Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Open Markets, Lush Gardens, and Still a Few Things In the Bottom of the Freezer

....and I'm ripe for a new experiment, so here it is: for the rest of the summer, I'm going to do my food shopping at the Farmer's Markets and Sherman Market.  I started to say all, but I know already there are exceptions.  I'll need coffee and citrus and four and sugar and a wider array of dairy than Sherman carries.  But that's a pretty short list.  I'm totally putting on the table all of the other stuff that's already in my pantry.  In fact, half of the experiment is designed to get those jars of "what is this again?" into a meal somewhere and that will probably happen when I'm so desperate for something starchy that I actually read back through packages of amaranth and cracked bulghur and remember why I bought it in the first place.

If this meal is any indication, it'll be one of the best-tasting summers ever! 

Farmers Markets around the Great Boston area opened last weekend, this, and next.  We went to Central Square on Monday and got veal chops.  Now, veal has been villified because of the awful ways that it's produced in factory farms, but real veal is a perfectly humane byproduct of good cattle farming.  Especially in dairy operations, but also in any cattle setup, the bull population should be kept down.  They don't produce milk and they often do produce social  problems, and more when their numbers are up.  So young bulls need to be slaughtered.  Yes, their meat is particularly tender, but in the case of real veal this is because they're young, not because they're mistreated.  Obviously, if you aren't into killing animals for food, veal isn't a great choice, but if you're a carnivore real veal is a delight: lean but buttery tender and beefy without a hint of game.

The Farmer's Market had beets, turnips, and parnsips, but believe it or not, we still have root veggies from last year!  The last of Vermont's Deep Root selection that we scooped up from Whole Foods a few weeks ago is just barely beginning to show signs of softness at the bottom of my veggie drawer, and still tastes delicious.

Mass Farmers Markets sent out an email last week saying that strawberries would be at the markets this week, but they were a little overeager, it turns out.  The farmers at Central Square said next week for the strawberries, but we still have frozen raspberries!  With the freezing, we really have managed to have local fruit all year round. 


Very lightly, rub a few teaspoons of red wine sauce with berries over 4 veal chops.  Salt and pepper.  Broil 2-3 minutes per side (for thin chops)

Serve with red wine sauce with berries, and chimmy finade (recipe below).  For best results, put the two sauces in the centr of the chop right next to each other, and let them mix as you eat.

This is our cross between a chimichurri and chiffonade ("chimmy finade"):

Finely chop:
leaves from 3 stalks mint
1/4 bunch cilantro
4 medium garlic cloves

Mix with:
3 tsp. lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt


Peel and chop into 1-12/2" cubes:
2 large beets
1 small golden beet
1 large rutabaga
Lay out on a cookie pan and cover with tin foil.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until tender.  Dump into a bowl and, using a ricer, mash well (the beets are a little hard to mash and will always keep a few small chunks, but with a little elbow grease they can really get quite mashed up) with:
2 T butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour cream


When I went down to pick lettuce for today's salad, I discovered it had started to bolt.  As lettuce turns its energy to making flowers (aka bolting), the leaves tend to get bitter.  But I tasted a few as I picked, and while they were strong, they weren't unpleasant yet.  Renee invented the perfect cooling dressing to pair with the sharp greens:

1/2 cup yogurt
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper


Place into a saucepan:

2/3 cup finely sliced rhubarb
3/4 tsp. thinly sliced orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
1/8 cup water

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Pass through a fine mesh seive.  Cool in an ice water bath (put the bowl with the strained syrup into another, larger, bowl filled with ice water).  Pour about 3/4" of the syrup into the bottom of a champagne flute.  Fill the rest of the way with champagne.  This recipe makes enough for 6.  Works woderfully as a nonalcoholic drink with ginger ale or sparkling water.