Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Farmers' Market Shopping

I consider myself so lucky to have the time to patronize our local farmers' market. I love the opportunity to buy fresh, local produce, as well as the ability to support local farmers. I'm not going to pretend I could do what they do, which makes them like heros in my mind. What's more is that they're just nice. They care about keeping me as a customer, and do little things to reflect that. I ask questions and get great advice on storing, prepping, and cooking the food. You just couldn't get that kind of service at any grocery store. There's something exciting in the air at the market that makes me want to buy more food than we could possibly eat, and that keeps me peering over at every stand each week to see what they're offering.

Today was quite plentiful. Peaches, nectarines, and the like are in season, so I tend to save that stand until the end. I like to splurge a little if I have enough money left. Cherries made their last appearance today (apparently, mother's day thru father's day only). I also picked up a bunch of other beautiful fruits and vegetables to last us the week, including something I haven't seen in ages...figs! I've been experimenting with fresh and sprouted legumes, and they are just delicious. You can eat them raw in a salad, but if that's a bit too hearty, just cook them up for about 30 minutes. It's enough to cook them while still retaining nice body and bite. I got a mix of black beans, garbanzo beans, peas, and lentils, and I'm very happy with the results.

Red Lentils

Olive oil
pinch of salt
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 lb red lentils, which cook faster than other lentils
1-1 1/2 cups water (you can use broth, but I've had great results with just plain water)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat some olive oil in a pot. Add a pinch of salt (helps keep the onions from burning) and the onion. Reduce to low heat and sweat for about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, beans, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes (more for other lentils). Season to taste.