“…the harvest that is sleeping…” *

Those that follow this blog in any way know that Collingswood Farmers’ Market is my food source from the beginning of May until the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Every Saturday morning, regardless of the weather, I head over to see what’s new and exciting. I drive the fifteen minutes to get my weekly supplies.  The only groceries I buy from an actual supermarket are Greek yogurt and milk.

After a long, strange winter…extended bitter cold…three Nor’easters in two weeks…snow in December and snow in April…the first day of the market is nearly here.  I will gather my reusable bags.  I will bring my collapsible wagon up from the basement and put it in my car.  I will get up before seven on Saturday mornings to get to the market by the ringing of the opening bell.  And I will delight in all the wonderful foods and crops laid out for purchase.

My daughters and I go to the market together to shop for our respective families.  We meet there.  More room in our vehicles for our prizes.

As this winter has been unusually hard and the Spring has been unusually cold, I will look for spring fruits and vegetables and will be surprised to find much or any.  Perhaps asparagus.  A girl can dream.  Not much chance of strawberries.  Soon I know.

But the market has so much more to offer.  There is music.  There are freshly made quesadillas.  There are apple cider donuts.  There are pies.  Coffee.  Breads.  Popcorn.  Grass fed and pasture raised bison, beef, pork, lamb, chicken.  And more.

I will start at one end, like always, and stroll the path between displays.  I will be delighted by all the different items on offer.  Particularly, my husband is looking forward to Wild Flour Bakery’s oatmeal raisin cookies and I am looking forward to their sour dough bread (makes the best grilled cheese).  Oh, and those little knot rolls and bagels from Amber Grain.

And if the Constellation Collective ladies are there…who knows what I might bring home…quiche, biscuits, cookies?

I do hope Villa Barone restaurant will be there selling their pasta, sauces, and fresh mozzarella cheese.  I’ve waited all winter!

Maybe Les Viereck (or Springdale, or A.T. Buzby or Fruitwood Farms) will have asparagus.  I’ve been known to buy it from more than one farmer!  I will definitely buy eggs from DanLynn Organic (those little green chicken eggs  that nestle with the brown ones are especially delicious).

This year my husband has asked for some apple wood from Schober’s orchard.  No apples or peaches yet…but beautiful wood.  He wants to use it in his smoker.  And I’ll have to get some of their Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce.

Mushrooms!!! I can’t wait! Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms are fresh and so delicious and the varieties are definitely exotic.

I’m hoping for micro-greens too.  Indogrow Farms offers the freshest and tastiest green.  Some to put on a sandwich would help us all to welcome Spring.

There will be plants aplenty.  The farmers bring their extra plants….tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and herbs….lots of beautiful herbs! Available at Springdale, A.T. Buzby, Hymer, Savoie, Formisano, DanLynn.

I am hoping for asparagus and I am hoping for strawberries.  I’m not sure either will be ready for sale yet.  But what I would love is to find some beautiful spring lettuce.  I have a few places to look…Springdale, Flaim, Savoie, DanLynn, Formisano.  Lettuce.  Sweet, tender, Spring lettuce.

If I am lucky enough to find some beautiful new lettuce, I’ve already made a fresh buttermilk and fresh herbs dressing.  Just a light touch for a light salad.

Ingredients:

about ten fresh basil leaves
about a tablespoon of fresh dill fronds (the wispy things, pulled off the stem)
about a tablespoon of snipped chives
about six parsley leaves.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (the juice of a medium lemon)
1/2 teaspoon of coarse Kosher salt.IMG_8001

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a jar with a lid.  Shake.  Refrigerate.

One of the biggest pleasures of shopping the market  is shopping seasonally.  No corn this week.  No field tomatoes.  No blueberries.  But in their time all of our favorites will be at the market.  I can’t wait.

 

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*Title is taken from a quote by Lyndon B. Johnson from his inauguration speech.

 

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Smoked Boston Butt hash (for two)

A few years ago my husband cracked the code with regard to grilling.  Pay attention!  That was it.  He realized that if you pay attention while grilling, the meat doesn’t burn on the outside while remaining raw on the inside.  Simple.  Pay attention.

Because of his new found technique we enjoyed a few summers of delicious chops, chicken, steaks, and burgers.

Last year he bought an apparatus that is added to the grill that allows for slow cooking and some smoking.  Delicious!  The combination of paying attention and a new grill with attachments made for some very delicious food!

So.  This year he decided that he wanted a smoker.  A real designated smoker.  Birthday is fast approaching.  What does one get the man who has everything?  A smoker.  Of course.

