Thursday, August 20, 2009

Here's the thing about corn

I love corn on the cob to distraction. I love fresh corn soup, salads made of fresh corn, and adding fresh corn to any and all possible meals, while it's in season. But, as I was discussing with my photo assistant this evening, corn is really heavy to carry home from the market, and it creates a lot of compost waste (which I carry back to the market eventually). That's because the edible area is basically a 1/4" surface in between one big part of the corn (the cob) and another (the husk/silk) - an eaten corn of cob is almost exactly the same size and weight as an untouched one. But, as I said, I love the stuff, so I'm not going to stop eating it. I'm just complaining.

I did find many more-convenient selections, though:
4 ears corn
2 bunches carrots
1 leeks
1 bunch kale
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 bunch celery
1 3/4 lb. zucchini
3/4 lb. button mushrooms
2 lbs. yellow tomatoes
1 1/4 green beans and yellow wax beans
1/2 lb. mixed peppers (jalapeno, anaheim, poblano)
1 bunch oregano
1 bunch thyme
1 pint strawberries
4 nectarines
3 peaches
4 purple Italian plums
Total spent: $48

I made it home without forgetting the strawberries, but they did end up pretty squished. Luckily, they're still edible. I'm planning to use the peppers, tomatoes, and some of the zucchini and leeks in a posole stew tomorrow night with the dried hominy I soaked and cooked today. Inspired entirely by a friend's description of her mom's posole recipe, I'm going to make this up as I go along.

Otherwise, the main story here is that I still haven't bought peaches, nectarines, and apricots for jam. The heat has really gotten to me this year, and with no AC in the front kitchen part of our apartment, I am not looking forward to making any more jam. But I know it will end up worth all the sweat and's just going to take a little more convincing.

Photo from Flickr: Trimmer741's photostream

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I shouldn't go to the market before coffee

A lovely, if hot, visit to USG today. I very nearly made it through without disaster despite my unfed, uncoffeed state - but not quite. I forgot to buy celery, and, worst of all, I left my brown-paper-bagged pint of Tristar strawberries at the Evolutionary Organics stand when I bought my greens, and didn't realize it until I was walking home from the subway. I'll just take heart imagining that someone who works at the stand will get a treat!

Refilling my bare fridge:
1/2 lb. salad greens
2 bunches carrots
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 head Rocambole garlic
1 bunch Italian parsley
3 lbs. green and yellow zucchini
2 lbs. new red-gold potatoes
1 1/2 lbs. yellow wax beans
4 ears white corn
1 pint Tristar strawberries (sigh)
4 nectarines
2 peaches
4 apricots
4 Shiro plums
Total spent: $44

The real news this week isn't in greenmarket purchases, but in pickles! My crock pickles magically weren't destroyed by my out-of-town week of neglect. They are delicious - really sour and perfectly spiced. I decided not to boil the brine, making my spirit guide in that decision Sandor Katz rather than the arguably more sensible Linda Ziedrich, though I (loosely) followed the latter's recipe for the pickles.

As you can see in the photo, the brine is alarmingly cloudy with sediment, but I'm choosing to ignore that and blithely rinse my pickles before I eat them. I just can't imagine that they could taste so good and be somehow spoiled. I ended up with three quarts of pickles, plus a handful of extras (which quickly became a mouthful, and have vanished). These will certainly not last more than a couple of months given their tastiness and my obsession with pickles, and unfortunately the Kirbies currently available at the market are too big for pickling in my little crock. Next year I'll have a successful pickling experience under my belt and will start early and pickle often! I might need a bigger crock.

No big plans for this week's haul. It's pretty standard, nothing to pickle or preserve, because I was on a budget and handicapped by my lack of caffeine and calories w/r/t creativity and desire to carry more heavy bags. Next week (or this weekend, if I can get my neighbors at Locust Grove to make me a side deal), I'll get peaches, nectarines, and apricots, and plan a massive jam day. I've already bought a new flat of jars in preparation, and I'm impressed by the stylish new brushed-steel lids Ball has introduced this season.

In other news, I have some news coming soon. But meanwhile, onward and upward, with a pit stop by the pickle department of my fridge on the way!