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Eating from the Farmers’ Market: Week 10

I’d been feeling sort of cranky and out-of-sorts about this project for about 10 days (last week and part of the week before), and I couldn’t figure out why.  But over the weekend, while I was at the Market, it hit me: I was tired of trying to fix “main” dishes.  I’d been trying to figure out meals according to the usual American standards: one “anchor” dish (usually meat), with a side or maybe two.  In absence of that, I’d rely on pasta dishes, which are more culturally acceptable as “one-dish-wonders.”  And I realized that when I first started doing this, without regard to what the recipes would look like, and whether or not there would be a balance of meaty “mains” and non-meaty “sides,” my eating habits started to change.  Not in the usual “diet-y” sense, but more in how I was structuring my meals.  When I cook without trying to figure out how to squash all the ingredients into a main dish, I end up with a lot more variety in my diet.  I also end up eating antipasto-style all the time.

For instance, instead of chicken with potatoes and some broccoli, I’m more likely to eat a helping of roasted beets, half an artichoke and some sauteed cabbage.  If I toss the beets in olive oil and use a creamy dipping sauce for the artichoke, it fills me up enough that I’m not hungry again in half an hour.  Likewise, if I need something even more substantial, it’s easy to cook some pasta and toss that in with the veggies.  The upshot is that although I’m not focusing on eating less meat, more veggies, etc., I end up doing it, anyway.  So with that in mind, this week I’m going back to fixing things that seem more like side dishes, and not worrying about it if I feel short on “traditional” American main dishes.  🙂

And at the Market this week, I bought:
1/2 chicken – $4.75/pound = $11.50
Ground beef – $7/pound = $7
Napa Cabbage – $3/ea = $3
Snap Peas $2/bag (about 8 oz) = $2
Beets (with greens attached) $1.50/bunch x 2 = $3
Eggs – 1 doz. @ $2.25
Artichokes – 2 @ $3/ea = $6
Apples – $2.00/lb = $2.90

I also headed over to the regular grocery store to buy organic butter, and olive oil and grapeseed oil in glass bottles.  (The glass is important – more on that later.) 

So the week overall was kind of pricey, but I’ll be able to fix a lot more stuff.  I roasted the beets, and they were just ok, but I was able to punch them up with some added ingredients after the fact.  I was going to stir-fry the cabbage and peas, but ended up with a mini-disaster.  I did manage to save it, and I’ll eat it, but it wasn’t great: the flavors were good, but it ended up overcooked.  😦  Artichokes are easy: just steam them and dip in sauce!  And I sauteed the beet greens (instead of throwing them away) – they were AMAZING (I kind of liked them better than the beets themselves), and I’ll share that recipe, too.

Recipes to come on Wednesday!!

Shopping at the Farmers’ Market – Week 3

Well, I made it halfway through the first month!  I’ve definitely noticed an impact on my cooking methods: I can’t really open a book, find a recipe and go out and grab the ingredients, since I don’t have any guarantee that the ingredients I need will be available.  So I’m flying by the seat of my pants a lot more, which is good!

I’ve also noticed that when the food I’m buying tastes better, I’m less likely to do complicated things to it.  Why chop mushrooms into a casserole when they’re amazing roasted with some olive oil and herbs?  I mean, come on: why hide amazing flavor in something else?

Anyway.  All that is neither here nor there.  But this is what I bought this week:
3 lemons – $1
Red onions (2 lbs) – $2
Apples (4 @ $2.25/lb) – $2.50
Artichokes (3 for $5) – $5
Eggs (1 dozen) – $2.25
Mushrooms (1 lb) – $10 (This one hurt the wallet, I can’t lie.)
Liver (1.7 lbs) and sausages (1/2 lb bratwurst, 1/2 lb kielbasa = 4 sausages) – $26.25 (Yeah.  This one hurt, too!)
TOTAL: $49.00

Ok, this was the most expensive trip so far, mainly because of the mushrooms and the meat.  But I like liver and onions, so I thought I’d stash some of that in the freezer for later, and figured I’d eat the sausages this week.

So here’s the plan: Lemons for general use.  Red onions to bake with butter and herbs (and I’ll eat those alongside the sausages, with some of that sauerkraut I bought last week).  Apples for snacks, artichokes for light meals (a whole artichoke with mayo makes a great lunch!).  Eggs are mainly for egg salad (my staple breakfast) and making mayonnaise.  (Yes, you read that right.  I’m going to start making my own mayo!)  Mushrooms – oh, these were a treat.  I’m going to roast them with olive oil and herbs, and I’m REALLY excited.  🙂  Liver for later, and the sausages I covered above. 

So this week’s menu is:
Fennel salad (recipe on Wednesday!)
Sausage, sauerkraut and roasted onions
Roasted mushrooms (I might add some cheese and a splash of half-and-half to make sauce for vegetables and/or pasta.)
Egg salad (with homemade mayo!) on toast for breakfast
Artichokes for light lunches
Apples for snacking

YUM.  I’m kind of hungry just looking at that!

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Up and running in January.