Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farmers Market

Well, I’m back.
It’s been a busy couple of months, between making preparations for moving, my husband’s graduation, going on vacation, and working seemingly all the time. I lost some of my drive, but I’ve been kind of waiting for a few things to happen so I could write about them.
In particular, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Farmers Market, and it finally came at the beginning of the month. I’ve gone each week that I haven’t been working, doing graduation stuff, or out of town, which makes for three visits so far, and I’m planning for many more.
The city I live in is rather forward thinking when it comes to food, so the Farmers Market is a pretty big deal. There’s actually a market in different locations at least four days a week, possibly more. At the main one on Saturday mornings, there’s live music, demonstrations, and several stands along the perimeter selling food to eat while you shop. Last Saturday, I ate a fabulous omelet made with fresh, local ingredients sold at the market. It cost about as much as what we charge at the restaurant where I work (and, in my opinion, tastes about twice as delicious!). There are also several stands selling non-food items, such as pet treats, soaps, plants, and other crafty items. Overall, it’s a pretty fun event and quite crowded with fresh, local food lovers like me.
Yesterday, I took my husband with me to the market to pick up a few things. I usually don’t have a list in mind, I just look for new and interesting things and if I happen across some familiar favorites, I’ll grab those too. I knew I wanted some asparagus, but other than that, I had no idea what I was going to bring home.
When I go to the market, I usually like to make an initial loop around the stands to see what everyone is offering and for what price. Many of the stands also offer samples, so I’ll usually do my tasting during my first lap as well. After I’ve seen everything, I make one or two more laps to grab everything I want and usually find something else I didn’t see the first time.  Here are my finds for the week:
Starting at the top center and going clockwise I bought a bag of mixed spring greens ($3.00), a half loaf of bread ($3.50), strawberry peach jam ($6.00), asparagus ($1.75), a dozen eggs ($3.00), fancy bread [I can’t remember what kind, but the sample was delicious!] ($6.00), radishes ($1.00), and a quarter pound of smoked Gouda cheese ($5.00), for a grand total of $29.25.
I was ready to eat most of the food the second we left the market, but we’d already made dinner plans with my family so it had to wait until today. I started the morning off right with some delicious french toast using the half loaf of bread. I would have used the eggs but I had to finish off the eggs I’d bought at the co-op earlier this week. I ate it with butter and real maple syrup. 
 Below is my “recipe.”
½ loaf of bread (7-8 ½” slices)
4-6 eggs (depending on my mood)
milk (less than what I have in egg and in all likelihood inversely proportional to it)
vanilla (a few dabbles)
Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla. Soak the bread in the mixture and then grill on each side until it looks done.
Then for lunch, I decided to make the asparagus. I bought some the first time I visited the market this year because I wanted to try fresh asparagus (I’d only eaten it one other time and it was from the Cheesecake Factory). I had no idea how to prepare it—especially in a way my husband would eat it—so I asked the farmer if she had any suggestions. She said to sauté it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning and top it with parmesan cheese after it’s cooked.
 Easy and Delicious
It was fabulous. I got my husband to eat it, but he wasn’t a fan (everyone else loved it though, so it’s just him). I got him to eat another piece or two today, but lucky me got to eat the rest. His loss, I say.
Peanut butter and strawberry peach jam sandwiches accompanied our asparagus. I also ate some Garden Salsa Sun Chips with avocado ranch dip—which I purchased at the market previously and is quite possibly the best tasting dip, ever.
Tonight we’ll be making a salad with the mixed greens and radishes (and possibly the avocado ranch dip) and probably eating the fancy bread with it. I’ll update more on that after dinner.

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