Here is a confession: I find the farmer's market kind of intimidating. We've been told that we're supposed to be eating perfect food perfectly in season, and buying it has become a sacrament, a chance for the soul-starved city dweller to commune with the natural order and to form meaningful relationships with the people who truly understand it. But, being my shy self, I have yet to count among my friends someone whose acquaintance I made by asking him "what's that strange knobby thing, and how do I cook it?" Intimidated or not, I love to wander through the piles of vegetables and flowers, looking at the people and getting a little glowy if the sun is out. This weekend the sun was out, and thank goodness I had help for the dreaded lugging home of
a bunch of chamomile, a bunch of wild spinach (fuzzy and substantial, with pointed edges), a bag of regular spinach, a bag of apples (that turned out not to be great), some fingerling potatoes, a bag of mini yellow potatoes, a bunch of spring garlic, and a CHICKEN (I have bought eggs at the Greenmarket, but never chicken!)
I was especially excited about the spring garlic but then could not find anything to do with it--the books with suggestions must all be in storage (their liberation is near at hand, thank goodness). It had a great shock of leaves that left a fragrant trail as we walked from Union Square to the 1.
For dinner Saturday we had spinach salad with strawberries (from Gristede's, since there were none left at the market) and balsamic vinaigrette, roast chicken that had been stuffed with the spring garlic, and the fingerlings that sat beneath the chicken in the roasting pan.
Sunday I went crazy with leftovers, and we had buttermilk pancakes with sugared strawberries (which ended up tasting like strawberry shortcake...highly recommend, perhaps with some whipped cream!), chicken salad with homemade mayonnaise (so gratifying! I didn't even have a whisk, but it came together with a fork), beans and kale, and, because there was a sad plea for something chocolate, brownie tart from Barefoot in Paris. Having gone to the store expressly for brownie tart ingredients, I found upon my return that I had bought salted instead of unsalted butter. And I had the wrong sized pan, and I did not make the creme anglaise to go with (substituting whipped cream). Anyway--it was not my favorite chocolate dessert, but I would like to give it another go with better chocolate, the right butter, the right pan, and maybe without the instant coffee crystals, which taste I'm not at all sure I like.
Tonight I was absurdly pleased with my wealth of leftovers and enjoyed a gorgeous salad of spinach, chicken, bacon, roast potatoes, green beans, and mayonnaise. My favorite thing about making mayonnaise is feeling obliged to find things to eat it on!