Farmer’s Market

The Goose is Outta the Bag…

The time has come, dear readers, for me to satisfy your curiosity.  I promised you a phenomenal recipe yesterday and I will now deliver on that promise. 

You remember the hint I gave you, yes?

Little ball of sunshine.

What could this gem possibly be?  Many of you guessed a tiny yellow tomato.  Nope.  Another guessed it was a kumquat.  I’m afraid not.  The title of this post offers another hint.  Any takers?  No?  What was that?  Did you say, “JUST CUT THE CR*P AND TELL ME ALREADY!!!”  Well, okay then, no need to get your knickers in a bunch.  My friends, this little bugger is a…drumroll please…

This was a flippin’ fantastic movie. Go see it.

…Gooseberry!  A Cape Gooseberry to be precise.  Yay for Gooseberries!

While I have certainly heard of gooseberries, I have never heard of Cape Gooseberries and I have never actually consumed one of either variety…until Tuesday evening, that is.  During my weekly trip to the West End Farmers’ Market, I was perusing the offerings at the Rose’s Berry Farm stand when I noticed a pint of what at first appeared to be tiny tomatillos.  “What, pray tell, are these?”  I asked the kind farmer.  “Gooseberries,” he so eloquently responded.  A man of few words, he then proceeded to unwrap one from its crepe-y covering, offer it to me, and say, “Try.”  So I did.

Folks, it was delightful.  It burst open in my mouth like a tiny little tomato but the flavor was much sweeter with just a touch of tartness.  I could have eaten a whole pint just like that.  However, I decided that much more was in store for these babies…

Like a photo shoot.

…so I brought them home and got my apron on.  This, my patient readers, is the outcome:

Wait for It… Gooseberry Salsa

Glamour Shot.

1 cup chopped Cape Gooseberries

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos (I used jarred, fresh would work as well but be sure to remove the seeds!)

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the above together and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.  The refrigeration lets all the ingredients mingle so that the flavor is more intense (even vegetables and spices need some time to get to know each other, people) but if you’re impatient (like me) there’s nothing wrong with eating the salsa right away. 🙂

Serving suggestion.

As I said yesterday, this stuff is goo-OOO-ood.  Slightly tart, the tiny gooseberry seeds pop on your tongue and are complimented by the crunch of crisp onion.  Much as you’ve had to do for this post, you have to wait a moment for the kick of jalapeno but when it does come it is the perfect balance to the refreshing sweetness of the gooseberries and brown sugar.

Go make it. 

If you are still reading, that’s good.  You did not succumb to my above order nor to your growling belly that, I’m sure, is screaming at you “GO MAKE THAT DELICIOUS SALSA!!!”  Yay to you for not being a pushover and for having the willpower of Miranda Kerr – though a healthy person should probably not have the willpower of Miranda Kerr.

Anywho, there’s one morething I’d like to share with you…

You may have noticed from the photos above that all of the salsa ingredients are beautifully, uniformly chopped. 

The salsa is ready for its close-up.

No, I am not an Iron Chef.  I do not have amazing knife skills.  What I do have is this:

Another birthday gift from Mom. She done good this year.

You all know my love of Tupperware.  Well, this new gadget did not disappoint.

Them blades are sharp! Don’t use this if you’ve had a few glasses of wine. Just sayin’…

It’s better than that damn Magic Bullet (which I’ve sold off to a friend, by the way…good ridance – to the Bullet, not the friend)!  It chopped gooseberries, onion, garlic, and jalapenos with ease!  It’s manually operated which I (and my ears – no loud grating noises) love!  The bowl detaches from the blade portion and comes with its own cover so you can prep and store in the same container!  This contraption is genius.  Here’s where you can go to get one.

Well, now you’ve got the recipe.  All you need is to get the ingredients and a chopping mechanism of your choice and you will be well on your way to enjoying Wait for It… Gooseberry Salsa.

You may be cursing me for making you wait.  You may be thanking me for sharing – in which case, you’re welcome.  Either way the cat goose is outta the bag.

Have you ever tried gooseberries or cape gooseberries before?

What’s your favorite kitchen contraption?

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Categories: Farmer's Market, Kitchen Gadgets, Veggies | 3 Comments

Variety is the Spice of Life

Ya know where that idiom came from?  Until five minutes ago, I didn’t.  So, I googled.

“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavour.” —William Cowper, The Task (1785)–‘The Timepiece’ (Book II, lines 606-7)

Quite the looker, hmm?

You really do learn somethin’ new every day :).

Variety in all things definitely makes life more interesting – seems Cowper knew a thing or two – but this is especially true when it comes to what we eat.  Not only is a diverse diet more fun, it also makes it easier to ensure that you’re getting proper nutrition and a healthy dose of essential vitamins and minerals.

Whoa, sounds like I just became a spokesperson for the USDA.

