Here in Northeast Ohio we are reaching our mid-point of summer. July 4th is a memory, back-to-school sales are popping up, and Labor Day is beginning to loom on the horizon. But my Fresh Fork Market fun is only one-third of the way complete, as their program continues until the end of October – so my fun food journey continues!
This week’s FFM newsletter apologetically explained that our recent cooler Northeast Ohio temps have slowed the harvest of some produce which is usually available by now. No need to apologize here! I am still experimenting with new foods and recipes when I come home every week with something I would not have normally purchased at the grocery store. This week’s bag was no exception. Filled to the brim with fresh lettuce, Swiss chard, cabbage, carrots, candy onion, beets, yellow squash, tomatoes and a pork shoulder roast, these ample delights will keep me busy for the next week. I added a dozen fresh eggs and a loaf of homemade wheat bread I picked up at the truck (which I again forgot to take a picture of while there!)
I began by slow-cooking the pork roast in the crock pot with some onion, a celery stalk, and a bit of salt and fresh-ground pepper. I added about a cup of water and turned the crock pot to a low setting, then allowed the meat to cook most of the day. (I learned on a TV cooking show that we tend to put too much liquid in the crock pot with our meats. Generally meats require no more than 8 oz. of liquid when cooking in a crock pot. The meat will generate its own juices, and when these combine with too much added liquid, we tend to drown the meat and diminish the flavor.) When I removed the pork roast from the crock pot, it was fork-tender and shredded easily. I added some barbecue sauce and placed the meat in a freezer bag for a quick,easy summer meal later next week when I have company arriving.
There were two medium cabbage heads in my FFM bag. The last time I received cabbage we made a delicious cole slaw recipe for our July 4th picnic. This time I am going to attempt making stuffed cabbage rolls. I have always enjoyed these when others have served them, but I have not made these myself. Fresh Fork has motivated me to conquer kale chips, kohlrabi, Swiss chard – and now cabbage rolls. We will see how this goes!
In addition to receiving my FFM produce, this week also included our family’s once-a-year blueberry picking event. We love blueberries at our house and make sure we have enough to enjoy year-round. Blueberries freeze well and are easily used for so many recipes, from baked goods to pancake syrup to layering in a breakfast yogurt parfait. My husband, daughter and I spent an hour or so out in the country, at Voytko Farms, enjoying the early evening sunshine and cool breeze as we picked 21 pounds (at only $2 a lb.) of some of the best-looking blueberries I have seen. On our way home, we stopped in the delightful town of Chagrin Falls, grabbing a light supper at a local diner and taking in the sights of the beautiful waterfall there. The drive home took us past stunning historic homes with magnificent architecture and equally breath-taking landscapes. My husband asked me, as I was drooling on the car window, if I was wishing I lived in the country. My reply: I love our suburban home – but a ride in the country once in a while satisfies my internal itch to be a farm girl. Arriving home, I spent the rest of the evening freezing blueberries and planning to make blueberry jam and even try some bread-and-butter pickles later this summer. Who says you can’t be a country girl even if you only have a small kitchen and a suburban yard? Where there’s a will, there’s a way!