at the market – 29 July

sweetpeas

I always get the feeling I am missing out by picking up my CSA share at the farmer’s market on Wednesdays instead of Saturdays. Whenever I make it to the market on the weekend, there is just so much more energy and more of a crowd. But this Wednesday, it felt good. That must have to do with the profusion of fruit and vegetables that are being harvested right now.

frog holler

Lots of loveliness.  Sweetpeas at one stand, gorgeous produce at Frog Holler (speaking of which, *always* has beautiful produce), the farmer with the red apron, who was not wearing the red apron, but did have a lovely new wood table he crafted himself and a xylophone hand forged by a friend of his.

xylophone

Take that, supermarket. Try to have better looking carrots than these. I dare you.

carrots

GardenWorks always has sunflower shoots, which Zingerman’s buys for their twigs and berries salad. I love their salad so much, I make it at home. The sunflower shoots add a nice bit of green to the chewiness of the wheat berries.

sunflower shoots

Lots of beans right now. We’ve gotten tons in our farm share. None as pretty as these purple ones, though.

beans

And my favorite time of the year: peaches. I have passed by the peaches in the supermarket for the past 10 months, just waiting for this time of year. There is just really nothing to compare with produce picked when it is ripe, then eaten the next day. If you’re not swayed by the environmental and economic benefits of eating local, you have to at least be swayed by the fact that food just tastes best when it’s eaten locally and seasonally.

peaches!

As we left the market, the girl posed by the painted utility box. It kind of looks like one of the flowers is tucked behind her ear. By the way, well done, Ann Arbor. Take those unsightly boxes and turn them into art.

A and the utility box

A sign of one of the biggest changes around town: the new AnnArbor.com newsboxes. I am sorry I didn’t get any shots of the Ann Arbor News boxes before they were changed out. I am reserving judgement for the newspaper, but I am just not impressed with the website yet. **Edit: Or maybe I am judging their newspaper. There is no excuse for typos on the front page of the Sunday paper (or anywhere, for that matter). I was very disappointed to see that yesterday (8/2/09).

annarbor.com

annarbor.com

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yummy pasta with pesto

Grocery bag filled with basil ($4) = pesto. And lots of it. Now, I’ve made pesto before. It’s been good. But last night, I made the best pesto ever. I think I have elevated pesto to a new level. I used the recipe out of Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, a cookbook I recently got and haven’t used a whole lot. I know it doesn’t look like much, (it is pesto, after all) but the pesto was gorgeously silky and just frickin delicious. I think the big secret was the toasting of the pine nuts. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. It brings out their nuttiness, and as Karl says, pine nuts taste like bacon. pesto

Basil Pesto

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (10 min. in a 350 degree oven – stirring occasionally)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt (I used kosher)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Blanch the garlic by covering the garlic in a small saucepan with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately drain and let garlic cool to room temperature.

Martha wants you to use a mortar and pestle to make the pesto. I don’t. I’m sure it tastes better, as she says it does, but a food processor works just fine.  Add basil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt to the food processor and process until the basil is pulverized and the pine nuts and garlic are pasty. Add the cheese and mix again. Pour the oil in a slow steady stream and mix until combined. Toss with some hot pasta (preferably something like penne or rotini – you want the pesto to get into all those nooks and crannies on the pasta). Delicious.

I sautéed up some pattypan squash and Karl and I had some pinot grigio with it and the meal was perfect. We ate out on the deck. The kids ate all their food, then played in the sandbox with the new sand in it. A wonderful evening. But wait. There’s more. We finished it with a delicious chocolate and zucchini cake I had just happened to whip up that afternoon. Who knew I was ever going to be this domestic?

the box – August 5

Today’s share from Our Family Farm:

the box - August 5

Lots of  potatoes, four pattypan squash, two large green zucchini, one yellow zucchini, three red onions, two bunches of spinach, four tomatoes, two quarts of green beans, and a dozen eggs. I also bought a bunch of kale from Chandra at Beautiful Earth Family Farm and some cherry tomatoes from a farmer whose name I do not know. When I asked about the calendula flowers Chandra had, she was kind enough to give me one, then explained it can be used for all manner of skin ailments. I think I’ll use it for my kids and their multitude of mosquito bites they seem to get.

