Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fantastic Haul

Well, Saturday we made our usual trip to the farmer's market in Saratoga. Paid for my CSA share, which I'll start picking up next weekend (just when the market moves outdoors for the summer). Along with the usual milk from Battenkill (plus some heavy cream to whip and put over SO-not-local strawberries and Belgian waffles Sunday morning), I got another chicken from Brookside, spinach and leeks from Pleasant Valley Farm (they have no website, but they're an organic family farm in Argyle, New York), parsnip seconds and scallions from Kilpatrick, and Adirondack Red and Adirondack Blue potatoes from the Sheldons.

The Sheldon potatoes, despite their names, are in fact pink and purple, not red and blue. Which of course I couldn't not buy, given that I have a six-year-old girl in the house. Today for dinner, I'm making potato salad from them.

Pink-and-Purple Potato Salad

3 cups cubed Adirondack Red and Blue potatoes, boiled till tender
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 scallion, white part only, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon garlic mustard leaves, chopped into small slices
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon prepared mustard (I used Dijon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the whites of the eggs and throw them in with the potatoes, along with the scallion and garlic mustard. Smash up the egg yolks in a medium bowl and mix with the mayonnaise and prepared mustard, and mix into the potato mixture. Add salt and pepper as desired. Chill before serving.

Several hours later, after a birthday party for a friend of my boyfriend's (is there anything more intimidating than meeting the new boyfriend's old friends? Especially when one turns out to be a rail-thin and impeccably-groomed Manhattanite?), we made our first trip to the co-op together. I'd been many times - I used to live around the corner from it - but it was his first trip, although he'd heard about it a number of times.

They've rearranged a lot since my last trip. I don't make it out to Albany much, so it's been a while. All the bulk dry goods have been consolidated into one area now, though - one large area. After making the rounds through the produce and packaged food areas (I found local mushrooms, which I haven't seen at the farmer's market yet, and my boyfriend found some fair trade tea at a good price), we hit the cheese section (got some 4-year-old cheddar from Vermont - so good), compared the meat and dairy case prices to the farmer's market (actually cheaper at the farmer's market), and finally found the dry goods.

This is the section of the co-op that began my interest in the place, and my favorite part of the store even now, over a decade later. For me it all started with spices and teas. Any spice you can imagine, and a number you've never heard of, have a place on their shelves. There are also a number of herbs, barks, and so forth there for medicinal purposes. I didn't really need any of those that day, though.

There is also a refrigerator nearby with several vats of maple syrup and other bulk liquids that need refrigeration. I picked up what I'd guess to be about twelve to sixteen ounces of New York maple syrup for about $7.50. (You can buy a bottle for it right there, too.) A shelf next to the refrigerator holds all kinds of extracts and oils, although I didn't need these that day, either. My boyfriend wondered whether traditional or alcohol-free vanilla extract is better; I have no idea. We chose traditional on account of being able to recognize what all the ingredients were.

There are also all kinds of bulk nut butters, which I thought about (Emma would love them), but didn't get because I worried how much I was already spending. How much would she love almond butter, though?

Then I spent God knows how long going through the entire series of dry bins, bin by bin, reading each and every label. God forbid I should miss something! I got Basmati rice for my next tandoori night, whole wheat cous cous and New York State cannelinis for this incredibly tasty soup, and over five pounds of old-school, slow-cookin' grits.

The best part was that the bill only ran up to about $43, despite a $10 bottle of supplements, $7 in syrup, and a small-but-so-worth-it $6 hunk of cheese. This happens to me every time - being pleasantly surprised by the low bill - and yet I never learn to just pick up the nut butter and damn the consequences.

Tomorrow should be cooler, allowing me to do some actual, honest-to-goodness cooking. I can't wait. iGoogle says it's 90 degrees outside even now, at 4:30 in the afternoon. So, hot dogs and potato salad it is, today.

Not local today: condiments and spices. Not bad!

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