Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Market Discoveries

The sunshine and good times continue!

I hope you had a chance to get out to Opening Day of the 2015 Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market, but if not I have a first look at some of this season's discoveries.

Drumroll...please welcome Buffy Catering! No vampires here--just Middle Eastern food based on family recipes.

There's hummus, baba ghanoush, salad, turnover-looking things with cheese or sesame...

even a dessert/breadie item that doesn't look like the rugelach I'm familiar with but one-ups it by adding chocolate:

I do have to say, prepared food prices at the Market have been creeping up, just as they have at the grocery store and at restaurants! Fortunately we have a whole season in which to work our way through the various offerings.

Even if you don't want a biscuit, don't you kind of want the tricked-out van?
My daughter/Sherpa chose to get her weekly snack wages from new vendor The Biscuit Box. Their menu boasts savory and sweet offerings, of which the ham-and-cheese and the strawberry-jam are the respective bestsellers.

The Bao Biscuit and the Summer Sidhu Strawberry Jam
The verdict on the strawberry jam? "It tastes like Grandma's." A high compliment, considering my mother-in-law whips up her famous batches of freezer jam with Klicker strawberries from Walla Walla.

(And, speaking of strawberries, Sam of Collins Family Orchard says the spring has been so warm that THE FIRST STRAWBERRIES will likely make their appearance this week!!! Global warming does have its temporary upsides.)

While we're on a sweet note, you might have noticed our new Dolcetta Artisan Sweets. Creator Andrea used to be a pastry chef, and she's now turned her talents toward beautiful and beautifully packaged little artisan chocolates. A perfect hostess gift or reward for behaving yourself the rest of the week.

On my to-do list--the dark chocolate pretzel bar.

This guy
And, my final tidbit for the week, did you notice Britt's Pickles joined us on Thursdays? Not only that, but look closely and you might see Rome Doherty on board, retired from Camp Robber Jams.

Did you know most pickles (storebought AND homemade) use vinegar and cooking to achieve their flavor and shelf-stability?
This causes the cucumbers to lose most of their Vitamin C and enzymes and kills off the healthy bacteria which aid digestion, fight disease and provide amazing flavor.
Who knew, right? But Britt's pickles are raw, live culture foods, fermented in oak barrels.
The unique process of fermenting vegetables using lactic acid bacteria, which has been used for thousands of years, allows Britt’s Pickles to retain the rich rewards of the natural enzymes and vitamins in vegetables, even in the middle of winter. Natural fermentation interacts with the sugars in the cucumbers, garlic, and spices, transforming them into lactic acid & CO2. 
I'd read something about this, so I was excited to see this:

Uh-huh. A home fermentation kit with which you can take advantage of summer's approaching bounty. Pickles, green beans, carrots, asparagus. You name it, you pickle it. In a way that keeps the nutrients and probiotics you into wonderfulness!

I want
Naturally fermented foods have been around forever (think kimchi and sauerkraut), and their health benefits are only now getting press. I'm thinking everyone might get a jar of homemade pickled goodness this year, instead of the knitwear I've turned out to be really slow at!

Check in with the blog for more discoveries this season, or find them for yourself this Thursday, from 3-7 in the Bellevue Presbyterian Church parking lot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2015 Opening Day Shopping List

Woo hoo! It's finally upon us--Opening Day of the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market. And just in time because I ran out of meat yesterday, I ran out of honey the last time I made granola, and I'm pretty tired of cabbage and carrots and mushy apples and no-longer-very-tasty Satsumas.

What's on your fresh and local shopping list? Here's mine:

1. Asparagus! Picked-in-the-last-24-hours asparagus is flavorful and almost nutty. I roast it with some olive oil or throw it on the grill. (Or see this Crawford Farms article for other recipe ideas.)
Crawford Farms pic

2. Spring Salad Fixings! Yes, it's time for a break from coleslaw and winter salads based on grated carrots and cucumbers. Grab whatever greens you find and dress them simply--fresh doesn't require a lot. The Food Network offers this suggestion. Great add-ons would be a tomato or some cubes of fresh cheese.

Food Network pic--it practically dresses itself!

3. Apples and Pears that have been properly cold-stored. There's a reason the grocery-store offerings are mushy now (or from Argentina).

4. Honey. Since I make my own granola, we go through a lot of honey. Time to re-stock. My daughter still remembers the chunk of honeycomb Cary Therriault of Cascade Natural Honey gave her when we visited him and his bees at work.

She even licked the cardboard
5. Meat. As in ground beef, ground pork, bacon, beef stir-fry, pork stir-fry, beef stew meat, sausage, and chicken. We are unabashed carnivores in our house, but we do like to think of our animals as happily fed and strolling about until Death comes for them.

6. Salmon. Brushed with a little teriyaki sauce and thrown on the grill alongside the asparagus.

7. Tuna jerky. A favorite family snack, and we're entering summer swim season, when I always need a little cooler full of snacks. Fishing Vessel St. Jude isn't at the Market every Thursday, but they're scheduled for Opening Day! See the website for other dates. And don't forget their volume discount, if you need to stock up on the world's best canned tuna!
Little Maggie knows what she's doing

8. Eggs. If I'd been thinking, I would have put this higher up the list. Because our family eats eggs like they're going out of style. And the eggs at the Market have the lovely, cohesive whites and bright yolks that signal more nourishment.

9. An impulse snack. Hmmm.... after such a long hiatus, will it be a soft pretzel? A piece of pizza? A hum bao from The Box? A cookie or pie-let? Ice cream or a pop? I can't say, because then it wouldn't be an impulse buy...

10. Dinner itself? This Thursday is already packed with kids' practices and a swim team meeting, so I'm not sure how cooking dinner will even happen. What better excuse to wave the white flag of surrender and just grab something at the Market? We could do soup and bread. Or a whole pizza. Or karagi chicken. Or a new discovery. And then we'd just plot right down at a picnic table, with the Haggis Brothers providing toe-tapping mood music, before we rush off to the next place we have to be.

So grab your own list, and we'll see you at the Bellevue Presbyterian Church parking lot from 3-7 pm this Thursday, May 14!