When I shop, by necessity or choice, from ordinary places (the corner deli, the “health food” shop, the big “natural” supermarket) I buy the same things over and over again, all the food tastes the same, and I quickly get depressed. So I was very happy to make it to the farmers’ market twice in one week, which seems like a miracle in these busy back-to-school, always-some-crisis-to-face days.
Recently we had a nice piece of roast beef (good for school sandwiches), some superior hamburgers (ground from short ribs, very rich), both from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, and a rack of lamb, which I actually enjoyed. I’ve never been a fan of lamb. But it was the farmers’ market vegetables more than the meats which cheered me up, because they were such a pleasure to cook and to eat, compared with the stuff I’ve been buying in compromise mode. I made wax beans with sauteed corn, dill, and shaved Parmigiano, roasted La Ratte potatoes with rosemary, and sauteed eggplant with cumin and pignoli. We also bought good apples, tasty juice from Red Jacket, good raspberries, and exemplary Tristars, a wonderful all-summer strawberry, from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm. We ate three pints fresh. Then Jacob, who is five, sauteed a few Tristars in butter in his tiny iron skillet, and added them to his yogurt. It’s just like him to make his own dish, and to make it work. They were soft, gently caramelized, and delicious.
In the Tristar photo, you see our September “scene” (centerpiece), a Himalayan salt block we’ve all been licking, with apples Julian picked and a stone Jacob found. It was all red and pink, for Michaelmas on September 29. Then, for Rosh Hashanah, we had the apples with honey to celebrate the sweetness of the New Year.