Folks, it's time to calls it as we sees it: Fall is here. Officially, autumn calendared in a few weeks ago, but it takes some rain and a few days of wearing socks for us to really believe it. After that summer -- long, hot, too humid but not enough rain -- can anyone be sorry that we've rounded that bend? Now we just have to make it through the election and it's clear sailing...
We forgot to put it on the Market chalkboard last Saturday that Neil's Sharpening Service is coming this week, and though we told you at the beginning of the season that they'd be along every second Saturday, we're feeling guilty about that. So spread the word that this is almost your last chance to get those knives and other implements honed this season. The truly final opportunity will be on November 19, the bonus pre-Thanksgiving FM, but why risk it?
Reminder: Kia's Cakes is at the Market this Saturday but off the next (October 15).
A quick survey of the produce vendors lets us report that we should be seeing broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, leeks, lettuce, and white and sweet potatoes every Saturday for the rest of the season, though tomatoes are soon to peter out. (Did you make that tomato jam yet?)
How do you feel about winter squash? It's kind of a pain to cook, right? So hard to peel and cut up and then takes a while to soften enough to be edible. Well, without enlisting a pressure cooker or a microwave, the time issue ain't going away, but we had a chat with Mitch of Green Zebra Farm, and he said that he simply cuts the top off the squash, bakes it whole for a good long time until it's soft, then cuts it in half and scoops out the inside. Roasting the squash whole instead of breaking it down into peeled fiddly bits is a great technique if you're making anything that uses pureed or smashed squash, such as, duh, pureed squash, soup (like this one or this one or this one), dips or spreads, or even -- get ready -- sweets (waffles, cookies, muffins, cake, cake, or cake).
Most of the recipes linked above call for butternut squash, probably because that variety and acorn are the most ubiquitous. But less common winter squashes are available at Green Zebra, including buttercup, delicata, and kabocha (both green and orange). Mitch says the differences are subtle, maybe negligible, and he uses them interchangeably. If you're cooking for one, you might want to go with the delicatas, which are smaller and have edible skin (and which Mitch likened to an heirloom tomato). Kabochas resemble small pumpkins and so look nice on the counter during the fall (what? you don't decorate your kitchen counters?). Buttercups' strength, in our book, is that they have the cutest name. But whatever squash you get, know that they're packed with fiber and nutrients and that they keep well, so they're a great way to spend your Market Bucks and bucks at the Market.
It doesn't call for squash, but maybe this dairy-free no-frills carrot cake/bread, made with apple cider and olive oil, is the autumnal breakfast/snack you've been looking for. The recipe doesn't state this, but it definitely falls into the pumpkin spice category (which is all about the spices and not the pumpkin), so if that's your bag, have at it.
We were too busy stuffing ourselves with their pepperoni bread and English muffins to notice until recently that Big Sky Bread has a hopping granola business going on. Packed in two sizes, which we're going to call "nibbling" and "chowing," Big Sky's granola is gluten-free and contains typical granola ingredients -- oats, honey, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc -- but adds more crunch with almonds. Plus you can get it with or without fruit, which in this case means dried cherries and cranberries (with, please!).
Two other gluten-free options at Big Sky were also very appealing last Saturday, which was kind of chilly and seemed to be calling for a cup of hot coffee and something you could chew on for a while. One was the maple oat cakes, cute little grain balls pressed into fluted tins to produce kind of a flower shape. They contain only oats, maple syrup, butter, and oat flower and are guaranteed to keep you feeling satisfied for longer than a Snickers bar.* The other thing was a low-fat gluten-free cranberry raisin cookie for when you're trying to be virtuous but want a treat. (If you're not trying to be virtuous, we recommend the madeleines.)
*This is not really guaranteed, though it is likely.
Here's that Community Day application you've been asking about. Now fill it out and submit it by Monday, October 17, please. Community Day #3 (aka the last one this year) will be on October 29. Spaces, as always, are $30 each and are doled out on a first-come basis.
Also on the 29th will be our Fall Festival, which, let's be honest, has dwindled mostly to the Sweet Endings Dessert Contest. Here are the rules and application for the contest. The most important things to know are that you need to use one Market ingredient (apples, honey, zucchini, olive oil, etc) and that the contest is actually a fundraiser for the community food bank, so your entry will be silent auctioned off, with the dessert going to the highest bidder and the money going to a good cause. Also, this year there's no fee to enter and if you win, you'll land a bunch of Market Bucks! So what's stopping you? And if you're not entering, we sure hope you'll be bidding.
Finally, if you were intrigued by the potato chips for one recipe we offered in last week's newsletter, we left out a critical step: microwave the thinly sliced, olive-oil-slicked potatoes for 6 or 7 minutes on a piece of parchment paper. The paper keeps them crunchy!