Category Archives: farmers market

Happiness in a Bowl

My roommate is out of town this weekend, and I’m relishing in pretending that I live alone again. Don’t get me wrong…I have no true complaints about my roommate. It’s just that I enjoy the restorative silence of being alone here, balanced by being able to blast Sleater-Kinney without worrying about the noise level.

To cap off a very long week, I gave myself a couple of hours of British-y goodness last night. I was excited to watch the third Sherlock Holmes episode of the second season until I realized that it is also the last episode of the second season. More now!

Afterwards, I watched a Doc Martin episode. I don’t know how I became sucked into that show, but I’m a devotee now (a devotee who watches it on occasion, that is).

There was also knitting. The Leftie grows slowly in fits and starts.

Someday. Someday.

Bounty of Autumnal Goodness

The summer sped by without me frequenting the Tower Grove farmers’ market. What the hell?

I hit it today and stocked up on my favorite fall offerings:

Hell yeah!

Butternut and delicata! I am in winter squash heaven.

I picked up the box of persimmons on a whim, and then remembered why I usually don’t buy them. They’re super tasty, but also super seedy. I believe the seed to fruit ratio is grossly out of proportion.

It’s a Good Day When You Use Your Food Processor Twice

First up, potato-cheese soup. Fall happiness dished out in a bowl. This picture makes it look like a bowl of blah, but it is anything but.

After eating this, I immediately fell asleep from carb overload.

Next up was making pumpkin puree for a yet-to-be-made quinoa-pumpkin pudding.

Pumpkin carnage

My food processor feels much less neglected now, and I feel happy from puttering around the kitchen for a good chunk of the day.

And now…now homework calls.

But, PS!!!

This morning I woke up at 6:20. Yes, there was some tossing and turning in the night, but I did not wake up at the dreaded 3:30 or 4:30! When I saw the clock, I nearly cried from happiness.

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The Last Few Hours

…of summer freedom.

Summer school starts today, and I will be in Microbiology from 5-9:30 on Monday and Wednesday nights. I’m trying to work up enthusiasm for this, but I can’t gather any.

Tuesday of next week, I’m slated to take the GRE. Again, no enthusiasm to be had.

To make up for the buckling down that begins today, I tried to fill the weekend with summer fun. Luckily, the weather was all about cooperating and gave us lovely cool days.

Saturday was the farmers’ market with yoga and good food stuff. I made these rosemary almond crackers and nearly cried when I had them with quark. Finally, grain-free, sugar-free success! And super tasty!

Almonds, rosemary, and olive oil. Pure tastiness.

Tears, I tell you.

Cracker with quark. So good!

Even though strawberry season is over at Eckert’s, I managed to snag a quart of berries at the market. Once I was home, I blended them up with plain yogurt and popped them into popsicle molds that Porkchop picked up for me. Do you know how hard it is to find frozen treats with no sweeteners whatsoever? Sure, you can find sugar-free stuff, but I would rather go without than consume aspartame or sucralose.

Instead, I’ll stick with the homemade stuff.

A frozen bar I can trust.

With Sunday came tennis, lunch at the Mud House, and getting the hail damage on our car estimated and settled.

I’ve also been knitting away on a baby present! It’s going to be pretty darned cute, and I can’t wait to finish and post a photo.

Have a great week!

Fun Times Up North

Last weekend we headed up to Madison to visit old pals.

Our friend Kathy, currently a resident of Peru, was in the country and having a solo show in Rockford, Illinois. We wouldn’t miss Kathy and the opening for anything! Our friend Sabrina also flew in from Dallas for the show, so it was quite a reunion.

This is my favorite print from Kathy’s show:

Favorite!

Everything was beautiful, of course. You can view (and buy!) more work on Kathy’s website.

That night, someone might or might not have been killed in our hotel. Seriously. Some weird shit went down at the Radisson after a wedding reception held there.

Even with all of the commotion, we woke up bright and early to head out for Madison and the farmers’ market. I was super excited, but then I realized I’m kind of over the downtown market. It’s fun every once in a while, but the crowd is a killer.

Carried along with the crowd at the farmers' market.

After the market, we met up with friend and former co-worker Darcie for lunch at Lao Laan Xang. It is a shame I don’t have a picture to document the lunch! It was delicious, and I was happy to catch up with Darcie. I was also happy to receive a jar of brandied cherries. Yum! I can’t wait to crack open the jar.

Saturday afternoon was spent hanging out at Patrick’s apartment (sans Patrick, however) and walking around on State Street. I commented to Porkchop that the crowd on State Street was not the Madison crowd I remember. Then I realized that it was Labor Day, the first weekend of university, and Taste of Madison. Perhaps Madison has not truly been overtaken by douchy people.

