Author: littlelocavoresara

my farmers market haul

my recent market hauls

It might be a surprise, but I don’t go to the farmers market every weekend. Sometimes, my shopping trips are so fruitful, they feed us for more than a week. Sometimes, I have a hankering for tuna melts (my husband makes the best ever) or the Thai restaurant in our building. (The scents of Thai cooking and deep-fried spring rolls waft through our apartment every day, and sometimes our bellies follow our noses and give in to takeout.) This is a few weeks worth of trips. I meant to share my first haul with you weeks ago (when I actually went to the market), but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately — autumn rolled in and brought with it allergies and a lingering head cold which sapped all of my motivation. This is what I bought, and how I used these ingredients to craft meals and explore new recipes and ideas. Sunday, September 27 Wow! It really has been a minute. I’m sorry I didn’t share this beautiful bounty with you sooner. …

baked plum and grape pie

italian plum, concord grape and apple gin pie 

This pie has been many years in the making. Back in 2010, I checked out David Lebovitz’s newest cookbook, Ready for Dessert, from my local library, eager to learn about making pastry and ice cream. It was then, I think, that I really discovered that baking requires a lot of work. (It would be many more years before I figured out that it is very much worth the extra effort.) I’m not sure I made a single recipe from that book; I was intimidated by the names alone. Profiteroles. Crème Brûlée. Gâteau Victoire. Ingredients I hadn’t yet discovered, like black currants and anise. And Concord grapes. There was a recipe for a Concord grape pie in the book, which I dreamed of making for my little brother (who was, and still is, a huge fan of all things grape flavored). This was, however, before I discovered farmers markets, and the extent of my shopping skills involved picking out the most exotic produce from Whole Foods. Concord grapes could not be found. The recipe had so many …

gluten free pie crust ready for baking

easy as pie gluten-free pie crust

It must be fall, because all I want to do is bake. I never used to think that making pie was easy. You have to work quickly so everything stays cold, and there are just so many steps between crust and filling, making and baking. And those intricate, beautiful, lattice-woven crusts? No, thank you. The saying easy as pie actually refers to eating pie, not making it (same goes for “piece of cake” apparently). But over the years, I have discovered there’s a real peace in making pie. Once you have your routine figured out, there’s something pleasurable to the process. It’s almost as if time slows down, even if you’re moving quickly. The tactility — blending butter cubes into flour, rolling out the dough, flipping it into a pie pan — is almost like digging your fingers down into the sand on a beach, or making mud pies as a kid. Making pies, for me, started as a way to process (or put off, depending on how you look at it) emotions and to, …

sweet peppers in season

the first of fall

Just like that, it’s October. It seemed like summer was just swept out from underneath me. In a whirlwind three months — from late April through early August — we planned our wedding, got married, and had our honeymoon (surprisingly, it was our first full vacation together). We left Washington at the beginning of August when the breeze was still soft and warm and the sun’s last light didn’t fade until 10 p.m. (or later). Then we spent 10 days in hot, humid Hawaii. When we got home, it was fall already. We’ve been slow to get back into the swing of things, riding the euphoria of being newlyweds. The wedding and the honeymoon are over, but there’s still plenty on our to-do lists. Thank you notes, announcements, ordering pictures and the mind-boggling demanding process of changing a name. This is my favorite time of year. It is so full. Of nostalgia and potential; one season overlapping with the next. Early fall is so abundant in all things that it feels decadent, almost sinful. Though …

fish tacos

rockfish tacos with cortido, cukes and cotija cheese

Taco Tuesday! A few weeks ago at the farmers market, we were on the hunt for fresh fish. There’s always frozen and smoked salmon available, as well as locally farmed oysters. But I was having a hankering for fish tacos. We spotted a neon poster board sign written with thick black permanent marker. Fresh rockfish $9/pound. The farmer led us to an open Igloo cooler packed with ice and started rummaging around, showing us different packages of fresh fish. This fish. He paused, balancing the clear zip-lock plastic bag in his hand, thinking and recalling. Hmm. Yep. This fish was caught three days ago. It’s one of the things I love most about the farmers markets. Unless you plan to grow and harvest vegetables yourself, or catch and filet your own fish from the water, this is the freshest you’ll find. (I’ve been given steep discounts because the arugula was four days old. I would have happily paid full price for something that, in my mind, was still fresher than I would find anywhere else.) At …

