It’s Not Over Until We Say It’s Over

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November 4, 2008 at 2:04 am

Rob Gardner

Just when the markets seemed over for me, I got in a bus and made it to another market, the last market of the year being held at Eli’s Cheesecake Factory.  I also got one more box from my summer CSA. 

You too can do some one more time shopping.  Although the Il Dept. of Ag “Agrihappenngs” page does not say so, the Evanston Farmer’s Market has one more week.  Green City’s going strong.  In honor of the forthcoming election (Michael where’s our official endorsement), I say buy early, buy often.

Between the box and the market, here’s what I’ve added to the collection:

  • More apples – If I was in high finance (I’d probably lost my shirt on credit default swaps), I’d say I bought three tranches of apples.  A small bag, maybe eight, Cox Orange Pippen.  These are just before soft, so the plan is to eat now.  Then, I got about five pounds of baking apples, Cortlands and Law Rome.  Finally, some for keeping, Fuji and Empire for later outta hand eating.  The CSA box also included a bunch of apples.
  • More potatoes – I may have hit my threshold on fancy potatoes as I took home about 10 lbs of fingerlings and German Butterball and different blues.  Roasting will be my default for these type of potatoes, but they are great in salads too.  I probably won’t be frying them, but if Joel Robochon comes over for dinner, I might mash them.
  • More leeks – My wife’s pissed that I took the word of Chad Nichols over her, that leeks keep well.  “They continue to grow in the fridge,” he advised.  “Just discard the outer layer.”  So I got three more bunches.  While leeks make a great stock veg, do not dismiss them as a veg-veg too.  A little cooking and the bite disappears.  Dress with all sorts of dressings, but I really like them with something mustardy.  As my wife did for Rosh Hashanah, a bit of fruit, say some raisins, also marries well.
  • More celery root – When we were lasting discussing celery root, I conveyed my distress over celery root.  Would I use it now or save it for then (the quagmire over celery root is just the kinda thing that my wife cites when she says we do not eat like normal people).  Anyways, I decided why have a limited quantity of celery root.  With six more purchased, I can eat some now and save some for the colder times.
  • Shallots – We’ve made only one, I believe, shallot purchase so far.  This is a long keeper, and the amount I got yesterday should last me a long while.  If my wife and I were French Chefs, we would have innumerable needs for shallots.  Instead, we use shallots mostly for salad dressings and sometimes for cooked dishes. 
  • Peppers, sweet and hot – Like I say, not over until we say it’s over.  I managed to find about eight red or yellow peppers that will be frozen for later use.  I found enough more hot peppers to keep my mouth a-burnin’ for a good while longer.  The CSA also included a few green bell peppers and, surprise, a red bell pepper.  I have these dedicated to raw use, such as in a Greek inspired bean salad that’s on my to-do list. 
  • Beets – My family and I are very fortunate that Farmer Vicki plants for a robust fall, unlike some other farmers.  This means that she’s still harvesting things like beets.  The box included six beets and their equally useful tops.  My wife wants to have at least some raw, with a spicy yogurt dressing a la Mado.
  • Bok choi – The CSA box had two gorgeous heads of bok choi, a red variety.  Normally, I’m not a fan of Vicki’s obsession with bok choi and other stir-fry-ish things, but these bok choi are so damn fine, I cannot wait to use them.  The plan: braise with leftover white wine, maybe some veg stock and a drizzle of hot butter at the end.
  • Celery – Vicki grows great tasting veg, but like I say, I’m not always 100% with her on seed selection.  This is not just celery it’s some kinda skinny red, almost looks like fennel, celery.  Not munching celery but good for a variety of cooking uses.  As the Editor-in-chief notes, celery can be as much an herb as anything.
  • Lettuce – Vicki has been complaining that the late season rains crimped her lettuce crop too much, but what came in the last CSA box looks pretty un-crimped.  Salad, duh.
  • Garlic braid – Chad Nichols made up a few braids of garlic to sell.  It was not the best of prices; no where close to the steal I got last year, but I payed the $10 for about 20 garlic heads to ensure I had a steady supply of garlic for the upcoming months.
  • Daikon radish – Two, if I’m diligent, I shall pickle them.  If not, they’ll just be sliced and used raw.
  • Cabbage – A pretty big head of white cabbage.  We have now, three in the fridge, two white and one red.  I will probably make more slaws, but I also plan on braising some.  Cabbage with brown butter sounds nice to me.  I am really intrigued by this Harsch Fermenting thing, and next year this time of year might be sauerkraut time of year (yes I could make it the traditional way, but I want the comfort of technology behind me.)

Most Chicago area farmer’s markets have packed it in for the season.  It does not mean you cannot find yourself this weekend at a market.  You think the above is enough reason to shop, take a look at what Harmony Valley people will be selling this weekend in Madison.  All the local families can still find food this time of year.

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