Timonium Farmer's Market - How to Prepare Your Purchases
Yesterday I went to the Timonium Farmer's Market and while I was picking over the vegetables and fruit to make my purchases people kept asking me what I was going to do with what I was buying. They also kept asking me how to prepare different items and not all the vendors were aware or knew how to prepare the produce they were selling. By the time I got to the second vendor I had a trail of people following me to learn what I was going to make and how I was going to prepare my purchases.
I had the luxury (I didn't think so at the time) of growing up on a farm. My father always planted about an acre of vegetables along with raspberries, strawberries, pumpkins and other delicious items that my mother would then put down or prepare good meals with. My Mom was a school teacher and the teaching didn't end in the classroom, she and my father were both wonderful cooks and I learned to prepare some awesome meals. It didn't occur to me until much later in life that not all parents taught their children how to be self sufficient. I now appreciate, much more, the lessons in life that I learned so young.
I'll share with you, my readers my purchases and our great dinner last night.
Beets - wash them thoroughly and cut off the leaves about 1/2" above the beet and set aside the greens. Put the beets into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until a toothpick will insert easily into the beet and come back out. Turn off the pot and drain. Cover the beets with cold water and cool slightly. You should be able to easily remove the skins and the remainder of the stems by hand. Serve sliced with butter, salt and pepper.
Beet Greens - Trim the ends of the stem off the greens and wash thoroughly. You may want to wash them more than once to be sure all the sand and dirt is off the greens. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem the greens and wash the leaves in 2 rinses of water. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the greens. Blanch for 2 minutes, until tender. Transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze the water out from its leaves. Chop coarsely.In a large fry pan put in about 2 tbsp of olive oil, add 2 cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional - I like spicy food), and the greens. Stir until the greens are well mixed with the olive oil and garlic, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and serve.
Red Chard - Wash the leaves well, you'll probably want to do this twice to remove all the sand and dirt. Remove the red stems (you can keep these and chop them to add to soups or stews). Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with some salt. Add the leaves and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well and serve. You can season with a little butter, salt and pepper.
Cucumbers - thinly slice sprinkle a little dried dill and sprinkle seasoned rice vinegar over top and stir. Serve chilled. I'll also just cut off both ends and quarter the baby cucumbers and just sprinkle with salt and pepper to serve. These are delicious too.
Corn on the Cob - Shuck the corn, that is remove the out layer of leaves and hair. Wash in a cold water bath to remove all the corn silk. Bring water with 1 tbsp salt to a boil, add corn and boil for about 15 minutes, drain and serve. If there's left over, remove the corn from the cob with a sharp knife and you can freeze this for using later.
New Potatoes - wash your potatoes thoroughly. I use a plastic pot scrubber to remove all the loose skin from the potatoes. Put in a pot, cover with water, add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil Cook for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into a potato comes out easily. Serve with butter, salt and pepper. You can also quarter your new potatoes, shake them in a bag with olive oil, salt and pepper then roast them in the oven or fry them in a frying pan.
When I was a little girl one of my favorite treets I'd share with my Dad was fresh raspberries, sprinkled with sugar and then whipping cream poured over the top or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's very simple, easy to do and oh so delicious.
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