Local Food

Cherry Tomato Salad

Summer is here in full force with 100+ degree temps! At times like these turning on the oven should be outlawed. Thank goodness for the tomatoes! They need little other than chopping to be a quick, cooling side dish.

These are Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes from Signal Mountain Farm. I tossed them with a bit of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm and some basil from the yard. Let it sit for just a few minutes so the flavors can meld together and that’s it! A quick piece of fish or chicken would finish this off nicely.

cheers!

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Sunday Market! 7-15

Cantaloupe, watermelon, and potatoes – farmstand without a name

Okra – Hazelrig Farm

Blueberries, zephyr squash, zucchini, peppers, and celery – Signal Mountain Farm

Corn – Flat Top Mountain Farm

Those melons are beyond what a house of two can possibly eat in a week but I have no self-control this time of year at the market. Once the cantaloupe and watermelon is gone for the season it’ll be a whole year before I get any more! I must stuff myself silly eat a reasonable amount now, right? Sigh…I suppose there are worse things I could bring home than 2o lbs of melon, eh?

The market haul will now no longer fit into 1 basket and it also no longer fits into 1 picture. Not a bad problem.

Cherry Tomatoes AKA The reason I am able to suffer through the heat of summer – Signal Mountain Farm.

I recommend keeping these on the kitchen counter and eating handfuls every time you walk through the room. I remember walking through the garden with my grandfather when I was little and eating tomatoes straight off the plant. This was against the instructions of my grandmother that I wash the dirt off first. Who has time to wash the dirt off when there are tomatoes to eat?!? There is just nothing better than a sun warmed tomato straight off the vine.  Luckily my grandfather never told my secret 🙂

October beans – from a farmstand without a name. Really, how can you resist a hot pink speckled bean?

Not pictured is my now weekly purchase of goat cheese from Bonnie Blue Farm. I was buying the garlic herb variety but now I get the plain because it not only makes a fabulous addition to tomato salad but it also is a great substitute for cream cheese. I also tried a new variety this week – raw goat milk gouda. It’s hard to take a picture of cheese when you tear into it before unloading any of the other produce. crazy good!

I’m taking the week off from canning. I made Champagne Mustard from Food in Jars last night (it’s actually supposed to be white wine mustard but I had the champagne and, well, that’s just how it went down). It takes a month to cure so we’ll see how that turns out. It smelled delicious going into the jars last night but was crazy bitter. The recipe notes say the bitter flavor will mellow.

I had lots of plans for freezing and canning today but I just couldn’t do it. I needed a day of reading in a room far from the stove and canning pot, you know?

cheers!

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It’s been busy…

Goodness! I’ve been so busy cooking and creating and putting up that I haven’t exactly had time to write about anything.

20 (twenty!) quarts of sauerkraut, 8 pints of roasted corn salsa, and 5 half pints of blueberry butter

The cabbage for the sauerkraut came from Signal Mountain farm as did the blueberries for the blueberry butter. The corn in the salsa is from Rainbow Hill Farm. The variety of this corn is Luscious and Rainbow Hill is growing it as it is available in organic seed. Their farm is not certified organic yet but they are making strides! It was delicious but the ears are a bit small.  The tomatoes and onion in the salsa came from the market but neither farm appears to have a name.

15 bags of purple hull peas for the freezer

These peas came from The Dekalb County Farmers Market in Atlanta. They are local to that area and I’ve decided the Dekalb Market is my best option for buying peas in bulk as I’ve had bad luck with my pea ventures in Chattanooga. If you are anywhere close to the Dekalb Market you must check it out. It is an international market with the most amazing selection of just about everything. The prices are wonderful as well.

Sometimes I get so caught up preserving and putting away that I forget I can enjoy the goodness right now. Luckily I don’t forget for too long…

Blueberry butter…who needs bread??

Blueberry butter is something I just discovered this week in a new preserving book, Food in Jars. It is a more sophisticated version of jam. There is less sugar and the addition of lemon zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon give it a spicy flavor. Delicious!

cheers!

