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This Week at the Farmer’s Market

It’s been a bit steamy these past few weeks but this too shall pass. After all, we are halfway through the year already. The breeze under the pavilion makes it a very pleasant visit and the Farmers’ Market special musicians will serenade while you shop. Drop your knives off to be sharpened with Ben while you see to getting lunch. Kristen has Celeste figs and (always) eggs. I wonder if Kristen lets those hens run free under the fig trees, feasting and cackling (the hens, not Kristen) and getting their fill of the overripe figs on the ground. Speaking of goodness, Kandy’s shrimp and cream cheese rolls are always a treat for lunch but don’t forget to bring home one of her fabulous salads for lunch tomorrow or a light, easy dinner. If you haven’t tried one yet, Johnny’s “bowls” make for a tremendous lunch. Picture it, stir-fried veggies over basmati rice with Thai peanut or Sesame Ginger sauce (Bhakti Bowl) or tomato paste, chickpea, & curry spice blend (Curry Bowl). Any way you try it, it’s a tasty repast.

Abeer is preparing Chicken Noodle Soup for tomorrow which you may think is a little too warm for this time of year—that is, unless you are working in a refrigerated container they call an office. She’s also fixed her famous Ouzi and Muhjadara. Dessert may never be the same thanks to our new Wednesday vendor, Carrol Goodenuff. Her puff pastry waffles are topped with a creamy custard, fresh strawberries (or seasonal fruit), and homemade whipped cream—WOW!! You may need an extra to bring home for your sweetie or the kids (whoever gets it first) or, better yet, SUPPER! Oh! Do’t forget to pick up your knives.

Michaela Lauer is in the gazebo this Saturday morning delighting us with bright and lively tunes. Soooo, grab your coffee, grab your Meme’s veggie pancake, Happy Flour waffle, Bear Creek Road bagel sandwich and make your way around the market.

Our fabulous produce vendors bring us tasty veggies each week — cucuzza, eggplant, peppers, butternut squash, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow or white squash, okra, tomatoes, and more. Now you may be wondering what a cucuzza (googootz) is. Well, it is that long, long green tube-shaped squash on Vince’s table that you’ve been wondering about. So, figuring you had no more idea what to do with this thing than I did, I found a recipe—Giambotta with Cucuzza & other Summer Vegetables. Fortunately, most of these ingredients (full recipe at the bottom of the newsletter) are found on market tables. Basically, you’ll season the chicken thighs with kosher salt & pepper (I’ll bet some of Johnny’s Seasoning would really liven this dish), and brown them in some olive oil in the largest Dutch oven you have. About 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Then brown the sausage pieces in a little more olive oil. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the chicken. Pretty easy so far, huh? Add some more olive oil to the pot and throw in all of the vegetables and sprinkle with about 1-2 tablespoons of KOSHER salt (not table salt). Cook about 8 minutes until vegetables are softening. Back into the pot with the vegetables goes the chichen and sausage and add the stock or wine with the fresh rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil; then to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes. This sounds like the kind of stew that tastes even better the longer you let it sit. It sounds quite tasty as is. I wonder if you could substitute alligator, crawfish, or shrimp sausage (Bulldog Boudin) or Green Onion sausage(Jubilee Farms) or even some alligator meat (Angry Gator).

It is the time of year for amazing fruit and our market has a smorgasbord. You’ll find watermelon, incredible peaches, perhaps some blueberries still, and definitely figs! With a good balsamic vinegar and some fresh figs or fig preserves (check with Althee) you can make an amazing glaze for your grilled chicken (Credo Farms), roasted duck breast (Ross), grilled gator (Angry Gator) or an assortment of grilled veggies. Start by pouring a cup of balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and 1 Tbsp of crushed & chopped figs (or fig preserves.) Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to keep at a simmer for 12-15 minutes. You’ll want to occasionally stir this until it’s reduced by half and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Voila! Glaze!

Now picture this…fresh figs, sliced, then topped with a dollop or Huckleberry Fred’s goat cheese or Mauthe’s cottage cheese, or a slice of one of Happy Flour or Bear Creek’s wonderful breads. Drizzle with your fantastic new, homemade balsamic glaze. With Six Acres China Rose Radish microgreens as a topping, you are officially a gourmet chef.

Hope, of Credo Farms, says that she is now able to be at the market every week so you don’t have to try and guess when she will be there. I have news that Abeer and all her flavorful Mediterranean foods will be there this Saturday and I hope you will be too! See ya there!

Lots of love

Charlene LeJeune

Abundant Life Kitchen

The Covington Farmers’ Market is open each Wednesday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire and every Saturday from 8a.m. to 12p.m. on the side lawn of the Covington Police Station, 609 N. Columbia St. Call (985) 892-1873 for information or visit www.covingtonfarmersmarket.org

Covington Farmer’s Market Recipe:

Giambotta with Cucuzza & other Summer Vegetables

Giambotta with Cucuzza. Photo from staceysnacksonline.com

1 cucuzza, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks

1 medium green zucchini, sliced into rounds (leave skin on)

3 small Italian skinny eggplants, cut into chunks (leave skin on)

1 red onion, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, cut into chunks You can probably use a handful of cherry tomatoes or 2 med Creole or other large tomato. I would remove the seeds from the large tomatoes

1 red pepper, cut into 1″ pieces

2 good quality Italian sausages, sliced (optional, but do it)

6 boneless chicken thighs (optional, but do it)

1 cup of chicken stock or white wine

kosher salt & pepper

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Season the chicken thighs (with or without skin is fine) with kosher salt & pepper, and brown them in some olive oil in the largest Dutch oven you have. About 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the sausage pieces and a little more olive oil and cook a minute or two until the pink is out of the meat. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the chicken.

Add some more olive oil to the pot and throw in all of the vegetables and sprinkle with about 1-2 tablespoons of KOSHER salt (not table salt). Cook about 8 minutes until vegetables are softening.

Add the sausage and chicken back into the pot with the vegetables and add the stock or wine with the fresh rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the meat is cooked through.