Archive for May, 2009

Eating at the Farmer’s Market Week 5

The sun was shining, the shoppers were merry and all was well at the farmer’s market yesterday. Could the gleeful smiles be attributed to the patron’s increased vitamin D levels or was it largely caused by the growing variety of spring veggies pouring in from the farmers’ trucks and tables? Either way, the day was blissful.

On the other hand, there was so much produce to choose from: kohlrabi, carrots, bok choy, greens, lettuces, zucchini squash, asparagus, pea shoots, berries, etc. Shopping this week was difficult. Unlike the first four weeks of the market where I bought all there was to offer- greens, strawberries, lettuces, herbs, and various root vegetables, I had a spread of colorful and alluring vegetables calling my name. I tried hard not to over-purchase, after all, I’m only eating for one. I got a few of my staples (I’m addicted to sugar snap peas) and some of the last asparagus of the season. Here are my purchases for the week.

Green Beans from Organicism- $4.00
Sugar Snap Peas from River Ridge Farms- $2.50
Carrots from River Ridge Farms- $2.50
Asparagus from Spring Creek Farm- $4.00
Cauliflower from Mountain Meadows Farm- $3.45
Strawberries from Mountain Meadows Farm- $4.00
Onions from Mountain Meadows Farm- $3.00
And Shannon from Mountain Meadows Farm gave a mammoth serving of bok choy and napa cabbage on the house ūüôā

Total Spending: $23.45

Here are the recipes I plan on using and hopefully blogging about this week:
Cauliflower and Yellow Squash Gratin from French Women for All Seasons
Haricots Verts (Green Beans) with Tomatoes from French Women for All Seasons
Asparagus Parmesan Pain Perdu with Homemade Tomato Jam from Serious Eats
Toscana Soup (using leftover kale I bought on Wednesday)
Cabbage and Black Bean Soup
Snow Pea and Bok Choy Stir Fry with honey sambal sauce


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I began a new job at Nama sushi bar this week, and my new valet friend lent me a book bursting with short stories. One passage by Gabriel Garcia Marquez titled A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings struck a chord. Marquez’s elegant language¬†mimics¬†an ancient folk- tale passed down through generations, where the fantastical aspect of the story serves to entertain but also unmasks the nature of humanity. My favorite Marquez sentence transforms what could-be a long dragging sentence into a concise masterpiece. Take my favorite passage in the story, “the world had been sad since Tuesday.” Marquez used this phrase to reference the dreary, drizzly, and depressing weather. Beautiful. I just can’t get his words out of my head, when it dawned on me…this is how the world must feel in Knoxville. But alas, despite the less-than-optimum weather, Knoxvillians are still trekking to the farmers market to fill their baskets and bags with fresh, local, and seasonal produce. It’s encouraging that shoppers don’t let wet weather effect their daily lives.

Although the offerings this week mimicked the week’s past, I found awesome first time purchases along with past favorites. By request, I’ll include the vendor I purchased the item from and how much I spent. Also, just to note, I generally only use recipes that require 4-5 additional items to be purchased at Three Rivers Market. So the money I spend at the farmer’s market is my average weekly spending.

Market Purchases

  • 1 bag Sugar Snap Peas from Good Earth Farms– $3.00
  • 1 head broccoli from Good Earth Farms– $3.00
  • 1 loaf Pesto, herb, and cheese¬†focaccia¬†bread from VG Bakery– $5.00
  • 1 large bag arugula from A Place of the Heart Farm– $3.00
  • 1 bunch of radishes from A Place of the Heart Farm– $2.00
  • 1 head of bok choy from Zavel’s Family Farm- $3.00
  • 1 bunch of basil from Zavel’s Family Farm- $2.00
  • 1 quart of Chandler’s Strawberries from Mountain Meadows Farm– $4.00
  • 1 bunch of Contessa Onions from Mountain Meadows Farm– $3.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†(note: contessa onions include bulbs and scallions)
  • 1 jar of Sherie’s Garden Style Extra Hot Salsa- $3.00¬†
  • 1 jar of Sherie’s Garden Style Hot Chow Chow- $3.00

               Total Spending: $34

My sister also purchased some items:

  • 1 0.75 lb. block of Manchego cheese from Locust Grove Farm– $11.00
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate milk from Cruze Dairy Farm– $3.00
  • 1 large bunch of oregano from Mac Goodwin and Lydia Pulsipher- $1.50

              Total Spending: $15.50


Also, rather than adding the recipes I use throughout the week to incorporate the fresh produce, I’ll add them as I make them. I’ll include: servings, measurements, instructions, market items used, extra items use, and my overall satisfaction with the product. Enjoy!

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Despite being blessed with an easily pleased palate, there’s no denying that beets taste like dirt. I do not like beets, their noted sublime sweetness absolutely stupefies me–what I taste is minerally, earthy, and undesirable. But, I no longer want to be the girl that doesn’t like beets (the only food I opt to abstain from my diet). It seems the higher power(s) have granted my request, because low-and-behold I saw the magenta vegetable at among a sea of leafy greens at the farmers’ market Saturday. Was it fate? I’d like to think so. Well there I was with a bunch of beets and no clue how to cook them. I wanted to make something that hopefully masked their potent flavor and may even fool my tastebuds into actually enjoying the beets. I remembered my former professor’s love of Borsht, a beet stew. I found a recipe for Borsht at Eating Well, and decided to give it a try. It’s purple broth richened by beef stock and thickened with starchy potatoes is currently bubbling away on my stove.

