Margherita Goat Cheese Pizza

There are about a thousand and one things to love about the farmer’s market. One of the things that I love is when you buy a bunch of herbs for one dollar . . . and you go home with a bunch that fills an entire shelf in your refrigerator. On Tuesday I bought fresh basil and heirloom cherry tomatoes. I contemplated making a pasta dish or a casserole or even a salad but I think I knew when I bought them that they were destined to become a pizza.

There are a lot of really good pizza places around us, that probably happens in most metropolitan areas, yes? You know those really good pizzas that are full of ingredients you’d never think of? I love those. We had our rehearsal dinner at one of my favorite pizza spots, and with good reason. In past weeks I’ve enjoyed a pizza topped with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, pineapple and banana peppers; a pizza topped with garlic mashed potatoes, bacon, broccoli, cheese and green onions; a pizza I like to think I invented and is the best thing ever – chicken, pineapple, goat cheese and red onions; and a pizza topped with barbecue chicken, mushrooms, banana peppers and onions. There were others in there too, but those were my favorites.

I rarely feel the need to recreate what my favorite places can make for me. And to be completely honest, I never order a pizza at a restaurant that I could easily make at home. I want unique, amazing toppings. I want complex flavor layers and ingredients I’d rather not mess with at home (read: pineapple, mashed potatoes) and I almost never want to order the traditional American pizza of red sauce and salted meat. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it. But we’ve probably all eaten our fair share of the plain, boring pizzas and could do with some new flavors. **This does not mean that when confronted with a traditional NY pie I will try to fancy it up. No, I will take that giant, flat piece of pepperoni pizza, fold it in half and shove it into my face. Some things are sacred.

When I thought about turning my basil and heirloom tomatoes into a pizza I was quite nearly giddy just at the thought. I settled on a slight twist to the classic Margherita. First because I had all the ingredients on hand. Second because I never order Margherita pizzas. I can crush tomatoes and rip up basil on my own time, thank you very much. The goat cheese. Oh the goat cheese. The goat cheese is there because goat cheese makes everything better. Everything. I tossed on some onions as well because caramelized onions are like vegetable candy.

This was a pretty damn delicious pie. The honey wheat crust was crisp but chewy. The heirlooms roasted and when lightly crushed, gave the pizza a sweet, flavorful sauce. The goat cheese made everything perfect, as it does. The basil under the cheese gave tons of flavor while the basil on top of the cheese got crispy and reminded me of bacon. I’m not sure why, but it was good so I suggest you try it. This recipe made two pizzas, one 10 inches and the other 12 inches with crust that were ‘original’ thickness. It would easily make three thin crust pizzas as well or two 12-inch pizza of medium thickness.

So, what are you waiting for? Tomatoes and basil are in season. Now is the time. Ready, go.

Goat Cheese Margherita Pizza

for the crust

2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon (not metal) and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is creamy.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and honey. Pour in the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon by hand until the mixture comes together into a ball. Place on a floured surface and knead, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky. Knead until the dough is relatively smooth, about two minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover lightly with a towel. Let rise for 10-15 minutes.

for the toppings

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large bunch fresh basil

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup goat cheese

3 cups shredded mozzarella

garlic powder

sea salt

coarse ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the dough in half and roll out the first pizza to your desired thickness. This dough gets poofy so if you want it really thin, roll it out very, very thinly.

Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the crust. Sprinkle the crust with garlic powder and some chopped basil. Use just enough so that the crust is lightly covered in basil.

Top with one cup of shredded mozzarella, followed by the chopped onions. Add the tomatoes, whole, spacing them as evenly as you can. Then add large pieces of torn basil. Use as much as you’d like, the more the better. I try to make sure there’s enough basil for some in each bite.

Add half of the goat cheese and another half cup of shredded mozzarella. Drizzle the top with another tablespoon of olive oil.

Finally, season lightly with sea salt and pepper.

Place in the oven on a medium rack. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese in the middle has melted. If desired, place the entire pizza under the broiler for 90 seconds. This will crisp the crust edges, melt the cheese completely and roast the vegetables to perfection.

Let stand for five minutes before serving. Using a fork or mashed potato masher, smoosh the tomatoes that haven’t burst open.

Serve with crushed red pepper and fresh basil.


