Posts Tagged farmers market

Playing With Produce

A couple weeks ago I was gifted some produce – some monster produce.  I’m not sure there’s anything better than free produce from someone’s garden.  It’s home grown, local, and most importantly, free.  This bag o’ veggies included what might be the world’s largest zucchini, seen here with a “normal” zucchini for comparison.

I had been abstaining from baking since the kitchen here isn’t really set up for it, but what’s a girl to do with a huge zucchini, especially with a fantasy football draft and a PPK meetup that weekend?  Make chocolate zucchini muffins, that’s what.  I found some great looking recipes online, but I wanted to keep the ingredient list to a minimum since I’d have to buy everything new, right down to flour.  So I settled on this recipe, which is actually a brownie recipe.  I figured if they tasted good in a pan surely they would also taste good in muffin form.  Problem was, the batter didn’t come together at all.  There wasn’t nearly enough liquid, it was kind of like a big lump of chocolate sugar and flour, which really isn’t that bad…but it wasn’t bakeable.  So I added just over a cup of soy milk (I had doubled the recipe), and lo and behold they baked up pretty well.  They weren’t exactly brownie-ish and they weren’t exactly muffin-ish, but they were mighty tasty.

I had more batter than the pans would hold, and I was just going to keep it in the fridge to eat raw later (ah, they joys of eggless batter), but I decided to see if it would bake up after sitting around for a half hour.  Sure did!  The second batch even had nicely rounded tops.

At the aforementioned PPK meetup I got to try golden watermelon!  I have a slight aversion to regular watermelon for reasons we won’t discuss here, but this golden watermelon was great.  I’m glad I got to try it.  (Look at that beautiful grass!  There were geese all over the park too.)

Back to the veggie present.  Here’s the rest of what I got, along with the remainder of the zucchini.

With these goodies I made ratatouille, which I had never tried before.  It was good but a little bland, so I added a splash of balsamic at the end and that did the trick.  Served with chickpeas over whole wheat couscous.

BF had an interview in San Francisco on Tuesday, and I remembered that there was a farmers market at the Ferry Building on Tuesdays.  Needless to say, I jumped at the chance.  I spent about an hour walking around and looking at everything, and ended up with all this for $23!  Whole wheat pain au levaine, bell peppers, long beans, baby bok choy, fresh tofu, hot banana pepper, white nectarine, dapper dandy pluot, salad mix, purslane and radishes in the bag, and fingerling potatoes.

I didn’t set out with anything in mind because I wanted to try some new things, but a few meals came together as I went along.  Dinner that night was a salad that I wasn’t entirely certain would work.  Fortunately it came together fantastically.

Salad mix, purslane, lentils, roasted radishes, red and purple peppers and grapes with goddess dressing.  The sweet and savory with the contrast of textures was right on.  Plus, anything tastes good with goddess dressing.  A word on roasting radishes:  They’re really good, try it!  Just don’t cut the pieces too small as they shrink a lot while cooking.

Here’s what purslane looks like, if you’ve never seen it.  It’s supposedly really good for you, high in vitamins and omega-3’s.  I liked it raw but have also heard of people sauteing it.  It’s hard to describe the flavor.  There’s definitely a strong flavor, but it’s not bitter like arugula.

The next meal from my farmers market greatness was tofu scramble with the hot banana pepper, red bell pepper and zucchini, steamed long beans (cut into shorter beans), and roasted fingerling potatoes.  I knew I’d love the fingerlings.  BF said they were kind of like homemade french fries.  The outsides toughens up while the insides stay nice and soft.

And lastly, a “what do I have left in the fridge?” meal, braised sesame eggplant and baby bok choy.  This was just okay.  My Chinese-style food always seems to be lacking just a bit in the flavor department.  I like to think it’s because I don’t use msg.

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Farmers Market Wednesday

It had been about a week since I bought fresh produce, so I was very ready for a trip to the market on Wednesday.  I bought sweet potatoes, a vidalia onion, Japanese eggplant, peaches, green beans and pak choi.

And as is becoming standard, I found a little buggy on the pak choi.  I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but when I took him outside I found he was an itsy bitsy caterpillar.

