7 years ago. Although, my Filipino family doesn’t really partake in the common Thanksgiving traditions, we have over the years adapted our table to feature some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  Of course, there is a turkey with stuffing waiting to be carved into, two or three kinds of pies for dessert and cranberry sauce in bowls, but if you were a guest at my grandma’s house, you would also have to make space on your plate for some Filipino dishes in between the yams topped with marshmallows and creamy mashed potatoes.

The recipe that I am featuring in this post, however, isn’t a Filipino one this time around. I was planning to cook something for this year’s Thanksgiving meal, since it was my daughters’ introduction to this all-American holiday. However,  it needed to be a simple recipe and something that my girls could eat.

It was refreshing to see bunches of kale being sold at the market. I can usually snag one or two at the Naplavka market in Prague 2, however that takes a bit of work.  I have to ask the vendors about it ( I somehow manage in my weak Czech,) as it isn’t always displayed. Usually, the vendor runs behind the stall and magically comes back with some kale. Tracking down these healthy greens  can be an elbow shoving mess and when a kale lover like me finally gets some, it’s like gold.

Kale and Company

Here in Queens, it’s a breeze to buy kale. There was no need to tackle anyone or go on some adventurous hunt for those curly leafy green stalks. In fact,  I got so kale-happy when I saw bunches of them stacked up at the market, that I went home with an exaggerated amount. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked back into the act of consumerism.

Back in my parents’ kitchen, I decided to make a batch of garlic mashed potatoes to add to our array of side dishes. At some point,  I came up with this grand idea to sneak in some greens and ended up making a bowl of Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale. It was the first time that most of my family members would be trying kale. I thought that, maybe, it might become a new tradition of ours, or a legacy I leave behind at my family’s Thanksgiving table or just a dish that we once shared on Thanksgiving in the year 2012.

Happy Thanksgiving from NYC!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale

1/2 onion chopped

1/2 bunch of kale, washed and chopped

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth (add more if necessary)

Heat a shallow frying pan with 1-2 tablespoons of oil

Add onions and cool until transparent.

Then add kale and stir in well with the onions.

Add the broth and lower the heat.

When the kale is tender, set aside to cool.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

8-10 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

8-10 peeled cloves of garlic

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

salt and pepper to season

Boil potatoes and garlic in enough water to cover.

When cooked, drain potatoes.

Soften the butter and warm the milk a bit.

Mash the potatoes with a masher.

Add the warm milk and butter.

Continue to blend the ingredients.

If you want a smoother mash, use a hand blender.

Add the kale mixture.

Combine well and season with salt/pepper.

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