seasonal

Farmer’s Markets, Turkish Style

by Caroline

We shop at farmer’s markets so regularly, they are such an unquestioned part of both Lisa’s and my weekly routines, that we don’t actually write much, specifically, about them here.

We have written posts about various fruits or vegetables we’ve introduced to our kids, new recipes found at the market, the farmers or fish mongers we visit, but, as it turns out, not much about the market scene: the day of the week, whether we walk or drive, what the kids like to buy, and how we haul our pounds of produce home.

So I’m looking forward to all of you discovering the three, very different, market essays in our book (available for pre-order now!) and for now, am continuing to punt writing about my local market. Instead, to supplement what I’ve written already about the fabulous street food we found in Turkey, I thought I’d offer a peek at the amazing variety of goods you can find in the local markets:

spices

dishes

more spices

nuts and dried fruit

dates

olives

essential Union Jack sunglasses

backgammon sets

jewelry

fruits and veggies

fresh crepes

nuts

spices and soaps

headphones and Smurfs

more beautiful fruit

fabulous green veg

more glorious spices

just couldn't get enough of the spices

And what, after all this, did we actually buy? Eli bought a laser pointer. Ben bought three different bags of this kind of weird, granulated fruit tea:

And the adults bought the fixings to make a few meals like this:

Summer’s Bounty

by Caroline

Aside from our one disappointing long weekend of notcamping, my family’s enjoyed a fortunate summer. Unlike poor Lisa’s family, who struggled through a difficult summer of illness and hard work and not a lot of fun, relying — as I would — on the comforts of familiar foods — we were able to explore. We tried new things in the kitchen (zucchini blossoms; homemade nutella; mint stracciatella) and we traveled new places (which I will be writing about in the coming weeks).

But I think my favorite part of this sweet summer was one of our most familiar stops, my parents’ home in Connecticut. Summer is my favorite time to visit because my dad’s garden is always so plentiful. We can never predict whether it’s going to be a good year for apples or peaches, potatoes or green peas, corn or beans, but there’s always something.

This year the harvest looked like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Summer is winding down now. School has started, work is amping up, and some worries loom. A new season is beginning. But as I head into the fall and the memory of summer’s bounty starts to fade, I will continue to remember this:

Arugula and Apricot Salad

by Caroline

Our backyard was full of this:

And our fruit CSA had brought us all these:

And so I decided to combine them into this:

Arugula and Apricot Salad

Serves one; adjust amounts according to taste (and your supplies)

Several handfulls of arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 apricot, sliced thinly
6-8 toasted pecan halves
about half an ounce of sharp cheddar cheese (use a vegetable peeler to get thin shavings)
a drizzle of your favorite vinaigrette

Toss all the ingredients together until nicely dressed. Serve.

For the Limoncello Ladies

by Lisa

Last weekend was the annual limoncello brewing party.  The ingredients were familiar: bags full of lemons…

a table of citrus drinks…

a pile of zesters, a stock of Everclear, a row of juicers…

a table full of food…

Friends brought panzanella, mortadella-wrapped grissini, fig covered bruschetta, lemon bars, lemon sauce, vanilla ice cream, fresh berries.  They brought daffodils. We had rice salad with mint and peas and lemon zest, and grilled pork tenderloin with capers. There was sunshine and prosecco and jars filled with curling golden rinds,  looking a lot like liquid sunshine.

But this year? Mostly I want to tell you about a group of women who can sweep into your home with delicious food, help you cook even more food, help set up your yard and house, pack gift bags, enjoy themselves all afternoon , and then? Before you know it, they have cleaned up the dishes, swept your floor, pulled down the folding tables, hand washed the dishes.

There is an art to this kind of generosity, to the gift of time and energy, to being able to pitch in, and do what needs to get done, and to knowing how to treat your friend’s house like your own.  It’s like this every, single time.   More than teaching my kids how to make limoncello, or a good tenderloin, or set the table or throw a good party, I want to teach them this: how to walk into a friend’s home and treat it like their own. How to be generous.

Ladies, thank you.

Grilled Pork Tenderlon with Mustard and Capers

  • Pork tenderloin
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed

For dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • about 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  1. Light salt pork tenderloin, then season with a couple of teaspoons of cumin.  Cover lightly with mustard and about 2 teaspoons of honey. Put seasoned pork in a ziplock bag and sprinkle with about 1/8 cup vinegar, then cover with olive oil.  Add smashed garlic cloves to bag and let marinate a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
  2. In a glass measuring cup pour vinegar on top of the garlic clove and let sit to flavor vinegar for 20-30 minutes or longer. Fish out the garlic cloves, then add an equal amount of mustard and whisk together, then add olive oil slowly in a stream. You should have about 3x the amount of olive oil as mustard + vinegar. But do it to your taste. Whisk in capers.
  3. Heat grill on high, then turn down heat to medium high and grill pork until cooked, about 10 minutes total. The pork will cook very quickly. It’s done when the meat springs back nicely when poked. If it’s mushy or flabby when poked, it’s not done. Be careful not to overcook.
  4. Let the pork rest about 10 minutes, then carve in thin slices and serve with vinaigrette.

Walnuts

By Lisa

One of the contributors to our book, which is just a few weeks away from being sent to the publisher (!), is Jeff Gordinier. He’s written for a lot of places, but these days he makes his home at the Dining Section of the New York Times. He recently sent me a link about harvesting walnuts in France.

It’s a beautiful post, and as I read it, it made me happy to know that we, too, so far from France and big, sustainable gardens, also had a big bowl of walnuts, a bowl for shells, and a cracker out on our counter.  Of course, we don’t harvest the nuts ourselves, but we do get them fresh from an orchard that’s about an hour away from where we live, and every year we say the same thing: We can’t believe how good they are. Fresh, flavorful, tender, sweet.  Our whole family eats them all day long.  A nut here, a nut there, they’re like little nuggets of fall. Ella will crack a few while she’s waiting for breakfast. Finn will ask if he can some after lunch.  (I always say yes.) I’ll have some before dinner.  The shells are thin and easy to crack. The nuts are so solid and compact, and they make little musical clicks as we sort them.  Really, everything about them sings.  They’re a fast, healthy snack that you have work a little for, which isn’t a bad thing. And for me, because we only have them this time of year, they’re just one more thing that reminds us of the present moment. That, and the nefarious way a certain medley of carols keeps being sung over, and over, and over….