Monday, August 24, 2009

Farmers' market booty

Here is the rundown of what I bought at the Union Square Greenmarket for this week:

-6 ears corn
-1 watermelon
-1 cantaloupe
-2 heads lettuce
-4 large cucumbers
-a couple pounds organic potatoes (for Alice Waters's easy potato gratin)
-4 large tomatoes (I desperately wanted the heirlooms, but they were $3.95/lb, unfortunately out of my price range for this week as I needed lots of tomatoes for Khoresh Bademjan)
-3 eggplant (for the Khoresh as well, which is a Persian eggplant, tomato & lamb stew)
-6 peppers (3 "flame," 3 purple)
-celery (for chicken stock)
-yellow & orange carrots (for stock & for quinoa-stuffed peppers)
-organic whole wheat "peasant" sourdough from Hawthorne Valley
-1/2 lb. fresh tuna (to have raw on salads)
-1/3 lb. Pepato cheese (raw sheep's milk cheese spiced with peppercorn)
-2 shanks (about 1.3 lbs.) from pasture-raised lamb (for Khoresh Bademjan -- this cut has a lot of bone and is good stewed for a long time)
-1.3 lbs. flap steak from Grazin' Angus Acres (this will make several meals sliced thin over salad) *Note: we usually have either red meat or poultry once a week, with leftovers one other night, and maybe for lunch as well. It's very unusual for me to plan two meat dinners in one week, but both of these things will stretch over several meals.

At Whole Foods I picked up the following:
-red cooking wine (for making chicken liver & onion pate)
-Pellegrino (to dilute my current batch of homemade ginger ale)
-organic peanuts (for making peanut butter)
-organic quinoa (for stuffed peppers)
-organic blue corn taco shells (for a quick meal w/black beans, salsa, lettuce & raw milk sour cream)
-one lemon & 3 limes (Hugo likes fresh lime juice on popcorn and cucumbers, and I need the lemon to make mayo)
-raw milk freshly-grated reggiano (Hugo still eats this sprinkled on corn-on-the-cob with mayonnaise like he did when he was little)

The final tab was around $115, and I anticipate some of this stuff lasting into next week. This doesn't include what we spend on raw milk, butter, etc. from our buyers' club, but this week we will be eating particularly well. Considering that in other parts of the world people spend 20+% of their income in food (in Zambia some spend 70% on food), I think we are shamelessly spoiled with low food prices in this country, which makes us expect cheapness at the grocery store. With a little extra effort and a granny cart, anyone can buy most of what they need at the local farmers' market, no matter what their dietary restrictions are. I am incredibly grateful that we can eat so well and get most of what we need from farms in the surrounding area (usually New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania). We are really lucky here in NYC!

Are you a regular at your farmers' markets or local CSA? Please share some of your experiences with buying local seasonal foods.

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