Musings about Food & the Politics of Food.

TartQueen's Kitchen



Thoughts on Hiatus and Returning to Writing 0

Posted on June 02, 2016 by Sahar

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Just in case you hadn’t noticed, I decided to take a hiatus from writing my blog.  The reasons, while not terrible, were many.  Travelling, house remodeling, working, cat care, recipe writing & testing, teaching, and the holidays all played a part. The most looming one for me was, of course, the most distressing; I felt stuck and uninspired. I’m not a natural writer. And as I began to lose confidence in my writing, the process became slower and more fraught every time I sat at the keyboard.  It’s all right to write about recipes and travel, but when one feels frustrated with the process, it’s time to step back for a while.

And that’s what I did.

I’m feeling better about things now and am hoping to look at this blog with a fresh perspective.  I’ll still bring you recipes and travel, but I also want to talk about ingredients, maybe discuss a cookbook I like (or don’t), a photographic study, or do the occasional stream-of-conscienceness rant.  I like to think if I can keep this fresh and exciting for me, it will be for all of you, too.

 

 

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I’m still teaching at North Lamar Central Market Cooking School (the original CM!) as I have been for the last 18 years.  Funny how I still learn something about teaching every time I go in. (Shameless plug time – go to my “Classes” page and my upcoming classes are listed. If you’re in Austin, in the surrounding area, or even visiting, come by and see me.)

Another big change for me is my (almost) new part-time gig at Boggy Creek Farm. I started there as a farmhand volunteer a year ago and came on as a part-time cashier last October. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.  That farm is simply a wonderful place to be to clear one’s head and to learn about where, how, and, yes, why locally grown foods are so important; not only for one’s health, but for the health of the ecosystem as well.  The farmstand is open Wednesday through Saturday, 8am – 1pm.

Added bonus – not only are Carol Ann & Larry two of the best people I know, asking them a question about the farm, farming, fermentation, seasonality, woodworking, chickens, and even history, is like getting a Master Class every time.  Carol Ann has also made me the official farmstand photographer. So, I get to do one of the things I love the most – take copious amounts of photographs. Honestly, around the farm, it’s easy to get lovely pictures.

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So, I hope to bring you some new recipes along with other thoughts and wanderings starting again next week. Until then, enjoy a few more randomly selected photographs.

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I’ll see y’all soon.

 

 

 

 

Eating Locally Project 2015: June & July 0

Posted on August 12, 2015 by Sahar

Apologies to you all for not writing this up sooner. With all the family visits, travel, and, yes, a summer sore throat & cold, I’ve been a little neglectful in getting anything written and posted.

I only shopped at 3 places this time around – Boggy Creek FarmSpringdale Farm, and at the farmers market in Quepos, Costa Rica. As I stated in May, I volunteer at Boggy Creek, so I shopped there twice and only had time to go once to Springdale. Because we were out of town so much, it simply wasn’t feasible to go more often to the farms or even make it out to any of the markets in Austin.

 

June 18 – Boggy Creek

Volunteer Day. I was experimenting with travel time from my house to the farm. I gave myself almost an hour that morning and arrived at the farm 20 minutes early. I decided to use the time semi-wisely and take a few photos of the soon-to-be cut flowers

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Next time I go, I really need to ask what flowers they’re growing.

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Ditto.

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Rows of Zinnias

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Zinnia ready for its close-up

As I recall, it was an overcast and humid day. There hadn’t been rain for several days at this point, so the ground was beginning to harden. And, it was weed-pulling day. The weeds are almost a lost cause on the farm, but everyone does their best to keep them in check. Most of them are fairly easy to pull; but the Bermuda Grass – ugh. After the weed pulling, composting was next on the list. I know the compost they use at Boggy Creek is excellent quality because it’s steaming as you fill the bucket.

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After weeding and composting. Bermuda Grass – ugh. Trust me – this is so much better than any before picture would’ve suggested.

At the end of the day, I dragged myself into the farm stand to collect my “pay”. I wanted to be somewhat judicious since I knew Steve & I were going out of town again that weekend (it was his birthday), and I didn’t want to take the chance of anything going bad before I had a chance to use it.

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Heirloom tomatoes.

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Purple Bells.

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The first butternut squash of the season. I was excited; it’s my favorite.

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String beans are kicking in.

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The red tomatoes are Indigo Rose. The yellow ones are Sungolds.

After my shopping, I decided to stretch my legs a little and walk around the farm. I discovered if I didn’t do this – basically cool down after a workout – my legs became very painful on the drive home.

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Figs! I missed the crop she picked that day.

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Cinnatree flowers.

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Tractor study.

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Carol Ann’s tea roses.

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The okra is doing well.

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Okra flower.

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There they are. Baby Okra.

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Another flowering tree that I don’t know the name of. I really need to stick asking about these in the old brain box.

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Tatsumas. They’ll be ready in the fall. If the birds don’t get to them first.

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My purchases: Dandelion Greens, Butternut Squash, Indigo Rose Tomatoes

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Eggs. I gave these to my fitness trainer.

 

Saturday, June 27 – Boggy Creek

I missed my volunteer day at Boggy Creek that week (at this point, I can’t remember why), so I contented myself with heading out on Saturday instead; this way, I could also head to Springdale afterwards.

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Cut flowers for sale

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Basil and Dandelion Greens

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Curly Mustard Greens. My current favorite.

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Some of the Pursulane I helped to plant back in May. It has this wonderful sharp flavor to it. The leaves are almost like biting into a succulent.

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‘Tis the season for tomatoes.

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New potatoes. Always welcome.

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The ladies waiting until the people have all left so they can have run of the farm.

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Whatever produce Carol Ann feels isn’t good enough to sell, she feeds it to the chickens. They’re a happy bunch. That day, it was butternut squash.

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Keeping up with the weeds is a never-ending battle. There are squash plants holding their own in there, though.

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Taking a look at some of the rows I helped clean up.

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Okra still going strong.

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More of Carol Ann’s flowers

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Waiting for the pecan season to begin. I don’t know that the farm sells them, but it’d be great if they did.

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Caged pepper plants.

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Cinnabar

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My Boggy Creek Purchases, Part 1: Hamburger Patties.

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My Boggy Creek Purchases, Part 2: Basil, Curly Mustard, Figs, Dandelion Greens, Indigo Red Tomatoes, Sungold Tomatoes

After a quick chat with Carol Ann, Larry (Butler, Carol Ann’s husband and farm co-owner), and the lead volunteer, Dana, I headed to Springdale. They open an hour later than Boggy Creek, so I arrived a few minutes early. So, I took my time walking to the farm stand and took a few flower pictures.

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I really need to buy a Flowers of Central Texas guide.

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More posies.

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I think this is a type of Marigold.

Springdale’s farm stand is smaller than Boggy Creek’s, but where Boggy’s is neat, pretty, and utilitarian, Springdale really put on a colorful and artful show. I love to walk in there and see what Paula, Glen, and their staff have done that week. It’s always lovely.

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Case in point, the tomato table. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

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The pepper table. I think they had 6 – 8 varieties that day.

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The herb table.

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Dill flowers. I didn’t buy any because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them other than pickling. I’ll find something.

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Beautiful chicken eggs.

And, of course, after shopping, I wandered a bit.

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The ladies and gentlemen of the farm.

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Ahh… more flowers.

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Along the fence line.

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The ducks would have nothing to do with me.

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Ghost Peppers.

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I think this was an Anaheim.

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Some beautiful fungus growing out of one of the tree stumps.

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More tree stump fungus.

At this point, I decided to not go to any other markets since, yes, Steve & I were once again leaving for parts far away soon. I wanted to get what I bought eaten before we left.

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My Springdale purchases, Part 1: Thyme, Garlic Chives, Jalapeños, Mint

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May Springdale purchases, Part 2: Chicken Eggs (f), Duck Eggs (b)

Bonus: My mom was in town for a Contemporary Handweavers of Texas conference (she’s on the board), so I went to visit her. I gave her a goodie bag of the chicken eggs, figs, and about half of the tomatoes. I’m not sure if the figs made it back to Ft. Worth.

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Saturday’s Dinner: Baked Shrimp and Salad made with baby spinach, curly mustard, dandelion greens, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

Saturday, July 11 – Farmers Market, Quepos, Costa Rica

I’ve already talked at length about this market in my previous post, La Pura Vida in Costa Rica, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

In short, the market is open late Friday (usually 4 – 9pm) and early Saturday (8am – noon).  The best time to go is early Saturday; the vendors are all set up and the crowds really haven’t gotten too big yet. The market is set up on the sea wall (Quepos is on the Central Pacific Coast) and the breezes coming off the ocean are a blessing and a break from the constant humidity.

The market isn’t large, but it is plentiful. Fruit, vegetables, seafood, prepared foods, handicrafts, and more than one general merchandise table were all in residence.

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One of the handicraft tables.

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Coconuts and (what I think are) Mamones Chinos – a type of lime with a hard shell and soft fruit. It’s related to the lychee.

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Potatoes and tomatoes are native to Central and South America. Carrots came along in the 18th or 19th Century.

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A cute, if formulaic, souvenir table.

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Pineapples, of course

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I think these were Fuji Apples.

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Beautiful produce.

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Mandarin Limes

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I was excited to see these – Otaheiti Apples. Steve & I first had them in Jamaica.

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We bought some beautiful Yellowfin Tuna from this vendor.

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Mangoes.

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And here is your general merchandise table.

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I believe these were the fruit of the Peach Palm. In the background are lychees; a lot of vendors were selling them.

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Bananas

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A stand backing up to the Pacific.

Steve found a gentleman selling fresh tamales and bought he & I some for breakfast. (Mom, who was with us and had already eaten, declined.) They were the most unusual tamales I’d ever eaten.

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Our view while we ate breakfast.

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These tamales had the usual masa base, bit they had a very soft texture along with rice and chunks of vegetables and pork. They were delicious.

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The still wrapped tamales.

