From the Market Manager
Don’t you just love shopping at the market this time of year? The hard part is deciding what to buy because this time of the year there is so much to choose from. If you can or freeze some of the bounty, you can enjoy the summer later on.
I always make roasted tomato sauce, applesauce, jam, bread and butter pickles, and sometimes salsa. I freeze blueberries, rhubarb, and peaches which, alas, I can’t do this year due to there being no local ones. I like being able to make something with native fruit during the winter.
Although my family is all grown up, one of my sons lives nearby, and I have friends that I share with. I don’t have a lot of money to give away, so by sharing some of what I make, it makes me feel good.
If you make jam, look for some unusual combinations to make. I made raspberry/peach jam one year that I called peach melba. Then I have made peach cantaloupe with a cinnamon stick that is nice and chunky. I freeze all of the jam that I make, so it lasts a long time.
If you have a special recipe, share it with your family. So often we hear that so and so made a wonderful something, but no-one got the recipe from them prior to their death. Or, make notes in your favorite cookbooks so that when your family is going through your stuff, they will know which recipes you liked.
If you’ve never tried fried green tomatoes, do so. They aren’t sour or bitter at all. Slice, dust with seasoned flour, dip in egg then dip in corn meal. Fry in a frying pan with some oil. Just sprinkle them with salt. Delicious.
This ‘n’ That
If you live in Springfield, you can call 311 for bulk pickup, or to report a code violation, or to be connected to any city department. It’s available in English and Spanish.
Please take your tag sale signs down when the sale is over. Also, if you can whack those stop smoking, or we buy houses signs down from telephone poles, do so. They are illegal, and they junk up the area.
This is going to be the last week that we hand out the X tokens to folks who use their EBT cards as we will have used up the grant money that we received to do that. Those tokens were used to purchase fruits and vegetables only.
Make your own mashed potatoes. Nothing could be easier.
My daughter Jennifer (I only have one daughter) was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in May. As it is a genetic condition, (which we didn’t know about) the doctors believe that this is what her dad died from when he was 40.
Her condition has progressed to the point where she needs open heart surgery. It is a very specialized surgery, so she will have it at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. As of today she doesn’t have a date for the surgery. (We hope it is very soon as she is uncomfortable.) I will be gone from the market for a while. Don’t know when I’m leaving, don’t know when I will return. It all depends on what she needs when we get back to where she lives (D.C.) Fortunately, we have terrific volunteers at our market, and our vendors are very self-sufficient, so you won’t notice a difference except the smart-mouthed manager won’t be at the table to tease you. Also, I have someone who lives in my house so the plants will be watered, garbage taken out, etc. It’s almost like living in a condo; all I have to do is walk out of the house and I won’t have to worry. I will spend my energy being concerned about my daughter.
Bring cookbooks that you aren’t using anymore and put them in the blue bin at the market table. You are welcome to take some also. We all have cookbooks taking up space on our shelves that we either barely, or never use, so give them away.
Thanks to the ladies from UMASS Extension who have come to our market 5 times this season with new ideas about how to use some of the local produce. They also give out lots of recipes and other ideas on how to eat healthfully.
6 cups cubed stale bread
6 cups tomatoes cut into chunks
4 large garlic cloves minced
2 T. chopped fresh oregano leaves
½ cup roughly torn fresh basil leaves
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
½ cup pitted olives
1. Place the bread in a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and basil and toss to mix. Pour in the vinegar and oil and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes so flavors can blend.
2. Toss the olives, if using, toss again, and serve.
3. Note: the bread for panzanella should be country style, with a coarse crumb. Otherwise the salad will be soggy.
Grilled Veggies in a Jar
1. Fill a large jar with an assortment of garden vegetables such as summer squash, onion, any kind of pepper, whole heads of garlic, eggplant,Leave the veggies whole if they are small,or cut in half if large.
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
12 sprigs of fresh parsley
10 garlic cloves cut in half
1 tsp. black pepper
2 T. balsamic or red wine vinegar or juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil.
2. Mix and set aside to marinate at least 30minutes or up to 3 hours
3. Place the veggies around the edges of the grillrack to cook while your meat or fish cooks.
Tomatillos are part of the botanical family that includestomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. In flavor, however,they differ widely from the other nightshades. The tasteand texture most closely resemble green tomatoes, but with a softer, more glutinous pulp, a bit like okra, and a sharper taste. Like green tomatoes, they are almost never used raw. Instead, they are better suited as a mild thickening addition to Mexican and South American style soups and stews or as the center of an unassertive green tomato salsa. Here’s a salsa recipe using tomatillos.
20 tomatillos, about 1 ¼ pounds
2/3s to ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
(If you want it spicy, add red pepper flakes)
1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Peel the papery husks off the tomatillos and add them to the water. Simmer until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool in the water.
2. Lift the tomatillos out of the cooking liquid and transfer to a food processor. Add the cilantro and garlic and puree as fine as possible. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over low heat. Stir in the onions and cook slowly until slightly wilted and no longer sharp tasting, 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatillo mixture and the salt, stir to mix and bring to a boil. Remove from heat right away and transfer to a bowl. Cool, then refrigerate until the flavors soften and blend.
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