Two weeks ago I found a farm stand on the side of the road on our way to the beach. (Yes, farm stand and beach appeared in that sentence, and yes, two weeks ago was January. Man, I love living in California!) We have driven past it many times but always found some good reason why we couldn't stop. Too cold from the ocean, too hot from the sun, too... lazy. But we did, and it rocked my world.
$12.15 later, we walked out of there with bags and bags of produce... tangerines, sweet potatoes, leeks, garlic, onions, pears, apples, and more. That week, instead of making my menu first and then finding the produce to go with it, I looked at what I had and thought, "What can I do with these leeks? How about these sweet potatoes?"
Since we weren't going to drive past this farm stand this past weekend we walked down to the Farmer's Market. In the last city we lived in the farmer's market was kind of hoity-toity. Sure, there was good stuff there, but mostly it was orchids and perogies and $5 heads of lettuce. But where we live today it is a whole different story. It is what I truly want from a farmer's market -- fruits and veggies, honey and cheese, all grown/made in our own backyard, sold at a good price. We walked out of there, once again, bags full of produce, pockets still full of money.
Radishes, beets, carrots, more sweet potatoes (as you can tell, I have a thing for them...), onions, cilantro, and whole lot more. And once again I made my grocery list based off of that. Broccoli beef stir-fry one night, sweet potato and arugula pizza the next; salads galore and fresh garlic cheese to munch on. My grocery list for the store? Nine items. NINE.
My menu planning will never be the same.
One of those nine items on the list: peas. That was all that was separating us from being able to make one of our favorite soups. The farmer's market supplied us with the carrots, onions, celery, and parsley; my pantry provided the flour, baking powder, and vegetable stock. And in the fridge we found milk, butter, and Dijon mustard. Put it all together and we had ourselves some warm, hearty soup. Perfect for these cold winter evenings.
And by cold I mean 45*F ;)