A local Saturday

22 Aug


Before I get started, several cool things have happened since my last post.

  1. My summer class is done, I did pretty well, and I have one week of zero obligations 🙂
  2. I made my first recipe from the My Sweet Vegan book I got for my birthday: Coffee Break Shortbread.

    Not as photogenic as Hannah's, but hopefully just as tasty!

    I would post the recipe here, but this is already going to be kind of a long post. If you really want to know how to make these, get your hands on this book! I promise you won’t be disappointed. I actually made these cookies as a housewarming gift. A recently moved into a fantastic apartment, so I brought these over there earlier this week along with a bottle of wine. I chose these because A works at a coffee shop and is very fond of coffee, and she, her roommate and our friends seemed to like them, so I’d say these were a success!

  3. While stopped in traffic last night, I was able to witness a gorgeous Ohio sunset.

I have a love-hate relationship with Ohio. I absolutely hate it in the winter and early spring, but the rest of the year it's not half bad.

Anyway, onto the real post.

As a product of the Midwest (much to my Southern born-and-raised mother’s dismay), I have always been in the vicinity of at least one farmers’ market. For whatever reason, though, I didn’t go to my first farmers’ market until May of this year. There’s one in my hometown every weekend, but we’ve actually never been. Earlier this week, my mom sent me a link to a website with details about what is supposed to be the best market in the area. Of course I wanted to go, so this morning we got up early and headed out to the Countryside Farmers’ Market.

HOLY. FOOD. (And other stuff, like crafts and jewelry).

I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Athens Farmers’ Market because it was my first one and I got some great stuff there, but this one blew me away. It’s nestled in a semi-wooded area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and all the booths make a cozy kind of circle. We got so much stuff that I probably couldn’t even name it all. My favorite part was talking with almost every single person from whom we bought food. Everyone was so genuinely kind and knowledgeable. Seriously, if you ever feel like the people in this world just suck, go to a farmers’ market and your hope in humanity will be restored – I promise. Among the goods we carried home were four different kinds of cheese (lemon zest, sage, tomato basil, and some kind of chipotle), tomatoes, leeks, baby eggplant (white and purple), pattypan squash, fruit pie, fresh French bread, two different kinds of jam, the lightest and tastiest honey I’ve had in a long time…the list goes on and on. Unfortunately my camera battery died yesterday so I wasn’t able to take pictures, but next time I go, I definitely will. This place is straight up magical. I want to try to go there every weekend (it’s open year-round!) and eat as locally as I can on those days. It was really easy today with all of the food we got.

Afterwards we went to Giant Eagle (such a huge difference from the open-air market) to order Vic’s birthday cake because she turns the big 1-6 tomorrow…well, actually today since it’s past midnight. Can you believe 1994 was 16 years ago?

When we got home, we all gathered in the kitchen to sample the goods. I had a few hunks of baguette with the sage cheese and plum jam…seriously the best lunch I’ve had in awhile, although maybe not the most balanced. It felt good to know exactly where what I was eating was grown/made.

We got a lot of vegetables (more than I mentioned), so I whipped out my trusty  veg bible to see if there was anything that incorporated some of what we got to eat for dinner. I found two recipes, and my dad improvised a third. We decided to slice up the baby purple and white eggplant we got and loosely followed a recipe in the book. I won’t put that on here because it only turned out okay – the recipe was meant for regular eggplant, we cut them the wrong way, and we probably should have peeled them. My dad sauteed some pattypan squash with some seasoning, and those turned out really well. I have to say the real star of the show was the simple tomato soup recipe I found, though. We were able to use some of the tomatoes we bought as well as a leek in place of an onion. We also used some fresh basil from my mom’s garden. We served it with some more of the French bread. Vic lent me her Nikon D40 to take pictures of the meal. I. Want. This. Camera.

you can see the pattypan peeking out!

I am a baguette fiend

As always, here’s the recipe. I know soup isn’t very summery, but you’ll want to make an exception for this, especially if you have some local, organic ingredients.

Tomato Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, sliced (we used a leek)
  • 1 carrot, diced (we used 3 medium carrots)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped tomato (canned are fine; include their juice) << we did half canned, half fresh so we wouldn’t use up all of the tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably warmed (we used 2)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional – we didn’t)
  • minced fresh parsley or basil leaves for garnish (optional)
  1. Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan or casserole over medium heat. When hot, add the tomato paste and let it cook for a minute, then add the onion and carrot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato and the herb and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato pieces break up, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the stock, stir, and taste. Adjust the seasoning; if the soup is flat tasting, stir in the sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more stock or water. Garnish and serve.

While this was a delicious dinner, it didn’t quite agree with my insides. You know how it goes with lots of vegetables sometimes :p I walked around the house for awhile (I would have rather gone outside but the skies decided to unleash a torrential downpour) because I find that usually helps. After I was feeling better, I sat down with my mom and Vic to watch 500 Days of Summer for the first time. It was alright – I’d already heard a lot about it so I kind of knew what was going to happen. My stomach was grumbling afterwards (in a good way), so I decided to make myself some tea (sweetened with the tiniest bit of local honey!) and 12-grain toast (with local plum jam!)

obviously my camera was back in commission by the time this photo was taken

I should probably get to bed soon. Rumor has it we’re going out to breakfast to kick off Vic’s 16th year of life.


One Response to “A local Saturday”


  1. Lucky stars, tasty food and a fresh start « Impatient & hungry - 08/28/2010

    […] I had the opportunity to go to the farmers’ market I went to last weekend again – this time with my […]

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