Yesterday’s post about wild herbs and foraging got me thinking about mushrooms. Sure you can find mushrooms year-round in the supermarket, but I was craving something tastier than your usual Portobello, Shitake and White Button mushrooms. It’s hard to find the good ones in the shops like Chanterelles, Hen of the Woods, Hedgehog, and Porcini (my favorite). Autumn is mushroom season! Some foraging knowledge would definitely come in handy right about now. 🙂 I bet there are blankets of wild mushrooms out in the nearby forests waiting to be picked. However, It’s not very likely that I will be foraging this season (I’d probably pick all the poisonous ones HAHA). So I did the next best thing. I went out to the Baltimore’s Farmers Market this morning under the JFX bridge and picked up some delicious funghi from the mushroom stall. (more…)
Do you know what these beautiful flowers are? They’re squash/zucchini blossoms and boy are they delicious! I remember buying them a few summers ago at the Roots Market in Clarksville, MD. They showcase seasonal produce from local farms at various times throughout the year. They might get in a few dozen zucchini blossoms, a handful of garlic scapes, a few dozen patty pan squash and so on. And when they’re gone, they’re gone for the season. We don’t live so close to Clarksville anymore so we aren’t able to frequent Roots as often. We probably missed out on the blossoms delivery this summer. If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that I’ve been shopping at the local farmers markets a lot this year. I should really join a CSA. I had been searching for them all summer without much success. Every week I’d pick up a few zucchini or yellow squash and then it came to me. Surely these farms must have loads of blossoms growing out on the fields. I decided to write to a few local farmers to see if they could help me out. (more…)
One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.
Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)
Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.
Farm stalls are overflowing with all different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine. A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)
Over the weekend my brother invited us over to Ocean City to spend the day with his family – swimming, eating and taking in the … rain! The weather wasn’t the best, but when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter. We got in some waves, lounged by the pool, walked the boardwalk, ate loads of crabs and made new memories, especially with my nephews. Those cute little guys are growing up so fast! The other day I thought to myself ‘how weird would it be when they’re old enough to drink.’ Can you imagine? ‘Wanna grab a beer uncle Kevin?’ WHAT?!?! 😉 I’m getting carried away, they’re only in elementary school!!! HAHA.
To thank them for their hospitality, we invited them over for lunch. I had originally planned to make 3 pasta dishes, but Kevin suggested we do some meats, salad and pasta instead. Good call Kevin, but I couldn’t let him have the last word. So to compromise, I made a meat plate, a salad, and TWO pastas! We opened a really nice bottle of Amarone wine and enjoyed a lovely Italian themed lunch. Good food, great company and fabulous wine. That’s how we do it! 😀 (more…)
What a beautiful day! Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all 😉
We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! 😉
I usually make light herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own. Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)
I really enjoyed this weekend’s trip to the market. It was my first time at the 32nd Street Farmers Market, also known as the Waverly Farmers Market, and I’ll definitely be back. What I love about going out to farmers markets is that not only do you bring home locally grown in-season produce, you get to discover different neighborhoods and parts of where you live (for me, that’s Maryland) that you would never stumble upon otherwise. We parked our car along E. 31st St. and I could see myself living in one of the row houses there with the colorfully painted front porch railings. I also tell Kevin I could live in Hampden, Fells Point, Fed Hill, Mt. Vernon, Canton etc. Baltimore city always fascinates me – each street and neighborhood is so different from the next. Sometimes, I just miss living in a city.
July is the perfect time of year to find many great varieties of fruits and vegetables. We arrived with the intention to buy only a few seasonal berries and snap peas, and we ended up spending over $30 dollars on all sorts of goodies. We brought home peaches, red and black currants, gooseberries, blueberries, plums, snap peas, ginger, scallions, bean sprouts, kale, purslane and parsley.
Hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July! We celebrated the holiday at a friend’s bbq stuffing our faces with good food and ice cold beers. I love how the holidays bring people together, especially friends from out of town that you haven’t seen in ages. We watched the world cup, played some outdoor games (couldn’t have asked for better weather) and I even learned how to play Spades. Well when I say learn, I mean I watched others play, but I think I understand the rules now. I think. I’m awful at card games, unless it’s UNO or Go Fish! I love playing Batman UNO with my nephews, we always team up against grandma (my mom). I know I know that’s not fair – but I still high-five my nephews when someone puts down the joker and makes grandma pick up 4 cards!!! The kids think it’s hilarious!
On market days, we try to leave the house early so we can be back in time to prepare lunch with our purchases. Today, however, we planned to have lunch at the market and left closer to noon. The extra sleep was nice, but we missed out on the one item I was looking forward to buying all week – a cranberry walnut sourdough!
This was our second visit to the Farmers Market in Old Town Ellicott City. By the way, was Historic Ellicott City always called ‘Old Town’? I always thought it was just OLD Ellicott City. When I hear ‘Old Town’ I think of Alexandria. It doesn’t really matter either way, but I grew up about 2 miles from there, you’d think I’d know this stuff. The market is set up in two separate car parks – Lot D and the Wine Bin. Don’t forget to check out both. On our first visit a few weeks back, we only stopped by the one in Lot D. We had planned to make a roast the following day, so I only needed some carrots and spring onions which I found at Down to Earth Farm’s stall and we spent the rest of the time sampling breads at River House Pizza Co. Their breads are amazing and the chef/baker/proprietor only makes them for the Saturday markets! We did bring home a baguette and an Italian herb focaccia and I really wanted to get the cranberry walnut sourdough and a pizza too, but I was being greedy. So we said we’d come back another day for those. And we did – TODAY!
Here is what we got today:
Spring onions with flowers, carrots, radishes (Down to Earth Farms), broccoli, potatoes, farm fresh eggs (Breezy Willow Farm) and cherries (Baugher’s Orchard).
I’ve always had a difficult time waking up in the mornings. But tell me to meet you at a farmers’ market and you’ll find me getting ready before the sun’s up. Okay, I’m exaggerating, I won’t be up that early. Let’s just say it’s one of the rare occasions I don’t hit snooze. This morning we went to the Baltimore’s Farmers’ Market and Bazaar on Saratoga St. just under the Jones Falls Expressway. The market, as always, was bustling. Whenever my husband, Kevin, and I go out to a market, we make a beeline for the coffee vendor and grab a pastry or two before we begin. However, instead of our usual cuppa from Zeke’s Coffee, I decided to try something new and got my morning fix from a Thai street food stall. It was a half and half of sorts, not the traditional Baltimore half-n-half of sweet tea and lemonade, but a Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea mix. So refreshing! We walked the market a few times before finally deciding on which produce to buy.