Anyway, I do have tips that I've been wanting to share, and perhaps some recipes (though the main source for HFM recipes is at the market's bulletin board).
It's not too late to grill! So grill up some vegetables: Grilling gives veggies that charcoal flavor we love. "Thick slices of eggplant grilled with garlic, herbs and olive oil can be as satisfying as a piece of meat," says chef Ming Tsai, but seasoning is critical. " Salt takes the bitterness out eggplant and accentuates the sweetness of tomatoes and other produce."
I like to use my George Foreman Grilling Machine when it really is too cold to grill outdoors. So here's one of his recipes: 6 slices of eggplant, 1/2" thick (or two baby eggplants), 2 small onions, sliced 1/2" thick, 2 small tomatoes, diced; 2 small zucchini, sliced; 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced; 4-6 mushrooms, sliced; 1 tsp. olive oil, (optional). Preheat the Grilling Machine 3-5 min. while spreading olive oil on veggies, if using. Add the sliced eggplant and garlic, close the lid and cook 3 min. Add the slices of onion, zucchini and mushrooms; cover and cook 3-5 min. Remove the eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms to a plate. Add tomatoes to the onion and garlic. Cover and cook for one min. Remove and serve over the eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. Serves 2-4. Can be served with meat and/pasta, or stuffed in a pita or French bread for a great grilled vegetable sandwich.
Basil Tips: Using fresh basil means spending a little extra love and care with your most delicate ingredient: When using, it's best to SNIP it into pieces with scissors. Basil bruises easily and blackens when chopped, or if it gets too hot or too cold.
Basil will keep up to a week, stored in a plastic bag, or put into a cup of water and covered with a plastic bag. I have found basil and other herbs easy to dry if I can't use them up in a week. I keep the stems tied/banded together, and hang them upside down in a warm place, such as near my stove. Of course, another option is to buy a basil plant, keep it in a sunny window and snip the tops of the plant for cooking. BUT I've had no luck with growing herbs in my kitchen, so if it works for you, let me know how you did it! You can comment at the end of this blog.
RECIPE FOR BASIL BUTTER: 1 cup shopped fresh basil, 1 pound of unsalted butter, pinch of salt. Blend ingredients in a food processor. Could make a nice gift when put in a glass jar tied with ribbon or raffia.
NEXT WEEK: I plan to feature the vendors who sell meat at the HFM. Who knew??
REMEMBER IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY AT THE HOLT FARMERS' MARKET!