Carrot and Zucchini Tart

I made a trip to our garden plot earlier this week. I think most of the other gardeners have given up for the season. I was happy to find a ton of stuff growing, even though we really haven’t been very diligent in our care and watering regimen. I took home around 100 bright red cherry tomatoes, one large green tomato, and an armful of heirloom carrots.

The garden is by no means done, a new head of broccoli has sprouted and we have several small peppers and tomatoes that will hopefully keep going. The basil is flourishing too.

I could have left the carrots but I had plans for them. This spring we ate some carrots that we’d missed the previous fall. Apparently they are Minnesota-winter hearty. Most things are not so that’s impressive.

With my arms full of purple heirloom carrots I headed home to try out a new recipe. One that Senor and I both loved. Senor so much that he said, ‘See, we could be vegetarians if we wanted to.’ This recipe was really an excuse to use my tart pan. Its been sitting in my cupboard since June.

I thought about simply roasting the carrots. I’ve been on a roasting kick lately. They would have been delicious, I’m sure. But my carrots were all different sizes. Plus, I wanted to incorporate zucchini into the meal. I figured zucchini and carrots baked into a pie crust couldn’t be gross. I was right. It was delish.

Carrots, zucchini and leeks were all finely chopped and sauteed until the leeks were transparent. Baked in a pie crust and topped with crumbled goat cheese, this dish offers sweet, savory and pie crust all in one. Yes, pie crust is one of the major food groups. Clearly.


Carrot and Zucchini Tart

for pie crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup lard

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold water

for filling

4 medium carrots

2 medium zucchini

1 leek

1 egg

3/4 milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Mix the flour, lard, salt and water in a bowl with a pastry cutter or fork. Form together with your fingers until the crust is a dense ball of dough. Roll out the dough and place in a greased tart pan. *You can use butter or shortening in place of lard if desired. Lard lends to a flakier crust than the others. Unless you’re vegan, please don’t use vegetable shortening.

Bake at 375º for 15 minutes with pie weights, dried beans, or rice in the shell to keep from puffing. Remove after 15 minutes.

For the filling:

Chop one zucchini and two carrots into small cubes. Slice the leek into thin pieces. Add a tablespoon of butter to a skillet and saute the veggies over medium heat until the leeks are translucent and the carrots are just starting to soften.

Place cooked vegetables in pre-cooked pie crust. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Whisk egg and milk together in a separate bowl. Gently pour egg and milk mixture over the vegetables.

Top the tart with thinly sliced rounds of zucchini and carrot. Spray lightly with olive oil and season with a sprinkle of garlic.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350, or until the carrots are tender and the edges are slightly blackened. Serve with raw carrot shavings.


Roasted Ratatouille Soup


I guess it’s officially fall when I have a fridge full of veggies and instead of chopping them into a salad, I’m pulling out my stock pot. I love soup, so I guess I have to embrace the seasonal change for what it is. A chance to make a lot of different soups and put some twists into old favorites.

Strictly speaking, Ratatouille is not a soup per se. It’s generally sauteed vegetables covered in a tomato sauce. It’s cooked slowly and the sauce is not canned tomato sauce, but the sauce from roasted or sauteed tomatoes. The dish is often baked after the veggies are sauteed and it’s sometimes a filling or topping on rice, pasta or bread. Delicious, absolutely. But I was looking for something that stood on its own, perhaps with a hearty broth. To be completely honest, I had been itching to get my stock pot out and this was the perfect opportunity.

Ratatouille is a peasant dish that food snobs often argue about. What’s the right way to serve it, make it, eat it. What are the ingredients and how must you prepare it? Everyone from Julia Child to Wikipedia has an opinion on Ratatouille. The beauty of a peasant dish is that, in all likelihood, there is no wrong way to make it. Undoubtedly this dish evolved with the realization that summer and fall harvest veggies could be cooked together to make a very hearty meal for very little money. It was true in the 18th century and it’s still true today. I doubt very much that any two Ratatouille dishes are the same. I would guess though, that they’re all really yummy.

Ratatouille generally consists of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, carrots, garlic and herbs. I had the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, onion and garlic, but no zucchini. I had stuffed it earlier in the week and hadn’t replaced it yet. I did have potatoes though, so I swapped those two items. Although zucchini would have been delicious too, the pot was so full of delicious food it didn’t really matter.

