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The Haul: Christmas Clam Edition

DSCN4181Yesterday, I returned to the Easton open-air farmer’s market for the first time in a few weeks. It’s smaller now, but it was still hopping. Here’s what I bought:

  • Maple sausage
  • Sweet onion
  • Garlic
  • Fuji apples
  • Chamomile tea
  • Christmas wreath

Then I stopped by the seafood market and picked up a dozen littleneck clams, a pound of wild salmon and a lemon. I found this recipe for steamed mussels and clams. I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients (including the mussels), so I made a lot of substitutions.  I had to make my own cocktail sauce, but didn’t have horseradish, so I added hot chinese mustard. The sauce ended up pretty ketchup-y, but was still good. I don’t usually have butter in the house, so olive oil stood in for that in the other sauce. The dish was really pretty and tasted pretty good too. The juxtaposition of the red and green sauces is perfect for this time of year.



There is a new type of farmshare in town that is really neat. Eating Out of the Box has both medium and large boxes on offer and they gather produce from various farms in the area. I get mine delivered. The boxes become available in the middle of the week, which is nice because that’s about the time I run out of fresh stuff from the weekend market. I’ve tried it twice and gotten some really good stuff including lemongrass, Asian pears and all kinds of greens. This week, joi choi arrived (a larger version of bok choi).

The thing I love about farmshares is that you get ingredients you wouldn’t normally buy and so you learn to cook new dishes. I’m still trying to find something to do with the huge daikon radish that arrived this week.


The Haul: Here Comes Sandy Edition

The market was hopping yesterday morning — people were picking up Halloween pumpkins, prepping for OysterFest and chatting about the incoming hurricane. Alas, the two vendors whose products I was craving were nowhere in sight — therefore, no maple sausage links from Black Bottom Farms and no smoked salmon salad from Neopol. Hopefully they’ll both be back next week.

Here’s what I picked up after trips to the open-air market, the Amish market and the seafood market:

  • yellow onions
  • garlic
  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • blue pumpkin
  • kettle corn
  • 2 pounds bulk bison burger
  • 1.5 pounds ground pork
  • 2 pounds of chicken sausage (1 pound spinach feta and 1 pound Italian)
  • turkey jerky
  • 1 pound wild salmon
  • 1 pound scallops

I toyed with picking up smoked salmon from the seafood market  to try and make my own smoked salmon salad, but unfortunately, the brand that they carry contains nitrites. Neopol smokes their own fish and their products do not contain nitrites.

I haven’t figured out how I’ll prepare the wild salmon. I’m dreaming up a lemon-garlic sauce for the scallops.

I bought the pork to make my own maple breakfast sausage. The chicken sausage will supplement when that runs out and I can also eat that for lunches/dinners.

I’ve been eating a lot of burgers lately and that’s why I bought the bison. I like making my own patties better than the pre-formed patties.

Garden Update

I took down the greenhouse cover off of the VegTrug — it was tied down with velcro strips, but I didn’t think they’d hold in strong winds. I hope the baby spinach plants survive. I have more hope for the kale, rosemary and chives.

I went around picking flowers from my black-eyed susan and cosmo plants — they won’t survive the storm and I’d like to enjoy them awhile longer.

Likewise, I took cuttings from my parsley and thyme plants, assuming they won’t weather the storm well (the parsley probably will; the thyme, not so much).

Today, I ordered some garlic grow bags, bulbs and soil to plant after the storm is over. I’m looking forward to next year’s harvest!

The Haul: Frosty Fall Edition

Soon-to-be-soup pumpkin.

Coldest morning of the fall so far here in Maryland. I stayed tucked in bed as long as I could. Then, I made bacon. Fortified by that, I headed out to the library and the market. I used to worry about getting to the market early so I didn’t miss out on the good stuff, but I like going later. The music today was really good again — Swampcandy. I’d seen him before at the Night Cat. His first song (at around 10 a.m.) was about drinking whiskey. Cheers to him.