Categories: Local Food, preserving the harvest | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roasted Cheddar Cauliflower

My grandfather swears that he went to school with 2 girls named Ellie Fant and Emma Tate. I’ve never quite been able to decide if he was teasing me or not. Surely not, I thought, but then I changed schools and there was a girl named Callie Flowers. Maybe people really don’t say names out loud before they sign the birth certificate.

Can you guess what vegetable we had for dinner this week? 🙂

I have terrible, nightmare inducing memories of being forced to eat a plate of cauliflower covered in melted velveeta cheese. I’m trying to repair my relationship with cauliflower but it just isn’t going so well. However, my husband says this was a great way to cook it so I’ll spare you my opinion since I’m apparently biased.

We got this cheddar cauliflower from Signal Mountain Farm. It doesn’t taste any different from the usual white variety but it is a bit prettier.

Toss the cauliflower with oil and salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Roast at 415 degrees for about 30 minutes (really, just roast to your liking). Quick and easy and, if you like cauliflower, I understand it’s delicious! 😉

cheers!

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Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beets are one of those newly discovered vegetables for me. I’ve never really eaten them before the last few years but I have fallen hard for them. I especially like when I can get a vegetable in a variety of colors so when I saw these golden and red beets hanging out together at the market at the Signal Mountain Farm table I had to have them. As fate would have it the next booth I walked by was Bonnie Blue Farm where they have the best goat cheese (which, coincidentally, has also become an obsession this summer). The goat cheese made its way into my basket with thoughts of a beet and goat cheese salad floating through my head.

I’ve never actually made a beet and goat cheese salad but that’s why I have all those cooking apps on my phone, right? As is my usual recipe style, this is a hodge-podge of several recipes. I started by drizzling the (clean) beets with a bit of grape seed oil, wrapping them in foil, and roasting for about an hour at 425 degrees. Let them cool enough to handle and then peel and dice them. If you are using golden and red beets then you should try to keep them separate so the red beets don’t stain the golden. Red beets are awfully aggressive and your kitchen will be a great setting for a murder movie after you finish peeling and dicing.

Now, at this point you can just toss the beets with the goat cheese and chow down. However, one of the recipes I was using was a layered salad so I decided to fancy things up a bit. You need a mold about 2 inches wide and however tall you want the salad. Layer the beets and goat cheese, pressing down between layers to help it hold together.

You can certainly do as many layers as you like but the taller it gets, they harder time you will have keeping it upright. Slowly pull the mold off and there you have a stacked beet and goat cheese salad! If you’ve never had beets and goat cheese together I can assure you they were meant to be. Seriously good stuff.

cheers!

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Sunday Market! 6-24

I would have done well to have had a grocery cart today! Lots of gorgeous, delicious meal inspiring produce today!

Cantaloupe and peaches – Hazelrig Farm

Orange and Red Beets, Blueberries, patty pan squash, zucchini, golden zucchini, Brussels sprouts, purple bell peppers and green beans – Signal Mountain Farm

Goat Cheese – Bonnie Blue Farm

Finn style Sausage – Link 41 Sausage

 

I received a reply from the market director addressing my concerns about a vendor that was rumored to be reselling produce. He said:

They are exclusively employees of Watsonia.  We also insist in producer only presence, but many of our vendors employ others to assist with the businesses.
As near as we can tell, it’s a qualified and legitimate relationship and they are eligible to vend at the market. 
Thanks for your note. We mulled over this issue for some time, but came to the realization that its no different than several other long-term vendors and there staff. 
 Feel free to continue to ask questions/etc – we are committed to maintaining our high-quality market
I’m still not sure how I feel about the situation. I don’t think it is the same as other vendors who have staff working for them. This produce is being grown 298 miles from Chattanooga which seems a pretty far stretch to be called local. They sell it to a man in Atlanta who then drives it up to Chattanooga. It just doesn’t sit well with me so I’m sticking with the produce that I know and enjoying my weekly chats with the farmers themselves who remember me and ask how the peach jam turned out.
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Spiced Okra

I’ve spent most of my life under the impression that okra can only be consumed fried. I thought I really wasn’t an okra fan but it turns out I’m just not a fan of fried okra. This is basically a stir fried okra that requires little prep and no frying.  And, let me go ahead and answer your next question…no, it is not slimy! I think that it gets slimier the more it gets cooked. This is a very quick cooking method that leaves the okra with a bit of crunch and no slime.

