Monday, June 08, 2009

new farmers market--whoo hoo!

WARNING: i am a farmers market evangelist.

western wake farmers market
everything in this picture is labeled--just click on it to see the notes.

the western wake farmers market is changing my life. it's one of a handful of new farmers markets that have opened in our area this summer, and it's the closest one to us of any size. we missed the first weekend it was open, but we've been every other saturday for the past month and a half. it's impacting our weekend and the way we shop for food, which i think is a VERY good thing. we are getting to know the vendors, who have come to expect us--also a VERY good thing.

i have long been a fan of the raleigh farmers market, but a) it's HUGE and sometimes a little overwhelming, and b) it's far away. we still go--just not as often as we did when we lived downtown. and there's something to be said for a smaller marketplace--it's more intimate. the farms represented here seem to be fairly modest in size, and the farmers and sellers seem knowledgable and enthusiastic about what they do. it gets us all excited about the food we are eating, and it has definitely made me more enthusaistc about cooking lately, too! it's a little more expensive than going to the grocery store, but i feel so much better about the quality of the food and about the types of farms we are supporting that i think it's worth every cent.

so far, we've bought the following things from the new farmers market: arugula, radishes, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, swiss chard, a basil plant, whole wheat and seeded breads, stuffed baguettes, carrots, radishes, squash, eggs, ny strip steaks, breakfast sausage, lamb bratwurst, ground beef, a whole chicken, pork chops, goat cheese in various forms, camambert, mozerella cheese, broccoli, savoy cabbage, spring onions of every color, elephant garlic, asparagus, flounder, swordfish, trigger fish, scallops, shrimp, sunburst tomatoes, grape tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. i am probably forgetting some things...

some of the more amazing meals we've made featuring these things?
  • grilled cumin-rubbed NY strips, sliced and served with a two part salad. part 1: baby arugula tossed in a french vinaigrette with sliced radishes and shaved goat manchego; part 2: chopped sunburst tomatoes and purple spring onions with basil tossed in olive oil, balsamic, and lemon juice. (we've made this a few times, because we love it so much!)
  • pan fried trigger fish with cheese grits and sauteed swiss chard with soy and lemon.
  • diver scallops sauteed with garlic, butter, lemon, and white wine over pasta with sundried tomatoes, spinach, and baby portabella mushrooms tossed with cream and parmesan.
  • roasted herb-stuffed chicken with sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus. (made stock from the carcass.)
  • lamb bratwurst with roasted rosemary potatoes and savoy cabbage slaw. (see recipe below) (see also picture)
  • flounder soaked in buttermilk, breaded in cormeal and 3 peppers, and pan fried in peanut oil and butter with the leftover potatoes and slaw from the above meal. (see picture)
  • and last but no least, lunch after the farmers market run has become 1/2 a mini stuffed baguette from la farm bakery with a salad made from whatever fabulous veggies we got that day.
here's the recipe for the fabulous savoy cabbage slaw i made my messing around in my fridge this weekend:
1 sm. head of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 white or purple spring onion, thinly sliced
1 clove fresh elephant garlic (could use 1/2 a clove of cured elephant garlic or 1 clove regular garlic as well)
~1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
~2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
juice from 1/2 a lime
1-2 tablespoons good vinaigrette (i used briana's traditional french vinaigrette)
2-3 tablespoons miracle whip (yes i know--hush! i grew up eating this, and have not yet found a replacement for it in salads. i like the sweetness and the creaminess
mix it all up. chill. eat.

and now, i leave you with one more picture. here are the blueberry scones i made at 6:30 this morning just because i wanted them. the berries in these are from right down the road, and are second in flavor only to the ones on my pseudo-in-laws' farm. so good!

blueberry scones

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