Ah, it’s a sweltering 8 million degrees here in Atlanta today, and I am so enjoying myself. With only one client on my docket this evening, I have been recharging my batteries all day long. I didn’t even realize how much I needed a day to breathe and regroup. I’ve marked many items off my To Do list and actually pampered myself just a tiny bit. Lovely.
The last few weeks have been jam-packed: welcoming new clients, visiting markets, cooking up a storm, and generally being busy with my work. This is the week that all of my teacher friends went back to the grind, and my heartstrings are not tugging one iota. Instead, I am basking in the joy of my decision to go rogue and grow this little idea I had for a food business. The positive feedback from clients keeps on flying in, mostly in the form of hilarious emails like this one, “Loving it! Making the Mexican salad right now. Pete may elope with your farro salad.” And so I smile. A lot.
My happiness meter (happy-ometer?) is literally off the charts these days, mostly because of these
and the likes of this.
This is the best time of year for me- as a lover of food, an eater, an avid cook, and a food business owner. I could easily eat tomatoes three times a day, so the abundance of these wonders is just tickling my fancy. I can weave corn into just about any dish or culture of cuisine, including an Italian inspired frittata and curried corn cakes I made for my vegetarian clients yesterday. Love me some cukes and zukes. I don’t ever tire of them, really. And I totally grin when I open my fridge and smell sweet cantaloupe. Ah, the bliss…
We actually arrived at the market early enough on Sunday to taste one these illustrious H & F scones.
Each Sunday prior to this one, my poor sweet-tooth of a husband would look almost teary-eyed at the SOLD OUT sign on the chalkboard. (Alright, maybe not teary, but he was definitely disappointed and longing to try a scone!) Happily, the scone (date and walnut) satisfied Adam’s craving. His report was- buttery and sweet, with a date and nut complement. Total biscuit goodness. I took a bite and it was yummy. And I am not ashamed to admit that I devoured yet another one of their bacon cheddar croissants in about 3 seconds. But, those were like our breakfast-tizers. There was more to see and taste!
After weeks of gawking at the folks from Sweet Georgia Grains, admiring their variety of homemade granolas, we finally grabbed some of their tasty Good Morning Cranberries! Light,crisp, and sweetened just enough by maple syrup.
And you know I grabbed a big tub of Atlanta Fresh Greek yogurt, but my quirky friend was not manning the booth. Sorta bummed me out not to see him, actually. I did find out a bit of news- they are no longer offering their delicious buffalo mozzarella. Apparently, the cows are too hot. And hot cows do not produce good cheese. Rather than putting out “a crappy product” they will refrain from making cheese until the cows cool down. I respect that and will be waiting.
Have you seen this smile?
This is Brittany Grace from Grace’s Goodness. I see her each week at the market, where she sells her homemade prepared foods. She infuses the freshest ingredients into her goodies, specifically those sold by her neighboring vendors. I’ve stopped by to have a sip of her cucumber water before. But this week, I was stopped in my tracks.
Those are jars of coconut peanut butter. Yes, Ma’am. Coconut and peanut butter are two flavors that I absolutely love to combine- actually one of my newest favorite recipes I’ve concocted is coconut peanut sauce that I’ve tossed with Udon noodles and fresh veggies and shrimp or chicken. My clients are raving about that sauce. It will make you slap yo mama, as we say in the South. So…when I saw Grace’s Goodness bottling homemade coconut peanut butter, I had to get me some. Thus far, I’ve just been stealing spoonfuls out of the jar. But soon enough, I will call it dinner.
Another booth I have drooled over week after week is The Little Tart.
I love their sign.
Support your local everything. Yes. I concur. Check out this amazing tray of fruity pastries,
and their breads,
cheese straws and brunch puffs.
Talk about a portable breakfast. The eggs inside were so light and fluffy and the cheesey outside had a buttery, flaky crust. Unbelievably delish.
After licking our fingers, we made our way down to Turtle Bend’s table, where I saw those beautiful tomatoes from the first photo in this post. They also had a huge bin of fresh basil,
and these picturesque eggplants.
So perty. This leads me to this week’s recipe. A simple one, shared with Turtle Bend’s CSA community in mind, since they were all receiving fabulous eggplant this week.
You know that I’ve been on a vegetarian cooking adventure this year, cooking full meals for my Wednesday friends. And one week, a while back, I decided to create a Greek night for them. I made hummus, tabouleh, and baba ganoush and served them with fresh veggies and flat bread for dipping. I was very pleased with the way my baba ganoush turned out, and my clients were super happy too. It was my inclination to maintain some texture in my ganoush,
rather then making it a smooth paste. I guess I didn’t want to pummel the poor eggplant into nothingness- it didn’t do anything mean to me.
Don’t blink, because this won’t take long at all!
Oh my- only five ingredients! You can literally whip this up in no time.
I started by preheating my oven to 400 degrees. I used a paring knife to pierce the eggplants all around. Then, I placed them in a roasting pan and covered the pan with foil. I let them cook for about 30 minutes, until the skin became wrinkly
and was easy to peel off.
Be careful when you do this. It’s best to cut off the top and then pull the skin off while it’s still hot, but you may want to protect your hand from the heat with a kitchen towel. Then, I just cut the eggplants into chunks and put them into my ginormous food processor
along with 4 large cloves of garlic, 2 generous Tablespoons of tahini (sesame paste), a pretty big handful of Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, the juice of 2 lemons, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. You can add a pinch of red pepper flakes here too, adding a little kick to your baba ganoush. Then, I just started pulsing to combine the ingredients. After a few pulses, I stopped, scraped down the sides of my food processor, and started pulsing again while I slowly streamed in some olive oil.
It’s kind of like making pesto. I pulsed a few more times and then I tasted the goodness, added more salt, a little bit more parsley, and pulsed a couple more times. And that is all it takes.
I took this bowl of yumminess over to our friend’s house to serve as an appetizer with veggies and a variety of crackers and we all just kept on dipping, and dipping, and dipping. And there were lots of MMmmmms coming out of our mouths while the baba ganoush was going in. Well, not like chewing with our mouths open, but I think you catch my drift.
That’s all for this week, friends. A simple treat. I think I’m going to make another batch tonight for friends who are coming over for dinner. I’m going to learn how to make pork dumplings from an expert!! Stay tuned, maybe I’ll snap some photos while I learn!
I hope that you are enjoying the heat and the amazing fruits and veggies that come with it. I also hope you remember to take some moments to recharge your own batteries. Lord knows, we all need it now and again.
Happy cooking and eating to you,