The evening was spent at Tracy and Mark’s house. Tracy runs a letterpress shop at the UW, and Mark is a physicist. They are everything I aspire to be when I’m in my 50s: confident, intelligent, witty, kind, and owners of an amazing mid-century modern house.

For an appetizer, Sabrina made us pancetta nests which we topped with goat cheese and pear slices. Delicious!

Sabrina during a contemplative moment.

The main courses included sliders, potato-pesto-green-bean salad, and deviled eggs. Dessert was a fig tart with caramelized sugar. Yum!

Kathy O is low on wine.

Sunday was another super pleasant day, which started with brunch at Graze with Carmen. While Porkchop drove, Carmen and I rode her little racing bikes. For the past 20 years or so, I’ve ridden bikes on which I sit up higher and straighter than one does on racing bikes. SO, it was really wild to ride a racing bike from the early 1980s!!

In addition to maintaining a different posture, I had to adjust my balance. I nearly fell off many times! ALSO, the bikes were made special for shorter women, and the front tire is quite a bit smaller than the back tire.

I seriously thought I was going to eat the pavement during the ride! I kept yelling to Carmen: THIS IS SO DIFFERENT. OH MY GOSH! THIS IS SO DIFFERENT! AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!

On the way back from the restaurant, I totally cut off some SUVs and did other bad bike etiquette stuff because I felt so out of control on the bike.

All in all, it was really fun – the highlight of the trip, really.

These bikes look cute, but they're scary as heck to ride.

Visiting with Carmen, who we hadn’t seen in over two years, was also really great. But those bikes…

The rest of the trip was filled with art business and having Monday brunch with one of Porkchop’s former hockey teammates.

Next Trip

We leave tomorrow morning for Albuquerque. Yay, New Mexico! I’m looking forward to more tasty food and fun times!

Have a great weekend!

I Want to be a Pi Driver

Yesterday evening we stopped at the new Downtown Farmers’ Market, which is run by the folks behind the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. A lot of the vendors are the same, and it’s awesome to have two days to buy things from them.

However, while the Tower Grove market has the Big Cheese, a crepe stand, and a breakfast taco stand, the Downtown market has…the Pi truck!

One can never have enough Pi pizza.

Pizzas are cooked in the truck, so they are fresh and hot. Pi generally serves two varieties (one meat, one vegetarian), small only at $12 a pie. The pepperoni we had was deep dish, which is enough for two people to dine upon and then argue about who gets the leftovers for lunch.

If you haven’t been to the Downtown market yet, check it out!

This is the second time I had Pi pizza this week…and I don’t think I could ever tire of it.

Pounds with Patrick

This weekend has been one of indulgence and excess, as Porkchop’s friend Patrick rolled into town Thursday evening. Ever the gracious guest, he bore sweet Wisconsin gifts of New Glarus Spotted Cow, an outstanding assortment of Gail Ambrosius truffles, three sensational cheeses from Fromagination, scones from Lazy Jane’s, and squash and cucumbers from his garden.

We primed the visit with dinner at Pappy’s Smokehouse. Porkchop and I stuck with pulled pork sandwiches, but Patrick’s order of ribs convinced me to go that route next time. The ribs don’t need any sauce at all; they are spiced and smoked to perfection and have that mythical “falling off the bone” tenderness. Yum.

Ribs at Pappy's!

The rest of the evening was spent at the Cardinals-Dodgers game with faculty and staff from my center. It was hot as heck, but we caught some nice breezes as the Cardinals clinched a victory.

Friday morning started with me emailing in a notice that I was taking the day off. Why I didn’t do that earlier, I have no idea! After doing some work for our neighborhood art fair coming up, we packed the rest of the day with FUN FUN FUN.

The first stop was lunch at Stellina Pasta Cafe. This stop was an inspired impromptu decision. Stellina is awesomely delicious no matter what you order. Porkchop and I stuck with favorites again: whole wheat tagliatelle for her, and herb cheese agnolotti (or little pillows of heaven as I call them) for me. Patrick couldn’t decide between the lasagna (zucchini and goat cheese) or the South Side Smoke sandwich, so he went with both. The lasagna was perfect as ever, and the sandwich lived up to the “smoke” in its name (maybe a tad too smoky – our only complaint).

After lunch, we stopped by Suzi and Dale’s, and then headed to Schlafly Bottleworks for the free brewery tour. The tour culminated with a tasting of three beers: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, and American IPA. The American IPA is deliciously citrusy and is quite high in alcohol content. After the three good-sized tastings and a pint of Summer Lager, I was quite gone. That’s more beer than I’ve had in the past few months combined!