After breakfast, while Steve decided to walk around town a bit, Mom & I walked our purchases back to the house. On the way, though, I ducked inside a carnecería and bought some epic chicharrones.

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Now, THAT’S a chicharron.

We bought potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, Mandarin limes, mangoes, pineapple, yellowfin tuna, prawns, Oteheiti apples, onions, and chayote squash.

Since it was our last evening in Costa Rica, we decided to make it a party. I made a large, simple dinner with what we bought at the market and whatever was left in the refrigerator.

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It took awhile to make dinner. The best parts – everyone enjoyed it and I didn’t have to clean up.

 

Thursday, July 30

Back at Boggy Creek after a 3-week hiatus.

We were tasked that morning with cleaning up 2 of the rows in the front field so they could be amended (Carol Ann’s organic secret recipe to add some nutrients back into the soil) and composted. I set about taking down the gherkin (small cucumbers) vines on my assigned row. It was great; the vines rolled up like a carpet.

After the rows were cleaned and we took our break, we laid a rather thick layer of compost on them. The farm is getting the fields ready for fall planting, so cleaning, amending, and composting at this point is essential for the new growth to be as healthy as possible.

The rows we cleaned, amended, and compsoted.

The rows we cleaned, amended, and composted.

We got lucky that day. There is a nice line of large pecan and oak trees lining the side we were on and it effectively shaded us pretty much all morning.

After our shift was over, we headed to the stand to collect our “pay”. Since it’s late summer, and we didn’t get the stand until after Noon, there wasn’t too much left to choose from.

But, it’s hard to complain about that when you’re getting the produce for free.

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A few squash but a lot of long beans and cucumbers.

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These are beautiful. I honestly had no idea they could be purple.

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More curly mustard. I’d better enjoy it while I can.

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Arugula.

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Okra. So good.

I picked up some curly mustard, long beans, okra, and arugula. (I forgot to take a picture when I got home.)

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More of Carol Ann’s flowers.

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More summer squash. Carol Ann told us basically, as long as you want to plant it before the first frost, it’ll grow.

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the ladies in the shade.

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Buddy, the farm dog, spent a good deal of the day digging a very deep hole a couple of rows away from where we were working. He kept on long after we’d finished. I have no idea what he was looking for or if he even caught anything. But, it was entertaining to watch. We were all rooting for him.

So much for June and July. On to August.

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Locally Project 2015: May 0

Posted on June 09, 2015 by Sahar

In case you haven’t heard, May was wet in Texas.  Very wet.  Here in Austin, we had a combined rainfall of almost 18 inches – about 14 inches more than normal.

After almost 5 years of drought, we’re all, no doubt, grateful for the rain. However, if you’ve seen the news, some places south and west of Austin got the brunt of what can happen when too much rain falls in too short a time.

Around here, it’s pretty much feast or famine rain-wise.

I know the local farmers are happy for the rain. Up to a point, anyway.  Some crops, like potatoes, have rotted and the crop yields are lower than they normally would be.  Tomatoes are taking longer than usual to ripen.  In short, the farmers are ready for a respite and for the fields to dry a bit.

But, now, the summer high-pressure system is beginning to move to its usual summer home, so we should be in a dry spell for a while.

Just as a side note, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m now volunteering at Boggy Creek Farm.  I help out once a week in the fields.  I’ve done this because I want to learn first-hand about growing my own food organically. I can read books about it all day long, but there’s nothing like hands-on experience.  Reason #2 – I need the exercise.

 

Wednesday, May 5:

My first stop, as per my usual, was Boggy Creek Farm.  I like to get there early so I can get to the salad mixes and baby greens before they’re all gone.

Baby Lamb's Quarter.  It has a slight peppery flavor to it.

Baby Lamb’s Quarter. To me, it tastes like a cross between spinach and arugula. When it’s young like this, raw is the best way to eat it.  If it’s grown to full maturity, the leaves are better cooked.

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Dandelion Greens. I think they’re my new favorite.

As always, I've got to have some arugula.

As always, I’ve got to have some arugula.

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Parsnips. I didn’t buy any, but I’m thinking of the possibilities later this summer.

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New Potatoes. Because of all the rain, Carol Ann & Larry weren’t sure what kind of crop they would have since, sadly, so many rotted in the fields. The potatoes they are bringing in are constantly under fans to help them to stay dry.

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Just so you know, carrot tops are delicious in salads.

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Baby Beets. I’m guessing these were pulled early to keep them from drowning in the field.

After talking with Carol Ann about volunteering, I did a quick wander around the farm.

I have no idea what this flower is. But I'm starting to see it everywhere.

I have no idea what this flower is. But I’m starting to see it everywhere.

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A better view of said unknown flower.

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CORN!!!

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Ladybug on corn.

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Shallots drying.

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The view from the back of the farmstand. It relaxes me.

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I can’t wait until the figs are ready. Carol Ann’s trees are thick with them.

A pecan tree that didn't survive the storms in early spring.

A pecan tree that didn’t survive the storms in early spring.

Playing with the camera filter app. This photo just begged to be antiqued

Playing with the camera filter app. This photo just begged to be antiqued.

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Wednesday night’s dinner. This ended up being essentially a small pork rib roast. It was amazing.

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My other Boggy Creek Purchases: New Potatoes, Beets, Dandelion Greens, Arugula, Baby Lambs Quarters

 

Stop #2: Springdale Farm

By the time I finally made my way to Springdale, the farmstand was pretty picked over. Good for Paula & Glenn. Bad for me.

I still managed to pick up a few things, though.

The tomatoes and roses at Springdale.

The tomatoes and roses at Springdale.

I really need to learn my flowers.

I really need to learn my flowers.

I got there kind of late, so there weren't too many tomatoes left.

I got there a little late, so there weren’t too many tomatoes left.

Not my favorite vegetable, but I bought some artichokes anyway. I thought, what the hell.

Not my favorite vegetable, but I bought some artichokes anyway. I thought, what the hell.

More beets. I didn't buy any; I just like the way they were all laid out.

More beets. I didn’t buy any; I just like the way they were all laid out.

After my shopping, I took advantage of the continuing break in the rain to walk around the farm. Like Boggy Creek, it’s such a lovely space to go and just get away from the concrete for a few minutes.

Springdale's chickens. Happily scratching away .

Springdale’s chickens. Happily scratching away.

It's like she actually wanted me to take her picture.

It’s like she actually wanted me to take her picture.

The ducks were having none of me.

The ducks were having none of me.

The Ghost Peppers are in the ground.

The Ghost Peppers are in the ground.

Sage.

Sage.

Juliet tomatoes.

Juliet tomatoes.

The Prudens Purple tomatoes ripening.

The Prudens Purple tomatoes ripening.

Looking over the tops of the tomato field.

Looking over the tops of the tomato field.

I'm guessing this caterpillar was up to no good, but it sure was cute.

I’m guessing this caterpillar was up to no good, but it sure was cute.

The farm house.

The farm house.

Larkspur

Larkspur

I want to say this is a sunflower...

I want to say this is a sunflower…

Looking forward from the back of the farm.

Looking forward from the back of the farm.

Springdale purchases: Tomatoes, Parsley, Artichokes.

Springdale purchases: Tomatoes, Parsley, Artichokes.

 

Saturday, May 9:

Back to Boggy Creek first thing. I wanted to get there early so I could finally get my hands on one specific item: Squash Blossoms.  I learned if one arrives much after the first 30 minutes, one is out of luck.

I was successful. Joy.

The reason I came here first thing - squash blossoms.

The reason I came here first thing – squash blossoms.

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The glorious salad table.

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The summer squash is making its first appearance.

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Luckily, despite the weather and the loss of a lot of the potato crop, they were still coming in.

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Dewberries. Awesome.

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Curly mustard greens. After the dandelion greens, these are another new favorite.

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The kale is still hanging in.

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Kohlrabi. I’d like to figure out what else to do with it before I buy more.

My Boggy Creek Purchases: squash blossoms, new potatoes, Maria's Mix, curly mustard greens, cucumbers, dewberries

My Boggy Creek Purchases: squash blossoms, new potatoes, Maria’s Mix, curly mustard greens, cucumbers, dewberries

Whole chicken from Taylor Farm

Whole chicken from Taylor Farm

I didn’t really hang around that day since I’d been at the farm just a few days before. Plus, it looked like more rain was coming.

 

Next, I decided to try a new (to me) farmers market, Barton Creek.  It’s located in the parking lot at Barton Creek Mall in south Austin. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect.

I will say, I like it.  Very much. It’s a much less formal vibe than the downtown market. In addition to the usual farm stands, they have artist booths selling clothing, jewelry, and other accessories, as well as a gentleman who’ll sharpen your knives while you shop.

They have a market on Sundays, too, that I still need to check out. Maybe I could even drag Husband Steve along.

As soon as I walked in, a lovely gentleman, David,  walked right up to me and asked if I wanted to try his blackberries.  He said he’d picked them the day before and still had some of the small thorns in his hands (he did).

I have to honestly say, those were some of the best blackberries I ever tasted. Just sweet enough and very juicy.  I think I ended up buying 5 baskets.

Some of the best blackberries I've ever eaten. Picked just the day before.

Some of the best blackberries I’ve ever eaten. Picked just the day before.

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And here is the gentleman who picked them. The irresistible and effervescent David.

One of the stands I stopped at was Engel Farms.  They are a third generation, family-run farm based in Fredericksburg, Texas.

When I got to the stand, they had already sold out of a few things. However, I did to buy a couple of strawberry baskets.

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Beautiful strawberries from Engel Farms.

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The peaches were lovely, too. However, I decided to pass on them this time around.

A quick pass by Baguette et Chocolat for some chocolate croissants (pain au chocolat) and sourdough for Husband Steve & I. I’ve been to their storefront many times for their breads, sandwiches, pastries, and their “Special Hot Chocolate”. If you ever get a chance, go. Depending on where you’re coming from, it can be a trek. But, the reward is worth it.

I took my mom there for breakfast one morning when she came down for a visit.  It is now “our place” for breakfast.

