To my fellow members in Austin and surrounding areas, I apologize for not posting any news sooner. My arrival back from France and having to move, find a job, work, and begin my school schedule again all took it's toll on the unfortunate time clock. I have recently moved to San Antonio and have a wonderful chefs position at a private dining establishment, and am continuing to go to culinary school in Austin.Due to my recent move and visits to the markets here I have opened the group to San Antonio residents as well! I have received positive feedback and a lot of interest from locals and farmers in this area who are excited and eager for our first dinner together this Spring. I will plan on dividing our quarterly meals between Austin and San Antonio until we get more interest and can move to monthly meetings.
My first trip to the Pearl Farmers Market (www.pearlfarmersmarket.com) on a chilly Saturday morning was informative and delicious. It was a welcome discovery to find new vendors that I have yet to see in the markets in Austin, including CKC Farms creamy and tart goat cheese products (I highly praise their cranberry goat cheese spread on toast...divine!) Turquoise Lavender local honey and lavender sugar (unbelievable in fruit salads by the way!), and Sol Y Luna Baking Company rustic crusty breads and seasonal danishes(their blueberry danish on this day was tart and flaky and melted in my mouth!). Though this market is not as large as the markets in Austin, they are growing steadily and will succeed even more with your support!
For us Texans...we all know that 'local honey' means more to us than just sweetening our tea...it is a known remedy here that it is one of the secrets to battling our horrible allergy problem in this area! The idea is that the bees will carry the pollens that we are allergic to, and thus if we eat just a bit of the sticky sweet honey each day our allergies will be better as we will build natural immunity. I personally know moms who begin their children on this remedy when they are young with great success!
Another product from CKC Farms....Seasoned Feta, delicious on it's own or in a seasonal salad!
These oyster mushrooms were so big and beautiful the picture doesn't really do them justice. The smell was earthy, and I think the next time I go I will have to pick up a bunch and add them to a lemon grass Asian soup!
Of course I cannot leave out the produce! One of the things I love is salad greens, beets, and kale. Luckily enough this time of year is the perfect time to enjoy them! Recently I added kale greens to a beet risotto that came out sweet, buttery, and colorful.
The wonderful aspect about shopping at markets that I don't always get from going to the grocery store is the inspiration and creativity that stems from a shopping trip. When I go to the farmers markets I usually have my personal favorite items that I pick up, but also look for 'whats around' and then come up with a dish right there on the spot or it comes together in my thoughts along the way over a cup of coffee. I will update the site with more pictures from the markets and some farmers as I become more acclimated to this city. My wish is that we can share this love of seasonal, organically grown food and come together to cook very soon. Please spread the word San Antonio and Austin residents as our next dinner will be announced in the coming weeks! Until then...Bon Apetit! :)Shannon