When I think about my journey as a foodie and a food blogger, my love of writing about and taking pictures of food really started when I discovered how wonderful eating seasonally could be after reading French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. It was while reading that book that I discovered my joie de vivre concerning food. The simple, unbridled joy I receive while eating a fresh peach whose juices run down my arm, or an end of summer tomato seasoned with nothing more than salt (or maybe some basil) are what I try to convey to my readers and my family. What I hope that you, as my reader, take away from my blog, is a sense of that joy, and the motivation to create joy for your family in your kitchen through my recipes and experiences. Bon appétit!
When my husband and I moved to Eastern Washington from Sacramento seven years ago, the things we most mourned were fresh vegetables. We lived in a very progressive community near Sacramento and were part of a CSA before it was "trendy". We loved browsing the farmer's market which was a huge community event twice weekly. When we first moved here, we were unfamiliar with the area and thus did our grocery shopping solely at our local supermarket and missed California with each bite of tasteless tomato.
This past week, with $38 in my pocket, I took my youngest son to the farmer's market. We noticed some fall squash, the very beginning of the season.
I just loved how they displayed them on the road. With a little gathering of leaves, it definitely looked like fall! I am not quite ready to fully embrace fall and while they are still with us, I stocked up on summer tomatoes and peaches.
For $35, we came home with quite a haul, heirloom tomatoes, a bag of Walla Walla onions, three cherry peppers, eggplants, okra, fingerling potatoes, a pint of strawberries and raspberries, peaches and nectarines, as well as an Armenian cucumber and grapes.
I just couldn't pass up these eggplants. The colors were so deep and the flesh so shiny they begged me to pick them up! Unfortunately, eggplant isn't a big winner with my family so I had to find a way to disguise it by turning it into baba ganoush. Baba ganoush is a garlicky eggplant spread that is wonderful served with pita chips. I can't say my children LOVED it, but they tolerated it which for a 5 and 7 year is pretty good!
Joie's Baba Ganoush by Joie de vivre
2 Tbls. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, mashed through a garlic press
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut several slits in each eggplant so they do not explode when you cook them and place them in a pan.
2. Place the eggplant in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. Remove the eggplant skin and chop the flesh very finely. Add the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita chips.
Here's what I came up with to use the Armenian cucumber. It is a cold, rice salad that hit the spot on a warm summer evening.
Cool Rice and Cucumber Salad by Joie de vivre
1 1/2 c. jasmine rice, cooked and cooled to room temp.
1 armenian cucumber, peeled and seeded, (or 2-3 regular cucumbers)
1 tsp. dill seed
3 Tbls. chopped fresh mint
1/3 c. minced chives
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 Tbls. olive oil
1. In a large bowl, mix the cucumber, rice, dill seed, mint and chives.
2. In the blender, or in a wide mouth jar with a lid, combine the white wine vinegar and olive oil. Cover and shake the jar until mixed or blend mixture in the blender to make a dressing.
3. Pour the dressing over the rice salad and mix.
4. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Because I had bought the peaches and nectarines, I had some fresh plums from the week prior to use up and ended up making this DELICIOUS pie. Sadly, I didn't take notes so I can't recreate it for you but I did take my inspiration from the book Pie by Ken Haedrich.
I'll be sharing other recipes from this trip to the farmer's market this week. Come visit again to see what else I made. Our farmer's market only lasts another six weeks before the cold weather sets in, you can bet that I'll be there, soaking up all of the fresh, local produce while I can!
Here are some books you may find useful in finding inspiration on what to do with your own Farmer's Market haul.