Friday, 31 August 2007

Potatoes, Tomatoes & Beans (Oh my!)

C'mon, I dare you - try to say Potatoes, Tomatoes and Beans without ending with "Oh My!" I dare you! Huh. Well, I just can't do it.

Treat this as a vegetarian stew, and serve it with bread and butter or over steamed rice as the mainstay of a meal. Or, you could serve it as a side dish to some kind of meat. It's very versatile.

2 to 4 servings
45 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Potatoes, Tomatoes and Beans
450 grams (1 pound or 2 cups) green or yellow wax beans
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, cut in biggish chunks
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, ground

Wash and trim the beans, and cut them into bite sized pieces. Wash and cut the potatoes into large but bite-sized chunks.

Boil the potatoes and the beans separately until just tender.

Peel and chop the tomatoes and the onion. Sauté them in the olive oil until the tomatoes fall apart and the mixture thickens slightly.

Add the seasonings and the drained potatoes and beans, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to amalgamate.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Pasta with Home-Style Sauce

This is my default pasta recipe, with roots back to the days of my youth when every Monday was "spugeddi" night in Canada. It's evolved since then, thank goodness, since it was mainly meat, onions and canned sauce back then. It's got a lot more going for it veggie-wise now, and it's a lighter, chunkier sauce. And of course, we're snooty and eat "pasta" instead of "spugeddi" these days. We can still eat it on a weekly basis though, and never get tired of it.

Actually, I do find that the thinner sauce and chunkier vegetables make this better with a short, blunt pasta shape that can be eaten with a spoon, rather than with something long and thin, although that will certainly do in a pinch. When I put in the mushrooms, it's often instead of the beef, although it all depends on what's lurking in the fridge. Check out Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon a Feast for more delicious pasta from around the world.

4 servings
30 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

500 grams (1 pound +) dried pasta

1 large onion
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil (if needed)
450 grams (1 pound) lean ground beef
1 medium zucchini, grated OR l medium mild pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 cups quartered button mushrooms (optional)
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano

4-5 large field tomatoes OR 1 540-ml (19-ounce) tin diced tomatoes
AND 1 156-ml (5 1/2 ounce) tin tomato paste AND about 3 tablespoons ketchup

OR 1 680-ml (24-ounce) tin plain tomato sauce, plus it doesn't hurt to throw in some chunkier tomato stuff if you have any kicking around

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and mince the garlic if using. Sauté the meat and onions in the oil until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are soft and translucent. If your meat is not super-lean, you may not need the oil; but since I use grass-fed organic beef I find it's lean enough that it sticks to the pan otherwise.

Meanwhile, wash and grate the zucchini, and peel and grate the carrot. Stir the garlic into the meat and onions, then the grated zucchini and carrot a minute or two later. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the zucchini and carrot are soft. Sprinkle the basil and oregano over, and mix in.

Peel and chop the tomatoes (you can blanch them in your pasta water) and add them to the pan of sauce. Or, dump in your tinned tomatoes and tomato paste and ketchup. Or, add the tin of sauce and stir up. (Tomato paste can be excessively acidic, and ketchup is sweet enough that a little hit will mellow it out.)

At any rate; let it all simmer together while your pasta finishes cooking. When it's done, drain the pasta and serve with the sauce.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Caesar Salad

If not the world's best known and loved salad, certainly North America's best known and loved salad.

2 to 4 servings.
30 minutes prep time.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar Salad
Dressing:
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 anchovies, crushed OR 4" anchovy paste
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Peel the garlic and mince or crush it finely. Put it in a small pot with the olive oil. Put the anchovy paste, egg yolk, mustard, pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl. (But not so small you can't get your electric mixer into it.)

Heat the oil over low heat until the garlic sizzles. Cook until the garlic just begins to change colour. Remove the oil from the heat, and let cool for a few minutes.

Beat the yolk and other ingredients (except cheese) with an electric mixer until smooth. Begin beating in the oil and garlic; a few drops at a time. Beat well between each addition. The garlic will likely sink to the bottom of the pot of oil; scrape the garlic and last bits of oil into the dressing and beat again once you get down that far. Beat in the Parmesan cheese.

Salad:
1/2 to 1 head romaine lettuce
2-6 sliced mushrooms
4-8 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup croutons or chapons
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

I recommend you prepare the salad before the dressing, although the dressing can wait in the fridge until the salad is ready. Stir it up before using it, as the cheese tends to settle.

Wash, tear up and dry the lettuce. Top it with sliced mushroom, bacon bits, and croutons to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing, and pass extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over it. Any or all of the mushrooms, bacon, or croutons can be omitted if (not) desired.

Note: This is not a salad dressing to keep in the fridge for weeks. In fact, I wouldn't keep it longer than 24 hours. Use it or lose it.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Foolproof Banana Cake

I have made this cake so many times and in so many variations, and it always turns out well. It started out calling for plain unbleached wheat flour, and you can certainly use that although I think it is better with soft whole wheat flour. After that I made it with 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1/2 cup corn starch, which was very good. Then it turned out that a friend who is also avoiding wheat has even more troubles with corn, and now I am using 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 1/4 cup light buckwheat flour, and 1/4 cup arrowroot flour. Works fine!

I have skimped on the bananas, I have stuffed extra banana in there, I have used thinned yogurt, sour cream or even plain milk or soy milk to substitute for the buttermilk. I have always ended up with a lovely cake. I suppose it is humanly possible to bugger this up, but I haven't managed it yet.