No more pyramid scheme…

Anywho, I was reminded of Cowper’s phrase as I assembled dinner last night.

Oh, yeah… There it is again and, dear readers, you know what that means…

To spice up life dinner, we enjoyed a bit of a smorgasbord.  A lazy susan packed with marinated mushrooms and olives (good dose of omega-3s), horseradish hummus (vitamin A and beta carotin), roasted pork tenderloin (protein and vitamin B1), and whole wheat sourdough (fiber and magnesium).  The beets (folate and vitamin C) from my trip to the Farmer’s Market also made an appearance – simply roasted, sliced and paired with chevre (duh…calcium) (thanks, Catherine for the idea!).

Someone call CSI – those beets never stood a chance…

But the star of the smorgasbord took the topic of this post to a whole new level because of the sheer variety of ingredients that it combines in life-spicing harmony (oh, yeah, I’m beating this theme to death).  Therefore, in homage to the father of our phrase of the day, I shall dub this scrumptious concoction:

Cowper Couscous Salad

1/2 bag Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 cup carrots, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

Bowls of brightly colored veggies make me happy :).

For the dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh dill

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Prepare the couscous (or Harvest Grains Blend, in this case) and set aside.  Blanch the carrots and peppers and set aside.  Whisk up the dressing and…you guessed it…set aside.  Once all that’s done, go get yourself a big ol’ bowl and mix it all together: couscous, sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, peppers, celery, onion, and dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pop in the fridge for at least an hour to get all those flavors mixin’ together.  Et voila!

Somebody get me a spoon!

An excellent summertime side, its delicious assortment of nutritious bites will kick your dinner up a notch.  Also, it’s Winky Dinner Guest approved :).  Enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to add variety to life dinner?

Which four foods (fruit, vegetable, grain, protein) would you hope to have with you on a deserted island?

Categories: Farmer's Market, Salad, Trader Joe's, Veggies | 2 Comments

Farmers’ Market Fun

The best part of my Tuesday evening runs (at least from June to October) is that they end here:

A crossroads…

Which means they also end here:

A shiny beacon of eco-friendly consumerism.

I love me a good Farmers’ Market!  The best parts about this one are that the hours accommodate my work schedule and it’s within walking distance of my humble abode :).  This summer I haven’t been able to frequent the West End Farmers’ Market nearly as much as I would like but last night I made it my business to arrive before the merchants packed up for the night.

The usual suspects were in attendance – hartford baking co. and Rose’s Berry Farm among them – but I made a bee-line for my favorite market vendors, Sweet Acre Farm.

Sweet? Indeed 🙂

Sweet Acre Farm is my fave not only because Jonathan and Charlotte (Sweet Acre’s super adorable husband/wife farmin’ team) keep the Farm organic and pesticide free…

Evidence. That’s Jonathan, by the way.

…but also because they have excellent aesthetics.  Nature does its fair share to make the produce look amazing but boy do these farmers know how to market (yes, you may chuckle, that was a pun):

Best.  Tomatoes.  Ever.

 

 

I just LOVE the chalk signs, don’t you?

I love garlic (especially when it’s organic). I probably eat enough garlic to ward off a joint attack from Dracula and Nosferatu…

Don’t they do an amazing job with the presentation?  Makes me want to buy it all…but, alas, I am a single gal on a budget and, as much as I love my veggies, there’s only so much one girl can eat – unless she has wink-y dinner guests, that is :).  So, exercising massive amounts of willpower, I restricted myself to some of those glorious Sungolds…

You have not tasted a tomato until you have tasted a farm fresh tomato.

…and these incredibly photogenic beets.

Love the color combo.

In fact, the beets looked so luscious sitting there on my counter…

Look at this attractive little guy. Doesn’t he just scream “eat me?”

…that I had to sample one right away.

Realize that, when cutting up beets, your kitchen will look like a murder scene.

Call me crazy, but I love raw beets.  Also, those tomatoes were just too good to resist (note: only about half the pint actually survived the 5 minute walk from the Farmers’ Market back to my kitchen, the other half was sacrificed to my grumbling post-run belly).  So, what did I do?  What else do you do with a bounty of fresh and wonderous veggies?  Why, make a salad, of course!

Nutritious and Delicious!

Iceberg, romaine, baby arugula, cucumber (from my aunt’s garden), red onion, and the above profiled beet and tomatoes = the perfect late-night summertime dinner :).  Thank you very much, Jonathan and Charlotte, for providing such delicious produce!  Your green thumbs are matched only by your bangin’ presentation.  You have in me a very happy customer :).

Do you have a favorite vendor at your local Farmers’ Market?

Anyone got any suggestions for what I can do with the rest of the beets?  I’m thinkin’ pickling ’em or maybe even going the sweet route – beet cake, anyone?

Categories: Farmer's Market, Running, Salad, Veggies | 8 Comments

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