New Vendors This Week
We will introduce another BBQ vendor this week, and we hope that you will welcome him warmly. Mike is coming for Bacon’s BBQ and bringing a full range of smoked meats and sides. Ray Bacon himself is sorry to miss their first visit, but Saturday is his daughter’s birthday, so I encouraged him to be there for her. He promises that we will like Mike.
Vendors Absent This Week
This is the week we would normally host Deepa Patke with her Aromatic Spice Blends, but she is on her way to India for the month. We will be treated to one of her dynamic demos when she returns Aug. 25.
On the Way In and Out
HF&K is also bringing my favorite summer treat: fresh, shelled beans. This week they will have red kidney beans, baby lima beans and horticultural beans, or cranberry beans as they are also known. We will have recipes using those beans in the Smart Markets tent. And remember to smell those strawberries -- then you’ll have to buy some, too.
Sample the yellow watermelons Ignacio is bringing -- they are great! He also has a wonderful selection of peppers, all colors, all sizes, and all levels of heat. Ask him if you are not sure which are hot and which are sweet.
This Week at the Market
Heritage Farm has a good supply of pork and lamb this week as well as fresh chicken parts and whole chickens. Ask about their yogurt if you do not see the variety you are looking for in the bin. They keep a cooler under the table and sometimes in the bustle of handling your many other requests forget to reload. Feel free to check out the backup supply yourself. And let them know if you do not find what you are looking for.
Max Tyson wanted me to remind you that this is the last week for blueberries and that next week he should have Ginger Gold apples. The peach variety this week is especially tasty.
This week Celtic Pasties will have Beef & Guinness, Cottage Pie Style, Spinach & Feta, Cheese & Onion, and a new Barbeque Chicken recipe. They will also have a few pasties made without onions since some potential customers have requested them.
From the Market Master
(We’re taking a break this week — enjoy this newsletter from our archives!)
Part of improving your skills in the kitchen is knowing what to have on hand at all times to expand your repertoire. For a well-stocked pantry, you will need some items that regretfully cannot be bought at area farmers’ markets. But having these items will enable you to cook up those market ingredients on any spur of the moment. They are also the kinds of ingredients that enable you to successfully create a menu of complimentary dishes or a one-dish meal or casserole that needs something more than just the main ingredients to hold it together.
Start with a good vinegar and maybe even two or three. Pick out a good wine vinegar and move on from there to include some flavored ones also. And it never hurts to have some good old cider vinegar around too — for potato salad if nothing else. Then I recommend that you choose a good quality extra-virgin olive oil that tastes good to you, because this is the one you will use for salad dressings and also to dribble over a completed dish to pop the flavor. For most of your cooking, Berio pure olive oil is just fine, and it also works for those salad dressings that will play a minor rather than starring role in a dish. I also use a combination of olive and canola oils in my homemade mayonnaise that I always have on hand.
Next you want to keep lemons, limes and oranges on hand for marinades and salad dressings and to flavor dessert sauces — these are the secret ingredients that add summer brightness to foods.
In the refrigerator, keep on hand a good-quality ketchup and some Dijon mustard for marinades and BBQ sauces. In the pantry have some Worcestershire sauce and good soy sauce for flavoring anything from crab cakes to gazpacho to summer vegetable sautés. And of course you are going to need herbs — buy them fresh when you can, grow them yourself or check out the herb mixes that may be sold at your market. If you do not cook from scratch every night, buying mixed herbs and spices is a great way to save money on individual spices that have skyrocketed in recent years — and to eliminate waste.
I always have a pepper grinder handy, and I confess I am now using sea salt for just about all my cooking — though not my baking. It really does do a better job of bringing out the flavor of the food without overwhelming it with saltiness.
And then there is the cheese. I always have a variety of cheeses that I use on a regular basis including American cheddar, Australian cheddar when I can get it, Parrano and Parmesan Reggiano. Less often I will buy fresh mozzarella because it does not keep so well — and when I have it on hand I will cook something that uses it. If the cheese assortment begins to get moldy, I trim them up and throw them all in the food processor with that mayo I have on hand and make pimento cheese.
In the meat keeper in the refrigerator, I also have either some really good and lean smoked bacon or a package of country ham bits and pieces. I use these almost as much in the summer as winter for flavoring because it does not take much to add aroma and flavor to a vegetable dish like the summer succotash recipe I like so much. And garlic! I always have garlic in the crisper next to the citrus fruits in the other one.
That would appear to be the full circle, though I have probably forgotten something. Reply to let us know what you have on hand.
That’s about it — not too many items for even the smallest kitchen — and I have one of those so I should know. And it’s all you need to cook on the fly with whatever you bring home from the market, just like a French country cook or a modern California chef. All good cooks start with the basics and take off from there. Have a great flight — no need to play it safe on this runway.
See you at the market!