Thursday, December 18, 2008

Market to Table - December 18, 2008

Last weekend's farmers market was another fabulous display of our local bounty. And as usual, I probably bought more than we needed. It just all looked so good! But never fear, I know just what to do...

Pizza - Anybody wondering what happened to all those gorgeous tomatoes I bought two weeks ago? We definitely had pizza on the menu for the week, but just didn't quite make the cut for pizza for last Thursday's Market to Table post. But never fear, the pizza is here! This time, I used a recipe from Alton Brown for the crust. It calls for bread flour and I didn't have any, but with a few clicks of the keyboard, I found out how to make my own - it's just AP flour and wheat gluten, both of which I had at home so I didn't have to buy anything new. Yipee! 

To make the sauce, I chopped 5 tomatoes and 1 onion (both from the farmers market), along with some mushrooms (locally-grown but from the grocery) in a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. When the veggies became soft and the tomatoes were mostly cooked down, I added just a dash of sugar to sweeten, and a little whole wheat flour to thicken. Another 5-10 minutes simmering on the stove, and I had my pizza sauce all ready. 

Assembling it, I shaped my crust - Last time, I rolled it out with a rolling pin and pinched the edges to make a crust. This time I had WAY more fun with it. Imagine me tossing the dough in the air, stretching it to perfection. Ok. Well, it wasn't nearly that glamorous. I definitely tossed it in the air, but not exactly very high. With my luck, it would end up on the floor then in the dog's hungry jaws within a matter of seconds. I could see her beady little eyes checking out the dough, daring me to drop it. As luck would have it, I caught it every time (although I did poke my finger through in one spot). But hey, we're not going for perfection here.

Anyway, I placed the crust on a cookie sheet, added my fabulous homemade sauce (Mmmm!), sprinkled mozzarella (from our local dairy) on Dave's half, and baked it until it the crust was nice and toasty-brown. Ain't it purdy?!

Veggies and Rice - Ahh. The obligatory rice dish. I suppose I treat rice similar to soup - whatever happens to be in the fridge at the moment gets dumped in. Not that I'm complaining. It makes for a delicious, warm dish for lunch and always ends up just a little different each time. This particular veggie and rice dish started out with two green onions (backyard garden) and mushrooms (grocery, but grown locally in Madisonville) sauteed in a little olive oil (farmers market). Next I added chopped spinach and cabbage leaf (both from the backyard garden), and just a little salt. Once the veggies had softened a bit, I added a half cup of local rice (Brazos Natural Foods) and 2 cups of water. It simmered on medium-low heat on the stove for about 45 minutes. 

Not pictured is a dish I made several times that included many of the veggies I picked up at last week's farmers market: chopped radish (with greens), carrots (with greens), onion, and peppers; sauteed and simmered with some local rice made for nice warm feasts on cold days. I always love the aroma that fills the house when I put these dishes together, and they always taste divine. No fancy cooking here. Just simple and delicious. 

Veggie Medley - Over the last few months, with an abundance of green beans at the farmers market, there has been a steady supply of steamed beans in the fridge for meals. But I've gotten a little more colorful lately with some steamed veggie medleys. This week's is a combination of red potatoes, carrots, and broccoli (all from the local farmers market). I chopped the veggies, tossed them in the steamer and set the timer for 30 minutes. It doesn't get much easier than that and we'll be munching on these all week. Good stuff!

Horde'euvres - I know, I know. I went vegan in October, but this plate isn't for me, although it looks fabulous! In preparation for a graduation party last week, I prepared cheese slices (from Brazos Natural Foods) and summer sausage (from our local dairy). The party, unfortunately, was cancelled at the last minute, but that left some wonderful finger foods for Dave to eat this week. Just about every evening, he grabs a few crackers (not local), and nibbles on these wonderful local goodies. Kelsey certainly approves. "Just a nibble, Daddy? Just a nibble?"

Of course, this week I've also enjoyed fruit salad daily for breakfast (local oranges and grapefruit) and lots of warm, homemade soup (canned last summer) with all local vegetables. So many goodies, so little room for photos...