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c’est bon.

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Quite honestly, some of the absolute best European-style bread I’ve ever eaten. Just the right amount of texture in both the crust and the crumb. You can just taste the sourdough without it being overwhelming.

A long view of the market. It was much more populated than this suggests.

A long view of the market. It was much more populated than this suggests.

In my quest to shop for seafood (hopefully) more responsibly, I like to seek out smaller seafood vendors who (again, hopefully) harvest seafood in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way.

I stopped by a small stand called  The Shrimp Connection.  According to their Facebook page, they sell chemical-free, wild-caught Texas Gulf Shrimp.

I bought 2 pounds of the large. It was fat, fresh, great-looking shrimp.

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Price board from The Shrimp Connection.

Winfield Farms made it into the grocery bag this time around. It’s a small, family-run farm in Bastrop County which is wonderful in and of itself. For me? They had sprouts.

Finally, I find sprouts.

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Artichokes at Winfield Farms. I didn’t buy any, but they are a great photographic opportunity.

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Beautiful scallions.

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Sage. Always excellent to have on hand.

My final stop was at Johnson’s Backyard Garden. I didn’t really see too much that moved me there this time around, but I did buy a few items.

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Green tomatoes. No, I didn’t ultimately end up frying them.

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Lovely grapefruit. These eventually went in to salad.

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Red onions.

Finally, after another walk-through, I decided I was ready to go.  But first, lunch.

Heidi Garbo started the food truck (and, later, her restaurant) in 2013.  she grew up in Key West Florida, by way of Connecticut, where her father and uncle were in the seafood business. After she moved to Austin with her husband, she missed the lobster rolls back home. Hence, Garbo’s.

Garbo’s food truck has a much smaller menu than the restaurant and is just as good.  However, the price may shock some people. But, that should be somewhat mitigated by the fact that Garbo’s doesn’t scrimp on the lobster.

 

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Basically, Garbo’s entire menu at the market.

Another view of the market. Well, the other row, anyway.

While waiting for lunch, another view of the market. Well, the other row, anyway.

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So, yeah, this was lunch. Pricy. But really, really good. They certainly don’t skimp on the lobster, as you can see.

Back home. And on to the purchases. I did pretty well, I thought.

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Chocolate Croissants from Baguette et Chocolat

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Sourdough Bread from Baguette et Chocolat; Blackberries from David; Sage and Alfalfa Sprouts from Winfield Farms; Mint, Green Tomatoes, and Grapefruit from Johnson’s Backyard Garden; Strawberries from Engel Farms

Dinner that night:

Artichoke Hearts and Squash Blossoms fried in an egg white batter

Artichoke Hearts and Squash Blossoms fried in an egg white batter

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The artichokes and squash blossoms with the sourdough bread, a selection of cheeses, salami, extra virgin olive oil, local honey, and 50 year old balsamic.

 

Thursday, May 21

My first day of volunteering at Boggy Creek Farm. Not sure what to say other than it was hard and rewarding work. I can say that it was overcast, a little drizzly, and cool. So, at least that helped make the weed pulling a little easier.

My first day, I met Dana (the lead volunteer), Siri (who’s been volunteering for about 8 months), and Sarah (who started the week before I did), along with Finnegan and Aden, two of the full-time employees of the farm.  I also formally met Tina, who works part-time at the stand.

The volunteers were tasked with pulling up the romaine lettuce stalks that had flowered out along with the weeds that seemed to be growing before our eyes.  Since the ground has had so much rain, the weeds and romaine were fairly easy to pull up. The Johnson Grass, however – ugh. The best part of all this is the chickens got to feast out on the romaine stalks. We all took turns tossing them into the coop and watching the chickens do their chicken thing.

After the pulling, we moved on to composting. While Dana and Siri spread the compost (made up of old vegetation, leaves, and chicken droppings), Sarah and I cut it into the soil with hoes and smoothed it out. I’ll tell you, that’s a great upper body workout.

After the break, we finished composting and then moved on to planting Purslane. Carol Ann had grown it from seed in her greenhouse and now it was ready to put in the ground.

I honestly can’t wait until it’s ready for harvesting. I’ve never eaten purslane before, at least not knowingly, so I’m excited to try it.

It was a tough on me, being out of shape and middle-aged. But, I’m going to keep going.

The planted purslane.

The planted purslane.

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A sunflower on a cloudy day

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Again, I really need to educate myself on flowers.

As part of our “pay” for volunteering, we get $30 worth of free produce. Fair offer, I would say. Done judiciously, $30 can go a long way at the stand.

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Luckily, the potato crop wasn’t totally wiped out. But, the fans were still running.

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Some beautiful “flying saucer” and pattypan squash. I’ve always called them sunburst, myself.

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I’m going out on a limb and saying this is a variety of hibiscus.

During the course of my day at the farm, I happened to notice an old hen in the tool shed not really moving much, even for a roosting hen.  I saw her later in the same spot and she didn’t look well at all.  In fact, she looked like she’d shuffled off her mortal coil. I mentioned this to Carol Ann.  She said that she had quite a few old hens and this one was probably just sleeping. But, she’d check it out.

Later, after I’d finished my shopping, Carol Ann walked up to me and basically said I was right. The old hen was no more. So, I helped her bury the hen. Well, Carol Ann buried the hen. I just talked. As Carol Ann put the old hen into her hole and was ready to cover her with dirt, Carol Ann simply said, “Thank you for your service.”

Kinda says it all.

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Carol Ann burying the old hen. “She stopped laying years ago. But, she gave good poop”.

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My after work shopping: Tenderized steak from Dear Run Longhorns; Whole chicken from Taylor Farms

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My vegetable shopping: Maria’s Zesty Mix; Kennebunk Potatoes; Summer Squash

 

Thursday, May 28:

Back at Boggy Creek and volunteering. It was another day of weeding the rows. This time, it was the peppers and tomatoes. By the end of the day, my knees were rebelling.

I didn’t take too many photos that day after I was finished. I had a class to teach that evening and I simply wanted to go home, clean up, eat, and rest before I had to leave again.

Weeding to tomato plants

Weeding to tomato plants

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Honestly, I hated pulling weeds as a kid. Now, I find a strange sort of satisfaction in it.

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My Pay for the day: cucumbers, dandelion greens, carrots, Maria’s Zesty Mix, and eggs. I paid for the squash blossoms because I bought the entire day’s haul for my cooking class that evening.

 

Saturday, May 30:

I  headed to Springdale Farm on the first non-rainy day in what seemed recent memory. I thought I had arrived pretty early and before the crowds. But, as per usual with me, I was mistaken. It was like as soon as the skies cleared up, people decided to relieve their cabin fever and rejoin society.

Spingdale's tomato plants are about my height now. I feel short.

Springdale’s tomato plants are about my height now. I feel short.

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Rose on the fence.

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Beets, carrots, and celery

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Tomatoes!

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White and red potatoes.

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Duck eggs. I was so excited that I finally managed to buy some. I’ve never (knowingly) had a duck egg, so I’m anxious to try them.

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Leeks.

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A cacophony of tomatoes. The photo really doesn’t do the table justice.

After braving the crowd, I headed out to the relative peace of the farm.

Off to visit the chickens.

Off to visit the chickens.

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Some ducklings in the warm room.

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The social hour.

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I think these are a type of marigold.

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Again, the ducks will have nothing to do with me.

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Color.

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King of the hill.

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A Pruden’s Purple tomato on the vine.

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Looking down to tomato rows. I felt very short.

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Dill flowers.

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Eden East getting ready for the evening.

My purchases from Springdale: blackberries, baby Romas (or Juliettes), and leeks.

My purchases from Springdale: blackberries, baby Romas (or Juliettes), and leeks.

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My duck eggs. So happy.

 

After finishing up at Springdale, I headed once again to Barton Creek.  The sun was out and people were smiling.

I stopped at a stand I’d not noticed before, Two Happy Children Farm.  They had lettuces, squash peppers, and, best of all, corn. I bought 4 ears.

One thing hit me the wrong way as I was standing there. The lady running the stand was Asian and (I think) related to the young boy who was also manning the stand. A couple nearby was asking the lady some questions, which she was cheerfully answering. Then, the man piped up and said, “Was that corn grown by an American?”. I was personally disgusted by the question. The lady simply said with a smile, “And American and an Asian”.

I paid for my corn and walked away.

This was a new stand for me: Two Happy Children Farm.

This was a new stand for me: Two Happy Children Farm.

I wandered over to Engel Farms a few stands down. I had bought produce from them the last time I was at the market and really enjoyed the produce I bought.

This time, not so much. The fruit was beautiful, but that was all.  It may have been the rain, but who knows.

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The peaches. They were rock-hard when I bought them. Once they ripened, they had no flavor.

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The strawberries were packed so the pretty ones were on top, bad on the bottom. I was really disappointed. I think I composted away 2/3 of what I bought.

After this, I decided it was time to buy some protein and starch to round out my day.

I stopped at a vendor I’ve bought from before, K & S Seafood. I had bought some Black Drum from them back in March at Mueller Farmers Market. Through no fault of their own, I didn’t like it.

However, the lobster tails and salmon I bought were both delicious.

The price board for K & S Seafood.

The price board for K & S Seafood.

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Finally. Blue skies.

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It’s not the prettiest of pictures, but you can at least see where the chickens come from. Smith and Smith Farms

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And, now, for the starch.

After my stop at Baguette et Chocolat, I decided it was time to go home. I was shopping on an empty stomach. And we all know what kind of trouble one can get into doing that.

I think I showed remarkable restraint under the circumstances, though.

My purchases #1: Baguette et Chocolat - chocolate croissants, 6-grain sourdough.

My purchases: Baguette et Chocolat – chocolate croissants, 6-grain sourdough.

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Engel Farms: strawberries and peaches

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2 Happy Children Farm: Corn.

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K & S Seafood: King Salmon Filets, Lobster Tails

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Smith and Smith Farms: whole chicken

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That evening’s dinner: Pan seared scallops and lobster tail with mixed green salad and tomatoes and fried corn with bacon.

