Market Finds

Market Finds
Farmer's Market Bounty

Friday, May 10, 2013

Table for One:

I am sitting in France as I write this post. Not really France, but France of the Epcot variety. I am sitting in France alone, eating lunch. For those of you who travel for business, this may not be such a big deal, eating alone that is. But for me, I have spent my entire life avoiding eating alone. I am a self conscious creature by nature and eating alone brings out some of my biggest insecurities.

For me, sharing a meal with other people, is not just about the food, but the fellowship as well.  Can you have fellowship when you are alone?  As it turns out, you can, and I did!  In fact, I sat for a good hour at my little bistro table, soaking up the sun, people watching and reminiscing about my real time spent in France, so many years ago.  Of course, I recalled the first thing I ate when I arrived in France for an internship.  The lovely couple who picked me up from the airport gave me a sandwich to eat in the car on the way to their house.  It was not the the foot-long submarine from Sub Station II in Clemson, which came with your choice of every type of vegetable, meat, cheese and condiment you could imagine.  No, this was a simple sandwich on a piece of crusty baguette.  One slice of ham, one slice of cheese and a light shmear of salted butter on the bread.  C'est tout!  I loved that sandwich then and as it turns out, it was not that far off from the baguette jambon au beurre that I was enjoying here in faux-France, Chez Disney.  Okay, the Disney baguette, had two pieces of ham and two pieces of cheese, but when you are paying $8.00 for a sandwich, I appreciate the extras.

The bottom line is, to take the time to enjoy your meal, whether it is a feast with family and friends, or a simple lunchtime sandwich.  Your body with thank you for the nourishment that it's given when consumed in a mindful way.  So remember to make every plate something to be passionate about, even if it is a paper plate.

Baguette Jambon au Beurre:
Serves 1

1 5-6 inch piece of fresh, crusty baguette
1 thin slice of best quality ham
1 thin slice of Emmenthaler cheese
1/2 TB of salted butter, room temperature

Slice baguette horizontally, but not all the way through.  Spread each side of bread with softened butter and place the ham and cheese inside.

Close the sandwich and place on a plate.  Sit down at a table and savor this simple delicacy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Holy s#%@! It's Spring

Please don't be offended by my blog title this week ( I'm mainly talking to my mother here), as it is a bit tongue in cheek. I attended a writing workshop recently where we learned about writing a catchy title and an opening sentence that would capture the readers attention. We were advised not to state the obvious. For example: "It's spring and strawberries and asparagus are in season". Well, I have been so worried about how to come up with an interesting way to introduce my spring veggie sauté, that I have almost allowed the entire season to pass me by. So, my writing  may still need some work, but my spring veggie saute is near perfection.

This particular mixture of veggies came together for a class at Cancer Wellness a couple of weeks ago.  I love the simplicity of it's fresh green taste.We served it up, warm,  on a bed of brown rice, as pictured below.  Leftovers can easily be reheated or served cold in a lettuce salad.  I also made a delicious fritatta with the same veggie mixture.

Don't let the bounty of springs fruits and vegetables pass you by.  Take advantage of the season's tender asparagus and fresh peas.  And don't forget the leeks.  This is an often overlooked vegetable.  A member of the allium family, leeks provide a mild onion flavor and a lovely texture when cooked.  I hope you will enjoy this versatile dish as much as I do.
Spring Vegetable Saute:
1 TB Olive Oil
3 leeks, cut crosswise, white and light green parts only*
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Peas (defrosted)
1 bunch Asparagus, cut into thirds
zest of one Lemon
1 garlic clove, grated on a micro plane
1/4 cup chopped Parsley
Step One:
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the leeks and stir to coat with the oil.  Next add the peas and asparagus and continue to stir gently for about 3-5 minutes.  The vegetables will start to turn a nice bright green when they are ready.  If you are a fan of overcooked southern-style vegetables, this is not the recipe for you.  This is more of a crispy stir-fried type dish.  They will soften a bit, but should still have a nice crunch as well.
Step Two:
Turn off the heat and grate the garlic clove directly into the pan along with the lemon zest and salt and pepper.  Stir to evenly distribute the seasonings amongst vegetables. 
Step Three:
Remove veggies to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Happy Spring and remember to keep every plate passionate, no matter what the season!
*Leeks are typically a very sandy vegetable, so it is important to make sure they are cleaned properly.  My favorite way to do this, is to cut off the root tip, then make a horizontaly cut through the leek, starting where the light green part begins and through to the end of the white tip.  Now you will be able to access the many different layers of the leek while you rinse under cool water.  You can cut the leek at this point as directed in the recipe and then give it a spin in the salad spinner to remove any excess water or sand.