Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Farmer's Market Finds

 One of the great perks of living in the Lowcountry is the blessedly long growing season. There's not a lot of places you can find delicious, fresh-picked heirloom tomatoes in mid-October. Lucky for us, the Charleston Farmer's Market is one of those places. The market runs April through December, every Saturday in Marion Square. My favorite meals have been sourced there. I have no problem driving just under an hour for tasty goodness, and we did just that this past Saturday with my husband's visiting parents. It was a nice way of saying "This is who we are, this is how we eat, and it means a lot to us - so we want to share it with you".

Here in this post, you won't find recipes. Why? Because food this fresh doesn't need much done to it - it's already good. So I'll share just pictures and info on how I prepared the meal. It was pretty much a country delight...(Every thing came from the market, unless otherwise noted)

This delicious little salad started out as a massive red tomato, a yellow Roma, and a green onion. They were simply dressed with a few things from the pantry: Salt, Pepper, a splash of white wine vinegar, and a drizzle of good olive oil. I had some parsley and tarragon floating around in my fridge from earlier in the week so I chopped that up and tossed it in as well. I went really easy on all the seasonings though, because the tomatoes were so fresh and yummy. Also of note: Everything was room temperature. I think the flavors come out more that way, and besides, you should NEVER refrigerate a tomato.

This was picked that morning out on Wadmalaw Island, and I'd have been happy eating it raw (I did sneak a few kernels while prepping it). I just shucked it, broke it in half, and dropped it into boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes. That's all corn this fresh needs. At the table, we slathered it with butter and sprinkled it with smoked salt - YUM!

We always, ALWAYS get fingerling potatoes from Owl's Nest Plantation when we go. It's not optional. This time he also had mushrooms and apples, and he has some of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes I''ve ever seen. For these I put about a tablespoon each butter and oil in a saute pan and cooked them on medium high heat till they just started to brown. Then I put the lid on and lowered the heat to medium-low, shaking them occasionally so they didn't burn on the bottoms, for about 15-20 minutes. The skins have a little resistance to them and the inside is creamy and flavorful. All they needed was a little salt. The peas are purple hull peas from our garden. We let them dry in the pod and then shell them. Because they are fresher than supermarket dried peas, they only took about 30 minutes to cook worth no soaking. They went into some boiling water with a few chunks of Tasso ham we got from the Meat House's stand (pic of that will come with my Red Beans and Rice recipe that I'm cooking tonight). The only other seasoning these got was this:
The other source of my powers
 My fabulous mother-in-law brought us a bottle of this and I did a little happy dance. We've been without it since July, and my cooking just wasn't the same. If you know someone in Alabama have them mail it to you. It will change your life.

Of course we aren't a bunch of vegetarians, so we just stopped at Bi-Lo on the way home and picked up a preseasoned package of turkey tenderloin (it's on price-lock at $5 right now) to satisfy my husbands carnivorous tendencies.

And I had two small homemade french bread boules (round loaves) from earlier in the week that I'd made and frozen. They reheated beautifully and tasted as if they'd been made that day. I didn't get a pic of them, but here's what the loaves looked like from the same afternoon:

I try to make bread at least once a week- I'm working my way through Baking With Julia - it's better than any baking textbook, and really makes artisan bread easy for the home baker.

And there you have it! Our wonderful farmer's market dinner! Head out there this Saturday and create your own- there's still plenty of beautiful produce available!

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