While the soup thickens, I realize I am left with beautiful green leaves attached to delicate pink stems that haven’t been used. After a quick Google search, I learned beet greens are not only edible, but they are highly nutritious. So, as a graduated nutrition major, let me convey to you the facts about beets, the nutrition facts that is.

Beet Leaves and Stems- 1 cup

  • Calories: 8
  • Protein: 0.84 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.65 g
  • Fiber: 1.4 g
  • Sugars: 0.19 g
  • Total Fat: 0.05 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.008 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.010 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.017 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Micronutrients: large amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin A, ¬†as well as large amount of the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein


  • Calories: 58
  • Protein:¬†2.19 g
  • Carbohydrates:¬†13.00 g
  • Fiber:¬†3.8 g
  • Sugars:¬†9.19 g
  • Total Fat:¬†0.23 g
  • Saturated Fat:¬†0.037 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat:¬†0.045 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat:¬†0.083 g
  • Cholesterol:¬†0 mg
  • Micronutrients: ¬†Calcium, Vitamin C, folate, and benatin (a phytochemical that’s praised for its immune function)

Beets are healthy, but I can’t help but wonder what gives them the dirt flavor, especially when they have the highest sugar content of any vegetable? From researching, I’ve determined it’s a simple preference, maybe genetically determined. Beets either taste sweet or earthy, it just depends on the consumer.

Here are some recipes I found for beets and beet greens

Beet Greens Daal
Beet Greens
Beet Green Casserole with Mozzarella Topping
Orange and Beet Salad

Also, if you eat beets are your pee is beet-red, don’t freak out, don’t call 9-1-1, and don’t be embarassed, it’s ¬†just beeturia–the betacyanin (what gives beets it’s luscious color) paired with iron-deficiency somehow results in red pee-pee.

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Well my fearless readers, I apologize once again for my absence over the past few weeks. Despite the hectic pre-graduation schedule packed with exams and lengthy papers, I’ve also accepted two jobs for the upcoming year–interning at the farmer’s market and hosting at Nama, a local sushi restaurant. But despite all the business, keeping up with blogging is comparable to working out. You’re going strong for a month, but then you talk yourself out of it one day (I must relax, wash my hair, clean the kitchen, etc.) and as soon as you blink an entire month has flown by…But I’m back and just in time for the first spring produce. Since I am working at the farmer’s market, I have ¬†a wonderful selection of fruits, vegetables, milk, baked goods, cheese, meat etc. that have all been locally grown. The farmers are amazing and the love and dedication they have for their food radiates. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to buy food from someone I don’t know on a personal level ever again.

Over the next few months, I plan to rely on the market’s offerings as my primary food supply. I’ll share with you my finding and what I decide to make with them. I’ve taken lots of photos, but my sister’s camera cord is playing a sneaky game of hide-and-seek.

Market Purchases Week 1 

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/2 gallon Cruze Farm Milk
  • 1/2 lb. Locust Grove smoked Gouda Cheese
  • 5 homemade crusty rolls from Dave
  • 1 lb. sausage from Eric at Green Man Farms
  • 1 qt. strawberries
  • 1 bunch of rhubarb
  • 1 large bag of spinach
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 bunch of parsley, green onions, and oregano
  • Randoms: coffee, asparagus, cheese, and caramelized onion flatbread sandwich, molasses cookie, and and oatmeal, cranberry, walnut, and chocolate chip cookie


Market-Inspired Meals from Week 1

Favorite Meal: Strawberry Oatmeal topped with Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Market Purchases Week 2

  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage ¬†
  • 1 bunch of baby beets
  • 1 bunch of rhubarb
  • 2 heads of cabbage
  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 quart Cruze farm milk
  • 1 pint of Cruze farm buttermilk
  • 1 bag lettuce
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head bok choy
  • Randoms: snickerdoodle cookie


Market-Inspired Meals for Weeks 2

  • Cabbage Braised with white wine with spinach and sausage- beautiful flavors that meld perfectly to yield a savory healthy meal. Serve with bread to soak up the juice
  • Borsht from Eating Well- a traditional beet soup flavored by beef broth and sour cream
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Compote from Cooking with Curtis- It smells heavenly simmering as I’m typing
  • Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Ahi Tuna- I added broccoli, almonds and carrots for an extra crunch and threw together an Asian-flavored dressing
  • Italian Sausage and Mozzarella Pizza- Daniel is really looking forward to this. Our secret ingredient is smoked, dried jalapenos
  • Teriyaki Salmon with wasabi, lime, and cilantro butter on wilted bok choy from Essentially Food- one of my all time favorite recipes I made while studying abroad in New Zealand. The tender salmon bathing in tart cilantro butter is a heady experience.



If there are any recipes you’d like to try that aren’t linked, please let me know and I’ll post them!

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