When Boise opened its downtown Farmers Market I became an immediate fan. Most Saturdays find me buying fruit and vegetables for the week and snapping photos of the colorful stalls. Farmer’s markets are an old favorite since childhood.
Fragrant balls of Provolone cheese suspended with brown twine hung like fat teardrops over the heads of sellers. The “stinking-sox” smell of fresh Limburger wrinkled my nose along Market Street in Portland, Oregon. When I was a child there was a farmer’s market after which Market Street was named. Vendors hawked their wares in rapid-fire exchanges, one trying to outdo the next. German and Italian accents sent my brother and me into giggles as we tried to mimic the calls. Rabbits and chickens hung on hooks, sausages were looped in long ropes over cuts of meat and seafood was displayed on glistening beds of ice. Portland’s market is only a street name now. Gone.
But at Boise’s market, once again, I can fill my bag with turnips, beets, carrots, lettuce and onions intermingled with goat cheese and delicious tamales. Sometimes there is pie and on special occasions, flowers. The market combines eye candy, delicious smells and good eats.
As the heat increases in the valley our supper comes straight from the market: cold soup, fresh salad and crusty bread. I pair these with a good wine or handcrafted beer. And if the sweet tooth comes begging I don’t fire up the oven. There is always that pie.
Cold Carrot Ginger Soup (serves 2)
1 pound Small Carrots, trimmed and chopped
1 small sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp grated ginger
3 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock
Saute the carrots and onion in the butter for about 5 minutes. Add stock and ginger and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until carrots are tender. Cool. Puree and refrigerate. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and torn parsley.
Baby Lettuce Salad with Raspberries and Pistacios (serves 2)
1 small bag mixed baby lettuces
¼ cup fresh raspberries
2 Tbs. pistachios barely crushed
Juice of 1 lime plus zest of half a lime
1 Tbs raspberry vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan to grate on top
Dressing: Combine lime, zest, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Wisk and chill.
Toss the baby lettuces with dressing in a cold bowl. Fold in raspberries and pistachios. Dress and grate cheese curls over top.