There are leaves all over my back yard, and I am wearing a long sleeve shirt this morning. Aahhhh! As much as I am starting to believe that fall really is coming, the Marietta Farmer’s Market indulged me with a little summertime extension last weekend.
Hooray for more Georgia corn!! The Marietta Market is much bigger than Grant Park. There are many more vendors and the farmers seem to come from further distances to sell their crops. This particular veggie stand doesn’t have a sign, but it is run by a family from Madison, Georgia. Their produce is crisp and fresh. We’ve tried these crazy Asian melons before,
a wacky cross between a cucumber and a watermelon. Strangely delicious.
And I had to grab some of their cucumbers this week, one of those ingredients I have a hard time living without.
Although I thought the peaches were gone for the season, apparently I just had to drive OTP, outside the perimeter of the city, which is a stretch for this in-town girl. Peaches were all over the place!
And the apples are coming in by the basket full.
So, this seems like a very lucky time to me- one that provides summer’s best and brightest, along with some new fall additions. I am not complaining about that.
In addition to offering a wide variety of produce- piles of peppers,
vats of garlic,
(with which we made a scrumptious PCBLT that Adam named The Great Divide.
H & F’s multigrain bread with avocado mayo on one side, Adam’s pimento cheese on the other, crispy bacon, a juicy Turtle Bend tomato and that awesome Bibb lettuce in the middle. YUM!)
and gorgeous flowers-
this market is also a great place to fill your belly! Many of the vendors provide tasters of their foods, tempting folks with happy mouths to dig into their pockets and shell out cash for the real deal.
Paul makes a mean curried chicken pot pie.
The flavors are warm and well-balanced. The chicken is tender and cooked to perfection.
Simply Fresh had several salads available for our tasting pleasure, and I think their style of salad construction is similar to my own.
And these cats
make slammin’ barbecue sauce in several different styles.
Pine Street Market employees win the contest for best uniforms.
I love bacon too!!! And they have a plate o’ bacon for the taking at all times.
My Jersey peeps are represented at the Hoboken Bread and Bagel Company,
and since my family was together in New Jersey without me this past weekend, I decided to grab my breakfast from my homeland folks.
Pimento cheese and bacon pastry. I can only imagine that you’ve identified a theme in my market breakfast selections… We had to pull over to share our treat, since this market is really busy. It’s definitely not as easy to take photos and talk to farmers and artisans at Marietta as it is in Grant Park, since there are lines at just about each booth. Trade offs…bigger market, more variety, not quite the same intimate feel. The good thing is- you can have both! Marietta’s market is Saturday and Grant Park’s is Sunday.
One cool bonus was the musicians playing on the street,
adding an Old Timey soundtrack to the morning.
After perusing both lanes thoroughly, checking out the bees-
busy making Hometown Honey,
and learning that there is such a thing as Sicilian zucchini,
we circled back to Turtle Bend’s table
to pick up our goodies from Adam Lowe. Those cherry tomatoes are awesome!
And the watermelons = gigantic!
We were thankful to receive another big bag of peppery arugula this week.
big beautiful tomatoes, purple basil, friggitello peppers (which I love), eggplant, zephyr squash, brown crowder peas, and the first apples of the season- ginger golds. Not too shabby, eh?
My first task was to create two salads for my friends who were having guests. The salads needed to complement smoked ribs and a pork tenderloin roasted with apples. My kinda dinner- pork and pork!! The first salad I made was a simple arugula salad with my fresh cucumbers, sweet ground cherries, roasted pepitas, and salty ricotta salata. Somehow, I have no photos of that colorful bowl of freshness. Woops.
The second salad utilized whole wheat couscous and garbanzo beans along with
zephyr squash, a friggitello pepper, chives, pine nuts and organic sweet peas. Simple ingredients tossed in a purple basil ginger dressing.
Again, just a few ingredients go a long way, especially when they are of such high quality.
I combined the zest and juice of a lemon, a squeeze of honey, the leaves off 2 sprigs of purple basil, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, about a 2 inch chunk of ginger, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper. That’s a lot of 2s. I should call it the Noah’s Arc dressing. After pulsing the ingredients together, I streamed in a bit of olive oil while I blended.
and I got this fabulous pink dressing. Don’t worry, the whole salad did not turn pink.
Tangy, bright, and flavorful. I love this stuff. It’s got lots of personality.
Meanwhile…I toasted up my pine nuts and also my garbanzo beans.
I like to crisp up my garbanzos for salads to add texture. After rinsing and draining the beans, I add them to a hot skillet (medium to medium high heat) with a good drizzle of olive oil. This time, I just seasoned with salt and pepper,
but I’ve used curry powder, cayenne, and other dried spices too. Honestly, I could probably down the whole lot of curried toasted garbanzo beans in one sitting. They are addictive. Be careful when you try this method. If your heat is turned up too high, the chick peas will start popping out of the pan- and they are hot!
Couscous take like 5 seconds to cook. Okay, 5 minutes. But still. So easy. Bring 1 1/2 Cups broth to a boil in a small pot. Add 1 Cup of whole wheat couscous along with one pressed clove of garlic, salt and pepper.
Cover your pot and remove it from the heat. Allow the couscous to sit for five minutes. Then lift the lid and fluff your couscous with a fork. It’s almost like not even cooking it’s so simple.
So, with my nuts and beans toasted and my couscous fluffed, everything needed to cool. I went to work preparing the rest of the ingredients.
I grated my zephyr squash, because I love the moisture and texture it brings to a salad. I defrosted some sweet green peas- for their color and sweetness (and since I used my only fresh green items in my arugula salad). I diced up my red friggitello pepper- my new favorite pepper- and cut up a few chives for a mild, fresh onion flavor.
Once everything was sufficiently cool, I added all of my ingredients to the bowl of couscous.
Then, I drizzled on some of my dressing and mixed it all together, tasted, and added more dressing. A little sprinkling of salt and pepper and a pretty little bit of basil for garnish.
The result was a colorful, flavorful salad with a variety of textures,
which went over extremely well with the crowd of guests.
The beauty of a salad like this is that you can switch up the ingredients based upon what you have in your fridge and/ or pantry. You can change the flavors to match any dinner theme or culture of cuisine. Adding curry powder, hot Indian pepper powder and a curried orange dressing would flip this whole salad on its ear. In a good way. You could go totally Italian or even make it Thai-licious. It’s all up to you.
It’s time for me to get on to the market now and then get back into my kitchen for a veggie Wednesday extravaganza. I hope that you are having a lovely day and gearing up for a fun-filled and delicious holiday weekend. Enjoy your time chillaxing with family and friends.
Happy cooking and eating to you,