I woke up early this past Saturday morning and hopped over to the Green City Market, which I mentioned in my last post. The selection is still somewhat limited, I assume because of the extended winter and sopping-wet spring, but it’s getting there. Here’s what I got:
1. FREE COFFEE
They were giving out free Intelligentsia coffee! Already it was evident that there was a seismic shift in karma from my last visit, which ended with a $200 parking ticket for (unintentionally) parking in a handicap space. This was the most expensive ticket we could’ve gotten. If we had parked on the sidewalk, it would’ve cost less. That’s not hyperbole; they had all the fines printed on the back. I think it only costs you $40. Something to consider next time you can’t find a parking space.
2. SPARKLE STRAWBERRIES – $4
Strawberries started turning up at farmers’ markets a week or two ago. I got these from the Nichols Farm stand (also where I got the snow peas below). They had a half dozen or so varieties, and I chose the sparkle strawberries because the sign said they were the sweetest. I didn’t try the other kinds, but these are delicious. Check out how small they are. This one is standard:
Also, I learned a great way to remove the stem and leaves. Hold the berry with the fingers of one hand and use your other hand to grab the stem and leaves, and then just twist. The green stuff comes right off and you don’t lose any of the fruit. I learned this by observing one of the farmers eating a strawberry. Next week I’m going to bring a notepad and stay all morning to observe their behaviors. If I can secure some grant money, I may even try to study them in their native habitat, the farm.
3. SNOW PEAS - $3
Haven’t eaten these yet.
4. BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES - $6.05
This is the first time I’ve seen beefsteak tomatoes, and I’m pretty excited about them. I bought them not quite ripe so I can eat them this week. My hope is that they’ll be good enough to eat with just a little salt and pepper.
When I was picking these out, I saw none other than Rick Bayless! For any non-Chicagoans reading this, Rick Bayless has a couple restaurants, Frontera Grill and the more upscale Topolobampo. I still haven’t eaten at either, which is a small crime. He also has a show on PBS, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, and a soul patch.
Anyhow, he was picking out tomatoes of his own, being trailed by a camera crew. I was staring at him and he turned and made eye contact. His reaction was to smile rather than be creeped out, which I thought was nice of him. I was going to say something but the only thing I could come up with was “YOU’RE ON MY TV!” Instead, I was silent and looked away awkwardly.
5. ASPARAGUS – $5
6. KALE – $2.25
I love kale. I think it may be the most beautiful vegetable. The leaves are intricately detailed, but it’s also heavy and sturdy. It reminds me of puffy cumulus clouds. I don’t think kale and cumulus clouds look alike, but they both have the same aesthetic quality. By the way, if you love kale too, you might want to check out this site that I just found.
There were four or five different types of kale available. I asked the guy about how a particular type (I forget the name) was different from regular old kale. He told me that he honestly couldn’t taste a difference. He’s obviously not the farm’s marketing guy, but I’m not so sure he’s a farmer either.
WHAT I DIDN’T GET THAT I’D LIKE TO GET NEXT TIME
Eggs. Dammit, I want some eggs. So does everyone else, though; I was told they’re generally gone before 10am.
Elk meat. Supposedly it’s even leaner than chicken or fish, which actually makes me want it less. I prefer my meat fatty. But I still want to try it, if only to assert my dominance at the top of the food chain.
CRY FOR HELP
Last and most importantly, now I have to eat this stuff. Do you have any recipe suggestions?
Dude, there are famous chefs at your farmers market?! No fair. I think I saw some extras from The Wire at one of the Bmore markets, but that hardly compares…
Saute the tomatoes in a little olive oil and S/P. The olive oil + heat releases the lycopene in the tomato- which is packed with anti-oxidants.
Kale is delicious and underrated. If you want to eat it raw try this recipe:
And I think beefsteak tomatoes should be stuffed and baked, preferably with soft goat’s cheese and herbs.
And Xani, extras from The Wire beat local chefs any day.
Before this dispute gets out of hand, celebrity chefs are equal to The Wire cast members. Neither have widespread popularity, but among their relatively smaller followings are very devoted fans. I got excited when seeing Rick Bayless. I also get excited when I see Verizon commercials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnUCbnuURVU&feature=related
God, I love Senator Clay Davis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrfCixsd2N8
Here’s what we (well, my wife) does with kale: Coarsely chop it, then steam it, then saute it with garlic, olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar (added near the end). Delicious. We have it with fish and chips. The fish batter is a New Orleans variation with cayenne pepper, and the chips are double fried, potato-ey on the inside and crisp on the outside.
I’m with you on the tomatoes. My favorite time of year is when our tomatoes ripen. We end up eating them with some salt, pepper, and, maybe, a splash of olive oil. We mean to cook them into something, but they’re so good fresh off the plant that we never manage to get them to a pot.
And, different post here, the herbs look great. Pluck off the flowers and you’ll be in great shape.
As for the steak, as long as I’m mixing posts, the key to cooking meat and fish (well, being as I don’t eat meat I’m told this applies to meat) is remembering that it will continue to cook after it’s taken off the heat. Err on the early side; you can always put it back on.