Making friends and making up recipes

by Brittany Grace

I’ve been making a lot of pimento cheese lately.

Consequently, I’ve been jarring – and selling –  a lot of cheese, too.  And other treats.

Which means: I’ve been enjoying the farmers market more than ever.

The perfect weather helps, of course, but the best thing about working the market is the people.

I have a friendly regular customer who comes on Wednesdays in tow with her adorable dog. The dog’s name is Gracie (!!!)

Gracie the dog customer.

I also have a wonderful customer who I’ve developed a sort of friendship with. I genuinely feel happy to chat with her when she stops by the market. She tells me about her daughter, who is in high school. I tell her similar stories of myself and my friends, when we were the same, strange age.

Rocket, hiding in a tree.

On Saturdays, I get to observe the bashful, redheaded and completely adorable Rocket, son of Maria, of (delectable) Little Red Hen Bakeshop. Last Saturday, he was enamored with climbing a dogwood at the front of the market. He was not so enamored with my picture taking.

Customers of the day

I also get to meet new people all the time, people who often are first-timers to the market. You can tell they are new to the market by the look on their faces, and by the extra time they spend looking around at all their shopping options.

With happy, joyful seasons like this, there isn’t really time for the asparagus-scallion pie with homemade crust I’ve had my eye on making.

I’ve noticed I do more elaborate cooking not only when I’m not as busy, but when I’m not in such a happy place. Something about focusing on ingredients and measurements and temperatures distracts me from whatever wrench life has thrown into things.

Anyway.

There’s always time to throw something in the slow cooker. 7-hour cooked Riverview farm pork? When does that not sound good?

There wasn’t much to it: root vegetables, a little olive oil, sea salt, a dash of soy sauce and sherry wine, and a big hunk of meat, all sitting in a tightly enclosed Crock Pot taking up space on my kitchen counter. I turned it on “low’ for the first couple of hours, and then turned it up a notch for the rest of the time. Remember, you can always add cooking time to a piece of meat, but you can’t subtract it.

This was the start to a slow-cooked pork shoulder that provided several days’ worth of memorable meals.

Like a very tasty dinner of carnitas complimented by bok-choy radish slaw. (Also, homemade nachos, pork sandwiches, pork and cardamom roasted vegetables).

This “slaw” was born from leftover remnants of vegetables that desperately needed to be used so I wouldn’t, with guilt and sadness, toss a wrinkled, too soft turnip into the trash (I am not currently composting, but that’s another story).

It was the perfect pairing for the salty, juicy pork, and I actually ate more of it as a sort of side salad after I was done eating carnitas.  The bite of the turnip and the crisp little leaves of bok choy added a subtle complexity that the carnitas would have never had on their own.

I was very satisfied with this vegetable salvation, and realized that making up your own recipes, especially to help cut down on food waste, is quite fulfilling.

Anyone can do it – especially if you have a few pantry essentials on hand, like onion, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.

So, that’s it.

No recipe with written out directions today…just a loose description of the preparation and ingredients.

Get creative, and do what you think will taste good.

Taste along the way.

Enjoy.

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