Hannah Miller of Cedar Bluff talks with Dr. G. Heda about her fresh herbs during the Farmers' Market at the Hitching Lot in Columbus on Saturday morning. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
July 5, 2017 10:18:23 AM
On my last visit to the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market in Columbus I came home with okra, green beans, little potatoes, corn, peaches and delicious tomatoes. It's hard to go to the market and just shop for two people. I always get too much, but it's summer and you just have to buy fresh while you can.
The potatoes were brushed with olive oil and baked until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Okra is waiting to be fried for the family. We have had tomato sandwiches and sliced tomatoes with sliced onions, cucumbers and hot peppers in vinegar water. Without the hot peppers, this quick pickle was always served at my house on the side of Southern cooked green beans. Just as chow chow was always served with turnip greens. I had some onions I needed to use up and had never made chow chow, so I decided to find me a recipe.
A sweet friend gave me 3-plus pounds of green tomatoes and I found green peppers at the Farmers' Market. I only needed to buy cabbage and red peppers. So, armed with a sharp knife and a large cutting board I forged ahead. Three hours and a total of 15 pounds of vegetables cut into small dice later I decided that any price charged for a jar of chow chow is a bargain! The vegetables were tossed in salt and allowed to weep overnight (I wept a little as well). The next day I drained them and cooked them in vinegar, water and sugar along with mustard and celery seeds, turmeric, ginger and salt. That 15-plus pounds yielded 6 quarts of pickle. I think it's a little sweet and will adjust the recipe, but I don't really plan on making it again.
It's not a banner year for peaches. I bought some really sweet ones at the market, but the vendor said that he wouldn't have many. Georgia only has half their usual amount and I've heard it's the same for Chilton County. Problem was a warm winter and freezing spring. The fruit is delicious, but there's just not much of it. We've been eating them with boiled custard.
Our supper group got together recently and, as Terry and I were cohosts, I made the entree and a side dish. I went with the Mississippi Roast (from my May 17 column), and the other cohost made baked cheese grits, a perfect combination. For my side I used the green beans for a salad. I didn't use a recipe (sorry), but here is a list of what was in it. I used one of my favorite one-purpose tools: a bean frencher (available online for under $10) and sliced the beans into long thin strips. I blanched them in salted water and put them immediately into a cold bath. Then after drying them, I marinated them in a lemon vinaigrette. I mixed the beans with sliced cherry tomatoes (from a friend's garden), corn off of the cob, cucumber (same friend's garden), thinly sliced shallots and pinches of herb goat cheese on top. It was light and fresh tasting with the rich roast and grits.
I also made another dish from my recent friend trip, Jane's Cheese Ball. It was devoured by all. I'm including the recipe as she gave it to me, but you really want to half it. It makes a huge amount. Be sure to really drain the pineapple, it needs to be really dry or the cheese ball will be a dip instead.
JANE'S CHEESE BALL
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups pecans, divided
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons Lowry' s Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
PAM'S BUTTERMILK PECAN PIE
(with sliced peaches)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
1 stick of margarine
1/4 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of pecans (chopped)
1 pinch of salt