12 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time

2 cups flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar or Sucanat ( I often use half and half)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana ( 4 large bananas)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Line 2 9" round pans with parchment paper, and grease the sides. Dust with flour. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sift together the flour(s), baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Cream the sugar with the vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.

Stir the dry ingredients in alternately with the buttermilk.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let partially cool in the pan, then remove to finish cooling. Ice with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting, or other frosting of your choice.




*See notes in intro about substituting different types of flour.

Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

The basic frosting that has launched a thousand birthday cakes. (Why yes, it was my birthday this week.) Simple and yummy.

Enough for a double-layer 9" cake
15 minutes prep time

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sifted cocoa
3 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 5 tablespoons milk or cream, as needed

Cream the butter. Sift over the cocoa, 1 cup of icing sugar, and the salt.

Beat the sugar and cocoa into the butter, adding the vanilla extract. Continue sifting and beating in the sugar, adding a spoonful of milk or cream whenever it becomes too stiff to work with. The final result should be a smooth, spreadable frosting; neither too stiff nor too runny, so be careful not to add too much milk at once - once it gets too runny you will need to add a lot more sugar to make it stiff again.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling Potatoes
There are actually quite a number of varieties of fingerling potatoes - they are not a variety but a set of varieties which have some similiarities. The most noticable similarity is the one that gives them their name: they are smallish, long narrow potatoes - finger shaped, more or less. Each variety has its' own qualities, but in general they are a nice balance between starchy and waxy in texture. They are most frequently recommended for potato salads, but they are very flexible and can be used for boiling, baking or even grilling. (Each variety is a little different, so ask about which ones you are getting.) Russian Banana is probably the most common fingerling potato, and a very versatile one.

No doubt it would be an excellent potato for Russian Salad, or simply tossed with oil and herbs and roasted. See them here in Fingerling Potato Salad.

Fingerling potatoes can be stored, but I would think that with their small size and thin skins they may not keep as long as regular potatoes. Also, given their thin skins I have never found it worthwhile to peel them. Just give them a good scrub before cooking them.



Fingerling Potato on Foodista

Fingerling Potato Salad

Fingerling potatoes make a great potato salad, but if you can't get them, small red skinned potatoes work well too. This is a simple salad with a salt and vinegar bite to it. I particularly like it when it is still warm.

4 servings
30 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Fingerling Potato Salad
Salad:
1 litre (1 quart - 4 cups) fingerling potatoes
2 or 3 stalks of celery
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Wash and cut potatoes into bite-sized slices. Cover with water and boil until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile wash and chop the celery finely, and chop the parsley. Set them aside.

Dressing:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large salad bowl.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and toss them in the dressing at once. Keep stirring until most of the dressing has been absorbed. Add the celery and parsley, and mix in well.

Serve warm or cold.

Chickpeas (Garbanzos) with Greens & Tomatoes, Greek Style

I found the original for this recipe here. It's become a staple in our household - good enough for company, fast and easy enough for weekday meals.

I make this almost all year round, using tinned tomatoes and whatever greens are available. For this batch, I used a bit of savoy cabbage and the rest of the beet-greens - probably about 6 cups prepared greens in total. Use an entire 540 ml (19 ounce) tin of tomatoes, if it's not tomato season. In that case, omit the salt and adjust at the end - there's quite a lot of salt already in the tinned tomatoes.

3 to 4 servings
25 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Chickpeas (Garbanzos) with Greens & Tomatoes, Greek Style2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 540-ml (19 ounce) tin chick peas (garbanzos)
2 or 3 large tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon oregano

1 bunch spinach, chard, cabbage, kale or other greens (6 to 8 cups prepared)
the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, to taste

Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Prepare the spinach or other greens by washing, chopping and setting aside to drain. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.

Sauté the onions in the olive oil, in a large heavy-bottomed pot, until soft and translucent.

Stir in the minced garlic, and then in a minute or two add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Season with the chile, salt, paprika and oregano. Let simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Add a splash of water if it seems too dry.

Add the spinach, chard, kale or whatever you have, and cook until it is done to your liking. Add the lemon juice, tasting to see how much you would like. Unless they are small, I generally consider one lemon to be sufficient. Adjust the salt if necessary.

This can be served as originally suggested with bread and feta, but I like to serve it over steamed rice.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce

Versions of this dish are found all around the Mediterranean, as well as in many other places. I ate quite a lot of it last summer, when we were in Spain for several months. Strangely, we found Spanish food rather lacking in vegetables, so whenever I found these on the menu I nabbed them. Mine are not exactly like any I had - less overcooked, for one thing - but definitely inspired by those dishes of judias verdes. I'm classifying this as a side dish, although we are inclined to serve these over brown rice and call it supper.

If you can find the broad (Romano) green (or yellow) beans, do use them. They are perfect for this. I used a combo of the two. Edit: I'm contributing this to Fresh Produce of the Month at An Italian in the US. Check it out - there will be lots of fresh tomato recipes.

2 to 4 servings
45 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce1 large onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large plum tomatoes
500 grams (1 pound plus) green beans
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet Spanish or Hungarian paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Peel the onion and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut each half into thin half-moon slices. Peel and slice the garlic. Blanch the tomatoes, and chop them coarsely. Wash and trim the beans, and slice them, also fairly coarsely.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for 6 or 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until well cooked down and showing some signs of browning. Add the garlic, and stir for a minute or two, until fragrant but not browned. Add the chopped tomatoes.

