Market Monday

This week, I forgot to stop for cash on my way to the farmers’ market, so I could only use our CSA punch card for purchases. But as you can see, I came home with plenty.

We’ll eat the green beans as a side with “tuna bake,” a casserole my mom made when I was a kid that Dexter has requested for dinner this week.

We bought regular large eggs, but then decided to get a carton of pullet eggs (left), which are the first eggs a hen lays when they are less than a year old. They are smaller than standard eggs. Some people think they are richer than standard eggs, but our pastured eggs from Salt Fork Farms are so good that it doesn’t really matter if they’re big or small.

The cherry tomatoes were just for Dexter. Although his sweet tooth usually pulls him toward things more like this, he loves popping back tomatoes. I don’t get it, but I do support the habit.

The onions and zucchini will go in spaghetti sauce, in omelets, and atop huevos rancheros.

We devoured the potatoes Saturday night with burgers. I tried an Amy’s veggie burger for the first time.

Last week, I had high hopes for cooking meals and following recipes. I’ve realized that since school has started, quick meals are the only ones that are going to get made. This week we’ll be eating:

  • Huevos rancheros, yogurt
  • Tuna bake, green beans
  • Omelets with zucchini, onion, and cheese
  • Spaghetti with store bought sauce ramped up with onions and zucchini, salad

What did you find at the farmers’ market this week?

Market Monday

Saturday’s farmers’ market was nice and cool. I wore a sun dress and even wished I’d brought a cardigan. Even though the temperatures have been summery, in comparison to the recent sweltering weather, it feels like fall is here.

My breakfast came from Devotay, the makers of auf laufs. It was a tortilla espanola made with potatoes and onions, topped with aioli (a tangy, garlic mayonnaise).

Since our city has a festival about every other weekend during the summer (for art, jazz, books, you name it), we decided to check out this week’s festival: Sand in the City.

The city brings in professionals to build a massive sand sculpture in the middle of the street.

Local businesses create their own sculptures as well. Can you name this classic children’s book?

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the Thneeds.”  -The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss


Humpty Dumpty

This week, I picked up tomatoes, potatoes, onions, zucchini, eggs, and a whole broiler chicken from our CSA. (I still haven’t dared to cook the stewing chicken I bought in May. I see a whole-chicken-cooking-adventure post in my future.)

We bought the beets from Grinnell Heritage Farm and the corn from an old hippie-looking man whose sign advertised “bodacious sweet corn.”

I’ve really been enjoying the red onions from our CSA this summer. They leave a delicious caramelization on the bottom of the new not-nonstick pans I got for Christmas. Now I finally know what Rachael Ray was talking about when she exhorted me to scrape all the goodness off the bottom of my pan when I added my vegetable stock.

I’m headed back to work this week. I definitely have one of those “ugh” feelings about how busy things are about to get, but I’m also excited about having some structure back in my schedule. I imagine I’ll find time for things I never got around to this summer thanks to that structure. I hope to cook some low-stress meals as I get back into the swing of things.

This week, we’ll eat:

  • Zucchini, onion, and kale omelets, potatoes
  • Burgers and corn on the grill, baked beans
  • Beet soup (I’m in the market for a recipe!), bread, veggie
  • Scalloped tomatoes with croutons, salad

Did you make it to a farmers’ market this week? What’s cooking in your kitchen?

Market Monday & 200th Post Giveaway Winner

heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market

I wanted to buy everything at the farmers’ market this week. We’re actually getting both sun and rain here in Iowa (finally!), which means that the more colorful vegetables of summer are finally ready to harvest.

I went to our CSA stand first thing on Saturday morning to get eggs. We’ve become pasture-raised egg snobs around here. First, we love buying the eggs directly from the man who raises the chickens so we know that they really are pasture-raised–we’re not just relying on a sticker on an egg carton at the store. Second, the yolks are brighter, the whites cook up more tender, and we pretty much devour the carton of eggs within a few days of purchase.

From our CSA, we also bought four tomatoes, three cucumbers, three eggplant, a pile of tomatoes, a red onion, a head of garlic, and fennel.

I bought another bottle of Lemon Basil Balsamic Vinegar from Pickle Creek Herbal. We’ve been following the simple (1:2 vinegar to oil ratio with a drizzle of honey) recipe for salad dressing Jocelyn gave us when I first met her and have exhausted our first bottle. She also recommended using it on caprese salad, which I think will be a good use for those four tomatoes. (Or three tomatoes. See how the top one looks a little funky? It looks really funky now.)