I decided before I started cooking that what I really wanted was a roasted veggie soup. Too often vegetable soups are just plain broth with lots of veggies cooked in boiling broth. This can be delicious but it can also get old. Vegetables take on a completely different and delicious flavor when they’re roasted. The skins get crisp and a little charred. The insides are sweet and there’s a smoky flavor that you can’t get without high temperatures. And potatoes are always best when they have a bit of brown on them. So instead of just dumping everything into broth, I started by roasting bell peppers and onions. I cooked the potatoes in butter and olive oil over medium-high heat right in the stock pot. I roasted the tomatoes. I cooked the potatoes and eggplant in chicken broth and eventually added in the roasted vegetables. I added a healthy dose of garlic and a few shakes of smoked paprika and let it all boil into a warm, savory soup.

I burned my tongue tasting it. I added some aged cheddar, thinly sliced to the top. I buttered some bread. I burned my tongue again. Senor grew impatient waiting for it to cool and had to add an ice cube. I added an ice cube too. It was too good to wait. No one complained of being cold even though it was only 50 degrees outside.


Roasted Ratatouille Soup

1 large eggplant, cubed

2-3 pounds small potatoes, quartered

4 tomatoes, cut into pieces

1-2 onions, sliced

2 red bell peppers, sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

Garlic, sea salt, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika

Chop peppers and onions into small slices. Place on a foil-lined tray and roast at 450º for 15-20 minutes.

While the peppers and onions are roasting, add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil to a stock pot and heat over medium-high heat. Chop the potatoes into quarters and dump into the pot as you go. Use small potatoes or, if you only have large ones, chop them into pieces small enough for a spoon. Stir the potatoes every few minutes to prevent burning. Partially cover the pot with the lid to help the potatoes soften. Be careful not to drip any steam condensation into the pot or you will get splattered with hot oil.

Chop the eggplant into large cubes. Toss with sea salt and let stand in a strainer. Toss occasionally. Before adding to the pot, rinse well with cold water.

When the potatoes are well-browned, add the eggplant and chicken stock. Turn the heat medium and cover. Stir occasionally.

When the peppers and onions are slightly roasted with black char marks and slightly wrinkled skin, remove and set aside. Add four chopped tomatoes to the oven/toaster oven and continue roasting.

Once the eggplant has softened and the broth starts to thicken, add the peppers and onions. Add the tomatoes once they are roasted. They don’t have to be completely done, a slight roast throughout will do.

Stir the entire pot and add generous portion of garlic, either fresh or powdered to the pot. Add sea salt slowly. Be sure to let it dissolve and give the broth a taste to see whether more is needed. Add about a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a small pinch of crushed red pepper. Let the entire pot simmer for ten minutes.

Taste the broth one more time and adjust seasoning as needed. Spoon up each bowlful and let sit at least ten minutes before eating. Top with cheese and serve with bread if desired.


Stuffed Zucchini


Mom, make this for dinner. You will like this one, I promise.

Summer and even early fall are a time for eating ripe tomatoes straight out of your garden. If we’re very, very lucky, we have so many tomatoes that we honestly don’t know what to do with them all. Last week I made salsa. This week I made stuffed zucchini. I’ve made this dish twice now and I think it has earned a place on the permanent rotation. It’s easy, cheap, and screams summer. As I sit worrying about frost and gardening death it puts a smile on my face, just knowing that the heart of this dinner was fresh out of my garden. All of the tomatoes came from my own garden. The zucchini came from Mom and Dad’s garden.

One of my most beloved summer lunches/snacks/meals is toasted tomato/cheese sandwiches. This dinner is a nod to the glorious nature that is the perfecting blending of melted cheese and fresh, juicy tomatoes. Stuffing the whole shebang into a zucchini is a great way to use cherry tomatoes when you have an over-abundance. The pictures you see here use whole-wheat bread crumbs which are okay, but not my favorite for this. They tend to resist the juices and don’t get soft enough. If you use whole wheat, add a 1/4 cup of water to the stuffing mixture. You want the stuffing to be soft and squishy before you bake it, not dry and crumbly. You can use any cheese you want.