Meanwhile, boil the prepared beans for about 5 minutes.

Add the seasonings to the onion and tomato mixture. Add the drained green beans. I move them to the sauce with a slotted spoon, so I can save the cooking water to moisten the beans if necessary. It's a good idea to add a little splash right at the start.

Cover the pot, but leave a gap for steam to escape. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the beans are quite tender - they should be cooked longer than normal, but not so long that they get soggy. If you don't have the broad beans though, they may not take quite 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little of the bean cooking water if the beans look in danger of getting dry enough to scorch. Don't add too much. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Beet Greens & Cheese

Long slow cooking makes onions fabulously sweet, especially when they are fresh and juicy as they are now. The beet greens add a robust and astringent note, and the cheese rounds out the dish. I used Friulano, as a change from the imported Parmigiano Reggiano to which I am so embarrassingly addicted. I think it was probably made in Quebec, but at least it's a product of the glorious People's Republic of Soviet Canuckistan; so eat up, comrades!

I haven't used Friulano before - it's a typical corporate cheese; I can't actually figure out from either the label or the website where it's made - but it was on sale at Costco. I actually like it quite a lot: it has the fresh aroma and melty qualities of mozzerella, with a stronger cheddar-like zing to it. Edited to add: a little research tells me that Friulano is a specifically Canadian imitation of an Italian cheese; Montasio.

Don't forget to check out Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon a Feast! It's their 6 month anniversary. This post is a landmark for me too; it's my 100th.

2 to 3 servings
25 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Beet Greens and Cheese250 grams (1/2 pound plus) linguine or other pasta
3 large onions
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
the greens from 6 to 8 large beets (probably 2 bunches)*
150 to 200 grams (5 or 6 ounces) cheese, cut in cubes
pepper

Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil for the linguine.

Peel the onions and cut them in half, lengthwise. Cut them in thin slices. Put them in a large skillet with the olive oil, and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized, stirring often. This is a slow process - they should be cooked just as the pasta is done. If they are done a little early, turn the heat down as low as possible and that should hold them while they wait.

Meanwhile, wash and pick over the beet greens. Chop them coarsely, with their stems, and drain them. Cut the cheese into 1 cm cubes.

When the pasta is just a minute or two from being cooked, add the prepared beet greens to the pan of onions, turning up the heat . Stir in well and cook until just wilted.

Drain the linguine and toss it with the cheese and the beet greens and onions. Grind over a little black pepper.

Next time, I might add a few hot pepper flakes to the onions just before the beet greens.




*Actually, I really don't care how big your beets are. What I am looking for is a large, lush, healthy clump of greens from each beet of whatever size.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Pasta Salad with Tomato, Zucchini & Corn

4 servings
20 minutes

Tomato Zucchini and Corn Pasta Salad
Salad:
200 grams (scant 1/2 pound) pasta
2 or 3 small zucchini
3 cups (3 cobs) cooked corn
1 or 2 large tomatoes
1/2 cup minced parsley

Cook the pasta in plenty of well salted boiling water. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in 1 cm cubes. A minute or so before the pasta is done, add the zucchini to the pot. When it boils up again, drain and rinse under cold water until pasta and zucchini are cooled.

Cook the corn and rinse under cold water, or use leftover cooked corn. Cut it from the cobs. Blanch and peel the tomato, and cut in dice. Mince the parsley.

Mix the pasta, zucchini, corn, tomato and parsley in a salad bowl.

Dressing:

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Crush the cumin and black pepper. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl or jar, and toss the salad in the dressing.

Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Salad - BLT Salad

Love, love, love a good BLT sandwich but the combo makes a great salad too. All the same ingredients, just in different proportions and re-arranged.

2 servings
30 minutes



Salad:
1/2 to 1 small head romaine lettuce, or however much you like, really
1 or 2 large perfect ripe juicy tomatoes
100 to 250 grams (1/4 to 1/2 pound) bacon
2 to 4 rolls or slices of bread
savory or other seasonings

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Well as you are probably noticing, proportions are pretty much up to you. Wash, dry and tear up the lettuce, and arrange it in a bowl. Slice the tomatoes and cut in bite sized pieces and arrange over the lettuce. Cut the bacon slices into quarters or thirds, and fry until crisp. Blot them on paper towel then arrange them over the salad.

Take your sliced buns or bread and brush them lightly with bacon fat. IF your bacon is not salty, sprinkle with a wee bit of salt. Sprinkle with a little savory or other dried herbs and toast the bun or bread pieces in the oven for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and dried out. Cut or break up the bread pieces and arrange them over the salad.

Dressing:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light is fine)
3 tablespoons sour cream (light is fine)
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mix the mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, keeping an eye on how salty your bacon is - salt with a light hand, if at all, if your bacon is salty.

Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Burbank Plums

Burbank Japanese PlumsJapanese plums have been available for a couple of weeks now, but these are the first I have bought. I confess I have slightly mixed feelings about Japanese plums in general; they are such a mixture of sweet, sour and slightly bitter all in one single fruit. I don't mean all at once. When you bite in, you generally get a rush of sweet, unless you have bitten right to the pit, which is where the toungue-twistingly sour flavours tend to congregate. The skin, again, can be awfully sour or almost slightly bitter, but they aren't really peel-able. I always eat them making a series of strange faces. Also, over the sink as they tend to run down your arm. Certainly, this applies to the earliest and most commonly available Japanese plum, which is the Early Golden.