Beer tasting at Schlafly's.

Porkchop and Patrick enjoy more beer at Schlafly's.

When we returned home, I had to have a second cup of tea in order to clear my head. Whew.

Patrick’s former girlfriend happens to be wrapping up a summer art job here in St. Louis, so she stopped by for a visit. After that, it was off to a friend’s birthday party which featured The Princess Bride projected on their backyard garage. Fun!

We left the movie early for a late dinner and more drinks at the Royale. After finishing up around 11:00 (usually my bedtime on Friday nights), we capped the night with a visit to the City Museum. The name doesn’t really explain what it is. As our server at the Royale stated, in most places, the City Museum would be illegal. While it has some museum aspects to it (like salvaged architectural elements, circus posters, and some insect displays), it’s primarily a giant playground built in an old shoe factory. There are tunnels (many of which only small children can fit through, which makes going with kids extra fun), a 10-story slide, an aquarium, an indoor skateless skate park, a circus school, model railroads, a huge art activity area, old pipe organs, a play area outside featuring two abandoned planes suspended high above the ground and connected by wire tunnels (scary!!), giant ball pits, a Ferris Wheel on the roof, and a school bus half suspended off the roof (which I’ll never set foot in).

Patrick in a pit in the skateless skate park.

We only stayed at the City Museum for about an hour and a half, but it was enough time for me to regret having the fish taco at the Royale, to strain my left quad, to scrape my left elbow, to get a nice little bruise on my right knee, to be terrified while climbing on things outside, and to laugh myself silly at Porkchop’s hesitance to go down a particular near-vertical slide.

After sleeping in a little bit on Saturday, we hit the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. We loaded up on peaches, tomatoes, pasta, ground beef, and grilled cheese and then came back home where we rested for a while.

And then it was time for more food! La Vallesana was on the list for lunch, and it delivered big time. The food was terrific as always, and the watermelon agua fresca was the perfect drink for the hot weather. Afterwards we stopped at Foam for a beer (it’s hard to resist Patrick’s peer pressure). And then we hung out at home a bit more, burned some David Sedaris CDs for Patrick’s drive to Milwaukee, and then we had to say goodbye. Sadness!

Patrick had to leave Saturday evening in order to help with a family picnic on Sunday. I was sad to see him go, but I don’t know if I could have pounded any more beers with him.

Patrick is a young 25-year-old male, and I am a not-as-young 32-year-old female. It is hard to keep up with the beer and food consumption. I am now having to detox my body. Of course, I don’t think the bacon-cheese-tomato sandwich I had for lunch was on the detox menu.

I look forward to September, when we shall see Patrick in Madison! Yay!

Chicken Dreams

The past week has been busy!

To begin with, Porkchop and I celebrated “Six Days of Carrie’s Birthday,” which became kind of exhausting. It started with dinner and a movie (Toy Story 3, which I actually really enjoyed) on July 1 and progressed to a Cardinals game (which we left early because I sincerely detest baseball) and Ted Drewes on Friday.

However, things really got started last Saturday. The day began perfectly with a bike ride to the Botanical Gardens. Saturday mornings before noon, City and County residents have free admission to the gardens; I think it’s one of the best free deals in town. We poked around the Climatron and Henry Shaw’s house, where we gazed upon his mausoleum statue.

Nice digs for a dead man.

Climatron with glass Chihuly sculptures in the foreground.

Yay, Botanical Gardens!

After our visit, we stopped by the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market for grilled cheeses, tomatoes, peaches, pasta, and mocha macaroons. The Big Cheese is soooooo good! We had grilled cheese made with Companion bread, local mozzarella, fig tapenade (figs from Ivan the Fig Farmer), and some sort of meat from Salume Beddu. Two thumbs up.

I could eat these grilled cheeses every day.

It seems like it would be hard to top the morning, but we succeeded by buying a new bike! Yes, I could not not buy a new bike this summer. It’s a Trek 7.3 and is shiny blue.

Me and my new bike (as yet nameless).

We bought it at a shop where it is apparently customary to haggle over the price. This came as a surprise to me, but I aced it by unintentionally lying about a price I thought I had seen elsewhere. This move made the sales guy reveal the shop’s lowest price, which pissed off the owner to no end. But, you know, if you make haggling a standard practice at your shop, then it’s your own fault for letting a bike go at a price lower than what you expected. Also, if I hadn’t accidentally lied, we probably would have paid full price and felt angry.

The Saturday fun continued into the evening, with going to the Arch for fireworks. We returned to the Arch grounds on Day Four of my birthday to watch the air show with Suzi and Dale. Unfortunately, I became overheated and survived only because Suzi bought me cold waters and visited the EMS tent for chemical ice packs. I slept the rest of Sunday and was dehydrated and groggy for the rest of the day. But the Harrier jet was neat.

