14 August 2009

Fresh From the Farmers’ Market

Fresh From the Farmers’ Market by Janet Fletcher is a rather self-explanatory cookbook. Fletcher provides recipes from produce one finds at a farmers’ market. Fletcher has the perfect background for this. She once cooked at Chez Panisse. In her introduction to the book, Alice Waters quotes the classicist and farmer, Victor Davis Hanson a passionate farmer. As passionate as he is, Hanson equates farmer’s markets with petting zoo. While Waters concedes that farmers’ markets alone will not save the family farm, but patronizing farmers’ markets will surely increase the demand for fresher produce. It certainly can’t hurt!

Fletcher’s introduction speaks to the need for the farmers’ market. The average consumer hasn’t a clue when and where their food comes from. Where the supermarket shopper makes a list and checks it twice, at a farmers' market, the decision making process happens on site. The food is fresh and needs to be eaten within a few days, preferably “that” day.

Today in my garden, there are filet beans and some really small turnips. The cold and wet weather did not contribute to a great crop of turnips. They have been few and small. The beans have been really nice, but the bush beans have been so beaten into the ground that they need to be washed like 4 times. But once everything gets picked and washed here’s what we’re making…

green beans with turnips

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound baby turnips, thickly peeled and cut in half’s, quarters or sixths, depending on size
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shallots, minced
3/4 pounds green filet beans(haricots verts), ends trimmed
1 tablespoon, minced Italian parsley

Melt butter in a large skillet over moderately low heat. Add turnips, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat with butter. Cover and cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until turnips are just tender and lightly browned in spots, 10 to 12 minutes. Uncover, add shallots and sauté 2 minutes to soften shallots
While turnips are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, pat dry, then transfer to a skillet with turnips and toss to coat with seasonings. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. (Green beans need lots of salt.) Add parsley, toss again and serve.

I can't wait to get out there and start picking!

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