The pictures make it look like it’s going to taste a bit like pizza but it doesn’t. It’s that fresh tomato taste that stars in this show. No zesty pizza herbs and spices necessary. Save those for winter when you’ll have to get your tomatoes out of a can.


Stuffed Zucchini

1 medium-large zucchini

30-50 small cherry tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 small can of very low sodium tuna (optional)

Heat the oven to 400º. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seed of the zucchini like you would a pumpkin. Use the spoon to scrap the zucchini into a ‘boat’. Discard the seeds and scrapings, or if you’re crafty, save them for something else.

Place the zucchini face down on the oven rack for 20 minutes. While it cooks, prepare the filling.

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, breadcrumbs, and 1/3 of the cheese. Stir together until well mixed. If you want, add the tuna now as well. The tuna isn’t really necessary, but is nice if you’re looking to add some protein. It balances well with the tomatoes and doesn’t overwhelm the flavor at all.

If the mixture is looking a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of water. It should easily form a ball in your hand.

Remove the zucchini from the oven using tongs. Place them right-side-up in a 9×13 baking dish. Spoon the mixture into the boats, pressing it into place and creating a flat top.

Top each stuffed zucchini half with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the mixture is hot throughout.

Serve with chopped pineapple and relish the last few days of summer.


Mushroom Asparagus Pizza

Mushrooms and asparagus are probably two of my favorite things to eat in spring. Not that you can’t eat mushrooms year-round, but they’re so delicious on top of a grilled steak or mixed with fresh asparagus and to me, that screams spring. One thing I’ve noticed during these warmer months is that we eat almost all of our meat grilled. So if we’re not grilling something, there probably isn’t any meat involved. Spring and summer produce is so abundant, it’s just so easy to whip something up with produce you have on hand.

I love mushrooms. Senor and I had some morels the other day and we were both blown away by them. If I could spend $40 for a pound of mushrooms, I totally would. They’re outstanding. I might have to take up mushroom hunting to support the addiction.

One place where I don’t love to find mushrooms though, is my pizza. I’ve never had a truly delicious mushroom on a pizza. Usually they’re sliced and from a can…and more than a little rubbery and slimy. Or they might be so dried out that they look freeze-dried slices of mushrooms. Mushrooms found on pizza are never delicately braised golden brown and plump. This is probably because mushrooms that are plump, savory and delicious are usually a lot more expensive than their canned counterparts. Fresh baby mushrooms that are deliciously golden brown cost more in money and in time spent preparing them. This, I think, is the ultimate dilemma of a veggie pizza. The veggies are not exhilarating. Instead, you have green peppers, olives, mushrooms and onions. Green peppers are the cheapest pepper with the most overwhelming flavor amongst the sweet peppers. Olives are pickled and salty…and are sometimes hard to love…and not the first thing that I think of when I hear the words ‘veggie’ but somehow they always manage to wiggle their way in there. The mushrooms we’ve already addressed. And while onions are delicious all the time, they aren’t enough to salvage a good veggie pizza.

The mushroom asparagus pizza was actually a well-planned meal that I created based on my own, personal desire to enjoy delicious mushrooms on pizza. It was a greedy, selfish endeavor and I’m not sorry because it was amazing. I wanted lots of really good, amazing veggies on a pizza. I dreamed of amazing vegetable combinations that I could create. Artichoke with onion, basil and red bell pepper? Tomato, asparagus, mushroom and goat cheese? Caramelized onions, mushrooms and broccoli rabe? So many possibilities to make really, really delicious ‘veggie’ pizza.

I settled on a simple mushroom asparagus pizza because not only do I love them both, but asparagus is my favorite in-season vegetable at the moment. I was anxious to get my grubby little paws on a delicious pizza full of beautiful mushrooms instead of gross ones and the combo was perfect. It came out of the oven and was gorgeous, but sadly, already dark outside. Some of these pictures are from the next day when I reheated the leftovers in the toaster oven. It was still delicious.

I started by whipping up this crust recipe from All Recipes. Instead of rolling it out, I just spread it with my fingers on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. This left the crust thicker at the edges and took way less time.

While the dough was rising, I sauteed the mushrooms, and then the asparagus in a bit of butter and olive oil, braising the mushrooms in a little water for a few minutes to make sure they kept their fullness. I sprinkled them generously with garlic.

