June 15, 2010

Market Day

Posted in Food, Friendships, Health, Money, Recipes tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:06 am by Liliana

Market Day

Market Day

Grocery shopping in modern supermarkets is not one of my favorite chores. In fact, I don’t like doing it much at all.

But I love, LOVE, shopping at our local farmer’s market.

Maybe it reminds me of my childhood. My mother, sister and I went shopping several times a week at the nearby farmer’s market in Belgrade. Mother carried a large wicker basket and my sister and I carried little wicker baskets. We bought food that smelled tantalizing and tasted delightful, was in season, ripe and delicious. We had our favorite farmers. They let us try samples. They told us what was best. They gave us ideas on how to prepare new dishes.

I am lucky to live in a town, here in Michigan, that has a lively farmers market. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from early March until the end of December, it is the center of our downtown area. For me, going there is a gratifying adventure.

I usually try to be at the market by 8 am, not only so I can find a parking spot easily, but also because the selection of the seasonal bounty is not picked over yet. I quickly walk through the aisles, look over the offerings, compare the prices, and greet the farmers I have gotten to know.

Frequently, I meet my friend Ann at a nearby café, for coffee and some much needed girlfriend conversation. Ann is not just one of my dearest friends, she is my market buddy. We drink hot coffee, share a delectable pastry, and talk about anything that comes to mind that particular morning. Then, we go to the market together.

I haven’t found a wicker basket I like, but I always carry several canvas bags so I can store all my purchases. I always bring cash, mostly in small bills. Farmers don’t take credit cards or personal checks. I don’t’ haggle with farmers over the prices. My grandparents were farmers and I know how hard these people work for a living. I talk to farmers, just like my mother did. I ask them what they recommend. When I don’t recognize a particular vegetable or fruit, I ask about it. Sometimes, I get new recipes.

Our market has a lot more to offer than fruits and vegetables. I frequently buy fresh eggs (from a lady everyone calls grandma,) artisan cheeses, meat (from an Amish family,) flowers (from a friendly lady who makes beautiful wreaths,) herbs, coffee. I bought a large leather bag from a woman who designs and makes them from the softest leather. At Christmas time, we come here to buy fresh trees.

I miss the market terribly during those dark, cold winter months when it is closed. But when spring arrives Ann and I are ready.

April 18, 2010

Apple Cake

Posted in Food, Recipes tagged , , , , at 7:16 am by Liliana

Apple Cake

Try a slice of this delicious, light, cinnamony apple cake with tea or coffee on a sunny Sunday afternoon, like the one we are having in Michigan today.
You will enjoy it no matter what the weather.

Ingredients
•    3/4 cup chopped pecans
•    3 cups all-purpose flour
•    2 cups sugar
•    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
•    4  large baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
•    1 tablespoon baking powder
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    4  large eggs
•    1/2 cup vegetable oil
•    1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
•    1/4 cup orange juice
•    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions
1.    Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle pecans on bottom of pan.
2.    In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to combine.
3.    In another bowl, mix remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
4.    Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Top with half of apple mixture. Spoon remaining batter over apples and top with remaining apples, placing them 1/4 inch in from the tube and the border of the cake.
5.    Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides and center of cake and turn cake out onto wire rack. Invert cake onto another rack to cool, apple side up.

Source: Country Living Magazine