Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brookline Winter Farmers Market

Well, it's been some time since my last post.  It's seems to be a combination of not having any farmers markets to go to and being in a routine of working long hours.  I did find some time to stop by the Brookline Winter Farmers Market two weeks ago.  It's a indoor, small market in the Arcade building in Coolidge Corner.  I went thinking I could go to the market and then stop by the nearby trader joe's to stock up on wine and goodies.  I have had better ideas than tackling Brookline on a Sunday afternoon.  Parking was tight and trader joe's was jam packed with people.

The vendor's include Stillman's Farm, Silverbrook farm, Cape Cod fish share, the Cupcakory, Nella pasta, Samira's homemade, and clear flour bakery.  I stopped by Stillman's to get some lettuce, tomatoes, and breakfast sausage.  Stillman's has a variety of roots and greens, but also sell meat.  For those not to familiar with Stillman's, they are advertising their holiday meal samplers or you could order a fresh turkey for your holiday meal.  Next, I stopped by Silverbrook Farm to get some scallions, carrots, and kale.  The farms are full of beautiful root vegetables and fresh greens this time of year.  I like to make a beef stew filled with various root vegetable for a fresh, warm winter meal.  Samira's homemade is a delicious spot to stop for hummus and other mediterranean goodies.  For those that like something sweet there is cupcakes and they looked pretty good.  I also saw some hot chocolate, but didn't get the name of it.  Overall, if you live in Brookline, this would be a nice weekly trip to get your local veggies during the winter.  The goal of the market is to have a farmers market for all four seasons!  If you feel like being adventurous and battling a crowd, check out the Brookline Winter Farmers Market on Sundays from 12-5 on Sundays.

I have also been compiling a list of winter markets to shop at this winter.  Here is what I have so far:

Brookline Winter Farmers Market - Sundays 12-5
Egleston Farmers Market - Saturdays 11-2 ( I have been following this market for some time and I am dying to go)
Somerville Winter Farmers Market - Saturdays 9:30-2:30
Cambridge Winter Farmers Market - Saturdays 10-2
Natick Winter Farmers Market - Saturdays 9-1
Wayland Winter Farmers Market - Saturdays 10-2
Medford Winter Farmers Market - Thursdays 3-7
Framingham Winter Farmers Market - Thursdays 12-5:30

These all the markets I know of in the Boston area.  If you know of other ones in your area, let me know and I will add it to my list!!  Keep in mind that some markets do not open until January.  It makes it hard to eat local in December!!

Recipe of the Week:  Homemade Cranberry Sauce from ( I doubled the recipe since I was going to multiple dinners)
I made this homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  And I can't take all the credit because my husband helped, as he reminded me of this all day on Thanksgiving.

10 cups cranberries
6 cups white sugar
2 cups apple cider
juice of 2 lemons

Put all of the ingredients in a large pot on medium high heat until the cranberries burst.  Get a large bowl and a strainer and push the sauce through the strainer, leaving the cranberry skins and seeds in the strainer.  This sauce can be canned, but I put the sauce in mason jars and put in the refrigerator since I would be eating this the next day.

My thanksgiving goodies!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Union Square Farmers Market

When I met Carl Hills, owner of Kimball Farm, he told me about the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville, one of which I have yet to go to, until last Saturday.  He said it is one of their craziest markets, where it is only open for four hours, it gets busy.  I have never been opposed to a little craziness in my life, so I took up the challenge, and off to the Union Square Farmers Market I went!

I am a big fan of Somerville to begin with.  I love tiny cities with so many restaurants to eat your way through.  I also like farmers markets on Saturday mornings, so Somerville just earned a couple points in my book.  Of course, Kimball farm was there, which was my first stop.  My mom, who has been quite the farmers market shopper these days, came with me and she has never been to Kimball farm.  So I had to tell her about the bags of mixed greens with flowers that I love to buy from them.  I like to mix these bags with a head of kale to add some extra goodness to my salads.  As I am saying this, a man working there asks me if I massage my kale.  I have never heard of such a thing, but I am intrigued by this question.  Take some parchment paper, put the kale between two sheets, and gently roll over the kale with a rolling pin.  It is suppose to make it sweeter, so I have a new project and a little lesson to take with me.

So now off to walk around the market!  There are several smaller vendors such as Drumlin Farm, Flats Mentor Farm, Hollis Hills, and Hutchins farms.  If you are looking for some specialties there are Stillmans Farm (for your Thanksgiving turkey!), Fiore Di Nonni, Iggy's Bread, Robinson Farm (cheese and meat), Seta Mediterranean Foods, and Taza Chocolates.  I just remember thinking, there are a lot of "no no's" at this market.  Regardless of my thinking, I went over to Taza Chocolate.  At a wedding I went to a few weeks ago (I believe I wrote about the centerpiece), taza chocolate was the favors.  I got salted almond and it was delicious.  My plan at the market was to get some more, but as usual I get distracted by something else.  The woman that worked there was very nice and told me about the cinnamon disks, which make great hot chocolate.  As a hot chocolate lover, she didn't have to convince me anymore.  Needless to say, the recipe of the week is Taza hot chocolate!

Union Square Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 9-1 in Somerville.  The last day of the market will be Saturday November 17 and I heard there is a winter market in Somerville.  I will be posting more information about winter farmers markets as the fall season is quickly coming to an end.

Taza Hot Chocolate

One disk of taza chocolate (I used cinnamon, but any flavor you like will work)
2 cups milk or water
1 pumpkin spice marshmallow from sweet lydia's (optional)

Boiling 2 cups of water (or milk).  Grate or chop the chocolate.  Slowly stir in the ground chocolate into the hot water.  Top with a marshmallow to make the chocolate a little frothy.  Enjoy!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A little Wedding Bliss

So we survived the three weekends in a row of weddings of all good friends.  It was such a fun and exciting time, but a little to busy for my liking.  I am happy to say that I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop, sippin on a dark roast, and blogging, a hobby I have not done in some time.  And as I am sitting here, I am watching the vendors and volunteers pack up the Waltham Farmers Market.  I really have nothing to blog about accept weddings, since that has been my life lately.  I went to the farmers market today for the first time in three weeks!!  I was hoping to go to the Kennebunkport Farmers Market while I was there last weekend, but I didn't have the heart to ask the bride to stop at the farmers market between hair and make-up on her wedding day ;)

I have been fortunate that I can stop at Strawberry Hill Farm on my way home from work and continue my local lifestyle.  I also talked my husband into taking a detour from Maine last weekend and going to Springdell farm to stock up on meat and veggies.  It was a much needed trip and they still have some tomatoes too!  Things seem to be settling down at the market these days.  I couldn't find any red tomatoes today, only green.  I bought them anyway because I love to pickle these.  There are many root vegetables such as celery root, carrots, parsnips and there are the greens such as kale and swiss chard too.  Apples seem to be plentiful as well.  