 

Another month down. 7 more to go.

This has been fun so far.

 

 

 

My Eating Locally Project 2015: April 0

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Sahar
Eggs at Springdale Farm

Eggs at Springdale Farm

 

April was another kinda weird month for me.  Revolving door visitors (whom I thoroughly enjoyed) and the ‘flu both played major roles in last month’s shopping.  I still managed three shopping trips, had some lovely conversations, learned some things, and began to truly enjoy the start of the spring and summer produce seasons.

 

Wednesday, April 15: Springdale Farm & Boggy Creek Farm

As most of us do, I try to do things to distract myself from Tax Day.  I mean, my taxes were filed a month prior, but it’s still the visceral reaction to the day that gives me shudders. At least internally.

My first stop that day was Springdale Farm.  I felt like I’d hit the jackpot with the fava beans for sale.  I’m guessing I bought 3 pounds. There was lots of fennel for sale, too. But, since fennel is part of my torture meal, I skipped it.

Fennel seed? Fine. A few Fennel fronds? Excellent with shellfish.

Fennel Bulb? Licorice. Yuk.

Seemingly the most prolific of spring vegetables, fennel.

Seemingly the most prolific of spring vegetables, fennel.

My purchases at Springdale this time around were: carrots, garlic chives, green garlic, escarole, and fava beans.

Carrots

Carrots, Cabbage, Spring Onions, Beets

oranges and grapefruit

oranges and grapefruit

Springdale Farm

Springdale Farm

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My purchases: Carrots, Garlic Chives, Green Garlic, Escarole, Fava Beans

My purchases: Carrots, Garlic Chives, Green Garlic, Escarole, Fava Beans

I didn’t really wander around the farm as I usually do. The gate to the chicken coops and the fields were closed, so I didn’t want to be presumptuous and just walk in. But, I did have a lovely conversation with Glenn Foore about the role of fava beans in Middle Eastern cuisine.

 

Boggy Creek Farm was my next stop.  In fact, the two farms are less than a mile apart from each other. Very convenient.

Larkspur and Poppies. Boggy Creek.

Larkspur and Poppies. Boggy Creek.

Bee in a poppy.

Bee in a poppy.

I was talking with Carol Ann about the strawberries.  She said that if she got any more rain, her plants would die out. (I think a day or two after we talked, it happened.)  Her husband, Larry Butler, has a second farm about 80 miles outside of town, she said, where the soil is sandier.  Because strawberries like sandier soil, any future strawberries would come from his farm instead of the one in town.

Makes sense.

I just got the last of the strawberries for the day.

I just got the last of the strawberries for the day.

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Yup. More fennel.

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So excited about the dandelion greens.

Arugula and Curly Mustard Greens. Peppery, bitter delights.

Arugula and Curly Mustard Greens. Peppery, bitter delights.

After I made my purchases (eggs, strawberries, dandelion greens, arugula, curly mustard greens, pork chops), as is my wont, I wandered around the farm for a few minutes.

Chickens on the loose again.

Chickens on the loose again.

I have no idea what these flowers are, but I'm starting to see them everywhere.

I have no idea what these flowers are, but I’m starting to see them everywhere.

Call me weird, but I like a little sun glare in my photos from time to time.

Call me weird, but I like a little sun glare in my photos from time to time.

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Pink roses

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Down the primrose path

My purchases: eggs, strawberries, dandelion greens, arugula, curly mustard greens

My purchases: eggs, strawberries, dandelion greens, arugula, curly mustard greens

My purchases, part 2: pork chops. These were sliced thin, so they fried up really well in the skillet. They were unctuous.

My purchases, part 2: pork chops. These were sliced thin, so they fried up quite well in the skillet. They were unctuous.

Wednesday Night's Dinner: Salad with curly mustard greens and pine nuts; pork chops.

Wednesday Night’s Dinner: Salad with curly mustard greens, escarole, dandelion greens, and arugula with pine nuts; pork chops. Simple, but delicious.

 

Friday, April 24:  Boggy Creek Farm

This was the day that I learned what breeds of chickens laid what color of eggs.

I was having a lengthy conversation with Carol Ann Sayle about the farm, getting advice on the best way to start a garden (clean the area, cover with soil & compost, let sit for a couple of months, then begin planting in the fall), talking flowers, and, finally, the chickens.

With all the rain we’ve had here in Austin (few are complaining about this), she lets the chickens run loose so that they can scratch and roost in drier areas.  By doing this, the coop can dry out and be cleaned. When the chickens are out, they’re extremely entertaining to watch do their chicken thing in their chicken way.

When I showed her the eggs I bought, she explained to me that different breeds laid different colored eggs.  Well, the shells, anyway.  It makes sense. I honestly thought the color of the shell always depended on the diet.

So, here are the breeds:

Leghorn: white eggs

Leghorn: white eggs

Ameraucana: Green

Ameraucana: green eggs

Black Australorp: Brown

Black Australorp: brown eggs

A rainbow of eggs.

A rainbow of eggs.

I've called you all here...

I’ve called you all here…

soon... tomatoes. Many, many tomatoes.

soon… Tomatoes. Many, many tomatoes.

Butter lettuce in the field

Butter lettuce in the field

During my shopping, I saw that the artichokes are starting to come out in profusion, too.  It’s not a vegetable that I use much because of the time it takes to prep them, but, I figure if I go all Italian and give them a good fry-up, they just might be worth the trouble.

Quite possibly the last of one of my favorite salad mixes for the season - Maria's Brassica.

Quite possibly the last of one of my favorite salad mixes for the season – Maria’s Brassica.

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Beautiful purple artichokes and dill.

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Frisee and a full head of radicchio. All you usually see of radicchio in the stores is the red core.

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A few winter greens still hanging in there.

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Beautiful oyster mushrooms from Cedar Creek Farms.

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Glorious cut flowers from the farm.

The path out

The path out

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Carol Ann’s tea roses. The smell exactly like roses should smell.

My purchases: radicchio, frisee, oyster mushrooms, brassica salad, eggs

My purchases: radicchio, frisee, oyster mushrooms, brassica salad, eggs

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My purchases, part 2: tenderized round steak. I see Chicken Fried Steak in the near future. Very near future.

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Friday night dinner: New York Strip, Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, sauteed Oyster Mushrooms.

 

Saturday, April 25: SFC Farmers Market Downtown

Once again, I found myself downtown. This time, I decided that because of all of the construction, I was going to make this my last time at this market for now.  Too bad, really.  I enjoy this market.

But, it will be good for me to check out other markets, too.  Silver linings and all.

However, once I finally arrived, I was quite happy with what I saw.  The spring and early summer produce is coming into its own for the year. Plus, breakfast.

Glimpse of the Downtown Farmers Market

Glimpse of the Downtown Farmers Market

I came across a stand I’ve never noticed before: Animal Farm Organic Market Garden.

They had the most lovely cut flowers and something I’ve never tried before: kohlrabi.  I bought 2 bunches along with a large bag of arugula.

Cut flowers at Animal Farm Organic Market Garden

Cut flowers at Animal Farm Organic Market Garden

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More cut flowers. I wish I knew their names.

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Not a huge stand, but what he had was great.

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Something I’ve never used before: Kohlrabi. I bought 2 bunches. The outer rind is tough, so you have to peel them. And, the leaves are edible.

I read up on how to prepare kohlrabi and saw that most of the preparations use it raw.  So, I just grated it with some carrots, tossed them both some thinly sliced red onion and a lemon vinaigrette, let everything sit for about an hour and came up with slaw. Delicious.

 

My next stop was at one of my favorites: Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

I only bought 3 things this time: elephant garlic, mint, and romaine.  They still have quite a bit of winter produce, but I just couldn’t.  As much as I love my beets and kale, I’m done until the fall.

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Last of the purple cauliflower.

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Elephant garlic.

Generally, with elephant garlic, it’s best to roast the cloves.  It generally has a milder flavor than other types of garlic; so, while you can use it raw, you’ll have to use more to get the same flavor in the dish.  I like to take the peeled cloves and slowly poach/roast them over low heat on the stove in a combination of grapeseed and olive oils.  This way, not only are the cloves roasted, you also get garlic-flavored oil.

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Mint, cilantro, two types of parsley, and red leaf lettuce.

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Artichokes. I opted out this week.

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Spring onions.

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The beets are still hanging in there.

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Garlic. Maybe next time.

The next stand to catch my eye was B5 Farms.

For me, here were the first heirloom tomatoes of the summer. They had three varieties available: Valencia, Cherokee Purple, and German Johnson. I love heirlooms because they all have their own very distinct flavor, are in general drier (fewer seeds), and while they are a bit pricier, they have more yield than the usual grocery store tomato. They’re not perfectly round, blemish-free specimens, but, heirloom tomatoes have their own knobbly beauty.

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Valencia Tomatoes.

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German Johnson Tomatoes.

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Purple Cherokee Tomatoes.

B5 had a few peppers, too. I didn’t buy any because I didn’t have a need for them, but they looked bright and fresh. It looked like they had a variety of bell, jalapeno, and poblano peppers.

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Peppers at B5 Farms.

After buying the produce, I headed to Tamale Addiction to buy breakfast for Husband Steve & I. Their tamales are very good and hefty.  Two will set you up for quite a while.

Breakfast: Chicken Mole and Pork al Pastor tamales

Breakfast: Chicken Mole and Pork al Pastor tamales

From JBG: elephant garlic, mint, romaine

From JBG: elephant garlic, mint, romaine

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From B5 Farms: Heirloom Tomatoes

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From Animal Farm Organic: kohlrabi and arugula

 

So… On to May. I hope to be visiting some new places and seeing some new vendors.

 

Now, for a quick recipe:

“Tossed” Caprese Salad

As we all know, traditional Caprese Salad is a layered salad of sliced of tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.  Occasionally, a little salt may be sprinkled over the top.