Here’s what I got:

  • Mushrooms
  • Smoked salmon salad
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Slicers
  • Eggplant
  • Green pepper
  • Kale
  • Bison filet
  • Maple pork sausage links
  • Kielbasa
  • Broccoli
  • Figs
  • Pumpkin!

I quizzed Crystal at C&D Produce about what pumpkin would be best for soup. I had selected one that I thought would be fun to display on my porch before I cooked it — it had little orange “knuckles” all over it. She said that particular type would be hard to cut and wouldn’t have a lot of flesh. She suggested that I buy a neck pumpkin instead, explaining that they are the type that are used for canning pumpkin. She showed me how to cut it and bake it to get to the flesh. The bulb at the end is like a cantaloupe and the seeds are there. The neck can be chopped into sections and then halved and baked. I can’t wait to try it! It’s sitting on my porch in the meantime.

Not sure how I’m going to prepare the bison filet yet, but that will be dinner and will most likely involve the mushrooms and some bacon.

Garden Update

Cosmos (I think)

It got down to 34 degrees last night according to my phone. Not quite freezing, but close enough to start killing off my basil, even inside the little greenhouse covering on the VegTrug. I snipped off the dead part and took a couple of clippings to try and root them in water.

My kale is almost ready to harvest — about another week. These are the old plants, which regrew when I cut them back to the ground. The new ones haven’t really gotten past the seedling stage. The spinach I bought is growing slowly but surely. I still don’t have enough for a side salad though.

I did a few fall clean-up items around the yard — disconnected the hose and spooled it, trimmed dead stalks off some of my hostas. I figure my flowers outside (the summer ones) aren’t long for this world if the cold night temperatures continue. I cut a pitcher full of black-eyed susans, cosmos buds and some purple wildflower that I can’t identify. Might as well enjoy them while they last!

I’m considering planting some garlic now for next summer. Haven’t gotten any further than considering it though.

The Haul: Skating By Edition

Today’s was a very varied haul. I got to the farmer’s market much later than normal. It was a lot busier and the band that was playing (Mule Train) was quite good. I picked up:

  • Cherry and larger tomatoes
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Kale (2 bunches)
  • Smoked salmon salad (which I confirmed was mayo-less, sweet!)

I had wanted to pick up some pork for breakfast sausage, but the vendor I had in mind didn’t have any plain ground pork today. I decided to drive home and drop off my purchases so far before heading back out.

After stops at the library and dry cleaners, I went to the Amish market. My only intended purchases were ground turkey for breakfast sausage and possibly a spaghetti squash (more on why later). But it was another pig roast day! I did get the turkey (and also some chicken sausage and a piece of turkey jerky to try), but then stopped at almost all of the outdoor booths, picking up:

  • Pulled pork bbq and sauce
  • 2 pints sugar-free applesauce
  • 1 pint raspberry ice cream (egg-free, yeah!) and 1 vanilla milkshake (devoured within minutes)

I forgot to get the squash.

Then I headed over to Captains Ketch and was surprised to see skate available there! I picked up a 1/4-pound fillet, along with a lemon, scallops and mussels.

Captain’s Ketch had recipes available for the skate. I chose one in which you broil it with butter, capers and lemon. I don’t usually have butter on hand, so I used olive oil. The meat of the fish is so mild, it really just ended up tasting like lemony capers. It’s the texture that’s so unique. I really wish I’d taken picture before I cooked it. Next time, I want to try sauteing it instead.

Garden Update

Last week, I used some compost in my VegTrug for the first time. I can only hope that it’s making the existing plants grow faster. All I really noticed over the past week is the huge quantity of seedlings that cropped up from the compost itself (mostly squash and tomato plants). I spent several minutes pulling them up this morning. I think that if I had really worked the compost into the soil instead of just laying it on top of what’s there, this wouldn’t have been as much of a problem. Lesson learned for next year when I refresh the soil in the VegTrug.