I spread some melted garlic butter on the spread out dough, topped it with cheese and the veggies and popped it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 425. Senor and I stuffed ourselves silly on this gooey, delicious spring pizza.

Mushroom Asparagus Pizza

1 pizza crust (I used this recipe but feel free to use a packaged pizza crust)

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and cut into pieces

2 cups of baby mushrooms (more as desired), wiped clean and cut into halves

3 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 Tablespoon olive oil

powdered garlic

Heat your oven to 425º.

Follow the directions for your crust recipe and spread it out on a large baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray and sprinkled with cornmeal.

In a saute pan, add 1 Tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally and make sure each mushroom is evenly coated in butter. Add a few tablespoons of water so the mushrooms braise slightly and absorb some of the moisture. Season with garlic powder as desired.

When the mushrooms are mostly done, remove from heat and set aside in a separate bowl. Add the olive oil and asparagus to your saute pan. Saute lightly with plenty of garlic. When the asparagus has turned bright green but is still firm, add the mushrooms back in and remove from heat. Stir the two together to incorporate all of the flavors.

In a small Pyrex, add two tablespoons of butter and plenty of garlic. Feel free to use garlic salt, garlic powder, or a combo of both. Melt in the microwave and stir to mix. Pour the butter and garlic mix over your crust. Spread evenly with a pastry brush or clean fingers.

Top the buttery crust with shredded cheese. Carefully add your mushrooms and asparagus to the top of the cheese, spreading them evenly and making sure the edge pieces have plenty of toppings.

Pop in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove once the cheese is lightly golden in the center of the pizza. If the dough in the center is slightly doughy, let it sit on the cookie sheet while you serve the outer pieces and let it finish cooking on the tray.


Baked Eggs with Spinach, Chevre and Tomatoes

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Not every brunch can be this.

Sad but true. Actually, I would get super bored if I had to eat any one thing all of the time. The exception to this is that I eat broccoli rabe every day for lunch. It’s not my whole lunch (that’s crazy!) but I always have a big stack of it. It’s delicious. Still, a big, heavy dish is best left for once and a while. Both for pants-fitting purposes as well as taste-bud-variety purposes.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a slight obsession with eggs. I love eggs. I love a nice creamy yolk that’s bright orange. I’m constantly finding new dishes to top with an egg. On top of pasta, an over-easy egg becomes the pasta sauce. It’s sort of amazing. Eggs are just so fast and easy to cook. They are full of protein and are low in calories for all of the nutrition they provide. And they’re flipping delicious.

We buy all our eggs from Blue Gentian Farm. They are, without a doubt, the best eggs either of us have ever had. Remember this post about what an egg yolk should look like if the hen has been eating dirt, grass and bugs? Yes. This is what they should look like. Bright orange. The yolks are so creamy and buttery, you can eat them on dry toast and feel like you’re eating a lavish meal. And I often do. Even in winter when the cold climate means chickens need some alternative food sources (like grains), the eggs from BGF are still several shades darker than your typical super market egg. Even a super market egg that says it’s ‘free range.’ If we’ve learned anything from Michael Pollan, it’s that ‘free range’ often just means there’s a door cracked open somewhere that the chickens could potentially go outside if they had the initiative to. Not the case with BGF and I’m sure, numerous other farms that sell eggs and meats at local farmer’s markets. These chickens are the definition of free-roaming!

Photo courtesy of Blue Gentian Farm

These eggs are addictive. I will go out of my way to create a new recipe that uses eggs. This brunch is a much lighter, healthier option than the Chicken Fried Steak, although in both the bright orange yolks of BGF eggs played a starring role. Lighter and healthier, but still involving rich, dreamy egg yolks? Glee!
  
Honestly, these eggs are so delicious that I can’t bring myself to scramble them. I don’t want to waste a perfect, golden yolk by scrambling it. In the past, before we discovered the amazing virtue of these eggs, I would make a veggie scramble for a healthy breakfast and serve it with some grainy toast. Delicious, yes indeed. This breakfast was born of the desire to have all of those same things but to retain a golden egg yolk. Thus, a veggie-based egg bake. This was served with Breadsmith’s Mediterranean Herb bread which is my current favorite. So flavorful!

