Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday Snapshots

Every day feels like a week’s worth.  I’m not feeling the words come flowing out, as I’ve got a lot to keep track of.  So here’s a photographic update to what’s up in Flartopia.

First, here’s a fully-opened gallardia for Garret.  The light was kind of harsh, so I messed around with the brightness and contrast.  In other words, I cheated.

Our Saturday started early.  Miss Chef was asked to do the Chef’s Secret demo at the “opening day” of the Matthews Community Farmers’ market.  I put that in quotes because the market is now open year-round.  Today marks the beginning of the real growing season schedule, when the market opens a bit earlier.  At 7:15.  Which meant we had to leave the house around 6:45 to get there.

Anyway, Miss Chef looked stunning as usual in her chef whites.

She asked a student to come along and assist.  She’s very good at reaching out to her students outside the classroom.

She chose to use her 45 minutes to demonstrate emulsions—vinaigrette, mayonnaise and aioli (aka flavored mayo).  It was quite the devious plan to get me to eat salad for breakfast!

Here are some more shots from the market.  I love this place more than I can tell you.  This connection with farmers, chefs and other “foodies” in our community is worth more than money can buy.


Yes, it’s strawberry season already!  Some of the proceeds from this sale goes to support the market.

Chef Charles is a Frenchman who’s got a pretty successful catering business going on.  Miss Chef used to work with him before she started teaching.  This is his first season at “our” market, and we are very excited to see him here.  Besides bread he does pies, cured meats (salami, pancetta, etc.) and will be selling prepared foods.  To his right is Carlea Farm, where we get our Thanksgiving turkey from, and from whom I bought four tomato plants this morning.  More on them later.

“Is there anything to buy?”  The people at work ask me this every month outside of June, July and August.  Morons.  (This is not my basket.)  Besides strawberries and bread, today you might have bought cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, pork, herbs, beets, carrots, kale, spinach, turnips, arugula, lettuces of many kinds, flowers, plants to start your own garden, handmade chocolates, pottery, soap…all grown and processed within 50 miles of where you hand your money to the person who grew or made it.


Well, I had a wonderful time catching up with my favorite goat lady, some of the volunteers, several people who raise my food and of course Chef Adam, who showed up in his biking tights to heckle Miss Chef while holding bags full of more dozens of eggs than I could count.  Tomorrow he and Miss Chef will be turning and burning omelets, eggs benedict, pancakes, etc. well into the afternoon for Easter brunch.

Around 8:30 I left Miss Chef at the market, since she was just going to cross the street and start prepping for tomorrow at the restaurant.  And here’s where I went:

So, here’s where I live work.  Normally I’d be working the door at the restaurant tomorrow.  But we are so swamped at the office, I knew I couldn’t handle going into next week without at least one day off.  When I clocked out at 4:00 today, I had about 55 hours for the week.  (By the way, that plush tomato character is not a regular denizen of my cubicle; I bought him for Miss Chef’s Easter basket and he made me giggle, so I put him where I could see him while I worked.  He’ll show up again in this post.)

When I got home, I rushed right out to the garden to get those tomato plants in the ground.

The dirt looks green because our lawn guy had just mowed and blown clippings halfway to Ontario, but mostly in my beds.  (Yes, we have a lawn guy; I made enough in overtime this week for him to mow and trim 10 times.)  Anyway, you can see three of the new ‘mater plants between the trellis and the far end of the garden.  Notice the lack of peas along the bottom of the trellis?  I re-planted about a dozen seeds there yesterday; only 4 shoots have come up from my earlier planting almost a month ago.  I wonder if I planted too early, didn’t water enough, or have some kind of pea-eating pests?  I thought I was going to have to re-plant the carrots, too, but they finally starting filling in this week.  Hmph.  C’mon, let’s go!  (It actually got cold enough last night to freeze some of the basil leaves, so I think I jumped the gun this year.  I don’t care.  I would do it again.)

These guys are blooming.

 I think there might still be some strawberries left for dessert tomorrow.  Maybe.  This basket used to be a lot fuller, and I’m going to be alone with it all night and most of tomorrow.

 I put together Miss Chef’s Easter basket.  I’m trying to avoid lots of sweets, as she’s trying to eat healthy, but she goes gaga for this particular brand of chocolate-covered cherries.  At the market I bought tiny carrots and some beets to add, and I put a couple of kiwis in to take the place of eggs.  I’m going to try to put the rest of it together while she’s in the shower tomorrow morning—which will require me to rise at 6 am again.  At least I can go back to sleep if I want to!