But it gave me an idea. I want to try and grow spaghetti squash next year and was going to try saving my own seeds from a purchased squash. I forgot to buy one today though — hopefully they’ll still be available next week.

The Haul: Shopping-While-Hungry Edition

I broke one of the cardinal rules of food shopping today and left for the markets before breakfast. The result: I bought a ton of food!

I started at the open-air market. I had already resolved to buy a bunch of tomatoes for freezing. I also bought:

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 pints blackberries!!!
  • 1 1/2 pint raspberries* (part of breakfast)
  • a bunch of sweet potatoes
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 2 cucumbers
  • figs!
  • bison skirt steak

And I wasn’t done yet. I needed to go to the Amish market for sausage meat. Last week, I made this pork sausage recipe and it was really, really good, but I passed by the pork this week because the line was really long and got mixed ground turkey again. But, this weekend there’s a pig roast out in the parking lot! So, I also got suckered into buying:

  • 1 pint peach ice cream
  • homemade Amish potato chips (many of which became part of breakfast)

I also had resolved to buy fish to cook this week so I crossed the street and bought at Captain’s Ketch:

  • 1 bag of onions
  • 1 pound of wild-caught Coho salmon
  • 1 1/2 pint of their amazing shrimp salad (also part of breakfast)

What’s more, I haven’t even touched the watermelon and butternut squash that I bought last week. Also, the plums I bought last week were far from ripe and so those have been hanging out until they soften up a bit. I still have some of the peaches that I grilled to eat too.

Oh, and after purchasing everything that I did today, I forgot to buy greens like I’d planned.

*It didn’t occur to me, until there were only a few left, that maybe instead of eating the entire half-pint of raspberries in one sitting, I could have frozen them for baking or something later. This is the second time this week I’ve downed that many at one time. The farmer’s market at UMD had them this week too. In my defense, the ones I bought at work were so ripe, they wouldn’t have survived until I got home and I did share some with my coworkers.

Amish hand-made potato chips (a.k.a., breakfast).

Allergy Update

It appears that wheat, and also probably gluten, are among my allergies. I’m still trying to figure out the gluten thing though. I can drink beer, but not wheat beer. I was able to eat non-wheat flour bread last weekend, but presumably it still had gluten in it? I did, happily, find flourless, eggless cookies at the UMD farmer’s market this past week. Definitely going to stock up on those!

Garden Non-Update

Not much to report from the garden. I still haven’t planted what I said I would. I had hoped to do some planting today, but now it’s raining. Hopefully, tomorrow.

The Haul: Hot and Buggy Edition

Boardwalk Fries (with malt vinegar, of course) at the beach!

I took a break from blogging last week while I was on vacation at the beach. It was splendid. But I returned home late Friday night and was back at the markets yesterday. Here’s what I got:

  • 1 quart peaches (for grilling/broiling; I’m allergic to them raw)
  • 1 eggplant (also for grilling)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 canary melon
  • 3 pints blackberries (the farmer asked if I freeze them for the winter and I said I hadn’t been able to yet because I eat them so fast!)
  • 2 peppers (1 purple and 1 very light, almost white one)
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 pint honey yogurt (!)

Isn’t this such a pretty eggplant?

Then I headed to the Amish market and bought one pound of ground turkey (a mix of light and dark meat) for making my own breakfast sausage (see my next post on that) and some chicken breasts for grilling. I also stopped at the seafood market and bought shrimp salad (!), flounder and salmon.

Garden Update

The garden tomatoes awaiting me when I returned home.

Here’s where it gets hot and buggy. I didn’t bother having my neighbors water my plants while I was gone. The stinkbugs have completely taken over. They don’t seem the least bit bothered by the lavender oil I sprayed on them and they mocked my marigold efforts by taking up residence in one of the pots and all but killing that plant. WTF? I guess I should have suspected that if either were really a tried-and-true solution, stinkbugs wouldn’t be the scourge that they are.