Well, that wraps up another week of "Market to Table." As you know, I try to keep things pretty simple, but there's no end to the possibilities of what you can do with local food. Be adventurous, have fun, go local!

Happy Thursday, everyone, and as always... Happy (and mindful) eating!


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

Heather this has to be one of my very favorite posts that I look forward to every week (your Market to Table posts are rivaling the weekly Jim Kunstler post on Clusterfuck Nation - sorry about the language, that's what his blog is called).

That pizza is gorgeous. I can't imagine how chewy and wonderful that crust had to have been. And that sauce, it sounds simple but perfect, just how a pizza sauce should be. I will definitely keep this idea for next year. I think the greenhouse used by the owner of the Root Cellar has extended the Midwestern tomato season about as long as it can now. I WILL can plenty of Missouri tomatoes next year. I felt bad having to buy a can of tomatoes from the store this week.

Anyway, back to your food. You tossed the dough?! That is awesome, I would probably make a huge mess and it would end up on the floor. Luckily the cats aren't after table scraps, the image of your dog is too good though.

I love how your rice dishes are always simple, but new. I am making fried rice tonight and am just going to toss in whatever I have that needs to be eaten, it seems to always work out.

That is too bad that your party was cancelled, but wahoo for Dave having yummy local treats. I love the look on Kelsey's face, she is very focused on that meat!

Glenda said...

Thanks for the tip about being able to make bread flour using all-purpose + wheat gluten.

Are you feeling better, in general, since switching to a vegan diet?

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - I'm so glad you like it! I'm always afraid they get boring. I just want to be able to show people that you don't have to have a formal recipe to make wonderful goodies from the farmers market. Just have fun with it.

The pizza dough was wonderful. I"m going to try it again and maybe alter the recipe just a bit. I want to try to make it a little chewier (maybe letting it rest more before I put it in the oven). The dough toss was easy. It didn't go up far, but it was fun to do. You should totally try it (leaning over the counter or table, of course) :)

The rice dishes are some of my favorites. I eat them just about every day at lunch, but they are all just a little different. I'm lucky to have found rice at the natural food store in bulk but that's also local. Did you ever find a source? I know you were looking.

Glenda - A couple of weeks ago, I would have said no. I was feeling pretty good, but it could have been anything, right? But then I fell off the wagon and was nibbling on all those cookies, as well as a few nibbles of cheese and meat. I also started feeling pretty crummy again. When I'm eating vegan, I feel lighter, cleaner, if that makes any sense. Now that I'm back on the wagon, we'll see if I continue to feel good. Time will tell. I just need to get away from those darn cookies :)

Green Bean said...

Pizza looks divine! Actually, per usual, everything looks divine. I really wish you'd move back to CA and live close enough for me to come mooch sometime.

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

So far, I have only found a source for Missouri grown sushi rice. I have a few leads on others, and I might just write the place that grows the sushi rice and ask if they would sell some brown rice as well. I understand it is all the same thing, they just don't process the brown rice, so I don't quite understand why it is so difficult to find.

Heather @ SGF said...

Green Bean - You can mooch anytime, even if we are a little further away than California. I'm still trying to talk Jennifer from Veg*n Cooking to move in to our spare rooms so that she and Brett can make all those goodies for us too. You can come too, of course :) The more the merrier!

Jennifer - it's silly that it's so darn hard to find rice, isn't it? Keep asking around. I'm sure something will come up and if people know you are looking, your more likely for someone to find a source and pass it along.

Glenda said...

"When I'm eating vegan, I feel lighter, cleaner, if that makes any sense." -- It makes perfect sense =).

Back around October, I'd decided to make at least 90% of my meals and snacks vegan, for health reasons. And for the period of time when I ate that way (it was about 3 weeks before I started sliding), I felt the way you described. I'm looking forward to getting back to that after Christmas, and to taking the time between this holiday season and next to do lots of experiments in vegan baking and cooking!!

Heather @ SGF said...

Glenda - the holiday do wreak havoc on the old diet. All those goodies that normally I could do without... I swear they call to me... they need me :) But like you, it's good to get back on the wagon again. Good luck! I'm with you on this one!