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Archive for July, 2009

Today I ran the Market Square Farmers’ Market solo. I transformed from merely an intern to the Queen Bee. Armed with just a receipt book and pen, I tried my best to fill Charlotte’s large, impressive and oh-so-humble shoes. I consider it a success because no one died, got arrested, complained, or cried. 

I’m sure you’re aching to know how I handled all that produce power. Well, in a nutshell, it was pure bliss. Here’s a list of all the exciting things that happened. (Charlotte if you are reading this, there were no Hardees girls dressed in French maid outfits or other crazy antics this week)

1. It rained cats and dogs (really big smelly pooches and felines)

2. The 28 vendors dwindled to 10 dedicated individuals

3. Thomas, the overall-wearing 70-something farmer from Grainger Co., pulled up in his truck again this week wanting to sell produce. Although it was wrong of him to come with the “ok”, he produced an completed application and we needed vendors so I said ok. Turns out he’s a sweet man despite that he flicks his cigarette butts on the ground and tends to be somewhat chauvinistic. Although he follows conventional farming methods (non-organic)…he only uses one spray which is a moldacide. He gave me purple okra which was nice…but who knew that even existed.

4. While getting booth fees I landed a new job. Still Waters Farm wants to actually become a big boy farm, and they need my man power and drive to help build raised beds this Winter. I’m excited to get my hands in the dirt. I haven’t warned her yet that I have no green thumbs on my body, in fact I killed my Chia pet. Either I’ll fool her or I’ll be fired.

5. Wilson Family gave me a free aromatic bouqet of flowers. I’ve decided to treat myself to a bouquet a week to enhance the ambiance (and odor) of my apartment.

6. Nancy Kendrick is one driven lady–from former corporate power to chicken-salad-momma, her grub is delish. I’ve already planned to make a market sandwich with her chipotle chicken salad on Saturday. I’m going to make a lettuce wrap with onion, tomato and chicken salad.

Finally, here’s what I bought at the market. I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I shared my purchases and plans with you. My old cranky computer decided it doesn’t want to hook-up with Walter’s internet connection anymore…or anyone else’s wireless for that matter. So, my postings will be sporadic.

Market Purchases for July 29

  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 Italian and 1 traditional zucchini
  • 1 yellow Melon who’s name escapes me

Freebies from the Market

  • 2 eggplants from Danny
  • 10 peaches from Charlie Parton
  • Okra galore from Thomas

My Farm to Table Meals

  • Curried Zucchini Soup
  • Heirloom Tomato Tart with a Parmesan Crust
  • Eggplant and Sweet Potato Burritos with Goat Cheese
  • Fried Okra
  • Pickled Okra
  • And a to-be-determined peach dessert (I’m open for suggestions)

As always, ask for the recipes if you’d like!

Here’s a great one I made last night

Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes with steamed yellow squash and zucchini mixed with homemade basil pesto and served over whole wheat penne.

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Some girls collect coach purses or fancy high-heeled shoes, but not me. No, I prefer practical over pretty. A good cookbook or food magazine consistently make appearances on my Christmas or birthday wish lists. I’ve had numerous favorites over the years including Cooking with Curtis ( beautiful blond hunk in the kitchen…yes please!) or Tyler Florence’s Eat This Book (beautiful flavors featuring global classics). Not to mention the oh-so-Southern Dining with Pioneers given to me by Memaw, but whose delicious recipes I’ve eaten since childhood. But, as much as I love this culinary beauties, I’ve never had a go-to book for any day of the week–a book where even the random produce items lurking in your fridge have a purpose. I didn’t have one of these books in my life, until Sunday.

Local Flavors by Deborah Madison has changed my world- I feel lighter, healthier, happier, ethereal even.

I love this book more than…
Kettle Black Pepper Potato Chips
Fine Boxed Wine from a Recycled Container
Getting the mail
Hunting for Easter Eggs
Dancing Crazy at Sassy Annes
My family (only kidding…)

But really, this book is worth buying because it features beautiful seasonal recipes that utilize local nutritious produce to make aromatic, colorful, and delicious food. Two-days post purchase, I’d already whipped up three dishes. I’ll share these three as a teaser, but you’ll have to buy the book to create the other magical recipes. Enjoy!

Blueberry Lavender Compote

Ingredients: 2 pints blueberries, juice from one lime or lemon, 1 tsp. corn starch, 1/2 cup of sugar, pinch of sea salt, 1 tsp. lavender blossoms

Directions: Pick over the berries, removing any stems, leaves, or rotting berries. Rinse. Then, in a large saucepan, mix the juice with the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Add the berries and lavender and cook over medium high heat until the fruit gives up its juice and the liquid thickens. It should be ready when the liquid sticks to the spoon without dripping back into the saucepan.

Serving Suggestions: bread, oatmeal, bread pudding, ice cream, or a lemon pudding cake

Nettle Frittata with Green Garlic and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta

Ingredients: 1/2 lb. nettles or spinach (1 plastic bag full), 1 head green garlic (or 2 mature garlic cloves), 1 small white onion finely chopped, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 6-8 market eggs, 1/3 cup pecorino Romano cheese (can substitue Parmesan or Manchego), 1/2 cup sheep or cow’s milk ricotta cheese, 1.5 Tbsp. butter

Directions: Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a oil for the nettles. Dump nettles into boiling water until they turn bright green and limp. Do not touch nettles with bare hands or you will be stung. The heat kills the stinging mechanisms. After a minute or two of cooking drain water and chop finely. Then, chop the garlic and onion. Warm 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low and add the garlic and onion and cook until softened. Add the nettles and cook until all water has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.  Next, beat the eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add nettle mixture and pecorino cheese. Add ricotta but leave it streaky.  Wipe out the skillet that held the nettle mixture and return it to heat with butter. When the butter is warm, pour in the egg mixture. Slide the pan back and forth a few times, then turn the heat to medium-low and cookin for several minutes of until the eggs have set around the edges. Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until set and browned. Cool slighltly before serving.

Nutritional Benefits: Nettles are an extremely healthy green used throughout Europe. They are praised for their immune-building properties and positive cardiovascular health properties.

Three Beat Caviar with Endive and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:6 beets (preferrably 2 golden, 2 Chioggia, and 2 red but any combination of the three or six of the same works just as well), 1 very small red onion diced, 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 2 tsp. parsley or chervil chopped, 2 Belgian endives sliced thinly, 4 oz. fresh goat or herb cheese crumbled.

Directions: Leaving an inch of the stem and all of the root, steam the beets until they’re tender when pierced with a knife or for 25-40 min. Cool, then peel the skins and cut them into chunk and pulse in a food processor 6-8 times (try not to mush the beets). You can also chop them finely. While the beets are cooking, toss the onion in the vinegar with 1/4 tsp. salt and set aside. Then, toss  each of the beet varities seperately with 1/3 of the onion and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Toss again with parsley and chill. To serve, mound each beet mixture seperately on each plate. Place the sliced endive in another pile and the cheese in a pile in the center. Drizzle with olive oil.  Add pepper and servce. Before eating, toss everything together (if not it will all be beet red!)


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