Happy Summer Everyone!
Welcome to the easiest part of my year. Everything outside is exploding– there is green everywhere! While I have made a few concessions, I have still been able to maintain cooking locally in my own kitchen. The adventure continues to be exciting and delicious!
I have been back to Greenbrier; always a pleasure to visit there. As the summer gets hotter and hotter, I hope to come out to relieve a little of that burden. I am beginning to volunteer with the Hub City Farmer’s Market more seriously, as it has gotten extremely popular for the season. Last Saturday, my roommate and I went by Spartanburg’s downtown train depot to see the morning market, and it was PACKED! I was excited to see so many people in the area caring about local food!
At the market, I picked up broccoli, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and cabbage. I had 2 dollars left, which wasn’t quite enough to pick up a tempting basket of deep red strawberries. I decided, on a whim, to pick up a bunch of fresh cilantro. An ex boyfriend of mine had a severe distaste for the stuff, so I honestly haven’t used it much in cooking. I put the cilantro to the back of my mind and planned to do some recipe research later.
The very first thing I grabbed at the market was a bag full of peaches! They are my very favorite fruit; growing up in Ohio they were a treat lasting only a couple weeks in August– I was amazed to see ripe ones for sale in June! My parents up North are insanely jealous.
Yummmm. I have been chowing down on these things two at a time all week, and it is divine.
The most exciting development in the local project has been harvesting my potatoes. I was so excited to see potatoes that I had planted finally full grown and with so much yield! Potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow, it seems. In fact, when I first saw the plants full grown, I had never seen a potato plant before. I assumed that Steve, the gardener I work with, had planted something new after my plants inevitably failed! However, he corrected me and I was so thrilled. It is moments like this that make local eating rewarding.
My friend Josh and I went down to the garden last week to harvest potatoes. We found quite a few, even with a basic sweep!
They could easily compete with any grocery store potato, in my opinion. We went back and found almost twice as many a few days later, after uprooting the plants. Amazing how much food you can get from cutting up one potato and sticking it in the ground!
Friends make this even better.
I decided, due to the huge amount of potatoes I had and the hefty bundle of cilantro, that I should make a potato salad with them! I found a recipe that looked easy and delicious on the Food Network website (Thanks, Emeril!). If you’d like to see the recipe, follow this link:
First, I had to cook about 2 pounds of potatoes. I tossed them in a pot of cold water, lightly salted the water, and then brought it up to a boil.
Once they were boiling, I brought the heat down a bit to a simmer and left it until the potatoes were cooked through. The best way to do this, as I was taught as a kid, is to stab them with a fork and see if the fork can go through the potato easily. This took a little longer than I was expecting it to take, about 25 minutes. But once they were done, i took them out with a slotted spoon, let them cool a bit, and then cut them into chunks half an inch to an inch large.
While the potatoes were boiling, I combined 3/4 cup of the fresh cilantro, 1 cup of mayonnaise (not local, but you could make it yourself if you were feeling ambitious–otherwise, it is just a readily available kitchen item), 1/3 cup of onion, salt and pepper, and some minced garlic. I am still using non-local garlic, but the garlic growing near my house is almost ready!
I mixed in the potatoes and tossed the bowl in the fridge to chill– after a couple hours, my potato salad was done! It was basic, but pretty delicious. It is something to keep in mind for summer pot lucks!
If you wanted to make this even more outrageous, you could crumble bacon into it! Because, as everyone knows, bacon makes things better.
Thanks for reading. I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer! If you do live in the Spartanburg area, please try to make it to their markets– Wednesdays from 11 to 2 in Morgan Square downtown, and Saturdays 8 to noon at the train depot. They could also use volunteers, if you like spending time working with wonderful people doing great things for the community! My next post will be about my Greenville Urban Farm Tour volunteer experience at Clements Family Farm! Stay tuned, and think local!