I’m planning on freezing the green beans. I imagine there will be some zucchini bread in our future. And I really need to figure out what to do with all of the potatoes I have. Farmer John offered me another quart of potatoes, but I turned him down. We have so many from the previous two weeks. By the way, check out the great write-up of Our Family Farm on annarbor.com from Jen of a2eatwrite. I was too late today to get some of the duck eggs, but I *will* get some one of these days.

at the market – August 5

August is definitely the farmers market’s shining time. There is so much deliciousness. I didn’t get a chance to photograph much, but I was able to get a (blurry) photo of the guy over at Tantré Farm playing a bit of the accordion. Who would have imagined the accordion would be making a comeback these last couple of years. It was kind of nice to be filling my CSA bags to its sweet sweet sounds.

accordion

A gratuitous shot of peaches. For real, my favorite fruit of the summer.

peaches, blueberries

And I think we know where we’ll be next Saturday. Happy birthday, farmers market!

90th birthday

I need to do a bit of self-congratulations right now. Today is the first day in the history of ann arbivore I have actually posted the “at the market” and my “the box” postings on the same day I went to the market. Well done, me. Well done.

chocolate and zucchini cake

When I was looking for a chocolate and zucchini cake recipe, I looked no further than Clotilde’s recipe over at Chocolate & Zucchini. Yeah, I talk about her as Clotilde. I think C&Z was my first ever introduction to food blogging. About three years ago, I stumbled upon her blog and just voraciously read it, then searched out other food blogs. I don’t know what it is but I love reading about food. Food porn, I think. If you haven’t come across Chocolate & Zucchini, you should check it out. Her writing and photography are just lovely. Anyway, on to the cake.

chocolate and zucchini

Her recipe is good – it turns out a cake I imagine the French would like: not too sweet, but with a deep chocolate taste. And for the Americans, some good old fashioned chocolate chips in it. The hazelnut and brown sugar topping is just right, sweet and crunchy.

C&Z Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

Whisk together:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a separate bowl, mix until fluffy:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar

Add to butter/sugar mixture:

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules (I used instant espresso)

Add in, one at a time:

  • 3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Grease a springform pan and sprinkle with cocoa powder. After mixing the wet and dry ingredients, combine them, reserving 1/2 cup of dry ingredients. Add to the 1/2 cup reserved flour mixture:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I always use Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)

Fold the zucchini and chocolate chips into the batter. Pour into the prepared pan. Flatten the batter.

Combine and sprinkle over batter:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, chopped

Bake for 40-50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then un-mold. Enjoy some of this cake with a cup of good coffee.

PS. I’m still working out how I write up recipes. I’ll figure out a better way.

the box – August 12

This week’s share from Our Family Farm (plus supplements):

august 12

and:

august 12

Two yellow squash, one yellow zucchini, two patty pan squashes, three small (and very ripe) tomatoes, two quarts of potatoes, five onions, one pepper, a bunch of spinach, two smallish heads of lettuce, and the ever present dozen eggs. I also bought four ears of corn, a quart of peaches, a pint of grape tomatoes, and a very disappointing melon. The melon was a gigantic beauty from the outside, fragrant and ripe. Way too ripe. I cut into it, my boy excitedly dancing around my heels, saying, “Melon! Melon!” only to have the entire thing be way too mushy to even contemplate eating. Dang it. I did not get a picture of it. I did not even want to dignify it with such a thing. Oh! I forgot I also bought a lovely round of chevre from Zingermans. Clean and light. Perfect.

at the market – August 12

Huh. I’m actually getting a little bored of taking the same kind of shots at the farmers market. I think this is my problem and not the market’s. Time to do something new. Maybe work on documenting the farmers. Or actually document what is at the market. I tend to walk around the market, kids in tow, and whip out the camera to take a couple shots of whatever strikes my fancy. Time to actually focus. For today, a shot of peaches, in black and white. Scandalous, I know.
peaches