I also stopped at a stand to by goat cheese for a muffin recipe I wanted to try for Sunday morning breakfast. I’ll share that recipe with you soon so you can see if you want to start waking up to goat cheese.

We bought the cherry tomatoes and yellow squash from an organic stand that was very friendly and helpful to Dexter one morning as he was getting his stand set up. Dexter loves these cherry tomatoes and will enjoy having them in his lunch in place of the carrots I usually send.

For the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you that we also bought apple cider doughnuts and a savory tomato auf lauf at the farmers’ market. They were devoured much to quickly and ravenously to make it onto the camera.

Some of the cucumbers will probably make it into a salad, but we’ve been using them to add some pizzazz to our drinking water. I fill the pitcher in our fridge with water and add five slices of cucumber and half a lemon, sliced thinly or cut into wedges. (Wedges make it easier to squeeze the juice directly into the water, but I’ve found that slices flavor the water well enough if left to sit.) I usually refill the pitcher without replacing the cucumber and lemon slices once or twice so we can extract all the flavorful goodness from them before tossing them in the garbage disposal. Dexter doesn’t like plain water, but he was enamored with this water when I made it once last month and has been drinking it almost as enthusiastically as he drinks coffee.

I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but I really want to like it. I plan to bake it (like in the first half of this recipe) and then serve the crispy slices on top of spaghetti. It’ll be my adapted version of eggplant parmesan. (My beef with real eggplant–or chicken–parmesan is that everything gets soggy, and I don’t want to go to the trouble of making something delicious and crispy if I’m just going to dump sauce all over it. Does anyone else feel this way? Am I the only one who has soggy-parm issues?)

The large pile of yellow squash will go into Sunny Summer Squash Soup, which I found on Once A Month Mom’s August Vegetarian Menu. The onion, some garlic, and two of the potatoes will go in the soup, and the rest were eaten, grilled in slices, with Monday night’s dinner.

What I’m left with, however, is a bulb of fennel. I didn’t have any plans for it. It was sort of an impulse purchase. (You know you’re kind of a kitchen dork when fennel is your impulse buy.) Any suggestions for my fennel?

Finally, before I hit the sack on this barely-got-it-posted-on-Market-Monday, I want to announce that Sarah is the winner of the Eating Animals giveaway. Your book will be in the mail as soon as I confirm your address.

Des Moines Farmers’ Market Pictures

Last month, Dexter and I took a trip to Des Moines to visit his mom. In recent weeks, blogging has come in dead last on the list of things I want to do (I think I’m still recovering from mean-spirited comments), so I never got around to telling you about it. I’m sitting at my usual farmers’ market right now (my bare feet touching the chemical-ridden road, my back leaned up against a light post which I am sure serves as an urban tree for neighborhood dogs…I’m going to take a shower as soon as I get home). I’m saving my post about today’s finds for Market Monday, but I thought I’d post a few pictures from the Des Moines market in the meantime.

I want these for my living room. I would base my whole new color scheme on them.

des moines farmers market

des moines farmers marketPeach tart. Amazing.

des moines farmers marketA spinach pupusa. Pupusas are an El Salvadoran specialty I’ve heard about a lot from my students.

des moines farmers marketWheatgrass, beet, and something else juice. Less flavorful than you’d think, but still good.

There was music on just about every corner, from middle-aged cover bands to steel drums to this guy.

Market Monday

***Remember to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Eating Animals! The winner will be announced next Market Monday.***

Saturday was possibly the best farmers’ market day ever. We did get some good veggies, but the day started out spectacularly. After dropping Dexter off to work the market, I had my first successful morning run ever–and got one day closer to earning my new shoes. (And then on Sunday, I earned them!)

Aronia Auf Lauf and Spearmint Tea

Capanna’s stand was set up right next to Devotay‘s stand, so we forewent our usual apple cider doughnuts and bought “auf laufs.” Auf laufs are an Austrian version of crepes, but they’re a little thicker than crepes, and can be served with sweet or savory fillings like crepes. Dexter and I shared mango and aronia (also known as chokeberry) auf laufs. They were perhaps even more delicious (and probably one hundred times more healthy) than our doughnut habit, although they were four times as expensive. I also bought a glass of spearmint tea from Devotay for just a dollar–which included a free refill. I was happy to find a refreshing, caffeine free drink to sip on since it was incredibly hot outside.

