Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Can't-Misses of the Week

Abstract: (1) Pork butt for pulled pork. (2) Freestone peaches. (3) Canteloupe.  There's your shopping list for the Bellevue Farmers Market this week. Now, go!

It's high summer, people, and if you haven't eaten a grilled hamburger or a pulled-pork sandwich at least three times already, you must be a vegetarian.

Because I frequently work as an official at my kids' swim meets and get fed by the hospitality committees, I've learned that Costco has a pulled pork offering that isn't too bad. But before any of you go running off to purchase some, let me also say that pulled pork is just about the easiest thing in the world to make, and NOW is the time to make it.

All this could be yours: Greek salad, green beans with garlic, and a pulled-pork sandwich
Beginner's Pulled Pork (adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution)
1/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 3-lb boneless pork butt roast (from one of our meat vendors!)
1 c barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving (I chose a brand in a glass bottle with no HFCS...)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Prick roast all over with a fork and rub dry mixture over pork. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Spread barbecue sauce over pork, cover, and cook 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high in slow cooker.

Shred pork and serve with extra barbecue sauce.

Really, it's actually easier than going to Costco to buy it because now you don't have to fuss with the parking and the monster cart and the long checkout lines and the people clogging up the works at every sample stand! You're welcome.

As for the second can't-miss of the week, if you're a maker of peach desserts, now is your moment. The freestone peaches are in! Ask your favorite fruit farmer for a box, let it sit a few days to fill your house with fragrance and to reach that optimum moment of ripeness, and then dig in. My husband made four pies for the freezer, and I've got extra filling to make a cobbler later this week. (Oh, and several got eaten out of hand because they were irresistible!)

My hub claimed that this year's freestones were even better than 2014's. No big surprise, considering the weather we've been enjoying. If only he'd taken up jam-making, as well as pie-making...

And lastly, did you notice Alvarez and a couple others of our farmers had melons? I saw watermelons and canteloupe and so far have tried the canteloupe. Same as with peaches, you pick one and let it sit out until it gets fragrant and a little soft. Then you slice it into lusciousness and the family eats the whole thing in one go before you can even remember you were supposed to take a picture. At least, that's how it worked at our house.

Really, really, really, don't miss these this week! We'll see you at the Market Thursday and Saturday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

I'm guessing you already heard that there's no Saturday Market this week. It's the Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair, not to be confused with the Bellevue Festival of the Arts in a neighboring parking lot, whose motto at least is honest: "31 Years of the Best of the Rest Fest."

Rather than compete with the Fair or contribute to Downtown Gridlock 2015, our Market will graciously stick to Thursday, and marketgoers will only have to dodge cone set-up around Bellevue Square.

If you've been discovering new backroad routes around construction bottlenecks, or sitting in the daily parking lot that is 405 south, you'll be ready for a cool, frosty beverage by the time you reach the farmers market. I have a couple suggestions:

We have a brewer! Geaux Brewing of Bellevue has set up a storefront. (And that's pronounced "go," not "gee-ox," for those of you who took Spanish in high school, instead of French.) Last week the brewers had two varieties on offer, Lafitte and Treme.

Treme, by process of elimination
Their website describes Lafitte thus:
Brewed with a perfect balance of pale, rye, and wheat malts and a dash of noble hops. Lafitte is then fermented with American Wheat yeast—this beer is as unique as it is interesting. Slightly sweet at first with a dry, spicy finish. Truly a lawnmower beer. 
As for Treme...
A full-bodied, yet balanced IPA, Tremé dances around in your mouth with a sweet, malty backbone against a floral, citrus, and melon hop character. With six different hop additions in the boil and three more dry hop additions, this is one to please even the most discerning IPA lover. 
But supposing you're not the beer-drinking type.

You might have noticed the addition of Jujubeet to our Market. I actually worked at this juice bar and eatery next to Top Pot Donuts for a few months, and I've made with my own hands (when I was there) all the foods on offer, as well as some of the beverages. Which is why I can tell you with complete honesty that they're delicious AND wholesome. You know how it goes with Market foods--they're all delicious, for sure, but you couldn't exactly call them good for you. Organic pastries are still pastries, after all.

Look for this awning and smiling face
So if you're hoping to have your cake and eat it too, try a juice beverage and a salad at Jujubeet. From my time there, I can tell you the Kale Almond Salad is a perennial, sell-out favorite. We were making it constantly.

Kale Almond, front and center!
Jujubeet reports that marketgoers tend to buy the beet drink and carrot drink, but I'm all about the green ones. Even my teenage son would drink the green ones--that's how tasty they are.

Once you've had green, you'll never go back
It's worth stopping by the store to try more flavors, too, especially since my very favoritest greens aren't on offer at the Market. I loved "Herbalicious" and "Green Beauty," but I never turned down any of the others when there was a little leftover after bottling.

And once you've had your scrumptious and healthy fortification, you can convince yourself to try the "Energy Balls" (i.e., chocolate-y nuggets of rich, irresistible goodness). When I wasn't making another batch of Kale Almond Salad, I was making these suckers.

All the ingredients are listed right on the label, and they'd be perfect as a snack during a swim meet or lacrosse tournament or triathlon, or whatever all you more athletic types are doing.

So reward yourself for your awesome traffic navigation with the best of food and maybe an artwork that makes your heart sing.