Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mission accomplished!

We made jam!

Sixteen ways to brighten my day

1 bunch rainbow chard
2 lbs. zucchini
2 bunches small carrots
1/2 lb. shallots
2 lbs. red new potatoes
1/2 lb. purslane
1 bunch Italian parsley
1 pt. sungold tomatoes
4 Nardello peppers
5 jalapeno peppers
4 ears bicolor corn
2 pts. strawberries
1/2 pt. blackberries
3 lbs. peaches
1 lb. nectarines
1 lb. apricots

Total spent: $67

What a morning! I arrived at USG around 8:45, finding none of last week's crazy crowds (I guess everyone slept in?), and enjoyed a non-stressful greenmarket experience. My leisurely pace is attested to by the eclecticism of my choices.

Purslane is a mild-tasting green that's higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other land vegetable; I'll throw it in a salad. The potatoes are beautiful and will be made into potato salad (along with some shallots and parsley), and everything else is self-explanatory.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A tough day redeemed by berries and dinner

This morning I was tired and listless at the Union Square greenmarket. After wandering back and forth three or four times, aimlessly picking up something here and there (sometimes visiting the same vendor multiple times), I realized I just needed to be home.

Luckily I managed to get a reasonable amount of food, despite my haziness; however, it took me so long to wend my way to the Fantasy Fruit stand, they had sold out of Tristar strawberries by the time I arrived. I was so close to the end of my rope I almost cried - now I know why my intuition has always sent me to their stand first.

But when I got home and started eating the delicate heritage raspberries and spectacular blackberries I bought from Terhune Orchards, I felt a lot better. There will be more strawberries next week!

I don't remember buying half this stuff:
1 pt. blackberries
1 pt. raspberries
2 lbs. peaches
1 lb. apricots
2 lbs. lady apples
2 ears bicolor corn
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 stalk celery
1 bunch carrots
2 lbs. green beans
2 lbs. zucchini
2 heads Rocambole garlic
Total spent: $50

Since it was ungodly hot today, I had to work up to the idea of making dinner for a couple of hours, and decided on stir-fry, with the vegetables cut into thin strips. This has the hot-weather advantage of quicker cooking than larger pieces, and, even better, I got extra knife skills practice.

For two people, I French-cut about 1/2 lb. green beans (French-cutting green beans is so hard!!), cut 2 medium-sized carrots into matchsticks, and chiffonaded 6 big Swiss chard leaves. I also pan-fried about 1/3 block of tofu, pressed briefly and cubed. I threw the carrots and beans in, then once they were almost ready, added a twince more oil and tossed in the garlic and chard, then added the tofu once the chard was almost wilted, just to heat it back up. We had this with my favorite grain, short-grain brown rice. Why is it so good? All other forms of brown rice are dead to me.

We also had the corn, steamed, to start, with butter, salt, and smoked Spanish paprika. I like bicolor corn, but regular yellow is much sweeter - I hope it shows up at the market soon. And of course, dessert will be more fresh berries!

Speaking of berries, I desperately need to get on the canning wagon. I had planned for Tuesday, but the photo assistant and I are going to see The Dark Knight instead. Next Saturday, then, I will be making my first batch of jam. I can't let another summer's bounty get away from me...and as I have an offer open to practice with peaches from a friend's family's tree, I have to hold up my end of the bargain and figure out how to do it, stat.

(Photo is not mine! It is from futurowoman's Flickr photostream)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just the facts on my rushed morning

I was in a crazy hurry Saturday morning, but somehow I managed to pick up an excellent assortment of produce.

Variety is the spice:
1 bunch kale
1 bunch collard greens
1 lb. shell peas
1 lb. pattypan squash
1 bunch spring onions
1 bunch carrots
2 lbs. zucchini
2 ears bicolor corn
1/2 lb. cherries
2 lbs. peaches
1/2 lb. apricots
1/2 lb. Shiro plums
2 lbs. lady apples
2 pints Tristar strawberries
Total spent: $67

Why so few cherries? According to one of the vendors, the cherry crop has been truncated due to a hailstorm and bad weather over the week - so no more! Despite this heartbreaking news, I was able to console myself somewhat with delicious peaches, apricots, plums, and strawberries.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We fly the planes ourselves

Due to our disdain for a) fireworks and b) drunk people, as well as our indifference to c) barbecue, my photo assistant and I have developed the perhaps-antisocial July 4 tradition of seeing three movies in the theater. Yesterday we were three for three, with Wanted, Get Smart, and Hancock all coming through with all the car chases, gunfights, explosions, special effects, pratfalls, and one-liners we hoped for. And what's more American than that?

Listen, fruit is less expensive than smoking, even in these quantities:
1/2 pt. raspberries
1 pt. Tristar strawberries
1 lb. peaches (!!!!)
2 1/2 lbs. cherries
5 Empire apples
1 1/2 lbs. rhubarb
3 lbs. zucchini
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 1/2 lbs. shell peas
1 lb. "soft" discount tomatoes
1 head Rocambole garlic
Total spent: $57 (of which $20 was for cherries)
Today we're going to a friend's house upstate for a barbecue, so I made rhubarb bars again. This time, I used brown rice syrup, which definitely has a hearty and almost caramel-like taste, which added a nice quality to the rhubarb filling - thing is, I didn't use enough sweetener in the filling, nor sugar in the streusel, so they taste more like breakfast bars than sweet desserts. I also used whole wheat flour because I didn't think it would make a difference in a recipe that already called for oats. These bars are hearty and taste a bit healthy, but I hope folks will still like them. I'm also bringing Tofurkey sausage, cherries, and half a dozen little zucchini for the grill. Despite the rain, it promises to be a fun trip.

Today I passed up apricots and the season's first corn on the cob, because I was out of money and my shoulders hurt, but I may pick some corn up on Monday for dinner - I'm quite excited about it. Tomorrow night we'll have peas, and maybe peaches for dessert!