When you think of farmers' markets, you imagine fruit and vegetable stands bristling with seasonal produce. Right? At least that's what I'd expect. So I ventured out alone on Saturday morning, while the kids were still asleep, deciding to give the nearby farmers' market one more try. I arrived and left within 20 minutes, having walked up and down the stands twice in hopes of seeing more farm fresh produce. Instead I saw a greater percentage of prepared foods, soaps, and food trucks compared to fresh produce.
Perhaps I was spoiled by the plentiful produce stands in Berlin last summer where the market emphasized more on the "farmers'" instead of "market". Where we purchased dozens of quail eggs every Wednesday and Saturday, knowing that back home we have no such option. Or maybe I just expected to have a greater variety from which to choose. Despite that, I left with two dozen farm fresh eggs from two different farms, a tiny head of cabbage, and one bunch of rainbow Swiss chard. For a moment, I thought of driving downtown to the other farmers' market but decided it was getting late and the kids might be awake and waiting for breakfast.
Cinnamon was awake when I got home. She's the early bird like me. Everyone else was still asleep. Breakfast ended up being our typical weekday fare...eaten around noontime. Grocery shopping was next - a chore I prefer getting done during the week but one that was somehow neglected this Spring Break week. I ended up taking both Cinnamon and Sage with me while Saffron went to Home Depot with Papa. Saffron had this idea of a wooden food box she wanted built. One with different food compartments for birds, frog, people...I'm curious to see what she ends up doing with it.
Plan and tools in hand, my husband was busy with Saffi's project this weekend.
My fun project of the weekend was starting the patio "garden". It wasn't my intention at first, but when we arrived at the downtown Whole Foods (because the small store "close" to our house offers little compared to the headquarters store and the one at The Domain has been delayed for 6 years now), the first thing I noticed was the plants. Determined to start my container garden earlier this year than last, I selected a few plants to get me started this weekend. I also wanted to try growing something new that I didn't last year...like bell peppers and chard. The basil, thyme, chives, oregano, mint, and rosemary I planted last year proved a dream in the kitchen. However, only the chives survived.
One evening last summer, when the first tomatoes were ripening, I remember thinking how I'd have that first cherry tomato for breakfast. Sadness set in the following morning as I spied the tomato lying pierced on the patio next to the tomato plant - an obvious victim of a bird's flyby. From then on, I ended up picking tomatoes that were not yet fully ripe just so the birds wouldn't get to them first. This year I need to come up with a strategy to not lose too many cherry tomatoes to the birds. A barbed wire scarecrow?
Sunday breakfast hinted towards spring. Ricotta pancakes (from Rose Bakery's cookbook "Breakfast Lunch Tea") topped with lemon sugar and strawberries with mint and additional lemon sugar. I was happy to have discovered that Central Market finally had the Calabro brand of ricotta in stock. I bought four one-pound containers which should last me until the next shopping trip.
The original recipe did not list sugar as one of the ingredients. I added 50 grams of castor sugar and the zest of one lemon.
Maple sugar was out of the question for topping these delicious pancakes. Instead, I combined strawberries with fresh mint leaves and additional lemon sugar.
Warm weather this past weekend meant that Sunday dinner took place outside - the first time since the bitter Texas cold set in last winter. By the time the filet and onions were finished on the grill, it was already dark when we finally sat down to eat at the patio table.
Herb butters are a great way to highlight the flavors of meat oftentimes masked by a barbeque sauce. In this instance, I quickly mixed together softened butter, fresh thyme leaves, sea salt, crushed green peppercorns, and lemon zest to accompany the filet.
If you're wondering about the Sunday cake...I didn't make one. The intention was to make a lemon ricotta cake. Warm weather beckoned me outside instead.