With all the wedding fun, I managed a way to connect my blog and the weddings!! There appears to be an fantastic trend of putting fall vegetables in centerpieces and bouquets and I have found the courage to cook them!  Every wedding for the last three weeks has had either basil, kale, artichokes, and plums!
At one of the weddings I got to take home the fabulous centerpiece full of plums, kale, and artichokes!  And of course, I had to cook it!

The first thing I did the next morning was chop up the kale.  I like to try to sneak kale into dishes so my husband doesn't notice.  I chopped up the kale and sauteed it with some olive oil, onion and garlic.  Then I added some great northern beans and served it with some fresh fish.

The real challenge was the artichokes.  I love artichokes, but I'll admit that I buy them canned.  With the help of you tube, I was able to figure out how to cook this beautiful vegetable.  I made grilled artichoke with garlic mayonnaise.  The first steps are to peel the stem, cut off the top, and trim the leaves on the choke.  Then cut in half.  Here's the tricky part, scooping out the seeds.  The seeds are super small and are covered in these feathery like strings, which get all over the kitchen.  And the video makes it look so easy, just scoop it out with a spoon.  Well I had my knife in there and tried to cut it out.  By the third artichoke, I found the best way to do this was cut a half circle with a knife and scoop it out with a spoon and put some muscle into it!  After you have the fun with the seeds, steam the artichokes on high heat for 5 minutes and then low heat for 25 minutes.  Be careful when you take them out, I squished one by accident.  Set on a plate and brush both sides with some olive oil and sprinkle a little S&P.  Grill on each side for about 2 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy.  These really were good especially to dip in the garlic mayo.  The garlic mayo is simple to make and you can do it while steaming the artichokes.  Take one half cup mayo, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and mince two garlic cloves and mix well.  If you are up for a little challenge, try it out!  I hear butter or mustard goes well with artichokes too!

And those plums... those were great as is!  A sweet late night snack after getting home from a night of dancing.

So I guess I managed to eat this centerpiece!  Congratulations to the happy couples!!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's fall and the livin's busy

So 3 weddings in 14 days and 2 babies being born during that time.  Let's just say that life has got in the way of my farmers marketing.  But here's a big congratulations to all and you know who you are!

With all the excitement, I was able to squeeze in a visit to the Waltham Farmers Market this past weekend before the trip down to Narragansett RI for the wedding.  This time of year you can find the best fall foods, such as butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, apples, pears, peppers, brussel sprouts, and maybe if you are lucky you can find some corn.  I was fortunate enough to find some hot peppers too!  Over the summer, I canned some hot peppers and I saved the brine to pour over my salads.  I get home one night and my husband informs me that my spicy brine has spilt all over the floor.  I knew that it would be hard to find hot peppers this time of year, but when I found some from Dick's Market Garden, I stocked up.  Now that I know these can be canned and/or frozen, why not?  Several people came up to me to ask me what I was going to do with so many peppers!  To be honest, I may have gone a little over board, but I figure the worst that could happen is that some of these beauties end up in my freezer.

One of my favorite veggies this time of year is spaghetti squash.  I personally think the best way to eat it is pour some olive oil on it and top with some parmesan reggiano cheese.  However, I saw this recipe on the Whole Foods website and I just had to try it.  I got many comments on it during lunch time this week!

Recipe of the week:  Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Black Beans

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno seeded, minced
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sweet corn
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt

Cut the ends of the squash and slice length wise.  Place squash, cut side down in a pan in 1/2 inch of water.  Roast in the oven, covered, at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  When cool, scoop out flesh with a fork, leaving the shell in tact for stuffing.

For the filling, hear oil in a large pan and saute red onion, jalapeno, and red pepper for 2 minutes.  Add beans, corn, and chili powder, saute for another minute.  Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.  Cook about one minute until heated through.  Fill squash shells with mixture.

If you don't feel like making the mixture, follow the instructions to roast spaghetti squash, scoop out flesh, mix in some olive oil and top with parmesan reggiano cheese.  Yum!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Harvest Farm Dinner

Last night I went up to Nashua NH and went to the Saffron Bistro's Great Fall Harvest Farm Dinner!  This dinner included a five course dinner of local food from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  I found this restaurant because my Dad and my step-mom are regulars here and I often gets texts on the weekends about the new beers on tap or the free range chicken on the menu.  So I started following the Saffron Bistro on Facebook and every weekend I see their menu that looks delicious.  When I saw that they were hosting a Fall farm to fork dinner, I called my Dad and said, "we're going!"

Dinner started with a cocktail hour with heirloom tomato and sweet pepper crostini and pumpkin risotto fritters.  The crostini was served with a smoked cheddar cheese and the flavors blended well with the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers.  And I always have an appreciation for risotto, since this is something I cannot make myself, but when its fried and paired with a Shocktop Pumpkin beer it's even better!  During the cocktail hour, I had a chance to chat with the local beekeeper and learn about local honey.  I'm not gonna lie, I am terrified of bees.  However, since I have been researching farming, I have learned that honey bees are here to pollenate plants and make honey and not to sting me.  Last night, I was reassured that the honey bees are here to make honey, where as yellow jackets are just mean!  Hopefully next time I see a honey bee I won't freak out.  Hive At Your Home will come to your house and set up a hive.  All the bees are local (from Nashua), where most people will import the bees from other places.  Find them on facebook or

The first course was corn chowder from Kimball farm.  This was a surprise to me since I did not know the restaurant was working with one of my favorite farmers market vendors!  And who knew that later on in the evening, I would find out the owner was sitting at my table!  This chowder was garnished with Maine Peekytoe Crab and crispy North Country Bacon and it hit the spot on this cool, fall evening.

