Today’s Farmer’s Market Haul is actually from three weeks ago. Last Friday I had to help my Mom with something and the Friday before that I helped my friends move, so I’ve been lacking on the Farmer’s Market Hauls in my house. I stopped by a farm stand for produce to get by, and I’ve been rationing the last of the hummus, much to Isobel’s dismay. My Dad was able to do a little bit of shopping at the market last week, plus my friend Jake gave me more squash, so I should be okay for another few days.
This particular trip I bought:
Peaches, at Isobel’s request. Her favorite. Apricots, peaches, and nectarines are kind of a three-way tie for me, but if I had to chose a favorite, I’d say nectarines. But Isobel has shown a marked preference for yellow peaches.
Olive oil, locally grown and pressed extra-virgin olive oil. At ten bucks a bottle, it’s competitively priced compared to some of the fancy oils I’ve bought at the grocery store. Of course, oil like this I save for bread dipping, salad dressing, or other special touches.
Nectarines, for myself mostly, but Anthony and Isobel helped me polish them off.
Lemon Garlic Toasted Pita Chips, normally I get the garlic herb kind, but these were somehow even more amazing, with a bright lemon flavor that makes these chips dangerously addictive.
Tomatoes, local tomatoes are so freaking awesome.
Bell peppers, our market is never overflowing with them, but these looked good.
Heirloom cherry tomatoes, although we’ll occasionally toss them in salads, my preferred method of eating this is standing at the counter, grabbing fistfuls from the bowl, and shoving them into my mouth. Even the tiniest little globe has enormously potent flavor.
Day-Old Baguette, since it wasn’t fresh I got it for only a dollar. A dollar. It was so good Isobel and I snacked on it with butter for lunch and toasted up the rest and ate it with Jake’s basil and tapenade for lunch the rest of the week. It made some amazing croutons, also.
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade, Anthony is not fond of hummus. He’s a good sport, and allowed me to foist it on him a couple of times, but he just doesn’t like it. I decided to give him a break and instead of getting my usual hummus I sprang for this, which Anthony gobbled down. We really like eating it with roast chicken.
Farm Fresh Eggs, if you follow me on Twitter then you’re aware of my obsession with someone I call the Egg Man at the Farmer’s Market. Eggs are what I look forward to the most, and I’m devastated if the Egg Man skips a week at the market. I just so happened to be visiting with my friend Valerie that day, and her chickens went nuts and laid a ton of eggs overnight, so she brought me some of their bounty. Isobel remembers Valerie’s chickens, vividly, as they once scared the shit out of her. These eggs were amazing.
More Torpedo Red Onions, these are labeled as Italian, but they’ve been grown in this area forever. I’ve never seen them at the grocery store, but my Dad remembers his Dad buying them locally and cooking with them all summer long. My mom remembers them from growing up in the Delta. They’ve been in the area forever. I particularly like their flavor.
Raw almonds, I have a recipe that I’m itching to try for spiced almonds. The problem is someone keeps snacking on them before I have a chance to try it. Anthony.
Purple Green Beans, I had never seen these before, and so my natural and immediate reaction is of course to buy a whole bunch. They taste the same as regular green beans, and once you cook them up they resemble green beans, if a bit darker.
Literature, I can’t go to the Farmer’s Market without coming home with something interesting, be it a flyer for a tour of an alpaca farm or free books from Dolly Parton or a tiny sunflower plant. This time it was a newsletter and a DVD about saving local farm land in our area.
The best thing I’ve made so far with our Farmer’s Market vegetables is gazpacho–a refreshing, cold tomato soup that is Spanish in origin. It’s the perfect thing to eat when you don’t want to cook and you need something fresh and cooling for the palate. It’s best made with ingredients at the peak of their season, and really shouldn’t be made at all otherwise. I used a modified version of this recipe. Practically every ingredient came from the market.
We ate it with a steak dinner (the one I burned the holy hell out of my hand preparing) and it was very, very good.
The next day I served it with brown rice and mixed the two together. Isobel really liked it that way. She wasn’t interested in it as a soup, but ate almost a whole bowl full of the rice mixture. I froze most of the soup for later in small containers so I can just pull another one out of the freezer when we finish our current container.
I’ve also been cooking up squash my friend Jake has given me from his garden, and there’s nothing quite like fresh, local squash, cooked thin and sauteed in olive oil. It caremelizes and cooks up like candy.
My Dad brought over small red potatoes and I cooked them and mashed the hell out of them and added butter and nutmeg.
I return to work for two days this week to train my replacement. I have some safe, fall back meals planned to get me through. Wish me luck!