Ah Spring. The season of rain showers, open windows, almost getting away with wearing a bathing suit as a shirt, and FARMERS MARKETS. Taylor and I decided to spend last Sunday morning perusing the booths at the Grant Park Farmers Market to see what farm-fresh treats they had to offer that we could then go home and turn into a delicious (sort-of) healthy Sunday supper. Here’s what we came up with.
First up, we hit the Mayflor Farms booth and snatched up one of the remaining bunches of beets that they had left as I almost peed myself and/or gently wept at how beautiful they were. Taylor is not the biggest beet fan, which makes me wonder if my horror over this fact is equivalent to how she feels about me not liking funnel cakes.
There’s something about handling produce that’s still covered in dirt that makes you feel rustic af, wouldn’t you agree? Like you just spent months and months planting it and laboring over it until finally it was ready for you to harvest straight from the ground of your family plot with your own two rough, weathered hands, when really you just got in your Mazda 3 and drove your ass 4 miles across town, bitched to yourself about the parking situation and how it was hotter than you were expecting it to be, and then paid for it with a credit card via Square on the vendor’s iPhone. I guess we can’t all be farmers. I can’t even keep succulents alive, so it’s probably for the best.
After the beets, we stopped by The Woodsman & Wife because it was a table full of cheese. Taylor ended up purchasing a wheel of the “Jersey Girl” and I, the “Out of the Ashes”. The guy at the booth explained in detail the characteristics of each of these cheeses, and I sincerely wish that I could relay that information to you here, but I was too busy eating half the sample block to listen to anything that he was saying. He seemed very nice though. And the cheese is delicious. I feel like that’s all you really need to know.
Next up, we obviously needed some meat. Pro-tip – buy your farmers market meats early. By the time we got to the Riverview Farms booth they were already out of almost all the meats, so we landed on a spicy pork sausage that was still delicious, just not what we had originally intended on purchasing.
After that, we wanted to get some greens and Freewheel Farm came through for us. We got a giant bag of beautiful collards and this lovely bunch of carrots.
Last on the list was a crusty baguette from The General Muir and we were good to go. Here we are on our way out with our farm-fresh loot.
And now on to the cooking….
For the beets, all I did was cut off the stems, rinse them off, wrap them in foil, and roasted them in the oven for about 45 minutes. I don’t know if you guys have ever peeled freshly roasted beets, but it is truly one of the most satisfying activities in the world, I think. Once they were peeled and cooled, I thinly sliced them and tossed them in a blood orange infused olive oil with some fresh thyme, and then placed them atop slices of the baguette with some of the cheese I had purchased earlier. A little sprinkle of salt, and that’s all she wrote.
Here’s Taylor on how she prepared the remainder of the meal:
Whenever I’m cooking with super fresh ingredients, I like to keep it as simple as possible, mainly because that’s the best way to enjoy it, but also because there’s way less of a chance I’ll fuck it up. I’m a decent improviser in the kitchen, but I don’t have the skills to get too fancy.
With that in mind, I wanted to let the beautiful produce and delicious sausage I bought speak for itself but also combine into something tasty. So I just roasted the carrots in a little bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, I cooked the pound of amazingly lean spicy pork sausage from Riverview Farms in a large saute pan and set it aside. Then, I added a tiny bit of olive oil to the (minimal–like I said, this sausage is lean, which is part of what makes it so damn tasty) drippings in the pan and sautéed the collards in that goodness until they were tender and dark green and perfect. Then I added the sausage back into the pan, along with the carrots, and stirred it up with a generous pinch of Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, and served the whole shebang over grit cakes.
As for the grit cakes, there are more intense versions than the one I made, but this one is easy and delicious, so like, why make it more complicated. They take a little advance preparation–although I’m talking about them last, I made them first–but they’re so easy. Here’s what you do: Cook one cup of quick grits in four cups of chicken stock until they’re the desired thickness, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a splash of half and half or milk (I used half and half). Then pour the grits into a shallow baking dish and spread evenly until you have a layer of grits a half inch to an inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap, let it set in the fridge for at least an hour, and right before serving, cut the grits into squares and saute in olive oil over medium heat until they’re golden brown and heated through, about three minutes per side, depending on thickness.They may not be perfect squares, and they may crumble a little in the pan, but they’re still gonna taste great, which we all know is the most important thing.
Y’all, I don’t mean to brag, but this dish was SO. GOOD. I mean, I was really pleased with myself. I got to keep the leftovers and eat them for dinner a couple more nights, and I was just as excited about it the last time as I was the first, which is a ringing endorsement in my book. You should do this before collard season is over, okay? You’re welcome in advance.
Ok lovelies, that’s all we’ve got for you this week. We hope you enjoyed coming to dinner with us! Hit us up here or on FB and tell us what you’re cooking! And as always, we’ll C U Next Tuesday!