Arugula and Red Leaf Salad was the second course, using greens and butternut squash croutons from Brookdale farm and Blue Cheese from Great Hill.  This was topped with a peach vinaigrette and toasted almonds and served with cinnamon, pumpkin brioche from Great Harvest Bread Company.  There were so many great fall tastes going on in this salad.  The great part about this salad was the butternut squash croutons, a great substitution to traditional croutons, and paired well with the sweetness of the peach vinaigrette.  The blue cheese gave it a nice kick and then topped with the crunchiness of the toasted almonds, perfection!

My belly is starting to get full and I haven't even had the main course yet.  The main dish was Brookdale Cider Soaked Pork Medallions with Kimball farm sweet potato gratin and fresh watercress.  It was so delicious it wasn't hard to force down.  The cider sauce went perfect with the sweetness of the sweet potato.  I really tried to eat it all, but I knew that Kimball farm apple crisp with chef made vanilla bourbon ice cream would be next.  And it was outstanding!

After the dinner, I got to meet Carl Hills from Kimball farm and briefly talk about the farm and local food.  He said that they have about 40 restaurants that they supply produce for which they obtained all by word of mouth.  I told him about the delicious peach pie I had at Tempo last week.  He said the staff from Tempo spent about two hours getting a tour of the farm last month and are continuing to buy produce from Kimballs.

Thank you to the Saffron Bistro for hosting such a great dinner.  I hope that I have convinced my boston followers that it is worth a drive up route 3 to come to the restaurant for some good food and to meet great people!

Carl from Kimballs

Photo op with the chef!

The local bees and honey!

And you can find the other great photos on Facebook and twitter!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Central Square Farmers Market

I had last Monday off from work and I decided that would be the day to check out the Central Square Farmers Market.  This worked out perfectly because I missed my weekly farmers market on Saturday, so I had quite the list for this market.  In addition, I am way behind in my "stocking up for the winter freezer stash" so I needed to buy lots of tomatoes and green beans and there were many vendors to do so.

The Central Square Farmers Market has two of the best vendors in my opinion, Kimball's and Dick's Market Garden.  I'm going to go on a tangent for a minute, so bare with me.  On Saturday night, we went on a couples date night to Tempo in Waltham.  Tempo has american cuisine that features local ingredients and fresh fish daily.  I am not typically a dessert person, but when I saw a dessert special of fried peach pie from Kimball's farm, I had to get it.  If you like Kimball's as much as I do, Tempo may be worth a Saturday night out!  They have spiced apple crisp from Kimball's too if you are not into peaches.  Okay, back to the market.  I have been trying to go to different, smaller vendors to support them as well, so I bought some grape tomatoes from Hutchins Farm from Concord.  Because I am buying 2-3 pints at a time, I chose this farm because they had the best price for each pint, which was $3.  This vendor had a variety hot peppers to choose from, in fact, a costumer had stopped by because he made peach habenero salsa with the fresh peaches and peppers from the farm.  He brought some for costumers to sample and I would say that was probably good for business because it was delicious.  My next stop was to Kimball's because I love their salad mix with the pretty flowers in it.  And then off to Dick's to stock up on green beans and green peppers.  Other vendors at this market including Westport Rivers Winery, C & C Lobsters and Fish, Flats Mentor Farm, Taza Chocolate, Austin Brothers Valley Farm (grassfed ground beef), and many more.  Oh and the market is now full of fall favorites, such as pumpkins and squash.

Now that Fall has begun, I will be freezing my favorite vegetables to eat local in the winter.  My winter must haves are green beans and green peppers.  We use a lot of them in my house, so I buy extra each week for freezing.  Freezing green peppers is so easy.  I chop or dice and put them in ziploc vacuum freezer bags and pop them into the freezer.  No blanching necessary.  Green beans require blanching for 3 minutes and then a cold water bath for 2 minutes  Dry off and put into a ziploc vacuum freezer bag.  I keep doing this until the end of the season.  Last year, I ran out of green beans in March, but the green peppers last a little bit longer.

My absolute favorite fruit to freeze are grape/cherry tomatoes.  I have been buying 2-3 pints per week and roasting them in the oven for an hour along with some garlic and basil or oregano.  Then I pop them into freezer bags and use in my salads, make bruschetta, or serve with some vegetables.  It helps to pop these into some dishes to cure the winter blues (temporarily), when tomato season is so far away.

Recipe of the Week:  Roasted grape tomatoes

2 Pints of any small tomatoes you like, I used grape
spritz of olive oil
basil or oregano
4-5 garlic cloves (optional)

Wash and halve the tomatoes and put on a baking sheet.  Spritz with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.  Add some whole garlic cloves if you would like.  These can be eating after or put in the freezer along with the tomatoes.  It really gives some great taste.  Roast the tomatoes in the oven for an hour.  Then get as many of these babies in a ziploc bag as soon as you can.  Otherwise, they might be eaten before you know it!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going Local

Saturday morning, at the Waltham Farmers Market, I picked up four peppers, one large onion, five tomatoes, and two ears of corn for only $5.75 at Dick's Market Garden. I had to prepare for a dinner that my friend and I were hosting at her house. I also bought three pints of grape tomatoes from Bart's farm and a quart of plums. It is that time of year where I start buying my favorite fruits and vegetables in excess to freeze or can for the winter. I made two pints of roasted grape tomatoes to freeze. This will be my staple for salads and bruschetta in the winter when I am feeling that the summer taste of tomatoes is so far away.  In the mornings, I feel a crispness to the air that tells me fall in coming soon.  With the mornings and evenings being cooler, it won't be so painful to turn on the oven for two hours for roast my tiny tomatoes and make some plum jam.

Back to the dinner. We cooked a three course meal using only local ingredients. Since there was the first football game of the season, we decided to have football foods for our dinner. For the appetizer, we made nachos using local flatbread topped with ground bison, salsa, and cheese. The nachos had a nice kick to them. The main course was chili, made with ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and black beans sprinkled with medium cheddar cheese from Smith's Country Cheese. Dessert was local ice cream with a warm apple maple syrup sauce. All of the ingredients we used were from our local farmers markets. Our beverages included local wine from Fulchino Vineyard in Hollis NH and some beers from Throwback Brewery. It's not a true party unless my Dad does a beer tasting so we all got to try the Fat Alberta Imperial Stout. I strongly believe that the combination of chocolate and peanut butter is one of the finer things in life, if you feel the same way, you will probably like this stout. The throwback brewery buys the hops, wheat, barley, fruit, and spices from local farmers, so this was perfect for the local dinner theme.