I resorted to buying a stinkbug trap, despite the bad ratings I found about them. I need to try something, otherwise, I’m afraid the stupid things will set sights on my house when the weather turns colder. Blargh. So far, the trap has only caught one bug (and not a stinkbug). Double blargh.

Despite not really getting watered (I think Easton had some rain while I was away though), my tomato plants produced quite a few ripe, red fruits (and a couple mushy/half-eaten ones too — thanks, stinkbugs). These may be among the last as the plants are yellowing and brown now and there are no new flowers budding.

The pumpkin plant continues to grow while the stinkbugs eat and lay their eggs on it. I suspect that I should have developing fruit by now though and none have appeared yet (and I’m sure they’d be devoured anyhow). Sigh.

The remaining squash plant is all but dead. Ah well. I have better plans for those plants next year. Now I can clear it and the spindly pepper plant out to seed some broccoli, kale, carrots and arugula for the fall. The stinkbugs appear to be leaving the remaining kale plants alone.

Allergy Update

I experimented while on vacation and the results are muddled. Wheat and/or gluten appear to be another issue for me. I can drink most beer without a problem, but had issues after drinking a wheat beer one night. I tried funnel fries on the boardwalk one day and also had issues with that. I’m going to look into what wheat-free baked goods are available to me at the “crunchy grocery” later this week and see if there’s a way to test things out further. I’m also going to give the wheat beer another chance (it happens to be my favorite type of beer). Triple blargh.

My dairy experiment, on the other hand, seems to be going well. I have eaten small quantities of cheese without issue and had yogurt for the first time in months this morning, also without a problem. The seafood market shrimp salad also went down nice and easy. Yay! Ice cream next! 🙂

The Haul: Meatatarian Edition

I’ve just completed Week 2 of my allergen elimination diet and I’m already starting to feel better. Surprisingly, I haven’t had many cravings, but it was hard to walk by all the yummy pastries, breads and cheeses at the farmer’s market today. I consoled myself by buying a boatload of things I can eat, primarily meat.

I started at the open-air market (where I ran into my friends Sabrina and Simon, who had a booth about their non-profit Aguayuda — check them out!). I picked up:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Fresh garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot banana peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Eggs
  • Pork chops

I took my loot home and had a quick breakfast of raw cashews and fruit salad made with the berries and some grapes. Then I was off to the library, the Amish market and the seafood market.

The aftermath of the evening’s grilling.

I bought meat, meat and more meat at the Amish market:

  • Apple-maple breakfast sausage
  • Grilling sausage (I can’t remember the exact filling, but I’m pretty sure it has peppers in it)
  • Filet mignon
  • Sliced honey mesquite turkey breast

At my final stop, the seafood market, I bought their last large fillet of wild salmon and some large shrimp.

For lunch, I cooked the breakfast sausage along with an egg and ate that with a spinach and tomato salad. I divvied up the leftover sausage for breakfasts later in the week.

I ended up cooking everything else at dinner. No, I didn’t eat it all — I just wanted to have everything ready for meals throughout the week. I grilled the filet mignon, pork chops and shrimp first. Then I threw some sliced sweet potato in the grill basket and grilled that. The coals were still hot, so I threw on the grilling sausage. Meanwhile, I broiled the salmon with a curry sauce on top.

For dinner, I ate some of the shrimp, some filet mignon, some of the sweet potatoes and a caprese salad (sans cheese). I wasn’t that thrilled with the sweet potatoes — they came out better when I used my grill pan. I’m kicking myself for not grilling the asparagus instead. I might pull out the grill pan for that tomorrow. Everything else came out really well though.

I still have some cooking to do tomorrow. I need to hard-boil some eggs for my breakfasts this week, grill the asparagus and prep some of the carrots for snacks. I’m planning a steak and eggs breakfast with homemade salsa and I’ll probably have one of the grilling sausages and the leftover shrimp for lunch. Not sure what I’ll do for dinner.

See? This diet isn’t so bad. I’m looking forward to reintroducing some staples though. Yogurt and cheese are first on my list. Then beer. 🙂