Wednesday food post: Farmer’s market and other stuff…

Farmer’s market! I forgot to go on opening day last Tuesday, but I was able to walk down to the smaller market on Saturday with my friend   to see what we could find. Look at all that loot! I got radishes, asparagus, rhubarb, swiss chard, celeriac, and some fresh horseradish (that curly looking root thing in the back).

I recently read that about a third of all our food gets wasted- either from sitting at the back of the fridge for too long or just being forgotten. I know that’s been true for me, and I’ve been making it a personal project to not see any of our food wasted. Sometimes that means that I’m just better about composting, but other times I try to get creative and find new ways to preserve our food. I also don’t just want our leftovers to get eaten, I don’t want to buy unnecessary food either. My best example of that is all the vegetable scraps that used to get tossed rather than saved for use later when making stocks. No more! I now have my handy container in the freezer for stock veggies. I’m getting better, but it’s a process, and it sometimes takes a little experimentation.

I love radishes, but I’m also not likely to eat them every day. I decided to cut these up and pickle them with some leftover yellow and red beets hanging out at the back of the refrigerator.

Here they are ready to ferment. All I did was cut them all up and add some sea salt and whey, and a little filtered water to cover. This is an example of the lacto-fermented vegetables that I’ve mentioned before. I’m trying to incorporate them more into our diet, they are so delicious and amazingly good for us! I made some straight radish pickles this way last year, and I was really sad to see them go… There will be many more to come. Plus, they store for months and months in the fridge, so I don’t have to worry about using them all very quickly.

Then I looked at all the beets and radish scraps, and while they would be perfectly good to go in the compost, I decided to repurpose them for a soup. I read that the radish greens are totally edible.

I cooked them with some chicken stock and seasonings and pureed it all, then added some onion and mushrooms (including some of the morels that my uncle gave me!). At the end I added a little milk, chopped swiss chard, and grated fresh horseradish, and voila! A simple soup for a rainy day. It was good and interesting, turned a beautiful color, and Vera slurped it up. Making this kind of thing is extra gratifying- I knew that this soup was full of warmth and nutrition and flavor, and gave a second life to ingredients that would have otherwise gone in the trash.

Word of warning! BE CAREFUL with fresh horseradish. I even knew to be careful, but when I went to sniff the freshly grated stuff it practically knocked me over. It was a sinus clearing experience, that’s for sure. I had to cough over the sink for a minute to get my bearings… and I was being careful.

Here are some other meals from this week: 

When I first started to live on my own and didn’t have a lot of money or time to cook, I used to eat lots of mac and cheese. I hated to just eat a box of noodles, so I’d fill it with veggies and other things to make it better for me. Often it had more "stuff" than pasta. Anyway, I called this concoction "Wicked Mac". We don’t eat a lot of pasta these days, but I still make lots of things that could easily earn the title "Wicked". This was leftover rice mixed with a little stock, sauteed onions, pinto beans, asparagus, chicken scraps from stock making, and the last of a little corn. All topped with cheese and baked until bubbly, it was fast to make, total comfort food, and a great way to use what was in the back of the fridge.

With new fresh fruit coming in shortly (strawberries and cherries are right around the corner!!), I’ve been trying to use up the last of my fruit in the freezer from last summer. This was our dessert on Sunday. Rhubarb from the market cooked down with some frozen apple and plum and mixed with just a little raw honey. Topped with vanilla ice cream. 

I wanted to use those morel mushrooms from my uncle in a nice way. This was a chunky sauce made with local pork, asparagus, onions, parsley, green garlic (from the garden!), morels, nutmeg, mustard, salt & pepper- all cooked down in some chicken stock and cream. I stirred in a little asiago at the end. We poured this over polenta. Yum. I’m definitely making variations of that sauce in the near future… finger licking, I tell you.

I went to the big farmer’s market yesterday and picked up a half a loaf of this cinnamon apple bread as a treat. We made french toast this morning with it (Jeff took the day off today), and I whipped up a quick rhubarb-pear sauce on the side.

Anyway, as for the rest of the farmer’s market haul, I’ve been throwing the swiss chard in everything (it’s so YUM! I forgot how much I love that stuff), and tonight we’re having celeriac pancakes. I’ve heard it’s a lot like a potato, so I’ll make it like potato pancakes and have it with the leftover rhubarb-pear sauce from this morning… 

Anyway, I didn’t really have a concrete idea of what to post about this week, so it just ended up being sort of miscellaneous. If any of you have ideas for me, or have something that you’d like me to try, let me know!


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