Monday, May 18, 2009

Farmer's Market

Saturday morning I visited the farmer's market. I was looking for fresh veggies. My own first homegrown veggies won't be ready for months...even my peas, which I started in April, have weeks to go before they're ready to be picked. But some people who have been at this longer than I have, who devote their...livelihoods? growing food, know how to coax their gardens to produce early.

I found rhubarb, but I have my own source for that. Then I found fresh fish, so I bought a pound of haddock. I have a baked haddock recipe that's delectable. THEN I found carrots!! I bought a plump bag of sweet baby carrots, a mixture of pale yellow, orange, and tinged purple. The lady with early carrots also had asparagus in large bundles, so I bought some of that, too. And she was giving bundles of chives or scallions for free. I have an aversion to onions, and scallions ruin perfectly good dishes for me; on the other hand, I want to start learning to cook with fresh vegetables as much as possible, so I took a bundle of chives. She mentioned I could cook them with my carrots. Hmmm...maybe I'll try that! And she told me with a smile that next week she may have some greens, if I come early. My heart soared. I love community, where I get to benefit from others' diligence!

Saturday evening I cooked the most delicious meal...maybe my best ever. Baked haddock (cooked in butter and garlic, sprinkled with bread crumbs and seasonings) is always delicious, but I also steamed some of the baby carrots, putting in long slices of chives so I could pull them out after they were done cooking; I only wanted subtle flavor. And the asparagus I had tried cooking for the first time on Thursday after visiting a neighboring town's farmer's market. I looked up on ehow, and watched a video explaining the 4 ways of cooking asparagus: boiling, steaming, roasting, or grilling. Boiling seemed like the easiest way, so I followed the instructions exactly. The result was mediocre. They were edible, but not amazing. I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver in which she raves about how delicious asparagus is. I should have consulted that book first when deciding how to cook it. I went back to read what she suggests, after Thursday evening's supper, and her method is to saute the asparagus in butter over high heat just until the spears turn bright green and the bottom sides are slightly blackened. I resolved to try it that way the next chance I got. So Saturday evening while the fish was baking and the carrots were steaming, I sauteed my asparagus.

It was an amazing meal. Everything was melt-in-your-mouth good. And it was all ready at the same time, which is a big accomplishment for me. I wish My Hero had been home to enjoy it; I had to tell him about it the next day. But my boys and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I ate most of the asparagus, because I couldn't believe how good it was. There was a lot of asparagus, because it's really only good the day it's picked, so I had to make the whole batch at once. Peanut Butter took second helpings of it, too. And both boys asked for seconds of the carrots. It was the first time serving the baked haddock where it wasn't the main focus of the meal. It was almost an afterthought, and after all the asparagus, I didn't have room for a second helping of fish (another first).

I'm hooked on farmer's markets. I'm hoping asparagus season lasts a few weeks more, because one of these days My Hero has to try it fresh from the saute pan.


Autumn said...

Mmmm! That sounds so good! I LOVE asparagus - reading your blog makes me want to make a delectable meal too! =)

Sue said...

This sounds SOOO yummy!! A super easy way I cook asparagus is put them in a shallow dish, with just a little bit of water...add pads of butter on the top of the stalks. Then salt & pepper. Put plastic wrap on the top (just loosely) and microwave until crisp-tender. SO easy...Aaron LOVES them like this! Although, it's called "Spargle" (sp?) in our house. :o) (I guess it's German...)
Oh..and haddock is probably one of my favorite fishes. I agree w/ I want to make the meal!