meatless tikka masala

vegan cranberry bean and summer greens tikka masala

This recipe should also be known as what I did with the random assortment of leftovers in my fridge. Every once in a while when I am feeling overwhelmed and uninspired, I turn to cookbooks and blogs for recipes and meal plans. Most of the time, though, I listen to Craig and to what my body (and my mind and my soul) need and crave. I find inspiration in the fresh ingredients at the market. I rarely go with a shopping list and instead piece together meals as I pick out raw ingredients. Sometimes I have a very general outline — I need greens, beans, herbs, mushrooms. Sometimes a whole chicken. Sometimes not. It can be difficult to cook this way. I know not everyone has the time or the interest to cook this way. And, I’ll admit, I still struggle with leftovers and reducing waste. Sometimes I get an idea and then it doesn’t work. Sometimes a recipe needs to be tweaked multiple times, but I still need to get dinner ready and on …

gluten free cake with cherries and rhubarb

gluten-free cherry rhubarb cake with buttery, crunchy pecan crumble

Do you say pee-can or puh-kahn? Growing up in the Midwest, it was always the latter. Then, I moved to Georgia and started working at a few farmers markets. I found myself settling into a subtle Southern drawl (to this day, I still greet most folks with a cheerful “hi, y’all”). With the territory, and probably also thanks to the peach and pecan farmers down the way, I started saying “pee-can”. I still say it this way. It’s a hard habit to shake. The pecans I used in this recipe, like the pronunciation, are all the way from Georgia. I bought a huge bag at the farmers market last year and squirreled them away in my freezer. I couldn’t bear to part with them so, like the squid ink, these nuts made the 2,600-mile trip across the country with us. I have a confession. I had never eaten rhubarb before creating this recipe. Its appearance was always so fleeting, and I never spotted it at farmers markets in Atlanta. Even if I had seen it, …

salmon patties with aioli

salmon potato patties with horseradish and chive aioli

There’s a longstanding argument in my family: whether salmon patties should or should not (and, also, do or do not) include onions. (Spoilers: Mine do. Sorry Dad.) The argument dates back, I think, to when my grandparents were first dating. My grandfather was a southern boy and to him salmon patties required just two ingredients: salmon and saltine crackers. The first time my great-grandmother invited him to dinner, she crafted an elaborate but comforting meal including macaroni and cheese and salmon patties. Salmon patties with onions. My mother and father have been arguing, playfully, for years. My father is adamant that there are no onions in salmon patties. My mother, who makes them, contends with absolutely certainty that she does, in fact, put onion in the patties. When I first started cooking, I made an elaborate version of salmon patties with lime zest, dill and scallions. After going gluten-free, I couldn’t make the traditional patty held together with saltine crackers and dusted in all purpose flour. I discovered that mashed potatoes made an excellent binder …

beet bundt cakes with ginger beer

pretty in pink beet and ginger beer bundt cakes

Happy Easter! After making my winter vegetable poached chicken, I had an abundance of beets. What do you do with an abundance of beets? So, I baked the beets into bundt cakes. Here’s the thing about beets. We have a love/hate relationship. I love them for their earthy sweetness, their abundance of vitamins and minerals, and their versatility. (Craig does not share this love, which makes cooking and eating beets on the reg a bit difficult.) But, I also have to be in the mood for beets. And, unfortunately, that’s not a mood I experience often. I like beets best in juice or smoothies. All the flavor and nutritional benefits, without much mess or fuss. Their natural sweetness, combined with that gorgeous color, made me think they’d be perfect in a pretty pink baked good celebrating spring. I used a seasonal flavor, Honeycrisp-Fennel, of Rachel’s Ginger Beer, a local company. I thought the licorice notes of the fennel would pair well with the beets in this recipe, but it’s not necessary if you can’t get …

roasted sunchoke soup

roasted sunchoke soup with white beans, labneh and chives

Sometimes, you just need soup. Even with spring on the horizon and a warm blush in the air, we still have rainy, windy, chilly days here in Seattle. Those days are soup days. One late night last week, long after most folks had eaten and were sinking in to watch prime time television, Craig and I were instead standing in the kitchen hovering over this soup, passing spoons and ideas back and forth. He has an incredible palate. His job demands it. I trust his opinion on flavors, balance and texture immeasurably, especially when it comes to creating gluten-free counterparts to common gluten recipes like pies, biscuits and baked goods. So there we stood, warming the soup, and stirring in some garam masala, preserved lemon, and grated ginger. I love this collaboration. Lab…what? Labneh is a strained yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt but even more thick. It’s rich and tangy and balances the warmth and nuttiness of the sunchokes. I found a sheep’s milk variety at the farmers market, but it can easily be substituted …