I like to use heirlooms for this salad because they are at their best here. It’s a simple salad that’s perfect for summer.

Now, my version is more of a tossed salad. So, purists beware.

 

1 1/2  – 2 lbs. tomatoes (heirloom, if you can), cut into roughly 1″ pieces

1 – 1 1/2 lbs. fresh mozzarella (I used perla size in this example), cut into roughly 1″ pieces depending on the size you buy

1 small bunch basil, torn or cut into julienne (thin strips)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed

Flaked Sea Salt (i.e. Maldon), to taste

 

Basically, toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil together.  Add as much olive oil as you like (I just eyeball it).  Add a little of the salt, mix the salad, and taste.  A lot of mozzarellas available have salt already, so you want to be judicious when adding it.

I like to serve this with some crusty bread.

"Tossed" Caprese Salad.

“Tossed” Caprese Salad.

 

See you in May!

 

 

 

 

 

My Eating Locally Project 2015: March 0

Posted on April 01, 2015 by Sahar

Like the old saying goes, “March came in like a lion but left like a lamb”.  The beginning of the month was still in the grip of Old Man Winter, but the weather, especially this last weekend, was what Spring is all about: Sunny, warm, breezy, and not a little colorful.

Here in Austin, the middle of March is taken up with the annual craziness that is SXSW.  While I normally don’t participate (I remember the good old days when it was just about the local music), this year was different.  I participated in a panel on food & heritage long with Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat, Kay Marley-Dilworth of ATX Food News, and Annette Priest, founder of Revel Insight. (Here is the Storify link).

As well as doing the SXSW panel, I also recorded a podcast with Cecilia Nasti of Field & Feast on Croissants.

After my SXSW was over, however, Husband Steve’s was just beginning; he’s the music guy.  So, since he wasn’t home much during most of the festival, I didn’t do too much cooking this month.  Hence, I didn’t do my usual amount of shopping.

So, sadly, I have no new recipes to share this month.  Just some really lovely photos.

 

Sunday, March 1.  Mueller Farmers Market

It was cold. Very cold. Also cloudy and damp.

As my friend Kelly Ann and I watched the ducks swim on the pond at Mueller, I wondered how they could stand it.

Ducks on the pond on a very cold day.

Ducks on the pond on a very cold day.

We had to park a ways out from the market stands because not only was the market open, but the Thinkery (the new Austin Children’s Museum) was in full swing.

The dragon at The Thinkery. His eyes glowed.

The dragon at The Thinkery. His eyes glowed.

While I normally enjoy the walk from the further lots (it is very pretty), that day was an exception.

A tiny bit of Spring peeking through the gray.

A tiny bit of Spring peeking through the gray.

Normally, the market is outside in the open. This day, it was under the dome. It helped a little.

Normally, the market is outside in the open. This day, it was under the dome. It helped a little.

The crowd was lighter than I've seen at previous market days. Of course, the cold no doubt kept many away. Others were huddled closer into the stands near the space heaters.

The crowd was lighter than I’ve seen at previous market days. Of course, the cold no doubt kept many away. Others were huddled closer into the stands near the space heaters.

As is my usual routine, I sought out my favorite produce vendor, Johnson’s Backyard Garden.  I may not always buy the bulk, or any, of my produce from them on a given visit (I like to try others, too), I simply like to go and take a look anyway. Their displays are beautiful and their produce, most of the time, is fantastic.

Parsnips at Johnson's Backyard Garden

Parsnips at Johnson’s Backyard Garden

Turnips at JBG.

Turnips at JBG.

First sign of Spring. Artichokes. JBG.

First sign of Spring produce. Artichokes. JBG.

Cabbage and rainbow chard. JBG.

Cabbage and rainbow chard. JBG.

Had to stop by the Austin institution that is Texas French Bread for some sourdough wheat. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out on something great.

Texas French Bread's stand. Simplicity.

Texas French Bread’s stand. Simplicity.

Even though I set myself a limit on how much I’ll spend on any given visit, if I impulsively decide to visit Countryside Farms, I know the limit will be crossed.

Their meats and charcuterie are excellent and unique.  And, one of these days, I’m really going to indulge in some of their rillettes, pates, and mousses. But for now, I’m going to stick with the old stand-bys: chicken, sausage, and bacon. And, occasionally, lard and marrow.

Countryside Farms. European-style, unique, and slightly pricy, meats and charcuterie.

Countryside Farms. European-style, unique, and slightly pricy, meats and charcuterie.

K & S Seafood was a vendor that hadn’t seen before.  They generally sell at Cedar Park and Barton Creek Farmers Markets according to their Facebook Page.

I decided to try some Black Drum, a fish neither Steve nor I had ever tried before (at least not knowingly). The fish that I bought had been caught the previous Thursday, cleaned, filleted, and kept on ice. So, even though by this point it was 3 days old, it still had a nice oceany smell to it.  However, the lady working the stand did tell me that I needed to cook it within the next 24-48 hours.

I’m not sure if it’s the way I cooked the fish (simple pan searing) or what, but we decided we didn’t care for it.  There was really no flavor and the texture was almost plastic-like.

I can see using the drum bones to make stock, though. The flavor would be mild enough to take seasonings well and not overpower.

K & S Seafood. I felt bad for the girl working the stand. She had a space heater, but having to constantly plunger her hands into ice to pull out the seafood had to have been torture on a day where the wind chill was in the 30's.

K & S Seafood. I felt bad for the lady working the stand. She had a space heater, but having to constantly plunge her hands into ice to pull out the seafood had to have been torture on a day where the wind chill was in the 30’s.

Now, I know that all sorts of studies have warned against drinking alcohol to keep warm. But, when you’re confronted with a cold, damp, and windy day, and you’re presented with a table full of mead that you’re encouraged to sample for free, I’d like to see you say “no” and walk away.

Meridian Hive Meadery‘s samplings were the highlight of the trip. I tried 4 excellent samples and finally landed on the Huajilla as my choice. Not too sweet and a little dry, I think it will be lovely in the late spring, early summer, or mid autumn.

The meadery opened in Austin in 2012 and is open for tours and tastings (check the website for details).

Mead tasting? Yes, please.

Mead tasting? Yes, please.

From the lovely folks at Meridian Hive Meadery.

From the lovely folks at Meridian Hive Meadery.

Now, on to my purchases for the day:

Huajilla Mead from Meridian Hive Meadery. Slightly sweet and dry. It's going to excellent in the summer.

Huajilla Mead from Meridian Hive Meadery. Slightly sweet and dry. It’s going to excellent in the summer.

My haul:

Sourdough Wheat from Texas French Bread; Black Drum from K & S Seafood; Turnips from JBG; Chicken and Bacon from Countryside Farms

 

Thursday, March 12:  Boggy Creek Farm

With Steve’s SXSW already starting and me getting ready for a crazy few days that included a much-anticipated visit from my oldest (long-term) friend Michelle, I took it easy at my monthly visit to Boggy Creek Farm.

Compared to my visit to Mueller, the day at Boggy Creek was almost balmy. By that I mean, the sun was actually out. At least a little. It had been raining for several days prior to my visit, so things were a little messy at the farm.  Nothing terrible – just puddles and mud.

Spring again trying to peek through.

Spring again trying to peek through.

Peeking around the corner at the farmhouse.

Peeking around the corner at the farmhouse.

 

Larry Butler's creations. As I've said before, his Smoked Dried Tomatoes are legendary.

Larry Butler’s creations. As I’ve said before, his Smoked Dried Tomatoes are legendary.

Farm eggs, and wares from other local producers.

Farm eggs, and wares from other local producers.

Lovely eggs from Boggy Creek's resident chickens.

Lovely eggs from Boggy Creek’s resident chickens.

The big wood box of sweet potatoes.

The big wood box of sweet potatoes.

First of the Spring head lettuces: Frisee.

First of the Spring head lettuces: Frisee.

Baby celery. I bought it mostly for the leaves.

Baby celery. I bought it mostly for the leaves.

After I bought my produce and sausage, I did what I always do, take a little stroll around the farm.

I think this is cabbage. I really need to ask next time.

I think this is cabbage. I really need to ask next time.

Looking over the last of the winter produce. Carol Ann told me the early spring produce was starting to come in, too.

Looking over the last of the winter produce. Carol Ann told me the early spring produce was starting to come in, too.

And, of course, there were the grande dames and lords of the farm, the chickens and roosters.

I noticed that they were all running around loose and I wondered what was going on.  Carol Ann told me that because of the rains, the coop was muddy, so they let the chickens and roosters out so the coop could be cleaned and dried.  She said that they all normally get to run loose after the farmstand is closed for the day, but and exception was made and they were let out early.

Needless to say, I stayed longer than I had originally planned.

The nesting boxes were dry, so the chickens could at least escape from prying eyes there.

The nesting boxes were dry, so the chickens could at least escape from prying eyes there.

This one was very determined to get into that pecan.

This one was very determined to get into the pecan she was pecking at.

Looks like the king and his court.

Looks like the king and his court.

Struttin'.

Struttin’.

So, my purchases for the day:

Pork Chorizo from Peaceful Pork

Pork Chorizo from Peaceful Pork

Frisee; Baby Celery; Brassica Salad; Sweet Potatoes

Frisee; Baby Celery; Brassica Salad; Sweet Potatoes

 

Sunday, March 22: Hope Farmer’s Market.

 

This was the best day yet. Spring warm, sunny, and SXSW was finally over.

 

A lovely day to be at the market.

A lovely day to be at the market.

The wisteria starting to bloom.

The wisteria starting to bloom.

The fountain at Plaza Saltillo. Hopefully, the city will get it working again.

The fountain at Plaza Saltillo. Hopefully, the city will get it working again.

A little sidewalk art.

A little sidewalk art.

Hope isn’t a large market, so I generally see a lot of the same vendors I see at other markets. Some seem to be exclusive to this one.

Of course, Johnson’s Backyard Garden was there. And, as usual, their stand was glorious. The only sour note was their romaine lettuce. While I did end up buying a bag, I really had to search for one that wasn’t already beginning to brown.