This is the first time I have bought Burbank plums, and I'm happy to report that although in many ways they seem a typical Japanese plum - very soft and very juicy, with that contrasting collage of flavours - they seem, at least the few I have had so far, to be a little denser in texture and less uneven in flavour, with a nice rich fragrance. In short; I approve. They're good. Which isn't surprising really, when you consider that the legendary plant breeder Luther Burbank gave them his own name.

From the 1903 Guide to Hardy Fruits and Ornamentals by Thomas Joseph Dwyer:

"The fruit is usually from five to five and a half inches in circumference, and varying less in size than other Japan plums, nearly globular; clear cherry red, with a thin lilac bloom. The flesh is a deep yellow color, very sweet, with a peculiar and agreeable flavor. Valuable for preserving. Ripens August twenty-fifth to September tenth."

By that description, they are a little early. Most things do seem to be this year. As you might also gather by the description, they are a particularly pretty plum.

I think I mostly plan to eat mine out of hand, but if I cook with any, I will report back.

Grilled Tomato & Zucchini Stacks

CL at Quick Slow Food made these Grilled Tomato & Zucchini Stacks and they caught my eye as a nice simple but tasty veggie for August. I don't have a barbecue, so I made them under the broiler which worked reasonably well.

2 servings
30 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

1 large zucchini
2 medium tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1/4 cup grated sharp cheese - Parmesan is ideal, but cheddar would be good too

Preheat broiler and make sure the rack is in the right position.

Wash and slice the zucchini about 1/4" thick, and brush the slices with a mixture of olive oil and vinegar, and grind over a little salt and pepper. Put them in a baking tray and broil until lightly browned. Turn them over and broil the other side.

Meanwhile slice the tomatoes perhaps a little thicker. When the zucchini comes out of the oven, remove them to a plate and put the tomatoes in the pan to be broiled. Brush them with a little oil and vinegar. Broil until softened, just a minute or two.

Stack the veggies - I did them right on the dinner plates - in alternating layers of zucchini, tomato and grated cheese. Pop them back under the broiler until they are hot through and the cheese bubbles; again just a minute or two. Serve at once.

Thank you CL! They were delightful.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

A Visit to Waterloo Farmers' Market (St. Jacobs)

NOTE: (Added Spring 2009)
This market is now closed.
The St Jacobs Market across
the street is open.



This weeks' Farmers' Market visit took us to what was once the Waterloo Farmers' Market, which is now, as far as I can tell, part of the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market. (They are directly across the street from each other.) It's certainly run by the same people, and has many of the same virtues and flaws. This was the first Farmers' Market I shopped at in the area, and one we came to regularly for a number of years when we lived in Waterloo. It's changed a lot - not for the better - since then, so I may have a bit of difficulty assessing it fairly. It's still a large and very diverse market with lots of good things, so don't take any complaints I make too much to heart.

I always used to prefer the Waterloo Market to the St. Jacobs Market, because it had more food and less junky random stuff, but that balance has changed over the years, and it is now no better.

Waterloo Farmers Market (St Jacobs)It's a large, low, sprawling industrial type building which has been gussied up with a fake barn style front. I don't mind the utilitarianism; it's the fake front that has me rolling my eyes. Never mind, I'm a sort of reverse snob and I know it.

In spite of having lived and shopped in the area for 16 to 18 years (I've lost track!) we have never taken this horse-drawn tour of local farms. Someone must though, because it's been going for all that time and certainly longer.

Mennonite market stand at Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)When we first started coming, there were a lot more old-order Mennonites who had stands at the market. There's still a good sprinkling of them, and they generally have an interesting selection of mixed produce, including some apples that are rarely seen anymore. This stand had Melbas, a sweet apple reminiscent of McIntoshes.

Outdoor stands at Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)There are noticeably a lot fewer people at the market than when I first started coming. There was no way you could have seen all the way down the row of stands 15 years ago - it would have been wall-to-wall people.

However, it's not really the outside that has changed. It's the inside. It used to be that the Waterloo Market had almost all food booths. Now, there is an awful lot of cheap, crappy tat inside, as well as booths that aren't rented at all.

I can't blame the cheap, crappy tat for the deterioration of the market, though - that came in after the number of farmers and shoppers dropped off. They have to fill that vast space somehow.

Al Medina and La Casbah at Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)Al Medina and La Casbah are rival suppliers of delectable, if rather expensive North African treats; Al Medina with an Egyptian emphasis and La Casbah with a Moroccan emphasis.

Gerber and Stemmler Meats at Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)Gerber's and Stemmler's meats have both been fixtures of the market for many years. The summer sausage in a bag is a local specialty, and it's superb. However, we got some of the little pepperettes, which I find completely irresistable.

European Pastries - Excellent Whole Wheat Bread at the Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)We used to shop from these two ladies regularly, when we lived closer and I ate wheat. They have a selection of nice if fairly ordinary cookies and cinnamon buns. Their "high fibre" (it's not outstandingly - it's just whole wheat) bread is some of the best whole wheat bread I have ever had, ever, anywhere. It's the sort of soft-crusted North American style loaf of bread that the mass producers have made a world-wide laughing stock, and when you eat the bread from European Pastries and taste how good it is possible for this bread to be, you could just about cry. They grow and grind their own wheat, and what can I say? It's what bread should be. It is worth going to the Waterloo Market just to get this bread.

Bast Cheese at the Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)Well, George T. Bast is still managing to draw an old-fashioned market crowd with his large selection of quality cheeses. Good for him.

