9/15-9/17/2016: Summer soup & Pepper Party peppers


One quick thing:

  1. The proposal to transfer management of the Market to a new non-profit entity will receive a hearing at a City Council Committee meeting this coming Monday, Sept 19, at 5:30pm. Show up and show your support!

Scroll down for the list of what we’ll have this week.

 

And so we come to the end of summer. Next Thursday when the Market opens its doors, it will officially be fall. While the end of summer vacations and the return to school has had many of us resuming our “regular” routines, the weather has done little (if you don’t count those cool nights) to indicate that it knows there’s a transition happening. We’re in for a some cooler weather these upcoming market days — which I am very much looking forward to — but for now, it is still summer.

I took no pictures of food this week, and so this picture is stolen from the minestrone site linked in the text. No purple carrots = a much more photogenic dish.

I took no pictures of food this week, and so this picture is stolen from the minestrone site linked in the text. No purple carrots = a much more photogenic dish.

As something of a “transitional dish”, this week Dusty and I made a big pot of minestrone. I had an impression of minestrone as something of a winter dish (I mean, it is a hot soup), but after some internet reading I came around to the idea that it could be used to showcase any season. The best site I found contains no recipe, but an overview of the theory of minestrone, and an exploration of the many components it can be made from — and it starts by addressing head-on the belief that minestrone is a winter food. Aptly titled Minestrone: A Primer, I highly recommend checking it out and making some minestrone of your own, with whatever you have on hand (or can find at your local market!).

We used, of course, onions, carrots, and celery, and some chopped guanciale from the freezer for the base, then added potatoes, gold zucchini, tomatoes, and chard. After it simmered for a tantalizingly long time, we stirred in a can of cannellini beans, and finished with a few spoonfuls of pesto. We only had purple carrots, so the final result was much darker than you’d expect, and didn’t lend itself well to pictures — but it was delicious, and a perfect summer comfort food on a cool evening following a scorching day!

My favorite food of the season, though — which I meant to write about last week along with all the pepper excitement! — is….well, I have no real name for it. “Fried peppers” is close, but the recipes for fried peppers aren’t quite what I mean. The recipe originates in our lives with an annual party Dusty attended every year for most of his adult life — “the Pepper Party”. The first year it was held — long before I knew Dusty, and long before he would have been old enough to attend — the organizer invited a number of men and women to help him consume some of his garden’s bounty of peppers. Only men showed up, and the Pepper Party — a male-only event from then on — was born. By the time I met Dusty, it was legendary among his friends, and on the night of the Pepper Party — usually the first full moon after the Autumnal Equinox — the men would gather to build fires and fry peppers and play games of skill and strength (think axe-throwing and massive tug-of-war), while the women would gather separately to…build fires and make all *kinds* of food and sit around the fire and enjoy each others’ company. As the years went by (20 or more of them), the Pepper Party got bigger and bigger, and planning it became harder and harder, until it seemed beyond what the original organizers, and the succession organizers, were willing to tackle. Even though I wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend a Pepper Party if they were still happening, I’m a little wistful about the loss.

Happily, though, no Pepper Party is needed to make Pepper Party peppers — just a heavy-bottomed skillet, copious amounts of olive oil, and as many peppers as you can get your hands on. True Pepper Party peppers are Hungarian Wax (which we will have this week), but I prefer sweeter peppers. Horn-type peppers (which we don’t have this week) are ideal, but bell peppers will work just fine. A mix of hot and sweet is also divine.

It’s so simple: heat a good amount of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, enough to almost cover the peppers once they’ve cooked down (Dusty says, “Not enough to deep-fry, but way way more than you need to saute — almost an inch for a full batch); slice the peppers up (discard the seeds, unless you’re going hot and really want it hot), and throw them in the hot oil (carefully!). Use tongs to toss occasionally, and fry for 30-45 minutes (depending on how thick the walls of the peppers you’re using are; bells will take longer than horns) until the peppers are thoroughly limp and starting to caramelize. Turn off the heat, use the tongs to transfer the peppers to a bowl, and toss with salt. Put the bowl on the table, along with some crusty bread (McGrath’s Original has historically been my favorite, but now I’m sold on using a baguette), and a big hunk of Asiago (available at Hummer’s). Assemble as you go, using a fork to put a layer of peppers on a slice of bread, followed by some slabs of cheese on top. Messy, yes, but YUM. I can’t even describe how incredible these are — rich, sweet, spicy where applicable, with some indescribably addictive flavor that you wouldn’t expect from such a simple recipe.

We’ve been known to make an entire meal of peppers, bread, and cheese, but we also like to throw some North Mountain Pastures Sweet Italian sausage into the mix, and maybe a salad if you’re feeling guilty about all that fat (I don’t).

The peppers store well in the fridge, too — just pour a little of the cooking oil over them once they’re in the container, always use a clean fork to remove them, and they’ll keep for weeks. And don’t discard the rest of the oil, either! Pour it in a jar, throw it in the fridge, and use it the next night as the first ingredient in your minestrone. Sweet or hot, it’ll add a wonderful richness — perfect for summer, or fall.

-Julia

Produce

Beans & Peas

  • Edamame
  • Green Beans

Braising Greens

  • Collard Greens

Fruit

  • Gala Apples
  • Honeycrisp Apples
  • Jonathan Apples
  • Cantaloupe

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley

Mushrooms

  • Cremini Mushrooms
  • White Mushrooms
Onions & Garlic

  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Red Onions
  • Sweet Yellow Onions
  • White Onions

Other

  • Celeriac
  • Italian Eggplant
  • Okra

Peppers

  • Mixed Bell Peppers
  • Orange Habanero Peppers
  • Hungarian Wax Peppers
  • Poblano Peppers

Potatoes

  • Blue Potatoes
  • Red Thumb Fingerling Potatoes
  • Gold Potatoes
  • Red New Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
Roots

  • Red Beets
  • Carrots

Salad Greens

  • Arugula
  • Escarole
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Red Leaf Lettuce

Squash

  • Delicata Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Gold Zucchini
  • Zucchini

Tomatoes

  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Plum Tomatoes
  • Red Tomatoes

Cheese

Keswick Creamery

  • Brie
  • Morbier
  • Quark
  • Ricotta
  • Vermeer
  • Wallaby
  • Wine-Washed Tomme

Lykens Valley Creamery

  • Baby Swiss
  • Clothbound Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Goat Gouda
  • Cheddar
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Smoked Cheddar
  • Jalapeno Cheddar

Camelot Valley

  • Chevre (asst varieties)
  • Feta
  • Chevre d’Azure (Blue Goat)
  • Moonlight Fog
  • Starlight Crotin

Other

  • Apple Tree Feta
  • Hope Springs Mild Cheddar
  • Hope Springs Monterey Jack
  • Millich Kivvel
  • Millwood Springs Blue Cheese

Bread

McGrath’s Brick Oven Bakehouse
(fresh Friday & Saturday)

  • McGrath’s Original
  • Sesame Original
  • Irish Oatmeal Pan Bread
  • Peasant Wheat
  • Reuben’s Rye
  • Cranberry Pecan
  • Baguettes (Saturday only)
Talking Breads
(fresh Thursday)

  • Batard
  • Ciabatta
  • Miche
  • Seeded

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