Thursday, September 1, 2011

Labor Day Picks

What's in Season for Late Summer? Last night we went to the Triangle Farmers' Market and found plenty to get excited about. Carrots, okra, zucchini, eggplant, lots of gorgeous tomatoes, dates, arugula, cucumbers, mixed greens, butternut squash, black-eyed peas, garlic, onions, potatoes, hard pears, peaches, scarlet runner beans, canteloupe, peppers, watermelon and amaranth greens are all available at the markets right now. 

Here are my picks for Labor Day. We're spending the weekend with friends out at the family ranch to celebrate my husband's birthday. How are you celebrating with local food?

1. Breakfast sausage from Salt & Time at HOPE Farmers' Market or Barton Creek Farmers' Market. We love their breakfast sausage with eggs, potatoes from Johnson's Backyard Garden and some fresh Hatch or local chiles. 

2. Local black-eyed peas from Wheatsville and pancetta from Salt & Time (at HOPE Farmers' Market or Barton Creek Farmers' Market) or for a smoky vegetarian version use Smoke-Dried Tomatoes from Boggy Creek Farms

3. Canteloupe from the tiny roadside stand we found on the way out to the ranch (also available at the farmers' markets around town) for making canteloupe aqua fresca or maybe a few cucumbers from the market to make cucumber aqua fresca. I usually make a simple syrup with water and local honey as the sweetener in the agua fresca rather than sugar. 

4. Fresh dates from Lightsey Farms for Chocolate Chip Date Cake.

5. Crispy Texas Pecans from Waco, Texas (available in the bulk bin at Wheatsville) for making Pecan Date Bars. Love Lara Bars? Try this at home version. 

Recipe for Pecan Date Bars
*In a food processor mix one cup of pecans, 6 pitted dates, 1 TBSP almond butter, 1 tsp Rawtella (available at People's Pharmacy) and 1 tsp local honey. 

*Mix until it will hold together when you press the mixture with your finger

*Spread and shape into a rectangle about 1/2-1 inch in thickness on a Silpat or nonstick surface and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

*Use a pizza cutter to cut into bar size strips or cut into squares and add a pecan on top for a quick dessert. Use parchment paper between bars to keep them from sticking together if you need to stack them for storage in the fridge. 

Local veggies for our Labor Day menu ready to go in the fridge....CHECK!

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