The haul - what we bought at the Waterloo Farmers Market (St. Jacobs)I thought about going across the street and doing the original St. Jacobs Farmers' Market as well, but that will have to wait for another time. We could barely carry what we had already: bicolour corn, a couple hot peppers, red and yellow beets, two kinds of peaches and Burbank plums, fingerling and purple peruvian potatoes, green and yellow flat beans, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, zucchini, celery, pepperettes, bacon, blue cheese and a loaf of that excellent whole wheat bread. Think we'll manage to survive for another week?

Meatloaf Rouladen

Like a lot of people, I read cookbooks for their entertainment value. I was reading one a few days ago that had a description and recipe for an Argentinian meatloaf; stuffed, boiled and served cold. It sounded very interesting. However I've never been good at doing what people tell me to do and so somehow along the way I ended up stuffing my meatloaf with a more Germanic rouladen-inspired stuffing, and shoving it in the oven as usual. It was a success, but one of these days I will have to try the other one.

Meatloaf RouladenWell, what can I say? It looks like meatloaf which is not really the most photogenic thing in the world.

But it does have a nice orange swirl when sliced.

The meatloaf ready to roll up and put in the pan.

8 servings
2 hours - 45 minutes prep time

The Meat:
450 grams (1 pound or 4 small) potatoes
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
900 grams (2 pounds) lean ground beef
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons savory

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the potatoes, poke them with a fork, and bake for 20 minutes until partly cooked. Let cool enough to handle, then grate them into a large bowl. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Peel and chop the onion, and sauté it in the oil until soft and translucent. Add it to the potatoes, and mix in the ground beef, eggs, salt and savory. Return to the fridge until you are ready to assemble the meatloaf.

The Filling:
1 large carrot
2-3 dill pickles
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

Peel and grate the carrot. Grate the pickles. (There should be roughly twice as much carrot as pickles.) Mix in the horseradish.

To Assemble:
Pat the meat mixture into a neat, flat rectangle on a piece of parchment or waxed paper. I put it on a large cookie tray to make it easier to handle. Be sure that the rectangle is not too wide to fit into your loaf pan. Spread the filling over the meat, being careful not to get to close to the edges and in particular leaving 2" or 3" at the far end.

Roll up the meatloaf, using the paper to give you a bit of lift at the beginning, and then use the paper to lift the meatloaf so it can be tipped into a loaf pan, seam down if you can swing it. Bake at 350°F for 1 and a quarter hours, or perhaps a little longer. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Also good cold. You might want to brush the top with some ketchup or tomato sauce before you bake it to make it a little more scenic.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Savory Mashed Limas

This may be the greatest recipe of all time. Seriously. It takes something good and makes it fantastic and surprising, and it's easy, inexpensive, nutritious and beautiful. What more could you possibly want? Well, you could want it to be local. Drat.

The recipe is adapted from Epicurious. Unfortunately, I don't think I can claim it's seasonal Ontario food. I know you can grow lima beans in Ontario: I've done it. But I've never seen them for sale; ever, anywhere, so I get them frozen and imported. This is one of those things too good to give up.

2 servings
15 minutes - 8 minutes prep time.

Pureed Lima Beans (Savory Mashed Limas)2 cups frozen lima beans
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Rinse the beans and put them in a pot with enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender; 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the garlic and sauté it on both sides in a bit of the butter until soft and very lightly browned. If I am cooking some sort of meat in a pan to go with this, I just add the garlic slices to the pan for a few minutes. Put the garlic slices with the butter and salt into a blender or food processor.

When the lima beans are tender, lift them out of the cooking water with a slotted spoon and put them in the blender or food processor. Add a splash of the cooking water. Purée until very smooth. Add a little more cooking water if necessary in order to achieve a smooth, soft but not too liquid blend.

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is probably the definitive Ontarian dessert; familiar, easy and do-able three-quarters of the year. This is the first time I have made it since spring, and that almost makes me a little sad - summer is coming to an end. But it's hard to be too sad when the consolation is Apple Crisp. I used the Lodi apples we bought last week.

I have two glass lasagne pans, one about 8" x 10", the other larger. I often double this, and make it in my larger lasagne pan. Works fine, although the pan is a little full. It will need to be baked longer - not quite twice as long, but heading in that direction.

Apple Crisp in the panIf you like, serve it with a little cream or ice cream.

Apple Crisp4 to 6 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time

1/2 cup Sucanat
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup barley flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter

6 large apples
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar

Mix the sucanat, oats, and other dry ingredients. Work in the butter with your fingers until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Peel, core and slice the apples, and put them in a small lasagne pan or other similar shallow casserole dish.

Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the apples, and toss gently. Use more or less sugar and cinnamon according to taste, and also according to how sweet your apples are.

Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the apples.

Bake the apple crisp for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Best served warm, although no-one has ever turned down the cold leftovers for breakfast.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Green Beans & Cabbage "Scandia"

I got this recipe from my Grandmother many years ago, and I think she got it from a newspaper clipping in the 1930's. She was a little bemused by a teenager asking for a vegetable recipe, but I have made it once or twice each year since when fresh green beans are in season. I tend to think I don't like green beans much, but the fact is that they are rather like corn - they must be eaten promptly after picking, or don't bother. Not quite the same day necessarily, but don't expect them to last a week in the fridge and still be all that tasty. Fresh, they are really quite amazing. I did use both green and yellow beans for the batch in the photo.