Recipe of the Week:


1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 large green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob
1 cup black beans

Brown the beef and drain.  Diced all the vegetables and put in a large pot.  Add ground beef and simmer at least one hour.  The longer the better for chili.  I sometimes use a crock pot and let it cook all day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Copley Square Farmers Market

I spent my last weekday of summer at the Copley Square Farmers Market.  When I initially drove by the market, I thought, this isn't that big, and then I drove around to find parking and saw how big this market actually is.  The vendors wrap around the park with all sorts of goodies to find.  I think I may have walked around the park about three times before I stopped to buy anything.  And then I walked around again to find a good photo op to capture this most beautiful day.

Okay, let's get into vendors.  What did this farmers market have?  Everything.  Altas farm, Dicks Market Garden, Fiore Di Nonni, Iggys Bread, Seta's Mediterranean Food, Sienna farms, and many many more.  I went to the Friday market, but there are also vendors that come on Tuesdays.  My first stop was to Atlas farms.  This is a certified organic farm with plenty of tomatoes.  Look how beautiful these tomatoes are.

I bought some tomatoes and some hot peppers.  My weekend projects were to make pickled hot peppers and tomato jam.  My second stop was to Sienna farms.  Everything here is so pretty you don't want to touch it, but the farmers are very friendly and tell you to touch everything.  The woman I talked to is an artist in addition to her work at the farm. Part of her job at the farm is to set up all of the fruits and vegetables in the stand.  This is also a certified organic farm and has a year round farm store on Waltham Street in Boston.

For all the Bruins fans out there, you will enjoy this next part of my shopping experience.  As I am walking around the market, I find myself stop in my tracks and think to myself, that man looks like Andrew Ference.  I quickly move to look at some flowers, but really I am trying to get a closer look to make a confirmation and it definitely was!  Who else would have a 2011 Bruins tattoo on their arm, right?  Since he was with his wife and two children, I did not bother him, but you know I was calling and texting my husband and my dad right after.

After all that excitement, I went to one last vendor, Silverbrook Farm because I knew that my friend has a farm share from that farm. They had beautiful bouquets of flowers for only five dollars.  The tricky part was picking one out because they were so pretty.  So I decided to go with my favorite color, pink.

The Copley Square Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11-6 through November 20.  This was one of the largest markets I have been to and I highly recommend you stop there should you get the chance.  And go hungry!  There are sandwiches and pastries too!

Check out these gorgeous goodies!

Recipe of the week:  This recipe was the winner in Edible Boston Magazine for their 1st Annual Tomato Recipe Contest. You can find this recipe along with other tomato recipes in the Fall 2012 issue.  I thought this was great so I had to post it.  You can pick up a copy of Edible Boston at the Copley Square Farmers Market :)

Serves 1

1 Ripe tomato

Bite into tomato and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat until tomato has disappeared.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chelmsford Farmers Market

Last Thursday, I visited the Chelmsford Farmers Market!  This was not a planned visit.  I went to Long Sands Beach in York Maine and was driving to work in the afternoon and saw all these tents in the common.  I pulled over to see what it was and it was a farmers market!  Since I was early for work and it was the most beautiful afternoon, I stopped by to pick up an iced coffee and some raspberries and sat in the park to finish Catching Fire.

The Chelmsford farmers market had several vendors where you could purchase fruits and veggies such as Parlee Farm, Fox Barn Farm, and Manna Farm.  There were also baked goods, such as bagels and pasta, vegan goodies, and wine from Still River Vineyard.  And you can get an iced coffee or iced tea from Brewed Awakening.  This may not be a market that I would go out of my way for, but it was a good find to kill some time before work.  If you live or work in the Chelmsford area, you can check out the market on Thursdays from 2-6pm on the intersection of route 4 and 110.

Recipe of the week:

Stuffed Peppers
Serves 2

2 large green peppers
1/2 lb ground beef
1 can black beans or you can use rice if you prefer
1/4 cup corn
1 large tomato diced

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook ground beef until brown.  Meanwhile cut off the tops of the peppers and cut out any seeds and put on a baking sheet.  When the beef is cooked add the black beans, corn, and tomatoes to the pan and mix well. Scoop the mixture into the peppers until full.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour.  Top with some cheddar cheese if desired.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Davis Square Farmers Market

My visit this week was to the Davis Square Farmers Market and I have to say this is one of the prettiest farmers market I have been to.  It was set up in a long parking lot and it's two rows of great vendors with beautiful fruits and vegetables this time of year.  I got there right at noon, so everything was just set up and looked perfect!  Some of the larger vendors include Kimballs Fruit Farm, Blue Heron, and Hansons Farm.  There are many vendors for meats, fish, etc. such as Globe Fish Company and Westminster Meats.  For specialty foods there is Seta Mediterranean Foods, Hi rise Bread Company, and Danish Pastry House.  If you want to pick up a bottle of wine, you can go to Wesport Rivers Winery and Vineyard.  I recommend the Rose Pinot Noir.  This market is great for all your weekly shopping in one trip.

To be honest, I bought so much at the Waltham Market over the weekend, I really didn't need much for this market trip, but I have been dying to check out this market.  Since my husband had the day off and there are so many great restaurants in Davis Square, it was easy to convince him to come with.  All I bought this trip was a dozen eggs from Hanson farm.  I love to buy eggs that are all different sizes and colors.  The dozen that I got had a lot of blue eggs, which I love!  And it always freaks my husband out when he makes them because he thinks they have gone bad!

Also, since I over heard my dad saying he was making a trip to Springdell Farm, I had him pick me up some meat while he was there, so I was well stocked this week.  This weeks recipes includes hot sausage from Springdell Farm, along which peppers, onions, and potatoes from Dicks Market Garden.

Davis Square Farmers Market is located at Day and Herbert Street in Somerville and open on Wednesdays from 12-6pm.

Hot sausage with peppers, onion, and potato:

1lb Hot Sausage
1 Green Pepper sliced lengthwise
1 Medium Onion sliced lengthwise
2-3 Red Potatoes

Cut potatoes into small chunks.  Sauté in frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.  When the potatoes are starting to cook, add the peppers and onions.  Cover and let cook.  Meanwhile cook the sausage through and then cut into small chunks.  Mix with onions, peppers, and potatoes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

National Farmers Market Week!