Last weekend was a beautiful weekend here.  The weather was perfect to do the first “smoke”. Pork.  Boneless Boston butt.

So in a few photos here is the roast which became our first smoke.  As you see.  Perfect.  Beautiful bark.  Moist.  Delicious!

But here’s the rub.  No pun intended.  Because we are just two in our giant empty nest, I buy small hunks of meat (I buy my meats from a company named Hillacres Pride, Landsdowne, PA.  Grass fed and pasture raised…always wonderful)!  While the pile of pulled pork was more than we could finish at one sitting, it was not enough to provide for another complete meal. What to do?

Hash!

Hash is all about the leftovers.

Thus was born Smoked Boston Butt Pulled Pork Hash (for two).

Ingredients:

1 small onion, or 1 leek, or 1medium shallot, diced small.  (I used a leek)
2 medium mushrooms, diced
2 medium or 4 small potatoes, cut into cubes
butter
1 to 2 cups of leftover smoked Boston butt, cut into cubes to match the potatoes.IMG_7986

Directions:

  1.  Peel and cut the potatoes and steam them until a knife goes in, but not all the way.  They will cook more in the skillet with the meat and vegetables.IMG_7984
  2. Melt butter in a skillet and start the onion sautéing.  Add the mushrooms.  Stir and cook over medium heat.IMG_7983
  3. Toss in potatoes and start to brown them on the outside.IMG_7988
  4. Toss in the leftover meat.IMG_7991
  5. Stir all the ingredients.  At this point you could put a lid on your skillet and leave the hash for 30 or so minutes (I had to to wait for my husband to be ready to sit down..he was putting something together for our grandson’s birthday…shhh).
  6. If you’ve paused the cooking, turn the burner back on to medium, take off the lid, and continue frying and stirring until the potatoes are evenly browned, crisp on the outside, soft in the center.IMG_7993

Traditionally hash is served with a nice runny fried or poached egg.  My husband doesn’t much care for eggs in general and really doesn’t like fried or poached eggs at all.  With a nod toward traditional hash, he suggested some scramble eggs on the side.  Which worked just fine!IMG_7996

The only downside to this recipe is one needs some LEFTOVER smoked Boston butt pulled pork.  And that’s not something easily obtained at the local supermarket!  The smoked/grilled meat added something extra and truly delicious.  Maybe throw an extra steak or chop on specifically for hash.  Delicious!

 

Husband’s favorite chicken fingers (and super easy chicken parm)

My husband likes chicken.  Most people do.  And, like most people, he likes his chicken with a little breading and crunch.  Chicken is fast food.  Make it at home from quality ingredients and it’s the best!

I often make boneless chicken breasts in a similar fashion to these but I pound them out to make them thinner.  This recipe uses boneless chicken breasts but they are not pounded thinner.

Husband loves the chicken fingers plain and he dips them in BBQ sauce.  He also likes chicken parm.  Again, who doesn’t.  So I tried a simply version and he loved that too.  (See variations at the end of the directions).

This is very, very easy to prepare (even on a weeknight) and is very easy to modify to your family’s taste.

Ingredients:

This recipe uses one package of chicken and is enough for two or three.

Boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs if you prefer)
honey mustard
mayonnaise
seasoned Panko and bread crumbs, mixed (or one or the other with your favorite seasoning…an Italian blend of spices works very well.  Also I like to use a little panko because it is crunchier than breadcrumbs).

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry the chicken.
  2. With a knife or kitchen scissors (I prefer scissors), cut the chicken breast lengthwise.
  3. For one package of  chicken (about 3 pieces) spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey mustard and 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise into a plastic bag.  Drop the chicken into the bag.  Carefully squeeze the bag until all the chicken is coated.  Put the bag with the chicken,  mustard, and mayonnaise aside for it to marinate.  Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.IMG_7534
  4. Pour a cup or so of the panko/bread crumbs that have been mixed with spices (you can buy an Italian bread crumbs or panko that is already mixed) onto a paper plate.  (It is nice to be able to throw the plate away and not worry about contamination or washing up).
  5. After 10 to 15 minutes of marinating, take the chicken, one piece at a time, and coat it with the panko/bread crumb mixture.

  6. Place the marinated and coated chicken on a rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.
  7. Place the tray with chicken in a 375 degree oven for about 25 to 35 minutes.  Check the chicken after 20 minutes to be sure it is getting done.  Look for the coating to be slightly browned. IMG_7546

VARIATION…when the chicken is done, spoon your favorite tomato sauce over it and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Put back in the oven to just melt the cheese.  Serve with pasta or on a roll for a chicken parm sandwich!

 

 

 

 

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