4 servings (well 2, if you are us)
30 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Green Beans and Cabbage Scandia (in a dill sauce)The Veggies:
300 grams (2/3 pound) green or yellow beans
- (the original called for a pound, but that's a bit much)
2 packed cups chopped cabbage

Wash, trim and slice the green beans. Steam them until just tender. Plunge them in cold water to stop them cooking any further when done. Set them aside, and keep 2/3 cup of their cooking water.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the cabbage fairly finely. Set aside as well until the sauce is made.

The Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bouillon cube (I've been known to use a teaspoon of miso)
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
OR 2 teaspoons dried dillweed
pepper
2/3 cup cooking water from the beans
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Put the butter, vinegar, sugar, bouillon cube, dill, and pepper in a double boiler. Cook, stirring and mashing the bouillon cube. When it is dissolved, add the cornstarch which has been mixed well with the cold water and the bean cooking water. Add the cabbage and cook for 5 or 10 minutes, until just tender, then add the beans to re-heat.

Stir well to be sure the vegetables are well coated in the sauce, and heat through.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Cole Slaw with Lime-Celery Seed Dressing

I love this cole-slaw for the brilliant colours. It tastes pretty darn good too!

Be sure your celery seed is fresh. Fresh celery seed has a lovely sprightly flavour that is excellent in salad dressings, but it goes rancid very quickly. Buy it in small batches and keep it in the freezer.

4 to 8 servings
40 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Salad:
1 large or 2 medium carrots (about 3 cups grated)
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded red cabbage
3 to 4 cups shredded green savoy cabbage

Peel and grate the carrot. Shred the two cabbages. Mix all together in a large bowl.

Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
the juice of 1 large lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Put the mayonnaise in a small bowl, and mix in the lime juice a little at a time. Grind the salt and celery seed together, and mix them into the mayonnaise. Toss the cole-slaw in the dressing. Return the coleslaw to the fridge for at least 20 minutes to let the flavours meld.

Roasting Organic Chicken

This is my general method for a basic roast chicken. This year, I got my organic chicken order cut in half - I don't mean I got half as many chickens; I mean the butcher took my frozen chickens and ran them through a saw. From the cooks' point of view this is a fairly disconcerting technique, but I am adapting to it. I asked for this because otherwise, in a 2 person household, the thawing of a large chicken means 4 or quite possibly 5 chicken meals in a week. I like chicken, BUT! This way, we're looking at 2 meals and some broth, which I may or may not use at once. We can do that.

I should add that these delicious organic half-chickens came from Meeting Place Organic Farm.

2 to 8 servings, depending on sizes of chicken and appetites
1 to 2 hours, again, depending on size of chicken

Roasted Organic Chicken1/2 to 1 large organic chicken
the juice of 1/2 to 1 large lemon
salt
paprika

The most common way to get an organic chicken seems to be frozen. Allow at least a day and a half for a half-chicken to thaw, and 2 or 3 days for a whole chicken. Frozen meat is always best thawed out fairly slowly. It should hold in the fridge for up to another day, in case plans change. My butcher puts the giblets (gizzards? innards, anyhow) in with the chicken which is somewhat annoying. However, I have found they can be removed while both the chicken and giblets are still fairly frozen. I return them to a communal tub in the freezer, and when I have collected the full set I will try to think of something to do with them.

When the chicken is thawed, take it out of the fridge about half an hour before it is expected to go into the oven, so that it can lose some chill.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Check around the cavities and remove excess fat - it's much easier now than trying to skim it from the gravy later. Salt the chicken inside and you can put some under the skin as well if it seems convenient. Some people rub the chicken with butter but I have never found this necessary - a good organic chicken has a sturdy, rich skin. Put the chicken in the roasting pan - if you have a whole chicken, it will do better on a low rack - and baste it with the lemon juice. Season the outside of the chicken generously with salt and paprika. You can use sweet or hot paprika, smoked or not. Just use a good one. The pan should not be much larger than the chicken, or the juices will have too much surface from which to evaporate.

Some people put the lemon rind inside the chicken, but I think this is a mistake. It leaves a slight but definite bitter flavour in the pan juices. However, you can certainly use herbs such as garlic, rosemary, savory or sage. Don't put in too much - a small sprig or a few leaves are plenty.

Roast the chicken for 15 to 25 minutes at 450°F. Then turn down the oven to 375°F for the rest of the cooking time. As a rule of thumb, allow 15 to 20 minutes per pound, but don't expect to be able to pull your chicken out of the oven on the minute, especially if it is a smaller one.

Check for doneness - the wiggle test is a good one (when the chicken leg feels loose when wiggled.) If you poke it with a fork, the juices that ooze out should be clear. If in doubt, give it a little longer. Undercooked chicken isn't good. Note, however, that an organic chicken will never be as loose and wiggly as a factory farmed one. They are just bigger, sturdier, stronger beasts altogether.

Once cooked, the chicken should rest for 10 minutes before being carved, to allow the juices to redistribute themselves through the chicken. You can use the pan juices to make a gravy while you wait if you like, although I tend to save them for the soup when I am cooking a chicken for just the 2 of us.

When you have consumed your chicken down to the bones, put the bones - and skin, if you haven't eaten it - in a pot and cover them with filtered water. You can throw in a piece of onion, celery and carrot if you like, as well as a bay leaf. Cover and simmer gently for 2 to 4 hours. Strain, and discard the solids. The resulting chicken broth can be frozen, or used at once for soup. If you have leftover pieces of chicken you want for the soup, do not simmer them - they will turn to sawdust. Add them to the soup later.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Corn Pudding with Buckwheat, Spinach & Feta Cheese

This started out with the idea that it was going to be something else (filled corn crepes!) but when it became clear that it wasn't going to work (more like scrambled eggs from hell), I had to do a complete re-think. Fortunately, Plan B worked out just fine. In fact we thought this was really, really good.

