MY MARKET GOODIES
Small, tailgate markets need our support in order to draw more farmers and more customers. So instead of heading out on Saturday morning to my town's bigger markets, I hit the North Raleigh market off Durant Road. I find about a dozen or more tables laden with organically-grown produce, pasture-raised meats, free-range chicken and duck eggs, and freshly roasted coffee from Muddy Dog Roasting Co. I also bought their bag of "roasted" yellow corn meal, which promises a more robust, nutty flavor. I can't wait to make some polenta or cornbread with it.
Thick, meaty pork chops from pigs who will soon have a portable pen, or "pig tractor," came from Little River Ranch near Hillsborough. Free-range eggs, Mountain-variety tomatoes, a great head of lettuce, and yellow squash got me real excited. So did the fingerling-style potatoes - red, purple and creamy white. And the first of the season peaches! Cling peaches will be in by next week, I understand.
Grilled squash, 'mater sandwiches, a frittata, pork chops with the potatoes, peaches sliced on my granola, and a heavenly-fresh lettuce salad are what's on the menu at our house this week. Can't wait!
CHARD, ARUGULA, SPINACH taking the heat.......
Up in the cooler ranges of the Blue Ridge, markets are still featuring some of the cooler weather greens, like rainbow chard, collards, or spinach. I expect you better grab some fast before the hot weather does it in.
Last week I was in Galax, VA at the town's Book Festival sponsored by Chapters Bookshop. I found some gorgeous rainbow chard at the market, so for my demo of a recipe from THE NEW BLUE RIDGE COOKBOOK, decided to do May Greens Farmer's Market, a recipe shared by Shiloh Avery of Tumbling Shoals farm, who sells at the Watauga Farmers Market in Boone.
Just about any green can be sliced into ribbons or a chiffonade, then sauteed with onions, mixed with feta and hot pasta. It's a simple and easy dinner, fast food, if you will!
1 package spinach linguine or other fresh (or dried) pasta
splash olive oil
1 bunch (4 to 6 cups minimum) chopped rainbow chard or other green
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches green onions
5 to 6 ounces feta cheese
freshly ground pepper
1. Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil. If pasta is fresh, be careful not to overcook. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, separate the stems from the chard leaves. Coarsely chop the stems. Stack the leaves on top of one another, roll them like a cigar, and coarsely chop.
3. Heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large,heavy skilet. Saute the onion and chard stems (not the greens!) in the oil for about 6 minutes or until getting just tender.
4. Add the chard greens and salt. Cook until wilted.
5. Add the drained pasta and the feta cheese and continue cooking for another minute, until the feta begins to melt. Add ground black pepper and serve.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.