You know summer is upon us when the farmer's gather weekly on your town common or the parking lot of the local co-op or in my case at Casey Farm in Saunderstown RI. A beautiful farm over looking the Narragansett bay with their own supply of goodies, every Saturday morning other farmers, cheese makers and bakeries join them for a romping good time. Tents pop up, tables come out and are filled with fresh herbs, flowers, vegetables, even shellfish and meats. All to picked through, ogled over and enjoyed under the blue summer skies.
This was the first time I had been to the market, sad to say as I have lived in the area for 30 years, but hey, what can I say ? I bought into the whole "why buy local quality when I can get mass produced ,chemically enhance food for 1/3 the price?" I have been to farmers markets , so before you storm my home in the middle of night with fiery sticks and pitchforks, please try to calm the townsfolk, I have just not been to THIS one. A mistake I have now corrected and am grossly ashamed to admit.
The day was one of those days the New England tourism bureau likes to film propaganda. Blue skies, big sun, salt air, bumble bee's doing their thing, little children running around in funny hats chasing farm cats while unconcerned parents sip fresh ground coffee and munch on warm baguette's with local honey or gooey cheese made right down the road. So I tossed on my Birkenstock's, (kidding, I do not own Birkenstock's), and joined the happy mob.
Grabbing a coffee and Cinnamon roll, which was more like a cinnamon croissant, light, fluffy, just a little cinnamon and brown sugar,(http://www.sevenstarsbakery.com/ ), I toured the tables letting the colors and smells fill my head and imagination. Seeing what dinner plans would pop into my head or where the morning would lead me. I also took some pictures and just enjoyed the people watching. Everything looked great, the selection still a little sparse, mostly herbs, lettuces, radishes, flowers, but the promise of more to come was in the air. As I heard the farmers answer questions about what was on the horizon I realized this will become a weekly pilgrimage over the course of the summer.
I picked up some fingerling radishes, single bulb garlic stalks that look like scallions or baby leeks, Arugula, assorted wild flowers and some one pound bone-in pork chops. A smoked cheddar and some of the creamiest Blue cheese I have ever had, (http://www.farmsteadinc.com/ ), filled my bag.
Since it was not my night to cook dinner I had visions of a salad with the Arugula, one of my all time favorite greens, the radishes, garlic and blue cheese, all tossed with a Mint and mustard vinaigrette I had been thinking about since i had noticed the Mint was looking particularly jaunty in the herb garden the other day. I made a quick call to JM to make sure she did not need anything for "her" dinner and was told to she was still planning and she would figure it all out by game time.
Let me tell you she did!
It all started because we have an abundance of Rhubarb growing in our garden and every year we say "we need to do something WITH this !"
Rhubarb Salsa :
Rhubarb Salsa :
1 c rhubarb, diced small; blanch for 10 sec and rinse with cold water to stop cooking
1/2 c yellow (and/or orange, red) pepper, diced small
1 Sm jalapeno, diced small
1 slice red onion, diced small
Mix juice of 1/2 lime with big pinch of brown sugar and small pinches of salt & black pepper, then stir into veg and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Grind together Balinese long pepper, fennel seed, dried thyme, dried rosemary, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper, ground sage. Then grind in juice of 1/2 lime and enough olive oil to make a loose paste to massage onto chicken.
Refrigerate for at least two hours.
The salsa was made, the chicken marinated, then tossed on the grill as the house and yard filled with that amazing odor of grilling meat and fat hitting the open flame. The wild rice simmered in the kitchen while I put together the salad and made Mustard Mint dressing, with a little Rice Wine Vinegar, O.O.,S/P, fresh mint and a squeeze of Lemon. JM was on the grill and Bob Dylan was on the stereo.
So it was that Chicken JM was born!
I made the salad I had been thinking about earlier and we had a wonderful summer evening.
My day started out with a great trip that I hope to make a summer ritual and ended with a face covered in chicken juice, it's only May!