Through the crowds and into the market a world awaits me. Exotic fruits, luscious vegetables, and peculiar personalities. An uncharted world for one raised on the supermarkets of America. I learn simple things like knowing to smell a melon or mush a peach (but only on top). It is a food education and the market is the classroom.
I forget the real world and act like a kid. I squeeze and smell, question and query, fondle and forage. Nobody yells or gets angry, it’s what you’re supposed to do. The farmer smiles like a proud father just waiting to tell a story. All I have to do is ask the right question, or in most cases the dumb one. How do I eat this?
The answers are always unique and deep. How to pick, prepare, cook, cut, eat, and enjoy.
Every week is a surprise for what I will find. This time it was jalapeño peppers. I thought I knew about them, until I found the pepper farmer. He offers a colloquial description of each variety and I go with the ones that are semi-hot but not really. At home I cautiously sample one and his description was precise.
This is my food life. A weekly adventure where I dive into the world of food. I become a curious kid encouraged to learn and ask questions. My teachers are the farmers and their friends and family who have devoted their lives to growing food. When I buy their wares I’m supporting that devotion. Something I never felt at the supermarket. This way of life fills my belly and my heart. I am a part of a community. I am connected to the land, to my neighbors, and eating like a king.
Every year I grow a tomato plant and about this time, late summer, it produces way more than I can handle. At the farmers market, tomatoes are cheaper than ever as are complimentary ingredients like peppers, cilantro, basil, etc. Which always leaves me left with heaping bowls of tomatoes and until this year I was never sure what to do with them.
The cultural and family expertise of handling real food is many generations removed in my family. My remaining grandparent only has a few tips and only around Atlantic fish (he’s from Newfoundland in Canada). This means I’ve had to play around with various tomato recipes while researching what others do. Now, a few years later, I am leading a renaissance of real food in my family and ready to share those tips with you. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get in the kitchen or visit your farmers market for a few pounds of tomatoes!
I’ve found four delicious ways to handle the tomato overload. They are marinara/meat sauce with pasta, pico de gallo, insalata caprese, and plain old can-freezing. The first three can be a full meal with all the extra ingredients, while the last insures a prolonged tomato enjoyment throughout the winter.
Anyone who’s seen a Julia Child cooking show loves the woman. She was so interesting and weird, over-the-top and funny, and brought so much French cooking to America. Her work inspired a generation of chefs, including bringing cadre of talented French chefs to our shores.
Today, you can find fine French food everywhere and cooking shows run like marathons. So, take some time out of your daily food watching to celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday. The internet is doing what it does best, organizing awesome events around obscure topics:
Preliminaries. About an hour before serving, place the ears of corn in a deep bowl, cover with cold water and weight with a plate to keep them submerged. Light your charcoal fire and let it burn until the bed of coals is medium-hot; adjust the grill 4 inches above the fire.
Grill the corn. Lay the corn on the grill and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are blackened. Remove, let cool several minutes, then remove the husks and silk. About 10 minutes before serving, brush the corn with melted butter, return to the grill and turn frequently until nicely browned.
Techniques. Soaking in Water, Roasting in the Husk: The preliminary soaking keeps the outside from burning right off the bat and the inside damp enough to steam. First roasting in the husk penetrates the corn with leafy flavor, but the step is often omitted—especially with sweet corn.
Episode 103: Jacques helps his daughter Claudine relinquish her fear of making pastry with his easy Tartelettes Aux Fruit Panaches. She goes on to assist her father in the kitchen as he makes his variation of the very traditional French, Tarte Tatin. Jacques then shares his mother’s recipe for Mémé’s Apple Tart using an unusual method to make the pastry. Finally his granddaughter Shorey joins him to make and taste Individual Chocolate Nut Pies.
“You cannot make great food without mixing some love into it.”