Wow! What a busy week! My goal for national farmers market week was to make a local meal everyday, which I managed to do successfully!  I made a variety of recipes from small snacks to big dinners.  There weren't any hungry people in my house this week.  Although, it's fairly easy to put these meals together with local ingredients, the heat was the most challenging part of my week.  Turning on the oven to make stuffed zucchini was not fun.  But eating it in air conditioning was!  The farmers markets have so many fruits and vegetables available this time of year, it is simple was to make a many meals out of one trip!

The market I made a visit to was the Lexington Farmers Market.  Lexington Farmers Market is located on the corner of Woburn St and Mass Avenue in Lexington on Tuesdays from 2-6:30.  If you are in the Lexington area, this is worth a trip.  When I shop a farmers market, my main focus is the amount of vendors for fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and fish.  I also appreciate breads, wine, pasta, chocolates and, ice cream, which are not items on my weekly shopping list, but definitely good to have at a market.  Okay, maybe the wine is the exception to that, but that is a blog post for another day.  I love a good red wine and will be posting about local vs imported wine soon!  If there are vendors with homemade items such as jewelry and handbags that is a bonus too.  Lexington has all of these.

I bought two large tomatoes, two peppers, and one bunch of scallions from Busa Farms, which is located right in Lexington too!  Then I went over to Fiore Di Nonni and bought a small ball of mozzarella, this went well on top of the stuffed zucchini.  And finally my last stop, Samira's Homemade, a delicious vendor to buy Mediterranean food, such as hummus, ful medammas, baba gannough, grape leaves, and pita bread.  They also sell moussaka, which is an eggplant dish, typically prepared with meat, but they make it without.  If you are an eggplant lover, like I am, you will need to try this dish.  The first time I tried it, I immediately called my cousin, also an eggplant lover, told him to cancel his plans because I was coming over with eggplant.  His girlfriend and I sat down and ate the whole thing while he was making dinner.   During this trip, however, I bought the zesty ful medammas, which is similar to hummus, but made with fava beans.  This time of year, I usually live off of hummus and cucumbers, but the ful medammas is a great way to switch things up a bit.  Samira's Homemade is available at many farmers markets in the Boston area, but if you are looking for a one stop shopping trip, check them out at the Lexington Farmers Market.

What farmers market did you go to for National Farmers Market week?

Here is one of the many local recipes I made this week.  If you saw something on Facebook or Twitter that you want to try, leave a comment or send me a message, and I will post the recipe.

Stuffed Zucchini

Check out the huge zucchini my friend gave me from his grandmother's garden!

1 super large zucchini
1 lb ground beef
1 green Pepper diced
1/2 white Onion diced
1 large tomato diced
1/2 can tomato paste
mozzarella cheese
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 and heat up a frying pan on med-high heat.  Cut zucchini in half and then cut into quarters lengthwise.  Scoop out the pulp and brush the skin side with olive oil.  Put the zucchini skin side down on the frying pan for 2 minutes and then set aside in a baking dish.  Then start cooking the ground beef, peppers, and onions.  I cook the ground beef separate from the peppers and onions.  When the peppers and onion are almost cooked, add the diced tomatoes.  Drain the ground beef when it is cooked and add the tomato paste and stir well.  Then add the peppers, onions, and tomatoes and stir well.  Spoon the mixture into the zucchini and bake for 15 minutes.  At 15 minutes, shred some mozzarella cheese on top the of zucchini and bake for another 5 minutes.

FYI  This recipe makes extra stuffing.  I did this on purpose to have for another night for stuffed zucchini or stuffed peppers.  You could also freeze the extra as well.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thirsty Thursday!

My weekly farmers market visit was to the Brookline Farmers Market!  Typically when I think of Brookline, I think of delicious restaurants, but now I will think awesome farmers market!  There were tons of great vendors and the fruits and vegetables were plentiful.  Dicks Market Garden and Kimball farms were there, two great places to stock up on fruits and veggies, but also there were 4-5 smaller vendors that supplied fruits and veggies such as Stillman's Farm and Flats Mentor Farm.  If you want to get meat there is a choice of River Rock Farm or Smith's Country Cheese, and also Bob's Turkey Farm if you felt like a nice turkey dinner.  If you are thinking some fresh fish for dinner there is Globe Fish Company.  There is goat cheese from Westfield Farm and of course Smith Country Cheese where you can get some gouda, cheddar, or havarti cheese.  And don't forget the gouda spreads!  The bread looked delicious from Clear Flour Bread.  You could easy make a farmers market pizza from visiting this market.

So I can't resist the fresh fruits that are in season this time of year.  I went to Dick's Market Garden to get fresh, ripe white peaches that were just picked in the morning and some fennel.  I'm having girls night at my place tomorrow night and I am hoping to make a fennel salad.  Of course, to feed my friends I will make sure as many ingredients as possible are local.  Then I stopped by Kimballs to get some nice raspberries and some zucchini.

And to finish my market trip, I needed a thirst quencher, so I stopped by Trombettas Ice Cream Truck to get a raspberry lime rickey. If a lime rickey isn't your thing, you could also get a root beer float or some ice cream.

If you live or work in the Brookline area, this is a market you should visit.  This could easily be a weekly shopping trip.  Brookline Farmers Market is located on Centre Street, just off Beacon Street in Coolidge Corner.  It is open on Thursdays from 1:30 - 7:00.  Stop by this Thursday to get everything you need for the weekend!  I might be going back to get some fresh fish for dinner!

Here is the recipe I used for Romaine Fennel Salad for girls night!

1 head romaine lettuce
1 bulb fennel chopped
1/2 red onion
2 tbsp fontina/parmesan/asiago cheese
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
S&P to taste

Wash and chop lettuce and fennel and finely slice red onion and mix together in a large bowl.  See the you tube video below for how to chop fennel.  Mix cheese in the bowl and drizzle balsamic and olive oil.  Toss to coat well.  Add S&P to taste.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Summer Tomato

Ah...tomato season is just about here.  My favorite time of year!  Tomatoes have been my favorite fruit since I was about 2 years old.  My Nonno (Grandfather in Italian) had a fantastic garden, which is probably the reason I am so picky about my veggies to this day.  He had me eating salad with him at a young age.  He grew all kinds of veggies in his garden.  I remember red leaf lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, but most of all tomatoes.  I also remember a peach tree and a blueberry bush.  But I will never forget the taste of his garden tomatoes.

