It’s true that the markets are not quite brimming with the same splendor they do in the summer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic flavors to be had. Vegetables, meats, milk, and eggs– they’re all there and ready to be delicious for you. Last year, in the depths of dreary January, we went to the U district farmers market with a pen and paper to inventory the possibility. We thought there would be a lot there, but even we were surprised by the the length of our list upon leaving. We are including the list for you here, to convince those of you who need to be convinced and inspire those who already believe:
- (Shelling) Beans: Fresh and Dried Cannellini, Black, Kidney, Pinto, Cranberry
- Celery Root (Celeriac)
- Greens – Collards, Mustard, Tsoi Sim. Mixed Braising Greens
- Herbs (rosemary, sage)
- Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
- Potatoes – tons of different kinds
- Winter Squash Red Kuri, Acorn, Butternut, Kabocha, Golden Nugget
- PORK: all cuts, frozen and smoked, Loins, Chops, Roasts, Ham, Bacon, Sausages, Porchetta, Lard.
- BEEF: Steaks, Roasts, Hamburger, Summer Sausage, Andouille Sausage, Jerky, London Broil, soup bones, dog bones
- CHICKEN and DUCK: Fryers, stewing hens and roasters. Chicken liver (pate) and chicken stock.
- VEAL: Veal Ribs, Loin Chops, Top Round, Shanks (we found veal bones at the Ballard Farmer’s Market.
- LAMB: Fresh cuts, ground fresh
- GOAT MEAT: Frozen cuts
- FISH: Salmon, oysters, clams, geoducks.
- Soup stock
- Fresh pasta
- TONS of cheeses
So although the tables may not be stacked as high as they are in August, you can still find loads of good produce and meat. One of our favorite things to pick up this time of year are the crooked carrots that you’ll find in big bins. They look a little small and unassuming, but they are fantastic little eaters.
One of our favorite ways to feature these little guys is actually to just treat them like spring carrots in a moroccan baby carrot salad we got from Heidi Swanson (no relation to Beryl) at 101cookbooks a couple years back.
The salad has a vaguely honey-sweet orange dressing, a strong cumin flavor, fresh mint and cilantro, and an excellent salty finish from black olives and feta (or other) cheese. Equally delicious is the pairing of Israeli couscous or Sardinian fregula that Swanson recommends, though you could really use any grain or small pasta (orzo!).
It’s been over two years since Heidi posted this gem, so we thought it could bear a revisiting. If you’re feeling a little wintered down, or if the recent “heat” wave in seattle has you dreaming of spring, grab yourself some of those little carrots and try this for yourself this weekend. And by all means, when the new baby carrots come around in the spring, do it up all over again. Head on over to the original post at 101Cookbooks for the full recipe.