I don't remember much from the air show, but I remember this jet hovering over the Mississippi.

Birthday celebrations continued on Monday with lunch with Suzi and Dale at Pi in Kirkwood. Porkchop and I wrapped up a lunch of Margherita pizza with a tiramisu milkshake. YUM! After that, we went to a couple of shops, and Suzi and Dale purchased a few presents for me: the green and white jersey I’m wearing in the picture with my bike, a bike tool (technical name – I don’t know? it does 18 things, though), and special air canister thingies for emergency tire airings while out riding.

Tuesday – the last day of my birthday celebration – was a bit of a letdown because Porkchop and I had to work. However, Porkchop surprised me with cupcakes from the Cupcakery.

Finally, my birthday proper. Yay, 32!

Porkshop also gave me terrific presents throughout my celebration: chocolate bars (Askinosie, Patric, and caramel Five Star bars from Lake Champlain chocolates), a gift certificate to Kaldi’s, and a gift certificate to Knitty Couture. Also, part of my bike!

Non-Birthday Things

We’ve hit some rough spots in gardening. Squash vine borers destroyed all of the kabocha squash plants in the community garden. Devastation!! Tomatoes are also slow to ripen. Oh well, maybe we’ll have tomatoes in August. Here’s what’s going in the community garden:

Roasting peppers growing.

Okra flower - pretty!

Lemon cucumber.

After working in the garden a bit, Porkchop and I left for a chicken coop tour! We rode our bikes to Tower Grove park, and then proceeded to see eight coops in the Tower Grove, Fox Park, Gravois Park, Benton Park, Marine Villa, and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods. In all, we rode about 12 miles and saw some great coops and chickens. Here are some of our favorites:

Porkchop's favorite chick.

More pretties! These live in our neighborhood.

The most exciting outcome of the tour is that we might get chicks this week! A guy on the tour ordered 25 from a place in Iowa and was looking to unload about 20 of them. So, we’ll see if the deal goes through. I hope it does, but it also feels kind of sudden!

Lastly, we had a super awesome dinner tonight of marinated steak and roasted potatoes. And I made olive bread, which is my very favorite:

Olive bread goodness!

Have a great week!

All About Food

Today has been centered around food, and it has been terrific! I love weekends with no obligations and being able to think about food, food, food.

We started this morning by going to the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, where we picked up bacon and tomatoes. We also enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches from The Big Cheese, as well as mocha and coconut macaroons from Four Seasons Baked Goods. The grilled cheese stand is new this year, and it’s a huge hit. YUM!

pesto making
Do not be alarmed by the basil leaves being burnt on the stove top.

After the market we stopped by a couple of shops in search of pine nuts. Pine nuts are expensive, yo. I picked up a bag at Jay International, and Porkchop noticed after paying that they were $20! So, um, we returned them. The deal at Schnuck’s wasn’t much better, and we ended up paying $16. If you have a cheap pine nut connection, please let me know!

When we made it home, we set out making pesto for freezing. Our basil plants have been super productive, and we have to do something with all of it!

Eight cups of basil leaves and one cup of pine nuts later, this is what we had:

pesto

Yummy pesto!

I submerged the basil leaves in boiling water because it’s supposed to help the leaves keep their color while frozen. We’ll see. So, after the pesto was processed, I put it in ice cube trays for freezing. Tomorrow I’ll transfer the cubes of pesto goodness to a freezer bag, and then we’ll be able to use it during the winter.

pesto cubes

Ready for the freezer.

I see us making a few more batches this summer.

Since we had some pesto left over, chicken in the fridge, orzo in the cabinet, tomatoes on the counter, and goat cheese in the cheese drawer, we threw together lunch pretty quickly.

lunch

I love summer lunches!

After lunch, we headed to the Soulard Farmers’ Market to grab some end-of-the-day deals. A pound of bing cherries for $1.50, 12 ears of corn for $2, and a watermelon for $2 (and pork rinds for Porkchop for $3). Obviously, none of this is local, but that isn’t the focus of the Soulard Market.

But, speaking of local, here are shots from our backyard garden:

delicious

Delicious tomato. Looks like it will be huge!

roma

Roma tomatoes looking great!

cherry

Fox cherry that self-seeded. We have 3 or 4 this year, which means lots of oven-dried tomatoes.

beans

Green beans!

potatoes

Hoping for a good potato harvest!

And now…now we’re going to a casino buffet.

No, seriously, a casino buffet. We have coupons for a free buffet, and it’s at the fancy Lumiere Casino downtown. I hear it’s crab leg night!