I may be too young to remember, but my cousin often reminds me of how my Nonno would start growing his tomatoes indoors in February.  As long as I can remember, my grandparents would be in Florida until May and I would make sure they were home for the summer just before my birthday.  My cousin says that my Nonno would start his tomatoes in February, inside the house using artificial light.  This way we would have tomatoes a little bit earlier than the typical tomato season.

My brother and I would eat dinner with my grandparents every Friday night and often sleepover during the summer.  We would have salad and fish, often, my favorite, scallops.  I remember the plethora of vegetables on the counter and my grandparents chopping and preparing all the vegetables for salads or to cook with.  My favorite salad that I still eat to this day was what I called tomato cucumber salad.  It is a very simple salad, but with fresh tomatoes it tastes great.  My grandparents would peel and chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and sprinkle some italian seasoning on top.  Then, mix with some oil and vinegar.  Perfection!

As I grew older and my grandfather passed on, I still enjoyed the taste of tomatoes, but I could never find that taste that I remember from his garden.  I would go to the supermarket and buy all kinds of tomatoes; yellow, green, roma, cherry, grape, vine, hothouse, you name it, I tried it.  But still, none ever compared to my Nonno's tomatoes.  Finally, about five years ago, when I started shopping at my local farmers market I found that taste.  That taste reminds me of my Nonno and puts a smile on my face, that is my summer tomato.

Shortly after that, going to the market became a weekly trip.  Buying in-season fruits and vegetables tasted so much better than what is industrially produced in the supermarket.  However, just a shopping trip wasn't enough for me, I quickly began researching vegetables, how they are grown, when they are in-season, and most recently how to preserve them.  I didn't know that fruits and vegetables do not taste the same when they are not in-season.  Since I have come to this realization, I try to eat most of my fruits and vegetables in season.   I rarely buy one of those perfectly round red things at the supermarket.  I prefer to get tomatoes you see at the farmers market that come in a variety colors and are not all perfectly shaped, some even ugly.  In addition to my research, I read Animal Vegetable Miracle.  I learned so much about growing fruits and vegetables from this book.  If you haven't read it, it is worth it alone just for the seasonal recipes.  This book really speaks to the importance of eating local and the attitude that America has towards food.  Following fellow bloggers have also help me to prepare food that is in season.  And now here I am writing my own blog and sharing my experiences and challenges of trying to eat local year round.
In an effort to eat tomatoes in the winter, I had my first canning experience last summer.  My friend and I bought 25 pounds of grape tomatoes.  We canned about 15 pounds and tried other ways of preserving as well.  I tried freezing them whole, as well as, roasting them in the oven and then freezing.  I still have one bag left in the freezer, so it is possible to last the winter, however my husband does not eat tomatoes, so more for me!  We plan on doing this again this year by dedicating a whole weekend to canning tomatoes while they are in season.  Then I can have my summer tomatoes all year long :)  

Here are a few of my favorite summer recipes that I learned from my Nonno and Nonna:

Tomato-cucumber salad

1-2 fresh garden tomatoes peeled and chopped (picked same day is best)
1 small cucumber diced
1/2 small red onion
1tbsp good quality olive oil
1tbsp red vinegar
sprinkle of italian seasoning

mix all vegetables together, mix oil and vinegar and pour over vegetables, top with italian seasoning

Zucchini Pancakes

1 large zucchini sliced
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
parmesan cheese

Heat up a frying pan on medium high heat.  Pour olive oil in the pan.  While that is heating up, dip zucchini slices in the egg and then coat with bread crumbs.  Put in the hot pan and turn when the side is brown.  Repeat until all the zucchini is cooked.  Sprinkle the cooked zucchini with parmesan and enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant sliced into circles
1 egg beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
lots of olive oil
1 can tomato sauce (I used trader joe's marinara sauce and it came out great!)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Preheat oven on 350.  Slice egg plant into thin slices and sprinkle each slice with salt and drain in a strainer.  Heat a pan with a generous amount of olive oil on medium high heat.  Dip eggplant slices in egg and then coat with bread crumbs.  I prepared several of these before putting them in the pan to keep things going quickly.  When one side has browned, turn onto the next side until brown and then set aside on a plate.  Repeat until all the eggplant is cooked.  Then in a 13x9 baking pan make layers of eggplant slices, sauce, cheese and repeat until the pan is full.  Bake in the oven on 350 for 30 minutes.  When you take it out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes.  Then cut into squares, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and enjoy!

I made this recipe with my cousin over the weekend and it tasted just like my Nonna's!  We didn't make our own sauce, but it came out great with the trader joe's marinara.  You can also cut the eggplant lengthwise and make an eggplant lasagna.  I wish that I got a picture of this, but I guess I will have to make it again!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

My market visit last week was to the Wayland Summer Farmers Market.  I couldn't wait to get back to this market because I wanted to visit Extra Virgin Foods (the vender).  I purchased a bottle of their olive oil at the Wayland Winter Farmers Market and I have been due for a refill for some time now. I love the taste of this olive oil to use on salads or to make my own salad dressing.   The olive oil has a very light peppery taste that I look for in a good olive oil.  The oil is great for cooking as well, I just prefer that nice taste on my salads.  Extra Virgin Foods also features greek yogurt, sun-dried olives, frozen greek yogurt, and spanakopita.

Other vendors you will find at the Wayland Summer Farmers Market include Brigham Farm, Caledonia Farm, Charlton Orchards, Flor D'italia Pasta & Cheese, Three Oak Farm, and many more.  Charlton Orchards has tons of blueberries and it appeared that some peaches and plums are starting to come out as well.  Oh the many tastes of summer!  I also sampled a sun-dried tomato spreadable cheese from Nobscot Artisan Cheese.  Delicious!  Since it is hot outside and I don't want to turn on my oven, I purchased some mixed greens, arugula, and scallions from Three Oak Farm out of Weston.  I immediately went home and made a fresh salad.  I also bought some breakfast sausage from Caledonia Farm to eat with my eggs in the morning.  On my way out of the market, I bought a lemonade from Hanson Farm.  This was a refreshing treat in a 32oz cup of fresh squeezed lemons, limes and oranges, with your choice of sweetener.  A nice addition was the fresh mint right from their farm.  Since it was a nice, hot summer day, this was my favorite part of the market.
What do you like to drink on a hot summer day?

You can check out the Wayland Summer Farmers Market on Wednesday from 12-5 at Russells Garden Center.

