2 sisters 2 cities

June 12, 2010

Cooking from the Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of msandman via the flickr creative commons license

Last Friday afternoon, we decided to invite some friends over for dinner that evening.  I had no meal plan for the night for even Husband M and I, so I had to quickly figure out what I was going to serve our group.  Fortunately, the Copley Square Farmer’s Market was open so I decided to hit it up to see what I could think of.

For appetizers, I visited the Crystal Brooks goat cheese stand and picked up a tub of their mediterranean goat cheese.  For dinner, I thought out best option would be BLTs.  I picked up a pack of smoked bacon from Stillman’s Turkey Farm, some first-of-the-season tomatoes from the Stillman’s farm stand, and two types of bread from Breadsong Bakery (Rustic Italian and Sourdough).  I already had lettuce at home from our Boston Organics delivery.  As an alternative to mayo, I like to use step 1 of this recipe for Cooking Light for the spread (I used the sage from my herb garden…my first harvest of the year!):

Mayo/Mustard Shallot & Sage Spread

I cut up the tomatoes and washed the lettuce and put them all out on one plate.  I cooked the bacon in the oven on a baking sheet at 400 degrees (approx 15-2o minutes depending on your oven).  I then used the broiler to toast the bread on baking sheets right before we sat down to dinner.  It was a great meal to serve to guests as I could get the majority of things taken care of ahead of time (washing the lettuce, washing and cutting the tomatoes, cooking the bacon, slicing the bread, and making the spread).  I was able to enjoy the time on our roof deck watching the sunset.  (Pictures of our revitalized deck coming soon…I just need a sunny weekend day to take the pics and for Husband M to make a few planter moves).

For dessert, I decided to go with my all-time favorite- strawberry shortcake.  I picked up 4 pints of local strawberries from the market (I can’t remember which stand I ended up going to, but there are 4-5 stands which carry them this time of year).  I had some leftover buttermilk from another dinner, so I used the recipe on the side of the carton to make buttermilk biscuits.  Husband M picked up some heavy cream from the grocery store on his walk home from the bus stop (as well as a can of ReddiWip for himself…nasty!)  Before our guests got here I made the biscuits and washed & cut up the strawberries. I then mixed the strawberries with a half of cup of sugar…it looks like a lot, but it tastes so good and they become really juicy after they sit in it for about an hour (or longer if possible).  Right before I served the dessert, I mixed the heavy cream up with the KitchenAid to make whipped cream.  The process goes a little bit faster if you put the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to get them nice and cold.

I really love the idea of skipping the grocery store and doing all my shopping at the farmers’ market.  Not only does everything taste better, but I like to support local farmers and their awesome products.  I have been going to the same market for a few years now (and grew up going to farmers markets in the upstate NY area), but it seems like it is more popular than ever.  It would definitely be an interesting stat to see if farmers’ market volume have picked up at all within the past few years due to the green/local/organic movements.  Granted, I did have to use some items that I had previously purchased at the grocery store and had to pick up one item that day, but I would really like to purchase as many things as possible going to the farmers market this summer.

What meals have you prepared using solely the market?  Have farmers markets in your area become more popular recently?

-m

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January 5, 2010

Boston Organics

Filed under: M's post — Tags: , — 2sisters2cities @ 9:11 pm

A service that I really enjoy in Boston is a organic produce delivery service called Boston Organics.  I had taken a break from this service for the past few months as I had been busy with the holidays and had not had time to cook too much.  I got my first delivery of the new year today.  I received the $29 half fruit and half vegetable box, as well as  a number of add-on products.  I have always wanted to participate in a CSA, but it’s very difficult to get to the pick-up locations after working all day and not having a car readily available.  I also would have trouble making the same vegetable night after night when a certain item is at the peak of its season.  With Boston Organics, you get a variety of produce and you are able to select a “no” list of items you do not wish to receive (sorry rutabaga and  chard…I’m just not quite there yet).

Today’s delivery was a good one:

-Leeks
-Leafy greens
-Brocoli
-Carrots
-Green Peppers
-Apples
-Oranges
-Lemons
-Bananas

I also added some add-on items to stock up on:

-Whole-wheat pancake mix
Equal Exchange coffee beans, green tea, and hot cocoa
Taza chocolate discs
-Local honey
-Organic peanut butter
-Onions
-Garlic

If you live in the Boston area and are interested in organic food, I would highly recommend this service.  I have had the service for about a year and a half and have really found it to be beneficial.  I occasionally have to throw out some food that I don’t get a chance to use (which I feel bad about), but I am usually able to use all the items I receive.  It also is a huge help in lightening my load of items I need to drag home from the grocery store this week, especially when I do my shopping without a car.

-M

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