In spite of the cloudy, drizzly day today, the local farmers were out as usual on the street, sharing their food and their knowledge. I always learn something when I go to the market, and what’s better than that is that I often get to teach something as well. This grey day turned colorful as I walked around, talking to the farmers and other vendors, picking up my colorful bounty.
Today I was given a great way to cook up some kale leaves. I picked up the Russian Kale from Parke Creek Farm where she told me the differences between the varieties and some ways to cook them. I chose this variety because she described making kale chips with them by spritzing them with some olive oil and sprinkly with some sea salt, then baking in a low heat oven until crisp. Sounds like a great snack. I also picked up a colorful bunch of radishes in several different colors, along with some onions and arugula. This is my main stop for produce each time I visit the market. This week, though, I did pop over to get some fresh tomatoes as well. I grabbed the remaining handful of “seconds” (these are tomatoes that may be slightly bruised or are badly mishapen, but they still taste great and it gives me a chance to try a variety of tomatoes!) from their bin and went happily on my way to the cheese stand to pick up some fresh goat cheese.
Another favorite stop along the way is always Whitaker Grass Fed Beef where the farmers are always glad to see me. Today we chatted about family and how we eat. She is much better than I am with keeping processed foods out of her home, but I think I’m getting better. And I got to teach her something today. Yup! We talked about my Eye Roll Worthy Ranch Dressing and she seemed excited to try it. I hope she likes it as much as we do in our home. I picked up a couple packs of ground beef from her that I have not decided yet what to do with them, but I have a couple recipes in mind (one of them is a soup recipe I found when going through some old papers this morning).
A successful, colorful day at the market will end with a family favorite dinner of Old Faithful, using pork chops from another local farmer. I am running low on pork in my freezer, so am glad that I have paid my deposit for this year’s order and look forward to filling up again in a couple months! The tomatoes and onions in the dinner will be from my market finds today, and I am going to use Jasmine rice, just for something a bit different. And as an added bonus, I have FRESH herbs growing in my garden that I get to use.
I look forward to this every year. Rhubarb brings back memories of childhood. Of going out to the yard and picking a stalk off the plant and eating the tart treat right then and there. I can feel the tingle in the back of my mouth now, just thinking of it.
As quickly as this crop comes in and seems to be over-abundant, it is gone. Not to be seen again until next summer. So I savor it while it’s here, and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, someone will share the extra from their plants and I might even slice some up to freeze for use mid-winter when I’m craving this simple rhubarb dessert.
This recipe comes from my Mom. She and an old neighbor came up with it one summer when there was, apparently, a bumper crop of the tasty, tart treat, and it has been a staple in our kitchens ever since!
5 c chopped rhubarb*
1 c sugar
1 (3oz) pkg jello (red, preferably raspberry)
3 c miniature marshmallows
1 pkg white or yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to make the cake)
Arrange rhubarb in a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle sugar and jello over rhubarb. Top with marshmallows.
Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Spread evenly over marshmallows. Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes.
If desired, after cooling for 5 minutes, turn it out of pan. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
*You can make this a strawberry-rhubarb dessert by using 1/2 strawberries and 1/2 rhubarb at about 2.5 cups each.
**Yes, this is filled with lots of processed foods. Yes, I am well aware that I talk about eating whole foods, unprocessed foods… but I also know that it is ok to have a treat now and then. And… as a reminder, I am not perfect. Well, I am perfectly *imperfect*. 😉
Yesterday was National Cherry Cobbler Day. Cherry Pie is one of my favorite desserts (not that I eat it, or any other dessert, very often… In fact, last time I had Cherry Pie was when I had lunch with a friend back in October at Twede’s Cafe.) As you know, I’ve never really been great at making pie crust, so Cherry Cobbler is second best, since it does not require the labor (of love) of making the crust.
So, in order to celebrate the Holiday, it seemed appropriate to make a cobbler. And since the day’s work brought me to Prosser, home of Chukar Cherries, I took a moment to stop in. I had never been to their store previously, and I was greeted by one of the best smiles backed up with the most excellent customer service I’ve experienced in a long while. (Thank you, Tami! You were a true bright spot in my week.) So, I was happy to pick up a beautiful jar of cherries, along with a snack pack of nuts and dried cherries to stash in my desk for a quick “pick me up”. And because I was made to feel important while in that little shop, I will definitely be stopping in again.
Now, I know that what you’re actually waiting for is to see the cobbler come together, right? So, without further ado:
Triple Cherry Pie and Cobbler Filling from Chukar Cherries, and some Dove Dark Chocolate
Pour cherries into ungreased casserole dish, and grate chocolate over the top.
Bake at 400* until biscuits are browned and filling is bubbly.
Invite a friend over and enjoy with ice cream and laughter to cheer you!
I was blessed to have my best friend and her kiddos join me and my kiddos for this cheerful dessert. We agreed that the chocolate grated over the top of the cherries made all the difference in this wonderful mid-week treat. Thanks for joining me, friend!
I’m back! And well, I thought it would be so much more fun if you had to GUESS what my latest kitchen success might be! So here’s a poll. It’s open for only 1 day. Cast your vote by tomorrow night and I will reveal the details of my kitchen success once voting closes. Share with all your friends and get them in on the fun, too!
I never said I’m perfect. I don’t even think I’ve ever hinted at thinking I’m perfect. I’m this imperfect little jumbled mess who wants to believe she can “do it all” and cook fabulous dinners every night, too. Yeah, well… I can’t. And I’m ok with that.
I made burnt grilled cheese sandwiches. The kids decided to take over the stove after I burned not only the first side of the sandwiches, but then the 2nd side, as well!!! I’m so glad I taught them how to cook. 😉
I will say that I think I made up for that mishap by making some really great bagels the following weekend.
This last weekend, I made spaghetti sauce. It took me 2 days to get the spices right!!! In the sauce, I used my freshly canned tomatoes from a few weeks ago. I think they lend a different flavor to the sauce, and I’ll have to remember to make adjustments to my cooking when using those in the future.
But… after spending 2 days getting the spices just right, I made a nice, big lasagne using the sauce, that is now lunches for the week with all the leftovers, and I froze 3 bags of sauce for later use.
And then there’s yesterday. The one day I wish nobody would have asked me the question… the ONE day I didn’t want to admit what I made my children for dinner… and the question was asked. And answered. My answer: corn dogs and tater tots… and the reply that came after that was: SHE’S HUMAN!!!! (And no… the corn dogs were not homemade, nor were they organic, blah, blah, blah… they were pure junk food and we loved them!!! But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on eating well and cooking fabulous meals. I still love to cook! I just needed a night off!)