I went to the market with no meal plans, and as I was walking around I was thinking stir-fry.  I’d never tried the skinny Japanese eggplant, although I knew they were basically the same as the big ones.  The stir-fry ingredients weren’t coming together for me, so I went a different direction and came up with:  Agave Garlic Eggplant, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Pak Choi.

With the eggplant I was going for a take on honey chicken, like you’d get at a strip mall Chinese joint.  Sweet, garlicky, and a little bit spicy.  I don’t have great knowledge of Asian cooking, and my attempts generally fall a bit flat in the flavor department, but I have to say that this turned out exactly how I had imagined.  No exact recipe, but I’ll give you a run down.  I think this would be really good with tofu or seitan too.

Agave Garlic Eggplant

4 Japanese eggplant, cut in half lengthwise then cut into quarter inch slices
medium sweet onion, halved then sliced.  regular onion would also work.
2-3 Tbs peanut oil
splash sesame oil
soy sauce
8 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
a couple Tbs agave nectar
about 1/3 c water
1-2 tsp hoisin sauce
splash rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs cornstarch

1.  Mix the last five ingredients (agave nectar through cornstarch) together in a small bowl; set aside.
2.  Heat the oils in a wok over medium-high heat.  Add the eggplant and onion and cook, stirring and adding splashes of soy sauce as needed, until eggplant are cooked to your liking.  I let mine go quite a while to be sure the eggplant was cooked enough.
3.  Clear a spot in the center of the wok;  put in the garlic and let it cook for 5-10 seconds, then stir in.  Do the same with the red pepper flakes.
4.  Whisk the sauce again then add to the wok.  Stir and cook until the sauce thickens, a few minutes.

Serves 3-4.

I leave you for today with a picture of the pak choi stems, which made nice little shapes when I cut them off.

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Farmer’s Market Green-Wa & My First Meme

I left work a bit early again today to get to the farmer’s market, and boy was it worth it.  The produce is gorgeous this time of year.  Eggplant and squashes abounded, but I’ve been eating a lot of those lately so I went for some different stuff.

farmers market

Tomatoes, fresh field peas, lamb’s quarter, a huge bunch of basil, and okra.  The field peas are very similar to a black-eyed pea, just green, and since they were fresh all I had to do was simmer them for an hour.  The veggies were so pretty today that they each got a glamour shot.

lamb's quarter

Lamb’s quarter is an ancient green that apparently grows wild almost everywhere.  The guy at the booth also called it wild spinach, and handed me a leaf to try.  Raw it was pretty bitter, but once cooked it tastes incredibly similar to spinach.

basil

okra

tomatoes

While I was messing with the tomatoes this little inch worm crawled out.  He was trying desperately to get off the tomato and was hard to photograph.  One of the tomatoes had a hole in it, so I wonder if he was in there nibbling.

inch worm

For dinner I made Green-Wa from Yellow Rose Recipes (another winner), with lots of changes.  Using what I had, I went for a more southern flavor.  I subbed the field peas for green peas, white onion for green, lamb’s quarter for spinach, dill for cilantro, and mustard powder, paprika and white pepper for curry powder.  I added nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon juice for oomph.  What I ended up with smelled like spanakopita due to the dill, and tasted delicious.  While I was putting this together I roasted the okra and some of the tomatoes with olive oil spray and grill seasoning.  I don’t know what it is, but even in the heat I keep turning on the oven.  Everything I want is roasted or baked!

green-wa

I like how it looks like the plate is floating.  Out of character for me, I finished cooking before the sun went down and went out on the balcony for the picture.  I topped the green-wa with mashed avocado, purely because it was ready to be eaten.

Miss Caroline at The Broccoli Hut tagged me with this little survey.  I actually like filling these out but I’m changing the U’s to you.  Proper English, people, let’s use it.

1) LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATRE?  There Will Be Blood.  I really don’t like seeing movies in the theater because it costs too much and there is inevitably some idiot in there talking on their phone or trying to shush their toddler.  I think we saw this on a weekday afternoon, so it was relatively quiet, and Daniel Day Lewis and Johnny Greenwood are amazing.

2) WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING?  Today I finished Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, and tomorrow I’ll start God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut.

