My name is Leigh Diacont and I’m here to share with you my green market adventures and the inevitable feast that follows.
I live in the amazing and energetic New York City just steps from the Union Square Farmers Market. I have a busy and happy life balancing my job in the advertising industry, my wonderful husband, my friends and my family. Each week I visit the market and bring home one seasonal product that inspires one delicious recipe to share with you all. One week, one local food find, one culinary creation.
My hopes are that you will find my food inventive, easy to prepare, delicious and healthy. As the seasons change my food will change with them. Together we can cook and eat through the seasons.
So, dust off your sauté pan, invest in a new re-usable grocery bag, and join me in eating local!
When most people approach the preparation of a meal they start with a meat and build on from there. I start with the vegetables. There are so many varieties and so many different ways to pair them with other foods and flavors. I love going to the market and seeing what’s fresh. Once I see that juicy red tomato or a bunch of crisp greens, inspiration hits and I can envision what I’ll cook for dinner that night.
Ok, before you stop reading, I promise I am no health nut!
I have a deep love
and border-line obsession for cheese – every creamy, stinky, moldy variety of it. While my meals are very veg-heavy, I love fish, I eats tons of turkey, chicken kind-of creeps me out but I get over it, and I am not as well versed in pork and steak but I’m always up for a challenge.
I do not do the carb-free thing – everything always has a grain whether it’s pasta, bread, quinoa, burglar, barley, rice, couscous, the list goes on!
Finally, I have to discuss my sweet tooth. When I’m in the right mood I enjoy baking. However, I’m often not precise enough for the measurements and do not have the patience to make a truly beautiful baked good. I DO very much enjoy eating a well-prepared baked good. I love every sweet treat there is. I can wake up first thing in the morning and start my day eating chocolates and cookies. So needless to say, when I get the urge to bake you can enjoy some of my sweet-loving creations – I just can’t promise they will be pretty!
In the end, I like fresh, easy, healthy foods that promote an active and happy lifestyle. Foods that give me the energy to frolic around the city and share my findings with you!
My life in food
I was born a foodie. While most babies were chowing down on Gerber, my mother painstakingly pureed boiled meats and vegetables in her food processor to make a healthy and nutritious baby food that my father called “gruel.” I was doomed from the beginning!
When I was ten my parents made the mistake of taking my brother and me to La Caravelle (a fancy French NYC institution that has since closed), my brother had to rent a sports coat and the snuffy staff turned their noses up to serving a pair of children. We celebrated my sweet 16 with the tasting menu at Le Cirque. It’s funny how certain meals stick out to you in your memory. I remember this as the first highly impressionable meal of my life and from there forward I had the epicurean bug.
I first realized this passion for all things food when I was in high school. I was 5’10, all the boys in school were shorter than me, and I felt huge! I survived off of rice-cakes and peanut butter for lunch and started working out like a maniac. After school I would go to the gym everyday to run on the treadmill with all the local house-moms who always had the TV turned to the Food Network. Now I’m talking, 3pm, old-school, pre-reality TV Food Network – the good stuff: Rachel Ray before she went network, the Barefoot Contessa, Giada, and my absolute favorite MOLTO MARIO. I became obsessed. I threw myself into cooking. It turns out I had a knack for it. While all my girlfriends were worried about boys (that were too short for me anyway) I consumed my thoughts with learning how to chop onions and boil pasta to a perfect al dente.
When I arrived at college the boys grew taller (finally!), but my passion for cooking stayed with me. I may or may not have showed up to a Halloween party dressed as Mario Batali
with my red hair and a lot of t-shirt stuffing I was a dead ringer. I made real meals for dinner instead of defrosting a frozen ones. I was so into it, that I became famous for whipping up late-night pasta carbonara for 20 after the bars closed in my sororities industrial kitchen.
Flash forward to the present, I am a
late twenty something living and working in Manhattan. I just married the man of my dreams, who I’ve managed to turn from a very picky eater to an inquisitive one. He is wonderful in every way, smart, funny, handsome, sweet, responsible, he even cleans my mess after I cook. But you know how everything in life can’t be perfect? Well …HE DOES NOT EAT CHEESE!
Anyway, my wonderful, fromage-intolerant husband and I moved just east of The Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City. I now have all these fresh, mouth-watering, local eats right at my doorstep. What is a girl to do with this exciting new life development!? Forage and the Feast is born!