Saturday, September 01, 2012

Slow Saturday at the market

Saturday has become my grocery shopping day. Thankfully, over time I have figured out how to shop once a week for my husband and I to eat breakfast and dinner at home 6 days a week. When we were first married, I found myself either buying too little or too much food. Now, I go to the grocery store once a week for our eggs, sweet and salty treats and meats. Then, I take my weekly stroll to our neighborhood farmers' market, where I have been buying all of our produce this summer.

This past Saturday, I had a clear schedule and plenty of time to really relish in everything I found at the market. Usually, I map out my shopping list based on what I want to make for the week. This week, I decided to go to market and be inspired. I'd plan out the menu afterwards.

I found an heirloom watermelon, tender little green grapes, brand new honeycrisp and golden delicious apples, and firm little egg-shaped black plums for our fruit this week.

When I shop for vegetables, no matter the season, I always look for the greens first. Huge leaves of curly kale and Swiss chard were bursting out of the baskets and coolers at the market on Saturday. The kale will pair beautifully with creamy baby white lima beans I have in the fridge. It's still hovering around 90 degrees in Philadelphia these days, but this won't stop me from heating up my kitchen to sauté the kale with tiny yellow onions I found at the market too. I'll puree the white beans and mix in the chopped up sauteed kale for a nice spread on crunchy bread or crackers.

A group of a teenagers was new to my neighborhood market this weekend, selling items they grew in their high school gardens. How refreshing it was to have a conversation with the young woman in their group who is from urban Philadelphia, about the spicy bite of their fresh arugula. While I perused their tomatoes and habanero peppers, we talked about how tough it is to keep up with fast growing okra pods that have to be harvested on an almost daily basis. It was great!

Once I gathered my greens, mini onions, potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and a cucumber the size of a small baseball bat, I made my way home to put everything away and map out my menu for the week. Since I had time after my visit to the market, I took a few pictures of the way that I store my produce. My kitchen has been very warm this summer and the little fruit flies have worked my nerves, so I haven't left as many items out at room temp as I would have liked to. But, as you'll see below, I keep the tomatoes out because I really don't like the way they become mealy when they are refrigerated. Thankfully, the little flies that love to hang out near my fruit and tomatoes, stay clear of onions and potatoes.

As you see in the photos below, after I wash all of my greens and herbs, I wrap them in cloth napkins and pop them in large containers to keep them from getting too moist and too dry. This works for keeping the grapes in great shape too. I decided to pop the peppers in the fridge this week to save myself some counter space and, hopefully, minimize the fly invasion.
Sealed plastic container for grapes

Peppers and eggplant in their towel

Tomato and plum bowl at room temp.

Onion and potato basket

Spin and storing the sage
Sealed container for sage leaves

Arugula after washing and spinning

Clean arugula and a bit of sage

Sealed container for arugula

Similar setup for washed kale leaves

Swiss chard leaves. These are spun and stored like the kale.

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