Farmers market hauls and desert sojourns
August 10, 2017

Farmers market hauls and desert sojourns

It's been a couple months since our last farmers market post, so we figured we were due for another!

Last weekend we really made out like bandits; here's everything we picked up:

• Beets

• Shallots

• Garlic

• Red onion

• Grape tomatoes

• Red leaf lettuce

• Fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme (sorry, parsley — no Simon & Garfunkel for you!)

• Mushroom medley containing shitakes, oysters, baby bellas, and wood ears

• Gaviota strawberries

• Blackberries

• Spicy tofu and spicy cucumbers from Dave's Gourmet Korean Kitchen

Here's what we did with 'em...

For the fruit, we did absolutely nothing (except wash 'em). We got the berries from the Harry's Berries stand, and good grief, were they amazing. This is our second time going with Gaviotas over Seascape strawberries, and we are converts. Seascapes are bigger and more along the lines of the strawberries you typically see at the local grocery store, as they're hardier and transport more easily, but they're more acidic and tart and ideal for using as role players in sweetened desserts. Gaviotas are smaller, but way sweeter and ideal for eating as-is.

Blackberries are a bit more of a gamble. No matter how plump & juicy they look, it's really hard to tell how sweet & juicy they might be just by looking at them. We hit the jackpot this time, though! Bursting with sweet, juicy deliciousness.

We made a spicy, crunchy, sweet salad with the lettuce, tomatoes, half the onion, tofu, and cucumbers. We then topped the salad with the beets, which I cut into 1" chunks and roasted in foil packets with crushed garlic cloves, rosemary sprigs, half the sage, quartered shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a splash of lemon juice. I probably should have done two smaller packets instead of one big one, as it took considerably longer for the beets to cook through than I expected. If you want to try this yourselves, preheat your oven to 425ºF and put the packets on the rack. Roast for about 45 minutes. When checking for doneness, you should be able to pierce the chunks with a fork with minimal resistance, but they should still hold their shape. Reserve the leftover liquid from the foil packets! Once it cools, you can remove the herbs, larger chunks of garlic & shallot, and use as-is or season it further and use it as a dressing for your salad.

Be sure to hold onto the tops of your beets! Remove the leaves from the tough stems, wash them, and chop roughly. Set aside.

While the beets roasted, I sautéed the mushrooms in some melted soy margarine infused with the thyme and remaining sage, which I minced finely along with a couple cloves of garlic. Once the mushrooms have reduced in size and caramelized, remove from heat and add 1/4 cup of booze (brandy or bourbon are best, but dark rum will do in a pinch), return to high heat, and scrape the tasty bits from the pan with your spatula and stir them into the liquid as it cooks down. Once most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms start to get a little crusty, add your beet leaves and toss with the mushrooms until bright green and just wilted.

The kimchi-style spicy tofu and cucumbers from Dave's give the salad a nice little kick and some Korean flair that can't be beat. Fun, delicious, and nutritious!

Meredith & I are heading out to the desert this afternoon for a quick weekend getaway to watch the Perseid meteor shower tomorrow and Saturday night. Those of you who have placed orders recently, don't worry — James, Adam, and Devin will be here at HQ printing and shipping stuff out!

We may even have access to a telescope, in which case I may be able to share some cool video of the light show on Facebook Live, so if you're interested in that, follow us on Facebook now to get a notification when I go live after the sun goes down! Best visibility is after 11PM, so have some coffee handy!

Peace, love, and tacos,