Thursday, July 21, 2011

Farmers' Market Finds for July - Thai Eggplant & Sausage and Okra Popsicles

Last Saturday we braved the heat yet again and headed to the Austin Farmers' Market downtown. We went in search of our usual eggs, peaches, tomatoes, okra, melons and lettuce and ended up taking home a few little jewels that have led to some pretty delicious meals this week. 

Texas Olive Ranch's Pecan Balsamic Vinegar
We lingered a little too long at the Texas Olive Ranch booth sipping tiny little plastic cups filled to the brim with every new flavor of oil and vinegar like their Lime Olive Oil and Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar, but Clay made the final decision on taking home their buttery Koroneiki Olive Oil and their Pecan Balsamic Vinegar which has a chocolate aroma...I'm sure it had nothing to do with his decision.

We couldn't resist taking home the Chinese long beans that were draped over one of the tables and the tiny green Thai eggplants that I knew would be the perfect addition to the Niman Ranch Thai Sausage waiting at home in the fridge. 

I grabbed another basket of figs from Lightsey Farms before leaving which I served for dessert with a little Goodflow honey drizzled on top. Or try Tartlette's Quinoa and Fig Tabouleh (and be prepared to be inspired by her beautiful photography). 

Thai Eggplant and Sausage

basil, thinly sliced, from our garden
kaffir lime leaves, whole as you would use bay leaves, from our garden 
wild brown rice, prepared according to cooking directions on the bulk bin or bag
thai eggplants, cut into fourths, Austin Farmers' Market
Chinese long beans, cut into bite sized pieces or left whole, Austin Farmers' Market
Niman Ranch Thai Sausage, cut into rounds and then halves, Wheatsville
organic limes, sliced into wedges, Wheatsville
salt and pepper

1. Prepare the brown rice according to the package or bulk bin directions. I added a kaffir lime leaf near the end so that the rice had the same flavor as the other vegetables. Set aside.
2. In a cast iron skillet, add the sausage and cook on medium for a few minutes until the juices create a little oil in the pan. 

3. Add the eggplant, long beans, kaffir lime leaves and a little salt and pepper. 
4. Cover with lid, lower the heat to medium low and cook until the eggplant and long beans are cooked through but still bright green. 
5. Remove the kaffir lime leaves, fresh basil and serve on top of the rice with a few lime wedges. 

Okra Popsicles 
Adapted from Georgetown Farmers' Market Newsletter

bamboo skewers
okra, Urban Roots at Austin Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays
olive oil, Texas Olive Ranch 
sea salt or kosher salt

1. Heat the grill & soak the bamboo skewers in water. 
2. Cut the top of okra so that it leaves part of the stem intact leaving a small area for the bamboo skewer to be inserted. 
3. Insert the bamboo skewers into the okra. Make sure the skewer goes all the way to the tip of the okra so that it doesn't fall off into the grill. Don't be afraid to take advantage of a little child labor like we did. Just be sure to only have the kids prepare the larger okra to minimize poked fingers!
4. Drizzle olive oil on top of the okra and season with sea salt or kosher salt. 
5. Grill the okra and watch to make sure they are cooked through, but still firm and not burned. 
6. Take off the grill and season with additional olive oil and salt if needed.

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