I’m back in the Twin Cities for the weekend and I brought my A-Game.
We started the day with brunch at Meritage (check out the review)–their Eggs Benedict is for those who do not mess around. Then, after fueling up on hollandaise (the true breakfast of champs) we headed over to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.
The market isn’t large, but it has nearly everything you’d be looking for at fantastic prices–fresh fruits and veggies, breads and pastries, meats (cured, smoked, and fresh), cheeses, flowers, plants and herbs, honey, some handmade crafts, soaps and clothes, and more. Most importantly, it has in abundance what makes a farmer’s market fun to visit: that great sense of community. It’s so rewarding to support local farms and families and know that the food you’re getting is really as fresh as it comes.
Here’s the breakdown:
I was surprised by the selection of potted flowers and plants. These annuals were $2 for one, $11 for 6, or $18 for a dozen.
I wanted to take home this lavender plant–it smelled heavenly.
There were also lots of lovely, reasonably priced flower bouquets for $5–quite a deal. But, if you want to beat that price, do your shopping at the farmer’s market at the end of the day–then, they’re an even better deal at $3-$4. When you’re selecting your bouquet, look for a bunch that has lots of unopened buds in it. That way, you’ll get the most mileage for your flower money.
We decided to make some roasted vegetables for dinner, so we started collecting ingredients, beginning with eggplant, $3 for a carton of 4.
Beets were next on the list. They’re delicious when roasted because their natural sweetness becomes caramelized. We found some yellow and red ones, $3 bought a bunch.
We picked up some yellow and purple onions, and then discovered some unusual, multi-colored Swiss Chard in red, purple, and yellow. I had never come across these before–I’m wondering if they’re sweeter than the standard variety–has anyone used them in a recipe? If so, I’d love to get some tips! Though they didn’t make it into our pot of roasted vegetables, I picked some up to experiment with later. Aren’t they pretty?
While we browsed around, we came across a couple of stands with some great samples. The one that stands out in my mind was the River Chocolate Company, which had some of the best caramel sauce I’ve ever tasted:
If you get a chance to go to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, be sure to check them out! I really regret not buying a bottle. The flaw in my thinking was that the caramel sauce would counteract the healthy veggie dinner we had planned. But, I realize now that I failed to remember the nutritional value of caramel sauce…when you eat it with a sliced apple…or a bag of fiber-fortified pretzels…or a spoon… Well, I’ll just have to make it my excuse to come back soon.
It’s now a few hours later and our roasted veggies are looking great. With a piece of fish or a marinated steak they’ll make a fantastic meal that’s fairly inexpensive–we got all these vegetables for less than $20. Plus, it’s so easy and quick to prepare. Just wash the vegetables, halve or quarter them (I like these larger pieces–they’re more “rustic,” as my inner foodie snob would say!), throw the whole batch into a big roasting pan, and drizzle with olive oil. If you like, you can throw in some garlic cloves and herbs, like rosemary, maybe. But, I have to say, the flavor of the roasted veggies–especially when they’re fresh from the farm–is so incredible that all you need is some salt and pepper.