Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Market Must-Haves

Something about September and back-to-school got my eleven-year-old Market Sherpa daughter asking, "Is the Market ending soon?" Not on your life! It's still officially summer by the calendar, and we have weeks and weeks more fresh, local goodness ahead. Heck, there have still even been strawberries on Thursdays, and they're delicious.

But this time of year does bring the first apples:

Comfort me with apples at Collins
I stupidly only bought two of these new Honeycrisp apples last week, and the second my son tasted them, they were gone. Seriously, there is a difference between the first of the season and the ones which have been held in cold storage from last year. I'll be buying many more this week because I only got one stinking slice.

Fortunately, there were compensations for the apple shortage. I hope you all have been gorging on the peaches and nectarines and berries. The green pluots in the picture above were also a hit in my house.

And please tell me you're eating some tomatoes. I loved this stars-and-stripes style display on Saturday.

Here's a pointillist version.

One of my favorite cookbooks (Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) offers a "Farmer's Market Salad," which is essentially whatever's in season, chopped up in similar-sized chunks, tossed with some cubes of favorite cheese, fresh herbs, and a little olive oil and lemon juice. I've made it with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and even leftover cooked veggies like potatoes and beans.

Speaking of beans, I found two ladies talking excitedly over this bin of cranberry beans, which I've never had. I asked them how they liked to prepare them, and I was advised to shell them and steam or boil them just like green beans. Sounds like a great addition to the Farmer's Market Salad!

Slice courtesy of Veraci
Making my own fresh food with seasonal ingredients certainly doesn't preclude eating fresh food made by others with seasonal ingredients while we shop. I'm surprised there haven't been any parking lot muggings over Veraci Pizza--or am I the only one tempted when I see someone walking out with a box?

Not to be outdone, do take a look at a grilled pizza we made at home:

Yup. Apart from the dough, this can all be made with Market ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella from Samish Bay. I used my husband's tomatoes, including putting some through a food mill and simmering them into sauce.

The trick with grilled pizza is to have all the toppings at the ready. Roll out the dough, slap it on the grill and close the lid for a few minutes. It'll puff up like crazy, but just flip it over, puncture it, if necessary, and top. A few more minutes and it's done! Slide onto a waiting pizza pan and listen to everyone groan with pleasure over the crisp, smoky crust.

So get on out to the Market this week and (to mix metaphors) find music for your tastebuds.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The UrbanFarmJunkie Takes to the Road

Don't know what you all did over the Labor Day Weekend, but we took off across the state to visit the in-laws. And because I'm all about food tourism, I dragged everyone to the Pasco Farmers Market. Would you believe it--my in-laws, who have lived in the Tri-Cities for 57 years (gulp!) had never been to the Pasco Farmers Market!

Note the dedicated permanent awning!
Where's Pasco, you ask? Oh, right about here:

Why, thank you,!
That location equals nice dry summer heat. And a fair amount of wind. And they sure grow some awesome things there. Things like

lotsa peppers.

So many peppers that they can do decorative things with them. Thus:

Or eat them and sell them, of course.

Look at those little bell peppers!
Then there were the 

ears of two-tone corn on the cob, crisp and sweet, which I ended up making into the salad I mentioned last year.

There were also funny squash I'd never seen before:

but which looked similar to the mutant butternut squash which have come up in our yard.

The homegrown oddball
Looks like a butternut inside...
The Pasco market sold baked goods and fresh cider like ours, and, instead of the hazelnut lady, we had the peanut guys.

There was one item I sure wish we offered at Bellevue--table grapes.

The grapes were as sweet as advertised, and it was nice to have some that hadn't had to come up from California. 

Altogether, it was worth the little drive out. But I'm happy to report that we are good and spoiled with the abundance, variety, and quality of foods on offer at our Bellevue Farmers Market. We may be back to school, but don't miss the bountiful fall harvest this Thursday and Saturday!