Dandelion Greens at JBG.

Dandelion Greens at JBG.

Rainbow Chard at JBG.

Rainbow Chard at JBG.

Early harvest Romain Lettuce. JBG.

Early harvest Romaine Lettuce. JBG.

Herbs. JBG.

Herbs. JBG.

Beets. I didn't buy any; I just like the way they look in photographs. JBG.

Beets. I didn’t buy any; I just like the way they look in photographs. JBG.

Oranges. So much better than grocery-store bought. JBG.

Oranges. So much better than grocery-store bought. JBG.

Yard to Market Co-Op was a vendor I’ve not seen or noticed before. I just took a quick look at their website and it looks like Hope is the only farmers market they attend.

I will say their produce looked amazing (especially the dino-sized rutabaga) and the eggs were so fresh they looked like they came out of the hens that morning.

I’ll most definitely need to seek them out first next time I head to Hope Market.

Yard to Market Co-Op. This is the first time I've seen them.

Yard to Market Co-Op. This is the first time I’ve seen them.

The largest rutabaga I'd ever seen. I bought it.

The largest rutabaga I’d ever seen. I bought it.

The greens at the Co-Op stand.

The greens at the Co-Op stand.

Collards. Co-Op.

Collards. Co-Op.

More kale. Co-Op.

More kale. Co-Op.

And, yes. I stopped by Countryside Farms again. I was hoping for another chicken. They were sold out; so, I settled for some Merguez.

Charcuterie at Countryside Farms.

Charcuterie at Countryside Farms.

As I was leaving, I decided to take the long way back to the car and admire some of the East Austin mural art. It seems to be one of the few signs left that this area was a thriving Hispanic & African American community.  Sadly, like most other medium-to-large cities, people from the older neighborhoods are being priced out in the name of progress.

Zoot Suiter immortalized.

Zoot Suiter immortalized.

IMG_5331

I’m not sure if the name on the gas tank is the rider or the artist. Or both.

IMG_5332

Mary’s face here kinda reminds me of the “restoration” of the Ecce Homo Fresco in Spain.

Once again, I headed home with my purchases.

Purchases, Part 1: Eggs and Rutabaga from Yard to Market Co-Op; Merguez from Countryside Farms

Purchases, Part 1: Eggs and Rutabaga from Yard to Market Co-Op; Merguez from Countryside Farms

Purchases, Part 2: Rainbow Chard; Dandelion Greens; Flat Leaf Parsley; Romaine Lettuce; Oranges. JBG.

Purchases, Part 2: Rainbow Chard; Dandelion Greens; Flat Leaf Parsley; Romaine Lettuce; Oranges. JBG.

 

Since I don’t have any recipes this month, I thought I’d give you a tutorial on how to wash and store your fresh greens. This can apply whether you buy your greens organic at the farmers market, farmstands, or the conventional produce from the grocery store.

All produce has the same thing: dirt. Dirt you have to wash off. Whether it comes from the ground or other people, it has to be washed off.  This is especially true with leafy greens.  Dirt tends to get into the nooks and crannys of the stems and leaves, and, if you don’t wash them properly, at best, you’ll end up with grit in your food.

And sometimes, bugs.  Yes, bugs happen.

So, here is the tutorial in pictorial form:

Begin by trimming the greens. I just generally cut off the woody parts of the stems. You can eat, compost, or toss these out. It's up to you.

Begin by trimming the greens. I just generally cut off the woody parts of the stems. You can eat, compost, or toss these out. It’s up to you.

The trimmed greens, Rainbow Chard in this instance, in a (clean) sink full of cold water. It needs to be cold. If you want to refresh older greens, you can fill the sink with cold water and ice.

The trimmed greens, Rainbow Chard in this instance, in a (clean) sink full of cold water. It needs to be cold. Gently agitate the greens to wash off the dirt. If necessary, pick up the leaves individually and rub off the dirt, pick our bad leaves or tear out bad spots on the leaves. If you want to refresh older greens, you can fill the sink with cold water and ice.

After taking the greens out of the water, shake off some of the excess and place it the basket of a salad spinner.

After taking the greens out of the water, shake off some of the excess and place it the basket of a salad spinner. As you take the greens out of the water, try not to stir up any of the dirt that sinks to the bottom.

Now, spin.

Now, spin.

After the excess water has been removed, lay the greens in a single layer (a little overlap is OK) on paper towels. (I buy the thicker "shop towels" from the hardware store).

After the excess water has been removed, lay the greens in a single layer (a little overlap is OK) on paper towels. (I buy the thicker “shop towels” from the hardware store). Now, carefully roll the leaves up in the towel and place the roll in a large zip bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible. This will help keep the greens simultaneously dry yet still keep them from drying out.

I hope this was useful.

See you in April.

Well, at the end of the month.

 

 

 

 

My Eating Locally Project 2015: February 0

Posted on February 28, 2015 by Sahar

Well, life kinda got in the way this month with illness and travel playing rather large parts.  So, my shopping month was a bit more truncated than I would’ve liked. But, one must roll with the (figurative) punches.

 

I really stayed with three places in February: Springdale FarmBoggy Creek Farm, and SFC Downtown Farmers Market.

There wasn’t a whole lot new this month. The winter produce is still coming in: root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, dark greens, lettuces, and citrus. I’m certainly not complaining; I love my winter produce. But, I will say, I am looking forward to what the spring will be bringing.

I did expand a bit beyond just produce and bought some amazing meats and eggs. The meats were definitely splurge items. But, given the flavor and quality, the occasional outlay is worth it.

 

Wed., Feb 4.

For my first forays into the new month, I decided on two old familiars, Boggy Creek and Springdale Farms. I not only love both these places for the obvious reasons – fresh organic produce, fresh eggs & dairy, locally made products, homemade treats  – but also for the quiet they offer in a city growing way too fast.

My first stop was Boggy Creek Farm. Along with the produce, I stretched myself this time and splurged on some excellent lamb chops and eggs.

My haul from Boggy Creek: Eggs from Coyote Creek Farm, Lamb Chops from Loncitos, Maria's Brassica Salad, Baby Lettuce Mix, Romanesco

My haul from Boggy Creek: Eggs from Coyote Creek Farm, Lamb Chops from Loncito Cartwright, Maria’s Brassica Salad, Baby Lettuce Mix, Romanesco (Italian cauliflower)

Nothing like farm-fresh eggs.

Nothing like farm-fresh eggs. It said “large” on the carton. But, I swear some were jumbos.

Personally, I think Romanesco is one of the most beautiful vegetables .

Personally, I think Romanesco is one of the most beautiful vegetables .

More Romanesco. It grows thick and fast this time of year.

More Romanesco. It grows thick and fast this time of year.

The broccoli table.

The broccoli and cabbage table.

Jeweled carrots.

Jeweled carrots.

Boggy Creek's salad mixes.

Boggy Creek’s salad mixes.

Collards and Kale.

Collards and Kale.

FYI

FYI

Spring trying to sneak in.

Spring trying to sneak in.

Lettuces in the one of the fields at Boggy Creek.

Lettuces in the one of the fields at Boggy Creek.

 

My next destination was Springdale Farm. I didn’t buy quite as much there. They did have garlic chives again, though. Yea!

Even if I don’t buy much, I love to simply go to the farm and look around. It’s a great place to simply look at the farm, the chickens, and the yard art and meditate a little.

My haul from Springdale Farm: Beets, Savoy Cabbage, Garlic Chives

My haul from Springdale Farm: Beets, Savoy Cabbage, Garlic Chives

Radishes

Radishes, Savoy Cabbage, Frisee, Turnips, and flowers in jars.

Carrots galore.

Carrots galore.

Some of the fields and yard art at the farm.

Some of the fields and yard art at the farm.

Field of dill.

Rows of dill.

baby broccoli in the field.

baby broccoli in the field.

Looking to the back of the farmstand.

Looking to the back of the farm stand.

One of the other delights at Springdale is Eden East Restaurant. It’s a reservation-only, weekend-only restaurant. They use only locally sourced ingredients in their dishes.  As a result, no menu is the same week-to-week.

Admittedly, I haven’t eaten there yet. I’ve promised myself that I’ll make reservations for Husband & me soon. I know people who have eaten there and they all say the same thing – it’s an incredible experience.

By the way, it’s BYOB.

The kitchen and seating at Eden East.

The kitchen and seating at Eden East.

Love the stove.

Love the stove.

 

Sat., Feb. 14

In anticipation of Husband Steve coming home from a business trip, I headed out to the Downtown Farmers Market to stock up on a few groceries for the weekend.

It was still chilly, but certainly warmer than my last visit in January.  At least none of the vendors looked like they were going to freeze.

Starting to list my haul from SFC Market: Chicken from Smith & Smith Farms.

Chicken from Smith & Smith Farms. I hit a week where they didn’t have fresh chickens available. Still, this one was no more than a few days from the yard,

Phoenix Farms. I bought some gorgeous Brussels Sprouts here.

Phoenix Farms. I bought some gorgeous Brussels Sprouts here. Their produce was lovely.

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts.

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts. They comprised part of Saturday Night’s dinner.

The cruciferous vegetables at Phoenix Farms.

The broccoli, cauliflower, and Romanesco at Phoenix Farms.

Red Lettuce at Phoenix Farms.

Red Lettuce at Phoenix Farms.

Kitchen Pride Mushrooms. A brand many of us are familiar with.

Kitchen Pride Mushrooms. A brand many of us are familiar with.

Criminis. Always good.

Criminis. Always good.

One of my favorite stands - Johnson's Backyard Garden.

One of my favorite stands – Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

My haul from JBG: Collard Greens, Radishes, Sweet Potatoes, Rutabaga, Celery Root

My haul from JBG: Collard Greens, Radishes, Sweet Potatoes, Rutabaga, Celery Root. I was so happy; I rarely see celery root.

White and Gold Cauliflower. JBG.