My trip to the market

Made into lunch!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Better Late Than Never!

Happy belated fourth of July!  I visited the Arlington Farmers Market again since they were open on July 4th.  I got some fresh vegetables and fruit for an impromptu gathering at my apartment for food, drinks, and fireworks. This is a great time of year to be shopping at the farmers market because the good fruits and vegetables are starting to come out!  There was zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, onion, nice leafy greens, herbs, raspberries, blueberries and more.  

Since raspberry season seems to be in full force, I bought a 1/2 pint on Saturday, thinking that I'll put them in a salad.  However, as usual, the raspberries did not last past Saturday.  They just tasted so good!  So I bought more on Wednesday in Arlington. Those were safe for my salad.  All week I have been craving a salad with a little sweetness to it.  I took the lettuce that I bought at the Waltham Market and tossed in some raspberries and pecans. Then, I crumbled some maple flavored fromage blanc cheese from the Foxboro Cheese Co. Since I have been reading the new Food In Jars cookbook, I learned that you can make a good dressing with jam.  I had some raspberry jam, which is a local, in the fridge and mixed it with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum! My goal for the party was to use as many local ingredients as possible. And the outcome was good! I served salsa, which was all local except for the limes. And if you know where to get local limes, let me know, my salsa would be completely local grown! I used canned grape tomatoes, my last jar from last seasons summer canning, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and the juice of one lime. The canned tomatoes make really good salsa and it's so easy. Put them in the food processor and give a quick pulse. For guacamole, I decided to try something different which I had read about in a magazine. I used lemon juice instead of lime juice. And there was not any leftover, so it must have been a good choice. My guacamole consisted of two avocados, garlic, tomatoes, jalapeño, and juice of one lemon. By adding a pitcher of margaritas to the mix, it started to look like a Cinco de Mayo party. What can I say, I love my chips and salsa!

Some other items I served, which I did not make, were some munchies such as olives and cashews and also goat cheese and crackers with tomato jam.  I have to say that I really got into jam last year after taking a canning class and ended up buying a lot of homemade jam at the market to try it out.  Although, I myself did not make this tomato jam, it will be something that I make this year.  I bought it from Bart's Farm last fall at the Waltham Farmers Market.  I saved it for this long because I wasn't really sure what to do with it.  Last week, I decided that I had to use this jam.  I opened it while my husband was making hotdogs.  I hadn't eaten a hotdog in years.  Maybe I've had one at a red sox game, but it's really just not my thing.  I thought that maybe I could eat a hotdog and use the jam in place of ketchup.  Since last week I have had three hotdogs and I think my husband was beginning to worry.  I usually keep a very healthy diet and I don't consider a hotdog to be a part of that.  So, I needed to use up this jam in another way.  Again, my Food in Jars cookbook came to the rescue.  There is a tomato jam recipe in the book and it stated that you could eat it with a stinky cheese.  Since not many people like a stinky cheese, I went to the market to see what I could find that might pair well with a sweet jam. That day that only cheese at the market was gouda from Smith's Country Cheese, which I love, but would not be a good pairing, and goat cheese.  I was ambivalent about the goat cheese, but I took a chance and bought it anyway.  The outcome, no leftovers!  And it is something I would serve again!

Needless to say, everyone was able to watch fireworks from my deck with their bellies full of local food!

Here are the recipes:

 Fresh Greens with Raspberries and Pecans

1 head fresh green lettuce, I suggest red leaf, romaine, or boston
1 1/2 pint of raspberries
1-2 generous handful of pecans
1/2 container of maple flavored fromage blanc from Foxboro Cheese Co.

1 Tablespoon Raspberry Jam
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup Olive Oil
A pinch of S&P

Whisk together all the ingredients

Fresh Salsa

One can of grape tomatoes (you can also use 10-12 fresh grape tomatoes)
1 small-medium onion diced
1-2 garlic cloves minced
1 jalapeno diced
Juice of 1 lime

Put the tomatoes in a food processor and give a quick pulse.  Put in a bowl and set aside.  Diced onion and jalapeno, mince the garlic, and make sure to wear some gloves while cutting the jalapeno.  Put all the chopped veggies in with the tomatoes and mix well.  Juice the lime and mix in with the salsa.  Stir well and set in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or longer, if you have the time, to let everything settle in.


2 avocados mashed
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 cup tomatoes diced
1/2 jalapeno diced
Juice of 1 lemon

Cut the avocado in half length wise.  Scoop out the pit and set aside.  Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and put in a mixing bowl.  Mash the avocados with a potato masher until most of the chunks are gone.  I like to have some avocado chunks in my guacamole, so I leave a few chunks in there.  But if you like it smooth, just mix until all the chunks are gone.  Mince the garlic and diced tomatoes and jalapeno.  Mix in with the mashed avocado.  Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl and mix well.
If you are not serving your guacamole immediately, I put the pits into the guacamole to keep it fresh while it's in the settling in the fridge.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So Fresh!

Two weeks ago,  my step-brother got married at the Groton Country Club!  Congrats to him and his new wife!  Conveniently enough, the Groton Country Club is located near a great farm in Littleton, Springdell Farm.  Since my Dad is familiar with the area, he took me on a little farm adventure the next day.  He brought me to Gibbet Hill Grill.  Gibbet Hill Grill is located in Groton MA and well known for using meats, vegetables, fruit, and dairy from local farms, including their partner farm, Springdell Farm.  It is located on a beautiful hill where you can see the cows from Springdell Farm.  It's no surprise that many couples choose to have their wedding receptions here.  What I also found was a large garden in the back of the restaurant and an herb garden in the front of the restaurant. They are able to grow there own food and serve it at the restaurant!   This is a fairly new concept to me known as the farm to fork movement.

After a bit a research about the restaurant, I learned there is quite a bit of history about the farm that goes back to the 1600's.  Throughout all the history of the land, I found that Gibbet Hill Grill was established in the 2000's.  The land was purchased by a Groton native to preserve the land in the town.  The main source of their produce comes from this land, which is their own farm, Gibbet Hill Farm.  Gibbet Hill Grill also works with other local local farms for produce, dairy, meat, seafood, and beer and wine.  I saw a winery on their list that I used as favors at the rehearsal dinner for my wedding, Westport Winery, in an effort to support the local movement.  Since our adventure was in the morning, we didn't eat at the Gibbet Hill Grill, but we have before.  At the time, I did not know about there farm to fork philosophy, but I plan on going back to check out the in season local meals.  