At our CSA, we picked up a dozen eggs, several potatoes, a large head of broccoli, and a huge bag of kale and collard greens. We also bought a pork shoulder roast because I’ve promised to make Cuban sandwiches this week for dinner. They’re Dexter’s favorite. Finally, we bought a basket of yellow and purple beans from a stand we’ve never purchased from before. I forgot to take a picture of all the food before I cooked and ate it.

Sunday night, we ate baked eggs with greens and mushrooms (loosely based on the Smitten Kitchen recipe found here), roasted potatoes, bacon from Grass Run Farm, and some delicious whole grain cornmeal lemon-blueberry pancakes.

Tonight, we had stir-fry with broccoli, greens, carrots and last week‘s cabbage. I need to acquire some frozen fruit so I can use the gigantic bag of greens in my fridge in some green smoothies.

I’m hoping to try out this Bobby Flay recipe for Cuban sandwiches. Has anybody out there ever made a Cuban before? Any tips?

Did you make it to a farmers’ market this week? What’s cooking at your house?

Market Monday…er Tuesday (and 200th Post Giveaway!)

Forgive my Market Tuesday post. I had some technical difficulties and didn’t want to wait until next week!

Happy Independence Day to you, and Happy 200th Post to me!

I’m here to break my unintentional two-week blogging hiatus. My summer job scoring writing tests will be over tomorrow morning, and I did not anticipate the amount of time it would take up. I am so looking forward to Wednesday, and making some headway on those projects I wrote about last month.

Two weekends ago, I didn’t make it to a farmers’ market. Dexter’s family had a reunion at his mom’s place, so although we didn’t make it to a market, we did spend a day ingesting cake pops, apple cake, and even a s’mores pie topped with bacon. (Dexter’s family is serious about desserts. Entire tables are devoted to desserts at their gatherings–the meal-like foods are just a ruse in case any “outsiders” make it in to the reunion.)

Dexter got to meet (for the first time as an adult, anyway) his great-uncle Bernie. We discovered that Bernie’s vocation was graphic design and that he still sketches daily to keep his skills sharp. (Really, “sketch” seems like a silly word. He makes amazing color drawings and even takes a portfolio filled with fancy pencils and other drawing tools with him wherever he goes.) It was cool to find out that Dexter’s artistic interests could be a genetic echo of Uncle Bernie’s skills.

Fast forward to this weekend–I made it to the farmers’ market!

We bought some delicious iced coffee from Capanna (not that we’re biased) and apple cider doughnuts, which are our incentive to get out of bed early on Saturday mornings when we forget that we really do like the vegetables enough to get up early to buy them.

From our CSA, we got a dozen eggs, a bunch of turnips, several very dirty farm-fresh-looking potatoes, two heads of red romaine, a cabbage, and two heads of garlic. We also stopped at a mushroom stand and bought a carton of portobellos.

Two weeks ago, I cooked up a storm every night. We ate delicious, balanced meals, and I was constantly exhausted from trying to clean the kitchen. Last week, we were so busy I barely cooked. When our schedule slowed down, however, my desire to get in the kitchen didn’t come back. Dexter made oatmeal raisin pancakes and eggs on Friday night. Then, he made crepes filled with farmers’ market portobellos, potatoes, and turnips for dinner on Saturday night. They were delicious, and I was glad to get to run instead of cook. Dexter is the things-made-with-eggs master around here.

Since then, I have cooked, and it has been okay, but I’m still not excited about it. I do have a plan to use what remains of our farmers’ market finds. We’ll grill the potatoes tonight and serve them alongside the coleslaw I’ll make with our cabbage. The romaine will make lots of salads for side dishes in the evening and lunches for me now that I’ll be home during the day. The garlic will go in just about everything, and we’ve been eating so many eggs that they’re practically gone already!

Now, for the good stuff.

To celebrate my 200th post and in light of my recent controversial, freshly pressed post on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, I’ve decided to give away a copy of Eating Animals.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment below telling (or linking to a post where you tell) what you’ll be cooking this week and if you found any of the ingredients at a farmers’ market.

For up to three bonus entries (leave a comment for each), tweet, facebook, or blog about this giveaway.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, July 24 at 11:59 pm CST.

Thanks for reading! Here’s to 200 more posts!