Baked Eggs with Spinach, Chevre and Tomatoes
Serves 2

2 generous handfuls of baby spinach

1 tomato, chopped

2 oz. goat cheese, broken into crumbles

4 eggs

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Olive oil spray or Pam

Heat your oven or large toaster oven to 350º. Lightly spray the bottom of a square baking dish with olive oil or Pam to prevent sticking. Layer the spinach, tomatoes, and crumbled cheese evenly. Season with salt and pepper, and garlic powder if you choose. 


Pop it into the oven, uncovered for 5 minutes.

After five minutes, remove the baking dish and crack 4 eggs into it. Crack them gently to keep the yolks and egg whites in tact. Try to space them out so that each yolk has its own space, but is nestled in the spinach leaves. Put the dish back in the oven and continue baking.

This dish will be ready fast! Once the egg whites have turned mostly white you’re pretty much done. This takes about four minutes You want the yolks to have only a slightly cloudy appearance. Anything more and they’ll be cooked through. Not terrible, but also not gooey and delicious. I highly recommend checking on them every minute during the cooking process because they can over cook really easily. Luckily since they take almost no time to cook, you can pop this in the oven and be eating in minutes. Best of all worlds is a fast, easy, healthy, tasty breakfast. My work here is done.




 
Serve with crusty bread, toast, or anything you want to have slathered in eggs, cheese, spinach and tomatoes. If you happen to swing by the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market this Saturday to pick up eggs from Blue Gentian Farm, you may as well buy some of their uncured, nitrite-free bacon that comes from fully pastured hogs. It is irresistible. It also just happens to goes really well with this egg bake.

Does anyone else share my egg obsession?



>Minneapolis Farmer’s Market

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The Farmer’s Market in Minneapolis is amazing. Nothing else could get me out of bed before 9 am on a weekend except the promise of fresh produce and fresh eggs with nice, orange yolks. Well, maybe a few other things but not many because I really do like to sleep. You can buy pretty much everything at the market and it’s fresh, tasty, and was probably picked out of the field less than 24 hours before you buy it.

Purple basil!
I sometimes dream about having an herb farm

Minnesota is well-known for long, awful winters, funny accents, Michelle Bachmann and hotdish. In truth, though, we actually have a pretty decent growing season and a lot of food options. Senor is originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where sadly very few things can be grown due to an incredibly short growing season. I was shocked when I learned this because really, we’re not much further south than the UP. Tomatoes simply don’t ripen in time before the frost starts there and what’s a garden without a few tomato plants? The only thing they ‘farm’ up there is wood and you don’t ever see markets in church parking lots or those roadside stalls selling corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe and peppers.

Fresh cut flowers, amazing arrangements and cheaper than any Sam’s Club or grocery store.

Farmer’s markets are in excess here. There’s a market on Wednesdays across the street from my house. There’s another one in downtown Minneapolis every Thursday. There’s a market across the street from my work on Tuesdays. And there’s the largest market, the Minneapolis Market every day of the week from 6 am until 1 pm from April until Decemeber. From December through March, the market is open every other Saturday. It’s outside but has permanent structures where the market stalls are set up under red metal coverings. The market has 230 vendors which means you can pretty much buy anything you ever wanted. Adjacent to the market is another market which is sort of confusing but suffice it to say that there’s one giant complex and a ton of stuff to buy. There are vendors selling coffee and espresso, giant cinnamon rolls, roasted corn, breakfast burritos, sausages, fish tacos, etc. There’s an area of non-food products for clothing, hand bags, soaps, pottery and coffee beans. Street musicians play flutes, accordions, trumpets, trombones and everything in between.

The market is hugely popular. Every summer weekend the parking lots are jam-packed and traffic cops direct cars and people so no one gets run over. Last year in September my mom and I bought tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro and garlic and made 12 quarts of tomato sauce and 24 pints of salsa all with food purchased at the market. The market is one of my very favorite places despite the massive crowds (I’m not crazy about people you see). The selection is awesome, the food is even better and it brings me a lot of happiness to know that I’m looking at the farmer that grew my food as I pay for it. Also it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than anywhere else.

Bushels of food are available in addition to smaller baskets