Corn Pudding with Buckwheat, Spinach and Feta Cheese

Corn Pudding with Buckwheat, Spinach and Feta Cheese2 to 4 servings
1 hour and 15 minutes - 45 minutes prep time

Base:
1/2 a small onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup toasted buckwheat (kasha)

NOTE: I actually cooked twice the amount of ingredients listed above; and had half left over. I'm not sure how cooking less in the rice cooker will work out.

Peel and mince the onion. Put it with the olive oil in your handy-dandy rice-cooker. Stir well and turn on. By the time it turns itself off, the onion should be soft and translucent. Add the water and salt to the rice-cooker and bring to a boil. (This time, you have to watch it!) When it boils, add the toasted buckwheat. When the buckwheat is done, and the rice cooker turns itself off (about 1/2 hour) let it sit for about 5 minutes before removing it from the pot. It's important not to add the buckwheat to the water until it boils, or you will get mush instead of perfectly cooked fluffy buckwheat kernals.

6 to 8 cups fresh spinach
200 grams feta cheese
2-3 tablespoons butter

Meanwhile, wash and pick over the spinach. Steam it in just the water that clings to the leaves after washing, until it is just limp. Drain it and rinse in cold water. Squeeze out the water and chop the spinach finely.

Mix the spinach with the crumbled feta cheese, and 2 cups of the cooked buckwheat and onions. (That will be all of what is listed above, or half of what I actually cooked.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt the butter in a small lasagne or other similar casserole dish. When it is melted, tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides of the pan, and add the remaining melted butter to the batter for the pudding, which you will have also been working on.

Corn Pudding:
2 cups (2 cobs) raw corn kernals
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
2 eggs
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder

Husk the corn and cut the kernals from the cobs. Put the corn in a blender, and add the water, salt and pepper. Blend until fairly smooth. Add the eggs, potato starch and baking powder, and blend again. Mix in the melted butter...

Spread the buckwheat, spinach and feta cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the casserole dish. Pour the pudding batter over the buckwheat mixture. Bake at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the middle and lightly browned around the edges.

Roasted Cauliflower

I've been reading a lot of rave reviews of roasted cauliflower lately, so I thought I would try it out. It's good. The cauliflower seems a bit blander than when it is steamed or boiled; which is, I think, why a lot of people like this, and why I am not particularly jumping up and down. I like the flavour of cauliflower, thankyewverymuch. However, it's easy and a little different; I'll be doing this again, definitely.

2 servings
40 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

Roasted Cauliflowerabout 4 cups cauliflower florets (1/3 to 1/2 of a large cauliflower)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash the cauliflower, and cut it up. It should be in slices or florets, not much more than 1/2" wide, to ensure it cooks through.

Put it in a roasting pan and toss with the oil. Crush the spices, and toss them into the cauliflower.

Roast the cauliflower for 30 minutes, until tender and beginning to brown a little in spots.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Fish & Pasta with Greens in Saffron-Paprika Broth

I originally posted this filed under non-Ontario dishes, but I have reconsidered. There is no reason not to use an Ontario white lake fish, supposing you can get it (I haven't found a local source yet) and the rest of the ingredients bar the seasonings should also be available as local product.

It's another pasta dish I tend to make when I don't really feel like cooking, and I didn't feel much like cooking. It's very quick to put together, I can do it without thinking, and I definitely consider it comfort food. You can use whatever greens are in season. And of course, it's a contribution to Presto Pasta Night at Once Upon a Feast, an excellent little carb-fest. Check it out.

This was a bit of a clean-out-the-freezer session for me, so as well as using frozen sole I used frozen Brussels sprouts that I had bought in May just before fresh local green veggies started becoming available, and which have been languishing there ever since. It was actually not too bad; not bad at all. I sliced up the Brussels sprouts while they were still frozen, which I think helped them a lot - no problems with soggy uncooked middles while the outsides turn grey.

2 servings
25 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

Fish and Pasta with Greens in a Saffron-Paprika Broth
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
4 cups (1 quart/litre) chicken stock

300 to 400 g fillets of white fish of your choice

250 g pasta
whatever quantity of prepared green vegetable for 2 people you think appropriate

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, and prepare your green veggie. This is so flexible about what kind you put in - I have used spinach, chard, beet greens, broccoli, frozen peas, cabbage, and now frozen Brussels sprouts, which I sliced in thirds or fourths - that it is very hard to give any quantity. You would, of course, need more of the leafy greens that cook down than of more solid things like peas and broccoli.

Sauté the onion in the oil until soft and slightly browned. Add the chicken stock, with the saffron, crumbled up a bit, and the paprika. Bring to a boil and add the thawed fish fillets. When it begins to bubble again, reduce to a simmer and simmer until the fish is done - usually not a lot more than 5 minutes, depending on thickness. Break up the fish a little. Keep warm until the pasta and vegetables are ready.

When the pasta is half to almost done, add the vegetable to the pasta. It will of course depend on exactly what pasta and what vegetable you are using, but obviously the idea is that they should be done at the same time - always a little nerve-wracking while you wait to see if you got it right, but most veggies will give you a leeway of 2 or 3 minutes.

Drain them well when done, and put them in a tureen (or divide between individual bowls if you prefer) and mix in the fish and broth.

