This Little Piggy Went To Market

It’s been a pretty awesome week.Last Friday was my birthday, with all the obscenely frosted cake that it implies.  Then, Wednesday was the first afternoon market of the year at the Durham Farmers’ Market.

Petey worked just about his whole nursing career on the third shift, from 7PM to 7AM, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  And, I’ve something to say about folks who work the night shift.

One Tuesday morning my mom called about 9:30 to check on The Kid, who’d been up in school in Vermont a couple months. She woke us.

It wasn’t the first time, or the second, and I got a little snappish.  And so did Mom.

First, she called me a “lazy thing”, for being asleep at that time.  I explained we’d gone to bed at 3AM.  So, she asked why Petey and I didn’t go to bed earlier on Mondays.  Because when Petey had gotten home from work on Monday morning, he was exhausted and slept until 4PM.And if he switched his sleep to a more conventional schedule every Monday, he’d have to flip it back at the end of the week.  And, I’m no sleep expert, but I’m guessing that after a couple months of poking his circadian rhythm with a sharp stick, he’d be insane or dead.

I will end with this entreaty.  If you know someone who works when the rest of the world is sleeping, have a heart.  Don’t visit during the day.  Don’t ask them to give you a ride, or babysit, or be functional at 1:00 in the afternoon.  It is the same as someone showing up at your house at 3AM on a Wednesday to try to get you to have pizza and binge watch “Stranger Things”.So, have a heart.  That person you don’t bug when you think they should be out and about in the middle of the day might be the person manning the emergency room when Grandma falls and breaks her wrist on a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Anyway.

My point was that the Saturday farmers’ markets are just too early for some (me).  Which is why the Wednesday market makes me so very happy.This year, there’s a plan: each time I visit, I will purchase food that I’ve neither cooked, nor eaten.  I will then pick the brains of both the farmer, and fellow buyers as to preparation.

Last Wednesday, I bought escarole.  It’s a bitter green beloved by Italians and is big in bean dishes and Italian wedding soup.  I chose to sauté it.

Garlic Lemon Escarole

escarole

4 slices bacon, cooked crispy and reserve 1 tablespoon of grease

4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half

2 large bunches of escarole

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ cup toasted pistachios

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt & pepper

Wash escarole by filling sink with cold water.  Swish each bunch and drop into water.  The detritus will drop to bottom of sink.  Wait a few minutes then gently remove escarole without disturbing dirt.

While escarole is soaking put garlic into large skillet with bacon grease and cook on medium-low until garlic browns.  Remove garlic and set aside.  Turn to medium.

Pat dry.  Cut into 2-inch pieces. add to skillet, and cover.  Cook 8 minutes or so until completely wilted.

Remove cover, stir in pepper flakes and pistachios, then cook until tender (5-7 minutes).

Take off heat and stir in lemon juice.  Season, taste and season again, if needed.Plate and top with browned garlic and crumbled crispy bacon.  Serves 4.

Thanks for your time

French Market Bag Pattern by Two of Wands

Random stuff I discovered and wrote down in 2015 Part 1

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

I have a diary with a padded blue silk cover.  I got it as a gift in high school.  For some reason, it resides in a bookshelf in my living room.

I pulled it down today and took a look at it.

It has about 200 lined pages.  I have filled a grand total of eleven pages; with seven entries from 1982, and one from 1991.  Each sentence is more forced and stilted than the last.

Yeah, I’m really bad at keeping up with that kind of thing.  But I think that my non-stop internal monologue and the fact that I endlessly overthink every decision; no matter if it is picking lunch off a menu, a plumber to repair a leak, or a retirement plan counts as examination.  I just stink at manually archiving it.

But this year I did something I’ve never been able to do before.  I kept a log of all culinary episodes, experiences, and epiphanies.

I was faithful to this project, and have an entire year’s worth of ruminations.

For the next few weeks, I will share them with you, gentle reader, in this space.

January 3rd– Picked up some clearance items today.  No matter what color or shape they are in, Reese’s cups and M&M’s are just as yummy.  But it seems like they taste a little bit better when they’re 75% off.

January 11th– It may be cheap, but egg nog just tastes sad in late January.  And nobody wants another dessert made from it.

January 21st– Nobody makes better eggplant in garlic sauce than Grace’s Café (downstairs at Trent Hall, 331 Trent Dr.).  But even better, they offer brown rice, and for the toddler (mine) taste buds, they will make a version with no spicy heat.  Also, they have a club sandwich that makes Petey’s day.

February 2nd– Cooking black rice takes just as much time as brown rice.  I probably should have checked that before I put a large pot of it on—we wouldn’t have had to eat dinner at 10:30.

February 9th– Parts and Labor is the restaurant at Durham music venue Motorco (723 Rigsbee Ave).  They have an imaginative scratch-made menu of finger foods and munchies.  The Kid and I had six or seven items and almost everything was really tasty.  The sliders are not to be missed.  The artichoke fritters while a great idea, and much anticipated, were a little greasy.  But because of that they would have made stellar drunk food.

Unfortunately, I was sober tonight.

March 8th– Took a trip to Crabtree Valley Mall with the whole family.  Had brunch at an eatery named Red Monkey Tavern.

red monkey

The food was really good—they have duck mac and cheese, for goodness sake.  Had the avocado BLT.  The bacon was thick, tasty, and crispy.  The avocado was perfectly ripe and creamy.

But they are, in my opinion, much too fond of the spicy.  Lots of chorizos, and a really hot chipotle mayo.  Even their tarragon mayo had quite a kick to it.

But their truffle Parmigiano fries are worth the trip to Raleigh.

April 9th– Made some brownies, and have about 10 pounds of M&M’s from Easter.  I threw caution to the wind and mixed a couple cups into the batter, and sprinkled a handful over the top.  They were really good.  You get all the creamy chocolate of chips, but the bonus is the snap of that candy shell.

Ooh, I’ll bet they would rock in some blondies.

April 29th– Petey and I went to the opening Wednesday of the Durham farmers market.  It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  In addition to some quite tasty Honeygirl Mead, I scored some pea shoots.  They were delicious on a cold sandwich.  I enjoyed them so much I decided to see what else they would work on.

And salads, and risotto, and…

Scrambled eggs, pasta, burgers, cream soup, and avocado toast all work great.  I’m guessing ice cream is a no go.

Next week I’ll dish on May, June, July, and August.

   Thanks for your time.