The fall chill is settling in up north in Michigan. Today was a cold misty rainy day for the final outdoor Sara Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City. Despite the cold and rain, the market was still filled with vendors with an abundance of products and a crowd of shoppers enjoying the beautiful fall crops along with other products from baked goods, to honey and maple syrup, cheese and butter and homemade soaps and beauty products. With so much to offer it is sad to see the market come to an end, but we take solace in knowing that many of the vendors will be moving to the indoor market on Saturdays at the Grand Traverse Commons.
I love the fall crops. Today in my 9 Bean Rows CSA bag I found potatoes, onions, broccoli, acorn squash and carrots along with the usual greens, eggs and bread. I also picked up some cherry tomatoes sweet enough to compete with the Halloween candy. Another vendor at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market had a great deal on MacIntosh apples for the last market so I bought a peck of apples. I am looking forward to making and canning some applesauce. Even when I get to North Carolina I will still be able to enjoy the taste of these deliciously sweet and tangy Michigan apples! Continue reading
Finally after a long hot summer in Austin, I am back up north in Michigan. Oh, how good it is to be home! I arrive here with a slight tug on my heart from my life I have left after twenty some years in Texas. It is time to move on to new adventures but it is with more than a little regret that I face this change. For a place I never expected to live and then never planned to stay, Texas has shaped my life in a myriad of ways. I came to Dallas a small town mother of a baby and left Austin a city woman and mother of two grown daughters.
Food provides an enduring connection to Texas, perhaps more so than most areas of the country. As with so much in Texas, the food is big and bold. We love our distinct Texas barbecue with that luscious brisket, the smokier and fatter the better. Our Tex-Mex can be had outside the borders but it is never the same without that Texas accent from the cook or server or the locally grown ingredients. College girls’s biggest regret about the move is that she won’t be able to come home to Texas for her barbecue or Tex-Mex. Needless to say we ate at Micklethwaite in Austin several times when she was home in August. If you want lasting memories, it should only be of the best! And breakfast tacos, oh my! The thought of breakfast tacos not being available at almost every corner is almost too much to bear! To cope, I will be a regular reader of The Homesick Texan blog. Fortunately, I saw Lisa Fain last year at the Texas Book Festival in Austin and bought both of her cookbooks. Little did I know I would soon be joining her as a homesick Texan-at least in terms of the food! Continue reading
A few nights ago, I went out to eat at a favorite local restaurant with a friend. Being in amazingly great shape, she eats the sort of food that I now only dream about. While I ordered my salad with grilled chicken and a vinaigrette my friend ordered a wedge salad. The wedge salad is the poster salad for sinful eating. All that creamy dressing, bacon and mounds of blue cheese should come with transportation to the hospital for the coronary it is sure to cause. But I still wanted one. Watching her eat it, I decided I could surely make a wedge salad that while maybe not entirely healthy, would certainly be an improvement.
So I set out to find a dressing. Williams Sonoma has a recipe for a Wedge Saladwith a Buttermilk dressing which sounded pretty good. Well, except I didn’t have any chives. Perhaps instead of chives, I could use the ramp greens. Really, what isn’t better with ramps? Fortunately, I had a pint of buttermilk and had just made yogurt with the milk I bought from Shetler Family Dairy at the farmers market. I love it when most or all of my ingredients are locally grown.
Finally! My return up north in Interlochen Michigan dovetails nicely with the return of the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market in Traverse City. In fact, I have decided that my up north season should be defined by the start and end of this market.
Getting up Saturday morning, I was anxious to resume my weekly farmers market ritual. After the long cold winter the crops are just beginning to take off. Most of the farmers use hoop houses to grow greens and starts for more tender crops to extend the growing season. This early in the year, the produce offerings are primarily greens. Kale, lettuce and arugula were plentiful. I also found some lovely mild radishes. This is also the time for two of my favorite foods–ramps and asparagus.