Apricot, Cucumber & Feta Cheese Salad

2 servings
15 minutes prep time

Apricot, Cucumber and Feta Cheese Salad
Salad:
8-10" of English cucumber (about 2/3 of a whole one)
6-8 fresh apricots
100 grams feta cheese

Peel the cucumber, and cut it into quarters lengthwise. Cut each quarter into chunky pieces. Wash, pit, and cut the apricots into quarters. Mix the cucumbers, apricots and roughly crumbled feta cheese.

Dressing:
the juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tablespoons honey
a grind of fresh black pepper

Mix the lemon juice and honey until the honey is dissolved. (If it is obdurate, it can be microwaved or otherwise heated until the honey just melts.) Toss with the salad and finish with a smattering of black pepper.

Lodi Apples

Lodi Apples, a relative of Yellow TransparentWe bought the first apples of the year (for us) at the Smithville Market on Saturday. These are Lodi apples, an improved version of Yellow Transparent. Yellow Transparents are fairly common around here, but I hadn't seen the Lodi before. The two are close enough to be fairly interchangeable, I suspect. The Lodi's are more attractive to my eye.

They are a very pleasant apple for eating out of hand, being tart, crisp and fragrant. However, they do not store well - early apples generally don't - and should be used within a week or two of harvest. Apparently they are a primo apple for making applesauce and applebutter. Reports are more mixed on their use in pies and baking; they soften a lot and cook down to mush fairly rapidly. Either you like that feature or you don't. I have to admit I prefer my cooked apples to hold a little shape. I'll update this report once I have tried cooking with them.

UPDATE: Lovely as these were to eat when they were fresh from the market, they really didn't last long - within 3 or 4 days we were noticing that they were still good, but just not as zingy as when they had been bought. I made an Apple Crisp with the last 6, and they were a very decent baking apple - they did shrink down, but kept some shape and their good tart flavour.




Lodi Apple on Foodista

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Peach & Raspberry Sorbet

A few years back, I did some experimenting with my food processor in the quest for an icy fruit treat that would be very low in sugar, and also (as sorbets should be) without fat. Here is an example; it's all pure fruit with just a few tablespoons of sugar added.

It's best eaten shortly after it is made - once it goes into the freezer, it hardens up. However, if you take it out and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before serving, it will soften up again.

6 to 8 servings
15 minutes prep time, not including time to prepare and freeze the fruit in advance

5 peaches; blanched, peeled, cut in chunks and frozen
2 tablespoons sugar - or even less if your fruit is superb
the juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Blanch* the peaches, then peel them and cut them in 6 or 8 pieces. Lay them on a plate covered with plastic, and freeze solid. It's best to cover the fruit with more plastic to avoid discolouring.

Put the peach pieces in a food processor. Whizz until very finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and sugar, and continue whizzing until the fruit is a smooth, moldable mass. If it persists in staying dry and powdery, you may need to add a spoonful or so of water, but don't over-do it. This will be a somewhat slow process. Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor regularly, and stir up the mass of peache purée as much as you can. Taste to be sure you are happy with the amount of lemon juice and sugar; adjust if necessary.

Eventually, it will be a smooth, scoopable semi-frozen purée - effectively, a sorbet. Scoop it out into a tub that can go in the freezer.

Next, put the raspberries and the remaining sugar into the food processor. Repeat the processing with the raspberries. They do not need to be as smooth as the peaches, in fact some texture is a good thing. However, when they too are a smooth mass, scoop them out onto the peach sorbet. Gently swirl them through the peach sorbet with a spatula.

The sorbet can then be scooped out to serving dishes, or frozen for later consumption. If it is not being eaten right away, it should be tempered in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes first, until it becomes soft enough to scoop again.



*Blanch: drop the peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Scoop them out and put them under cold water until cool again. Drain.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

A Visit to the Smithville Farmers' Market

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. We headed out to the Smithville Farmers' Market today, and it has to be said it was a bit of a bust.

Smithville has a number of the ingredients for a successful farmers market: it has a nice old fairground with covered arcades, admittedly now being closed in by some extra-horrible tract homes, but the bones and the parking are there. (The whole area south of Hamilton in general is suffering severely from this blight. Have you seen Binbrook lately?!? But I digress.) It is close to the fruit farms of the Niagara peninsula, and it is in general an area with a rich farming history. The encroachment of the hideous suburbs should at least provide a stream of ready buyers.

The first sign of trouble. Looks nice enough... but where is everybody?

Well, this is it.

Nope, there is no more. What was there was fine; it's just that 8 or 10 vendors do not a farmers market make, especially when none of them has a really comprehensive selection. I guess it's hard to be a farmer when hideous, land-gobbling, gas-guzzling, soulless, ticky-tacky, cookie cutter subdivisions pay so much better.*

This fellow had some really nice wooden lazy-susans, which he made. Alas, we arrived latish and he was down to 3 or 4 rather overgrown zucchini and a couple of spaghetti squash on the veggie front. He did still have some maple syrup.

Some nice-looking perennials and cut flowers.

And there was a clown doing his shopping, which is admittedly not something you see every day. In the end we left with some new apples (Lodi), some eggs, some peaches, and a couple of pepperettes to munch on.

We augmented our meager haul with some corn from a road-side stand, but I suspect it will be time to make a visit to a mid-week market later this week.


*Also, they are really butt-ugly. Did I mention that? But all the houses have a garage shoved onto the front, so that's alright then.