White and Gold Cauliflower. JBG.

Rainbow of beets. JBG.

Rainbow of beets. JBG.

Wall of radishes. Try them roasted. JBG.

Wall of radishes. Try them roasted. JBG.

Rutabagas and Celery Root. Very underappreciated vegetables. JBG.

Rutabagas and Celery Root. Very underappreciated and underutilized vegetables. JBG.

Collards and sweet potatoes. A symbiotic relationship. JBG.

Collards and sweet potatoes. A symbiotic relationship. JBG.

This is quickly becoming another one of my favorite vendors - Countryside Farm.

This is quickly becoming another one of my favorite vendors – Countryside Farm. They specialize in pork and poultry and have some amazing artisan products.

Countryside Farm's stand. Beautiful artisan products.

Countryside Farm’s stand. Beautiful artisan products. They’re definitely a splurge.

Cheddar & Jalapeno Sausage. Countryside Farm.

Cheddar & Jalapeno Sausage. Countryside Farm. It was delicious.

Fresh Lard. Just because. Countryside Farm.

Fresh Lard. Just because. Countryside Farm.

Breakfast at Tamale Addiction.

Breakfast at Tamale Addiction.

Pork Pastor with Pineapple Tamales. They were delicious.

Pork Pastor with Pineapple Tamales. They were delicious. And big. Two was more than enough.

And, dinner that night…

Valentine's Dinner, if you will:

Valentine’s Dinner, if you will: Roast Chicken; Roasted Radishes, Rutabaga, Celery Root, and Brussels Sprouts; Simple White Rice

 

Wed., Feb, 25

For my final shopping trip, I went back to the old reliables, Boggy Creek and Springdale.  A lovely day, weather-wise, it was not. Every time I stepped out of the car it seemed to be colder.

My first stop this time was Springdale. They were bringing everything back into the farm stand from under a tent in the yard. I guess they just finished a cooking demo or a photo shoot.

Spring is trying to make an appearance.

Spring is trying to make an appearance. I promise, those flowers are purple.

Rose in the foreground, kale in the garden.

Rose in the foreground, kale in the garden.

Fennel,

Fennel, lettuce, oranges, carrots, beets

Green Garlic. I never used it before. I bought some anyway.

Green Garlic. I never used it before. I bought some anyway.

A big bin of green onions.

A big bin of green onions.

Some very pretty posies. Paula said what farm they were from, but I forgot the name.

Some very pretty posies. Paula said what farm they were from, but I forgot the name. I think she said the farm would be selling this vendor’s flowers come spring. So, there’s that.

One of Springdale Farm's chickens. The speckled hen is lovely in her own way.

One of Springdale Farm’s chickens. The speckled hen is lovely in her own way.

Some new additions to the henhouse. Paula told me these chicks are 2 weeks old. She had them in a warm room.

Some new additions to the hen house. Paula told me these chicks are 2 weeks old. She had them in a warm room next to the coop.

As Paula and I were talking about the chickens, I told her that I could watch them for hours. She replied, “We have them for three reasons: eggs, fertilizer, and as the entertainment committee.”

Excellent.

My Springdale haul: Green Garlic, Garlic Chives, Grapefruit, Chard, Mixed Baby Lettuce

My Springdale haul: Green Garlic, Garlic Chives, Grapefruit, Chard, Baby Lettuce Mix

After Springdale, I headed the roughly half mile over the Boggy Creek. While I didn’t take any photos in the farm stand that day, I did do some wandering around the grounds and took some there.

Red Lettuce growing next to the parking lot. I have to say, Carol Ann & Larry have a lot of faith in their customers not driving into the field.

Red Lettuce growing next to the parking lot. I have to say, Carol Ann & Larry have a lot of faith in their customers not driving into the field.

Frisee in a row.

Green puffs of frisee in a row.

Some lovely red lettuce.

Some lovely red lettuce. Ignore the hose.

One of my favorite spots at Boggy Creek. The bench looking at the fields. When the vines are flowering, it's gorgeous.

One of my favorite spots at Boggy Creek. The bench looking at the fields. When the vines are flowering, it’s gorgeous.

Fields of

Fields of broccoli (I think)

Some of Boggy Creek's chickens.

Some of Boggy Creek’s always busy chickens.

Boggy Creek haul, part one: Dine Kale, Brassica Salad, Sweet Poataoes

Boggy Creek haul, part one: Dino Kale, Brassica Salad, Sweet Potatoes

New York Strip from Deer Run Longhorns and ground lamb from Loncinto's Lamb

Boggy Creek haul, part two: New York Strip from Deer Run Longhorns and ground lamb from Loncinto’s Lamb

Cocao Hull Cocoa Powder from Organicare Farms.

Cocao Hull Cocoa Powder from Organicare Farms. I’ve never used this before, so I’m interested to see how it works and tastes. It smells divine, just like good chocolate should.

And, so… On to March.

******************************

As promised in January, here are two recipes using ingredients that I bought at the markets and stands this month.

 

Shrimp, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, and lime all have a natural flavor affinity with each other. So, I came up with this dish.  If you don’t have garlic chives, just substitute 2 – 3 cloves of minced garlic and add it to the skillet when you saute the ginger and shallot.

 

Apologies for the lack of pictures with this recipe. The taking of photos was pretty much an afterthought that night.  Not sure why.

 

Shrimp & Romanesco

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 head Romanesco, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/4 c. water or broth

1 tbsp. ginger, minced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined

2 tbsp. garlic chives

Lime juice to taste

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

1.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, saute the Romanesco for 5 minutes.  Add the water or broth, cover the skillet, lower the heat to medium, and steam the Romanesco until it is slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2.  Take the cover off the skillet and continue cooking until the Romanesco has started to brown in spots.  Take it out of the skillet and set aside.

Cooking the Romanesco

Cooking the Romanesco

3.  Turn the heat back up to medium-high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to the skillet and heat.  Saute the ginger and shallot until the shallot is soft, 2 – 3 minutes.

4.  Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are opaque and pink, about 7 – 10 minutes.

Cooking the shrimp.

Cooking the shrimp. Be sure not to let it overcook.

Add back in the Romanesco, chives, lime juice, and salt & pepper.  Cook another 2 – 3 minutes. taste for seasoning.

Everything back in the skillet.

Everything back in the skillet.

Serve with white or brown rice.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

 

 

 

This is a recipe that is a nod to my German half.

Again, looking at flavor affinities, apples, carrots, and cabbage all work well together. The anise of the caraway and tang of the vinegar are what gives this dish its German pedigree.

Plus, this slaw is great with pork.  Very German.

 

Warm Cabbage & Apple Slaw

 

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

4 tbsp. butter or grapeseed oil

1/2 tsp. caraway seeds

1 small Savoy cabbage, about 1 lb., shredded (in this example, I have 2 heads. They were very small and added up to 1 lb. together)

The shredded cabbage. It's easy to do: just cut the cabbage in half, and, with the cut side down, thinly slice the cabbage. Instant shreds.

The shredded cabbage. It’s easy to do: just cut the cabbage in half, and, with the cut side down, thinly slice the cabbage. Instant shreds.

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4’s, and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices

1 lg. carrot, grated

Apples and cabbage ready for the skillet.

Apples and cabbage ready for the skillet.

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, or to taste

salt & pepper to taste

 

 

1.  In a large skillet, either melt the butter or heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the caraway seeds and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Cooking the caraway seeds in the butter.

Cooking the caraway seeds in the butter.

2.  Add the cabbage, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted, about 7 – 10 minutes.

Cooking down the cabbage.  I like to use Savoy cabbage in this recipe because it cooks down fairly quickly and has a lighter flavor than regular green cabbage. I love green cabbage, but not for this dish.

Cooking down the cabbage. I like to use Savoy cabbage in this recipe because it cooks down fairly quickly and has a lighter flavor than regular green cabbage. I love green cabbage, but not for this dish.  I find it a little too bitter. I’ve not tried Napa Cabbage.

3.  Add the apples, carrot, apple cider vinegar, and a good pinch of pepper.  Cook until the cabbage and apples are soft but still has some bite.  Taste for seasoning.

Everything in the skillet. This is after about 10 minutes of cooking. The apples and cabbage are soft, but still with some bite.

Everything in the skillet. This is after about 10 minutes of cooking. The apples and cabbage are soft, but still with some bite.

 

I served this with the Cheddar & Jalapeno Sausage from

I served this with the Cheddar & Jalapeno Sausage from Countryside Farms. Husband Steve was a very happy man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Eating Locally Project 2015: January 0

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Sahar

Shopping locally at Austin’s farmers markets and farm stands is a project I’ve been telling myself to undertake for quite some time.

I’m doing this for a few “want” reasons:

1.  I want my husband & I to eat healthier.  We’re well into middle age and we need to be more cognizant of what we put into our bodies. It’s not that we eat badly; it’s that we can always eat better. (This is not to say occasional indulgence is off the table.)

2.  I want to teach myself to cook more seasonally. Like most people, I simply go to the store and grab whatever’s there, regardless of the season.  Cooking more seasonally will force me to be more creative in the kitchen.  That’s fine by me.

3.  I want to support local farmers, ranchers, and vendors.  The food is better, safer, you know where it comes from, and shopping locally is good for the environment. Less carbon footprint along with encouraging organically raised produce and meat.

 

This is most definitely a project that will be evolving over the year (and, hopefully, beyond).  Right now, I’ll just visit in-town (Austin) markets and farm stands.  As time goes on, I’ll travel further afoot, but always within a 50-mile radius so I can make meals at home with the largest variety of local options. The exception will be if I am traveling out of town for whatever reason.  I’ll plan on looking around any markets in those towns and posting them as a travelogue.

The other thing (as one of my sisters pointed out to me) is that I should post recipes of everything I make from what I buy. Since I missed the obvious here, I don’t have any recipes for January.  But, I will starting in February.  I did take pictures of some of the meals I made, though.