Now that I think about it, I think I’ll have to switch out with another, bigger basket I bought.

This is what I’ll be doing tonight, as soon as I upload this post:

This is for the restaurant staff.  I planned to bring them Easter eggs before I realized I wasn’t going to be able to pull off 115 hours of work over 13 days, and backed out of my hostessing gig.  I still thought it would be a fun project, and a thoughtful way to send them Easter greetings.  And maybe they won’t hate me so much for leaving them to suffer without my commanding clipboarded presence at the door.

I have to confess—those are regular, grocery store, battery-hen eggs I bought.  We tried dyeing brown eggs one year when I was growing up, and as far as I was concerned, the results were completely unsatisfactory.  So.  I tried to find cage-free white eggs, but to no avail.  And I have to tell you, I truly felt heartsick putting these in my grocery cart, knowing what conditions the hens live in who made these eggs.  I nearly put them back, and it took a good five minutes for me to turn my attention back to my shopping.

Well, that’s a depressing note to end on.  Let me see if I can find any more pretty pictures to distract you with…

Oh look!  A rainbow!

Update:  I decided to make sure I could fit all her goodies into the other Easter basket I's the final (bit fuzzy) effect:

Update: I'm a moron.  I bought two bunches of radishes, thinking they were beets!  In my defense, the radishes I grow are waaaay tinier.  But did I even look at the leaves?? Hmph.  Radish slaw, anyone?


  1. I could spend hours at a farmer's market. I love them! Whenever we visit our son in California there is always a market...somewhere... that we can wander through. We also had a great time going through a market when we were in Europe a few years ago. They had different things!!
    Your tomato guy/gal is cute! That would make me smile, too!
    I had the same thing happen to beet seeds last year. Many seeds won't germinate if the soil temperature is below a certain amount. But, I thought peas would not be so picky. I've planted some here. It will be interesting to see if they come up.

    1. I suspect the cold soil is the reason...Dad warns me every year when I tell him I'm planting. He didn't this year, ironically enough! I wish you better luck with your own peas.

  2. I wish we had as many options to buy local as you, but we're starting to seek them out. If you haven't dyed brown eggs since you were a kid, try it again now. I think they're beautiful!

    1. Well...there were a few tablets left. But some of our local eggs are already tinged a beautiful blue, so why bother? :)

  3. Believe it or not, our local WalMart has cage-free white eggs.
    I noticed the goofy tomatoe right off - very cute! He will surely be a hit.
    I'm stuffing a basket for David as soon as he's asleep. Why should kids have all the fun? A very Happy Easter to you and Miss Chef.

    1. Miss Chef got a big kick out of her basket this morning. She took the tomato and some of the springy toy things to work. The tomato was labeled "Tommy," which just happens to be the name of the line cook who said he couldn't work today--so he's being replaced by a singing tomato! (Yes, it sings..."We love our vegetables...")

  4. I really love our farmer's market, too. In our old neighbourhood, the "farmer's" market was a trashy mix of cheap Asian junk, with an occasional actual farmer thrown in to make it seem authentic. Here in Duncan, you aren't allowed to have a table in the market unless you are selling something you grew or made yourself, which is at it should be! No strawberries, yet, though... I love how much you love your market, and how much you love your Miss Chef!

    1. One of the rules at this market is that the person manning the booth must be involved in the creation of the product. I'm sure it sounds ridiculous to those who don't "get it," but this market generally has every booth full!

      I'm glad you can sense my love through my words. :)

  5. Strawberries? Already? We won't have any here until early July!

    Radish slaw? I'm off to google that now.

    Beautiful pictures; very nice (and healthy) basket for Miss Chef, well done.

    1. lol, I totally made that slaw thing up out of thin air...but I googled it too, and lo and behold, I've got better instincts than I thought.

    2. Yes you do! I found lots of recipes, and it sounds delicious, too :)

  6. Thanks for the flower shot! Yay! I LOVE Cellas. They are the best. The worst? Queen Anne Crap. Just ask, she'll tell ya. That Farmer's Market looks awesome. Do they have anything there?

    1. I have to admit, Garret, you made me roll my eyes! Miss Chef will never tell me a "worst." 'Cause anything that's not Cella's gets spit out.


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