Monday, May 23, 2011

Feeling So Lucky to Live in this Food Heaven and Some Easy Recipes


Head House Famers Market Goodies!
The Markets

We woke up to a gray, slightly rainy - again -  morning on Sunday and we weren't "feeling it" for walking up to the Market.  We'd picked up some staples at Fair Food Farms in the Reading Terminal on Saturday and frankly the weather was making us lazy.  But the puppy loves the Market - and of course so do we - so we got our bags, made a short list of what we "needed" and headed out to Head House Farmers' Market.

Fifteen minutes later our spirits were soaring! Nearly everyone, vendor wise, is now back at their stands.  As soon as we strolled up to say hello at Youngs Flowers we saw gorgeous Peonies - ice cream for mosquitos as my better half's Mom says - we do love Peonies!  Gotta get some of them on the way out we said. And, we did!  Thanks Youngs! The Youngs also carry a wide array of herb and tomato plants at this time of year; we are planted to the hilt, but we noticed many shoppers stocking up on herb plants.  Wonderful.

We did our usual stroll all the way through the stalls, looking before we started shopping/supposedly making a plan.  By the time we got to the end of the Head House, we had some meals planned and our mood had totally changed!  Oh how happy we were!  Under that one gorgeous old roof we were able to purchase food that we would never be able to get in a stupermarket - from the folks who produce them - what could be better?

Our bounty included: White Turnips - you can eat them raw like radishes or thin slice and quickly sautee them; Tasoi - a spinach like, but firmer green, really delicious; Purple Radishes - fat tangy radishes with the best radish greens we'd seen in a long time; Asparagus (of course it's still in season!); Spring Garlic; Rhubarb and Strawberries; a couple of early Tomatoes; and of course a stop at Birchrun Hills Farm for Red Cat and Fat Cat cheeses (we are addicted); Chicken from Mountain View Poultry; and lastly a real surprise: Spotted Alaskan Prawns from Otolith Sustainable Seafood.  This last was a purchase we hadn't planned on at all - total impulse.  Excellent impulse.  These are amazing shrimp, flash frozen and vacuum sealed on the boat and fairly and humanely harvested.  With these shrimp we may be able to sway those who think gigantic boxes of chemically treated frozen shrimp from big box stores is such a "great deal" - if they can taste at all!! We sauteed them in butter and garlic, butterflied them with the shells on - they were delicious and the difference in the flavor is well, scary - in an oh so good way.

We lugged everything home and made our weekly stash of butter (and so had a yield of buttermilk for biscuits) and started planning our approach to these fabulous products. We came up with at least 4 fabulous dinners and some goodies for quick weekday breakfasts.  For example, we made stewed Rhubarb and Strawberries and Buttermilk biscuits.  With good strong coffee on a weekday morning, you are good to go with that delicious combo!

It was hours before we noticed that it was still gray and damp and threatening rain!!!

A Few of the Recipes

Our newest, best cocktail hour appetizer, which we shared with the Birchrun Hills and Talulah's Table folks on Sunday (just in case you see it on the menu at Talulah's Garden!):

Red Cat Poppers
Bring a round of Birchrun's Red Cat Cheese to room temperature
Slice a couple of fat strawberries as thin as you can
Get out your best Balsamic Vinegar

Put a slice of strawberry on a piece of the cheese (you may need a spoon if the cheese is getting runny and fabulous)
Put just a few drops of Balsamico on top of the strawberry slice
Pop into your mouth
Remember who told you!!  You're welcome!

Red Cat Poppers Ingredients

Buttered Eggs
This recipe comes to us from the Canal House Cookbook, Volume 6 (www.thecanalhouse.com)

Cut hard boiled eggs in half;  arrange them on a plate
Sprinkle good extra virgin olive oil on top of each 1/2
"Butter" the top of each 1/2 with good mayonnaise - not Miracle Whip, please . . .
Salt and Pepper each 1/2 - we used sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle finely chopped herbs over each 1/2 - we used a combo of our chives and our par-cel (a celery and parsley combo plant) but you can sprinkle whatever you want to add flavor
You're done and they are delicious!

Warm Fresh Greens Salad
Remember those beautiful radish greens I mentioned above?   And those white turnips?  They star here:

Take a bunch of greens - in our case, the Radish Greens
Clean the greens, remove the stems, chop coarsely, rinse again
Let the greens drain
Saute a bit of Spring Garlic and if you like a some finely chopped jalepeno in olive oil
Slice a couple White Turnips on a mandoline if you have one - if you don't just get the slices as thin as you can
Thinly slice a half of a red onion
When the Spring Garlic and Jalepeno are softened add the red onions, and the white turnip slices to the pan - saute for about 5 minutes or less - just softened
Add the radish greens, toss thoroughly with the rest of the ingredients, and let the greens warm
Add salt and pepper to taste
Drizzle with your favorite vinigarette - we used a basic dijon vinigarette
Serve warm

It is possible to shop only once or twice a week and eat delicious, nutritious and seasonal food at home.  It just takes a bit of planning - and sometimes the planning takes place AFTER the shopping!  Enjoy!

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