Monday, October 28, 2013

Farmer's Market End of October Edition

Last week at the farmer's market I walked into heaven. The stands were overflowing with fall greens: kale, kolrabi, Japanese spinach, and other things I'd never even heard of. The thing that made me happiest, though, was red peppers. I've been wanting red peppers but since they weren't in season I made myself wait. You know the saying - and there were the red peppers I'd been waiting for.

Not wanting to go overboard, I picked up purple kale, red peppers, apples, green beans and shrimp. The shrimp was wonderful last week so over the weekend I needed to figure out what to do with all the rest. I went to Rouses, thinking I might buy chicken to go with the peppers. I remembered having some delicious sausages at a barbecue once and know that sausage and peppers go well together. My only mistake was buying the sweet Italian pepper sausage to go with the peppers - that particular type of sausage has fennel in it, which I don't particularly like. Lesson learned!

But, since I don't throw anything out, I'll eat the sausage. I sauteed the sausage and then added sliced red peppers and a little olive oil. I brought half of what I cooked for lunch today and have the rest for later. I ate the sausage and peppers on tortillas with hummus. Delicious (despite the fennel).

As for the kale, I've been putting it in smoothies but still had a huge bunch that wilted in the fridge. Not wanting it to go bad, I knew I'd have to eat it for dinner tonight. I remembered I had some bacon in the freezer so I Googled "kale and bacon" and came up with this recipe. It sounded perfect. I had to adjust the recipe a little bit as I did not have 2 pounds of kale or 10 slices of bacon, but I used up all my kale and all my bacon and thus achieved the goal of the meal. 

I realized something strange while eating this. Chinese food, specifically thin brown sauce, must be a combination of garlic, bacon grease, water and some leafy green because that's exactly what this dish tasted like. It was really quite yummy. 

For dessert I blended two bananas with some yogurt, a tablespoonful of carob powder and a little water to make a mock Wendy's Frosty. I won't be eating there until they pay their tomato workers a fair wage. If you're interested in this campaign, please click here to sign the petition and read more. 

What are your favorite farmer's market fares? 

Happy munching! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Conquering a Fear: Shrimp!

I love shrimp. Growing up, I never had it at home because my mom's allergic. Whenever she eats it, her tongue itches. I can't imagine how annoying that would be. Whenever we'd go out, I'd get pasta with shrimp or Chinese food with shrimp and have the leftovers ALL to myself.

Every week at the Crescent City Farmer's Market, I walk past coolers full of shrimp, crab and catfish. They all look so delicious and affordable but I just wouldn't know how to cook them. Knowing I have very little food at home and an evening to myself, I finally took the plunge. I walked up to the seafood woman and said, "I have two questions: how long will these keep and how do I cook them?" She gladly answered my questions and I bought a 1/2 pound of de-veined, peeled shrimp.

I also bought green beans, purple kale, apples, and peppers. I wasn't sure what to do with the shrimp but liked the idea of sauteing them with the Gar'Live (garlic, butter, olive oil and herbs) that I bought at the market awhile back. I Googled sauteed shrimp and green beans and came up with a paprika shrimp recipe.

I sauteed the green beans first in the Gar'Live so that they'd be a little softer when I added the shrimp. They cooked for probably five minutes. 

Then I added the shrimp and a little lemon juice.

To serve, I added a bunch of Parmesan cheese (because I love it). This would be incredible over pasta. The beans were al dente and the shrimp had complex flavors of butter, lemon, paprika, and garlic. Mouthwatering. Probably one of the best things I've cooked in a long time. And oh so easy to make! 

Happy munching! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

A New Take on Beans and Rice

Instead of red beans and rice, I cooked black beans and cous cous. The black beans came from the farmer's market. They were dried in a bag on one of the vendor's table. Most of the beans they sell are fresh, in a cooler on ice, so I was curious about these. I asked how much they were and the guy said I could have them. I was worried something was wrong with them but I took them home and cooked them and they were just fine. I didn't want to cook rice, opting for something a little healthier. The whole wheat cous cous cooked up very easily and made a lot. So I've been eating black beans (spiced with a recipe online), cous cous, and ketchup for a few days.

Today I decided to do something a little different, adding local Japanese spinach and wrapping everything in toasted corn tortillas. It was so delicious and so easy!