Living close to the city, it is difficult to find a restaurant that is fortunate enough to have the land large enough to farm and run a restaurant.  On the Livin' Local Boston Facebook page, I posted a link to a new farm to fork restaurant, Farmstead Table, opening up in Newton Centre in the first week of August.  This restaurant will be featuring produce from local farms the Newton Community Farm, and farms in nearby towns such as Brookline, Norton, and Needham.  A restaurant up in Nashua, NH, The Saffron Bistro, recently hosted a farm to table dinner using ingredients from local New Hampshire farms to host a four course dinner.  I didn't attend this dinner, but I got to hear all about it from my Dad.  He even sent me a picture of the bees they used to make the local honey.  He frequents the Saffron Bistro and sends me texts about the local items on the menu each week.  I heard that there will be another farm to table dinner in the fall at the Saffron Bistro, in which I plan to attend.

I love the idea of supporting local farms by using their ingredients in the meals served.  Not only is it supporting local farms, but the quality and taste of your food will be so much better.  I will be looking for these farm to fork restaurants opening up in the Boston area.  I hope that this is a trend that will catch on!

Check out the photos from Gibbet Hill Grill

Free Range Black Angus

The Garden

The Herb Garden

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goodbye Strawberries, Hello Raspberries!

This week I visited the Arlington Farmers Market!  The Arlington Farmers Market is located in the Russell Common Parking lot and is on Wednesdays from 2:00pm-6:30pm.  The vendors include Busa farms, Dick's Market Garden, Globe Fish, Grateful Farm, Kimball Farm, and more!  This is a great market with a variety of vendors ranging from vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, and cheese.  I chose to shop at Kimball Farm this week. I have bought from them before, but what caught my eye this week was the mix of small tomatoes they had.  I bought a half pint of red, yellow, and kumato tomatoes to put in my salad this week.  For those of you who have not heard of kumato tomatoes, they are very sweet and brownish in color.  This is actually my first time seeing kumato tomatoes at a farmers market.  Finding all of these tiny tomatoes was so exciting to me because tomatoes are my most favorite fruit and I know it is not yet tomato season.  Some people think of seasons as winter, spring, summer, and fall, but I think of seasons, as vegetable and fruits, strawberry season, tomato season, etc.  And tomato is my favorite season!    

I also bought some strawberries as I was just informed that strawberry season is nearing the end and raspberry season is beginning.  So I bought both!  The raspberries didn't make it very far, but the strawberries went into the freezer with the rhubarb.  As soon as my lids come in, I am going to make some strawberry rhubarb jam for canning.  But that is a post for another day.  I also bought some tiny cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and a vegetable that I feel never gets enough attention, radishes.    

Radishes have a very spicy, peppery flavor when eaten raw, but have a very sweet flavor when cooked or roasted.  This week, I was craving their spicy flavor and ate them raw and put them into my salad with all the other fresh vegetables I bought.  I had some difficultly choosing a salad dressing to go with my radishes.  A lemon vinaigrette came into my mind and I had all the ingredients to make it, so I went with it.  I thought that the strong flavor of the radishes would go well with a citrus dressing with a little kick to it.  I made this as a side salad to go with my grilled steak tips.  It was very refreshing and delicious!  However, I would recommend sprinkling some cheese to go with this, maybe some Parmesan or Romano? 

Recipe of the Week:

Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Radishes in a Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
the juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1 Head Romaine Lettuce (or whatever lettuce you like!)
1 tomato or several grape tomatoes
1 Cucumber
1 Head of radishes

Whisk all ingredients for the dressing together.  Pour over washed and chopped vegetables and enjoy!  I stored the extra dressing in a small mason jar and put in the refrigerator for another day.  Notice the great colors of the tomatoes in the picture :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime and the livin's easy...

Happy Summer!  And welcome to my first blog!

This is my favorite time of year!  All the local farmers markets are just beginning to open up, and not to mention the abundance of strawberries!  On Saturday morning, I had a crew at my apartment ready to go check out one of my favorite farmers market, the Waltham Farmers Market.  I love to have company to go to the market with and maybe stop for an iced coffee after.  This farmers market is great because not only is it on a Saturday morning, which is fantastic, but it has great vendors.  Just to name a few...Dick's Market Garden, Bart's Farm Stand, Smith's Country Cheese,  and Caledonia Farm.  This week at the market the most abundant fruits and veggies were strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, radishes, and various herbs.  And as always, breads, cheeses, and meats.  The strawberries looked so good that we started eating them before we bought them.  I also bought the ingredients to make one of my husbands favorite dishes, cheeseburger salad.  A refreshing meal on a hot summer night, and it worked out that we had our first heat wave this week.

I highly recommend going to Smith's Country cheese and trying the gouda, both spreads and hard cheese.  And then maybe buying some bread to go with your cheese.  If you are having company over your house during the weekend, they will be pleasantly surprised.  They also sell one pound packages of hormone free ground beef, but you need to get there early because my mother will buy as much as she can.

This week, I also made a visit to one of my favorite farms, Springdell Farm in Littleton MA.  It is quite a ways from Boston, but it's worth the drive.  They sell beef, chicken, and pork (all grass-fed), as well as fruits and vegetables.  I went there hoping to buy some of there italian sausage, but they were out of it.  So they talked me into trying the breakfast sausage.  And when I say "talked me into it" all she did was mention that they had breakfast sausage.  There was no twisting my arm there.  I ate it the next morning and I'll more than likely buy it on my next trip there.  There were also many vegetables to choose from.  I bought some rhubarb, hoping to make a strawberry rhubarb pie in the near future, as well as red onion, spring onion, and garlic to toss in my salads throughout the week.

Recipe of the Week:
Cheeseburger Salad
By: Pampered Chef

1 small red onion, divided
2 tomatoes (I use one because my husband does not eat tomatoes)
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced pickles
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
8 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the onion in half crosswise and slice into thin rings.  Cut the tomatoes into quarters.  Set onions and tomatoes aside.  Cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking the beef into crumbles.  Meanwhile, finely dice the pickles.  In a large bowl, combine pickles, ketchup, and mustard and then add the beef.  To serve, arrange the lettuce on a large platter and spoon the beef mixture over the lettuce.  Top with cheese, tomatoes, and onion.  Enjoy!