Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Farmer's Feast

Reason #237 why I love Durham: The Farmers Market!

Working from home has been a new adventure this week... more on that later. To avoid becoming a hermit, I try to have at least one outing per day. Today I ventured to the Durham Farmers Market with the Duke "partners" club. (Basically, the wives club) Now, I've been to some places that called themselves "farmers markets", but this was the real deal. Every stall must have an actual farmer present selling the products. Every farm must be 40 miles or less from the market. I went with the intention of not buying anything, but (who are we kidding) I saw about 25 things that caught my eye right away. The market only takes cash, and I only had a $20 bill. No worries - I got EVERYTHING you see here for $15. That's right - a giant package of homemade mozzarella, 1/2 pound okra, 5 heirloom tomatoes, 1 pound of baby "fairy" eggplant, and a big bunch of basil - all for $15, and I still had $3 left for a homemade blueberry lemonade at the market. Yes, please.

Here is the delightful lady who sold me my cheese.

I wasn't in the market for flowers today, but if I was...

Who knew there were 10 different kinds of potatoes?

This was the bounty I came home with. I decided to make a meal with only the things I bought at the market and what I already had in the kitchen .

Dish #1: Oven Fried Okra
Soak okra briefly in mixture of milk (or buttermilk), hot sauce, and an egg.

Toss okra in a mixture of cornmeal and Cajun seasoning. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Cook at 410 until browned, tossing a few times.
Dish #2: Caprese Salad
Side note: Believe it or not, I found these heirloom tomatoes in a bin labeled "freak tomatoes". I was a little wary, so I asked the lady, "Why are these freak tomatoes?" She said, "Oh, because they are ugly." Wha??? They were a little mis-shapen, maybe a little lopsided - a spot here and there. But they looked A-OK delicious to me. I picked out five "freak" tomatoes (poor little guys), and guess what - all 5 cost $1. TOTAL! They were some of the best tomatoes I've ever had. I see more freaks in my future.

Anyway... slice up your freak tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. Make 'em look nice.

Top with sliced fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a liberal sprinkle of kosher salt.

Dish #3: Chicken & Eggplant Parmesan
Slice eggplant into thin sections (mine were baby and so cute, so I just cut them in half). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, & pepper. Roast until tender at 410.

Thinly slice a chicken breast. I only had ONE small chicken breast, but it was plenty. I made three thin slices. Dredge in breadcrumbs with some Italian seasoning. Quickly brown in a skillet with olive oil. Mine only took like a minute or two.

Layer some store bought marinara on roasted eggplant.

Top with chicken, more marinara, and fresh mozzarella.

Broil on high until browned.

Here was the final product. All fresh, all local, and all under $8 per person.


1 comment:

Shayla said...

Looks delicious and nutritious! So glad you're loving Durham!!

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