Thursday, February 12, 2009

Market to Table - February 12, 2009

I have to say I was feeling a little adventurous this week. I have no idea why. I just know it tasted REALLY good! So what goodies came from the market to my table this week?

Strawberries - I just had to show this beautiful little berries off. I found them at Farm Patch, our local produce market. Not everything at the Farm Patch is local, so you have to ask, but they do usually stock fruit from Texas so when I can't find fruit at the farmers' market - to the Farm Patch I go! I nibbled on a few of these berries just about every morning for breakfast. They're from Alvin, TX (about 130 miles from home). Having pretty much missed strawberry season last year (who knew it started in February?), I was better prepared this year and on the look out for sweet berry-love.
I also enjoyed both Texas grapefruit and oranges for nice afternoon snacks. 

Black Bean Burger and Sweet Potato Soup - Towards the end of last week, all the sudden I was craving those black bean patties again. Well, since I have to soak the beans first, it took a day or so to feed that craving, but it gave me time to put a little something special together. So that's the black bean patty (recipe here - veggies and beans local) on one of my homemade whole wheat rolls, sliced tomato (Farmers' Market), pickles (Farmers Market), and ketchup (um, heinz). 

As if that wasn't the epitome of "YUM," I took it one step further and made a pot of sweet potato soup. I've mentioned this before - I don't do recipes, really. I just start chucking stuff together - you know, whatever sounds good. So here's my version of sweet potato soup...
  1. Chop green onion and mushrooms and saute in olive oil (all local). Set aside.
  2. Chop sweet potatoes (Farmers' Market) and place in soup pot. Add water just to cover potatoes. Boil until softened.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out softened potatoes (don't throw out the water - there's nutrients in there). Place the potatoes in a mixer bowl (I don't have a blender) and smash with a potato masher. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use whip attachment to make them as smooth as is possible.
  4. Add the whipped potatoes back into the water you used to boil them. Add sauteed onion and mushroom. 
  5. Cook for about 1/2 hour or until flavors are blended. 
Never having made a blended soup like this before (I've always done chunky soups), I'll admit, it wasn't as thick as I would have liked, so next time I'll probably only use half of the potato water (and save the rest for a recipe another day). Thick or thin, the soup was still wonderful delicious and made a great accompaniment to the burger. Mmmm! 

Cabbage Stir Fry on Rice - The day finally arrived. Having planted the cabbage in my backyard last October, I was ready to pluck the first from my garden. While some local brown rice (Brazos Natural Foods) cooked in a pot on the stove, I chopped some cabbage, green onion (both from my back yard) as well as some mushrooms (local, purchased at Farm Patch), black beans (local purchased at DiIorio Farms) and carrots (Farmers' Market). The veggies were sauteed in olive oil (Farmers' Market) and I added just a touch of salt (not local). Mmm, mmmm! I have to tell you, eating out of your own backyard is nothing short of magical! And there's more to come with four more cabbage just waiting to be called indoors. 

Eggs with Toast and Veggies - Last week, a commenter asked about what Dave eats. Though he's not on a strictly local diet like I am, he still eats quite a few local meals. I decided to take a photo of one of his dinners as a change of pace. Those eggs (Farmers' Market) are cooked once-over-easy. Of course, that's my homemade whole wheat bread (the only thing local is the honey and water - but it's good stuff!), with homemade grape jelly. And I snuck in a veggie medley (it was dinnertime after all) of steamed broccoli, carrots, and red potatoes (all from the Farmers' market). I couldn't personally tell you how it all tasted, but I can assure you, not a bite was left!


Well, I do believe that's about as easy as cooking can get, and really, eating fresh, local food doesn't have to be hard. All it takes is a little imagination and a healthy appetite. Guaranteed, you've never truly enjoyed food until you've eaten local. Give it a shot. Scope out your local farmers market and make your next meal the best ever. 

Have a great Thursday, everyone. And as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!


Anonymous said...
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Green Bean said...

Yum! The soup looks awesome. I'll have to try that.

This year, we've had local strawberries year round. Not so last year but I guess the combination of the warmer weather and folks investing in row covers has made it very very easy to eat local over the winter. Local grapes too. All of them organic.

Beany said...

I have yet to figure out the growing season here. I've seen strawberries but am unsure if they're organic and local (they're not big on signage here and I'm nervous about asking).

I like the CSA so far, but I still need to go to the farmers market to pick up more substantial stuff like potatoes.

Heather @ SGF said...

Green Bean - Grapes? I REALLY miss grapes.....

Beany - I'm notorious about asking questions re: where the food comes from. Once you've done it a few times, it won't bother you as much and if you know, then you won't miss something by not knowing.

You might search around on the webs for what grows in your seasons. Or ask your CSA owner or farmer at the market. They are a wonderful source of info!

Farmer's Daughter said...

I hope you make chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's day! That's what I'd make if we had them here... Instead I'm going to make a chocolate cheesecake and make a strawberry topping out of the ones I froze last year. Either way, chocolate and strawberries make me happy on V day :)

fearlesschef said...

I am so jealous of those strawberries! Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how badly I want to be in Texas with all those strawberries right now!

Heather @ SGF said...

Farmer's Daughter - Unfortunately they didn't last long enough for me to make chocolate anything. They were just too good on their own.

I went back yesterday morning on my bike to get more and they were out :( They said they'd get more in the afternoon, but it would have meant a second bike ride and I wasn't up for it. Maybe this weekend...

Fearless Chef - Come on down! I maybe didn't get more berries this week, but I know where to find them if we take a short road trip :)

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

Oh my goodness Heather, strawberries. You know, when it is winter in Missouri, Texas sounds mighty nice. I missed strawberry season last year too, and it was a short season too. I will be on it this year, and make sure I get to market early, they go quick!

Black bean burgers, I LOVE black bean burgers. I am going to have to check out your recipe (somehow I missed that!?!?!), I am a sucker for a bean burger.

And sweet potato soup? That is too much, I have got to get back in my kitchen. I love the addition of the mushrooms, I would have never thought to combine sweet potatoes and mushrooms, but the sweet and earthy flavors could compliment each other very well.

I am now officially hungry.

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - you know, I get accused of making people hungry. Including a friend of mine who owns a restaurant and is around food all day (lol).

It was definitely a good week in food. Everything was tasty (especially those berries!)