3) FAVOURITE BOARD GAME?  In a group, Cranium or Trivial Pursuit.  Just for two, Scrabble or Boggle.

4) FAVOURITE MAGAZINE?  VegNews or Vegetarian Times

5) FAVOURITE SMELLS?  honeysuckle, roasted garlic, certain men’s colognes

6) FAVOURITE SOUNDS?  A well-performed orchestral piece, the sounds of nature in the forest.
7) WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD?  Heartbreak.  Or a broken bone.
8 ) WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE? “I wish I could go back to sleep.”
9) FAVOURITE FAST FOOD PLACE?  Subway or Moe’s are good for quickie meals.

10) FUTURE CHILD’S NAME?  I haven’t given much though to this, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  It will definitely be unique, but no crazy spellings or anything.

11) FINISH THIS STATEMENT—IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I’D…Buy a house, give to a lot of charities, load up on specialty foods, start a business.

12) DO YOU DRIVE FAST?  I go with the flow, sometimes it’s a little above the limit.  I’m no speed demon though.

13) DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?  No, but bf keeps a couple small ones in the corner of the bed.  Shhhhhhhh…
14) STORMS–COOL OR SCARY?  Cool, unless they’re causing destruction or loss.  I love taking a nap during a good thunder storm.
15) WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?  Light blue 1988 Toyota Tercel, which served me well in high school then served my brother well for a couple more years.

16) FAVOURITE DRINK?  Beer – a good hefeweizen or 90 minute IPA.  Liquor – vishkey.  Wine – Yellowtail Shiraz.  Juice – OJ.  Soda – Cherry Coke Zero.  Mostly I just drink water.

17) FINISH THIS STATEMENT – IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD…Volunteer for a couple places, cook everything, call friends and family more often.

18 ) DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI?  Sometimes, when I’m feeling the need to use everything, and only cooked.
19) IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY OTHER COLOUR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE?  Auburn.
20) NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS U HAVE LIVED IN?  Just Ocala FL and Gainesville FL so far.  Hopefully that will soon change.

21) FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH?  UF football or NFL, and I’ve adopted bf’s teams – Oakland A’s and Golden State Warriors.

22) ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?  Hmmm, I don’t know Caroline very well, but I can tell that she really loves her family.

23) WHATS UNDER YOUR BED?  A bag of stuffed animals.
24) WOULD U LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN??  I like my life, but I think I’d go for a different one, just to see.
25) MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?  Afternoontime!

26) OVER EASY OR SUNNY SIDE UP?  The tofu scramble, with veggies.

27) FAVOURITE PLACE TO RELAX?  On my bed just before sleepytime, with a logic puzzle and some tea.

28 ) FAVOURITE PIE?  My mom’s apple pie.29) FAVOURITE ICECREAM FLAVOUR? Mint chocolate chip or chocolate chip cookie dough.

30) OF ALL THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE TAGGED, WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?  I think Alice will reply first.  I’ve got a 33% chance, don’t let me down!
In order to not spread the survey too too much, I’m only tagging three people.
Alice (in Veganland)
Mandee – Cupcake Kitteh
the other FL vegan Erin – Vegan & the City

 

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Wednesday Farmers Market

I left work a half hour early today to make up for eating lunch at my desk yesterday, so I got to visit the farmers market before catching the bus and still get home at my normal time.  I didn’t have much in mind for dinner ideas, but as the night wore on what probably should have been a simple meal became more complicated.

farmers market

An eggplant, an ear of corn, a red pepper, patty pan squash, the cutest zucchinis, jalapenos and strawberries, all for $7.  Score.

