The Farmers' Market From Outer Space

The local Farmers' Market (finally) opened this week. After months of living on beans, barley and frozen veggies, I was so excited.

And as delicious as I find the above ingredients to be, one can only ingest so many combinations of lima beans, black beans, kidney beans etc. before they get...pretty Bean Bored. 

The real problem is that I just can't bring myself to buy large quantities of produce from the grocery store when I know that farms all around this area are practically bursting with from-the-ground goodness. Why would I want to eat a tomato with an "Imported" sticker stuck to it when I'm living in the Garden State, people?

So you can probably imagine how anxiously I'd been anticipating this week. Forget visions of sugar plums. I'd been dreaming of fresh peppers and peas, crunchy broccoli and asparagus, juicy sweet corn and delicate spinach.

But on Wednesday, when the moment finally arrived, I looked down the aisles of fresh produce that awaited me...and went a little nutso.

All thoughts of practicality and planned-out recipes were forgotten. I began snatching up vegetables left and right, rushing from stand to stand, stopping for only moments at a time to drool over fresh blueberry donuts and full-sour pickles.

And in the end, all intentions of stocking my fridge with sensible staples were abandoned. No tomatoes for Claire. Not a broccoli head to be seen in my shopping bag. Not even a humble little cucumber for simple snackage.

Instead, I brought home a big bunch of aliens.



As well as a giant orange head of cauliflower, of which I cannot provide any decent photos because Monster is currently munching on its leaves.

I also ended up with half a pint of spicy olives, since the guy selling them was just so darn generous with  the samples. Plus, he happened to be a huge WSOU supporter, as evidenced by his Whitechapel t-shirt. Gotta show some love, right? (Jason The Security Guard: if you're reading this, you rock!)

Seriously, though. These foods look like invaders from another planet. This coming from a girl who will eat edamame and an unpeeled mango for lunch or use chickpeas to make cookie dough. I'm not afraid to experiment, but something tells me these new purchases have all banded together in my fridge and are concocting an evil plan to take over my brain. Or body. Or whatever aliens do when they want to destroy Earth.

So I immediately stopped the rhubarb from contributing to the scheme by poaching it in honey and lime juice.

Ha! You are no match for me, rhubarb! All steamy and dreamy in your honey-lime syrup.

And as for the kohlrabi? It made a wonderful salad base in which to throw in a few olives and--yes--leftover beans.

Its leaves were pretty bitter left raw, though. Was I supposed to boil them first? And I'm still trying to decide what to do with the bulb. Maybe I'll combine it with shredded apple and make a slaw-type salad? Or a martian-colored soup? Any suggestions or recipes would be greatly appreciated!

What's the weirdest item you've added to your kitchen lately?

I think the orange cauliflower and spicy olives are still conspiring against me...

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