Natasha confession #3,598: Before today, I had never been to the Brookside Farmers' Market.
I know, I know. Boo, hiss and the like. As a Tulsa-proud Tulsan, I was as ashamed as you are right now just reading this, this gaping hole in my Tulsa-doing repertoire.
But, just when you thought I couldn't get any dumber, today - here comes what I alluded to before - I totally redeemed myself.
Name that movie.
Anyway. I cast my shoe over the Brookside Farmers' Market bright and early today, and oh, boy, did I make away with some serious loot.
Reporter fail. I couldn't tell you what variety of apple these are, but I can tell you that they're crunchy, crisp and cleanly sweet. And, nicely sized. I can actually finish one of these babies before I'm bored out of my mind.
Look! An apple tree leaf.
Just try to find one of those in your local grocer's produce section.
Not only are these grapes grown in Haskell (south of Bixby) absolutely gorgeous, they taste even better than they look. They're Jupiter grapes, and their flavor is floral with notes of apple and honey. The taste is rich, complex and, refreshingly, not of that 100-percent sugar camp of grapes we all know and love as the grapes mom brought home from the Piggly Wiggly.
Lovely. I haven't stopped eating them since I bought them. No, really - I ate them in the car on my way home.
So, vini, vidi and vici. The Brookside farmers' market won't soon be dry of the sweat that profusely poured from my forehead and upper lip this morning, thanks to the extreme temperature and humidity level - it really was something to talk about at 9 a.m., even for August in Oklahoma. I practically marked the entire thing - that is, the parts of it I didn't lug home with me in a handy-dandy reusable shopping bag I scored for free at the Saturday Cherry Street Farmers' Market last week - with my grubby, slimy hands and the ring of ambient perspiration following me around like a stinky force field.
Linda at Hilltop Honey didn't seem to mind the overheated red-headed girl and her pasty-white baby boy who wouldn't stop asking her questions about the difference between solid and liquid honey. She couldn't have been nicer. Plus, I got to stock up on my most favorite lotion on the planet, her Patchouli scented Hilltop Honey lotion.
I snagged a small bottle of the lavender lotion and a jar of liquid honey, too. Just to be on the safe side.
And promptly dipped toast right into the jar as soon as I got through my front door.
Before today, I hadn't had a drop of honey in a year and a half. Kiddos under the age of one or so aren't supposed to eat the stuff, so I chose to keep it out of the house so I wouldn't screw up and accidentally slather my toddler's tongue with it.
So, go ahead and blame me for being uncouth and dipping my toast right into the honey jar. Do it - I dare you.
Though I didn't buy any squash this morning, there's a lot of it to be had 'round these parts right about now. As my friend Amanda at the Oklahoma food blog (and repeat offender in the Food Gawker line-up) Have Spork, Will Travel said in a recent post, "It's a dangerous time of year to leave your car windows down...you're likely to end up with a backseat full of zucchini."
In case you can't use all the squash taking over the backyard garden with Amanda's recipe for Chicken Breast and Zucchini Pappardelle, keep trying with my favorite recipe for squash fritters.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute pretty much anything for the squash once it eventually runs out or you throw up your hands in defeat. I'm talking everything from corn to sweet potatoes to apples would work in these babies. Give 'em a try. If you hate everything about them including their mothers, you'd better have a better recipe forthcoming, or I'll be showing you the business end of a squash masher.
Just as soon as I figure out which end that is.
Squash (or Whatever) Fritters
- 1 lb. of squash (or whatever)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 c. bread or cracker crumbs (preferably homemade)
- 1 small onion, diced
- vegetable oil
Steam squash until it's in that place between crispy and mushy. Mash.
Combine squash, eggs and next four ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour about 2 inches' worth of oil into a skillet and heat to about 375 degrees (or, when you thwack something into the skillet and it starts to cook without becoming a slop of grease).
Drop mixture by mixing-spoon fulls into the skillet. Cook until browned, turning once.
Happy squashing, everyone. Don't forget to patronize Tulsa's farmers' markets. Locations are all pretty much set, but days and times vary, so the best way to keep tabs on these veggie stands on steroids is to bookmark the Events pages in the Urban Tulsa Weekly. They come complete with a listing of each market in the area, along with a list of what produce will be available at those markets that week.
We have about three months left of these open-air centers of fresh, locally grown produce. Soak it up.