I feel like my entire weekend was spent preparing or consuming food. And that’s okay—lord knows that I am a big fan of eating, and I’m willing to invest some time so as to make that experience happen—but it helped me to understand that I would’ve survived about a week as a pioneer before being all “Screw this, where’s McDonald’s?”
As you already know, my garden is producing tomatoes large enough to take over Atlanta, and a reasonable person would merely concentrate on those, as there’s certainly enough of them to keep me busy. BUT NO. I am not reasonable. If some is good, MORE IS BETTER, and so with five pounds (so far!) of ripe tomatoes pondering the takeover of my kitchen, I demanded that Otto take me to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.
We went early, before the kids were up. Without any “this is boring”s and “he’s touching me!”s to distract me, I may have gone a little overboard.
The main mission of our trip was to find beets. I understand that beets are a polarizing topic; I myself lived over thirty years before discovering that I did not, as previously assumed, hate beets. Actually, I love beets, and so does Otto. And recently, so does Chickadee. (Monkey remains our sole hold-out on the beet front, but you have to admit that 3 out of 4 isn’t bad.)
Anyway, the point is that we entered the market determined to buy beets and go home. Hahahahaha!
I forgot that there’s this thing that happens to me when I’m surrounded by fresh produce. Basically, I lose my mind. “What are THESE? They’re so PRETTY! How do you cook them?”
We found beets. Actually, we found them twice: we bought a good-sized bunch of regular ones, and then we also bought a bag of baby chioggia beets, which were so darned cute I nearly began babbling to them in babytalk, which might have been embarrassing.
At that point we probably should’ve gone home. But no. There were sweet onions! And garlic! And we ran into a friend who told us which booth had pink-eye peas, and we’ve never had those, and guess what? THEY’RE SO PRETTY! It was pretty much just a flurry of money flying out of my wallet, after that. (Chickadee: “Isn’t pink eye, you know, BAD? Why would you want to EAT that?”)
I thought we were done for the day at the hand-crafted pasta stall, where I purchased a bag of chocolate cheesecake ravioli (OH YES I DID) to blow the kids’ minds for dessert later this week. But then… we were on our way back to the car with our bags… and there was one last stall.
Hand-crafted, raw milk cheese.
You KNOW how I feel about cheese.
There were samples, people. We didn’t stand a chance.
Just allow me to say that I don’t know if I can ever buy feta at the supermarket again. This stuff RUINED me for the rest. Monkey asked me what kind of cheese it was, when I took it out yesterday, and I said “This here is SEE THE FACE OF GOD feta.” (Him: “It doesn’t say that on the label, but cool.”)
So there was that.
On Saturday afternoon, I cooked. I made roasted tomato sauce (thanks to a recipe left in the comments, thank you!) and while it cooked down, I shelled the pink-eye peas. About halfway through, Monkey came to help me, which was a relief, because it turns out that I hate shelling beans. We finally got them done, though, and I parboiled them (parboil! just the word makes me feel like a pioneer!) and then added in some chopped carrots and pickled the whole mess. I don’t know why; I figured we could eat the results on salad.
On Sunday afternoon, I cooked again. I decided we were going to have a dinner composed entirely from food from our garden and the Farmer’s Market. I roasted the beets and caramelized onions and put them together in a salad with some of that mind-blowing feta. Then I put the rest of the feta in a tomato, cucumber, and watermelon salad. And took out the pink-eye peas and carrots, which were now sweet and crunchy.
I have to tell you: Dinner was DELICIOUS. And knowing we were eating local and in-season was very nice. But the time involved… let’s just say I understand why people just throw some burgers on the grill and call it a day. It’s time-consuming to eat fresh food. On a lazy weekend, it’s kind of fun, but the only way we could eat that way every day would be if I had a staff. (Of people. To work for me. Not just a big stick. Unless it was a MAGICAL big stick.)
Anyway, it was yummy, I patted myself on the back a bit, and everyone was happy. (Remember how I said Monkey doesn’t like beets? Chickadee doesn’t like onions. They were the Jack Sprat and wife with the beet salad, though I drew the line at anyone licking the platter clean.)
In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I was feeling pretty awesome.
Right up until I got up this morning and realized I have no idea what we’re having for dinner tonight. Oops.