Thursday, October 9, 2008

Market to Table - October 9, 2008

As I write this, there is a still the faint aroma of homemade soup in the air. For the last few weeks, the veggies from the farmers market (mostly potatoes, onions, spinach, and zucchini) have made some gorgeous stir-fries and I've loved every bite, but it was time for something new. Staring at the veggies in the refrigerator at lunch yesterday (including one last carrot and a few stalks of celery from the grocery), homemade veggie soup was calling to me. It's been a couple months since my last batch and it was time for another. 

I chopped the celery, carrots and sauteed them in my soup pot with some green onion I picked off my back porch. As the veggies began to soften, I added some chopped zucchini and spinach from the farmers market, as well as some parsley and basil also from the back porch. Having routinely saved the stock from steaming green beans for the last few weeks, I had a quart of tasty broth to add. Another quart of water, some salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of local rice finished the job. As the soup simmered, the house was filled with the most beautiful smells. Without tasting, I knew it was perfect (of course, that doesn't mean I didn't have a nibble - ok I had 3 nibbles). A little soup, some of those steamed green beans, and just enough potatoes and onions left for a nice potato salad, and I'll be eating well for the next few days. Mmmm.

Of course, I also had my new favorite this week - homemade canned stewed tomatoes and rice. I'm limiting myself to once a week for this goody since I didn't can nearly enough tomatoes this year, my first year of canning (a mistake I won't be making in year 2 for sure). When we canned them, the tomatoes had cooked with some onion, green pepper, and garlic which makes it hard to not eat them right out of the jar. But mixed with some local rice this meal is on the top of my culinary wish list these days. Magnifico! 

I was pretty bummed that some of the fruits I pulled from the freezer have that "off" taste. I tried to make a compote to see if they were salvageable, but alas, no rescue was in store. Perhaps I'll do more canning next year instead of freezing, or maybe instead I'll just plan on enjoying as much of the fruit as I can while it's in season (and making plenty of jam with the extras) and allow the seasons to tend to my hunger for fruit as I do for the most part with veggies - tomatoes of course, being the exception. Anyone want to start placing bets on how many jars I can next year?

Most of the fruits I'm eating these days didn't come from this area, but I've refused to buy anything that isn't from the US. Of course, you never know. Maybe those Australian organic apples have less of an impact on the earth than the ones from right here in the US, but how do we know? Tempering my not-so-local fruits at breakfast, I've been enjoying local almonds - one of my favorite nuts (that's excluding the ones in my family).

We're finishing the last of my 100% whole wheat bread and rolls (non-local but made from scratch) as sandwiches featuring a few local goodies like spinach and onion. I haven't baked bread in weeks and am looking forward to the next batch. That new garden isn't the only thing therapeutic here at the SGF house. There's just something about the feel of bread dough, its miraculous rise, and the way the house smells as it bakes to perfection. Hmmm. A little bread with some of that soup might be nice. 

So that's a little of what's been on the table this week. As fall progresses, and the temperatures continue to drop little by little, I look forward to all the wonderful meals that eating locally will inspire. As always...

Happy (and mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

Yep, I've done alot of stir-fries this week myself...yellow or pattypan squash, green pepper, onion, tomato and olive oil(all local, except for the organic season-all). Opps, not fair, I have actually gotten local tomatoes this week. If it helps, I had to brave over a dozen ant bites in my friend's untended garden to get about a pound or so of cherry tomatoes and a cucumber...but last night was salad-lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and non-local Italian dressing(darn it, I really like that store-bought dressing)...oh and the stir-fry...yum.
On another note, maybe you should use the berries without thawing in your frig and see if that works. You may need some baking soda in your frig to absorb odors so they don't end up in your food. My hubby told me not to buy peanut butter in thin containers because it was absorbing a funny taste, so berries certainly could too, just a thought. You can use baking soda in the freezer, too, I believe. Deep freezers work better for home freezing because the temperatures are usually colder(and you tend not to open the door daily as with a refrigerator-freezer). Things freeze quicker, preserving quality of the food(think flash frozen). I don't know what you are using, exactly, but perhaps this helps.
I bought my freezer years ago to be able to accommodate grassfed beef because you are best off buying half a cow or so at a time(to save money)...probably not practical for your nearly vegetarian diet and small family, but it is very handy for us.
That being said, I still prefer fruits and veggies when they are fresh, even though I have had success in freezing and canning them. Ultimately, we all have to figure out what works best for us.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Stir-fries are a great way to highlight the delicious bounty of summer!

What a great idea saving the water from the steamed green beans for use as stock. Do you know how long the stock will last for if you store it in the fridge? There are lots of things that I would like to cook in veggie broth (beans, rice, etc) but don't want to buy the expensive, tetrapak veggie broth from the grocery.

You soup look perfect. Reading your post I could almost smell the soup wafting around. Yummy!

I'm thinking of making homemade pizza crust this weekend. I am taking a long weekend from work, so it sounded fun. Don't know, for some reason, homemade BBQ sauce, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), bean sprouts, and roasted bell peppers sound like they would make for a fantastic pizza. Maybe I'm just crazy. ;-)

All your homemade bread making makes me want to try. Do you use a bread machine? We used to have one that we never used, so we gave it away. And of course, NOW I wish I still had it...

Heather @ SGF said...

ttammylynn - Ooh! Local tomatoes! Yum! Lois said she had some coming soon. REALLY looking forward to that!

I pulled the rest of the berries out for one last ditch effort to make something. I tried a batch of jam with my new pectin (post coming soon) and it tasted just fine. So I went ahead and used up the rest of the dewberries for jam. It was fun and now, of course, they taste fabulous. Will use a different container next year and see if thickness makes a difference. Thanks for all the suggestions!

jennifer - I don't leave the stock in the fridge for more than a week. What I usually do, unless I'm planning on making soup within a couple days is 1) allow the stock to cool completely, 2) put it in an old yogurt container (one of the large ones) and keep it in the freezer where I add to it each time I have more stock. Then when it's time to make soup, 3) I let the frozen container of stock sit in a little water, just so that the outside melts a bit. This way it slides right into the soup pot and melts as the soup is simmering. Works great!

As far as the bread goes, we don't have a bread maker. I do it all by hand, well other than I do have a mixer to do the kneading, but I still have to feel the dough before I know I have the right consistency and how much longer to allow the mixer to knead. If you interested in giving it a shot, check out the Fresh Loaf:

They have great lessons on how to get started. That's how I learned last spring. Now I feel like an old pro :)

BTW, your pizza sounds yummy...

Cheryl said...

I made homemade ORGANIC veggie soup last week...2 potatoes, 1 leek, some broccoli, carrots, and 1 tomato. Yummy! Oh, and a dash of ginger! I shop my local farmer's market every other Saturday (it's only twice a month). Last weekend I bought avocados, artichokes, and asparagas! Yum, yum! Come check out my blog:

Heather @ SGF said...

cheryl - that sounds great! Isn't homemade soup the best? Great blog, btw. I'll put it on my reading list!