Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Fine Picnic

Yesterday I opened up my mailbox and found a very nice surprise: I had won the prize package in one of the C-ville Weekly's monthly wine trivia quizzes! I was so excited, I did a little hokey-pokey dance in my apartment.

I couldn't wait to redeem my certificate for one of the prizes, a "wine tasting picnic bag" from Feast!, so I went to the shop straight from the farmers' market this morning. One of the Feast! managers assembled the following goodies for me:

Clockwise from top: a fresh baguette from Albemarle Baking Company, a third of a pound of Boucheron goat cheese, a packet of dark chocolate pieces with dried cranberries from Hunt Country Foods, a tub of mixed olives, a pair of sausages of some sort, and a third of a pound of Piave Vecchio cheese.

Yes, Feast! gave me a third of a pound of Boucheron. If you are not jealous yet, it can only be because you have never eaten Boucheron.

I have been pretty stressed out lately, with loads of work, but I decided that the "picnic bag" from Feast! combined with the gorgeous weather we had today were signs that the universe was telling me to take a break . . . and take a picnic. So I re-packed the Feast! goodies into my backpack and went for a walk at the Ivy Creek Natural Area. After tramping through the woods for about thirty or forty minutes to work up a healthy appetite (the better to savor the treats from Feast!) I spread out a picnic blanket under the oak tree in the meadow near the barn. Here is the view I had during my lunch today:

And here is another view of my lunch, mid-nosh:

In this picture you can see the items that I added to the picnic: a fresh, local, crispy-juicy apple, which went nicely with the Piave Vecchio; and a little jar of fig spread, which I made from fresh figs recently. (After buying figs at the farmers' market, I ate most of them out of hand, but cooked a few with just a smidge of sugar.) Fig spread + Boucheron + fresh baguette = HEAVEN.

I did not, alas, taste any wine along with my "wine tasting picnic." Too much work to do after lunch! It would have been very nice, though, to indulge in a glass of Virginia viognier along with the cheeses and bread and olives. I'm looking forward to enjoying one of the other prizes from the C-ville wine trivia drawing: a three-month membership in the Virginia Wine of the Month Club!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Market Day!

I had a grand time at the Charlottesville City Market (or as I call it, simply "the farmers' market" or "the Saturday farmers' market") this morning. With the fall break ahead of me, I was feeling optimistic about the opportunity to do some cooking and canning. I ended up spending about $120 and hauling away approximately 42 and a half pounds of food. (I made two trips to the car.)

When I got home I unloaded all of my purchases onto the dining table and weighed them on my kitchen scale, just to revel in the bounty of it all. I took pictures, but I can't upload them just now because I neglected to bring the camera with me to the library.

Among my purchases:

  • almost 15 lbs of tomatoes (from Waterpenny Farm and the Farm at Red Hill), to try canning

  • a petite three-pound whole chicken and a dozen eggs from a farm whose name I can't remember; I'm thinking about doing a recipe with chicken, apples, and bacon

  • a piece of pork (Boston butt) from Babes in the Wood; I'm planning to slow-cook it somehow with Bone Suckin' Sauce from North Carolina

  • fresh herbs from Brightwood Vineyard and Farm and Radical Roots

  • figs (!)

  • a pound of "free" chevre from Satyrfield Farm

  • chestnuts

  • loads of apples (about six and three quarter pounds)

  • just over four pounds of peaches: when are those trees going to quit for the season?

  • a whole bunch of different vegetables

Earlier today I made myself a late lunch / early dinner of stir fry with:

  • onion from Radical Roots

  • yellow summer squash also from Radical Roots

  • carrots from Roundabout Farm Roundabout Farm

  • green beans from the farmers' market

  • baby bok choy from (the embattled) Double H Farm

  • red bell pepper from the farmer's market

  • tofu from Twin Oaks

  • ginger root

  • some soy sauce, vinegar, salt, etc.

The colors of all the veggies were so pretty, I should have taken a picture, but I was in too much of a hurry to eat the beautiful food, not photograph it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Peach Tart II

In the oven right now: a second, even unclassier version of the peach tart. (Apparently those "last of the season" peaches were not quite last of the season.)

This time I pressed the cornmeal crust into an 8" x 8" baking pan and crammed it with six small, thinly-sliced peaches. I also doubled the custard recipe, but needn't have; the first cup that I poured into the pan was plenty. So I poured the extra custard into a second baking pan and sliced more peaches into it. I figure it will be like a sweet, crustless peach quiche. As a time-saving measure, I omitted the thyme and cornmeal crumble that the recipe calls for as a topping.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's peachy-custardy breakfast!