Three Boulder Farmers' Markets so far, and I've seen the sun only one time more than I've seen Rush Limbaugh. The first was sunny, the second snowy (and cancelled), and this past Saturday's? Drizzly.
It was still pleasant, though, sort of a natural version of a supermarket's attempt at playing God, when the store sprays misters on all the veggies and blares thunder from the speakers in the produce section -- except that the store always sprays it on the bagged stuff, too, drenching the plastic around the baby carrots so that when I put them in my basket, everything else is soaked. You get the picture.
I upped my purchases this week, as more items are slowly coming into season. I went for some garlic, a bag of braising mix (a variety of hearty greens that you can cook the hell out of without feeling bad), some eggs, asparagus and beets.
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I did a little Tiger Woods-esque fist pump when I saw the asparagus (the first of the season, I was told), and bought a few spears -- all I could afford, considering it went for $10 a pound. But chalk one up for spring.
But when I got home, the first thing I used were the eggs, because I was so curious to fnd out how they tasted. Farmers' market eggs just beat the yolks out of supermarket ones, even with their sunny, bright yellow yolks. The yolks of local eggs are a deep orange, and the flavor is deeper and much more, well, eggy.
On to the stealer of my heart: adorable, itty-bitty beets. About the size of a grape, they were of the of the Chioggia variety, also known as Candy Stripe beet. When roasted with some salt, pepper and oil, these little beauties needed only a few dollops of horseradish to qualify as beautiful to eat as well.
And I didn't let the huge leaves on those beets (the ones taking up half the picture) go to waste. They were washed, chopped and then sauteed in bacon fat with onions and garlic, then braised in chicken stock. A splash of balsamic vinegar at the end, and you can't beat these beets.