This okra came from the Sunday Market from a vendor who, unfortunately, does not have a named booth.

Simply cut off the top and slice the okra with a bias cut. I just did these in half but in hindsight, thirds might have been a better way to go.

In a wok or large skillet toast some mustard seeds. You will know when the mustard seeds are toasted because they begin to pop. Be warned, a warm just toasted mustard seed can pop clear across the kitchen! Add a bit of oil and the okra and let it cook for a few minutes. Add your spices next and stir to coat all the okra. We used curry powder but I think 5 spice powder would be really good as well. Cook until your desiredness. All in all this dish cooks about 10 minutes.

cheers!

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Sunday Market 6-17

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (ha! now you have a Christmas carol stuck in your head as well!) It’s the time of the year that the basket gets so heavy it seems unsafe to use the handle; you have to use 2 hands to support it from the bottom. This is not a terrible problem to have.

Blackberries – Flat Top Mountain

Blueberries, Fennel, and Cheddar Cauliflower – Signal Mountain Farm

Corn, Purple Hull Peas, Butter Beans, and Basil – various vendors

Cantaloupe and Peaches – Hazelrig Farm

Peaches – Rainbow Hill Farrm

Honey – Sale Creek Honey

Pizza Dough – Fresh Flour

Yes, we got peaches from 2 different vendors. Sometimes you need to share the love.

The peas and beans were a bit pricey at $4/pint bag but, they were already shelled. I’ve not had the best luck buying purple hull peas in Chattanooga and that is terribly disappointing to me. When we lived in Mississippi I would buy a bushel and stock the freezer. Last year was the first time I really found them around here and the quality was poor at best. These look great and I can’t wait to have my first peas of the season!

I bought a very large bunch of basil for a special project this week. The best way to store basil is to keep the stems in water. It stays nice and perky and you might even get some roots to develop.

I would love to have had blackberries to preserve as well as for snacking, but this week there will be no preserving, canning or putting up. This week I’m tackling my largest cooking endeavor yet…ice cream for 70 people! It’s a graduation gift for a very dear friend. Hopefully I’ll still be sane enough to enjoy the party!

I heard a troubling rumor at the market this week. There is a new vendor this week and I heard today that they might not actually be growing what they are selling but buying and reselling. The Chattanooga Market has a producer only policy which means that you must be the producer, grower, and/or creator of your goods. I appreciate this policy because I like to know my farmer and I like knowing that their product is as important to them as it is to me. I’ve emailed the market director for clarification so I’ll keep you posted…

cheers!

Categories: Chattanooga Market, Local Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eat Up, Chattanooga!

Eat Up is a new local cookbook series produced by Gaining Ground. It is a 4-part, seasonal cookbook and the spring edition is available now.

It is gorgeous! The pencil sketches on the front are fabulous and the photography inside is stellar. It is available (for free!!) at the local markets and there are also a few cooking demonstrations scheduled to showcase the recipes. Check out the schedule for those dates.

One of the recipes I’ve seen talked about the most is the beet brownies. I’ve not made this particular recipe but I have made the Beet Cake from Fine Cooking. I can attest that beets + chocolate = fabulousness. Crazy, but true! Everyone that tasted this cake said it was the best chocolate cake they had ever had. I would love to attribute that to my cooking skills but it was the beets, really.

Make sure you pick up a copy of the Spring edition; there are some great recipes to try!

cheers!

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Sunday Market! June 3

Nectarines, Peaches, and yellow squash – Hazelrig Farm

Strawberries – Flattop Mountain Farm

Squash blossoms and green beans

Garlic Scapes – Sheerlark Farm

Garlic and Chive Goat Cheese – Bonnie Blue Farm

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