While thinking about the markets and stands I was going to patronize, I thought about the ones I know best and/or have heard about the most: SFC Market in downtown Austin, Hope Farmers MarketBoggy Creek Farm, and Springdale Farm.  They’re all excellent markets and stands with a wide variety of not just produce, but also locally made baked goods, local artisan products, locally legendary homemade treats, and locally sourced organic meat.  Not all of the places I’ve visited have everything I’ve listed here, but you’ll be happy with what you find.

A note: I decided that when I shop at the markets and stands, I wouldn’t buy any more perishables than I could cook in 2 meals (unless I can freeze them – like meat). Shopping at these markets and stands can cost a little more than the local grocery store (but worth it), so I choose not to buy too much so I can make sure the food doesn’t spoil before I cook it. I’m not too keen on wasting food or money.

SFC Farmers Market, January 3

I went to my first farmers market of the year early (they open at 9).  My general strategy for going early is to avoid the crowds and to potentially get the best of what’s available.

 

Most of my booty from the market. Sourdough Wheat Bread, Turnips, Sorrel, Maroon Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Comb Honey, Dark Chocolate Salted Amond Bar, Dark Chocolate CinnaNib Bar.  More to come.

Most of my haul from the market. Sourdough Wheat Bread, Turnips, Sorrel, Maroon Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Comb Honey, Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bar, Dark Chocolate CinnaNib Bar.

Sourdough wheat from Texas French Bread.

Sourdough wheat from Texas French Bread.

The chocoalte bars came from Cocoa Puro Chocolate. These poor ladies were freezing.

The chocolate bars came from Cocoa Puro. These poor ladies were freezing.

A few of the other early risers.

A few of the other early risers.

Some of the beautiful produce from Tecolote Farm.

Some of the beautiful produce from Tecolote Farm.

Turnips and Sorrel from Tecolote Farm.

Turnips and Sorrel from Tecolote Farm.

Turnips. A most underrated vegetable.

Turnips. A most underrated vegetable.

This stand simply blew me away. Johnson's Backyard Garden.

This stand simply blew me away. Johnson’s Backyard Garden. I only bought two items from them; but I could’ve bought a whole lot more.

Maroon Carrots and Brussels Sprouts from JBG.

Maroon Carrots and Brussels Sprouts from JBG.

Personally, I thought I showed remarkable restraint in the face of temptation.

Personally, I thought I showed remarkable restraint in the face of temptation.

Just... Wow.

Just… Wow.

Comb Honey from Austin Honey Company. As we all know, eating local honey daily will help with allergies. It takes time, but it does work.

Comb Honey from Austin Honey Company. As we all know, eating local honey daily will help with allergies. It takes time, but it does work. Next time, I’ll buy some candles, too.

Whole chicken from Smith & Smith Farms

Whole chicken from Smith & Smith Farms

Here's my chicken. A beautiful 3-pound fryer. It was delicious. And tasted like chicken, not styrofoam.

Here’s my chicken. A beautiful 3-pound fryer. It actually tasted like chicken. Just like Nannie used to cook.

The backdrop.

The backdrop.

The menu at The Zubik House food truck. Amazing artisinal kolaches.

The menu at The Zubik House food truck. Amazing artisanal kolaches.

Breakfast from Zubik House: Apple, Bacon & Brie; Chorizo & Oaxaca Cheese; Boudin

Breakfast from The Zubik House: Apple, Bacon & Brie; Chorizo & Oaxaca Cheese; Boudin. Husband’s only complaint – not enough chorizo.

DInner: Citrus Chicken, Honey Braised Turnips & Carrots, Sauteed Turnip Greens.

Dinner: Citrus Chicken, Honey Braised Turnips & Carrots, Sauteed Turnip Greens.

 

Wednesday, January 7

I went to one of my favorite places in Austin, Springdale Farm. It’s a beautiful place that I just don’t visit often enough. Owners Glenn and Paula Foore are simply great people who have weathered many storms to make their farm a success.

The chicken coop. I could stand there and watch them for hours.

The chicken coop. I could stand there and watch them for hours.

Chickens!

Chickens enjoying their produce.

As I recall, it was going to freeze that night, so the fields are covered as a precaution.

As I recall, it was going to freeze that night, so the fields are covered as a precaution.

When I arrived, there was a large tour at the farm that morning. They bought a lot of produce before I got there, so there wasn’t as much for me to buy. Good for the Foores, not so much for me. But, I still managed to find some wonderful produce.

My haul: Purple Cauliflower, Red Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Grapefruit, Baby Arugula

My haul: Purple Cauliflower, Red Chard, Savoy Cabbage, Grapefruit, Baby Arugula.

Smoked Pepper Blend. Its got a kick.

Smoked Pepper Mix. Its got a kick.

The chalkboard so you can see what's available.

The chalkboard so you can see what’s available.

Cabbage, fennel

Cabbage, fennel, kale, and other assorted greens.

Purple cauliflower.

Purple cauliflower.

FYI...

FYI…

Dinner: Smoked Pepper Mix & Lemon Thyme Pot Roast; Arugula, Spinach & Graprfruit salad, Sauteed Chard

Dinner: Smoked Pepper Mix & Lemon Thyme Rubbed Pot Roast; Arugula, Spinach & Grapefruit Salad, Sauteed Chard

 

Sunday, January 11

Hope Farmers Market is one I have heard about for a long time but never visited.  My friend Phil is a volunteer at the market and has been encouraging me to stop by.  It’s a smaller market at Plaza Saltillo in east Austin with, like the SFC Farmers Market, a variety of vendors.

There weren’t too many people at the market when I arrived.  It was a cold, damp morning; so, that, no doubt, kept many people inside or they waited until later to come out.

A quiet morning a the market.

A quiet morning a the market.

As a bonus that morning, Austin Dog Rescue was having a sort-of open house. Lots of very sweet dogs ready for adoption.  If my husband and I were in the market for a dog, I certainly would’ve taken a closer look.

All kinds of dogs up for adoption.

All kinds of dogs up for adoption.

I didn’t buy too much at Hope.  I still had produce left over from earlier in the week and didn’t want to take a chance on not preparing it before it went bad.

But, I did get some great bread and protein.

My haul: Chorizo, Beef Marrow Butter, Nine-Grain Bread

My haul: Chorizo, Beef Marrow Butter, Nine-Grain Bread

Nine-Grain Bread from Easy Tiger. If you go to their 6th Street Location, they have a great beer garden with an extensive menu.

Nine-Grain Bread from Easy Tiger. If you go to their East 6th Street Location, they have a great beer garden with an extensive menu.

Chorizo and Beef Marrow Butter from Countryside Farm.

Chorizo and Beef Marrow Butter from Countryside Farms.

Fresh Eggs from Countryside Farms. I didn't buy any.  Maybe next time.

Fresh Eggs from Countryside Farms. I didn’t buy any. Maybe next time.

A view down Comal Street.

A view down Plaza Saltillo. Comal Street.

One of my new favorite trucks: Rosarito's

One of my new favorite trucks: Rosarito Taco Truck

The famous Octopork Tacos. I bought 4 for lunch. Total overkill, but I couldn't resist.

The famous Octopork Tacos. I bought 4 for lunch. Total overkill, but I couldn’t resist.

Dinner: Chorizo; Warm Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Dinner: Chorizo; Warm Cabbage-Apple Slaw

 

Wednesday, January 22

After taking off for a few days for teaching and travel, I once again headed towards east Austin to my favorite farm stands: Boggy Creek and Springdale Farms.

Boggy Creek Farm is one of the oldest urban market farms in the country. It was established in 1992 by Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler.  They are two of the loveliest people you could ever meet.  Larry’s homemade condiments are legendary in Austin. Especially his Smoked Dried Tomatoes. He can’t keep up with the demand.

Boggy Creek Farm

A small section of Boggy Creek Farm. Gorgeous.

Boggy Creek's chickens. They come to the coop fence to greet you.

Boggy Creek’s chickens. They come to the coop fence to greet you.

This girl decided to sneak out and follow me around.

This girl decided to sneak out and follow me around.

My haul: From Boggy Creek - Purple and Yellow Carrots; Sweet Potatoes; Dino Kale; Maria's Brassica Salad; Larry's Smoked Dried Tomatoes; Pork Loin Chops from Peaceful Pork.  From Springdale Farm - Red Beets; Garlic Chives (I was really excited about those. They're so much better than regular chives.)

My haul: From Boggy Creek – Purple and Yellow Carrots; Sweet Potatoes; Dino Kale; Maria’s Brassica Salad; Larry’s Smoked Dried Tomatoes; Pork Loin Chops from Peaceful Pork. From Springdale Farm – Red Beets; Garlic Chives (I was really excited about those. They’re so much better than regular chives.)

Inside Boggy Creek's farm stand.

Inside Boggy Creek’s farm stand. Greens, root vegetables, salad mixes, and Larry’s treats abound. They also carry meat and dairy products from local vendors as well as eggs from their own chickens. The lady working the stand told me that carrot tops were edible. Honestly, I had never given them any thought. So, when I made dinner that night, I cut off the tips and added them to the salad. Revelation attained.

The bulk salad bins at Boggy Creek.

The bulk salad bins at Boggy Creek.

Boggy Creek Farm Stand on a chilly, damp morning.

Boggy Creek Farm Stand on a chilly, damp morning.

After finishing at Boggy Creek, I headed over to Springdale Farm.  I was there about 5 minutes, so I didn’t take any photos.

Dinner: Cumin Marinated Chicken Breast, Smoked Dried Tomato Rice, Brassica Salad with Bacon and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Dinner: Cumin Marinated Chicken Breast, Smoked Dried Tomato Rice, Brassica Salad with Bacon and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Next night's dinner: Pork Loin Chops (these come from heritage pigs, so they have a substantial amount of fat. But, they also have flavor.), Baked Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Beet & Dino Kale.

Next night’s dinner: Pork Loin Chops (these come from heritage pigs so they have a substantial amount of fat; they also have substantial flavor), Baked Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Beet Greens & Dino Kale.

Looking forward to February!

 

 



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