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DMV Dining (In): Fresh From the Market

1 Jul

While I wouldn’t call myself an avid chef or baker by any means, I do like to cook from time to time. Yes folks, we don’t just dine out, we do like to dine in as well! The biggest difficulty is finding the time to prepare the more fun and elaborate meals, especially during the week. Plus, I need to convince Brett that whatever I’m making won’t require too many pots or pans to clean, as that’s his domain in the house. Usually I win out since most of my meals have been a hit thus far.

This past week I was particularly inspired to make some fun dishes, and I got most of the ideas from the Bethesda Central Farmers Market. This farmer’s market runs on Sundays from 9am to 1pm on Elm Street in downtown Bethesda, and as long as we’re in town, we make it a point to go almost every weekend. There are so many great vendors and I love seeing what is in season.

Last week I picked up some fresh tzatziki from Cava (after sampling almost all of their spreads available). Cava is one of our go-to stops at the market, especially since we love all their dips as we’ll typically have at least one container in our fridge. While we usually pick up some hummus for snacking, this time I thought the tzatziki would be great to incorporate into some meals. I looked up a recipe that included the Greek dip and decided to make turkey burgers.

Turkey Burger

The turkey burgers were actually made with shredded zucchini, which came from a giant piece I picked up at the market as well. That, along with some minced jalapeno and onion added some nice flavor to the burgers. I topped them with a tablespoon of the Cava tzatziki as well as some fresh cherry tomatoes and placed them in small pita pockets.

The only thing I would change with the burgers would be some additional seasoning since I think they needed some more kick to them. We had so much zucchini left over that I sliced up the rest and grilled them on our grill pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Of course, I had to add some sliced cucumbers to dip more tzatziki with, some fresh corn from Giant, and our favorite new fries.

I had heard someone at work tell me last week about kale chips and how delicious they were, so when I spotted kale at the market, I knew I had to try for myself. I found an easy recipe online and started cutting the leafing green away from the ribs with a kitchen knife and then broke it up into rectangles and squares. Then, after washing thoroughly and drying with a salad spinner, I placed each piece onto a baking sheet with waxed paper, and drizzled some olive oil from a mister with a sprinkling of season salt.

Kale Chips

I should have put some spray down on the paper or coated them more evenly before placing them down, because the bottom parts of the kale never got oil on them. No matter, they crisped up in 10 minutes or less and resulted in a great crunchy snack. Even Brett devoured them, and this is kale we’re talking about! You honestly don’t even think you’re eating a vegetable. Maybe next time I’ll try some chili powder or soy sauce to mix in too.

Lastly, I had a specific reason to pop into the market last Sunday, and that was to see if Toigo Orchards had sour cherries again. Around this time last summer, we were at the market and they were encouraging customers to pick up some sour cherries. I was intrigued but skeptical, wondering what I would even do with them. The woman said matter-of-factly, “just make a cherry pie.” So I did, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and how good it tasted! I couldn’t believe I made it.

Sour Cherry Pie

Seriously though, sour cherries do taste like cherry pie, they just need a little sugar to enhance the flavor. This time, I realized I needed some help in the pitting department, and purchased a pitter on Amazon. This one allowed you to tackle four at a time, and was so simple and easy I was done with two quarts in a matter of minutes. After that, I just added in some sugar, lemon juice, and flour. For the pie crust, I was tempted to make my own, but went with the Betty Crocker mix with water that I rolled out. Besides, the focus is on the cherries anyway, right?

As the season goes on I’ll definitely look for some other fun recipes to incorporate finds from the market. Brett’s already looking to see where else we can get sour cherries so I don’t only have to make the pie once a year!