While at work pondering dinner and perusing blogs (this is what they pay me to do), I saw Liz’s corn bread at Food Snobbery is My Hobbery.  Then I saw a corn muffin (can’t remember where)*** with strawberries in it.  Crazy!  I wasn’t planninng on buying any more fruit after my binge yesterday, but when I saw those juicy strawberries I couldn’t help it.  This is my standard corn bread recipe that I haven’t deviated far from in the past, apart from milk and egg subs, but tonight I went all out and healthified it, lowering both the sugar and the fat.  I give you Buttermilk Strawberry Jalapeno Corn Muffins.  I was worried all the extras would make the muffins too chunky, but I kept the pieces small and made sure not to put too much in.  They actually could’ve used more strawberries.  They look darker than normal corn muffins due to the whole wheat flour and molasses, but the taste isn’t heavy or dense at all.

corn muffins

Buttermilk Corn Bread or Muffins

1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs lemon juice
scant cup rice or soy milk
1 Tbs flax meal
3 Tbs warm water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbs molasses
optional additions: 1/2 cup corn kernels, or kernels from one ear of corn
                               2 small or 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
                               a few strawberries, finely diced, or a handful of blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or 12 muffin tins.
2. Place lemon juice in a 1 cup measure, then fill with milk. Pour in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Whisk together the flax and water; set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
5. Add the flax mixture, applesauce, canola oil and molasses to the milk mixture and whisk.
6. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir just until combined. Fold in any optional additions. Pour into the cake pan, or by 1/4 cupfuls into the muffin tins. Bake the bread 20-25 minutes or the muffins 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Let cool in the pan a few minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool.

Yields: 8-10 bread servings or 12 muffins.

I grilled the eggplant simply with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The zucchini and patty pan squash were sauteed with the last of my leeks.  I was originally going to toss the red pepper in there too, but decided to get crazy and make a sauce.  In the blender went the raw red pepper, the last jalapeno, toasted pine nuts and a bit of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, water, salt and white pepper.  It was pretty good for involving nearly no effort.  And I had parsley in the fridge so I went for the garnish.  I’m starting to think about meals in restaurant mode more automatically.  Whether that’s good or bad, I dunno…

farmers market meal

I definitely had another corn muffin as well.  I think I’m going to try something new for breakfast in the morning, and if it goes well you’ll see my first blog for a weekday breakfast.  I think I’ll set my alarm 15 minutes earlier.

***Edit:  The Strawberry Jalapeno Corn Muffin idea came from this blog, originally from Extraveganza which I don’t have yet.

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Wednesday Farmers Market

One of the weekly farmers markets here in Gainesville is held downtown on Wednesday afternoons.  I pretty much always want to go but used to forget 98% of the time, plus parking is hard to come by.  It just so happens that the job I’m working at right now is downtown, located right across the street from the market.  I take the bus to work daily, so today after work I purchased some wares then caught the bus that came 30 minutes later than the one I normally take.  It worked out pretty darned perfectly, so I think this is what I will do most every Wednesday for the next couple months.

I have to say, the farmers market is continually just a little bit disappointing.  There are plenty of booths and plenty to choose from at each one, but it seems like most of the booths have the same selection the other ones do.  It makes sense that each farm located near here would do well growing the same stuff, but I guess I wish someone would offer something different or spectacular.

Anywho, I did get some good stuff.  Red swiss chard, cucumber, red bell pepper, blueberries and patty pan squash.  I’ve never had patty pan squash before, so I guess I can’t really complain about the selection at the market.  Aren’t the patty pans adorable?

farmers market

All for $9, and the blueberries alone were $4.  It’s a lot of blueberries though.  Hooray for the start of blueberry season!  Hopefully soon the u-pick farms will start up.

blueberries

The lady at the squash booth suggested grilling the patty pans when I asked about them, so that is what I did.  I sliced them vertically to keep the shape, and once on the grill pan they reminded me of the underside of a manta ray, how they look like they’re smiling at you.

patty pan squash

manta ray

As the squash were grilling I noticed the distinct scent of cooking pepperoni.  I’m not even kidding.  I did put freshly ground black pepper on them, but not more than I normally would have added.

patty pan squash

I tasted one, and it totally tasted like spicy pepperoni mixed with squash.  I’m so confused.  I’ve consulted the internets and nobody else seems to have experienced this phenomenon.  I haven’t used my grill pan in a long time, so maybe there’s residue from something else, but I wouldn’t think residue could impart such a strong flavor onto squash.  Anybody have a theory?  By the way, check out those grill marks.

I also made wheat orzo with red bell pepper, swiss chard ribbons and lemon butter sauce, and topped it with toasted pine nuts and almond parmesan.  Sounds fancy, huh?

orzo & squash

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